THIS BLOG POST COMES TO US FROM GUEST WRITER MARK DAVIS. IT IS PART TWO OF HIS SEVEN SISTERS SERIES. ENJOY
In my Seven Sisters Part 1 Article I wrote for The Curious Fortean I explained how many cultures separated by time and geography have almost the same folk tale to tell about the Pleiades constellation, and how these similarities point to some form of contact between these cultures, or to one single culture in our distant past. In this piece, I offer more evidence of these possibilities in man’s distant past.
Before we took up farming we were hunter-gatherers and our gods tended to be horned and female, and it is to females we now turn our attention, and more specifically to menstruation and the beliefs associated with it. In many tribal societies a menstruating woman is seen not only as unclean but a threat to the lives of men and the tribe as a whole. African bushmen say one look at a menstruating female (MF) will instantly freeze a man or turn him into a talking tree. Pliny The Elder, the roman writer said if an MF uncovers her body it can scare away hailstorms, whirlwinds, and lightning, and if she walks around a field naked all the pests will die. The Australian Aborigines make MFs live outside the camp for if any male sees her menstrual blood he will lose his strength and he will turn gray. she must not eat fish or approach the water side otherwise all the fish will die. The Lapps and the Eskimos have similar beliefs around fish and water. in other tribes she must not gather food of any type or the food sources will dry up if any food she has touched is eaten by anyone else they will become sick and
The Australian Aborigines make MFs live outside the camp for if any male sees her menstrual blood he will lose his strength and he will turn gray. She must not eat fish or approach the waterside otherwise all the fish will die. The Lapps and the Eskimos have similar beliefs around fish and water. In other tribes she must not gather food of any type or the food sources will dry up and if any food she has touched is eaten by anyone else they will become sick and die. In New South Wales, if she walks on the same path as men or touches the possessions of men she must be put to death. In the Torres Straits, she must not eat fish or turtle eggs or these will disappear.
The Dravidians of India make MF use separate doors and she must eat away from the family. The Kharwars say she must not enter the kitchen or touch any cooking vessels and the Hindus declare that she must stay away from everyone and not drink milk, go near cows, look at the sky at night, or even touch fire. The Parsees insist that she must live in a separate hut. The North American natives say everything an MF walks on will die. and if a man walks where she has walked he will fall ill. In Central America, she must leave the village and can not cook or handle food and it would seem men’s fear of MF becomes more intense when it’s a girl’s first period.
Indeed the blood itself is seen as incredibly powerful and dangerous to the Akamba people of east Africa, as they say, the girl must not walk on the paths used by others lest a drop of her blood is touch by anyone as it would cause barrenness. The tribes of Tanganyika have the girl secluded for at least a month as she must not touch the ground or look upon the sun and she must undergo endurance tests and be tortured. (e.g wear a collar of thorns live in darkness and be fed low quality food) In other tribes she must be excluded from the tribe as a whole and have her head covered in cloth salt.in the wafiomi she must live in a screed of part of the home for a year in the day light hours she can not touch food and must be fed by others.the basutos she must wear a hood made of straw and cover her body with mud so men can not gaze upon
In the Wafiomi she must live in a secret part of the home for a year during the daylight hours and she can not touch food, therefore must be fed by others. The Basutos make her wear a hood made of straw and cover her body with mud so men can not gaze upon her. In Indonesia, she must live in a small cage for 4-5 years in darkness and must not touch the ground in other tribes. In New Guinea, they place an MF for 2-3 years in the small huts with no sunlight and no contact with the ground.
Historically, in British Columbia, she would have to wear a hat or hood for 2 years so no sunlight would touch her face. In California, the girl must be buried up to her arm pits for 4 days in hot sand and ashes, or up to her chin again, no salt. The Alaskan Eskimos have it that a girl must live in a tiny hut and remain on her knees for 6 months. No one must talk or interact with her for a year. In South America, the girl is sewn into a hammock for 2-3 days only a small hole is present for her to breath out of and there is no food allowed. In another tribe she is sewn into a hammock, then hoisted onto the roof for a month, then she endures another month half on her way down to the ground. these examples are but a few
These examples are but a few I found. (It is at this point I must extend my thanks to the brilliant if controversial author Stan Gooch who’s research I have used). So what do we have here? We see that the very presence of a menstruating female is seen as a threat to livestock, food and the health of men. We see menstrual blood as being particularly dangerous. We see young girls being deliberately weakened, but why?
I think what we seeing is a hangover from the transition of humans as hunter-gatherers to that of the farmer. The hunter-gatherer life requires many aspects of the female mindset (sharing communication and cooperation). Indeed it is calculated in hunter-gatherer tribes women bring in 80% of the protein the tribe consumes, so therefore, women are more important than men. So it is no surprise that our gods were in fact Goddesses. This only changed when we moved to agriculture and now men have to make ownership of land and they have grain stores to defend the crops. They have planted the cows in the field that need to be defended from rival men and other predators. So men became more important and we find our Goddesses deposed of and replaced by a new god that carved in the shape of the male ego. Just like the male ego, he feels threatened by women with power and this is why we see girls and women treated the way I have described. So just like in part 1, we must ask the question, is this a sign of contact or a folk memory from and age long since the past?
This is definitely a hangoverr from our past and not just cultural practices passed on by the occasional contact with other cultuers. We see no method of contact between the Arctic Circle Africa and Australia, so these examples must be from our past when we shared a common culture.