Is A Balanced World Possible? by Judith Shaw

Are cruelty, violence and greed written into the human DNA?  Are we destined as a species to continually and for eternity create our world in a hierarchical manner where the privileged few receive almost all of the goods and services while the masses live in slavery of one form or another? 

The historical past coupled with the current trajectory of world events seems to indicate that we are in fact doomed to continue along in this way.  It’s so easy to fall into despair – to turn on our tiny, little screens and disappear into a world of fantasy and denial to ease the pain. 

Yet evidence found in pre-history reveal times and cultures across the globe where more equitable, community oriented systems existed. Many of us Goddess followers know the groundbreaking work of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, whose study of early Neolithic settlements around the Black Sea revealed evidence of goddess worshipping societies with no evidence of hierarchy or warfare.

“A Companion for the Passage” – an older painting of mine inspired by the abundance of Bird Goddess sculptures found throughout Neolithic Old Europe

More recently David Graeber, anthropologist, and David Wengrow, archaeologist have published “The Dawn of Everything, A New History of Humanity,” which recognizes the truth of Gimbutas’s work and takes it even further by looking into the Paleolithic era and finding proof of pre-agricultural societies which both had surplus and functioned without any evidence of hierarchy or warfare. Deep inside I feel that regaining such a culture is possible. It’s just so hard to know how to get there. 

Personally I have come to the conclusion that only by changing our consciousness can we change the world.  Yes action is needed, but first we must address the consciousness that seeds each action. Religion and spirituality are extremely important as they help form our world view. 

Patriarchal religions preach that the physical is bad and spirit is good –  life is something to be transcended – that woman is the root of all evil as physical form is born through her body – Earth is ours to use and dominate. Couple patriarchy with the mechanistic approach to life that introduced the industrial revolution and we find ourselves careening toward an Earth that will not support human civilization as we have known it – perhaps will not support human life at all. And now add to all that the unregulated entrance of AI into our lives. Human beings – our work and our physical human experiences – are becoming less and less needed and available. This is what the consciousness grounded in Patriarchy has brought us. 

Yet I still find hope in the kindness of strangers, the love of friends and family, the majesty of trees, the soothing sounds of rivers and birdsong, the glory of sunrises and sunsets and the splendor of the night sky. 

Our Enchanted Bosque – oil on canvas, 7′ x 6.75′

Following the Goddess Way keeps me deeply connected to Earth and promotes an understanding that life is sacred – all life.  Earth and all her creatures are a small part of a sacred universe. We need not escape this world – we need not transcend the physical. Life on Earth is a manifestation of spirit and is good, meaningful and holy. The Goddess Way is a path to feelings of unity with Earth and all beings, a path which opens us to communicate with the sacred Source of life by taking joy in life and accepting stewardship of Earth

Stories of  Goddess around the world teach us that she encompasses all aspects of life, in all its dualities – female and male, dark and light, night and day, growth and decay. She is the one who calls us to love and protect our Earth, while at the same time she loves and protects us.

She Protects painting by Judith Shaw
She Protects, gouache on paper

Yet her protection does not guarantee constant happiness and safety. Her truth lends us the strength to endure difficult days as we turn with the spiral of life and evolve to a level of greater clarity and love. Her truth is one of the need for balance.

The 5000 year old patriarchal power system has delivered us a world which is extremely out of balance  – one teetering on the edge of chaos and destruction. As difficult as this time of great change is, it helps me to remember the adage –  the old must die for the new to be born. Sometimes the only way to reach the new is to walk through the chaos created by the destruction of the existing way. The Hopi of the American Southwest have a word that describes our condition perfectly  – koyaanisqatsi – “life out of balance” or “a state of life that calls for another way of living.” Our Earth and her inhabitants are crying out loudly for another way of living.  

I recently heard Arundhati Roy, the great Indian author and activist speaking of the two different ways she views the world. Echoing her words I can say – when I envision the world that could be, I am an idealist. But when looking through the lenses of political realities at what the world actually is, I am a cynic. With this understanding that I am a cynical idealist, I keep uppermost in my mind the thought that though winning might not be possible, giving up leads only to despair. Even throughout the long history of Patriarchy and domination by the few, humans everywhere have shown care and compassion for others. When the world feels too hostile for me to endure, I’ll continue taking solace from the beauty of the natural world – from the love of Mother Earth.  

Judith’s new oracle deck, Animal Wisdom Oracle is available.
Experience the wisdom of our animal kin.  Order it here.
The Celtic Goddess Oracle Deck is still available. Order your deck here.

Check out my latest videos exploring myth and story
Boann, Celtic Goddess of Inspiration
Fox and the Moon – an ally for this time

Author: Judith Shaw

Judith Shaw, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has been interested in myth, culture and mystical studies all her life. Not long after graduating from SFAI, while living in Greece, Judith began exploring the Goddess in her art. She continues to be inspired by the Goddess in all of her manifestations, which of course includes the flora and fauna of our beautiful Earth. Judith has exhibited her paintings in New York, San Francisco, Mytilene Greece, Athens Greece, New Orleans, Santa Fe NM, Taos NM, Albuquerque NM, Houston TX and Providence RI. She has published two oracle decks - Celtic Goddess Oracle and Animal Wisdom Oracle and is hard at work on an illustrated fairytale - Elena and the Reindeer Goddess.

6 thoughts on “Is A Balanced World Possible? by Judith Shaw”

  1. I think that the rise of patriarchal religions introduced new human programming, but my former working life as a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist before I retired, taught me that programming can be changed, and maybe at deeper levels than we can imagine. My personal experience has taught me that working with spirituality does indeed change programming in ways that can sometimes appear almost miraculous, creating new outlooks and a feeling that some kind of evolution is happening. Working with the Goddess evokes a kinder, more aware, more responsible, and inclusive masculinity, creating balance in the psyche. Your beautiful artwork, in my opinion, is one way of raising consciousness to help create that balance. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Iona,
      Thanks for sharing your perspective as someone who has worked with human consciousness. It’s wonderful to hear positive reports from the field – that you have witnessed these changes is very inspiring. And thanks for your kind words about my artwork. It’s alway great to hear that it actually has an effect.


  2. Interesting post pondering the question: are humans innately violent and destructive. I believe we are and wish I didn’t… the only animals besides us that kill for fun or torment are apes 99. something shared DNA – and next in line cats with whom we share 90 percent of our DNA…. the rest of nature seems to do quite well without violence unless killing is necessary for survival…When humans lived in small groups as hunter gathering peoples and then as small agricultural communities there were ways in which this violence was mediated that are absent today…. too many people…. with normalized violence a way of life it becomes necessary to separate in order to survive – not healthy or sane – but it’s our reality….. beautiful art work Judith!


    1. Well – it’s a long debated topic isn’t it – are we shaped by biology or by environment. I suspect there is some of both. I take hope by the human cultures that have been and a few that still are non-hierarchical and non-violent. Our current cultural reality is certainly insane and leaves little room for hope for the near future.


  3. Thank you for this post. You raise questions that I have been wondering about for some time. As you write, “giving up leads only to despair”. So, I find ways to nurture my spirit. Thank you also, Sara and Iona for your perspectives.

    I was hoping to read the words you heard Arundhati Roy say recently. Could you post what she said?


    1. Dina,
      Sorry, I guess I crafted that last paragraph poorly. I couldn’t remember verbatim what Arundhati Roy said so I didn’t put the thought in quotes. She basically said what I said about being an idealist and a cynic. I’ll go back t the post and rework that paragraph a bit so that it’s clear. Glad to hear you find ways to nurture your spirit too. It’s so necessary isn’t it.


Please familiarize yourself with our Comment Policy before posting.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: