"Gather the Women"
"Earth Mother Motorcycle"
My work is featured on the cover of the new issue of the prestigious feminist journal CANADIAN WOMAN STUDIES! What a thrill and an honour!
CWS is a feminist quarterly featuring current writing and research on a wide variety of feminist topics accessible to the largest possible community of women. During 28 years of publication, a forum has been created for women to exchange ideas, personal experiences, expertise and creativity. By demystifying our communications with one another, we are actively working towards serving as a middle ground between the scholarly and the popular, between theory and activism.
from Canadian Woman Studies, Volume 29, Number 3The world
The world is understood
only by the eternals;
patiently recording. by Farideh de Bosset www.faridehdebosset.ca
from Canadian Woman Studies, Volume 29, Number 3Beach Firewe burn huge logscharm perils outwardkeep dragons backwith hawthorn and sweet gras
s this hour's dancers tall grey-bending around standing stones cast shadows long on sand let me gain traction for courage to dart out into night with fire's flare by Joanna M. Weston www.1960willowtree.wordpress.com
"Gather the Women" embroidery on mixed media by Pegi Eyers
“The women’s movement has evolved because the crisis of the eternal world is calling for the rise of the Goddess to restore the balance of nature. All the evidence indicates that the feminine archtype is returning. This is perhaps the most important event of the last 5000 years, and its consequences may well have an immense, unimaginable effect on cultural and ecological evolution.” Jean Houston
As a devotee of the Goddess, I have found a spiritual path that fills my soul completely and gives me great joy! My reverence for the Divine Feminine is the ongoing inspiration for my creativity, and fires up my experience of the sacred ie. - the “Great Mystery”, “Mother-Father God” or “Universe of Infinite Solutions” (I like that one!). In response to those who have been asking “What is Goddess Spirituality?” I hope to share with you the foundation myth and core principles of the most exciting matriarchal spiritual movement in history.
Goddess Spirituality is currently one of the fastest-growing religions, and with its appealing lack of dogma, is intended to be a highly individualized set of beliefs and practices. With roots in contemporary feminism, Goddess Spirituality is closely linked to Pagan and Wiccan practices, but Goddess worshippers can be Christian or Buddhist or from any other tradition. If you ask 100 people who practice Goddess Spirituality what it is, you will likely get 100 different answers! However, all agree on the primacy of the Divine Feminine energy which manifests in different forms as individual Goddesses all over the world.
Goddess Spirituality's Foundation Myth
A surprising and wonderful thing happened over 40 years ago in the early days of the feminist revolution. Drawing on obscure texts, books like “The First Sex” (1971) and “When God Was a Woman” (1976) described ancient matriarchal societies that revered the balance of nature and the power of the Divine Feminine in their Goddesses, priestesses and cultural leaders. These peaceful egalitarian societies were eventually overthrown by violent male-dominated warrior-clans that developed into the monotheistic patriarchies we have today, who control the social order by military rule, organized religion and profit-driven economies. Marija Gimbutas’ “The Civilization of the Goddess” (1991), outlines the archeological record of Old Europe and the history of matriarchal societies, and is considered to be the milestone of feminist scholarly research. This sacred history, or foundation myth, underpins the political and religious tenets of Goddess Spirituality today.
As an alternative to the patriarchal worldview that excluded, alienated and persecuted women for centuries, these new versions of history are incredibly empowering, and women everywhere continue to rediscover and develop the language that speaks to their own experience. New versions of woman-centric mythologies and history have been unearthed, with more coming to light all the time. Building on 40 years of scholarship, there is now a plethora of academic conferences and books being published each year, and Matriarchal Studies is considered an official university department. The interest in the Divine Feminine has also been steadily growing among Jungian psychoanalysts, historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, theologians, community leaders, environmentalists, holistic practitioners, artists, writers, visionaries and cultural creatives everywhere.
