As I reflected on the Nine Touchstones again recently, I was pleased to discover that the first and the eighth touchstones are articulations of the central values of egalitarian matriarchal societies. Few of us live today in egalitarian matriarchies, and it would not be possible for all of us to return to cultivating the land. I offer the Nine Touchstones in the hope that they can help us to find a way to express and embody the values of egalitarian matriarchal cultures in the modern world. The touchstones are intended to inform all our relationships, personal, communal, social, and political.
Walk in love and beauty.
Trust the knowledge that comes through the body.
Speak the truth about conflict, pain, and suffering.
Take only what you need.
Think about the consequences of your actions for seven generations.
Approach the taking of life with great restraint.
Practice great generosity.
Repair the web
The ninth touchstone is based on the Jewish “commandment” to repair the world. It is derived from the mystical tradition in which prayers were directed towards reuniting the broken sherds that became the created world with their transcendent source. It was reinterpreted by liberal Jews in America as a commandment to create justice in this world through social and political action. I rephrase it as “Repair the web,” to underscore to the need to repair not only the human community, but also the web of life in which it is situated.
To nurture life is to protect the weak and the vulnerable and to create the conditions in which human beings and all beings can experience the joy of living.
To walk in love and beauty is to love yourself, other human beings, and all beings in the web of life, and to appreciate the beauty that is found in all of our diversity and difference.
To speak the truth about conflict, pain, and suffering is to recognize that everything is not love and light in the modern world: to speak the truth about that which is broken is the path to healing.
To take only what you need is to recognize the interdependence of life: when we take more than we need, we take from others without reason.
To think about the consequences of your actions for seven generations is to recognize that what we do today will affect the next generations and the planet as a whole, in good ways, and in bad.
To approach the taking of life with great restraint is to think about what we eat, never to kill unnecessarily, and not to react with violence when there are other ways to resolve conflict.
To practice great generosity is to recognize that none of us has the God-given right to own anything, and to learn to give and receive in the grace of life.
To repair the web is to always act to create a better life for ourselves, for the next generations, and for the species with which we share life this earth.
The Nine Touchstones help us to imagine the way to a better world. Can we join together to create it?
*Parts of this blog will be included in my keynote address at The Parliament of World Religions on November 5, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.
*Also see: Ethics of Goddess Religion: Healing the World , Nurture Life: Ethics of Goddess Spirituality, Walk in Love and Beauty: A Touchstone for Healing, Trust the Knowledge that Comes through the Body: Heal Yourself, Heal the World, Speak the Truth About Conflict, Pain, and Suffering, Take Only What You Need, Think About the Consequences of Your Actions for Seven Generations, Approach the Taking of Life with Great Restraint, Practice Great Generosity
Carol P. Christ is an internationally known feminist writer, activist, and educator currently living in Lasithi Prefecture, Crete. Carol’s recent book written with Judith Plaskow, Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology, is on Amazon. A Serpentine Path: Mysteries of the Goddess is on sale for $9.99 on Amazon. Carol has been leading Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete for over twenty years: join her in Crete. Carol’s photo by Michael Bakas. Carol will be speaking at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Re-Imagining Conference at Hamline College in St. Paul Minnesota on November 1 and 3 and at the Parliament of World Religions in Toronto, Canada on November 5.