wiser today

A man should never be ashamed to own that he is wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.

Cynthia Eller

The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory

Having friends to help share the burden of work and child care is certainly an appealing vision for many feminist matriarchalists. What is probably more universally appealing is how people had sex in pre-history: which is to say, a lot, with whomever they wanted, and with no harm to their reputation. Sex in the matriarchies was for young and old women alike, and sexuality and motherhood were not regarded as antithetical to one another. If marriage existed, it did not require sexual fidelity to a single partner. Orgasms—for women, at least—were multiple and intense, and attained, at times, religious heights. Lesbianism was as easily accepted as heterosexuality, sometimes more so. Certainly rape and sexual abuse were unknown.

Like matriarchal women, the goddess herself was worshipped as a sexual being. Sex is sometimes imagined as having been akin to a positive religious duty in matriarchal societies, institutionalized in the form of 'sacred prostitution.' As Merlin Stone enthuses, 'among these people the act of sex was considered to be so sacred, so holy and precious that it was enacted within the house of the Creatress of heaven, earth and all life.' All this sex—much of it heterosexual-was remarkably free of the usual consequence. Women bore children, but not constantly or unwillingly.

Just as sex was sacred, so were all. other aspects of daily life in matriarchal societies. 'Secular and sacred life in those days were one and indivisible,' according to Gimbutas. People walked about 'filled with awe by the mystery of nature,' and 'every aspect of the daily domestic routine was considered holy and imbued with ritual intent.' This sense of sacrality was concentrated in the figure of the goddess. The goddess had many roles, but she is identified most often as mother. She is the divine creatrix, she who gives birth to the universe and everything in it. Interestingly, she is also linked strongly to death: she is 'the wielder of the destructive powers of nature.' When Ariadne embodies the goddess during a spring ritual in June Rachuy Brindel's novel, she recites this poem, which sums up the picture of the goddess held by most feminist matriarchalists:
I am She that is Mother of all things
The waters and the earth, the sky and the wind,
The power of life and the power of death;
The fires of heaven and earth, the sun, the moon
And all the stars are My progeny,
Women and men, cattle, eagles, serpents,
Wrathful lion and gentle dove. At My will
All things grow and fill the universe,
die and are renewed. Within my bounds
All beings arise and die, are good and evil,
Merciful and wrathful. All are within my womb.