The Chalice and the Blade
by Riane Eisler

Goddess Worship in the Neolithic

Neolithic Archeological Evidence Neolithic Art Nature in Neolithic Art “For here the supreme power governing the universe is a divine Mother who gives her people life, provides them with material and spiritual nurturance, and who even in death can be counted on to take her children back into her cosmic womb."

Goddess Worship

Female Deified The Feminine Chalice The Great Change

"But then came the great change--a change so great, indeed that nothing else in all we know of human cultural evolution is comparable in magnitude”


Indo-European Conquests Indo-European conquerers were called:

Old Europeans


“The Kurgan system was composed of patrilineal, socially stratified, herding units which lived in small villages or seasonal settlements while grazing their animals over vast areas.”

Contrasting Ideologies

Weapons Hebrews

"There were other nomadic invaders as well.   The most famous of these are a Semitic people we call the Hebrews, who came from the deserts of the south and invaded Canaan.”

Early Semites

Jehovah was a war God Social system: Domination

Indo-Europeans and Hebrews imposed a social system in which male dominance, male violence, and a generally hierarchic and authoritarian social structure was the norm.

Technologies of Destruction

The Masculine Blade Women Reduced to Concubines The New Norm: Male dominance

“Gradually male dominance, warfare, and the enslavement of women and of gentler, more "effeminate" men became the norm"

The Story of Civilization

"The story of civilization, of the development of more advanced social and material technologies, now becomes the familiar bloody span from Sumer to ourselves: the story of violence and domination”

Foundation of Civilization

Foundation of civilization already developed by Goddess worshiping people in Neolithic:

Civilization Invented by Women? Inconceivable!

“ Such a hypothesis is just about inconceivable under the prevailing paradigm.”

A Different self-image

"But in societies that conceptualized the supreme power in the universe as a Goddess, revered as the wise and just source of all our material and spiritual gifts, women would tend to internalize a very different self-image.”

Goddess a powerful role model for women

Replacing a partnership social organization

"In order to replace a partnership social organization with one based on force-backed domination, fundamental changes in replicative information had to be made.”

Imprinting a new code
“...a new code would have to be imprinted in the mind of every single man, woman, and child until their ideas of reality had been completely transformed to fit the requirements of a dominator society".

Shows of Force

Will of God?

"Undoubtedly many of these men believed that what they did was also the will of their gods and felt divinely inspired.

Changing Norms

Chalice Replaced by Blade

"It had to be established that the old powers that ruled the universe--as symbolized by the life-giving Chalice--had been replaced by newer and more powerful deities in whose hands the Blade was now supreme”

Goddess Pulled Down
 “And to this end one thing above all had to be accomplished:  not only her earthly representative--woman--but the Goddess herself had to be pulled down from her exalted place.”

Justifications of Male Dominance

Goddess became consort or warrior

 “Another common device was to reduce the Goddess to the subordinate status of consort (wife) of a more powerful male god.  Still another was to transform her into a martial deity."


Goddess Absent in Hebrew Bible

In Cannan:  "...the invasions of the thirteen Hebrew tribes not only accelerated, but also radicalized, this process of social and ideological transformation.  For only in the Bible is the Goddess as a divine power entirely absent…”

New Male Social Order

“If we read the Bible as normative social literature, the absence of the Goddess is the single most important statement about the kind of social order that the men who over many centuries wrote and rewrote this religious document strove to establish and uphold”

Wrongs inflicted by Men
“For symbolically the absence of the Goddess from the officially sanctioned Holy Scriptures was the absence of a divine power to protect women and avenge the wrongs inflicted upon them by men".

Women in Old Testament

Numbers 31

“In Numbers 31, for example, we read of what happened after the fall of Midian.  Having slain all the adult males, the ancient Hebrew invaders 'took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones'…” “ And now they were told by Moses that this was the command of the Lord: 'Kill every male among the little ones and every woman who hath known man by lying with him, but all the women children that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves'... for these could be sold for concubines, slaves, and even wives".

We are still Imprisoned in a Dominator System

"Millions of people still today seem incapable of perceiving what our sacred literature really says, and how it functions to maintain the boundaries that keep us imprisoned in a dominator system".

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