ancient Crete and the goddess

Crete left us with a unique vision of life as a celebration of being alive and an image of death at the same, so that life and death are experienced as one sacred whole. It is as though life were lived on the intake of a breath of wonder an delight, where, as in childhood and moments of epiphany, nature and the divine ground of being are one. Can it be a coincidence that for thousands of years the people of Crete lived in harmony with the rhythms of nature experienced as a great goddess and also lived in peace? The myth of the goddess reached its culmination here before its gradual decline in the Bronze Age cultures of the Near East and then its nearly total extinction in the Iron Age. For Crete was the direct inheritor of the Neolithic vision, which had persisted relatively undisturbed upon the earth for many millennia, and with the ending of Minoan and Mycenaean civilization a unique insight is lost into how human consciousness might have continued to evolve. Within the island it seems clear that human nature was not war-like. In other parts of the world, on the other hand, attack and defence were becoming the norm. Nomadic tribes, who worshipped tribal gods of storm, wind, thunder and volcanic fire, fought their way into other peoples’ lands with no feeling for the subtle harmonies of agricultural life and the religious rituals they destroyed. Now the god and his divine representative on earth, the warrior-kind, begin to take the centre of the stage. It is no wonder that, many centuries later, Classical Greece looked back to Crete as to a lost Golden Age and found there the inspiration of its goddesses and gods.”

Chapter 3: Crete: the goddess of Life, Death and Regeneration

Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, The myth of the goddess. Evolution of an image, Viking: Londen, 1991

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