THE TRANSCENDENCE OF the Western monotheistic Heavenly-God-Father Archetype over the universal Mother Earth Archetype was a clash of archetypes in history and it is a clash of archetypes which continues to this day.[i] This clash brought forth a new Anthropocentric Landscape.
It also brought forth a new concept of man (made in the image of the God-Father) and a new development in man’s psyche with his separation from the Mother Earth and the ascendance of the Ego and Hero components of the personality.
The clash between the transcendent God-Father and Mother Earth is seen in the anguish of indigenous peoples, in the subjugation of women and the exploitation of nature
It is evidenced in the conflicted psyches of individuals and in the historical warring of religious fundamentalist cultures and factions dominated by the archetype of a monotheistic God-Father who is exclusivist, jealous and warlike and who bestows his favours on ‘the chosen’.
NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE when men started to challenge the power of the Goddess and set about a long history of subjugation of women, desecration of temples, and destruction of those animals that had been sacred to her. The recorded appearance of god-worshipping males – variously called Indo-Europeans, Indo-Aryans, and Aryans – in the Middle East some 6,000 years ago suggests older beginnings since they are said to have come from north of the Caucasus.[ii]
Lithuanian-American archaeologist, Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) suggests that it was the Indo-European incursion of warlike nomadic tribes, worshippers of the masculine sky gods, that replaced the matracentric cultures of Old Europe with an “autocratic warrior” society. They claimed for themselves the virtues of “civilization”. However prior to their conquest there had been a “civilization of the goddess” marked by peace and high art and under the spell of the original version of Gaia.[iii] The clash of archetypes is illustrated in epic myths, for example, Marduk, the great male deity, who ousts Ti’ amat from power and tears her body to shreds in order to construct a new world of warlords and patriarchal masters more to his liking:
“In the Book of Genesis (first millenium BC), a document that codifies in writing many strands of older oral traditions, the intent to suppress the Great Mother (Ishtar, Inanna, Ti’amat etc.) is very clear. Some practices of her cult are openly condemned as they clash with the monotheistic, male tradition of the Hebrews. Mostly they are omitted. An earlier version of the Genesis creation myth attributes a spirit of rebellion to the first woman, Lilith. In the later version, which we all know, Lilith is replaced by Eve (Gen. 1:26)… born of Adam’s rib and made submissive to him in another (Gen. 2:23) … (Thus) … Genesis presents the view that God created everything and gave it to man to dominate. The degrees of his domination range from benevolent stewardship, to conquest (Gen.1:28) and outright oppression.”[iv]
[i] What we are to talk about is not the multi-God archetypal concepts of the ‘Wisdom Stream’ Gnostics, mystics or heretics. For them God was a supra-gender, androgynous, universal pantheistic force to be explored and revealed within the psyche. Nor are we talking of the God Father archetypal concepts of the polytheistic pagans, primal peoples or early matriarchal religions. For them the Sky God Father is just one in a pantheon of equally powerful Gods. What we are talking about is the exclusivist Heavenly God-Father Archetype of the monotheistic, great Western orthodox religions of Judaism, Old Testament fundamentalist Christianity and Islam.
[ii] Andree Collard and Joyce Contrucci, Rape of the Wild – Man’s Violence Against Animals and the Earth (Indiana University Press, 1989), 15.
[iii] Theodore Roszak, The Voice of the Earth (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 236.
[iv] Collard and Contrucci (1992) Rape of the Wild, 16-17. Cf. Gen.1:28 which “presents the view that God created everything and gave it to man to dominate. The degrees of his domination range from benevolent stewardship, to conquest … and outright oppression”. (p.17).