Thursday, September 29, 2005

Women~Men SEPARATING~CONVENING

If we wanna boot the GodFather, and give our hearts back to the GodMother, we need to find a way to bring men into our world. But since women have been wounded by men, perhaps for a while we need to wallow in the wonder of being together without them! But come on -- let's not be overly selfish. Men need God the Mother as much as women do (many say more).

Here's a thought:

“I don’t quite know how men fit in, and that’s a problem…. I know there are spirituality groups that have both men and women, but I don’t feel really good about them. I like the private groups for women. There’s something wonderful about women being with women, and not having men present. I wouldn’t want to give that up, not yet; we have such a long way to go…. I’d rather see men going off and being spiritual together, and women going off elsewhere and being spiritual together. Most worship could be separate, with joint events occasionally….” From an interview in Barbara Walker’s Restoring the Goddess, p. 375.
What d'ya think?

14 comments:

ursa said...

I can't help thinking that the father god is an exacerbative symptom and men are the cause ,I agree with Morgaine when she said men are not going to let us do this peacefully .I am sure those women of old fought down to the last drop of blood, thats what i get from Homer, and the the 12 labours of hercules seem to me to be about him distroying various matriarcal civilisations, maybe im wrong but whats changed about men from then to now.

Anonymous said...

Athana, can you check out the comments in the link below? People are making VERY ridiculous assumptions about matriarchy (ie, it would be as bad as patriarchy!!1) and it's depressing...

http://www.livejournal.com/users/ginmar/514639.html

Morgaine said...

I have to agree that I am more comfortable in women-only groups. I love guys, but honestly, I don't think we have men in this culture that are functional enough to deal with in matters of spirituality, politics or care and feeding of our culture. They just don't "get it", and they're so wrapped up in their entitlement that they have no need to get it until we take back our power.

ANONYMOUS - SEND THEM TO MY 3 part Series called "Mothers and Others"

Athana said...

Ursa and Morgaine, I hear you.

Lincoln freed the slaves, but not without violence. Even if you don’t count the Civil War, there was John Brown, etc.

The Suffragettes had to win suffrage violently. There was violence against them. Beaten in jails. Raped, I think?

However, since men ARE the “masters” and we women slaves, I think if we could get at least a few of the “masters” on our side, we’d stand a much better chance of freeing ourselves. The slaves had Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Brown, after all. This isn’t like the ancient matriarchies where women had the authority and were fighting against losing it. We’re working from the ground up.

Here in Maine, at least, there seem to be a few men willing to “play nicely” with women in authority. Most of them seem to be gay. One guy begged and begged to join my all-women’s Goddess group a few years ago. We talked long and hard about whether to let him in, and finally got consensus. He came to a couple of our ceremonies, was exquisitely humble, quiet, played an appropriately back-seat role, smiled at the right times, had great comments when queried but was otherwise silent – and then didn’t come back! No one knows why he didn’t come back. But the point is, I think we all felt okay about him. And he desperately wanted to come.

I feel I could get some men to hear me about Goddess before I could get some women. My sister’s a rabidly born-again hetero, terrified of homo. My gay brother on the other hand practiced Native American spirituality for a while (but joined a gay-friendly Methodist church a few years ago before I could stop him).

Our best hope, now that I think about it, is probably disenfranchised men – gay men, Native American men, men of color, for example. They feel a lot less of that "entitlement" you mentioned, Morgaine.

Ursa – the point you make about god being the symptom and men the cause – that’s a good one! I think I’ll do a post on it soon, and then you can weigh in again on the issue, if you want.

Athana said...

More to Ursa and Morgaine:

My personal view is that a few sick people in the past knew that by turning men into women’s jailers, they could conquer us all – and keep us conquered. They probably decided to make women the jailed because they knew women are the real leaders. Men have it as bad as we do, I think – only in different ways. If we can show them that (not just tell them, but get down in their faces and MAKE them see it), then we all win. If we can show them that the warrior gods hate them (men) just as much as they hate women, then we’re half way home. If the Goddess is our Mother, then men are our sibs. Can we just abandon our siblings to the war gods?

Athana said...

Anonymous: I am checking out that site inbetween listening to the Matriarchy Conference. You should tune in! It's going to be fabulous.

Athana said...

Anonymous, I checked your site and found this: "I should say here that I find earth mother stereotypes to be incredibly stupid, as well as the assumption some people make that women are naturally nurturing and mothering, too."

I couldn't find anyone saying that matriarchy would be as bad as patriarchy. Which commenter said it?

What’s wrong with the statement above is this: patriarchal women have been damaged by the patriarchy as much as men have; some of us more than others. The author seems bright and knowledgeable, but she’s had it drilled into her head that she and all women are bad, that motherhood is bad, women’s bodies are bad, etc. I’d be willing to bet that she had a poor relationship with her mother, who was perhaps more wounded than most. Didn’t get much of any good stuff from her mother or other women as a child. And it doesn’t help any that many feminists are uneducated about female deity, on any level, be it psychosocial, mythological or historical/archaeological.

Athana said...

Anonymous – let me sputter on a bit longer: fully “modern” humans have been around for almost 200,000 years. People just like us. If women hadn’t been naturally nurturing and mothering, it’s doubtful our species would have survived for 200,000 years. Also, until about 6000 years ago, people showed no signs (that I know of) of being patriarchal (no high incidence of brutality on female skeletal/fossil remains; no high incidence of female death due to violence coming up on female vs male skeletal/fossil remains; etc.). It’s taken our patriarchal lifestyle only 6000 years to spread to the point where it may now wipe human life off the planet. And lack of nurturing and mothering skills in damaged women may well be a part of the story, here.

But, I would contend that, given half a chance, women are indeed naturally mothering and nurturing!

Lisa said...

Our best hope, now that I think about it, is probably disenfranchised men – gay men, Native American men, men of color, for example. They feel a lot less of that "entitlement" you mentioned, Morgaine.

I was going to say this. Seems to me, throughout history it's particularly the gay men that have been less hostile to females. I suggested in my Gender & Spirituality class last week that it might be because religious tracts & literature in general seems to have a theme of men being terrified of their overwhelming sexual attraction to women, i.e., and express these feelings in such terms as "bewitched" and "enchanted," etc. Gay men don't have this problem, lol, so they don't have a problem with women?

And a thought about just how "mothering and nurturing" pre-patriarchal women were. How exactly are we defining what "mothering and nurturing" mean? I mean, if you look at the ancient goddessy figures, or whatever you consider things like the Venus of Willendorf, none have any faces, therefore no emotions. Later figures with faces seem to look very stoic, never looking at the child but straight ahead, with the poor little infants hanging on to the breast for dear life, barely hanging on. This continues to the Isis/Horus figures and even to very very early Christianity with the Virgin Mary/Jesus (or Mary Magdalene/Jesus's son, whichever you consider them to be.)

What do you think?

Morgaine said...

Lisa - I think that is more a reflection of artistic styles at those times, rather than social commentary.

It's always a problem when we have to generalize. There's a type of gay man who hates women and anything feminine. There's a type of woman who is a natural warrior and not very nurturing. We can always find exceptions, but we do sometimes have to acknowledge trends to predict behavior.

I agree that men from disenfranchised groups are often more sympathetic to our goals, especially if they are from a culture with female deities or spirits. Of course, we want them on our side, but we need to have some women-only spaces as well. Both are possible and desirable.

The suffragists were hung by their wrists from bars in their cells. One who was on a hunger strike was repeatedly strapped down, her mouth forced open and raw eggs poured down her throat - which would come back up bloody. There were certainly beatings and probably rape, though I don't have specific knowledge of that. Those women had merely refused to leave the spot near the White House where they were protesting. They were only freed because someone got word to a journalist, who embarrassed the Administration, which then relented in opposing women's sufferage.

The moral of that story is that women are oppressed because of our power. Men instinctively know that we should be in charge, and patriarchy trains them to fear and resent us. If we were truly inferior, there would be no danger in giving us equal rights - we would fail once given opportunity, and the men would retain their control. The opposite has proven to be true, time and time again. Women are now the majority in colleges. Women are beginning to challenge the achievements of men in every field, including athletics. It doesn't take long for us to pass them up, and that's in addition to still being the primary caretakers in the culture.