“The symbolism of the Goddess is not parallel to the symbolism of God the Father. The Goddess does not rule the world. She IS the world. Manifest in each of us, She can be known internally by every individual, in all of her magnificent diversity.” Starhawk
Goddess Spirituality continues to grow as more and more women are being drawn to an alternative view of the Divine. Believing both in the one Goddess and her many manifestations worldwide, practitioners define Her as “The One and the Many”. She is both immanent and transcendent at the same time, and monotheism is avoided by the awareness that all the different Goddesses evoke similar cosmic principles of universal love, fertility and abundance, and the upholding of balance and truth.
By identifying with the Goddess(es) specific to one’s own life experience, the Divine Feminine becomes an individualized path of exploration, inner knowing, self-care and regeneration. Healing modalities for body/mind/spirit, psychic abilities, oracular work, sacred music and dance, dreamwork, a love of the natural world, recovering one’s indigenous knowledge, rituals, ceremonies and creative expression can all be aspects of Goddess Spirituality. Whatever form it takes, Goddess worship is very empowering for women! By healing our body/mind/spirit and reclaiming our personal sovereignty, we are the first generation in millennia to recover from the patriarchal damage perpetuated on ourselves and our ancestral motherline.
I will never forget my own electric moment of seeing the ancient matriarchal carvings and Paleolithic goddesses for the first time in Lucy Lippard’s “Overlay”. In the college library that day, the door opened to a NEW version of history - a woman-empowered history – a feminine view of Diety – a model of feminine POWER. THERE SHE WAS - She had been there all along, waiting. The Goddess embraced me and I embraced HER with all of my body, mind and soul!
Goddess Spirituality as Earth Path
Those on the Goddess Path see themselves as part of the interconnected web of life, and speak of the Earth as the body of the Goddess Herself. Spending time in nature, it has become abundantly clear to me that the Divine Presence emanating from and animating the natural world and indeed, the entire universe, is FEMININE - abundant, fertile, yin, cyclic, ever-renewing, forgiving, and above all, loving and nurturing. All things are born and nurtured by a mother - this love and nurture is the great cosmic principle of all life. It is so obvious, yet our civilization, based on 2000-plus years of patriarchal rule, has tried very hard to conceal this great and beautiful feminine truth. It is time to realign ourselves, men or women, with the Great Mother, to bring the principles of the Divine Feminine back into our lives, to recover what has been lost, and to bring a much-needed balance to the world. For practitioners today, Goddess Spirituality merges spirituality and politics, and makes for a strong involvement in environmental and social justice issues as part of a holistic way of life.
Core Beliefs and Values of Goddess Spirituality
The Goddess movement is not uniform, however, there are common beliefs and values:
1) The basic tenet of Goddess Spirituality is a reverence and respect for all life. This is the basic tenet of all forms of indigenous knowledge.
2) Holding a reverence for the Goddess and an awareness that the Divine Feminine is the ultimate creative power in the Universe.
3) To hold that the Earth is the Sacred Mother of All, the source of all life and joy. To honor Our Blessed Gaia and support the interconnected web of life that sustains us all.
4) To know that the Goddess manifests in diverse forms worldwide, and to focus on the matriarchal values of respect and nurture in self, culture and the natural world.
5) To realize that the animals, plants, elements and humanity are all kindred spirits, and our common destinies are linked together.
6) To emphasize a personal relationship with the Sacred through prayer, intuition or creative ritual, without intermediaries or dogma.
7) To uphold freedom of belief and respect for each individual’s experience of the Sacred.
8) To work for basic human rights and empowerment for women worldwide, and to contribute to the work of freeing all beings and the earth from the dominance of a patriarchal system.
Embracing and embodying the Goddess and working with the Divine Feminine energies allows women to reclaim their feminine power and realize the sacredness of their own bodies, minds, voices and spirits. The resurgence of the Goddess in our time will give us the wisdom, strength, courage and joy that is deeply needed to revitalize ourselves, our communities and the world!
