Like many other thousands of Americans, I watched the newest offering from the Star Wars legacy last autumn and was re-inspired to be an active part of the rebellion against oppression. Viewing the movie through my feminist lens I was cheered on by the choice of actors and actresses in lead roles and was reminded of Margaret Mead’s famous quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
It may be easy to compare the new president to Lord Vader because he is an easy target who encourages mockery and ridicule. However, tyranny, violence, and power trips have long been a part of world societies, for centuries. It is as evident as ever that we must continue to stand against such debilitating realities. We must stand together.
And, like millions of other people across the world, I had the privilege to participate in a Sister March to the Women’s March on Washington; shoulder to shoulder with passionate and caring people determined to make a difference. The experience generated feelings of elation, hope, and unity. I was most impressed by the kindness radiating from every person I came in contact with. Even though spaces were packed with people the overall atmosphere was conscientious, polite, and caring. Peaceful activism is critical to progress.
I also listened intently to the speeches made at the marches; especially by the women well known in popular culture. Gloria Steinem, a cornerstone of the modern feminist movement, spoke words that I believe reflect the change in values that I visualize in the form of a river current. “God may be in the details, but the Goddess is in connections. We are at one with each other, we are looking at each other, not up.” Women’s work is the creation of the web; the tapestry of connections between us all and the building of momentum in the stream bed.
I must note, at this point, that I refuse to use the word fight when engaging in rebellious acts. Fight and fighting are and always will be action incubated in violence. Violence is one of the many cruel and repressive traits of the Patriarchy used intentionally to disrupt, distract, and derail us from continuing the work that must be done. This decision to reject a very common word is an intentional act of rebellion and was partially generated from my experience working in California public schools, in both urban and rural environments, for over 15 years.
I also consider this career path an act of rebellion. Outrageous working conditions, union power struggles, and institutional norms created a structure absolutely not designed or ever intended to foster student success for every child. Observing oppression based on race, gender, and poverty has taken a tremendous personal toll. Experiencing the loss, grief, and trauma related to violence has had a lasting impact, so much so, that I insist on propagating peace.
Please don’t mistake my statement as ignorant or shallow. I am a 6 feet tall redhead who excelled in collegiate athletics. I hike, swim, dance, and climb tall mountains on a regular basis. I fully embody the female warrior archetype. I am fierce and recognize the need for every person to express their gender in any way they choose appropriate. I work with teen girls building self-esteem and gaining awareness of global women’s issues and I coach the local high school varsity volleyball team. I wrote a master’s thesis on the Dark Goddess and fully recognize the need for powerful solutions. I am not encouraging a meek or subservient approach by any means. I am advancing other ways of knowing and encourage activism grounded in peace.
From these years of very hard work I learned early on how important it was to find activities that returned energy to the internal wellspring. I found women’s circles focused on art, herbalism, and mysticism. I was drawn to and driven by Goddess spirituality where I learned about circle governance, witnessing and listening to every voice, and infusing every act with a sense of the sacred. I learned about alternative healing modalities, intentional creativity, and cultivated a deep reverence for the Divine Feminine, especially Mother Earth, and recognized how important it is to find a sisterhood of support. I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Women’s Spirituality with a Creative Expression specialization. I know these as acts of the rebel.
Through and supported by the Intentional Creativity movement I paint images of the Divine Feminine. I deeply believe that all have the right to see faces of the feminine in their rightful place as sacred. The image included here, Origin Story, shows the energetic connection between the ancient goddess, a figure found in the archaeological record, with a creation goddess holding the cauldron of creativity. The energy they are creating together generates abundance, magic and sparkle; devices that will make our world a better place. Western culture as a whole strongly relates to the Christian origin story however there are many beautiful creation stories found in the records of world mythology and I encourage you to find the one that suits you best.
I continue to be inspired by the work of phenomenal women who forged a path despite many challenges. I have witnessed the personal and collective transformation that comes from such acts of resistance. I have experienced the ripple effect of peace and positivity on families and communities that resulted from such transformation. I am encouraging you to bond with the collective and be a part of the resistance. Join or create a women’s circle, track the cycles of the moon, plant flowers, ask questions, create art, participate in a peace march, help somebody in need, and get really radical by using the word Goddess when referring to the Divine. These are formidable deeds of the revolution that will change the world.
Jessica Bowman holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology, a Master’s Degree in Women’s Spirituality and Creative Expression as well as California Single Subject Teaching Credentials in Social Science and English and Administrative Service Credentials. She is an Associate Superintendent for a rural high school district focusing on support for underrepresented students. Jessica is also an artist, healer, and seeker. She is a doctoral student at the California Institute of Integral Studies researching Social Justice and the application of Goddess Consciousness as a Women’s Leadership Model. For more information on some of her work please see http://www.creativityandthedivinefeminine.com and http://www.magicalapothecary.com