Marija Gimbutas

I går skrev jag om sökandet efter Helfolket på Bjäre. Inlägget delade jag i facebook-gruppen Historiska romanförfattares gille där författaren Elisabeth Östnäs tipsade om Marija Gimbutas.

När jag googlade Marija hittade jag en intervju från hösten 1993.

Vem var Marija Gimbutas?

Marija Gimbutas föddes i Vilnius, Litauen, 1921. Som arkeolog sökte hon efter ett urfolk före de patriarkala religionerna.

I intervjun berättar hon att hennes arbete präglades av uppväxten i Litauen där fortfarande hälften av befolkningen var ”pagan”. ”

”When you say pagans, you mean people living in the countryside, close to nature?”

”Yes, well Lithuania was Christianized only in the fourteenth century and even then it didn’t mean much because it was done by missionaries who didn’t understand the language, and the countryside remained pagan for at least two or three centuries. And then came the Jesuits who started to convert people in the sixteenth century. 

In some areas, up to the nineteenth and twentieth century, there were still beliefs alive in Goddesses and all kinds of beings. So in my childhood I was exposed to many things which were almost prehistoric, I would say. And when I studied archaeology, it was easier for me to grasp what these sculptures mean than for an archaeologist born in New York, who doesn’t know anything about the countryside life in Europe.(laughter)

Så för att summera – en bit in på 1900-talet fanns naturreligionen närvarande i Litauen. För några år sedan besökte jag Litauen tillsammans med Cykelhandlaren. Det är ett stolt folk som på fredlig väg bröts sig loss från Sovjetunionen.

En sammanfattning av Marija Gimbutas teorier

”These proto-Indo-European people came from South Russia to Europe, introduced the Indo-European culture and then European culture was hybridized. It was the old culture mixed with the new elements – the Steppe, pastoral, patriarchal elements. So already at that time, thirty years ago, I sensed that, in Europe there was something else before the Indo-Europeans. But I still didn’t do anything about the Goddess, about sculptures, or art, or painted pottery. I just knew that it existed but I didn’t really have the chance to dive into the field.”

Marija Gimbutas tillbringade flera år med utgrävningar i Italien, Grekland och forna Jugoslavien. Så småningom sammanfattade hon forskningen i boken Goddesses and Gods in Old Europe.

Skillnader mellan gudinnedyrkan och de patriarkala religionerna

”The symbolic systems are very different. All this reflects the social structure. The Indo-European social structure is patriarchal, patrilineal and the psyche is warrior. Every God is also a warrior. The three main Indo-European Gods are the God of the Shining Sky, the God of the Underworld and the Thunder God. The female goddesses are just brides, wives or maidens without any power, without any creativity. They’re just there, they’re beauties, they’re Venuses, like the dawn or sun maiden. 

So the system from what existed in the matristic culture before the Indo-Europeans in Europe is totally different. I call it matristic, not matriarchal, because matriarchal always arouses ideas of dominance and is compared with the patriarchy. But it was a balanced society, it was not that women were really so powerful that they usurped everything that was masculine. 

Men were in their rightful position, they were doing their own work, they had their duties and they also had their own power. This is reflected in their symbols where you find not only goddesses but also, Gods. The Goddesses were creatrixes, they are creating from themselves. As far back as 35,000 B.C, from symbols and sculptures, we can see that the parts of the female body were creative parts: breasts, belly and buttocks. It was a different view from ours – it had nothing to do with pornography. 

The vulva, for instance, is one of the earliest symbols engraved, and it is symbolically related to growth, to the seed. Sometimes next to it is a branch or plant motif, or within the vulva is something like a seed or a plant. And that sort of symbol is very long-lasting, it continues for 20,000 years at least. Even now the vulva is a symbol in some countries, which offers a security of creativity, of continuity and fertility.

Hur såg vardagen ut för gudinnedyrkarna?

”Religion played an enormous role and the temple was sort of a focus of life. The most beautiful artifacts were produced for the temple. They were very grateful for what they had. They had to thank the Goddess always, give to her, appreciate her. The high priestess and queen were one and the same person and there was a sort of a hierarchy of priestesses.”

Kvinnans status

”Women were equal beings, that is very clear, and perhaps more honored because they had more influence in the religious life. The temple was run by women.”

Hur var samhället organiserat?

”My findings suggest that the political life – of course, it’s all hypothesis, you cannot reconstruct easily, but we can judge from what remains in later times and what still exists in mythology, because this again reflects the social structure – was structured by the avuncular system. The rulers of the country; the queen which is also the high priestess and also her brother or uncle. The system is therefore called avuncular, which is from the word, uncle. The man, the brother or uncle, was very important in society, and probably men and women were quite equal. In mythology we encounter the sister-brother couples of female goddesses and male gods. 

It is wrong to say that this is just a woman’s culture, that there was just a Goddess and there were no Gods. In art the male is less represented, that’s true, but that the male Gods existed, there’s no question. In all mythologies, for instance in Europe, Germanic or Celtic or Baltic, you will find the earth mother or earth Goddess and her male companion or counterpart next to her. 

Also there are other couples like the Goddess of Nature, Regenerator, who appears in the Spring and gives life to all earth animals and humans and plants. She is Artemis in Greek mythology. She is called Mistress of Animals, and there are also male counterparts of the same kind called Master of Animals. His representations appear in Catal Huyuk in the 7th Millenium B.C. and they are there throughout prehistory, so we shouldn’t neglect that aspect. There is a balance between the sexes throughout, in religion and in life. 

Kan man säga något om de patriarkala religionernas erövring?

”It was violent, but how much they defended themselves is difficult to tell. But they were losers. There was evidence of immigration and escape from these violent happenings and a lot of confusion, a lot of shifts of population. People started to flee to places like islands and forests and hilly areas. In the settlements you have evidence of murder.”

Vad kan vi lära av historien?

”Well, it’s time to be more peaceful, to calm down, (laughter) and this philosophy is pacifying somehow, bringing us to some harmony with nature where we can learn to value things. And knowing that there were cultures which existed for a long time without wars is important, because most twentieth-century people think that wars were always there. 

There are books still stressing this fact and suggesting such crazy ideas that agriculture and war started at the same time. They say that when villages started to grow, the property had to be defended, but that is nonsense! There was property, but it was communal property. Actually, it was a sort of communism in the best sense of the word. It could not exist in the twentieth-century. And also they believed that in death you are equal. I like this idea very much. You don’t have to be queen or a king once your bones are collected and mixed together with other bones.” (laughter)

Läs hela intervjun med Marija Gimbutas här

Från wikipedia har jag hämtat följande citat:

Termen Gamla Europa betecknar en förindoeuropeisk kultur i Europa, en kultur som var matriarkal och troligtvis matrilineär, agrar och bofast, egalitär och fredlig. Den stod i bjärt kontrast till den efterkommande, patriarkala, stratifierade, pastorala, mobila och krigsorienterade proto-indoeuropeiska kultur som mellan 4500 och 2500 f.Kr. i tre infiltrationsvågor från de ryska stäpperna svepte in över hela Europa, förutom de mest sydliga och västliga kanterna. Under och efter denna period ersattes de kvinnliga gudomarna, eller mer precist Gudinnan Creatix i alla henns aspekter, av indoeuropéernas huvudsakligen manliga gudar. Det som uppstod efter ca 2500 f.Kr. var en blandning av två mytiska system, det gammaleuropeiska och det indoeuropeiska.
– Gimbutas 1989, s. 9 (sv. övers. Arvidsson 2000, s. 299)

Fler inlägg om gudinnedyrkan

Moder Jord innan de patriarkala religionerna