Fighting for Equality

So... nobody tells men under what circumstances they can use viagra, pay for sex, make family decisions, career decisions, etc... People assume that most of the time, men make the best decisions they can for themselves in any given situation.

But with women, it's a bit different. People often seem to think that a woman, given the choice, would not make such great decisions for herself. That she might panic or do something rash and stupid just for money or take advantage of services offered to help people in bad situations. (Take advantage as in "use inappropriately," not as in "these services are HERE FOR PEOPLE IN HER SITUATION.")

... Take Roe v. Wade, for example. Women had to go to court-- repeatedly-- to get the right to decide if it is a good personal choice for them to have a baby or not. And to get appropriate medical help, legally. And even today, that right to decide for herself is being eroded and contended. Many people believe that a woman is not equally important as a child or a man, not equally as capable of making the best decisions she can for herself in any given situation, and that she shouldn't have the right to make her own choices about her life path. That somehow, her life can be sacrificed for others' desires.

(Here's my personal rant: If you don't think someone should think for themselves, then you must think they are incapable of intelligent thought, or that they are inherently predisposed to make bad decisions. Just because they are born female?? As women, we were once seen as spiritual, social, and political leaders in our families and communities. As women, our intelligence, clarity of thought, and ability to capably care for large groups of people was unquestioned-- for over 20,000 years, according to some interpretations of archaeological record. Men have actually only been the "superior race" culturally for about 4,000 years throughout most of the world. So if you look at it that way, they have only 1/5 the experience in leadership and decision-making that we women do. ...and they probably don't want to give it up. Although records also show that during the time women were in charge, society was based on the good of the whole, and not just "what's best for me" as it is today... just a thought.)

And often, the best decision a woman makes is that she will keep her baby. And that's great. It should be her right to make that decision as much as any other. But if she knows the baby will grow up in squalor, without love, without food or clothes or a safe place to sleep or be born addicted to drugs... If she knows the best thing she can do for herself and her pregnancy is to not become responsible for another person... she should have the right to make that decision, too. It's her body, it's her responsibility, it's her choice. And I, for one, generally believe that a woman is wonderfully capable of making the best decisions she can for herself in any given situation.

Today just happens to be the day that Roe v. Wade was decided. So, believing in the Goddess and believing that women are intelligent, capable, wise and wonderful-- I celebrate the few victories we women have, where someone in power actually agreed with me on these points, and gave her the right to choose what she does with her own body.


Archaeology and the Goddess

I was hunting through my Pagan Library recently, looking for information on a couple of aspects of the Goddess, and ran into some old favorite books. I thought I'd share them with you, as I found them very empowering and enlightening. Whether you take the information as fact, or as possibility, these books opened my eyes to our power and our history as women.

The Grandmother of Time, by Zsuzsanna E Budapest
This book was out of print when I went searching for my copy, so you may want to try used bookstores first. Worth the search, this book is divided into months, with information about appropriate colors, stones, trees and magic for those seasons, as well as information about specific holidays and Goddesses. It also includes autobiographical stories about the beginning of the current Feminist Pagan movement in America, and about Z. Budapest herself.

Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood, by Merlin Stone
This book is a collection of Goddess stories, arranged by the original nationality of their storyteller-- from around the world. The prefaces and introduction are worth reading to get a better perspective on how, why, and with what information this collection was written.

The Chalice & The Blade, by Riane Eisler
This book is an examination of sociological models of being, with an archaeological twist. Her focus is on early social practices, as informed by religious beliefs, and the changes in social structure and harmony that the invading Judeo-Christian God evoked. Eisler uses her extensive research into and knowledge of prehistory to describe the functioning of Goddess-worshiping societies, and to explore the possibilities of such a society reemerging today. While she begins by tracing probable prehistory, she ends by discussing the possible future. Inspiring.

When God Was A Woman, by Merlin Stone
This book traces connections between various pre-historical cultures via their worship of the Goddess. It takes this theory of connection to the conclusion that, whatever name She had, worship of the One was pretty much everywhere at one time... A great re-visioning of history, and of today's Judeo-Christian religious practices and stories. Her retelling of Adam and Eve in the Garden as a fable meant to bring moral (and mortal) fear to those who still practiced Goddess Worship made more sense to me than any amount of demanding that I believe an original Garden actually existed.

Just some books to get your self-respect and your hope for what can be (because of what once was) flowing!


With the New Year

So at midnight last night, several people in my apartment complex lit fireworks, banged pots and pans, screamed, laughed, had sex (yup, heard that, too), or smoked one last cigarette (apartment below mine, and boy did it smell bad!)... It was the end of 2007 and the start of 2008.

But that's not really the schedule I follow. New Years, roman-christian style has just never been an amazing moment of connection with the world for me. It's actually a pretty young holiday, as human history goes. I celebrate Candlemas, usually February 2nd, as the first day of my New Year. It is the coming of the light, the dawning of a new cycle, the precursor to Spring. And I always feel infused with new life energy at that time of year. So that is what I celebrate.

Oddly enough, I do also agree with Wiccan teachings that All Hallows Eve is the LAST day of the old year. That is the time when we begin a deeper connection with the dead, the decomposing, with rest, sleep, decay, and remember-when's. We spend the time between November and February in a half-sleep, hibernating, sluggish, grateful, thinking about what was, and what might be next, spending time with family, talking about family (present and past), and trying to keep warm until the sunlight returns to the earth. It is the between time for me.

So I honored the Day of the dead (early November). I celebrated Winter Solstice, and had a moment of silence on December 24, looking up at the crisp dark sky, for Astarte, whose time it was, she of the holy mothers and the stars. I responded jubilantly to my friends' phone calls as midnight happened in their time zones across the world, and I stayed up to comfort my cat when all the noise started around midnight here. But for my conscious and subconscious awareness of history, time, tradition and Earth's Cycles... I will celebrate the new year on Candlemas. The year 9008, in honor of our recorded history as wise women. With wishes and goals scratched onto bay leaves, with a lighting of candles and a blessing of my home for the coming year. I will celebrate the turning of the wheel, and I will dance along the spiral that is my life path, ever deeper into the mystery.