"These cave sanctuaries, figurines, burials, and rites all seem to have been related to a belief that the same source from which human life springs is also the source of all vegetable and animal life—the great Mother Goddess or Giver of All we still find in later periods of Western civilization. They also suggest that our early ancestors recognized that we and our natural environment are integrally linked parts of the great mystery of life and death and that all nature must therefore be treated with respect. This consciousness—later emphasized in Goddess figurines either surrounded by natural symbols such as animals, water, and trees or themselves partly animal—evidently was central to our lost psychic heritage. Also central to that lost heritage is the apparent awe and wonder at the great miracle of our human condition: the miracle of birth incarnated in woman’s body. Judging from these early psychic records, this was a central theme of prehistoric Western systems of belief."
— Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade