of The Gift Economy
Many Voices discuss The Gift Economy
return to top
She Gives the Gift of Her Body
The archetype of selfless or altruistic giving—without attachment to outcome or
any concept of “reciprocity”—belongs originally and most fully to the Goddess,
the Great Mother of All Things. Whether we see it in the bountiful harvests
of the agricultural fields of Mother Earth, or the life-giving nurturance of a
mother’s body supporting a pregnancy and nursing her baby, “the feminine
force is active and life-producing” (Gimbutas 1999: 8). The female body in
ancient times was perceived as “parthenogenetic, that is, creating life out of
itself” (Gimbutas 1999: 112). As creator of the universe, known scientifically
as the “Big Bang,” her boundless creativity gave rise to the endless and diverse
forms found in Nature whose beauty is impossible to replicate and whose
primary expression is unceasing, dynamic, cyclic growth—birth, death, and
regeneration. I see the Goddess as a great spider spinning the world from her
center, patiently reweaving the web of life again and again, through eons and
ages. This cyclic continuity should be enough to give us hope in our current
situation, no matter how bad it gets.
First Woman and the Gift of Life
Since the first vulvas were inscribed on cave walls and rock outcroppings tens
of thousands of years ago, the female has been formally imaged as gift-giver par
excellence. In Australian rock art, she is known as “First Woman.” The gift she
gives, of life and all that sustains it, made a lasting impression on early humans
coming to consciousness, beginning to express themselves through language and
art. So-called “Venus” figures from the Eurasian Paleolithic period, with their
huge breasts and buttocks emphasized over any distinguishing personal features,
demonstrate the acknowledged gift-giving capacity of the ancestral matrix figure
later to be called Great Mother, Mother Earth, Pachamama. The vulva—that
sacred doorway—was the original glyph of the human species becoming literate
as far back as 30,000 years ago. It is a sign expressing gratitude, reverence, and
awe toward the female body and its marvelous ability to create life, sustain it,
and even—in death, as Mother Earth—to receive it back. Vulvas carved in rocks
and painted on walls all over North and South America are known to have been
used for female blood mysteries and “puberty rites” since the most ancient times
(Marshack 1991). Images of females dance among the pregnant animals that
predominate in caves and rock shelters used by humans during the Ice Ages
(Bahn 1997 ). The female mysteries of periodicity and nature were at
the center of whatever religious rites were practiced by early humans, whose
lunar menstrual calendars document their interest in cyclic reality (Marshack
1991). Upright, our ancestors walked out of Africa and journeyed east and
west, bringing their metaphorical “Dark Mother” with them, and eventually
peopling vast continents (Birnbaum 2001). The first acts of human worship
appear to have been in honour of this original ancestress, the Mother of Life,
inside of whose mystery we had awakened to ourselves. Tens of thousands of
years later, clan structure is still organized around the mother of an extended
household in modern matriarchal societies, such as the Mosuo in China or the
Maninkabau in Indonesia, where she is perceived as the central “pillar” of the
home (Sanday 2002).
At the end of the last Ice Age, the weather warmed over much of the planet
and our ancestors left their caves. Many of them developed the ability to settle,
grow food, and domesticate animals. Cultivation, rather than being a sudden
“revolution” as once thought, apparently unfolded in a fairly natural way from
the sophisticated gathering that had gone on for millennia. (Harris 1996) The
development of agriculture marks the beginning of the Neolithic period around
10,000 years ago. One important center of agriculture (“Nautufian”) emerged
in northern Africa, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Middle East, from which it later
was carried to other places, including the female-centered early civilizations of
Greece and Anatolia (ancient Turkey). Archaeologists, linguists, and biologists
have tracked the spread of agriculture eastward beyond the Caspian Sea and along
the trade routes that would much later be known as the Silk Road (Harris 1996).
