Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I
Gustave Klimt


I guess spiritually appearances don't count for much, but he looks like a man you wouldn't have dirtied your heel on, Rasa. I've just started peeking in on Guru Ratings to see what the row is about. I think it's reprehensible that these folks would try to smear you by talking about your past. Not that you have anything to regret or renounce. Who you were is who you were. And you no doubt had a healthier sex life and appreciation for the physical than all these would-be puritans. But they would try to obscure the great grace and generosity you're sharing with us now, the love and embrace you offer us all, by appealing to the prudes and censors (also the cowards!) in us by trotting out your old days. Here's a new year's news flash for them: we're not here to leer at your past! We're here because we're drawn to your mighty spirit and your deep and sincere faith and love.

We're here because you've lit a lamp beside a third path to heaven — between churchly orthodoxy and mere humanity. I think we hope to touch your strength and share it, to be to others what you've been to us. I don't think Mr. Sarlo is anything but a nuisance in the end. My worst opinion of him is that what he's doing is ungallant. He ought to have more respect for women. And I can get Guru Rating's brand of scandal and boorishness at any divey bar. When I want something higher, when I want to find the best in myself, I have Rasa's group. It feels like home.



Mike T.
January 1, 2006


Since joining this extraordinary group, I've been feeling sensitized to the signs of the matriarch and divinely feminine in ordinary life. I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, just before Christmas and couldn't overlook the large numbers of handsome, mature, capable women who give the city an air of accomplished womanhood. Matriarchs? The divine (or some aspect of the supreme) disclosing itself in its female form? Or just a lot of cougars showing off how good it is to have money in the bank and a fashion sense? Closer to home, I've paid a lot more attention to my wife and her girlfriends. None have kids, but they all have a distinct air of matriarch about them. First, and obviously, that's very different from matron, who is living a mission of mothering. The big difference, I think, is that the matriarch is a woman come fully into her power. She is not eclipsed when her kids are grown (or her husband takes their place!). She cannot be moved to the margin; wherever she goes is the center. She attracts resources, energy, and additional power to herself, not to minister, but to organize, to achieve, to build. The matriarch is a figure of conscious potency; she is a master. But how easily a matriarch wears her power! She attracts complicity without having to compel it. She produces peace rather than encourages division. She is approachable; her authority doesn't reside in intimidation but in drawing individuals into her circle, her plans and ambitions. She frees the latent energy in others to cooperate and create: her end product is art, not repression. Not all matriarchs embody the divinely female, but all have it running through them. I've seen it in cleaning ladies as well as in executives. It is thrilling (and daunting) to think that these broadly scattered points of womanly power are gradually being pulled together into a web of authority extending from small cells (families, businesses, classrooms, communities) to the highest form of organization. From solitary matriarchs into a cohesive matriarchy. Pulling us from chaos into order, from ruthless exploitation toward an organizing principle of caring for each other. While we men carry on as usual, distracted, disaffected, and warring, women the world over seem to be waking, rising, reaching toward each other for the important work to be done. Even if we had a right to, we wouldn't have the means to stand in their way. All the signs of women's ascendancy have taught me that the matriarch and the goddess are probably standing beside me, and have been for some time.

Mike T.
December 29, 2005


William, I've been thinking about this post, and I have some doubts. For one, this broad assertion of "oppression" has been dismantled and exposed as a tired canard of a of posturing, reactionary feminism, hasn't it?I'm pretty sure it's been disavowed by a good number of feminists who've learned to take a second look at the choices other women might make for themselves without writing off those choices as uninformed or discreditable. For another thing, if the family — and I'm assuming what's meant is the traditional heterosexual two-parent companionate-marriage model — is such a blatant oppressor, how to explain the constant numbers of women opting to create families and taking political action to better the circumstances of families? As a man, I don't take issue so much with the sweeping condemnation of my kind through the use of a vague, theoretical construct ("men," who presumably do all this oppressing and mistreating of anyone who won't stand up to them); I take it as at least likely that the majority of men are doing the best they can to be decent, engaged, and egalitarian husbands and fathers. I'm sure enough women have had a bruising encounter with the minority to color their views, but these minorities violate the norms, not confirm them. And anyway, I'm more concerned that by recycling these old fictions of the Revolution, those of us who would like to think about these matters seriously will fall into easy polarization of concepts, namely men = bad and women = good. With that as a working premise, I can't see how anyone could devise a solution that would be anything but clumsy if not catastrophic for the unique situations that most families — and most women — find themselves in merely by virtue of being free and unique entities. I think it would be useful to dig up some research that is lighter on cant and firmer on data. And rather than try to float the "oppression" thesis, could we start by looking at the actual situations of a representative number of families, to hear from the women themselves what their experience is? Matriarchy is ultimately under the same obligation as all transformational social movements in a democratic society: it will have to work through political processes, at some point, and its politics will need to be quite sophisticated to win large numbers of mainstream women over to its side. I think shrill slogans and revolutionary posturing cost feminism 25 years of traction with the notoriously conservative American woman. I'd hate to see matriarchy lose that much time recycling old legends.


Thanks for hearing me out.

Mike T.
December 23, 2005


PB, that's very insightful! At first when I read Juana's post, I was a bit put off by it. I don't feel my masculine nature has to be destroyed for matriarchy to thrive. In fact, I welcome the idea of matriarchy because I think it will open a new way for masculinity. But symbolically, thanks to your post, I can see the justness in Juana's remarks (which she probably meant playfully). Rasa asks us men to confront our desires, to search out the predatory, the death-loving in them, and by so doing liberate the generative and harmonizing powers of our sexuality. She is trying to get us to see that our libidos transcend our genitals and that our sexual love for and with a woman can and should take place on a level so far above mere copulation that the holiness of lovemaking is finally revealed to us. Her gallery of beautiful women strikes me as a rebuke of our tendency to mythologize women, almost as if she's saying, the basest among you can only be satisfied with fictions of the female, beautiful faces and bodies play-acting out archetypes of male desire, so here, look, fill your vision and lose your real capacity to see. The truly divine feminine can't be so easily revealed! If you'd masturbate to these images, then your disgrace is complete. The truly divine masculine would not diminish itself by wasting itself into its own hand in pursuit of (feminine) phantoms. The higher man reaches his true stature by surrendering his "testicles," his blind eyes and fulfilling his purpose of harmonizing with the divinely feminine in a union of perfected energies. Libido must become universal fellowship with the life of this world; only then can we be suitable consorts for the limitless forms of the goddess.



Mike T.
December 23, 2005



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