Our Earliest Dwellings
The Primitive Hut
The Trap
The Structures of Power
The Goddess Civilization
The First Temples
Archetypal Theory
Megalithic Architecture
The Column
Cave Dwellers
The personification of architecture and the primitive hut, after Laugier
Egg shaped graves
Cure for the Sick Society
False Duality of "Western Civilization"


I have now explored the psychological and political divisions between the sexes that have divided spatial relationships into two different and equally non-communal domains—in the public and the private. I will proceed with this architectural study by asking the following questions: What ideas are expressed in art and architecture in primitive and archaic cultures? Are there symbols which run through all races, societies, and countries? Are there architectural principles which builders all over the world need to follow in order to achieve harmony between nature and culture?

W. R. Lethaby writes in Architecture, Mysticism, and Myth, that "The main purpose and burden of sacred architecture--and all architecture, temple, tomb, or palace, was sacred in the early days--is thus inextricably bound up with a people's thoughts about God and the universe" (2). Lethaby says that, when one looks back at history, all architecture is one; the Greek temple and the Egyptian temple are one. He declares that the ultimate factors behind all architecture are: (1) the similar desires and needs of people; (2) the side of structure which is imposed by available materials; and (3) the side related to style and nature (Lethaby 1975, 3).

Our Earliest Dwellings

Psychoanalyst Otto Rank writes that our earliest dwellings "were natural caves in rock caverns or underground caves" (166). According to architectural historian Auguste Choisy, the force which drove people in northern latitudes into shelters and caves was the onset of the Ice Age. The use of fire, begun before we were fully human by Homo Erectus 500,000 years ago, made it possible to inhabit caves without the threat of attacks by dangerous animals. Over time "home" became a particular space occupied by a related group who huddled around the sacred fire; it was more than a "house," because

people felt a psychological attachment to it. It was a place safe from both wild animals and the cold. In the cave, it is speculated that people lived in a dormitory or “doss-housing” fashion. As the glaciers retreated northward during the final glaciation (75,000 to 12,000 years ago), the warmer weather may have brought people back outside in search of shelter, or perhaps the human population had outgrown the capacity of natural cave structure In Man the Homemaker, D.C. Money writes, "The homes of our earliest ancestors were usually based on some form of simple, temporary shelter, such as that made by using a framework of branches, propped?up so as to shield the family group from wind or sun" (13). In Mesopotamia, the oldest shelter which has been discovered is a hole dug in the soil. The soil was dried to brick hardness. This house even predates earthenware pottery (Mumford 1967).

It is believed that the first inspiration for the shape of houses and the first idea of architectural space came from the cave, the shape of which was semi-circular. Evidence suggests that houses were frequently rebuilt, which indicates that they were "occupied temporarily, and that the inhabitants were still partly cave dwellers" (Gardiner 1974, 3), or that they were slash-and-burn horticulturalists who relocated regularly. Then came the little hut, composed of a roof and some kind of supportive “columns.” The hut was one of the first works of human architecture and includes the elements from which all architecture is derived.

The Primitive Hut

Life in the primitive hut gave people structural privacy for individual nuclear or more often, extended families (with grandparents), and a place to gather limited private possessions. The author of Evolution of the House, Stephen Gardiner, states that this longing for privacy and property is instinctual and necessary for the development of individuality. He writes, "a man will look after his hammer because the hammer is useful to him; or a woman will take good care of her jewelry because it may enhance her social position or make her appear more attractive" (4). We can see the patriarchal bias in Gardiner's thinking about private property when he implies that men are the workers, while women gain social positions through their physical beauty. However, archaeologists have surmised that it was Neolithic woman who invented agriculture, not man the hunter. As she was inventing agriculture, he was busy taming the wilderness--that is, collecting the natural resources and appropriating woman’s surplus production which he used for trade and to increase his status as a man.

In the ancient Goddess traditions, when male deities finally appeared they were associated with hunting and the wilderness. Man became identified with taking from the natural world, in contrast to woman, who became identified with motherly giving as well as the storage of grain. Norman O. Brown writes, "Taking is a denial of dependence, and thus transforms the guilt of indebtedness into aggression; and the masculinity complex, the obsessive denial of femininity, is inherently aggressive" (280).

Women, the givers of life, were the first workers in the fields. Matrilineal towns and cities in Sumer and later Egypt grew up as a result food surpluses created by the agricultural revolution, as well as the invention of the container.

