We are living in incredible times, when a new wave is surging, washing over and through the old paradigm. No area of life is left untouched. Rising within this wave is the voice of the feminine, that which has been quieted, shut down and ignored is now awakening. Rumblings from the belly of the Earth mother herself, calling us to stand up and speak from our hearts. Within this rise of the feminine which can be seen through the numerous and inspiring projects emerging all over this beautiful planet, is the voice of woman. Women are rising, remembering our sacred innate connection to the Earth, reclaiming our shared voice and power as we gather in circles, round fires, in fields, woods, village halls and sitting rooms. Continue reading "Celebrating Women’s Voices"
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.
Do these words sound familiar? American readers probably guess that it’s part of The Declaration of Independence. European readers might think of Mary Wollstonecraft or another early feminist.
Both wrong. Now read a little further:
The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
Ecofeminism as a modern concept dates back to 1974, yet most Women and Gender Studies programs in the U.S. do not offer courses on it. Some even fail to mention this important revolutionary perspective. We have generations of feminists and Women’s Studies graduates who are unfamiliar with ecofeminist world views.
Facing the many global challenges and grave dangers of our times--including climate change and its disasters--we might return to ancient views and practices that acknowledged the unbreakable links between women, men and nature. As our life on earth may be in danger, the need to recapture ancient and develop modern ecofeminist theories is more important than ever. Continue reading "Ecofeminism: Historical Perspectives and Revolutionary Potential"
Back in the sixties, in my High School days, the first book I ever bought with my hard-earned allowance ($5) was a book of poetry by the wonderful and morose Lawrence Ferlinghetti. (You can bet spell check couldn't find his name.) My favorite poem was his "I Am Waiting". It is no less current today as it was then. I hope you will give him a read. In homage to Lawrence Sweetie I will now share with you my musings on the subject.
So much has transpired since I last put pen to paper but instead of luxuriating in musings on creativity or spiritual epiphanies, I must jump right in to a most retching development on the American political scene. Let me state before I start that the opinions herewith imparted are mine and mine alone - no other entity or deity should be held culpable.
Usually, for health reasons, I avoid news shows. When I must peek in, it would be to dear Rachel Maddow or Jon Stewart. There I feel my time and energy are honored. As the US presidential election of 2012 is gearing up here I have to look in a time or two to see who or what has jumped the tracks.
The Reclamation of the Sun in the Feminine Circle and Healing from the Phase of Supremacy
by Lauren K. Clark
For many years the Sun has become symbolic as a beacon of enlightenment and nourishment in various eras and cultures of the ancient world. The sun was viewed in many areas of the world as the symbol of hope; and as that which would save humanity from the darkness, and all of the evils which were considered to be associated with it. In various ancient civilizations, (specifically where there was still the stance of the sun as the divine feminine, but with careful analysis can understand the progression of male-centeredness and domination) we are also presented with the sun in the masculine form.
Examining ancient Egypt we are presented with the deity Ra/Re. In Greece and Rome, we have Apollo. Then let us not forget Mithras of Persia, and Sol Invictus who is also of the Romans. Throughout our understanding of "pre-historic" feminine, spiritual practices, today's modern servant of the Goddess is highly attuned with the female connection to the Moon. However, it has become apparent that today, and even in ancient civilizations existing after the era of women-centered societies (all over the world), the sun has become symbolic of masculinity. Even in this particular form, it has taken on a connotation of supremacy, and the being which is the sole reason for human existence. Such interpretation of the Sun has even contributed to the establishment of hierarchies in the various communities. Could it be that as humans we have actually deviated from our natural understanding of the sun in relation to its existence with other planets and beings that exist in the Universe? In what ways has the Sun lost the archaic, feminine understanding and principles in retrospect to its existence, which accentuates the true meaning of the Circle of Life.
The issue pertaining to the use of religion as a utensil for women’s oppression appears to have become highly prominent and attentive in the mainstream. The recent announcement made by former U.S. President (and Nobel Prize Laureate) Jimmy Carter to leave the Southern Baptist Convention because of its silencing and oppression of women and girls stirred many emotions, and “scored points” with women who have been fighting to present these issues to the public.
“Gender” might be described as “one’s perception of oneself” as being either female or male, and “sex” as “the physical appearance of one’s body” as either female or male1. The “sex” of a body is commonly understood necessarily to be able to fall into one or the other designation, and if it does not then life, within many cultures, is almost certain to be traumatic for the being involved.
Within Western culture of more recent centuries at least, and within many other global social/religious contexts, no shades of “grey” have been allowed in this matter, no kaleidoscope - as is allowed in almost all other dualities. This rigid polarization of sex has not been so for many indigenous traditions - even still today: there is often much more fluidity about the significance of sexual physical appearance. Within my own Western culture, “gender” is commonly understood to “ideally” be in alignment with the “sex” of one’s body, and that’s where categories such as “feminine” and “masculine” are entered into.
So much confusion has been sown about goddess veneration. Resistance to seeing any sacral value in ancient female icons has been a particular sticking point in academia. There, emphasis is usually placed on theoretical frameworks that seem to ignore the sense of sacredness that pervades aboriginal cultures. And there has been fundamental misunderstanding of what the Women’s Spirituality movement means when we speak of Goddess or goddesses. These are some of my reflections on these gaps and what needs to be clarified.
Goddess is a contested word today. In popular culture it has been totally desacralized, disrespected, stripped down and trivialized. People talk about a sex goddess (movie star) or a diva, which is Italian for “goddess”— but used mostly to describe singers with overinflated egos. It’s hardly a reverent term. It has no cultural standing of its own in mainstream society.