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Bison, Altamira Cave
Bison, Altamira Cave, about 16,000 B.P.

















Bison, Altamira Cave
Bison, Altamira Cave, about 16,000 B.P.





















Bison, Altamira Cave
Bison, Altamira Cave, about 16,000 B.P.



























Bison, Altamira Cave
Bison, Altamira Cave, about 16,000 B.P.



























Murder of Princess Polyxena Murder of Princess Polyxena, sketch from a sarcophagus from Çanakkale, 6th century B.C.



























Bison, Altamira Cave
Bison, Altamira Cave, about 16,000 B.P.































July 1, 2007

JULY 4, THE LIBERTY POLE AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS

Fireworks!! July 4 is coming!! About two centuries and a half ago town folks did not congregate around fireworks to demand and cheer for independence. They usually did so under Liberty Trees and around Liberty Poles. It was a struggle with ancient roots. They were cheering for a Goddess.

Which Goddess? Thomas Paine made it clear for us: “The Goddess of Liberty came; Ten thousand celestials directed the way,...” She brought a Liberty Tree. It was a truly poetical reference. In prehistoric Europe the Mother Goddess was the patroness of all arts. Women seem to have enjoyed a remarkably high status in those times, as told by J.F. del Giorgio in “The Oldest Europeans: Who are we? Where do we come from? What made European women different?”

Folklore, myth, art, archaeology and history tell us that women had a top role in religious rituals. Priestesses tended sacred burial gardens. They specially cared for a sacred tree. Sir James George Frazer saw in it the origin of the Maypole. Scandinavians venerated a pine tree. It was usually brought to a town, stripped of its branches, covered with colored bandages, and then it became the center of celebrations. The Sacred Pole crossed the Atlantic, associated to other ancient symbol: the Liberty Cap—a soft conical cap. Phrygian God Atis is always depicted with it. Roman slaves used it during the Saturnalia, maybe because Phrygian slaves were abundant. It became the symbol of the liberated slave.

June 20, 2007

WATCH OUT!!! Fire! FIRE!!!!

Watch out!!! June 23 is arriving. All of a sudden and a lot of bonfires will burn everywhere. They’ll tell you it’s St. John’s Eve. Actually it’s solstice time. This was the most popular and extended fire festival in most of ancient Europe.

You have heard all about witchcraft. Well, this was bone-craft. Celts celebrated Midsummer burning cattle bones. They said they were great for averting diseases, evil-eye, bad spirits and all kind of bad vibes. The ashes granted you fertility, good crops and, of course, a wonderful time for celebrating. Wanting to get married? A Bohemian girl who visited nine fires that night was sure to marry within a year. Yes, but in France, both in Bretagne and in Berry, she also needed to dance in front of the fires. Couples jumped over the fire to get children and to ensure fidelity. People from the villages always asked some old folks to see through the fire and smoke. Then they could tell how things would go during the year.

It was women’s time, above all. Prehistoric European women had an astonishing high status, as described by J.F. del Giorgio in “The Oldest Europeans: Who are we? Where do we come from? What made European women different?” Then patriarchal Indo-European invaders came from the East. They slaved women and suppressed solstice celebrations. Good Queen Elizabeth I from England discouraged any official interference with the festivities. It seems she knew something about women’s rights in a man’s world.

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June 20, 2007

What to give Her in a Solstice?

A diamond necklace? A Porsche or a Ferrari? It’s a time for women, after all.

Ancient European societies celebrated Midsummer. It was a magical time, adequate for planning, discernment, new strategies and new enterprises.

J.F. del Giorgio tells that European women had an extraordinary high status. Then patriarchal Indo-Europeans invaded from the East and ruined it all, suppressing ancestral women’s rights. Del Giorgio tells about their ups and downs in “The Oldest Europeans: Who are we? Where do we come from? What made European women different?”

He says that traces of the old cultures can be found everywhere. In the Baltic some people still venerate spinning Goddess Saule (a sun Goddess, funny, her name sounds like solis, the latin word for the sun.)

So, if you’re short of money, instead of the diamond thing you can just give her a needle, telling her, of course, that it comes as an offer to Saule. Or just present her with a daisy. It was, together with the wheel and the rosette, one of Saule’s symbols. Maybe to present her with a sheep (protected by Saule) wouldn´t be such a great idea. Difficult to get, to transport and they tend to be messy, decidedly not the best for modern homes.

Or you can give her a toy wheel, and tell her to imagine Saule traveling through the sky in her chariot. On the other hand, considering the perennial need for spares, you can go for a real wheel. If that doesn’t work either, well, you can always try the Porsche or the Ferrari, after all, even Saule might trade her chariot for them nowadays.

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December 21, 2006

The Christmas Tree: Ancient Symbol of Women’s Rights and Democracy?

According to Dr. J.F. del Giorgio, every Christmas Tree is conmemorating certain Ice-Age cultures, where women had found ways to restrict male power---the roots of democracy.

During one of the coldest episodes of the Ice Age, European people suffered a near extinction event. Only a few female-centered families survived in the Pyrenees and in the Northern Balkans. They repopulated Europe, leaving a DNA trail that Dr. J.F. del Giorgio describes in “The Oldest Europeans: Who are we? Where do we come from? What made European women different?” (A.J. Place, $18.95).