© Pegi Eyers 2012
Contemporary Feminist Approaches to Judaism,
Christianity, Islam and Goddess Worship
by Johanna H. Stuckey, Inanna Publications, 2010
“Women’s Spirituality” is a brilliant overview of the transformational efforts by historic and modern feminists within the “big three” monotheistic religions, and is also a portrait of feminist Goddess Worship, defined as a revolutionary new spirituality that has the potential to “alter the spiritual landscape of the West”!
Stuckey says that feminist religious thealogy, working from the inside or outside to make patriarchal religions more hospitable to women, is new, experiential and experimental, with the focus on issues of sexism and the lack of female leaders. Monotheistic religions have been responsible for shaping negative Western attitudes toward women, and she examines the history, tenets and worship practices of each.
Shekinah by Giovanni Caselli
From its beginnings, the Hebrew Bible stated than “men rule over women” and Judaic women’s roles and limited spiritual expression were located in the domestic sphere, separate from the official temple-sanctioned worship and ceremonies. It has only been since 1983 that women have been allowed into Judaic seminaries and to be ordained as Rabbis. Today, Judaic feminist visionaries and scholars are working toward recovering Judaic Goddesses and historic women and their contributions, and developing a feminist vision of equality for all - a “post-patriarchal Judaism” - that will allow women to analyze the sacred texts, take part in public ritual, and fill leadership roles.
Mary Magdalene by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
In recent decades, the important contributions of Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene and other significant women have come to light, and Christian feminists have been concerned with dualism, sexism, the maleness of language & imagery, and the lack of female leaders. Currently, ordained female ministers are on the rise, and up to 80% of the students in theological schools are now women!
Stuckey touches on the current debates that question if early Christianity was egalitarian, if Jesus was a feminist, and if he was indeed married to Mary Magdalene. Church fathers later obscured women’s vital roles in the origins of Christianity, and declared their faith anti-body, anti-sexual and anti-woman.
Islam Triple Goddesses Al'Uzza, Allat and Manat
In early Islamic history, Muhammad’s wives and daughters, other heroines and religious scholars, and warrior women who fought in key battles had pivotal roles. However, as the Islamic world expanded, the dynasties became completely male-dominated, and women were discriminated against, veiled, denied access to the religious community, bound by law and restricted to the household. As it is still very dangerous to declare oneself a feminist in Muslim countries today, many live and work in the West.
She goes on to fit the work of feminist activity and theology into four overlapping categories: (1) Revisionist, the least extreme, that argues correct interpretation will reveal a liberating message at the core of a religion (2) Renovationist, which identifies the core message as well as elements of sexism, and either denies those elements or seeks to replace them with feminine texts and images (3) Revolutionary, which forces a religion to its limits by importing language and images from another tradition ie. Goddess Spirituality, and (4) Rejectionist, that decides a religion is completely hostile to women and leaves it behind, usually going on to create new spiritual traditions.
Stuckey says that the feminists who have remained inside Judaism, Christianity and Islam are undertaking the difficult, unpopular, and sometimes dangerous task of bringing about in their traditions changes that, when in place, could transform them in ways we can now only imagine.
Celebrating HER by Lyssanda Eyers
examines the foundation myth central to the tradition as explored in early Goddess scholarship; the definition of deity; the Wiccan tradition; the creative aspect of ritual; political action and the tenets of sacred ecology. “As a sacred history, the foundation myth is both emotionally satisfying and deeply enriching for feminist Goddess worshippers. It tells us about ancient Goddess worship and matriarchies, violent patriarchal takeover, women’s creativity and sacred bodies, our natural power and strength, the return of the Goddess and women’s re-empowerment in a Goddess-centered spirituality, which is a way to reconnect with nature and transform one's self and society.”
A reflection of Stuckey’s long-time involvement with the women’s movement as a feminist, scholar and teacher, this comprehensive work will be useful as an textbook in leading-edge curriculum, and as a resource for women on a spiritual path and/or devotees of Goddess Spirituality.
