For almost 35 years nature has been my sacred place. As an 8-year old, I started to pray to Mother Earth even though the protestant tradition in which I grew up only recognised ‘God the Father’. I went outside in my inflatable rowing boat to seek solitude (as an only child in a quiet family!) on a small island in the lake of our local park. I practised rowing and walking quietly to not break the sacred silence. I collected herbs to brew infusions in my little thermos flask with boiled water brought from home. I sung to the moon, and danced my love for all creation back through my moving body. Over the last 15 or so years, I spent many days and nights at Neolithic monuments, dreaming in ancestral burial mounds, time traveling in stone circles in Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, England, Ireland and Brittany. This nature-based practice evolved naturally, and later incorporated my training with the Scandinavian Centre for Shamanic Studies and the School of Movement Medicine. Nature is where I reconnect most easily with the Sacred, and listen to the whispers on the great web of life in which all of nature is a great teacher. Nature, for me, is a strong place of prayer, solace, awe, reverence, gratitude, joy, guidance, reconnection, healing and transformation.
The new podcast seriesThe Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling is a deep dive into some of the most contentious ideological conflicts of our age through the experience of the world’s most successful author, a woman who has been vilified and physically threatened and whose books have been burned by both right-wing Christians and, more recently, by her detractors on the liberal and progressive left.
The image of the baby born under the rubble of the earthquake in Syria has been haunting me. So has the image in my mind of her mother, giving birth to her baby while trapped after the building, where she, her husband, and their children were sleeping, collapsed. The baby’s uncle, when digging through the debris hoping to reach his brother and family, found the baby alive, her umbilical cord still attached to her mother. When he cut the cord, the baby let out a cry. Tragically, her mother had died after giving birth, as had her father and siblings.
In my recent post ‘Forty Days After Childbirth, Mary Returns to the World,’ I wrote that ‘the woman’s power to bless and protect, as well as to create, is shown in the symbol of her hand.’ We see expressions of this power in the Orthodox Christian icon of the Three-Handed Madonna, whose third hand is over her womb, and the Hamsa, the hand-shaped talisman common to Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. Also known as the Hand of Fatima, Miriam, or Mary, the Hamsa often incorporates eye or vulva motifs, which also offer protection.
Hand, womb, and eye all signify female creative power, personified in the image of Goddess and revered in Neolithic Old Europe. This life-giving principle is expressed in many ways apart from childbearing: as Carol Christ affirms, early technologies of spinning, weaving, pottery, and agriculture, along with Neolithic religion, were most likely invented by women.
A year or so before the November 2020 U.S. presidential election, a private Facebook group now titled “Wives of the Deplorables! Go Vote!” came together because many women were distraught about the political ideological rift between them and their husbands—a rift that became more evident as Election Day 2020 drew nigh. Women, stunned and disappointed by the Trump-like behavior (angry, petty, and argumentative) of their Trump-supporting husbands or partners, encouraged each other virtually as Biden (now President-elect) moved closer and closer to winning the White House.
From the group’s private Facebook page: “This is a group created after a CNN report about the wives of Trump Supporters. This is not a politically affiliated group….This females only group is created to support each other and help women share their thoughts.”My sister Betty joined the group. Her Trump-supporting husband, she said, had been brainwashed by Fox News. One need not have a Trumpster spouse to be part of the group, but one must be supportive of the members who are upset, even devastated, by having become the target of their partner’s anger and rage when they discover “their women” voted (or planned to vote) for Biden. Thanks to her invitation to join the group, I have been able to get a glimpse into the lives of these 2,000 or so members who feel demeaned—and yes, even hated, by their spouses. The group remains active post-Election.
Part 1 was posted on December 18. You can read it here.
But what was the straw that broke the camel’s back in my case? What hurled me into that dark abyss I described earlier? The paranoia, the anxiety, the nightmares and sleeplessness. Not opening my closet in three years or not caring about much of anything. The fear of being alone in a place or in a crowd of strangers. Fear of going to unfamiliar places. Of driving myself across town. Did it start with the collective trauma and abuse mentioned earlier? I can’t be sure, but therapy definitely points to my attack by an inebriated young woman wielding a stun gun. She looked to be college age. One would never have guessed her capable of such a senseless assault. I told few people about it but it was years before I realized how that event stifled my voice. Yet “they” – the authorities in society – say if we don’t talk about assault right away it must not be true. Or we’ve waited too long to talk. They want us to talk on their timetable about damage done to us when there might not be visible wounds or we even understand the psychological scars that might not have surfaced yet. It was a few years after the attack that I finally sought the help of a therapist and was diagnosed with the PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder that changed my life.
