Matriarchal and Patriarchal Consciousness and Culture

Do you have a conversation topic that doesn't seem to fit any of the other conversations? Here is where we discuss ANYTHING about Joseph Campbell, comparative mythology, and more!

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Post by creekmary » Sat Dec 26, 2009 8:04 pm

:lol: I take it as a compliment, being "already there". And since she has thought enough to try to loan it to me I will definitely give her the respect of reading it. I will be looking at it from the "hero-ing" perspective.

Susan
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Post by Cindy B. » Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:57 pm

What AJ said. :P

My only suggestion--keep in mind that the hero framework may not suit when reading Estes's Women Who Run With the Wolves. Her perspective is inherently female/feminine and essentially relies on no such mirroring. Enjoy, creekmary!

Cindy


P.S. Have any ladies here read Lyn Cowan's post-Jungian paper, "Dismantling the Animus"? I hesitate to get into its specifics here for fear of that gender war I keep trying to avoid, still, I recommend it. It's available at The Jung Page, yet if you're interested and can't access that site, let me know. Also, if this sort of excursion appeals to you, you might be interested, too, in Susan Rowland's book entitled Jung: A Feminist Revision. I suggest these reads as food for thought since like Estes, Cowan and Rowland do highlight the continued value of analytical psychology for women, while highlighting its inevitable change in theory and practice when it comes to contemporary women's issues. These three are just a sampling, of course, of post-Jungian thinking.
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by noman » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:58 am

It was tempting, I admit, but I'm going to stay away from commenting on [NoMan’s] remarks about feminism. That gender war I originally mentioned wanting to avoid in my first post--I might just ignite it if we two get started on that one.

- Cindy


* * * * * * *

Have any ladies here read Lyn Cowan's post-Jungian paper, "Dismantling the Animus"? I hesitate to get into its specifics here for fear of that gender war I keep trying to avoid, still, I recommend it.

- Cindy
I understand. But I’m terribly disappointed. :cry: The topic of matriarchy, patriarchy, consciousness, and culture is very attractive for the same reason it is terrifyingly treacherous. One must enter the territory between the male and female psyches with sword drawn and shields abreast. A mind must be open and alert, not reliant on archaic codes of chivalry or conduct in battle, yet still steadfast and controlled. Not too gravely serious, yet not too flippant and jocular. Not totally irrational, yet not totally rational either. Rational thought alone will not work in the strange no man’s land between the battle lines of the sexes.

Playing it up a bit Cindy. But I thought I had finally found someone educated, intelligent, experienced, and knowledgeable about the subject of second wave feminism to ‘get into it’ with. I mean without someone screaming at me. And especially with AJ as a backup resource. I always love to talk with people who are old enough to know what it was like before the 60s transition. But as you told me in another thread on another topic, “It’s not going to happen.”

There is sort of an undeclared code in this forum that the person who starts the thread gets to pilot it.
Noman,

I would like to thank you again for the review of A Myth in Action. Not only did it begin one of the longest and most convoluted threads on this forum, it, and the mention of the thread and the book in a JCF newsletter contributed to the sales of the book, and opened it up to a whole new audience of readers in addition to the fans of Audie Murphy whom I had expected to be the primary audience. And as I read your review, I felt that the message I had hoped to get across had been grasped by at least one of those readers. I am very grateful. As that thread went on and diverged, we didn't always agree. Perhaps that is partly because we come with different perspectives, being of different genders.

- AJ
I just ordered the book out of curiosity. I didn’t really know what to expect. But it was really quite a treat. It put the loss of the traditional hero in perspective. I’m at just the right age to appreciate the message – and the flip-flop of values concerning the warrior hero. We didn’t disagree too much in that Warrior Hero thread. It had something to do with whether there is glory in war. I read so many books; it’s a new experience for me to have the author to question.

Clemsy – I was out of line. I’m putting myself on probation. One more infraction like that - … just one more… and I’ll have to do something really unpleasant to myself.
There are examples of living matriarchal societies. The Haudenosaunee for one. [Iroquios]

- Clemsy


* * * * * * *

Creeks are too. Probably diluted by now, but still.

- Creekmary
I respectfully disagree with you and Creekmary and believe that wiki is closer to the truth.

