The Ancient Evil: Diana And The Goddess Tradition

October 13, 2012

The Ancient Evil:

Diana And The Goddess Tradition

by

R.E. Prindle

A problem that has been perplexing me for some time is the role of the Goddess Diana as the female archetype for the last half of the Age of Pisces.  The adoption of the goddess Diana or Artemis as she was known in Greece signifies a resurgence of the Matriarchy.  This is a rather remarkable comeback as the Matriarchy was virtually unknown in the nineteenth century, all but forgotten.

I’m sure the interpretation of Diana’s history and her relationship to Astrology will be met with some dismay as these subjects are not properly understood.  Essentially the problem is one of memory; in this case historical and racial memory.  Memory on one level is a desire to retain and understand the past whether on a personal or historical level.  From the past the future may be predicted.  What has gone before will likely happen again.  It was this knowledge that made the calendar a necessity.  If one has a starting point, such as the shortest day of the year the return of flora and fauna may be roughly known.  To make the year more manageable it was divided into seasons and months to mark more easily the passage of the days of the year.  This knowledge led to a whole cycle of gods, goddesses and myths.  Thus a terrestrial zodiac was derived denoted by symbols appropriate to the seasons.  As it was assumed that what happened on earth was a reflection of what happened in the skies the terrestrial zodiac was translated to the stars and thus we have the Astrological Zodiac in which the twelve signs reflect the weather pattern on earth.

Just as there are twelve months in the year so the skies were divided into twelve portions called Ages.  The length of the Ages was determined by the Great Year that was of some twenty-five thousand years plus duration.  The Great year was determined by the rotation of the earth on its axis as evidenced by the stars of the North Pole.

The Great Year

Each Age has it male and female archetypes.  In Greece the Arien Age was presided over by Zeus and Hera.  Thus each set of archetypes has a lifetime of two thousand plus years and then they make the long slide to Far Tartary and back again.

The Piscean Age which has become universal began with the male archetype of Jesus of Nazareth while in mid-Age the archetypes where transferred to the female side- Diana in the North of Europe and Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the South of Europe.

While the mechanism used to achieve this is fairly clear the exact process can only be surmised.

While it may be difficult to believe the Astrological Zodiac must have begun development about a hundred thousand years ago being in the fourth cycle at the time of the dawn of the Age of Pisces.  Thus as a method of timekeeping the Zodiac has a long history.

One may question the hundred thousand years and yet the Mesopotamian myths mention a past of at least that long.  One usually doesn’t credit the ancients with actual knowledge but I think it is time to take them more seriously.

For much of that hundred thousand years during the long Ice Age the level of the Mediterranean was much lower probably being a long valley with a succession of large lakes fed by the Nile and the Propontis while the outflow was at the Pillars of Hercules.  As the Med Valley was habitable it must have been inhabited.  Undoubtedly a civilization developed that was fairly sophisticated.  One needn’t look for extraterrestrials for human development.

Thus when the Ice Age ended returning the accumulated waters to the oceans the waters rose forcing the Valley’s inhabitants to seek higher ground until the sea level became static.  While denizens fled to all sides of the Med the civilization bearers occupied Lower Egypt, the emerging Nile Delta.  A second area in which civilization  in some form must have survived was the island of Crete.

Nile Delta. 10,000 years ago the Delta would have been smaller as the silting would not have progressed so far.

It was on this island that the religious formula that became a basis of Europe was formed.  The basis was provided by the Hellenic Greek tribes that began their invasion of the Greek peninsula c. -1700.

The Greek penisula was occupied by an ancient people called Pelasgians.  They like the Cretans were descendants  of the Med Valley peoples as were the Cretans and Lower Egypt.  The Pelasgian religion closely resembled that of the Cretans.  The conquering Hellenes imposed their Greek language on them while setting about solving the religious differences into one unifed religion.  This was done following a usual pattern.

