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Patriarchy originated in one of the oldest myths of humankind: the hero's journey. In this myth, the hero is the descendant of the sun god, that symbol of absolute  authority upon which all life depends. The sun god continuously reasserts his absolute authority by the conquest of the forces of darkness that challenge his reign. "Let  there be light" is the divine fiat which constitutes creation. Arming himself in the name of the sun god, his shield a symbol of the sun, the son hero goes forth in the name  of his father god to perform that essential patriarchal act which identifies him with the creator himself. The supreme male action is then to repeat the eternal act of  production. Against the hero stand arrayed the forces of darkness that in themselves can shed no light save as they receive it from the sun. One symbol of this darkness is the moon with its lunar, as opposed to solar, cycle. This cycle, essentially feminine, rules the night even as the sun rules the day, though  not by shedding its own light, but rather by reflecting the light of the sun. The relationship of sun and moon thus comes to symbolize the relationship between the sexes  themselves. The feminine, standing for the forces of darkness and chaos, is brought within the orbit of a masculine light­bringing creation as a reflection of its power. Milton sums it up in describing the Biblical figures of Adam and Eve: He for God only, she for God in him. five Closely aligned to the feminine imaged as a lunar cycle is the figure of the dragon or serpent to whom woman is traditionally related, subsequently coming under the  domination of masculine power. Usually in the hero myth, the dragon must be slain. Where the slaying of the dragon is not understood as a symbolic process of  transformation, then the feminine is separated from its own source of life and power in matter (mater). Then woman becomes what Freud de­ five  Paradise Lost, Book 4, line 299. Page 20 clared her to be: a castrated male, her vagina an open wound that strikes terror into a man when he first perceives it. The slaying of the dragon, as heroically idealized, particularly in Romance literature, includes the rescuing of the maiden who is held captive by the dragon. Deeply  embedded in this solar myth is the conviction that the feminine must be rescued from its own darkness. The solar hero, who stands for spirit and light, the penetrating  power of rational insight, cannot comprehend this darkness, which comes down to us as the feminine mysteries. Historically, as celebrated in the Eleusinian rituals, the  participants were forbidden to articulate them. The process of creation enacted in the darkness of the womb is inaccessible to the light of the sun though it is not  inaccessible to the moon. Crucial, therefore, to the equality of the sexes is a transformation in the male fear of the feminine process. What has yet to replace the slaying  of the dragon by the solar hero, still considered by many men a sacred obligation, is the development of a feminine conscioushess that the slaying of the dragon too  often precludes.

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