I find myself in the slightly unusual place of feeling as though I have nothing to say. It’s not as though there hasn’t been interesting things happening, either: the Womanspirit Rising conference I went to in early November in Christchurch was amazing, and there has been plenty of interesting things happening in other spaces. It’s just that …. I don’t have words for them. Maybe if I just try and reflect on stuff, words will come.
Womanspirit Rising felt like me finding my foremothers: all those courageous women who fought for justice and lived their spiritual truths in the third feminist wave in the 70s and 80s – and suddenly there they were, and there I was. I was the youngest by about 15 years (which was mildly depressing, in that I really hoped there would be other women my age finding their truth and journeying) but it was immensely inspiring to talk and be with women who have walked the same road I am walking. It has been so lonely at times over the last few years, exploring what it means for me for the Divine to not just wear a female face and form, but to BE the feminine divine, with all the change of emphasis and turning around that that has meant for me. At the conference, I realised I was not alone, but somehow I need to get other women travelling with me.
There were a mix of women from all backgrounds: christian, pagan, Wiccan, “nones” and “dones”, but all of us were looking for that great brightness who has come with so many names over the years: Inanna, Isis, Ishtar, Hekate, Kali, Mary the Magdala, Mary Queen of Heaven, Hine-anu-one, Hine-nui-e-te-po, Brigid, Dana – the dying and life-giving one.
For me, I think the gift of the day was the sense of connectedness with all of these women and their journeys and stories – the sense of weaving together the rope that is stronger than any one of us alone. It was kind of summed up in this gorgeous clip (Nina Paley You Gotta Believe):
So am I finding freedom in who I am? What a good question, and to be honest, I don't know yet. What I do know is that there is so much more below the surface, below that carefully-cultivated christian top layer. The "spiritual archaeology" my new director recommended is giving me the "permission" I think I still needed to look at those other layers: Grail myths, Egyptian mythology, music, storytelling, water - even endo and all its attendant lessons that I never wanted to learn but had no choice about. Who knows what will come of it? I don't, but I warrant that Someone does....
Just a last thought - I remember reading Mary Daly's quote that 'The word "sin" is derived from the Indo-European root "es" meaning "to be'. When I discovered this etymology, I intuitively understood that for a woman trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet, "to be" in the fullest sense is "to sin".'
What does "sinning" look like if it also means becoming or being? What might that look like? Now there's an interesting question!