Sky and Gender Myths in the Founding of Early Built Environments

  • Abraham AkkermanEmail author


This chapter addresses mainly the myths of the World Axle and the Eternal Return that had been evolving from prehistory to antiquity, and beyond, as associated with Jung’s gender concepts of Animus and Anima. Both myths were instrumental in the rise of primeval public space of the late Neolithic, expressed in Bronze Age round earthworks in Europe and in Paleo-Indian medicine wheels through the Great Plains of archaic North America. The most impressive among the emergent public spaces had been Stonehenge on the plains of Wiltshire, England, demonstrating the significance gender projection had attained in early astronomical observations and in the forging of round, public places. The alignment of these sites, thought to have been also grounds of fertility rituals, with seasonal sky patterns, the winter solstice in particular, correspond with the notion of renewal and birth. This is consistent with the later hieros gamos temple enactments of divine marriage between a priest and a priestess in many Bronze Age cultures. The feminine projection yielding the delineated oval open space had been matched by masculine prowess in the construction of shelter, later the fort and the fortress. The feminine oval place may have had its celestial source in the nightly revolution of the skies around the pole star, and in the periodic renewal of the year during the winter solstice, coevolving with the Myth of the Eternal Return. The vertical edifice, on the other hand, had been a largely masculine expression to the connection between the earth and the sky through a mythical axle of the world, the Axis mundi.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and PlanningUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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