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Native women of the Indigenous nations on Turtle Island (what is now called the contiguous United States)—along with their sisters around the world—may not often make it onto the front page of the New York Times, but they are nevertheless the center of their nations. Although the stereotype of “Pocahontas-type” Indian women still prevails in mainstream American culture, Indigenous women today hold their nations, traditions, and peoples together, as they have always done. From starting international networks to foundations and collectives to engaging in social activism and political movements to organizing classes and language schools, Indigenous women are active in their communities. They act, petition, march, and pray to protect the Earth Mother from further destruction, and perpetuate their ancient values, practices, and ceremonies through the time-honored traditions of their nations. They write books, music, and produce films. They teach at colleges and work in factories. Native women are everywhere in America—every walk of life, every state in the union, of every political persuasion and religion. Indigenous women may be a relatively hidden demographic in America, but that could not be farther from the reality of Indigenous nations.
In order to change we must facilitate change. Change doesn't just come, no matter how much we desire it. Change is often painful, jarring us out of a comfortable, though dissatisfying existence, forcing us into molds that don't fit who we are, but will eventually turn us into who we wish to be. Change in our lives is not the gracefully seamless flow of color and scent we see in nature as the Wheel turns around us. Do trees suffer as they burst from summer's green to autumn's golden splendor? How does the goldenrod and the Michaelmas daisy feel as their colors brighten beneath the cooling autumn sun? Of course we can't know; nature's children keep their secrets to themselves.
It often seems that as much as we welcome change we are at the same time resisting it, fighting and forcing it back until opportunity has passed us by, only to leave us wondering what went wrong and wishing our circumstances (or we) could change. Why is this so, I wonder? I am as guilty of it as anyone, and like most others I recognize it, yet I still have to consciously remind myself that what I am doing (or am meant to be doing) really is to my own benefit, regardless of how much I detest it. Case in point: that excruciating half an hour on my elliptical machine every day, that half an hour I skipped this morning and will no doubt try my best to avoid doing tomorrow even though I know exercise is healthy for me, and if I want to do a 5K color run next summer I need to begin training now....
I was reading comments about how Deepak Chopra and the male host of a show dominated over Riane Eisler in an interview, and it brought up these thoughts I'll share as food for thought.
First, I wish I'd seen the interview. I love Riane and owe her so much! She's one of my first mentors, having written The Chalice and the Blade andThe Partnership Way, which drew me to this path and I've never left. I learned about partnership and perpetuate that idea often because of her early teachings. My book launch party on Saturday has a theme of "celebrating partnership" and it's a shame the interview went the way it was described.
Myself, I've have worked in several industries where I have had to supervise men. I'll mention two. The first was when I was a Convention Coordinator for a large hotel chain in New Orleans. I actually was responsible for making sure a hotel with more than 10,000 sq ft of meeting space was turned over 3-4 times a day 7 days a week. Our "crew" was a dozen African American men. Me, a white woman, received more respect and enjoyed a team camaraderie with these men - more so than the white men in the administrative office. In fact the other supervisors couldn't understand their loyalty and our team work. They didn't get it was mutual respect, cooperation, partnership. Maybe I instinctively treated these African American men better than the white men they usually answered to here in the South and treated them like people. We developed a sense of pride in our work together and a team spirit. With the white men you had to hold your ground, stand up to them or some, not all, were more likely to steamroll you, overlook you, demean you. However, what was the most frustrating was the superior and entitled attitudes of the management (women and men) brought in from Colorado. They treated all the local management as if we were all stupid - both men and women, even though we had experience running convention hotels and not small boutique hotels like they had previously run. The Food and Beverage Manager - an older woman - treated me worse than any man in the hotel. All these years later I still shudder at the emotion - the tears - that woman provoked in me!
