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SageWoman Blogs

At SageWoman magazine, we believe that you are the Goddess, and we're devoted to celebrating your journey. We invite you to subscribe today and join our circle...

Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.

b2ap3_thumbnail_nature-flowers-sun-60006.jpgThose who are estranged from their biological relatives can struggle deeply with feelings of grief, but it is a strange grief, something that feels unnatural or out of season. No one has died, gotten divorced, or was fired from a job. But what did end was the image you had for most of your life about the people you thought you knew so well.That ending is an extremely difficult loss not only because of the sudden nature of most family cut-offs, but because that ending also changed you and how you understand yourself and, importantly, life itself. Family Aggression impacts our sense of justice, fairness, and a belief in the benevolence of the world. Additionally, estrangement and family shunning is not merely the loss of one person, but a sudden loss of an entire group of people with whom you were once intimately bound. Losing all this in one fell swoop is a profound and devastating loss, especially when parents you believe love you have now become hostile, even threatening.

Because there is no open dialogue in most cultures to help one come to terms with the reality of family cut-offs, grief and confusion can remain like a dark cloud hanging over every day. Where are the grieving rituals for family estrangement? Death and divorce are now openly discussed in many countries and there are rituals to mark these transformative moments in our lives. However, family cut-offs are typically hidden by the victims because they feel so unnatural and are so fundamentally wrong. Victims often believe that cut-offs are uncommon, which is not true. Also, families who act aggressively work hard at convincing daughters and sons who differentiate from the Family Script that they themselves are wrong, unwanted, and alone. Isolating targets is a way to pressure them to conform and return to the family's way of thinking. This is a key piece in the dominating, aggressive family behavior and one reason why family estrangements are not openly discussed.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sedna
    Sedna says #
    Virginia, Thank you so much for commenting and having the courage to share your story. As you note, "groupmind" is really a core p
  • Virginia Carper
    Virginia Carper says #
    I left my family years ago for reasons of sanity. I had several stints in mental hospitals and was under a doctor's care. We went
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    A wonderful post. I have been estranged from my blood family for decades, and as my parents have died off and others have simply m
  • Sedna
    Sedna says #
    Mark, thank you so much for sharing your experience with your family. I appreciate not only your feedback and support, but your co
The Goddess and the #Metoo Movement: Mythic Tales for these Modern Times

Something essential is shifting in the foundations of our world as we witness others tell their long-hidden, #metoo stories, and tell our own stories in turn. We’re speaking truth, and being heard. We’re saying: you’re time is up, and holding male perpetrators accountable. We’ve woken up, en masse, and we’re not going back to sleep. And we’re not alone.

The Rape of Persephone

From the long ago of Greek civilization, comes the #metoo tale of The Rape of Persephone.

Demeter's trim-ankled daughter whom Hades rapt away, given to him by all-seeing Zeus. Apart from Demeter, lady of the golden sword and glorious fruits, she was gathering flowers over a soft meadow, roses and crocuses and beautiful violets, irises also and hyacinths and the narcissus, which Gaia made to grow at the will of Zeus and to be a snare for the bloom-like girl--a marvelous, radiant flower. And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take the lovely toy: but the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the plain of Nysa, and the lord, Hades, with his immortal horses sprang out upon her. He caught her up reluctant on his golden car and bore her away lamenting.
(Source: Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter (abridged) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.)

Let this piece of Persephone’s story sink in. Persephone is a Goddess. Her Mother Demeter is a Goddess. These are big, powerful, feminine beings that bring life, abundance and beauty to the Earth. Yet the God Hades, with the help of the almighty Zeus, can do want He wants to Persephone.

Hades desires Persephone so He abducts and rapes Her, and makes Her his bride.  Persephone is taken against Her will, and Demeter can’t protect Her beloved daughter.  Later in the tale, Persephone is returned to Demeter, but the damage has been done. She’s eaten the fruit of the Underworld, and is forced to be with Hades, Her abductor and abuser, part of every year.  

