V Ä C K A R K L O C K A
A L A R M C L O C K
E L I N W Ä G N E R´ S E C O F E M I N I S T I C T E S T A M E N T
When writing Väckarklocka the author was afflicted by the wrath of a Pythia, Ulla Isaksson and Erik Hjalmar Linder comment in their biography.
Her close friend; the journalist Barbro Alving states that she seldom had seen anyone suffer as much from agony and pain due to the outburst of WWII, as Elin Wägner. She never got used to it
The prevailing atmosphere by the time of the creation of Väckarklocka 1941 - the years of Hitlers´s victory - Sweden increasingly surrounded by his armies everywhere, the freedom of speech put under threat - was the one of an emerging catastrophe; a culture cataclysm and the end of civilisation. Elin was sitting in front of the stove burning letters and documents. (Perhaps even the documents from the WOWO-congresses she had visited in the Interwar Years?)
After insistently having worked for peace ever since she attended the Women's Peace Congress in Haag 1915, she was now bitterly disappointed over the women´s passivity. Nothing had changed since WWI. And by then - even without suffrage - women gathered on a global level to make their voices heard, but now what did they do - nothing - just sitting there and submissively subsiding.
Didn´t she tell them that this was to come if they didn´t act in time?
And soon it was too late - time running out, thus she was in a great hurry to get her vision published before there were no freedom of speech, presses and paper any longer.
The literature historian Birgitta Holm writes in her article:
WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE, HUMBUG!
Wägner’s Väckarklocka (1941; Alarm Clock) took on that task of decoding and recoding, sometimes in direct contradiction to Pennskaftet (The Penwoman). “What has women’s suffrage accomplished?” was one of the underlying questions. “Still plodding along in men’s tracks”, came the answer. Only if women deciphered the code, read the signs properly, and reconstructed the half obliterated traces of the ancient past could they find their way back to ways of life that affirmed propagation, nurture, and growth.
Back in the nineteenth century, Bachofen had discovered one such sign: the opening of Aeschylus’ Eumenides, the final play in the Oresteian Trilogy. The play opens with an invocation, as the priestess reviews the line of succession at Apollo’s temple in Delphi. The first three keepers were goddesses: Gaia, Themis, and Phoebe. Apollo is a trespasser – a python-killer and distorter of signs.
Wägner experienced another sign in her personal life. She was standing at Cape Sounion, the place from which Aegeus had once watched for his son Theseus’ return. Would the ship bear a white or a black sail? As it turned out, the sign was misleading – the sail was black even though Theseus had triumphed. What Wägner realised is that the ‘error’ carried a meaning. It was hardly conceivable that a hero would simply have forgotten to announce his victory.
No, the sign represented the true import of his victory, the conquest of the matriarchy. With the assistance of Ariadne, he had slain the Minotaur of Crete. But he broke his pact with her and left her on Naxos. The black sail symbolises his inner conviction that the betrayal was a loss, the victory a bereavement. The patriarchy – along with its lust for conquest, its monuments, pageants, processions, and other tokens of power – was now here to stay.
Wägner’s Väckarklocka is just as desolate as Selma Lagerlöf’s Bannlyst (Banned). In both books, the war is already raging and the only salvation is to take stock of the most fundamental, deeply buried resources, ultimately in the custody of the Mother. Not the mystical, preconscious, opaque, elemental substance, but its visionary, lucid, and enlightened essence.
Listen closely, the authors seem to be saying, and you will hear the voice that we all bear within us.
These so-called "Trümmerfrauen" in Germany might in one way depict Wägner´s vision of women building a completely new future out of the ashes from the devastation of WWII - that was their great chance in organising a society from scratch built on the principle of mothering and nurturing life instead of male domination and war. On the other hand it may as well depict the contrary - women whose task it is to take care of the consequences of war and gather up the fragments from the destruction, although without being respected and listened to, whenever it starts all over again.
If they didn´t act now, by seizing the opportunity to create a new worldorder, the male domination once more would take over after the end of war - exactly as last time after WWI, and just continue its onesidedness with its longing for power, accrual, industrialisation and yet more weapons. And that mustn´t happen. She was passionately on fire.
Ever since her encounter with WOWO she had nurtured the idea of transmuting the catastrophe into something that was positive and constructive - according to the well recognised fact nowadays in the organic system theories by Prigogine et al about the possibility of a complete new spiral of development to emerge out of the breakdown of a collapsed system. Before this breakdown there is always a critical point of almost tipping balance that could be exploited for a radical change in a beneficial course, contrary to the former one.
Thus she was in a hurry, to make her message understood and communicated in time, and that´s why everything comes out in such an entrancing and spontanously rapsodic hugger- mugger flow of thoughts and feelings and allusions to the wealth of influences she had experienced in her wide web of engagements and contacts not at least the last one with WOWO, shortly presented on the former page, her adressing passionate and encouraging - offering hope.
It took long before the book got its ultimae form, the start was slow and exhaustive: "as drinking water from a horn with its point to a see" she writes. A strange association one might think, but I find it quite pregnant.
And then all of a sudden everything flow forth by itself.
In some passages in Väckarklocka Wägner is referring to her experiences as a pieceworker and peace negotiator and is directing scathing critique of the resolution that had been adopted at the Women´s International Congess at Haag in 1915, and which Wägner soon thereafter reviewed herself in the texts published in ladies weekly Idun.
Now the resolutions in The Hague is criticised for their lack of radicalism and for their underlying assumption that life after the First World War would continue along much the same lines as before, with empires remaining in place albeit accepting the existence of the Legue of Nations, and with ìnfödingr´(natives) and women managed in a humanised colonial system:
"We want to improve the machinery, make sure it functions with fewer grating noises then before"- and the perspective in the resolution on the natural resources and the environment "the demand for natural resources to be shared fairly indicates that as long as everybody is allowed to take part in the ruthless and methodical impoverishment of the earth, everything is fine."
The system that is being criticised in Väckarklocka is capitalist and militarist, and against this she sets the interrelatedness of key issues such as education, the distribution and use of land, the demographic crisis, and pacifism, and last but not least - science but not the common male stream kind of "science" pursued by the fake historians among the academics, but by women themselves wherein practice and theory is not kept apart but work together.
Elin Wägner (to the right) and Emilia Fogelklou (in the middle) at the Hague conference 1915
Elin Wägner making her speech at IFFK´s peace conference 1936
As a complete novice and amateur I shouldn´t perhaps take the risk of being impudent by translating Elin Wägner´s texts into English and thereby making myself guilty of committing sacriledge. But I just can´t resist the temptation of using them in the mission of this website / blog as the excellent history lesson they once have been to myself.
My expectation is also that I this way may promote an interest of Wägners authorship and even perhaps reach an international audience enough to get some of it into translated into English - a dream Elin Wägner nurtured herself but which never was fullfilled.
May I thereby neither make her literary qualities and/or genial ideas unjustice. I can just hope that someone else, as for example Sarah Death, who already in a professional way has translated the last chapter of Väckarklocka, soon will get the opportunity to publish the hole masterpiece in English.
I would be grateful if all of you who discover errors and / or more or less inappropriate translations get in contact with me to improve my writings. I would also be very very grateful if I would succeed in inspiring some of you to contribute with even more excerpts from the texts in Väckarklocka translated into English.
Nowadays we have got such an abundance of superior opportunities in pursuing our own research, with access to a vaste number of images on Google Image and documentaries on Youtube and so forth, offering a lot of visualising advantages in the field of archeology / anthropology, which hasn´t been available before. Therefore I have tried to complement Wägner´s history lesson with materials I have found exploring the jungle of information on the net. Not all of them are equipped with links but almost - so just
C L I C K T H E I M A G E S !
V Ä C K A R K L O C K A (A L A R M C L O C K ) 1 9 4 1
I N T R O D U C T I O N
Excerpts from the introduction.
During my trial to come up with some result from my long-lasting preparatory work the flames from the events have flared sky-high around our country. No-one has been able to escape moments of utmost consciousness about how annihilative disastrous the monotonous destruction of life and world is. When dread in front of the overly powerful touches you, it is as if the intention of your work runs out of your hands. My purpose was to make a contribution to the women´s self-examination, an analysis from my perspective of our situation, a summary of our difficulties and possibilities our dreams and plans for the future. The work has been permeated and aggravated by that dread, that angst which takes a grip on every human being, who isn´t made of iron.
Anyhow; There is an idea that drives you out of bed in he morning and it is this: time is running out and the contact might be broken.
What was to be said before the thread was cut off was from the beginning:
Women have high reason to reconsider whether not most of what they accept as evident and which they yield to as inevitable really is self-evident and inevitable. This means examining the society we live in and the position and stand we take therein.
My reasons for the reexamination will be presented in a series of statements. The book tries to show what the result of an reexamination might encompass and what the consequences might be. It will give the impression that I disregard or despise everything good and valuable in society which during sixty years soon has given me my livelyhood and protected my personal freedom from being seriously attacked.
It will appear as if, in my insistence on viewing the past, the present and the future from the women´s perspective, I am forgetting completely that men and women are in the same boat.
It will appear as if I didn´t consider the great deeds women are carrying out right now and as if I didn´t know those who have got another opinion than I may be working hundreds of times as intensively and better.
But I haven´t got time to target my topic from every different perspective. As complicated, as ambiguous and diverse the historical course, in particular to the amateur, as difficult to assess the position of the woman, I would never have moved away from the introduction, if I would have made a try.
The picture I am going to draw is simplified to the limits of acceptability. I will refrain from putting up the evidence I have got for my opinion and I will also refrain from analysing that kind of counter-considerations which would have been worth such a treatment.
I cannot repeat over and over again that I know the difference between war and war, even when I examine war as a common phenomenon. And even when I most incisively proclaim that the whole civilisation has got a dictatorial feature, I am trying to understand what it means that the democracies try to support standards that make them differ from dictatorship, but I cannot keep on repeating that.
For me it´s conclusive that the main direction taken by our civilisation and the aim it has put up for itself during its journey, jeopardises the things of value that our culture has won.
A great deal of humankind´s precious inheritance has already been crushed: what remains must be brought to safety if possible, be moved out of the racing car that may lie crushed in a ditch at any moment. The direction of the civilisation is erratic and self-destructive.
That one, who after twenty-five years of peace-making has experienced a retreat delayed by occasional victories, which one upbeat has overestimated, has intensively experienced its generation´s powerless trials to avoid the fate that now has defeated them all. Plans intended to make war impossible, has been checkmated, before they even have been performed, yes, even while they still were merely thoughts and the plotters disseminated in all directions.
