Outraged? Yes, I Am! by Karen Leslie Hernandez

karen hernandezReaders, please note: this post includes accounts of rape and violence agianst women and quotes distrubing statements of assault made by Donald Trump. These are easily identifiable by the use of italics or as indented, quoted text. 

Of course I’m outraged.

I had someone the other day post on my Facebook wall that I’m “angry.” And I have also been told lately that because Donald Trump won and I didn’t, “get my way,” I should just, “get over it.”

What I really wish I could say to these folks is … “Of course I’m outraged, but I am not sure if I am more outraged that you can’t see past your privilege, or, that you think I am angry because Hillary didn’t win.”

Newsflash. I would be ecstatic if George Bush Jr., were in office again. Or, if Sarah Palin had run, and won. This has nothing to do with being a “sore loser” or not “getting my way.” This has to do with the fact that our POTUS is a sexist, misogynistic, racist human being. Continue reading “Outraged? Yes, I Am! by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

New Year and Sustainable Resolution by Sara Frykenberg

At the end of 2016, my foot hurt—my body telling me: it is painful to move forward as you have been. You have to walk differently. Yow have to walk with more support, and sometimes, carrying less weight.

I am writing this blog on New Year’s Day, so Happy New Year! Today I say these words as both a statement of hope and as invocation. Happy New Year: may it be! My twin sister told me that our horoscope said that 2017 would be a party: we should throw our energies into anything and everything we want to see happen in our worlds because it can and will happen this year—may it be! Because it certainly doesn’t feel like a time for flourishing. I echo the introductory sentiments of Kate’s blog last Friday:

I am fried. These last two years proved personally & professionally exhausting. And yet, another year looms ahead unavoidably — another incredibly demanding year which will require more than I can fathom I actually have to give at this moment.”

Yes Kate. Oh my god/dess yes. This is exactly how I feel… and sitting down to write this blog this morning, I felt overcome with a wave of anxiety and stress, focused on all the things I have to do, the lack of time I have to do them, and the lack of energy I feel. Lurking beneath this stress is real pain and fear. What should we expect this year, in light of what’s already happening, in light of the hate already ignited? I think I have been locked in this pain and this fear. Continue reading “New Year and Sustainable Resolution by Sara Frykenberg”

What is the Nature of the Hope that Can Trump Despair in the New Year? by Carol P. Christ

carol-christ“All hope abandon, ye who enter here.” These words posted on the gates of hell in Dante’s Inferno have an eerie resonance in our time. 

Marie Cartier recently posted a blog on children and hunger with facts so devastating I could not finish reading it. Earlier in the month Jassy Watson wrote about her deep feelings of grief on hearing Luisah Teish’s “Prayer for Disappearing Species.” Grief, despair, and sadness about the injustices in our world can be overwhelming.

A friend of mine has recently fallen into a deep depression. When I try to talk her out of it, she repeats that they are threatening to cut down the last remaining old growth forest in her home state of Oregon and that she can no longer eat fish because radioactivity released in the Fukishima nuclear plant disaster is reaching the seacoast of Oregon.

When I tell my friend she should not dwell only on these things and that she must remember that the world is still a beautiful place, she responds, “I do not want to give up my feelings. I know I must find a way to acknowledge my sadness and make a place for joy, but I don’t know how to do it.”

I have been in the grip of deep grief about the planet myself, not once but many times. But this happens less frequently than it used to.  When I think about the differences between how I once felt and how I feel now, I think the difference is that I have come to terms with and accepted the likelihood that “the world as we know it” is “going to hell in a handbasket”—as I put it.

I believe that the most likely conclusion of the choices human beings are making on planet earth today is massive environmental destruction leading to great suffering and probable extinction for human and many other species on planet earth. This is what I believe, but I also remind myself that I cannot know for sure. The earth and its species including human beings may have resources of resistance and survival, transformation and adaptation,that I do not know about and cannot imagine.

When I began to accept that the world I know and love (where spring follows winter, where birds sing, and where there is hope that injustice can be rectified) may not exist in the very near future, I had an astonishing insight. The death of the world I know and love will not mean the death of our planet or the end of the evolution of the universe.

Thinking about the disappearance of species and the death of human beings from starvation often feels too much to bear. None of this should be happening. Still, it can be strangely comforting to remind myself that the world I love is not the only possible world. There have been other worlds on this very planet—the time when the first cells were formed, the time of the dinosaurs, and many others. Evolution will continue on planet earth for several billion more years, and when our sun burns out, other suns will most likely still be shining in the universe.

This insight was followed by another. The reason for hope is not the conviction that we will be able to save the world we love. The reason for hope—and the reason to keep trying to save our world—is the deep knowing that it is right to try. Even if we cannot save the world we love for all time, we can savor the gift of life, and we can continue to try to create a world in which the gift of life is shared widely today and tomorrow.

I have written many times that we must learn to love a life that ends in death. I was speaking about accepting that each one of us will surely die. I do not fear death. Overcoming this fear has opened me to a greater and more clear-sighted love for life.

Can we learn to love life while accepting that the world we love may be dying? Can we continue to work to improve the conditions of life for individuals and species knowing that the world as we love it may not survive? Do we have any other choice?

