(Essay) The ‘G’ Word and ‘F’ Word: Death Consciousness by Danica Anderson PhD

Venus  by artist Erin Hilleary

Venus by artist Erin Hilleary

The ‘G’ words, gender and the Goddess, are being rendered passé and many women prefer not to hear of or be associated with them. Recently, the media used the Goddess Isis’ name and bestowed it upon a terrorist group. However, this desecration of the sacred and the maligning of the Goddess is nothing new in the media. For instance, in 2004, the Roman Catholic fanatic Riordan, education master for the state of California, “during a public appearance at a Santa Barbara library, told a young girl that her first name, Isis, meant ‘stupid, dirty girl.’ He later apologized and said he was joking” (Peter Nicholas, 2004).

When I read the Roman Catholic Riordan’s remark about the Goddess Isis’ name my immediate reaction was how his remarks display an aggression against the Goddess and all those females who mirror the Goddess yet have no understanding or knowledge of Her.  All the media attention on ISIS, an ultraviolent terrorist group, reveals an ignorance of the Goddess Isis’ prehistory and spirituality.  The ignorance of Isis has led to the demonization of the Goddess. The misuse of the Goddess Isis as the name of a terrorist group engaged in gynocide (mass murder of females) and mistreatment of anyone of the female gender further condones violence against women.

This demonization of the Goddess goes back thousands of years.  Athenian society oppressed women with the phallocracy in a highly sophisticated violent, militaristic if not hierarchic society (Marler, 1997). In the demonization of the Goddess, we see how mythology has come to portray the Goddess as devouring men and preventing them from ever attaining salvation.  The media employs this mythology—and spreads lies about women and the Goddess—and this sanctions rape and violence against women and the ‘mother’, yet it is still taboo to kill the father figure even with his lies (Bach, 1998).

The Goddess’ mythologies are but the reflection of a deeper truth, one in harmony with all of life—in which there is no falsehood only the truth of HER experiences. The Mythology of the Egyptian Goddess Isis is about rebirth and an empowered femininity. The Goddess Isis taught humanity literacy and skills, from bread making to weaving cloth.  But most importantly, the Goddess Isis is known for her capacity to tame men so that all of life could live in harmony and in unity.

But, when I look at such terrible events as the murder of 150 females, some pregnant who refused to marry or perform sexual acts with Islamic State (IS)[1] fighters in the Iraqi northern town of Al Wafa or the massacre of 50 people, mostly women from the Al Bu Nimr tribe in the Anbar province Iraq, I make a horrific realization: the eradication of the Goddess (Carducci, 2014).

As a result feminism no longer protects women.   Why?

The ‘F’ words, female and feminist, are abhorred and greeted by many women with the response of “I don’t hate men,” indicating instead a hatred of the female gender.  What is often termed as my tiresome explanations and justifications by many women when I have given my response that feminism is not man hating, reverses the little gains made by feminism while burying the Goddess. By hating our female gender we help oppress females worldwide.  At the same time, the infinite faces of the Goddess are suppressed deep in women’s psyche and forgotten, supplanted by the masculine religion of God as the Father. Meanwhile the forces of patriarchal propaganda erase the Goddess, foster ignorance in many women of HER while the patriarchs target the Goddess’ mythologies and traditions (Modeliski, 2014).

In 2011, Femen, a radical Ukrainian feminist group that engages in iconic acts of nudity and exposing their breasts in protests, had the Egyptian feminist activist Aliaa Magda Elmahdy pictured on her blog wearing only stockings and red shoes.  Elmahdy was kidnapped and charged but was able to flee to Sweden and given political asylum. In 2014, Elmahdy performed another radical act using confrontational imagery. She appeared naked, together with a woman dressed in a black burka menstruating on the flag of Islamic State (IS), and this received widespread attention.  Femen founder Inna Shevchenko, in protest at the murder of journalist James Foley, wrote the following caption under Elmahdy’s photo: “Animals, our execution of your ideas looks like that! Watch it well! We don’t demand ransoms, we don’t threaten you with new killings, we just SHIT ON YOU, ISIS!’” (Steinhauer, 2014).

I call this death consciousness.

As you read through my essay, my interpretations of violence against women support the Goddess and her mythologies. My thesis is supported by research on prehistoric archeological artifacts and evidence found on the Neolithic and Paleolithic eras where the Goddess-Great Mother predominated and when there was gender parity and no war, no pornography (Birnbaum, 2000). A feature of death consciousness is when I am met with an apocalyptic silence from women and their families.  Females are too busy surviving, starving, and being sexualized to speak out let alone to know that their female culture and humanity is becoming a death consciousness rather than one of life. We are dying in this masculine privileged patriarchy. Worse yet, our sons and daughters are raised to honor a death consciousness rather than one of life and thriving.

“The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything(Peace, 2014).

But the death consciousness is not accepted by all women and feminists.

Small acts are done daily, where female culture and female humanity promote peace and a life consciousness such as that depicted with the Goddess Isis teaching harmony to humanity.   Only you can question how to live your female heritage and to acknowledge your female culture, thereby ensuring strongly empowered women. Women’s ordeal will come to an end with accepting that the Goddess and her mythologies are providing women with a cosmological order founded in the folktales, wisdom, and traditions of female humanity. The concentric and cyclical pattern in the female realms of Isis’ home and her temples of seclusion that offer healing practices generates positive responses in reaction to the patriarchal and dangerous world.

Read Meet Mago Contributor Danica Anderson.

References

Bach, Alice (1998). Rereading the body politic: Women and violence in Judges 21. Biblical Interpretation6(1), 1-19.

Birnbaum, Lucia Chaviola. (2000). Black Madonnas: Feminism, Religion, and Politics in Italy. iUniverse. Peace. Retrieved from http://www.peace.ca/basement.htm

Carducci, Joseph (2014). No Liberal Feminist Outrage over ISIS Slaughter of 150 women.  Retrieved from http://downtrend.com/jrc410/no-liberal-feminist-outrage-over-isis-slaughter-of-150-women

Daly, Mary (1985). Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation (Vol. 350). Beacon Press. Boston.

Eller, Cynthia (2001). The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won’t Give Women a Future. Beacon Press Boston

Marler, Joan (1997). From the Realm of the Ancestors, Anthology of Marija Gimbutas. Knowledge, Ideas & Trends, Inc.  Manchester, Connecticut.

Modeliski, Tania. (2014). Feminism without Women: Culture and Criticism in a “Postfeminist” Age. Routledge.

Nicholas, Peter, Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2004

Rich, Adrienne (1986). Of Woman Born; Motherhood as Experience and Institution.  W.W. Norton & Company New York.

Steinhauer, Jillian (2014). Feminist Activists Bleed and Defecate on Islamic State Flag #NSFW, August 27, 2014. Retrieved from http://hyperallergic.com/145768/feminist-activists-bleed-and-shit-on-islamic-state-flag-nsfw/

[1] The militant group was established by the Jordanian national Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 1999 when it was initially known as Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad. It then became known as “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” after becoming part of Osama bin Laden’s network in October 2004.The terrorist group operated under numerous guises until its current leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, officially declared it had set up an Islamic State across parts of northern Iraq and Syria on 29 June 2014.  The last “s” of “Isis” comes from the Arabic word “al-Sham”, meaning Levant, Syria. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/who-are-isis-the-rise-of-the-islamic-state-in-iraq-and-the-levant-9541421.html

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