Sunday, 13 January 2008

Chapter Three

From The Path Of The God To The Path Of The Goddess

IN THE MIDDLE AGES, in Europe, the majority of people were on the path of the god. Most were involved in situations of suffering, conflict, intolerance and fear. Practically everyone had a belief that they lived in a hostile world, where co-operation was either impossible or ungodly. The separative aspects of human nature were at their height. However, in the last few hundred years, many new ideas have sprung up which have changed the status quo in patriarchal society. The concepts of freedom, liberty and equality have found wide acceptance, for example. These are all matercentric ideas, because they eventually produce a harmonious and co- operative society.

To make matters worse for patriarchal society, the concept of evil has been eroded. Back in the Middle Ages, everyone had a strong sense of evil. It was relatively easy to see your fellow man as being possessed by the Devil, which justified all sorts of cruel punishments in the name of the god. Naturally, those who held most power decided what was good and what was evil, and used both force and propaganda to reinforce the distinction between the two.
Nowadays, however, we have a society in which the demarcation lines between good and evil are far more blurred. We can consider criminals who persistently break the law in minor ways, for example, and see that they are merely misunderstood, inadequate or unhappy, rather than evil. We can accept them more and judge them less. Perhaps, we think, we should not merely punish them, but help them. Perhaps we should not beat our children when they disagree with us or disobey us, and instead, show them more understanding. Maybe we should be more tolerant towards people who are different from us, instead of condemning them out of hand. Even more radical is the thought that we could allow women greater equality within society, instead of confining them to a few roles chosen by men.
All these ideas are changing the face of society in the West, and bringing about a great deal of confusion, simply because there are two forces within society, moving in opposite directions. There is the force of the god, moving away from the Great Mother, and emphasising men, the individual, and intellect, and there is the force of the Goddess, returning us to the Great Mother, emphasising women, co-operation and intuition. These forces are colliding within present-day society at many levels,- within the individual, within large organisations and between nations. As a result, we have structures and belief systems which attempt, totally unsuccessfully, to combine both matercentric and patriarchal ideas. For instance, within left-wing politics, we have the belief that everyone is equal, and should have equal rights and opportunities. This is a matercentric idea. Unfortunately, socialists and communists who gained power by promising to promote equality, frequently created vast bureaucracies with a leader at the top, who would, in theory, dish out the proceeds of society equally, and ensure fairness by multifarious rules and regulations. Because the socialists used patriarchal methods - control and hierarchies- to bring about a fair society, harmony did not result, and their opponents were able to accuse them of naivete in believing that Utopia is at all possible, human nature being what it is. There is a similar story over on the right wing of politics, where the belief is in the freedom of the individual. Again, this is a matercentric idea. But at the same time as supporting freedom, the right wing politicians are also endorsing the status quo in patriarchal society. The result is selective freedom, given only to people who are acceptable to those in power, and a reinforcement of their freedom to exploit others, within the old hierarchical system. So we see an undermining of the very freedom which the politicians seem to be advocating.
Children come in for a confusing time because of the mixture of matercentric and patriarchal ideas within society. They may have a parent who firmly believes that children should be given the freedom to develop in an atmosphere with as few restrictions as possible. They explain everything to the child, coerce as little as possible, and never use corporal punishment. Then the child visits granny, or attends school, where another set of beliefs may be in operation. This time the child is told exactly what to do, and punished if he fails to comply. No explanations or consultations come into it. A totally patriarchal male child would be thrilled by the first situation, and run rings around his exhausted but 'caring' parents, as he indulges in mind- boggling tantrums, and exhibits utterly selfish behaviour. He will obey and grudgingly respect his granny or his schoolteacher, because these are the rules he knows about, however despicable they may seem to his parents. He has been given the opportunity to see both ways of being, but no-one can force him to become a co-operative and caring child if he doesn't want to be one. Another child may need the freedom of a matercentric environment in order to survive and develop. A home or school in which your opinion is never asked, and where you do as you are told, or else, does not fit them. Families in which everyone is different give us opportunities to grow. If we are the ultimate 'caring, sharing' parent, and we have an utterly patriarchal child, male or female, then we are being faced with a part of the human community which is different from us, and represents that part of us which is still patriarchal. There are no accidents in who we get as parents, and the children we bear are also reflections of a learning opportunity we have given ourselves, however unconsciously.
