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Entries in women's empowerment (3)

Sunday
Mar202016

* Foremothers of the Women's Spirituality Movement

The Divine Feminine began to gently enter my being during my early 20s. I didn’t even realize what was happening at the time, and yet I was guided to connect with Spirit as I never had before. I felt her loving presence in nature. The female form became a common motif in my artwork. I embraced my independence and felt joyful to take care of myself. Looking back, I don’t know where this influence came from. I didn’t know about women’s groups or have any “goddess” girlfriends. I hadn’t read any goddess-focused books. Now that I look back, I think I was tapping into the collective consciousness of women who revered the female aspects of a higher power and her many forms, and their own feminine presence on the planet. I was feeling the wave of the Women’s Spirituality Movement.

The Women’s Spirituality Movement emerged in the late 1970s, when a handful of women around the USA and Europe answered an inner-calling to share information about earth-loving, community-focused, goddess-rooted spirituality and new discoveries of ancient women’s history. These remarkable pioneers facilitated the experiences that helped the lay women to commune with the Feminine Presence. They taught us the value of feminine principles, and encouraged us to appreciate our own innate gifts as women.

By the 1980s, clusters of women around the world began to recognize the feminine face of God, and grew fearlessly and proudly into their own true natures as women. The consciousness of these goddess-inspired women spread as more and more women heard the voice, or felt the touch, of Goddess.

Today we honor these remarkable founders of the Women’s Spirituality Movement with the book Foremothers of the Women’s Spirituality Movement: Elders and Visionaries. Edited by scholars and authors (and Foremothers, themselves) Miriam Robbins Dexter (Wence the Goddess, Sacred Display) and Vicki Noble (Shakti Woman, Double Goddess), this anthology features articles from many of the most influential and studied teachers, authors, scholars, artists, priestesses and activists of this vital Movement. Contributors including Riane Eisler, Starhawk, Carol Christ and dozens of others, paint the picture of their inspirations, challenges and achievements. They take us back to an exciting time when women’s empowerment was on the rise, and when our culture began to shift as a result.

I began to discover some of the life-altering works of our Foremothers in the 1990s, after I was introduced to the female-honoring principles of Tantric Yoga. My thirst for information about goddess-focused cultures was intense, and I was blessed that many books on the subject were available. Many were written by these Foremothers. With each book I read and every woman’s circle I attended, I became more connected with a feminine Higher Power and learned of her myriad forms. I grew more and more appreciative of my own innate, womanly gifts and more proud of being a woman. My life was positively changed by this information, and I was directed to discover my purpose. I’m grateful for the work of our Foremothers to uplift women and save Earth.

Foremothers of the Spirituality Movement comes at a crucial time when feminine energy is still greatly needed to balance the masculine energy that dominates the planet. It reflects the gains of women over the past thirty years, and inspires us to continue to integrate feminine principles into our money-honoring, earth-abusing culture, so that we continue to grow as women and thrive as a species.

This book is a must-read for women of every age, including women who have been practitioners of women’s spirituality for years, and those who are just beginning to hear the call of the Goddess. 

Saturday
Apr162011

* Women's Sexual Health: Our Personal Responsibility

Hooray! This week, by a vote of 58 to 42, the Senate defeated a resolution that would have eliminated all federal funding for Planned Parenthood and denied millions of women access to health services such as cancer screenings, family planning, and HIV/AIDS tests.  I thank the women who took to the streets to protest, and our senators who fought to spare this cut from the US budget. Thank you!

By this time, you may know that the possible shut down of the government was due to the debate of Planned Parenthood, and ultimately the Pro-Choice issue, which continues to be hot topic in the political domaine.  See this article that explains why.

The good news is that Planned Parenthood can continue to support women’s health and women’s rights remain intact. At  the moment. The scary news is that rights of women are challenged every day, as the masculine ideal (held by both men and women), that a woman’s body and personal decisions are matters of the government, rather by the woman, prevail.   