There are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal, although there are a number of attested matrilinear, matrilocal and avunculocal societies, especially among indigenous peoples of Asia and Africa, such as those of the Basques, Minangkabau, Mosuo, Berbers or Tuareg. Strongly matrilocal societies sometimes are referred to as matrifocal, and there is some debate concerning the terminological delineation between matrifocality and matriarchy. Note that even in patriarchical systems of male-preference primogeniture there may occasionally be queens regnant, as in the case of Elizabeth I of England or Victoria of the United Kingdom.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matriarchy

* * * * * * *

There’s a tendency, a stereotype - that people believe, the new age believes, there was some sort of matriarchy, some sort of utopia, when women ruled - sort of a Xena warrior princess world, full of Amazons. And I think that makes the mistake of assuming - well today we have a patriarchal society for thousands of years - so the opposite of that would have to be a society where women are in charge and where women oppressed men. That’s not the case.

- Stephen Gerringer, (BodhiBliss)


http://www.jcf.org/new/index.php?categoryid=37

* * * * * * *

I don’t think there ever was a matriarchy. We can’t locate it in time and space. You mustn’t mistake the time when the mother goddess was a dominant power in the Neolithic and bronze age – because people were related primarily to agriculture and she is the producing earth and then the power of women and the power of the earth is the same power.

- Joseph Campbell

* * * * * * *

P34 As early feminists looked hopefully to other, “primitive” cultures for signs of matriarchy, they asked for corroboration from their anthropologist sisters. In the main, they didn’t get it. Around the same time that Elizabeth Gould Davis was enticing readers with her descriptions of the great women-ruled empires of prehistory, Sherry Ortner, in her highly influential article “Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture?” was calling women’s secondary status “one of the true universals, a pan-cultural fact,” and asserting that “the search for a genuinely egalitarian, let alone matriarchal, culture, has proven fruitless.” Anthropological denials of matriarchy extended as well to prehistory. “males are dominate among primates,” a group of feminist anthropologists noted in 1971, “and at the ‘lowest’ level of human social evolution now extant, males are still dominant. There is no reason to assume that in the intervening stages of human evolution the same situation did not prevail.”

The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory, Cynthia Eller, 2000
If a person is interested in the truth, she or he must be wary of angles. There may be a reason beyond reason, for their assertions. When you read a company’s prospectus they say, begin with a 10 percent downgrade. Why? Because a company is always going to be optimistic about their future to a prospective investor. But if they sound too optimistic, no one will believe them in the future. They are sort of anchored to reality you might say. That’s what I see in the search for matriarchal societies. People will say whatever they can we get away with saying that is most desirable, but not a complete lie because that might create a backlash when people find out by other authorities that what they believed is far from the truth. So we come up with terms and conditions that show women as having some power, more power, but not complete power.


The truth is women in all societies have some power. But never so much as in the modern Western societies.

- NoMan
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Post by Cindy B. » Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:50 am

Hey, noman.

First, you had a happy holiday, I hope. :)

I'll be honest with you here, noman. I recognize that I'm dancing around various issues in this thread, and I admit that I'm doing so because in the past I've participated in the sort of discussions you seek wherein sooner rather than later, "discussing" went out the window while "arguing" and animosity flew in instead, and at times I played a part in that with no good coming of it. True, these days my buttons are less easily pushed in this regard than they were in the past, but I still have more work to do on this one. :P Call me naive, but my intention was to draw attention to the topic from an objective perspective and try to stay at this level as much as I personally can. As initiator of this thread, though, I have no problem with you and others raising whatever related issues interest you most, and I said so in my opening post. I'm genuinely interested in how others approach the topic of masculine/feminine, sex and gender, past or present, and particularly so in light of the cultural changes that have emerged during my lifetime given both the women's and the men's movements and their aftermath.

(I, by the way, was a child when the first wave of feminism emerged in the States, as well as the only child of a fiercely independent woman who divorced when I was three and had a lot to say and do about what was unfolding around us socially during my childhood. Matriarchy, patriarchy, I'm still in recovery. Ha! This is part of the reason, too, that so often you hear me go on about the value of tolerance and relativism; extremism and/or absolutism in whatever forms tend to create more problems than they can solve.)

Cindy
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Women as Divinities preceed Men.

Post by bryanedmondson » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:15 pm

Good Post, It reminds me of a lecture:
It is seen that in antiquity that the gods were at first all women, as only they could give birth. This was miraculous, and certainly no man could equal this wonderful creative magic of bringing forth a new life. It is also speculated that when the connection between male seed and fertilization of the womb was suddenly realized, at that at that point the gods then began to appear as men. Likewise at such time it is speculated that marriage also arose.
Lectures of Dr. Elizabeth Mcnamer - World Religions
I am would enjoy sharing ideas and learning from anyone with an interest in the The Levant, and its Symbolic Influences and parallels in Judeo-Christian Myth and its respective NT/OT Biblical Scriptures.
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Post by S_Watson » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:19 am