Author Johanna Stuckey is Professor of Women’s and Religious Studies at York University, Toronto, Canada, and was a long-time contributor to the journal www.matrifocus.com
(now archived online). This review originally appeared in "SageWoman: Celebrating the Goddess in Every Woman" Issue #79 Connecting to Gaia www.sagewoman.com
Finally, Stuckey celebrates the fascinating history of feminist Goddess Worship as an empowering new religion that has blossomed within the last 30 years.
original art by Pegi Eyers
As we move into the future we will work, laugh, play, study, vote ~ to renew democracy and renew the lives of all. The new mestizaje is the joyous birth of a new humanity. No more barriers, no more racism. The past will not be forgotten but will be blended into the new bodies and cultures that will emerge out of our coming together not in battle or conquest, as in the days of old, but in Love, which is the only force that can unite us without destroying us. That is the way to world peace and harmony, and we struggle, dream and work for that future. "The Sacred in the Latino Experience" by Virgilio Elizondo
I love this quote by Virgilio Elizondo! It contains universal truths that need to be heard, and I for one am listening! Right now various theories abound regarding the meaning of 2012, and the idea of a new opportunity, or Golden Age, for humanity seems to have taken root. Coming from many different sources including the prophecy of indigenous elders, the different teachings emphasize the message of a collective movement toward a unified consciousness, and that qualities such as kindness and compassion will be integral to our survival as a species. I think it is possible for us to emulate the way of the inclusive Universal Mind (The One), which is beyond all physical limits, but the concept of One Tribe does need some clarification. It does not mean coming together in a uniform monoculture or some kind of a “global order”. All beings are subject to natural law which stress that species diversity works better than homogeneity, and is essential to a healthy ecosystem. Diversity is the key to healthy, thriving populations, and it is very important for us to develop an appreciation and tolerance for cultural diversity, for different peoples, stories and sensibilities. As Daniel Quinn says in The Story of B, "a multiplicity of tribes and cultural groups in diversity has worked for millions of years and hopefully it will continue for millions more.” At the core of the indigenous knowledge common to all human groups is a focus on the land, environment, plants, creatures, cycles and elements of nature in the place WHERE WE LIVE, not on gratuitously importing other things that are pleasing. I see the wisdom in this, and as I practice the consciousness of One Tribe I will also reflect on what is sacred and precious about RIGHT HERE, the place and the community where I live. I truly believe that we can come together in worldwide love and harmony, honoring the unique diversity that is the human experience. How exciting it is to be part of the groundswell of consciousness birthing the next cycle of our collective human journey!
| |Whether people like it or not, and while they may want to hold tight to old ways of thinking and being, we are evolving into a global consciousness more in alignment with universal laws, premised in unconditional love which does not judge, exclude or adhere to one perception. Rev. Jan Porterwww.inspiredsoulworks.com Creator / Source / OneNess / UniVerse ♥ is the all of everything. We are all its hands and faces. Many faces, One BEING. Work through the illusions of life/death, right/wrong…....this is what we are made for, the coming-aware of each of us as a self-aware expression of that Infinite One…...♥….. We may choose to hide from......OneNess…..or we may choose to come together in KnowingNess of the UniVerse as ONE, to know ourselves as intrinsically whole and extensible into infinity along the lines of identity with the ONE…....We may choose to embrace this or we may choose to live locked-down into our tiny fearful egos, awaiting a supposedly painful decline into dissolution........CHOOSE! David Hartley www.holistiq.com
In the time of the Seventh Fire, a New People would emerge. They would retrace their steps to find the wisdom that was left by the side of the trail long ago. Their steps would take them to the Elders, who they would ask to guide them on their journey. If the New People remain strong in their quest, the sacred drum will again sound its voice. There will be an awakening of the people, and the sacred fire will be lit again. At this time, the light-skinned race will be given a choice between two roads. One road is the road of greed and technology without wisdom or respect for life. This road represents a rush to destruction. The other road is spirituality, a slower path that includes respect for all living things. If we choose the spiritual path, we can light yet another fire, an Eight Fire, and begin an extended period of peace and harmony. "The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway" by Edward Benton-Banai | |
Blessings, Prayers, Art, Songs, Poetry
and Sacred Stories by Women
edited by Carolyn Brigit Flynn, Wild Girl Publishing, 2009
Sisters Singing is an absolutely beautiful anthology of women’s spiritual visions and expressions in poetry, writing, art, photography and song. With over 100 contributors, this inspiring collection celebrates the sacred in the cycles of life, relationships, mothering, connections with the Ancestors, and the honoring of the Earth. A treasury of women’s wisdom, the songs, prayers and invocations in Sisters Singing are authentic and generous offerings that can be adapted to our own meditations, rituals and circles.
