I'm so glad I'm finally old. Sadly, many of my friends don't like me to use that word. They say they don't want to be "old". I think what they really mean is they don't want to be the kind of old that's infirm and dependent. I agree.
Vigorously old, excitingly old, sensuously old, daringly old - those are the adjectives I like to apply to myself as an old woman.
Toward the goal of remaining vigorous, exciting, sensuous, and daring for many more decades, I pay close attention to the food I eat and the medicines I use, and don't use. So you may be as vigorous, exciting, sensual, and daring as you wish to be, too, I'll share my thoughts and choices about health and nourishment with you.
“Just don’t take any course where they make you read Beowulf”
Woody Allen in Annie Hall, 1977
Maybe Woody was right. This can be a pretty dreary read for a woman who flicks over the battle pages in novels and is bored to tears by chest-beating. If you must be a hero, guys, please be the strong, silent kind that I can ignore. However, I’ve had a strange fascination with Beowulf since I was a teenager, an odd, melancholy thing that I’d almost forgotten about until the recent movie2. That got me started thinking about Grendel’s Mother and the possible presence of a forgotten goddess in the poem, although it is pretty unpromising at first sight. But no piece of literature survives for so long if it doesn’t speak to us on many levels, including the subconscious, which is perhaps where much of our longing for the divine feminine now resides.
I hope someone passes Riane Eisler’s beautiful book, “Sacred Pleasure,” on to the Dalai Lama. Did he really say that “sex invariably spells trouble?” He is definitely missing something! It’s that nasty body again with all its feelings that patriarchal religion abhors, getting close, being vulnerable, opening one’s heart to love. He is missing being connected in that way.
Compare the life of a monk to a man with a family living in a community, in a life rich with attachments to his loved ones, a man who experiences a deep love for his child as he watches her grow, who cares for his friends, who is engaged in a variety of interactions and tasks in his life. A separated being like a monk is living half a life; his opportunities to experience life's important and maturing processes, like loving and being committed to another human being, like experiencing the heart connection of fatherhood, and the responsibilities of that role, are non-existent.
We are so fortunate, for the Goddess is everywhere. She can be seen in the Peruvian jungle, in stone carvings of roses and grain decorating European churches, in Buckingham palace as Isis supporting the hearth, and as a gentle, haunting spirit in the traditional sacred groves of the British Isles.
I have been blessed to feel Her presence in all these varied places, but it was in my own back garden in Buckinghamshire where I first truly saw Her face, heard Her voice and enjoyed Her constant, wise companionship.