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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in matriarchy

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
I Am the Matriarch....

You held my hand
Guided my steps
And supported my dreams.

We did not always agree
But eventually the paths
Of our divergence met at
The singular point of Love.

You possessed the wisdom of age
And experience as the power of
The feminine coursed through you as the
Elder and first Mother.

This mantle was passed to you from
Your Mother and hers from a continuous
Line of strong and courageous women.

Each passing of this Queenship
Made a little easier the road ahead
And for me that easier road stretched
Exponentially further.

Your life was hard so that mine
Would be made easier and the
Blessings I pass to my daughters
Will be ones of a newly forged strength
That has been honed and tempered in the
Fires of pain and joy of those who came before.

You have found your freedom and
In passing from this world left behind
The mantle of Matriarch that I now
Must take up as I find my way.

I am not ready but this is not a choice
And I will take on this gift wearing it
Proudly until my time in this world
Is done....

I Am the Matriarch
And in this naming I
Set foot on a path all
Women will one day walk.

Recent loss of my Mother has set me to thinking about much that I have claimed as my space of knowing about the power of the Goddess and the Divine Feminine. Our focus never wants to stray into thoughts of when the inevitable will happen, so we direct our claimings to those of identification as the lusty Maiden, the creative nurturing of the Mother and the prized wisdom of recognition as a Crone.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Golden Apples of the Sun

Robert Graves' novel Hercules, My Shipmate, his iconoclastic retelling of the tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece, opens with an encounter with the Orange Nymph, priestess of the sacred Orange Grove, on Majorca, the Balearic island off the Mediterranean coast of Spain, which Graves portrays as a last bastion of matriarchal civilization and Goddess worship in a rapidly patriarchalizing world.

Rather archly he explains:

The orange is a round, scented fruit, unknown elsewhere in the civilized world, which grows green at first, then golden, with a hot rind and cold, sweet, sharp flesh. It is found on a smooth tree with glossy leaves and prickly branches, and ripens in mid-winter, unlike any other fruit. It is not eaten indiscriminately in Majorca, but once a year only, at the winter solstice, after ritual chewing of buckthorn and other herbs; thus eaten, it confers long life. At other times, the slightest taste of an orange will result in immediate death, so sacred a fruit is it; unless the Orange Nymph herself dispenses it (Graves 4).

This tongue-in-cheek passage is doubly a send-up. In it, the mythological Island of the Hesperides with its legendary Golden Apples of Life become a real-world place—in fact, the island on which Graves made his home for most of his adult life—and a real-world fruit. Likewise, Graves is satirizing a longstanding British custom: generations of English kids grew up with that exotic and expensive Southron fruit, the orange, tucked into the toe of their Christmas stocking.

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What Might It Be Like To Live In A Matriarchal Society of Peace? Can You Imagine? by Carol P. Christ


There are many reasons for women, slaves, and the poor to rebel against domination and unjust authorities in patriarchal societies. But we should not assume that there are any reasons to rebel against domination where no domination exists or to rebel against unjust authority in societies where there are no unjust authorities.

In response to my popular series of blogs on patriarchy as a system of male dominance created at the intersection of the control of female sexuality, private property, and war (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), I was asked if there is an injustice inherent in matriarchal societies that caused men to rebel and create patriarchy.

The assumption behind this question is that if women are dominated by men in patriarchal societies, then men must have been dominated by women pre-patriarchal societies. Lurking behind the question is the further assumption that there must have been “a good reason” for the development of patriarchy. The idea that there is “no good reason” for patriarchy to exist–if “good” means fair and just–is just too painful for many of us to want to consider it.

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Carol Christ on Voices of the Sacred Feminine Radio
Listen to Carol Christ on Joy of Life in Ancient Crete 6 pm PST July 16 or listen later online-Voices of the Sacred Feminine with Karen Tate.

Joy of Life in Ancient Crete w/Carol Christ& Matthew Fox on Meister Echhart
Scholar, author and foremother, Carol Christ joins us tonight to discuss The Goddess and the Joy of Life in Ancient Crete.  We'll delve into new research on matriarchies, the difference from patriarchy, define "love is free" in matriarchal societies and chat about Crete being a "gift giving" society.   We'll talk about ancient rituals on Crete, redefine patriarchal myths and discuss the "immanental turn" in feminist theologies - and more.....
Join Carol in Crete on a Goddess Pilgrimage
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Although writing in patriarchal Greece from a patriarchal perspective, Hesiod said in hisTheogony or Birth of the Gods that Gaia or Earth alone was the mother of the Mountains, Sky, and Sea. With the male Sky she gave birth to the next generation of deities known as the “Titans,” who were overthrown by Zeus. Hesiod’s was a “tale with a point of view” in which “it was necessary” for the “forces of civilization”–for him represented by warrior God and rapist Zeus–to violently overthrow and replace earlier conceptions of the origin life on earth and presumably also to overthrow and replace the people and societies that created them.

With the triumph of Christianity in the age of Constantine in the 4th century AD, Christus Victor replaced Zeus in the cities, while the religion of Mother Earth continued to be practiced in the countryside. Over time, many of the attributes of Mother Earth were assimilated into the image of Mary, and priests began to perform rituals earlier dedicated to Mother Earth, such as blessing the fields and the seeds before planting. In the Middle Ages “the Goddess” re-emerged within Western Christianity in devotion to the Virgin Mary, the female saints, and figures such as Lady Wisdom, at the same time that the history of the Goddess was being erased.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    Thank you for great overview of History and Herstory! As as artist, I believe that Gimbutas's books said it all. She had tons o
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Amen brother!!! And then we must ask if academics who consider Gimbutas a wild-eyed kook have their heads screwed on straight.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you for this excellent history. Given the current state of our male military-dominated world, and the concomitant disregard

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs


For me the word “matriarchy” expresses the certainty that “another world” can exist—a world not based in domination and hierarchy or violence and war. 

The word “matriarchy” makes people’s hair stand on end as they imagine the mirror-image of patriarchy: societies in which women dominate men, beat men, rape men, hold men as slaves, and demand obedience from men.  Some who do not protest very loudly or at all against patriarchy are horrified by the very idea of matriarchy. To be fair, most feminists have also been schooled not to use the “m” word.

Early in my academic career, I read “The Myth of Matriarchy” by Joan Bamberger and learned that the idea of matriarchy gone wrong has been used by men to justify patriarchy. From other academics I learned that in matrilineal societies, uncles have a great deal of power—so therefore there never was a matriarchy.  I was also aware that Jungian and other proponents of a “matriarchal stage” in the development of culture have argued that matriarchy had to be succeeded by patriarchy in order for societies to evolve to a “higher” stage. Unlike many of my colleagues I stubbornly held onto the belief that there must have been “a better way” prior to patriarchy.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • wayne bates
    wayne bates says #
    if we remove the gender part of these words and change them to arseholearchy and pleasantarchy perhaps that would help . I am not
  • Amy A Patterson
    Amy A Patterson says #
    I also frequently run into the misconception that matriarchy is a mirror image of patriarchy. I think it is because both words see
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    There are powerful Goddesses in India, but India is so far from being a matriarchy that your comment does not make sense. Gang rap
  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    So glad you said this. Women, and men need to be educated on this term and understanding what it means. Martriarchy does NOT mean
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    For examples of Matriarchies where women dominate men some would point to Sweden or India. Some would include numerous other plac
Matriarchal or Patriarchal ideal? The utopian myth...

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    You might enjoy Women at the Center by Peggy Reeves Sanday and Societies of Peace by Heidi Goettner-Abendroth. Matriarchal societi
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Thanks Carol - I shall defininitely look into it! x
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Lovely expression, Joanna - and so very reasonable! Your vision is so clear, I wonder that anyone could see it any other way. I r
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Hi Ted - thank you for your kind words. Yes, I have been to the White Spring - last spring a friend and I booked some private time
  • says #
    Dying is the opposite of birth, as it is singular event. Death is the ongoing condition,ie: once one dies, they continu

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