Switching to Goddess tells not only how and why the world’s become a sorry mess, but also what to do about it. War, terrorism, poverty, all can be traced to one single event: the switch, about 6000 years ago, from goddess- to god-worship. This switch rumbled over the landscape when a large part of the planet turned to desert, and hundreds of thousands of the world’s first farmers starved to death. The switch from goddess to god helped lock into place a new starvation culture, one that might have faded away once its usefulness had passed. Instead, this new culture became set in stone and passed down from generation to generation. Even in the midst of plenty, the deep-rooted and largely unconscious fear of starvation haunts its bearers. Starvation culture is now threatening to wipe us off the face of the earth. The fix is in coming to terms with starvation culture, ditching the gods, and switching back to goddesses. This book tells how to do that.
Jeri Studebaker holds a master’s degree in prehistory/archaeology and has studued the origins of agriculture, cultural anthropology and ancient Minoan art. She lives in Maine in US.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
NEW REVIEW of *Switching to Goddess*
5.0 out of 5 stars. Happier lives in more egalitarian times
By Deborah Fleming on February 25, 2016
"Switching to Goddess combines colloquial style with extensive archeological research to articulate the thesis/hypothesis that when people worshiped a female-identified deity they lived more fulfilling, happier lives in more egalitarian, peaceful societies. She takes to task the monotheistic "war-god religions" of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam which have never inspired egalitarianism or brought about peaceful co-existence even though they all profess sharing and respect for others. The book is worth reading for its interesting (and entertaining) content which makes the academic research available to lay readers as well as for the accounts of goddess religions and explanations of iconography. The bibliography is extensive." ~ Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/Switching-Goddess-Humanitys-Ticket-Future/product-reviews/1846941342/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_summary?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=helpful
Switching to Goddess â€“ Humanityâ€™s Ticket to the Future, by Jeri Lyn Studebaker
Reviewed by GERALDINE CHARLES, Editor, Goddess Pages, in Issue 11 of Goddess Pages (June 21, 2009)
I am normally a silent reader, not one who leaps into the air, fist clenched, shouting "YES!" every now and again. My unusual cheerleading behaviour was entirely due to the fact that I was so happy to read a book about Goddess that actually proposes some real, radical solutions to the mess our world is in right now. Books that tell me about ancient Goddesses are still good, but I was really starting to yearn for more.
The greatest thing about the book is - quite apart from the fact that it might help to save the planet and us all - its readability and the feeling of breathless adventure I got from it. What's coming next? How can this work? I was particularly keen to get to the part where I would find out just how in Goddess' name we were going to get from here to there, how the big switch could happen. We need more books, and more thinking, along these lines, and we need them very, very soon. To have more books with this kind of clarity and readability would be fantastic.
Above is the short review I wrote many months ago; after I was lucky enough to have a preview of the book. I couldnâ€™t wait to get my hands on it for real, and wasnâ€™t disappointed when I did. For if it was time a year ago to move on from re-discovering Goddess towards doing something, then thatâ€™s even truer today. Time to figure out what we actually do with all this information. Time to start moving in the direction of saving humanity from the mess weâ€™re in, and to use our knowledge and our love of Goddess to begin planning how to shift the world in Her direction and make things better for all of us.
Jeri Lyn Studebaker has done just that with this book, suggesting ways we can really survive and thrive on this planet â€“ as the title suggests, by switching to Goddess before it is too late.
The book is entertaining as well as informative â€“ Jeri wears her considerable learning lightly and although she draws from archaeology and anthropology, psychology and a number of other academic disciplines to make a very convincing case for how patriarchy and the gods of war have led to our current intolerable state of affairs, and to suggest a plan for how we can change things for the better, at no time is the book anything other than a very good read.
Itâ€™s radical, certainly, but thatâ€™s what we need right now. The laughs are a bonus; Jeriâ€™s writing reminded me several times of novels by Fannie Flagg - the humour in pointing out peopleâ€™s foibles is gentle and the effect is both comical and loving. I laughed out loud at passages like this:
â€œBy six I could decline verbs like stone (to death) and smite (smitheth, smote, smitten). All our ministers spoke non-stop about Father, Son and Holy Ghost, never about Mother, Daughter and Holy Grandmother.â€
But even while laughing, I was learning a great deal: about the shift in climate that led to the world as it is today, of which Iâ€™d read a little but much of this material was new to me. I loved another convincing challenge to the ridiculous linear view of history (in which we have made great progress since Ugh in his cave first started banging rocks together, while wifey made mighty-hunter mammoth stew). We knew, or suspected, that in fact the world was doing very nicely, thank you, with peaceful, Goddess-loving cultures which valued equality and motherhood, until that climatic shift about six thousand years ago which led indirectly to a culture of starvation, to the patriarchies and warmongering of today. The difference here is that thereâ€™s actually a plan for what we might just do to change all that.
