I am a real n00b at astrology. I resisted learning anything about it for a long time because most of what I had read seemed like bunk to me. But over the last few years, I've begun to study a bit of astrology and realized that it's too complicated for short paragraphs in newspapers to be anything but bunk.
One astrologist that I like and have had read for me is Janet Kane, who combines astrology with her background as a Jungian. Janet sends out a monthly newsletter that normally discusses archetypes behind the various astrological signs; this month, however, her newsletter focuses on a group called Gather the Women (GTW). Although I'm familiar with the works of Jean Shinoda Bolen, upon whose work this group seems to be based, I'd never heard of GTW. It sounds so interesting that I've taken the liberty of printing Janet's newsletter below.
Tell me what you think. Part of me thinks, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. ANOTHER movement. Another attempt to 'save the world.' And Hubbard and Sheldrake! They're too woo-woo evern for a witch!" This part of me is afraid -- afraid that, like other groups, GTW will dissolve into disputes, afraid that it will take too much time and energy for any results it produces, afraid that it will get my hopes up only to dash them. Another part of me remembers the Margaret Mead quote about how the only real changes in the world have come from small committed groups of people, leaps with hope at the idea that the potential of women -- especailly what Janet Kane refers to below as the new human species on earth of women over 50 -- could be tapped into in more effective ways to help change the world for better. Fear and thriving; thriving and fear -- they keep showing up in my life these days. Do they figure into your calculations as well? Here's Janet's newsletter.
March 8 is International Women's Day. During the month of March GTW DC is planning events for each weekend starting with a free March 4 event at the Washington Society for Jungian Psychology. See our website for a list of other March events here.
I guess I feel like a lot of people -- that the world is in such a mess and I want to do something to make it a better place; but what can I do? The problems are overwhelming. We have environmental devastation, social injustice, war and other major global problems. The Buddha said that one of the major requirements for doing great work is sangha (community). Where would I find a community of others who feel as I do? Then, one day as I was surfing the web I discovered a website with the evocative title of "Gather the Women".
Gather the Women Global Matrix (GTW), is a web-based gathering place for women and women's organizations who share a belief that the time is now to activate the incredible power of women's wisdom on a planetary scale. GTW is a place where new models of feminine leadership are being born. It is a new kind of organic, self-organizing grassroots initiative to awaken the leadership potential of the women of the world. GTW recognizes the ancient tradition of gathering in circles where one woman reaching out to connect with another woman can experience the power of shared intention.
GTW is not exclusive and is not about women taking over from men and building another hierarchy, but about bringing feminine values into global decisions. Studies have shown that there are differences between men and women in how they handle stress. Men will go into fight or flight syndrome, women will tend and befriend. When women are stressed they look for bonding and communication with others. Many men advocate bringing feminine values into politics and governance. One of the stories that author Jean Shinoda Bolen tells is that in a meeting to resolve an international conflict someone noticed that only men were at the negotiating table. When that was pointed out to an official, he said "We can't let women in here. All they will do is compromise."
GTW has no paid staff, no budget, no hierarchy and the organization is totally web based. The web site was launched in 2001 and they now have 9,000 members in 75 countries. This combination of empowered women and current internet technology has the potential to affect unprecedented positive change.
In 2004 GTW held a national congress in Dallas, Texas. Internationally known lecturer and Jungian analyst Jean Shinoda Bolen attended, and out of this experience she was inspired to write the book, Urgent Message from Mother, Gather the Women, Save the World.
In her book she states that, "Compassion, spirituality, the desire and necessity for peace, and maternal concern, combined with feminism is the force that can save the world." She also says "Women are experienced in looking after the children and fragile elders, cleaning up, setting the house in order, being frugal with resources, putting food on the table, maintaining peace in the family and staying on good terms with the neighbors. These are the same tasks that need doing in the community and on a national and planetary scale. The world needs what women can do. The world needs 'mother' to set things right in our unbalanced world… Women all over the world are on the edge of recognizing that the possibility of peace depends upon women becoming involved – at the grassroots and in great numbers."
Three current streams of thought have come together to spur the phenomenal impact and growth of the GTW. First, Barbara Marx Hubbard said there is a new human species on earth today -- women over 50. There are 50 million educated, skilled, wise women on earth. In the past century the life span for women was 49, now it's 79. Therefore women of 50 have about 30 more years in which to contribute to the world.
Another idea that resonates with the work of GTW is Rupert Sheldrake's theory of morphic resonance. It explains how new or learned behavior can become a natural or instinctual way of doing something once a critical number of a particular species performs this behavior over and over again. A morphic field is then created which persists and grows over time. The human morphic field is similar to the collective unconscious of depth psychologist C.G. Jung. Women connecting with the same intention anywhere in the world draw from and contribute to the "collective unconscious" which affects everyone on the planet.
Finally, Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, said that when a critical number of people embrace a new idea, value, or perception a "tipping point" occurs. These ideas or values can become contagious and spread like a virus throughout the population. This principal applies to Gather the Women. I believe our ideas about a global transformation are about to reach a critical mass and cause a tipping point.
I got involved with GTW in 2005, when the founders of GTW sent out an email asking for volunteers to coordinate a regional congress in their city on the theme, Building the Field, based on the Rumi quote, "Beyond Rightness and Wrongness, there is a field, I'll meet you there." The field is an invisible energetic space where the collective wisdom of thousands of women can coalesce to become a source of knowledge and power to catalyze positive change. We felt we could tap into this invisible field of feminine collective consciousness that is real and powerful. When we align with this field, we connect with others and with the source of collective wisdom.
As an aside, a really fascinating point was brought up in my conversation with Kathe Shaaf from GTW Global Matrix in California. She said that she gave a workshop in Nov 2001 around these same women's issues. "That's weird," I said "I gave a workshop on Wisewomen here at the Jungian Society in Oct 2001." She told me that she learned from talking to women all over the world that amazingly many, many women started gathering in circles or giving talks and workshops within the period of 6 months before or 6 months after 9/11. Coincidence or women's intuition at work?
The regional congresses were planned for the same weekend, Nov 11-13, 2005 in Washington, DC, Big Bear, California, Juneau, Alaska, Little Rock, Arkansas, Naples, Florida, North San Diego, California, and Seattle, Washington. I volunteered to coordinate a congress in Washington D.C. and the Washington Society for Jungian Psychology agreed to sponsor it. As I was planning the conference, a marketing expert looked over my promotional materials that only consisted of email notices. He said that without a major advertising campaign costing a few thousand dollars I wouldn't get the word out to attract enough women to make it a success. I thought he was living by the old paradigm. So I just sent out emails to the women I knew and asked them to forward to the women they knew. The room was packed; seventy-five women attended. There is no stopping an idea whose time has come!
The purpose of this congress was for women leaders and women's organizations to find new ways to address our most serious world problems. We did this by helping each other focus on our individual passions and to network with each other to plan actions to help transform our planet for the benefit of all humanity. Regional congresses are being planned again for 2007, including Washington D.C.
An important part of the Nov 12 congress was the forming of wisdom circles. Jean Shinoda Bolen wrote a book called the Millionth Circle. She felt that if we had a million circles of women around the world we could change the planet. I agree. I have had several years' experience with circles and can attest to their power. In the early 1970's I was involved with consciousness raising circles in the women's movement. Later, I initiated simplicity circles on the East Coast. Now I lead a Wiseweoman circle at the Jungian society embodying similar goals to that of Bolen and GTW. As a result of the D.C. congress, wisdom circles are being formed in West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Circles lead to lifelong friendships and open up your life to new experiences and ideas. Wisdom circles are being formed throughout the United States based on the ideas of GTW. In these circles women work on community, national or global projects. They support each other in their activism. Each circle differs in their mission. The main link between them is that they are using feminine ideas and values to transform the world.
If you are interested, there are many ways for you to be involved in GTW. You can join the GTW global matrix, start a wisdom circle, join one that is already in existence, attend one of our events and join our on-line discussion group.
To join our Gather the Women DC area listserv send a blank email to GTWDCemail@example.com.
In 2006, GTW is hosting congresses on 6 continents, for more details and to join Gather the Women Global Matrix go to http://www.gatherthewomen.org
This is a free email list is for those interested in astrology, Jungian Psychology, and Mythology.
Janet is available for personal consultations on the phone. Call her at 301-345-2571 or email her for a brochure of her services. Read her articles at http://www.astrologypowerzone.com
Janet's Planets · P.O. Box 1101 · Greenbelt · MD · 20770
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