With poems, stories and art, the chapters White Lotus and Ode to the Mother begin with touching the luminous, invocations to deity, entering silence, the power of the elements, pilgrimage to sacred sites, honoring Earth Goddesses, the blessings and challenges of motherhood, and midwifery magic. The other chapters spiral through women-generated connections to the holy energies of eros and sexuality, everyday offerings, the pleasures of food, the acknowledgment of gifts, the hidden blessings of illness, going into the darkness, self-healing and the coming of grace. Memories, prayers, dream archaeology and requiems honor our beloved dead and share a women’s way of saying goodbye, while the songbook section has the most uplifting and amazing tunes!!
In the Oak Grove draws us into wild nature with prayers and poems of praise and earth-love, and features stories about sacred trees, fairy circles, the joy of gardens, the beauty of flowers and our beloved Gaia. Sisters support each other and the entire web of life, and the importance of water is covered as the healing elixir of life, as well as a chapter on the human/animal relationship, our companions on the journey. The final chapter Prayers for my World is an invocation for the healing of society and the earth, with women writers, artists and poets as the frequency-holders for peace activism and hope for a viable thriving future.
To “sister the world” is to align with beauty and restore much-needed balance and wholeness to the world. Carolyn Brigit Flynn says that the production of Sisters Singing was guided by the spirits of the grandmothers and the Ancestors. This can truly be felt coming through in the soul songs and sacred writings that focus on manifesting the spirit of the Divine Feminine into the world. Highly recommended for countless hours of enjoyment and contemplation!
Reading, Art and Music Tour NYC 2009
Carolyn Brigit Flynn and many gifted contributors went on tour to celebrate the voices of sacred creativity, music, prayer, art and praise from the amazing compilation Sisters Singing.
I was inspired by a recent re-reading of Riane Eisler's classic "The Chalice and the Blade" to compile a chart comparing matriarchal and patriarchal values. By delving into archaeology and feminist scholarship, Eisler documents the global shift from egalitarian to patriarchal societies. She examines how social cooperation within Goddess-worshipping cultures was overcome by the patriarchal reliance on violence, hierarchy and authoritarianism. The challenge in our time is to create images and stories of the Sacred more in sync with a partnership model than that of a dominator model.
This book truly has the ability to transform us and initiate fundamental change in the world, and as a powerful treatise on matriarchal values, proves that the dream of peace is not an impossible utopia.
