Tuesday, March 14, 2006


This is from Barbara Walker’s Goddess-Women Interviews:

“Certainly I don’t believe in the flip-flop; give women the same kind of power that men have now. That’s unrealistic. You have to work through the system that’s here and try to change it. You can go outside the system and create your own lovely little system, and that’s fun, but we have to operate in a male context and yet make points and change things. In order to change anything, however, you have to maintain the outsider point of view, looking in; otherwise you just join the Old Boys’ Club. It seems to me that women are smart enough to be able to change the patriarchal system at the same time that they’re envisioning something else. We haven’t much choice.


“As Emerson says, a mind once stretched never goes back to its original size. Any little bit can stretch it that much more. I want the women of the future to find the Goddess and to bring the men along with them.”

Barbara Walker, Restoring the Goddess, Amherst, NY, Prometheus Books, 2000, p. 371
These interviews are a real comfort to me. Walker is British, so the women she interviewed are probably over in Britain somewhere, but it's still good knowing they exist. It seems to me that many Goddess women in this country are doing precisely what this woman says we need to move beyond: creating their own, nice little private safe place, without trying to reach out and change anything.


Eruvande said...

I suppose that the trouble is, you have to make the safe space before you can reach out and change things. This whole thing terrifies me to a certain extent, and I just don't feel strong enough to push too far.

Athana said...

Thanks for sharing that, eruvande. I hear you. And you probably speak for quite a few American women. Unlike Britain and Canada, we're possessed by a virulent strain of freaky fundamentalism here, which doesn't help, either. Also, since you're new at this, you will need several years, no doubt, of basking in safe Goddess places before you're able to reach out and change things.

Eruvande said...

Athana, actually I'm english. To be fair, though, we've been quite influenced as a family by an overtly patriarchalist form of christianity based in America.

Heart said...

Hey, athana, I followed you here from The Goddess's blog and am so glad I did. I hadn't known of your blog and am really looking forward to reading you!

Just thought I'd say that. :)


Athana said...

Welcome, Heart! Glad to see you here. Hope you find something good to take away with you.

Morgaine said...

Eruvande - It can be very difficult when you start out. I used to do counseling for people who had adjustment problems created by religion. I worked with people like a girl who wanted to be a nun against her families wishes; a cross-dresser trying to come to terms with his natural inclinations; and a Pagan woman who was having difficulty integrating her new awareness.

That last one is a big problem. When you learn about the Goddess, it can alienate you from everything you've learned, and what you are used to. It's not unusual to be scared by it or even angry at the world as you see it with new eyes.

Take your time and be gentle with yourself. Only ever do what makes you feel comfortable. Ask lots of questions and do lots of reading. Eventually, it becomes less a thought process and more of an instinctual awareness.

Athana said...

eruvande, sorry you were bitten by our patriarchalist bug. On the other hand, I envy you being in England, where you have Goddess groups who seem ahead of where ours are here.

Morgaine said...

Athana - do you think the difference in American Goddess groups and American Goddess groups is that the Americans don't take themselves seriously? There's such pressure to be a part of the dominant culture here, and groups seem to withdraw from it because they're afraid of being ridiculed. I see lots of gentle Pagan folk, and I love them all, but I wish people would take the heat and turn it back on cowans that try to keep us down. I want women to stand up and say "How DARE you ridicule something you know nothing about? How dare you assume to know more than I about religion or history or anything else.? It's just possible I know something you don't..."

Athana said...

Interesting question, Morgaine. I think you're right. I think there's more pressure here to be "normal" than there is in Britain. England values eccentricity and its eccentrics.

I was in England a few times in my earlier years, and I remember that one of the first things that struck me was that English women have more power than American women do. They are personally more assertive. Not all of them, of course, but on the whole. So that could be part of it.

Also, When I was in England in the 1960s, the English kids on the dig with me (I was there doing some excavating) were talking about witches and witchcraft existing in England at that very time. England, after all, is a country in which European paganism used to rule the land. It wouldn't surprise me if some of it survived underground.

Last, England isn't inundated with war-god religions the way the U.S. is. We were founded by war-god peoples. I think what's made us great are the Native Americans who intermingled with us over the centuries (I think there was much more intermingling than most think).