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This paper was stimulated by a tour of the historic sites of Crete with my wife in October 2009. Our guide did not know why did the Minoan culture changed around 1,450BC from a co-operative, matriarchal one, to a competitive, patriarchal one which died out about 3.5 centuries later, around 1,100BC. This question is important, not only for Greek archaeology, history and tourism, but also for the world. Finding an acceptable answer may help us to learn how to prevent our civilization from suffering a similar fate.
Adonis Vasilakis’s guide book (1a) state that the Myceneans had a patriarchal culture and had been trading peacefully with Crete for centuries. Around 1,450BC they invaded Crete and imposed their culture. But the questions still remain of why the Mycenean culture was different, and why it’s influence put an end to the matriarchal Minoan civilisation that had been sustained for the previous two millennia. This paper explores a line of research which may lead to an acceptable answer.
1 Evidence of a peace-loving, co-operative, matriarchal society pre 1,450BC
a) Absence of protective fortifications around the Cretan palaces (unlike Mycenae).
b) ‘Matriarchial elements deriving either from the Minoan tradition or from per-Mycenaean religion can be detected in the sphere of religion. The goddess most commonly mentioned is the Potnia (Lady) who protected important economic activities. The female figure continued to be pre-eminent in religious iconography, as goddess, priestess or female adorant. The deity mainly worshipped at this period was the goddess with raised arms, figurines of whom are found in the sanctuaries of Crete. The female deity retained her fertility, maternal, and naturalistic character, in accordance with earlier Minoan models (goddess with naked breast, goddess with birds, plants, animals, heavenly symbols, and depictions of the goddess as nursing a child. (1b)
c) Worship of the bull as sacred. Rows of horn symbols on the staircases in Knossos. Acrobats playing with them in bull games. Europa riding on one, as depicted on coins, copied into the modern Greek 2 Euro coin. Myth of the Hercules’ labour to capture the Minotaur, ride on its back across the sea to Greece and set it free. No evidence of killing bulls pre 1,450BC.
d) Many pictures on frescos and vases of ladies, women driving chariots, and singers processing with farmers to the harvest (1c).
e) Fresco of women in the front row, watching festivities before the shrine, with men watching from the olive grove behind. (copy in the covered room above the throne room of Knossos) Similar miniature picture of the tripartite shrine with women officiating.
f) Terracotta group of 3 women dancing to music played by the musician in the centre. (Palaikastros) (1d) Figurine of a nursing goddess holding the divine infant before her. (Knossos) (1e)
2 Evidence of a competitive, warring, patriarchal society post 1,450BC
a) Finds of weapons of war, such as helmets of bronze and boar tusks and swords
b) Picture on a sarcophagus of a bull tied to
a table being sacrificed. (1450-1,000BC)
see picture (1g)
c) The later myth of the Minotaur which
had developed a man’s body, and which
devoured men, and had to be killed.
(Note the contrast with the earlier myth
of Hercules’ labour to set it free)
d) Quoting Adonis Vasilaris (1h) : ‘The capture of Crete in the mid 15th century BC by Mycenaens was the result of the increasing influence exercised by Mycenae in the Aegean world. The process culminated in the 13th century BC in the Mycenaen ‘koine’. The spread of new cultural elements brought about changes that effected the role of the sexes. Archaeological finds, the Linear B texts, and the Homeric poems demonstrate that Mycenaean society was articulated along patriarchal lines….Power and authority were mainly in the hands of men. All the secular offices indicated by words on the tablets were held by males.’
e) The unsustainability of the resulting mixture of Minoan/Mycenaen civilisation, which ended 3.5 centuries later around 1100BC, followed by a dark age.
3 Astrological theory of Great Ages – the peaceful Age of Taurus
I postulate that the question in the title of this paper can be answered using the theory of the great Ages of astrology, each of which last 2,145 years. I became interested in this subject when I heard a talk on the great Ages in 2006 by a professional astrologer, Phoebe Wyss. (2) my wife. We both made a tour of the Peloponnese in November 2008, when our guide did not know why the Mycenaean culture died out around 1100BC. This is basically the same question, and it stimulated me to write a paper dated 1.3.09 entitled ‘History Explained by Astrology’. (3) It briefly covers the whole 6,000 years of western history from 4,000BC to the present time, comprising 4 great Ages, Taurus, Aries, Pisces and 2 centuries of Aquarius.
This paper takes the above paper as read. It considers only at the first half of western history, 4,000-1,000BC, and concentrates on Crete. It assumes that the reader accepts the central axiom of astrology: namely that the position of the sun, moon and planets affects the behaviour of living creatures on earth. The mechanism for how this works is not yet fully understood scientifically. The most plausible theory is that the life force is transmitted like radio waves from extragalactic space, emanating differently from each of the 12 Zodiac directions. The planets act like mobile phone masts, reinforcing or attenuating the 12 archetypal energies. The mixture of the life force energy and the quality of time hence changes in cycles within cycles, some short some long. The cycles of the great Ages last 2,145 years in the same sign and its polarity. This cosmic energy is weak, just a tendency. It does not appear manifest at all places at all times because sometimes other forces, (such as cultural habits) are stronger, eclipsing and suppressing it.
The great Age of Taurus (the bull, and the Ox in Chinese astrology) was from about 4,660BC until 2,515BC. This corresponds to the Cretan Final Neolithic period 4,500-3,200BC and first half of the Pre-Palatial period 3,200-1900BC. The dominant cosmological energy of the life force at that time was the Taurus archetype. Taurus is the fixed earth sign. It is female (yin) ruled by Venus, so it gave rise to a grounded, matriarchal, peace-loving energy. This explains why everyone (both men and women) tended to co-operate for the common good on a scale not since repeated. This enabled the construction of the 100 palaces in Crete, the pyramids and tombs in Egypt, and many other colossal works.
For the last third (715 years) of each Age the polarity sign tends to dominate. The polarity of Taurus is Scorpio, fixed water. Other names for the Scorpio archetype are the eagle (which was worshipped because it flies highest) and the snake, (which was worshipped because it is the only animal to transform itself by shedding its skin). The Scorpio archetype was represented in Crete by the snake goddess, who holds snakes in her hands, associated with sex (fertility) and death, see picture right (1i) She is sometimes called Lato, the mother of Apollo.
This explains why from about 3,230-2,515BC (and perhaps thereafter from habit), dead ancestors were worshipped in Crete, and the tombs were built in the valley of Kings and Queens in Egypt. The Scorpio eagle explains the significance of the double headed eagle in Minoan culture, and the similar shaped double headed axe which represents death. The 4 fixed signs (Taurus, earth, Leo, fire, Scorpio, water, and Aquarius, air) are particularly significant symbolically. They are represented by the gryphon (eagle’s head on lion’s body) and the sphinx, which is the water bearer man’s (Aquarius) head on a lion’s, (Leo) body, with eagle’s (Scorpio) wings and bull’s (Taurus) hooves.
4 The warring Age of Aries
The great age of Aries lasted from about 2,515 to 370BC, when the cosmological life force energy changed from Taurus to Aries archetype. Aries is cardinal fire, the most male (yang) sign, ruled by Mars, the god of war. The stone age became the bronze age, and weapons of war were made. Unless habits were stronger (as they were in Crete until 1,450BC) the snake goddess Lato had to make way for her son, Apollo, who killed her symbolically as the Python at Delphi. In the subsequent Piscean age (370BC to 1775AD) symbolised by the fish, the characters in this myth were renamed by Christianity as St George killing the dragon. This 4,500 year old Arian subjugation by men of the divine female became the habit and still is in male dominated western societies to this day. It was this habit which put an end to the Minoan civilization 3,000 years ago, and which is now threatening the life support system of our whole planet.
The change from Taurian to Arian energy manifested in Egypt with the construction of an avenue of rams head several km long at Karnak, and a series of Pharohs named Rameses. The Israelites were forbidden to worship the golden calf. In Crete the Minoan culture became more organised, with the ‘creation of ruling groups’ which built the palaces from 1900BC. To quote from the book on the Mount Juktas Minoan Peak Sanctuary: ‘The cult of Minoan goddess moved from a rural to an urban environment. …The importance of clans waned with the rise of powerful royal families, gradually leading to the creation of centralised economies and centralised control. The palace now controlled the economy as it was to control religion, using the one to support the other…The excavation has provided new information on the evolution of Minoan religion from the introverted practice of dead ancestor cult in the Proto-Minoan to Middle Minoan (2,300-1900BC) tombs to the public worship in peak sanctuaries.’
