By Yoav Levin
& Men rights activist.
Gynocentrism From Poly to Monotheism
The Migration of Gynocentric Ideals within the concept of God and its Mirroring Evolution!
From the anthropological point of view, Gynocentric societies throughout history have always shown the below-described structure was where male power was, in fact, a myth and the true power was always in the hands of women. It was based on two elements in which female sexuality -being and incorporating the sexual and natural selection thus subsequently the sex itself - was the main motivating and defining factor. As standing opposed to myths spread by feminist pseudo-science religions were not the creator or the perpetrators of patriarchal abuse through suppression of female sexuality but on the contrary, they reflected those power dynamics, especially in the Pagan world. While religions show as we will also see later that even if there's a male divinity it is not the actual one that rules the world but those are either female Goddesses or the female elements that are responsible for this and do so. In many cases, they also outnumbered male Gods in the top position. In the following discussion, I will refute the feminist claim that female sexuality was oppressed, I will show that in fact a toxic form of female sexuality was approved by those religions and will explain the concept of the Gynocentric type of male God and with the time became weaker and weaker. This discourse is an exception from new research on the Gynocentric nature of religions, its migration from the Pagan world into Monotheism and especially as is mirrored through the evolution of the concept of God.
So, as I said, from an anthropological point of view in order for a society to be matriarchal or patriarchal it means that all power, meaning formal and informal, must be exclusively in the hands of one group/gender. In other words, patriarchy would mean that men hold both types of power and matriarchy means that women hold them. Neither of them has existed, those are myths. In fact, we have always had gynocentric societies with the following subdivisions:
1. Patrilineal - lineage/affiliation, whether religious, national economical inheritance, is defined by the father.
2. Patrifocal - society is focused on the men and his needs
3. Patrilocal - the wife leaves her parents' home and goes to live with the husband
4. Matrilineal - lineage/affiliation, whether religious, national economical inheritance, is defined by the mother
5. Matrilocal - the husband leaves his parents' home and goes to live with the wife
6. Matrifocal - society is focused on the woman and her needs
Gynocentric societies always exhibited a combination of those aspects. The most common was the matrifocal (the focus is on women like in gynocentrism itself), patrilocal (the woman once married leaves her family and joins the husband) and patrilineal which does not only define inheritance but also religious and national affiliation. However, there were some societies like in certain areas in China that were matrilineal, matrilocal and matrifocal, the closet to matriarchy, but even in those ones the division of power was so that men controlled the formal power and women the informal one thus it was not matriarchy. In some cultures, like in Judaism, they are matrilineal in terms of defining religious heritage while patrilineal in terms of inheritance. However, no society was ever patrifocal meaning the societal focus was on men.
Feminists try to equate the patrilineal element with patriarchy but that's, of course, a lie. The patrilineal element was always balanced by the matrifocal one while the informal power that is the basis of the formal one (=the formal power can't exist without the informal one) was always in the hands of women. To sum it up: traditional gynocentric societies always balanced power by using two dynamics:
They divided formal and informal power by living the most important one on which the formal roots giving women the control over all the finite resources of the family thus subsequently the control over all society including the formal power, the finite resources namely the informal in the hands of women while leaving the formal in the hands of men. Thus neither gender has had all the power.
2. Dividing power dynamics into further subcategories not only as in regard to heritage but for the societal focus on gender (always women), affiliation/heritage and the familial habitat which in fact not only balanced inheritance but neutralized the male privilege in favor of women. All of this is true not only in the modern but the traditional context too.
