"Green Psychology" by Ralph Metzner, Ph.D.
Chapter 8 - "Sky Gods and Earth Deities"
A pantheon of sky and warrior gods was superimposed on the Earth and nature divinities of the original inhabitants of Old Europe... Thanks in large measure to the work of the archeologist-mythologist Marija Gimbutas, the symbolic language and mythic imagery of these most ancient cultures have been rediscovered and extensively described in the second half of the twentieth century. As Gimbutas writes in the concluding section of her monumental work The Civilization Of The Goddess, "The functions and images of Old European and Indo-European deities... prove the existence of two contrasting religions and mythologies. Their collision in Europe resulted in the hybridization of two symbolic structures in which the Indo-European prevailed, while the Old European survived as an undercurrent." ...Gimbutas's concept of hybrid mythologies provides a kind of corrective lens through which many previously obscure and incomprehensible features of European mythology can be understood.
I should point out that whereas, originally, my approach to mythology, heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell and C.G. Jung and his followers, was to see it as an expression of intrapsychic symbolism and psychospiritual growth processes, I am now convinced of the view represented by Marija Gimbutas, Robert Graves, Mircea Eliade, and others, who see mythology in a more inclusive vein, as the total knowledge tradition of an oral culture, including cosmology, science, and history, as well as psychological insight and instruction.
..The ancient nature-goddess cults were appropriated and their stories twisted for ideological purposes. Hera, one of the forms of the ancient Great Goddess, whose cult was overrun by the Hellenes, almost certainly with much resistance by her worshipers, is ridiculed in Greek myths as the complaining wife of a robust, adulterous father-god. Athena, a form of the ancient life-giving bird goddess, is transformed into a cool warrior-strategist, born fully armed from Zeus's head -- thus eliminating any traces of her true origin and status and turning her into a "brainchild" of the father-god.
The invading Hellenes' takeover of the preexisting matricentric goddess cults is vividly portrayed in the well-known stories of the Olympian gods, including Zeus and Apollo, with their seduction (more accurately called rape) of local goddesses, nymphs, and nature spirits, as well as human women, priestesses of the Goddess. One example is the substitution of the solar god Apollo for the Earth goddess Gaia as the protector deity of the cave oracle at Delphi. Another is found in the story of the Cretan goddess Europa, after whom the continent is named: Zeus changed himself into a gorgeous bull, whom Europa trustingly rode, not suspecting his intent to seduce her. According to Graves, this myth reflects the Olympian's takeover of the Minoan sacred bull cult, in which the priestesses rode on the bull in processions and danced with the bull in the games. A third well-known example is the abduction and rape of Persephone, daughter of the Cretan Earth goddess Demeter, by Hades, ruler of the Underworld and brother of Zeus, with the latter's complicity.
Some Greek gods and goddesses, however, were not Olympians. They clearly belong to the older stratum of Earth- and Goddess-centered religion. Pan, the horned, goat-bodied god of wild and domesticated animals, was invoked by lusty country people in orgiastic celebrations. Robert Graves suggests that the satyrs, portrayed as goat-bodied with rampant erections, were goat totem tribesman whose chosen god was Pan. To the Christians, with their life-negating attitudes, he was the embodiment of the horned and hooved Devil. Around the time of the beginnings of Christianity, a legend arose that sailors on a ship in the eastern Mediterranean had heard a supernatural voice proclaim, "Great Pan is dead!" In the underground pagan traditions of witchcraft and folklore, however, Pan survived; he became the Lord of Animals, the wild man covered with hair, who represented our connection with the nonhuman natural world, particularly animals. His feminine counterpart was the Lady of the Beasts, whom the Greeks knew as Artemis and the Romans as Diana, the protectress of witches...