bebek rewel

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Duck is from Earth

The Great Goddess

Guru sejarah bebek pernah bilang, peradaban manusia dimulai dengan sistem matriarkat bukan patriarkat. (Heran. Kok gak ketemu kata matriarki dan partriarki di KBBI ya? Apa karena kamus bebek edisi tahun jebot?) 

Selama ini bebek tidak menemukan penjelasan yang cukup memuaskan mengenai proses perubahan  sistem tersebut sampai bebek membaca buku yang berjudul “The No-Nonsense Guide to World History” oleh Chris Brazier (Bacaan ringan yang sangat amat menghibur bagi para penggemar sejarah).

Agak aneh memang untuk membayangkan kalau suatu saat di zaman baheula, wanita pernah menduduki peringkat yang mungkin lebih baik daripada zaman sekarang. Mereka berperan sebagai Tuhan, pemimpin agama dan mempunyai peran yang cukup setara dengan rekan pejantannya.

In the beginning God was a woman. For at least 25000 years people worshipped the Mother of All Things. The Father God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam has been revered for only a tenth of that time.

The worship of the Great Goddess emerged out of woman’s clear link with nature: the way she produced blood in perfect rhythm with the with cycles of the moon. Even more magical and vital was her production of children, since people did not understand men’s part in this miraculous process – some Aboriginal peoples, for instance, believed that spirit children dwelt in pools and trees and entered woman at random when they wished to be born. So it seemed natural to believe that one great mother had brought the world into being. Thus the Babylonian goddess Ishtar was herself the cosmic uterus, while in Roman mythology Gaia, the Mother Earth, emerged from primal vagina, the abyss of all-feeling and all-knowing.

But this Great Goddess oversaw death as well as birth. And she could demand sacrifice in return for co-operation. Often this was a sexual sacrifice, since the Goddess had a voracious sexual appetite – the fruitfulness of crops and animals was only ever a by-product of the Goddess’s own sexual activity and enjoyment. So in many cultures a beautiful young man was sacrified to her each year – ‘king’ was originally an honorary title given to this man. The Assyrian goddess Anaitis was honored each year by the most beautiful boy, who would be painted and clothed in red and gold and spend a last day and night having sex with her priestesses in full public view. He would then be covered with a cloth of gold and set on fire.

This did not always mean that women held power on earth – there was no age of matriarchy as a mirror image of the later patriarchy – though examples of women power bound. Queen Sammurammat of Assyria, for instance, ruled the country for 42 years and led military campaigns as far as India, calling herself the Goddess. In ancient Egypt dynastic power passed through the woman even when the Pharaoh was male.

Eventually, though, the Great Goddess was dethroned by male Gods. This took place over hundreds, even thousands, of years at a different pace in each culture. The starting-point was usually men’s discovery of their role in birth. But the change was also linked with social factors. For thousands of years women were responsible for growing food through horticulture.

But about 6000 BC an upsurge in population caused a shift to more intensive agriculture, which saw Nature as having to be tamed. Men took on this role, plowing and sowing the passive fields in the same way as they saw themselves acting to women (hence the word ‘husbandry’). And the more military become the organization of urban society, the more men with their greater physical strength gained the upper hand.

But whatever the reason, the phallus now become the focus of worship, the sacred source of all that lived. Phallic pillars proliferated in Greece, and in India Shiva achieved dominance over the other two main gods just by the size of his organ – for thousands of years the priest of Shiva came out naked ringing a bell to call women to kiss his holy genitals.

So the Goddess was deposed. This revolution is represented in most mythologies, which begin with a Great Mother Creator but then see her son or lover gaining more and more power until eventually he rules alone. In the simplest mythological version, that of the Semitic Babylonians, the god-king Marduk wages war on Ti’amat, Mother of all Things, and hacks her to pieces. He forms the world from the pieces of her body.

The Kikuyu of Kenya recall how their male ancestors overthrew women by raping them all on the same day and mastering them nine months later. In an Aztec ceremony every December a woman dressed up as Ilamtecuhtli, the old goddess of earth and corn, was decapitated and her head presented to a priest wearing her costume and mask.

But this was only the beginning: in the 1200 years between 600 BC and 600 AD five major religions came into being, all based on the divine word of one man. From then on male power was more enshrined than ever and the age of patriarchy began.

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