Monday, January 11, 2010

The Mythical Goddess Tarot

I discovered this tarot deck recently and I just had to share. They also have calendars, altar cards and posters, plus some other little card decks. The artwork is stunning. They also have an iPhone app that does three card readings. Check them out at:

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Friday, June 06, 2008

WTF is going on in the "Feminist" community?

Seriously - we're going to have to come up with a word other than feminism if they keep associating it with Hillary Clinton, Emily's List, and the irrational women who think staying home or voting for John McCain is a sane thing for an adult American woman to do. I can't believe so many women are supporting Hillary in spite of her race-baiting, threats to obliterate Iran, her attempt to manipulate tensions between the Jewish and African American communities, her ridiculous attempt to ride her husband's coat tails, her bold faced lies, her whining about sexism and finally, her unbelievable failure to bow out gracefully and let the Dems bask in the glory of making history by nominating Barack Obama. Clinton has been a complete embarrassment to women and I can't understand why so many don't see that.

First, I want to acknowledge that there was blatant sexism in the media coverage of Clinton's campaign, and some of it really was beyond the pale. It is also not lost on me that Chris Matthews only backed off a bit once Media Matters for America called him on it, taking a formal complaint from an organization run by men after ignoring years of complaints lodged by women. It got to the point, however, where any criticism of Clinton was labled sexism and the critic labeled a sexist. I found plenty to criticize, and I don't think that label applies to me. I think we need to get back in touch with what feminism means.

Emily's List is currently supporting a female candidate in Memphis that is using racism, homophobia and anti-semitism against an incumbent male who is pro-choice and pro-LGBT. What the hell are they doing? I thought the idea was to elect pro=choice candidates. Do they now support any woman for any office, no matter what her positions are? That is absurd!

Feminism has many definitions and a lot of women make a lot of money parsing, defining, theorizing and creating them so they can publish books and theses and dissertations about it. The bottom line, though, is that feminism has to be inclusive and address issues of social justice- things like racism, colonialism, violence, war, hunger, poverty, civil rights for everyone and defending a woman's right to choose- or it's meaningless. Electing more women to office is great, but they have to be the right women. There are feminist men who would be much better choices than some ultra-conservative women. We can't just play a girls-only game while we live in a society with both men and women. (I do think that it might be a good idea to develop women-centric communities or neighborhoods, but that's not the state we currently live in.)

If John McCain wins the presidency, kiss Roe v. Wade goodbye. He has made it clear that he'll nominate conservative judges like Samuel Alito, and he'll make sure abortions are banned. The Global Gag Rule will keep killing women all over the planet. We'll continue to endanger our kids by offering "abstinence-only" education that leaves them unprepared to deal with a world of AIDS and STDs. Poor children will still have no health insurance, just like their parents, and single mothers will be without resources if they are abandoned by partners or isolated from family or friends. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue. Lives, especially the lives of women and children, are at stake here.

Obama is the nominee and we have to make sure he wins.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Hillary and Misogyny

Americablog has a post called "HIllary's Girl Power" where they post a comment by Jacki Schechner, a feminist writer, in which she concludes that a woman would make a great Commander-in-Chief, but not necessarily THIS woman, Hillary Clinton. I heartily agree.

There is no doubt that the MSM has been horribly misogynistic in general, but particularly so in covering Senator Clinton's campaign. She has certainly used underhanded tactics that deserve derision, but the anti-female rhetoric was flowing from the very beginning of her run when she was just one of a field of candidates. Media Matters has covered this in detail, but I'll hit the high points. I don't remember anyone criticizing John Edwards' pantsuits, or debating whether any other candidates' show of emotion were real or practiced. John McCain has never been criticized for the unpleasant tenor of his voice. The word "bitch" flows from the lips of men who should know better far too easily - when was the last time anyone on TV called one of the candidates a "bastard" or some equivalent slur?

It took me months to resolve myself to rejecting the position taken by many feminists, as well as the majority of the Goddess community, that we should support Clinton because she was female. I've heard all the arguments - that it's a question of solidarity, that if she doesn't get the nomination, no woman in our lifetime will ever get it, that she "thinks like a woman" and is therefore a better choice, that she's the best qualified - and I don't buy any of them.

Solidarity, to have any meaning at all, means that we have to rally around a woman with equal or better qualifications for a particular position. I have grave concerns about the choices Sen. Clinton has made in her career. She opposed the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Her ties to Walmart and to overseas sweat shops are questionable. Her participation in The Family - a little known, DC based religious group focused on attaining and holding power for its powerful and often dangerous members - is completely unacceptable in a supposedly Liberal contender. The idea that she's the only woman in a generation to have a shot at the White House is insulting. We have many women in positions of leadership that would make better presidents, any one of whom might have a shot as Barack's VP, which would almost certainly guarantee a woman taking the office in 8 years.

I don't like her using gender as an excuse for losing. She's losing because she ran a poor campaign in which she, her husband and surrogates, have repeatedly behaved in racist and unethical ways, up to and including invoking images of violence against candidates in the past. These improper statements and tactics have convinced me that she lacks the judgement and ethics needed for the office of President. One need only remember her promise to "obliterate" Iran to know that she shouldn't hold sway in our public discourse, let alone control our nuclear arms.