I considered myself savvy and educated and an advocate for peace, fairness and equality. I thought abuse was something that happened to others, not me. But it was happening to me. It had happened to me and I didn’t see the danger signs as my life careened off the road. I became aware abuse and the resulting trauma can happen to anyone. I came to realize we have to examine all aspects of our lives for both blatant and insidious abuse. We must recognize it and take steps to eradicate abuse from our lives and society. That’s where I’ve been on for the last five years and I’m only now able to begin to share that journey. To write a new book, Normalizing Abuse, and bring my radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine, back on the air after a long hiatus.
If you knew me before my unraveling, you might remember I was the hostess of the Voices of the Sacred Feminine podcast for more than a decade where I had the privilege of interviewing some of the most prominent thought leaders in spirituality, politics and academia. I’d published six books, gave talks at the Parliament of World Religions, the Academy of Religion and various other public and private associations. I had done dozens of interviews and was all over YouTube. I was out there and then gradually I wasn’t. I faded away and became a shadow of my former self. And for a time I don’t think I cared if I ever came back. I had no motivation or inspiration. I didn’t open my closet for three years. I didn’t care if I bathed or brushed my teeth. I was dreaming someone was trying to push me into a dark hole in the wall of a building. I’d hear floorboards creaking and feared the foundation of the house I was living in would collapse. I’d wake up with heart palpitations because the latest dream was one where our home had no ceiling or roof. I’d think cars slowly driving by my house were surveillance.
This post started as a comment to Annie Finch’s part 1 of Abortion As A Sacrament post. Realizing it was a story that was getting too long, I’m sharing it here as a reiteration of the practical significance of ritual, and finding our way through the no-longer-charted territories of being a female human — in the sense that if we were a female of any other animal form, we would still know exactly how to navigate all the challenges.
I had a years-long pregnancy-related experience in which ritual was the only thing to finally bringing closure, though the real issue was more the other being’s feelings or intent than mine. About a year after the birth of my only child, still nursing full time and using what should have been sufficient birth control, I became pregnant and aborted at Planned Parenthood. I had been well along, not having suspected anything because my menses hadn’t yet returned.
At the time, there was no debate in my mind, if I had added another responsibility to my already excessive load, I would have failed at everything, the most important being my daughter.
One of my oldest friends who I met when I was eight years old reached out to me the other day saying that if there was ever anything she could do, please let her know. She lives in another state far away but is a subscriber to one of my blogs so she has been aware of the various things going on in my life (second divorce, so many changes and transitions in my life yet again, etc.)
Her note said if there was ever anything she could do to help, just let her know.
And I thought to myself: hmmmmmm.
You see I just put a new feature on my app where it emails local events to local users, and one of the first steps in getting this to work is having those local events on the app. So I asked her if she would mind helping me put local events on the app.
We had not actually talked in a long time, and when we had a zoom call to discuss this, I broke down crying.
I felt the pity from her. I also saw just how far I had departed from ‘normal.’
The phrase, “separation of church and state,” crops up frequently in conversation these days. I hear it most often when someone wants to clinch their argument on a politicized subject. Lately, it’s been concerning one’s “right” to an abortion. “It doesn’t matter what your church says, we have separation of church and state in this country.” That phrase, though, is not in the Constitution. It was Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) who paraphrased the Constitution in a letter to the Danbury Baptists, “…building a wall of separation between church and state.”
The first part of the 1st amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” All manner of questions have been raised with this statement. What does it mean to establish a religion? What is religion? Is religion something intrinsically good? Most Americans think of religion in terms of God. What/who is God?
As a spiritual person, I am fascinated with women’s experience of the sacred. We women, for the past five-thousand years of patriarchy, have been side-lined and marginalized by every established religion in the world. But in every age, there have been women who have heroically rebelled against this patriarchal stranglehold to claim their authentic spiritual experience. Often it has involved looking within rather than without for spiritual guidance.
Thus far in my essay series, A Visionary History of Women, I’ve discussed Hildegard of Bingen and Margery Kempe who carved out their own woman-centered paths as mystics.
