Links of the site are right at the bottom of the page)
The 36 pages in this Sacred Feminine & Sacred Masculine
section are below.
The Woman's Encyclopedia
of Myths & Secrets
Since this book has come up in a
number of threads I thought I'd start a thread on it. I
placed it here because the author (Barbara G. Walker) is very
feminist and not recognized by scholarly sources as a legitimate
source or researcher. Yet her slant upon things is always from
that of a once great mother religion that existed.
I admit it was the recent references
to this book that had me go and look into both the book itself
and the credentials of the author. Yet what I find is another
author who has a number of works on religious concepts and tries
to state where scholars have mis-translated things or mis-identifed
them yet has no scholarly background in the subject material.
Her conclusions are supported and praised by those who equally
have no background in said material and often seem to fall into
the "New Age" category in praising her works. However,
her works are torn apart and praised in the highest negative
light of the pseudo histories that were spun by feminist and
new age writers of the past 20 or 30 years.
Now I don't stress that a person
have the applicable degree's and concentrations and fields of
study to make them an authority in a given area. Yet I must
admit I am highly suspect when a person presents something as
fact and holds no sort of education or degree in the field they
are claiming to represent. Yet for Barbara G. Walker that is
the result of what I can find on her.
Academic arguments presented from
assumption with no verifiable facts or artifacts to support
it. Conclusions based upon wishful desire and agenda vice anything
that seems supportable in a scholarly argument. No recognition
or peer review of any of her supposed historical type writings,
I can't speak to the knitting books she wrote prior to becoming
a feminist / new age writer. In some ways she is seen as being
equatable to Silver Ravenwolf or D. J. Conway in her loose assumptions
and conclusions of things, poor scholarly research and heavy
hand in pseudo histories.
I tried to find any academic endorsements
or reviews of her material and all I can find are reviews and
praise from none scholarly sources. In trying to find any sort
of credentials to back up her claims I again came up empty.
Not a single peer review of her works was to be found nor even
At this point in time I must admit
I am highly suspect of her arguments, conclusions and presentation
of supporting material and its authenticity which gives me considerable
pause as to the usefulness of her writings. From a biographical
sense she simply seems to be another author who made claims
and created a fantasy landscape of pseudo history and conclusions
and choose only those items that seemed to support her positions
of some ancient goddess universal mother cult.
Now I admit I am more inclined to
go and accept scholarly works than channeled or non-scholarly
But I also wish to be fair so would
like to hear others opinions and why for this book and author.
I premise this
post by stating I do not know the author or the book so cannot
comment, except with respect to some stuff Cinn has put up here
in the various threads...
With a very strong
interest in history I have found that "establishment"
figures on the subject, particularly with respect to "allied"
fields such as art, belief etc., tend to follow one another
on an overall basis: there may be controversial voices within
the "establishment", but if that establishment is
challenged from outside they will close ranks and demonize anyone
outside their clique who share a view they do not share. The
most obvious example being when the Da Vinci code came out:
I saw one very eminent British historian totally deny notions
of the entrance of Gothic Cathedrals of North-West Europe being
related to the feminine, when the whole concept of the buildings
was to be reborn: one entered the building, received the Light
and were reborn on leaving. I'll leave it to your imagination
if you haven't read the Da Vinci code as to what that controversy
was about: though Dan Brown did himself no favors by poor research
meaning he didnt really explaining what the significance
My guess is that
the Encyclopedia is simply a compilation and meant to be a quick
reference work that brings together a great deal of information:
and that if one wished to look deeper into the subject matter,
one could do so: in that respect the compilation would be a
starting point and quick reference guide that could inspire
One thing I would
question from what I have seen of the book is the lack of appreciation
of Greek history when discussing the "Greek" gods.
Whilst references to more distant lands is made in some of the
pantheon, like many other reference material on the subject,
they speak as if Greece had an ancient history when twice in
"Greek" history southern Greece particularly was laid
to waste: once by the Indo-European Hittites coming into Anatolia
and annexing Greece around 2000bc and then again in what the
Establishment call the Dorien Invasion around 1200bc: a period
when the Bronze Age culture collapsed in the Eastern Mediterranean
as a result of the wasting of the region, a wasting that even
mighty Egypt barely survived, by the Sea Peoples: it wasnt
until Rameses III repelled them that the threat to Egypt at
that time subsided. The Establishment are still hunting around
trying to consider who thh Sea Peoples were despite the obvious
similarities between the wasting of the Hittites lands and the
Levant and the wasting of Greece at that time and despite the
fact that a pretty big clue was left by Rameses at his funery
temple at Medinet Habu in Thebes which gives a pictorial depiction
of the strange boats the Sea Peoples used: a depiction that
matches pretty much exactly the peoples of central Europe who
were known to use the Danube as a means of transport and the
Danube has it's delta on the western Black Sea Coast: to the
south of which is Anatolia. So the Sea Peoples are either seen
as Anatolian or Dorian (the latter being from the area we know
as Albania and the former Czechoslovakia i.e. the Balkans).