Centers of agriculture also arose—perhaps independently or maybe through dif-
fusion, this is currently still being debated—in China as well as in the Americas
Women and Agriculture
Women are usually credited with having invented agriculture, particularly the
deliberate cultivation of plants and the various complex processes that accompanied
it, such as cooking, processing, and food storage—extending to basketry, pottery,
and other forms of vessels, as well as granaries allowing for a surplus of food for
whole populations. The granary is a metaphor for the womb of the mother, as
well as representing the literal ownership by the communal female group of the
property in agricultural societies. The Dogon of Mali equate the Sirius star system
with the “granary,” seeing it as a “reservoir and source of everything in the world”
(Temple 1976: 43). Egyptians called the same star “Sothis” (“to be pregnant”) and
represented it as the Great Goddess Isis (Temple 1976: 71). At Catal H–y¸k, a
seventh-millennium town in ancient Turkey, an important female figure, perhaps
pregnant herself, and sitting enthroned between two leopards, was found in the
granary (Gimbutas 1989: 107). Ceramic vessels crafted with breasts or in the shape
of a female body emphasize the biological functions of pregnancy and lactation,
womb and breast—the female’s concrete gift of life. Breasts on ceramic vessels
used in ritual emphasize the female body “and by extension the body of the divine
female, as a vessel of nourishment or renewal.” (Gimbutas 1999: 7)
Shamanism Was Originally Female
The common equation of women with “hearth and home” links to the evolu-
tionary act of harnessing fire for cooking and warmth, as well as referring to the
sacred nature of the hearth as altar and the woman as shaman-priestess. Portable
offering tables or altars have been found in female burials since the beginnings
of civilization, documenting the ongoing function of the sacred woman. By the
first millennium BCE, portable altars were buried with every priestess in central
Siberia, and these altars or offering tables, along with certain other predictable
items such as mirrors, are among the defining features of shaman priestess burials
across Central Asia (Davis-Kimball 2002).
“Among several tribes traditions exist that the shaman’s gift was first bestowed on
women. In Mongolian myths goddesses were both shamans themselves—like the
Daughter of the Moon—and the bestowers of the shamanistic gift on mankind”
(Czaplicka 1914: 244). A Russian ethnographer from the early twentieth century
states that “Neo-Siberians” all have different (later) words for “male shaman,”
but a common (original) word for female shaman from the most ancient times
which has etymological links to the words “bear,” “earth-goddess,” “housewife,”
and “wife” (Czaplicka 1914: 244). Shamanism is understood to be a sacrificial (or
“gift”) vocation, in which one heals the sick, dispenses wisdom, performs magical
rituals and communal ceremonies, and is generally available to the community in
beneficial ways. Although male shamans are more often featured in contemporary
ethnographic studies and shamanism is generally equated by scholars with male-
ness, Czaplicka’s 1914 book suggests otherwise.
Among the Kamchadal [in Kamchatka] there are no special shamans... but
every old woman and kockchuch (probably women in men’s clothes) is a
witch, and explains dreams.... [T]hey used no drum, but simply pronounced
incantations and practiced divination. (171)
Female Biological Mysteries and the Baking of Bread
Birthing, ritual ceremonies, and the baking of bread happened more or less side-
by-side in the early Neolithic temples of northern Greece. Ovens were created
in the shape of a womb with an umbilicus, and pregnant female figurines were
found nearby (Gimbutas 1999: 16). Evidence of bread offerings are found in
most sacred sites in Europe, from as early as 12,000 BCE in the Ice Age caves
of France, down through the Neolithic, and into the classical period when
Dianic priestesses baked crescent-shaped cakes for the Moon Goddess. Today
it is the Catholic nuns who still bake wafers for communion, and we still say
“she has a bun in the oven” when a woman is pregnant (Noble 1991: 24) Before
this altruistic and communal nature of women was colonized and exploited, it
functioned for the good of the whole and society was able to sustain itself for
several thousand years in peace. Even now remnants of these ancient practices
exist all over Europe, as I witnessed recently at Lepinski Vir in Serbia where a
village man brought a freshly baked loaf of bread to show the assembled group
of scholars. The bread was decorated with Old European symbols of the God-
dess and formed in the shape of a mandala not dissimilar from those used for
meditation by contemporary Tibetan Buddhist practitioners.
