I didn’t really set out to report on every nuance of my spare time reading here on the blog so please know that I will try to contain myself and not fill every post from here on out with extrapolations of my reading interests.
With that said, this current book by Merlin Stone “When God Was A Woman” is pretty darn fascinating to me but I realize not everyone takes the same viewpoint. Will this little inclusion be an enticement to read further:
Is she not the most gorgeous thing in the world? Of course I’m biased but my God-I am amazed each and every time I look at her. At four months she already has eyelashes longer than mine, longer than mine ever were for that matter. She is sitting up, almost rolling over completely on her own, laughing out loud and so clearly enthralled with learning something new each day.
So if you hang around for the entirety of this post I just might throw another picture in at the end. Pretend that you don’t know that it’s possible to just skip to the end okay.
Briefly (and I will try to be brief I promise), a little more on those northern invaders from my last post.
1. Depending on who these tribesmen happened to be invading they were called by varied names: Indo-European (which is a sort of collective generalization for anyone from the north), Indo-Iranians, Indo-Arayans, and just plain old Arayans. The common characteristics to keep in mind is that they were warriors, fiercely aggressive, patriarchal and not only seated Kings to royal reign but worshiped male deities.
2. These invaders didn’t just show up one day but over a period of thousands of years progressively moved farther into the Near and Middle East, slowly assimilating conquered cultures and pressing their own beliefs.
3. Stone brings into focus the arrival into India of the Indo-Arayan people who were as she puts it “the original Goddess-worshiping people.” Invaders to India brought no written records but adopted Sanskrit and thus illustrate detailed records of their movement into this region in the well know books of Hinduism, the Vedas.*
*Here I do have to mention that I know very little of this writing other than a brief introduction in a general religion class. The Vedas however compromise sruti texts, meaning what is heard, passed down or directly revealed as knowledge. This differs from other Hindu texts known as smrti, meaning what is remembered. Even though I have been indoctrinated into the forbidden use of Wikipedia as a reliable source I am adding a link here if you want some basic information on the Vedas.
4. Indo-Arayans seemed surprised at the highly civilized culture they were attempting to conquer and also didn’t much care for their favor of the Goddess. It appears that this odd dichotomy of both awe and disfavor allowed for their interpretation and documentation in the Rg Veda of a system that in a nutshell set up an ancestral system of the male godlike figure, probably embodied as a derivative of Indra or the Supreme god (think Zeus again).
5. Race culture and caste system. The real point of all this pre-writing has arrived. Indo-Europeans in general valued light above darkness. Light was good, dark was bad. As the Indo-Arayans became stronger within ancient Indian culture and Hinduism took hold it was the lighter skinned, priestly Indo-Arayan Brahmins who epitomized power and status. It would appear that the caste system was born and research shows laws forbidding mixing the two distinct cultures.
That was a very condensed version and while this information is certainly not new, mostly because I am referencing an older text, it does however still reinforce the origins of many social systems still in place today. Those sorts of things make me excited, and happy, and pique my interest not only in where we are today as a society but spur on that desire to understand more about how we got here and how come we are so incredibly screwed up.
Thanks for hanging in through my attempts to enlighten myself. Your reward follows.