Stalking the Goddess by Mark Carter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Truth be told I recieved this bok as a free copy from the author. He told me that when I do a review even if it was harsh or critical there was no such thing as a bad review. In fact a les then glowing article that is realistic might help sell more book. Well I am going to have to let the author down and be brutally honest. THis book was totally awesome! Not only has Mark Carter delivered a tour de force analysis of Robert Graves "THe White Goddess has done a sdamn good job of explaining it.
"The Whiote Goddess" long a staple of the neo-pagan movement has been the starting point point of the pagan revival. Without his input Wicca or Paganism might not lopok the way it does today. Of course even Pagans will tell you that all the theories in Graves work have been smashed to bit by academics, the book introduces the reader to poetic thinking. For me the White Goddess was an eye opener. Everything PAgan that I read stemmed from it. I also found iot one of the most confusing books to read. Mark Carter exp-l;ained the book well. It should be note that when Robert Graves sent the book in to be publish that a gust of wind knocked the work from his hands. He hastily put it together and submitted it to the publisher.
"White Goddess" is not supposed to be taken as history rather it is supposed to taken as a poetic understanding of history. Robert Graves maintains that he wrote the book in an "Analeptic trance" this sort of trance put one in touch wioth deeper ancestral memories. True poetry was written to the muse or the Goddess who came to Britain by way of several bands of Greeks and Indo-Europeans. Of course none of Mr. Graves theories could ever be proven. I fact many have been disproven. THe argument of a poetic understanding serves to help deflect the criticsm. Even his analeptic tance which took him three week to write the book was a lot longer. More like several years. The first draft of his writing was called "Roebuck in the Thicket" this was later revised and expanded into the "THe White Goddess". Funny that I remember reading about "Roebuck in the Thicket" in connection with Robert Cochrane.
Robert Graves started the theory that Eueope and most of the world was in fact matriarchal and worshipped the Goddess. Women were in control of everything and men were no where near as powerful. With the coming of patriarchal invaders from the East and Greece men rose in positions of power. In an act of Iconotropy the male dominated religions including Christianity stole from this relgions and it's holidays. It si clear that Robert Graves did some. let us say biased researched. He would pick and choose from different reserachers and take what he found use ful, at tiomes even bending the information to fit his theory. Some authors that influenced him were Edward Davies, Margaret Murray and James Frazier. Margaret Murray was the Egyptologist who made the claim that Witch craft was a Pagan survival. He theory was pooh poohed and Graves would add to it saying that not only was witchcraft a survival but also the Druidic Bards were another survival. James Frazier wrote the Golden Bough which spoke of the sacrifical king. THis too would be lifted by Graves. Edward Davies believed that Druids were desecended from Israelite Phoenicians from teh Middle East.
THese theories have been bashed. THe Druid bards had long been influenced by Christianity and the Greek/Roman myth that filtered into Europe. THe Caballah of the 10th century infiltrated the baric schools as well. MAny Druidic stories that we have come to know are in fact no more then a few hundred years old with many revisions at that. ANyone getting into Paganism would be well advised to red this book either before or alongside RObert Graves work. Some parts of the Robert Graves book are very hard to understand, Mark Carter explains it in depth and makes it understandable. More over the theories have been proven false. The research is well documented with footnote going through out the book. "Stalking the Goddes" is scholarly for the laymnan and an be difficult at time. Best to focus and stay focused when reading this one.
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