The past few weeks have been difficult for me as I’ve felt my personal autonomy attacked and women’s hard-fought rights stripped from us. This time calls for us to feel and express our anger and call for women’s empowerment… and also to take care of ourselves, retreating inward when necessary. (i.e. grounding)
Let’s process this together. It may seem dark at first but I am going to help us through this as we grab hold of our power together.
This is going to get feminist. I’m going to talk about religion. Let’s own our power.
First, a history lesson
Ancient peoples lived in matriarchal societies as well as patriarchal and egalitarian. A great variety of peoples had varying societal roles and governing styles prior to today. The Iroquois confederacy, for example, inspired the idea of the council of representatives as we have in our Constitution in the US. The Iroquois representatives were chosen by the female elders, the culture-keepers of the tribe. Women controlled the economy in their nations through their responsibilities for growing and distributing the food. The Haudenosaunee (as the Iroquois call themselves) also inspired the early women’s movement leaders because of their shared leadership model of governing themselves.
Women have always been warriors, poets, healers and sages. And we still are. (See: What is the Divine Feminine?)
A patriarchal wound with salt in it
However most religious and historical stories we’ve grown up with only include women as bit players, or worse, villians. A painful biblical story for me has always been Adam and Eve. It legitimized my feeling of unworthiness through the story of Eve offering Adam the apple from the fruit of the tree of knowledge. It certified the second-class status of women as declared by God, the evil within us being a mark we could not erase.
The courts today still wish to punish Eve for the unforgivable sin of not being born male. They are going on to include punishment and control over those who weren’t born cis, straight, white and christian.
A Rebellious She-Witch Gets Her Way
Have you heard about the story of Lilith? Versions of her story have appeared in ancient Jewish religious texts and in other cultures as well. When god made Adam out of dust, he also made Lilith. The couple fought because neither one would submit to each other. He wanted to have sex with her and she refused. When he tried to force himself on her, she shouted out the secret name of God, which gave her divine powers. She cursed Adam, grew wings, and flew out of Eden. After her escape, God made Eve from Adam’s rib so that he would have a more compliant playmate.
God’s Pronoun is ME/WE
The point is not that one version of the story vs. the other is true. The point is that we need to consider all stories, and to view them as the whisper-down-the-lane version of spirituality that they are.
The ultimate authority of my life is not the Bible; it is not confined between the covers of a book. It is not something written by men and frozen in time. It is not from a source outside myself. My ultimate authority is the divine voice in my own soul.Sue Monk Kidd
Say this with me:
I am a divine being,
worthy of my own autonomy.
To be ourselves causes us to be exiled by many others, and yet to comply with what others want causes us to be exiled from ourselves.Clarissa Pinkola Estés
I shall not forsake myself.
In order to empower ourselves and our allies we must first put on our own oxygen mask of self-love. I teach women about the strands of the spider web of life:
We need the first four in order to build community, respect each other, and create empowerment and change.
My power is in the present moment of creation
I create this moment, so I am the creator. We all are. We need to create together our vision of beauty, equity and love. We can create ripples of social change that transform the world. Starhawk calls this power that we need not Power Over (as so many dogmatic religions chase after) but Power from Within.
Create empowerment in your life
I asked the women in my circle this new moon to do some intuitive practice. Will you reflect with us? What is it you intend for the coming month? Are you wanting to help others? Stay hopeful? Change yourself? Receive abundance? Speak up for yourself? Whatever it is, commit to yourself that you will bring it into the world. Write it down and create for yourself a little ritual to honor that bring more of yourself to share with the world. That is how we start to heal.
Hear me roar
More Info about Lilith
- Meet Lilith, Adam’s First Wife Nobody Wants to Talk About
- Lilith Entry, Encyclopedia of Jewish Women
More Info about Women’s History, Myths and Stories
Borrow any of these books free from the Internet Archive or purchase them to read.
- The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara Walker
- The Great Cosmic Mother, Rediscovering the religion of the earth, Monica Sjöö
- Women Who Run with Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, Clarissa Pinkola Estes
- Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood: a treasury of goddess and heroine lore from around the world, Merlin Stone