he islands of Malta and Gozo hold a number of ancient megalithic temples and sacred sites built by a Neolithic culture that disappeared without a trace. As with other elements of our history, not enough survived for us to know what their values were, how women were treated, what gods they worshipped. We can only sift through the remains and make educated guesses.
I am, of course, interested in these temples because one of the theories about this culture says that they worshipped a goddess who was the major figure in their culture. For more information you should really refer to Marija Gimbutas‘ books: The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe, Language of the Goddess, The Civilization of the Goddess, The Living Goddesses.
(By the way – I think it’s really important to read what she actually wrote rather than what people say that she wrote. Both among critics and apologists, straw man arguments abound. For example, Gimbutas never said this was a MOTHER Goddess – on the contrary, she wrote that interpreting the Neolithic Goddess as a fertility and motherhood deity meant limiting and underestimating her significance).
Is the Kurgan hypothesis/Old Europe theory “true”? Well, no theory is 100% accurate, but I find it plausible that there was a Goddess-worshipping culture on Malta and Gozo. Archaeological digs uncovered numerous female figurines and statues placed in a sacred context (in burial places and in temples). We know the buildings were likely temples; there are no traces of them being used for normal living by the people who built them. When seen from above, they resembled stylised female statuettes and were aligned with solstice sunrises and sunsets.
The burial remains show that men and women were treated equally; there was probably a strong sense of community and strong ties with ancestors. They did not use arms or build defensive structures. We know that it wasn’t just the isolated position of the islands that allowed them to remain peaceful; evidence remains of trade with Sicily. This peaceful, Goddess-worshipping Neolithic culture disappeared rapidly and without a trace; we don’t know why or where they moved. The islands were left uninhabited for close to two hundred years. Afterwards, an unrelated Bronze Age culture arrived on Malta and these guys, in turn, kept themselves armed and prepared for conflict.
For many years I dreamed of visiting the temples and reforging the link with people who worshipped the Goddess before me. In October 2013, I finally managed to fulfil my dream. I would like to share the results with you and create a small guide that will help you plan your own budget Goddess pilgrimage to Malta.
Want to help? I want to talk! Do you agree or disagree with what you read? Have you got any suggestions for more Goddess content? Please comment on the article (below). Alternatively, contact me by email. If you're somewhere around Milton Keynes, UK, I'm up for a chat too!