But what about women whose mystical experiences fell outside of the parameters of any organized religion?
One of the most important texts I have ever read was J. Kelly Gadol’s essay, “Did Women Have a Renaissance?” She points out that while elite European men were experiencing a Renaissance, women’s rights and lifestyle choices were becoming increasingly constricted during this period. The Renaissance was a very dangerous time to be female–women were the primary targets of the mass witch-hunting hysteria sweeping across Europe. Witchcraft persecutions were not a phenomenon of medieval superstition, as is commonly believed, but of the Renaissance and the Reformation, stretching up to the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment.
The pre-Reformation Catholic Church, for all its problems and abuses, at least offered a space for female mystical and visionary experience. However, the hard-line Protestantism that followed the Reformation offered no space at all. If you saw visions or whispered prayer charms or left offerings at a holy well or lit a fire on midsummer eve to protect your cattle, you were suddenly seen as a witch, in league with the devil.
In winter 2002, I moved to Lancashire, in northern England. The back of my house looked out on Pendle Hill, famous for its legends of the Pendle Witches of 1612, the amazing real women at the heart of my novel Daughters of the Witching Hill.
In 1612, in one of the most meticulously documented witch trials in English history, seven women and two men from Pendle Forest were hanged as witches, based on testimony given by a nine-year-old girl.
The most notorious of the accused was Elizabeth Southerns, alias Old Demdike. Allow me to introduce you to a woman of power who changed my life forever.
This is how Thomas Potts describes her in The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster, the official trial transcripts.
She was a very old woman, about the age of Foure-score yeares, and had
been a Witch for fiftie yeares. Shee dwelt in the Forrest of Pendle, a vast
place, fitte for her profession: What shee committed in her time, no man
knows. . . . Shee was a generall agent for the Devill in all these partes: no
man escaped her, or her Furies.
Bess Southerns was a wisewoman of longstanding repute. What fascinated me was not that she had been arrested on witchcraft charges, but that she practiced her craft for decades before anyone dared to interfere with her or stand in her way. Cunning craft, the art of using charms to heal both humans and livestock was her family trade. When interrogated by her magistrate, she freely admitted to being a wisewoman and healer, even bragged about her familiar spirit Tibb, who appeared to her in the likeness of a beautiful young man.
At the time of her arrest, she lived in a place called Malkin Tower. Widow and matriarch of her clan, she lived with her widowed daughter and her three grandchildren, the most promising one being Alizon, a teenager who showed every promise of becoming a wisewoman as mighty of her grandmother.
In England, as opposed to Scotland and Continental Europe, witchcraft persecutions had been rare. Bess had been able to practice her craft in peace. This all changed when the Scottish King James I ascended to the English throne. King James was obsessed with the occult and had even written a book called Daemonologie—a witchhunter’s handbook—that his magistrates were expected to read.
The tide was turning for Bess and her family.
When a pedlar suffered a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Bess’s granddaughter Alizon, the local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witchfinder, played neighbors and family members against each other until suspicion and paranoia reached frenzied heights.
Alizon, first to be arrested, was the last to be tried at Lancaster in August, 1612. Her final recorded words on the day before she was hanged for witchcraft are a passionate tribute to her grandmother’s power as a healer. John Law, the pedlar Alizon had supposedly lamed, appeared before her. John Law, perhaps pitying the condemned young woman, said that if she had the power to lame him, she must also have the power to cure him. Alizon sadly told him that she lacked the powers to do so, but that if her grandmother, Old Mother Demdike, had lived, she could and would have healed him and restored him to full health.
Other novels have been written about the Pendle Witches, but mine is the only one to tell the story from Bess and Alizon’s point of view. I longed to give these women what their own world denied them—their own voice, their own story.
May the voices and visions of our motherline guide us to claim our own voice, our own story, our own vision, our own power. May we all be wisewomen walking forward.
Moses is an interesting character is in the pantheon of religious leaders. He is such a major personage, considered the founder of Judaism and yet there are no extra-biblical accounts of his life and his deeds. He only exists in the bible. You’d have thought that such a major event as leading a whole class of people away from Egyptian slavers, would have shown up on the radar of other written or mythical accounts from the time. Nothing!
Even his name is interesting. When the Egyptian princess gathered Moses out of the waters she said:
She named him Moses, explaining,
“I drew him out of the water.”