Way up on page 2, Noman wrote:
The ‘Mary cult’ that began in the Middle Ages is associated with Catholicism, whereas the Protestants wonder why people would worship this graven image. But the presence of this goddess in the life of Catholic women hardly translates into more political power compared to Protestant women. From my experience it tends to be just the opposite
Really? In addition to Justice Sotomayor whom you mentioned as an "exception" (Pelosi's Catholicism is debatable considering her stance on abortion), here are some others:

Joan of Arc, not exactly a pushover :wink:

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Isabella of Spain

Mary Queen of Scots

Queen Margot of France, wife of the formerly Protestant King Henry IV, late 1500s. There's a great movie about her, starring Isabelle Adjani, here's a poignant clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVdzsISF2uw (warning, depiction of dead bodies following the St Bartholomew's massacre)

Jean Donovan, Dorothy Kazel, Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, four Catholic women supporters of Archbishop Romero, all assassinated in El Salvador in 1980

Corozan Aquino, first female President of the Philippines (democratically elected)

President Arroyo of the Philiippines

Former President Violeta Chamorro of Nicaragua

President Mary McAleese of Ireland

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina

ETA: Notice that those five recent female Presidents are all of majority Catholic countries. Of course that's where you're most likely to find Catholic leaders of either sex. But by the same token, you're statistically less likely to find Catholic leaders in majority Protestant countries like the USA, or especially Britain with its long history of hostility to Catholicism. However, as far as Protestant Margaret Thatcher goes, one of my female British friends refuses to call Thatcher a "woman" :twisted:

And notice that the mostly Protestant USA still needs to catch up with several mostly Catholic countries in electing a female President. :wink:
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Post by Clemsy » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:58 am

S_Watson. good catch!
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Post by noman » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:18 am

Hi Watson,

You mean Joan of Arc and Eleanor of Aquitaine weren’t Protestant? Now why would that be?

We live in a world where half of all people are women. Half of the one billion Catholics alive today are women. I would expect there to be many powerful women among them, especially in progressive Western countries.

I was thinking that the major difference between Prot and Cath historically had to do with reading scripture. Protestants taught that we can all read the Bible. Catholic authorities taught that they would read and interpret the Bible. However, the counter-Reformation was a swift response that would minimize that difference. In general I think you’re right. There probably isn’t too much difference in the grand scheme of things. There are much more important factors in the women’s movement than religion; such as industrialization and affluence.

But I also agree with Clemsy on this.
Noman, the Catholic Mary 'cult' is, quite basically an expression of the feminine from within a masculine structure.

- Clemsy
And I suspect that this is true for the Goddess figurines we find in Paleolithic art. I’ve never heard of feminists appealing to Mother Mary as a symbol of feminist strength and power. They’d rather go back to Artemis. I always thought Athena would be a good icon, with her helmet, shield, and spear.


Image


Besides, Diana (Artemis) might attract a negative response from animal rights groups. But whado I know?


- NoMan
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Post by A J » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:20 pm

I might throw in Riane Eisler's The Chalice and the Blade, and her perspective that the early societies were neither matriarchy or patriarchy, but a "gylany," where each gender was recognized and appreciated for its own valuable contributions to the society.

It seems to me that this is the direction we are headed toward today. Earlier in either this thread or another, I mentioned George Lakoff's description of progressive politics as favoring a "nurturing parent" society over a "strict father" one. Eisler refers to these "partnership" societies as being centered and balanced. Campbell spoke of finding compassion at the center rather than in the enantiodromio of the polarities.

Perhaps feminism itself is an "expression of the feminine from within a masculine structure."
:D

AJ
"Sacred space and sacred time and something joyous to do is all we need. Almost anything then becomes a continuous and increasing joy."

A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living
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Post by creekmary » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:36 pm

A J wrote:Perhaps feminism itself is an "expression of the feminine from within a masculine structure."
I think there are even different versions of feminism. I have read that in European countries, France in particular was mentioned, feminism was more concerned with economic change and less with social change than here in the US. There was less concern with changing how men and women related to each other than with getting paid the same.

At the beginning feminism seemed to be concerned with women becoming more "masculine" - clothing, emotions, sexuality. To me it seemed that it just reinforced the idea that masculine was superior and so should be imitated.

I guess behavior can be defined as masculine or feminine. To me, when my boyfriend is tender and nurturing, he is tender and nurturing in a masculine way. When I (used to) kick people in the head and break boards, I did so in a feminine way.

Susan
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Post by A J » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:31 pm

I get that, Susan.

Some of that "feminine way," I think, comes from a simple assurance of feeling feminine even when doing what was formerly "men's work." Some of the first tasks I learned to do as a single parent had to do with plumbing. A working mom with three kids at home - those guys just charged too much. And after a major windstorm, I built a new gate for the fence. I didn't feel less of a woman, doing those jobs - just a cool sense of pride and independence.

Gender isn't about the jobs one holds or the tasks one can accomplish. I sometimes think women are more into simply doing the work in front of them. During the Depression, my grandparents moved the family back to the farm. My great-grandparents had moved into "town" a generation earlier. Neither of them knew that much about farming. My grandfather got away whenever he could, taking whatever short-term jobs he could find. My grandmother put my mom in charge of the house and the littlest babies so she could be free to oversee the older boys as they worked the fields.

My current favorite fictional character is Ruby Thewes of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain:
"...it was not always Ruby's way to start a job and finish it all at one time. She worked at things as they came up, taking them in order of urgency. If nothing was particularly urgent, Ruby did whatever could be done in the time at hand.....The main thing, Ruby said, was not to get ahead of yourself. go at a rhythm that could be sustained on and on. Do as much as you could do and still be able to get up and do again tomorrow. No more, no less."


Ruby had been on her own since her father deserted her as a child. She was Ada's friend and teacher. Ada had been pampered before the war, educated in that frivolous way that the men in charge of their lives had allowed. After her father died, it was Ruby who taught Ada the value of hard work. She wrote to her sweetheart, Inman of how she was changing:
"It is amazing the physical alterations that can transpire in a few months of labor. I am brown as a penny from being outdoors all day, and I am growing somewhat ropy through the wrists and forearms. In the glass I see a somewhat firmer face than previously...a new expression, I think, has sometimes come to occupy it. Working in the fields, there are brief times when I go tatally without thought. Not one idea crosses my mind, though my senses are alert. Should a crow fly over, I mark it in all its details, but I do not seek analogy for its blackness. I know it is a type of nothing, not metaphoric. A thing unto itself without comparison. I believe those moments to be the root of my new mien. You would not know it on me for I suspect it is somehow akin to contentment."
Charles Frazier seems to understand women. He writes about the past, but I wonder how many men of that century would have seen so clearly into both Ruby and Ada.

Forgive me, I am supposedly retired from teaching literature, but I sometimes get caught up in it still.

Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem were my heroines, because they taught me that I could be in charge of my own life, and be good at it, and still be a woman. But women today are looking at their liberation from the other side of the fence. We know that it isn't about gender so much as it is about self-assurance and validation.

AJ
"Sacred space and sacred time and something joyous to do is all we need. Almost anything then becomes a continuous and increasing joy."

A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living
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Post by S_Watson » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:51 pm

Noman wrote:
We live in a world where half of all people are women. Half of the one billion Catholics alive today are women. I would expect there to be many powerful women among them, especially in progressive Western countries.
But most female heads of state in our times have been in non-Western countries. Conversely only a minority of Western, majority non-Catholic countries, have ever had female heads of state.

And is "Western" the same thing as being "progressive"? Progressing toward what?
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Post by Evinnra » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:42 am

How many female heads of states the world has is not as important as females all over the world realising their real power , I believe. Just as AJ said, each gender has power and influence of their own and does not need to be defined by the other gender in order to shine through. A man may feel more powerful if he has feminine support and so too a woman may feel more powerful by having masculine support, but personal power is not derived solely from validation by the other gender or one's own. Besides, I tend to agree with what I believe NoMan is saying that women, although without being heads of states or corporations are quite capable within their own sphere of influence. My Dad tought me that I am a person first of all and a female in that group we call people. If most men saw them selves this way perhaps there would be less confrontation between the genders, no? :)
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Post by Cindy B. » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:54 pm

Hey, all.

Every now and then I scroll through saved articles and essays and pick one that I've not read for a while. Today it happened to be this one which will likely interest some of you as well. It's a bit long but an easy read. Enjoy! (Baring's other lectures may interest you, too.)


THE LUNAR AND SOLAR HERO
A Philosophical and Psychological Approach

By Anne Baring (2005)

http://www.annebaring.com/anbar12_lect18_lunarhero.htm

...In this paper I would like to share with you my fascination with the myth of the solar and also the lunar hero, reflect on the influence they have had on our psyche and draw attention to the danger of mythic inflation when we identify ourselves with the role of the solar hero without being aware of its shadow aspect...


Cindy
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by A J » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:26 am

Good article, Cindy. I am currently working on a look at the need for our mythology to focus on a marriage of the god and goddess. Will share more as it develops.

Ann
"Sacred space and sacred time and something joyous to do is all we need. Almost anything then becomes a continuous and increasing joy."

A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living
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