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5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding the Eternal Feminine., 30 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering The Religion Of The Earth (Paperback)
This work begins with the three words 'In the beginning...' (p.2) and ends with the three words '..to the beginning'. (p. 431) and it has 52 chapters (representing the number of weeks and seasons in a year) divided into four groups, namely: 1) Women's Early Culture: Beginnings, 2) Women's Early Religion, 3) Women's Culture and Religion in Neolithic Times, and 4) Patriarchal Culture and Religion. Two women were engaged in its compilation: Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor and it was originally written around a quarter of a century ago.

Although there are a few occasions in this work when it might well be perceived that the authors are being somewhat unfair to men, this is hardly surprising when history teaches us that women have been grossly mistreated over the past three or four thousand years by men committed to male orientated religious beliefs. When attempting to 'set the record straight' it's often difficult to avoid 'going a little over the top' at times. Overall I found this work well balanced and a most enjoyable read.

There are two matters in which the authors may have got it wrong. One is in their contention that humans are the only animals that sometimes indulge in sexual relations just for pleasure and not always for procreation and the other is their assumption that oestrous has always followed a monthly cycle in women. We now know that bonobo chimps often indulge in sexual activity just for pleasure. We also know that women in some hunter-gatherer communities experience oestrous no more than once a year. Then again, whereas common chimp groups are always led by an alpha male, bonobo chimp groups are always led by an alpha female. Linking onto these now well known facts would have greatly enhanced the case for female-centric religion as made in this great work.

The monthly menstrual cycle seems to have developed after humans stopped moving around as hunter-gatherers and settled into farming communities when it became an advantage to have more children to help work the land and make important artefacts. Some great ape mothers (e.g. orang utans) retain a close relationship with a child until it is six or seven years old and will not breed again until it is fully able to take care of itself. These important facts are overlooked in this work.

One of the important facts this book does bring out is that women do not need to become like men in order to be great leaders, scientists, writers, artists etc. They simply have to be themselves and do it their way. The saddest fact of all is that there are still too many men on the one hand and too much religious dogma on the other that together are holding women back from realising their full potential in the context of being their true selves. All told, I love this book, not least because it evidences the conception of the universe as a vast, self-regenerating womb- that of the Great Mother herself. This book leads us into understanding how the eternal feminine is at the heart of all that was, is and ever will be. We came from the womb of the Great Mother and, when we die, we shall return into it.
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