This blogpost is about biblical verses and uncovering the magic and spirit behind its words. Why, you might ask, is this a project that belongs on a blog dedicated to feminism?
I believe it does because it helps us to strip away the many layers of patriarchy with its attempts to hide and/or change original teachings. Remember; these stories were originally oral wisdom teachings of the “folk.” They weren’t written down until the Babylonian exile, hundreds if not thousands of years removed from their origins. And who was doing the writing? Priests, scribes, and prophets, all with their own agenda. Even the earliest writings we have, the Dead Sea Scrolls, were still written in patriarchal times.
I have never been one to set major resolutions at the beginning of the new year, but this year feels different somehow. I can’t say that I am sad to see the end of 2017. This year has felt like an unpredictable roller coaster both on a national and personal level. The highs of finishing a doctoral program and building a relationship with my boyfriend’s six year-old daughter were met with the complications of job searching, concern over losing access to affordable health care, and my feeble attempts to balance appropriate and timely responses to the constant onslaught of ridiculous, or often downright appalling, headlines with my need to remain at least somewhat sane. All in all I am ready for 2018 to begin and I feel a new drive to find ways to make this a better year for myself and for those around me.
How do I go about accomplishing this? I don’t want my new goals to go the way of so many resolutions… given up on or discarded by mid-January or perhaps February if I’m lucky. Rather I want to find ways to dedicate myself to small changes that I can sustain long-term, small changes that help me feel as though I am having an impact. In addition, I want to find ways to rejuvenate and reinvigorate myself and my actions on a regular basis… to make 2018 feel more like an enjoyable walk in lightly falling snow and less like slogging through five feet of that snow while carrying a heavy burden on my back.
I have spoken about the Social Responsibility of the Artist on numerous occasions. This blog approaches similar subject matter, but in relation to using art as a potent tool for change and as a platform for raising awareness of important environmental and ecological issues that all of humanity is currently faced with.
All forms of art have the potential to be tools for healing. I believe that through the creative process the relationship with self and the environment can be transformed. Why? Because when creative work is approached from a place of passion and purpose and art is brought to life with intention, great shifts can occur. Not only for the artist, but also for the viewer. I believe wholeheartedly that I can approach the canvas and paint intentionally to heal the earth and deepen my connection to it, and in doing so inspire others to deepen and honour a connection to the earth creatively.
There are many contemporary artists who are agents of environmental change and who are using their creative gifts and talents to build awareness and provoke thought through their work and process. Many artists, such as myself are working with transformative approaches and processes towards a new vision that is ecological and participates with the living cycles of nature. Many topics are approached such as oceans, climate change, water quality, recycling, water purification, natural disasters, de-forestation, endangered species and more.
Artists today are finding all sorts of inventive ways to call attention to the problems facing our environment, as corporate greed and profit impose destruction on our planet. While each artist works very differently and explores diverse territories, they share awareness about the critical loss of natural resources and a desire to save the planet from human destruction.
“Today the talk of the world is about an endangered Earth. One often wonders how much of the talk is backed with genuine concern and the will to take positive steps. But it should not surprise the world that artists are in the forefront of the discussion on the environment.”
Eco-feminist artist Ann T. Rosenthal and activist artist Steffi Domike have been collaborating on environmental installations for years. Their wall installation, Watermark: Wood, Coal, Oil, Gas (2011) consists of four panels that illustrate an evolutionary timeline of energy resources—wood, coal, oil and natural gas.
Dominique Mazeau is a poet and artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has made an exquisite journal of poems and drawings of cleaning up the Rio Grande River over many years. She has made sculptures from the trash and she teaches school children about the river with her poems and her art.
There are many more Eco-feminist and Environmentalist/Activist artists such as Charla Puryear and Helene Aylon using their art to raise awareness of ecological issues. These few examples alone demonstrate that art, in its myriad of forms, has the capacity to effect positive change on the earth and its environments.
Artists are catalysts for change, and this “change” takes place when we feel deeply for a precious cause. I feel deeply for the state of the earth and feel that it is largely humanity’s spiritual disconnection from the earth and from the earth as sentient that has contributed to the current state of not only the health of the earth body, but also the health of our bodies.
Coming up in October I will be presenting an exhibition ‘Voices for the Earth’ in Bundaberg, QLD Australia. This exhibition will feature the works of select regional artists who are using their art to speak for the earth. It is held in conjunction with RONA-16 an Earth Arts Festival as part of the The Rights of Nature Tribunal that is taking place the same month. Artists of all genres from around Australia are participating in creative activities to raise awareness of the urgency required to make the necessary changes so that ways can be found to make the health of our planet an absolute priority.
I know that more has to be done, and some might see ‘art’ as a hedonist, self absorbed way to attempt to bring about change – but the power of image should NEVER be underestimated.
I am Painting for the eARTh.
This Earth is my sister I love her daily grace Her silent daring And how loved I am. How we admire this strength in each other All that we have lost All that we have found We are stunned by this beauty, And I do not forget What She is to me And what I am to Her.
Jassy Watson, who lives on the sub-tropical coast of Queensland Australia, is a Mother of four, passionate organic gardener, Intuitive/Visionary & Community Artist, Teacher, Intentional Creativity Coach and a student of Ancient History and Religion at Macquarie University, Sydney. She is the Creatress of Earth Circle Studios; a school for the Sacred Creative Arts. Jassy teaches regular painting workshops in person, nationally and internationally, and online based around themes that explore myth, history and our connection to the earth.
In this picture, Marika from Skoteino Crete toasts our group and downs a glass of her homemade raki. Marika, who is best friends with Christina who makes lunch for us, has just returned from her home next door with her gift of a glass of raki for each of us.
Marika, who has little, is eager to give to us. Hers is but one of many gifts from the heart we receive on the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete. Why is it that we who have so much do not give as spontaneously?
One answer is that capitalist individualism has taught us to count our worth by how much we have and to fear for the day when we will have nothing.
These words may be a cliché, but they hold a profound truth nonetheless.
In a recent post Xochitl Alvizo cited Beverly Harrison’s much-loved essay “Anger as a Work of Love.” Harrison captured feelings that were in the air at the time of its writing several decades ago. Women were laying claim to the right to be angry at the silencing of our voices, the double standard, the media portrayal of women, income inequality, lack of access to good jobs, failure to prosecute rape and domestic violence, and a host of other injustices.
Most of all we were protesting the cultural stereotype that the “good woman” (understood to be white, Christian, and married or hoping to be) would not protest loudly or at all, would turn the other cheek, and would think about others rather than herself. (Jewish women and black women had to strive doubly hard to “live up” to this standard, as it was assumed that Jewish women were “overly assertive” and that black women were “too strong” and often “angry.”)
In this context Harrison’s essay and Mary Daly’s epithet “rage is not a stage” gave women—especially white women–permission to get in touch with our feelings of anger and to express them. We understood that “good women” had been hiding and repressing their feelings for centuries if not millennia with the result that the structures of injustice remained intact. Continue reading “Anger is Not a Panacea: The “Next Stage” after Rage by Carol P. Christ”
Sometimes we think of Greek myth as a pre-patriarchal or less patriarchal alternative to the stories of the Bible. After all, Goddesses appear in Greek myths while they are nearly absent from the Bible. Right?
So far so good, but when we look more closely we can see that Greek myth enshrines patriarchal ideology just as surely as the Bible does. We are so dazzled by the stories told by the Greeks that we designate them “the origin” of culture. We also have been taught that Greek myths contain “eternal archetypes” of the psyche. I hope the brief “deconstruction” of the myth of Ariadne which follows will begin to “deconstruct” these views as well.
Ariadne is a pre-Greek word. The “ne” ending is not found in Greek. As the name is attributed to a princess in Greek myth, we might speculate that Ariadne could have been one of the names of the Goddess in ancient Crete. But in Greek myth Ariadne is cast in a drama in which she is a decidedly unattractive heroine.
