For those of you reading this, I do not for one second compare myself to Carol Christ or her absolutely wonderful essay, “Why Women Need the Goddess”, which can be found here. I highly recommend it, as it is brilliant. It was also written in 1978. But why women, and men, need the Goddess NOW has been on my mind very much as of late.
I also find myself thinking of Judith Duerk’s book, “Circle of Stones”, and her pertinent questions, most notably, “How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you? A place for you to go…..a place of women, to help you learn the ways of woman….a place where you were nurtured from an ancient flow sustaining you and steadying you as you sought to become yourself. A place of women to help you find and trust the ancient flow already there within yourself…..waiting to be released….A place of women….How might your life be different?”
Women are not taught to be strong, be brave, stand up; we are taught how to cook and clean. We were not supposed to play sports and when things changed enough that girls wanted to, they had to fight for every scrap. What we do learn are the ways of a patriarchal culture that looks down on women, all women, and women of color most especially. We learn that men are in charge, they rule the big corporations, the government, the world. Their God is made in their image, a male image. The ancient Goddess was overthrown, conquered and put down. Deuteronomy 16:20 states, “You must completely destroy all the places where the nations you dispossess have served their gods: on high mountains, on hills, under a spreading tree. You must tear down their altars, small their pillars and cut down their sacred poles (asherahs), set fire to the carved images of their gods and wipe their name from that place.” Asherah was/is a Neolithic Goddess, also known as Inanna-Ishtaar-Astarte. Divinity was and is male, and the Goddess needed to be destroyed. For those in religious education, we learned that Eve, the first woman (made from man) was tempted by the devil and from that, sin entered the world. Sin entered the world because women are evil, and lascivious, and dirty. Women need to bleed monthly and bring forth children in pain. That is the punishment of being a woman.
There are probably thousands of verses in the bible that denigrate women. Some of them are:
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Timothy 2.11-12
Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as unto the Lord….” And further, “The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man”…. Man is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man.” Ephesian 5:22-24
The apostle Peter said wives should “be in subjection to your own husbands” and have “chaste conversation coupled with fear.”
I do not deign to even discuss some of the bible verses referencing women during their moon time. They are not worth the paper they are written on. The bible was written by men at various times during history, and they wrote as their God’s words what they wanted to see in real life.
There are also quotes by saints, male saints:
“Every woman should be overwhelmed with shame at the very thought that she is a woman.” St. Clement
“Among all savage beasts, none is found so harmful as a woman.” St. John Chrysostorm.
There is an excellent article on how women are treated in the major religions here, if you would like to do some further reading.
Is it any wonder that women have traditionally, throughout history, after the overthrow of the Goddess, been treated as inferior, and are still, to this day, treated as such.
All you need do is open the newspaper, turn on the news and see/hear/read the atrocities being committed in this country and around the world. Rapes and other sexual assaults, domestic violence that can and does end in death for the female victim. Women in other countries are sexually mutilated to stop them from enjoying sex, or from inhibiting them from having sex with someone not their husbands, to prove they are virgin, they are used as weapons of war, used and discarded.
Here in America, we have a domestic violence scandal in the NFL. It goes beyond the NFL and THAT is what should be the scandal, not that a few overgrown boys playing a barbaric, violent sport like to beat up on their wives, girlfriends and children. We have an invention of a nail polish that all women need do is to dunk their finger into their drink to see if it has been drugged. We have the extremely patriarchal GOP telling women they are not good enough to get equal pay for their work, that they are not smart enough to make decisions about their own bodies, that they wish to control everything about our reproductive systems, right down to whether or not we do. Their religion usurps our right to health care and contraceptives. We have white conservative males and celibate priests trying to control something over which they have no personal knowledge, wisdom or experience. As for the conservative and GOP women, I am at a loss to understand them. I, too, am at a loss to understand women who say that feminism is no longer needed, that we are where we should be. We are NOT where we should be. We are not free to be who we are, not while a system that is based on the superiority of one gender over another, one color over another, exists. There are those that say we do not need the ERA. I say that is wrong; we do need it. We need tighter laws to protect the rights of women, as equal to those of men; tighter laws to protect the rights of the LGBT community and for all communities of color.
It is my hope, my deepest wish, that more and more women will be called by the Goddess, to find the Divine in woman’s form; to learn their worth and their value; find their voice, their strength; for women to speak up for themselves and what they want in their personal relationships, in the way the government and country is run; to leave abusive relationships. The Goddess is needed and so necessary in this world, right now, before things get even more out of control.
If you knew of the Goddess, the Divine Feminine, how would your life be different? If you knew that She was always there for you, would you be different? I invite you to find out. Learn about Her, seek Her out. She will welcome you with open arms and love.
Recommended reading: Circle of Stones by Judith Duerk
The Great Cosmic Mother by Monica Sjoo & Barbara Mor
When God Was A Woman by Merlin Stone
Guide to Goddess Craft (formerly The Women’s Spirituality Book) by Diane Stein
The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
Peace & Blessings!