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.
10 thoughts on “The Ninth Touchstone: Repair the Web by Carol P. Christ”
Thanks, Carol, for another inspiring post. Who all will be at the Parl. of World Religions? Is there some way we can find a time to get together?
Judith, I am hoping the Ariadne sisters can meet for a meal. If you have my email, send me a note. Carol
So wise!! Thank you.
Congratulations on your keynote address! I hope you will share that when the time comes. Thanks so much for this series on the touchstones. It’s so important that we have a positive vision to move towards and these touchstones are a wonderful guide not only for individuals but for societies as we work for our common goal of a sustainable, peaceful, just world.
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Every time I read these nine touchstones I feel like they express universal truth and are in themselves a kind of completion. This year I will incorporate them into my fall ritual. With the season of light upon us as the equinox approaches (in New Mexico fall and winter are the seasons of light – the colors and shadows are breathtaking) repairing the web seems to be a good place to put our energy… as a naturalist I am keenly aware of how much more difficult this has become with Climate Change bearing down upon us…. we are losing so many species. I am asking myself HOW I can go about changing the trajectory that we are on or even if it’s possible at this point. For the equinox I am putting this question out there… I want so much to be a part of the solution as well as being locked into being part of the problem (for example I drive a car and will be burning wood for heat contributing to air pollution on a regular basis)…
AND PLEASE DO SHARE THAT KEYNOTE ADDRESS WITH US CAROL – PLEASE!
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Brava! We do indeed and more than ever need to repair the web, not only the web of people, but also the web of all living beings and the web of the natural world, especially because the Abuser-in-Chief doesn’t believe in climate change which mankind is making happen and because the web of the natural world is being destroyed. Thanks again for the reminder than we can indeed repair the web by being respectful of it and living carefully.
And, yes, please share your keynote address with us.
I’m also hoping to read your address, Carol.
This time, when I read: “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.” the words “in good ways” came to life for me and seem full of energy.
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Agree with all of the above. So happy to hear of your talk to this powerful conference in Toronto! Yes, we need to talk WITH each other about these deep truths. Thanks.
I believe, and teach, a 10th Touchstone that is, in many ways, an outgrowth of the 9th. And that is, by whichever name we call the holy energy, it is a combined masculine/feminine energy as is all of nature, human, plant, animal. God Father/Mother is how I bless; and sometimes, God Mother/Father. Like the Kabbalah’s tree of life, there are two pillars, the masculine and the feminine, that meld and meet in the center.
I do not use these terms because I do not divide character traits or abilities by gender. https://feminismandreligion.com/2015/05/18/what-if-divine-feminine-and-divine-masculine-are-not-oppositional-categories-by-carol-p-christ/
I will be speaking about this as well in Toronto.