Monday, November 28, 2005

CRYING Goddess?

"SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Carrying rosary beads and cameras, the faithful have been coming in a steady stream to a church on the outskirts of Sacramento for a glimpse of what some are calling a miracle: A statue of the Virgin Mary they say has begun crying a substance that looks like blood.

Snip

“Thousands of such incidents are reported around the world each year, though many turn out to be hoaxes or natural phenomena." MORE >>>

The interesting thing is this: It is my understanding that almost all of these incidents are connected in some way to women, female figures or female deities.

10 comments:

Lisa said...

We're studying exactly this (amongst other things) in my Gender & Spirituality class this semester. The fact is, these events do, as a rule, occur around women, though there are occasional exceptions to this rule. We've been having fabulous discussions as to why this is! Great stuff...

Athana said...

Sounds like a fantastic class, lisa. What are some of the ideas you've come up with for why this is the case? Seems like the most obvious and simplest one would be, of course, that people are hungry to get female-ness back into their spirituality.

Lisa said...

Not exactly an abstract desire for "female-ness," but it just seems that throughout history, even in societies in which women did have some agency, at least in theo/thealogical matters, women just seem to be the ones that receive visions naturally.

It was my suggestion that this might have something to do with altered consciousness during menses (as I remember my experience when I had crippling cramps and I'd suffer dehydration because I'd even throw up water, let alone food!) Most types of shamanic "vision quests" or whatever seem to mimic this-- cuts to bleed without dying, abstainence from food/water, seclusion, etc, in order to reach an altered state of consciousness. I remember the years my cycle was like this as also a very spiritually influential time... not just in an "oh god make this stop" sort of way, but really, every couple weeks, my life STOPPED whether I wanted it to or not, and I was confronted with this important event in the cycle of life. It made me evaluate my connection in regards to the cycle of life in general, and not just my own experience.

I really do wonder if "common religion" basically became the sphere of men not because women were excluded initially, but because women's experiences created something special that men simply could not ever relate to, and in effect excluded men. In reaction, men created situations in which, as outsiders, they'd poorly mimic women's mysteries, in order to connect with the larger Existence... After generations, as society becomes more "patriarchal," what is "men's religion" becomes instituted as common religion and snowballs from there...?

But anyway, back to the original question. Catholicism has seen females having "Marian" apparitions regularly from the beginning. (I personally think it's just the Goddess manifesting in a culturally recognizeable state.)

Paul's letters to the Corinthians at first sound extremely demeaning, but I think he was trying to soothe turf wars between what would become the Gnostic and the Orthodox sects. The Gnostics focused on visions of Jesus to gain insight, whereas the Orthodox were all about the writings attributed to the people that actually were alive and hung out with Jesus. (Again, it seems that more women were initially Gnostics, most early female saints sound primarily gnostic.) So that gnostic tradition was never really vanquished by Catholicism. Queen Jadwiga of Poland (Saint Hedwig) was canonized a saint due to her famous visions.

Perhaps it speaks to the inherent tenacity of women... Don't allow us agency in the institutional hierarchy, we will get the people with penises to listen by experiencing something that they usually do not! Ha ha!

ursa said...

I was interested in Lisa's link with menstruation. Is the blood being cried by these Mary's the blood of life and rebirth?. Is it harking back to something more ancient.

Somewhere I read that at the sacred festival of spring ancient priestesses hung menstrual rags outside the temple to display fertility to the newly elected, or re-elected king before he took part in the sacred marriage to the Goddess, since these storm god consorts were often represented as bulls ie Apis, Minos the term 'A
Red Rag to a Bull ' kept coming to mind and I wonder if these words denoting profound enthusiasm may have a more ancient root. I thought this might be apposite.

THE KNOT OF ISIS
Incantation no 55


At the ends of the universe is a blood red cord that
ties life to death, man to women, will to destiny. Let the
Knot of that red sash, which cradles the hips of the goddess, bind in me the ends of life and dream. I'm an old man with more than my share of hopes and misgivings. Let my thoughts lie together in peace. At my death let the bubbles of blood on my lips taste as sweet as berries. Give me not words of consolation. Give me magic, the fire of one beyond the borders of enchantment. Give me the spell of the living well.
Do I lie on the floor of my house or within the temple? Is the hand that soothes me that of wife or priestess?
I rise and walk. The sky arcs ever around; the world spreads itself beneath my feet. We are bound mind to mind, heart to Heart - no difference rises between the shadow of my footsteps and the will of god. I walk in harmony, heaven in one hand, earth in the other. I am the Knot where two worlds meet. Red magic courses through me like the blood of Isis, magic of magic, spirit of spirit. I am proof of the power of gods. I am water and dust walking .

From The Egyptian Book of The Dead
Awakening Osiris by Normandie Ellis
A book worth buying

I hope its ok to post this

Morgaine said...

A couple of points. First, not only is it only ever Mary seen in external manifestations, but notice that these frequently happen on Friday or on the 13th of the month.

When a woman menstruates is when her body chemistry most resembles that of a man.

Catholic tolerance of the Cult of Mary hearkens directly to the worship of the Goddess in ancient Ireland and Wales.

Jesus and Mary Magdalene were probably members of an Isis and Osiris cult. Paul did everyting he could to denigrate the role of women in the church, because he was a deformed, smelly criminal and women wanted noting to do with him. In certain areas She couldn't be erased, so they adopted her as "Mother of God" - is it just me, or doesn't that make her God's mom and therefore in charge? Notice that when "Mary" appears she encourages reciting the rosary - the beads representing the genitalia of the Goddess, and the repetition (ridiculed by Jesus) of a prayer which, as I said before, puts Her firmly at the top of the pantheon. I think She's hoping one of these days the chattering fools will actually realize what they are saying.

Also, Lisa will hate this, but women are more psychic because we are closer to the source of nature, and womena are simply "more" than men. We are older; we are more evolved physically, emotionally and spiritually. If human potential were measured on a scale of -10 to 0 to +10, women manifest from -10 to +10, men only from about -8 to +8, if for no other reason than that they are newer - their brains are not as facile and are more segregated in function than a woman's, their metabolisms tend to run hotter (detrimental to altered/psychic states of consciousness, conducive to anger and violence) and as Lisa observed above, their are certain experiences and connections men simply don't have the hardware or the software to understand.

If you'd really like to test that theory, try explaining a woman's connection to chocolate to a man. They don't get it and they never will. They'll never know what it is like to gather around a sister who is raped or unfortunately pregnant. They can go their whole lives without debating the effectiveness of pennyroyal or even knowing what it is. They'll never understand why an unfortunate few of us miss one day of work a month because we're throwing up and passing out on our bathroom floor. They couldn't begin to comprehend what it means to be female, and that's the limited creatures have no business making decisions for us. The sooner we restore the natural social order, the better for all humans.

Morgaine said...

Bleh - forgive all the typos! My keyboard is acting up and it is distracting.

Lisa said...

Why would I hate this?
Also, Lisa will hate this, but women are more psychic because we are closer to the source of nature, and womena are simply "more" than men. We are older; we are more evolved physically, emotionally and spiritually.

That's a simple fact of biology. Just because I think that excluding maleness from a pantheon is unbalanced and morally inconsiderate, doesn't mean I don't know my biology. (Yes, my so-called oppressive "patriarchal" university does actually teach in its biology classes that women are more evolved, thank you very much.)

In class we learned about different types of feminism, and I have to say I'm no bourgeois feminist... I guess my feminism stems from my innate confidence in always "knowing" that women were cooler than men. I don't have to yell and scream and cite things to prove this to myself, I know it, and act accordingly. Not raise my hand in class? Why the hell not? An increasingly controlling-minded boyfriend starts to act a fool? Restraining order on his ass!

