As we move into autumn my mind turns to Demeter, Greek goddess of the harvest. When angered by the abduction of her daughter she subjected the world to famine! Hell knows no fury … as they say.
This mythology speaks to many facets of women, woman the source of life and fruitfulness, woman and her strength and power, and of course the particular bond between mother and daughter.
In ancient times many societies were matriarchal in nature, with everything passed down from mother to daughter, not from father to son.
On the surface this seems to be a very obvious way for things to be way back then. Mothers had a obvious connection to their offspring, whereas men were not seen as contributing to the reproduction of the species.
Therefore, women, the source of life, were revered and respected.
Many ancient societies have left us evidence of their respect for the feminine, the Venus of Willendorf is recognised as being one of the oldest surviving works of art, for example.
Have we, as a society, lost something primal and essential to our existence, in relegating women to ‘traditional’ roles, particularly those dictated by patriarchal structures that abound in the world today?
I do feel that we have, and it gladdens my heart to see things slowly shifting and changing to allow women to occupy strong leadership roles in their communities.
While the more private, community leadership of women has been apparent for several years, and even within the patriarchal halls of the catholic church, they were not permitted to rise into more public positions of power.
In more recent times strong, capable and dynamic women are starting to take to the world stage in very public and powerful leadership roles. This is wonderful to see, and seems to be causing quite an amount of ripples in humankinds pond.
Some of these ripples are being stoked by the fears of those who think (and rightly so) that patriarchy is under attack. But far more of these ripples are being felt and amplified by women around the world who are ready to stand up and take back there true place in society.
Before you go jumping about, thinking I am a man hating militant feminist, just draw a breath. For me a woman’s place in the world is no different to a man’s.
As human beings we are all deserving of respect and real choice as to how we live our lives. True consent to participating in any roles or activities, and a true and unfettered choice in making decisions about our bodies.
We are NOT less than men, but very much their equals. Both men and women are equally trapped within the constraints of authoritarian patriarchal cultures and societal structures, to the detriment of both.
Sadly we have socially constructed gender to such a degree that it has become problematic to individuals, communities and societies.
This is no longer a local issue, but a global one.
I will write more on this issue, but for now I will sign off, and wish you all a wonderful autumn, with the hope that the change in seasons brings some good news in dealing with the current pandemic, and that change (for the better) is indeed coming for us all.
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