Dance of the Deities:
Searching for Our Once and Future Egalitarian Society
by Patricia McBroom
Publication Year: 2020
For thousands of years, the sacred feminine has balanced the sacred masculine in egalitarian societies, an equality that has been lost in the western world beginning with the rise of patriarchy some 5,000 years ago. Today, evidence of goddess worship in the Neolithic Age is being written out of history books once again by a patriarchal backlash in archaeology.
Dance of the Deities weaves together memoir with anthropological research, taking the reader on a journey back in time to complex ancient societies and into a future in which women’s spiritual and secular authority is being revitalized by many forces, including encounters with psychedelic medicines and new kinds of modern villages. Patricia McBroom compiles evidence of the ancient Nature goddesses, while calling for contemporary women to replace comic book images of feminine beauty with authentic Earth-based images of female power and authority.
The author’s existential quest for an understanding of the role of the sacred female is set into her wide-ranging journey through time and across cultures. Inviting the reader to join in the “dance of the deities,” she argues that a thriving human future on the planet is dependent on rebalancing the masculine and feminine in a science-based environmental sense of the sacred.
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“Rich, suggestive and courageous, the book nearly exploded in my hands. It is loaded with so much: with the author’s own journey and the war going on among archaeologists over the goddess. She writes about both with passion and insight, not falling into the trap of romanticizing females as more benevolent than we are.”
– Anne Barstow, religious historian and author of “Witchcraze” and “Joan of Arc”
McBroom comfortably invites readers into her life. As she discusses the importance of goddesses in Neolithic cultures, she transitions seamlessly to examples of how a respectful view of women either did help or could have helped her. Sharing painful stories such as being scapegoated at work because she was a woman, and joyful ones such as living for 19 years in a cohousing community where everyone governs together, McBroom effectively illustrates the significance of recovering “the cultural history of the sacred female.” This mix of memoir, theory, and research will interest any reader who’s passionate about building a more egalitarian world.
Takeaway: Feminists and history buffs will be drawn to this passionate, well-researched memoir that explores the past and possible future of gender-equal societies. Great for fans of Marija Gimbutas and Joseph Campbell’s The Language of the Goddess.
- Cover: A
- Design and typography: A
- Illustrations: A
- Editing: A
- Marketing copy: A
Patricia McBroom | About the Author
Patricia McBroom is an anthropologist, science journalist and professor of women’s studies. Her 1985 book on women adapting to professional roles on Wall Street, The Third Sex, was described in a New York Times review as “a brave and stunningly intuitive journey.” A former science writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer, McBroom earned her degree in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and in 1980 published a book on the genetics of behavior. She taught at Rutgers College, Mills College and the University of California at Berkeley. Her memoir challenges male-biased academic narratives of human culture and evolution with evidence of female authority in ancient and modern egalitarian societies.