My journey to awareness of the ubiquitous prehistoric goddesses started in nursery school. My mother, Joanne, a recent Antioch College graduate with her bachelor's degree focused on early-childhood education, had quit her job as a first grade teacher for the Ferndale School District just north of the Detroit border and had gotten a teaching job at the Jack and Jill Nursery School in Royal Oak, Michigan. Mom had come to the Detroit area because my father, Chuck, another recent Antioch College graduate with his bachelor's degree focused on business and instructional media, had gotten a job at the Jam Handy Organization, a film and filmstrip production company servicing the Detroit auto industry.
Jack and Jill Nursery School was owned by Beulah Van Vleck, a robust widow with a nurturing nature. Mom took the job when her two boys, my younger brother Scott and I, were of nursery school age, so that she could still be a part of our pre-school life and get paid for her work in a field she had her degree in. While we attended Jack and Jill school, Missy (as everyone called Beulah Van Vleck), became good friends with my mother and father. And soon Missy became godmother to my brother and I. This had the practical effect of immersing me into a realm exclusively populated by robust, single, aging nursery school teachers who were friends with Missy.
In kindergarten, my teacher picked me to play the Prince Charming in Sleeping Beauty. I did not look forward to a role, as it required first, that I wear green tights, and also that I had to kiss a girl.
The dreaded day for my performance came. I leaned over the kissed the required peck on Beauty's cheek. Once that kiss was pecked, it was a thing I was trying to forget doing. However, Beauty's mother called my mother and invited me to her daughter's birthday party. I arrived there to see that I was the only boy. I had kissed Beauty, now it seemed I had to marry her, or so it seemed went the thinking of my female kindergarten classmates. They were set on moving forward with my wedding to Beauty after they had eaten her birthday cake. I escaped under cover of that cake consumption and walked quickly home.
>> Fast forward to my adolescent awakening. Up until it happened, I had no more interest in girls than I had had in kindergarten. Then, I began being kidnapped in my dreams. My kidnappers were mature and lustful women. These nocturnal dreamtime kidnappings were orchestrated by varied women who, in my imagination, inhabited caves below the Curtis family's two-story red brick house in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan. As far as I know here were never any caves, other than in my imagination. The women came up from their caves into my bedroom through secret passages in the walls of our house, entering through closets and trap doors into my bedroom. They would take turns taking me down into the Earth with them for sexual initiation rites. It is important to note that I was in no way actively generating my fantasy dreams. Recurring occurrences of my Naked Ladies Club were completely natural, the way my body/mind had concocted to awaken my testosterone flow.
It was not until many years later that I would think back on these foundational sexual fantasies.
I had picked up an unopened box of pastel chalk that my parents had given me as a birthday present several years previous, and was thinking about what subject matter to depict, that The Naked Ladies Club, my vivid primordial male fantasy, leapt out and begged for expression in chalk.
I decided that I would continue my pastel painting by documenting other of my fantasies. I further developed images I drew from recall of the Naked Ladies Club fantasy experiences. I depicted the caves and the passages that I imagined then to be under my Pleasant Ridge home, then continued to depict other elements of my post adolescent dreamscape.
A few years later, as I was skimming The Los Angeles Times book review section, words started jumping out from it and sticking in my brain.
The reviewer was sharing comments about a book titled The Chalice and the Blade. The reviewer wrote about how the book included talk of ancient ceremonies that women conducted in caves and about an ancient reality that had been turned on its head by more recent civilizations. It spoke of pre-civilizations as nature-oriented and female-centric matriarchies, partnerships between men and women, not domination of women over men. This theory was so new to me that I found myself rushing to the source material, to review it myself. Pre-eminently cited in Riane Eisler's book was the name of UCLA archaeologist Marija Gimbutas. Soon thereafter, I tripped to the library to read her books, such as The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe. as well as Civilization of the Goddess
Also liberally mentioned was James Mellaart, archaeologist of one of the earliest cities, Catal Huyuk in Turkey, that had its heyday 9000 years ago. I read that Mellaart had found artifacts and the paintings on human-made walls (not caves) that he said were unmistakable goddess representations. Wanting to dig into this new information further, to gauge it for myself, I went my local university research library and found, copied, and read Mellaart's full excavation reports. They stunned me. That was some time ago now. A great deal more had been discovered at the site, near the Central Turkey city of Konya, with the latest report coming at the end of the last season of digging in 2017.
In short, since those early days, I have been exploring prehistory with a passion for what I discovered was called "archaeomythology", and I have written about and created media about archaeological discoveries around the globe. A cherished memory was able to meet and talk with Marija Gimbutas, who gave me the rights to digitize her research. Since then, I worked with one of Marija's colleagues, along with a team I assembled, on an early use of 3D modeling for archaeological understanding, depicting a Neolithic house on the Drama Plain in Macedonia, Greece.
Back when I was a boy, Missy, nursery school owner, and my godmother, would occasionally take me to a service at her church. She was Christian Scientist. As an example of the ubiquitous insinuation of the ancient goddess today, everywhere from our conception of Mother Earth/Mother Nature, how Mother Mary is thought of by the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church and Catholic Marionites, from the goddess Amaterasu of Japan to a Hindu goddess of India and elsewhere around the Earth, in Missy's Christian Scientist teachings, the Holy Trinity (which in Christianity is made up of the big three, Father, Son, and mysterious Holy Ghost) the Holy Ghost is considered to be female.
It is all still a great mystery, ever emerging from ground as Earth in excavated by archaeologists, still imbedded in humanity's theologies, intuitively obvious in museum collections around the globe, an investigated in depth and hopefully in perpetuity here at godddesses.com.
Copyright 2020, Dean Adams Curtis. All rights reserved.
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