Meditation at Dawn

Red clouds

scream.

Another

woman torn

in two

by sky gods,

raped twice –

once through memory.

And still they

want

corroboration?

A woman’s truth

is never enough.

Unspeakable horrors

are sanctioned

in unhallowed dark places

alone

by those who

hold the power.

 

For women

Compassion and Justice are dead.

 

The Supreme Court’s need to have corroboration for Christine Ford’s testimony is an oxymoron. Rape or attempted rape almost always occurs when other people are absent. To suggest that Christine needs more validation is a sneaky way of discrediting her by using  “lack of further evidence” as an excuse.

 

 

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Poem: #MeToo, We Re-Member by Marie Cartier

When the trees start moving all women have to do is follow…

I need the grandmothers to help me

re-member my rage.

Cross stitch. Double knot.  I sew it back on. The raggedy parts I let fly loose

when I thought it was OK to not be “so angry.”

“Boys will be boys.”

And so then, girls will be angry.

And we will re-member—our rage.

I need the great aunts, and all the old women with the signs that read,

“We are still protesting this shit.”

I need them, this herstory to help me

re-member my rage, feel it strong and tight. Cross stitch. Double knot. Those women re-member

me. I am that woman. She is me.

Our rage is a song.

After all this time, we are still singing it. Our rage

is a river and we swim in it, even if it’s upstream. There is a fierce mermaid goddess,

Yemaya. She protects us. She knows

our rage is our best…

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Rape and the Miracle of Joy

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( photo of a Passionflower that just opened this morning and a photo I took at dawn that I call Persephone’s Mist)

 

Category: Essay

Tags: Persephone, Greek Mythology, patterns, dreams, feminsim

 

 

This morning I walked to a river that was shrouded in mist that ran parallel with the flowing waters skimming over smooth round stone. As columns of wave –like, smoke –like mist billowed skyward I remembered last night’s dream…

 

I am with a young girl who has discovered the slender green and white stems that surround pure white bouquets of crocus that are not yet in bloom. These clusters of budded flowers are located just outside my front door on the land I live. I carefully and compassionately explain to this young girl that she cannot take what does not belong to her… these crocus are emerging on land that belongs to me, but perhaps we can share them.

 

Reflecting on the dream I am struck by my deep compassion towards the young girl. I see her as a Persephone.

 

In Greek mythology Persephone was a child who was spirited away to the underworld while picking flowers and raped by Hades while her mother’s back was turned…Demeter, who was a Great Goddess was not able to protect her own daughter from Fate, suggesting Demeter’s influence does not extend into the underworld. A warning to all mothers, perhaps.

 

Persephone’s story has been my own, literally and metaphorically.

 

Although we continue to ignore these myths in the modern world relegating them to primitive thinking we do so at our peril, because myths are the stories that inform us of the patterns in our lives.

 

Whenever I am spirited away by Hades I experience this descent as a spiritual if not physical rape that is beyond my control. As my birthday approaches during the week of the Grecian Eleusinian Mysteries (which re-acts the descent of Persephone) I am struck by my dream body’s response to this yearly cycle of descent or despair that I am asked to acknowledge if not actually endure…

 

Today I honor my body and tell her that I am sorry that I didn’t know how to love her or how to behave in a compassionate way towards a child and or adolescent who had no control over a destructive pattern that dominated her life.

 

It no longer matters why. It only matters that I support the child and the young girl I was, just as I support the woman who has come forth to reveal that she was almost raped by Brett Kavanaugh, nominee for the “Supreme Court” of this country. To elect a Patriarchal judge who once attempted rape of a child/adolescent (and who no doubt eventually did rape because the pattern was already present in the adolescent boy) – is an obscenity.

 

Some scholars understand that these patterns persist over a lifetime and through generations although most Americans deny this reality. Why? Because the United States is steeped in the myth of “free will” and an “either or” mentality. A “both and reality” is an anathema to Patriarchy. In the ideology of “free will” the pattern of rape doesn’t exist. This leads us to the conclusion that patterns can’t be a force to be reckoned with. This Patriarchal approach is frightening nonsense and one reason we don’t hold boys and men accountable for attempted or actual rape.

 

In reality boys and men rape because warring Patriarchal culture says they can (power over) and because they are living out a destructive inner pattern. I think these boys and men need to be identified and incarcerated after one attempted rape. If a boy is old enough to rape he is old enough to be tried in a court like an adult male.

 

I can only hope that Dr. Christine Ford’s allegations of sexual assault will result in this man being dropped as a nominee for the Supreme Court.

 

But to return to my story…

 

Persephone’s loss of innocence and descent into hell is the result of having been split in mind, body, and soul, a wound that no child, adolescent, or woman ever completely recovers from.

 

To pretend that one heals adequately from such a wound is an atrocity, dismissing the reality of what is. Rape opens the door to suicide, depression, PTSD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorders, the latter three cannot be cured. A woman who has had a rape experience will probably never feel safe in the world even if she never admits it.