The book gives a great deal of evidence of peaceful cultures which have somehow managed to survive â€“ barely â€“ such as the egalitarian, free-loving Moso in the Himalayas. The Moso have a Mother Goddess, and entirely the right idea about babies (Iâ€™ve never understood how a child could be â€œillegitimateâ€ â€“ we all have a mother, after all). There are a number of other examples given; the Basques, with their earth-dwelling Goddess, the once wealthy Hopi, with their several goddesses. All, of these cultures, from which we could learn so much, are disappearing fast in todayâ€™s world, sadly.
â€œImagine: a world without war.â€
How enjoyable, also, to have science actually backing up these healthy ideas, with evidence that maybe weâ€™re not so much like chimpanzees, who are known to fight, to kill and eat chimp babies. That in fact humans are genetically as much like the bonobo as they are the chimpanzee, that bonobos are peaceful, egalitarian and sexy. Perhaps our society gets the science and the â€œdiscoveriesâ€ it deserves, so that newer findings that maybe humans are motivated as much by altruism as violence are just what we need right now â€“ and the evidence has been coming in right on time.
Another scientific discovery used here to fascinating effect is the role played by the hormone oxytocin â€“ enhancing relaxation and decreasing the bodyâ€™s stress responses. I knew about the role of this hormone in stimulating uterine contractions but not that it is actually released in the act of giving birth and triggers the love a mother feels for her newborn â€“ which makes total sense to me.
Jeri is not afraid to take on the patriarchal religionists and explains precisely how the jealous old father gods, who prefer punishing to loving us, have got us into the mess weâ€™re in, at least in part by the genocide of any people who didnâ€™t go along with The Book; the destruction of any people whose deities loved them unconditionally, as a good mother, rather than an angry dad.
And at last we come to â€œThe Fixâ€ â€“ a peaceful world, environmentally conscious, creative â€“ the kind of world I suspect only people who recognise the Earth as our Mother can create â€“ and Jeri doesnâ€™t just assume that we can wave a magic wand and head over there â€“ thereâ€™s a structure here, and a workable one, although a lot of people would have to be convinced first and Iâ€™m not sure if my glass of optimism is full enough â€“ but what do I have to lose? What do any of us have to lose?
Â©2009, Geraldine Charles
You can obtain signed copies Switching to Goddess from http://jeristudebaker.com/howtoorder.html, and also, of course, online from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk.
http://www.goddess-pages.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=593&Itemid=1&ed=15#ixzz0JSVPa0aO&D ~ Geraldine Charles, Edtior, Goddess Pages, Reviewed in Issue 11 of Goddess Pages (June 21, 2009)
Z BUDAPEST'S Review of Switching to Goddess, in Goddess Magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 1, January, 2009, pp 6-8.
Ever since Marija Gimbutas has passed away thereâ€™s been no clear voice coming from the archeology community; which made a lot of the Goddess findings. In fact, I have not heard about a mainstream Goddess oriented book with facts, figures and a decent scientific background.
Sure thereâ€™s a constant flow of books about the Goddess, but you find they are the same books over and over again. The proverbial elementary everlasting 101 Goddess course, with a slightly new spin.
Most new books are about old books. Books about books.
We writers must mind the bottom line. We are told that it is okay to talk down to the readers, because they are all languishing in an ever lastingly starting point in their evolution. I hope this has changed. But I think the time has come to name names, show us the big picture, reveal the Goddess as a social force who yields peace and civilization. Do we dare?
Well Jeri Studebaker dared. When I picked up her book I thought if she comes anywhere near of her title, Iâ€™ll be happy.
This is a revolutionary book. The writer is fearless. A good sized book, with lots of references and quotes at the end. In fact I loved the last part most, because when you read the book all the way and you come to the last 200 pages, thatâ€™s where she has put the ammunition against the existing male gods holy books and their claims.
I got myself so fired up read this book that I just jumped up and yelled, â€œI must call up this woman. I must tell her how much I loved this work. She is one of us! Yeah!â€
And so I did.
Jeri was a little surprised. I asked if I can talk to the Goddess Jeri, she giggled and we were off to a good start.
What is her thesis? Simple, and witches have been saying it for many years. The male gods must be removed. Jeri traces them to about 4,000 BC. She calls them the players in the starvation religion.
Starvation gods are the war gods, war gods are evil. They are created by men, but then they live on, scaring people with hell and suffering after death. They have a wanton record of slaying thousands of people who they see as enemies; even attacking pregnant women ripping them open. They institutionalized rage against the woman.
Enemies are big business. We know that, each war has their profits. Fear is the basis of this war the Lord controls, and they are almost everywhere on the earth. With exception, like the little Himalayan Moso tribes, where they worship a Guiding Goddess, and do not have marriage as we know it. Jeri tells you about a couple of other Goddess cultures and goes into deep detail with pictures.
She said, before 4,000 BC, no wars and no hierarchy existed anywhere. Peace reigned. People modeled themselves after their Guiding Goddess who was behaving like a healthy Mother to her children. Jeri comes out and says, â€œYouâ€™ll be like the mothers model, or you'll all go down with the planet.â€
For those of us who like to think that tolerance towards all faiths is the best way to go, Jeri busts that bubble. When it spreads and endorses war, it should not be tolerated. If it does not enhance society, create peace amongst the folks, it should not be tolerated.
But of course she doesnâ€™t think we should go out and smite them with pestilence and slay them all; and their cattle. This is the big difference.
But we can all switch to the Goddess. Right now.
What Jeri isnâ€™t saying, is that we as women we are the culture. As
women we can give our energy or withhold it. We are the world. What
women endorse will live. We create our own Goddesses, and model
ourselves naturally after Mother model. Women who are not biological
mothers still have the tendency and bond reaction when stressed. Instead of kill and kill what we donâ€™t understand.
So if women switch to Goddess, which is what the Goddess Movement has done for 30 years now, they will have found the way to improving life on earth.
But donâ€™t take it from me. She has the facts and the hair raising direct quotes from the so called sacred books of male war gods, which I never knew about. She gives us directions. She actually is an activist about knowledge, preps us with responses to the most often posed challenges.
Ok. I asked her next to teach in the D.U. She said yes. I want you to have groundbreaking teachers like Jeri, women who are Switching to Goddess. So, now we have a very powerful and interesting new class in the D.U. for you. Join Jeri there and she will turn you into Action Heras. Jeri knows how to switch to the Goddess.
Get your own copy of Switching to Goddess, Humanities Ticket to the Future by J. Lyn Studebaker.
Z Budapest ~ Z Budapest, Z was born in Hungary, but moved to the U.S. as a teenager. She is one of the founding mothers of the U.S. Goddess Movement and an author of several books of her own.
Friday, January 02, 2009
REVIEW: Switching to Goddess, by JUDITH LAURA
Switching to Goddess: Humanityâ€™s Ticket to the Future by J. Lyn Studebaker (O Books 2008), trade paperback.
This is a treasure of a book. Written with a light touch, at times humorous enough to make you lol, Switching to Goddess by J. Lyn Studebaker brings together scholarship now known about how Goddess religions were suppressed in antiquity and suggests ways we can bring Goddess back for our own well-being and for the survival of the planet.
Studebaker (who blogs as Athana on Radical Goddess Thealogy) doesn't mince words in her bold assessment of where "war-daddy god" worship has gotten us and why we need to return to the female divine, whose cultures have been associated with peace, equality, and risk-taking. She doesnâ€™t tip toe around difficult issues, and isnâ€™t afraid to directly and strongly criticize Christianity and the Bible, for example. Though she often writes in a slangy style, youâ€™d be wise not to be taken in by the flip language: Studebaker is no intellectual lightweight. The offbeat language helps make the book more accessible and enjoyable, but behind it a strong intellect and Goddess interpreter is at work.
Studebaker, who has completed all coursework for a PhD in cultural anthropology, has taught archeology and anthropology at Ohio State University and has a master's degree in prehistory and archeology. Before taking us on a worldwide tour (with pics) of ancient Goddess cultures in the Near East, the Indus Valley, Old Europe, Southeast Europe, and Japan, the author introduces us to cultures surviving today (also with pics) that have many traits in common with ancient Goddess societies. These surviving cultures include the Moso on the China-Tibet border, which served as a model for â€˜Shangri laâ€™ in James Hiltonâ€™s novel, Lost Horizon, and whose people eschew marriage for a system of "free love"; the Basques of the Pyrenees mountains on the Spain-France border, whose language and customs differ greatly from the rest of Europeâ€™s; and the Hopis and Pueblos, native to the American Southwest. As a point of comparison, Studebaker also discusses what she calls our "kissing cousins," the sexy, peaceful bonobos, who, along with more violent chimpanzees, are humans' closest primate relatives. Bonobo societies, she says, "look suspiciously like an animal version of guiding goddess societies...."
One of the great contributions of this book is its careful tracing of the change-over from the Mother-modeled guiding goddess to what Studebaker calls "war daddy," which includes not only Abrahamic monotheism headed by a male-only deity, but also belligerent, domineering male gods in polytheistic societies. In a chapter called "Good Times," the material under the subhead, "Just Any Olâ€™ Goddess Wonâ€™t Do" is one of my favorite parts of this book. Studebaker writes:
"The mere presence of goddesses in a society, however, doesnâ€™t guarantee peace, prosperity, and plums for breakfast....This is so important that Iâ€™ll probably repeat it more than once: just any old goddess wonâ€™t do. It has to be a special kind. For starters, it canâ€™t be one with a jealous god hanging over her right shoulder.... And above all it needs to be a guiding mother goddess who not only gives birth to everyone and everything in the universe (including any other gods and goddesses) but who also serves as a guide for our behavior."
This means that most goddesses that existed in pantheons after 4000 BC to 300 BC (depending on the culture) are no longer guiding goddess models. (This book uses the abbreviations BC and AD so I will use them in this review, rather than the BCE and CE sometimes used in discussing Goddess cultures.) Studebaker gives us some excellent, easy-to-understand, diagrams of this switchover from guiding goddess to war god cultures under a sub-head, "Who Popped Us in the Chops Ma?" in a chapter called "Bad Times." Figure 6.1, "Black Box" shows us when each culture entered what Studebaker calls the "Black Box," during which time the culture underwent drastic change but we canâ€™t (yet?) define exactly what happened to cause this change (although she does discuss several theories). Figure 6.2, "The Switch from Guiding Goddess to War Gods," shows at what points in time cultures in 5 different geographical areas entered the black box, and when they exited the box. Another fascinating time chart is in the chapter called "Home Again." Figure 9.1, "A Generalized Look at History, Goddesses, Gods, and Society," summarizes by time period (beginning in 10,000 BC and ending in the present) characteristics of religions compared with characteristics of societies.
Another of my favorite parts of this book are 3 sections in the chapter "Good Times," called "Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go," "Backlash," and "Tricky-Dickies." Studebaker recalls the initial publication of books in the 1980s about ancient Goddess cultures:
"The second someone suggested goddess was equal to god...all hell broke loose. The result: since the 1990s, a backlash of unprecedented proportions has raged against the Neolithic and Bronze-Age Great Mother Goddess."
She goes on to give examples (and names names) of professors of religion, anthropologists, archeologists, and a "writer-combo team" whose attitudes and books represent backlash against Goddess scholarship. Studebaker refutes what she calls their "folderol," and warns about the trickiness of the backlashersâ€™ tactics, writing:
"They throw page after page at us of confusing, stuffy, tangled academic language that boils down to this: before 4000 BC the world might not have worshipped goddesses. Which of course is something you can say about anything archeologists dig up....In archeology all we can ever do is go with our best bets."
She gives examples of backlasher claims, such as "just because a figurine is breast-bedecked doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s female"; or that breasts must be a certain size for the statue to be considered female even though the statue lacks a penis; or that even though figurines have two heads or two faces, one shouldnâ€™t assume they represent goddessesâ€“they could just be "ordinary women."
Yet another of my favs is the subhead "Bounceback #2 Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better," in the chapter, "Fight." Studebaker enumerates the many ways various culturesâ€™ gods, in order to gain power, tried to take over the Goddessâ€™s role of giving birth. Most of us are familiar with at least two examples of this: God (aka Yaweh) enables Adam to give birth from his rib to Eve, and Zeus gives birth to Athena from his forehead. In figure 7.1, "And the Dude Bore a Nine-Pound Blonde," she lists these plus 8 other births from various parts of godsâ€™ bodies in a number of cultures. She then discusses other stages of Goddess sabotage and obliteration that frequently followed.
Because war god religions are threatening to both people and the planet, and because it has been shown that human beings appear to be hardwired for religion of some sort, Studebaker has set a goal of the year 2035 for switching to Goddess. She gives us all tremendous help in accomplishing this in the information and motivation she provides in Switching to Goddess.
Part of the information is contained in the extensive and extremely helpful appendixes. For example in Appendix C, "Questions from the Peanut Gallery," she anticipates questions people may challenge her with and gives responses. These are arranged alphabetically. Some examples:
"BUDDHISM. 'For bringing peace and harmony to the world, wouldnâ€™t Buddhism work as well as goddesses?'
Like Jesus, Buddha decreed for his followers lives of sensual deprivation. Also like Jesus, he suggests humans deserve poverty, primarily. In contrast, the Guiding Goddess demands we enjoy the senses she gave us, and that we pull everyone together in abundanceâ€”the way healthy siblings do....Whatâ€™s more, Buddhism is not always the cornucopia of peace and purity many in the West believe it to be...."
"CHANGE. 'But you said culture is highly resistant to change. So how are we going to shift to Goddess by 2035?'
....Almost all of us, however, already live in partially-goddess societies. The starvation/war gods are simply thin overlays....Our job is to pull out the old goddesses from beneath the starvation/war culture dirt layer and dust them off again."
"MOTHER MODEL. 'What is it?' ....In choosing how to behave [in any situation] answering the question "In this situation, what would a healthy mother do vis a vis her children" is likely to scare up good moral behavior. Not just men, but all of us need to learn from this [Mother Model]. Since Iâ€™m a non-mother womanâ€”Iâ€™ve never had childrenâ€”I need to learn from it too. But even mothers themselves need to learn from the Mother Model."
There are more than 30 of these Q & Aâ€™s. One way to make use of them is, as youâ€™re reading along in the book's chapters, if you have a questionâ€“particularly a point where you think you would give Studebaker a good argument, go to Appendix C and see if she has already thought of your question and responded to it.
Also helpful while you are reading are 6 maps placed between the end of the last chapter and the beginning of the appendixes. Included in the other appendixes are a chart on "The Origin of the Starvation Culture," associated with the changeover to war gods; a list of "War Gods Around the World"; a list of "Guiding Goddesses We Can Return To," also from around the world; a list of blogs in "closed countries"; a chart of world religions showing the numbers of adherents and what percentage this is of the total; suggestions for "Things You Can Do to Flip the Switch" to Goddess, alphabetized by what may be your occupation, nationality and other identifiersâ€”donâ€™t miss this one; a list of some relevant websites and blogs; a "Goddess Reading List" with books and more websites and blogs; and last but definitely not least, "Cruelty in the Bible: Short List." In addition, there is an extensive bibliography and an index.
These back materials plus the charts and pictures throughout the book make it ideal for classes, whether they be in universities or outside academia in small private groups. Switching to Goddess is an excellent book for newcomers to Goddess spiritualityâ€“whether enthusiastic or skeptical. And with its new (to me, anyway) material and fearless yet humorous writing style, it will also be a treat for many of us who have been Goddess-involved for some time. ~ Judith Laura
Switching To Goddess
February 12, 2009 by Wildwolfhowl
I just discovered read extracts from and boughtâ€¦.this amazing book, which if you were inspired by the Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler, as many were, this one is bound to excite and stimulate great thought and discussion. Oh goody! The author is Jeri Studebaker, this is taken from her site,
http://jeristudebaker.com/ her blog is ( for some reason my links are not working probably my techno crapety)
Switching to Goddess may be the most important book youâ€™ll ever read. It tells not only how and why the worldâ€™s become a sorry mess, but also what to do about it.
War, terrorism, poverty, all can be traced to one single event: the switch, about 6000 years ago, from goddess- to god-worship. This switch rumbled over the landscape when a large part of the planet turned to desert, and hundreds of thousands of the worldâ€™s first farmers starved to death.
The switch from goddess to god helped lock into place a new starvation culture, one that might have faded away once its usefulness had passed. Instead, this new culture became set in stone and passed down from generation to generation. Even in the midst of plenty, the deep-rooted and largely unconscious fear of starvation haunts its bearers. Starvation culture is now threatening to wipe us off the face of the earth.
The fix is in coming to terms with starvation culture, ditching the gods, and switching back to goddesses. This book tells how to do that.
Jeri Studebaker holds a masterâ€™s degree in prehistory/archaeology and has studied the origins of agriculture, cultural anthropology and ancient Minoan art. She lives in the state of Maine in the US.
[Switching to Goddess] is almost certain to provoke lively, animated discussion. Dr. Elinor Gadon, Cultural Historian, Brandeis University, and author of The Once and Future Goddess. ~ Mhairead, Mhairead lives in Scotland and is the owner of the weblog \"Wild and Feral\" (http://feralandwild.wordpress.com/). This post appeared on her blog on 2 Feb. 2009.
..a fascinating study of god and goddess cultures across history. She shares her vision that, in switching to goddess the world can become a peaceful and fiercely environmentally conscious set of communities sharing a Mother Goddess ethos of unconditional love. ~ Cygnus Review
Switching to Goddess: Humanityâ€™s Ticket to the Future
Thursday, December 18th, 2008 | Book Reviews | admin
Great Goddess! Jeri Studebaker has hit a home run for womenâ€™s studies and the goddess beliefs community.
She traces humanityâ€™s violence through history and squarely puts the blame for it with war gods of desert religions. And then Studebaker takes it a step further inviting all of society to return to a more peaceful, loving and happy goddess-based theology and way of life.
Studebaker presents the materials in very readable and entertaining text for all types of readers. In other words, itâ€™s a great read!
Highly recommended from the Book Review Blogger. ~ The Book Review Blogger
Review: Switching to Goddess by J. Lyn Studebaker
By Morgaine Swann, H.Ps.
Switching to Goddess is a groundbreaking new book by J. Lyn Studebaker. I hope itâ€™s the first of a long line of a new kind of Goddess study. The first work of Herstory was The First Sex by Elizabeth Gould Davis, a librarian. It is still considered radical, though carefully researched. Since its publication in 1971, there have been a couple of dozen books about the ancient universal religion of the Mother Goddess. The works of Marija Gimbutas, Merlin Stone, Monica Sjoo ***, Barbara G. Walker and others have all been meticulously researched and scholarly. Anyone motivated to learn about the history of the Goddess has had access to the information for around 40 years now. The theory of ancient matriarchies and the idea of a universal Mother Goddess religion is still, unfortunately, considered radical and dangerous. In writing their books, these authors drew ridicule from traditional academics and scorn from those not ready to consider, let alone embrace, a new reading of our historic record.
Women risk their careers and their educations in their attempts to share this new model of ancient history. Like many feminist writers, they have tried to be very detached, professional and formal so they would be taken seriously by the institutional gatekeepers of patriarchy. What weâ€™ve learned over these 40 years is that no matter how objectively written or meticulously researched, certain elements in this society are not going to take a work about ancient matriarchies or Mother Goddess worship seriously. Weâ€™ve even had feminists with Stockholm Syndrome, most notably Cynthia Eller, who have made it safe and popular to dismiss these works without a fair hearing by doing exactly what Academia wanted them to do â€“ laughing at the very concept while trying to convince you that it wouldnâ€™t matter even if it were true. As a result, even Pagan sources are known to turn up their noses at the results of backbreaking decades spent sifting through the ashes of Witch fires and the dust of imperial waves of violent invasions for the scraps of our true heritage that remain. The forces of patriarchy missed a few bits in their deliberate campaign to rewrite our past in support of their own agenda, though, and a lot of us think these bits form a clearly different picture than the one painted in our history books. Western indoctrination runs deep, however, and the knee-jerk response to something 180 degrees from what you learned in school can be intense, even in modern times.
Like her predecessors, Studebaker has produced a work of meticulous research backed by impressive academic credentials. Unlike the others, she has written this book with the more populist voice of a storyteller. In her blog, Radical Goddess Thealogy, she is known for taking the archetypal role of the Crone â€“ your curmudgeonly grandma or your maiden aunt who always tells you the truth instead of what you expect to hear - and speaking in a folksy, in-your-face way that people arenâ€™t used to in print. Her tone is salty and familiar. Sheâ€™s not begging you to consider that she has a right to her opinion, too. Sheâ€™s not apologetic in reaching a different conclusion about where weâ€™re from or where we need to go. Sheâ€™s telling you in plain language that this is how she sees it and this is what she thinks we need to do about it. It is, to say the least, refreshing. At most, it is revolutionary in the very best sense of the word.
This book will make many people uncomfortable. Even the Pagan community tends to favor the Bona Dea archetype of the gentle feminine Goddess reminiscent of the Christian Mary and many consider getting along with the Abrahamists in our culture as vital to being allowed to practice our religions without interference. Some feel as if criticizing the dominant religions is a betrayal of their Christian family and friends. If you brought your patriarchal training into the Craft with you, this book may scare the hell out of you. Studebaker isnâ€™t tolerant or accepting of the war gods that are running the world. She states plainly that Yahweh/Allah/Jehovah, a.k.a. the god of Abraham, among others, promotes violence and that we have institutionalized the sickness of a starving people in an ancient desert as religion, culture and government. She is telling us that patriarchy is sickness and she wonâ€™t sugarcoat it, thank Goddess. She doesnâ€™t buy into the modern conceit that life now is better than it has ever been, or that the trampling of indigenous, matrifocal peoples by patriarchal invaders constituted any form of progress or evolution.
Ironically, this is becoming a popular theme in modern literature. The Fall by Steve Taylor and SAHARASIA: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World by James DeMeo reach a very similar conclusion about the ancient world â€“ that the shift that occurred 6,000 years ago was not the beginning of civilization, but the end of it, and that before this transformation war and violence were virtually unknown. Of course these male authors wonâ€™t use the word matriarchy to describe an egalitarian, non-violent, matrifocal, Goddess worshipping culture, but theyâ€™ll certainly write and sell books about it. Another of Studebakerâ€™s themes, the danger humans pose to Gaia, our Mother Earth, has been explored by such notables as Jean Shinoda Bolen in her book Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World and Al Goreâ€™s An Inconvenient Truth.
Read the book as if you are talking to a friend who knows a lot about history, archeology, religion, psychology, and culture. Sheâ€™s done her research, sheâ€™s got a point of view and she has given us a powerful argument for leaving the war gods behind us in favor of a healthy relationship with our Divine Mother. I highly recommend it for every bookshelf, because if you havenâ€™t read this book, you only know one half of the story. Itâ€™s solid information that everyone needs to consider seriously at least once in their lives so they at least know all sides of the argument. Iâ€™m praying that more Pagans find their strongest voices and stand up to the dominant culture in unison crying â€œENOUGH!â€ Switching to Goddess is a great beginning. ~ MORGAINE SWANN, H.PS., To be printed in SageWoman Magazine, Fall 2009 issue
5.0 out of 5 stars. Before it's too late, June 26, 2009
By JESSE T. (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
Before it's too late
I do not read non-fiction. I am not a rabid feminist, a follower of airy mythic cults, nor am I particularly interested in religious theory of any kind. So an effort like J. Lyn Studebaker's Switching to Goddess is the last book I would likely choose to read. Yet read it I did, and now I am not only convinced, but also armed with an arsenal of arguments and common sense weapons that enable me to do battle with Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and all other contemporary religions that have systematically sickened mankind for the past 6000 years.
I do not mind admitting that I was born into the Christian tradition. But over the years Jehovah, the religion's CEO, has come to seem more and more like a jealous, vengeful, vicious, misogynous, war-loving maniac responsible for millions of deaths. Anyone who doesn't precisely agree with this CEO is relegated to everlasting hell...his way, or the highway. Plus, as Studebaker points out, this boss doesn't much care for playfulness, creativity, sensuality, or even women...which pretty much leaves a gal like me out of the loop.
I do not fail to notice that CEOs Allah, Indra, and Yahweh are equally unforgiving and bloodthirsty. While religious wars continue to rage in our Twenty-First Century world, not only in the Middle East but right here in the USA, where the Religious Right and stone-throwing intolerance are making frightening comebacks, Switching to Goddess teaches us that we must find different gods to guide us...and soon. We must forsake concepts like armed, arsenal, weapons, and do battle...all words I used in the first paragraph, and steer away from faith induced self annihilation.
I do not normally read scholarly books, but J. Lyn Studebaker was sneaky. In Switching to Goddess she time warped me through the long Neolithic era, through the Bronze Age, right up until this moment. She proved through art, social and anthropological patterns, and with archeological evidence that for most of human history we all worshiped Goddess and were happier, healthier, peaceful, and much nicer people under Her tutelage. Studebaker taught with such witty, fun- loving, tongue-in-cheek, occasionally sarcastic, often sacrilegious, zippy, and engaging language that it didn't even hurt to learn so much.
I do not climb onto soapboxes, but underlying Studebaker's research and her feisty delivery, I was stricken sober by the stunningly important message: switching to Goddess is humanity's ticket to the future, our only ticket. So now I am on that soapbox hoping everyone will read this book before it is too late.
I do not listen to activists who urge us to do something, but fail to provide one clue as to HOW to do that thing we need to do. Studebaker spells it out, the ways and means of reversing our downward religious spiral and replacing our destructive sky/war/father gods with nurturing guiding Goddesses who will love us all unconditionally, just as all healthy mothers love their children...and we can, and must, do this by 2035.
So, in conclusion, if a naysayer like me needed to read this book, then so do you. Please buy it today and let's see what we all can do to help make the switch. ~ JESSE T. OF NORTH CAROLINA
A Reading Week in Review
Posted October 31st, 2009 by Karen in Reading
With my book groupâ€™s next meeting looming on Sunday, I finally picked up Switching to Goddess by Jeri Studebaker. I found myself alternating between being irritated by her somewhat flippant, often silly-sounding tone and being impressed by the way she was really saying that the Emperor (that is contemporary religions) really donâ€™t have any clothes. I really got tired of the references to â€œsnooty snobby bully boysâ€ to refer to the gods of contemporary religions. But her tone allowed her to attack prevailing ideas without sounding too shrill and much of what she had to say about the negative influences of religions rang true to me. She was making a well-reasoned and researched argument which I think suffered in its message because of her tone. And, while I agree that we need to move away from the more war-like focus on religions and I really agree with much of what she has to say about living in small, sustainable communities, but Iâ€™m not sure her notions of getting these religions to â€œswitchâ€ to the Goddess is realistic in light of research into adopting innovations. I think she would probably argue that this isnâ€™t an innovation since we are actually re-adopting something that we carry with us from our ancestors.
Would I recommend the book? Sureâ€¦her introduction to the history of Goddess worship and her overview of various peaceful communities was as lively as any Iâ€™ve read. Much of the other well-known books about the Goddess are older, written during more angry feminist era. Studebaker is firmly placed in the 21st century and her comments about global warming and climate change touch the contemporary world in a way that other books Iâ€™ve read have not. For Studebaker, there is a feminist element but her larger concerns are with the world. She also directly addresses the recent flurry of books calling for the end of religion in general (ie, Sam Harris and Richards Dawkins), suggesting that it would be easier to get people to switch religions rather than abandon it altogether. ~ Karen in Reading, This review is posted at
5.0 out of 5 stars BRAVO!, August 17, 2013
By Janine Canan (Sonoma, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Switching to Goddess: Humanity's Ticket to the Future (Paperback)
This book is courageous, brilliant and comes from the heart. This is a book that can really help us. Full of humor and the delight in Life, SWITCHING TO GODDESS is one of the most brilliant books I have read in years. Bravo to Studebaker! For those who do not know the facts of our human pre-(patriarchal) history, this will be exciting and illuminating. Lots of helpful pictures and graphs and laughs. What a huge work this is, yet nothing more than pure joie de vivre. Brava, Brava!! ~ Janine Canan, Amazon.com (US)
....A message ... that will radically change your life and save this planet. Clever, humorous, feisty, breathless adventure, easy to grasp, hard-hitting, blunt feminist ...who got Z Budapest up on her feet shouting YES! YES! YES!!! ~ Zsuzsanna Budapest, One of the founding mothers of the Goddess Movement
The author argues that the 6000-year-old switch from guiding mother goddesses to sky/war/father gods must be examined and reversed if humanity is to survive. She presents evidence from archaeology, anthropology, mythology and the physical sciences suggesting a correlation between social "utopia" and female deity on the one hand, and on the other, social "dystopia" and the war/sky/father gods now worshipped by a majority of the worldâ€¦. "Switching to Goddess" is almost certain to provoke lively, animated discussion. ~ Dr. Elinor Gadon, Cultural Historian, Brandeis Uand author of the immensely popular The Once and Future Goddess: A Sweeping Visual Chronicle of the Sacred Female and Her Reemergence in the Cultural Mythology
Studebaker is on fire as she cleverly and humorously retells Goddess history that has been hidden for thousands of years. Juxtaposing past with present, using science alongside psychology and religion, she exposes the methods and explains the errors of patriarchy and monotheistic religion that are bringing about the downfall of humanity. I know the history, but with the zeal of this new convert carrying the torch for the Sacred Feminine, I wanted to read it all again as Studebaker candidly infuses contemporary relevance with herstory. ~ Karen Tate, scholar, lecturer, radio show hostess, and film maker; author of Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations and Walking An Ancient Path; www.karentate.com.