Anyway, having that in mind we should always remember that while religion was never a creator of gynocentrism which is a biological evolutionary feature it was always a carrier that spread it in whatever culture developed both in intercultural context as well as through cultural cross-pollination. From that perspective, the divinity in ancient times was the energetic product of a collective in the form of people, or a society that speaks the same language and shares the same customs. The Canaanite people, understanding themselves as descendants of the heavenly tribes that settled in the Eastern part of the fertile arch 4000 years ago, produced a cult of several gods and goddesses. They are extremely important in understanding modern gynocentrism elevating women to Goddess statuses not only as of the ancient ancestor but especially the common denominator of both the early Judaism as has been evolved through development by the early Hebrews and then adopted and further developed in Christianity as being again a derivative of both the Canaanites and Judaism
As I said the aim here is not to point fingers and find who's responsible for this simply because there is none. Religion has adopted or reflected those dynamics simply because being an inevitable feature of evolutionary and biological survival of the species the gynocentrism at its basic level is inevitable. Thus gods reflected those dynamics in ancient times by being arranged in families and influenced by the social structure in the same way as human beings reflected it. In societies of tiny agriculture and less survival struggles that resembled more with the gatherers dynamics in which the woman was more dominant and thus the main divinity was a female; in contrast, in nomadic societies as well as those with large, more complex agricultures, societies that eventually exhibited more existential troubles including wars, the main divinity was a fighting man. Thus both the division of power, formal and informal, as well as its subsequent reflection in the realm of Gods showed the same dynamics, definitions, and division. More specifically, in the context of gynocentrism, they mirrored and matched evolutionary as well as the survival needs of the members of each and every particular society.
As we will see through the various stages of religious emanation from the pagan nature-based religions into monotheism this concept not only transmigrated through a lofty principle into monotheism but specifically the monotheist concept of God displays itself as being the epitome of gynocentric ideas, ideals, and concepts. In other words, the monotheistic God is not patriarchal but gynocentric in its own nature. This exact dynamic both as being reflected through the concept of God in monotheism, the exact emanation and theological synthesis of pagan gynocentric Goddesses in the monotheistic deity and especially as reflected through female sexuality is what I want to explore next especially in order to refute feminist claims of sexual as well as economic, social and political oppression.
In the Canaanite pantheon three goddesses stand out: Ashera, Ashtoreth, and Anat, and this discussion will be expanded upon them. Based on the above conclusions that were largely discussed and elaborated through an extensive research in the first book "The Last Taboo", our third research is yet another link that explores on top of the above insights the migration of gynocentric ideals from the Canaanite polytheism into the Hebrew Jewish monotheistic tradition and from there to the other Monotheistic religions of Islam and Christianity. It shows in detail the workings of this dynamic and explains how the concept of God adopts and in fact mirrors the gynocentric circumstances, conditions, context and ideal of the mundane gynocentric society. In fact, the monotheistic God also mirrors the dynamics of the very migration of gynocentrism within its different levels, from the more balanced version of biological gynocentrism, into gynocentrism II and at the end gynocentrism III which is feminism. It is especially seen in the dynamic where the ideals and understanding of God led to the abandonment of all its male attributes and the adaptation of more and more female and/or androgynous qualities
One of the main feminist claims normally followed by intellectual as well as academic deception and in general mainly found in the feminist gender studies and pseudo-science is not only that women were always oppressed, not only that is was systemic to society but that it stems in fact from patriarchal religions. The pseudo-scientific approach can be found all over the spectrum but one of such main false methodologies can be found in the fact that most of those researchers are even not fluent in Semitic languages. This is extremely important because as we will see the Judeo Christian heritage is a continuation of the Canaanite Epos, literature and religions. However, to understand if one does need to know modern Hebrew and other Semitic dialects. The main Canaanite Epos that is important in this sense is the Epos of Ugarit (Ras Shamra in modern Syria) and especially the one of "Baal and Anat". It is important as it both refutes the feminist claims and also shows that religions are, in fact, reflections of gynocentric cultures while simultaneously they are the carriers of it. To do so I want to refer you to the research of Umbro Cassuto which he summarized in his book the "Goddess Anat". Those who want to read the Epos in detail and the full explanation should really read this wonderful book. Here I will bring the short version of it. I will do this by first describing the main characters of the Epos, then explain the Epos itself and in the end, I will put the conclusions together. So, let's begin. Who are the main characters?
This is the main divinity. He is depicted somehow as a universal
and more transcendental God that both Jewish, as well as Christian mystics, depict him. He is wise, compassionate, loving kindled, fearful (especially from the Goddesses). He is depicted in Islam as Allah and in Judaism as El/Elohim/Eloha. In the Epos he is referred to with the title "King" but he is not ruling. This fact is important as it shows that the title is more symbolic while El (Elyon) already in the Canaanite Ugarit Epos has no actual power. So, El is referred to as a white-bearded old man, the more transcendental type of creator of the world or more the seed of creative potentiality or the potentiality of creation but even not the actual creator and for sure not the one who rules the world.
This is the wife/spouse of El. She is the creator of the gods, male and female, and also the Goddess of fertility. Very often she is conflated with the Goddess Anat that is her daughter. Together with her, she supports her son Baal in his fight against his rivals
The God of fertility and war in its male aspect and actual sustainer of the world especially humankind. As Baal was killed by his rivals the earth, for example, lost its fertility and as he was resurrected so was fertility too. It is interesting to note that in this characteristic he was the ancient archetype of the Christian mother Mary and the equivalent Jewish Schechina. The conversion of the roles is interesting, however, as we will see it does not prove the assumption of gender roles as being mainly a social construction but a more balanced understanding of it through what can be called the Eastern concepts of Yin and Yang (the 80 - 20 rule, for example, 80 percent male and 20 percent female energy in a man and vice versa). He was also a fierce fighter!
The daughter of Ashera and sister of Baal. She was the Goddess of love, fertility, and war. Extremely fierce and courageous. Being a loyal creator of humankind she was also unbeatable. Anat was also evil while interestingly also compassionate and loving. In the Epos of Ugarit, she is depicted as more powerful than male Gods including El who is fearful of her and hides during her fits of rages. Additionally, she was an archetype for female beauty. She fiercely protected her brother Baal. As he is killed, in a fit of rage, she kills all of his rivals, threatens to kill her father El, demands from him to resurrect Baal, her brother, who then fearfully does what his daughter demands. In the end, as they win the war, she puts her brother back on the throne, she restores peace and harmony on earth. In other mythologies, she is the equivalent of Athena/Minerva. The other interesting aspect is that Anat was also the depiction of the destructive and violent forces of femininity that the ancient world did not deny the violence in women,
So, already from the above depictions of the main characters, we can see that the Pagan mythology does not support a patriarchal view of the world but in fact, it is a reflection of gynocentric society and its typical dynamics. It quite supports the idea that male power is a myth that both Warren Farrel in his book has elaborated as well as S.C. Rogers in her study. Male power is, in fact, a myth. It is more of a symbolic nature. Like in parliamentary democracies it's not the president wielding the true power. In more details, the Canaanite epos of the world creation depicts the story of a more universal God that represents the seed of creativity and potentiality. Although in that since the world is "created" by El, the actual mankind is created by females namely Ashera and her daughter Anat. Despite this seed of creativity and potentiality, El does not rule the world. Those are his female and male siblings as well as his female counterpart (spouse).
Moreover, this Canaanite transcendental divinity is depicted as a wise, loving entity that is only normally asked for advice but the actual Gods and Goddesses are those who rule the world. While there is no depiction of fear of his son, El is depicted as being fearful of his daughter Anat. So fearful that when she comes in a fit of rage he runs away, hides behind seven closed doors and at the end does as she demands and after threatening to kill him. Anyway, as the Epos continues to describe the ongoing war between Baal and Anat against Baal's rivals which are the sea, Rahav - the minister responsible for the sea - as well as their allies which are the serpents, whales, alligators and other animal monsters, it tells us how they manage to kill Baal. As a response Anat wages a ruthless war against them all, she bathes in their blood, she decapitates their heads and hangs them on her back and hips and defeats them all. She mourns her brother, goes to her father El and demands with threats of death to resurrect her brother.
The Epos also depicts the fearful reaction of El. Hearing his daughter coming in a fit of rage he runs away and as the Epos says he hides behind seven doors and eight locks. This apparently doesn't help him as he fulfills her wishes. The most powerful statement of El in the Epos is that no one can withstand the (power/fury of the) Goddess. And this shows very much the true power dynamic in the gynocentric society which lay in the hands of women, not men. In the end, what we can learn is that the Canaanite Epos from Ugarit which is the equivalent to the Judeo Christian bible first refutes the feminist lies about patriarchal oppression and the subsequent nature of religions. In fact, religions are not creators but they reflect and carry gynocentrism. It also shows that earlier gynocentrism as depicted in the Canaanite Epos and mythology was much more balanced. It was only in the time of queen Eleanor of Aquitaine that modern European gynocentrism has deranged to create an extreme social form of it and especially towards misandry. In fact, as being adopted by the ancient Hebrews as their Epos was a continuation of the older Canaanite Epos and literature it has become and was incorporated into both the Jewish as well as Christian religion and what was to become the Judeo Christian heritage. Anyway, those connections I will be discussing in my upcoming research, book, posts, and articles.