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Matristic, Matriarch, Matriarchy

Updated: Nov 23, 2023


matristic (comparative more matristic, superlative most matristic) (feminism) Being or relating to a prehistoric female-led society based around Mother Goddess worship.


a woman who is the head of a family or tribe.

"in some cultures the mother proceeds to the status of a matriarch"

  • an older woman who is powerful within a family or organization."a domineering matriarch"


a system of society or government ruled by a woman or women.

"a matriarchy run by morally superior women"

  • a form of social organization in which descent and relationship are reckoned through the female line.

During the Easter holiday weekend I kept think about the two Marys, Mary Jesus's mother and Mary Magdalene. I was thinking about how these two women of color are so often invisible in this story we tell. I’ve been wondering what that says about the stories we tell, what it says about religion today, and what it says about how we hold women and the feminine now.

These questions are largely on my mind because of two things. First, because I have been writing a new book titled, Birthed by Many Mothers. Second, I have been listening to Yeye Luisah Teish in a podcast with Lauren and Shaina on their podcast, The Time of the Feminine and it has been traveling with me for the past couple of weeks.

In my first podcast of Wisdom Work I talked with Bruce Perry, he was the host of the series Tribe for the BBC. He talked about his time visiting different tribes and shared that there was one particular tribe that was in harmony as any that he had experienced was a tribe where the women held their power. He said, “One of the strongest forces in that society was the women. It was the coming together of the women as a collective, that was probably the single most aspect of how they maintained balance within their society.”(18:45) I think what he was speaking of was a matristic community even though we didn’t have that language between us at that time.

In the book Birthed by Many Mothers I write about the different women who helped raised me. One of the chapters is focused on my granny, Elouise. She was the matriarch of our family. She held responsibility for us. She held and led family culture. She was bossy and loving, hard working and soft. She taught me how to clean and the important places to spray perfume. She was the glue that held us together.

In a time where we are steeped in the patriarchy and mother earth herself is crying out for balance I think some of our resistance is that we think we are being asked to move to a matriarchal culture. As Yeye Luisah Teish said, "Patriarchy in a skirt." I don’t think that restores balance. I think that just moves us to another place of imbalance. I think what is being called from us now is a movement to a matristic culture. A culture that is informed and rooted into the feminine but not ruled by it.


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