But to speak of the Anatolians is in error also as Anatolia
at the time of the Hittite settlement in the north was, like
many other areas of Europe prior to the settlement of the Indo-Europeans,
an area of abundant, often warring, different non Indo-European
tribes who, after the diaspora created by the Hittite settlement,
were flung far and wide. Similarly with Greece in this period.
The Sea Peoples do not appear to have been interested in settlement,
at least not until they reached the Fertile Crescent areas of
the Levant: most notably Canaan and their unsuccessful attempts
to invade Egypt. By the time the Sea Peoples came along 800
years after the Hittites entered Anatolia (via current day Bulgaria)
the Hittites were reduced to being a small state in only the
east of Anatolia with a slim slither of a land to the west giving
them a route to the Aegean. They were being pummeled in the
east by the Assyrians, who were themselves in constant battle
with their eastern neighbors: the might of Babylon (whom they
overcame) and to the west by the various tribes of western Anatolia
who, my guess would be at that time, were a mixture of non-Indo-European
and Indo European tribes but with the former being the majority.
The smash, grab
and burn tactics of the Sea Peoples only stopped when they had
overcome the majority of the eastern Mediterranean states and
secured a safe land-passage route for their people through the
former Hittite lands past Pheonicia (now Lebannon: which remarkably
they left alone) and into Canaan.
disappeared from history in the 200 years after the Sea Peoples,
their lands being pretty much taken over by the Mitanni and
the Assyrians. The "Greeks" fared little better and
it wasnt until the period scholars call the Archaic (from
about 800 BC) that Athens began to show up in the records again
and it wasnt until the reforms of Solon in the early 6th
Century BC that Athens began to flourish as a city-State in
its own right: having, before either the Dorians or more likely
the Sea Peoples wiped out the Myceneans, been a vassal of Mycenae.
Much of what we think we know about Athens comes from the Greek
Classical period (from about the early 5th Century) period and
insistence by the Greeks of that period that they had constantly
resided there: when history tells us, particularly after the
wasting by the Sea Peoples of the eastern Mediterranean, that
is highly unlikely.
Why do the Establishment
historians not see the obvious? My guess is inward looking specialization:
too narrow a viewpoint not allowing anything outside the sphere
they have studied in-depth: each collectively clinging to their
specialist area of study and so as a whole maintaining the status
quo: it is only when undeniable archeological evidence comes
forward that they are prepared to look at their work. We may
think we know a great deal about Anatolia or Greece, but in
actual fact there has been very little archeological study in
either area and so much of what we do know we glean from writers
like Plato: or from historians writing in Platos time
or well into the AD era. Despite the fact the Hittites had written
language, borrowed from the Assyrians and Phoenicians, we still
date much of the archeology of Anatolia or Greece prior to the
Classical Greek period comparatively with reference to Egyptian
pharaohs: and its no secret that there is debate as the
accuracy of the Egyptian Kings lists.
One thing I have
noticed in the threads about the Greek goddesses: Athena is
discussed as being of Libyan descent: and the only peoples of
the Eastern Med the Sea Peoples were known to be in confederacy
within the time of the sackings was the Libyans: this is mentioned
in relation to some of the battles with Egypt and its vassal
city-state Ugarit (just to the south of the reduced Hittite
empire on the Levant coast of modern Turkey). though there were
appear to be associations some of the tributes of north-western
Anatolia i.e. the Lukka who are called the Land Sea Peoples
as they did settle.
And the Central
European peoples using the Danube as a means of transport at
the time of the Sea People's wars with Rameses III where the
Celts. I have seen websites supposedly purporting strong linguistic
associations between the Philistines and the Celts: but linguistics
is one subject I would leave to experts and not one I would
trust to a website and that link isnt one I have followed.
of writers like the author of the compilation being discussed
here, those writers largely follow the Establishment histories:
so any errors they make are from those Establishment histories.
I cant help feel that if you wish to search for the origins
of the Greek pantheon, you'd could do worse than look north
into the area the Hittites are thought to have come from i.e.
modern day Ukraine or south into Assyria/Babylon. I cant
remember now if it was the first (mythical) king of the Athenians
or the Mycenae who had the head and top half of his torso of
a man but the bottom half of his torso downwards as a fish:
but that to me is speaking of the first Fisher Kings of Assyria/Mesopotamia/Babylonia
which culture the Royal Scyths of modern Ukraine (later?) adopted.
In one text on the Book of Jubilees (attributed to Enoch) I
read recently the sons of Noah shared land along the banks of
the River Don, which is in Modern Day Ukraine: but again I haven't
had chance to check that text yet.
is accepted history until it is challenged. The internet age
is challenging the Establishment assumptions and showing that,
at the very least, there are flaws in the Establishment assumptions.
Another problem is that people are often totally unaware of
either the Accepted history, the geography of the areas being
discussed and their place in that Accepted History, let alone
its potential flaws, and so, as happens in Chinese Whispers,
the errors are multiplied.
