Taboo and Genetics eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 159 pages of information about Taboo and Genetics.

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CHAPTER II

FROM THE DAWN OF HISTORY:  WOMAN AS SAINT AND WITCH

Taboos of first chapter indicate that in the early ages the fear of contamination by woman predominated; Later, emphasis fell on her mystic and uncanny power; Ancient fertility cults; Temple prostitution, dedication of virgins, etc.; Ancient priestesses and prophetesses; Medicine early developed by woman added to belief in her power; Woman’s psychic quality of intuition:  its origin—­theories—­conclusion that this quality is probably physiological in origin, but aggravated by taboo repressions; Transformation in attitude toward woman in the early Christian period; Psychological reasons for the persistence in religion of a Mother Goddess; Development of the Christian concept; Preservation of ancient women cults as demonology; Early Christian attitude toward woman as unclean and in league with demons; Culmination of belief in demonic power of woman in witchcraft persecutions; All women affected by the belief in witches and in the uncleanness of woman; Gradual development on the basis of the beliefs outlined of an ideally pure and immaculate Model Woman.

From the data of the preceding chapter, it is clear that the early ages of human life there was a dualistic attitude toward woman.  On the one hand she was regarded as the possessor of the mystic mana force, while on the other she was the source of “bad magic” and likely to contaminate man with her weaknesses.  Altogether, the study of primitive taboos would indicate that the latter conception predominated in savage life, and that until the dawn of history woman was more often regarded as a thing unclean than as the seat of a divine power.

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