Remember! by Mary Gelfand

“There was a time when you were not a slave, remember that.
You walked alone, full of laughter, you bathed bare-bellied.
You say you have lost all recollection of it, remember! ….
You say there are no words to describe it;
You say it does not exist.
But remember.  Make an effort to remember.
Or, failing that, invent.”

From Les Guerilleres, by Monique Wittig, mid-20th Century French feminist writer

The first time I heard this quote from Wittig was in the mid-1990s when I took ‘Cakes for the Queen of Heaven,’ an introduction to feminist thealogy and the Great Goddess, created by the Women & Religion committee of the Unitarian Universalist Association.  Cakes was my introduction to Carol Christ, feminist thealogy, and the Goddess.  It changed my life forever.  I’ve been teaching this program for close to twenty years now and as my understanding of women’s history and the role of patriarchy in our suppression has deepened, I continue to find new resonances with Wittig’s words.

“There was a time when you were not a slave, remember that.”  This statement is relevant to all oppressed peoples and especially to women.  History tells us that enslavement was a part of European culture long before Africans were kidnapped into slavery on this continent.  Enslavement of the defeated was a common aspect of war, dating back to Biblical times.  Many aspects of the feudal system dominant in western Europe for centuries were little better than slavery. 

Continue reading “Remember! by Mary Gelfand”

Sharing a Snowstorm with The Goddess of Winter by Carolyn Lee Boyd

carolyn portraitThough our calendars indicate that we have hit spring, the 32 degree weather and the forecasted snow this coming week in New England indicate otherwise. Here you have one more winter-themed post in an effort to bid it farewell and make room for spring!

A few weeks ago, I stepped onto a platform at a train depot in the middle of a snowstorm and looked straight up into the sky. The flakes were chunky and drifted like feathers, tranquilly undisturbed on their journey by the loud and busy human world into which they were about to land. The wind was perfectly still, so as I stood, I could see each flake descend from very far above and follow it with my eyes till it reached the ground, as if some sky goddess shook them loose from heaven for me to bring safely to Earth with my guiding gaze. For the first time in my 50 years, I felt as if I were not just observing the work of Goddess, but was part of Her world, a true Co-Creator.

I have so often written of the Divinity within everyone, but never really experienced that personally. What does it mean to actually participate in Goddess while still being human? At that moment, I felt as if I was within the joy that perhaps Goddess has as She witnesses her most exquisitely beautiful creations. Yet I never felt as if I had left the everyday realm in body, mind, and spirit; never had I become other than my very ordinary self to partake in this moment. The train arrived, I stepped onto it, and carried on with my day, though I am still pondering the meaning of that memory.

I came to know Divinity from Nature, especially Michigan winters and their extreme cold. I grew up in a liberal church that encouraged us to forge our own relationship with God/dess, and mine was always as She was reflected in Nature. While spring and summer, with their blossoms and fruits, flashing fish swimming in lakes, and tall pines making cathedrals in the woods, were beautiful reminders of the loveliness of Creation, winter seemed to me to be the greater manifestation of Nature’s power and essence. Even as a child, frostbitten fingers and the magnificence of shining fields of snow in the sun  taught me that all living beings must understand that they are one element of Nature and therefore Goddess, not Her ruler, and seek their proper place while celebrating Her abundant gifts.

As I became older, the many complexities of winter began to coalesce into a winter goddess image uniquely meaningful for me. Winter kills, but also gives life to those plants needing the cold to grow in the spring. Winter is essential for balance, not only in regulating Earth’s ecosphere, but cold also regulates the temperature of our bodies.  Winter is the artist of intense beauty in the infinite designs of snowflakes as well as the grace and majesty of ice formations. The more I learned of winter’s many facets, the more I realized that this winter goddess was the self I strove to be – a healer, a life-giver, a bringer of balance and maker of beauty. This manifestation of Goddess in Nature as winter gave me the Divine face I needed to see in order to begin to be with Her as a Co-Creator.

This awakening moment came just as I am realizing that I need to grow into being a Co-Creator if I am to be effective as an agent of change in this world. As Co-Creator with Goddess, and her manifestation in Nature, I see that I need to take responsibility for doing what I can to benefit all beings, even those far away on the other side of the globe, as if I were standing next to each woman in her time of need and knowing that she is standing next to me at mine. Just as in Nature, all beings are interconnected in the ecosystem, so are we all one in our increasingly global social, cultural and spiritual human system.

As a Co-Creator with Goddess, I must think not only about how my decisions affect our planet and humans of today or tomorrow, but how what I do affects, in some way, every generation to come even onto billions of years. Just as Nature exists in deep time, so do our souls and spirits when we see beyond the tiniest dot that represents our lives in time’s real vastness. Time is not measured in the decades of my life, but in millennia and beyond.

As Co-Creator with Goddess, I know that every woman’s voice must be heard.  Just as in Nature every being “sings” its unique message by fulfilling its niche in the universal ecosystem, so must we thoughtfully and joyfully use the voices of our lives to express all our innate and unique wisdom. When I think of myself as Co-Creator, I am unafraid to speak with the spiritual power and authority that is the birthright of women spiritual leaders in many times and places but which are so often not honored in our own.

I  am about to have a birthday that many people believe marks a passage into another stage of life. Perhaps this is Goddess’s birthday gift to me. This experience was not one I worked for or expected; it appeared when I needed it. Truly experiencing ourselves as Co-Creator with Goddess helps us transform into the women our special gifts demand that we be and gives us a perspective and sense of power that is sorely needed if we are to heal ourselves and our planet. What is your “snowstorm,” or life experience that reminds you of the honor, responsibility and joy of truly being  a Co-Creator? Who are you when you are Co-Creator with Her?

Carolyn Lee Boyd is a human services administrator, herb gardener, and writer whose work focuses on the sacred in the everyday lives of women. Her essays, short stories, memoirs, reviews and more have been published in numerous print and online publications. You can read more of her work at her

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