If one has tried to appeal to the horrible memories from the first World War, to people´s love for life, children and the peaceful work, one has found that invisible adversaries already have attested them for their ominous purposes.
The increasing sensation of standing against an ubiquitous power whose forces and resources are overwhelming, was a terrible pressure on the morals of the peace-workers. Like other yielding armies they occurred to get into disagreement about the reasons to the surrenders and which tactics to be followed.
When I noticed that humanity during the Interwar Years just had been taken into war hospital in order to get scantily cured, and then driven out again, I made a breakneck trial to escape it all. But experienced the same as other deserters: “if me you flee I am the wings". Instead of engaging myself in propagating for peace I then tried to understand what has given the current towards the cataract it´s irresistible strength. And during these trials, that what first seemed to be an evil force emerged out of the personal, was dissolved into a gigantic misunderstanding.
The active fellow campaigner in the great fight of our century, haven´t got time to anything beyond trying to keep away from death and then die as worthy as possible. Although badly burnt by the surrounding flames we in our country still have got time to model judgements about the fantastic enterprise that´s in train for the destruction of humanity. In the common discussion you encounter especially two kinds of approaches which seem to aggravate a serious examination of what´s going on.
The first one consider war being a phenomenon in human life that´s impossible to eradicate. Through ruthless struggling and unrelentingly taking it´s toll from the weaker to the stronger humanity has continued its course and preserved its existence.
The other one consider our civilisation to be about leaving the barbarian stage and to organise things in a reasonable way, when a sudden coincidence, embodied by some single individuals suppressed the course of humanity towards increasing perfection. Thereby the defenders of the won values were forced to regress back to the use of unworthy methods otherwise at risk of everything humanity have achieved to give away.
Both of this opinions help us to forgive ourselves for adapting and not making revolt. Therefore they thrive side by side, mediated by many nuances.
However both of them cannot be right.
Perhaps no-one is right.
Now time has come to deliver some kind of theory. To me civilisation likens the tractor that Albin Johansson has longed for, that is as capable of ploughing the land as well as attacking the enemy. One could also liken it to the factory capable of producing silk stockings as well as bombs, medicaments or gas according to the needs. Or to an aeroplane that can carry bombs as well as those wounded by the bombs.
The fact that it is possible to reset our communities and engage every cog at the service of war, is because our societies, even during peaceful periods are disposed towards breaking up resistance, re-shape, conquer. It must have been thought of as a means of freedom and happiness of humanity. But the freedom and happiness of humanity has become synonymous with the mastery over the earth.
Thats why civilisation even during peacetimes has been war footing. It works with speed, mass with forces it awakens but not entirely masters. It loves to break laws and resistance. It is bellicose and destructive, even when it seemingly works constructively. Wherever it proceeds, older cultures have to be erased, nature be plundered and violated. Its constructive, inventing, producing has a hasty, nervous feature. It has given the mechanical human being the possibility to pursue his / hers idea and projects out in the infinite with the help got energies she has taken into her service.
But this, as we shall see, hasn´t led to happiness and health but to misfortune and unrest. The happiness of humanity has to be sacrificed as always during war. For civilisation to master the earth human beings have to become slaves under their own system. Some slaves know that. Others not. But any difference in the behaviour by those who know is hard to find. They know and have resigned. They know and join a war for a system with which they aren´t content.
A decisive re-modelling of the structure of society has occurred by gathering classes, occupations, and industries under central organisations, which then have been put under a strong state power. Altogether this has occurred voluntarily, as the individual has gained some advantages by that.
Excerpts from the second chapter:
V I E W F R O M P A R T H E N O N
The worst thing in experiencing history the way we do now, is to stand in the middle of a disastrous course of events, without being able to grasp its meaning or to do anything to hold it back. Why do Europe has to be destroyed, be poisoned and impoverished? Why cannot people live, not occupy themselves with something that make sense, why not be happy about innocent things, not mourn when it would be natural to mourn? Why aren´t we allowed to have a future? Why aren´t we allowed to die in peace? Is all this really necessary? Yes as long as we believe that ourselves. Why do we believe that? One important reason is the understanding we have got about the human history.
Our acting in the present is bound to the past. In that respect it doesn´t make any difference if we ourselves believe that we have cut all ties. Every single human being has got some kind of point of view on history, how nebulous and distorted it might be, and it belongs to the factors that will decide her behaviour. Because the great majority of people believe that life must be an eternal fight, in which the strongest takes it all, its also what its going to be.
When I ask persons who jauntily admits their ignorance and indifference of the past, about the reason to their choice of position and occupation in present, it will prove its connection back to the same past.
The majority of people nowadays drink the water of lakes they have never seen. It has travelled a long way through pipes, It has ben altered through all the filters it has passed. The historical knowledge upon wich we build our destiny resembles such pipe water. Only a small number of specialists have access to the sources of history.
Science, naturally has to give a selected, simplified and understandable picture of what has happened. It can however be questioned if the selective methods now applied during this simplification is just, and if the explanations really explain what has happened.
The history that shapes our view is a synthetic product. Reality is broken down into its components and is then put together again, according to methods which are patented in the world of scholars. During that process some part of reality is scraped out as not relevant. This is the reality that consists of women´s history
This means a pressure on women of such enormous amount, that it in itself is history-creating.