For me the hope that can trump despair in our time begins in gratitude for a life that has been given to us, a life that has come down to us through the generations, and through billions of years of the evolutionary process on our planet.

Let us bless the Source of Life.

Let us bless the Source of Life, and the cycles of birth, death, and regeneration.

Let us turn back from despair.

Let us embrace the gift of life and share it with as many others as possible in the new year.

Carol P. Christ  learned to be grateful for the gift of life in Crete on the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete she leads through Ariadne Institute.  It is not too early to sign up for the spring or fall pilgrimages for 2014.  Carol can be heard on a WATER Teleconference.  Carol’s books include She Who Changes and Rebirth of the Goddess and the widely-used anthologies Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions. She wishes you great joy in the new year.

Patriarchy as a System of Male Dominance Created at the Intersection of the Control of Women, Private Property, and War, Part 1 by Carol P. Christ

carol p. christ 2002 color

Recently feminist scholar Vicki Noble commented that this is the best definition of patriarchy she has read–but she hadn’t read it earlier. I am reposting it now in the hopes that all of you will share it with your social media so that it will be more widely known.

Patriarchy is often defined as a system of male dominance. This definition does not illuminate, but rather obscures, the complex set of factors that function together in the patriarchal system.  We need more complex definition if we are to understand and challenge the the patriarchal system in all of its aspects.

Patriarchy is a system of male dominance, rooted in the ethos of war which legitimates violence, sanctified by religious symbols, in which men dominate women through the control of female sexuality, with the intent of passing property to male heirs, and in which men who are heroes of war are told to kill men, and are permitted to rape women, to seize land and treasures, to exploit resources, and to own or otherwise dominate conquered people.*

Marx and Engels said that the patriarchal family, private property, and the state arose together. Though their understanding of the societies that preceded “patriarchy” was flawed, their intuition that patriarchy is connected to private property and to domination in the name of the state was correct.  It has long seemed to me that patriarchy cannot be separated from war and the kings who take power in the wake of war.  Many years ago I was stunned by Merlin Stone’s allegation that in matrilineal societies there are no illegitimate children, because all children have mothers. Lately, I have been trying to figure out why the Roman Catholic and other churches and the American Republican party are so strongly opposed to women’s right to control our own bodies and are trying to prevent access to birth control and abortion. In the above definition of patriarchy, I bring all of these lines of thought together in a definition which describes the origins of patriarchy and the interconnections between patriarchy, the control of female sexuality, private property, violence, war, conquest, rape in war, and slavery.  Continue reading “Patriarchy as a System of Male Dominance Created at the Intersection of the Control of Women, Private Property, and War, Part 1 by Carol P. Christ”

A Daughter of the American Revolution and a Daughter of Quaker Slave Owners in Long Island, New York by Carol P. Christ

I did not ever think that genealogical research would reveal that I am descended from slave owners.

My family’s early American roots are in New York and the upper Midwest—not in the American South. While watching genealogy programs that reveal slave-holding ancestors in the lines of white and black Americans with roots in the South, I have breathed a sigh of relief accompanied by the thought–not me!

I have not expended a great deal of energy researching Searing ancestors who settled in Hempstead, Long Island in the 1640s, because my Uncle Emery had already traced the family line. Bored one afternoon and wondering if my ancestor Samuel Searing had left the Hempstead Quaker community because he fought in the Revolutionary War, I entered the Searing family surname into a general internet search.

I found that my 4x great-grandfather Nathaniel Pearsall–whose daughter Sarah and her husband Samuel Searing are my 3x great-grandparents–is indeed listed for “patriotic service” in the Daughters of the American Revolution database.  As an anti-war activist, I wish there had never been a revolutionary war–we could all have been Canadians!  I would have been pleased to learn that my ancestors were all Quaker pacifists. Still, I must admit that I felt a twinge of pride to be able to trace my ancestry back to our country’s beginnings.

Continuing to follow up links to Searing ancestors, I stumbled upon the wills John and Elizabeth Searing. John was a brother of my 5x great-grandfather, Jonathan Searing.

In the name of God, Amen, April 22, 1746. I, John Searing, of Hempstead, in Queens County, being very sick. My executors are to pay all my debts. I order all my negroes to be sold, except the oldest negro boy; Also my wheat, except enough for family use. I leave to my wife Elizabeth, one bed and furniture and a side saddle, and the use of 1/2 my farm, until my children are brought up…

In the name of God, Amen, November 27, 1760. I,Elizabeth Searing, of Hempstead, of Queens County, being sick. I leave to my son, John Searing, my negro man and a bed and three blankets, etc. To my daughter, Mary Searing, a negro girl, and she is to have clothing and linen of mine so much as my other two daughters have had. …  I leave my granddaughter, Mary Searing, daughter of my son Jacob, a negro girl, and to my daughter Anne long cloak, and the rest of my apparell to my daughters.

If I am a daughter of the American revolution, I am also a daughter of Quaker slave-holders. It is well-known that the Quakers were among the most vociferous abolitionist voices in America.  Who would have thought that Quakers had also owned “negroes.” How did this come about? Continue reading “A Daughter of the American Revolution and a Daughter of Quaker Slave Owners in Long Island, New York by Carol P. Christ”

%d bloggers like this: