Saturday, January 19, 2019

Call for Submissions: Warrior Queen: Answering the Call of The Morrigan



The Girl God is accepting submissions for our upcoming Anthology of women’s writing: Warrior Queen: Answering the Call of The Morrigan. 

We want to hear from women about their insight into this Goddess - and how they have used Her story as inspiration to claim their Queendom. 

Personal essays (up to 2,500 words), academic papers, poetry and (black and white) art are welcome. Please keep submissions on-topic, using the title of the anthology as a guide.

Edited by Jessica Johnson, Trista Hendren and Pat Daly

Scheduled publication: September 2021

Please send your submissions to trista@girlgod.org by May 31, 2020. Please note that we cannot accommodate any late submissions or corrections.

Submission Guidelines:
Please send your finished piece in a Word document.  Art should be sent in high resolution as a JPG.  You may submit more than one piece for consideration, but due to the volume of submissions, please only send your best work.

Please also include a bio under 150 words.

Accepted contributors will receive a contributor's copy of the book and the option to order as many copies of the book as they'd like at cost during the pre-order period to sell or gift as they wish.

The previous anthologies in this series are Re-visioning Medusa: from Monster to Divine Wisdom, Inanna's Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power and Original Resistance: Reclaiming Lilith, Reclaiming Ourselves.


In the meantime, be sure to check out our new book for children of all ages, My Name is The Morrigan




Friday, January 18, 2019

Permission to Fall Apart by Nina Erin Hofmeijer

Art by Liliana Kleiner


I grant you permission to fall apart.

here,
I will make you this nest
here,
I will tie your hair back
here,
I will wait with you

Your heart is a stone sunk to the bottom
of the bottom
Hot and cold
a dead thing, pulsating
a thing that cannot be

Let it be that.

Your skin is coming off,
peeling and sloughing around the
coarse string you’ve used to truss
yourself, to keep your old shape,
the one we all rely on

Cut it off; shed it all

The howl that is developing
in the subterranean pockets
of your grief,
that is swirling behind your name,
a sound that is a mouth in shock at its gaping

Release it
Here. Now.

Look in the mirror of my face
See what I see:
All that you broke was already broken
See what I see:
All that you shed was no longer yours

Your renewal is centuries old,
made of the shed pieces of the
winters of your ancestors

Your storm is the honest expression of the sun:
Turning seeds to crops, turned thresh turned dust

Explosions of stardust and the wind of creation;
We are what’s left after God fell apart



An excerpt from the girl god anthology, Inanna's Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power.




Nina Erin Hofmeijer is a writer, mother, healer and mostly-gentle truth-teller living in Eugene, OR.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Medusa Goddess: Up Close and Personal by Marie Summerwood

Painting by Laura Daliga


THE FIRST TIME I knowingly met the presence of Medusa, I was being initiated as a priestess. My lover and I planned the ritual ourselves, or so we thought. It was in the middle of the night during winter solstice, the deepest darkest time of winter. We had rented a cabin in the woods, snowy, silent and still. The intention was deep. We went to sleep early and set a small sweet bell alarm in the other room that would awaken us as though we were being called by the [imagined] sisters of our temple. Our bedside altar held candles, ritual objects and a small feast for afterward. I had planned to call upon several goddesses to stand with me in various aspects of my power: Isis would be called to help me remember I am a sacred woman; Quan Yin for the strength of my joy and my ability to sing out in the sacred power of grief; and of course, Mary—my namesake—She who is present at the doorway of life and death in my world and holds me in Her sacred heart, always. And I had planned to call upon Aphrodite to come and stand with me in the name of Beauty, which I ultimately was free to do, but not before another goddess showed up.

A note here. My strategy, in addressing a goddess energy that I want to work with, is to ultimately promise Her that I will tell Her story. And I do, with my teaching and my chants. Especially my chants. To keep the goddesses alive and strong in our hearts, we tell Their stories, sing about Them—and Their powers. It works. They love it.

