The Problem with Patriarchy

Why do I rail on and on about the patriarchy on social media? Because it is essentially a state of great imbalance in our world. We must honor and respect BOTH the male and female, both the yin and yang energies to be in a healthy, balanced state. A man named Robert Bly explained it well:

‘I Came Out of the Mother Naked’

“In every past society known, a matriarchy has preceded the present patriarchy. Just as every adult was once inside the mother, every society was once inside the Great Mother…what we call masculine consciousness is a very recent creation. Men prefer to remember back only to that point in culture when they took over….archeologists have found hundreds of statues in caves and settlement ruins…going back many centuries, and they have never found a statue of the Great Father—the statues found, all over the world, are statues of the Mother.

If it is true that mother consciousness preceded father consciousness, then two further things follow:

women at some time must have had immense power, running all areas of life: law, agriculture, division of wealth, social custom and especially religion.

there must have been a war … Beowolf I think describes the destruction of Great Mother culture in Northern Europe; it is a historical poem, and perhaps three thousand years of fighting are summed up in it.

We have then inside us two worlds of consciousness: one world associated with the dark, and one world with the light. The dark half corresponds to the consciousness developed in the matriarchies, the white to the consciousness developed in the patriarchies that followed. Mother consciousness was in the world first, and embodied itself century after century in its favorite images: the night, the sea, animals with curving horns and cleft hooves, the moon, bundles of grain. Four favorite creatures of the Mother were the turtle, the owl, the dove, and the oyster —all womb-shaped, night, or ancient round sea creatures. Matriarchy thinking is intuitive and moves by associative leaps.

Bachofen discovered that it favored the left side (the feeling side) of the body. When the Nicene Creed says Christ sits on the right hand of God, you know you are in a patriarchy.

The right hand became favored over the left, mountaintops over valleys, one and three over two and four, the square over the circle. It creates straight roads. Matriarchies are interested primarily in what is inside walls, but the patriarchies become aware of the space between walls; empires grow from patriarchies. The patriarchies plot out the ground in huge squares. In thinking, Socrates sounds the note: avoid myths – which are always stories of the Mother anyway – and think logically, in a straight line.

Father consciousness tries to control the mammal nature through rules, morality, commandments….The Chinese describe it as the south side of the mountain (on which the light always falls), the rational, the hard.

In mother consciousness there is affection for nature, compassion, love of water, grief and care for the dead, love of whatever is hidden, intuition, ecstasy. The Chinese describe it as the north side of the mountain (always in shadow), the valley of the world.

Before the white people came, Drinks Water, an old Dakota holy man, dreamed that the Indians would be defeated, and warned that when that happened, they would have to live in square houses. Black Elk mentions this in 1931. He was then living in a square house, and said, “It is a bad way to live, for there can be no power in a square. You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round…the wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours…Our teepees were round and always set in a circle.”

Men’s fear of women seems to be a fundamental emotion on this planet. It is rarely talked about, and in the U.S. it is getting worse. It is possible that when a culture refuses to visualize the dangerous mothers, men then become vaguely afraid of all women, and finally of the entire feminine side of the their own personalities. That is a disaster.”

Robert Bly, 1973

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