Everyone realises the importance of the difficulties and injuries of certain nations being effectively exploited by skilful propaganda to redirect their view on life and destinations. The influence that has redirected the women´s view on their lives and destinations is not admitted by anyone although its much more dangerous and more systematic. It is so successful that no-one even notices its existence.
Elin Wägner and her sister Ester Paulsson visiting Greece
(In the end of the chapter “View from Parthenon” in Alarm Clock Elin Wägner ponders the historical events in our history while sitting between the beautiful pillars of the Parthenon temple, looking away above the Aeropagian hills, to the place where The Motherage had suffered its overthrough by the judicial decision to Orestes favour.)
I was on a visit in Greece together with some members in the Greek brotherhood, if I may say so. But I understood that I never was to be accepted as a member in this brotherhood, not even as back-up. I learned the Greek ABC enough to be able to spell the words democracy and school when recognising them on buildings, I sometimes turned a vocabulary with words like freedom and philosophy, but I was never to learn what they meant to the classical scholars who used them. I belonged to the slave caste which in Hellas no freedom had, no school needed and no wisdom caught on to. I belonged to that sex which in the shape of the female flute player was sent out of the room, when Socrates and his friends was to discuss love at their symposium.
All of these things I could certainly have figured out without Bachofen. But if not he and his successors have been, I would never have thought of the Greeks as someone else than the creators of all of culture worth mentioning. I would have believed that beyond the culture they shaped was chaos. I would never have dreamt of looking for the signs of quite another form of culture. I would have believed that the birth of the Greek culture was a complete mystery and not for one second have dreamt of it emerging out of the tension of competition and the mood of victory and that it was obscured by the fear of the authority it had defeated. I would have accepted all the whitewashes of the love of boys, with which one is brushed off, and I would never have understood, the kind of anxiety about the subdued women expressed thereby.
I would never either have payed any attention to the Greek housewives on the Hellenistic graveyard monuments. These weren´t considered to be much of art, but being art or not they radiate an indescribable aridity.
When the Greek housewife resign, it is the slave, the jewellery box and her own face in the mirror she bids her farewell. The daughters are married off to another breeding farm for sons. Men and sons are wandering on the agora or are lying at table at a symposium, in best case by Agaton´s or Sokrates´places. In death these wives replace one loneliness by another.
Thus, since a Swiss professor, many decades ago, got an idea, a Swedish woman could catch a glimpse of the Geek history seen from women´s point of view, in the National Museum in Athens, the hall of the grave monuments.
Excerpts from the third chapter:
T H E M O T H E R O F T H E F I R S T F O O T S T E P
Oh thou Mother of the First Footstep!
That´s the way it is told in an itinerary from The Pacific islands, the divinity is invoked by the shaman and his followers in order not to get hurt when they undertake their ceremonial walk over hot coals. This is a religious practice difficult for us to understand. But in the prayer to the Mother of the First Footstep at the beginning of the long and dangerous road an echo strikes back from the dawn of time.
Its the Mother of the First Footsteps who keeps watch over the early humans in the beginning of the wandering. When they reached something like being able to imagine the creation of the world wherein they lived, they thought of it as born out of the womb of a divinity, born by a miracle of the same kind they could see in front of their own eyes when a plant or an animal, a child is breaking its way forward out from the dark womb of the earth or the mother into the light. That´s why they felt closer to places where the earth opened up to a gap, that´s why even the night and the death was an open boom of the mother.
The world-parents who later on would help each other to beget the world was a later invention, and God who create with words and hands would follow after that, to eventually be replaced by the eternal clockwork that runs the world.
By being lost in a forest you can at least learn how vast it is. About the immensity of human history I have got some idea, and therefore I don´t believe that the history of women can be drawn with such a simple line, that i am doing right now, but any other way of re-establishing a part of reality that´s has been tucked away I don´t know of.
"Dogmatical denial arouses dogmatical obstinacy", Gerald Herald is supposed to have said, regarding the struggle between older and newer anthropological schools. The question about whether a mother age has existed or not, hasn´t entered into his field of vision as a problem though. His explanation of the peace from the earlier stages of humanity, is that the human being descends from an animal with "sensitive hands and quick eyes, vigilent senses and a charming behaviour". Nevertheless I noted his thesis as applicable even on the reciproke interaction between those who deny every vestige of a mother age and the other ones who can see them clearly depicted there.
The position that the woman took in a world supervised by the mother of the first footstep was not conquered, it emerged out of life by itself. From the beginning it didn´t conflict the instincts and interests of the men and appeared as natural to both partners.
The human mother has a helpless kid. Even if she herself belongs to a defenceless species, her little kid is even more defenceless. Its naked and has to be protected against heat and cold, against rips and bites. It has to have somewhere to stay for protection. For years its nourished by breastmilk and does´nt leave for pasture as soon as it has ceased with that. When the mother has got a new kid at her breast, she has to continue taking care of the older.
In the small group whose centre she is, she is taking the main responsibility for the supply. That´s as natural to her as the breastfeeding. Thus she is becoming the great worker, inexhaustible in digging out, capture and utilise the possibilities lying in the world she has been put. She has to learn how to recognise, gather and process everything that can serve as nourishment and protection to her offspring. She has to learn how to discriminate between useful and useless, learn how to make the non-edible edible, she has to learn how to preserve and protect her store and ration it. She has to find and improve the tools she needed as the man needed his, she must expand her competence and complete her learning by trial and error.
