There can be little doubt that, except to the most hardened and fearful traditionalists, we are moving into a new age. Many are calling this the Integral Age, based on both the philosophy that drives it and the consciousness that arises through, and with, it.
One of many ways that this new age of integralism shows up is in the rise of feminism and the apparent (and welcome to many) decline of patriarchy. Patriarchy, and its opposite, Matriarchy, are perhaps both worn out systems in the Integral Age....or at least are beginning to partner in sacred marriage.
When we look at the predominant "worldviews" of the various epochs of human development, we can readily summarize them as archaic, magic, mythic, rational, and existential. These developmental stages correlate with the major stages of technological/economic development of foraging, horticultural, agrarian, industrial, and informational.
In each of these stages, we can further outline the types of economic production, the worldview, the modes of technology, the moral codes, the legal codes, the types of religions, and even Gods....and Goddesses (A Brief History of Everything, Wilber, pg 41).
It is here where we can also begin to look at the status of men and women in each of those stages, and based on the work of recent feminist researchers, reconstruct the relative status of men and women in each of the five or so major evolutionary stages of human development and more important, we can isolate the factors that have contributed to these differences in status....including patriarchy and matriarchy.
We now know that in foraging societies, men did most of the hunting, and women did the gathering and child rearing. An astonishing 97% of foraging societies followed this pattern. they were patriarchal in nature, and men had to hunt, whether they wanted to, or not. In addition, the Gods were masculine or nature ordered.
Foraging eventually gave way to horticulture, and women could handle a digging stick as well as men, and with about 80% of foodstuffs being produced by women, these societies became predominantly matriarchal, or mother-dominate, although in reality, they were mostly egalitarian, with equal status among men and women. This was the birthplace of The Goddess, and about one-third of these societies had female-only deities, and are sometimes called the Great Mother societies.
Without going into too much detail, horticultures eventually shifted to Agrarian, or hoe-to-plow, and another shift in Gods occurred. Where a pregnant woman could handle a digging stick, she could not handle an animal drawn plow: significant rates of miscarriages. It was advantageous for women not to plow, and both men and women decided that the heavy plow was men's work. This was a conscious creation of patriarchy in partnership with women. Unfortunately, this also caused the most highly polarized sexual structure ever, but it was the best they could do at the time. Over 90% of agrarian societies had male deities.
Agrarian finally shifted to the beginning of modernity, or industrialization, and the shift once again moved to gender-neutral machinery and the start of the rise of the women's movement, the first major feminist movement anywhere in history.
The Feminist Movement continues today, into, and beyond the industrial age, into modernity and post-modernity, and with it comes the rise of the Goddess once again. Women are rightfully proclaiming that patriarchy doesn't work. But then, neither does matriarchy by itself. In the last 50 years, we've gone from radical extreme deep eco-feminism to the divine feminism of today: A feminism that recognizes not only the divine feminine, but the divine masculine, as well, partnering in sacred marriage. It's time for us to step up, guys.
Women all over the world are claiming their right to independence, sexual power, and their very life forces with intention and an ecstatic connection their, and to men's, sacredness. Internally, women and men who see the world from an Integral (integrated) perspective, are also partnering with their own inner masculines and feminines, and the result is an honoring of sexes that will eventually take us to the next stage of consciousness, the Transpersonal.
Within a few short centuries - a blink in evolutionary times - women have gone from being subject to patriarchy's whims to standing completely on their own - not because they weren't smart enough before, but because the societal and evolutionary structures are in place that support them...and men...and we move toward, not patriarchy or matriarchy, but full partnership and the sacred marriage of the masculine and the feminine in the Integral Age.
May we all stand as sacred healers of the wounds of the past, and then as co-creators with Spirit at this great turning of the age.
More on Women's Sexual Healing: From Feminism to the Divine Feminist here.
Painting: Saltatus Aeternum, by A. Andrew Gonzalez. click image to enlarge