I don't count her activism in her career of any greater value than Barack Obama's credentials as a community organizer and elected official in his home state. More importantly, she doesn't inspire the kind of hope and excitement that Obama does. America has, in my opinion, been on a gradual slide toward a form of fascism, or at least a greedy and inhumane form of Conservative extremism, since the tragic death of President Kennedy. The Bush administration is the direct result of the coup that began with that event - none of the Constitutional nightmare would be possible if President Kennedy had finished his term in office.

The Kennedy funeral is one of my earliest memories. I've waited my entire life to see another JFK, or Bobby, or MLK, who could invoke the "better angels of our nature." When a I see pictures of tens of thousands turning out to see Barack at his appearances, in numbers never seen before in presidential politics, It makes me believe that it's possible for America to be America again. Barack can begin to heal some serious national wounds - the enduring sickness of racism, our shame in the response to hurricane Katrina, our ill-advised and unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, the specter of incompetence that was born of the failure to heed the signs that the 9/11 attack was immanent, and the suspicion of complicity by members of the Bush administration in allowing it to happen, the restoration of our Constitutional rights, the end of torture by our soldiers, and a possible restoration of our standing in the world and the end of our xenophobic and entitled stance toward the rest of the planet- none of which could be expected or even dreamt of in an administration built around the Clinton machine.

This is not about girls vs. boys. This is about hope versus cynicism, the past versus the future, whom we are and whom we can be as a nation. I am not prepared to concede my idealism for a new gender selling the same old shit. A token torturer is still a torturer. I want massive change, more, I'm sure, than Obama could ever provide, but I'm going with the candidate who promises more change than any other. For Sen. Clinton to say that my choice has anything to do with misogyny demeans the entire Women's Movement. Equality is about more than having a vagina. It's about a true shift in consciousness that Hillary cannot catalyze for our nation. The feminist candidate in this campaign is Barack Obama.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

PLEASE get the focus off the Fetus!

A disapproving commenter says:
I see you consider the fetus to not be a human. At what point do you believe it becomes human? Is the partial birth at 9 months considered not human? Frankly I find this hideous! As for me: I believe that the mother does have a reasonable choice. But there comes a time when the child can sustain life outside the mothers womb and be is at that point that I would consider it not okay to abort, a purely selfish choice, GIVE IT AWAY, don't throw it away.

I'm bumping her comment up because I want to talk about what makes a human being. A lot o people want to take the magical view that a fertilized egg is human and has rights. That's very romantic, but it's just an opinion. In nature, fetuses and embryos are produced in much higher numbers than are intended to survive.Nature doesn't expect every zygote to reach personhood.

Even Judeo-Christian tradition doesn't attribute human status to the unborn. "Ensoulment" was believed to take place at the babies first breath outside the womb. The religious fervor around the issue of Choice has no basis in scripture. It's the opinion of a Pope, and frankly, I haven't seen a pope yet that made the lives of women a priority. Until I do, I recognize no authority for them to influence women's lives. The Protestant objections to choice are purely superstition. Again, there's nothing in the bible that forbids or discourages abortion.

From The Skeptic's Annotated Bible:

What the Bible says about Abortion

Abortion is not murder. A fetus is not considered a human life.
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life. -- Exodus 21:22-23

The Bible places no value on fetuses or infants less than one month old.
And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. -- Leviticus 27:6

Fetuses and infants less than one month old are not considered persons.
Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD. -- Numbers 3:15-16

God sometimes approves of killing fetuses.
And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? ... Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. -- Numbers 31:15-17

(Some of the non-virgin women must have been pregnant. They would have been killed along with their unborn fetuses.)
Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. -- Hosea 9:14
Yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. -- Hosea 9:16
Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. -- Hosea 13:16

God sometimes kills newborn babies to punish their parents.
Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. -- 2 Samuel 12:14

God sometimes causes abortions by cursing unfaithful wives.
The priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell. And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. ...
And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. -- Numbers 5:21-21, 27-28

God's law sometimes requires the execution (by burning to death) of pregnant women.
Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. -- Genesis 38:24

The Abrahamic deity doesn't give a damn about babies - the only goal is to control women's sexuality by the most brutal means imaginable so that a clear line of patrilineal inheritance can be assured. Now that we've dispensed with the patriarchal nonsense, let's look at science.

When do we consider a person dead, or at the point where we can legally consider ending their life if they are on life support? When brain activity has ceased. I therefore consider a functional brain to be necessary to define a living human. Such a brain doesn't exist in a fetus of less than 5 months, and most states don't allow abortions this late in the term except in cases where the mother's life is threatened. When push comes to shove, the actual life of a living mother MUST take precedence over theoretical life. We can argue whether we define an unborn child as having rights or not, but the mother most certainly has rights, and those must prevail.

Our culture is not oriented to support mothers and children. A woman with an unplanned pregnancy may have no income, no safety net, no child care, no escape from an abusive partner, no way to work and sustain a child. Women in a culture that is designed to control and subjugate them need options, and abortion needs to be one of those options.

It would be great if people always used birth control and birth control always worked. It would be great if a woman could devote 9 months of her life to creating a child to give away without disrupting her own life. I'd love it if every pregnant woman became so by choice, with no violence involved or poverty looming. In my perfect world, every child would be considered a gift and would be wanted and loved. That's not the state of our civilization, however, so our options in an unwanted pregnancy might be imperfect as well.

Women who are raped have no conscious or fair choice. Women dependent on an abusive partner may also have no fair choice. A woman who may, or WILL, die in child birth has no choice if she is to survive. An uwanted child can be born with health problems and or emotional damage inflicted on it because the mother is under stress during the pregnancy. These kids often have attachment disorders that prevent them from bonding with anyone, including adoptive parents. Life isn't ideal or fair.

Ultimately, the greatest burden and responsibility is that of the pregnant woman. Her rights must come first. Her choice must be hers and hers alone. As a civilization, we need to recognize that a woman is an autonomous being, with the right to control her own person, and no man, no government of men, and no "god" invented by men has any business telling her what she can and cannot do with her womb. Any coercion in this respect is a form of rape, and slavery, and these have no place in a democratic society of free citizens.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Echidne on the 4th Wave of Feminism

My Comments:

I'm sorry - I'm gonna ramble a bit.

Hillary's case has at least started the conversation we should have been having all along. I don't think of feminism as an after thought - it's the foundation of all other forms of social justice. There's going to be a building wave because women are learning to use the internet to weave new kinds of webs of power. We communicate better, quicker, no matter where we are or what our resources are. We've never had such unfettered access to such a populist medium.

Women are 54% of the population. Men are less than 46% when you allow for the number of transgender people that lie in the center of the continuum. The state of women and their children is the state of the entire race. No culture can prosper when over half of it's population is hobbled or oppressed, especially when that group has the primary responsibility for raising children. If women are impoverished in any way, then the entire culture becomes so.

All of the social movements have been driven by women - the move for abolition, prohibition, suffrage, civil rights, the labor movement. What are the names we remember for these changes? Harriet Tubman, Carrie Nation, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Norma Rae. I'm not saying they are exclusively responsible, but the foundations of those movements were built on the backs of women who had simply had enough and took back their own power. If you want to heal racism, feminism has to be a part of it, or it won't work. If you want to build a labor union, you've got to get the women on your side. When you control the next generation, you determine the future.

One generation relaxed and the next generation didn't get it because they were rebelling against the rebellion. We're into a new generation now, and they're sitting at home watching Chris Matthews talk about how shrill Hillary's voice is - and they're pissed. It's about damned time. I'm so happy to see it. I'm not just looking for a wave, I want a tsunami, and I just might get it.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Need to Bleed, Pt. 2

I got this comment on an old post called Defending the Need to Bleed. Period. I'm bumping it up because it's important.

I stumbled upon your blog while doing some web research on seasonale, and was very interested in what you had to say.
I am currently very frustrated with my doctors concerning birth control and menstruation. I am 23 years old but have never had a period without medication. My doctors put me on the pill at 17, specifically seasonale. For years I dealt with cystic acne, dehabilitating depression and when I was switched to the generic form of the pill, nausea resembling morning sickness. I went off the pill three months ago due to some health insurance problems, and immediately my skin cleared and I felt a great weight lifted from my shoulders. I felt happier than I had in a long time. My problem now is that I have not gotten a period in 3 months.

My doctors just tell me that acne isn't a big deal, that I made the depression up, and that the nausea will clear up in less than 3 months (3 MONTHS!) and want to start me back up on some form of the pill.
I am now terrified of the hormones, and do not want to put artificial chemicals into my body (I have been a vegetarian for 10 years now). Yet I know that I need to somehow have a period.
I am completely confused and frustrated with modern medicine's options.

If you know of anything that may help me, I would love to hear it. If not, it felt helpful to write my worried down.

Hi, Kristin-

First, it's important for me to point out that I'm not a doctor. Based on what you've said here, I think you might want to consider getting a second opinion before you go back on birth control pills.

Depression can be life threatening. As a 46 year old who still has severe scars from cystic acne, I can assure you that it's a big damned deal. Nausea is never pleasant - I can't imagine dealing with it for months at a time. My alarm bells go off when I hear of a doctor telling a woman she's making up symptoms like depression. You need a physician who listens to you, not one who treats you as an hysteric.

You didn't say why the doctors felt it was necessary for you to be on birth control. I know there are some medications they won't give a woman unless she's on birth control, and that in addition to its intended use, they sometimes give it to women to control ovarian cysts or severe cramps or bleeding. There might be a legitimate need for them in your case. Feel free to write back if you want to share more information.

If you need birth control, consider the combination of foam and condoms - the two together are very effective, they're portable, you only use them when you need them and the condoms help protect you from STDs. In the 21st Century, there's no such thing as a monogamous relationship. Always protect yourself.

As I mentioned before, I'd see a different doctor. There are risks to taking hormones, including an increased tendency to form tumors. If you can get by without them, it would probably be better, but only a doctor can advise you. 6 years is a long time to be on any medication, and you've seen from this break you're taking that you feel better without the drug. Your body may have changed dramatically in those 6 years. I wouldn't panic at this point about not having had a period. It could take a year or more for your cycle to normalize itself, if it ever does. Some women are regular as clocks, some aren't - it's not an indication of how healthy you are. There have also been huge changes in the availability of new drugs and treatments. There might be something new available that hasn't been considered yet.

Find a doctor who sees women as people, not problems to be solved. You know your body better than anyone, and Nature often knows best.

Good luck, and do check in and let me know how you are doing.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Oberon explains the absurdity of a male deity:

THEAGENESIS: The Birth of the Goddess

Oberon Zell-Ravenheart is the original "guy who gets it." Would that all men were as wise as he.

At this point it becomes necessary to define Divinity:

Divinity is the highest level of aware consciousness accessible to each living being, manifesting itself in the self-actualization of that being. Thus we can truly say, "All that groks is God" (Heinlein; Stranger in a Strange Land). Divinity is a cat being fully feline, grass being grassy, and people being fully human. Collective Divinity emerges when a number of people (a culture or society) share enough values, beliefs and aspects of a common life-style that they conceptualize a tribal God or Goddess, which takes on the character (and the gender) of the dominant elements of that culture. Thus the masculine God of the Western Monotheists (Jews, Christians, Moslems) may be seen to have arisen out of the values, ideals and principles of a nomadic, patriarchal culture - the ancient Hebrews. Matrifocal agrarian cultures, on the other hand, personified their values of fertility, sensuality, peace and the arts in the conceptualization of Goddesses. As small tribes coalesced into states and nations, their Gods and Goddesses battled for supremacy through their respective devotees. In some circumstances, various tribal divinities were joined peaceably (often through marriage) into a polytheistic pantheon, being ranked in status as their followers' respective influences determined. In other circumstances, one particularly fanatic tribe was able to completely dominate others and eliminate their own deities, elevating its God to the status of a solitary ruler over all creation, and enforcing His worship upon the people, usually upon pain of death. However, no matter to what rank a single tribal deity may be exalted by its followers, it still could be no other than a tribal divinity, existing only as an embodiment of the values of that tribe. "Gods are only as strong as those who believe in them think they are" (Alley Oop). When the planetary consciousness of Gaea awakens, She too will be Divinity - but on an entirely new level: the emergent deity Carlton Berenda postulates in The New Genesis. Indeed, even though yet unawakened, the slumbering subconscious [and dreaming?] mind of Gaea is experienced intuitively by us all, and has been referred to instinctively by us as Mother Earth, Mother Nature - The Goddess for whom She is well named. Indeed, this intuitive conceptualization of feminine gender for our planetary Divinity is scientifically valid, for biologically unisexual organisms (such as amoebae or hydra) are always considered female; in the act of reproduction they are referred to as mothers and their offspring as daughters.

[Note: I came later to the conclusion that Gaea may have indeed achieved consciousness in more ancient times, and that she was actually "knocked unconscious" by the worldwide cataclysms and attendant destruction of Her worshippers which ended the Bronze Age and ushered in the Age of Iron around 1500 BCE. This hypothesis is more fully developed in my 1977 research paper, "Cataclysm and Consciousness - From the Golden Age to the Age of Iron." [OZ, 1988]]

Thus we find that "God" is in reality Goddess, and that our ancient Pagan ancestors had an intuitive understanding of what we are now able to prove scientifically. Thus also we expose the logical absurdity of a concept of cosmic Divinity in the masculine gender. These few pages, however, have only been the briefest of introductions to the implications of a discovery so vast that its impact on the world's thinking will ultimately surpass the impact of the discovery of the Heliocentric structure of the solar system. This is the discovery that the entire Biosphere of the Earth comprises a single living Organism.[emphasis mine]

So, is the Divine Mother sleeping? Unconscious? Dreaming? More like having a nightmare. No one can say when She will awake, but my money says 12/21/2012* - 12.21.12, the one that was divided in two, the two we are about to see as one again, realizing the one and the two are the same. We can make sure this happens by spreading the word about the Goddess to everyone we can.

I just read a manuscript by my friend Athana that has filled me with hope. She took her natural gift as a story teller, and applied it to a book that describes the ancient Matriarchy, in glorious detail, with meticulous research and sets forth her goal of getting us back to the Goddess by 2035. It can't happen soon enough to suit me. I say we get that book on the shelves ASAP, and pray to our Mother that many more follow from many men and women who "get it," too.

*Thanks, Medusa! ;-)

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

To ODE Magazine: Move beyond the Binary!

So much to say! This is a post, a letter, an appeal, and an attempt to sort through my own feelings. I’m reeling from tragedies on every level, from the horror at Va. Tech to wondering if the malignancy on my father’s scalp has metastasized. He has surgery Wednesday, and it will be a while before we know where we stand. My mom isn’t doing well and I am overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done.

The tragedy in Virginia could have been prevented if VA refused to sell guns to anyone who, voluntarily or not, had been hospitalized for suicidal ideations. That shouldn’t even be considered gun control. It’s just common sense. The videos shown by NBC et al did give us some important information. It indicated, as did some of his other writings, that Cho might have been molested and/or struggling with issues of homosexuality. They reminded me of the stuff that Valerie Solanas wrote before she shot Andy Warhol - just streams of sexually charged obscenities that didn’t really say anything. It also showed that the guy who says nothing is the one with the most to say. I keep hearing Eddie Vedder in my head singing “Cho Seung Hui spoke in class today.” What a black irony that it scans the same as “Jeremy.”