Modern scholars now agree that matrilineal settlements predate the pastoral nomads. One explanation for the means by which pastoral cultures evolved from earlier settlements is that these bands of marauding males had rejected the supervision of their mothers, and were then banished from the food-producing villages. In order to feed themselves, they were forced to kill their animals and eat their meat. In Elizabeth Gould Davis' The First Sex, she even speculates that the eating of meat over time produced a larger penis size vis a vis those vegetarian males who stayed with the settlements. The female agriculturalist may have found this irresistible, inviting the pastoralists-turned-hunters back into the settlements. Davis writes, "It is possible that the women of the old gynocracies brought on their own downfall by selecting the phallic wild men over the more civilized men of their own pacific and gentle world" (96).

The two distinct cultures of farmer and shepherd are represented by the story of the brothers Cain and Abel. In the Biblical tale, the Ramites, nomadic shepherds, overthrew the peaceful goddess-worshipping agricultural communities in the Near East. As a result, asserts Davis, the first historical dark age ensued. And so, the ancient gynocentric civilization was destroyed by the shepherd kings of the Hyksos/Ramites. The intellectually superior Philistines were finally conquered by the shepherd king David.

This process is rationalized in the Book of Genesis. The hero of the story is Abel, a keeper of the flocks; the villain is Cain, the settler who tilled the soil. According to Davis, the Biblical account of the murder reverses the truth, since it was the “Abels,” the uncivilized shepherds, who were killing or overtaking the civilized farmer, the “Cains.” Davis believes the story was created to “put a spin” on the changeover from the peaceful and nonviolent age of the Goddess civilization to the barbaric, patriarchal age of God's domination. One of the principles of most Goddess traditions was not to cause physical injury to any living creature. By accepting Abel's meat offering while refusing Cain's offering of the "fruits of the earth," Yahweh, the new male God was asserting the Israelites’ law of killing and plunder over the old Canaanite ways of the land.

Another way of looking at part of the story, is that of Malcolm Quantrill. He believes that the story of Cain and Abel points to the beginning of history and civilization, initiated with the creation of Cain’s city. In building this city, which Cain named after his son, Enoch, paradise became the eternal longing of humanity. The settlement was now the polis, protecting its citizens from the wilderness, where fugitives and wanderers lurked in the "untamed darkness." Quantrill writes, "With Cain's city there came into existence a more complex structure than the simple concept of hearth and habitat; and with it primitive man's [sic] basic need to protect himself from the elements and untamed nature was extended into one that recognized interdependence and its helpmate organization" (Quantrill 1990, 26).

The Trap

In Ritual and Response in Architecture, Quantrill asserts that our primitive ancestors adopted pastoral nomadic habits in order to survive, moving around in search for food. When pastoral peoples finally settled, giving up the "joys and hazards of the nomadic" life, turning hunting lands into lands for tilling, their relationship with nature became one of conquering and suppressing nature (Quantrill 1974, 117).

Quantrill feels that modern people wish to readopt this nomadic life style, but our political and economic systems inhibit us. We are trapped in a democracy of "no-choice." Quantrill writes,

In seeking structural innovations for the remaining two decades of this century the performance specification which must be applied is the controlled balance of nature; the objective is a return to "the Garden of Eden," with the restoration of Man's full enjoyment of ordered nature. In this sense innovation of built-form must be seen as the key to environmental engineering (117).

In Dora June Hamblin's book, The First Cities, she states that "the sedentary life does not necessarily require agriculture: in an ecological niche of high natural production, a family can settle there and feed themselves just by gathering, as if they lived in the Garden of Eden." (Hamblin 15). But as the population grows, the nomadic life-style becomes impossible. The natural environment cannot support their increasing population without agriculture. Historically, the population settled because they face the choice of either joining with their neighbors in food production, or fighting among each other over the wild food sources. When their second generation expanded into not-so-fertile areas, public services emerged to provide the means for irrigation, commerce, and religion to people in the poorer regions. Now needing protection as well, the city became a fortress. Hamblin writes, "Once defense and population concentration had come along, there was an urgent need for control--somebody to run the city, to make decisions. A barely perceptible ruling class grew and accreted to itself the power and prerogatives of control. Priests and shrines multiplied" (Hamblin 19). Indeed the temple was the first communal property. It became the sacred place to make offering to the unexplainable force of nature which provided the means for food.

The Structures of Power

One theory is that the nomadic hunter, who didn't like field work, adopted the arts of herdsmanship when he realized that he could tame animals, fatten them up, and then slaughter them or use their milk. The trading of cattle became one of the first forms of exchange. The villagers wanted the protection of their crops and children from wild animals which the hunter provided. Farmers welcomed the grazing of animals on their fields since their manure helped to fertilize their pastures. However, it is conjectured that the benevolent role of the hunter-as-protector became corrupted by his lust for power. He demanded "protection money," which became a one-sided transaction. In fear for their lives, the peaceful Neolithic villagers gave in to his demands. He became more dangerous than predatory animals as he began to slaughter his fellow human beings, and so, his ascent into power began (Mumford 1967). He became the king, warlord, lawlord, and landlord.

Here begins the unhappy marriage between the settled pastoralist and the agriculturalist, the codependent relationship of agriculture and the domestication of animals. As Daniel Hillel observed in a series of lectures given at the University of Massachusetts, the plow-the hallmark of patriarchal agriculture-has killed more than the sword. For long-term survival, the salts created by irrigated agriculture eventually makes soil unfertile. Thus such settlements must move and conquer new lands. Mumford writes in The City in History,

The city, then, if I interpret its origins correctly, was the chief fruit of the union between neolithic and a more archaic paleolithic culture. In the new proto-urban milieu, the male became the leading figure, woman took second place...Woman's strengths have lain in their special wiles and spells, in the mysteries of menstruation and copulation and childbirth, the arts of life. Man's strength now lay in feats of aggression and force, in showing his ability to kill and his own contempt for death: in conquering obstacles and forcing his will on their men, destroying them if they resisted (27).

Psychologists such as Norman O. Brown believe the new economic surplus achieved through the agricultural revolution caused our civilization to become fatally neurotic as the death instinct took over the instinct to live. The city cut itself off from nature as it annihilated the wilderness. As a species, we have not yet been able to create a society which fairly distributes our stored-up energy. With no communal goal in mind, people are in competition with their neighbors to gain as much of the surplus wealth as possible. In a capitalist civilization, it is private wealth which brings one social status and a sense of immortality; money lives on when the body dies.

The Goddess Civilization

For thousands of years, Neolithic goddess-worshiping villages and proto-cities had no need for weapons of war. They were advanced toolmakers, but instruments of murder cannot be found at these excavated sites. According to Mumford, the egalitarian communities of the Neolithic Age were too small to have launched an attack on their neighbors to gain territory or riches. Instead, they developed a culture of peace which worshiped the Great Goddess. Mumford noted in his study of strongholds and castles that warfare most likely started, not with one community fighting another, but with a society’s forceful and coercive landowning class fighting against its own peasantry.

The architectural landscape of villages also changed with the usually forced union of pastoralist and neolithic cultures. Masculine symbols of straight lines, phallic towers, the obelisk, the rectangle, and geometric plans accompanied the beginnings of mathematics and astronomy. The worship of the cycles of life and the myths surrounding love and pleasure were repressed. Mumford observed, "It is perhaps significant that while the early cities seem largely circular in form, the [later] ruler's citadel and the sacred precinct are more usually enclosed by a rectangle" (27).

Around 8000 B.C., bricks were being made from dried mud to be used in constructing buildings, and by 7000 B.C. the first rectangular plans appear. According to Gardiner, the break from the semi-circular form merely "marks the beginning of a true structural consciousness that is related to simplified building methods" (Gardiner 1974, 6). However, the rectangle provided the possibility of the wall, which could be "analyzed, taken apart, reduced to separate pieces, and then "put back in a wholly different form." The wall also meant that now individual houses could be built.

The First Temples

According to William H. Desmonde, our very first places of worship were among holy groves of trees, which were believed to be the places were the deities lived. The deities were thought to express themselves through signs and oracles. A branch from the sacred tree became the scepter, the magic wand of the artist/magician who was responsible for the natural powers. Wearing a crown made from the branches of the sacred tree was "evidence that an individual had entered into the deepest possible communion with the deity, and it was unthinkable for a person to reside at a ritual without bearing the symbol" (Desmonde 1962, 94). To appease the deities, the artist/magician gave them food offerings. In order for the food to not be found and eaten by someone it was not intended for, the places where the food was offered to the deities were kept generally secret--located in the forest, somewhere open to the sky.

Upright stones over-time took the place of trees, in part probably because they could be rearranged for particular rituals and the making of altars. Then, because of the vicissitudes of the weather, a roof was added to the temple.

According to Marija Gimbutas, in The Civilization of the Goddess, the houses of Old Europe were clustered around the theacratic, communal temple. The temple did not function as a house of the dead but rather as a center for the arts, community activities, and other matrifocal functions, which were then integrated into everyday life. For them, Gimbutas says, "secular and sacred life are one and indivisible."

There were two basic kinds of temples: one for rituals of death and renewal, and the other for the Goddess, believed to protect life, health, and the family. The Neolithic Goddess-worshipers developed a sacred script two thousand years before than the Sumerian script, devised to keep accounts of administrative and business transactions. The sacred script is found only on religious objects. Gimbutas writes,

The presence of a sacred script in Old European cultures is consonant with the stage of development. At the time in which this script was in use, east central Europeans enjoyed metallurgic industry, a high degree of architectural sophistication, extensive trade relationship, a remarkable sophistication, and specialization in the craftsmanship of goods, and an increasingly elaborate and articulated system of religious thought and practice (309).

One purpose of language is to take us to a place beyond language, to the silent ecstasy of life. This evolved state of mind could have been the goal of the sacred script of the Neolithic Goddess-worshipers. Was this script a poetic language? Was it indeed women who invented language and writing? If so, it suggests that this poetic language was the means by which the basic human needs of the community members could be regulated on an egalitarian basis, without the need for use an accounting system at all. The sacred script could have also provided a blueprint for the builders of the megaliths over the many centuries of their construction.

The matrifocal civilization was guided by a "queen-priestess, her brother or uncle, and a council of women as the governing body," whose reign was determined through the religious symbolism surrounding their lives (xi). Religious symbols existed deep inside the individual and thus ruled the hearts and minds of the people; something like a clairvoyant understanding of daily events may have taken place. There was no conception of individual money, nor emphasis on material possessions. Everyone had an important role to play, whether it was in the inward direction of art or the outward direction of mathematics and astronomy. Life was to be enjoyed. People contributed to society by doing what they loved to do, in cooperation with the organic-cosmic order.

Gimbutas asserts that archeological evidence suggests that there was no sexual dominance of one sex over the other; rather, but there was a balance of social respect between them, what she calls a "matristic partnership." In matristic societies, honor, inheritance and descent are traced through the mother. In Neolithic times, Gimbutas believes that men were not subjugated. Through analyzing Neolithic gravesites, it appears that elderly religious women received the most social respect. Also honored were girls who were "members of a hereditary line of priestesses." The materials found in the grave sites of queens or priestesses do not represent the accumulation of private wealth, as in the later tombs of the ruling aristocracy of Egypt; they were more a symbol of their special place in society. In certain villages, men who were successful in trade and craftmenship also received grave goods, but there is no evidence that they ever achieved the rank of rulership or were given the right to vote.

Some villages buried the bones of dead after they had been excarnated by leaving the bodies in open towers for birds of prey to devour, underneath the platforms of their former houses. However, the bones found are those of women and children, not of men. According to Gimbutas, this symbolized the important role that women and particularly girls played in the society. Many Neolithic graves were egg-shaped; bones placed in a fetal position to symbolize rebirth. The tomb was the place in which one was reborn, the womb-cave of the Goddess of Death and Regeneration. In some villages, male bones have not been found, so males must have been buried outside the village limits.

The impression I have of the Goddess civilization is that it honored both life and death. However, the exclusion of men from positions of leadership within the religion does not create a formula for a happy relationship between the sexes. Because he was presumably excluded from religious leadership, I question whether man was given the opportunity to learn the sacred script of the Goddess religion. If so, he was denied a role in contributing to the text in a way which would complete its full erotic meaning. It seems apparent that in Goddess traditions there also were established gender roles: woman managed the agriculture, took care of the children, and attended to religious rituals, while men built the houses and temples.

Men were perhaps made to feel inferior to women, since they were not the bearers of life, and may have developed an unconscious resentment towards women. Through the breeding of animals, however, man came to understand the importance of the male sperm in the procreative process. He also began to gain a sense of his individual existence, separate from the mother/mother goddess. Eventually, his resentment of the mother's power resulted in an attempt to overthrow her reign. As the cult of motherhood began to dominate the powers of the Crone--that aspect of the Great Goddess responsible for death and regeneration--the war between the forces of life and the forces of death began.