Jeri has written a feisty, upbeat exploration of the place of Goddess in the ancient and modern worlds. In an entertaining and invigorating way she looks at present day remnants of Goddess-loving cultures, the earliest Mesolithic and Neolithic Goddesses, the coming of the war gods and their societies, the power of the women's hormone oxytocin to 'tend and befriend,' and todayâ€™s reawakening interest in Goddess. She explores what it will take to replace war-god dystopia with Mother Goddess utopia, where everyone is loved the way healthy mothers love their children. ~ Kathy Jones, organizer of the UKâ€™s annual Glastonbury Goddess Conference and a co-founder of the Glastonbury Goddess Temple. Her latest book: Priestess of Avalon: Priestess of the Goddess.
Fierce, playful, visionary, "Switching to Goddes" makes the compelling case that most of humanityâ€™s violence, injustice and misery can be traced to the rise of war gods (such as Jehovah) in ancient times, and that reconnecting with the Great Goddess who guided our earliest civilizations is the key to healing ourselves and our planet. Author Jeri Studebaker's book is a crash course on how to make the Switch happen. Hey, Iâ€™m convinced. Iâ€™d rather Switch (to Goddess) than fight! ~ Tim Ward, author, Savage Breast: One Manâ€™s Search for the Goddess
I am normally a silent reader, not one who leaps into the air, fist clenched, shouting "YES!" every now and again. My unusual cheerleading behaviour was entirely due to the fact that I was so happy to read a book about goddess that actually proposes some real, radical solutions to the mess our world is in right nowâ€¦. Books that tell me about ancient Goddesses are still great, but I was really starting to yearn for moreâ€¦. The greatest thing about the book is - quite apart from the fact that it might help to save the planet and us all - is its readability and the feeling of breathless adventure I got from it. What's coming next? How can this work? I was particularly keen to get to the part where I would find out just how in goddess' name we were going to get from here to there, how the big switch could happen. We need more books, and more thinking, along these lines, and we need it very, very soon. To have more books with this kind of clarity and readability would be fantastic. ~ Geraldine Charles, Editor, Goddess Pages, http://www.goddess-pages.co.uk
A hard-hitting get-up-and-go book that challenges the reader with its racy style and punchy arguments. Backed up by scholarship, it is a clarion call for our times. ~ Claire Hamilton, author of Maiden, Mother, Crone: Voices of the Goddess.
Jeri Studebaker's book has filled me with hope. She took her natural gift as a story teller, and applied it to a text that describes the ancient world of the Great Mother Goddess, in glorious detail, with meticulous research and sets forth her goal of getting us back to the Goddess by 2035. It can't happen soon enough to suit me. I say we get this book on the shelves and into our schools ASAP, and pray to our Divine Mother that many more follow from many men and women who "get it," too. Brava! ~ Morgaine Swann, author of The-Goddess weblog, http://the-goddess.org/
...Jeri L. Studebaker doesn't mince words in her bold assessment of where "war-daddy god" worship has gotten us and why we need to return to the female divine. While her slangy style and in-your-face approach may engender controversy, her fearless fiery writing, reminiscent of the earlier Mary Daly or Barbara Walker, will invigorate and engross both newcomers and people already close to Goddess. ~ Judith Laura, author of Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century: from Kabbalah to Quantum Physics and She Lives! The Return of Our Great Mother
This is a provocative and, at the same time, programmatic book. The provocation does not delimit itself to an outcry of the sensitive mind against the growing disorder in our conflict- and crisis-stricken world, to a lament about the desolate state of humanity.
The author, eloquent in her diction and versatile in her argumentation, pinpoints the crucial problem area, going straight to the heart of the matter: monotheism and its bellicose dogma of exclusive authority claimed for the one and only male god. In a richly documented synopsis, a fabric of religious thought, humane cosmology and gender balance for modern societies is woven, based on teachings and insights of common sense. Such a fabric vigorously defies the existing encrusted and unreflected conventions of social relationships in societies governed by male monotheism which does not tolerate any competition or challenge to its worldview.
The author makes a strong case for switching to Goddess as a viable option for restoring a balance in our social lives, a balance that once existed in the Neolithic oecumene or commonwealth, a model of society based on the principle of socioeconomic egalitarianism. The cultural memory of a powerful female deity that once blessed civic institutions and functioned as the guarantor of harmonious interaction between the cultural space of human beings and the natural environment is illuminated and its potent energy revitalized. The image of the Goddess of the past is not lost but lives on in this dynamic approach to the urgent needs of humanity. The author strives for the emergence of a novel, and yet familiar consciousness, focusing on the protective presence of the Goddess. ~ Dr. Harald Haarmann, culture historian, internationally-known linguist, Vice-President of the Institute of Archaeomythology, Sebastopol, CA, and author of over 40 books including Interacting with Figurines (forthcoming).