Crete, The Aegean Islands and the Greek Mainland, The Core Of The Thalassocracy

The Hellenes followed an Aryan Patriarchal model while the Pelasgians and Cretans followed a Matriarchal type.

How much religious development took place between 8000 BC when the waters rose and 2000 BC when things had settled must have been very large.  An important thing to remember is that the human mind is continually handling information.  Problems of memory have been continually remedied with new storage technologies.  They have been continually developed to today’s immense ability to be able to very nearly store entire reality.  Every phone call in the world 24/7 can be stored and retrieved at will so that totally inconsequential information is on record but will never be read.

The time lapse between improvements in storage and retrieval were immense in the early days increasing rapidly to the present.  The earliest known city, the remains of which date not coincidentally to c. 8000 BC is located at Catal Huyuk in Anatolia which would have been a rural backwater to the Med civilization, but a high degree of communal organization is evident.  One imagines the Cretan civilization was similar but more highly developed.  There is every evidence that the Great Mother religion was fairly highly developed at the time the waters rose.

The Cretans certainly brought the religion to a degree of perfection.  Obviously there is no agreement as to the degree while the substance of religion can be only guessed at.

The Goddess Angry

Presently the Goddess advocates picture the Matriarchy as some kind of golden age of

The Loving Goddess

peace love and happiness.  This is not the case.  The Matriarchates lived in a period of very primitive mentality.  Nor is the female of the species any less bloody minded than the male.  The memory of the matriarchate was still strong enough for later males to dismiss the matriarchate as a period that was not too kind to men.  Indeed, if one bears in mind that the sacrificial bulls were substitutes for men and that bulls were often sacrificed in holocausts which means a hundred bulls or more then it follows that at one time a hundred men or more were sacrificed to the Great Mother.  Obviously this would leave rueful memories in the minds of men.

This memory may have been played out in the tale of Iphigenia At Aulis.

Shall we examine the participants in this drama, Agamemnon, Clytmnestra, Iphigenia and Diana?

Zeus in the apparition of a swan had intercourse with Leda who then lay two eggs.  Both bore twins.  From one egg Castor and Pollux emerged.  These two represent the soltices, Castor, winter and Pollux summer.  From the other egg Helen and Clytemnestra emerged.  These two represent the equinoxes, Helen the Spring, Clytemnestra the Fall.  One might compare Helen to the Cretan Loving Goddess with the erect snakes held hip high and Clytemnestra to the Angry Goddess brandishing the two writhing snakes.  Thus the two goddesses are representatives of Diana.

Zeus Impregnating Leda

Now Agamemnon was punished by Diana for killing a deer and then boasting that he was a better hunter than she.  Agamemnon and the Greeks were assembled at Aulis but unable to sail for lack of wind.  A sacrifice was deemed necessary to allay the winds.  Ordinarily a male would have been the sacrifice to Diana.  Instead Agamemnon sacrificed his and Clytemnestra’s daughter probably in vengeance for his punishment by Diana and the slaughter of all those males during the Matriarchy.

Clytemnestra herself was a representative of the Matriarchy so the story is involved.

While my interpretation might be controversial I think it clear that the Cretan goddess became Artemis/Diana.  At any rate it was the Argive (from Argos) mainland goddess Hera who would be chosen as the wife of Zeus.  Therefore the Cretan goddess would have lost her consort and been a loose cannon.

Zeus himself was of Cretan origin probably intended to be the annual consort of the Goddess.  As religion evolved the characters of the Gods and Goddesses changed so that while there is continuity the attributes and characters change enough so that the religious figures have to be located in time and place.

When the Hellenes, or Greeks, began to arrive the Cretans had already created a political organization known as a thalossocracy, a sea based empire.  The islands and at least the coasts from Aegean to Italy were under Cretan rule.  The Greeks then challenged the power of the Cretans as well as seeking to impose the Patriarchal religion on the Matriarchy.