This is also a way of getting to know life and a kind of research in which the physician capacity of the woman is taken to its peak, her intelligence is sharpened and her affection for those whom she has under her patronage (matronage?) matures. The mutual interdependence provides its persistence.
This is not at all consistent with the common notion about the early human being. We have always been taught that they obtained their nutritional needs by fishing and hunting.
The gathering activities practiced by the women and as important as the hunting and fishing has sort of being omitted in relation to the other occupations.
It was on these rambles the women got to know the secrets of the places, trees´ and herbs´ secrets which were plentiful. Eventually she learned to understand which herbs satiate hunger, which have a healing function, which have a drowsy or intoxicating impact. I don´t know if there have been found any new ones, since the first botanic expansion. She found plants with strong fibres from which you could braid hardwearing baskets for the supply to be carried in.
Among others there were also textile fibres standing there waiting for her from which you could make carpets and clothes. Here were plants from which you could extract colour to use at the decoration which pleased the eye and served magical functions. The hearth where the fire was burning was also an important laboratory, where the experiments were carried out. The result everybody could take part of, but only those who were meant to take over the same kind of work were allowed to share the knowledge, and that was the daughters.
The activities of the women as artisans were closely linked to the gathering, preparing and storing of food - she was miller, baker, brewer, butcher, tanner, potter in her primitive way. Whenever she needed storehouses she built them. The experiences gathered thereby had to be transmitted, thus she became a teaching master. The experiences had to be transmitted not only through the secrets of the grips, but also through the coinage of the memory. If you believe that hunt and fight were the only things retained in myth and legend, you forget how important it was that all the invaluable knowledge lying within the women´s sphere, was transmitted by fairytales, parables and songs. Within the Nordic countries Finland has been that one which has retained this traditions longest.
There the work - songs, as well as the songs who protected against fire and wild animals have been sung up until today of the elder women, the Karelian mourners thus reminding us of the time when the muses sang themselves instead of just acting as models and statues.
The proverbs inculcated the mores and rules that were drawn up by the women. The younger had to learn by the elder
to never take the last,
to thread carefully
to try to be friendly with everything living
to avoid the pregnant female and the brooding bird
to arrange sowing and harvesting and other activities according to the rhyme of the moon.
to hold the unity of family in high esteem
to make sure that men´s respect for women´s power and secrets is preserved.
This is Yingana, the Creation Mother, carrying dilly bags full of "lots and lots of babies" as she "came from the far North," according to Law men of Arnhem region who testify about the Gabarnmang Dreamings in the film First Footsteps. She traveled across Country depositing the babies in different lands, giving them their languages and cultures.
(Wägner continues then depicting the woman as holding a prominent position and accepted by man as an authority, not only due to her role as the most important supplier of food, clothing and shelter but also because of her inventive creativity and “magic power” to make things sprout and flourish, her endeavours being multifaceted as a supplier, teacher, artist, philosopher of life and dead and shaman.)
“That´s why you never ask why the daughters must stay at home to make the centre of the clan while the sons have to leave for to find their wives in other clans - it is just like that. The central position of the mother in a circle of daughters and the close bonds between the siblings is thus what must characterise the primitive society. And what position is then hold by the father? Well he is actually not more than an uncle yet.”
(Then there is a passage in which the difficulty for modern people to try to imagine the ontology of this remote world is stressed, though some words and symbols might give us significative clues, such as for example the Swedish word “bröstarvinge” - representing that individual who inherits her or his mother from whose breast he or she has been nourished.)
“We understand that the expression the lap of the earth not is to be understood figuratively bur factually, as well as the bosom of the night or the death. The darkness is in a literally sense the mother of the light and therefore sacred and women´s sister. The darkness exposes the secrets of the universe, in its dwelling the tree of the world unfold in all its glory with golden leaves from stars. Through the darkness the moon is sweeping in its time - and sign defining quarters one of them embodying Hegemone. Its heralding birth, waxing and waning and the whole circle throughout. The forces of the night are benevolent, the oracle of dreams are guiding people, in the night they all hasten to the land of dreams. The places where the earth opens up to let a spring pour forth, are sacred and are protected by the women and subject to their worship, as well as the trees, preferably the fruitful ones.
Too much of lively childbearing and great child mortality is not either characteristic of the mother-age but of patriarchy, wherein strict confinement of women´s sexuality goes along with sexual freedom for men and prostitution. Great ambitions to be fruitful in order to populate the world abundantly isn´t there, and neither the need of obtaining numerical superiority, such a behaviour is provocative and complicates the relationship with neighbouring tribes.
The fact that the mother-age is peaceful is hardly due to some higher moral quality, only quite natural. War is a crime to the law of life and not the law itself, how strange it even may sound to all of us having learnt that fight is the leading principle and the impetus of development - yes here I once more join in to the expression of the clockwork universe theory.
To fight may be fun and refreshing and the fight can be tolerated as releasement of power, but has got its confinement given therein not being capable of arising or hurrying up the process in life attaining everyone´s reverence and interest. Weapons and physical strength once have had less possibilities than nowadays. Law was not to be found in the end of the spearhead before the mother-age was defeated. You cannot frighten the earth to be fruitful, which is the most important of all. One can´t anger a part of the creation against oneself, as everything has a soul and consists of a united hole.