With the development of male domination, man reversed the social conditions making cruel laws and customs against women. Moving to more than the other extreme, man no longer worshiped the forces of birth, but only the cult of death. The biblical story of Abraham and Isaac captures the moment of change from worshiping life in Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his own son to prove his obedience to God. Marilyn French summarizes this story by saying that "power is being asserted as superior to nature, killing as superior to giving birth" (91).

A false aristocracy, based on power gained from material possession, was then established through the work of the sleight-of-hand magician. When the death cult overturned the religion of the Great Goddess, magical tricks of deception were used to force people to follow the dictates of kings, priests and, eventually, the monied lords of the ruling elite. A sublimation of Eros also occurred and, with it, the alienation of labor, as the sleight-of-hand magician waved his pseudo-alchemical wand over gold and silver. He declared gold to be the sun, and silver the moon, with the two joined together in holy matrimony to establish the “royal household” of the nuclear family. Magical entertainers then suppressed the messages of the true magicians/artists, who had an inner connection with the life-force. Peasants were coerced into bringing gifts of surplus food and precious metals to the newly established patriarchal temples so that they would be forgiven for their sins; the priests told them that only through repentance would their souls be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Language, then, became a neurotic compromise between the operational (reality) principle and the erotic (pleasure) principle. Poetry conformed to the new reality base. Rather than die off altogether, male dominated language and a male defined reality attempted to suppress the poetic essence. Without erotic language, poetry could no longer be the most powerful instrument in changing our perceptions.

The divorce of Eros from the body was the foundation of the emerging rationalist worldview which divided subject from object, making man the subject of history and woman the object of his conquest of nature. Later this led to the realm of physics becoming the supreme scientific knowledge with biology subservient to it. Since woman was seen as stuck in the biological realm, she was unable to transcend biology and partake in the so-called masculine higher levels of reality to be found in physics. Brown writes,

As modern civilization ruthlessly eliminates Eros from culture, modern science ruthlessly demythologizes our view of the world and of ourselves. In getting rid of our old loves, modern science serves both the reality-principle and the death instinct. Thus science and civilization combine to articulate the core of the human neurosis, man's incapacity to live in the body, which is also his incapacity to die (303).

In her book GAIA: The Human Journey From Chaos to Cosmos, Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris wonders how far the organic world view would have progressed by now if biology instead of physics had been considered the basic science. If the case were reversed, as Dr. Sahtouris believes it should be, this would mean that physicists would have had to fit to their discoveries into the "organic, live universe," instead of the mechanical universe.

Archetypal Theory

In A Modern Theory of Architecture, Bruce Allsopp discusses two basic architectural archetypes: 91) the aedicule and (2) the trilithon. He states that not the domestic cave and not the temple, but the primitive hut--the aedicule--became the archetype of the modern house. Standing stones, mounds, or trees--the trilithon--became our archetype for monumental structures.

The aedicule is a symmetrical, enclosed, domestic space, the "home of man or god: the house, the shrine, the temple" (Allsopp 63). There are three parts to the aedicule: the room, which is the personal and family place; the porch, which is the transition place to the outside; and the roof, which makes an enclosure and keeps out the rain. The roof is the most important part of the aedicule. The pitched roof is the basic design for all people living in aedicules in the heavy rainfall areas of the world. Allsopp contends that the aedicule is the symbol of the nuclear family: a pair of humans and their offspring. Art historians state that the primitive hut is the most "natural and essential" architecture, as natural and essential as the tortoise's shell or the bird's nest. Aedicule is for the living, whereas the other archetypal form, the trilithon, is for the dead.

The trilithon is composed of two posts and a lintel; it is monumental and non-enclosing. It is a freestanding doorway. Allsopp thinks that the trilithon is a commemoration of the dead. The trilithon evolved from a series of the sculptural symbols: the single sacred column, the menhir, the phallic cone, and the pyramid. When the aedicule is surrounded by trilithons, the classic temple is created as both monument and home of a Goddess or God, ancestress or ancestor. After the fall of the Great Goddess civilizations and the rise of the patriarchal religions, the temple was built as a structure of the ideal, of the world to come, ignoring the earthly domain. With the reign of the death cult came the practices of human and animal sacrifices, said to please the gods whereupon the reign of terror began.

Let us now go back to the beginnings of community. Mumford surmises that the dead were the first to receive a permanent dwelling place. A cavern, a collective barrow, or a mound marked by a cairn of stones housed the dead. The gatherers/hunters returned to these marked spots seasonally to worship their ancestresses and ancestors.

According to Mumford the city of the dead antedates the city of the living. Therefore, the core of the living city is the monument to the dead, which means that the trilithon is actually older than the aedicule. The homes of our past are the necropolis of civilization.
Dinnerstein summarizes Norman O. Brown,

Civilization is an attempt to overcome death...This incapacity to die, ironically but inevitably, throws mankind out of the actuality of living, which for all normal animals is at the same time dying; the result is denial of life...The distraction of human life to the war against death results in death's dominion over life. The war against death takes the form of a preoccupation with past and the future, and present tense, the tense of life is lost" (119).

Dinnerstein explains how our denial of death actually makes us incapable of the joys of life. The joys of the flesh rot in the gravesites of our individual bodies, as our desire for love and life is denied. We live with "the illusion that in exercising competence we can exert absolute power over everything that matters. If we feel that there exists no precious thing that we must inevitably lose, no real pain that we cannot hope to prevent, then we can re-establish in fantasy the omnipotence we originally knew" (Dinnerstein 1976, 122). This infantile omnipotence for connecting back with the mother occurs when we fail to individualize.

Megalithic Architecture

Bruce Allsopp discusses another common archetype common archetype in architecture: the tensile, structural "home" of the nomad--the tent, the suspension bridge or tipi. He states that it lacks a powerful symbolism because it has to be held and is not easily defendable. John Michell also presents a picture of the nomadic pre-historical world in his book, City of Revelation. People lived by a cosmology which was embodied in "native laws, customs, legends, symbols and architecture as well as in the ritual of everyday life" (Michell 1972, 26). He believes that groups of nomadic people would came together in particular places to dramatize their cosmology through fertility rituals and seasonal gatherings. On many of these places, such as Stonehenge, sacred rocks were arranged. It is likely that tents or tipis were used for family housing in such group movements.

Michell discusses the function of the megalithic temple in ancient times. The temple was seen as the body and spirit of life; it was a living organism. It was structured in terms of a heavenly or cosmic order: its body was the deity of the macrocosm, and, the people were its microcosm. It was "the magical control centre of all life on Earth" (59). The temple was "itself a canonical work, a model of the national cosmology and thus of the social and psychic structure of the people" (26). The temple was the center of government where all discussions which influenced the people took place. The people believed that they would receive supernatural guidance in making personal decisions at the temple. The plan and placement of the temple were decided by astronomical, geometrical, numerical, and geological considerations, such as the spot where terrestrial magnetism fused with the forces of cosmic radiation. In other words, the temple was supposed to be a place where the union of cosmic and terrestrial forces occurred. Before the dawn of the temple, there was believed to be a split between earth and heaven, religion and science. It was the deities who taught people the divine art of government, and gave the temple as a metaphor for the divine order. It was believed that all arts and sciences came through divine revelation, and that they needed to be nourished from the same source in order to be kept alive. This source was preserved inside the temple. Michell believes that the temple holds the key to the secrets of lost primeval harmony. He writes, the "ancient dream of the divine order translated to earth is an essential characteristic of the human race" (28).

Gerald Hawkins, in Stonehenge Decoded, hypothesizes that the people of the Neolithic Age possessed a collective, cosmic vision of the divine order which inspired them to haul massive rocks to high points of the plain, giving worshippers a clear view of the horizon. There they constructed a gigantic astronomical observatory, as accurate as a modern computer in calculating solar and lunar eclipses. The predictions of cosmological events gave the people a sense of cosmic time, as well as of the cycle of terrestrial events which determined the proper time to certain rituals and festivities. The temple a place for music and dance, fertility and funerary rituals and, perhaps, games and sports.

Since it was through megalithic architecture that the divine art of governance was perceived, a leisure class of holy people, both mystics and scientists emerged, and were excused from labor. Their task was to observe the position of the moon and sun, and to design and direct architecture, rituals, and ceremonies that honored the forces of life. Gimbutas writes,

Henges, [which were] truly gigantic works of construction, served a vital purpose and are products of the communal effort of large groups of people. Clearly such large scale work had to be based on a society's social and religious system. The ability to organize communal work on a grand scale is one of the chief characteristics of the culture of the megalithic builders (341).

