Saturday, October 01, 2005

“A Husband Is Dust”

Oh my, oh my! Listen to this: “A husband in his wife’s house is like dust or ashes in the wind. He blows away if he’s not a good guy.”

The man who said this was the final speaker yesterday at the 2nd World Congress on Matriarchal Studies Conference in Austin, TX, "Societies of Peace." He’s a member of a group called the Minangkabau, of Sumatra, Indonesia.

What a mind-blower to hear speaker after speaker talk about this upside-down world where women have authority, and men respect them! Groups featured yesterday included the Tuareg and Berber of North Africa; the Ashante, Akan, Namibia and Khoisan of Subsaharan Africa; the Khasi, Garos, and Nayar of India, the Minangkabau of Sumatra; and the Mosuo of China

Tune in here to hear the Conference, which continues today. They don't begin today until 10 am EST, and I don't think you can tune in until then (I've been trying, and I just get error messages). So wait until 10 am Eastern Standard Time (or a little before) and then tune in to heaven!

11 comments:

Lisa said...

Thanks for mentioning this... In Gender & Spirituality, we're learning about Islam in different countries, and Indonesia was very interesting! As there culture in general started out being much more respectful and appreciative of women, Islam does not seem to have changed that. Perhaps it is culture first, pantheon later, as far as being female-friendly?

ursa said...

Have just read briefly on minangkabau religion it appears that prior to islam there was a religious political system called adat, the two were blended between 14 and 16 hundred,no doubt a peace pact ,then in the early 18 hundreds mecca tried to get rid of the matricentral adat alltogether, causing war, the dutch came in on the minangkabaus side, otherwise they would proberly be under woman repressing islam now. They have a symbol called Bundo kanduang and in the last couple of years the women have been speaking out more saying she is the essence of adat,it looks to me like thier good culture may have started with the Goddess and other forces may have prevented the father god extinguising her influence altogether, can culture and pantheon ever be separated?.

Athana said...

"Perhaps it is culture first, pantheon later, as far as being female-friendly?" When you say "first," Lisa, do you mean historically, culturally, or both? And when you say "their culture started out more respectful," to whom are you comparing them? North African countries? The Middle East? The theory I'm reading now brings geography into the mix in a heavy way. The theorist suggests that what he calls "patrist" culture began ca 3000 - 4000 BC when a large swath of land across Africa and Asia turned to desert. He's got tons of excellent data to back him up. The countries furthest from large desert areas are those who've remained "matrist" the longest. Indonesia is one of those areas.

Athana said...

Yes, I remember the Minangkabau speaker talking about Bundo Kanduang. And she, like many of the other speakers, made a point of talking about how "globalization" is changing their beautiful woman-centered cultures (and not for the better). If we can see this much change in matri-centered cultures in our lifetimes, how much change has gone on in 6000 years? Sanday said in the Conference (she's the anthropologist who's lived with the Minangkabau for years) that they have no "overarching Goddess figure." She said that the "feminine principle," though, is first, foremost, paramount in the culture, and that that is a kind of overarching Goddess for these people. But my guess is that they had a Goddess at some point in the past -- may have to go back several hundred years to find Her, but She'll be there.

ursa said...

I have just found another reference to bundo as called mother womb,and theres an ancient queens descendant still living called mande rubia the word mande makes me think of the mande people of the sahara

Lisa said...

By first, I meant chronologically or historically, as in "it occurs first."

I'm a fan of the desert theory actually. The Old Testament is definately telling of a desert culture, the scarcity and austerity, so really anything that has it's roots in that kind of environment has enormous potential to sound a little less friendly to us modern Goddess worshipping pagans... Which desert theorist are you reading?

Athana said...

Lisa, I'm reading James DeMeo, a geologist who's mapped quite a bit of George Murdock's ethnographic data as well as the HRAF (Human Relations Area Files). He's based his theories on this very solid data background. Took him ten years to gather all his info into a very solid interdisciplinary study of the issue.

Lisa said...

Awesome. Really, considering a desert mentality will really affect your understanding of "patriarchy."

Athana said...

DeMeo also says that, often the only people to escape calamitous situations in a land going to desert were the young men. The women, babies and elderly had to be left behind. And of course, these are exactly the people the patriarchy spits upon today: women, children and old people.

Lisa said...

So, with this desertification, this patriarchal society starts evolving. It values the survival skills of these young men and mythologizes them, creating MALE GODS! "Patriarchy" is then created as a byproduct of Natural phenomena, and their cosmology and hence, their pantheon of virile warrior gods are created after! YAY, I WIN!

Lol, just kidding... But really, I didn't realize that you weren't aware of the desert notion. It's like basic to the study of the Hebrew Bible. That's how my professor kind of introduced study of the Hebrew Bible, by discussing for a few weeks environment and the pragmatism of ancient cosmology. These things aren't composed in a vacuum (see that heated post on why Jesus is portrayed as "humorless.")

Now, I'll remember to mention this in discussions at the Douglass College Women's Center about the advent of "Patriarchy."

Anne Johnson said...

I think I'm missing some great bored gods here. I hope they visit my blog. It's been Greek too long.