I am mad by Mama Donna Henes


Donna Henes, Urban Shaman, Queen of my self, crones,

I am mad. So very mad. No, that doesn’t begin to describe it. I am pissed. I am angry. I am irate. I am incensed. I am outraged. I am enraged. I am livid. I am GODDESS DAMN FURIOUS.

“All men are created equal,” states the Declaration of Independence. From the very beginning, women were denied equality in this country. It has taken over two centuries for women to win the right to vote, to have alleged protection under the law, to earn as much as 68 and 77 cents on the dollar (depending on our skin color) that men are paid, and to gain control over our own bodies and destinies.

And now, nearly 250 years later, we are seeing our rights, our freedoms, our health care being stripped away, one by one, by mean spirited, misogynistic, right wing religious uber-conservatives. In 2015 there is still no Equal Rights Amendment. Women are still not equal under the law.

angerOf course I am angry! How can I not be? I am not angry only about the injustice perpetrated upon women in this country, but also all the women everywhere in the world who are abused, exploited, enslaved, brutalized and murdered – untold thousands as newborns – simply because they are female. Better believe I am angry. Aren’t you?

My anger is far-reaching and inclusive. Every virulent expression – be it verbal, physical, cultural, political, or armed – of religious hatred, xenophobia, racism, classism, ageism, homophobia sets my teeth on edge. As does witnessing shockingly common displays that range from disregard to disrespect to downright mean, nasty disdain directed at folks with abundant body fat or those who are differently abled.

Every fracking pipeline, oil spill, contaminated river, felled forest, wild fire, melting iceberg, radiation leak, gmo apple, dead bee, poached animal, endangered species, and cancer patient, stirs my wrath. Every hungry, homeless, terrified, traumatized refugee and GI incites my furious, protective tiger mother ire.

My partner often questions why I watch the news if it makes me so mad. Because it is important for me to know what is going on around me. I do not want to be deaf and blind to ignorance or violence, even if the shrill blare and horrendous images are painful. I want to feel that pain, to feel part of that pain. I want to accept any culpability on my part for perpetuating pain and peril through disregard, denial, laziness or depression. Depression is the flip side of anger.

“Anger is energizing. The opposite of anger is depression, which is anger turned inward.”
– Gloria Steinem

Women are uncomfortable with anger. We are frightened of anger directed at us for very real reasons. But we are most scared of our own anger. We have been raised to be good girls, after all. To be sugar and spice and everything nice. Yeah, right.

Anger is a natural emotion and needs to be honored and expressed, lest it eat us up from the inside. Anger contains a huge amount of energy, which can be converted to powerful creativity, positive purpose, and proactive change.

I think of  my anger as righteous indignation. It spurs me to react, to respond, to resist, to rebel. My fury is the fuel that fires my fiercely impassioned efforts toward the defense of Mother Earth and all of Her exquisite creations and creatures.

Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned, but women standing together side by side, autonomous, proud, and empowered can create heaven on Earth!

“There will be no heaven unless we make it.”
– Florence Nightingale

photographer unknown

photographer unknown

Donna Henes, Urban Shaman, has been a contemporary ceremonialist for 40 years. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately known, is the award-winning author of The Queen of My Self, The Moon Watcher’s Companion, Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles, and Celebrations, Dressing Our Wounds In Warm Clothes andMoon Watcher’s Companion, as well as the CD, Reverence To Her: Mythology, the Matriarchy, & Me. She is also a columnist for The Huffington Post, UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum, and Beliefnet. In addition to teaching and lecturing worldwide, she maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, New York, Mama Donna’s Tea Garden And Healing Haven, where she offers intuitive tarot readings and spiritual counseling, and works with individuals and groups to create personally relevant rituals for all of life’s transitions. She can be reached at cityshaman@aol.com.

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Categories: Embodiment, General, Goddess Movement, Goddess Spirituality, In the News, Politics, Women's Spirituality

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16 replies

  1. This resonates so much for me. Yes, we can’t look away, have to be witnesses, have to act for change. Bless you.

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  2. Most of all, I am angry at war. Underneath anger there is often sadness. My heart is aching for all that we cannot save.

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    • War makes me angry as well. We (humans) think of war as a necessity. We sustain that “truth” (at least partially) by tapping into the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. There needs to be a scapegoat–those who suffer and die either in battle or as a consequence of such–because those who wield the sword are behaving “righteously”–often in the name of a deity.

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    • How we respond to sadness is often culturally conditioned. For women, being outwardly sad and despairing is “acceptable”, whereas in many patriarchal societies this kind of emotional display is not acceptable for men. These men will manifest their sadness as anger.

      I don’t agree with the Gloria Steinem quote that “anger is the opposite of depression” . Anger or apathy or irritability or feelings of guilt/shame/worthlessness or nihilism can all be different responses to depression.

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    • Sometimes when I’m very happy, there are tears, and that’s something I think mostly only women share. But why?

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  3. Brava, brava, brava! Donna, we all know that righeous anger can lead to change. Let us pray to Kali and all other strong goddesses for change to happen. I’m really glad this blog got posted so soon!

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  4. Yes, you speak the truth, Mama Donna. It is time for women to unite and clean up the mess that has been created by men.

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  5. I’m right there with you. I feel angry so much of the time. How dare the patriarchy destroy our world, harm our bodies, oppress our people. Oh yes, many reasons for angry. Sadness can lead to anger and anger can lead to action.

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  6. I started doing research on the ancient goddess religions, rereading books I had read years ago. These modern horrors will never cease as long as patriarchy and patriarchal religions prevail. The fact that this is still with us is certainly evident in all the outrage and obsession over the “adultery website”. What a repressed, male dominated society we live in!! War, fear of free women, and power struggles are the result.

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  7. Thank you for this post and for raising the discussion about anger. While wanting to affirm anger as an emotion to be expressed and listened to and responded to, and as an emotion that can be a catalyst for change, could I ask that we, as a community, consider the use (common in society) of the word ‘mad’. For those with mental health challenges this is a problematic word and use of it can produce alienation and fear. I don’t want at all to take away from the content of the contribution, but to use this example of the common word usage to request consideration of that word and how it affects us.
    Thank you

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    • Hmmm. I honestly never thought of the other use of mad as in “madness.” Thanks for that observation. I wonder whether the term “madness” is used to describe men. It seems most often to refer to women. Maybe that stems from the patriarchal dismissal and disapproval of women’s authentic anger?

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  8. I live the anger. I once thought: if all women’s pain and anger, all over the world, can be put together in once continuum, the whole earth could be blown to smithereens by it.

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