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Sophie-David  Sophie-David is offline
Join Date: 11 Dec 2004
Location: Ucluelet, BC, Canada
Posts: 2,813

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The Dark Ages, with their extremely limited literacy and the break in historical continuity which went with it, were the age in which the importance of the image was vital. With this there was a rise in right brain consciousness, a relaxation of clerical authority, and a derationalization of Christianity. This was a time of disorder, violence and confusion, but there is evidence that a benefit came through the weakening of the patriarchal controls and hierarchies which have been typical of most the historical era, which was that sexual equality and thus erotic love were both ascendant.

It is from this fertile and egalitarian period of darkness that, when literacy began to be extended in the tenth century, history witnessed an unparalleled celebration of the feminine in literature and in song. It is likely that the bards of which Taliesin is the archetype were in fact singing of the feminine throughout the dark ages, long before their verses began to be recorded. As you suggest, the Crusades further stimulated western culture, art, secular education and travel, and from the eleventh through the fourteenth century, this blossomed as the period of the High Middle Ages.

This golden age, a fusion of feminine dark with masculine light, came to an end in the fourteenth century when a series of wars ended in the plagues. Rising from the Black Death, the Renaissance in the fifteenth century, with its explosion in literacy and the arts, also brought with it the ability to organize, intellectualize and rationalize, and thus to objectify, dehumanize and marginalize those considered opponents and inferiors. This sudden and extreme movement into the left brain brought with it the intolerance, inquisitions, and witch burnings of the sixteenth century. Only in the last two centuries has western society begun to rebalance the dark and the light.

It is over this thousand year spectrum of human history that this Legend developed in all its richness, complexity and self-contradiction, adapting itself to the times as human consciousness shifted, evolved and devolved.
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