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Three Sermons

Science of Mind Church, Mendocino, 2001

 

     I’d like to read a few words to you from “the Return of the Bird Tribes”   a book by Ken Carey, written in 1988, and praised by esteemed contributors to our spiritual and  philosophic world:  Ram Dass, Virginia Siter, Elizabeth Kobler-Ross, Laura Huxley, David Spangler, Sun Bear, and Jean Huston.  The premise of the book is that the spirits are returning to us. . . . to help us through this difficult time, that we might usher in the age of  new consciousness.     

“Listen, O humans of this present world; listen, as the sparrow listens for her lover's call on the breeze.  We are speaking to you in your dreams, in snatches of song heard in passing, from the mouths of children, from these pages; but more than this, we are speaking to you from the center of your innermost being.   Hear us and remember yourselves.

       “We return to human consciousness, bringing a time of new creation and the information required for humans to understand the changing conditions of the age.   We are here to help the Great Spirit incarnate in the peoples of the four races.

     “We have come to initiate the most joyous age this earth has ever known;  a thousand-year period of earth healing and renewed harmony that will see the four-legged flourish, the two-legged awaken, the rivers run pure and human-kind in conscious exchange with the stars."  [i]

                                                                         ~~~

      I lived in rural San Geranimo, Marin County, from 1986 to 1989, in the depth of my journey.  This was a time of living in isolation without telephone, or television or even a radio until the very end,  doing nothing but writing and painting and singing and playing the piano, and recording.  I hurried each day to the Woodacre post office to mail that day’s writing, and recorded music, and art work.  I sometimes worked twenty hours a day.

     I was in the depths of a  journey in which I felt I was being  swept along  by  waves of a vast ocean and  catapulted into the heavens!  Beauty and meaning was key, and I lived to create; to speak the truth in authentic communication, for  I had a message I knew the world needed to hear.  For three years I did that.  My  faithful companion in my solitude was my beautiful aging dog, Lance, half-shepherd, half-collie,  who had been our family dog in Iowa.  Lance and I  lived on five acres with only hills behind us.  We spent the last three years of our 17 years together in the house at the end of Creamery Road, and Lance is buried there, near the front porch.

     There were no city lights, only star light and moonlight at night, unless it was raining, when Lance and I took our evening walk.  Sometimes it was 2 a.m. before I stopped working for that day, and yet there was Lance who needed a walk.  We’d go down our grassy  driveway,  for we lived on a gently sloping hillside,  into the gravel road below, with not a  light to be seen.  The few houses of San Geranimo were dark and silent.  Everyone was sleeping.

     We walked under a velvet black sky filled with glittering stars, and those stars were  my companions, my old friends.  I knew them by their position in the sky; they were there every night.   Certain ones were my beloveds and I communicated with them. I told them, “you are beautiful,”  and “I’m so glad you are there,”  and “I am so grateful for the connection,”   and I thanked them.   Sometimes I have that same rare and precious experience with another human being,  that sense of deep connection,   and I realize I say those same words to them! 

     I had spoken to those stars when I was on  the farm in Illinois, a few years before, as I walked down the beautiful and familiar moonlit blacktopped road  that ran in front of the home that my parents built in 1918, where I grew up.  Those same stars were there, too.  They gave me courage, they brought me wisdom,  they radiated beautiful sparkling light, meant just for me, showing me how beautiful they were. 

    I’ve recognized shooting stars that were meant for me, as a sign. The night of the first performance of my message, back there in Berkeley, California at the Unitarian Fellowship, Cedar and Bonita, September 13th of  1984 . . . .when I was loading  my art work and sound equipment into the car after that evening’s courageous performance, I looked up and a huge shooting star streamed down so close I could almost touch it, and disappeared behind the buildings across the street!   “Human kind in conscious exchange with the stars.”

     We have  been looking at the same stars for  lifetimes, for eons. They are imprinted in our cells.  We need to sleep out under the stars.  Consciousness changes when  you sleep  under  stars for any length of time.  

                                              ~~~

     As a child, I went to the Presbyterian Sunday School.  My parents dropped me off, driving the three miles into Biggsville,  from our home on the farm.  And, I liked it . .   those comfortable little sunday school rooms in the basement of that fine old church with it’s thick foundation walls freshly whitewashed.  And that basement was also a place for community events, like the Mother and Daughter Banquet . .  . . .

     I was baptized when I was 12 years old  in order to join the church,  not having been baptized as an infant.  My parents didn’t believe in baptism,  and my dad certainly didn’t believe in church.  I heard him once huffily say, “I don’t need to go to  a church to talk to God.”  He clearly resented organized religion’s attempt to control our natural connection to the divine.  I liked choosing to be baptized and it was a special and serious moment to me.  There were several of us from the church, same age, same class in school, who joined together.  Our Sunday school class met in the little anteroom to the side of the choir  loft and my first love, Larry Sterett, was in that class. 

     I was actually deeply religious—but I couldn’t have put it into words.  My mother was  too, of course,  always seeing the beauty in the landscape, in the sky, in a tree.  “Oh, look at that sky!, she’d say.  “Look at those colors!”  or “Look at those trees.  Aren’t they magnificent!”  My mother cared about things. 

     I remember as a child going out into the pasture one warm summer evening after dinner, and climbing up on a gate, gazing  into the pink and gold streaked western sky, wondering where God was.  “Are you there?”   I spent quite a while on that gate, gazing upward.    I know my son,  as a child, held similar conversations, as he gazed  into the sky from his bed.  

     All children, if allowed to be, are deeply religious before they’ve been dulled out.  It comes with the territory  for after all, they are only recently on this side. My then 12 year old grandson in Davenport, Iowa—my daughter’s child, called some years ago  to tell me that something was coming in the mail for me.  He said, much to my surprise, that he had been listening to my CD,  Oquawka Speaks the Words and Music of Mother God   and that his favorite song was Letter to Ed. 

     Letter to Ed,  a 29 minute spoken segment with my music playing behind it, is a revelation from within, as I  talk about how life on earth “ought” to be.  My little grandson had, of his own accord, been listening to those sacred words coming  from the Temple, back there in Davenport, Iowa.  Further, having prearranged it with his teacher, he took the CD to school, and his 6th grade English and Art classes listened to all 29 minutes of “Letter to Ed.”  The teacher had Caleb stop the CD and repeat certain points and phrases that she thought were important!

     I was describing Paradise, a place with no time and no money, where we lived in peace and harmony.  A place where we   planted and harvested and created together, and sang and danced.  A place without books and schools, where children learned “simply living, side by side with their mother and father, . . . a place where we  woke up being glad to meet the day, feeling loved,  respecting ourselves, knowing that every thing we did had importance, knowing that every word that came out of our mouths was worth listening to.  And, I said, "we each have the same picture of  Paradise right inside us, just on the other side of the pain."                                                       ~~~               

   Every one of those children “got it”  and were in  agreement that that is how life is supposed to be.  I know, because they each  sent me a sweet letter, thanking me for making the CD, often quoting parts of the message.  One little girl said, “You've given me something to think about."  Another said, "I couldn't have described Paradise better myself.”  A little boy said, “I think we could be good pen pals.”  Many of them were decorated with hearts and colored designs.     When the CD was finished playing, there was a moment of silence and then a  little boy  said,  “Well, lets give Caleb and his grandmother a big hand.”   So touching! And amazing!