This is one meaning of his name. But there are others. In Egypt, the land where he was born and raised, the M-SH (variations: m-s or m-ss) root simply means “son.” Or it can mean “child” in a non-patriarchal sense. We see this in other Egyptian names Ramses is the child of the sun god Ra. Tutmose is the child of Tut.
photos from bans off our bodies rally, long beach ca may 14, 2022
all photos by: marie cartier
BIO: Marie Cartieris a teacher, poet, writer, healer, artist, and scholar. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University; and a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.
Moderator’s note: This is the 2nd of the two part series. Part 1 was posted yesterday.
A recently leaked draft of the US Supreme Court’s opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization suggests that the court is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade. Most people know the legal consequence of Roe, but few know the grounds for the decision. The focus was on the “important and legitimate interest” the state has in preserving and protecting the health of the pregnant woman. Defining “health” broadly, Justice Blackmun wrote:
The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying thischoice altogether is apparent. Specific and direct harm medically diagnosable even inearly pregnancy may be involved. Maternity, or additional offspring, may force uponthe woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent. Mentaland physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for allconcerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it. In other cases, . . . the additional difficulties and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. (410 U.S. 113, 1973)
Psychological, physical, familial, social, present and future health of the woman are all to be taken into consideration. I would add to this the spiritual well-being of the woman, for this is a deeply personal spiritual decision as well.
Can I finally write about that night? Not sure. Here goes. Hillary Clinton. My heart beat. I voted for her every chance I got. Loved her passionately—the way I’ve heard folks talk about working for a candidate with their whole soul. I was so happy: she was winning. We were going to have a woman president.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Girls can’t be president, stupid! That’s never gonna happen.
No more. My wife and I wore our white pantsuits to the primaries. What a night! She won! The most exciting political event of my life –and that’s saying a lot for someone who first put her body down in front of a nuclear facility at fifteen. I know politics, And protests.
We have all been horrified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine as we witness the brutal bombardment of not only military sites but also of civilians, neighborhoods, hospitals, churches, historical sites and nuclear power plants. It has been called the first TicToc war as these images fill up our computers and cellphones, leaving peace lovers challenged to maintain their belief in peaceful resolutions to conflict
In these days when so many are afraid and aching for the people of Ukraine, and concerned about the lasting impacts of this war around the world, I cannot help thinking of the wise women of ancient Israel. These wise women, unafraid of confronting dangerous men, used their intelligence and storytelling skill to defuse violent situations between powerful adversaries and restore peace. May their wisdom be felt in the world now.
The institution of “wise woman” appears several times in the Bible. In the Book of Samuel, a wise woman (chachamah in Hebrew, from chochmah, wisdom) steps in when there is a war, or political conflict, to promote peace. In II Samuel 14, after King David’s son Amnon rapes David’s daughter, Tamar, the king does nothing. Tamar’s full brother Absalom takes matters into his own hands and kills Amnon, then flees to another country. David grieves for Absalom but won’t send for him. The wise woman of Tekoa appears before King David, pretending to be a woman whose sons fought, and one killed the other. The story she tells helps to reconcile King David with his son Absalom, at least temporarily.
Moderator’s note: This marvelous FAR site has been running for 10 years and has had more than 3,600 posts in that time. There are so many treasures that have been posted in this decade that they tend to get lost in the archives. We have created this column so that we can all revisit some of these gems. Today’s blogpost was originally posted October 18, 2020. You can visit the original post here to see the comments.
I have a vivid childhood memory of being sick with the stomach flu and standing in the doorway of my parents’ bedroom looking for my mother. Her care for sick children was tender and thorough. She would bring us ginger ale and toast with jelly. When she had time, she read us stories. I can remember her steering me, heavy with fever, back to a bed that she had magically smoothed and cooled. But that day my mother lay in her own bed in an old nightgown, not stirring. She had the flu, too, and could not get up to care for the rest of us. It was a shocking and sobering moment.
As I grew older, I transferred my need for comfort, reliability, and continuity from my mother to the earth, the sure turning of the seasons, beloved trees, waters, and rocks. As a young mother, I looked forward to sharing my own childhood joys with my children, among them jumping into autumn leaf piles. The first time my children leaped into a leaf pile, they came up covered with the ticks that have now made my region the epicenter of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Nor was I able to share with my children the joy of drinking water straight from a stream.
