Seeds of Partnership

Our legacy of thousands of years of cooperation.

Words and music by Sarah Pirtle © 2000, Discovery Center Music, BMI


You and I were there when we beheld the gift of fire,
lightning lit the grass and set the burning.
You and I were there when we chipped the grindstone round,
we shaped the wheel and each hand felt its turning.


When I worked with you, seeds were born anew.
The earth wrapped us around,
and the plants told what is true.
We built the village home,
carved the snake’s track into stone,
and the seeds of partnership were planted.


You and I lifted clay. We formed pots to hold the grain
baked in sun and blessed in rain with spirals twining.
You and I hand in hand as the longest dance began,
and the ground around us rang with circles winding.


The chalice of my heart holds the seeds of this dance.
Through centuries of winter, I’ve held onto the chance
that you will come with me,
peace is deep in memory
and the seeds of partnership be planted again.
Yes, I will come with you. We have not lost what we can do
and the seeds of partnership we’re planting again.


The warriors came on horseback. They rode our village round.
They took us prisoner, trampled our pottery and tore our houses down,
but the lost times of peace are a vision that won’t cease
and the seeds of partnership we carry again.


I go back to the cave where the carvings have been stored.
where the ancient prayers were poured with sacred singing
You and I were there when the hallowed metal bowl
that had kept our people whole ceased its ringing.


Though the horsemen came and taught us to be afraid,
They taught us to kill and change the chalice for the blade,
We break this chain, we call out the Mother’s name
and the seeds of partnership are planted again.


Now it is winter, still I can feel the spring
and with each new day I am learning
to plant the seeds again, turn enemy to friend
that the seeds of partnership be planted.
There’s a chalice in my heart. That is where the healing starts,
and the seeds of partnership are planted again.

Production: Recorded by Shaker at Touchstone Farm on my first recording of songs
for adults called Green Flame. Oboe performed by Camille White.

Story of the Song

I think the work of Marija Gimbutas is the most important foundation that I hold in my work for social justice. I hoped somehow in this song to give a vision of the times before widespread warfare that I learned about through her extensive decades of research.

Resources: Bellili Productions
The film about Marija Gimbutas, called “Signs Out of  Time,” can be ordered at this site. Over a ten year period it was created by filmmaker Donna Reed and author Starhawk. You can also read the article by Joan Marler, her editor and biographer.

Joan Marler writes in her article, The Beginnings of Patriarchy in Europe: Reflections on the Kurgan Theory of Marija Gimbutas: “Lithuanian/American archaeologist Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) posits that the earliest societies in Europe were neither male dominated nor primitive and that patriarchy became established as the result of a “collision of cultures” that triggered the spread of androcratic patterns. According to her Kurgan Theory, the progressive intrusion of nomadic pastoralists from north of the Black Sea disrupted the mature, matristic, horticultural societies of southeast Europe. Between the mid-fifth to the mid-third millennia BC, radical changes took place throughout Europe in language, social structure, and ideology.”

Reprinted from the Bellili Productions website: Gimbutas' findings reveal an ancient widespread culture which flourished throughout Europe between 6500 and 3500 BCE, in the era historians call the Neolithic. This civilization was radically different from images of kings, warriors, and conquering gods that previously dominated our view of the past. "This was a long-lasting period of remarkable creativity and stability, an age free of strife. Their culture was a culture of art." -- Marija Gimbutas

Her excavations and interpretations show, at the dawn of civilization, a society stretching across Europe from the Danube to the North Sea in which women had high status and power along with men. Egalitarian and peaceful, "Old Europe" existed for thousands of years without war. Hundreds of female figurines were found. Paintings, sculptures of birth-giving goddesses, pottery figures of bird headed deities and sacred serpents all honored the regenerative powers of nature.

"The Goddess in all her manifestations was a symbol of the unity of all life in Nature. Her power was in water and stone, in tomb and cave, in animals and birds, snakes and fish, hill, trees, and flowers."
-- Marija Gimbutas