    As a little girl I  saw The Song of Bernadette, the story of the appearance of "Our Lady"  to the children of Lourdes, France,  and was deeply moved.  For years after that I longed to be Catholic.  I also longed to have a little sister.  After my first divorce, back in Davenport, Iowa, for I managed to get away, after 12 years of abuse   from Duane the doctor, father of my children,  I dated a man who was Catholic, and I loved kneeling on those benches, praying. 

                                                              ~~~    

     I graduated from a Presbyterian school, Monmouth College, in Monmouth Illinois; sang and soloed in our  large 800 member Presbyterian Church in Davenport where  I raised my three  children, and never in any part of my life had there been a suggestion that God was anything other than a “he.” 

    Nor, was I aware that I was a third class citizen, with no God in my image, although I had noted the outrageous treatment I received from the “system” as the mother of three little children, trying to get a divorce and adequate financial support, from my abusive “doctor with all the power”  husband.  In Davenport, Iowa in 1965.  Words like “sexual abuse”  didn’t exist back then.  They were taboo in our patriarchal prison.  They weren’t  allowed in our thoughts,  or even in our subconscious.  The word “relationship” didn’t exist either.

   The Universe led me, with a few detours,  to California three years after my second marriage of eight years to Carl Lange ended, after my son had graduated from high school and begun college. Once I  decided to move west my son elected to follow in a couple of months, after his college session was over.  I couldn’t have stayed in California alone, leaving all my family in the Midwest, if he hadn’t come too.  My  other children weren’t ready to leave then.


                                                       PART  II

    I slipped into Berkeley, California, in 1979, like a hand in a glove.   I was overjoyed to be in such a beautiful place—and to be on track, at last.  I came for a master’s degree in clinical psychology.  I knew my children were terribly wounded and I was searching for some way to help them, and that’s what led me into psychology.  

     I was with several lovely men while I was in graduate school in California, a welcome change after the hurtful, abusive marriages I had endured for twenty years in the mid-west.  There was Glenn, the editor of the San Francisco AFofL/CIO Union  newspaper. . a man who had raised four sons alone.  He  had been a newspaper man most of his life, and came from a family of newspaper folks.  He was highly political and all his life had been concerned about the injustices by the “haves” served up to the working class, the “have nots.”   His parents, unlike mine, had also been aware of injustice and he  talked  a lot about labor issues, some of which I unfortunately  didn’t comprehend. He was, and still is, a  good man.   He was sweet and generous  and loved to dance and eat chocolate, and talk and smoke dope. He was ten years older than me. 

     I sometimes spent the night in the cluttered upstairs bedroom in his house in Richmond; his bed was the only clear spot in the room; papers covered all other surfaces.  After all, he was an editor! And the walls were covered with wonderful photographs of his east coast heritage—his mother and dad, pictures of he as a child and as a handsome young man.

     We talked in the mornings after awakening, lying in bed.  I liked listening him talk—he had an east coast accent that I loved, and he laughed easily.  He had a shock of graying red hair and  bright blue eyes that peered out beneath bushy eyebrows.  And, when his warm eyes looked into mine, I felt loved.  It was a new experience for me to be with such a kind man. 

     I listened to stories of his life, and his children’s, after he and their mother separated and lots of other stories, his sailing the seas as a sailer when he was a young man.   I’m quite a story teller too, so I must have shared some of mine.  I have a tape of us, recorded while we were in bed together.  I like hearing our interaction . . .these two intelligent, middle-aged folks in bed together, talking and enjoying each other.  He had a lot of good energy. 

     Then there was Stephen, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley Lab, one of the key players in creating the world’s largest telescope at the time, in Hawaii.  I rather adored him.  He was a small trim man, fourteen years younger than me, Jewish,  dark  eyes and hair.   Later on, at the end of our relationship, during my difficult times, he  was a wonderful friend,  giving me  a place to stay. 

      We sometimes spent Saturdays exploring  San Francisco, or taking walks in Tilden Park, always talking.  On one of our excursions to North Beach we impulsively walked  a few steps down from the sidewalk into a large basement room where Chinese fortune cookies were being made.   The employees greeted us warmly and showed us how they did it.  We moved on to a neighboring well-stocked hat shop and  tried on hats, looking and commenting on ourselves and each other in the mirror.  Eventually we each bought the other a hat.  It was fun! 

     I had moved to my flat at the top of Virginia street, after graduation from John F. Kennedy University, with it’s panoramic view of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.  When Stephen came over we’d head for the couch, he on one end and me on the other with our legs together in the middle, talking, talking, talking. Actually, I did that  with Ed, too.  It is such a comfortable  way to communicate.  Stephen was very bright, of course, and serious,  and had a wonderful sense of humor.  And, I sometimes wore his shirts. 

     He and I plowed deeply into the "pain of the world"  on our sacred mushroom and Ecstacy trips, lying on a blanket in the sunlight . . . .eyeball to eyeball.. . . with beautiful music playing, in my apartment at the top of Virginia street, or in a rented house above Gualala on the north coast.  It became a shamanic journey into the wounding of the soul, and was a very important process for us both.  

     In this culture the significance of journeying with the use of sacred plants has been lost--stamped out--the sacred act demeaned by those in charge, those who declare what is important and what isn’t.  Native peoples always used sacred peyote, sacred marijuana, sacred ayawasca, sacred mushrooms and other plant substances to move into deeper consciousness,  the magical place, to gain wisdom, to drop into the soul. 

     Terrance McKenna[ii], ethonopharmacologist, writes prolifically about how and why this happens.  These plants possess a chemical key that opens up a particular part of our brain, not available in ordinary consciousness. We are  connected to plants.  We eat them.  Our bodies know how to digest them and are nourished by them.  It is believed that native peoples  learned about the medicinal use of plants from journeying.  The uses were revealed to them.

    When you journey  you may visit  the richness and perfection of this beautiful  place we have been set down upon, knowing it to be holy; recognizing the   sacredness of trees standing in a grove; feeling awed by the artistic perfection of a flower—realizing how far from the heart/spirit is the commercial world of work and money and buying and selling,  becoming aware of the deeper reality that pulses beneath  mundane consciousness.   Surely it is time for the folks who have  experienced  realities  other than the one we’re being fed by the patriarchy, to come forth.  As Ram Dass says, “It’s time for us to come out of the closet.” 

     Ed and I did similar trips during this same time . . . for, as fate would have it, for one year I had a relationship with Stephen and Ed at the same time.

                                                               ~~~

     To return to Berkeley thirty years ago. . . . . . let me tell you, my life had moved  light years away from the life I knew in Davenport, Iowa.  A quote from Dr. Dean Ornish,  “It's  little understood but there is an observable healing power that comes from love and intimacy . . .and a  spiritual and emotional transformation  often results.”   Indeed.

     I recently found a journal note, written  while I was in graduate school.  I was forty-eight years old, and had been in Berkeley  for a year and a half, coming from Iowa City, Iowa.  I was enrolled at J.F.K. University in Orinda, and shared a handsome two-story house on Yolo street with Manina, dear friend and deep confidante, same age as my daughter.  My upstairs bedroom was on the front of the house and had a slanted ceiling and two  small-paned windows that opened out to the tree-lined street below.  There was a large ficus plant in front of those windows with their  white ruffled curtains.    At that point I had met neither Stephen nor Ed.  In time they both came to know this pretty room. It is of this bedroom that I write:                                                                                      ~~~

November 11, 1981

     I look around my bedroom and at my desk, and it is such a rich combination of things and interests; books of poetry, and children’s pictures, and patterns, and notices of workshops on the danger of nuclear power, and other environmental concerns, and colorful clothing and my own journal, and scraps of paper with telephone numbers, and tapes everywhere on the Enneagram and Psychic focusing, and my own hypnotic tapes and tape recorders, and massage table and warm inviting bed and a photo album with beautiful pictures of my children and me, and some of Glenn, and books on therapy and introspection and discovering one’s self—and it is all beautiful and colorful and inviting.  

