Saturday, February 18, 2006

Gather the Women

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

In 2006, GTW is hosting congresses on 6 continents, for more details and to join Gather the Women Global Matrix go to

Janet Kane

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

Janet's Planets · P.O. Box 1101 · Greenbelt · MD · 20770

Friday, February 17, 2006

Heading to Zimbabwe

While I think the political structure in Vernon, California is precisely where today’s Republican Party wants to lead our country, apparently the social structure they’re driving us towards looks more like Zimbabwe. CNN is reporting that: “The corpses of at least 20 newborn babies and fetuses are found each week in the sewers of Zimbabwe's capital, some having been flushed down toilets, Harare city authorities said, according to state media Friday.” The CNN article makes clear that these are “illegal abortions.”

This simply demonstrates a point I find myself making all the time on the subject of abortion. CRIMINALIZING ABORTION DOES NOT PREVENT ABORTION. IT DRIVES IT INTO BACK ALLEYS (AND APPARENTLY BATHROOMS AND SEWERS) BUT IT DOES NOT PREVENT IT. So one has to ask oneself why some Americans are so desperate to criminalize abortion. It sure isn’t because criminalizing abortion will prevent abortions. I’m sure once Roberts and Alito overturn Roe v. Wade (and, don’t kid yourself; they are going to overturn it), Republicans will express shock at newborn babies and fetuses in American sewers. But that’s exactly where we’re headed.

A second point this article demonstrates is that if you criminalize abortion and make it difficult to obtain, you get infanticide. We’re headed here, too. Again, I expect the nice suburban Republicans who voted for Bush will be horrified. They shouldn’t be. Infanticide is and was a predictable consequence of their actions. Maybe they prefer it to abortion; I don’t.

The article goes on to explain that: “Acute shortages of revenue and gasoline in the nation's worst economic crisis since independence in 1980 have crippled public utilities and garbage collection services across Zimbabwe. Hospital fees and charges for scarce medicines have soared. Church and charity groups blame economic hardships for an increase in illegal back-street abortions.” This demonstrates a third point I’ve often made. The lack of a safety net and poor economic policies increase the number of abortions -- legal or illegal. People who can’t afford to feed the children they’ve got are more likely to abort than people who know they’ll have the resources they need.

No one in their right mind believes that providing obscene tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while cutting the social safety net can lead to anything but more abortions. No one in their right mind believes that economic policies based upon borrowing exorbitant sums from China to finance a vanity war can lead to anything but more abortions. Bush and his Supreme Court picks are leading us closer and closer to the same conditions that Zimbabwe is experiencing: acute shortages of revenue and gasoline, soaring hospital fees and charges for scarce medicine, economic hardship -- and increased abortions and infanticide.

Culture of life my ass.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Love in Hiding from the Soul; the Soul Determined to Gaze Upon Love

Just before the full moon on the 13th, I was a part of a ritual based on the myth of Psych and Eros. It's an interesting relationship, the one between our Soul and our Love, isn't it?

Almost immediately, I began to have VERY INTERESTING DREAMS. You know, the kind that you remember easily, that keep coming back to you throughout the day, more as a feeling than anything else. There were two general themes to these dreams.

In some of them, I'm in the middle of a move related to renovations to my workplace and I'm having to deal with stuff all over the place, records left in inconvenient places, spreadsheets left by the former occupant that will have to be moved before I can be effective in this new space. I'm still puzzling quite a bit over what these dreams mean. I have no intention of changing jobs and although we recently went through some renovations, they didn't inconvenience me at all and, in fact, resulted in my moving to a larger, nicer office. So, whatever they're about, I think they're not about my work, but I may be mistaken.

In the second set of dreams, I'm downstairs in the basement of my house. Sometimes, it's a new house I've just acquired and I am getting my first chance to explore the basement. It's lovelier than I could have imagined, with richly-patterned wallpaper all over the place and a secret courtyard with a fountain in the rain. What you have to know is that I love fountains better than almost anything else in the world and that fountains in the rain are a sign to me of divine grace. They're so amazingly redundant. A watery planet with water that is used to decorate and delight, water shooting into the air, and water falling down from the sky. As above, so below and as below, so above. So finding a courtyard in my own basement with a fountain in the rain is like finding, well, like finding out that the world is really wonderful, after all. Sometimes, I'm in the basement of my real own home and everything's safe and I hear THE BAD SCARY NOISE upstairs. I immediately go up, even though I'm scared and I wake myself up saying, "There's no need to be evil; there's no need to go to evil."

What's funny, is that I've been a casual student of Jung for years, and it wasn't until today that I realized, "Duh. Basement: subconscious. Upstairs: conscious. Duh." So, I'm still puzzling out what I'm trying to tell myself, but I think I may be one step closer. Do you record your dreams? Do you have dreams that reoccur? Have you ever learned something about yourself from a dream?

One final note. I took a class a few months ago from a teacher who mentioned that one of his teachers had told him to try to focus on his hands in his dreams. Ever since then, I've been trying, with no success so far, to notice my hands in my dreams. But I have reached the point that as soon as I wake up from a dream, I notice my hands. Can you give yourself an instruction while you're awake and carry it out in your dreams? Dreams are so full of our fears. Do dreams have anything to do with thriving?

Really, Officer, I Only Had One or Two Beers

So now Cheney admits that he had one or two beers before shooting the crap out of the rich donor that he went "hunting" with. Every cop in the world knows what that means. It means he was drunk as a lord.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Many Happy Returns of the Day!

Today is my daughter-in-law's birthday and, although she is one of the most active people I know, she's spending her birthday on bed rest in order to help my grandchild be born at the right time. My daughter-in-law is smart, funny, gorgeous, brave, down-to-earth, kind, inquisitive, understanding, open-minded, and one of the best prosecutors in the business. She makes my son incredibly happy and she's going to be an amazing mom. One of the luckiest days of my life was the day she said, "Yes" to my son's proposal and became a member of our family.

Leave a note for her in Comments. She could use a bit of cheering up!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Crystal Moment

The broohaha over Cheney's "hunting" accident has had me thinking all day about real hunters. About people for whom the success or failure of a hunt could mean the difference between life and death. About the animals who are killed so that we might live. Again, fear is all tangled up with thriving in a very interesting dance. Those thoughts sent me hunting for a poem I'd copied down years and years ago, in fact, on April 30, 1987, according to the journal that I finally dug up this evening. Here's Robert P. Tristram Coffin's poem, Crystal Moment:

Crystal Moment

Once or twice this side of death
Things can make one hold his breath.

From my boyhood I remember
A crystal moment of September.

A wooded island rang with sounds
Of church bells in the throats of hounds.

A buck leaped out and took the tide
With jewels flowing past each side.

With his head high like a tree
He swam within a yard of me.

I saw the golden drop of light
In his eyes turned dark with fright.

I saw the forest's holiness
On him like a fierce caress.

Fear made him lovely past belief,
My heart was trembling like a leaf.

He leans towards the land and life
With need above him like a knife.

In his wake the hot hounds churned
They stretched their muzzles out and yearned.

They bayed no more, but swam and throbbed
Hunger drove them till they sobbed.

Pursued, pursuers reached the shore
And vanished. I saw nothing more.

So they passed, a pageant such
As only gods could witness much,

Life and death upon one tether
And running beautiful together.

Whatever Cheney was doing on that "ranch" in Texas, it didn't have anything to do with this.

A Little Protestant Work Ethic, Please?

You know, I've spent more of my life than I care to admit at work. When a client of mine is in trouble, I figure it's my job to do everything I possibly can to help. I've slept at the office in order to be sure to be there the next day in spite of snow in order to file a pleading. I've worked all the way through the night and into the next day in order to make sure I'd read every case that needed to be read. The joke in my office on Friday is that it's only two more work days until Monday.

So, as res ipsa noted over at Eschaton, I find it incredibly puzzling that Bush and, now, more to the point, Cheney take so much time off to go hunting and fishing and shit. Last week, Heckovajob Brownie told us that he tried to tell Bush that Hurricane Katrina was going to be a nightmare, but Bush was off fishing when Brownie called and never got back to him. Course, the VP was on vacation AT THE SAME TIME. That's weird, because I always coordinate vacations with the people who work for me so that we're not all gone at the same time. And, in case you've forgotten, which, under the circumstances would be pretty understandable, Cheney is in charge of rebuilding New Orleans. Last I heard, New Orleans is still pretty fucked up.

So why did Cheney take this weekend to fly half-way across the country to, no, not New Orleans, but to some rich bitch's "ranch" in Texas to shoot at birds who were raised and uncaged for that specific purpose?

America is in trouble, yo! There are sick troops at Walter Reed who could stand to have the VP's big black SUV pull up and take them out for dinner at the Palm. There are homeless people who won't be able to move back to New Orleans for months. We've got a budget deficit that my great grandchildren will be cursing us for and, in case Cheney hasn't noticed, he and Bush are not real popular at the moment.

Look, clearly Cheney was drunk and his SS protected him from the local law guys -- let's all say Cheneyquiddick and chuckle. And Cheney has a spokesperson who should have talked to the press rather than leaving the rich bitch to do it. And, yeah, apparently Cheney's now officially too old and feeble to be out "hunting" even caged birds.

But I want to know why the hell these guys are always fiddling while Rome burns? You're only the Vice President of the United States of America for, at most, eight years. Maybe you could try working once in a while?