Spending two days on retreat with Gestare last week, a women’s art collective I co-founded 5 years ago. Gestare is an artful and nourishing part of my life. Though it has been an at times challenging over-commitment for me, amidst my time-pressured life of work and mothering young family. But I have hung onto and in our artistic collaborations, knowing I want to be there. And wow, have we been busy, in a steady-progress-kinda-way, when you see what we have been up to over these years. Continue reading
Bringing the world back into balance means creating equilibrium and peace at every level: between the genders, the generations, different social groups, and different peoples. Over the past decades a new socio-cultural science offering definitive insights for this process has been developed: research on matriarchal societies, known as modern Matriarchal Studies.
Widespread misconceptions about matriarchy notwithstanding, women’s strong position does not mean that matriarchies are women’s autocratic rule. Contrary to this, matriarchal societies are based on gender equality. Their social rules have developed out of thousands of years of experience, and demonstrate a perfectly balanced relationship between women’s and men’s spheres of action. All political decisions are reached through consensus among community members, and insightful, thoroughly worked out principles and social guidelines ensure that unanimity will eventually be achieved on each issue. The resulting social structure is non-violent, and enables a good life for all. Continue reading
I stood out under the thick gray clouds
And listened to the bird song,
the roaring river flood,
watched the swallows
cutting the invisible link between
earth and sky
with sword like precision
and wished I could stay…
I stopped the thought
pulling back the thread –
Coming here at all
was a gift beyond imagining. Continue reading
Many people have wondered why I am going off track with my Goddess work to write about single mothers. To me, it’s all related.
The way we treat mothers is indicative of how we view The Mother.
“Under patriarchy, the mother is feared and hated, quite crazily, both for her power and her weakness; everything a man cannot courageously accept about himself is projected onto his mother, or wife.” –Monica Sjoo & Barbara Mor[i]
To me, honoring real life mothers is just as important as setting aside our indoctrination to believe in a male God. Continue reading
A chapter from my life . . .
I should write a letter to Polly Shakas, thanking her for helping me get out of my marriage. I could also thank Bill Moeller. They were the principals in a most difficult and painful period of my life, and certainly in my children’s lives.
My good friend, Polly said, “why don’t you move out, and perhaps Janie will agree to go into counseling with you. I know of a very good psychiatrist in Iowa City who might be able to help you.” Said Polly to my husband of 12 years, when he came to her house to rant and rave about me. By this time, and it was the first time I had ever confided in anyone, I had told her a bit about my very troubled marriage. Continue reading
Ntozake Shange did the same work of redemption when she created her choreopoem in the San Francisco Bay area: For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. Performing her sacred rite in bars, cafes, galleries, women’s studies departments and other spots, this modern-day ritual would eventually emerge on Broadway in 1976 at the Booth Theater produced by Joe Papp. Seven women dressed in rainbow colors shared their stories, their loves, music and some of the grief of black women in a wilderness of human relationships where friends are capable of rape and husbands of murdering their children. Continue reading
Brenna Jean Richart
I SOBBED FOR THE FIRST TIME in six months today. Throat aching loud, heaving sobs that come when someone dies. The kind that make you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, then cement has been poured on top of you. It leaves you puffy-eyed and when you get up from the fetal position, there is a puddle of drool melting beautifully into your pillow, as your head pounds and your body aches.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Continue reading
When I first arrived in Abiquiu the Pedernal stood out above the other mountains with its imposing triangular shape and flattened top. Initially this mesa fascinated me because Georgia O’Keeffe painted it so often, but after a while, although I liked the Pedernal it became one mountain amongst many others… However, I also knew that the Navajo’s mythical Changing Woman was born on this flat – topped mesa and that story continued to intrigue me.
Poet as Initiate: A Rebirth of the Goddess & The Darkmother in Women’s Poetry in the 70’s[i]
(for my mother Rosa)
“She is you, she is me, she is our mother’s murmurings, chantings, hummings all her days”[ii]
Rites of Isis
When I first wrote those lines in the early 1970’s, I hadn’t yet named the process going on within me, nor had I discovered the works of Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, which would link the dark mother to my own Sicilian and Neapolitan heritage, as well as our collective African roots. I had seen my life undergoing major transitions, a divorce, job loss, a descent, as well as explorations into new and submerged territories of learning, a “remembering” of African culture and religion as well as a reconnection to people from Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia. Continue reading
Poet as Initiate: A Rebirth of the Goddess In Contemporary Women Poets of the Spirit- I
THERE IS SOMETHING wonderful happening. One could call it a reclamation of something lost or forgotten, certainly something distorted and suppressed. It comes by many names: Moon Goddess or Divine Mother, the feminine consciousness and yin spirit. It is the half of divine consciousness omitted in traditional worship of the Father God. SHE is reemerging today as the result of the inner work of a growing number of women artists who, while in search of themselves, amid confusion of masculine and feminine roles in their own time, came upon a larger vision for all time – a mystical feminine revelation. Continue reading
[Author’s Note: The Fayetteville Goddess Festival is a long-running event held in Fayetteville, Arkansas and hosted by the Omni Center for Peace. Started in 1990 as the Women’s Festival and Conference at the University of Arkansas, the Festival was forced to cut ties to the University in 2000 amid rumors that University officials were displeased by the presence of a lesbian workshop at the Festival. The most recent Fayetteville Goddess Festival took place March 17-26, 2017 and featured concerts, rituals, and daily workshops. Some of these workshops were restricted by age and self-identified gender, which did not seem to be the source of controversy.]