Goddess bless the victims and their families, and help them find comfort for their grief.

The following is my venting that resulted in reading this month’s ODE magazine. It’s an amazing magazine and I really recommend that people who are committed to creating a better world subscribe, or at least check the website frequently. This was one of those issues where nearly every article wound me up because they’re so wonderfully close, but just don’t get it yet.

Some relevant articles in the May 2007 issue of ODE Magazine:
Pg 4 Marco Visscher states the modern need for the abolition movement because of continuing slavery around the world.
Pg 5 Max Christern relates former soccer star MIchel Platini’s desire to set soccer fans free by taking away the barriers. He believes that people will behave like adults if they are treated that way; put barriers in front of them and they will naturally rebel against them.
Pg 7 the Letters page with responses to a previous “god or not” article by Neal Donald Walsch called “Is God [sic] a Delusion?” re:Richard Dawkins most recent screed against “religion.”
Pg 10 Diana Reynolds Roome writes about the new education of exiled Tibetan nuns in “Sisterhood is Powerful.”
Pg 12 “Surprise Down by the Sea” biologist Mike Barandiaran “[the brown pelicans] were getting bombed left and right all around, but somehow they managed. Nature is persevering.” (She is, indeed!)
The Secret Economy” cites information that 44% of people’s time in Western nations spent doing unpaid domestic work while they are volunteering 1 hour for every 14 of paid work, creating value that can’t be measured in dollars.
Pg 14 “The Good Don’t Die Young“ “benevolent, altruistic people live longer, stay healthier and experience less stress” because doing good works creates the release of endorphins.

...and more, which I’ll talk about below.


Dear ODE:

There is no word for the odd mixture of joy, optimism and frustration I experience when I read ODE Magazine. People are SO CLOSE to catching on, and there are so many people of all stripes - actors, doctors, scientists, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, mostly male - hitting all around the problems we face, but they don’t have the vocabulary to really get to the heart of the matter.

Take a deep breath, open your mind, screw up your courage and say the word: Goddess

That is the single, underlying theme that your contributors this month danced all around but couldn’t find a word to describe.

Most people will have a knee-jerk reaction at the use of that particular word. Are you picturing kooks in black Egyptian make-up? Hippies? Angry feminists? (I’m all of those, but read on, anyway.) The monotheists will hear blasphemy; the rationalists, superstition. I’m asking for neither faith in what I say nor belief in that which cannot be proven. Instead, I’m asking you to try a new frame for your own observations that can bring disparate and seemingly contradictory concepts into a unified whole. Moreover, it is a real and tangible whole that speaks to the deepest part of our psyches as well as our DNA, and that concept is Mother.

I know you’re a more enlightened group than most, but no one is perfect so try this: Set aside all your conditioning that says women are weak, emotional, secondary. Forget about popular concepts of balance, yin and yang, polarity, 50/50, either/or, black and white, good vs. evil. Reducing our reality to two opposing forces creates opposition, conflict and stagnation. It is divisive and damaging. It creates the idea that if I am to be “right” then you must be “wrong”; That might, wealth or divine decree create an entitlement for some to rule over many and for those rulers to hoard wealth and influence while enslaving, raping, plundering resources and committing genocide, all with the blessings of their “heavenly father.” “Somebody has to be in charge,” they say, and they claim to be the Chosen who have dominion over everyone else (the infidel) and the Earth as well. These are patriarchal concepts that have nothing to do with Nature, who always prefers Her own gender. Humans are 54% female. Using the reductive reasoning so common in Western thinking, we should refer to ourselves as womankind, since women comprise the majority of the race and since every one of us began as female in the womb. Why don’t we? I’ll come back to that later.

Both “rationalists” and religionists see the Earth as a thing that can be conquered, manipulated or controlled. Some picture an old man with a white beard deciding to make himself a world, fashioning a man from mud and a women from his rib. Others think “god” is a delusion and that we walk on dead rocks among senseless plants and dumb animals, while only we are blessed with the ability to reason. Many experience the world but are not of the world. This is not only incorrect, it is not logical. Logically, we cannot exist apart from Nature because we are a part of Nature. There is nothing rational in believing that humans stand apart from the rest of existence.

Our ideation of existing separately is a combination of hubris and ignorance that causes us to tune out our own experiences with the living and sentient life forms around us. In "Native Intelligence", pp. 28 - 32, anthropologist Jeremy Narby, calling himself a “diplomat between systems of knowledge,**” advocates incorporating the knowledge of indigenous people into our world view. The article cites studies that show mold can navigate a maze to find oatmeal; that bees are capable of abstract thought with a brain the size of a pinhead; that plants process information about the world around them the same way the neurons in our brains function; and that there’s a plant called the dodder vine that knows which sources in its surroundings are the most nutritious and a stilt palm in the Amazon that very slowly “walks” about, following the sunlight by extending roots into the light and letting the ones in shade die off, effectively moving it from place to place. In anthropology, the belief that plants and animals have consciousness or intelligence is called “animism.” The Japanese, we are told, call it chi-sei, “the capacity to know.” A shaman might call it magick (with a “k”); a scientist, superstition; I call it Goddess, or the more recognizable Gaia, using the latter when referring specifically to our own planetary ecosystem as a living entity. Call it what you want - it all leads to the same conclusion. Universal connection within one whole entity. When we cut her up into genders, countries, sects and sides we damage Her and our experience is poorer for it.

