Matriarchal or Patriarchal ideal? The utopian myth…

(Reblogged from my channel at SageWoman)

I’ve often read that is it due to a male-dominated, patriarchal culture that the world is in such a mess, with war, power games, aggressiveness and other such “male” attributes to blame. I would posit, with respect and a little humour, that these people have never introduced two new female cats to each other…

In a female dominated world, things might be just the same. They might be different. A matriarchal culture might be the utopian ideal – it might also be pure hell.  As an egalitarian, I would hope to one day live in a world where everyone and everything was treated with the respect according to each individual’s nature.  Perhaps it is the animist inherent in me – I see all things as having their own relevant value, whatever the physical form it is that they take. The eastern tradition of Buddhism and Zen also teaches of awakening deep compassion for all things, which to me is a developing a greater understanding of the bigger picture, and living from a less ego-centric worldview. 

Wicca is often based on the polarity between male and female.  Yet for me the focus in my spirituality is in relationship, and human nature is so much more than fitting something phallic into a hole.  I find that I hold both anima or animus within my soul – simply because I have breasts and a vagina does not mean that I can only have one within me.  I also truly believe that there is no such thing as an opposite – just look at the misinterpretation of life and death as being opposites.  Death is a singular event, life is ongoing. As such, birth is the opposite of death. Life has no opposite.

I am often perplexed by the vision that there was a previous matriarchal culture that was the ideal.  This can in no way be proven to have existed as yet, however people still cling to this belief. I ask myself why – why would they think that a matriarchal culture would be better? Could it be that anything would be better than what we have now? Does that devalue a matriarchal culture? Does it simply bring the utopian dream crashing to the hard ground of reality?

What I would hope for is that one day people will treat each other with honour and respect. Not only human to human interaction, but this planet as a whole.  That dreams and visions of a utopian culture dissolve into the wondrous reality of the here and now, and the realisation of the beauty of this very moment.  In the dropping of our ego-centric way of life, and our anthropocentric ways.  No matter what our gender. x

3 thoughts on “Matriarchal or Patriarchal ideal? The utopian myth…

  1. Great post as always Joanna.

    Its all about balance. Dark/light, birth/death, masculine/feminine…. the list goes on. The struggle seems to me not to be about one side overpowering the other because both sides – and all the pieces in the middle – have their redeeming and damning aspects. So the struggle is to find the balance, the complimentary aspects.

    Looking at the existence of the human species, its not whether men run the world or if women run the world, as you mentioned each will come with their own particular sets of issues. As humans we are ruled by our self importance, self loathing and our greed. Those are the things that keep us from finding our balance. This twisted competition between the two sexes has been a pet peeve of mine since I was a small child. Neither is more important than the other, neither is more necessary than the other, without each the species dies. There are, for the most part, things that women can do better than men, and things, for the most part, that men can do better than women. But this is the matter of balance. When we put aside our need to overpower the other, to make one more important, to find that balance then we can actually move forward. That would be the first step to looking around and going,”Hey each of us has something to contribute” and if that change in thinking could be realized then we would see a decline in the mess that is humanity.

    Balance, in my opinion, is only found when we quit looking at the far ends of the opposite spectrum and start seeing the hues that run from end to end. The shadows and the nuances. Then we can see the beauty and see that there is not one thing in existence that is more important than another, because all things are linked, all things are one.

    • “As humans we are ruled by our self importance, self loathing and our greed. ”

      I think that explanation fits only in a hierarchy.  I don’t believe those things are human traits as much as reactions to the trauma of hierarchy. 

      I don’t know about utopia or patriarchy vs matriarchy as a contest but I know coming from ancestral matrilineal societies that the balance you describe is inherent in our worldview and way of life. 

      All are valued-does not a mother love all of her children?  

      Patriarchy arises when the need to “prove” or control patrilineal descent comes to be important to a society. 

      Control is the antithesis of life.  Balance and control rarely fit well together.

      the way we learn to see and feel/experience the world influences how we perceive and react.

      In societies where children are loved and accepted instead of trained and controlled those children grow up to be different-calmer, more creative, accepting, generous-balanced. 
      In a hierarchy competition is central. 

      In a society rooted in devotion to family, tribe, Earth, balance the desire is to serve and support one another but because all are like this individuality and creativity thrive.
      like the parable of the 10 foot spoons.

      It is always possible to be thrown out of balance hence the elder cultures encode methods to return balance such as circle justice,  walking the songlines or the bard’s songs mocking the tyrant.

      I believe people long for, dream of, and discuss utopia because deep in our bones and our souls, deep in the lands we are part of, the memory remains of a world not fractured by control and hierarchy and of the peace and comfort such a world had as “normal”. 

      In India they call the age we have been living in the Kali Yuga,  the dark age.

      I don’t believe it is a vain hope or escapism to have faith that this age must pass;  that our heritage as humans is something more beautiful than war, greed and suffering. 

      Despite hundreds of years of colonization and war the people of 6 Nations have kept the Great Law of Peace and the living reality that it represents within our lives and communities. 

      For peoples whose colonization was thousands of years in the past it might seem like the trauma reactions are human nature but we know from the uncolonized and communities more recently colonized that isnt true.

      I don’t believe that patriarchy is power for men. It is false power that enslaves and destroys. Men in non patriarchal societies are freer and happier. 

      I also don’t believe matriarchy means power or control by women.  Only because lots of matrilineal societies exist and they tend to be egalitarian. 

      The war between the sexes imho is an invention of patriarchy to keep men from recognizing what has been stolen from them is much more valuable than the ability to own and boss miserable women; -)

      Very glad to have discovered your blog and this conversation!

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