Mythology, Women & Society: Growing the Groundswell

Symposium sponsored by the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology

March 25, 2017.  Unable to attend in person, I will make my presentation via Skype.

Indigenous Matricultures in North America

Presentation  by Irene Friesen Wolfstone

 Abstract

My purpose is to shift the focus of feminist scholars from european matricultures to the indigenous matricultures of Turtle Island.  Matriculture refers to cultural traditions that value the maternal, in its literal and metaphoric meanings, and elevate mothering for its creative contribution to cultural continuity (Passman, 1993).  Heidi Goettner-Abendroth (2013), leading theorist of matriarchal studies, posits that “maternal values as ethical principles pervade all areas of a matriarchal society,” creating an attitude of care-taking, nurturing, and peacemaking in a cultural paradigm that is much broader than anthropology’s concepts of matrilineal kinship and matrilocality. Rematriation (Muthien, 2011) is the contemporary movement by indigenous cultures to reclaim and reconstruct their matricultures – a movement that follows from the deconstruction of patriarchy and colonialism.

Matriculture is embedded in indigenous language and cosmology; the English language may not be adequate to express nuanced meanings.  Terms such as goddess, god, deity, religion, matriarchy, marriage and property are relevant to discussion of european matricultures; however, they are not a good fit for discussions related to decolonizing the indigenous matricultures of North America.  I draw on the Inuit cosmology of sila and the ‘indweller’, Sedna, to illustrate this point.

As feminist scholars, we need to create deep alliances with indigenous sisters, learn their languages, study the ancient symbols embedded in their textiles and pottery.  As we observe their struggle to rematriate, we wonder if the settler culture, too, has the adaptive capacity to reclaim matriculture as a climate change adaptation to ensure cultural continuity.

Links:   Inuit Ritual of Reciprocity  http://terramandala.ca/natality/6relation/inuit/

Women and the Global Imagination: Reimagining the Myth of Sedna by Hila Ratzabi, posted on Prairie Schooner on Tue, 02/24/2015 

Selected bibliography

Haarmann, H. (2007).  Foundations of culture: knowledge-construction, belief systems and worldview in their dynamic interplay. Frankfurt, Berlin, New York: Peter Lang.

Leduc, T. B. (2010). Climate research, interdisciplinarity and the spirit of multi-scalar thought. Religion and dangerous environmental change: Transdisciplinary perspectives on the ethics of climate and sustainability, 2, 119-144.

Leduc, Timothy (2010). Climate Culture Change. Univ. Ottawa Press.

Leduc. T. (2007). Sila dialogues on climate change: Inuit wisdom for a cross-cultural interdisciplinarity. Climatic Change, 85, 237-250.

Stott, J. C. (1990). In search of Sedna: Children’s versions of a major Inuit myth. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 15(4), 199-201.

Thursby, J. (2011). Sedna: Underwater Goddess of the Arctic Sea.  In P.Monaghan (Ed.), Goddesses in world culture volume 3. (pp.193-204). ABC-CLIO

 

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Great Mother Garden

Terra Mandala Meditation Garden has morphed into The Great Mother Garden.

Labyrinth - looking east

Labyrinth – looking east

You are welcome to book a garden tour in before August 2o.   I prefer individuals or small groups of 2-5.   Allow 1 hour.

IMAGE7_Mary (2)

 

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Cultural Stories

Today I began adding another layer to this website.  The cultural stories illustrate the theme of Natality through myth, ritual, sign and symbol.  I include many images to create a mood, and where possible, I also add a video link or poetry.  This layer will lead to another layer – ceremonies to honour The Great Mother of many names and faces who was honoured for millenia before patriarchy attempted (unsuccessfully) to erase her story and image.  It is important to remember Her, not in order to re-introduce her in our current time and place, but to understand how a future matriculture can evolve.  This is part of disrupting heirarchical thinking and anthropocentrism.

Enjoy spring.

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Celebrating a natal event

A week ago, we welcomed the arrival of a unique child into our world.   Robin gave birth to a baby and thus became a mother, and that meant that Mike, my son, became a father and I became a grandmother (again).   All of us are changed forever because Theodore Zeus Falk entered our world.  Like all newborns, he is unique.  He represents the promise of new beginnings, new inventions, new ideas, new creative expressions.  The world will never be the same – just because Theodore arrived on April 8, 2016.  Welcome sweet adorable child!

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New Beginnings

I am delighted to finally update my website.  This week I submitted the final report of my Master’s thesis, and I have been celebrating by getting creative on this site. I will be updating the site regularly to add articles and essays. If you find a blank page, you know that new content is coming soon. The first task is to build a foundation, so the introduction, glossary, references and framework will be first tasks.  I welcome your comments.

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Closed for the Winter

Terra Mandala Meditation Garden is closed for the winter. The garden will re-open in spring with a new theme: The Great Mother.

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