Marija Gimbutas & The Great Goddess

Summary Recognising the importance of the female principle and how it was overwritten

Acknowledging the Female Principle

When Marija Gimbutas died in 1994 she was already considered by many to be one of the most influential and controversial archaeologists of this century. At a time when most scholars of ancient history confined themselves to recording and describing data, she dared to look for meaning. Her interpretations engage fundamental issues: Is war inevitable? Have men always dominated women? What are the true roots of Western culture?"

"Agricultural people's beliefs concerning sterility and fertility, the fragility of life and the constant threat of destruction, and the periodic need to renew the generative processes of nature are among the most enduring. They live on in the present... The Goddess-centered religion existed for a very long time... leaving an indelible imprint on the Western psyche."

Gimbutas' findings reveal an ancient widespread culture which flourished throughout Europe between 6500 and 3500 BCE, in the era historians call the Neolithic. This civilization was radically different from images of kings, warriors, and conquering gods that previously dominated our view of the past. "This was a long-lasting period of remarkable creativity and stability, an age free of strife. Their culture was a culture of art."

Her excavations and interpretations show, at the dawn of civilization, a society stretching across Europe from the Danube to the North Sea in which women had high status and power along with men. Egalitarian and peaceful, "Old Europe" existed for thousands of years without war. Hundreds of female figurines were found. Paintings, sculptures of birth-giving goddesses, pottery figures of bird headed deities and sacred serpents all honored the regenerative powers of nature.

"The Goddess in all her manifestations was a symbol of the unity of all life in Nature. Her power was in water and stone, in tomb and cave, in animals and birds, snakes and fish, hill, trees, and flowers."

"Archaeological materials are not mute. They speak their own language. And they need to be used for the great source they are to help unravel the spirituality of those of our ancestors who predate the Indo-Europeans by many thousands of years."

"The main theme of Goddess symbolism is the mystery of birth and death and the renewal of life, not only human but all life on earth and indeed in the whole cosmos."

If her theories are correct, then peace, reverence for the earth and the honoring of life are not only human capabilities, they are the very underpinnings of European civilization itself. (adapted from Bellini Productions)

Signs Out of Time

A documentary on archeologist Marija Gimbutas, who found that Europe’s origins lay in a cooperative, peaceful, neolitihic Goddess culture. Her theories challenge conventional archaeology, spirituality, theology, and religious studies, while inspiring artists, feminists, environmentalists and activists.

"Through an understanding of what the Goddess was, we can better understand nature and we can build our ideologies so that it will be easier for us to live. We have to be grateful for what we have, for all the beauty, and the Goddess is exactly that. Goddess is nature itself. So I think this should be returned to humanity. I don't think that Christianity will continue for a very long time, but it's just like patriarchy, it's not easy to get rid of. (laughter) But somehow, from the bottom up, it's coming." M Gimbutas interview

Recognising the demise of the Great Goddess in Neolithic Europe 6500 - 3500 BC?

The Black Virgin

Women as the source, the origin of life