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Paperback The Chalice and the Blade Book

ISBN: 0062502891

ISBN13: 9780062502896

The Chalice and the Blade

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Book Overview

First published in 1988, Riane Eisler's The Chalice and the Blade re-examines our societal cultural origins from a gender-holistic perspective, showing that the war of the sexes is neither divinely nor biologically ordained. The Chalice and the Blade presents evidence that for the longest span of our prehistory, cultures in particular regions of the world oriented towards what Eisler calls a partnership model, or gylany, to form a society in which...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Truer words have never been written!

Rise up Sisters and live by these brilliant words!!! Goddess forever!!!!

Riane's words needed more than ever in these dark times . .

I'd like respond to some recent reviews that suggest Riane Eisler's work is not based on fact and that it lacks plausibility. It is quite a sweeping dismissal of a scholarly and well researched ten year work, drawing from many disciplines, from a woman whose life has been dedicated to helping us understand the mess we are in: how we got here, how violence is perpetuated, and how we can get out of it. Riane Eisler presents us with a roadmap to peace; whether we have the wisdom to understand it and respond to it is something else. Until violence against children and women has been abated there will be no peace. Violence begets violence. Quoting from Adele Gettys "Goddess, Mother of Living Nature." "Since time immemorial our ancestors have left sacred images of the female form. From the caves of Lascaux in France to the Balkans in Eastern Europe the art and artifacts of the Paleolithic and Neolithic, which represent human's earliest myth-making impulses, indicated a deep reverence for life, and, in particular, for the Great Mother." 30,000 year old Stone Age nude figures are the first Western Goddess Representations. Twenty thousand years later, in the agricultural societies of the Neolithic (8,000----3,000 BCE) female images still predominated, indicating a remarkable, millennia-long cultural continuity. And, none were depicted with weapons. This is very important material, for to understand it means to reclaim our heritage. In the depths of my own profound spiritual journey twenty- five years ago, awakening to the loss of the Sacred Feminine, . . . living in isolation, creating constantly . . . Riane's book came into my hands. I was amazed and heartened to learn that humanity had such a history. Like many folks, I had never heard of the Goddess or our pre-history. Barbara Walker's "The Crone" also found it's way into my hands about that time. There is Merlin Stone's well researched book, "When God Was A Woman," which fleshes out even more this picture of a harmonious, egalitarian, spiritual and immensely creative life that spanned thousands of years, before patriarchy and "father god." The most convincing thing of all is that the religion and the temples of the Goddess, in her many names, are referred to again and again in the Bible. And, somewhere in the Koran it states, clearly with disgust, that some peoples engaged in the abomination of "worshiping women." The research of Riane Eisler, noted anthropologist Maria Gimbutus, and more recently James DeMeo, PhD (among many, many others) drawing upon global archaeological and anthropological evidence present substantial proof that our ancient ancestors were non-violent. In his book, "Saharasia: The 4,000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World" professor DeMeo writes, "These early peoples were peaceful, unarmored, and matrist (partnership model) in character. I have conclu

Excellent scholarly comprensive work....

Riane Eisler's CHALICE AND THE BLADE is one of those books that had to be written. In it, she asks "Did humans at some point in history create a culture that was far more civilized than the so-called civilizations moderns have been and are experiencing?" And, more importantly, can we do it again? Her answer is a resounding YES and YES and YES. To illuminate and support her thesis Eisler presents the reader with a comprehensive and thoroughly researched synopsis of some of the most salient and scholarly material on this subject published in the late 20th Century when Joseph Campbell was completing an academic career researching and writing about myths, James Mellaart had been excavating and writing about Catel Huyuk, and Elaine Pagels was beginning to rock the theological world with her research on the Gnostic gospels and the Nag Hammadi scrolls. Eisler's work was first published in 1987, when the right-wing lock on US society was only beginning to choke the great social movements that had been ignited in the preceding decades. These movements were initially viewed as somewhat antithetical to the 'Archie Bunker' school of thought and the mainstream academic views promulgated by conservative Western scholars (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic). Main steam scholars had long ago settled on an androcentric canon of beliefs and world view that saw males as superior to females, and promoted the manly enterprises of war and destruction of the natural environment. The scholars Eisler cites expressed different and non-canonical points of view. Eisler explores their works and the works of others as she examines the art, social mores, beliefs, and technology of the Neolithic Age.According to Eisler, the extant information supports the notion that humans once worshipped a Mother Goddess who was viewed as the source of life unlike the later Gods who were War Gods and all about death and dying.The followers of the Mother Goddess were probably centered in Eastern Europe and Western Asia, particularly Crete. Their cultures were destroyed by blade-wielding fiendish tribesmen whom Eisler names `Kurgans'. These Kurgans, were herders who entered the agrarian areas from the periphery and destroyed what they found. Eisler suggests the Kurgans and their militaristic namesakes have controlled the area as well as the rest of the world ever since, although brief periods of gylanic (female, Humanistic) resurgance occurred in periods demarcated by Christian love (agape), Renaissance Humanism and the 20th Century "New Age" movement.I found this book illuminating and provocative. It seems "He who lives by the sword (blade) dies by the sword" and the sooner we change that the better. Eisler seems to think we should spend more time looking for the grail (chalice of love) and I agree.

It's rare to be challenged this much by a book...

...and I have a deeper appreciation for a book that can. I honestly did not know what I was getting myself into when I picked this book up. As a male it was a difficult book to get through and I went into in a very open-minded "space" in my life. Thankfully, I made it through. To illustrate, I handed this book to a catholic, insisting that she read it, who ended up not being able to finish it and giving it back to me. What did I expect? The book is honest (brutally honest) in terms of the observations it makes on what the last 5000 years of male-dominated society.To compare, Eisler draws on the anthropology and scholarship of people like Gimburtas and Merlin Stone. To illustrate what a female-lead society could look like. It's not just a different form of domination, it's a paradigm shift. This book changed my viewpoint on many things including my sense of history, my views of relations between the sexes. But the most valuable thing I came away with was hope for tomorrow that wasn't over-shadowed by weapons of mass destruction of looming with visions of a planet that has been polluted and stripped of it's resources.

A New View of Human History and Evolution

This book is based upon the premise that our current society arose from a patriarchal, dominator system and prior to the advent of Christianity there were peaceful, agricultural societies that worshipped goddesses. From this premise the author hypothesizes that if we humans as a whole adopt the partnership characteristics of the ancient matriarchal societies, we will also become a peaceful, egalitarian society. The majority of the book explores the earliest civilizations and their worship of the Goddess and then the deliberate destruction of these civilizations by power-hungry men who utilized religion to control and manipulate people. This we all know to be a fact. Those events did take place. But what most us of don't know (and are learning now) is that many aspects of the Bible were derived from the Goddess religions. Consider the story of Adam and Eve: Eve is responsible for the downfall of man. Eve is symbolic of the Goddess, and the men who created the new religion reversed meanings of Goddess symbols to demonstrate their beliefs. For example, in Goddess religions the serpent was a regenerative life symbol but in the Christian Bible it is a symbol for Satan (Satan being representative of the Goddess). Taken in context of a patriarchal and dominator model, it is completely understandable why this particular group of men sought to destroy the Goddess religion: to obtain absolute power over all people. In light of this information I developed a better understanding of human history and a greater compassion for all humanity. Yes much of the information in this book will be a shock to those unfamiliar with the subject material, but from learning about the tragedies and mistakes of our past we can build ourselves a better future. For this very reason I highly recommend this book and all books that seek to enlighten the human race to its greatest potential.
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