She says we should not forget that megalithic architecture was religious-- public monuments to life, death, and regeneration. They were works of love, the products of a people's dedication to collective work and communal property. Every member of the community perceived the divine order and had "a body of shared aspirations" (Blake 163). It was the shared knowledge of the community which held the people together. Ortega y Gasset has written that "order is not a pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within." The Neolithic builders of the megaliths certainly understood that the organic-cosmic order is felt in the microcosm of the self, and were able to create a landscape of art, utility, and vision.

Vincent Scully, in The Earth the Temple And the Gods, observes that archaic temple sites were not haphazardly placed. Temples were built to acknowledge the "meaning that was felt in the land," also recognizing the deity as a natural force (3)." The place itself was holy, even before the temple was built upon it. This meant that the landscape and the human-made environment created a whole ritualist experience, one where

man's part is defined and directed by the sculptural masses of the land and is subordinate to their rhythms (11). This created a balance between the built environment and the natural, between "nature and the human will" (7).

One of the most moving accounts of this philosophy between the sacred landscape and the built environment can be found in Patrick Nuttgen's The Landscape of Ideas, which describes the palace at Knossos. Nuttgen explains that “movement of people entering the palace at Knossos was labyrinthine... The approach led to a court, thence by the propylaea to the main columnar hall, to the next court and so on to the dark cave-like shrine of the goddess. The movement from light to dark to light to dark is part of the labyrinth that has become the myth (32).”

The passageway to the palace had a profound psychological effect on people. The spatial experience of the labyrinth made people part of the movement from light to darkness, again symbolizing the natural forces of life, death, and regeneration. Experiencing, even if only symbolically, such fundamental forces connected these people to the basic religious mythos of the Goddess civilizations.

Gimbutas explains how Cretan palaces were not built by kings for the purpose of administration, but were "palace temples where elaborate religious rituals took place within a theacratic system" (345). According to Gimbutas, the henges were not like the monuments to the dead which appeared later, after the "secularization of life began in Britain with Indo-European chieftains." With the advent of patriarchal religions, the chieftain's monuments became based on individual ego, pride in the self, and private wealth, rather than on communal functions.

This lack of communal vision led to the use of slave labor to construct secular monumental architecture. Order was now imposed from without. This loss of collective vision meant that the people were severed from a sense of the organic-cosmic order. Time was no longer measured by heavenly events and the cycles of nature but linearly, as if the universe was a heartless machine. Inner knowledge of the universal self, and finding one's role within the cosmic web of life, was denigrated in favor of the emerging scientific worldview, which had no need for the rituals and ceremonies, that the cosmic religion had provided. Entertainment, and the pleasing of the senses dominated inner reflectiveness. The internal experience which causes one to feel empathy for others and to grow from such experience was stunted as entertainment, in all its pornographic and commercial forms prospered.

The administrative-business language of the post-matrifocal Sumerians suppressed and replaced the poetic script of the Great Goddess. With the unification of the astronomical priesthood with the enterprises of kingship, scouts and missionaries were sent out to prospect the land for metals, minerals, and labor in hopes of increasing their power and wealth. Their vision was fragmentary and myopic, and so the built environment became disconnected from the landscape. At the henges, the places for the fertility rites now became the places for human sacrifice. In the patriarchal worldview, sacred texts and the making of sacred art were no longer open to women. Architecture no longer took account of the natural landscape, but became blind to the surrounding environment. Land was no longer viewed as sacred. The monotheistic worship of the sun prevailed over the worship of the sun and the moon. The terms of the scale of justice became lopsided. Rationalistic ways of knowing began to smother the intuitive approaches to truth. The clairvoyant world community of the Neolithic people had been virtually destroyed; the erotic, playful energy flow between people, as well as the cultivation of the human soul, were now ignored in favor personal aggression. The lust for power and material possessions, team sports, and organized murder in the form of crime and war, had begun to dominate people's consciousness.

In W.B. Crow's essay "The Mistletoe Sacrament," he describes a sport practiced on the occasion of a death. The performers of the game were divided into two groups. A struggle then began between the two teams for possession of the dead body; the skull of the deceased came to represent the place body, which was to be kicked into a goal or else was the object of combat. This grisly struggle symbolized the new dualistic worldview of the patriarchal religions, which involved the struggle of light and darkness over the spirit of the deceased. Football, polo and other team sports may have originated with this practice, but these modern sports have lost their former pseudo-religious significance (Crow 54).

The Column

Bruce Allsopp's theory about the column archetype states that "the single column is the pole of the tent, the symbol of paternity, the support of the roof, the patriarch. We cannot begin to understand the history of architecture if we think the column is just a structural expedient" (Allsopp 1974, 59). For Otto Rank the column was also more that a structural expedient; it was a "partial expression of the collective ideology which led to the establishment on Earth of the heavenly and the divine--in other words to sacral temple--building" (176). Both thinkers fail to see the sexism in the column. The erecting of the column could be seen as the first separation between the sacred and the secular, earth and heaven, the macrocosm and the microcosm, woman and man. Indeed this separation may have been the first great battle between the sexes, resulting in our symbolic fall from Eden. The column marks the beginning of plow agriculture and the patriarchal state, so that it initiates the exploitation of the land which, if not reversed, will cause our extinction.

Does the column represent simply our first idol, the foundation for the emergence of patriarchal religions and belief in a transcendent sky god detached from nature? Or does the erection of the column also mark a critical emotional attempt by men to separate from their mothers, in order to build their own identities? If the column were indeed a revolt against the mother, then the spatial revolution by the sons went too far, suppressing the rights of women and relegating them to the role of an impotent Mother Earth. The intellectual and spiritual powers of women to interpret and guide people by divination and prophecy through the process of death and rebirth were being suppressed. And so, gradually, the powers of resurrection and transformation through the body were forgotten. Without access to and respect for these powers, a new social order and creative partnerships could not be envisioned. A sense of the whole was lost, as well as our species’ precious balance with nture. Amos Rapoport writes in his book, House, Form, and Culture,

The desanctification of nature has led to the dehumanization of our relationship with the land and the site. Modern man has lost the mythological and cosmological orientation which was so important to primitive man, or has substituted new mythologies in place of the old. He has also lost the shared images of the good life and its values, unless he can be said to have the shared image of no image (126).

Norman O. Brown proposes that the anxiety of the modern age is caused by our fear of separation from our protecting mothers. Jeremy Rifkin, a disciple of Brown, reports in Biospheric Politics that humanity has evolved from "a state of undifferentiated oneness with the Earth to a detached self-aware isolation from her." Now that men have reached a state of independence and self-awareness, they must build a new relationship with nature and with women -one which is both unified and interdependent. Rifkin writes, "biospheric security is based on a reconciliation of the death instinct with the life instinct and helps establish a balance between separation and oneness, independence and dependence, detachment and participation" (325).

In an essay entitled, "Masculine Bias and the Relationship between Art and Democracy," Georgia C. Collins writes that human beings are capable of experiencing both forms of consciousness: immanence and transcendence. She says that we feel transcendence "when we become conscious of ourselves as an "I" who is capable of freely chosen self-direction. We are conscious of “thou” when we realize our vital connection with the group of all living things, "whose safety and value depend on our ability to accommodate interests beyond our own."

Collins goes on to say that a healthy adult combines I and thou in their relationships. However, she points out, this is difficult given behaviors, values and attitudes in "Western" democracies which favor "masculine" over "feminine" immanence.

J. R. Martin outlines three historical expressions of sexism (1) the exclusion of women from positions of power; (2) male and female stereotyping; and, (3) the devaluing of "feminine" characteristics in society. The question remains whether or not, as today’s columns of "Western" civilization begin to rot and fall apart due to industrial pollutants released into the atmosphere, will the cycle of love once again bring about the death of one epoch and the birth of a new one?


In this chapter I have searched for the origins of the city and discovered the two basic archetypes in architecture: the domestic, enclosed space of the aedicule; and the monumental, non-enclosing structure of the post and lintel, the trilithon. We have seen how the dysfunctional, codependent relationship between the feminine pre-plow agriculturalists and the masculine-herders evolved.

In such a society, women became second-class citizens as men took over control of both agriculture and animal breading. This dominator culture prevented the natural culture of love to continue its long-term vision of survival. Instead of building heaven on earth, patriarchal incest religions built temples to the sky gods, resulting in the increasing rape of the planetary resources.


Human Extinction or Lovolution?