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Crete is the Cradle of a Tradition of Peace – Half One by Laura Shannon


These are tough days. We awaken each day to the continuing horror of mindless killing. My coronary heart is stuffed with a craving for peace. Now could be the time to dream of peace, to decide on peace, to follow peace – inside our selves, with these we love, in our communities and in our world.

However what would possibly a peaceable world appear like? It may be arduous to even think about – not solely as a result of we reside in a world stuffed with warfare, however as a result of we have now been taught to imagine, as Carol Christ explains, that “patriarchy and with it warfare and domination are common and inevitable…” Nevertheless, she goes on, “it is a delusion perpetrated by those that don’t wish to hand over the ability and privilege the patriarchal system has accorded to them.” Warfare shouldn’t be inevitable. Peace is feasible.

Proof for a peaceable world comes from pre-patriarchal Bronze Age Crete, which flourished from ca. 3000-1100 BCE. Generally often known as ‘Minoan’, this outstanding civilisation displayed extraordinary sophistication in structure, craftsmanship, social organisation, and widespread commerce, with no proof of kings, armies, violence, slavery, or warfare. The artwork and archaeology of the early Cretans reveal enjoyment of nature, reverence for timber and the Goddess, and the significance of music, dance, and ritual. 

‘Camp-stool Fresco’, Knossos. Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Wikimedia Commons.

Folks gathered at ceremonial centres, made choices at cave and mountain shrines, and worshipped the Goddess in sacred timber and stones

Sources have been shared, and everybody had a lot to eat. Girls held non secular and secular energy, with no proof of gender oppression. Based on Marija Gimbutas, Riane Eisler, Carol P Christ, Joan Cichon and others, Bronze Age Crete was the final surviving egalitarian matriarchy of Previous Europe: in Marija Gimbutas’ definition, a “matrilineal, partnership society by which girls are honored however don’t subjugate males.”

Minoan tradition completely embodied the ‘world of magnificence for magnificence’s sake’ which Carolyn Lee Boyd describes in a current publish:

‘Think about a world the place magnificence is revered only for bringing pleasure and pleasure; the place buildings abound in sleek, naturalistic, energetic renderings of animals and crops; the place the human physique is magnificent artwork; the place on a regular basis objects for all are ornamented with complicated, sleek imagery. Think about a world the place “magnificence” is … a revelation of life’s pleasure created by all, an expression of enjoyment within the Earth, and a bridge to the worlds inside us….’ 

Historic Crete was that lovely, peaceable world. It survived a thousand years after Indo-European incursions in the remainder of the Balkans and Close to East had imposed a patriarchal tradition based mostly on hierarchy, inequity, male gods, gender oppression, violence, and warfare. The Indo-European ‘new order’ finally reached Crete too, with the ingress of the Myceneans, however the transition was far much less brutal than somewhere else. The big coastal ceremonial centres fell into disuse, most probably on account of earthquakes, and the folks retreated inland, however they weren’t worn out. Important values and core symbols of this society of peace reside on within the extraordinary tradition of generosity, hospitality, wild nature, and love of life.

Because of this, greater than 30 years in the past, Carol Christ initiated her Pilgrimage to the Goddess: to supply girls a deeper understanding of historical Cretan tradition as a option to have interaction within the inside and outer work of making a tradition of peace. On the Goddess Pilgrimage  – which I’m persevering with in Carol’s title, as she requested me to do – we find out about a historic tradition notable for the absence of warfare, and on the identical time, we get to expertise the presence of peace

On common visits to the island because the Nineties, I’ve witnessed how the center of peace of historical Crete has been preserved, mainly in girls’s arts and traditions. Regardless of the patriarchal overlay of the final 3,000 years, key facets of the unique, peaceable, sustainable, Bronze Age worldview have survived as a dwelling lineage, stored secure and handed on from historical occasions to the current day. This hidden message may be discerned in a wide range of methods.

 Feminine dancers from Palaikastro, Crete, ca. 1350-1300 BCE

The primary place we are able to observe this – and, for me, most important – is the dance circle. Archaeological finds present proof of circle dance, for example on this group of terracotta figures depicting girls dancers and a feminine musician. At this time, conventional dance and music proceed to flourish as an important a part of folks’s lives in an unbroken line from Neolithic and Bronze Age civilisations of Previous Europe.

Within the dance circle, my very own analysis exhibits, the pre-patriarchal values of historical Goddess tradition come alive. Communal circle dance provides ‘an embodied expertise of neighborhood, equality, mutual help, shared management, respect for the mom and the feminine precept, reverence for nature and the cycles of life, and a way of accountability to nurture life and guarantee a sustainable future. As archaeologist Marija Gimbutas has proven, all of those qualities are related to the unique Previous European civilizations which honoured the Goddess (7000-4000 BCE).’ (Laura Shannon, ‘Girls’s Ritual Dances and the 9 Touchstones of Goddess Spirituality‘) 

Half Two of this text will discover methods by which Previous European values survive at present in Cretan girls’s dances, traditions, and folks arts, together with pottery, textiles, baskets, and bread. All of those artwork kinds function containers or cradles which carry and nurture the seeds of peace from the depths of time to the current day. We will study from them easy methods to plant and have a tendency these seeds of peace. in our personal lives and in our world.

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