The physically stronger isn´t therefore from that alone becoming the one who masters. That´s an opinion so deeply rooted in the cerebral windings, that it is hard to amputate, too much further substance goes then along with it and the head gets dizzy and empty. But as an experiment of thought it may perhaps be endurable for five minutes. And during these five minutes I will try to tell as much as that in such a world it was quite natural for the women to regulate the fighting spirit among the men and confine its manifestations to workout exercising and to what was necessary for the protection of the group. Women don´t waste with life as long as they live in biological balance, that´s natural. Not even the degenerated Erinyes had the intention to kill Orestes, the mother-murderer, they only haunted them with pangs of conscience, its only a question of taste if you prefer death to those.
Even after women had coped with learning to know the world the experimental methods and learned the simplest form of animal care, agriculture and handicrafts, culture might continue developing under their leadership or with them as leaders.
Excerpts from the fourth chapter:
T H E M O T H E R O F TH E S E C O N D F O O T S T E P
Kap Sunion at Attica
Just because the men have taken credit of all inventions and culture on their own, they haven´t necessarily got the right to do so. Culture and the construction of society might have achieved rather a great accomplishment during prehistoric times.
The clan which has been held together by the law of blood tie and was governed by the elder women, would already have represented a tremendous cultural advantage by the ability to bring all its members into line to cooperate for the hole and to lay down the manner of the human beings in distinct and firm rules of behaviour, which were complied due to its own weight
Bachofen and to certain extent also his followers all the way up until Briffault have simplified the tension mother-age - male dominance in the antipodes, bound to earth - striving towards heaven and freedom, darkness - light, weight - lightness, matter - spirit, instinct- thought, sedentary - moving. Then the victories won to humanity by the mother age, its way of grasping the world, to feel and express itself, is measured with measurement given from a later time which merely by being later has to look better to the believer of development.
The hymns to the honour of Mother Goddess let her appear as the great giver of goods and the autonomous mistress with mighty dignity and grandeur. “I am the queen, the one who deserves sacrifices. I was bearing the Father of All. I am in the waters, depths and reach from there all over what has been created. I touch the sky with my crown. I am blowing like the wind. Every creature is embedded in me, as are the skies and the earth."
“That what is, shall become and has been is me. No-one has lifted my garment. The fruit I was bearing is the sun.”
It is not so strange that the Goddesses who are worshipped as the great home counsellors regarding the gathering activities, farming, wood culture and craftsmanship, it is quite the contrary natural if you accept the thought of the women in their primitive way of exploring, had succeeded in achieving quite an advancement, before the so-called real culture took position.
What´s more difficult to understand, though, is the great Goddess claiming she has been the inventor of the ship, the rudder, the sail, the art of writing and the knowledge about the stars.
Much bad luck in life is counterbalanced by the fact that I got the opportunity to visit Crete in the year of 1937, before the latest devastation roughshodded this delectable island. From the proud ruins of the tempel at Kap Sunion on Attica I one evening peeked away from there over the sea, colored by the sunset, in the direction of Crete. My cultivated and literate cicerones then reminded me of standing on the place from which the black sails of Theseus´ ship had been visible at the horizon, when he came back from his expedition on Crete with the rescued youngsters and maidens well preserved. This night we didn´t see any ship at all, but one of the distant islands almost looked like a ship equipped with the sails of sorrow. And then all of a sudden it struck me, that it had been quite purposedly, and not because of forgetfulness, that Theseus had kept the same sails on to the mast as when he left.
It is psychologically unthinkable that a heros anytime would forget to announce a victory, such a thing has never happened.
Even if you don´t want to insinuate that he deliberately provoked the catastrophy that followed, you can find substantial incentives for his black sails, if you consider his being away for having the mother age killed. He got in to the labyrinth, slaughtered the son of the Great Goddess; the bull, cheated Ariadne to help him get in and out, and insulted her deadly by leaving her behind, all alone at the island of Naxos. Altogether tremendous feats, but also dangerous to the one who still experiences some reverence and fear before the power he has crushed. The black sails could have served as the camouflage the conquerer felt he needed until he was safely at home ...
Some time later in the summer when professor Axel Persson had to leave his excavations on the Greek mainland, in order to have a look at some vases in the museum in Heraklion for confirming some theory concerning the relationship between the ceramics from the mainland and the island. I was then offered to go with the assembly that escorted him from the harbour in Pireus and travel the way Theseus took to Crete. Already early in the morning we could see its majestic skyline rise out of the see, and soon we were in the peaceful harbour of Heraklion and embarked, and at once we could start peeling off hundreds and even thousands of years in order to get to the primordial Crete. The latest imposed layer was by then still Greek, but close to the surface lay the Turkish one. We observed this with pleasure, when we discovered that the health care polis, by the report of the arrival of the distinguished strangers, were commended to spray insecticide in the hotel rooms where the gentlemen were going to stay, while they gave it over to the ladies themselves to tackle the cockroaches.
Furthermore the chief curator at the museum in Heraklion had the habit to turn away without answering, when some of the ladies ventured to ask a question. When thereafter visiting the countryside, we saw how the Crete women in the presence of men, put the tabs of their veils into their mouth and kept it their with their teeth. By then we understood that that was the way we also should have behaved, but it was to late.