     Is this me?  Somehow it seems I am becoming more and more—richer and richer.  And, I am glad, and greet this enriching and larger self with humility.”

                                              ~~~

     I met Ed Jackson,  Reichian therapist and former medical doctor, just as I was receiving my master’s degree.  I  came to deeply love this spiritual man, recognizing him as my soul mate--a term previously unfamiliar to me. I felt that I could be with him forever, that in fact I had been with him forever.  My heart sang at the thought of him for I sensed our souls had been together since the beginning of time . . . .we were of a single cut, a singleness of understanding and compassion . . . in our souls.  We were also  Virgo’s with birthdays one day apart.

  I have fond memories of our snatching a few precious moments together during his busy day, lying in the sun on his straw mat in Live Oak Park, with my head on his chest-- golden moments for me in total contentment— a contentment I felt on a deep cellular level.

     One early morning, as he was leaving to get his grandson off to school and himself to work after  spending the night,  he came into the bedroom to kiss me goodbye. I had stayed in bed as he made preparations for leaving.  As he tenderly bent down to me,  I had a vision of his hands holding me and I saw he was wearing a wedding ring.  I realized that we had been married and that he had said goodbye, just like this,  in some other time, some other place.

     It was a many faceted connection.   Much of it was stormy and painful, for as our relationship deepened, Ed seemed to be operating with one foot out the door.  That kind of dynamic tends to keep one off center!  Ed opened many spiritual doors for me, through our time together.  

     It was  a  difficult relationship for many reasons.  He was raising his eight year old  grandson, a child fathered by Ed’s son when he and the boy’s  mother were 16 years old, and then she, overwhelmed with the responsibility of a child weighing heavily upon her young shoulders, became suicidal.  Thus Ed stepped in. 

     Ed moved his aging widowed father from Grass Valley to an apartment in Albany, next door to Berkeley, while we were together.  Parke, knowing no one,  was dependant on Ed for everything.  And, Ed was  living with his ex-wife in their divided family home with  their struggling young adult children and their  serious problems.  It was a complicated scene, to say the least, and his personality reflected that.  He also had a therapy practice, with  a client load of about twenty people each week.  

     There was a lot of unresolved stuff in Ed’s psychic, having grown up under the hand of a  harsh and extraordinarily controlling father.      An acquaintance of ours described that kind of father as a "ball crushing" father. . . .not a term I would think of using, but, I  got the idea.  Ed was easily set off.  And, he  blamed his mother for it all. 

     There was a great struggle between us – an archetypal struggle— for Ed was searching for the cause  of violence.  Naively, I didn’t know violence existed in the world when I first met him, in spite of my past.  And Ed, along with Freud and the many men before him, beginning with those patriarchs of the Bible, blamed the mother for all the ills in the world. 

    The Hebrew Myth of creation, written to quell the ancient worship of the Queen of Heaven, naming Eve as the source of all our earthy suffering, was later adopted into the sacred literature of Christianity. “It’s all Eve’s fault, then and ever more.”  Similar creation myths were spun by the other emerging patriarchal religions of the world to insure their own domain.

      Those priests spun a tale that has survived for five thousand years and still affects countless women, and men, too, for that matter  For it is in the Bible,  or the Koran.  Not only did the male god create woman from man, but our sons became “sons of man.”  The mother is left out.

      During his accusations of the mother to me, Ed, who was a well-known and highly regarded Bay Area Reichian therapist, was seeing my son as his client and  listening to my son’s stories of abuse. I knew nothing of their conversations. Ed was not only listening to my son’s stories, he was listening to his other client’s  stories  of violence and abuse by the men in their lives.  That’s how Ed knew violence existed, that’s why he was searching for the cause, because he kept hearing the same stories over and over again.  His own daughter had been gang raped at age 16 in Tilden Park, another daughter had narrowly escaped the clutches  of two men with similar intent.

     Do you know what he said to his 16 year old daughter when she returned home from Tilden Park, where she had been gang-raped?  Her loving father/therapist said, “You shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”  This is what the “assumedly capable of love” therapist said to his own daughter in her time of desperate need. 

     I would say it was “blaming the victim,”  wouldn’t you?  Ed’s 16 year old son, who ran away from home, (probably because of the treatment he was getting from his dad), on the way back home a few weeks later was accosted by two men in a field and beaten up.   When he returned home his loving father, outraged that his son had caused him to worry and suffer,  said to him,  “Well, if they hadn’t done it, I would have.” 

     What would you call this?  I don’t think it would make you feel very loved. He struck another blow into his already suffering own children’s hearts when they desperately needed his comfort.  Such an odd thing to do; why would anyone  so viciously turn on their own  child in that way?   Unless he was just mean.  That’s the only explanation I can think of.  I suspect Ed was treated in much the same way by his own mean father when he was a little boy. 

     We can understand why his son became a heroin addict.  I  imagine there was a pain in his heart too great to bear, having been so deeply wounded, feeling unloved by his own father in moments of deepest pain.  I wonder how children feel who have been sexually assaulted by their own father?

                                                         ~~~

     “Our culture’s runaway masculinization might be seen as a collective lunacy.  We now take for granted the prevalence of war, rape, and murder in our real world as well as in its model and reflection, our fantasy world of so-called entertainment.  We have long since forgotten the collective mindset of past matriarchal societies, where such behaviors were as rare and restricted as cannibalism is for us.”[iii] 

     As I heard the words from Ed, again and again blaming the mother for turning little boys into men who commit violent acts against innocent victims, I knew it wasn’t so.  I knew it wasn’t the mother’s fault.  I had not been indoctrinated into Freud in my training.  After all, I was a mother to three children, and I had been the child of my mother.  I knew the deep love that bound us  together—we would not ever purposefully wound one another.  We loved each other. 

     However, at that time, I didn’t know whose fault it was, in spite of glaring evidence.  I was still blinded by the patriarchal paradigm, which pronounced that men knew more  than women about how  life works. Certainly Ed was blinded, for in spite of what he was hearing and experiencing,  in spite of how he  himself  acted toward his own children,  in spite of who was doing it, Ed Jackson continued to place the blame on the mother. 

     It is amazing how powerful denial and brain washing can be in our psychic.  But then, we only need  look at slavery in the south a few years back, where anyone with black skin was considered to be an animal, Indians were savages, Jews didn’t deserve to live.  Always looking for someone to blame.  Blame of “the victim” maintains the status quo, insures domination  and is a plank in the patriarchal platform.   

     And, it allows the  depravity of those men who love to rape and torture to flourish.  The School of the Americas [iv]in Florida funded by our tax dollars is an example, where they teach men from all over the world how to torture and maim innocent, vulnerable native peoples,  activists, teachers, anyone who gets in the way of our corporations taking over  their land, their oil, their forests.  The patriarchy’s motto is “as long as we have control over people, we are free to  do anything our evil minds can think of.” 

                                                              ~~~

     “Here we are, at the end of the twentieth century, and not only have hundreds of millions of women around the globe yet to obtain even the barest minimum of human rights, but the notion that they are even entitled to such rights is bitterly contested. 