Mandala-shaped loaf of freshly baked bread, brought to Lepinski Vir
archaeological site by local Serbian man the day author visited with tour group
sponsored by the Institute of Archaeomythology. Photo: Vicki Noble
It is a fatal error to assume, as many people do these days, that the development
of agriculture itself was the beginning of private property and domination of
nature (Noble 2004). Ancient female-based agriculture was practiced in harmony
with nature and presents us with an almost utopian model of sustainability
and peace on earth, compared with everything that has occurred since these
civilizations were first disrupted during the fourth millennium BCE. At that
time—with the introduction of male-dominance, kingship, war, slavery, and
private property—the peaceful agricultural societies began to disappear (along
with their languages, scripts, art, and rituals). The incredibly beautiful artwork
of a society like Sumer, for instance, which in the opinion of art historians has
never again been equaled (Giedion 1962), was quickly replaced by mass-pro-
duction and the values of the economic bottom line, while images of women
dancing and performing rituals diminish and were eventually replaced by men
(Garfinkle 2003: 269).
Organic and biodynamic farmers today are instinctually groping their way
back to what was once an intact system of complex and intelligent relatedness
with all of life. Our ancestors (and ancestresses) left us many images, artifacts,
and physical signs of the successful continuity of culture, which they created
and in which they existed successfully for several thousand years. Their central
icon was the Goddess—the Mother of All Things—whose centrality begs to be
re-established today along with women in leadership as her ministers. If progres-
sives could begin to look at this legacy with open eyes, we could stop confusing
the agribusiness of today with the agriculture of the past, and instead recognize
matriarchal agriculture as the holistic model it is. We would then be forced to
stop claiming, ignorantly, that “there has always been war, and there will always
be war, it’s just the human condition.” Perhaps this realization would give us the
impetus to refuse and reject the efforts of powerful corporations like Monsanto
currently involved in dangerously altering our food at the DNA level, as well as
taking out patents (private ownership) on life.
Womb as Tomb: She Gives the Gift of Death and Rebirth
As mentioned earlier, I had the good fortune to visit Lepinski Vir, the oldest
Neolithic site in Europe, which was originally situated on “an inaccessible” ter-
race overlooking the Iron Gates region of the Danube River separating Romania
from Serbia (the former Yugoslavia). The site, on the Serbian side and once fac-
ing a “tumultuous whirlpool” (Gimbutas 1999: 56), had to be moved when the
river was dammed in recent years. Dating from the mid-seventh to the mid-sixth
millennia, and composed of “tombs and shrines in the shape of the female body”
(Gimbutas 1999: 55), the site was “not meant for habitation, but for rites of death
and regeneration” (Gimbutas 1999: 57). The trapezoidal shrines, which clearly
represent vulvas (the sacred pubic triangle of the Goddess), were accompanied
by enigmatic rock sculptures that archaeologists have called “Fish Goddesses,”
but which are also undeniably an expression of the much later “Sheela-na-gigs”
found all over the British Isles. The sculptures, many of which were covered in
red ocher, show a wide-eyed (entranced) female figure with legs spread and hands
pointing to (or opening) her triangular vulva. And like the earlier paleolithic
period, some of the rocks at Lepinski Vir had only a vulva incised—referring in
the most abstract and refined way to the Great Goddess in her dual manifestation
of life and death, death and rebirth.
Because the human skeletons found at the site were mostly “disarticulated” and
the skulls “set aside for special care, often protected with a box of stones,” we can
assume that the people practiced secondary burial rites in which they “laid out their
dead in front of the shrines for excarnation.” After the defleshing of the human
bones by carrion birds,
whose bones have also
been found at the site,
the remains were buried
in the shrines (Gimbutas
1999: 59). The earliest im-
ages of such “sky burials”
are found in wall murals
from Catal H¸y–k in
Turkey dated to the sev-
enth millennium BCE.
One painting shows two
towers—one where the
headless body has been
placed, and one with a
head—with vultures ap-
proaching each. A second
painting shows vultures
“with ‘human’ legs and
a headless corpse” (Mel-
laart, Hirsch and Balpinar
1989: 59-60). Rites of
burial”) were practiced all
over Old Europe and the
Mediterranean region for
millennia, and in Central Asia as well, and remnants of this practice are carried
on in some places today.
Fishlike female stone deity (“Ancestress”) found at
Lepinski Vir (6000 BCE). Reproduction. Courtesy Iron
Gates Archaeological Museum on the danube in Serbia.