Anyway, we awoke to the temple bells and began. It was a simple yet deep ritual, and one of important surrender. We cast the circle and chanted. I called Isis and smiled, I invoked Quan Yin and felt at ease. Mary brought me home to my own sacred heart. At the moment though, the moment when I had planned to speak the name of the next goddess, my hands clenched and unclenched and I found myself fiercely whispering—over and over—the name of Medusa. It went on for several long moments. From my astonished depths I felt her name rise in me as I heard my own voice say “I will tell your story, Medusa, I will tell Your Story.” So here I am.

According to Edith Hamilton, Medusa is one of the Gorgons, a trio of evil sisters who share one eye. She is the only mortal one of the sisters, and is so ugly and fearsome that she has snakes for hair. So fearsome and ugly that She is deadly to behold; and one look into Her eyes turns men to stone. After Perseus slew Her, the blood dripping from Her severed head gave birth to the wingèd horse, Pegasus, and to legions of demons. That is some powerful blood.

For years, this story of Medusa was my only source of information. My oppression was still in place, and I could not yet imagine there might even be other versions of Medusaʼs story—perhaps a version where Medusa is a serpent-goddess of the Libyan Amazons, decended from Lamia, the Libyan serpent goddess of creation? Or one where Medusa is the Crone/Destroyer aspect of Neith, The Triple Goddess in Egypt? Or perhaps one where our re-claimed, re-found, re-sung goddess Medusa shows up when we pray or chant to Her (and where She has our back!) as we stand in our own authentic fierceness. Her name, Medusa, comes from linguistic roots meaning “female wisdom.” Gorgon masks were used by more than one culture; the women wore them in ritual. A womanʼs face surrounded by serpent hair is an ancient symbol worn by those whose work it is to protect blood mysteries and divine female wisdom.

No small wonder then, that in the twisted creation story of the next religion—Christianity—an evil snake gets a woman in trouble over knowledge SHE is not supposed to have.

In Edith’s Classical Greek story, Perseus beheads Medusa and brings her head to Athena, who wears it forevermore on Her breastplate. The real King Perseus (circa 1209 B.C.E.) and his armies fought against and slaughtered the Amazons and other peoples of the matrifocal cultures. The Greek story was rewritten to indicate that Medusa, the divine female wisdom, has been destroyed and is now relegated to mere ornamentation. The mythology of the people was changed, and over time their basic beliefs were affected, but not lost.

For me—in that deep ritual and visitation—for us as women of power, it was and is clearly time to fully reclaim Medusa as a Goddess of protection and fierceness! Fierce means “Wild and Proud.” Fierce as the Mother Bear; fierce as the old woman, the crone, the giver of death; fierce as the Amazons who stood in sacred circle to fall together.

In my own ritual work with the energies of the directions I feel a spectrum of emotional stories in each. Medusa appears in the South. For me the South holds the vibrations of Passion, of Anger, Outrage, Rage, and anything in between—including Enthusiasm, Fierceness, Eagerness and Zealotry. When I call Her, Medusa comes and She comes in fierceness instead of deadly danger. She brings wild pride instead of rage, untamed beauty instead of armor. We can heal from the frozen night desert of rage with Her at our back. Medusa holds the place of rage as a sacred power of the women together. Medusa offers us Her shield of fierceness whenever we need it. Medusa helps us come forward into the world in our own untamed beauty, in our own passionate fierceness. Medusa is shielded in the power of Her own fierce beauty. May every woman’s face be engraved upon the shield of Medusa. I know mine is.

I chant to open to Her fierceness,
I chant to remember my own truth about Medusa.
Let us chant to Her:
Ave Medusa
Fierce woman wild and proud, stand in the gaze of Medusa!
Fierce woman wild and proud, stand in the gaze of Medusa! Sacred daughter of Her, sacred daughter of Her
My face adorns the shield of Medusa.
Sacred daughter of Her, sacred daughter of Her
My face adorns the shield of Medusa.
Ave Medusa, Ave Medusa, Ave Medusa, Ave Medusa!



From the CD, “Step Into The River” © 2006 by Marie Summerwood msummerw@twcny.rr.com

An excerpt from the girl god anthology, Re-visioning Medusa: from Monster to Divine Wisdom.



Marie Summerwood (5/1/49-1/17/19) was an author, teacher and composer of women’s sacred music. Her chants helped women remember the sacredness of women and life. Many of the chants on her first CD, “She Walks With Snakes” are beloved at women’s gatherings and circles. Her second CD, “Step Into The River” offers several chants to specific goddesses, including Kwan Yin, Isis, Venus and Medusa.  Marie Summerwood offered wisdom gleaned from the Spiral of Life. She teaches taught about women’s topics, including the sacredness of grief, and ritual emotional work with the four directions. A grateful apprentice to the force of Beauty, Marie welcomed its many faces. Ave Medusa. Marie left us too soon. We thank her for her work and bless her memory.
www.Mariesummerwood.com



Strength from Shadow by Susan Morgaine

Flight by Patricia Ballentine


Descent. Powerful Descent.

In a lifetime, how often do we descend? Are we always aware of it?

I am of the mind that I started a descent on the day I was born, when my mother gave me to my grandmother. My initial descent of abandonment and neglect was stopped, temporarily, before it really got started. Living with, and be truly loved by, my grandmother saved my life; even years later, I believe this. I stayed with this beautiful woman until she passed through the veil. Descent re-commenced. At the age of seven, with her death, I learned true loss and overwhelming grief. I went to live with my mother and her partner, always realizing on some level that I was interfering with the life my mother wanted to lead. Each time it was possible to send me away for a period of time, I was.

I was alone. I was lonely. I was in pain. Does the pain of being left and ignored time and again outweigh the pain of not being here? Does the fear and pain you feel as the knife is held to your throat outweigh the calm afterward? Does that pain outweigh the feeling of the pain you feel as you watch yourself drag the piece of glass across your wrist at the age of 13? Does it outweigh the pain of seeing so much blood, panicking and running to clean yourself up, thinking someone is going to notice this, but no one does.

Pain—and descent.

There is the descent of medical illnesses and surgeries, each time control of your body is wrested from you and you begin the descent, and each time you claw yourself back up, refusing to give up, always fighting.

There is the descent that comes with the pain of anxiety, sometimes out of control, when you look at your life and the only thing that stops you from ending it is the love you have for your children.

There is the descent that comes with the pain of family and friends who betray, intentionally and purposefully.

There is the descent that comes with loss, both physical and emotional.

We, each of us, has our pain, our own descent.

While many people suffer and descend throughout their lives via depression, anxiety, loss, I believe that the involuntary descent of a woman (versus the voluntary descent of spiritual growth, which is so different) is that much worse because, more often than not, we suffer in silence, we hold our pain close to our souls. We are taught to not complain, and if we do, many times the words are not heard; and so, our pain is quiet, heard only by ourselves. This is what women learn, this is how we are socialized. No matter what happens, the only thing you truly must do is... smile.

But, somehow we go on, don't we? Through the pain and the anguish. Through the descent and the ascent following. We leave something of ourselves behind each time we fall, only to pick ourselves up and begin again. Each time we leave something behind, something stronger takes its' place, because it must.

An excerpt from Inanna's Ascent.

  


Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Healer, Yogini. She is a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher; a Reiki Master, who also works with chakras to clear the chakras; She priestesses a Red Tent in southern MA (US), as well as teaching Goddess Spirituality workshops. She is a writer whose work can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak and Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess, as well as Mago Publications She Rises, Volume 2, and Seasons of the Goddess. She has also been published in SageWoman magazine and is a monthly columnist in PaganPages.org. She is the author of My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess, one in the series of the My Name Is… children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through Imagine A Woman International founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. Her website is MysticalShores.wordpress.com and she can be reached at MysticalShores@gmail.com.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Dive into Darkness to Become the Light by Jaclyn Cherie

Art by Arna Baartz



My love affair with darkness began at birth; I was born with death as company and lungs roaring with rebellion.

Not even for my entry into this world did I stick to the script; a theme that continues throughout my life.

For my entire childhood and most of my Maidenhood, I didn’t understand or appreciate the heaviness I carried; not understanding that heaviness would bring me to depths in the collective and my personal psyche most people can’t fathom.

Society merely skims the surface remaining shallow.

I didn’t know then that my ability to face darkness and bring it to light is a gift.

I didn’t know then that my ability to turn wounds into eloquently worded weapons is another gift.

And, I didn’t know that my fearlessness when it comes to voicing my opinions as a Woman is yet another gift.

You can’t teach courage. You can’t teach strength. You can’t teach rebellion.

You can’t teach someone to be anything other than themselves; their inherent nature will always exist.

Their inherent nature will always win.

The only things you can teach are how to use strengths and faults to become better, to be better, to do better; anything else is futile—people are who they are.

And people can only see as far outside as they have gone inside; the journey must start within.

My outlook on life wasn’t always like this though, and it took a couple of Dark Nights of the Soul to help shift my view.

One Dark Night stands out in my memory more than the others; this is not to say that the other Dark Nights were easy, or less traumatic, it just means the one I am speaking of changed the entire direction of my life.

Not that my life had much direction, but after my dance with darkness in 2012-2013 my life had a destination, and I had a newfound purpose.

And, this sudden set course, and deep rooted desire for more out of life was all because I hit rock bottom, almost died, and had to claw my way back up.

It’s amazing the fire that burns in one’s Soul when the Warrior is called to action, and self-preservation required.

Up until this point the Goddess didn’t really exist in my life, or my Craft.

I mean, I had Hekate around and was beginning to experience my nights in the forest with Baba Yaga, but other than those two, there was no real Feminine inspiration of the otherworldly kind.

I didn’t know how much I was missing out on.

I didn’t know how much that power, that raw Feminine creative power the Goddess embodies, was going to change everything.

On my path I had worked with deities and Archetypes that matched how I viewed myself: dark.

I am filled with rage, it’s my most natural state of being, and can be (if left uncontrolled) a very toxic emotion.

I am filled with Shadows of trauma and pain that began at birth and didn’t stop. Hasn’t stopped.

When I thought of my emotions and experiences, they were Masculine and Daemonic. It’s amazing how we perceive ourselves even in a Magickal and/or Spiritual context because of the lies Patriarchy tells us.
Women can’t be angry. Women can’t be enraged. Women should be pretty, sit up straight, cross their legs, nod in agreement. Don’t forget to smile.”

Rather than,
Women can be whatever they want, and angry is definitely something they should be. Be comfortable in your skin, sit however the fuck you want, firmly plant your feet into the ground because they will try and shake you, question authority, be defiant and smile knowing there is a Beast within.”

I had always thought of myself as being a “girl’s girl” but I only ever encountered mean girls. This didn’t deter me from speaking out on Women’s issues or calling myself loudly and proudly a Feminist; from my perspective, mean girls are Women with wounds left unaddressed. They’re the ones who need Sisterhood more than anyone.

I had several very strong female role models in my life; our family is very much a Matriarchy. But, I moved away from them, from that central community, at the age of 12.

Then it was only my Mom, myself and “the abuser” for 10 years.

A prison sentence I will never forget.

I don’t regret the move though, because I wouldn’t be who I am now at 33, if I didn’t experience all the trauma, abuse and Soul Wounds inflicted on me; I do sometimes wonder what I would be like if I had stayed. Who would I be? Would I be as rebellious? Would I be as brave? Would I be as strong?

I believe strength is part of my nature, but it wasn’t fully awakened until I was forced into survival mode at a very young age. I don’t think any child should have to experience what I did, but I don’t resent the experiences anymore either; I’m grateful for them.

I’m grateful for them even when my C-PTSD is triggered, even when anxiety is illogically telling me I am not safe, and my fight or flight is turned on and I can’t control my thoughts or emotions. I’m especially grateful when I am sitting in the abyss facing my darkness and turning it into something beautiful.

Something worthwhile.

That probably sounds fucked up to say, and I know Freud would have a field day with it, but it’s true.

Pain and trauma are extraordinary teachers; they’re the Universe in its most basic yet complex form.

My hysterectomy in 2012/2013 (it had to be done in two steps) was loss on a level I still cannot put into words.

And, it has been my greatest teacher.

That loss is how I was introduced to the Dark Goddess, Crone power, and my Beloved Inanna.

Besides the hysterectomy, I was fresh out of an abusive relationship, recently had a back injury that resulted in my Kundalini awakening and had went thought a mental breakdown; there was a lot going on and I was lost in the darkness with nowhere to turn.

Spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically I was breaking; my Soul was dying.

One night while in the throes of pain and emotional anguish, I cried so hard for so long that I didn’t have anymore tears to shed, so I wept silence and then I slept.

I slept for days.

During my days of sleep, I was accompanied by a Goddess and a lion, a huge majestic lion, in a field of gold as far as the eye could see. There was golden grass, and clouds, golden dirt and animals; it was a Magickal place.

There was the sound of rushing water that called to me through the golden trees, I know it now by name, the crisp blue waters of Creation: the waters of Apsu. I would later experience firsthand its healing powers in a baptism of water and darkness.

A Goddess who was also gold with crimson lips and eternally flowing hair the color of night became my guide. I came to know her as Inanna.

It was She who helped me re-connect to my womb space; she reminded me that I am still Woman even without my organs. She reminded me of the power of my pussy.

She taught me that I was worthy, and that within the void of womb there was endless wisdom to be tapped into.

Inanna reminded me of my sexual nature, my divine Feminine power, and my birthright to be a Mother through other ways than birthing my own children or becoming a Mom in a similar capacity.
She gave me permission to become a Creatrix and my career was child number one.

When discussing Inanna, not many other people see her as a Torchbearer, or a Lightbringer as I do, but for me, that’s exactly what She is.

Inanna came to me when I had lost sight of who I was. She came to me in times of darkness with Her golden lessons and ignited a spark inside of me; I turned that spark into a wildfire and that’s how my torch came to be.

That very torch is what guides like Souls to me, to my blog, and my books.

It’s the torch I carry that reminds me even in the darkest of nights, there is still light, and that light exists inside of me.

Inanna taught me the Alchemical process of turning trauma and pain into golden threads of wisdom and beauty; with these threads I can weave not only my destiny, but I am able to help others see their own inherent divinity.

We are the light in the darkness.


An excerpt from Inanna's Ascent.


Jaclyn Cherie has her roots in Upstate New York. She is an Author, Witch, Feminist and Luciferian. The Owner and Creatrix of The Nephilim Rising strives to tell raw, real stories of Magick, the human condition, Sacred Sex, Women’s Issues and her favorite topic, rebellion. Preferring the Shadows to the Light, her Magick and writing reflect this; it is in the Darkness that she found her true form. Her written works originate from the watery depths of her Cancerian Soul and chronicle her cyclical death and rebirth from the Womb of the Dragon.



Friday, September 14, 2018

"Raw, insightful and compelling" - a Review of Inanna's Ascent by P.D. Mackenzie Cook



'Inanna's Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power' is raw, insightful and compelling. It rekindles the ancient recognition of women's intimate connection with the Goddess and, for me, evokes the affirmation that women are “preeminent by divine right and natural law”.1 This ancient perception has blossomed again in recent years, and it is deeply moving to read about the ways in which it is guiding and nourishing women's personal journeys today. Most profoundly, this vibrant book shows that women are embracing the hidden Goddess within themselves. They have stopped walking “in fear of the [...] Sky God”, 2 and in coming to know themselves as Goddess they are taking the next step along Inanna's path: splitting “the door where cleverness resides” to reveal “what lies inside”3 Simply put, 'Inanna's Ascent' shows how women are recovering the sovereignty that is their fundamental birthright.

The essays in this anthology are filled with thought-provoking insights – from the telling of ancient female-centred myths and noting their significance in terms of Jungian psychology, to the retelling of patriarchal myths in women-friendly ways; from discussing the tensions in balancing women's vulnerability and weakness with their inner resources of strength and power, to ancient perceptions of men both as nourishing harvested wheat and as partners in women's ascent from the underworld to the intimate sacred dance of renewal. And, among these powerful essays, the book also holds other rich offerings: beautiful celebrations of Goddess and Woman in heartfelt poetry and captivating artwork.

It is irrelevant whether we agree with these women in every detail (especially as men). Their stories and insights are as personal and artistically-crafted as their poems and illustrations. What is important is that this book resonates. It may not happen in the same way, or in the same places, for all of us – and certainly not in a single reading. This is a book to be savoured: a companion worthy of the time we spend letting its stories, its sacred songs, and its inspiring visions sink in deeply.

It is also a book to be shared with friends and loved ones. In fact what may be most startling about it is its relevance not only for women, but also for the men who love and admire them. As women become more conscious of the Goddess in their lives and being, and thus reclaim their implicit sovereignty, it is vital that we men learn to listen – and to recognize, revere and respond appropriately. To do this we too must connect with the feminine, with the “life-giving springs [...] hidden in the depths” of our psyche, of nature, and of the women in our lives.4 Absorbing the offerings in this book will help women explore the Goddess they share in the depths of their being. It will also help men to connect with and understand those depths – especially if we are included in women-led discussions and sacred rituals inspired by this book's eloquent invocation of the Goddess. We too must become “sacred attendants of ecstasy”,5 and in this connection it has been a genuine honour and gift to be asked to review 'Inanna's Ascent'. It is a book that will help restore the balance of nature's order: that of the Goddess, emerging once again as life-giving Matrix and Mistress.

~ P.D. Mackenzie Cook (author of 'Epona: Hidden Goddess of the Celts')


Order your copy here.


Notes:
1 Henricus Cornelius Agrippa (1529), Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex, Albert Rabil Jr. (Ed. and Transl,), University of Chicago Press, 1996.
2 Diane Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer (1983), Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Harper & Row; p. 5.
3 Betty De Shong Meador (2000), Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart, University of Texas Press; p.124.
4 M. Esther Harding, Women's Mysteries, Rider, 1991; p. 30.
5 Betty De Shong Meador, ibid

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Resurrection of Female Power by Trista Hendren

Art by Laura Tempest Zakroff

“What would our world look like if there were a rebirth of reverence for women, in all stages of life? How would we see ourselves if we were to revive the sacred feminine archetype?” -Amy Bammel Wilding1

Growing up in the Church, God was Male and I was shit.

I learned how to put myself last, in service to ALL—sacrificing myself daily in the service of His needs, whoever that man might be. The penis was my God, whether I recognized it or not then. There was no sacred masculine—and there still is not—because I cannot seem to recover that part of myself. Choking down dick will do that to a young woman.

Years later, I never understood my fascination with the Christa figures, despite my absolute disgust with the Church.

"Christa" by Edwina Sandys

If you're like me, what you remember most is the image of Jesus on the cross, ever-sacrificing—not the images of glory. Growing up in my particular denomination—we practiced a foot washing ceremony on Maundy Thursday. It was my first glimpse of what a women's circle could entail—powerful!!!—and yet deeply humbling to have someone else wash your feet and then to wash the feet of the woman next to you.

But that was a ritual saved for one night a year, and it would be years later before I discovered the power of women meeting together in circle regularly—with our own rituals.


Painting by Jakki Moore


As noted throughout this anthology, many females experience their first descent during girlhood.
“Over time, the girl-child becomes disconnected from the 'home' within her. Caught in the swirls of others, twisted in the shapes of others, depleted by the demands of others, she becomes outer-directed and loses touch with herself. Her breath becomes shallow. She ignores her body. She looks to saviors outside of herself for salvation and validation, forgetting the rich resources within her.” –Patricia Lynn Reilly

It took me a long time to discover the lengths that patriarchy took to crucify me—or as it is often more politely phrased, to “clip my wings.”

But I suppose if I am honest, it took even longer for me to realize that the act of clipping my wings could not keep me from resurrecting myself—and flying again.

You see, even if you clip a bird's wings, they will grow back— eventually. The bird just needs to learn how to fly.

All my life, I had been too focused on my cage. I did not even realize my wings had grown back and the door was unlocked. Hence, I never learned how to fly—it seemed beside the point.

The easiest way to keep a woman caged is to make her believe she is powerless—and utterly incapable of flying on her own.

The simplest way to keep a woman on the cross is to convince her to keep her own nails in place—and even get her to nail them back into her own hands and feet when they come lose.

In my own life, I had been too focused on the systematic structures that hold women down. And believe me—they are there. We need to remove all of them so that girls do not continue to grow into women living in cages who can't even feel their wings.

Whether it be by incest, rape or other sexual abuse, physical, emotional or financial abuse, or the garden variety of subordination and submissiveness many of us are raised with—most females don't put up much of a fight anymore by adulthood. We often still feel those hands that held us down vividly, as if they were still there on our shoulders.

We are so disassociated with our bodies, we are barely even acquainted with them. We don't know our cycles, our vulvas, our breasts—or even our real food intake needs. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Most of us are completely divorced from ourselves before puberty.

I have come to strongly believe that no matter how much you know intellectually, you cannot claim your full power if you are disassociated from your body. And this self-hatred and unawareness of our bodies that is ingrained in girls from childhood must be stopped—and reversed in those of us who are older.

I didn't realize the full force of my own self-hatred until I watched Hannah Gadsby in Nanette, talking about her intense level of shame. Like most women, I was abused in a myriad of ways for the majority of my life. But it is that base level of indoctrination from birth that held me firmly in place in the underworld. As Gadsby howls so beautifully in her performance:
“To be rendered powerless does not strip you of your humanity. Your resilience is your humanity... To yield and not break—that is incredible strength... 
There is no way, there is no way—anyone would dare test their strength out on me because you all know there is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.”
Patriarchy tends to go for the easy targets—namely, children—and women who have been sedated by the crushing weight of indoctrination and abuse.

I am currently remodeling an enormous, dilapidated house that I bought with my husband—and it has taught me a lot about myself. Among other things, I learned that all my life I had taken shortcuts that belittled my own best interests and growth.

My Norwegian husband is the slow and thorough type. I never have been that way. I always rush to get things done as soon as possible. We laugh at each other through this process as he insists on taking his own. sweet. time... filling holes, sanding, putting on primer—and then carefully applying 4 thin, even layers of paint.

My methods, if left to my own devices, would be exactly the opposite. I would just take a Super Soaker and squirt down all the walls until they were adequately drenched with a fresh, bright color. I think a lot of females work at speed-demon pace because we have too much on our plates—whereas men, statistically, have far more free time. We are used to taking the fastest way possible because we are constantly starved of time—especially time for ourselves.

What I realized during this process is that I never felt like I was worth it. I never thought I deserved any time spent on myself. I had spent my life giving away my hours, my days, my sovereignty and my-self.

Your home is a reflection of yourself in many ways, and there is no greater time in my life when I have felt this. We bought a once-grand old house that had been mistreated and abused for 40 years—much like I had been. The symbolism could not have been closer.
“Say, who owns this house?
It’s not mine.
This house is strange.
Its shadows lie.
Say, tell me, why does its lock fit my key?”
-Toni Morrison, Home
We are repairing the house as an investment—to restore some of what was destroyed by my previous husband's addictions. Mine was a messy 15-year descent, filled with every sort of loss. I have written entire books about my descent. I seem to have gotten stuck there somewhere along the way.

I expected my ascent to be much easier—but the truth is, it has been just as messy cleaning it up. Ascent is a process, which is why the story of Inanna is so important as a map for women.

There are no shortcuts during ascension. “Healing begins where the wound was made,” as Alice Walker wrote. But returning to the wound often implies ripping off the band-aid—or the masks.


"Tree of Inanna" by Liliana Kleiner


By subverting the Inanna myth and inserting Christ as Savior instead, patriarchy did a pretty good job of mind-fucking the world. We are taught the opposite of Goddess values in the Christian narrative. As Monica Sjöö and Barbara Mor wrote in The Great Cosmic Mother, “The patriarchal God has only one commandment: Punish life for being what it is. The Goddess also only has one commandment: Love life for what it is.”

Inanna dresses herself elaborately for Her descent. Everything was (willingly) taken from Her, as it was from me rather begrudgingly. What I forgot though—without the myth of Inanna directing my own life—is that all was returned to her.

