I am majoring in Anthropology, and this semester I’m taking a couple of classes on Native American history and one on the anthropology of religion, which all go together rather nicely, and I’m having fun because it’s all right in my wheelhouse, as an animistic Pagan Hedge Witch and lover of culture, especially indigenous and ancient cultures....
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.
I like to think of this as looking back in time with the eyes of the Goddess. We can see Her at work throughout history in our female ancestors. Whether in pre-Christian cultures that worshiped Goddesses, or in the divine feminine that still breaks through in Christian history, we can search through the mists and find Her. We do this by examining the lives of the women who came before us....
I just had a thought-vampire stories involve a woman falling in love with a competent, but dangerous, man. Dracula came out in 1897, when the women's movement was strong, soon to result in women's suffrage. Vampire stories often involve a woman giving up her independence and competency to be with a man. She's hypnotized, can't look away, and he by turn, wants her lifeblood-that which keeps her alive and functioning. Is this a perspective on the rights of women? Is it possible that there is fear that a man will take a woman's right to live away from her? If not by force, than by stealth? That even so, a woman's nature isn't strong enough to resist? Are vampire stories in general just reinforcements of patristic ideas?
I have put a more complete argument for why I think Pagans should vote 100% democratic up on my personal blog. Here at Witches and Pagans I compress it only to the issue of women and the feminine. In reality that should be enough. My basic point is not that the Democrats are awesomely good. In almost every case they are not. It is that their opponents are awesomely bad, in every case.
The War on Women and the Feminine
Pagan spirituality in almost all its forms praises feminine values, usually in through a Goddess. The Republican Party has demonstrated over and over again that even during times of high unemployment, attacking anything that empowers women takes precedence over all other issues with the possible exception of increasing the wealth of the 1%. Most of my readers will know of the recent comments by Todd Akin that women when raped cannot get pregnant along with Richard Mourdock’s ‘insight’ that when they do get pregnant from rape, it’s God’s gift. (Theological coherence is not a right wing trait.)
The Republican and right wing attack on a woman’s right to choose whether to be a mother when she finds herself pregnant is of long standing. But this past year it has broadened enormously and ominously to assault anything that empowers women except as obedient servants to right wing values.