I had a friend who attended White-Light University for a program of studies that afforded him certain unique opportunities. One of these was a class that was an exploration of proto-European Goddess-oriented cultures facilitated by Starhawk. The premise was that such cultures would have been matriarchal, consensual, agriculturally-oriented, and likely would have eschewed the use of phallic weaponry.1
In an effort to demonstrate how such a society would function, Starhawk created a role-play exercise where the majority of the class would represent such a tribe of proto-Europeans, and three would be selected to represent the "chiefs" or "generals" of a tribe of the Evil Sky God Worshipers who had swept out of the East2 and had come to take their stuff. 3 The intent was to show how a consensual tribal structure could successfully thwart the plans of a marauding band of men wielding pointy sticks. Since my friend was one of the only men in the class, he had the dubious honor of heading up the Pointy Stick People. Both groups met in secret to discuss their plans.
The FrisbeeTM People decided that they would hold a great feast in honor of the Pointy Stick People, inviting their chiefs to a parlay in which they would discuss the PSP leaving them in peace. This was largely a ruse, however, as the real intent was to feed the PSP poison during the feast so as to reach a irrevocable solution to their problem with the interlopers.
The chiefs of the Pointy Stick People received the invitation to the feast and decided that given the initial, not-so-friendly encounters with the bizarre weaponry of the FP, they would be cautious. Instead of having the whole tribe join in the revelry, representatives would go to feast with the FP and a warband would stand in readiness. Should a signal not be received within a certain timeframe, the warband would sweep into the village, kill all who resisted, and take their stuff.4 As a show of good faith, two of the chieftains went with the delegation.
The results were predictable enough. The delegation was poisoned and so no signal was sent. The PSP warband swept into the village, found their kinsmen murdered and went on a rampage of killing and destruction. Starhawk was not pleased. Apparently, in every previous permutation of the exercise, the chieftains of the PSP were largely complacent and (in my opinion) failed to look after the best interests of their own community. The warband contingency plan had not previously been suggested.
The poisoning scenario was fairly common, though.
1Given that pokey things which afford a certain amount of reach tend to be the most efficient tools for hunting and warfare, this is unlikely. Still, in an effort to overcome this logical stumbling block, he suggested that such cultures must have used sharpened stone FrisbeesTM for hunting and defense. This theory was not received well by the class or the instructor.
2Ok, pet peeve here... why is it that many pagan pseudo-histories take pains to discuss the demise of a European Goddess culture at the hands of the Evil Sky God Worshipers from the East and then go on to idolize the Celts? The Celts WERE Evil Sky God Worshipers from the East. Sure, they distinguished themselves by fighting the Romans, but so did most of the other tribes of Europe at one point or another. Is this just part of the whole, "If it’s Irish, it must be cool" movement?
3Because after all, what else would they do?
4They figured it best to stay in character.