They spoke tongues akin to present Basque. Women had an extraordinary status in these tribes. They kept male leaders’ power under tight control. A Roman writer that met some of their descendants qualified them as matriarchal. They were plainly matrilineal, matrilocal and matrifocal. Their religion styled sacred trees. It was an olive for Athenians, an oak in Chartress. The famous Guernica Oak still symbolizes traditional freedom for Bicayan people and the rest of the Basques. For some Nordic tribes certain pines were sacred. From there came the Christmas tree tradition, marking the winter solstice.

About eight thousand years ago, patriarchal tribes that spoke Indo-European languages started pouring into Europe. They brought with them farming techniques, state-of-the-art warfare and total contempt for females. At first, being a minority, they compromised, adopting the religious, political and social systems they met. New waves of invaders kept coming, adopting each time harsher policies. They finally deprived women of their roles and rights, usually killing, maiming or burning priestesses. Greek women were confined inside gynoecia. In Rome, any husband could kill his wife.

Women managed to keep some rights only in the western fringe of Europe. From there, feminist movements sprang up. They rekindled an old, old struggle. This time, at last, females regained terrain. The Christmas tree is acknowledging them.

Del Giorgio points that present freedom and democratic traditions in Europe (and their offshoots in other continents) are a legacy from those ancient females. Children raised in families where women were respected tended to abhor authoritarian leaders.

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November 12, 2006

After Thousands of Years, an Awesome Comeback for Women

When Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori became the first woman to lead the Episcopal Church on November 2006, she marked an awesome comeback for her gender. Women were the top religious leaders many thousands of years ago, in Europe and the Mediterranean Coast. Then Asian tribes started to invade the region. They deprived women of their roles and rights, usually killing, maiming or burning priestesses.

During one of the coldest episodes of the Ice Age, European people suffered a near extinction event. Only a few female-centered families survived in the Pyrenees and in the Northern Balkans. They repopulated Europe, leaving a DNA trail that Dr. J.F. del Giorgio describes in “The Oldest Europeans: Who are we? Where do we come from? What made European women different?” (A.J. Place, $18.95)

They spoke a tongue akin to present Basque. German academicians have recently mapped the names they left in Europe. Women had and extraordinary status in these tribes. A Roman writer that met some of their descendants qualified them as matriarchal. They were plainly matrilineal, matrilocal and matrifocal.

About eight thousand years ago, patriarchal tribes that spoke Indo-European languages started pouring into Europe. Their language came from a zone near present Iran. They brought with them farming techniques, state-of-the-art warfare and total contempt for females. At first, being a minority, they compromised, adopting the religious, political and social systems they met. New waves of invaders kept coming, adopting each time harsher policies. They finally took all rights from women. Greek women were confined inside gynoecia. In Rome, any husband could kill his wife.

Women managed to keep some rights only in the western fringe of Europe. From there, feminist movements sprang up. They rekindled an old, old fight. This time, at least, females regained terrain.

According to del Giorgio, present freedom and democratic traditions in Europe (and their offshoots in other continents) are a legacy from those ancient females. Children raised in families where women were respected tended to abhor authoritarian leaders. Welcome, Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori.

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September 14, 2006

NEANDERTHALS IN BASQUE LEGENDS?

A coming article in Nature has already put scientists to argue. It is about the recent finding of hundreds of stone tools in Gorham’s Cave, near the Rock of Gibraltar. It might push Neanderthals survival date closer to us, about just 28,000 years ago.

They were already arguing if Neanderthals interacted with modern man who entered Europe about 35,000 years ago. The mixed layers of tools in the Cave of Chatelperron in central France point to it.

Maybe they survived far longer in Basques’ legends, according to author J.F. del Giorgio in The Oldest Europeans, a book on ancient cultures. The Basques, he says, “the same people that survived the assaults of the Kondor bombers of Hitler’s aviation may also have successfully battled with Neanderthals.” A remembrance of their possible contact may survive in “that old and cherished Basque legend, the Basojaun, the Lord of the Woods, primitive, hairy and extraordinarily strong first inhabitant of the woods, who was there before the Basques, and from whom they learned everything... it is enough to give any anthropologist gooseflesh. No one except Neanderthals seems to have been there before the Basques.”

Genetic and archaeological evidence indicates that the Basques ancestors were in the Iberian Peninsula at least some 35,000 years ago. Skulls similar to the typical Basque elongated cranium are found in the oldest strata. So, they evidently overlapped, but did they interact? The Basojaun seems to keep his secrets for himself...

Irish, Welsh, Scots and all Celts are akin to the Basques. They crossed the channel and repopulated the British Isles and Western Europe from the Pyrenees mountain range, after the worst episode of the Ice Age. They left a DNA trail, described in The Oldest Europeans. Many Basques came to California and Nevada, where they were sought for their skills as shepherds.

While doing research for his book in New York, after jogging in Central Park, Dr. del Giorgio suffered the first of his amnesia attacks. Fully recovered, he is now helping other people to remember their distant past through DNA, archaeology, art and history.

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