Last week, my wife and I were blessed by a visitation of the Goddess in physical form.
Ravyn had been ill for a long time. In addition to intractable body pain which may or may not be caused by auto immune illnesses or spinal compressions, she had undergone questionable dental work which left her mouth throbbing from an incompletely-removed root fragment. This had persisted for over a year, until she changed her insurance and was referred to a compassionate and competent female dentist in a different practice.
A story by NPR looks at how profit impacts cesarean births. The study shed some light on how money impacts our lives from the very first breath we take.
As reported, researchers hypothesized that doctors may opt for a more lucrative C-section if the mother doesn't know any better, and to find out they compared birth mothers who were also doctors to those who weren't, and looked at how many in each category delivered their children naturally. Doctors, the researchers reasoned, would resist a surgical procedure that wasn't medically necessary more often than anyone with average knowledge.
If you're old enough, you may remember a television cartoon series from the 1950's called "Crusader Rabbit." He was, as I recall, sort of a Don Quixote-type character - tending to tilt at windmills which most folks would judge imaginary or not worth the effort. Whether that memory is correct or not, it's the way I often feel. Very few people ever seem to share my sense of injustice at the little subtleties in our culture.
My wife and I receive healthcare in Arizona from the Banner Health organization. Banner is one of the largest healthcare conglomerates in the U.S., managing hospitals and medical practices all over the country. Yet, when we are admitted into the hospital for a procedure and are asked on the intake form to indicate whether we have a religion of choice, only certain ones are on their computer list and they do not include Pagan, Neopagan or Heathen. Most surprisingly, in light of recent acknowledgment by the Armed Forces and the Prison system, the Banner list doesn't even have Wiccan! (We are not Wiccan, strictly speaking, but it's close enough for Jazz. We'd take it.)
This post was inspired by reading about the second Pagan Health Survey, and I encourage all readers to go participate!
For me, being Wiccan means that I value the feminine and the metaphysical, two things that have been derided, often on the same terms. The history of healing is an interesting case study in how responding to both does not mean reversing that derision and eliminating what has been valued in the meantime (the masculine and the scientific) but restoring the value of what has been missed, finding balance and ideally integrating them both. This does not depend on me seeing myself as the literal or spiritual descendent of the medieval wise-woman or accused witch; it is an argument about current understanding of the best ways to re-enchant the world. Thus I think that the argument advanced in Ehrenreich and English's pamphlet Witches, Midwives, and Nurses about not throwing out science in order to destabilize patriarchy is equally valid when we look at it from a spiritual perspective.