reply to post by shamhat
You don't feature a picture in your posts, but what has always intrigued me about this site is the figurine of the god Bes that was found there. It
contradicts all known information about Bes by it's very presence in Turkey at that time. There seems a reluctance to acknowledge that the discovery
of these phallus gods is suggestive of a suppression, here and at other sites in Central Europe, at some point, of the male role in creation.
Again, according to Marjia Gimbutas (The Language of the Goddess
...Male figurines constitute only 2 to 3 percent of all Old European figurines and consequently any detailed reconstruction of their cult role is
Never-the-less there are many paintings of male figures, especially in pre-agricultural cave dwellings. "The natural rhythm of the male is a
phallic one of rise and fall...The myths would, therefore, quite naturally tell stories in which the male is the climactic, tragic figure of flourish
(William Irwin Thompson, 1981). So the fantastic depictions of animal masked and other shamanic figures in ritual scenes are
generally associated with the "God of Wild Nature" as "Master of Animals" and the dying and self renewing vegetation.
...it must be remembered that statistics of Neolithic sculptures are based on what was found within the houses, shrines, or temples, and the God of
Wild Nature must have been worshiped in the wild.
At Catal Huyuk, a white marble sculpture of a male god seated on a stool with hands on knees was found in the Bulture Shrine VLA25 (Melaart 1967:
pl. 84) - an obvious association with the aspect of death.
There is a transition here from the Hunter/Gatherer society to the Agricultural society, from a cult worship of 'Wild Nature' symbolized by the male
cycles of the rise and fall of the seasons, to the cult worship of fertility symbolized by the female cycle of reproduction, farming, and animal
According to Joseph Campbell, pre-agricultural society would have had pretty clear cut responsibilities for male and female. Man would hunt, woman
would gather. With the rise of agriculture, woman became responsible for nearly everything, leaving the men to stew in the ignominy of near
superflousness (especially since the male role in reproduction was not understood). Matriarchy and the Cult of the Goddess prevailed over the world of
Civilization. It is during this period that figurines, at least of the quality that would survive to today, were 'invented'. Little wonder that the
Venus statues predominate.
By the way, Campbell mentioned Catal Huyuk in the preface to the 1969 edition of The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology
and stressed its
importance, quoting Melaart:
"we can actually study the transition from an aceramic Neolithic with baskets and wooden vessels to a ceramic neolithic with the first
pottery." Along with this pottery, furthermore, which is the earliest yet discovered anywhere, there have also come to light the earliest known
neolithic figurines, in association with some forty or more symbolically ornamented chapels - revealing, in superb display, practically all the basic
motifs of the great mother-goddess mytholoties of later ages. And these earliest known neolithic figurines are of an easy, natural, lifelike grace,
not the least "archaic," primitive, or stilted.
Eventually, of course, men formed secret societies and warrior castes, and the pendulum swung to Patriarchy. This seems to have happened pretty much
all at once all over the world. In some societies, this often times violent reversal was accompanied by claims of female perfidy being put to rights.
Campbell suggests that the story of Adam and Eve may be one such 'propaganda' piece to justify the male actions.
What I see here is the formation of an idea, not just the beginnings of the 'battle of the sexes', but of light versus dark, of 'good'
(civilization) versus evil (wild nature), even of God(dess) versus Satan (the horned shaman figures of the pre-agricultural deep cave cults. Perhaps
the enclosed city of Catal Huyuk demonstrates this opposition with the wall being the physical representation of the separation of 'civilization'
from 'wild nature'.