This method of taking control was the same as that of all religions replacing another.  As in such situations the overcome religion submits to greater power but continues a more or less clandestine existence.  Thus the Aryan Greeks converted religious sites such as Delphi to Patriarchal shrines.  Where the necessisity existed in Matriarchal strongholds, they apparently attempted to exterminate the Matriarchates.  Persecute them out of existence, perhaps, as happened to the Lollards of England.

In this case, Perseus’ assault on the Gorgon Medusa could have signified an all out assault on the Matriarchal stronghold as was the story of the Iliad in which the Patriarchal Greeks waged a ten year war to exterminate Matriarchal Troy.  Whether factual or not it is true that when the post-Troy dark age ended the Greeks were in possession of the Anatolian littoral.

Of course the preferred method was by stealth and intermarriage.  Intermarriage may have required the extermination of the males to acquire the women which was commonly done.  Thus, Zeus’ frequent rapes of women may commemorate such takeovers.

As the assimilated gods appear to have been indigenous the Greeks must have taken over the pre-existing gods while changing them to Patriarchal from Matriarchal.  Thus, while Zeus is clearly a Cretan god, probable annual consort of the Great Mother, he was transported to mainland Argos where as a woodpecker he raped the Argive goddess Hera becoming her lord and master, or her husband.

The consort of Hera was Heracles, a sun god.  When Zeus took Hera from him as his wife this left Heracles at loose ends without a purpose.  The Greeks gave him a new lineage and the role of the champion of the Patriarchy and punisher of the Matriarchy.

In this case Zeus seduces Alcmene in the disguise of her husband Amphitryon impregnating her with Hercules.  Just as Heracles was a loose cannon after the marriage of Zeus and Hera the Cretan Great Goddess was without a consort when Zeus left Crete.  The problem is what identity was she assigned?  When Heracles was born two snakes were sent by the Matriarchy to kill him.  The baby Heracles strangled both, one in each hand.  Symbolically then the Cretan religion was imagined to be destroyed and possibly its Great Mother murdered.

A great problem however that remains hidden from me is the origin of the Peloponnesian Lady Of The Lake.  As the Cretan Great Mother was also a Mistress Of The Animals it is quite possible that she was taken to the mainland from Crete where she became an Artemis and possibly the Lady Of The Lake.

At some later time the Cretan priesthood would be carried from Crete and installed as the priesthood of Apollo at the premier Greek shrine of Delphi.  So, how much of the Greek religion was of Aryan origin and how much of the ancient Med Valley religion through its Cretan development isn’t clear but the two must have been extensively intermingled making the Cretan Great Mother a probable Artemis/Diana and the Lady Of The Lake.

I have found no references in Greek mythology to the Lady Of The Lake but the Lady as Vivian turns up in the Arthurian epics of +1000-1300 when they were formulated.  In those she is referred back to ancient Peloponnesian times.  I haven’t found the sources of the medieval writers but they must have been in possession of some mythological sources that no longer exist.

I would now like to examine the transition from the male archetype of Jesus in mid-Piscean Age to Diana in Northern Europe and Mary, the Mother of God in the South.

Before leaving the Ancients however let me say that having organized a pantheon the Greeks then removed the various gods from their home locales  and established their residence on Mt. Olympus deep in the more densely Aryan populations of the North of Greece.

II.

The religion of no one Age is secure because the transition to the next Age is always looming.  Just as Zeus had replaced Cronus of the Taurean Age so the Greek male archetype of the Piscean Age, Dionysus, was maturing as Zeus’ replacement.

However, in the long war between Europe and Asia the balance of power was to shift toward the Asians.  Dionysus was discarded to be replaced by the Semitic Jew, Jesus of Nazareth.  The Jews had quietly been infiltrating Western society while actually contending for pre-eminence in the East and Egypt.  This would erupt into the Roman-Jewish wars of the first two centuries AD.

