Excerpts from the book Age of the Mothers and Matriarchy, The Untold Story of Western Civilization, Volume 1
by Chuck and Tom Paprocki. Copyright 2018 InnerWorld Publications.
Long before human beings learned to express their thoughts in writing, women governed society. The warring states of men did not yet exist. The matriarchy period stretched from the dawn of our species in Africa, around 2.5 million years ago to the time the first Aryan patriarchal tribes came crashing out of the Caucasus Mountains and descended onto the fertile planes of the Indus Valley, as recently as ten thousand years ago. For hundreds of years, the books and papers of historians and other academics, and the scriptures and dogmas, written by the priests of patriarchal religions, have long ignored or denied the existence of the matriarchy, which obfuscates the contribution of women to human evolution. They could not believe, or perhaps refused to believe, that women ever governed human society. Who could possibly think that women ever stood superior to men!
Yet, the simple truth is that as long as we remain blinded by the myth of male superiority and female inferiority, we will not be able to create a better world for our children and grandchildren. It will not be an easy task to change the world because the myth of uninterrupted male superiority is now so deeply encoded in the subconscious programming of modern society. The myth has made us mentally ill, and like most mentally ill people, we live in a state of constant denial concerning the seriousness of our illness.
The Time of the Matriarchy
Scientists place the origins of our genus (homo) about 2.5 million years ago and the origin of our species (sapiens) about two hundred thousand years ago.4 the oldest discovered human skulls found in Africa are dated about one hundred and sixty thousand years ago.5 around fifty thousand years ago, we were already modern human beings having language, tools, trade and science and pursuing other cultural developments.6 Written history, by contrast, only began about five thousand years ago.
It was the females of our species, in their role as mothers, who ushered us out of animality and into humanity. Therefore, we can say that the matriarchy, however primitive, originated about 2.5 million years ago. This corresponds roughly to the beginning of the Paleolithic Age, when humans first started using stone artifacts, and roughly covers ninety-five percent7 of human prehistory. For this reason, the Paleolithic Age is also called the Stone Age.
We can estimate that the golden age of matriarchy began in earnest toward the end of the Mid-Paleolithic Age and the onset of the Upper Pleistocene Age about fifty thousand years ago and lasted to about ten thousand years ago with the dawn of patriarchy.
During the transition of the human clan out of the hominid primal horde, it was the women, in their role as mothers, who established the rules regarding human relationship. Their authority developed naturally out of the mother’s role as caregiver. During the primate and hominid stages of development, the mothers, in cooperation with each other, protected the young and developed communication methods (eye signals, vocal sounds, body postures, etc.) to teach them the skills necessary to survive in the group. Except for the alpha male, who had sexual access to females, adult males were peripheral to the group structure. This behavior on the part of mothers existed around 2.5 million years ago and continued to exist up until the beginning of patriarchy some ten thousand years ago.
The existence of matriarchy is now well-established, regardless of the great investment that male-dominated organizations have made historically to deny its existence,
During the golden age of matriarchy, women moved freely as warriors, traders, ambassadors, and priestesses. In their role as priestesses, they evolved the knowledge of the natural cycles, including the lunar and solar calendars. They attributed control of these cycles to the Great Goddess, who changed her form according to the seasons. In the spring She was the Virgin, in the summer and fall, the Mother, in the late fall and winter, the Crone. The concept of the Great Goddess evolved from the need to understand the annual agricultural cycle of life and death and the need to ensure that the fertility of the land was sufficient to feed the people each year. During this period of mother-rule, human beings developed their first great agricultural civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley. The people believed that great civilizations existed by virtue of the grace and bounty of the Great Goddess.
During the matriarchy, all religious rituals centered on the mystery of life and death. Just as the crops were born each spring, the mothers had the ability to bring life to existence out of their own bodies. The knowledge related to this mysterious act made them magical. With the development of religion, based upon the giving of life, they became more than women or mothers. They had become goddesses. As goddesses, they could control what happened on this earth.
The Moon and the Mystery of Motherhood
Since the dawn of human consciousness, the central mystery for women had been the act of creating human life within themselves. The fact that a woman could produce another life out of her own body has always been central to the worldview of women. Solving the mystery of how this happens and how all life happens was the central preoccupation of the matriarchy.
By exploring the cause of human birth, initially women all over the world came to believe that pregnancy resulted from a particular union of a woman’s blood with a spirit. No one at the time had any idea men’s sperm had a role in the creation of a child. Primitive people found themselves surrounded by life forms that they believed had similar intelligence to them and were capable of anything. Every rock, plant, tree, animal, etc. had a spirit or life force within it, and these spirits could be benevolent or malevolent at any moment. In fact, Julian Jaynes, the author of The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, informs us that even the voices of women and men heard in their minds were not attributed to themselves but to outside spirits. The voice of the spirit in one’s mind could be from an animal or plant, a dead ancestor, or eventually a goddess or god. It did not matter. Spirits could take any form they chose.
Women came to correlate their own wombs with the caves of Mother Earth. They believed that the mystery of life on earth could be understood, and even controlled by understanding the mystery of these caves. They believed that the processes activated within the womb of Mother Earth caused life to be born on the surface. Not only the birth of life, but also the activities of life were determined in the caves of Mother earth. If the women could solve the secret of the caves, they could also control life on the surface. With such thoughts, the women develop rituals, which they called magic, to gain control of the secrets of Mother Earth. Herein lies the meaning of cave art. It was not men who created cave art; it was the women who created it in their attempt to understand and control the activities of life. The ability to have a successful hunt or to have successful relationships with other clans, with the life forms that fed them or wished them evil, with the Goddess, or with each other were influences by the mothers’ pictures on the walls of caves.
To the ancient matriarchs, the caves held the deepest mysteries. Throughout the entire known world, early goddess worship took place in caves.
This article contains excerpts from the book Age of the Mothers and Matriarchy, The Untold Story of Western Civilization, Volume 1 by Chuck and Tom Paprocki. Copyright 2018 InnerWorld Publications. Available through Amazon.