There Are Many Histories

"One thing I realized, as I began thinking about the prehistory and history of Wicca in fresh way, was that books that based the roots of Wicca in matriarchal theory did more than feminize the study of Paganism. They did more than create a Utopian vision of goddess worship. They, in fact, created a false impression of unity and consistency among different historical strains of Paganism. The history of Paganism is easy to study, after all, if you believe that ancient goddess worship was universal and that all different types of goddess worship flow from the same source. Books like When God Was a Woman traversed the globe; there was no need to study Nothern European history and South Asian history and North American history and Slavic history. Goddess worship, being the same everywhere, covered a host of topics in a few volumes. Without that theory, history became the chore that historians always knew it was and amateur enthusiastis had now to discover.

Once you set aside the idea that there was a “goddess culture,” a unified Pagan tradition in which a Great Goddess was worshiped with an identity and religion that transcended location, we also set aside the idea that there is such a thing as “Pagan history.” Instead, there are many histories. I cannot really recommend any single work.”

— Deborah Lipp