A change is moving across the landscape of Mesopotamia and much of Eurasia. While the worshippers of the Great Mother go about their daily communal lives, nomadic tribes from other lands discover that by smelting an ore of copper and tin, they can create a strong, durable metal. The new metal can be fashioned into weapons of destruction and the discovery ushers in the Bronze Age. On the Eurasian steppes, the nomads learn to domesticate wild horses. Mounted on horseback and armed with sophisticated weapons, the nomads migrate into Mesopotamia from the northwest. The peace-loving, earth-worshipping villagers are no match for the warring newcomers. And like her people, the earth goddess, who peacefully reined over the timeless cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth, is supplanted. Like the nomads themselves, the interlopers’ gods are men, who exemplify the male qualities of power, domination and subjugation of the weak.
Initially, the nomads are not substantial enough in number to overwhelm the existing society, so they infiltrate from within. By marrying women in positions of power, they insinuate themselves gradually into society usurping power from the matriarchs and their goddess. The process of removing the earth from her place of reverence has begun.
In the first know written story The Epic of Gilgamesh, the king serves at the pleasure of the great Goddess Ishtar as her royal consort. But Gilgamesh, the chosen consort, refuses to fulfill his matrimonial obligations. In an act of defiance, Gilgamesh slaughters Ishtar’s sacred and beloved bull throwing its testicles and penis in her face and storming off to seek his own immortality.
Gilgamesh manages to save his own skin by fleeing, as the king or consort of the goddess is traditionally ritually sacrificed each autumn to commemorate the death of the earth as it enters into winter. In lieu of Gilgamesh, a sacrifice is still needed, so Enkidu, a half-wild youth, takes the place of the runaway king. In doing so, he absolves Gilgamesh of his responsibility and sin. Enkidu is the first known person in myth to die as an offering for the sins of another.
Mesopotamia, 1,200 B.C.E.
There was once a great goddess Tiamat. She was the supreme mother of all and her body was comprised of the saltwater of the great seas. Sometimes she formed herself into a great serpent and other times she took the form of a dragon. Her husband Apsu was the fresh water and together they created their son Mummu, who was the mist. The world was chaos and they ruled over it.
Over time, they created lesser gods, who come to resent the authority of the divine trinity. The lesser gods conspired and through a great trickery managed to kill Apsu and Mummu. The goddess was enraged and unleashed her wrath upon all the lesser gods. With her new husband Kingu, She ploted to destroy them.
But the lesser gods rally together and appoint a powerful leader Marduk. An epic battle between Tiamat and Marduk ensues in which Marduk emerges the victor. Marduk tears the body of Tiamat in half. From one half, he fashions the earth and from the other, he creates the heavens.
As Tiamat and Ishtar met their demise at the hands of their wrathful male counterparts, so did the women of the earth get relegated to a lesser class. The female values of wisdom, nurturance, compassion, intuition and fertility, once worshiped as the very essence of the divine, were demoted to insignificance cowering in the face of power, strength and brutality. Like the women who worshiped her, earth became nothing more than chattel, a resource to be exploited and used by the men and their gods who now ruled over her.
As the third millennium B.C.E. dawned, the lands stretching from modern Turkey to Egypt and the British isles once inhabited by a peaceful people who nurtured and worshipped the Earth, became lands of turmoil and war. Those with strength took what they could from those who could not protect themselves. Wherever the warring tribes took over, their gods took over too. In Egypt, a small group of twelve tribes that worshipped a jealous and wrathful god of war began to spread into the lands inhabited by the worshippers of the Great Mother.
You must demolish completely all the places where the nations whom you are about to dispossess served their gods, on the mountain heights, on the hills, and under every leafy tree. Break down their altars, smash their pillars, burn their sacred poles with fire, and hew down the idols of their gods, and blot out their name from their places (Deuteronomy 12:2-3).
Sanctioned by their God, the followers of Yahweh rape and pillage everything that stands in the way of their acquisition of new territory and the spreading of the doctrine of their God.
Jerusalem 30 C.E.
A man who preaches equality for all and unconditional love of one’s friends and enemies alike is barbarically crucified. After his death, the legend of Jesus is passed by word of mouth throughout the land and across much of the Eurasian continent. Stories are written about him. The legend grows, and as it grows it changes to suit the purposes of those who would seek to attain power. The pacifist of the early gospels is turned into a war monger by the time Revelation is written. In the name of a great man who exemplified tolerance and justice for all humans including women and slaves, some of Jesus’ contemporary followers seek to persecute those with alternative beliefs, lifestyles, genders and sexual preferences. Sadly, the enlightened message spread by a true prophet 2,000 years ago became distorted beyond recognition, and His father’s legacy of intolerance and destruction continues.
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