CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY AS A SYSTEM OF PATRIARCHAL INDOCTRINATION


“In the goddess culture the conception of the relation between creator and creation was expressed in the image of the Mother as zoe, the eternal source, giving birth to the son as bios, the created life in time which lives and dies back into the source. The son was the part that emerged from the whole, through which the whole might come to know itself. As the god ‘grew up’ during the course of the Bronze Age, he came to be the consort of the Goddess and sometimes co-creator with her. But in the Iron Age the image of relationship enacted in the sacred marriage disappears, and the emerging balance between the female and male divine images is lost.

 

Now a Father-God establishes a position of supremacy in relation to a mother goddess, and he is gradually transformed into the consort-less god of the three patriarchal religions known to us today: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The god is then the sole primal creator, where before the goddess has been the only source of life. But the god becomes the maker of heaven and earth whereas the goddess was heaven and earth. The concept of ‘making’ is radically different from ‘being’, in the sense that what is made is not necessarily of the same substance as its maker, and may be conceived as inferior to him; while what emerges from the mother is necessarily par of her and she of it.

 

In this way the essential relationship between creator and creation was broken, and a fundamental dualism was born from their separation, the dualism that we know as spirit and nature. In the myth of the Goddess these two terms have no meaning in their separation from each other: nature is spiritual and spirit is natural, because the divine is immanent as creation. In the myth of the god, nature is no longer ‘spiritual’ and spirit is no longer ‘natural’, because the divine is transcendent to creation.” Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, ‘The myth of the Goddess’

 

a) Patriarchal mythology as a system of indoctrination:

 

Extracts from Francisca Martin-Cano´s article: ‘Evolución de la Sociedad ancestral’ (‘Evolution of the ancient Society’), published in the 1st volume of the magazine ‘Antropología Experimental’ (‘Experimental Anthropology’):

 

“With the patriarchal revolution, the new sovereign tyrants sought the support of priests and poets to give religious foundation to their political ideology, to help them reigning with moral norms and legitimate their aggressive actions and absolute power. So the religious reform was carried out, creating and spreading myths that were used with the explicit intention of propagating the patriarchal ideology.

 

These new mythologists brought new mythic explanations of the world they were destroying, they neutralized and distorted the original myths and gave the masculine a predominant roll. New explanations with a mythology adapted to their aspirations, based on the domination of male over female and apologetic of war. The Masculine Principle was extolled and the male deities exerted a demanding power that commanded over all things, which reaffirmed the patriarchal model. These are other mechanics that explained the loss of the feminine power, and contributed to the evolution of society towards Patriarchy.

 

These myths provided useful keys for continuance, they served to impose, protect and keep this state of male superiority, to model differentiated conducts for each gender. And to subordinate, subjugate and discipline women, justifying the imposed order and bestowing a moral base on it.

 

So, with a religion that allowed war, as a fulfilment of divine requirements and on the grounds of expanding their religion and convert the whole universe, the tyrants imposed them with their armies on other people, feeling legitimated to commit the worse crimes and cruelties. […] and from the moment a region was conquered, the new power only broadcast the myths, the art and other systems of political propaganda that served INSTRUCTIVE PURPOSES. As a complementary strategy to give shape to the ideas they wanted to support and impose. These were models based on violence and force, in hierarchy and the patriarchal domination. From then on, religion equals intolerance.

 

[…]As these patriarchal civilizations increased their power, they began to expand their beliefs, their principles, their myths and their religious and philosophical systems over other people by means of violence. At the same time as society was modified disappearing the individual freedom and establishing slavery and war.

 

[…]The first action of these mythographers and mythologists was to elaborate myths of much exaggerated patriarchal content: changing the gender of the major figures of the pantheon. It is from then on that the male divinities play the dominant role and perform the natural duties of the Mother Goddess. […] While the Great Mother Goddess, source of life, incarnation of Nature, became of secondary importance. And the feminine figures undergo the loss of power in the mythic narrations. Some became daughters, wives, lovers or sisters of the male divinities. Or they were given the new feminine characteristically subordinated values of patriarchy. […] And finally the Great Mother Nature Goddess, ended up degraded and her realm disqualified in order to increase the value of the Male Principle. In Joseph Campbell´s opinion “... the practice of a priestly stratagem of mythological defamation, which since then it has been constantly used, mainly but not only, by western theologians. It simply lied in making demons of other people´s gods.” Francisca Martín-Cano.

 

 

b) El The babylonian myth of creation(Enuma Elish):

Within the Enuma Elish we find the oldest proof of the whole inversion of the mythology of the previous era. Instead of the sacrifice of the son-lover by the Goddess, as the metaphor of the seed that dies and revives again in the eternal cycle of life, it´s the Goddess who is sacrifice by her son (the young god). From a symbolic-mythical point of view, this doesn´t make any sense. Nevertheless, it created a new paradigm in the human consciousness, which has been repeated in the three main patriarchal religions. Once again, we make use of Anne Baring´s clarifying words to better understand this shift in human consciousness:

 

“One particular heroic myth, dated about 1700 BC, tells the story of what happened in mythological imagery. In this Babylonian creation myth called the Enuma Elish, Marduk, the young solar god, kills Tiamat, the great dragoness mother, by shooting an arrow into her open mouth which tears her belly and splits her heart. Marduk throws her carcass on the ground, stands on it and cuts it in half like a fish, creating the sky from one half and the earth from the other. He then creates the planets and the constellations. Then, almost as an afterthought, he creates humanity from the blood of Tiamat's murdered son.

 

This is a new and violent creation myth, in stark contrast to the older Sumerian and Egyptian ones of the separation of earth and heaven and it marks the beginning of the loss of relationship with the natural world. Marduk's slaying of the mother Goddess offers an image of violence and murder as a pattern of divine behaviour. Marduk becomes the macho ideal - the model for all conquerors to come - right down to the present day. With this myth the cyclical time of the goddess culture ends; linear time begins; death becomes final and terrifying. With this myth creation has a beginning and will have an end. The conflict between light and darkness, good and evil is constellated and this imagery pervades the Old Testament and other mythologies, in India (The Mahabharata) as well as the Near East. The myth sets the paradigm of duality and opposition between spirit and nature, light and darkness for the next 4000 years. This paradigm still controls our own modern culture with its emphasis on the conquest of nature, of space, of our enemies.

 

 

The story of the Enuma Elish was to lay the ground for the polarisation of spirit and nature, mind and body into two parts - the one divine and good, the other ‘fallen’ and ‘evil’. Gradually, the ‘male’ aspect of life became identified with spirit, light, order and mind -which was named as good, and the ‘female’ aspect of life became identified with nature, darkness, chaos and body - which was named as evil. This divinely sanctioned opposition led also to the idea of the "holy war"- the war of the forces of good against the forces of evil. The Babylonian myth was a dangerous myth to take literally for it offered the image of violence and murder as a pattern of divine behaviour and therefore ratified it as a model for human beings to emulate. The victory of the solar god created a new way of living, a new way of relating to the divine by identifying with the ideology of conquest - the victory over darkness that the sun wins each dawn. And, indeed, the theme of conquest and overcoming evil becomes the dominating theme of all the hero myths of the Iron Age and so it is to this day.

 

Over the next 2000 years, Marduk was transformed, via Assyrian and Persian culture, into the transcendent Father God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Creation was now from the word of the Father, no longer from the womb of the Mother. The creator was beyond creation. This is crucially important. The oneness of life was broken. Nature was dissociated from spirit. The feeling of the sacredness of the earth was lost and with it the participatory consciousness characteristic of the earlier time. A fundamental polarisation is born between spirit and nature and between the rational and the instinctive aspects of the human psyche. The profound dissociation within the soul is projected onto tribal conflicts. Conquest and blood-sacrifice in a tribal context are defined as good. The enemy is named as evil. Woman is raped and desecrated in war as she still is today. And, in the religious sphere, deviation from belief in a specific tribal religion is named as heresy and extirpated as evil.

 

Because this mythological history and its effects on culture is not generally known, it is not realised how deeply religion and science have been influenced by it nor how unstable is the foundation on which the whole structure of Western civilisation rests. It is a structure which has rejected the feminine principle and as a result, it is radically unbalanced, tilted to one side, like the leaning tower of Pisa.”Anne Baring, "The origins and the concept of the soul"

 

C) Yahweh (the transcendental god)

 

-Extracts from ‘The Myth of the Goddess’ of Anne Baring y Jules Cashford.

 

“Yahweh is firstly the ancestral father god of the nomadic tribe. The Semites, like the Aryans, were a patriarchal people, who honoured their male ancestors. There is continual reference in the Genesis to ‘the god of the father’, the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and this is the way Yahweh introduced himself to Moses. The idea must have originated in the tribal ancestor, the great Father who guided the tribe and helped it in times of adversity. ’He is a god of nomads’ Eliade writes, ’not tied to a sanctuary but to a group of men, whom he accompanies and protects’. In Genesis Yahweh say to Abraham that he must leave his family and his country for a strange land that will be revealed to him. He makes a covenant with him: ’I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee’ (Gn 12:2) His descendants will be as numberless as the stars (Gn 15:5) […] like the head of a clan, he will look out for them, give them lands, see that they prosper; he will, as it were, make himself responsible for them. In return they must love him and obey him and keep his commandments: they must have no other gods before him – ‘for I he Lord thy God am a jealous god’ (Exod. 20:5) – and, further, they must make no image of him that would limit his personality in a human way:

 

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. No tendrás otros dioses fuera de mí.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. (Exod. 2:, 3-4).

 

In this radically new conception of the deity all image making is forbidden. It is this innovation, above all, that marks this as a new stage in the evolution of consciousness; for the sacred essence, which is the organizing principle of the tribe and of the world, it is conceived as not in nature: it is unrepresentable […]

 

A new kind of focus is demanded here: that human beings should, as it were, look through the world to the invisible source that called it into being. The divine, or the numinous, is no longer to shine in the beauty of nature and all created things; people can only point to the numinous, which is beyond them.

 

[…] Although the image of the deity had become transcendent, it yet retained very human characteristics, the most obvious of which was gender: it was, in fact, male […] The old imagery of god as the son, lover and consort of the goddess has apparently vanished forever as if it had never existed. There is nothing to modify the exclusive an unrelated maleness of god. This absence of feminine symbolism in the image of god, is to mark Judaism, Christianity and Islam in striking contrast to the world´s other religious traditions. The contradiction between the universality and transubstantiality of Yahweh and his exclusive masculinity has regrettably entered the unconscious of the West, so that it is now extremely difficult speak of ‘God’, in the impersonal sense of ‘Creative source’, or ‘All that is’, without wrestling (usually unsuccessfully) against the urge to say ‘He’; for the ‘graven image ’that Yahweh the transcendent god, forbids to be made, would have been unmistakably male.

 

[…] Again, a truly transcendent and universal deity cannot, ontologically take sides, least of all order the slaughter of one race by another. However, in Exodus Yahweh leads the people of Israel through the desert to the promise land of Canaan, a land ‘flowing with milk and honey’. Here he speaks as a tribal god, who guides and directs his people to the land he has selected for them. Biut this god is also a warrior god in the Aryan mode […] In Joshua, also, Yahweh speaks as an ancestral warrior spirit, instructing his people and, particularly, their ‘heroic’ warrior-leaders how to wage war:

 

And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword, but the women and the little ones, and the cattle, and all thatb is in the city, even all the spoil thereof,shalt thou take unto thyself: and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.

 

Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not on the cities of these nations. But the cities of these people,which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth.

 

But thou shalt utterly destroy them, namely,the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and the Lord thy God hath commanded thee (Deut.20:10-17)

 

True to divine command, the Book of Joshua records that a Jericho:

 

…they utterly destroy all that was in the city, both man and woman , Young and old,and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword... And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein. (Josh.6:21-24).

 

[…] The ‘morality’ of Yahweh in his tribal aspect is, therefore, a perplexing matter! Jung writing about Yahweh comments:

The absence of human morality in Yahweh is a stumbling block which cannot be overlooked... We miss reason and moral values, that is, two characteristics of a mature human mind.It is therefore obvious that the Yahwistic image or conception of the deity is less than that of certain human specimens: the image of a personified brutal force an of an unethical and non-spiritual mind, yet inconsistent enough to show traits of kindness and generosity besides a violent power-drive. It is the picture of a sort of time of a primitive chieftain aggrandized to a colossal size, just the kind of conception one could expect of a more or less barbarian society- cum grano salis.

 

d) The myth of Cain and Abel (war between agricultural and shepherd peoples)

 

Here it is one the clearest examples of the mythological manipulation which has remained engraved in our psyche in spite of telling exactly the opposite of what had happened! As we have seen so far, there was, thousands of years ago, a historical conflict between matrifocal societies which were eminently agricultural-sedentary (although they had domesticated the current animal range but the horse) and the patriarchal societies eminently shepherd-nomadic (who lived in desert areas like the Russian steppes and the Arab desert, breeding the first large herds).

 

I think the amount of historical evidence shows quite clearly who cast the first stone: They were the shepherd patriarchal societies (Indo-Europeans: Kurgans, Afarsanevians, Yamna, Achaeans, Ionians, Eolians, Dorians, Hittites, Mittanians, Indo-Iranians, Aryans, Meds and Luwians; and the Semites:Akkadians, Assyrians, Hiksos and Hebrews) the ones that invaded and conquered the matriarchal agricultural societies (Europe, Canaan, Anatolia, Summer, Hindus Valley,...)

 

However, this chapter has been symbolically reflected in the bible inversely as how it happened. That is to say, in its pages it is stated that Cain (agricultural farmer) killed Abel (shepherd). The official version of the Genesis, which can be consider as the oldest official truth of History, was written by the winners (in this case the Semitic people who ruthlessly attacked Canaan).

 

Here it is the Bible’s version of the facts, which completely turns around what happened:

 

“According to the Bible, Adam and Eve conceived Cain after being exiled from Paradise by God (Yahweh), because they had disobeyed his command to not t eat from the Tree of Knowledge . After Cain they conceived Abel. Cain was devoted to agriculture, while his younger brother to herds. During those days was common tradition to thank Yahweh for the good produce of the earth and animals, so they presented their sacrifices to the Lord; to see them, Yahweh prefers Abel's sacrifice (of the firstborn of his flock) than Cain’s (the fruit of the earth), who went jealous and killed his brother, leaving, after this, for his crops. When questioned by Yahweh on the whereabouts of his brother, Cain replies, ' Am I my brother's keeper? '. Yahweh knew what had happened, punished Cain by condemning him to wander the land of Nod.” Wikipedia

 

But not only that, The New Testament makes a martyr of Abel and of his descendants (Semite shepherd peoples), an example of the most honourable human justice:

 

“The New Testament frequently mentions Abel as the archetype of just. He is canonized by Jesus in Mathew 23: 34,35 as the first to die in the name of justice, and his example serves as analogy and premonition of the death of Jesus. The forefathers of Church count him among their martyrs. In the Quran the pacifism of Abel, who refuses to resist to Cain’s violence, is the virtue that saves him: for the Muslims, he is the main example of humility and gentleness.” Wikipedia.

 

e) The Greek mythology:

 

It is not by chance that the Western Civilization takes Greece as example (all culture comes from Greece) and raises it to myth, for it represents the consolidation in Europe of a new age thathas reached till current times: The Patriarchal and Warrior Age. When our books talk about Greek democracy, it appears to be of secondary importance that a large part of its population was enslaved, or that women were totally subordinated to man, or that it had an imperial army which expanded war and conquest through wide territories.

 

Aristotle, likely the most venerated philosopher of old in western culture, to whom many of the pages of our school handbooks are dedicated, has left for our memory some beauties like these:

 

”Slavery is a necessary condition for the citizens to enjoy leisure time, without which knowledge and political life wouldn’t be possible.”

 

“In nature there are elements due to exert command and elements due to obey. Slaves have been born to be subordinate of free men, and women subordinate of men.”

 

“Within the human species there are individuals as inferior to others as the body is to the soul, or animals to men; they are men from who we can’t obtain anything better than the development of physical strength. These individuals are, by nature, destined to be slaves,because for them there is nothing better than obedience.”

 

To inculcate this new way of thinking in the Greek population must have been a difficult task, for it represents the antithesis of the worldview of the Old Europe. That’s why, besides the use of brute force, the new Indo European elite created a new mythology with the hybridazation of some elements of the old culture, and during the years they were extending and socializing them:

 

“In those remote times, the primitive Greeks mainly adored the Great Mother, the Mother Earth, called Gea. It wasn´t until the VIII BC that Homer made of Zeus the supreme father of an extensive Olympic family ruled by the canon of the patriarchal aristocracy. Almost at the same time as Homer, Hesiod created a theogony, this is, a history that narrates the origin of the patriarchal gods” Francisca Martín-Cano.

 

"Javier de Hoz, in the introduction to ‘The Iliad’ of Espasa Calpe, explains that this work was a publicity venture entrusted to him by the king of Mycenae to be recited in the agora. It tried to eradicate the memory of the pre-patriarchal human society still alive in the last millennium BC; a memory that remained by tales and songs passed on by oral tradition. The writing, the written literature, in the hads of the powerful, appears so to fix this turned around version of the history of the wars and conquest that annihilated the matrifocal society.” Casilda Rodrigáñez, `El asalto al Hades’.

 

“The Greek poems and narrations develop a theology that will deeply influence the later speculation, as they become works accepted by all Greeks, known and learnt from childhood, and which served to homogenize their believes.” Díez de Velasco.

 

In Robert Graves´ opinion, the main theme of the Greek myths is the way in which women changed from sacred beings into slaves, gradually, throughout history.

 

“Metis is the pre-Olympic goddess of wisdom. She was the first wife of Zeus, god of the heavens. He deceived her, making her very small and swallowing her while she was pregnant with Athena. Only after becoming an adult, Athena came out of her father´s head ignoring that she had a mother.” Itsaso Colina, ‘Atenea o la niña que perdió su ombligo’

 

“In Arnaiz y Alonso´s opinión, and base on his studies of the engravings on Neolithic grave stones(...) in the modern Basque language ‘Andrea’ means lady (woman); and in modern Greek means man. The coincidence between the Greeek and the Basque ‘andrea’ never caught my attention before, but after finding out the relationship between Basque and Minoan, the question is: has this something to do with what Marta Moia says about the classic Greek literature, where mother is systematically translate for father? […] Are they the transfers of symbolic meaning which accompany the construction of the patriarchal symbolic order, which unable to silence the voices of people, instead they change their meaning? Casilda Rodrigáñez, , "El asalto al Hades".

 

“Hercules is another mythical patriarchal representative of massive influence in western culture. His adventures begin with the punishments for the several murders he committed, punishments imposed to him after the judgement by the foreseers of the Delphi Oracle. This tells us who used to be the judges, showing the presence of the feminine power even at the beginning of the historical times, before the patriarchal revolution refused all rights to women. One of the punishments was, after being bought by the queen-goddess Omphale from Lydia, was to dress up an work as a woman for three years. Another time he was commanded to settle in Tyrins for twelve years as a slave, it was then that he was forced by Eurystheus, king of Mycenae, to carry out the twelve labours.

 

Whereas queen Omphale treated Hercules as a woman, Eurystheus made him ‘a man’ by means of tasks such as stealing, killing and devastating the regions where women where in power. Thus his feats already manifest the revolutionary patriarchal nature of the new warring activities.

 

The most of Hercules actions take place in Minor Asia, Argolis, Euboea and Akkad; where the feminine power was evident, women were queens and the goddess Hera, his perpetual enemy, was worshipped in many of these regions. […] His twelve labours correspond to the destruction of the areas that the myth considered inhabited by harmful female monsters and protected by female guardians […] of the sanctuaries were Hera or Artemis where worshipped. […] Later on, as a recompense for his ‘good actions’, the goddess Hera forgives him and he marries the daughter of goddess Hebe. This is the message sent to society! : Men that behave by the patriarchal norms and conquer other regions by means of killing, rape and robbery of their rightful owners, would find at the time of their death, instead of punishment, a recompense of abundant pleasures (this message deeply influenced society throughout thousands of years, inspiring adventurers to move into other regions, colonizing them! without any fear for the consequences).” Francisca Martín-Cano, ‘Evolución de la sociedad arcaica’.