As the early Christians were a purely Jewish sect it is no wonder that when Paul of Tarsus turned the Jewish cult into a universal religion that that religion reflected Judaism to a large extent.  Judaism being an intolerant religion that intolerance was replicated in both  the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox Churches.  The result was that any competing religious views were viciously suppressed.  After the fourth century the old Creco-Cretan religion was anathematized on the pain of death.

As would happen in the fifteenth century when the Ottoman Moslems conquered Constantinople and the Greek scholars fled East to India and West to the Roman successor States numbers of the Olympian priesthood undoubtedly fled into the German lands to the North.  Just as the Arian priests fled North to escape Catholic oppression where they converted the German tribes  so the Olympian priests sowed their beliefs among the Germans.  That’s one reason so many Olympian beliefs are found in German folk tales as collected by the Grimms.

As the Lady Of The Lake is a Matriarchal myth it follows that the Cretan priesthood of Delphi sowed Matriarchal ideas among the Germans.  It can be little wonder that Vivian, The Lady Of The Lake, appeared in the French chivalric myths created from the eleventh though fourteenth centuries.

Not only that but Vivian represents the Matriarchal resurgence against Catholic Patriarchalism.  Vivian of course was none other than Artemis/Diana.  It was thus that Diana became the female archetype of Northern Europe in the second half of the Piscean Age.

It would be a mistake to suppose that the Olympian gods died quiet deaths or deaths at all.  It is one thing to outlaw a belief system and another to erase it from the memories of those who had used that belief system for two thousand years.  The Christians were at best a conquering horde no different from the Patriarchal Greeks who attempted to destroy the Cretan religion.  The Catholic Church was no more able to contain the Olympians than the Greeks were able to contain Cretan religion.  Just as the Greeks had had to accommodate the Cretans by installing them at Delphi so the Catholic Church had to accommodate Olympians while the struggle never ceased.

Just as the Iliad was part of an immense mythological cycle detailing the struggle between the Matriarchy and the Patriarchy so the Arthurian epics detailing the Matriarchal, Patriarchal and Church as Aryans sects was even more immense and sprawling.  The huge corpus of the Vulgate-Lancelot may just be the largest literary work in the world while being only part of the story.

So Arthur being installed at Camelot as the wise and benevolent Patriarchal monarch, Vivian had her home beneath a northern French lake.  The problem for her was how to subvert Camelot and restore the Matriarchy.  After all the court of Arthur was guided by and protected by the magic of the great magician Merlin.    So long as Merlin was on the job Arthur was invulnerable.  Vivian’s first task was to eliminate Merlin.

Bear in mind that an ages old system that these participants can have had no knowledge of is being satisfactorily worked out according to the principles of that system.  One can understand how active minds could penetrate this arcane system but the miracle is that naïve minds could understand what was intended and how to further it.  But then I am participating here in furthering events into the Aquarian Age and am no member of any priesthood; I was just a guy standing on the corner watching the girls go by while reading the odd volume.  Do I know what I say I know?  I can’t even guess but at the same time I can’t keep from writing as though I do.  Blame it on the muse.

Vivian was a cute girl; Merlin was a half daft old man susceptible to a young beauty’s charms even though he knew better.  Vivian smiled at him and the wisest dope in the world fell for it.  But, isn’t that the way the sisterhood always works.  If you’ve got a job to do, keep it zipped up.

Enamored of Vivian Merlin took her into his confidence.  He was reluctant to share his magic with her but she coaxed and he caved.  Once the wiliest of womanhood had obtained the old wizard’s knowledge she turned on him entombing him in the matriarchal symbol, Mother Earth, where he remains today muttering useless spells in an effort to remove the stone.