Narby wants us to know that everything is alive and everything is connected. This is not a new concept to my readers or the Goddess movement at large, but it is radically different from the consensus reality of the West. He and some biologist colleagues even participated in ayahuasca ceremonies which yielded new information in their fields for each of them. He stops just short of realizing that the world is a living (parthenogenetic ergo female) being. Nature is our living Mother who gave birth to us in Her womb, the ocean, through a process called evolution. That process is repeated in the development of a fetus in the womb. She’s alive. She’s conscious. We are interconnected parts of Her living body.

Paul Hawken gets closer in “The Instinct to Save the Planet,” pp. 39-45, wherein he understands that humans have acted like a cancer in the body of Earth and he perceives a growing, multi-faceted “movement” which he cannot name, but which he likens to the Earth’s immune system fighting back through this loose but growing web of between 1 and 2 million grass roots activist organizations. He identifies three roots of the system: “environmental activism, social justice initiatives and indigenous cultures’ resistance to globalization.” He doesn’t address the ties most of these groups have to the feminist movement, let alone acknowledge that Gaia, in true homeopathic form, is healing what Al Gore calls Her “fever” by using “like to cure like” - humans run amok have created Her illness, and something in the undercurrent of humanity is spurring people all over the globe to take healing action in a way that is unprecedented in our history.

This process is being facilitated by the growth of the information matrix described in "The Power of Many", pp. 34 - 38, which talks about the self-organizing tendencies being harnessed by various organizations and web entities. We have a natural drive to share, to help each other, and to make things better. That drive is being expressed in new ways on the web as well as social and political events which are beginning to abandon hierarchical structure and linear formats. The drive for justice, the defense of nature, the abandonment of hierarchy, growth from the bottom up instead of power directed downward are all essential facets of the Goddess Movement, and the awareness and connectedness that Hawken and Narby are crusading for are succinctly described as Goddess Consciousness. Hawken states that there is no ideology that encompasses all facets of the movement he has noticed or “heal all the wounds of this world”; I propose that there is one that he either doesn’t know or hasn’t seriously considered, and it is Goddess.

Have you felt uneasy with the way I punctuate sentences, specifically in terms of capitalization? Does is seem odd to give Earth gender? Does it seem strange to say Goddess and god? Feminists in the 70s addressed the gender inequities in language but they failed to take it into the realm of religion. It’s time to challenge the assumed preference given to “god/Yaweh/Jehovah/Allah” in all of our printed matter. It’s time to recognize that these are in fact one deity and one only, whose scripture declares him to be jealous of others.

Back to my question about Womankind. Why don’t we call ourselves by the logical term? Why is talking about Goddess more uncomfortable than talking about “god?” Why can “god” create a world, but Goddess not BE the Universe and Gaia the planet? What if the Big Bang was actually a primordial orgasm that set life in motion? That discomfort with the Feminine Divine is the political effect of 6,000 years of patriarchy and monotheist brain-washing.

In its quest for power, Western civilization has sacrificed connection - men are divided from women, races from one another, humans are divided from Nature, our minds are divided from our bodies. That brain-washing says that women in power are dirty, evil and dangerous, not to be trusted. The abuse heaped on women like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi has a common origin with the idea that women must be swathed in burkas and the windows of their houses painted black. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are really one religion dedicated to the “god” of Abraham, each frozen at different stages of its development, and the scriptures used by that religion’s many forms have been crafted, reinterpreted, and twisted to keep women out of power and under the control of men, because women equal wealth - children, dowries, unpaid work, sex. It is no accident that the majority of people who live in poverty are women and their children. We are told that this is to be expected. People are naturally greedy, lazy, selfish and violent. War is inevitable. Evil is everywhere. We are told repeatedly that this is a normal condition for humans, and most people have never questioned it because they’ve never known anything else. There is another way, if we are willing to change our minds.

On this we can agree - human beings have been successful as a species because of our innate desire to be helpful to each other, and our ability to make individual sacrifice for the good of the group. There is a societal structure that is inclusive, participatory and just. There is a system that eschews hierarchies and strives for sustainable use of resources and equal distribution of wealth. It is probably the natural order for human beings - familial clans that trace their lineage through the female line, sharing child care and production of food and goods among them all, every member participating in and contributing to the common good of the group. Many matriarchies still exist in many pockets in the world. In the United States, the Iroquois or Haudenosaunee Nation has strong matriarchal roots that helped influence the Suffragist Movement. The Mosuo of China retain their matrilineal structure and have no concept of marriage or dominance. New matriarchies are forming in Africa to give women refuge from violence and exploitation. I hope we’ll soon see communities of single or abandoned mothers and their children forming small woman-centered communities with cooperative child care and related services. What if we re-worked abandoned buildings for poor women’s families? Or if a group of families simply chose to form a web of support for each other?

The shift in consciousness that your contributors yearn for us to make so that the numinous movement arising from grass roots around the world can flourish is a return to Goddess Consciousness. Use it as a symbol or a frame or a poetic expression of a scientific concept if you prefer that to religion, but whatever importance you ascribe to it, you will find that it is an extremely pragmatic view. It just works. The Goddess is not “out there” somewhere. She is you, your neighbor, the food that you eat, the air that you breathe. The “god or not” debate perpetuated by Walsch and Dawkins misses the point entirely. It’s not about what importance we put on some ancient scrolls that may be nothing more than the dreams of some hash-smoking nomads. It doesn’t matter if you call it Nature, Magick or Quantum Mechanics - it’s all the same multifaceted field of energy and matter that vibrates in space inhabited by our consciousness, following the same natural laws and forces whether you can name them or calculate them or even know they exist. You don’t have to believe in gravity to fall down, and you don’t need to believe the planet is literally a girl to reap the benefits that would come from acting as if you did.

I participated in a blog carnival called “God or Not” for a while, and learned a valuable lesson. The objections raised by rationalists against “religion” were only true of monotheist religion; none of them considered a monotheast and/or polytheist system at all before rejecting all religion. The religionists were nice, but not terribly good at making an argument; the rationalists were angry and rude, and only a little better at supporting their positions. Eventually, the project failed because the religionists tired of the obnoxious behavior of the rationalists. The same problem affected both sides: Fundamentalism. Humans go through three basic levels of moral development. First, they are driven by reward and punishment - “mommy will spank me if I do that, give me a cookie if I do this.” Then they move into a phase in which they see the world in concrete terms, and look to external authority, whatever that may be, to define morality for them, whether they behave in a moral way or not. As kids, they follow the rules and expect things to be fair; they learn to obey the law (or not) and do what the Bible says (or not) and they don’t question those systems - they simply parrot them or rebel against them, but they don’t challenge their validity, only their own agreement to follow them or not. That is Fundamentalism, and it doesn’t matter what you believe - just how you express your belief. You can take the Bible literally, get your cues from the Taliban or be a staunch defender of science a la Dawkins, but if you assume that your chosen authority is infallible and you cannot imagine that you might be wrong, you are a fundamentalist.

To admit that you might be wrong is essential to the survival of our world. We are in a situation where most of the world is stuck at the adolescent level that thinks in concrete terms. We can begin to understand abstract concepts in our late teens, but most people never mature to that stage. At the conceptual level, you can consider that your reality is not the only one; that you might be wrong; that some other person/view/culture/religion/political party might be right; that somebody else might know something you don’t; that everyone might be wrong, or we all might be right; or that there is no right or wrong at all. At that stage, you look at available information, and you reach your own conclusions, which may change in time as you continue to learn new things or incorporate new experiences. We are, in a very real sense, having growing pains. Our challenge is to drag the concrete thinkers out of their adolescent black and white world into one of infinite possibilities because you aren't likely to strap a bomb on yourself and go to the market if you realize you might be wrong. That’s an entirely possible process. The irony is that, as Fouad Laroui points out in “The Many Sides of Allah,“ pp. 52 - 59, the majority of fundamentalists are violently defending misconceptions, and really know very little about their own religious doctrine. We need to challenge those misconceptions when they arise, and we do that with dialogue and education.

Goddess can do all of this - She’s good at weaving webs with every kind of connection. She loves learning and wisdom, philosophy and poetry. She holds teaching, nursing, caring for children, the elderly, the sick and the destitute, singing, dancing, art, prayer and sexuality as sacred activities. She’s generous, loves us unconditionally, loves diversity, urges us to care for one another, make the most of what we have, to share, to grow, to prosper and live in harmony as one body. That’s a practical, positive image to work with and it has been with us since the beginning of time.

The state of women in a culture is the state of the culture itself. On the back page of this issue, Greg Mortensen, who educates girls in Taliban country, says “you can drop bombs, hand out condoms, build roads or put in electricity, but until the girls are educated, a society will not change.” A few people make a lot of money by keeping us at war. How will we ever have peace when the people at the negotiating table don’t believe peace is possible? If they’re making money from the war? How will we overcome pollution if people in power profit from it? How would our political discussions, our religious rivalries, our economic goals and environmental awareness change if someone at the table represented the Goddess openly and fearlessly?

If you want a better, more peaceful and humane world, the future is female


Morgaine Swann, H.Ps.

**(My word for that is “Witch”)

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

O'Brien: Abortion debate b/w rationality and fanaticism...

AlterNet: Blogs: PEEK:

Barbara O'Brien of Mahablog has an excellent post on Alternet about the false dichotomy the media promotes in the abortion debate. She points out that the inaccurately labelled "pro-choice" side is only trying to preserve legal protections established by Roe V. Wade, while the also inaccurately named "pro-life" lobby is peopled with religious fanatics who are completely out of step with the will of the majority of the American people.

In a democracy, it's a slippery slope to tout the will of the people, lest it impose a "tyranny of the majority" that limits the rights of a minority group. In this case, however, it's appropriate because the rights opposed by the anti-choice movement are not their own, but the rights of others. No one is advocating that a woman who doesn't believe in abortion must have one. People simply need the option to terminate an unwanted pregnancy if one occurs.