Moderator’s note: This marvelous FAR site has been running for 10 years and has had more than 3,600 posts in that time. There are so many treasures that have been posted in this decade that they tend to get lost in the archives. We have created this column so that we can all revisit some of these gems. Today’s blogpost was originally posted July 1, 2018. You can visit the original post here to see the comments.
I bet almost no one knows this secret: the United States is being watched over by two goddesses! One of them stands on top of the Capitol dome in Washington, D.C. The other stands on an island in New York harbor.
The goddess standing above our congressional building is named Libertas, or Freedom. She’s a Roman civic goddess whose sisters are Concordia and Pax. Although the Romans hardly ever experienced freedom, civic harmony, or peace, they always kept their eyes on the possibilities. Libertas was sometimes merged with Jupiter, sometimes with Feronia, who was originally an Etruscan or Sabine goddess of agriculture or fire. In Rome, Feronia became the goddess of freed slaves. Libertas is shown on Roman coins as a matron in flowing dress and wearing either a wreath of laurel leaves or a tall pilleus, which is called a “liberty cap” and looks like a witch hat without the brim. And there’s also a bird—is it a raven?? She holds either a liberty pole (vindicta) or a spear, and in some paintings of her (she was a popular subject in the 19th century) there is a cat at her feet.
Because the late 18th century is sometimes referred to as the Augustan Age (for classicism in architecture, literature, and art and named after the first Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus), the Roman Libertas became Lady Liberty during the American Revolution. To celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766, Paul Revere created an obelisk with an image of Lady Liberty on it, and a short time later, Tom Paine addressed her in his poem, “The Liberty Tree.” An enormous bronze statue of Lady Liberty was commissioned in 1855 for the top of the Capitol building, and she was hoisted up there in 1863, where she stands, hardly visible, to this day.
Here’s my idea. This FAR community has lots of power. We—and at least two thirds of the U.S. population—are very unhappy with the antics of the Lyin’ King and his court…excuse me, the executive and legislative branches of our national government. So let’s visualize Libertas coming to life. Watch her stomp her heavy bronze feet so hard she breaks a hole in the top of the dome. Watch her fly down into the main lobby of the Capitol. Now she turns in one direction and stalks into the Senate. “Gentlemen and Ladies,” she begins, “you were sent here to do a job. You’re not doing your jobs. Work together! Learn to compromise. Stop talking so much. Get to work!” And then she marches into the House. “Why are you here?” she asks. “And why are you here only three or four days a week, and why aren’t you working for the benefit of all the citizens of the United States?” I suspect that Libertas, who is 19 feet 6 inches tall and weighs approximately 15,000 pounds, could indeed put a scare into Congress, not to mention all the lobbyists. Remember, she also carries that spear. And she no doubt knows how to use it.
Our second national goddess? “Liberty Enlightening the World,” whom we call the Statue of Liberty, was a gift from France to the U.S. circa 1886 on the occasion of our centennial. Designed by Frederic-Auguste Bartoldi and Alexandre Eiffel (who also built a famous tower in Paris), Lady Liberty holds a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) in one arm and with her other hand raises a torch, a common symbol of truth and purification through illumination. She wears a crown of solar rays similar to the crown worn by the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
For almost a century and a half, Liberty has welcomed immigrants to our Atlantic shore. Those immigrants were the grandparents and great grandparents of nearly all of us. Now let’s visualize Liberty taking action. Goddesses can perform magic; let’s visualize Liberty multiplying herself into 10,000 Liberties, and then let them travel to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California and—you guessed it—let them stand facing south. Let these 10,000 goddesses with torches of purification replace the Xenophobe-in-Chief’s wall/fence/border army. Let’s ask Liberty to welcome people into the U.S. Because she’s smart (and the flames of that torch can reveal a lot) and there are indeed drug smugglers traveling in addition to men, women, and children who are coming for sanctuary or safety or work, let her use her torch to reveal the small proportion of criminals trying to sneak in. And let her welcome and protect everyone else and keep families together. (Maybe she could send all the ICE agents off hunting coyotes, who are no doubt smarter and more humane than they are.)
Here is the full text of “The New Colossus” the poem by Emma Lazarus that Lady Liberty proclaims to the world. Maybe our senators and representatives should read it—for the first time, I bet. They should pay attention to what it says and obey the words and principles of this goddess.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Let us visualize both of these American goddesses doing their work and protecting the hard-won rights of everyone who lives in the United States.
