Today was just a day like any other for me. I got up and put on a pair of jeans and a blouse that flatters my figure, tied my hair back in a ponytail, and left the house. I went to the bank and withdrew a significant sum of money from my account because I needed to replace my broken, battered old car with an unbroken, slightly less battered old car. We picked up and paid for the car, a little Hyundai hatchback that’s almost as old as my son, and then I spent the two hours or so I had before work arguing about politics and then watching sexy videos with my partner.
I drove my new-to-me car to work, then handed the keys to my hubby so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking and so that he could run his errands. I have a part time job at a bookstore (which I love) and then a couple of days a week I do Tarot readings there, which means I often have space between clients to snoop around the store (where I spend an amazing amount of my paycheque, but thankfully I have an employee discount,) and work on my blogging or other writing while I wait between clients. When I got there, my co-worker showed me pictures of her brand-new granddaughter on her cell phone, and then my boss told me she’d inventoried some Patrick O’Brian books, since I’m collecting them. I went into the back room, picked up the books and compared them to my list, and paid for the ones I needed.
I heard an interesting story on NPR about women and investing the other day. The points which jumped out at me were:
Women are more risk-averse when it comes to investing, and testosterone plays a part in the gender difference;
Fear of an impoverished old age -- women generally have more time as senior citizens -- adds a layer of paralysis which amplifies the hormonal factors;
In heteronormative relationships, women are more likely to let the man control the money, even women who are the primary wage earners; and
When they invest for themselves, women tend to be better at it than men.
More than a decade into the 21st century, we haven't reached gender parity in how we relate to money. How much of that difference is cultural and how much is biological isn't clear to me, but differences there certainly are.
The magnificent rock paintings of the Kimberly range in northwestern Australia are among the most ancient in the world, going back tens of thousands of years. Radiocarbon dating of a fossilized wasp nest built over one painting places the nest itself at more than 17,000 years ago, so that the painting must be older -- possibly much older -- than that. Aboriginal people in this region call the paintings, or rather the Beings in them, Gwion Gwion, Giro Giro, and other names.
While making my Woman Shaman dvd, I did a lot of research on rock art around the world. These paintings grabbed my attention, not only because of their tremendous beauty, but because they show dance and ceremonial regalia. Aboriginal tradition says they represent ancestral Beings of the Dreamtime. Because human ceremony celebrates these beings, and reenacts their primordial creative acts, we come around full circle to a likely reflection what extremely ancient rites might have looked like. But from North America it was next to impossible to find Aboriginal testimony about these paintings.
It is a new year, and it’s time for this woman to focus on her quest of connecting with womanspirit, and to focus on this blog as the home base for the exploration of the feminine mysteries and sisterhood.
This year I will be attending the monthly Women’s Sacred Circle at my local Unitarian Universalist congregation, I’ll be making new friends and hopefully forming a coterie of women, and I’ll be starting a spiritual practice that will delve into the feminine mysteries to blend them with my animistic and solitary journey. I might even pray. :) I’m hoping music will have a part, too. In 2014 I am emerging from the wild hedge to dance in the circle of women.
I keep finding myself imagining Artemis emerging from the woods… not lonely since she lives with the animals and plants and moon and earth, but curious about the gathering women, and sensing a sisterhood she belongs to… and taking her place among them, contributing to their presence and magic, and helping to ground it in the earth and lift it toward the stars. Grow…
We look to the past to inform the present and to help define ourselves in relationship to those who have gone before us. For women that type of reflection can be clouded by the assumptions made by researchers operating in patriarchal environments. The role of women throughout history was often over-looked or even misinterpreted. This can still happen today, as we all have internal biases inherited from what our cultures teach us. When we think of women in the distant past, what picture forms in our minds? How does that shape how we feel about ourselves as women today?
In reality, the story of women is far richer, varied, and dynamic than we are taught in our schools and in our popular history. Like the Goddesses we read about, or worship, or simply respect, we have played an active part in all facets of human culture. The amazing legacy of women is one that archaeology and history is constantly uncovering.