However, despite all the confusion within society, there is no doubt that we are moving towards a matercentric society. There is no way that anyone can stop this, because it is the will of the Great Mother, and ours too. All we can do is to allow the transition to take place in a smooth and easy way rather than a painful and traumatic fashion. One of the factors which will help in the changeover is a recognition that men and women are fundamentally different, and have to be treated in entirely different ways. Women, for example, have no need of a pecking order, unless they have been brain-washed by patriarchal society. They do not need to be as closely controlled as men do, because they are more in tune with the Great Mother. Men, however, will still need guidance from women for some time, if they are not to harm themselves and others, until they learn unconditional love.
In a patriarchal society, men undoubtedly have a great advantage over women. The reverse will be the case in a matercentric one. To begin with, women may control society in much the same way men have done, using law, structure and morality. This is partly because they will still have some patriarchal values, and partly due to the numbers of patriarchal people still on the path of the god. It will not be possible, initially, to allow people complete freedom, simply because they will neither desire it or believe in its possibility. There will be many people who wish to continue living within a patriarchy, and it must be recognised that they have to be treated differently from those moving into a matercentric way of life. People on the path of the Goddess will respond to love, consideration and tolerance with acceptance. Although they may have parts of their belief systems still rooted in patriarchy, they have turned the corner, and are moving back to the Great Mother. People on the path of the god do not want tolerance and understanding in their lives. They are used to conflict, judgment and intolerance, and the drama of the patriarchal way of life. We must accept their continuing need for friction, control and aggression, until they choose otherwise.
The Women's Liberation Movement has attempted to achieve equality for women in our patriarchal society. But while the structure of our society is designed to fit the needs and desires of men, women will always be at a disadvantage. So for women to achieve equality, the whole structure of society needs to change. This is beginning to occur already, even though the motives of those accommodating women's needs and nature can often be selfish. An employer who is short of workers and introduces a creche to his workplace may be accused of opportunism, but nevertheless changes have been made to society by this action. As change continues and becomes less superficial, more and more women will come to the fore and begin to assume positions of control. Undoubtedly, many of these women will be largely patriarchal in attitude to begin with, but as time goes on, and fundamental change continues, they will be replaced by women who are truly matercentric in their strong connection to the Great Mother.
Since the whole of patriarchal society is built around concepts of control -- through force, law and morality, it is inevitable that a matercentric society will weaken that control. This is already happening. During the Middle Ages and before, the kings and princes who controlled society were often worshipped as gods, and their word was law. Although ambitious men might challenge their power through insurrection, the majority of the common people accepted their rule, having been convinced through propaganda or the fear of punishment that this was a good idea. Times have changed, however, and we are now realising that the people who lead us are not gods but fallible human beings. There is more desire on the part of many people to be in charge of their own lives, rather than handing it over to someone else who may make mistakes or simply not care. Alongside this, there is still wide acceptance of patriarchal values, leading to desires for a 'strong' leader, repressive laws, and a return to former certainties about everyone's place within society.
When people turn on to the path of the Goddess, there can be a dramatic shock, resulting from the realisation that they neither want nor need someone else to make decisions for them. They begin to see that politicians and other power figures cannot be relied upon to lead in a way which results in happiness for everyone. As a result, they begin to take charge of their own lives, and experience greater harmony and love.
Another facet of patriarchal society which is currently changing is inequality. At one time, it was relatively easy for a small group of people to own a high proportion of a country's wealth and land, without awkward questions being asked. The inheritance of privileges of all kinds, and the inequitable provision of opportunity within a society was seen as right and good. The god had decreed that every person had his station in life, and this was not to be questioned or changed. The common people were encouraged to defer to those above them, and even seen as sinful because they were poor, or of lowly birth. Those with inherited wealth, social status, or power, came to see themselves as god- like beings, more fitted to rule than those below them. Occasionally, the inequalities were moderated by a few men who saw their role as protectors of their inferiors. They ensured that there was no mistreatment of people within their sphere of influence, and behaved with kindness and tolerance towards them. Others simply accepted the advantages inequality had given them, and felt no compunction about continuing to promote it and exploit it.
It would be foolish to pretend that inequality has ended. In the U.K. 95% of wealth and assets (land, property etc) is owned by 5% of the population. In many Muslim countries, repression of women is still very strong. In India, riots took place when the Government suggested giving some rights to the Untouchable caste. All over the world, people are being discriminated against in every conceivable way. But inequality is at least being questioned in some societies. The poor do not accept their lot quite so humbly as they once did. They are beginning to ask why society is not giving them a fair deal, and why it always appears to be their fault that they are not more successful. Women, of course, question the inequalities of a society which still sees them as inferior and second-rate. All sorts of 'isms' - racism, ageism, sexism etc, are being pointed at, with the result that those who are discriminatory are beginning to have to justify themselves, rather than having a totally free hand to practice their prejudices. Even some of those in power are beginning to wonder whether what they are doing is the right thing, and asking if there is a more co-operative way to run society. Conspicuously wealthy people, who at one time might have used their riches to impress others, are now finding that they receive more brickbats than bouquets. They find themselves having to justify their disproportionate consumption of the world's resources, and answering searching questions about the manner in which they acquired their money. It would no longer be acceptable, for example, for a society lady to exist on the revenues from slavery, as it was in the Eighteenth Century in Britain. As a result, many wealthy people are keeping quiet about their affluence, or even pretending to be poorer than they actually are.