Women have a big lesson to learn:  If we are to maintain control of our body and reproductive rights, we must be responsible for it. While government programs are important to help women, especially those of low socio-economic populations, we must not become dependent on it. We must shift our consciousness from one of dependence and  to one of giving, learning, teaching and empowering all women, of all walks of life to take charge of their own sexual lives and health. This is not an issue of politics, but of women’s empowerment.

How did the government get involved anyway?  Long ago, women ruled their own bodies, and empowered themselves with education and natural resources for birth control and healthcare. With the rise of patriarchal influences in church and politics, woman became the domain of man, who stripped them of their natural practices and traditions, and created laws to keep them in line.  

What would happen if Planned Parenthood was cut?  What if pro-choice becomes outlawed?  What would women do?  It’s time for women to wake up and realize that, while our government has been generous in funding and supporting women’s health and rights, it’s woman’s personal and collective responsibility to take care of themselves.  Modern woman has become lackadaisical and dependant on outside forces to decide for her. Now is the time to make positive changes for womankind, before the governmental makes laws to control our bodies forever.

WOMAN'S SELF-RESPONSIBILITY

Following are a few steps toward feminine self-responsibility. Let’s begin to exercise them immediately.  These are empowering practices for women, no matter what your political perspectives are. Perhaps by our next generation, women will be conscious and responsible with their bodies, and the debate on who presides over women’s reproductive health will be a thing of the past.

Educate our daughters, sisters and all young women 

We are not doing enough to educate our daughters and sisters about their bodies and their sexuality. Too many young women loath their bodies and its functions, and unconsciously engage sexually without insights about the spiritual repercussions. As responsible women, we need to change this. It us up to us, not the government or school system, to teach young women about the power, mystery and beauty of their feminine bodies,  to help them understand the body’s functions, changes, and abilities, and to train them to monitor the cycles of their body and to honor these cycles. 

It is up from us, not Planned Parenthood or any other organization, to teach our daughters not just sex education, but conscious sexuality education, in which the multi-dimensional aspects of intimate union are explained. Let’s share information about the traditions of old, when initiation rituals welcomed women to womanhood, and when men looked to women as the vehicle of enlightenment. It will give our daughters a new perspective of themselves as women, and provide them with a new framework from which to make decisions about their sexuality, which could result in more welcomed pregnancies, and fewer unwanted ones.    

Become a Positive Role Model

Our media is obsessed with misbehaving celebrities, and our televisions and magazines are filled with stories of their latest escapades of Brittany Spears and Lindsay Lohan. This distorts our daughters’ perceptions of what is acceptable behavior. With few positive, female role models in our culture, and it is up to us, as mothers, big sisters and friends, to provide a model of empowering, feminine behavior. We must subjugate the media’s focus on addiction, breaking the law, abusive relationships and unfit mothering with positive actions, such as creative expression, community service and socializing, enterprising activities, and more.  By becoming women who embrace our own natural qualities of creativity, community, nurturance and cyclical natures, we can lead the way for young women to become responsible, self-loving and positive influences on the planet.

Take birth control into our own hands, and learn alternative methods.

Unwanted pregnancy is perhaps the biggest personal and social issue for women in our culture. So with the pill and other birth control methods, why are there still so many unplanned pregnancies?  I believe the reasons vary from lack of discipline, to birth control methods that are unsafe, uncomfortable and complicated.  

As responsible and empowered women, I recommend the exploration of natural birth control to add to our arsenal of self-responsibility.  Pharmaceutical companies aren’t the only resource, herbalists and other natural practitioners broaden our options with education, techniques and natural remedies.

Herbal birth control is practically as old as humankind, and the use of herbs for any healing purpose was driven underground in the Dark Ages of Europe. Today, herbalists are emerging and answering a call for safer and more natural methods of general and sexual health, including pregnancy prevention. Herbs are powerful medicine that, when used with care and following the advice of an herbalist, can support women’s health through all ages of her life, from her fertile years to menopause.

Learning about alternative health methods is empowering, as it adds to our self-responsibility. Two resources are Susan Weed and Sister Zeus.