“Why isn´t there any female Beethoven?” was a question the first female students at the universities had to prepare themselves to encounter every day. I don´t know what they answered, I never knew myself when I was young. If anyone asked me now, I would answer with a counter question: “How do you know that? The mere formulation of the question reveals complete lack of familiarity with the kind of existence wherein people have lived beyond historical times.”
By the time students distressed the female students with Beethoven, the Cretan culture was likely to have been begun to be digged out from its deep layer of culture. But what was going on there was probably not known in Uppsala and isn’t yet, for that matter, except for the circle of archaeologists and art historians.
When the Englishman Evans had digged out the palace of King Minos, the palace at Phaistos and Hagia Triada and found the remains of an exquisite and sophisticated bronze age culture, the literati hastened to appropriate these findings in order to attach to the European culture an older and more distinguished ancestry than what it has had before. This was beautiful as a tribute to Crete, but moreover it was sheer requisition in a conqueror´s manner. Because what was found on Crete was simply the rests of that Mediterranian culture that the Greeks stamped out and forgot. The influence that the Cretan world has had on the European culture must then mainly have consisted of the Europeans creating their order in direct opposition to the one that they have destroyed. Probably they thrived in the climate of Crete and liked its strategic location, admired the noble ceramics of the island and other products of arts and crafts, but they didn´t admire its society and customs, its architecture, its peace or its women. Thus Theseus didn´t take Ariadne with him at home.
The Dorian temple which was erected on the farthest edge of the mainland cape from which Theseus was
viewed, is standing there in beautiful and triumphant antithesis to all that what was created on Crete of architecture. Completely different might those directives have been which were conducting the Crete architects in comparison with the Greek. In the ancient Greece one cultivated temples, located at hills and public buildings in general, in Crete beautiful, hygienic and comfortable homes, whereas the divinities were worshiped either in caves in the holy mountains or in small house chapels, digged in a niveau some stepping stones below the dwelling house as if at he same time one have had the wish to come nearer the earth and God. Here you really get the opposition between the dark and the light, depth and height.
The Minoan palace lacks monumentality, but was instead built with a system of halo gardens which dissolve the ordinary room cube and connect the transition from the protected inner rooms with the nature outdoors. It had exquisite frescoes with naturalistic design: beautiful flowers and animals and, what is vey typical, lovely youngsters adorned as pheasants or peacocks.
There are also series of images from the life of the women from different historical periods. The women from the last period have been called rococo ladies, even Parisians as they are dressed in ruffles and frills and are specially well coiffured. The comparison may seem to be close at hand, but is terrible misleading. The coiffure as well as the ruffles belong to the priestess´ robes, strangely enough. On the reconstituted altar in Heraklion there were not only two ruffled dressed priestesses with snakes lifted up in their hands, but also empty ruffled arrayed robes on both sides of the cross with equated arms.
In the cultic festivals the women must have taken an overwhelming part. They appear in the processions of sacrificing, they administer the actual sacrifice of the bull and the procession of men can be seen walking towards them with their offerings. We can see them at the altar where Pasifae were worshipped, the queen of the moon shining on everything and everybody. By then she was still a high and revered Goddess, the smear campaign had not yet begun, in which she was conveyed as adulteress and her son the holy cild of a bull a freak.
The women also take part in the ritual bull games, in a dangerous weaponless play with the bull. Those who have seen the kind of all-powerful strength that gathers towards the victim in a modern bullfight, would never have thought this game possible, if not the memory thereof had been pictured in a fresco. Neatly a young slender girl grasp the bull by its horns, while another one who has taken place by its tail, embraces the young man who has made a somersault along the animals back.
We don´t know much about the human beings who created this culture, yet how well we know their profiles, the shape of their heads, their appearance, clothes, coiffures and environment. The race that has been wandering around on these lily meadows and crocus fields has been extinct, its language unknown, its writing yet not deciphered, partly because of the difficulties deciphering an unknown language, partly because the old explorer doesn´t leave the original tablets, on which it is carved, to Axel Persson. But anyway we can say so much, that the greatest opposite between this and the following cultures we might be able to extract from comparing the attitude and position of the women within both cultures. You just have to compare the Cretan woman´s outer appearance with the domesticated Greek ones, the young bull-playing girl´s greyhound slim body with the one of Venus from Milo, who already has converted herself according to a patriarchal beauty ideal, in order to learn quite a lot.
If anything at all of what has been said here about the characteristic features of the mother- age is true, then Crete, even though during an overripe kind of culture pattern, must have preserved something of that. The strong affinity to nature must have remained, its breaking through even in the subtle artistic skill expressed in the ceramics, the seals and the frescoes.
There have been a lot of speculations whether the Cretan culture was peaceful or not. You may say, that the Cretans were playing for high stakes, specifically if it´s true that they committed the careless and indiscriminate mistake combining the lack of weapons and fortifications with the claims of tributes of youngsters and maidens from the Greek mainland.
It looks enigmatic to the scholars that Knossos should have been destroyed and crushed down into the earth two times and although rebuilt a second and a third time without fortifications. One has said: “they may have put their trust in their navy”, but that is no more than a guess. In that case the navy didn´t prevent invasion and destruction neither the first or the second time.