Vivian Enchants Merlin

Part one of her effort was now achieved.  Arthur was unprotected and vulnerable.  It was only necessary to find the means and the agent.  Vivian already knew the means.  Arthur would marry the beautiful but flighty Guenivere.  Arthur was old sobersides as he had a kingdom to rule so Guenivere was on the lookout for the dark romantic lead.  It just so happened that Vivian had a boy in training who was now about to emerge into lusty young manhood.  He was the most perfect knight in the world save one, who was yet unborn and to be his son.

When this lad was a young boy Vivian had lured him down to the lake from whose shores she abducted him taking him to her submarine palace for training. Lancelot became a fairy prince.  Now, this is important: Vivian although a virgin was an alpha mother .  All those bundles of genes out there who yell and stomp thinking that makes them alpha males aren’t. It’s not in the genes its in the mothering.  Look for the alpha female.  So, Lancelot was the alphaest of all living males.

As an emblem of her authority Vivian dressed Lancelot as well as  the horse he rode out on in shining white velvet.  Guenivere’s prince had come.

This Dandy, Lancelot, then went to Camelot and was deputized by Arthur to fetch his bride from her father and thus began a liaison with the Queen that would disrupt the famous Round Table resulting in a war between Patriarchal Arthur and Matriarchal Lancelot that brought the kingdom to its knees.

Arthur’s original sword drawn from the stone had been stolen and replaced by Excalibur a sword given to him by Vivian.  Thus Arthur originally armed by the Patriarchy was now defended by the power of the Matriarchy or Diana.  When Arthur died the sword was returned to the Lady Of The Lake and Arthur was taken to her bourne, Avalon to be tended by the fairie maidens.  Symbolically England had passed from the Patriarchy to the Matriarchy; what began two thousand years earlier between the Cretans and the Greeks was now resolved in England in favor of the Matriarchy.

In the South of Europe the female archetype of the Piscean Age was Mary who delivered Jesus to the world in Virgin birth somewhat like Vivian giving virgin birth to Lancelot.  At the same time that Diana assumed authority in the North Mary began to be worshipped in a form known as Mariolatry in the South and assumed pre-eminence over Jesus, the male.  The contest then shifted to one between the Dianites of the North and the Marionites of the South.

If one assumes that the sexual battle was over by 1300, then the battle of the female archetypes began. That began to resolve itself when Henry VIII separated England from the Papacy rejecting Mary, the Mother of God.  Luther did the same for the Germans.  This conflict resulted in the horrific Thirty Years War that nearly destroyed the German people.  At war’s end Protestants, that is the Dianites, were in control of the North while the Marionites held the South.

Dissension in the North and South was still rife until the Enlightenment broke the power of the Church releasing all kinds of repressed religious views of which the religion of Diana  was merely one.  One wonders how much of the women’s movement of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was influenced by the concept of Diana  The movement today is heavily influenced by a goddess cult, not Mary, but Diana and probably the Egyptian Isis.  One imagines that there must be some continuity.

The interest in both Greek mythology and the Arthurian epics did not wane during the nineteenth century, if anything increasing.  Tennyson’s Idylls of  the King was a major retelling of the story while the quest for the Holy Grail is an ongoing theme.

The Matriarchy was all but forgotten in the conscious memory of Europe that had become patriarchal on the surface.  In mid-century against stiff resistance the Swiss mythologist, J. J. Bachofen uncovered the Matriarchy reintroducing it into intellectual history.  The concept was stoutly resisted but a reevaluation of the evidence over the succeeding hundred years has reestablished the knowledge of its existence.

On the popular level the great English novelist H. Rider Haggard toyed with the idea in several significant, even great, novels that have been slighted through a lack of understanding.  The most significant of that set of novels, the She saga, has become one of the world’s great classics.

She, or Ayesha, her actual name, means Life  was definitely not a mother goddess, as far as we know she had been chaste for two thousand years.  Life might be interpreted in the sense of Mistress Of The Animals, so it wouldn’t be unfair to associate Ayesha with Diana.  Haggard was no mean mythologist.

