Joseph Campbell was fascinated by Lithuanian mythologist and anthropologist Marija Gimbutas’s work. As he worked on his great (and, sadly, unfinished) masterpiece, the Historical Atlas of World Mythology, Campbell immersed himself in her writing about what she termed “Old Europe” — the Central European culture of the Neolithic and early Bronze Ages. Her observations about the goddess-centered symbols of these people, who predated the Indo-European invasions, would come to influence Campbell’s work and lead to a series of lectures and articles that formed the basis for his posthumous collection Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine. As she began to prepare her magnum opus The Language of the Goddess: Unearthing the Hidden Symbols of Western Civilization, Gimbutas asked Campbell to write the foreword. This forward was one of the last things Campbell would write; the book was published in 1989, nearly two years after his death.
When editor Safron Rossi was compiling Goddesses, she felt that it was only appropriate that this foreword, which reflected Campbell’s most developed thoughts on the subject of that book, be included.