ROBERT W. BROCKWAYTHE ROOTS OF NEW AGE
at Carnac on that French peninsula, thus founding a great religious complex. French converts to the Aegean mother goddess carried the mother-goddess faith across the Channel to Britain, and to Cornwall, especially where tin mines had been in operation since antiquity. The mother-goddess faith spread through Britain and Ireland, and, indeed, as far north as the Orkney Islands, where there are also stone complexesIt was also introduced to the peoples of what are now Holland and Belgium, and reached as far north as Denmark.
The mother goddess was identified by circle engravings with two dots for eyes; also, at sites such as New Grange in Ireland, for spiral complexes representative of the womb. The dead were buried in long barrows, mounds with tombs at one side, such as Hetty Pegler’s Tump. In the latter, twenty-three skeletons were found in stone-faced chambers. The heart-shaped design at the entrance of this and other tombs was thought to be a mother goddess symbol, standing for return to the bosom of Mother Earth.
The mother goddess religion was thought to be benevolent, emphasizing nurturance, and was served by priestesses. Because of it, men and women were equal in Aegean society, and those who became converts to the mother-goddess religion elsewhere also held men and women to be of equal worth and standing. Sometimes, enthusiasts for these feminist interpretations went a little further and emphasized the importance of the Amazon legend and the implication that women were superior in these cultures. This was stressed by the Lithuanian archaeologist Marija Gimbutas in her studies of what she calls Old Europe: the Balkans including Greece, southern Italy, and Sicily, a region in which mother-goddess religions flourished during the Bronze Age.
Bibby asserted that the discovery of iron destroyed the old mother-goddess Aegean civilization. Iron is plentiful almost everywhere, and has great advantages over bronze. This led to a narrowing of horizons and a languishing of the trade routes. He also argues that Baltic peoples, for instance, learned to copy Aegean implements and flooded the market so that there was a depression which began in 1400 B.C.E. and continued until the rise of classical Greece around 800 B .C. E.
During the 1960s, Joseph Campbell (who taught at Sarah Lawrence, a womens’ college near New York), Gimbutas, and others propounded a theory that the mother-goddess religion had flourished until the Semites came sweeping in from the desert and the Aryans descended from the steppes. These peoples, it was said, worshipped masculine deities: the Greek Olympian gods and their equivalents in other Indo-European cultures. They were warlike and aggressive, and subjugated and destroyed the peaceful mother-goddess city states such as Mohenjo Daro and Harappa in what is now Pakistan, and conquered the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, the Aegeans, and also the peoples of Atlantic Europe.
In Britain, for example, the warlike invaders were the Beaker People, of Iberian origin, but who became proto-Aryan converts to the worship of the masculine sky god in Germany. From there they migrated to Britain, conquered