Photo: Vicki Noble
Marija Gimbutas (1991) documents such practices in
Italy, the Near East, Anatolia, Greece, and even as far north as the Orkney Islands,
with skulls routinely buried separately and skeletons “disarticulated” (283). The
famous hypogeum of Malta, for example, contains the remains of 7000 human
skeletons that were deposited there over a period of 1500 years. The site was si-
multaneously used as a gathering place for funerary rites and communal rituals,
a widespread custom of ancient prepatriarchal people.
Frequently these finds (skulls and disarticulated bones, some with cut marks)
have led archaeologists to conclude that “cannibalism” and “human sacrifice” were
practiced. Yet in Tibet the ancient rite of “sky burial” is still practiced, where a
corpse is taken to a “specially designated area outside the town or village, often at
the top of a mountain,” and “bodybreakers” (domdens) chop the body into pieces
and feed it to the vultures who are considered to be incarnate dakinis. Recent films
about Tibet (e.g. Seven Years in Tibet, Kundun, and Himalaya) show graphic rep-
resentations of these funerary rites, where pieces of flesh are laid out as a banquet
and the giant screaming birds come to feast ravenously on the remains. We in the
West tend to view such practices with alarm, judging them as primitive, barbaric,
unnatural or gruesome. Tibetans, on the other hand, view a three-day-old corpse
as lifeless, “its purpose fulfilled. The manner of disposal is considered as a final act
of generosity, enabling other animals to be nourished by one’s remains” (Batchelor
1987: 65, my emphasis). This funerary gift-giving seems to reflect a remnant of the
ancient matriarchal understanding of our embeddedness in nature, quite counter
to the dualistic phobia of death we have cultivated in the modern West.
A pre-Buddhist rock painting at an important site in Tibet sacred to the Goddess
Tara shows a bird-like female identified as a “khyung,” a mythical figure sacred
to Tibetans and perhaps a precursor to contemporary “sky women” or dakinis.
(Bellezza 1997: 185) This harks back to megalithic sites all over Old Europe where
excarnation was the main burial rite, “skulls received special attention” (Gimbutas
1999: 66), and birds of prey were associated with the megaliths (Gimbutas 1999:
71). Bird Goddesses and shamanistic “sky-walking women” (dakinis) are ubiquitous
in the matriarchal strata in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, suggesting
a particular function of the female. The function of flight is widely celebrated,
perhaps pertaining especially to funerary rituals but also generally related to the
spirit journeys of shamanism. Valkyries were winged “corpse choosers” who carried
the souls of the dead off the battlefields, and Ovid describes Scythian women as
rubbing their bodies with flying ointments just like later European witches were
purported to do.
Miranda Shaw (1994) reports on the “siddhis” (powers) of famous yoginis,
who “could become invisible, had mastered the ritual gazes, and had the power
of fleetfootedness, the ability to traverse vast distances in a matter of minutes”
(79). As I wrote about Medea of Colchis, a Bronze Age shaman woman or “sorcer-
ess” known for her regenerative magic (Noble 2003), her lineage may continue
even today in a group of mostly women and girls living in the Caucasus who are
“called messulethe and described as sorceresses” according to a report by Jeannine
Davis-Kimball (1997/98). They live among tribes considered to be descendants
of Scythians and Sarmatians, and they “fulfill a role very similar to that of Altaic
shamans, falling into trances, escorting the dead to the underworld, or reincar-
nating them” (42).
Dakinis and Yoginis Carry on the Tradition of the Gift
Shamanism is a service vocation. Once exclusively a women’s province (Czaplicka
1914), shamanism is a sacrificial practice in which the shaman uses her body as
a vessel for powerful energies to flow through her for healing and magic. In the
most ancient times, women performed this function collectively in ecstatic rituals
and communal ceremonies involving (and on behalf of) the whole community.
Female Buddhas and high-ranking shaman priestesses are pervasive in the artifacts
and images from female-centered civilizations of Old Europe (6000 BCE). [il-
lustration] Later during the Bronze Age (3500-1200 BCE), as agricultural civiliza-
tions were disrupted and scattered by violence, a special African-European-Asian
amalgam of the shaman priestess emerged in the Mediterranean region (known
as “Maenads”) with counterparts in the Indus Valley and northern Tibet (China’s
Possession is the norm in “women’s religion” around the world, as elucidated
in I. M. Lewis’s classic text, Ecstatic Religion (1989 ). Just as a pregnant
woman gives over her body for the duration of her incubation, a shaman gives over
her body for the temporary use of an incarnating spirit or ancestor. Denigrated
today as “merely mediums,” descendants of these special women are still able to
make way for more powerful healing energies to inhabit and work through their
bodies. Female shamans are officially still active in the contemporary societies
of Japan and Korea, as well as in isolated regions of Russia and Mongolia. They
can also be found in Nepal, India, Indonesia, and Central and South America,
to name only a few places.
The ability to become “empty” is a formal goal of meditation practice, highly
valued in Tibetan Buddhism, and embodied by the Tibetan Dakini (sky-going
woman). Her selflessness is said to be “compatible with activity in the world ...
with, or for, the sake of others” (Klein 1995: 123). The Wisdom Dakini is de-
scribed as “fully awakened and acts to awaken others.” (Simmer-Brown 2001: 64)
Although it mostly goes unrecognized, Dakinis are believed to take human form
as women, so any woman could potentially be acting as a Dakini at any time. As
Judith Simmer-Brown puts it in her book, dakini’s Warm Breath (2001), human
“women are the display that emptiness takes when it expresses itself in form”
(40). The dakini gives “the blessing of her own body,” referring especially to the
“subtle yogic body” with its “vital breath, channels, and essences.” In a tantric
sexual encounter, the dakini blesses her partner “with her empty and radiant
body, a direct transmission of her nature” (Simmer-Brown, 2001: 249). But the
dakini’s “empty and radiant body” can also be given in bodywork, healing, and
other forms of interaction that are sacred, magical, and nonsexual.
According to scholar John Vincent Bellezza (1997), the Medicine Buddha (“sman
lha”) has a female precursor in Tibet, a pre-Buddhist group of Tibetan female dei-
ties who “often form sisterhoods.” He describes them, sadly, as “no longer popular
and nearly extinct in the region.” The Tibetan word (“sman”) pertains to “both
medicine and women,” is “defined as benefit, use or beneficence” (111), and is
also “an honorific term for women.” (Bellezza 1997: 130) Put simply, women
embody the gift. Bellezza states that, “Women and the sman share the same
qualities ... [and] sman also came to mean medicine by virtue of its connection
with the feminine qualities of nurturer and healer” (1997: 111). As in Siberian
shamanism, the female “sman mo” (“benefactress”) predates the later “sman pa”
or male doctor (111). Recognizing the long continuous female lineage that runs
like an underground stream through Tibetan Buddhist literature and territory,
Bellezza states that, “Though the appearance, theology, and culture of the great
goddess could be altered, she was never eliminated” (1997: 117).
Today Dakinis and Yoginis are treated mainly as abstract deities or “yiddams”
in the texts, interiorized into Indian and Tibetan Buddhist tantric visualization
practices. Nonetheless, their historical reality is strongly attested to. Bellezza and
others mention references to “Eastern and Western Kingdoms of Women,” where
“women held dominant social and political roles in the autocracy and author-
ity that was matrifocal” (Bellezza 1997: 134). The area to the immediate west
of Tibet was once known as Oddiyana, the “Land of the Dakinis.” This is the
place from which the great guru, Padmasambhava, arrived in Tibet in the eighth
century. Dudjom Rinpoche, a high Lama and head of the Nyingma Lineage, is
quoted as saying in the twentieth century that “the women of the region belong
to an ancient race of dakinis and still ‘have power over the arts of magic gaze,
transformation of objects by means of certain gnostic spells, and some minor
sorcery’” (Simmer-Brown 2001: 55). “Bodily offerings appear to be the province
of all dakinis,” says Simmer-Brown (2001: 247).
In India, the so-called “cult of the Yoginis” embodied many of these same con-
cepts. In tantra, the transformative quality of the female fluids was perceived as
source and nourishment for the tribe. “(W)hen she is not a mother, its excess is
discharged as menstrual blood; when she is pregnant, it becomes the ‘uterine milk’
that feeds the embryo in her womb; when she is a mother, it becomes the milk
that feeds her child” (White 2003: 92). Women’s blood is described in tantric
texts as the “supreme fluid” and the “font of life itself” (White 2003: 93). “Female
[menstrual] discharge is the ‘milk of the vulva,’ and a Yogini’s menstrual blood,
which has its origins in her breast, is nourishing” (White 2003: 91).
The Yoginis, also known as Matrikas or “Circles of Mothers” (White 2003:
136), were famous for their “eight siddhis” or supernatural powers. They represent
an ancient lineage going back to the Indus Valley and Central Asia, continuing
in some form to the present day in self-proclaimed shaman women (“Devi”) like
Ammachi. In our day, Ammachi embodies the feminine ideal in her gift-giving
expression of divine love. People come to her by the thousands for “darshan”
(blessings) which consists of standing in line and getting hugs from this giant of
a woman who performs her hugging function for many hours at a time without
(apparently) becoming tired. People describe her energy transmissions as power-
fully electric, emotionally moving, and consciousness-altering.
Much of my research in the last decade has been to document the unbroken
lineage of female shamanism across Afro-Eurasia, from ancient times to the present.
The continuity of practices, rituals, and artifacts identifying the sacred women
who have functioned as religious leaders in their communities all across the Silk
Road for thousands of years is a main theme in my 2003 book, The double God-
dess: Women Sharing Power. A major subtext of the book demonstrates direct links
between Greek Maenads, Central Asian Amazons, Indo-Tibetan Dakinis and
Yoginis, and European Witches. All of these assemblies of women were known for
their abilities to fly through the air, heal the sick, resurrect the dead, brew sacred
intoxicating fermented beverages (such as Soma), and perform sexual and divina-
tion practices for which they have been misunderstood, maligned, peripheralized,
and demonized in the modern world.
A timely example of this negative bias is a Russian article describing a rich female
burial recently excavated in the Crimea. The Sarmatian woman, who died in her
mid-40s, was buried with symbols of great wealth or rank, including her “lavish
dress, massive golden earrings decorated with garnets, golden necklace, and golden
medals sewn to her dress.” But it was the “occult inventory” (“nine bronze rings,
the same number of bells ... [and] a whole array of different amulets” and beads)
buried with her that caused the archaeologist to jump to the incredible conclu-
sion that she must have been a “witch” (in the pejorative sense). Because “all the
relics date back to a much earlier period than the woman’s corpse,” he imagines:
“The witch must have dug out those accessories from ancient burials in order to
intensify her magic powers.” (“Archaeologists discover witch burial in Crimea”).
In fact, heirloom artifacts are commonly found in important female burials from
all over the ancient world, and were most likely passed down as “cult” items from
one priestess in a lineage to the next, or from mother to daughter—another form
of the gift.
The Patriarchal Transition: Stealing the Gift
The shift from a gift economy to a commodity culture can be seen in the tran-
sition that occurred from matriarchal cultures to patriarchal ones everywhere.
Under patriarchy, shaman priestesses became “witches,” “ogresses,” “demonesses,”
“sacred Harlots,” or “temple prostitutes,” and what was once freely given became
a commodity controlled by male authorities in male-dominated social structures.
Just as the Earth has been harnessed by modern agricultural methods to produce
without pause, women’s natural gift-giving capacities have been exploited and
colonized for the use of men and male society.
Most recently the transition can be seen in India where the Devadasis (“temple
dancers”) were still—until the 1950s—giving the gift of their bodies by danc-
ing for the deity in temples, cooking food to be shared communally with the
worshippers in attendance, and performing the sacred sexual rites to benefit all
beings. Because the British conceived of them as “prostitutes,” the Devadasis were
outlawed and forced to stop practicing their ancient rites (Marglin 1985). The
visible outlawing of this ancient female tradition of gift-giving goes hand-in-hand
with the further colonization of women as witnessed in the systematic use of
rape in war, as well as the catastrophic rise of sex work and female sexual slavery
around the world in recent decades. In 2004, Amnesty International decreed these
pervasive crimes against women to be the worst human rights violations in the
world—a pandemic of domestic violence being the number one contemporary
global problem named in their report.
When research scholars in the women’s spirituality movement plead for a return
to the Goddess, it is not a frivolous or peripheral issue as compared with some
supposedly “larger” issues of the day. It is a call to remember the core model of
gift-giving that belongs innately to the human species—our evolutionary birth-
right—which has been gradually diminished and forgotten over several thousand
years of patriarchal domination. As Genevieve Vaughan (2004) often reminds
us, we all received the gift of life from a mother—she who gives the gift of her
body. The memory of gift-giving exists within us, individually and collectively,
and needs only to be remembered and reinvigorated.
