How the West Lost the Moon .

The earliest human cultures, stretching back perhaps two to four million years, were hunter-gatherer cultures. These cultures of small groups of humans lived a timeless existence compared to modern man. Nothing changed for 100,000’s of years! The only visible indications of time were the cycles of the moon and the cycles of the year. Women’s menstruation matched the monthly cycle of the Moon. The hunting seasons and gathering seasons repeated the same every year. The seasons…Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter…came around regularly…the same every year. . It was the predictability of the seasons and the abundance and bounty that Nature provided that gave humans a chance to exist and evolve. To early humans, the Powers of Nature were evidence of the beneficent nature of “the gods”, and Nature taught man about the nature of Reality. These forces of Nature were themselves soon seen as Divine Powers. Among them, the Moon and her cycle were the silver Queen of the Sky, the Goddess Herself, who ruled fertility of the women, sexuality, joy in life, pleasure, nurturance, home and hearth, the instinctive needs of the body-mind, the balance of life in Nature (the Law of Predator and Prey), and Life and Death. . Since only women in these indigenous cultures could bear young, they took on some of the numinous quality of the Goddess. Women’s roles in tribal cultures embodied the Goddess in human life, and so Women were accorded respect by Males on a spiritual level. Their specific roles in their cultures were the gifts of the Goddess: the nurturing of children, sharing in group activities, holding their extended families together, homemaking, cooking, gathering food, and being lovers for and givers of pleasure to their men. Families were large and extended, with multiple generations living together and supporting one another. Men were hunters and warriors, defending their homes and families. The Women grounded their cultures in the fertility and abundance of the Earth, while the work of Men was to protect and support their Women and Children. . The qualities of the feminine were recognized as associated with the Goddess: intuitiveness, receptivity, creativity, groundedness, cycles, love, nurturing, feeling, emotions, physicalness, relationships, and community. Their spirituality, and that of the Goddess, was of the Earth Herself, as the wise women and medicine women communed with the Earth and the spirits of the Plants. Males in their roles, on the other hand, tended to be individualistic, less grounded, focused upon efficiencies and doing, active, tough, unemotional, and aggressive. They had to hunt and kill game and be prepared to fight hostile tribes and animals. Their spirituality tended to the realms beyond the physical, involving the use of hallucinogenic drugs and communion with the ancestors and the spirits of the animals. . The people related to their Nature gods, accepting the harshness of life and finding meaning in life. The Goddess was the goddess of not only birth, but death and war. She took some. She left some. But she gave the women babies too. Life was lived in cycles… just like the crops, the animals, the Sun (which was born and died each day), and the

Moon Herself as she passed through Her own cycles in the sky. In order to survive, each person in the tribe had his or her role and was valued, was needed. Each person found meaning in their life and their role in the tribe. The old died and became the tribe’s ancestors, who protected the land and the living. The tribe was bonded to their past through their ancestors and appealed to their gods for good hunting, healthy babies, and mild weather. . This pattern of living survived for hundreds of thousands of years even before the development of cultivation of the land, herding animals, and living in cities. And this pattern remains in the genes of humanity as an archetypal way of life that lends stability and emotional support to life. . This timeless era, living by the cycles of the Moon and the Seasons of the Year, is today called “The Eternal Round.” It is characterized by peaceful acceptance of the cycles of life…birth, growth, maturity, and death…and the feeling that life has meaning, that the experience of the body is deeply sensuous, pleasurable, joyful, without guilt or shame. This is living life from instinct and not ego. It is not a state of becoming or seeking, exploration or expansion of consciousness. It is a state of Being and contentment with simply living and meeting basic needs...hunger, sex, community, belonging, and comfort. This is, of course, Lunar consciousness. Lunar conscious is a state of mind in which the person lets go of their sense of self, or ego, and comes present in their life. They let go of the past and the future and focus on what is happening right now. The mind grows quiet and thoughts subside. They align with the Reality of this Moment, without striving or worrying about their futures or agonizing about their past. So we see that without the possibility of lunar consciousness, there is no possibility of happiness in life. . Solar consciousness is expansive, but on the other hand involves struggle and seeking, striving and failure, and separation from the state of peaceful acceptance of ordinary life. The ego is engaged, and a person can easily become lost in thoughts or emotional turmoil of insecurity, fear, feeling excluded, feeling unimportant etc. . In these early cultures...both hunter-gather and agricultural...myth and spirituality were identical. The oral stories told by the elders to tribal young held their myths of creation, the birth of the gods, the making of mankind, and the nature of the relationship between men and his gods. The wisdom of living of the tribe was also held in these tales. Animals and the tribe’s gods were featured actors of these tales as well as humans. There were many gods; each connected with some facet of nature…the wind, the fire, the earth, the waters, the thunderstorms, the rivers, trees and spirits…Nature IS the face of the Goddess. And life is good. . About 12,000 years ago, some tribes in Asia Minor and the Middle East began staying in one place and cultivating the rich soil of the rich alluvial plain of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Cities emerged here in this green and growing land, and people began specializing in the ways they earned their living. Hierarchies and government were invented. Religions centered on the Goddess and her “dying son/husband god”,

symbolizing the death of crops in the winter, started up with female priesthood. Time began to assume a linear character. The seasons still ruled agriculture, but storehouses kept the grains available years around, and trade began to move goods and food among regions. People living in the cities of this rich plain began to live in a different concept of time, freer from the cycles of the Moon and the seasons and freer from the lifestyles of the past 4 million years. Nature began then to become a thing to be exploited and not a living spiritual presence. . The hold of the Moon, the Goddess and the Eternal Round began to decline as Time began to assume a more linear character and the cycles of the year became less important because mankind learned to control their environments to protect themselves from the extremes of Nature; and trade, storage and preservation of foodstuffs were developed. Mankind could not control Nature, but we began to learn to “use” nature to build wealth and control some of the issues that came with being at the effect of Nature: death and sickness, cold or heat, floods, water for the crops, and so forth. Nature became less a spiritual power that determined Man’s fate and more a “resource” to be exploited for power or wealth. . These agriculture-oriented tribes were harassed by other nomadic tribes of the deserts and steppes which chose to become horse cultures or herders of cattle, sheep and goats. These nomadic tribes had to find grazing areas for their animals, and so often migrated into the settled areas of the fertile crescent. When they did, they brought a threat to the survival of the cities, because these desert tribes were warlike and often violent. These tribes lived in harsh environments beneath an open sky. Their nature gods were fierce and merciless, and thus their religions tended to be severe and unforgiving. And as the land upon which they grazed their crops was often dry and wild..masculine in character--not lush and green and feminine as the fertile river valleys...the gods of these places were given masculine identities. It was from these cultures that the fierce and unforgiving patriarchal religions began to grow. . Through the past 12,000 years, mankind has experienced many traumatic changes to its lifestyle. Through the 10,000 years until the Birth of Jesus Christ, war and tragedy stalked the striving civilizations of the Middle East, Europe, the Mediterranean, Persia, India and China. Life was unsure, short and brutal. Death by plagues carried by traders and invading armies swept across the planet killing millions each year. And then, during the 2,000 years following the birth of Christ, humans in Europe endured the stasis and dominion of the Catholic Church and other religious movements, including Judaism and Islam, while plague and armies again stormed across the land. Humankind began to look to the Sky Gods to rescue them from the suffering of life on earth. . Man’s connection to the cycles of the year and the Moon over these thousands of years was lost, and many began to experience life as never-ending struggle towards Divine forgiveness and escape from life on Earth. Only the Church, Temple or Mosque and the traditions of feudalism promised salvation and escape. Endurance of life’s tragedies and suffering would be rewarded by an eternity in Heaven. Religion and living obediently within the protection of some feudal lord became the means to the only security in life.

