The Matristic Culture of Pre-historic Europe with Mary Mackey, Ph.D.

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There was a time in human history when a matristic culture dominated the social structure. When asked to describe the difference between matriarchal and matristic cultures, Mackey responded, “Patriarchy is men in charge, matriarchy would be women in charge . . . Matristic is a more collaborative, partnership, a communal way of governing. It’s a way in which the Earth is seen as a great mother that brings forth life and is worshipped for that, but at the same time it’s not a society in which women exercise over men the same kind of power that you would have in a patriarchal society that men would exercise over women. It’s a gentler term. It’s a more egalitarian term.” In her Prequel to the Earth series of books, she imagines what it would be like for a peace-loving culture to resist an invading hoard. She shares the research on which she bases her stories. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Mary Mackey is a novelist, screenwriter, and poet. She’s Professor Emeritus of English and former Writer-in-Residence at California State University, Sacramento. During her twenties, she lived in the rain forests of Costa Rica. Recently, she’s been traveling to Brazil incorporating her experiences in the tropical rainforests into her fiction and poetry.

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Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What does the term matristic mean and how does it differ from matriarchy
  • What is the evidence that prehistoric peoples shared the emotion of empathy
  • What is the archeological evidence that Neolithic people were peaceful and did not wage wars
  • Who were the sky worshiping people who invaded old Europe and why were they warriors
  • How can we resist an enemy without becoming like the enemy
  • What is the evidence that there were five different “somewhat” human species existing at the same time in history
  • How our fairytales might harken back to ancient memories of co-existing species
  • How the oral tradition might pass on knowledge more accurately than written tradition
  • Where we are today - viewing Earth as real estate rather than sacred
  • What are the differences between the gravesides of matristic cultures and those of Kurgan nomads
  • What are the differences in the pottery and ceramics found dating back to Neolithic times
  • Why it is important to imagine some alternatives to the present world in crisis
  • How the Earth itself is a 3-billion year old mentor for modeling finding a way through great adversity
  • What is Mackey’s advice and experience on how to get your writings published
  • How does Mackey go about forming the characters in her books

Host: Justine Willis Toms           Interview Date: 2/10/2017       Program Number: 3607

Music Playlist

From Album: Rosensfole - Medieval Songs From Norway
Artists: Agnes Buen Garnås & Jan Garbarek

Opening Essay: Track 09 Grissilla
Music Break 1: Track 09 Grissilla (reprise)
Music Break 2: Track 01 Innferd

From Album: Gula Gula
Artist: Marie Boine Persen
1990 Real World #91631-2

Music Break 3: Track 01 Gula Gula 

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