     “Consider, for example, the horrors documented in the State Department’s annual human right report: genital mutilation in Africa and the Middle East, bride burning in India, sexual slavery in Thailand, forced abortion and sterilization and the killing of female babies in China, and stoning in Iraq—and the suffering captive women of Afghanistan and Pakistan, every movement controlled by men.  Imagine the firestorm of international protest if any of these practices were imposed by men on men through racism or colonialism or Communism! 

     “Well, you don’t need to imagine.  Just compare the decades of global outrage visited, justly, on South Africa’s apartheid regime for their denial of rights to blacks, compared with  what we’re doing with Saudi Arabia and other ultra-Islamic regimes for their denial of  those same rights to women. Nobody’s calling on American universities and city governments to divest in those economies.  In Iraq and a number of other Middle Eastern countries a man can with impunity kill any female relative he feels is “dishonoring” him by unchaste behavior;  in Pakistan, the jails are full of women and girls, some only nine years old, whose crime was to be the victims of rape.”[v]

      Shouldn’t we be screaming about such horrible things happening to innocent women and children?  Sounds like something out of the Bible, or the Koran.  In the Bible they stoned a victim of rape—and still do.  A lot about sex in that Bible, isn’t there? 

     “With the material help of his Father god, man has finally colonized woman’s eternal miracle of parenthood.  He has created a society in which he can demand even more respect for his momentary, unconscious act of begetting than a mother can expect for her nine-month hosting, effortful delivery, unremitting nurturance, and lifelong concern for her children.  Even neglectful, punitive, cruel, or destructive fathers can legally claim the right to control children.  Man’s domination can hardly go further than to usurp the parental role that not even a female animal will allow her mate.  In fact, mothers of most mammalian species will fight to the death to keep adult males from interfering with their young.”[vi]

   In this world, not only are mothers forced to live with their oppressors, they watch helplessly as their own children are abused in big and little ways by the “head of the household.”  They are taught to disregard their own wisdom on how to care for their young.  Further, they may not tell the child their abusive father is a “bad man.”  It is forbidden, even in thought. 

     Our natural nurturing and maternal instincts of protection and outrage have certainly been suppressed.  One day in Berkeley my son said to me, from the depths of his great pain,  “I think if you really knew what the world was like, you couldn’t stand it.  It would kill you.”  I had no idea what he meant at the time. 

     I felt a gaping hole in my heart when Ed left the relationship two years later, and that ending plunged me into a pain I had not ever experienced before. The night Ed said to me, “I can’t do this any longer,” a fantasy of jumping out the window flew past my eyes.  I was devastated.  And, that shock  was the ‘crack in the cosmic egg.’  Several months later I entered into the ‘dark night of the soul’ for a period of time. 

     Once Ed and I  separated I bought a computer and began to write,  and discovered I was enraged with Ed Jackson, with his manipulation of me, with  his flying into cutting remarks, “always about to leave,” if I questioned him, or stated my feelings;  therefore he couldn’t be confronted about anything . . . . .  and with his belittling of me.  

     During a visit to  Esalen,  he arranged for me to have  a spiritual massage  from Maria, a Brazilian Shaman,   an experience beyond description in this writing.  As I lay on the massage table in the shadowy room receiving her work, I began to sob, and she whispered, “Let your tears wash over you.  Let your tears wash over you.”   And, she also said, “You could be doing what I am doing.” 

     On the way back to Berkeley, I told Ed what Maria had said to me about myself, and he replied, “I don’t believe it!”  Meaning he didn’t believe that I had the deep spiritual capacity to do what Maria was doing. “Thanks a lot, buddy.”  Only HE was the talented one. His wisdom was best, his answers were best, he knew better than I how life worked.  I said to him once, “Not only do I think you are better than I am, YOU think you are better than I am.”     He replied,  “That hurts!”  . .and I thought, “Well, it’s also true!” 

     And, once on a “trip” as we lay next to each other on the floor  in a rented house beside the ocean above Gualala, where we sometimes spent  week-ends and journeyed on Ecstacy, as we lay there together, he told me he was having a conversation with God.  And, I  responded, “Well, if you only knew it, God is lying right here beside you!”  He’d rather be with his “god” in his head  than with this remarkable woman next to him! 

     Ed’s connection to his ‘god’ was holier than his connection to me.  In fact, he thought being celibate would be a good state for him.  (This is while he is with me!)  And, interesting enough, he asked his clients to refrain from masturbating while in therapy with him!   How dare  he make that kind of intrusion into someone’s life,  more from the books of  Freud and the Bible.

                                                                ~~~

     “In earlier times natural cycles of feminine life had their own image in the Goddess’s trinity of Virgin, Mother and Crone.  Human minds seem to have an affinity for triads, especially as connected with the Great Mother figure.  The triadic Goddess was often represented by three figures at the apexes of a downward-pointing triangle, perhaps derived from the shape of feminine pubic demarcation or the female body reduced to essential points of nipples and pubis.  The name of Demeter meant Mother D or delta, a vulva symbol in the sacred alphabet of archaic Greece.  Similarly, the Hebrew letter D was daleth, the door, another reference to the gate of birth. In India the triangle was the “yantra of the vulva” or Yoni Yantra. 

     “A further possible reason for the triangle’s use as a true archetypal  glyph of the feminine is that it may show the essential points of the mother’s face as seen by the newborn infant:  eyes and mouth.  Experiments have shown that newborns will smile and respond to any three spots arranged in a downward triangle, whereas other arrangements of spots elicit no interest.  Human beings don’t see very clearly in the earliest days of life, but they do come equipped with the necessary reflexes to engage the attention of the one person who can ensure their survival. 

     “Hindus represented the female trinity by a triangle pointing down and the male trinity by a triangle pointing up.  Their sexual merging created the famous hexagram, now accepted as the emblem of Judaism. The hexagram was really a Tantric sex sign, which first appeared in Jewish tradition by way of Cabalistic sexual mysticism in the A.D. thirteenth century.  Cabalists claimed the world had become evil because God had been separated from his Shekina—the Great Mother.  In secret rites of the conjugal bedroom, they sought to re-empower the feminine spirit that medieval patriarchy in general had so vilely slandered. 

     “Paganism had room for both male and female deities, who demonstrated their interdependence in frank presentations of sexuality and motherhood.  It was once thought that their creative power was best invoked through bonds of physical love. 

      “Christians regarded this as the epitome of evil.  Equating the Goddess and all her works with the Christianized devil, they taught men to call their own impulses of sexual or filial love dangerous to the “pure” masculine soul.  Christian theologians maintained that love should be directed only to God, and never gave up trying to poison sexual relationships—even within marriage—with the taint of original sin.”  [vii]

                                             ~~~

     Toward the end of my  relationship with Ed, after I had returned to Berkeley from a trip to Illinois, staying with the folks who with their four lovely children had rented our  farm, I commented to Ed how delighted the children were to see me.  He replied, “Oh they’re probably just lonely out there in the country.  They would be happy to see anyone.”  And I responded, for I was beginning to catch on,  “No, they lead quite a full life with plenty of friends.   They were happy to see me.”   Subtle and not so subtle little put-downs, aren’t they? 

     Ed’s older daughter, after several painful relationships with men, began a relationship with another woman.  When she confided this to her loving therapist/father, as they shared a sleeping room at Esalen, he responded,  “Well, you’re  a failure just like the rest of my children!”  This was a highly regarded therapist who had more than one lesbian client.  

     What a guy!  Now, some of you may be thinking, “Isn’t he awful!  Good thing I’ve never had anybody like that in my life.”  Well, I want to assure you, you have had somebody like that in your life.  They are all around, perhaps you ignored them.  The horrific statements Ed made to his children each have kind of a familiar ring to them, don’t they? You almost know what he is going to say,  when you feel that particular faultfinding, mean, stinging kind of energy coming forth. 