I did not need to continue to walk around in tattered clothes my entire life like my image of a crucified Jesus returning from the grave. My particular image of Jesus was nearly always that of him suffering immensely on the cross for my sins. Even more than 20 years after leaving the church, I am not sure I ever really got over my feelings of unworthiness.

I talked about self love—and even co-wrote a book about it. But my affection for myself was weak. As Toni Morrison wrote, “Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”

My internalized oppression was strong. And there is no blame in that. We indoctrinate girls from birth to hate themselves and put themselves dead-last. Arnfríður Guðmundsdóttir wrote that “Women's sufferings have been justified by appealing to the salvific significance of their suffering.”

In order for us to rise, we must shred these beliefs. And then we must actively dissolve their hooks in every area of our lives.

“This Second Coming is not a return of Christ but a new arrival of female presence, once strong and powerful, but enchained since the dawn of patriarchy. Only this arrival can liberate the memory of Jesus from enchainment to the role of “mankind's most illustrious scapegoat.” The arrival of women means the removal of the primordial victim, “the Other,” because of whom “the Son of God had to die.” When no longer condemned to the role of “savior,” perhaps Jesus can be recognizable as a free man. It is only female pride and self-affirmation that can release the memory of Jesus from its destructive uses and can free freedom to be contagious. The Second Coming, then, means that the prophetic dimension in the symbol of the great Goddess—later reduced to the “Mother of God”—is the key to salvation from servitude to structures that obstruct human becoming.” -Mary Daly

I thought I had embraced these words full-heartedly. Intellectually I had. But internally I was still doing the little things every single day that said I hate myself.

It is not always the big things... oftentimes it is the small things that are too minuscule to even seem important. But when they become daily habits, they can take over everything else. They can rob us of our joy—and even our lives. As Sandra Heimann explained:
“Goddess was weakened by fragmentation; gods gained power by assembling fragments; they cobbled together a “monotheistic” god from stolen goddess parts."
Likewise, patriarchy teaches women to fragment themselves to complete the destruction of all that is female.

We have been focused on patriarchal crucifixion stories for too long. When we put our own stories back together, we put our lives back together—and we reclaim our power. As Hannah Gadsby says, “You learn from the part of the story you focus on.” We must reclaim the resurrection of Goddess—and use Her stories to learn how to ascend in our lives.

May the legend of Inanna—and the tales of ascension by Her daughters—inspire global transformation that will resurrect female power everywhere.



An excerpt from "The Resurrection of Female Power" in Inanna's Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power.



Order your copy here.





Endnotes:

1Bammel Wilding, Amy. Wild & Wise: Sacred Feminine Meditations for Women's Circles & Personal Awakening. Womancraft Publishing (October 9, 2017).

2 See “Christa” by Edwina Sandys (1975) and Arnfríður Guðmundsdóttir's paper, “When Christ becomes Christa.”

Guðmundsdóttir, Arnfríður. “When Christ becomes Christa.” Fyrirlestur í Wartburg Seminary Dubuque, Nóvember 2012.

3 Maundy Thursday is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter, commemorating the foot washing and Last Supper of Jesus .

4 Reilly, Patricia Lynn. Be Full of Yourself!: The Journey from Self-Criticism to Self-Celebration. Open Window Creations (April 1, 1998).

5 Gadsby, Hannah. Nanette. Netflix Original, 2018.

6 Morrison, Toni. Home. Vintage; (January 1, 2013).

7 Walker, Alice. The Way Forward is With A Broken Heart. Ballantine Books; 1st Ballantine Books ed edition (October 2, 2001).

8 Sjöö, Monica and Mor, Barbara. The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth. HarperOne; 2nd edition, 1987.

9 Morrison, Toni. Beloved. Vintage; Reprint edition (June 8, 2004).

10 Guðmundsdóttir, Arnfríður. “When Christ becomes Christa.” Fyrirlestur í Wartburg Seminary Dubuque, Nóvember 2012.

11 Daly, Mary. Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation. Beacon Press; Revised edition (June 1, 1993).

12 Heimann, Sandra. The Biography of Goddess Inanna; Indomitable Queen of Heaven, Earth and Almost Everything: Her Story Is Women's Story. BalboaPress (September 29, 2016).