BIO:BIO:Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (barbaraardinger.com), is the author of Secret Lives, a novel about crones and other magical folks, Pagan Every Day, a unique daybook of daily meditations, and other books. She really enjoys writing her monthly blogs for FAR. Her work has also been published in devotionals to Isis, Athena, and Brigid. Barbara’s day job is freelance editing for people who have good ideas but don’t want to embarrass themselves in print. To date, she has edited more than 400 books, both fiction and nonfiction, on a wide range of topics. She lives in Long Beach, California, with her rescued calico cat, Schroedinger.
Hello FAR family! Here are photos from the October 2nd Women’s March in Long Beach, CA. The Women’s March began after the 2016 “election” and continued through the Trump years, and was not immediately active after Biden won. But after Texas passed it horrific ban on abortions with no exceptions, the Women’s March re-ignited across the nation… especially in response to the recent Supreme Court approval of the unconstitutional ruling on abortion in Texas which limits abortion access to 6 weeks of pregnancy – a time span that denies abortion completely as almost all women do not even know they are pregnant within this time, never mind having time to decide if an abortion is their choice.
The Women’s March came together in October in a very short amount of time. For example the Long Beach rally came together in just 10 days. I attended and was one of 500+ (though reports said 200, I was there and we were more!
Click then scroll to see full image…
May the revolution continue! As Hillary Clinton said, “Women’s Rights are human rights.” And my favorite chant throughout the March was, “Who sent us? Ruth sent us!!”
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.
I have been so angry about the Texas law that functionally bans abortion, I have not even been able to find the words to write about it. But alas . . . being angry without taking action is too often what we women do. So, I am forcing myself to focus and write this blogpost. I think the worst part of this law (although there are so many it is truly hard to choose), is how it isolates a vulnerable, pregnant woman. Can you imagine having an unwanted pregnancy and not being able to talk to anyone about it? This law puts a whole women’s support system into legal and financial jeopardy; a mother, sister, friend, doctor, staff at the doctor’s office, therapist, random neighbor and on and on. A woman’s only “legal” option is to talk to a crisis pregnancy center which comes with a hefty dose of political agenda. This is manipulation at this most virulent, cruel, and controlling.
A few years ago I encountered a Norwegian folktale titled “Prince Lindworm.” This tale was completely new to me and aspects of it have lingered as I contemplate the future of my country.
In “Prince Lindworm,” a childless Queen wants an heir and follows the advice of the Wise Woman she meets in her garden. The Wise Woman tells the Queen where to find two magical roses, instructs her to eat only one, and warns that she “will be sorry” if she eats both. The Queen, of course, eats both and gives birth to twin boys. The elder child emerges as a serpent or lindworm and immediately disappears into the forest. Only the Queen witnesses this birth and, as this is not the child she wants to parent, she remains silent. The second boy is beautiful and healthy and grows into a fine young man. When he is of age to seek a wife, his path is blocked by his unknown exiled brother, Prince Lindworm, who has grown into a massive, repulsive serpent and claims his right to have a bride first. The Queen admits her failure to follow the Wise Woman’s advice and the kingdom must cope with the knowledge that the heir to the throne is an exile.
Dear FAR readers – please find photos from a celebration of the 101 anniversary of women’s suffrage, the 19th Amendment, that I attended August 26, 2021. That day marks the end of the 100th year of women having the right to vote.
One of the 18 characteristics of Africana Womanism is being a self-definer. This piece is a sliver of my process to do and be exactly that.
I am striving to be a whole Black woman. I have an awareness that I am a whole person and transcend the role that Amerikkkan* society has given black women. Wholeness is justice and justice/liberation is wholeness. We are unaware of the full extent that racism has impacted Black women psychologically and emotionally. I’m saying racism constricts us in exhausting ways- the results have been wearing on our mental and sexual health, senses, nerves, physical health for years. And it still is.
When I was invited to create this post, a number of topics came to mind. But I decided to start our conversation with my response to the question: why do I write?
I am a Colombian woman designer who promotes venture projects in a region in which it is difficult to grow a business. In my daily work life, I ask entrepreneurs why they do what they do; why do they take the risk of possible failure? Usually, once we know the why, finding the how is much easier.