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The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth Paperback – May 27, 1987

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The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth + When God Was a Woman + The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 2 edition (May 27, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062507915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062507914
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA This long-awaited reference book is an important addition for students studying women's ancient history and the roots of religion. Sjoo and Mor describe the great spiral of cultural movement that began ``in the beginning . . .with a very female sea,'' and continued into Neolithic times. They show how our brains have been emptied of women's cultural history, and then they begin to piece together, detail by detail, that history. This does not lend itself to cover-to-cover reading, but it is a worthy book to discover while researching the roots of religion and/or the history of women as creators of culture. Readers will get a varied taste of world symbols, obscure myths, dazzling images, and formidable goddesses which will allow them to see connections that they might otherwise miss in current culture. The black-and-white illustrations include sketches, photographs, and reproductions of Goddess sites worldwide and ancient artifacts and culture. While libraries with women's studies' collections and schools in which students study cultural history will need this book, it is also an engaging book to browse through, and belongs on the shelves of any library.Lucia Bettler, formerly of Waltrip High School, Houston Independent School District
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Monica Sjöö is well known in Europe as the foremost artist and theoretician of the reemerging Goddess religion. Forty-four of her own works illustrate this volume.

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Customer Reviews

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I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this subject matter.
Mary Alice Carey
Yes, in this book much theory is presented as fact, but this actually so in all works of scholarship.
As Alice Walker said of this great work: "It is one of the most important books I have ever read."
Michael Shiner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

277 of 284 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm a 36 year old male who has (intellectually and spiritually) inhabited just about every "headspace" one can imagine -- from New Age kook to cynical academic. I know bad scholarship when I read it, I know opinion stated as fact, and I know the red flags of junk science, because I've experienced this stuff from both sides of the intellectual divide, both as believer/consumer and critic.
Are there unsubstantiated claims and questionable conclusions in "Cosmic Mother"? Yes. There are also many opinions stated as fact. This problem is endemic in social science writing -- it's called THEORY, and if you object to the way these women researched and wrote this book (competently, for the most part), you'd better not look at your college sociology, psychology, or anthropology texts too closely. "Truth" in the social sciences depends on where you start the clock and who's telling the story.
You do NOT have to be slavishly devoted to the notion of prehistoric matriarchies to gain insight and knowledge from this important book. To me, more than anything else, "Cosmic Mother" is a critical examination and radical deconstruction of patriarchal religion and the devastating effects it has had on humanity and the natural world, as well as a precious and rare source of validation for 'smart" neopagans and earth/mother/goddess worshipers of all stripes.
I originally bought "Cosmic Mother" because I realized that I experience the presence of god/dess almost solely in nature. So-called "holy" books and churches do nothing for me except make me wonder at the stupidity of man -- the night sky is my catherdral. I thought this book would help me understand why this is so, why the ocean, the forests, the mountains, the moon, the seasons heal my soul. I wasn't disappointed.
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105 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Cathleen M. Walker VINE VOICE on January 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase to return to the beginning. This book is the most important and powerful book I have ever read. It is important to read the book through and understand what is being said before bashing the author as a man-hater, as some have done. There is *such* a difference between bashing men and naming the injustices of the roots of patriarchal religion. For instance, it is men who are dying in the name of a patriarchal God (anti-terrorist and anti-infidel) as I write this. It is boys as well as girls who are starved, beaten and abused within a patriarchal system as children, entirely dependent on women who have all the responsibility for their unpaid labor, and none of the power to make things right.
I loved the way the authors articulated the importance of the unpaid work women do, and how much our entire global economy depends on it.
This work is not only historical, it is current, prescient, and brilliant. It is crucial to our time, and should be mandated reading for everyone. If only we could make that happen!
"Because the enemy does not exist in space, but in time; four thousand years ago. We are about to destroy each other and the world, because of profound mistakes made in Bronze Age patriarchal ontology -- mistakes about the nature of being, about the nature of human being in the world."
Touching on *quantum physics*, the authors create a spiral of hope that defies the statement that we are calling for a *return* to a time that no longer exists, but to a time that cannot be destroyed because it is organic and essential to the survival of this planet and the people She embraces.
I loved the author's use of words, too, she does not limit her vocabulary or "talk down" to her readers, but she does not talk over their heads either.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By mortebella on August 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Perhaps it is true that not every conclusion the authors draw and present in this book is identified as such, as a part of a theory, but the book is serious scholarship in the main, and such distinctions are generally unnecessary for close readers. One must keep in mind that all "facts" from prehistory and the field of archeology have been interpreted by their presenters; there is no such thing here as objective truth in the hard science sense. All archeologists/anthropologists "pass their theories off as fact," ie they make the claim that their theory is the one that should be accepted as true, and, if their scholarship is good, they present compelling evidence to support their claims. Why assume that traditional (male-created) theories are more "factual," have a greater "truth" quotient, just because Sjoo and Mor sometimes express their opinions along with their research? Every male anthropologist has done the same. Read traditional anthropology with the same scrutiny and you will find at least as much extrapolation going on with the actual evidence as Mor and Sjoo do; it just fits a dominant paradigm better, and therefore has a resonance that makes it easier to accept as "truth." Sjoo and Mor have as much right to advance their theory as correct as anyone else who has done the same amount of research; they have the same right to draw what they see as logical conclusions from their research as others have had to draw from their own, and also expound as true. Bear in mind that all that is going on with this kind of "truth" is whether it is accepted or not by the majority of the academic world, and men still have the distinct advantage there. Is something truer because you can find more people to agree with you that it is true?Read more ›
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