In California I manage property where I have to supervise a lot of white men and men of other cultures as well, a few of which would probably rather have me barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and despise having to take orders from a woman. I find again you have to stand up, hold your own, speak up. The rules of etiquette I learned in the South when I was growing up - be nice, don't make waves, defer, conform, well, they just don't get the job done. Sure I sometimes get called a bitch or a ball buster behind my back. Once to my face a Telephone Company employee screwing up on the job told me I needed "a good f--k" and maybe then I would shut up - translation: not tell him to do a better job. (Interestingly the phone company send out a representative to make a personal apology to me.)
Of course I get tired of the struggle. Always having to be assertive to be able to do your job effectively - because the buck stops with me. Some men still lack awareness of sexism and white male privilege - because its their normal and they benefit from it. My boss even had to be schooled. But again, here in CA, unlike in the South, I've experienced just as many women dominators as any men in my life - their methods are just a little more insidious. So while I certainly am aware of male privilege, patriarchy, domination - let's not kid ourselves that men are the only ones doing it. Both genders participate. Women have learned well from their male oppressors and engage in what I call patriarchy in a skirt. If I had to tally it up, I've had to endure more bad women than men.
I've read how feminist, Phyllis Chesler, (Woman's Inhumanity to Woman) got a lot of heat for bringing this up - I have her in my upcoming anthology, Voices of the Sacred Feminine: Conversation to ReShape Our World, and I've interviewed her on my radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine Radio on Blog Talk. I sincerely hope I don't get flack for saying this. I won't engage if it happens. I've got too much to do. But we have to face the elephant in the living room if we women are going to lead the charge to change the world. We have to figure out how to stop being jealous, petty, competitive and put our collective energy into dissolving the patriarchy. We need to put our personal slights aside and stand in solidarity and partnership. We have empower one another - be that lobster climbing out of the pot that turns around and helps the others out rather than be the one pulling the escapee back down into the boiling water. And women have to take the mantle of leadership and be assertive and not expect it to be handed to us.
Yes, the answer is partnership. It's mutual respect. It's fairness. It's justice. It's not competition, sexism, classism or racism. Among women and men. We have to try to empower one another as women and not have a scarcity attitude there's only so many pieces of pie so we keep fighting for the scraps among ourselves. I know I'm probably being politically incorrect here, but seems important to say. My Sekhmet heart demands it.
Love to you all,
Tarot and magic is an interesting subject. It's also a fairly old one or so I am led to believe. I wanted to share another super simple spell that can be done at the new moon. September's new moon is on the 24th (or 23rd depending on your time zone).
In my practice, I was taught that the New Moon esbats were a time for doing healing work. Sometimes we had a bowl for names of those we were doing work for. Other times we simply spoke their name into the Circle. New Moons were one of my favorite esbats with my training coven because they were a quieter working.
Using Tarot in a New Moon esbat for healing is not a precise science. There are 78 choices after all. And let's not get started on the number of combinations.
Autumn is my favorite season. As the Autumnal Equinox/Mabon/Alban Elfed approaches, I’m thinking of how this season has always carried a sense of magic and spirit… of descent into the sacred secrets of time… a place of reckoning, with a wise power that can see you as you go, while all the foliate cover falls away… a place where truth can’t hide. Truth is powerful and healing and terrible and cleansing and undeniable, and this is the cathartic season where you feast on it, and it feasts on you.
Leaves blaze tawny and russet
with bright beauty in this last fall of light.
Seedpods thicken on wild grasses,
elderberries shake fistfuls of dark rain,
quinces shine treasure brighter than coin.
We give thanks for Gaia’s storehouse of plenty,
for this true wealth, as she gives and gives of her body:
berries, squashes, beans—
more and more we request and receive.
Eat, she says, to all creaturely life—
this is your being.
Honour Gaia’s nature
by refusing to squander or disrespect her.
Learn to need less and waste nothing;
find ways to create sustainability and
safeguard the magnificent diversity that is
the body of the Goddess.
We are living in the Sixth Great Extinction,
losing our beloved creatures and plants.
Take time to care for something that is other,
and in need;
from garden bird to snow leopard,
all ecology is linked directly to our hearts.
We may grieve for the lost summer of the world
but change is our certainty:
the balance of all future abundance
is in our hands.
Rose Flint © Mother Tongue Ink 2013