You are right in that Priests and Kings have benefitted by making men our jailers. It causes sexual dysfunction which supports violence, and the violence enables them to exploit women's labor and amass great wealth. It also gives men someone to look down upon, so that they lord over women rather than challenging their betters - a sort of misdirection or bait-and-switch.

I've always thought that the best way to start is with our sons, but that's difficult in this culture, where games are sold that reward abusing women. We have much work to do.

Athana said...

I like this, Lisa: Heterosexual men are “terrified of their overwhelming sexual attraction to women…. Gay men don't have this problem, lol, so they don't have a problem with women?”
And Morgaine rightly says, “It's always a problem when we have to generalize. There's a type of gay man who hates women and anything feminine…. [B]ut we do sometimes have to acknowledge trends to predict behavior.”
I’ve just begun a book that offers an explanation of the origin of the patriarchy. It’s an interdisciplinary study with exceptionally good data, very carefully documented, 10 years in the making. This author/researcher says the sickness that is patriarchy began when North Africa and the center of Asia turned into desert between 5000 – 6000 years ago. This produced large-scale famine, that persisted through many generations. Famine leads to all kinds of mental health problems that persist through an individual’s lifetime. There’s too much to explain in one small comment, but here’s one very, very small detail keeps haunting me: these people (says the researcher) who lived in this swath of land going to desert, had to abandon their homes and become nomads. Babies where tied to boards strapped to their mothers’ backs. Their heads were so tightly bound to the board (to keep them from flopping over rough trails) that they ended up with cranial deformation. Their arms and legs were bound too tightly to move for entire days. Remember, this is just one small detail in a litany the researcher goes through to explain how, over the generations, the people in these areas began to hate their mothers, freedom, pleasure, sex, and women in general.
So why men hate women is probably a complex issue. (But in another sense, if my current author is right, perhaps very simple.)

Athana said...

I like this, Lisa: Heterosexual men are “terrified of their overwhelming sexual attraction to women…. Gay men don't have this problem, lol, so they don't have a problem with women?”
And Morgaine rightly says, “It's always a problem when we have to generalize. There's a type of gay man who hates women and anything feminine…. [B]ut we do sometimes have to acknowledge trends to predict behavior.”
I’ve just begun a book that offers an explanation of the origin of the patriarchy. It’s an interdisciplinary study with exceptionally good data, very carefully documented, 10 years in the making. This author/researcher says the sickness that is patriarchy began when North Africa and the center of Asia turned into desert between 5000 – 6000 years ago. This produced large-scale famine, that persisted through many generations. Famine leads to all kinds of mental health problems that persist through an individual’s lifetime. There’s too much to explain in one small comment, but here’s one very, very small detail keeps haunting me: these people (says the researcher) who lived in this swath of land going to desert, had to abandon their homes and become nomads. Babies where tied to boards strapped to their mothers’ backs. Their heads were so tightly bound to the board (to keep them from flopping over rough trails) that they ended up with cranial deformation. Their arms and legs were bound too tightly to move for entire days. Remember, this is just one small detail in a litany the researcher goes through to explain how, over the generations, the people in these areas began to hate their mothers, freedom, pleasure, sex, and women in general.
So why men hate women is probably a complex issue. (But in another sense, if my current author is right, perhaps very simple.)

Lisa said...

It's always a problem when we have to generalize. There's a type of gay man who hates women and anything feminine.

You're absolutely right, my bad.

Famine leads to all kinds of mental health problems that persist through an individual’s lifetime.

Don't forget the PTSD that can occur as a result of such horrific conditions... I see it all the time in the Polish community, especially since PTSD can be "inherited."

Athana said...

I assume that by "inherited," Lisa, you mean that post traumatic stress disorder in parents can lead to other behavioral and/or physical disorders in their children? And also perhaps to the PTSD behaviors as well, which in the children could be either learned behaviors, or the result of the stress of living with an ill parent? Good point. This would be a possible transfer mechanism for the original environmentally-induced behaviors.