In a patriarchal society, the aim is to have control of everything, up to and including, if possible, people's thoughts. In a matercentric society, we will control nothing. There will be no leaders, in the sense we know them at present, no policemen, no lawyers or law, no vast bureaucracies, no organised religion, with a fixed dogma, and no moral code except that love should be the key to all behaviour. Even that will not be a rule, as such, but spring from connection to the Great Mother. All kinds of behaviour will be possible which would be frowned on by present- day society, yet no-one will be in any way harmed by this, because the motivation for everything will be unconditional love.
Each person will have the freedom to choose a way of life which fulfils them, without encroaching on the freedom of others to do the same. This is not the same as the so-called freedom of patriarchal society, which is often a thinly disguised cover for oppressing others or behaving irresponsibly in the name of personal freedom. In a matercentric society, no-one will either desire to or be allowed to, override the personal will of another individual. Instead of looking to others for decision making, each individual will take the reins in his own life, and be responsible for it in complete freedom.
At first sight, this scenario appears to be totally anarchic. No rules, no laws, no leaders - surely society cannot function without them? We need them to make life safe for us. But the truth of the matter is that we need all of these structures and regulatory devices because of a lack of trust in ourselves and others. We believe that without law and order, chaos would result, leading to an appallingly uncivilised society in which everyone fights openly to grab what they want. Our opinion of human nature is very low. We feel we cannot stop our selfish behaviour without punishment as a deterrent, and even more so, believe that other people would have great difficulty in restraining themselves. Our laws, unfortunately, do not work. Even though we are heavily socialised against crimes such as murder and theft, and there are severe penalties for being caught committing them, we have had no success whatsoever in wiping them out. This is simply because our patriarchal consciousness is responsible for the desire to steal and kill, and only an inner and outer change to a matercentric way of being will eliminate them, not bigger and better laws. Our laws are a substitute for love; there would be no necessity for them in a world in which trust and love predominated. When we trust the Great Mother to provide us with all our needs and make us happy, there will be no desire to take the property of others, if indeed we have any wish to see anything as belonging specifically to one person. We are surrounded by everything we could ever need. To steal from another person when we realise this, is akin to grabbing a drink from a person's hand when all around is an ocean of freely available water. Pointless.
The impulse to murder, which is the most heinous crime in society's eyes, will similarly disappear in a matercentric society, without the necessity for any laws regarding it. Since anger, greed, fear and possessiveness will no longer exist, the motives for ending the life of someone will not be there either. As with all of the changes in society, the elimination of crime, law and the policing of people will not happen overnight. Not until there is enough trust and love on the planet will those who cling to these things abandon their faith in them. There will be a long slow evolution into a free yet secure society, with many people continuing to invest their faith in patriarchal structures until they are convinced that they are not necessary, either for themselves or for others. Those who enjoy rules because it is exciting to break them, for example, will take time to learn new ways of being. They may see a female -led, free society not as anarchic and frightening, but as boring. Currently, they need something to defy and outwit, and the structures and laws of our society fit the bill admirably.
So the solution to any difficulties within society is not to bring out new laws, but to change mankind itself through the evolution of the soul, such as is already happening. There is on earth today, an enormous number of people who have completed the path of the god. They are no longer interested in violence, conflict, hatred and intolerance. Now changing to the path of the Goddess, they are looking for harmony, love and peace. As more and more people become willing to live together, guided by unconditional love, all our patriarchal structures will deteriorate and die.
Although the seeds of the matercentric society have been sown over the last few centuries, the 'hippy' movement of the sixties was the first major push towards it on a conscious level. Of course it did not last long, because it was too far ahead of its time, and it was compromised by too many patriarchal attitudes. However, another, similar movement is inevitable, since the present generation of young people are more matercentrically inclined than ever before. This will be very important, because there are so many people today who are dissatisfied with the quality of society: they are not happy with their lack of freedom, they are not willing to be told what they can and cannot do, or how they should lead their lives. Those who uphold the present structures of society are coming increasingly under pressure. No matter how they try, nothing seems to be right. Fundamentally, movement towards the Goddess will erode and destroy all structures within society. Finally, when a group of people can come together and demonstrate that they can live together in peace and harmony without any patriarchal structures, all systems will begin to disappear.
There are many well meaning religious cults today who are attempting to live in a loving way. Unfortunately, the mistake they are all making is that although they want to live in peace, they still build patriarchal structures to make it happen. There seems to be an underlying belief that without some form of organisation or leader nothing can be achieved. They need to realise that the structure itself destroys any possibility of harmony, because it is always a form of limitation. All that is really required is recognition of and surrender to the Great Mother, and a realisation that she is always there to give us unconditional love. We have to give or receive love from our fellow human beings and then get on with our own lives, without attempting to change or control ourselves or others. This sounds a radical and dangerous concept, but in truth it is not. If we truly believe in the unconditional love of the Great Mother, anyone on the path of the god will avoid us like a bucket of pigs offal. We will essentially be uncontrollable, and therefore of no interest. We will not be threatening to them, because we are not competitive or violent. Anyone on the path of the Goddess will realise the truth of what we are trying to do and cooperate.
The essential problem for the male ego, when the movement towards the Great Mother begins, is the acquisition of humility. Most patriarchal men are extremely arrogant. They believe that they can solve not only their own problems but every other person's too, usually by the use of control. When they begin to move on to the path of the Goddess, they have to learn to let go and recognise that they do not have a solution to all problems, that we have to look to the Great Mother for help and understanding in all situations. A patriarchal society embodies Murphy's law, - that whatever can go wrong does go wrong - but it is possible to reverse this. In a matercentric world, the law is that if it can go right it will go right, - but only if we do not consciously interfere.
All of us have been brought up to believe in discord and disharmony as an unalterable fact of life, and the notion that we can live harmoniously is foreign to us. If we can surrender, and accept the possibility that letting go of all our cherished problem-solving strategies might result in greater success, we will inevitably find it is true. This is another reason why women will become the guiding sex in future. Simply because they are used to bearing and nurturing children, they are more accustomed to following their instincts and feelings than men are. During the birth of a child they have no choice but to let go and allow Nature to take over, for example. They tend to make decisions based not on ' calm clear logic ' but on intuitive and emotional response. This has earned them the contempt of men, who criticise them as hysterical, weak, sentimental and biased by feelings instead of reason. In some ways they are justified. A woman reacting through fear, who is not strongly connected to the Great Mother, may behave as foolishly as a man who solves all difficulties using his intellect. However, those women who can use their intuition to tap into the Great Mother, can and will show us the way forward.
This does not mean that men will have to relinquish logic and reasoning. What it does mean is that they must not attempt to use them to control situations and people. They must offer up their intellectual capabilities to women, who will then use intuition to decide what should happen, and they must begin to develop their intuitive links to the Great Mother. This does not occur at the moment, resulting in an unbalanced society.
Nor do we have to abandon Technology and Science, but we must ask in a given situation whether they might be disharmonious. In a patriarchal society, we tend to go by the maxim 'the end justifies the means', but in a matercentric society the means and the ends are the same. All technology will have to be used in a harmless way, and the very idea of utilising it in a destructive or harmful way to create peace and harmony later on, will be seen as totally stupid. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Science and Technology, or logic and reason. The fault lies in their misapplication. Women, who are better balanced between reasoning and feelings, will be a more competent judge of how to use technology. At present this is not recognised. Our over evaluation of men's ability to create on a scientific and technological level has blinded us to the fact that women have special and invaluable gifts too. A woman who has a well- developed intuition, is more likely to be denigrated as illogical than consulted on important questions by patriarchal man.
This being so, how will we arrive at the position where women guide men? If a matercentric society is one in which there is no coercion or control, it cannot come about by those means. The answer is that women will have to do nothing to achieve leadership, even though many women are under the misapprehension that they have to 'fight for their rights.' Men on the path of the god will never relinquish control to women. To coerce them only leads to a later backlash. But men on the path of the Goddess will gladly surrender to women because it is the Will of the Great Mother, and they will be in tune with Her Will.
We can see if we look carefully at our present day society, how powerful forces are operating to make it possible for women to gain advantages, despite strong opposition from patriarchal society. There is only one requirement for women in order to achieve a matercentric world. They must accept the Great Mother within themselves, and recognise that they are Her representatives on earth. Once they do this, men will begin worshipping them and accepting their authority without question, for the greater good of all.