Women rule? Is that fantasy, fiction or a credible history point? And if it’s substantiated, what does it mean for today? We are truly living in a world which cries out for help.
Noted author Raine Eisler recounts ‘herstory’ in her increasingly relevant book, ‘The Chalice and The Blade’, first published in 1988. Yes, it is a chronical of events through time seen from a women’s point of view. Why did she do this?
Her thesis in this groundbreaking book is that society has more culture and arts, less wars, more compassionate care for children and the elderly, better education, more stable social structure and much more – when women take leadership roles to direct the society. There is more trust and cooperation and an absence of quest and domination.
That’s good news! Because maybe there is solution for our world here, as we are seeing this age where women are gearing up to more actively influence our social structure. Here’s a history, no make that a herstory, lesson. Let’s explore the reality because history hasn’t always been about patriarchy, or rule by men.
Matriarchy is a social system, a way of governance, like patriarchy that underlies the fabric of any culture. Governance is important because it controls the resources of a culture — in particular the money. In short, matriarchy is when women have influence and control in governance of the society.
The 1900s and into the 2000’s have been characterized by periods of patriarchy. This has meant that resources, like money, have been allocated based upon this governance to the ‘haves’ and not to the ‘have nots’. Are there enough resources for everybody? Matriarchy takes a different view. Let’s have a look. Take a moment to journey with me through the stories of human existence as we see more clearly this vitality.
In the early 1970’s, feminine activist Gloria Steinem spoke frequently about the historical basis of what she called, “matriarchy”. Matriarchy is a social system in which females hold the primary power positions in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property to the exclusion of males, at least to a large degree.
Check this out: In the last hundred years or so the idea that matriarchy existed as a phase of human evolution gained notable popularity. In our lifetimes, examples of matriarchal societies have been found and chronicled as truly existing and thriving. Documenting this happened in spite of numerous negative portrayals painted by both male and female authors and researchers to dissuade the establishment of this perspective.
But the idea that there was, at some early point in early history, a shift from a prior matriarchal way of life to the primarily patriarchal system we now live has only gotten stronger. In fact, recent research in the fields of sociology and psychology has given this idea new wind and strength for how we are transitioning as women today. The theory goes like this:
Long ago there was a period in mankind’s history which was called the Gynocratic Age. It was called that because women were supposedly revered for their child birth capability. The process of procreation was still mysterious at the time, so males who didn’t understand their crucial part in it developed the belief that women “bore fruit like trees, when they were ripe.” (1)
This Age was supposed to have endured from an almost unthinkable time in the past – 2 million years ago – to about 3000 BCE. Wow, a long time! There is evidence that sometime around 3000 BCE something happened that changed the role of women in society and its governance into what it has currently become. At that time in history a huge shift occurred that was memorialized in history as the world’s then-most advanced civilization. This signaled the shift that occurred when patriarchy became dominant – and the role of women has not been the same, as it was prior to that time.
This theory of early stage matriarchy gives context to how we got to this place in the procession of the events of social history, and what we might hope for in the future as women take the positions of reining again. This is in the face of what almost everyone knows is the general world view expressed as: “As if women would ever have run things, could ever have run things … and if they did, men surely had to put an end to it!” (2) Sound familiar?
But before I reveal my theory about what might have happened in our ancient past of women’s history, let’s take a step back. It is valuable to ask what “matriarchy” really is. That’s because matriarchy is NOT just a form of society in which power is with the women and especially with the mothers of a community. It is much more about the influence that women collectively have to act at the center of constructing the norms, values, lifestyle and distribution of resources for the society. This can be in partnership with men, but it is not at the exclusion of women as characterized by patriarchy.
Although the word matriarchy comes from the Latin word “mater”, meaning mother, and the Greek word “archein”, meaning to rule; matriarchy is better characterized as societies that enjoy prosperity, harmony with nature, peace and egalitarianism. All of the good stuff that we are looking to add abundantly to the world that we live in today. To envision this transformed society, we look to the real-life examples of matriarchs that we can identify. These are the historical and present-day societies (although few and rare) in which this was and is actively present. (3)
We’ll start with the Queendom of Kush. Kush is the famous ancient African nation known as Nubia. Nubia was the rival of Ancient Egypt, and ruled by a set of queens and queen mothers known as “Kandake”. As women warrior queens, the Nubians controlled what is now Ethiopia, Sudan, and parts of Egypt. Lineage was recorded through the maternal side, not the paternal side. After their deaths, the queens of Kush were buried in their own pyramids filled with treasure.
Next there was a society which was called by the Romans, “The Land of Women”. The Sitones, or Suevi, existed in first century BC in what is Scandinavia. Not much else is known about them. Other Germanic and Celtic tribes often had women in places of both spiritual and political power.
A modern day example is the Mosuo, also called the Na. They exist today as a small Chinese group living near the Chinese-Tibetan border. They actually refer to themselves as being matriarchal, and have been living that way in China for thousands and thousands of years. As such, they’re one of the world’s last true matriarchies.
The Hopi or Hopi-Shi-nu-mu, “the peaceful people”, is an independent Pueblo tribe east of the Grand Canyon surrounded by a Navajo reservation. Other Native Americans refer to them as the “oldest of the people”, and the Hopi think of themselves as the first inhabitants of America. Their village, Oraibi, is in fact the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the United States. (2a) Traditional Hopi society is based on a system of kinship and clans which are passed through the maternal side of the family. Women own the land and garden plots, and are in charge of Hopi exports like arts and crafts; while the men are in charge of the farming, sheep, and livestock.
Follow me on this because now we are going to take a journey into the connections between the matriarchal societies of old and present. This illustrates a lineage between groups of people that carried on the principles of women-centered societies and their relevance.
There are theories that the Hopis are not just a remote civilization but instead have their roots in the most ancient of cultures—Sumeria. This is due to the many strange coincidences between Hopi beliefs present today and the Sumerians beliefs of old. (4)
The Hopi believe the Creator of Man is a woman. The Sumerians believed the Creator of Man was a woman also. The Hopi believe the Father Creator is KA. The Sumerians believed the Father Essence was KA also. The Hopi believe Taiowa, the Sun God, is the Creator of the Earth. The Sumerians believe TA.EA was the Creator. The Hopi believe two brothers had guardianship of the Earth. The Sumerians believed two brothers had dominion over the Earth. The parallels between these two very distant societies show us their common ties.
Now, by drawing a line through the Earth from the Hopi Reservation to the other side of the world, you would come out in Tibet. The Tibetan word for “sun” is the Hopi word for “moon”; and the Hopi word for “sun” is the Tibetan word for “moon”.
The Hopi prophecy and the Mayan 2012 prophecy had uncanny similarities. Like many other ancient cultures, both used the night sky through precession to determine key elements of their predictions. The Hopis horned serpent Awanyu resembles the Mayan Quetzacoatl; and so does the Hopi prophecy legend of the Pahana (long lost white brother), who is to return to save the people just as Quetzacoatl is slated to do. When the Hopis and the Mayans were visited by the Spanish in the 16th century, they both thought at first they were their lost prophet. It didn’t take long to realize they were the devil themselves kicking off the beginning of the age of the great forgetting or darkness for both cultures. (5)
What’s interesting here is that arguably one of the most ancient societies—Sumeria—has so many connections to the still thriving Hopis. Also, the Chinese NA ethnic group is bordered with Tibet; and this group also has remarkable ties to the Hopis. What runs through them all? They were, or are, all matriarchal cultures.
And finally the Nubians existed in the time of Ancient Egypt. We’ll get into that connection in the next article as it is an important clue to what may have occurred in our ancient past which brought about our current patriarchal social system.
Fascinating! And inspiring as we look to see a different role for women in the creation of how we live. The question becomes, ‘are these societies remnants of a matriarchal age that was worldwide phenomenon stretching back to the beginning of the human race, or just anomalies in a sea of men-in-power’? Is matriarchy possible to improve our world, or is patriarch all there is because that’s the culture we have lived in?
And, maybe the bigger question is, just who are we? How are we showing up as a civilization with the point of view that drives our very existence? Sadly, if you go by modern media, we’re basically a society of aggressive, greedy and violent beings wrecking the planet and each other in search of personal fulfillment. Yikes, not pretty! These are the predominantly male qualities that reign free and easy when the feminine qualities are not equally tempering them.
Remember the Beatles song “All we need is love, Love is all we need?” Who brings to the governance of our culture the old ideals of compassion, love, empathy and kindness? It’s matriarchy that brings this home which are described as the female qualities. When matriarchy shows up, the culture vastly improves in very important ways.
Research into the essential nature of human beings comes down to this: are we human beings that fundamentally dominate or cooperate? Researchers working with aboriginal and indigenous cultures will tell you that the greatest value in these societies is cooperation, with competition having a very low value. In fact, competition that goes beyond certain limits is actually viewed to be a mental illness in that person.
Fast forward out of the jungle and into 2018 America scene – and you’ll observe that cooperation is valued almost not at all while competition is prized and rewarded. Basically, as a society we honor the most successful competitors—the mentally ill people of indigenous cultures. I have observed that the new ‘tech’ culture is the new generation of patriarchy. It’s a robust ‘wild west’ of competition that has little time for the needs of the human spirit, cooperation or generosity.
Where on Earth does this come from? Western scientists will tell you without flinching that its roots are in Darwin. Nature is all about ‘tooth and claw’, where there’s an alpha animal that put itself in charge and everyone around that person honors and respects him because he put himself in charge. And that’s just the natural order of things. But not all scientists accept this without questioning it.
This study gives some interesting insight, and highlights the questions women need to ask about the world. In the documentary I Am, researchers followed a herd of red deer to observe their behavior. They were specifically watching the herd’s behavior around the need to move to a new watering hole. What they observed turned out to be unexpected versus what they predicted.
Here’s the consideration. For the deer, the decision to move the whole herd of them to another watering hole is not a small one. They have to factor that they can’t go too soon because some of the deer won’t be have time to eat enough. And, they can’t wait too long because some of the deer may become dehydrated. Moreover, if they move at the wrong rate for the group then some of the herd might not be able to keep up and be picked off by predators. What the researchers observed was a societal problem for the herd. When do they go? Which hole do they go to? And what is their decision- making process to collectively protect the group?
The obvious and what might be expected is that the largest, oldest alpha deer would make the decision. Right? And isn’t that pretty much the way that it works in the patriarchy?
But that’s not what the researchers found to be true in this study. Instead, they saw something very different. At some point, a few deer would begin looking over at, for example, one or two of the nearby watering holes. Then when a majority of deer were looking at one watering hole in particular, within a few minutes the entire herd would leave together to that particular watering hole. Apparently, the deer were voting and the alpha animal was not in charge at all. How clever. Each was reporting the wisdom of the decision and signaling how the care of the whole was determined. None were forced, bullied or lead. They were together in the move. This is how they protected the herd.
So, what about the Darwin explanation? Well, apparently Darwin didn’t exactly say what the preponderance of scientists would quote him as saying — at least he may not have meant to have the impact on future generations that his work has had. Their interpretations changed the ‘jist’ of his meaning.
In his book, Descent of Man, Darwin mentioned the phrase, “survival of the fittest” twice. By contrast, he mentioned the word “love” over 90 times while describing our animal nature. (6) He discussed the natural traits of all animals including cooperation and democracy. He actually discussed a sort of “Golden Rule” which mammals of all kinds live by. He wrote, “Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature.”
Then, here’s what happened. Darwin was popularized and interpreted by another famous author of the time, Aldous Huxley. Huxley apparently had a much darker view of human nature. In his popularization of Darwin, Huxley asserted his idea that the natural world revolved around power over others and the strong dominating the weak. This distorted picture of the animal world—including humans—then became the basis of Western culture. The message became: To be selfish and self-interested is good because you’ll survive.
Tragically, those who championed and still champion Darwin have ignored that part of his research. I say tragically because there are sound, valid reasons for why our true nature as mammals is that we are democratic, sympathetic and treat others as we would wish to be treated. For example, a solitary human being would not survive, not to mention would ever be born. Humans come into existence because two humans procreated. We are determined by cooperation from the very moment of our conception.
And then there is the issue of learning language. New humans would never learn to speak if other humans didn’t teach them. And they wouldn’t know how to walk or all the other human behaviors that create the fabric of dependence on one another that is the true nature of our society. As I once heard, the truth of who we are is that we are because we ‘belong’—not because we are able to dominate others. We need the characteristics of matriarchy to surface, to grow strong in our world – because they are the characteristics of belonging!
In our arguably very broken Western society today, what will it take for us to feed one another, provide adequate housing and operate our economy based on our true nature of cooperation and dependence rather than the distorted, misinterpreted mantra of “survival of the fittest”? There are enough resources for all of us, how will we distribute them? Will the roots of matriarchy blossom into fruit, or will excessive patriarchy rule? How is it that a women-centered culture will do things differently? How will we control and allocate resources? Is matriarchy just fantasy, or is this new age of women the remedy that this world badly needs?
I come from a family of health care workers—doctors, EMTs, firemen—and the topic of how nature works is often what we talk about. Over the Holidays I spoke with my brother, a family practice physician and educator who serves a poor, migrant community in Northern California.
Our mother had recently died after a lengthy, off-again, on-again battle with multiple diseases that wracked her body and took her life. What my brother explained is this: the fundamental law of nature is balance. In a healthy human body, nothing takes more than it needs to function. This law extends to all of nature—plants and animals taking only the food they need, entire ecosystems in balance because each of the parts takes only what it needs and no more. But there is one instance in medicine where something in the body is so insatiable that it consumes everything around it until stopped—it’s called “cancer”. It was cancer that killed my mother.
Our Western society is based on a cancerous nature where consuming more than is needed is prized above all. And it’s come to be synonymous with “patriarchy.” Matriarchy produces better outcomes – what are we waiting for?
- Gynocentrism & Matriarchal Societies Throughout the Ages, Gaia.com
- Loye, Daniel, Darwin In Love: The Rest of the Story, Osanto Press 2013
Lisa is a small business expert integrating science with spirituality and her own personal experiences. Lisa helps others create lives of presence and purpose.
Lisa Broderick is a quantum change expert whose work integrates modern science with spirituality and her own personal experiences. She offers a unique approach for understanding consciousness by explaining not who we are, but what we are. Lisa’s work is for people around the world interested in why things happen to them.
She integrates supernatural phenomena, spirituality and modern science to explain why things happen to people, so that they can live more successful lives. She writes and teaches principles that help rationalize why things happen in ways that are easy to understand, encouraging and ultimately uplifting for anyone in search of answers.
What Lisa shares comes from a lifetime of extraordinary abilities as a result of having supernatural experiences. She has begun using her knowledge and abilities to help others live lives of purpose and presence, both personally and in business. Her work quantum leaps individuals to higher levels of consciousness, heightened perception and inspired creativity because they learn answers to the questions they have about their lives.