     I believe Ed was an archetype of the patriarchal father figure. He lacks compassion, he blames the victim, he finds fault with other people, he is controlling, if he feels something unpleasant he blames the other person, generally a woman, although not always—children can be blamed very easily, too.  

     As an example, his eight year old  grandson, Ezra, was waiting for us at the track where we sometimes ran.  Ed was supposed to bring Ezra’s bicycle to him.  Ed forgot.  When we got there Ezra said, “Where is my bicycle?”  Ed launched into some excuse—then later referred to Ezra as being “a little guilt slinger,” for asking where his bicycle was. 

     To continue with my list of patriarchal characteristics: he considers himself to be the authority on all things, he is withholding of acknowledgement, and incapable of deep sexual intimacy and  real affection.  What I’m trying to say is that this guy is around today.  He is  running the world.  

I’ve had  conversations with a fundamentalist Baptist minister, and a Midwestern Presbyterian minister, both of whom considered me to be “off the track” because I dared to suggest that God was our Mother.   I was older and had  more life experience than either of them.  How is it they thought they knew more than I did?  Where did that authority come from???? 

                                                            ~~~

     After getting the computer and beginning   to write, I bought a drawing table and began to paint.  I had never been an artist.  At this time I was sub-leasing an apartment in north Berkeley, and it was here that  paintings began to flood forth.   The  images formed themselves.   I never changed anything.  I didn’t know what I was going to paint until I saw it on the page. I painted as fast as I could, day and night, large, colorful archetypal images on poster board, complete with title and poetry . . .The Tree of Life, Our Home in the Garden, The Warrior of Love, Mother Earth, Daughter of the Earth in Mourning, Trinity, the Flaming Dart.   

     Music poured out.  The words wrote themselves and they informed me as I read them on the computer screen before me.  And, everything I created—the music, the writing, the paintings fit together, and was of a single theme, “The Words and Music of Mother God.”   I was not reading books on the Goddess.  This came from within me.   My spirit dared to stand  in my own truth . . and say, “no more” to the current paradigm . . . I began to awaken.

Soon after I moved to Marin.

                                                  ~~~

     During my time in San Geramino in Marin county, I wrote angry letters to people all over the world, including the Pope and President Reagan, with beautiful art covering the envelopes and big letters, so  the postal folks  could read it along the way.  I have a decorated envelope from that time, with a lovely flower/angel being covering the back, and it reads in silver pen,

"People react strongly when you tell the truth,” She said. 

     I was outraged at the injustice and violence and  destruction  happening on our beautiful planet, outraged when I realized the maternal instinct was ridiculed, the wisdom of the mother taunted and ignored; the sacred bond between mother and child violated, from birth onward,  in this world run by men.  I was outraged that these men violated the sacredness of life and dared to do anything.    I was Mother God speaking out, and I was furious. 

     Eventually I had a mailing list of about twenty people to whom I  sent copies  of each new piece of writing and music.  This became a book, “The Book of Life.” I received kind and acknowledging letters back from Shirley McClaine, and Rollo May, and  Brother David Zendle-Rast, and Jack Kornfield,  and sweet notes from Christopher Titmus and a note from Robert Bly. 

      I also received a kind note from Dick Price, co-founder of Esalen institute, a few months after our  arranged meeting on the beautiful green lawn at Esalen, where I told him a bit of my story and sang my songs. to him.  I was seeking some kind of help from him, a place to live, a place to be, as I was in  the depths of birthing my journey.  At one point I said to him,  “you know, this is hard, doing what I’m doing, trying to connect with you.”  He said, “I don’t know what you want from me.”  And I replied,  “I don’t either.”  Several months later I received a kind note from him inquiring if I had found a spot yet.   He wrote, “I know you have a lot to give wherever you are and God knows, the world needs to hear it.”

     A letter from Stephen Levine, author of Who Dies?” among several books on dying, found it’s way into my mailbox in San Geranimo.  It reads: “Every once in a while one of your friends will tell me of your doings and it sounds good.  Sounds like your life is expanding and your heart rising to meet life as it is.

     You have within you a considerable power for healing.  I sense that as your heart opens more and more to the pain we all share and your body softens to the moment we all discover ourselves within, that the light of your healing will be shared by more and more.

     In those quiet spaces where we go beyond the personality to discover the underlying reality we all share, our healing is discovered awaiting our arrival.

     Glad to hear you are doing so well.  Our love touches you again and again.  Trust the path beneath your feet, trust the heart that guides you.            Let it shine.” 

Stephen   

     That letter meant a great deal to me for I was hanging out in the wind, alienated from friends and family, feeling totally alone.  The unusual things I was doing and writing frightened me and it took every bit of courage I had to continue.    I had only my trust to rely on.


                                                       PART III        

     Now we come to part III of the story of my journey,  and it’s illuminating experiences.  It has universal implications, for I am exposing the roots of violence, the roots of evil.  And, until the roots are exposed and understood,  evil  will continue to exist. 

     Throughout patriarchal history the uprising of  peoples against injustice and repression may have been briefly successful, but that hard earned success has to be fought for again and again.  For those same male forces of  repression and evil simply take another tact.  As someone has said, “Freedom is a constant struggle.”   And, it’s a constant struggle, because the cause of evil hasn’t been exposed and ferreted out. Without understanding, we cut off one head of the monster evil, but three heads spring up elsewhere.    Or, as an important mentor in my former life, Bill Moeller, the psychiatrist, would often say,  “Those who don’t know history, repeat history.”

     Further, in all these struggles the most basic inequity between the two types of people on earth, female and male, is never touched.  This is where it all lies.

     Our current reality/paradigm  is not of woman’s making.  We are living in a man’s world.  A world of competition and greed,  and linear thought and disregarding of life’s mysteries, without worship and  honor of the sacred feminine, without regard for life.  This is what a man’s world looks like.  We’re in it.  And, it’s pretty awful, isn’t it?  For there is no loving God. 

     In the past sections I have laid out the details of my unfolding that began  growing up on the farm in Illinois with my mother and dad seventy-nine years ago, raising my three children in Davenport, Iowa  through 20 years of  harsh and abusive marriages, moving ahead to 1982 in Berkeley California, where I met Ed.

     The meeting between Ed and I  set the framework for the most important archetypal/spiritual struggle on earth.  All the world rests upon THIS one.  For until we awaken to what has been lost by the take-over of reality by the evil patriarchal  system, a system that enslaves our every moment of life for each of us . . . we unwittingly aid in the building of the bars of our own enslavement.  And those bars are made of time and money.

Money is the worst currency that ever grew among mankind. This sacks cities, this drives men from their homes, this teaches and corrupts the worthiest minds to turn base deeds.
Sophocles 470 BC

                                                ~~~

     Back to my life . . . and my history of music.  I’ve done a lot of choral and small ensemble work all my life, beginning in grade school.  I often sang solos as a small child, performing for school  and community events; woman’s club, the Farm Bureau meetings.  My mother coached and accompanied me on the piano. 

     I also tap danced before I started school and in first grade performed up in front of everybody on stage in our high school gym, where the audience was as quiet and attentive as they might be in a church service.

     When I was ten years old, I sang at my brother’s large military wedding in the oldest church in Baltimore, the day after he graduated from Annapolis.  Hoddy and Cathy---that’s another whole story.

     When I was in 6th  grade, our chorus sang “Silent Night” for our Christmas program,  and I sang an obbligato above it---a lovely counter melody which I sing to this day whenever I hear Silent Night.  I remember  that snowy winter night, up on the stage in our well-built high school gym, with it’s gleaming floors and bleachers along the sides . . . a nicely contained brick structure . . . looking out into the darkened audience to my mother as I sang, wanting her to be proud of me, and loving being able to do it.

     I sang in a trio in high school, “The Harmonettes,” and we performed everywhere and often and were paid.  We sang acappella and were very good; we had a great blend.   We were not affiliated with school, but rather my mother’s idea and creation—and she was our arranger, without a note written down.  She taught us our parts by humming them.

     I can see the three of us clearly, standing in our living room around my mother sitting at the piano,  teaching parts and coaching us on dynamics, diction and  stage presentation, which came out of her own innate  musicianship and sensibilities.  We practiced again and again and had quite a repertoire such as Blue Moon, Nevertheless, Harbor Lights, How are things in Gloccamorra?, The Lord’s Prayer, Blue Hawaii, Wilhiminia, Now is the Hour, May the Lord Bless you and Keep you.  We sang for weddings and funerals, and community meetings, we sang on the radio, we sang for Adali Stephenson, we sang for our own graduation, we went to Chicago and sang “Blue Hawaii” on the Morris B. Sachs’ Amateur Hour—winning $75 and a gold watch! 

     Then on to Monmouth College which is affiliated with the Presbyterian church, in Monmouth Illinois, where I was a music major, singing in our fine college choir directed by Archer Hayes.  Archer was a  former member of the extraordinary Robert Shaw Chorale and also  my voice teacher.  He was a wonderfully sensitive musician and created, through lots of hard work and practice, a beautifully blended outstanding choral group.   People cried when we sang.   On tour our last notes of those powerful Russian compositions rang through the many church sanctuaries  we performed in,   and we all had goosebumps.

     I sang a solo verse in “There is a Balm in Gilead,” on that choir tour.  “If you cannot sing like angels, if you cannot preach like Paul, you can tell the love of Jesus.”  I sang that all the way to Pittsburg Seminary and back.

     Actually, I had a wonderful voice teacher in high school, Frank Vorel.   Mind you, we had a student body of  80.  Smetena, who wrote  the operetta “The Bartered Bride,” was Frank’s cousin, and Frank had come to America from  Poland, bringing his maiden sister and mother with him.  They decided to settle in Biggsville, pop. 200, and built, we thought, a rather strange looking house there.  That’s where I took my voice and piano lessons, so I saw his mother and sister regularly, to just say “hello.”  Our choir did beautiful music under his tutelage, songs like “I know a Green Cathedral,” and the “Kerry Dances.” Our choir  went to a large day-long music conference at Macomb state college, and sang with other youths from neighboring areas, and we were all directed by one dynamic woman.

     I loved the experience.  For our performance that night, in the packed college gym before friends and family we sang “The Battle hymn of the Republic.”  It was quite moving for me because of the touching way she had us sing the verse, “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea, with a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me.”  It was a new experience for me in deep expressiveness.

     Then, there was singing in the choir and soloing in the large Presbyterian Church in Davenport, Iowa, after my marriage and  three children, where we had a full time Minister of Music, Don Dyer, also a gifted sensitive musician, followed by Nelson Larrabee.  We practiced with intention and hard work and  had a  beautiful choir.  Actually, there were 8 choirs in that church, beginning with 4 year olds, in the Cherub choir.  It was a very rich experience for all of us.  We performed Amahl and the Night Visitor one troubled Christmas season and my 12 year old son, Stephen, was a wonderful  Amahl.

     My first husband, Duane, also a musician, and I sang in a Chamber music group in Davenport.   And, I sang on television there—just at the end of my marriage to Duane.   Duane and I, and Jeff, a young man who played the guitar, did the songs of Peter, Paul and Mary, and we entertained at various events in the community.  I  wrote the parts out, creating the same arrangements as Peter, Paul and Mary, transcribing from  the record as it played.  I absolutely LOVED that kind of singing.  So, there has been a lot of music in my life.

     Although I’ve always sung,   something happened in 1983, while I was at Esalen Institute with Ed Jackson.  He was giving a workshop  and I was playing the guitar and the piano and singing on the beautiful grounds beside the sea  to every person I could find, for my  story, my message, my  music were coming forth.   Suddenly, my voice was bigger, and stronger, and more powerful.   And Ed said, “Your throat chakra has opened up.”   

                                                               ~~~

     I’ll share a little story with you. It was my second Vipassana  meditation retreat with Christopher Titmuss, International Meditation teacher from England.   I had graduated from J.F.K a year before and was living  at the top of Virgina Street in Berkeley, when I came to the ten day retreat held at Angela Center, on the outskirts of Santa Rosa, 1984.  I was in a deeply troubled place, descending into hell on my journey toward enlightenment.

     I was fearful for my suffering youngest son, concerned about my other children’s difficult and painful lives, saddened by our being so many miles apart; feeling the hopelessness of that particular time when we all expected to die in a nuclear war, and I was daily devastated from the  conflict and turmoil with Ed.  It seemed as if there was nothing left to hold onto during that tumultuous time.

     And then, several days into the retreat, I had a spiritual experience, as I stood in knee-deep golden grasses on the side of a high hill behind Angela Center, just at sunset.  My heart had been filled with aching, but as I stood facing the setting sun in the beautiful evening light, (after partaking of our Mother’s sacred medicine), I felt it’s golden rays entering my chest and into my heart, and I was warmed and greatly comforted.

     Then the voices began, not out loud, but “inside” me, coming from the sun.  They said they were always there to comfort me, they said to trust what was to happen next, and that whenever I needed to reach them I could look into the setting sun and find them.  They called themselves the “Knowers.”  My pain was eased and I was ecstatically touched by this event.

     When I returned home from the retreat, a friend involved in the metaphysical world gave me a little newspaper of spiritual events.  Imagine my surprise when I turned to the second page and saw a quotation from Benjamin Creme in bold letters in which he referred to a group of enlightened beings on the “other side” as the “Knowers.”

     Benjamin is a well-known lecturer from England, who speaks of the return of  Maitreya, a supposed world teacher, to earth.  It was a nice confirmation of my experience on the side of a hill, behind Angela Center at the end of the day.  When I next returned to Esalen, I confided my experience to Maria during the spiritual massage in her shadowy treatment room, telling her about the voices in the sun, and she whispered to  me,  “You are the voices inside, You are the Sun.  You needn’t look outside yourself, for you are it all.”

                                                             ~~~

     All of my music, and art, and  writing  and sculptures and ocarinas and life, are of a single theme, “heralding the return of the Mother from the depth of soul into awakening consciousness.”   For the earth to be brought back into balance and healed requires the return of the sacred feminine, the return of the Mother.  It requires the return of compassion and wisdom, and nurturing and reverence for the sacredness of life.  It requires our reawakening to our divinity.  And, it requires our standing up and speaking truth.

     Our contemporary male religions, culture, social life and governing laws reflect and repeat  ancient words and attitudes, such as Aristotle’s quote about two thousand years ago,  “So it is naturally with the male and female, the one is superior, the other inferior.  The one governs, the other is governed.” 

     Well, it doesn’t look like too much has changed from Aristotle’s time.    I don’t see many women in governing positions as I look around the world, although there are more today than twenty years ago.  However,  I don’t see  many women in positions of “womanly power”  . . . declaring what women know to be true, with men in attentive listening.

     And, then there is Genesis with its god’s male supremacist statement,  “Thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.”  Or 1st Corinthians, “The man is not of the woman.  Woman is of the man.”  And another quote from our famous book,  “The head of every man is Christ, the head of every woman is the man.  The woman was created for the man.”  And, we know how those powerless women were treated. 

     As late as the eighteenth century the law gave a man permission to enslave his wife, rape her, beat her, starve her, rob her of all her possessions, including her children, and threaten to lock her up for life in a madhouse if she didn’t behave; a threat easily and simply carried out, because a wife could be committed on only her husband’s word.[viii]  The earliest Christian authorities saw no harm in tormenting pregnant women.  The earliest Christian laws in Iceland, A.D. 1119, recommended torture especially for pregnant women.[ix]

      “Our  male religions, culture, social life and governing laws reflect and repeat these ancient words and attitudes which were specifically designed to “annihilate the female religions, female sexual autonomy and matrilineal descent.”[x]

     Those  writers knew exactly what they were doing when  they  wrote in that Bible.  It didn’t just “happen” that way!  They were bent on destroying every vestige of  devotion to the  Great Mother, bent on reducing women to cattle.  They hated women. And they didn’t mind writing holy scriptures to support their obscene behavior, suggesting this subjugation was due to a higher law than themselves.  Shame on them!  The Bible was used for centuries to keep  slaves in their place.

     Many of our own grandparents and parents accepted these precepts as the sacred and divine word of a male god and they linger on.  Not too many children carry their grandmother’s maiden name.  There aren’t too many temples of the Goddess in evidence, are there?  And, many women still fear their mate’s hand, and fear for their children as well, judging from the amount of domestic violence and murder and rape and torture. Women are safer on the streets than in their own homes.  More women are murdered  in their own homes by husbands/partners than anywhere else.   

     This perversion in men is epidemic and has been since the patriarchy came into being.  It is the cornerstone of the patriarchy, in fact.  The Bible is filled with it!    The victors of the battle were encouraged by their “god” to take the women and children for “themselves”—to kill all the men and take the little boys,  for “use.”  The patriarchal fathers offered their young daughters to male overnight visitors to be raped.  They sold their daughters.   You can be sure they  brutalized their little boys, too.   How could it be otherwise, with such creatures?   What a strange god they had.

      When a male child has been terrorized and brutalized in such a manner,  closing his heart is the only hope for survival.  A child cannot protect their heart.  They don’t have any past experience to fall back on.  They are totally vulnerable.  It was not God’s intention that little children be treated in such a way. 

     If you don’t feel, you can’t be hurt, and you become brutal  yourself.  Once the heart has been armored over, so that feelings can’t creep in,  all hope for love has ended.   The only thing left in life for gratification is money.  And sexual perversion . . .  power-over someone.  Once you stop feeling your own pain, you don’t feel other’s pain; compassion is gone.  Then  the ability to do ANYTHING exists—and evil moves in.  And, we don’t need to look very far to see evil at work in every corner of our world  The pain and suffering of the  many people over our entire world; thousands of children dying every day from starvation—injustice and torture reigning  over it all, and yet, the beat goes on. 

      “The stark brutality and physical violence that is perpetrated on a regular basis throughout the world, against millions of women and children has been appropriately termed “male terrorism” by Michael Parenti.[xi]  It is present on a massive scale in just about every country regardless of class or race factors.   And,  in most countries, rape,  a  male prerogative,   is  a crime, not against the woman but against the honor of her family or her husband. In parts of Asia and the Middle East the shame of rape is so great  that the victim is sometimes killed by family members to restore the honor of the family.

     Why is the shame so great?  A victim can’t help being raped.  The men rape them, then shame them for having been raped.  That’s the typical way, in this patriarchal scene.  You turn the facts upside down and blame the victim.  In India 80% of prostitutes came to their profession after being ejected from their communities, after having been raped. 

     Economics plays a part as millions of women and girls are kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery.  Shall we talk about this? Women and girls comprise 80 percent of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked annually , with the majority (79 percent) trafficked for sexual exploitation.

     “Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. Based on country data available, up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime – the majority by husbands, intimate partners or someone they know.”

     “Among women aged between 15 and 44, acts of violence cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined.  Perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today, violence against women devastates lives, fractures communities, and stalls development. It takes many forms and occurs in many places – domestic violence in the home, sexual abuse of girls in schools, sexual harassment at work, rape by husbands or strangers, in refugee camps or as a tactic of war.”

     "Femicide," the murder of women because they are women. In the United States, one-third of women murdered each year are killed by intimate partners. In South Africa, a woman is killed every 6 hours by an intimate partner. In India, 22 women were killed each day in dowry-related murders in 2007. In Guatemala, two women are murdered, on average, each day.

     “Approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting, with more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of the practice. Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18, primarily in South Asia (31.1 million) and Sub-Saharan Africa (14.1 million).

     “Sexual violence against women and girls.  An estimated 150 million girls under 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002 alone. As many as 1 in 4 women experience physical and/or sexual violence during pregnancy  which increases the likelihood of having a miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion. Up to 53 percent of women physically abused by their intimate partners are being kicked or punched.

     “Between 40 and 50 per cent of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advancements, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at their workplace. In the United States, 83 per cent of girls aged 12 to 16 experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools.”[xii]

     In this country 61% of rape victims are children from age one to seventeen, often raped by a male  family member.  Many teenaged mothers in this country have been raped.  Many suffer serious physical injury and grave psychological effects.[xiii]

     Seventy percent of assault victims admitted to emergency rooms were wives who had been beaten by their husband.  Every day in the U.S. four women are murdered by men with whom they have been intimate[xiv].  Quite a price to pay for opening your body in such a vulnerable way to a man.  Murder is the second leading cause of death in young women. There are a reported four million women battered every year by their male partners or husbands, often repeatedly.  And, arrest is the least used procedure in domestic violence.[xv] 

     Sure would be nice to have the law on the side of the victim,  rather than colluding with the batterer.  I suppose the victim being a  woman has something to do with the police’s nonchalant attitude toward the perpetrator of the assault, the perpetrator being a man.  What do you think?  Well, just like they said in 1st Corinthians . . the woman belongs to the man.  The guys are going to hang together.         

     “What we know about male batterers is that they know perfectly well what they are doing.  They are perfectly in control.  They set limits on their violence; they use it in certain ways to elicit certain responses, they use the threat of violence to get what they want.  The cops come and they sit down and open the newspaper or put the TV on and say, “I don’t know—she fell, she’s hysterical, I don’t know what happened.”  And this is  the guy who was so enraged and out of control a few minutes before!”

     “They use their violence to control.  If the batterer knew he was going to get twelve to fifteen years if he did that, he would think twice.  It would very much be a deterrent to have the law backing the obvious RIGHT against gender abuse.  It is a political problem.  Don’t give me that stuff about “irresistible impulse,”  and “they can’t help themselves.”  That’s a lot of baloney!” [xvi]

     The most vulnerable of our species, a desperately poor mother with children to care for, is  maligned and scorned by those who might help.   Instead, those well-heeled men in government make welfare laws  to line their buddy’s  pockets from her labors, while her children starve and die.   “We’ve taken their poverty, their need to support their children, as an excuse for exploiting them as underpaid labor.  This amounts to a shameful inversion of the natural dependencies that should exist among human beings.  It should not be the strong and the more affluent exploiting those who are more needy, who have more responsibilities, for their own purposes.[xvii]

     A recent report by the director of  the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness said, “Within six to nine months of welfare reform, there was this explosion of women and children out on the streets.”  He notes that women and children have risen from the bottom one-third of the national homeless population to 40% since welfare reform went into effect.

     “Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s infant mortality rate rose very sharply between 1997 and 1998, especially so, 37%, for African Americans, who are disproportionately represented on welfare in Milwaukee.  Wisconsin had one of the toughest welfare reform programs in the country, called W2, meaning Wisconsin Works, dreamed up by it’s  “good hearted” governor,  Tommy Thompson, who then moved to  Bush’s  cabinet.  It attracted a steady flow of admiring press attention from around the country.”[xviii]  SHAME on them all for their  lack of compassion and integrity. 

     There are more and more suffering people, their homes and culture snatched  from them—their ability to have a life and grow old with their children and grandchildren gone.  It’s  getting worse and worse and closer and closer to us, and still we sit; watching those men doing it.  And, some old men, whom you don’t even know, sit around and decide whether YOU should have an abortion or not.  What are they doing with THEIR noses in it, anyway?  How did it get to be their business?

     And those same men, coming from their warm beds in a well-appointed home . . .as they sit in their comfortable chairs, with full bellies . . . in mean spiritedness and scorn for the suffering of those with so very little . . . take away even more.   Our own former governor stood high on the list as he took away food stamps; as he forced struggling women with small children, children who needed their mother . . . to leave them with ill paid strangers or at home alone, for a pittance of a job. 

     When did being a mother stop counting as a full-time role in life?   Who decided that one?  I don’t imagine it was a mother, do you?  Why aren’t those men ASHAMED of themselves for what they are doing?   They display a tremendous lack of character, and compassion.

                                                           ~~~

     A few words from Margaret Sanger, Public Health nurse when appalled at the hardships of impoverished women saddled with unwanted pregnancies, opened the country’s first birth control clinic.  This was written in 1920. 

     “Women are too much inclined to follow in the footsteps of men, to try to think as men think, to try to solve the general problems of life as men solve them.  The woman is not needed to do man’s work.  She is not needed to think man’s thoughts.  She need not fear that the masculine mind, almost universally dominant, will fail to take care of its own.  Her mission is not to enhance the masculine spirit, but to express the feminine; hers is not to preserve a man-made world, but to create a human world by the infusion of the feminine element into all of it’s activities.”

     “Woman must not accept; she must challenge.  She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her, she must reverence that within her which struggles for expression.  Her eyes must be less upon what is, and more clearly upon what should be.  She must listen only with a frankly questioning attitude to the dogmatized opinions of manmade society.  When she chooses her new, free course of action, it must be in the light of her own opinion—of her own intuition.  Only so can she give play to the feminine spirit. 

"Only thus can she free her mate from the bondage which he wrought for himself when he wrought hers.  Only thus can she restore to him that of which he robbed himself in restricting her. Only thus can she remake the world.”  Margaret Sanger, 1920

                                                                 ~~~

    “The female half of the human race created the earliest images of divinity, which naturally assumed female characteristics.  The male half of the human race modeled its gods on the ancient goddesses, then gradually eliminated the female image by declaring it false, frivolous, or devilish.

      “Images of deity must be reassessed from the ground up if we are ever to achieve a new balance or to comprehend the original archetype, the Mother who encouraged peaceful human existence.  It is high time for women to reclaim their own deity, the Goddess, who took on her first reality in their hearts when they worshiped the spirit within themselves and their ancestresses and equated motherhood with the motivating energy of the universe.

     “Though each tribe may have had its own Great Mother in the beginning, all Great Mothers sprang from the same archetypal foundation: the image of the human mother, laid down in the mind’s core by actual experience before any other experience in life.  She could be culturally suppressed, but never annihilated.

     “A resurrection of the feminine archetype that all women still keep somewhere deep inside themselves, even if they don’t know it, may be the only ideological possibility for rehumanizing and reuniting the world that now sets generation against generation, nation against nation in endless cycles of pointless aggression.  The final results of patriarchal ideologies have been so disastrous that almost any shift toward feminine imagery in the spiritual realm would be beneficial.  Reinstatement of the Goddess in the hearts and minds of her earthly daughters—and sons as well—may turn out to be the only practical salvation from the final chaos with which man in his vast cultural imbalance now flirts.  Sometime in the not too distant future, the world’s newest religion might take shape as an updated version of the world’s oldest one.”[xix]

     Another quote from Ken Carey and Return of the Bird Tribes,   “More and more people are turning to God for guidance and direction.  They are coming to dwell in the place of their own inner spirits and to recognize their spirits as expressions of God.  That is where God asks to be trusted--in the human heart.  That is where the awakening takes place.  The Creator asks not to be worshipped in an external image, but to be acknowledged in each human being.

     “Trust yourself, trust your natural response to each new situation.  The action arising from within your heart is not going to be destructive, it is going to suggest the most creative path to walk in answer to your situation and your world.  When you trust yourself, you are trusting in the Wisdom that designed you.  This is how you trust in God.  It is not an abstract thing.

     “Trust in God is trusting in the God who lives within you, trusting in your spirit's  ability to respond to each situation beautifully, impeccable, individually, creatively.  When you doubt your native ability to breathe the air of spirit into your world and create according to your divine thought, you are doubting both God and the universe.  You are rejecting life's most precious gift to you--your own inner knowing--and you are presuming to replace it with values, judgments and opinions you have acquired second hand.”[xx]

     And, as we awaken, it falls upon each of us to rise up to the noble task of preserving life on earth, each in our own way, listening to our own hearts for guidance.  At last, the meaning of our life becomes clear to us!

         With Love,

Oquawka                                            

                                                                                                 


[i] Ken Carey, Return of the Bird Tribes (Uni*Sun, PO Box 25421,Kansas City, MO 64119.1988) p. 149

[ii] Terence McKenna, The Archaic Revival; Speculations on Psychedelic mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual reality, UPO’s evolution, Shamanism, the rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History, (HarperSan Francisco 1991)  He spent at least twenty-five years exploring the ethnopharmacology of spiritual transformation, and was a specialist in the ethnomedicine of the Amazon basin.

[iii] Barbara G.Walker, The Skeptical Feminist, p.139

[iv] http://www.soaw.org/take-action/lobby-days#April

[v] Katha Pollitt, Subject to Debate,( Random House Inc., New York, 2001) p. 3-4.

[vi] Barbara G.Walker, p.119

[vii]  ibid

[viii] Marilyn French, BEYOND POWER; ON WOMEN, MEN AND MORALS, New york, Simon & Schuster, 1985, p.372

[ix] Matilda Joslyn Cage, WOMEN, CHURCH AND STATE, New york, Arno Press, 1972, p.223, 332

[x] [x]Patricia Lynn Reilly, A GOD WHO LOOKS LIKE ME, Ballantine Books, N.Y. 1995, p.109

[xi] Michael Parenti, VICTIMIZATION OF WOMEN, talk in Seattle, 1993

[xii] United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women; Facts and Figures. Say NO-UNITE http://www.saynotoviolence.org/sites/all/themes/sayno/images/un_women_logo_en.png

[xiii] -stats soon coming

[xiv]    “”       “”

[xv]   Stats coming

[xvi] Michael Parenti, talk in Seattle, 1993

[xvii] Barbara Ehrenreich, talk, University of Colorado, Boulder, October 11, 2000

[xviii] Barbara Ehrenreich

[xix] Walker, pp.—130,131, 137

[xx] Ken Carey