 

My dreams persist alerting me that what I have just written is truth, while reminding me to behave compassionately towards myself during these cyclical periods of my own forced descent.

 

What interests me the most about this dream is that in the myth Persephone was picking saffron yellow crocus (a flower that only blooms in the fall) before she was abducted by a rapist. The only difference is that the young girl of my dreams shows me a scattering of crocus that are pure white, the color of innocence and not the yellow associated with Persephone’s crocus.

 

What this suggests to me is that although I am a woman who has been raped twice, once by men, and then by a pattern that has dominated my inner life, my innocent self still survives. The dream illustrates that both the woman and the young girl have access to shared innocence. What was stolen has been restored.

 

That Joy lives on is the Miracle.

What the Lizards have Taught Me and Other Mysteries

Categories: Narrative

Tags: Sagebrush lizards, Eco – feminism, Nature writing

 

I have six sagebrush “house lizards” that lived on the adobe walls of my present abode. I say six because I thought I lost one of the garden wall lizards but now two have come together again.

 

Perhaps another lizard joined the crowd because autumn is near and cooler temperatures are bringing them together?

 

These sagebrush lizards are supposed to be territorial but this behavior is not in evidence around here. In fact, these days the lizards seem to be sharing one common area – an apartment complex that I created totally by accident when I lined up Mexican hats along the garden wall.

 

Mexican hats are large sunflower heads that I am drying in the sun. As soon as I placed them on the warm adobe walls two lizards moved in. I watched the baby take up residence under one small hat, darting out for tasty ants that skittered around the edges of his new home. The ants never had a chance! I thought he had found the perfect abode! However, he was soon displaced by the adults, including the two house lizards that lived in the front of the house who used to use the giant nasturtium patch for safety and good cover. These days every time I walked by the garden wall at least one or two adult lizards peer at me from baby lizard’s front door!

 

I finally discovered baby’s new hiding place behind some slats by the south door, just a few feet from the garden wall. Immediately I placed not only a Mexican hat on the railing but a lizard friendly rock and a small dish of water. Since then he spends early mornings hidden behind the slats and emerges to sunbathe just outside his Mexican hat between 10 and 11 AM. Yesterday was hot and I was surprised to note that he had migrated to the garden wall. I glimpsed baby lizard under one of the Mexican hats along with three other lizards during the late morning. Today he is gone.

 

Sometimes a lizard climbs on top of the nubbly seed hats with spidery feet to bask but I notice that even late September afternoons are still too hot, so during those potentially lizard frying hours they all retreat under their “flowers” for shade.

 

All six of these lizards regard me as a friend and I have conversations with all of them during the day. Because I know that soon they will go into hibernation I spend a lot of time visiting and they always seem interested in what I have to say!

 

Today is cool, and only a couple of the adults are visible. If I lifted those hats I am sure that I would see more but to do would be invasive. I know how I’d feel if someone pulled the roof off my house to see if I was home!

 

Where will my friends spend the winter I wonder? Hopefully there are a few friendly burrows, or rocky crevices where they can bury themselves, lower their body temperature, and sleep through frost and cold. I am pleased to see that all are plump and seem well fed.

 

Although I can find no support from the literature I suspect that these little characters might hibernate close to one another… it does seem odd that within the last week of cooling temperatures that they have clustered close together in the same apartment complex!

 

I have learned by paying attention to the daily habits of my reptilian friends over the course of this summer that when it’s too hot for lizards to be out and about, it is also too hot for me. We both retreat to our respective homes to protect ourselves from the searing white sun star.

 

In Nature mysteries abound and keen observations only bring more questions, reminding me that people including scientists know so little about our non human relatives. All we seem to be able to do is to classify them, take DNA, experiment on them… So few of us simply watch them in wonder and gratitude that they exist at all.

River Musings

 

The moon is on the wane

pale against a blue wash.

Heart shaped leaves crackle

under my feet.

A field of papery brown

stalks dull my senses

as I witness the ravages of

a passing season

of raging heat and drought.

The deer and the elk

no longer bed down

in supple long grasses.

Clumps of snakeweed

bear spiked skeletons.

Weeping trees

bare few seeds for

birthing.

The Earth is parched.

In this epoch

of irreversible climate change

will the shrinking river

once again swell to overflowing,

on her own?

Only she knows the love songs

to sing to smooth round stones.

 

Postscript:

 

Every morning I walk to the river at dawn and this morning as I stood on the beach I realized that the water level is so low that there is more rocky shore than river…For the last 100 years or so humans have been in control – raising and lowering the river artificially, but with Climate Change upon us Nature may well be in the process of crafting her own story.

The End of Democracy?

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All three sides of this terrifying sculpture

 

I recently read Carol Christ’s response to an article “ The Patriarchy Will Always Have Its Revenge” (New York Times) with respect to our current political insanity with regard to women and rape. Carol wrote, “I find myself caught in the undertow of bad memories, stuck in a simmer of rage. My hands furl into fists. My jaw clenches. My teeth grind in the night.”

