Dismantling Patriarchy aka Matriarchy is NOT Patriarchy with an M

Matriarchy is not patriarchy with an M.  Matriarchy does not mean women in charge. This is what many keep saying. Serving up this lie is a way to keep us feeling hopeless that there is no way out from our current imbalance of power.

There is a way out.

Matriarchy dissolves the inequalities that bind us in patriarchy with its truth that each soul and sentient being is equal and of immeasurable value in a world in which all are interconnected in Divine oneness.  No one is experienced as more powerful or superior to another because it is understood we are all one.

Matriarchy is born out of the consciousness that comes when a child is born, and we experience this child as complete and whole, needing no fixing or power grabbing.

Women birth new consciousness, and so with the support of Crete, her Flower Essences, each other and so many other gifts from Divinity, we can birth our way forward to a reborn matriarchy.  If you are interested in more about matriarchy, please check out the blog about Crete, her Flower Essences and matriarchy.

At the farm, the women gathered here want to help dismantle patriarchy. The more we share with each other, the more we feel almost every problem ties back into the culture of patriarchy in which those with the power oppress those with less power.  In the structure of our days together and in our hearts, we have renewed our efforts to live without embodying these patriarchal values.

As with so many of you beloveds, there is a lot going on in our lives as we confront structures and individuals that resist equality, balance, fairness, justice, love or even common sense.  Each day we practice listening to each other not to shame or suppress anyone’s experiences, but to contain them and help all of us feel safe and empowered to continue in our challenges.

One of the things I loved about what Elizabeth Sheehan experienced on her journey down the pilgrimage route of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela was that in every town and village along the route, their were people looking out for the pilgrims. These precious guardians of the trail focused in particular on vulnerable pilgrims: the elderly, the women travelling alone, the ones who were flagging.  They understood that for each soul travelling the Camino it was a sacred soul journey. They honored each pilgrim knowing each deserved sanctity, respect and kindness.

We are all on the Camino. We all deserve sanctity, respect and kindness.

As we visit with each of you beloveds on your life Camino, we hold you in our hearts and hear your stories with awe and respect. We are grateful to be sharing the Flower Essences that help us see ourselves clearly, empower us to live from our truths and find our way forward no matter what the world throws at us.

Our conversations with you, be they on the phone, in letters or on email, inspire and encourage us. They get us to ask questions of ourselves and of the Essences.  We salute your courage in the throes of very arduous experiences. It’s a rough time of transition for just about everyone, and we see you in your gutsy perseverance.

Here is part of an email received this week that I share with permission:

 “Something I’ve noticed since I’ve started taking (the Flower Essences), I speak my mind more and there is sometimes a lot of anger coming up.  I’ve always been a person who wants fairness and justice, and I’m wondering if something I’m taking is too strong for me at this time of stress and anxiety.”

To answer this, I look back to a blog I started earlier this week about forgiveness or what I call the f-word. Here is an excerpt of this unfinished blog:

We have all been submerged in a bunch of propaganda about the topic of forgiveness.

Forgiveness happens, but it is not the key to dealing with the trauma we go through.  We need to process what happened in our own way and feel contained by ourselves and others as we experience our full range of emotions.  Then perhaps in the aftermath of much emotional work, we will come to a place of acceptance that is akin to forgiveness.  If we don’t get there, we don’t need to add insult to injury by being shamed for not feeling forgiveness fast enough or completely enough.

Forgiveness is demanded of those who have suffered as a way for those who have inflicted the wounds to get things swept under the rug.  It’s a tool of patriarchy used by patriarchal organizations and individuals to keep the status quo.

When I wrote “full range of emotion” I was thinking about ANGER.  My heart went out to the beloved who wrote the email judging herself for her anger.  I saw myself in her words. From birth, women are forcefully told to clean up our anger and magically change it into forgiveness or patience or caring or some other tidier emotions that won’t rock the boat of those in charge.

This beloved wants fairness and justice. Is it a reasonable expectation that she could navigate these times without anger being part of her process?  Let’s give her support so she can feel her anger and use it to fuel measured actions.  Let’s give her respect that she isn’t imagining injustice or confusing the face of the person who wronged her with some other face.  Let’s give her space to be heard and process her feelings and why she feels them.

Before I close, I wanted to share an experience that I have thought about a lot in the last few months.  This happened forty years ago when I was in college, but it isn’t a hazy memory in which I can’t remember things clearly.  I would also like to add that I know almost no woman who doesn’t have a story like this one.

The summer before my senior year in college, I took a train cross-country with my sister to visit my step-grandmother in Seattle.  This dear woman  paid for our tickets, so we got ourselves sleeping cars in a train bound for San Francisco with plans to drive up the coast from San Francisco to Seattle.

The afternoon our train was arriving in Oakland, all the sleeper cars had been emptied of passengers because of ongoing problems with the air conditioning.  We found seats way up front in the local cars where we chatted with fellow travellers.  A few hours out of Oakland, I decided to go back through the ten or twelve empty sleeper cars to our car to organize my luggage.

A very, very big man followed me back to our car. I first saw him as he came at me in our cabin. In the ensuing struggle, I managed to climb onto the window seat where I could kick him and fight for dear life.  I remember his face, and I remember what he said. I somehow got away without getting raped, but I do not know how.

After this happened,  I numbed my anger and fear and tried to “just enjoy the trip.”  When I had children, I shared this train story with them.  As I told them what happened, I felt shame that I hadn’t done anything about what happened.  Shaming myself was my own internalized patriarch adding insult to injury.

It took years of healing work and a lot of Flower Essences like Wound Healing to understand how my reaction was a product of how I was raised and nothing to be ashamed about.  It took years to bring to that young Molly still living within me the unconditional love and support she needed after that terrifying event.

I came from a family that thrived in a world that put unbelievable pressure on women to take care of others (usually men) at the expense of themselves. During my childhood, I would come home to find objects, clothing and furniture missing from my bedroom only to be told by my mother that poor people needed my things.  I was raised to believe there was no place where I deserved sanctity.  When the man attacked me on the train, I remember thinking that I shouldn’t turn him in because he might lose his job.

Perhaps if I had lived in the world I hope we are moving towards, I would have been able to process these events in a safe space with loving individuals, and the community around me would have helped with the follow through with this troubled and dangerous man. Perhaps I would have felt free to feel what I felt and process it without “a quick clean up on aisle three.”

Right now I am striving to be part of the community that harnesses my anger to help protect and care for vulnerable people and animals who are being hurt by people who have taken power away from them. It’s a messy process.  Sometimes I get it wrong.  No doubt some would call me a bitch.  I am going to just keep going, and I hope you will too.