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Feminist Literature

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Parent Issue
Month
December
Year
1994
Copyright
Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held By
Agenda Publications
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In the beginning. ..was a very female sea. For two-and-a-half billion years on earth, all lifefonns floated in the womb-like environment of the planetary ocean - nourished and protected by its fluid chemicals, rocked by the lunar-tkJal mythms.... Thepenis firstappearedin theAgeof Reptiles, about 200 million years ago...when it comes to the two sexes, one of us has been around a lot longer than the other. This nf ormation can be f ound on page two of "The Great Cosmic Mother," by Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor. If I were to recommend one text for feminist research, this 500 pager would certainly be rt. We desperately need aclarified view of history (or, as some say, herstory) and as far as this boy can see, nobody has done it up quite so thoroughly and intelligently. Whatthe bookdevelops into is afasc inating and brilliantly stated examination of how weliveandwhatgoesdown. Politics happen when peoplerealize theirdailysurvival problems are not caused by individual "sin" and "guilt" but by a collective malfunctioning. Within patriarchalChristian ism, thisisthetatoovision.... The American split, in raw terms, is this: nominal "freedom" without real-life ecstasy, or nominal "epiphany" without real-life freedom. Such a split is always the result when life is fed into the patriarchal dualistic grinding machine. . .. There's wisdom here, and a nefreshing emphasis upon things as they really demonstrably are. Rarely does one endounter such pragmatism and clarity. It s as f these women are focusing a big lens and saying, look at this world, cant you see how things run, and wouldnt it be better if the people on the face of the earth behaved as if we were really blessed to be here? Luisah Teish, author of "Jambalaya" and "Camival of the Spirit" gives us insights based in the wisdom of African spirituality and Pan-African common sense. She gives us this from the Yoruba people: "Life on earth is not regarded as a curse or as the result of negative Karma Being bom human s regarded as a natural manifestatkxi of the design of Creation. Each person who walks u pon the face of the earth s thought to have an original contract with Creation.... Life on Earth is an experíence, a stage in the cycle of Continuous Creation. Death is also a natural part of that Existence." Honoring the female principie of the universe is the bottom line for many of us, and as far back as human memory goes there have been metaphors for life and its cycles: Goddesses. Or many manifestations of one Goddess. The feminist archaeological record has been exhaustively documented by Marija Gimbutas, whose "Goddesses and Gods of Oíd Europe 6500-3500 B.C." should be used n archaeology courses at every university. The dominant view of that science is mired, like most sciences (even the brave new techno-sciences) in the vestiges of 19th century narrowmindedness. The time forchange is now, and has been for awhile. Trendifi catión has distorted the common perception of Feminist Cosmology, which has been co-opted and marketed with all the zeal of popculture economics. Again, from "The Great Cosmie Mother": Because "women's spirituality" in the Western worid has been, or has often seemed to be, a cultural luxury of mostíy white middle-class women, it too has been accused, quite justly, of "lackkig a politicalconsciousness";or, at least, oflacking a political reference. On another level, many Lesbian and even hetero feminists who are "into the Goddess" have opted for cultural-political separatism; they have "lelt politics" and politica! solutbns, that is,by blaming the world's problems on men, and then refusing to have anything more to do with "theman'sworld"-i.e., "Let him clean up his own mess. " The glaringproblem with this separatistsolution is that "the man 's world" is si7 filled with a majority population of women and children - itiswomenandchildrendoingmostof the suffering "out there, " and to turn one's back on "the man's world" is to turn one's back on them. A genuine understanding of "the Goddess" wouldnotalbwustodothis...forweareinandof that world now, and its suffering is an extensión of us, as we are an extensión ofit. In a true reliving of the world's first religión, we can make no disthctions between "the life of the spirit" and "the life of the flesh, " for theyare one. And so, we can make no separation between "spirituality" and "politics. "We are this world; we cannot Ie ave it. We can only work to transform itaswe transfotm ourselves, in acts ofevoluthn and revoluthn. At this point get ravenously curious and want to hear more about this way of thinking. "The Politics of Women's Spirituality" - essays on the rise of spi ritual powerwithin the feminist movement (edited byCharleneSpretnakJprovides many insights. If we consider that the system which is in place today is essentially the same system which bumed nine millionwitches.whythenwe're caught up in a machine which can not and will not evertruly stand for life, liberty, nor any sort of enduring happiness. Not this motherfucker. Lookwhere it has been; what it has done. See what it's doing right now. Do not labor underthe impression that the Inquisition ever ended. It didn't end in Dachau; it didn't end in Vietnam; it hasnt let up in Bosnia. We need to see this, name it for what it s, and work for change. I am a man, which genetically means I am half woman. Women are 1 00% woman. (U's in the chrcxnosomes.) And at this stage in my own feminist research, I can state that my loyalty is to the Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Heil (W.I.T.C.H.), which means devoting one's energies to the struggle against oppression, especially oppression of women. There's a woman named Starhawk whose teachings are widely cherished and studied. "Dreaming the Darte Magie, Sex and Politics" is her magnum opus, wherein she defines the system as being based upon estrangement and the practice of maintaining power over others. Starhawk suggests we evolve past the limitatbns of not only patriarchy but hierarchy as well (although the two are nearly synonymous). She compares the Communist Party to the Catholic Church and says that structurally there's not a lot of difference between the two. Siructure, not content, determines how energy will flow, where 'tt willbe d'vected, whatnew forms and stmctures it will créate. Hierarchical structures, no matter what principies they espouse, will breed new hierarchical structures that embody power-over, not power-fromwithin...the structure itself reini 'orces the idea that some people are inherently more worthy thanothers. Looking back over many years of countercultural acti vities, how true these word s ring, and then the realization comes that we have a mammoth task before us if we ever expect any of this to catch on. Because the ways of power and greed are deeply etched in our people. Fortunately, women's wisdom runs deeper. Women's wisdom is the oldest wisdom. And over the last 20 years, feminist research has brought us closer to a comprehension of the true way of things, than we've been for many centuries. BOOKS IN "mis ARTICLE: The Great Cosmic Mother" By Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor "Jambalaya" and "Camival of the Spirit" By Luisah Teish "Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe 6500-3500 B.C." By Marija Gimbutas "The Politics of Women's Spirituality" Edited by Charlene Spretnak "Dreaming the Dark: Magie, Sex and Politics" By Starhawk

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