Furthermore one has proposed that Knossos the first two times must have been destroyed by cataclysms and only the last time by enemies. The previously mentioned Turkish curator at the museum underpinned this theory with the following clause: “The Cretans just could´t have been such idiots to rebuild new unfortficated towns twice if it had been enemies destroing the earlier ones”. This was but a guess merely in line with the one appearing in the catalogue from the National Museum in Athens, in which is explained that the elegant ladies entertaining each other depicted in the most famous of the frescoes are entrusting each other “meaningless secrets”. The people at the museum know at least that the ladies on Crete were tattling with each other, if not even they could have been thought of as capable of solving any other riddles.
Speculating over the secrets around this sudden violations of the peaceful and unfortified culture, it has struck me, that it is only from our viewpoint the people on Crete appear as idiotic. Maybe we face a culture in which the sense of security is as ingrained and peace as self-evident as unsecurity and warfare to us. Imagine if hat´s why it persisted in being unfortificated in the same old way, refusing to take notice of the sounds of alarm about what was going on, taking the risk of the aftermath all the way to the utmost destruction which finally demolished all of the culture building power.
What would the Crete people have called us, we who repeatedly make our experiences of the madness of war and its unmeassurable aftermth of unrest but albeit this, at once after having experienced o n e devastating war start another one? T h e y persisted in their way to the bitter end. W e persist in our way to the bitter end. If one of these two kinds of stubbornness towards the destuction is to prefer, I really don´t know which one to choose.
So far this is what I have had in mind to present of Elin Wägner´s eminent book Väckarklocka wherein the first five chapters may be regarded as that history lesson we never were taught at school, and still aren´t albeit nothing in it is incorrect, as she, opposed to most of the male stream scholars, doesn´t state anything about our supposed matriarchal prehistory as facts and / or omit the other half of the humankind from her working hypothesis.
The fifth chapter is called "POLVÄXLING", and refers to Bachofen´s theory of a patriarchal "pole change" at about 6000 years ago plus minus 3-2000 and is suggesting different reasons to why this change might have occurred, no less interesting than these first chapters but now I have to stop, in order to prepare all the other posts in my Website / blog.
Wägner´s radical pacifist ideal, inspired from Gandhi, got a real blow from the horror revealed having taken place in Germany after WWII and may all the judgements about her as "romanticising" and " naive" in her strong expectation of the Cretan culture as peaceful and unfortified, be somewhat fair. But fact is that not even contemporary scholars have found any strong evidence for the opposite opinion either, (although the theory of cataclysms has turned out to be right). Leppänen writes for example in her dissertation that people during Elin Wägners time thought that the Minoan culture was peaceful, as if it was a given that it wasn´t. But in this case its Leppänen herself who is naive, as she seem to trust those historians / archeologists who are stating it as a given, that humanity always have been making war.
I have been looking for images of the supposed Cretan navy, but these three are the only ones I have been able to find, and they don´t look like depicting naval ships ready for fight to me. Quite the contrary they look very peaceful. One of the bloggers I have found in my investigations on the net claims that the object hanging above the heads of the people dressed in red in the boat below are helmets. But to me they look exactly the same as the objects hanging in lines from the mast, and reminding more of some kind of bells.
Epilogue of the fourth chapter
T H E M O T H E R O F T H E S E C O N D F O O T S T E P:
On the ruins of the splendour of Crete the Dorians erected a military camp. Now there was a stern and harsh and efficient time coming, the surviving Cretans had to experience something new; a totalitarian state. Soon the glory days of Crete was totally forgotten. Homer didn´t know of it. If some poor Cretan boasted about old times, he was declared being a liar. Eventually all Cretans were said to be liars just because of that. But the Cretan woman who had been walking so free and confident on her own land with her face and bosom exposed, she put the tabs of the vail in her mouth and kept silent.
LINKS TO CONTEMPORARY MALE STREAM RESEARCH ABOUT THE MINOAN CULTURE ON CRETE
'Peaceful' Minoans Surprisingly Warlike
By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor
Interesting interpretation by the archaelogist Barry Molloy of Goddess Mythology and ritual as representing warfare, and the preconcept that no society is capable of achieving such high level as the Minoan without warfare:
Not to mention this blogger Antiquated Antiquarian who sees warfare and helmets everywhere even in the 7000 thousand years old birdgoddess´ crown from Greece:
A website by Andrew Selkirk who is the Editor-in-Chief of Current Archaeology and also Current World Archaeology, Britain’s two leading archaeological magazines and launched Current Archaeology in 1967 and edited it alone for 40 years, as well as Current World Archaeology, of which he is the Editor-in-chief, though both magazines now have their own Editors together with our third magazine, Military History, now semi-retired, and can concentrate on writing these pages.
Andrew Selkirk have got several interesting notions on the different contemporary archaelogical fashions in charge, not seeming to offer them much credit himself.
Origins of the Mysterious Minoans Unraveled by Scientists
In the article is referred to Colin Renfrews theory of the peaceful migration of the farmers with a proto indoeuropean language from Anatolia to the rest of Europe, as well as to Crete, although there is scanty evidence for it, if any at all, and most contemporary scholars hold on to Gimbutas Kurgan theory instead - not at least as it has been underpinned with the genetical studies carried out the last decade.