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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index


The Civilization of the Goddess

Gimbutas, Maija (1991).
San Francisco: Harper.


ISBN:0-06-250337-5 paperback
0-06-250368-5 hardcover


Description: Hardcover, xii + 529 pages. Contents: Preface, 10 chapters, notes, glossary of cultures and major sites, glossary of technical terms, chronologies, tables and plots of radiocarbon dates, illustration sources and credits, bibliography, index.

Excerpt(s): Preface. What Is Civilization?

My purpose in this book is to bring into our awareness essential aspects of European prehistory that have been unknown or simply not treated on a pan-European scale. This material, when acknowledged, may affect our vision of the past as well as our sense of potential for the present and future. We must refocus our collective memory. The necessity for this has never been greater as we discover that the path of "progress" is extinguishing the very conditions for life on earth.

This book examines the way of life, religion, and social structure of the peoples who inhabited Europe from the 7th to the 3rd millennia B.C., which I have termed Old Europe, referring to Neolithic Europe before the Indo-Europeans. During this period, our ancestors developed settled agricultural communities, experienced a large growth in population, and developed a rich and sophisticated artistic expression and a complex symbolic system formulated around the worship of the Goddess in her various aspects. (page vii)

Neolithic Cultures of Southeastern and Central Europe
Diffusion, Site Location, and Farming


The agriculturalists diffused as far west as eastern France and the Netherlands, and as far north as the lower Oder basin in Germany and Poland. The area from Hungary to Holland is about 1000 kilometers across. The similarity of ceramic style and of lithic equipment within this area suggests that diffusion took place in a relatively short time. The climate of the 6th millennium B.C. was warmer than at present, and central Europe was covered with light mixed-oak forests. LBK [ Linnearbandkeramik] groups were moving mostly into an unoccupied ecological niche. Characteristically, LBK agriculturalists settled almost exclusively on the loess (wind deposited silt) plains, which were easy to work once the forest cover had been removed, and were offered very little competition from the local Mesolithic population. In their settlements on valley bottoms and on sunny terraces of rivers and streams, the LBK farmers cultivated emmer wheat as the principal crop, as well as einkorn, bread, club, and spelt wheat; barley, rye, millet, oat, peas, lentils, opium poppy, and flax. (page 38)

Neolithic Cultures of the Adriatic and Central Mediterraian

Hačar Qim is one of the most impressive temples of the Tarxien period, located on the southern coast of Malta. It has a well-preserved surrounding wall of globigerina limestone, a facade of vertical slabs, ten apses, inner slabs with rectangular window-like openings, and stone altars. It also has the best known Maltese stone sculptures of seated, squatting, and standing fat ladies. These show remains of ocre paint, and stand about 20 cm high. This temple is situated on a knoll overlooking the sea just above the Mnajdra temple. ...

Two niches in the central courtyard contained mushroom shaped limestone altars with concave tops. Two further rooms in this central area housed pitted table altars and a stone pillar. Another pillar stood at the end of the apse of room 10, the southwestern shrine. (pages 178-179)

The Neolithic of western Europe
Agriculture and Tools


Agriculture is attested to by wheat, barley, millet, peas, and lentils as well as carbonized apples (found cut in half for drying), pears, and plums. In several lake-dwelling sites, such as Wangen, Bodman, and Mondsee, apples have been found that are much larger than the crab, and it is agreed that they do not represent a wild type. (The Mondsee type was found to contain an anthocyanin that is present in cultivated apples only.) In Sipplingen (Lake Constance), three sizes of plums occurred, the largest of which is suggestive of a cultivated form. Another important cultivated plant was flax. Opium poppy (papaver somniferum) was found in Robenhausen, Sipplingen, Federsee, and other sites, and it must have been of great significance judging from its frequency. Field cabbage (brassica campestris) was identified in Burg@schi. (page 196)

The earliest passage graves of the 5th millennium B.C. have circular chambers, but over time they took on a variety of shapes, with rectangular chambers appearing later than circular. Other shapes include transeptal chambers, angled, with lateral chambers, and V-shaped. ...

Grave goods were rare since many tombs were robbed in antiquity. Exceptions are the Portugese passage graves which yielded numbers of symbolic items: Goddess's amulets made of slate plaques decorated with rows of triangles which had triangular heads with eyes, cylindrical images of stone and bone with owl eyes geometrically decorated with striations, net patterns, arcs, and other motifs. Stone hooks (croziers) were richly decorated with similar geometric motifs and so-called "pine cones" which were possibly related symbolically to phalli. [In Shamanism and the Drug Propaganda, Dan Russell points out that these "pine cones" closely resemble amanita muscaria.] (page 202)

The End of Old Europe
Agriculture and Its Increase in the European Branch


In the Kurgan culture of the steppe, agriculture was secondary to a pastoral economy. However, considerable knowledge of agricultural terminology in the European branch of the Indo-Europeans is suggested by lexical studies. It follows that the increase of agriculture is synchronous with a decrease of nomadism after the incursion of the Kurgan (Maikop) people into Europe, and especially into the territories where agriculture was a millennial tradition. ...

Some names are common to the Indo-European speakers in southern Europe: beans, peas, vetch, and poppies are attested in Latin, Albanian, and Greek. All of these plants are well known from the Neolithic in southeastern Europe, and it is quite possible that their names were later inherited by Indo-European speakers. The name for flax, linium, is known in Latin, Greek, Slavic, Baltic, and Germanic. The word for hemp, kannabis, is preserved in Greek, Albanian, Germanic, Slavic, and Baltic, but is not known among the eastern Indo-European speakers. The above suggests that Indo-European speakers in Europe were acquainted with many cereals and pulses and with flax and hemp. Some of the names are common to a larger group of languages and therefore may hark back in time to the formative period as an after-effect of Wave No. 2, to the second half of the 4th millennium B.C. The pulses were apparently inherited from the Old European population of southeastern Europe. It is clear that the agricultural terminology became enriched as Indo-European speakers moved west. (The End of Old Europe, pages 395-396)



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