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As Paul, a male speaking and writing as High Priest summoned into the service of a Goddess, I may be suspect. John Gray's self-help bestseller points out that Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. For a man to embrace a woman may be easy, but to fully embrace female perspectives and sensibilities remains an impossible stretch for most males. As survivor and widower of a 50-year courtship and marriage, my skill at mind-reading is still less than perfect.
But raising twins can get a man intimately involved in child-rearing, the diapering, feeding and comforting. Retraining and starting a new career in midlife is something many women and I share. Parenting both female and male children helps, too. And being homemaker and surrogate Mr-Mom for a busy schoolteacher certainly was an instructive role-reversal, if challenging. Deep self-analysis involving early childhood issues and one’s own parents of both sexes can also open doors. I continue to admire and learn from remarkable women.
Yet some things may be private and privileged. Spiritual sensitivity to mood and lunar/menstrual awareness, the tides of body and mind, seems to remain exclusively a female domain. And the abiding tradition of witchery and herbal magic that has been so diabolically persecuted over centuries, by Inquisition and Reformation alike, seems difficult to penetrate. Females and males alike have their separate rituals.
As an example, I once volunteered to watch over the small children during our Sunday church service. The kids were no problem, but when I realized that the room also contained nursing mothers, I had to retreat in panic rather than risk imposing on this vital and sacred function. Or maybe I was just a sissy.
In recent decades, America has greatly transformed itself due to the Women’s Liberation, Civil Rights and Gay Rights movements. Yet the backlash remains severe. Racist, sexist and homophobic attitudes persist. They are being cultivated and intensified as propaganda weapons. This is just part part of the Class War waged by a plutocratic ruling elite, who still seek to divide and distract the majority of decent Americans by any ruse available.
Republican and Fundamentalist attacks, the demoralization and demonization of women have been particularly brutal. Hillary Clinton, Susan McDougal, Cindy Sheehan, Gabi Gifford, Sandra Fluke and Wendy Davis are a few of those who’ve taken a stand and been ruthlessly targeted. Worse, retrograde legislation against female health and reproductive rights has been advanced, and attacks by media monsters like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Riley threaten to turn back the clock on women’s freedoms.
Yet this assault on women is nothing new. Among the oldest surviving written histories, the Book of Genesis reads like the opening volley in a war of male conquest. Declaring God to be a male Father-Creator in Adam's image is just the start. After blaming Eve for the loss of Eden's paradise, it records human genealogy in almost purely male names. The women evidently are disregarded, neither named nor numbered, as mere vessels for the sacred seed of masculine descent.
This seems peculiar, coming out of the dawn of agriculture when fertility was sought after and revered, since its deities were naturally female. In nomadic life, the respective male and female specialties of hunting and gathering presumably had borne equal weight. But in settled agricultural life, with male hunting supplanted by plowing and sowing, the complementary female birthing, nurturing and gathering powers should predominate.
This may be explained in part by the advent of the written word such as the original Bible scrolls, recorded and read by male scribes and priests. Leonard Shlain in his book The Alphabet Versus the Goddess argues how phonetic language, reading and writing, can stimulate and inflame the left side of the brain, the male linear hunting faculty, in opposition to the right-brain female imaging specialty. Thus, recorded or memorized scrolls and scriptures, from the first written histories, have launched militant socio-religious movements that suppressed or subjugated the female principle and dethroned the goddess. Anyone who has heard a fire-and-brimstone preacher on a Bible rant can appreciate this left-brained frenzy..
History, as Ghandi said, records the interruptions of peace. So the Her-story of tranquil, fertile, constructive periods of human growth is submerged in the His-story of wars, disasters, treacheries, clashes of nations and faiths that mark our human calendar. The Goddess has been ignored and written off the page, but now She is vexed and making powerful disturbances of her own to capture our attention.
Politically, things have advanced. We may soon see the first female American President. But the greater the progress, the harsher the reaction… mainly from rich “winners” with a lock on power, who don’t want anything to change the game. Women seem to be rising to the challenge, using their power. But meanwhile contrarians like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman demonstrate that females can be just as Strong and Wrong as male demagogues, when recruited and funded in the Class War against ordinary citizens. And recent California election losses prove that women too can be corporate oppressors and spend record wealth to buy public office.
A current strategy of the oligarchy is to “dumb down” Americans, and to disdain and discredit the laws and findings of science. But we can have faith that the Goddess Geo-Gaia, by demonstrating Her inflexible natural laws, will command new respect, and that there will be a further paradigm shift toward the female outlook. After all, while men expect to die stoically with the most toys, women tend to want to stay alive and support the next generation. Aren’t they more likely to keep the planet alive?
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