The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth by Robert Graves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It is a book that is considered a classic, written by a first class author known for his scholarly contributions. Yet there are some interesting stories surrounding this classic. It is rumored that while Robert Graves was on his way to get the manuscript published a huge gust of wind came by and blew it out of his hands. He got it all together and just turned it in, hence the incomprehensibility of the outline of the book. Many people in the scholarly academic community wrote this work off as historically inaccurate. No less several practitioners of Wicca and witchcraft will note that it is valuable in teaching people how to think poetically. That being said it is very worthy of note that this book was the blue print and a main text for the Wiccan revival of witchcraft heralded by Gerald Gardener.
Examining the various mythologies across the board inclusive of Welsh, Irish, Middle Eastern, Greek and Roman.
Starting off with the bards of the British Isles, these Druids were classed into two types of bard. One was official that relied on memorized poems that praised the king and god. The other class traveled from town to town inventing their own stories and songs often in praise of the female muse. That was poetry's original purpose the language of the white Goddess, the moon goddess. Prior to the rise of patriarchal society the world especially the Danites or Tuatha De Dannan worshiped the white moon goddess. With the Achean invasion of Greece and the imposition of their trio of Deities Zeus,Hades and Poseidon. The Danaan moved from Greece and moved to the British isles.
In Mesopotamia she was called Belini. With the change over to a patriarchal society the name got changed to Bel. The Canaanite deity Baal Tzaphon used to be called Baalita Tzaphonia the Goddess of the North. Now that was know that the White Goddess was the original creatrix, where did the male deity come into play.
Hercules in many legends in many locals was considered like the Sun king. Or more correctly the Oak King. The Oak king often times started out as a shepherd. Zeus also started as a shepherd and as the Oak King he could hurtle lightning bolts. Hercules also lead a platoon of twelve leaders or soldiers. He had a twin bother who was the holly king who had a spear for a hand. The Oak King rules during the spring and warm summer months and is then sacrificed to the White Goddess. This is usually the king. Once the oak king is slain and eaten. He lives on in everybody else. The Holly King now takes over ruling during the winter months. Later on he will receive the same treatment as the Oak King. Sometimes the kingly sacrifice happened every seven years and at other times he could also send a substitute.
Proving that old society was matriarchal, it was the queen who determined sovereignty. The king that wanted to be king had to mate with the Queen. The Danae were located in Greece and in particular Crete which was pre Achean. It is believed that the alphabet that we use originated from Crete. This is where the Phoenicians got it and it is the source of the Druid alphabet. There is a legend that Thoth or Mercury invented the alphabet by looking at storks. The Greek poetic tradition was kept alive in British witchcraft.
Despite the repression of the Goddess by male dominated religions the Goddess appears to be resurrecting. The Catholics venerated the Virgin Mary. Miriam means from sea. Aphrodite came from the sea. We can see the connection. Over all this is a great book for understanding the Goddess movements and Wicca. This comes out as the roots.
The author does waste some time with beth-louis-nihon alphabet. Such riddle play served to bore me to death. It turned me off on what could have been a great book. This made the book one of the worst literary experiences that I have had to endure. Yet it also inspired me to connect with the Goddess and the feminine divine. Inspired by the triple muse. I am ready to write more poetry and read more Robert Graves.
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