"The Chalice and the Blade", by Riane Eisler.
This book remains a "must read" for anyone who is seriously delving into the history of Goddess worship. Although criticized by "modern" male anthropologists because she did not draw the same conclusions from they did from the evidence given, her reasons for doing so are explained and are sound. This remains one of my personal favorites and is on the reading list for my second and third degree students. Rhiane Eisler has a writing style that is clear, easy to read, and keeps you turning the pages.
"When God Was A Woman", by Merlin Stone.
This book makes almost a natural companion to "Chalice and the Blade" as it also explores the history of Goddess worship, but from a cultural standpoint. I highly recommend reading either of these books, the authors have different writing styles, and one may speak more to the reader than the other one. Again, this book is on the reading list for my students.
"The Descent of Woman", by Elaine Morgan.
This pioneering work, first published in 1972 and evised in 1985, was the first to argue, intelligently and irrefutably, the equal role of women in human evolution. The book's influence has been profound and lasting - on the terminology used by students of prehistoric anthropology, on the theory of evolution and, above all, on the biblically fostered attitudes towards women as an afterthought and an amenity. It remains the key book in any discussion of women's place in society.
-- review by Amazon.com
"The King Must Die", by Mary Renault.
A reader from Bellingham, Wa. USA , July 5, 1998
Engaging portrayal of the final fall of the Goddess religion Mary Renault's novel tells a story of the patriarchal take-over of the last surviving Goddess culture in classical times. The island of Crete...perhaps because it is an island...managed to avoid the patriarchal invaders' influence for hundreds of years. Renault does a beautiful job of elequently weaving in the details of the culture that once radiated from paleolithic and neolithic mesopotamia to the surrounding geography. The story centers around the young male hero's life, but it doesn't tell the one sided story so many heroic epics portray. (Beowulf, The Odyssey, The Illiad, The Aeneid for example) The details of the surviving Goddess culture are wonderful and connect the entire story. It's a real treat to read a heroic epic (part of the patriachy's myth format) filled with the remnents of truth that normally are forgotten or ignored. Another great Goddess-history novel is June Rachuy Brindel's "Phaedra." It's healthy to read history from a different perspective...namely that of herstory.
--- review by an Amazon.com reader
"The Prince of Annwn: the first branch of the Mabinogian"
"The Children of Llyr: the second branch of the Mabinogian"
"The Song of Rhiannon: the third branch of the Mabinogian"
"The Island of the Mighty: the fourth branch of the Mabinogian"
"The Mabinogian Tetralogy" by Evangeline Walton
The Mabinogian is the classic in Celtic mythology, and a must read for those who wish to follow the Celtic traditions. Each "branch" tells the stories of several hereos of Celtic mythology and teaches lessons about the life these people led. The books were translated from these legends by Evangeline Walton and consist of the four branches of the Mabinogian. Retold in novel form, they are highly informative as well as entertaining. Each book is complete in itself, and it's own mythology, but the four together constitute what is commonly referred to simply as "The Mabinogian". The last book, the Tetralogy, is all four books under one cover, and is due out in March 2002. There are other translations of the Mabinogian done by other authors, but in my opinion these are the most easily read, enjoyed, and absorbed. Evangeline Walton's storytelling brings these heroes and heroines alive, while keeping to the spirit of the legends themselves.