February 4, 2002

Q. Jung says we are in a primarily patriarchal world. I've been wondering what would achieve the switch from patriarchal to matriarchal.

A. [Michael has said in the past that all cultures on this planet have always been patriarchal, based in part on religions, all of which are patriarchal. All ultimate authority -- "the boss" -- has been male in societies that have powerful female goddesses. This is because, after puberty, females were always pregnant, and not in a position to exercise authority.]

Q. In searching for a modern-day model of matriarchy, or strong and powerful females, what might one use?

A. This is, of course, always a matter of choice. However, those few female figures operating outside the male hierarchy are apt to be more rewarding in this context than even the most celebrated of those operating within the hierarchy.[1] In other words, Georgia O'Keeffe rather than Mother Teresa, ____[2] rather than Diana Ross.

Q. How about women in fiction?

A. Almost all female heroes were invented by men. [Suggestions from Michael: the music of Fanny Mendelssohn and Artemisia Gentileschi's artwork. Suggestions from the group: composer Hildegard von Bingen and surrealist painter Remedios Varo. Also, Michael has said that for the human condition you can't do better than Shakespeare. Women in Shakespeare who would be similar role models: Hippolita in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Isabella, the heroine, in Measure for Measure, and Tamora, Queen of the Goths in Titus Andronicus, who was reacting against males but doing it in an authoritative way.]

1. [The idea is: women who were outside the system and made it work rather than women who succeeded within the system.]

2. A nineteenth-century English explorer who explored Africa on her own; out in the middle of nowhere she would wander into a village and say, "It's only me."