Old habits die hard. 2,000 years of Taurian co-operation between women and men in Crete had become habitual, and was stronger than the cosmic Arian energy of the great Age. Co-operation between the sexes therefore continued for a further 4 centuries undisturbed, because Crete is an island. However, on the mainland there were many warring tribes who had never lived in a co-operative society so had not acquired that habit. They went round raiding and pillaging, forcing the Myceneans and other cultures on the mainland to fortify their cities, probably before 2,000BC.
The Mycenaeans were Arian men, testosterone dominated and power hungry. They traded with Crete but could not invade until they had developed sufficient warship technology to do so around 1,450BC. They imposed their Arian energy of progress (eg Linear B) but also competition and strife. Instead of being worshipped, the bull (representing the long gone age of Taurus) had to be conquered, sacrificed, and made into a monster Minotaur which had to be killed, as shown in the picture dated 550BC (1j). The resulting conflict between the indigenous Minoans and the invaders eventually put an end to the Minoan civilisation 3.5 centuries later around 1100BC.
For about the last third of the end of the Aries age, (1085-370BC) the cosmological energy changed from fixed to mutable, (as described in the above paper 3) and the polarity sign of Aries, Libra, tended to dominate. Libra is symbolised by the balance of justice, (explaining golden balances found in tombs of Agemenmon and others) and its ruler is Venus. This explains the end of the dark age around 800BC, the development of the ‘Law Code ‘ of Gortys, inscribed on the walls around 500BC and the creation of organised city states with male dominated hierarchies. It also explains the beauty in Greek classical art, which was subsequently copied by the Romans and Italians, but never equalled.
As mentioned above, habits can sometimes eclipse the cosmic energy, as illustrated in different countries. In Spain the 4,500 years old Arian habit of killing bulls never stopped and continues to this day in public bullfights. However, in India bulls and cows were not allowed to be killed because it was against the non-violent Hindu and Jain religions. The habit of worshipping them as sacred has therefore continued for 6,000 years to this day. The habit of women displaying their difference from men by going around bare-breasted was not unique to Crete. It was part of the Taurian archetype, so was world wide. It was stopped by the Mycenaean invasion of Crete, but continues to this day in Bali, because they are Hindu. Legend has it that their culture escaped from the pursuing Muslims many centuries ago by their ancestors being carried across the sea from Java by a Garuda bird.
a) The inclusion of this type of astrological perspective into archaeology, history and
tourism to give those disciplines a contextual framework for their information,
explanatory power, a dating tool and new meaning.
b) The researching of similar perspectives for each of the subsequent Cretian eras,
to give each of them the same benefits, namely the Archaic (from 630BC)
Classical (from 490BC), Hellenistic (from 323BC), Greco-Roman (from 67BC)
first Byzantine (from330AD), Arab (from 824AD) Mid-Byzantine (from 961AD)
Venitian (from 1204AD), Ottoman (from 1669AD) and 20th century (from
c) The adding of these astrological perspectives to the tourist guide repertoire to make tourist visits to historic sites more interesting and meaningful, thereby promoting tourism on Crete.
I would be pleased to engage in discussion of these ideas with anyone interested. Contact me at the following addresses: 22, Saxon Rd Hove BN3 4LE Sussex, UK, 01273 417997, firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Book ‘Minoan Crete – from Myth to History’ by Adonis Vasilakis a)p238, b)p239. c)p194, d) p240, e) p239, f) p235, g) 229, h)p239, i) p202, j) p50.
2 Article by Phoebe Wyss ‘ The Age of Aquarius- What’s New about the New Age? Jan 2006 Published on www.astrophoebe.com/articles
3 Paper by John Kapp: ‘History Explained by Astrology’ Jan 2009 Published on section 9.35 of my website www.reginaldkapp.org
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