Over the years when I have looked in to our past, I have invented some words to explain ways of looking at things that we just are not brought up to see today. Mythtory is one, when I am using both what history and other academic pursuits like archaeology can tell us about the past and mythology - the oral tradition and stories that have come down to us from the past. IMHO, these are equally important in learning, no, experiencing, gnowing about the past. So gnowing is the second word I have made up. It is from "gnoscere" in Latin "to get to know."
We get the word "Gnostic" from the same root. These early Christian heretics were willing to listen to whatever anyone had to say, but they ultimately made up their own mind because they had direct access to the higher realms. Their intuitive channel was open for answers as well as their rational one. For me, if I "gnow" something it is because I have related to it both rationally and intuitively.
Herstory is another word I use a lot that I picked up in my readings of feminist herstorians in the early seventies. It is the language of the Goddess that was not allowed to get through. And it is with things to do with Her that establishment HIStorians have worked so diligently to expunge from our consciousness. I wish to devote the rest of this week's Tip to this issue.
The seminal book for me in the early seventies, about that time when Goddess ruled rather than God was called When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone1 (it was called "Paradise Papers" here in the UK). Then in nineteen-seventy-six, Michael Dames published a blockbuster book entitled The Silbury Treasure: The Great Goddess Rediscovered2 for which he was ridiculed, dismissed and ignored by the academic anthropological, historical and archaeological establishment. They just couldn't switch their paradigm enough to include spiritual possibilities at Britain's ancient sites, or even more, Goddess. In Dames' latest book, Silbury, Resolving the Enigma3, he takes on all of the academic criticism full on. And so much of his work is based on things that I would call "Mythtory," "Gnowing" and "Herstory."
He presents material about the Goddess at Silbury Hill, offering cogent evidence of Her being represented by this biggest prehistoric wo/man-made mound in all of Europe.
Silbury Hill from the air.
The black arrow at the top of the picture points to the West Kennet Long Barrow.
The white rectangle on the top of the hill itself is where archaeologists
were filling in the Drax shaft made in in 1776,
the first of a number of tunnels done to find the Silbury Hill Treasure - none was found.
The hill itself is the pregnant belly of a squatting Goddess,
and the moat around it forms the rest of her body.
Sadly, when I took this picture in 2004, I wasn't looking to photograph the entire goddess
formed by the moat, just the hill.
Her head is missing in the lower right-hand corner of this picture.
Two drawings of the Silbury Hill Goddess:
The body of the Goddess was made by a moat that was dug to make the hill.
This would be a pond today, but it has filled in with silt.
This squatting goddess is giving birth (note the corn child in the in the right-hand illustration). She is found replicated throughout Europe:
Squatting Goddess from Catal Huyuk
in Anatolia (Dames 2010. p24)
(I have flipped it horizontally it so
it is oriented like his plans above.
Modern ceramic Goddess figurine
made by Phillipa Bowers
In his new book, in addition to the Silbury Hill Goddess, contrary to the on-going denial of establishment academicians that Goddess was worshipped in prehistoric Britain, Dames presents a significant amount of evidence that Goddess was alive and well on this island. While I am not going in to this evidence here, I would encourage you to read his new book.
But Dames does offer a new (to me) reason why academia has found itself in such a blinkered paradigm where they essentially do not want to say anything about the spiritual activities of our pre-historic Biritsh ancestors - let alone admitting anything about a female deity. He speaks of the State's reaction to the Church beginning shortly after Henry VIII and brought to its logical conclusion by Oliver Cromwell a century later in their demolition of essentially all images of worship from stained glass windows to statues, murals and the destruction of rural shrines. As Dames says, "English historians have often deplored this iconoclasm, yet beneath an outward show of dismay, they have also inherited a discomfort with the very notion of sacred imagery of whatever period. The sixteenth century Reformation has to some degree remoulded the national psyche. Our minds have been whitewashed against the re-emergence of idols, including those bequeathed by prehistory."4
And this, along with the increasing emphasis on rational/analytical thinking that began with the "Enlightenment" (or was it the "Endarkenment"?) has brought us to today where intuition is anathema and spiritual realities are automatically dismissed by atheist academicians like Richard Dawkins.
In this process, the notion of Goddess - to the best of their ability - has been expunged from their vocabulary. For example, Sheffield Archaeologist Andrew Fleming wrote, "The Mother Goddess has detained us for too long; let us disengage ourselves from her embrace."5 And Bristol historian Ronald Hutton greeted anti-Goddess statements like Fleming's and others as definitive, and declared that, "...there was no possible answer to their analysis." The very existence of a Stone Age Goddess (in Hutton's opinion) has been shattered and "blown to pieces for ever by them."6
Then Dames tells us about Dr. Amanda Chadburn of English Heritage when she spoke to the science Editor of The Telegraph about a particular tale from archaic folklore that it was the devil (a concept invented by Christians at least several millennium after Silbury Hill was built) who was on his way to bury nearby Marlborough under a shovel full of Earth when he accidentally dropped it near Avebury, thus creating Silbury Hill. It is here that Dames gives us his most succinct and telling statement about the reductionist vision of these researchers:
Squatting Goddess from Catal Huyuk
"Satan has a PhD in false trails."7
For me, this sentence says it all, and explains why it has been necessary for me to use words that don't exist in the modern university lexicon. Too many false trails. What you see depends upon where you stand. Goddess naysayers just can not see what is outside their specialist-focused rationalist (?atheistic?) paradigm. Sad.
Michael Dames' Silbury, Resolving the Enigma is a must read book, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in Geomancy and the Earth Mysteries.
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1 Dames, Michael. 1976. The Silbury Treasure: The Great Goddess Rediscovered. London.
2 Dames. Michael. 2010. Silbury, Resolving the Enigma. Stroud, Glocestershire, England The History Press. ISBN 978 0 7524 5450 4
3 Stone, Merlin, 1976. When God Was a Woman. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
4 Dames. 2010. p. 19
5 Dames. 2010. p. 22
6 Hutton, Ronald. 1993. The Pagan Religions of the British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-631- 18946-7. pp 38-39.
7 Dames. 2010. p. 22