When I was a girl by Nilus stream I watched the desert stars arise; My lover, he who dreamed the Sphinx, learned all his dreaming from my eyes. I bore in Greece a burning name, And I have been in Italy Madonna to a painter-lad, And mistress to a Medici.
And have you heard (and I have heard) Of puzzled men with decorous mein. Who judged--the wench knows far too much- And hanged her on the Salem green.
My wonderful circle of amazing witches selects a different Goddess every year upon which to focus. Or, perhaps I should say, every year a different Goddess selects us. Because we wouldn't otherwise, as we did the year before last, have chosen an obscure and almost-entirely-forgotten Goddess such as Hygeia. Spending a year with Her, I was struck, over and over, by the fact that this Goddess, who once had many temples built to Her and thousands of devotees, is now almost completely forgotten. It's as if the text of the catholic mass had become completely lost, as if the xian bible had completely ceased to exist anywhere on Earth.
It certainly took a determined group of fanatics, with a huge motivation to capture power, and centuries to devote to the task, to (almost, but not quite) erase the memory of so many female representations of the divine.
And, yet, in the words of Chrissy Hinde:
She will always carry on. Something is lost But something is found. They will keep on speaking Her name. Some things change, Some stay the same.
Picture, and more by this amazing artist, found here.
The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to sue the U.S. Naval Academy unless it abolishes its daily lunchtime prayer, saying that some midshipmen have felt pressured to participate.
In a letter to the Naval Academy, Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland, said it was "long past time" for the academy to discontinue the tradition. She said the practice violates midshipmen's freedom to practice religion as their conscience leads them.
The Naval Academy rejected the ACLU's request that the prayer be eliminated.
"The academy does not intend to change its practice of offering midshipmen an opportunity for prayer or devotional thought during noon meal announcements," the university said in a statement. It said that some form of prayer has been offered for midshipmen at meals since the school's founding, in 1845, and that it is "consistent with other practices throughout the Navy."
Nine midshipmen have complained to the ACLU about the practice, Jeon said yesterday. Some have since graduated. One recent graduate, an agnostic who objected to the chaplain-led prayer, said she felt pressured to take part in it.
"Everybody else is participating with their heads bowed and their arms crossed," the midshipman said in an interview. "It became very obvious that you aren't participating."
The midshipman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared her military career might be affected, said she went along with the practice at first because she didn't want to stand out. But she stopped in her third year and stood at parade rest instead of bowing her head and crossing her arms.
Those who want to pray during lunch "have the option to pray on their own," she said. "There's no reason they should subject everybody, including people like myself, to this prayer."
Academy spokeswoman Jennifer M. Erickson said that the prayer does not refer to a specific religion and that participation is voluntary. Prayers are led by Catholic, Jewish or Protestant chaplains.
The debate over whether to pray at U.S. service academies and colleges is several years old.
When the Air Force responded in 2005 to accusations of proselytizing at its academy in Colorado Springs, it issued guidelines that discouraged public prayer at most official events.
And in 2003, a Virginia appeals court struck down the Virginia Military Institute's mealtime prayer as unconstitutional. The ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League have asked the Navy to stop the lunch prayer at the Naval Academy based on the VMI ruling.
The Navy is "ignoring the law," said T. Jeremy Gunn, director of the ACLU's Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. "The government shouldn't be deciding what kind of prayer is the right kind of prayer and then coercing people into accepting their preferred kind of prayer."
Radical feminism is a "current" within feminism that focuses on patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships producing a "male supremacy" that oppresses women. Radical feminism aims to challenge and to overthrow patriarchy by opposing standard gender roles and male oppression of women, and calls for a radical reordering of society. Early radical feminism, arising within second-wave feminism in the 1960s, typically viewed partriarchy as a "transhistorical phenomenon" prior to or deeper than other sources of oppression, "not only the oldest and most universal form of domination but the primary form" and the model for all others. Later politics derived from radical feminism ranged from cultural feminism to more syncretic politics that placed issues of class, economics, etc. on a par with patriarchy as sources of oppression.
The term radical in radical feminism (from Latin rādīx, rādīc-, root) is used as an adjective meaning of or pertaining to the root or going to the root. Radical feminists locate the root cause of women's oppression in patriarchal gender relations, as opposed to legal systems (liberal feminism) or class conflict (socialist feminism and Marxist feminism).
The great scholar of the history of religion Mircea Eliade defined religion as the attempt to escape or transcend what he called “the chaotic and dangerous flux of things.” This definition--while allegedly not indebted to any particular religious tradition and claimed to be the universal essence of religion--is in fact rooted in a particular if widespread view that finite embodied life in a finite world cannot be accepted or understood as valuable or holy. From this perspective the recurring cycles of birth, death, and renewal in plant, animal, and human life cannot in themselves be seen to be sacred, and any religion based upon celebrating and preserving them does not fit the definition of what religion is.
Christ's point relates to my general and increasing distaste for the term "people of faith." First, there's just something squicky about it, but, second, and more importantly, even though the term purports to be inclusive, it defines my religion out of the picture, In fact, it's primarily only Abrahamic religions that require "faith" of their adherents and, if you mean Abrahamic religions, it's dishonest to pretend that you're being inclusive. The Craft, however, does not ask faith of its adherents. I'd say, as would many witches, that Wicca is a religion not of faith but of experience. Either you've experienced the unity of existence, the immanence of divinity, the presence of the Goddesses/Gods, magic -- or you haven't. If you haven't, you can still be a witch, but no one will ask you to take those concepts on faith. If anything, they'll show you methods and practices that can lead to those experiences.
For a long time, male-dominated religions and male-dominated schools of thought have been defining religion in ways that make what I do seem "less than." Christ does a good job of pointing out how they do this. If I can't dance in your religion, I don't want to be a part of it.
I have said this before and I am going to say it again. I am going to vote for Barack Obama for president, here in the contested state of Virginia. I am going to stand outside metro stations and farmers' markets and hand out literature for him. I am going to donate money to him. Any woman who does anything different is, well, wrong.
That said, this article in Salon goes a long way towards capturing how many women feel. I especially endorse the comments concerning Dr. Dean, whom I am unlikely to ever forgive.
They are mad at Howard Dean.
Not simply for allowing the massive befouling of the Democratic process that was Michigan and Florida but for addressing issues of sexism only once Clinton was out of the race. Seriously, the anger at Dean may be some of the most unexpected and intense. At the recent EMILY's List conference, during a panel on gender and the election, Dean's name was the only one that got booed.
Keep it up, asshole. I have a long memory and a big checkbook. I choose where and when to write checks. Fifty states, my sweet, round ass.
And, um, yeah, including the stereotype of my religion:
They are mad at their party and its leaders because they feel this race has opened up a door, allowing people to rag on white women -- as irrelevant and buffoonish, as ambitious and preening, as old school and boring and nagging and hectoring -- in a way that demonstrates that women have a questionable place in liberalism and progressivism. Since when is the party supposedly interested in social justice not interested in the advancement of women to the highest office?
It was, in fact, remarkable, the success with which hoary stereotypes about second-wave feminism got so enthusiastically embraced 30 years past their sell-by date. Who knew how eager the American public -- and more critically, the American left -- was to wholeheartedly embrace the image of Hillary supporters as sexless, humorless, bitter, hysterical old crones. It was simply acceptable -- in a way that was a brisk eye-opener for a lot of young women, even those who didn't support Clinton -- to talk derisively about Clinton and her supporters as whiny, cackling, emasculating witches.
Of course, the ease with which these kinds of stereotypes were bandied about suggests that it is women -- about to take your jobs and your college acceptance letters and your seat in the Oval Office and probably your penis! -- who are the most threatening to the established white male power structure. But it seems that that was rather cold comfort when Clinton women were being steadily assailed with images of themselves as unappealing, pruney old harpies who did all their political thinking with their ovaries.
Obama and the thirty-something male bloggers can keep on choosing to not "get" this (we know you get it). We realize exactly how eager you are to "move beyond" this issue. You're making that disturbingly obvious. We also realize why you're in such an all-fired hurry to "move on" to the "more important" issues. We get it. It does not reflect well on you.
The ERA would be a good place to start. I am just a 50-something old woman with the checkbook and address book to prove it. Just saying.
As I go into the Earth, she pierces my heart. As I penetrate further, she unveils me. When I have reached her center I am weeping openly. I have known her all my life, yet she reveals stories to me, and these stories are revelations and I am transformed. Each time I go to her I am born like this. Her renewal washes over me endlessly, her wounds caress me, I become aware of all that has come between us, of the noise between us, the blindness, of something sleeping between us. Now my body reaches out to her. They speak effortlessly and I learn at no instant does she fail me in her presence. She is as delicate as I am, I know her sentience I feel her pain and my own pain comes into me and my own pain grows large and I grasp this pain with my hands, and I open my mouth to this pain, I taste, I know, and I know why she goes on, under great weight, with this great thirst, in drought, in starvation, with intelligence in every act does she survive disaster. This earth is my sister, I love her daily grace, her silent daring and how loved I am how we admire this strength in each other all that we have lost, all that we have suffered, all that we know: we are stunned by this beauty, and I do not forget what she is to me, what I am to her.
~Susan Griffin, in Earth Prayers From Around th World, 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth, ed. Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon, Harper, San Francisco, 1991
As I'm landscaping my yard and planting new plants, replacing old ones, putting up structures, I've been spending more and more time listening to this tiny piece of land. I started doing that because I wanted to let the land tell me about herself, to make sure that what I did was in accord with her desires. What I didn't expect was how much she's been waiting to tell me about myself.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."