Female ~ The Chalice ~ Matriarchy
Male ~ The Blade ~ Patriarchy
Partnership Model of Social Organization
Gylany (Eisler’s Terminology)
Dominator Model of Social Organization
Androcracy (Eisler’s Terminology)
Actualization Instead of Power
Peaceful and Egalitarian Society
Identification with the Mother
Hierarchic and Authoritarian Rule
Identification with the Father
Venerate the Feminine ~ Worship The Goddess
Highest Value on the Life-Generating and Nurturing Powers of the Female
Venerate the Masculine ~ Worship the God
Highest Value on the Power to Take rather than Give Life, Aligned with Destruction
Focus on Linking and Love
Leadership Inspired by Responsibility to Society
Wisdom of the Mother Honored Above All
Focus on Hierarchy and Rank
Power is Equated with "Dominance Over"
Dictatorial, Autocratic, Rule by Warlord
Focus on the Sacredness and Unity of All Life
Values of Compassion, Non-Violence
High Degree of Male Violence and Warfare
Values of Brutality, Oppression
No Separation between Sacred and Secular
Lands Held and Worked Communally
Both Men & Women are Children of the Goddess
Separation of Sacred and Secular
Social Stratification Based on Private Property with Dominance Over Women
Focus on Nurturing and Sharing
Gift Economy not Conquest or Hoarding
Acquire Material Wealth by using more effective Technologies of Destruction
Worship the Sacred Chalice or Grail ~ Symbol
of the Womb & Feminine Generative Powers of the Universe in Birth, Nurture, Death and Rebirth
Worship the Power of the Blade ~ Symbol of Masculine Power, Competition, Dominance, Control and Destruction
“The whole of life is pervaded by an ardent faith in the Goddess Nature, the source of all creation and harmony.” Riane Eisler
Rigid roles for Men in Patriarchal Society
Man the Warrior ~ Man the Hunter
Maladaptive, Massive Regression
Fatima, Honduras (photo R. Hood)
“Mary is an archetype that swims in the pool of the collective unconscious that Carl Jung wrote about, a part of the common symbolic inheritance of all humanity. Perhaps everyone has an image of Mary in the back of their minds, an image, like matter, that can be neither created nor destroyed. “
Our Lady of the Lost & Found - Diane Schoemperlen
I was not raised in the Catholic faith, but have always felt drawn to the rich heritage of Our Lady in mythology, imagery and worship. The writings I have explored on Mary in historical, testimonial and inspirational texts are sacred books indeed. Volumes filled with detailed narratives on Marian miracles, both witnessed and received, are for me evidence of the glorious manifestation of the Divine Feminine, and have inspired and informed my spiritual practice and art-making (which are one and the same path). My artwork acknowledges Her as a living presence and power, and pays tribute to Her as a beautiful embodiment of Holiness.
St. Joseph's Peterborough (photo D. Cox)
Winged women was saying
“full of grace” and like.
was light beyond sun and words
of a name and a blessing.
winged women to only i.
i joined them, whispering
- Lucille Clifton
My diverse encounters with both Mary and Guadalupe in praise, prayer and evocation continue to amaze – on a long road trip across America She guided and protected me, and warned me of grave danger. She has been with me in various hospitals, attending both the passing of my beloved father with divine love and comfort, and guiding my spirit through long hours of tedium and terror during surgery and a healing crisis. Quirky or magnificent roadside shrines to Her Grace are always a pleasant surprise, and serve as a reminder of the universality of the power and blessings of the Divine Feminine. Her icons and art appear at strange and needful moments, her symbols delight, her light arcs across every corner of the globe and shines forth from my humble Goddess altar.
I truly believe that the Virgin Mary, Fátima, Guadalupe and other Madonna icons are symbols of reconciliation, uniting Christian imagery with that of older matriarchal faiths. The Great Mother and the Creatrix-Goddess are always with us, in physical forms that change from era to era. In these times, when the planet is under environmental threat, they are potent symbols of the Earth Goddess, whom we must honour and love if our species is to survive.
"Our Lady of Fatima" mixed media by Lyssanda
I created this mixed media image of Our Lady of Fátima, in response to the wondrous story of Mary appearing to three children at Fátima, Portugal in 1917. One of the children described seeing a woman "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal ball filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun." The reported apparitions and prophecies at Fátima were officially declared "worthy of belief" by the Catholic Church.
The final appearance of Mary at Fátima became known as the "Miracle of the Sun". A crowd believed to number approximately 70,000, including newspaper reporters and photographers, gathered in the rain, which finally ceased and a thin layer of clouds cloaked the silver disc of the sun. One of the children called out to the crowd to look at the sun. Observers later spoke of the sun appearing to change colors and rotate like a wheel. Not everyone saw the same thing, and witnesses gave widely varying descriptions of the "sun's dance".
With collage, ink, paint and real butterfly wings, I have tried to convey the events
of that day and the luminescence of Our Lady.
O Queen of Eternal Glory,
O Serene like the Moon,
O Resplendent like the Sun,
O Mother of the Golden Heights!
from LITANY TO OUR LADY (Latin translation, Irish, 8th century)
Each time that we act in service of our sacred intention, and each time that we align our energies and our actions with what we most truly love, we gain in personal power and ability. The path before us becomes clearer, and the help and allies that we need come to us.
"Great powers of creation and transformation in the universe – the ancestors and earth spirits of this beautiful place, goddesses, guardian angels, bodhisattvas and all compassionate enlightened beings who love the diverse and beautiful dance of life, I am open to your help and I reach out to you. I thank you for the gift of life, for the help and support I have already received, and for the great opportunity to work on behalf of Mother Earth at this crucial time. I need healing, wholeness, health and energy to serve my sacred purpose of helping to create a new world that cherishes wild nature above all, and that honors the sacred elements of earth, water, air and fire. May we return to right relationship with the earth’s sacred body of which we are a part, and may we restore balance by invoking the nurturing love of the Divine Feminine spirit in all we think, say and do. I give you my gratitude for the help I know is already coming. Blessed be."
Keeka ~ Goddess of Fertility & Abundance
“Societies of Peace: Matriarchies Past, Present and Future”
Edited by Heide Goettner-Abendroth
Inanna Publications, 2009
It is time to celebrate with the publishing of Societies of Peace! We now have the definitive textbook on the incredible outpouring of modern matriarchal studies that has occurred in recent years. An excellent anthology of research, essays and ideas by luminaries in the academic world, Societies of Peace also brings together political activists, goddess scholars, feminists and indigenous wisewomen from all over the world. The new paradigm of Matriarchal Studies is here to stay! Presenting concrete social alternatives to the looming global crisis of patriarchal civilization, matriarchal studies holds great political potential, offering lifeboats developed from thousands of years of experience.
If we take the wisdom in Societies of Peace and DELIVER IT! as Kenyan activist and powerhouse Wahu Kaare suggests, it will have an incredible impact on the world. The times require a fundamental shift in the way we live our lives, and findings on matriarchal cultures can offer us the vision of a new society.
Matriarchal Power ~ Embroidery by Lyssanda Eyers
Matriarchies have a non-violent social order, conform to motherly values, and are based on gender equality. Political decisions are reached through consensus, and social guidelines guarantee a good life for everyone. Matriarchal spirituality, deeply rooted in a reverence for Mother Earth and her gifts, prevents the exploitation of nature or animals. These societies, both ancient and still existing on the planet today, are humanity’s – and especially women’s – great heritage. Societies of Peace presents to a wider public the message of an alternative social and cultural model that promotes trust, mutuality and abundance for all.
Edited by Heide Goettner-Abendroth, the founding mother of modern matriarchal studies, the scholarship and ideas in Societies of Peace are taken from two groundbreaking World Congresses on Matriarchal Studies that she led – “Societies in Balance” in Luxembourg in 2003, and “Societies of Peace” in Texas in 2005. For the first time at these Congresses, international scholars working on matriarchal studies and women’s spirituality in isolation from one another came together to connect and collaborate. The book features exciting, creative and important contributions from (among others) Riane Eisler, Barbara Alice Mann, Peggy Reeves Sanday, Claudia von Werlhof, Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Vicki Noble, Susan Gail Carter, Annette Kuhn, Lamu Gatusa, Bernedette Muthien, Fatimata Oualet Halatine and Wilhelmina J. Donkoh.
The Matronae ~ Celtic Mother Goddesses
Of special interest is Genevieve Vaughan’s contribution and sustaining gifts, both to the Texas congress and the book, as well as her article “Matriarchy and the Gift Economy”. The guiding light for the new gift economy movement, Genevieve describes the practice of “freebies” like housework, childcare and other “random acts of kindness” that already exist in society, unrecognized and unappreciated by the dominant patriarchy. Within a matriarchal culture, the mode of distribution is based on the principles of nurture and needs are met directly, resulting in a more functional community than that of a market economy based on self-interest, greed and profit. Gift-giving creates positive relationships, justice and solidarity, and with radical change, could be adopted as the new alternative economy.
The knowledge and insight made possible with modern Matriarchal Studies is absolutely amazing, and has the capacity to change the historical record and create a paradigm shift in the prevailing worldview. Societies of Peace gives us the tools to wake up and take on the great work, which is creating alternative, life-affirming matriarchal models as the basis for a new society!
Heide Goettner-Abendroth, HAGIA
International Academy of Modern Matriarchal Studies & Matriarchal Spirituality, www.hagia.de
Genevieve Vaughan, The Gift Economywww.gift-economy.com
This review originally appeared in "Crone: Women Coming of Age"
Issue #4 Metamorphosis www.cronemagazine.com
Like practitioners of Earth Spirituality everywhere, I continue to be outraged by the monumental transgressions that persist against the natural world in spite of the environmental protection movement and it’s frequency holders. There must be SOMETHING that will motivate the human race to affect a true change in attitude and action, to retreat from our 11th Hour position, and to reclaim a worldview in balance with Gaia. After reading "Dance of the Four Winds" by Alberto Villoldo, the following is what came to me!
OUR SOULS LIVE IN THE EARTH
AND THE EARTH LIVES IN OUR SOULS
WHAT IF it was proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that your soul is eternal? That your soul is a unique and sacred spark, a blessed part of the Divine Mystery that animates your inner life from birth to death and beyond? AND WHAT IF it was proven that your soul is on a continuous forward journey? AND WHAT IF PROOF EXISTS that between lifetimes your soul resides IN the landscape and IN the various features, elements and creatures in the natural world? THAT IN FACT, the natural environment serves as a vessel or holding place for your spirit? The trees, plants, wetlands, grasslands, wildflower meadows, sand dunes, mounds, rocky escarpments, underground tunnels, caverns, ponds, lakes, rivers, special animals – any of these numinous and holy landscapes and creatures could serve as dwelling places for your soul.
AND KNOWING THIS TO BE TRUE, believing beyond a doubt that the continuum of your soul depends on this eco-resting place, how can we allow the destruction of the natural world to continue? The contamination created by conveniences and technologies, the pollution dumped into the water systems, air and earth, the forests logged, the animals harvested, the earth’s body stripped by mining, the replacement of wild nature with highways, fences, factories and cities all pose a real and terrible danger to your personal destiny. After your physical death, where the Great Mystery will place your spirit cannot be predicted. (Unless you have had exceptional training and have willed it so. Making personal decisions affecting the process of being born into death used to be a given in indigenous societies.)
Therefore the reckless and thoughtless damage to the environment on every level MUST BE STOPPED! It goes far beyond the adage of We are All Connected. We now know that without access to the undisturbed natural places on this beautiful planet that have been provided for our soul's rest and return, our spirits will surely and completely disappear. Contrary to the modern worldview, humans are not meant to exist in close proximity to concrete cities, technology and the built environment, but thrive in the truest sense ONLY in the embrace of the green and natural world. The farther away we push nature the smaller our souls become – this is not a metaphor but a fact, as experienced by the millions today who feel a void, something missing in their lives. Endless void-fillers, distractions and therapies exist to address this emptiness, but most of the theories bypass the simple truth that would address the foundational requirements of our eco-soul. The contemporary endemic shrinking of the spirit is a reality, and healing is made possible only by fully embracing the wild.
As we co-existed peacefully with the earth for millennia, WE MUST expand once again into our true nature and potential as fully-realized human beings. To survive as beings of both body AND spirit, WE MUST acknowledge our vital reciprocal relationship with nature and embrace our true human role as keepers and protectors of Lady Gaia.
The Australian movie “Ten Canoes” is a dazzling and accurate portrayal of an indigenous society deeply bonded to the natural world. During the course of the movie, the storytelling of their oral tradition reveals that the souls of their people continue to live in a particular wetland, or billabong
, between lives, and that the pregnant women of the tribe will go there to coax a soul into their belly.