Perhaps one of the most intriguing ancient items that I have come across recently is the Strettweg Chariot, sometimes called the Strettweg Wagon. While researching the pre-Christian chariot burial of an ancient woman for my first blog post, I found this unique vehicle. The central figure is female; she towers over those assembled around her. The true meaning of this item is lost to time, but that won't stop us from discussing the tantalizing possibilities that the Strettweg Chariot offers up to the mind.
Highlighting the history of women and our connection to feminine concepts of Deity is the central purpose of this blog. While I won't always focus on items from the ancient past, recovering the role that women and Goddesses have played throughout time often means turning to the pre-Christian era. That is the time period that this artifact hails from. The Strettweg Chariot rested in a grave of cremated ashes for over 2,500 years. It was buried sometime in the 7th Century B.C.E. in what is now Austria and has come back into human hands to proclaim its mysteries.
We look to the past to inform the present and to help define ourselves in relationship to those who have gone before us. For women that type of reflection can be clouded by the assumptions made by researchers operating in patriarchal environments. The role of women throughout history was often over-looked or even misinterpreted. This can still happen today, as we all have internal biases inherited from what our cultures teach us. When we think of women in the distant past, what picture forms in our minds? How does that shape how we feel about ourselves as women today?
In reality, the story of women is far richer, varied, and dynamic than we are taught in our schools and in our popular history. Like the Goddesses we read about, or worship, or simply respect, we have played an active part in all facets of human culture. The amazing legacy of women is one that archaeology and history is constantly uncovering.
I like to think of this as looking back in time with the eyes of the Goddess. We can see Her at work throughout history in our female ancestors. Whether in pre-Christian cultures that worshiped Goddesses, or in the divine feminine that still breaks through in Christian history, we can search through the mists and find Her. We do this by examining the lives of the women who came before us.