“When the women dance … they move with the Earth … to one of the hundreds of verses sung in their honor. To be part of that circle is a great source of strength to me.” —Joanne Shenandoah, member of the Oneida Nation, composer, author, musician
“Let us welcome home in ourselves, and in the world, the wisdom of the strong.” —Alice Walker, author, poet, activist
When we think of the world’s renowned religious leaders, scientists, and scholars, women’s names don’t often come to mind. For some, even the God of worship appears in a male guise. But if we travel far enough back in time, we know there was a period when people revered a female deity. Sacred goddess figures unearthed by archaeologists speak of ancient, female-oriented civilizations. Of course, women healers, spiritual teachers, and scholars have existed throughout the ages; we simply don’t accord most of them the same status and recognition as their male counterparts.
While many people may agree that Spirit transcends gender, it can certainly make a difference in the lack of respect shown to women when we teach our children that it is a male God who rules our world, with wrath and vengeance.
When the feminine is truly honored, perhaps our daughters (and ourselves as women) will be free to walk alone through secluded areas without constant anxiety about safety—glancing over our shoulders, tightly gripping our keys, or worrying whether someone will hear us if we scream.
When we respect women’s bodies (in all the various shapes, skin tones, and sizes they come in), we will be paying homage to the Feminine Divine. In doing so, we will refuse to permit women (and girls) to be used for sexual exploitation.
When we treat menstrual cycles with reverence and acknowledge this powerful life-giving force deep within, we will value not only the women who birth new life and feed from their breasts the children of this earth, but also the strong feminine energies coursing through life’s infinite Mysteries.
When we show admiration to elderly women sages (those women with silver threads of grey woven through their hair and lines etched across their face like intricate grooves along the trunk of an ancient tree), we will begin to draw from the deep well of women’s wisdom.
When we remember the millions of women and girls brutally tortured and murdered by state-sanctioned religious fanatics, we will never again use the word Witch against any Woman.
When we recall the generations of African women shackled, raped, and sold into slavery, and the thousands of Cherokee women (and other Indian tribal women) forced into famine, disease, and death along the Trail of Tears, and the countless women across the continents killed for religious, ethnic, or political opposition to the governing male authority, we will know in our hearts the strength and sacrifices of our foremothers.
When we listen to women’s voices from around the world and offer them our complete support, we will embrace a global sisterhood that recognizes our shared desire for peace.
When we describe women (our sisters, mothers, daughters, wives, aunts, and grandmothers), as Beautiful/Intelligent/Talented/Creative/Hard-working, we will steadfastly refuse to ever allow the use of derogatory language to “put” women in their place.
When we view Mother Earth as the life affirming, nurturing home of our birth—an integral part of our existence and upon whom we depend for our survival—we will become unwilling to participate in the pillage and destruction of the gifts she offers.
For all who came before and all who follow in our footsteps, we will honor the feminine, eternal, life-giving force of this Universe. And then, women will join together, once again, in the sacred circle dance that is our power and our divine source.
© 2017 by Diana J. Ensign