Is that the fault
of the authors of such compilations? I would say not: they are
simply trying to bring together a compilation of many varying
things according to Accepted Histories. If one was asserting
a truth about a particular subject within those compilations
without looking deeper than the Accepted Histories, or writing
a text on that particular area, then yes, I would agree, the
author was at fault: but I dont think that is the purpose
of the text youre are discussing.
I do however
think that our perception of Truth in history will change in
the coming years and that we will make strides in correcting
the Accepted Histories.
Thank you both. Heading into the
city so will need to return to this thread when I return later
MSLD, like DH, I don't
know Barbara G. Walker personally, but I am going to try to
speak to her credit and I hope you take that as a neutral stance
on my part. I'm certainly not a scholar with full historical
knowledge about everything she's presenting. However, with the
extent of research this body of work called for the woman had
clearly done her homework. She has all the quotes and footnotes
to indicate that and points the reader to sources of more detailed
Speaking from the basis of my own
experience as an author I know how thorough the publishers were
back when this work was compiled. This encyclopedia came out
in 1983 by Harper and Rowe, I would venture being the major
publishing house they were, that they were scrutinizing this
with their editors. It's an encyclopedia of over 1100 pages,
that's extensive and if she wasn't scholarly about these things
when she started my guess would be that she had become so by
the time she finished.
Whether everything she's written
is 100% historically accurate or not, it serves as a great resource
guide with directives on where to continue one's own research.
Her entries are by no means the history of a given goddess/god/topical
subject, but they are a presentation of the overall belief structure.
At that point the reader can find more information following
her footnotes and the 13 page bibliography she included....Thirteen
pages of authors that are considered authorities, historians,
or scholars of some sort: Agrippa, Bacon, Campbell, Eliade,
Frazer, Graves, Hughes, Huxley, Jung, Mead, and there are pages
of others the reader can turn to expanding their own research.
I guess it depends on who's opinion
we're basing our view of the author on. In my eyes any book
written is but a door to more research and further insights
if it speaks to us. Books open doors and the author's bias (if
there is one) will show. Yes, clearly she favors the pagan perspectives
on things but I find nothing wrong with that. There's a wealth
of insight from various other traditions too, and it is feminine
in nature. I don't recommend it be used as a bible but as a
synopsis of the various lore she eludes to in her definitions
while bringing in different cultural views. I think she was
trying to be fair with the inclusions she's made.
Not everything written has to be
a scholarly work, but even if it is, rarely is that going to
be 100% accurate. It's fairly well known that the histories
of various cultures were colored by those telling of them....political,
religious and personal bias did the painting. Our own history
books we grew up with in school are now being laid open and
corrected with the misinformation and omissions they taught
us as fact...histories that no longer hold true. So I guess
for me it is what it is. I have to trust what feels right and
explore what piques my interest further. An encyclopedia can
only offer a scant overview of things and I don't recall her
professing herself to be more than the one who did the compilations.
I feel it only fair to give her work credit. She has put basic
information together that I've not been able to find all in
one place anywhere. It's an encyclopedia, an overview of beliefs
and myths from a woman's perspective for women. At least that's
how I've always seen it.
I can't defend her position or speak
for her beyond that, nor do I refute your perspectives, my friend.
In fact I appreciate you sharing them and presenting another
side, so please know I mean no insult to your views. But I have
personally found the book to be valuable and so I will continue
to share from it from time to time. I don't see where this book/author
are to be so lightly dismissed. She's brought together information
that I've seen in countless other places too. Her feminist ways
are her own, but that moved her to write for women and therefore
she does favor the Great Mother. It is a book on Women's' myths
and secrets to begin with. That was her intent, to bring the
Great Mother forward in all her guises.
CinnamonMoon wrote: Like
DH, I don't know Barbara G. Walker personally, but I am going
to try to speak to her credit and I hope you take that as a
neutral stance on my part. I'm certainly not a scholar with
full historical knowledge about everything she's presenting.
However, with the extent of research this body of work called
for the woman had clearly done her homework. She has all the
quotes and footnotes to indicate that and points the reader
to sources of more detailed information.
can't defend her position or speak for her beyond that, nor
do I refute your perspectives, my friend. In fact I appreciate
you sharing them and presenting another side, so please know
I mean no insult to your views.
Cinn, To be truthful I would expect
nothing less from you and would never malign you or your character
in even considering it as an insult. Between yourself and DragonHawk
I have two opinions from people I trust and know will speak
truthfully from their perspective and I value their judgement.
Knowing my own mind and narrow scope of margin was why I asked
for others opinions and their whys to give me alternative points
to consider. I figure when one looks into a mirror all they
will ever see is their own perspective and opinions, yet if
they can have someone else look into it with them and comment
then you become like Alice through the looking glass and the
possibilities become endless in the perspectives that can be
shared and explored from the same observation.
Very good points MSLD, thank
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