My friend posted this as a note on her facebook and tagged me for my viewing. I wasn’t going to respond to it cause I could go on for days so I didn’t say much on her post. But then today, I got up and was moved to write the first thoughts that came to me. It’s a draft, a response not meant to be a ‘well written piece’ only sharing my view point and immediate thoughts on the topic. It was too long to post on her facebook page so I decided to post it here and then include a link on her note to here.
Here is Jen’s note:
Leviticus 20:18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
A short passage from Leviticus and a link to more about how menstrual blood and semen is unclean. It’s really funny how these are the things that create life, yet the Bible says they are evil and unclean. I put this up because I don’t think most people really know the bullshit like this that the Bible actually contains. I remembered reading it back in the day and not thinking too much of it, but now it’s incredibly disturbing to me now that people follow this religion. Oh, but most Christians pick and choose which parts they like and which rules they want to follow. So, hey guys, next time your wife or girlfriend is on her period, but sure to not sit on any of the same furniture or you are unclean. And girls, think about the women of the Bible. They are almost ALL labeled as whores (with of course the exception of the Virgin Mary). Eve, Jezebel, Bathsheba, Mary Magdalene….am I missing any? Oh wait, the Whore of Babylon in Revelations. It’s lovely how all this patriarchal nonsense has trickled down into our society today even.
Patriarchy hasn’t only trickled down into our society today but rather it has been shaped and molded by it. We live in a patriarchal society. Even stepping outside the topic of patriarchal religion, whether you choose to believe in God or Goddess, or Buddha or nothing at all, patriarchy exist in the very fabric of the society in which you choose to exercise your personal ideals. Everything is affected by and suffers because of patriarchy, including men. Although women seem to suffer most, this is not just a women’s issue.
First one must really understand patriarchy to get a real sense of what the power-that-be are and how intricately interwoven into the fabric of our society it is. We must understand that for many centuries, patriarchal influence and dominations has waxed and survives today by perpetuating the ideals, values and beliefs of its own system (inherently male) to the suppression and domination over the feminine.
When we understand that earlier cultures viewed the earth as female and there honored the life-giving and sustaining qualities of the earth and henceforth recognized the relationship between mother earth and the female body, women too were recognized and honored for their life-sustaining and life-giving abilities. They understood the connection between the moon (which was recognized as vital to our ancestors for time keeping and planting) phases and the onset of menses in women. In fact, the first calendar is believed by many archeologists to have been a menstrual calendar! Women’s menses or moon-blood was revered and understood to be “life-giving” and “life-sustaining”, especially when before it was understood that men had a role to play in the creation of babies.
Here is this super powerful woman who not only has this intricate connection to the earth but is like the earth in so many ways with her ability to bleed the blood of life and hold life within her womb and bring it forth as well as feed and nourish it from her body after the baby is born. Because of the many ancient writings, and other discoveries of the statuary, temples and places that honor the female body, love and family and little writing of war, it is believed by many scholars, anthropologist and archeologist that because of this, a more matri-focal (woman focused)society existed and flourished. It is believed that the Divine Feminine values were honored by all people.
Then enter the idea of monotheism, (Thank the ancient Egyptians for that one) and honor to male deity. Honor to male deity means honor to male supremacy and power-over others, a hierarchy, an elite system that places man above all else because He, after all is like the creator/God which became male. The myths changed and recreated to favor this new ideology with women now coming from men, despite the evidence, fact and natural order that all people come from the wombs of women!! Over the next 5 thousand years a shift began to take place where the values of the feminine were replaced with that of the male which have evolved into three of the major patriarchal religions. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A shift where the Divine Feminine principal of life (which was honored as the Great Mother Goddess whether as Deity or concept and principal it doesn’t matter, it is the values that were/are important)
The next question would be:
What are the values of the Divine Feminine?
The Divine Feminine values all matter of being, both living and nonliving and all parts of everything as wholeness. The sum is greater than it’s parts ideology. (Gestalt) It recognizes our connectedness and our interdependence to all things for survival and well-being. Substantial importance is placed on having healthy, loving and good working relationships based on mutual cooperation. Intuitiveness, instinctive knowledge and whole brain thinking are honored; feelings and emotions are honored as being part of the whole. For example, men who cry and express their feelings are not seen as ‘weak’ beings but rather whole, in touch healthy human beings. We are so far removed from our feelings as they are shameful and weak things that because of it, we aren’t expressing and feeling our ‘whole selves’ therefore operating on a fraction of an existence that isn’t healthy on any level.
Patriarchy, on the other hand does not value any of these things. It is a system that places men above women, supporting only those values by and for men; supports the ideology of absolute male domination, power-over and control of socio-economical political power where women are subordinate. Patriarchy is the wheel, the center, the matrix that informs all other social systems and relationships between men and women, men and other men, and women and other women. It is the root of gender oppression, the heart of sexism, misogyny, racism, religious fundamentalism, drug, alcohol and food addictions, homophobia, war, genocide, deforestation, destruction of the earth in the name of business and profit, rape, incest, child abuse and many other horrors of our society can be fairly attributed to patriarchy.
Christians who would vehemently deny that the church doesn’t teach these things in regard to women, obviously fail to realize that that the church no longer has to. In the beginning when they were gaining power (and it has always been about political power, suppression and oppression because that is the nature of patriarchy) this is what they taught! It matters not that it became the “Old Law”, especially when the damage had already been done. Fear of questioning the ways of God equal eternal hell fire and damnation. Women soon learned their place to be subordinates of men and men decreed themselves rulers and heads of house and home and of the Earth. Because of this deluded belief that “man was given the earth” to do with as he will, our natural resources are in grave peril. All one need do is turn on the daily news or review history to see the detrimental and catastrophic effects patriarchy has had not only in society but to our planet, the mother Earth in which we live as well.
Biblically speaking, while it is true that not all women were made out to be “whore’s” and evil, the over all tone is that, even the women in which were spoken of as ‘Godly women” or ‘righteous” women are women who gave way to the patriarchal views, who were subordinate to man, who supported the values set forth by men and the patriarchy. Those were the “Godly” women spoken of in good light and yet, still not held in the same regard as a man. These were women who were viewed as pious and chaste women because they held to the laws and fell in line with patriarchy. They were women who knew their place as a subordinate help-mate to man. Any woman who went against the establishment, who retained beliefs of the old ways, the pagan beliefs and values and those of the Great Mother, Al-lat, Asherah, Shekhinah, (feminine faces of God) were cast out, considered evil and deemed whores who consorted with the Satan as the devil. And to this, the church and it’s most esteemed leaders can only say “God has HIS reasons for establishing order the way HE decides. It is not for us to question.”. Of course not, why would we dare even question the all mighty male God, lest we fear eternal hellfire and damnation! Not even the sacred and Holy Mother Merriam, otherwise known as Mary, mother of God, is regarded as nothing more than the vessel in which brought Jesus forth into the world. She was only made holy because God chose her.It was far too radical of an idea that Mary was holy because she was simply born a female!Oh the blasphemy!! She, at the “hands of” male supremacy and deity, God, had to be made whole and pure. And yet, outside of that, she is considered nothing special except in the Catholic faction of Christianity, who at the very least, understand and appreciate that without Her, Jesus could not have been born as it is through woman all life exists and comes into this world. Personally, I have never understood why God didn’t find himself a chaste man and pull Jesus from his ribs too. But that’s another conversation for another time.
The harsh reality is that the patriarchal religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have done more damage to our society of people not just women.
Specifically speaking about women, however, were turned away from their sustenance, the moon and the earth mother, made to feel shame of t heir natural processes of their monthly bleeding and of being a woman from which sin was brought into the world. Do they deny this? Even in other mythologies of other cultures were rewritten to favor men and have women become the bearers of evil into the world.
Today, we are gather in the hundreds to go see the latest slasher and horror movie films whose violent displays of blood pouring from the guts or ripped out hearts or other appendages make us gasp in excitement. There are the films with war hero’s who blow up cities and villages causing major blood shed and total destruction all so that he becomes the victor and we celebrate him and his death delivering blood shed. Yet today, at the same time, women are made to feel shameful of their own bloody existence, of their monthly flow of “life sustaining” nurturing blood. If she bleeds through her pants people shudder in utter disgust and she is humiliated. This natural process, this “life giving” blood is shamed. The woman is shamed. All one has to do is turn on the television and there are endless adds and commercials reaffirming the idea that blood is shameful or if anything an inconvenience and offer pills and shots so that we only bleed three times a year! Women buy this ridiculous notion that their blood is a ‘curse’ and sadly, when they do this, on a deeper level, what they are saying is in effect “I am cursed because I was born a woman and so being a woman is a bad thing.” Although they may not be consciously aware of this, it is still a strong and powerful message operating in the subconscious level of being.
Until we stop being afraid to question the church authorities of what is right and what is wrong for ourselves, we always be enslaved. Until we stop being afraid to question the existence and/or the nature of God as taught in the patriarchal religions, the church and all of it’s teachings, we will continue to suffer severe and grave consequences. Young girls need to open their eyes and recognize that their bodies are Divine, Sacred and Holy simply because they were born female. They need to understand that women did not bring evil into the world but through her womb brought life and life is not inherently evil.
Women are indeed powerful beings and it’s time we reclaim this power that is our birthright. First step? Stop believing the lies.