However, that religion now was patriarchal…not matriarchal. . First, the heavenly Father had to be placated, absolutely obeyed, and one’s sinfulness forgiven. And the price of that was good behavior as defined by the Church. Good behavior required that the natural instincts of the human being be denied, repressed, and replaced by the ethical rules and ideals of a dogmatic church theology. . These patriarchal religions made the Goddess and what she symbolized a symbol of sinfulness and denial by the Sky God. It was Eve who disobeyed God and tempted Man into disobeying God in the Garden, for example, in the Christian Book of Genesis. In the Christian myth of Original Sin, a wound was given to humanity that even today remains as a source of the loss of love of the body, the sacredness of sex and pleasure, the love and respect of Nature, the cycles of time and the meaning they brought to life. Birth became the doorway to a world of suffering. Death ended the suffering. But suffering on earth was rewarded with a Heavenly home for good behavior and believing in the theology of the Church. The result was a never-ending motive to seek within Western society. This wound drove man out of the Eternal Round, out of peaceful abiding on the Earth, out of unconsciousness. This wound drove Mankind towards a more conscious future...but at the cost of peace of mind, acceptance of self, and the ability to relax into life on the earth and stop striving. . Modern western society has passed through several revolutions in roles for men and women…but especially women. Today, women’s labor force participation rate rose dramatically in the 20th Century from only about 15 percent during the 1800’s, extended families and tribal groupings began to break up and be replaced by two parent families and even single-parent with child families. Children began to spend more time alone, without supervision or nurturing. More and more began to be taken care of by hired nannies and babysitters. Focus within the family shifted from the Mother’s role to the wealth building and labor market activities of the adults. Individualism supplanted community and communal activities. . In this transition, over thousands of years to a more patriarchal society, much has been lost to Western societies. From community and intimate relationships with ones tribe, we have moved to a society in which the individual is largely isolated and has few close friends and more superficial relationships. Our families must be mobile, like those nomadic tribes in the old days, and we follow the work opportunities. But moving increases our isolation and reduces our access to the support of extended families. Greater emphasis is therefore placed upon young adults, who have little parenting experience, less life wisdom, and little time to devote to parenting, to support one another and their children. . Greater stress has been placed upon women in marriages and partnerships as they have moved out into the work place seeking the fulfillment of careers. They not only have to support their husbands’ needs, but they pursue their own and try to maintain home and families. Less time is available for traditional feminine roles of nurturing and spending time with their children.

. With less time in the home, Western food habits have changed. Now, most spend a large portion of their income on commercially prepared food. Families now spend far less time together and less often eat together or spend time talking about their days or problems. . The end result of these changes has been a tremendous increase in stress and deprivation; too many people living without nurture, without the guidance and support of experienced elders, without community, without real intimacy, without guiltless physical pleasure, without the grounding of the feminine center to mankind’s lifestyle. This stress has lead to pathologies, to psychological and spiritual unwellness in society. . The two great elements of the Monomyth, the archetypal process of psychological and spiritual healing in the psyche are the Quest (or Hero’s Journey) and the Eternal Return. But without the spiritual and psychological recognition and honoring of the Goddess, the power of the Moon, the importance of the cycles of time in our lives, both men and women find themselves on a perpetual quest without fulfillment, without peace, without end, without self discovery…because they must always continue on to the next issue, the next goal, the next achievement. Neither men nor women today can relax into the present, stop struggling, stop accumulating wealth, stop seeking power, stop seeking security, stop seeking for something that might give life meaning, because there is no place of peace and meaning to reach any more, no stopping the Quest. As soon as we try to stop, our restlessness, sense of guilt or shame, our feeling of unworthiness, our unfulfilled need to feel special (egotism), drives us on seeking adventure, power, love, or security again. In fact, the seeking process itself fragments and shatters the psyche. The guilt and shame associated with our needs to experience life physically, through sensation and pleasure, have stolen from us our peace, our innocence, and our ability to stop the struggle for love, safety, and self worth. For it is only through our bodies, and our instinctual nature, that the ecstasy of being alive can be felt, that we can feel alive, that we can stop struggling, and that we can experience life as pleasure. . The lost treasure is the Eternal Return: the timeless realm of community life, life in the body, the joy of family and tribal wisdoms, respect for Nature and the pleasures of the flesh, family, relationships, meaning to life that is found outside the mindless accumulation of wealth and neverending busyness of the mind, being at peace with one’s gods and not living in fear of spiritual damnation, and peaceful acceptance of the cycles of life…birth, growth, decline, death, life as it is. All of us need to get back in touch with the Moon. . There is nothing else to find on our Quests for Meaning but a state of peace, wellness and grounding, where life can be experienced as pleasure, joy and abundance…the realm of the Goddess, the rulership of the Moon. We are constantly called to engage with our instinctual nature, to be well. But life constantly calls us on Quests, to maintain our egoic nature, to test our wills, to re-engage with our sense of self and personal power. We may find new meaning, but we stretch ourselves away from our peaceful state of

unconsciousness, of routine and family life. We need to come back to it, periodically, to rest and wait until life calls us outside our selves once again. Life lived simply and directly, in relationship and community, fulfills us. But it is no longer enough for modern Mankind. We constantly make ourselves unwell by our ambition and seeking, driven by insecurity, fear and need for love.