History Religion Spirituality

The Language of the Goddess: Unearthing the Hidden Symbols of Western Civilization

The Language of the Goddess:
Unearthing the Hidden Symbols
of Western Civilization
Marija GimbutasHarperCollins1989

The Goddess is the most potent and persistent feature in the archaeological records of the ancient world. She was a symbol of the unity of life in nature, and the personification of all that was sacred and mysterious on Earth.

Here, in this pioneering and provocative volume, Marija Gimbutas resurrects the world of Goddess-worshipping, earth-centred cultures, bringing ancient matriarchal society vividly to life. She interweaves comparative mythology, early historical sources, linguistics, ethnography and folklore to demonstrate conclusively that Goddess-worship is at the root of Western civilization. Illustrated with nearly 2000 symbolic artifacts – sculptures, figurines, temple models, frescos, vases, sacrificial containers – Gimbutas’ magnum opus is at once a ‘pictorial script’ of the prehistoric Goddess religion and an authoritative work that takes these ancient cultures from the realm of speculation into that of documented fact.

Read the introduction of The Language of The Goddess here.

Table of Contents

I. Life-Giving
… Chevron and V as bird goddess symbols
… Zig-zag and M sign
… Meander and waterbirds
… Breasts of the bird goddess
… Streams
… Eyes of the goddess
… Open mouth/beak of the goddess
… Giver of crafts: associations with spinning, weaving, metallurgy, and musical instruments
… The ram, animal of the bird goddess
… Net motif
… Tri-line and power of three
… Vulva and birth
… Deer and bear as Primeval mothers
… Snake

II. The Renewing and Eternal Earth
… Earth mother
… Power of twos
… Male gods and daimones

III. Death and Regeneration
… Symbols of death
… Egg
… Columns of life
… Regenerative vulva: triangle, hourglass and bird’s claws
… Ship of renewal
… Frog, hedgehog, and fish
… Bull, bee, and butterfly

IV. Energy and Unfolding
… Spiral, Lunar cycle, snake coil, hook and axe
… Opposed spirals, whirls, comb, brush, and animal whirls
… Hands and feet of the goddess
… Standing stones and circles

… The place and function of the goddess
… Continuity and transformation of the goddess in the Indo-European and Christian eras
… The world view of the culture of the goddess
… Glossary of symbols
… Types of goddesses and gods
… Summary of functions and images of the Neolithic Great Goddess
… Chronologies
… Maps