The reasons are many, the result is that a pregnancy simply does not proceed to birth. You can ascribe any spiritual significance you want to the process of fertilization and gestation, but so can I. Ultimately, I still think that we have to take the focus off the fetus and put it on the woman impregnated. That woman has the right of self-determination - to choose how she will live, what will happen to her body. That's why I created the Women's Sovereignty Movement (WAM) site, and I wish more bloggers would focus on the simple concept that a woman has a right to her own body.

A woman is not the property of the state, of her husband or her father. That would seem an obvious statement, but the law hasn't fully embraced that simple reality yet, nor has the proponents of patriarchal religions. This is why it would have been nice to have an ERA amendment which would clarify things for the monotheists, who can't be reached with reason. They are in the habit of setting great store in things that are written down by some authority or other. (I think men should be glad women are willing to settle for equality, but that's another post for another time.)

If the focus is put on the woman, the debate changes. It moves away from mystical theories of "ensoulment" to the dangers faced by women in the American society of the 21st Century. A woman in an abusive relationship who becomes pregnant will be tied to her abuser for the rest of her life by law. A girl with an abusive parent is in danger of a beating, or worse, if a pregnancy is disclosed. A woman who is forced to seek a back-alley abortion is likely to die in the hands of a butcher. A woman who is ill can die as the result of a full-term pregnancy. These women need the protection of the state, and there's no way to determine who is and isn't in danger. No woman should have to face a court or a legislature to make a decision about something that can endanger her life, and that will most decidedly change her life if she isn't given sovereignty over her own person. The self-evident rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness can all be limited by an enforced birth - how hard is that to understand?

Monday was Blog for Choice day, and I'm sorry that I missed it. There was plenty to read in the blogosphere, though, and I hope you cruise around and find it. I wanted to join in, but I was dealing with some personal demons that prevented me from being around Monday. I do believe solidarity is important, though I'm sure my readers have no doubt as to why I support legal abortions.


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Friday, January 05, 2007

Feminist Blogs Respond to Club Culture and Rape Article

AlterNet: MediaCulture:

At the above link, there are several wonderfully pithy responses by the elite blog Uterati (I mean that as a compliment, obviously) to an article by self-proclaimed but not really feminist Liz Funk in which she basically blames young women for getting themselves raped.

Huh. I thought rapists did the raping... anyway, let me make a few observations.

1) SOME clubs are meat markets. Everybody knows what they're getting and most people who go to a particular club want whatever said club is known for. I used to hang in rock/metal/grunge venues, and believe me, the guys in the bands were every bit the bait that "ladies' night" might be in a dance club and the women were every bit as aggressive as the guys.

2) WOMEN like sex, too. Yep, guys, some of us just want to get laid. Deal with it.

3) Some guys don't want to marry the girls but they expect the girls to want to marry them. When they find out she was just in it for the night, they immediately label her a slut because they can't deal with the fact that they got played. How's that for a stereotype?

Note to the guys: If you sleep with a girl who likes you and treat her like a slut because she slept with you, you're a self-loathing pig and an idiot. She didn't lose her dignity - you did. If you go to a club looking for a "slut," you're a predator and you don't like women. Go to a brothel and leave the humans alone. You're making the rest of the guys look bad.

4) Sexual stereotypes and elaborate mating rituals in America are stupid, hurtful, and do more to get in the way of having sex than actually having sex - but that's another article.

5) We live in a rape culture where men make sport of lying to women for sex. Wedding Crashers, anyone? Lying to obtain sex isn't as bad as a violent rape, but it IS deception and such behavior is not acceptable in reasonable adults. If it were up to me, "Male Fraud" would be punishable by fines and imprisonment.


6) We also live in a culture with general feminist awareness which means most of us know what does and doesn't constitute rape, in spite of our sick media. You don't have to have a college education to have heard the phrase "no means no."
Doesn't matter who says it, either. If you've ever seen the movie Forty Days, you saw the Josh Hartnett character get raped by his ex and then blamed for it by the new girl in his life. Women can be assholes, too, though you must admit, guys account for most of the statistics. You might disagree with 'no means no', but the law is quite clear and law trumps your humble opinions, boys - you wrote the laws, you live with them.

7) Rape is not about sex, so let's not mix them up.
*Rape is about dominance, hate, entitlement, and humiliation. It doesn't happen because a man is overcome by lust. It happens because a man hates women.
*Sex, on the other hand, is a delightful interaction between one or more consenting adults enjoying each other openly and everybody leaves happy. It's lots of fun. If it's not fun, you ain't doing it right...

8) If this society really wanted to cut down on the rapes, it would ban fraternities on college campuses. Don't hold your breath.

9) Any woman can be raped. They aren't always young and cute. Some of them are elderly. Some are disabled. Some are at home, minding their own business. Most of them will know their attacker. Not one of them "asked for it."

10) Rapists rarely rape once. This is why I say we need special legislation to address serial rape and child molestation, preferably making them capital crimes. That's the only way to keep a serial offender from repeating his crimes, and these crimes have a multi-generational effect on society. They have to be stopped cold.

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