Rhythm Method and Cervical Mucus Method are two more birth control methods a woman can take into her own hands.  Conscious birth control, coupled with self-discipline, is empowering for women and safe.  Double emphasis on self-discipline.  A cooperative Method Of Natural Birth Control By: Margaret Nofziger  is a good book for reference.

 What if  . . . unwanted Pregnancies

Let’s face it, every day the right to abortion is on a political precipice, with powerful forces trying to take the ‘right to choose’ from all women. Truly, abortion is a much more than a political issue, but one of spiritual and personal values, and whether or not you believe in the right to choose, and whether abortion remains legal or not, women will continue to seek abortion as a method of eliminating unwanted pregnancies. Pro-choice does not mean unwanted pregnancies are to be terminated. It provides an option for unwanted pregnancies. In days of old, women who didn’t want babies terminated their pregnancies through natural means. In many cultures, infanticide – the killing of newborns, often of barbaric means – was, and still is, a common practice, illustrating a measure of desperation of families too poor or unfit for a child. By all measures, abortion, while an unpleasant choice, is a more merciful practice.

With the right to abortion, women have become reliant on abortion clinics, which provide a safe means of termination. But these clinics are not the only option. Two other more natural practices, one which was used for centuries, are available. They include herbs and menstrual extraction. Please note that these are administered by experts, and not to be used in experimentation, as they can be harmful. But they are options that the government can not control.

Menstrual extraction is a non-medical and gentle method of removing a woman’s flow with simple tools by non-medical practitioners. First introduced in the U.S. in the early 1970s, the technique can be learned in a few weeks, with hundreds of women currently performing with rare incidences of infection or complications.   

Herbs, as mentioned earlier, are an age-old remedy for birth control and even termination. See Susan Weed and Sister Zeus.  

Conclusion

Women: let’s become responsible, conscious and healthy.  Yes, we love a government that supports the advancement of women, but by becoming educated, we become empowered to take care of ourselves, no matter what the political climate may be.

Wednesday
Apr062011

* Conversation with Karen Tate: Motivated by Goddess

Good Goddess! How does she do it all?  Karen Tate is an ambitious woman on a mission to raise consciousness of the Sacred Feminine. She works unceasingly and ingeniously, employing every media available, including web, YouTube, lectures, and even the pulpit, to share insights of Goddess thealogy (deasophy) and ways to integrate them into our world. Karen is the author of two books, including the popular Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations, a writer for Examiner.com, radio host, speaker, international tour guide to sacred places and priestess. Oh, I forgot to mention, she also has a day job.

Karen isn’t just an historian who teaches facts and figures about ancient women’s history, but makes history relevant in today’s social and political issues. Like many of us today, Karen believes that the world’s woes are due to the absence of feminine sacredness in our cultures. “We’re so much more than what our culture challenges us to be. We’re robots with wrong values and wrong priorities,” says Karen. Her desire is to help influence a positive change in our priorities by alerting us of the detriments of the missing feminine, and offer a new paradigm in which all are interconnected, respectful of each other, reverent of nature and influenced by Mother Goddess. 

Karen’s most recent appearance was at the American Academy of Religion/WECSOR, where she presented her paper, Goddess is a Democrat.  Her observations of a world without feminine reverence were applauded by many of her peers, though she expects to receive not so favorable feedback from people who cling to dysfunctional, patriarchal systems.   See the video of her presentation here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RA9TV49xrQ&feature=email

It takes a lot of energy to take but one small step to make a change, let alone promote a spiritual idea that challenges the very core of a global society. Yet Karen’s steps are giant and frequent. Wishing to discover Karen’s secrets for her high levels of energy and productivity in the name of Goddess, I asked her for insights. I share her multidimensional strategies, so that you, too, can do what it takes to set the world afire with your ideas and gifts to make the world a better, more loving place.
 
Set Goals, Make Lists and Stick With It 
One of Karen’s long-time habits is to make a list of goals for the year, month, week, and day. “I’m a list maker, and every day I write a list of things to accomplish. If I don’t accomplish it, I write it on my list the next day.”  A seemingly mundane task, writing lists will propel you forth and keep you on track. 

Then, work tenaciously to meet those goals. And don’t let rejection get in the way. Karen received 35 rejection letters for her first book proposal, but that didn’t’ stop her from the next submission. She finally found the perfect publisher, and her book has been a success on the market. Karen says "Be tenacious - like water wearing away rock. Eventually we will reach our goals.”

Call Upon Goddess for Support and Inspiration
During times of difficulty or overwhelm, Karen calls upon the Egyptian Goddess SekHmet, Lady of Tenacity Manifested and remover of obstacles, giver of strength and passion. She also seeks comfort and strength from Isis, Goddess of love, joy and compassion. Karen was awakened from Catholic girl slumber and greeted by Goddess several decades ago, and her life changed. She is the founder of the Isis Ancient Cultures Society in Los Angeles, where she has organized public events for more than ten years. Now, Goddess is present in her every moment.

Often a response from her calls to the divine come in the early hours of the morning with ideas and flowing inspirations. “Often I get my best ideas at 3:00am, so I will get up and write things down. At this time, all the veils are down, and great things come through the subconscious part of ourselves, where we are closest to the Source, within us or outside of us.”

Learn and Live Passionately
One of Karen’s favorite endeavors is her radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine, because it helps her learn.  “I love asking questions. It feeds me.” And it fuels her passion. Keenly important to Karen is that everything she does follows her passion and her belief in what she is doing, even IF it doesn’t generate income. Karen is "doing Goddess's work.” She’s not looking for recognition, she’s doing her part to improve her world, and that is reward enough. 

  
Go with the Flow and Know When to Stop Pushing a Boulder Up Hill
Karen has been guided to where she is. “I sort of went with the flow and maybe just playing out my destiny.” She believes that if you go with the plan Goddess has for you, it works. If you don’t, you’re challenged in a way that is like rolling the boulder up-hill.  In this case, stop wasting time. “Goddess is saying, ‘this is not where to put your time.’ Often, Goddess's plan might appear as a bump in the road that takes you in a direction that is more authentically your direction.”

“We are here working with our monkey brains and we don’t always know what’s best for us. When you realize you’re not in control, you are actually liberated. Always do your best, but sometimes things go wrong, and when they do, there’s always a lesson or gift in it. Look for it, and don’t dwell on how bad it is.”

Surround Yourself with Supportive People
“When you surround yourself with people who support you, nurture you and believe in you, and who aren’t critical and jealous, you become a blossoming flower. Don’t be with people who use you or who don’t have your best interest at heart. Women, especially, need to learn from each other and support each other.”

Karen credits the support of her husband, Roy, in the completion of her books. Coming home from her day job at 5:00pm and working on her book until 2:00am, Roy helped along the way, taking care of the domestic duties while Karen wrote. “That’s why I dedicated my second book to him.”

Have Faith
Karen is often reminded that Goddess has always taken care of her. “Life is good, with enough money.” She has no pension, yet something in her core assures her everything is going to be alright.  “I’m not sure what that inner knowing is, but I don’t question it. I just keep doing what I’m doing.”

Karen used to work in corporate American, and decided that working in a cubicle or office environment wasn’t for her. And while her current day job as an apartment manager is far below her professional capabilities, it is fairly stress-free and gives her time to think about her work. “It’s a trade off. I’m trading money for experience.” 

Karen cites the work of psychologist Eric Fromm, who theorizes there are two modalities of people – one needs money and things, the other wants to ‘be’ and values experience over money in the bank. Karen is the second type, which is why traveling and doing all the she does is more important to her than money. “That’s the Goddess way – it’s about learning and sharing, not being capitalistic.”
“Once I found Goddess, I experienced personal empowerment. Now it has segued into cultural awareness and politics. Yes, Goddess has helped me, but can this also help the world?” 

To learn more about Karen and her valuable work, see www.karentate.com.