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The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future Paperback – 19 Jan 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thorsons; (Reissue) edition (19 Jan. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0722535953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0722535950
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,347,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Some books are like revelations, they open the spirit to unimaginable possibilities. Eisler proves that the dream of peace is not an impossible Utopia.’
Isabel Allende

‘Scholarly, passionate, essential reading.’
Fritjof Capra

‘Essential reading for anyone concerned with the future of humanity.’
Peter Russell

From the Back Cover

'The Chalice and the Blade' is a fascinating and powerful reconstruction of prehistory and history which offers new hope for the future.

Examining the past as a blueprint for the future, Riane Eisler develops a theory of cultural evolution which contains two models, the dominator model, symbolized by the blade, when half of society dominates the other, and the partnership model, symbolized by the life-giving chalice, when men and women are valued equally. Some 5000 years before the global shift to patriarchy took place a society existed which was based on the 'gender holistic' model. This study reveals that it was a time of great peace and contentment which has been obscured from world view, despite the fact that the goddess culture lasted for thousands of years.

Today humankind stands at a crossroads. The lethal power of the blade, manifesting itself in the break-up of the family, environmental damage and possible nuclear holocaust, threatens global annihilation. Yet this is not our only option. We can, by rediscovering the partnership ethic and spirit of co-operation that existed in our prehistory, change our ideas and transform our culture.

"Until I read books like Riane Eisler's 'The Chalice and the Blade', I had assumed that men ran churches because men run everything, given half a chance… Now I realize it goes a lot deeper than that: it is a matter of male mana threatened by female magic."
KATHERINE WHITEHORN, 'Observer'

"This notable work contributes… to the growth and survival of human understanding."
MARIJA GIMBUTAS, author of 'Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe'

"…both scholarly and passionate… essential reading"
FRITJOF CAPRA, physicist

"A fascinating and thorough historical account of how our culture lost its feminist values, and with its value of life, leading us to the evolutionary crossroads we now stand at… Essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of humanity."
PETER RUSSELL, author of 'The Awakening Earth' and 'A White Whole in Time'

"Some books are like revelations, they open the spirit to unimaginable possibilities. 'The Chalice and the Blade' is one of those magnificent key books… Riane Eisler proves that the dream of peace is not an impossible utopia… This book offers us the certainty that a better world is possible, if only we could remember."
ISABEL ALLENDE


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Preserved in a cave sanctuary for over twenty thousand years, a female figure speaks to us about the minds of our early Western ancestors. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By exotissima on 18 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
Riane Eisler is committed to partnership and opposed to domination/ violence/ patriarchy. I found myself shocked and angry about the violently aggressive and coldblooded way our peaceful, responsible and communal world was effectively hijacked by the reptilian mentality - and not just once but repeatedly over the last 6,000 years.

A scholarly and well researched ten year work, drawing from many disciplines, from a woman whose life has been dedicated to helping us understand the mess we are in: how we got here, how violence is perpetuated, and how we can get out of it. Some allege her research and arguments are flawed - as if this pioneering masterpiece should be perfect even though there were very few works, whether before or since, on which such perfection could be honed!

What has been emerging since this book was first published in 1988, is evidence of a systematic suppression of much of the clues about sophisticated cultures that existed all around the world for tens of thousands of years before we were all dominated and enslaved - yes, both women and men - by a warrior race that continues to rule even today, without an iota of compassion. This book celebrates the value of partnership, equality, collaboration, non-violence, and connectedness to nature. Eisler gives us some sense of the enormous power to heal that resides in the repressed feminine, emotional, lunar realms.

There is an excellent complementary book also worth reading: "The Fall" by Steve Taylor about the Patriarchal takeover in Neolithic times. However, I am compelled to point out that no author exhibits the masterly understanding of the imbalances created by the suppression of the feminine, the emotions, as Ceanne DeRohan and her "Right Use of Will" series of books...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Horton on 7 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before I read this, there were certain things I thought I 'knew' about humanity: that we are violent. that the strong will always dominate the weak. that men have always ruled over women.

Starting at the very dawn of human civilisation, using solid research, this book tells a very different story. It's a sad story of cruelty and repression and missed opportunities, but ultimately a positive one that teaches us we don't have to live like this, we are not slaves to a cruel nature. We just need to bring the partnership back into balance.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
Eisler's grasp of the underlying issues that plague societies is not only well researched, but resonated with my own view of the situation. Seldom have I felt so in tune with the views of another person's perception of society. Her classification of societies based on whether both sexes are actively engaged in decision making, or just the male domination model, will not suit all views, but it offers an excellent model for further research.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 15 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
Eisler presents a fresh answer to questions posed by many feminist writers in history and sociology. What has been the role of women in history and culture. How influential have women been in creating cultural norms? What role have women played in spiritual development, language capability, establishment of community and government? Eisler contends that a partnership of genders, formed in Neolithic times and carried through nascent Mediterranean civilizations, was usurped by male dominant invaders. To Eisler, The Chalice represents women's values of sharing and nurturing. The Blade, of course, is the symbol of war and male dominance through conquest, both of civilizations and of women. She concludes that while male domination has a long history, efforts are being made to overcome The Blade mythology and that The Chalice ideal can be restored and gender "partnership" can be reasserted. It's a captivating thesis, deserving further attention.
Eisler sees Neolithic society functioning in a spiritual Environment governed by The Goddess. Using this term as a universal, much in the way European historians use "God" in referring to any unnamed deity, she contends this spirit guided all early Mediterranean and European peoples. Feminine values held equal stature with [undefined] male values. It isn't clear whether men worshipped The Goddess or their own pantheon. She stresses that worship of The Goddess need not result in matriarchy. Eisler turns to Minoan Crete as the finest example of the "partnership" ideal. As archeologists uncovered the Minoan civilization, their astonishment at its grandeur grew. The discovery of unexpectedly high levels of technology without associated expansionist tendencies Eisler views as typifying what she later terms a "gylanic" society.
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