In the story told by the Greeks, Ariadne falls in love with Theseus, a handsome young man who was sent with 11 other Greek young people to be fed to a monster (who is half man, half bull) known as the Minotuar. The Minotuar is Ariadne’s half brother (see below). Because of her “love” for Theseus, Ariadne helps him to murder her brother. She then flees with Theseus on his boat.
Feminism and Religion was founded in the late spring of 2011. Throughout the summer Gina Messina-Dysert hounded me about submitting a blog while I ignored her emails because I didn’t think I wanted to take on a new project. Gina was persistent nonetheless. Finally I decided that it would be easier to take an excerpt from a book review I had recently written than to explain why I didn’t want to write something for the blog, and so “Exciting New Research on Matriarchal Societies” became my first contribution.
The notion of the earth as the body of Goddess has taken on deeper meaning for me in recent years. I have felt connected to nature all of my life. Yet often, though not always, I have related to nature in general rather than in specific ways. Some years ago, after reading Hartshorne’s essay “Do Birds Love Singing?” I stopped for the first time in the wetlands of Kalloni, Lesbos, to see the flamingoes that live in the salt pans there.
We have been taught to speak of war and the heroes of war in hushed tones. We have been told that evil Helen’s choice was the cause of the Trojan war. 2600 years ago Sappho, known as the greatest lyric poet of ancient Greece, spoke truth to power and unmasked the lies told at the beginning of western tradition.
In a poem addressed to Anactoria, Sappho writes:
Some say a cavalry corps
some say infantry, some, again,
will maintain that the swift oars
of our fleet are the finest
sight on dark earth …
Here, Sappho invokes the heroic tradition celebrated in the epic poems of Homer that shaped the values of ancient Greek culture and all the cultures that followed it, including our own. This tradition tells us that to serve in a war and to be remembered as a hero is the highest goal to which a man can aspire. Sappho does not agree:
With the final day of voting in the US election less than 24 hours away, I feel a deep sadness descending on my soul.
This election will have far-reaching consequences in relation to a number of issues I care deeply about. Among them are health care, social services, a social safety net, a graduated tax structure that taxes the rich and to a lesser extent the middle classes in order to provide services for the poor, equal pay for equal work, a woman’s right to choose, and gay rights. On these issues there is a clear choice between the two candidates for President and the two parties.
Democrats believe that health care is a human right, that social services should be provided for those who need them, that taxes should be paid by those who can afford to do so, that women have a right to equal pay and control of our own bodies, and that gays and lesbians should have all the rights of other citizens. Republicans believe that government does not need to provide or control health care, that social services are largely unnecessary, that it is unfair to tax the rich, that equal pay is not important if women have husbands, that the church and state should be making decisions about women’s bodies, and that homosexuality is a unnatural. There is a clear choice on these issues.
For this reason, I urge all of you who have not voted yet—and those of you who are considering not voting–to vote, no matter how long the lines are, no matter what intimidation you may face, and no matter what discouragement and disappointment you may be feeling.*
Annie Corliss was my great-great-grandmother. The Corliss name, also spelled Corlis, Corless, Corlies, Corlers, and Carlis, is derived from “careless” meaning someone who is “carefree” or “happy-go-lucky.”
Annie Corliss was the daughter of James and Mary Corliss, both born in Ireland. Her parents may have been tenant farmers, but given that their surname could refer to someone who doesn’t settle or own property, they may have been Irish Travellers– itinerant craft persons and traders, sometimes called tinkers because they mended cooking pots and farm implements. “Irish Travellers are a traditionally nomadic people of ethnic Irish origin, who maintain a separate language and set of traditions. … Irish Travellers have their roots in a Celtic (and possibly pre Celtic) nomadic population in Ireland.” Continue reading “THE CARELESS SPIRIT OF ANNIE CORLISS: TRUMPING DESPAIR IN THE NEW WORLD by Carol P. Christ”