I definitely want to read Sex at Dawn although right now I am re-reading When God Was A Woman by art historian, Merlin Stone and The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler as a result of this conversation and others that have come up recently. The research around this from a wide variety of sources is pretty pervasive. And I have to completely disagree that these statues might have been made for a variety of reasons.
“The archeological artifacts suggest that in all Neolithic and early Chalcolithic societies, the Divine Ancesstress, generally referred to by most writers as the Mother Goddess, was revered as the supreme deity.” page 18, When God Was A Woman
My beef is not with a sexual aspect, because I believe that there was one because at that time sexual energy was revered for all of what it was — more like what we might call shakti at this point and time. In other words, it’s about more than just knocking boots or even making babies. Shakti is the creative life-force energy of the universe, giving life and vibrancy to everything. Traditional patriarchal-centric archeology liked to characterize these statues as part of a “fertility cult.” Meanwhile, the Goddess was a supreme deity, a lot like how we tend to think of God today.
To characterize this as a fertility cult would be a lot like characterizing Christianity as a death cult because of the fixation with Jesus on the cross.
One of the most interesting aspects of the prehistoric worship of the Goddess is what the mythologist and religious historian Joseph Campbell calls its “syncretism.”11 Essentially, what this means is that the worship of the Goddess was both polytheistic and monotheistic. It was polytheistic in the sense that she was worshiped under different names and in different forms. But it was also monotheistic — in the sense that we can properly speak of faith in the Goddess in the same way we speak of faith in God as a transcending entity. In other words, there are striking similarities between the symbols and images associated in various places with the worship of the Goddess in her various aspects of Mother, Ancestress or Creatrix, and Virgin or Maid.
One possible explanation for this remarkable religious unity could be that the Goddess appears to have been originally worshiped in all ancient agricultural societies. We find evidence of the deification of the female — who in her biological character gives birth and nourishment just as the earth does — in the three main centers for the origins of agriculture: Asia Minor and southeastern Europe, Thailand in Southeast Asia, and later on also Middle America.12 In many of the earliest known creation stories from very different parts of the world, we find the Goddess-Mother as the source of all being.
Eisler, Riane. The Chalice and the Blade . HarperOne. Kindle Edition.
The pervasiveness of the Goddess in Neolithic times speaks to the universality of this in Paleolithic times as well. “To say the people who worshiped the Goddess were deeply religious would be to understate, and largely miss, the point. For here there was no separation between the secular and the sacred. As religious historians point out, in prehistoric and, to a large extent, well into historic times, religion was life, and life was religion.” The Chalice and the Blade
Whether She was the Clan Mother taken on hunting trips as a good luck charm or the Great Mother who was meant to bless the fertility of the women of the tribe, or of the animals that were a source of food, She was all of these things because She was the supreme deity, and not just a sex talisman. This was the point of my article.
I’m working on a couple of stories that will further illuminate more about all of this, although there is so much data and so many quotes to sift through that it may take some time to get anything ready for publication.
I have never seen anything about these sex festivals you’ve mentioned in 20 years of learning about this topic and time period but I am also always open to learning something new, so please do send along if you find the link.