Friday, July 17, 2015
Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality by Barbara C. Daughter
Can our world be imagined without the generative and nurturing powers of females? Although stars and crystals may create and evolve without our sensing their sex or even whether they can be classified in this way, in our observable world, the whole animal kingdom is entirely dependent of the fecundity of females, males’ participation notwithstanding. Yet we humans have conjured up and promulgated the concept of sacred forces as being other than Female, and not necessarily of Creation. Advancing these notions produces an artificial construct, a divine order (or orders) which are divorced from the natural world in which we live.
While others have written about the myriad reasons and ways in which these misbegotten concepts have been foisted upon both sexes, and the planet as a whole, I would like to add my voice, positing that envisioning the world without the Divine Generative Force as Female is harmful to women and girls, as well as men, and the rest of creation. Humans have an intrinsic awareness of females as life-bearers. In fact, earliest cross-cultural evidence of humans’ conceptions of themselves is profoundly different from our own: women were centered in their worlds. Archaeology points to this fact over and over again, from cave paintings to statuary to simple, yet exact incisions on building stones. This honoring of women became writ large in creation myths and legends worldwide, as the immense array of ancient Goddesses and other Sacred Females confirm.
Although these findings can inform our understanding of how humans have conceived of their worlds in the past, using ancient cultures as referent points today may be both too distant and too specific to those times and places. Where, then, can modern peoples look to begin conceptualizing a new paradigm (or paradigms) of Divine?
I would like to suggest that we begin to restore harmony between the spheres: our environment, our human constructs of Divine, and the realms beyond our sensory knowing by focusing on the natural world around us. The biosphere on and in which we live can be a profound, yet readily available opening for that new understanding. Many who celebrate Goddess in Her one or many forms honor the turning of the wheel: recognizing the cycles of the year as our Mother Planet spins on Her axis around our Sun and the resulting changes in the plant and animal kingdoms with whom we share this “pale blue dot.” As the Sun’s angle changes, one may begin by noticing the change in light. In the northern part of the US where I live, that change is especially perceptible on early-Spring mornings, when the bits of sand on the sidewalk cast long shadows before them. Such simple awareness brings me joy in contemplating the return of the sun’s warmth and new plants’ green budding long before a daffodil has peeked through the snow. Catching a glimpse of the sky at dawn or dusk allows us to acknowledge the beginnings and endings of our days, and by extension the myriad other beginnings and ending in our lives; and gazing on the beauty of the night’s sky tempers our ego with a perspective on the nearly-immeasurable vastness to which we belong.
If we begin by at least considering the Divine Creative Force as female, a Creatrix if you will, we acknowledge and respect the natural ways in which our world is structured, and begin to respect our Mother Earth as well. In leaving behind artificial notions, we begin to heal our own souls.
-Barbara C. Daughter, She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality?
Photograph by Jade Beall Photography