Here we are, some 2500-plus years later, and Persephone’s tale still speaks truth to women’s experiences of male power and sexual violence. Rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and the pervasive sexism of everyday life find their deep roots in this ancestral, mythic negation of our feminine divinity and sovereignty. As the Gods do to the Goddesses, so men do to women.

Our #metoo stories are this old, and older still.  We modern women are the latest manifestation of the suffering of our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and the long, long female line that went before us. And the Goddess stands with us in our suffering, and our awakening. 

Persephone’s story is our story. We didn’t write or choose this story. It was written by men in power with the intention of usurping and subduing the sovereignty and powers of the Goddess, and we, Her earth-bound daughters. The purpose of this story was, and still is, to make us forget and fear our vast, mysterious feminine nature, and to make divine and normal our powerlessness in a male-defined reality.    

As ancient as Persephone’s story may be, and as entrenched as sexism and misogyny may appear in our current, status-quo reality — this is just one story and one version of reality. It’s not truth, not inevitable, and not even original.  The Rape of Persephone is an abomination that debases and distorts a much older tale of the Goddess and Her descent to the Underworld.

The Descent of Inanna

Dial back another 3000 years to ancient Sumeria and the tale of The Descent of Inanna:

From the Great Above She opened Her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above the Goddess opened Her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above Inanna opened Her ear to the Great Below. 
Inanna abandoned Heaven and Earth to descend to the Underworld.

When Inanna arrived at the outer gates of the Underworld, She knocked loudly.
She cried out in a fierce voice: 'Open the door, gatekeeper! Open the door, Neti!
I alone would enter!'

Neti, the chief gate keeper of the kur, asked: 'Who are you?'
She answered: 'I am Inanna, Queen of Heaven, on my way to the East.'
Neti said: 'If you are truly Inanna, Queen of Heaven, on your way to the East,
why has your heart led you on the road from which no traveler returns?'
Inanna answered: 'Because of my older sister Ereshkigal, Her husband,
Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, has died. I have come to witness the funeral rites.’
(Source: Wolkstein, Diane; Kramer, Samuel Noah (1983), Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer)

Let this fragment of Inanna’s story sink in. Inanna is the Queen of Heaven and Earth.  Ereshkigal is the Goddess of the Underworld. This is a story and reality where Goddesses, not Gods, reign in the Great Above and Great Below, and hold between them the primal mysteries of life, death and rebirth.

Later in the tale, we discover that Inanna, like Persephone, suffers the trials of the Underworld. But She does so by Her own choice and great courage. Through Her descent, She submits to the transformative mysteries of the Dark Goddess Ereshkigal. She is stripped bare, and dies to Her old self in order to be reborn into Her full powers and beauty. When She emerges from Her journey in the Great Below, Inanna is whole, holy in the full spectrum of Her Goddess powers and wisdom – Queen of Heaven, Earth and the Great Below.

Inanna’s story is also our story in these #metoo times. By our own choice and great courage, we are turning our ear to the Great Below, and embarking on a journey into the Underworld that underlies our everyday reality. Here, in the dark, shadowy places in our inner psyche and shared society, we are seeking out the lost and repressed stories of sexual violation and gender discrimination that have scarred our lives.

The Great Below isn’t the realm of Hades and male power. The dark isn’t a place of rape, violence and domination. These are lies and distortions that block us from the wild, raw depths of our women’s power and mysteries, and from the very things that can mend our lives and world: our pain, grief and rage, and our truth, beauty and sovereignty. And, like Inanna before us, when we emerge from this journey, we can become whole, holy in the full spectrum of our feminine powers and wisdom, transforming not only our personal lives but also our shared society.

Our Modern #MeToo Tales

Feel the power of Persephone’s and Inanna’s legacy. Your #metoo story is a part of these ancient Goddess tales, and the lived experiences of the long line of women ancestors that have gone before you. Your voice is part of a world-changing movement of women speaking truth that can unravel the past, and reweave a collective reality that returns women to their rightful place in our shared society.

We’re in this together — Persephone, Inanna, you, me and the countless others braving their #metoo tales. Our lives, truth and stories matter. Safety, respect and honoring our feminine nature are our birthrights. It’s time for a new myth and collective reality, guided by the tales of Persephone and Inanna, and yet fresh and inspired by our personal stories and lived experiences.

