The Lost Role of Women

"By me kings reign and princes decree justice. By me princes rule and nobles, even all the judges of the earth." Never doubt this claim by the Divine Mother.
Sarah Schroeder

Sarah Schroeder

Nourish the Word

A few months ago, I listened to a conference which I have linked to before, where what follows below was said in reference to the holy women in the bible. It is a detail that is mostly overlooked and I appreciated this explanation of it.

By me kings reign and princes decree justice. By me princes rule and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. Never doubt this claim by the Divine Mother. She knows best the strengths and weaknesses of Her sons. She decides who will be made kings. The earliest generations knew this about Her. In the beginning it was the mothers who decided between sons…”

“…To the sorrow of both Adam and Eve, Cain changed. After his initial faithfulness, he no longer continued to follow the Lord’s words. When he felt his right to stand second only to Adam in the Holy Order was threatened, he resorted to murder to keep that position. That right cannot be handled with any degree of unrighteousness. Therefore, his ambition undid his mother’s choosing, and he fell from grace. But note in the account that it was Eve who chose Cain. That was her right. That right came down from the Mother in Heaven as one of the roles occupied by all mothers over their offspring…”

“…While Rebekah was pregnant with twins, her unborn sons struggled within her. She prayed to know the cause of her difficulties and learned that the younger would rule over the elder. This answer stayed with her, and when the time came she acted consistent with God’s voice to her. Even though it required her to supplant Isaac’s intention to set Esau ahead of Jacob, it was Rebekah’s right as the mother. Rebekah preferred Jacob because of revelation. Her preference for him is mentioned before Esau sold his birthright.” Divine Parents by Denver Snuffer, p. 7-8

I believe this is true. I believe this right is meant to be returned to the mothers of this world as it is heaven that has given it. When I read some months ago, and again last week, this passage about the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois/Six Nations, I was pleasantly surprised to realize this right is lost to the Christian world, yes, but it has been preserved in the Six Nations tradition.

These “lords” or civil chiefs were nominated by certain noble women in whose families the titles were hereditary; the nominations were confirmed by popular councils both of men and of women and finally by the confederate council. Women thus had great power for not only could they nominate their rulers but also depose them for incompetency in office. Here, then, we find the right of popular nomination, the right of recall and of woman suffrage, all flourishing in the old America of the Red Man and centuries before it became the clamor of the new America of the white invader. Who now shall call Indians and Iroquois savages! The Constitution of the Five Nations by Arthur C. Parker, p. 11

This is a practice they contribute to Dekanawida, the Great Peacemaker:

“Then Dekanahwideh again said: “We have completed the confederation of the Five Nations, now therefore it shall be that hereafter the lords who shall be appointed in the future to fill vacancies caused by death or removals shall be appointed from the same families and clans from which the first lords were created, and from which families the hereditary title of lordships shall descend.” 

Then Dekananhwideh further said: “I now transfer and set over to the women who have the lordships’ title vested in them, that they shall in the future have the power to appoint the successors from time to time to fill vacancies caused by death or removals from whatever cause.” The Constitution of the Five Nations, by Arthur C. Parker p. 97

And unlike the patrilineal clan system of their cousins the Anishinaabe (and coincidentally the tribal system of ancient Israel as well) the Haudenosaunee clan system is matrilineal, meaning their clan is inherited through their mothers, rather than through their fathers.

But back to the women nominating chiefs… It is somewhat similar to this recent revelation as well:

I asked the Lord that priesthood get extended beyond the confines of the men who have continually abused and neglected it. I was told that priesthood is confined to men because of the Fall and the conditions ordained by God at that time. Until we reverse things in the Millennium, that is the way it is going to remain, as to the ordinances thus far given in public. I asked the Lord to change that order. It is not going to change. I then asked the Lord that if only men were to hold priesthood for our public ordinances, then could only women vote to sustain them. The saying pleased the Lord, for it was already in His heart. But He said to me, “There shall be a minimum of seven women to sustain the man in any vote, and if the man is married, his wife shall be one of them.” Teachings and Commandments, Section 167

Therefore, with this practice in use, it is the women who select those who will minister ordinances within a group. It it not the same as the Haudenosaunee practice, but it is similar in that it is the responsibility of the women to select who serves for them.

As an aside: it may very well be that the seven women are meant to symbolize the seven virtues Christ has perfected, and that we are entreated to perfect as well. I have recently added something that addresses more of this symbolism to the Seven Grandfather Teachings article. This possible symbolism in the testimony of seven women to the suitability of any given candidate gains greater significance to me with this idea in mind.

I am often amazed at the things I find in researching these native truths that jump out familiarly. There’s so much more in common there than I at first recognized, and beyond that, important hidden things of value to be treasured that would otherwise be lost if not for these traditions. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn about them and for those that have put in the effort to preserve them. I titled this post The Lost Role of Women, but I guess the point is that it hasn’t been entirely lost. Hopefully we can now consider it found.

For more on this topic try the earlier Sky Woman post.

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