 

Mine too.

 

The Brett Kavanaugh case makes it abundantly clear we still blame women for rape even when the woman is a child.

 

The independent and most neutral of all papers from my point of view, The Guardian, states that according to the New England Journal of Medicine, rape is about four times more likely to result in diagnosable PTSD than combat.” I would add that attempted rape has the same result.

 

As a woman who has suffered from PTSD her entire life, has a history of sexual abuse, and has worked with abused women during most of her adult years I know from personal experience that this statistic is accurate, and as a therapist, I recognize that attempted rape destroys a woman’s sense of self in mind, body, and soul, just as actual rape does.

 

Ironically, the same morning I read Carol’s post a man posted the above picture on FB stating “that the sculpture was about a man thinking about wife giving birth.” WHAT? This frightening triple image spoke volumes to me about the hold real men and the dominant Patriarchal culture have had over Women and the Earth for millennia.

 

But thankfully not all men. John Erickson asks the same questions in his post on feminismandreligion.com that I have been asking as the horrors mount:

 

“If you are like me, you have found yourself, more times than one I am guessing, watching the news, mouths agape, mind in disbelief, and your heart heavy with grief and sadness. While these great travesties occur, I find myself wondering what is the cost? How many children must be locked in cages? How many women must come forward with accusations of sexual assault and rape? How many more people must accuse the President of harassment and assault? How many more anonymous op-eds and faulty promises must be made before we finally all see that the real cost, is that these great travesties themselves (too many to recall here) are what it really takes to take down imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.”

 

He continues: “People have grown weary of having me at parties because my normal talking points are:

  1. Asking people if they’re registered to vote (and if not, why aren’t they?)
  2. Making sure people are discussing difficult issues with their friends and families that may or may not support Trump…
  1. Asking how long they think it will be until we are actually living in The Handmaid’s Tale universe?”

He also reminds us that this is more than about Trump’s presidency. Trump’s election is a symptom of the disintegration of an entire culture.

 

John finishes his essay by encouraging us to vote.

 

In my despairing state I have reached the same conclusion. There’s nothing else left to do. If we don’t vote in November to begin the process of ending this insanity, feminist or non –feminist, Democracy will be dead.

Autumn Equinox Reflection

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After a torturous summer and fall with temperatures still in the 90’s until three days ago we finally had rain and then it was a bracing 56 degrees the next morning with a light northeast wind!

 

Oh, the joy of finally being in synch with the season of fall.

 

I was flooded with gratitude although all around me the ravages of drought drone on.

 

Yesterday was a “doing” day. I took my first real hike into a canyon nearby, but was disappointed to see little green on the cottonwoods, shriveled sage, and dead snakeweed. What did I expect?

 

Coming home I gathered seeds, and trimmed my juniper tree, the one that has been watered all summer. I can’t save them all but that tree has grown a foot, much to my delight.

 

Yesterday was also a “play” day and I went around gathering seeds and pods that I saw and created a collage for the equinox, one that reminds me to give thanks for Nature’s bounty.

 

I watched birds and lingered at the river listening to water singing to stone.

 

And almost all day I periodically visited with my house lizards all of which were perched under Mexican hats (large sunflower heads) on my garden wall, basking on the ledge near my compost, and on the warm sandstone rock ledge… The best part was when baby lizard appeared on the railing. I provided him with a new Mexican hat since the other lizards had stolen his refuge. He’s so tiny I am afraid something will get him and I dearly want him to live long enough to go into hibernation, which I believe will be soon. All of these sagebrush lizards are my friends… so I wanted to simply spend the afternoon visiting with them letting them know I would miss each friend like lovers do, and I did!

 

This morning once again the owls awakened me – Today they hooted from two different trees, sending me off to the river. The Bosque looked like fall had touched her with a wand of subtle color. Russian olive trees were losing their canopies. The ground was also littered with the leaves from willow, compost for next spring. Every time I looked up to the Matriarchs of the Bosque tired cottonwood hearts were drifting to the ground. The river beach wears a bigger apron each day as the water recedes…

 

This morning I gazed at the milkweed pods in the center of my outdoor altar… As the breeze took the delicate white spidery parachutes that held each seed, one aftet the other, I thought that this dispersal somehow personified the whole of what the fall equinox is all about – the letting go – and how poignant a time of year this is…And yet, as the Earth prepares for winter she brings relief to parched plants by sending them into dormancy – a merciful response to starvation by lack of water.

 

My Autumn Equinox ritual, created to honor the Turning of the Wheel speaks to Nature’s abundance. The Earth has gone into the grain, fruit, and vegetables that will sustain us all winter long. A Great Goddess to all, acknowledged or not, She remains steadfast – the Earth Mother of us all. Her generosity knows no bounds. This is the time of year to give thanks for life as we prepare for the colder months head, leaning into this season of golden light and shadows.

 

Tonight I shall walk into the sunset knowing that I have been fully present for this seasonal event.

 

Blessed Be at this Turning

And Blessings to All

9/22/2018