He associated with the well known mythologist Andrew Lang with whom he also collaborated on The World’s Desire.  He was very well read in mythology, Greek, Egyptian and Israelite.  The year after Haggard wrote She in 1888 he followed up with Cleopatra, a very good Egyptian novel.  He followed that with the astonishing interpretation of the Helen myth in The World’s Desire of 1890.  Within the compass of these three novels he unraveled the meaning of the Hermes/Mercury staff- the Caduceus.

The Caduceus Of Mercury/Hermes

In She Ayesha wore a golden belt composed of two snakes whose heads opposed each other at her waist.  They represented the combat between good and evil in Ayesha’s mind.  Both natures of the Cretan goddess were united in Ayesha.

By the time Haggard wrote The World’s Desire two years later he had separated the two impulses into two persons.  The evil aspect of the goddess was the ruling aspect of the Egyptian princess Meriamun while the pure loving aspect of the goddess belonged to the spirit of Helen whose character was the world’s desire.

Thus the rod of Mercury’s staff represents the spine while the two snakes entwining the rod represent the good and evil impulses who facing each other are at war with each other.  In modern psychological terms it could be said the snakes represent the Anima and Animus- the left and right halves of the brain or, in other words, the ovate strand of DNA and the  spermatic strand.  The wings mean that the whole apparatus is sheltered under the wings of the goddess.  It is also quite probable that the points of the chakras are intended by the twining.  See my full explication here:  https://idynamo.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/a-review-part-iv-she-by-h-rider-haggard/

Hermes/Mercury was one of the old Matriarchal gods who was reborn as a Patriarchal god so that the Patriarchal Mercury bears the Matriarchal emblem of the Caduceus before him thus representing both religious outlooks.

Haggard was the rock on which his near disciple, Edgar Rice Burroughs, built his church.  Without saying that Burroughs was an expert Greco-Roman mythologist he began reading mythology at a very early age while his Junior High years were spent at the Harvard Latin school of Chicago where he was placed under a heavy classical regimen.  He also continued to read Greek mythology throughout his life while also being interested in anthropology.  Thus, while he might not have had the scholarly background of Haggard he must have known enough to follow Haggard’s argument, if not consciously at least in his subconscious memory.

When Burroughs created his fantasy lost city of Opar its goddess, or high priestess, was even named  La which is French for She.  Whether he was aware he was working with a vision of Diana isn’t relevant as the notion of She/Diana was engraved in what Jung would call the collective unconscious and hence his own.

Ever the Patriarch, Burroughs turned the tables on the Diana/Vivian Merlin story and made La submissive to Tarzan while Tarzan was unmoved by either her beauty or her love.

A sort of version was also told by the very good but now nearly forgotten novelist Robert Hichens in his novel of 1905, The Garden Of Allah.  This story in turn influenced Burroughs as well as the much more conscious mythologist Edith Maude Hull who wrote The Sheik in 1921.  Today Mrs. Hull’s reputation, such as it is, rests on The Sheik and The Sheik’s reputation on the movie represention of Rudolph Valentino.  In point of fact Mrs. Hull’s novel was a study of Diana, the name of her heroine, that follows to some extent the version of Burroughs. (See my full review of The Sheik here https://idynamo.wordpress.com/2007/10/12/a-review-1921s-the-sheik-by-em-hull/)

1920s English Devotee Of Diana

That Mrs. Hull was a part od some sort of Diana cultish interest is evidenced by this 1920s photo of woman posing as Diana.  The collective memory and/or unconscious has kept the vision of Diana/Great Mother alive for a minimum of three thousand years.  The Ancient Evil had been transmuted into Freudian psychology.

Today the worship of the Goddess has been revived in the Feminist Movement and is thriving.  Indeed, a Matriarchal Revolution has been in progress since perhaps the 1850s and now seems to be rapidly approaching fruition, at least among the Aryans of Europe and America.

Time will tell whither the Ancient Evil will triumph.

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