Vicki Noble is a healer, artist, scholar, and writer, co-creator of Motherpeace, author
of Shakti Women and the Double Goddess. She teaches in the Women’s Spirituality
Program at New College of California in San Francisco.
Amnesty International. 2004, January 1. UN Commission on Human Rights. Online:
“Archaeologists discover witch burial in Crimea.” Pravda 22 October 2004.
Bahn, Paul G. and Jean Vertut. 1997 . Journey Through the Ice Age. Berkeley: Uni-
versity of California Press.
Batchelor, Stephen. 1987. The Tibet Guide. London: Wisdom Publications.
Bellezza, John Vincent. 1997. divine dyads: Ancient Civilization in Tibet. Dharamsala,
India: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.
Birnbaum, Lucia Chiavola. 2001. dark Mother: African Origins and Godmothers. San Jose,
CA: Authors Choice Press.
Czaplicka, M. A. 1914. Aboriginal Siberia: A Study in Social Anthropology. London: Oxford
Davis-Kimball, Jeanine. 2002. Warrior Women: An Archaeologist’s Search for History’s Hidden
Heroines. NY: Warner Books.
Davis-Kimball, Jeannine. 1997/98. “Amazons, Priestesses and Other Women of Status:
Females in Eurasian Nomadic Societies.” Silk Road Art and Archaeolog: Journal of the
Institute of Silk Road Studies 5. Kamakura, Japan.
Diamond, Jared. 1999. Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York:
W. W. Norton and Company.
Garfinkle, Yosef. 2003. dancing at the dawn of Agriculture. Austin: University of Texas
Giedion, Siegfried. 1962. The Eternal Present: The Beginnings of Art, A Contribution on
Constancy and Change. New York: Bollingen Foundation/Pantheon Books.
Gimbutas, Marija. 1999. The Living Goddesses. Edited and supplemented by Miriam Rob-
bins Dexter. Berkeley: University of Calilfornia Press, 1999.
Gimbutas, Marija. 1991. The Civilization of the Goddess. San Francisco: Harper and
Gimbutas, Marija. 1989. The Language of the Goddess. San Francisco: Harper and Row.
Harris, David R., ed. 1996. The Origins and Spread of Agriculture and Pastoralism in Eurasia.
Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
Klein, Anne Carolyn. 1995. Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists, and the
Art of the Self. Boston: Beacon Press.
Lewis, I. M. 1989 . Ecstatic Religion: A Study of Shamanism and Spirit Possession.
Marglin, Frederique Apffel. 1985. Wives of the God-King: The Rituals of the devadasis of
Puri. Delhi, India: Oxford University Press.
Marshack, Alexander. 1991. The Roots of Civilization: The Cognitive Beginnings of Man’s
(sic) First Art, Symbol and Notation. Mt. Kisco, NY: Moyer Bell Limited.
Mellaart, James, Udo Hirsch and Belkis Balpinar. 1989. The Goddess of Anatolia. Milan:
Noble, Vicki. 2003. The double Goddess: Women Sharing Power. Rochester, VT: Inner
Traditions/Bear and Company.
Noble, Vicki. 2004. Forthcoming. “Brewing, Baking, and Bleeding: The Womanly Arts of
Agriculture.” Paper presented at the Archaeomythology Conference at Rila Monastery
in Bulgaria, June 2004.
Noble, Vicki. 1991. Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World (The New Female
Shamanism). San Francisco: HarperSF.
Sanday, Peggy Reeves. 2002. Women at the Center: Life in a Modern Matriarchy. Ithaca,
NY: Cornell University Press.
Shaw, Miranda. 1994. Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism. Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press.
Simmer-Brown, Judith. 2001. dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan
Buddhism. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Temple, Robert. 1976. The Sirius Mystery. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Vaughan, Genevieve. 2004. “Gift Giving and Exchange: Genders are Economic Identities
and Economies are Based on Gender.” Il dono/The Gift: A Feminist Analysis. Athanor:
Semiotica, Filosofia, Arte, Letteratura 15 (8). Roma: Meltemi Editore.
White, David Gordon. 2003. Kiss of the Yogini: “Tantric Sex” in its South Asian Contexts.
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.