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

4.4 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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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.

From the Back Cover

This classic exploration of the Goddess through time and throughout the world draws on religious, cultural, and archaeological sources to recreate the Goddess religion that is humanity's heritage.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 2nd ed. edition (May 27, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062507915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062507914
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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...is 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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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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Format: Paperback
(Review will be updated/cleaned up as time permits, but for now ...)
Buy this book if you have any interest in the human condition. An earlier reviewer claims that the book contains angry feminist rhetoric. Well, perhaps the authour is justified in her anger. She certainly is a feminist. But who better to speak about the subjugation and degredation of patriarchy than a woman who has lived with/under both? How can any clear minded individual look around them at our world and not be angry, sick, and furious with what we've done to it?
Every time I open this book and read a passage, I have an instant "aha" experience. These are the things I have felt and believed, but never had words for. This book is for everyone, from the lifelong feminist to the freshman high school girl (and boy!).
Feminists are often accused of wanting to return us to some misty age of superstition. We are accused of being anti-science, anti-technology, anti-progress, anti-human, anti-male. Nothing could be further from the truth. I personally am a very pragmatic, skeptical, science minded person. I love technology and the future is what I am happiest dreaming about. I love change and progress. What I don't love is our social/spiritual systems that feed off of and exist to promote human and planetary genocide. Only those who are the most in denial can say that there isn't anything wrong. But back to the point, the authors of this work use science to make their point. The extensive bibliography is a real treasure trove. The authours don't just say, "we believe it, thus it is so." Instead they cite their references at great length...
Don't be disuaded by negative reviews. It's one of the best 20 some dollars I've spent in a very long time. This book will change your life.
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