Hades, Zeus, the male ancestors who wrote these mythic tales, and the men who continue to abuse and dominate women: their time is up. Whatever comes next will be of our writing and choosing, in service of our greater womanhood and sovereignty, and beauty, love and justice for all.

PHOTO CREDIT: Rupert Bunny, Rape of Persephone, via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Judith Shaw
    Judith Shaw says #
    Great look at these two stories and the differences they reflect. I've often thought of Inanna as the original Whole Goddess of t
  • Karen Clark
    Karen Clark says #
    You are welcome Judith. And thanks for the great comment. I too love Inanna in Her wholeness and sovereignty, and find the parall

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Lovely Lilly the Magickal Cat

I want to introduce you to my lovely Lilly, named after Lilith, our archetype of independence and women's empowerment. Lilly came to my husband, Roy, and I as if by magic.  We were at the vet, picking up the ashes of our beloved Xena, who had only a few weeks before crossed over into the arms of Mothers Bast and Sekhmet.  Sitting in the unusually empty lobby of the vet's office, this kitty suddenly poked her head up over the counter and looked at me, then Roy, then me, again.  I could feel her asking  "Don't you recognize me?"  It was truly remarkable because, a tri-colored torty, she looked just like Xena's sister - Isis - who had passed away months before.  Yes, we lost both our beloved daughters within 6 months, after sharing 20 wonderful years.  We truly felt as if Xena had facilitated this meeting between Lilly, Roy and I from the Other Side. 

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What if you were to sit b2ap3_thumbnail_36752977_2120823658129845_8131110730486251520_o.jpg
by the river of your own life
observing the current
watching the flow,
sensing the depth,
feeling the rhythm,
and not needing
to tell about it,
but instead taking
a long, replenishing
drink.

I’m getting ready to take some time off from classwork and public content generation and planning a bit of a social media hiatus as well as to focus on my piling up book projects. And, our annual Cauldron Month is rapidly approaching. One of my own guideposts of life is Mary Oliver’s Instructions for Living a Life:

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Ethics of Goddess Religion: Healing the World by Carol P. Christ

Nurture life.

Walk in love and beauty.

Trust the knowledge that comes through the body.

Speak the truth about conflict, pain, and suffering.

Take only what you need.

Think about the consequences of your actions for seven generations.

Approach the taking of life with great restraint.

Practice great generosity.

Repair the web.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_95792621.jpgIn recognition and honor of the solar eclipse in Cancer tomorrow, the constellation of Home and Family in astrology, I offer this poem. Cancer is ruled by the Moon, the Mother, and I hope it opens something in readers to a place of contemplation about the role of forgiveness, of simultaneously holding the truths of our wounding as daughters (and sons) while also honoring the humanity of our mothers--with compassion, with deep love and compassion, minimizing nothing, accepting completely what was and is between us in one of the most powerful relationships we will ever have as a human.

May seeds of healing be planted in all daughters and mothers, and all people, with this powerful eclipse.

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Calling the Great Mother this Eclipse

From July12th/13th (depending upon your time zone) we commence a momentous season of a rare series of three eclipses within a month. The first occurrence this eclipse season is a solar eclipse in Cancer. Then at full moon, on July 27th, we have a total lunar eclipse in Capricorn. The following new moon in Leo is on August 11th. There is plenty of internet chatter about how these eclipses will have a huge impact on both individuals and the collective. But we all have a conscious choice how we are going to walk in the world. So I thought I would share with your how I plan on marking my path through this next month.

For this solar eclipse in Mama Moon sign Cancer I have created an altar for collective ceremony and prayer with a group I belong to, the Sanctuary of the Divine Feminine. This is an altar that is dedicated towards healing traumatised children and divided/separated families.  My intent is to symbolise by using photos of parents and children together, of extended families rejoicing in happy celebrations and gatherings. This collage is at the foreground of the altar and uses images from both my own and my husband's lineages as representatives for all families.

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