The Power of the Masculine –The Risen Phallus
Rosaline Miles, in her wonderful book, The Women’s History of the World, stated that, “the rise of the phallus precipitated the fall of woman.” The real exile from Eden started around 3000 BC, when Iron age, male-dominated, nomadic, warriors invaded and subjugated the people of peace-loving goddess-cultures. In the original “Shock and Awe” campaign the balance of power was wrested from the feminine. Male warriors became the rulers, ousted the temple Priestesses and coalesced their power by placing male ‘High Priests in positions of authority.
The overthrow of 25,000 years of peaceful matriarchal rule was not accomplished easily. The most insidious tool was the subversion of the basic tenants of Goddess worship. The perversion of the Iron Age Divine Feminine was gradual but sure. The Great Mother once loved but not possessed, became a celestial wife.
With the “Sacrament” of marriage the Goddess dowered her divine consorts with control over her wealth of natural abundance. It is probable that this new mythology was developed as either a justification for the conquerors usurpation of the rights and privileges, or to reflect the reality of the societal loss of women’s civil liberties and property ownership rights.
The result was the same. Patriarchal kings and princes claimed for their private and exclusive use communal property previously passed to the clan through matrilineal lines. In the face of raw aggression, the Goddess progressively lost Her capacity to inspire the respect and reverence once due Her as the Source and Bearer of Life. Earth Mother, once the body and soul of all living things, was relegated to a possession — wife, mother and household servant. Women who lived outside of those constraints were considered whores…the most notorious of which was Mary Magdalene.
The old Goddess precept of respectful stewardship of the land’s resources gave way to the concept of imminent domain, and the ultimate exploitation of all resources to the individual benefit of the King of a tribal region. Ownership and possessions drove kings and princes to build great, fortified temples and palaces. The exclusivity of wealth was jealously protected while exploitation of the weakest of the society was the norm. With Kingship came slavery. Formerly free, women of property were walled behind harems and later convents. Virginity once a gift became the possession of a woman’s master.
“Where are You, then, Mother, whose strength was before
All other powers? Your name is the only freedom.”
— Ramprasad Sen, Grace and Mercy in Her Wild Hair;
18th Century Bengal
Excerpted with permission:
Goddess of Wonder, Goddess of Light, by Leslie C. Botha and H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik, 2004 Pleiades Publishing, ISBN 0-9716968-1-0