Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Raising men of the Goddess by Amy Barron Smolinski
I have four sons. I didn’t expect to have sons, certainly not four of them. After a journey that found me on the Goddess path, studying her many aspects and names, and learning that my ancestral line traced back to priestesses who were endowed with active Third Eyes and the ancient Israelite tribe of the Levites who were high priests, I was entirely convinced that I would have daughters with whom to share the sacred truth of our family line, and who would bring great divine light into the evolving paradigm of our time.
I have four sons. Although I mourn the daughter I always thought I would have, I find a mother’s delight and joy in my beautiful, unique, and sacred sons. I also find in being the mother of sons a new understanding of the call of the Goddess. She is not only for women. She is for men, and I am raising men, which is a great responsibility.
I have four sons. From their father and me, they are learning about partnership and equality and what it means to support each other, both in terms of spirituality and practicality. They are learning that both men and women change diapers, wear babies, and give and receive loving touch. They learned that breastfeeding is the normal way to feed human children (and I’m pretty sure they can all fix a bad latch), and that a new daddy’s job is to take care of a new mommy so she can take care of the baby. They learned that both men and women are active participants in parenting. They learned that both men and women work outside of the home, and that finding and completing fulfilling work is a sacred honor. They learn that challenges mean asking for help, and learning is sometimes painful, but can be achieved with support - and that there ARE abundant resources available to support them when needed.
I have four sons. They are learning that religion consists of mythological systems that teach us about finding our inner connection to the Divine and instructing us about how to conduct ourselves in ways that embody our values. They are learning that our values are compassion, respect, truth, abundance, joy, and honoring the authentic experience of themselves and others. They are learning about setting and respecting healthy boundaries for themselves and respecting the boundaries of others. They are learning that words are powerful and can hurt or heal. They are learning to apologize and find better alternatives when they speak or act in a hurtful or inauthentic way.
I have four sons. My house is filled with penises. They are learning that male and female are different, and to celebrate these differences. Someday, they will learn that gender is a rainbow spectrum, that love and sex and romance are deeply complex interactions, and that all human beings are entitled to seek and find these things with other people. They are learning that both boys and girls play, laugh, love, cry, feel pain, inflict wounds, and heal. They are learning that boys and girls both think and contribute ideas to the collective. They are learning that boys and girls both possess innately sacred masculinity and femininity within themselves; and that in finding and honoring these elements of Yin and Yang in balance, they develop into their fullest potential. They are learning that boys and girls both are capable of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual growth, knowledge, insight and strength.
I have four sons. They are learning to recognize misogyny and reject it. They are learning that they are responsible for themselves and their actions, and that girls are not temptresses, devils, inherently flawed, or deserving of violent words or actions. They are learning that touch is consensual or it’s wrong, and when they come of age to understand sex, they will learn the same of sexual touch. They are learning to reject rape culture, and they already identify sexist or misogynistic comments as “ridiculous.”
I have four sons who are learning that all creatures are worthy of respect, compassion, and the courtesy of inquisitive interest. They have not learned to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, disability, species, or any other difference from themselves. They are learning to get to know others and to cultivate healthy boundaries that minimize contact with those that threaten their own health, safety, or well-being - whether that’s schoolyard bullies or poisonous plants. They are learning when it is appropriate to speak out for themselves or others, and when it is appropriate to walk away and expend their energy in more effective ways.
I have four sons. They are learning to honor and respect their emotions, but to express them in healthy ways that do not cause damage. They are learning to seek knowledge, ask questions, and think things out, and to value their own thoughts. They are learning to listen for the Divine voice, to recognize their innate connections, and to trust it. They are learning that the Divine has many feminine aspects, each of which has important lessons to teach us. But through them, I am learning that - just as I need the deep connection to the Goddess to affirm my place as a woman - I must honor their need for a deep connection to a male God because they deserve and need the concept of themselves as worthy of Divinity as well. As all parents learn, I am learning to respect and listen to their startling insights into the nature of the Divine, as they already possess their own innate connection, often unfettered by external human constructs of religion or literature. As my own parents did with my brother and me, my husband and I encourage our sons to greet any religious or spiritual instruction with critical thinking and questions. We ask them to consider what feels true to them, and to glean what serves them and release the rest.
I have four sons. Although they are not the first or only reason I choose Goddess Spirituality, Feminism, and Activism (or rather, to heed the Goddess who has called me), they are my greatest teachers. Their existence makes me a mother four times over, and deepens my connection to the Great Mother of us all. Their individual gifts, struggles, delights, and experiences remind me daily of how each of us is fragile, precious, and strong - a gossamer thread on the web of life woven by the Fates or the Spider Woman. Their lives have brought me in contact with countless others who share my truth, even if not always my language, and with whom relationships have been mutually enriching. I have four sons, who I must raise to be men capable of functioning in and contributing to the Goddess Spirituality paradigm, because we are already in a post-patriarchal world.
-Amy Barron Smolinski, She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality?