“It’s like feminist summer camp, except it’s in February,” said Shaina, the director, “I’m not sure how to re-enter the world.”
I agreed. How to re-enter the world where vaginas have little voice? Where asking a woman what her vagina would wear does not make sense. Or what would it say? It’s not just what would it say, it’s not having a voice at all. My vagina.
I have performed in West Hollywood, California’s production of the Vagina Monologues (to benefit Planned Parenthood, check it out here and here) for the past three years. This year we raised over $5,000.
I have done several classic monologues from the production but this year I did a piece not often performed, but part of the canon on “revolution.” “My revolution begins in the body, “I started with.
Half way through I cried and dropped to my knees, “I fall on my knees to every sacred thing. To every holy thing.”
I said my revolution did not need “permission “ or “approval.” I recited the names of trees– Oak, Banyan, and others and the listing of the trees cast a spell over me. I could feel it—an actual spell.
The world is Mother. Her great vagina births us here.
I bowed my head in the monologue to, ”every shocking yellow bird,” “aqua sea” and ”purple bougainvillea.”
As I talked about drilling and fracking as violating all these sacred things, as violating “every sacred thing.” I could feel the Earth, our Mother challenging us. This is where I am from, where we all are from, the Earth. Our Mother.
As a witch I chant often. The Earth, the water, the fire, the air, return return return return
I lay down in front of my first nuclear power plant when I was 15. I lay in front of my first abortion clinic to keep it open in my early 20s, and in my later twenties in front of a porn theater showing Deep Throat to close it (because we knew off camera Linda Lovelace was held at gun point).
I lay in front of freeway traffic to stop it and call attention to the need for AIDS funding, and I sat in the street to get gay marriage rights. I have sat, and lay down, and marched, and chanted.
My body is my revolution — as a living tool.
We all come from the Mother and to her we shall return.. like a drop of rain flowing to the ocean.
I believe in magic, I believe in women, I believe in the power of the elements. I believe in saving all of what can be saved. I believe in this journey we are all taking on this spinning planet. In this time of spring we ask for renewal, we ask for growth, we ask the last line of the play that I was recently in—we ask, “Go ahead–love.”
It is about loving each other, this planet. In the play I said I kiss the feet of all those who care for the lives of those on the planet—the sisters, nannies, mothers, healers, servers, cleaners… Drop to your knees in the wonder of it all.
The great conceptual artist Barbara Kruger has a famous piece with the text, “It’s a small world—unless you have to clean it.”
I’d add, “It’s a small world—unless you have to love it.” How do we love it all?
Imagine the magnitude of such love. All of it. The people and mountains and oceans, all five of them, the 79% that is ocean, and the rest of it, the caverns and caves, the land, our breath and our hearts beating over and over again. The earth. The water. The fire. The air.
This is our mother. Our birthright. Go ahead- I issue this challenge to the FAR community and beyond, the challenge in the monologue to the audience. Go ahead—love. Love it all—the wonder and magic of the vagina, the birth, the mother, the young, the old, the life lived.
Hold each others hands as we spin on the planet. We are all each others’ sisters. Each others’ brothers. We are all children and parents; we are children of whatever God, but certainly the God of our beloved planet.
Decorative pear, flowering pear, pine, fig, avocado, ivy, bougainvillea, rose…I say what is in front of me, in my own backyard. In pagan circles when someone dies we say, “Say her name so we remember her.”
So that she may live. So that she may yet live.
Go to your own somewhere and chant her name—whatever is in front of you. Re-member her, while we can, while we can kneel in front of every sacred thing. Every holy thing. As you chant, say her name so we re-member her, so we re-member all of it. All of it.
The great feminist philosopher Mary Daly said, we do not need to re-search, we need to re-member. Re- attach ourselves to our lives.
Re-member whale, dolphin, octopus, sea star, then crab, then gull, then hawk then grass and small white flowers, then breath, and scent and giggle and sob and all of it. All of it. Re-member.
Go ahead- love.
Marie Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine.