The Witch’s Desk: Women Learning to Trust Women

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I watched a wonderful DVD series this week highlighting the birth of feminine spirituality.  It was full of all the inspiring women of the time– Starhawk, Jean Bolyn, Merlin Stone, Shekinah Mountainwater, as well as a score of other eloquent and beautiful Ladies (authors, activists, film producers, artists, etc.).  The main concept that struck me was the idea that the emergence of the patriarchal system, along with the fall of the goddess, all contributed to the erosion of feminine spirituality, the end of matriarchy, and its biggest impact was on women’s relationships with other women.  We lost the “Sisterhood”.  We became suspicious of each other.  Something was stolen from us, something almost intangible, something undefinable. The unity was gone, the respect was gone, the connection was warped and broken.

With the advent of the snake and the apple story, the whole women-are-responsible-for-the-downfall-of-civilization phenomena, respect and power, camaraderie and trust, were all lost for the women of the world.  The new patriarchal culture threw a dark shadow on womanhood, and it was contagious, contagious even to us, to women.  My mother and I talked about this once, how women behave towards other women, the back-stabbing, the bitchiness, the suspicion.  It was an accurate observation, and it left us to ponder.

Can it be repaired?  And if so, what can be done to fix it?

1.  We come towards each other already suspicious, suspicious of motives, intentions, sincerity…

and this crap involves all aspects of life– beginning with men (husbands, boyfriends, significant others).  Why?  Why don’t we trust other women in our lives with our partners, even when we have no legitimate reason not to?  Is it just a hormonal mating Neanderthal thing?  I hope not.  I’d like to think that we’ve evolved past this.  Maybe it’s our own insecurity– Are we attractive enough, are we too fat, are we too thin, are we satisfying sexual partners, are we successful enough, are we accomplished enough?  Is this other woman prettier, is she younger, is she more accomplished, more successful, more desirable?

We have to work at building and maintaining a healthy ego.  We have to learn to appreciate ourselves, to meet our full potential, to find the joy in life.  We have to learn to be all that we were meant to be; and we have to learn to be proud of this.  We have to learn to relish pride in ourselves.  This isn’t being egotistical; it’s being healthy, it’s being honest, it’s being strong.

2.  We’ve got backstabbing down to a fine art…

There is nothing worse than a hen-party that takes on a very dark energy when the hens start pecking at a missing sister.  Why do we do this?  And it gains momentum, it really does, as each woman in turn comes up with a negative observation, a piece of gossip, something that they would never dream of saying to the victim’s face.  Why?…enjoyment, in some weird and twisted way?…a primeval instinct to travel in packs, and to gang up on a member who doesn’t fit into all the correct forms, all the politically/socially correct boxes and niches?  Or is it a power play, since we still obviously possess pack mentality, and there has to be an Alpha female, so we’ll spar and battle until only one is left standing?

3.  There is no sense of “Sisterhood”, no sense of loyalty, real loyalty, the old-fashioned kind..

“I’ll be your friend till the end.”…what a beautiful sentiment, but I don’t believe a word of it.  It’s more like…”I’ll be your friend until you don’t conform to my idea of what you should be; I’ll be your friend until someone else comes along that I’m more infatuated with, I’m more in-tune with; until someone else comes along that satisfies me emotionally in the friend department, someone who agrees with me, someone who will follow me.  I’ll be your friend, until I don’t feel like it anymore.

I wrote a blog post a few years ago, in which I describe my idea of a friend and ‘sister’…

“A Sister, should be a Sister, should be a Sister…*Forever*.  It’s not a ‘when-I-feel-like-it’ thing; it should not rely on the conditions of outside influences, human frailties, insecurities, or pettiness.  A Sister is someone you grow old with; and on your way to this destination, you pass all the other stages of life– bumpy, smooth, unpleasant, and joyous– and you know, without a crumb of a doubt, that your Sister will travel this road with you, shoulder to shoulder, to the end and beyond.”

4.  There is no common spiritual ground (the goddess) in today’s culture, patriarchy dominates the scene…

I know that I’ve personally lost friends because of my spiritual path– from Jehovah’s Witnesses, to Christian Fundamentalist, to just plain Christians in the mainstream.  If we don’t travel the same spiritual path, apparently, we cannot travel together at all.  Why?  It’s joyous to share a friendship with someone who views life and spirituality in the same way, but that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace friends who forge different trails.  There can always be a general meeting place in the center of the forest, a sunny clearing where we can all lay aside our differences to gather together and share life’s experiences, and plans, and disappointments, and victories.

This is the hard part of this essay.  I feel that the reader will expect me to end with some magickal solution to this problem, some instant fix, and I don’t think this is possible.  In that case, it makes this blog post more of an observation, which leaves more questions here, at the end, than it did to start with. But I believe we have to look back, far into the past, when the Goddess ruled the earth and woman’s power was respected. We have to look back, far into the past, when society viewed woman, in all stages of her life, with reverence and awe.  We have to look back, far into the past, to an ancient time, when women had respect for themselves…and respect for their sisters.

 

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“Sisterhood”…my thoughts

A Sister, should be a Sister, should be a Sister…*Forever*, it’s not a ‘when-I-feel-like-it’ thing, it should not rely on the conditions of outside influences, human frailities/insecurities/or pettiness.  A Sister is someone you grow old with; and on your way to this destination, you pass all the other stages of life– bumpy, smooth, unpleasant, and joyous…and you know, without a crumb of a doubt, that your Sister will travel this road with you, shoulder to shoulder– to the end and beyond.


 

Every Woman Should Have…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
enough money within her control
to move out and rent a place of her own,
even if she never wants to or needs to…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …..
something perfect to wear
if the employer,
or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
a youth she’s content to leave behind….

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….
a past juicy enough
that she’s looking forward to retelling it in her old age…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ……
a set of screwdrivers,
a cordless drill,
and a black lace bra…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …..
one friend who always makes her laugh…
and one who lets her cry…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …..
a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….
eight matching plates,
wine glasses with stems,
and a recipe for a meal,
that will make her guests feel honored…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
a feeling of control over her destiny…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
how to fall in love without losing herself..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
how to quit a job,
break up with a lover,
and confront a friend without ruining the friendship….

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW….
when to try harder…
and WHEN TO WALK AWAY…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
that she can’t change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips,
or the nature of her parents…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
that her childhood may not have been perfect…
…but it’s over….

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
how to live alone…
even if she doesn’t like it…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
whom she can trust,
whom she can’t,
and why she shouldn’t take it personally…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
where to go…
be it to her best friend’s kitchen table.. .
or a charming Inn in the woods…
when her soul needs soothing…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
What she can and can’t accomplish in a day…
a month…
and a year…

By Pamela Redmond Satran.

* Please Do Note: This has been mis-credited to Maya Angelou.
As Miss Angelou is the type of womyn to not want that to happen,
(from all I have ever read & heard on her), I post this addendum to make clear the misconception of others.

(*note:  I originally found this on my Spirit Sister’s blog, Starra, and she has kindly given me permission to pass it along.  She is also responsible for crediting the correct author…Amythyst)

imgstrega2.jpg witches 3 picture by witch_of_endore