Of course women are more evolved than men, look at how base and self-conscious men are! All wars are basically penis-comparing, pissing contests, i.e., whose spear-canon-rifle-cruise missile is bigger! Men want to be appreciated for their external "accomplishments," while women are generally concerned with being appreciated for "who they are on the inside," i.e., their intellect and spirituality.

Athana said...

Lisa that connection between the Gnostics and women’s ability to enter altered states of consciousness is very interesting. I know from the little bit of work I did in anthro on trance and possession trance that women worldwide seem to be able to enter altered states much easier than men can. Just one more thing women can do that could make men furious with anxiety – along with giving birth and being able to bleed regularly w/o dying.

Ursa, I’m always so awed by the width and breadth of your knowledge of the ancient religions. You’ve read so much of the deep stuff, the original sources. I was moved by your contribution of Incantation 55. Yes, it’s the blood thing again, isn’t it. Both birth and death are blood-laden. The Goddess is both birth and death, so her tears comes as blood.

Morgaine, “When a woman menstruates is when her body chemistry most resembles that of a man.” Is that because with the blood go all the female hormones? I find this very interesting, given the whole thing about how “the curse” originally referred not to the menstruating woman *being* cursed, but to her power to *put* the curse on others. Post-menopausal women are most powerful, because they keep their (female) blood. Our blood is our power?

Morgaine said...

Athana-

It's all about the estrogen. In order to become fertile, our estrogen peaks in mid-cycle, when we "spinn." Then the estrogen level declines, and at its lowest point, it allows menstruation. I think it's the relative balance of testosterone to estrogen that makes women saner than men 3 weeks of the month. What we call PMS might be better described in us and in men as "testosterone poisoning." We all want to ave testosterone, of course, but too much of it lets our genitalia override our brains.

A menstruating woman is theoretically able to steal magick, so she's often kept away from tools used by men, especially to hunt.

My training has always said that a fertile woman is most powerful, but that the time to study ritual is actually post menopause. In Native American culture, women typically don't start shamanic training until after menopause, but it is almost considered a demotion, because birth is the highest magick.

I do like the idea of a menopausal woman storing her power, though. A fertile woman ebbs and flows in the art of creation, in service of the life force, but a menopausal woman stores it up and can direct it to her own purposes.

Lisa - sorry for the incorrect assumption. I misunderstood your position. Let me ask you this - you said-"excluding maleness from a pantheon is unbalanced and morally inconsiderate."

Might it be unbalanced or inconsiderate and still be necessary? Men are primarily driven by a desire to amass wealth and power by any means necessary, up to and including enslaving women and "others." Might their tendency -as a group- to conquer mean that we would be wiser not to afford them representation in religion?

I don't necessarily believe in excluding males - to me, all gods are Goddesses and all Goddesses are one Goddess, so I can have an Arthur, Osiris, or Dionysus without conflict. I'm just wondering if, based on the indoctrination of our culture, we might need to push the pendulum all the way over to wrest power away from them long enough to restore the natural order?

Lisa said...

we might need to push the pendulum all the way over to wrest power away from them

Even if this is in theory, temporary, what makes this not "patriarchy in a skirt?" I understand your logic, but in practice, to me this has similar logic to Communism. In theory, Communism sounds like a beautiful idea... until you take into account that you would have to dictatorially impose these ideas on people, you know? Communism in practice takes away people's choices, and then becomes oppressive.

My thing is choice-- not everyone will make the same choice, but it's theirs and they have to make it. Perhaps as Wiccans, Pagans, and Goddess-worshippers, we can "be the change you wish to see in the world" and other people will begin to see the positivity in our choices. Didn't Voltaire or somebody say something like, "I disagree with what you say, but I'll fight for your right to say it?"

And anyway, if we grip about Christofascists, what the hell kind of hypocrites would we look like to impose our beliefs on them?? That's a petty and retaliatory way to appraoch a "revolution." The Goddess can win on Her own merits, She doesn't have to fight like "Big Daddy Jehovah," because then, what's the difference?