Today’s blog has slid over into the First of May, the celebration of Beltane by Celtic tradition, marking the beginning of summer and the desire for abundance through fertility. May Day also honoured the feminine and masculine energies by uniting couples in hand fasting relationships for a period of time. The sharing of the pleasure of making babies belongs to both but the pain of giving birth rests only with women. Celebrating the change of seasons, the creative force of the Divine Feminine and the recognition that abundance flows if you honour this energy were a key part of the rituals of Beltaine. As I moved through my day it certainly reflected these themes.
Two mums, both at different stages in their adjustment to becoming mums, came into the Centre. They were trying to find their feet amongst all of the well meaning but contradictory advice they were being given. The urge to follow their intuition was really strong but the books, their partners and often friends had differing suggestions. I felt sad that these two women had been left so uncertain of their intuitive knowing that they doubted themselves. They were experiencing motherhood as a disempowering state instead of the joy of being creative, fertile women. Where was celebration of all the ways they were nurturing happy children? Where was the encouragement that their babies would grow up ok so long as they were loved and nourished by that love? Instead, confidence has been replaced by anxiety.
In the same afternoon I had a lovely discussion about the Course in Miracles. Although the course refers to God I believe it can equally be understood by referring to Goddess. The course talks about awakening to the realisation that the Divine spark is inside all of us. We are not actually a separate individual but enfolded in the totality of that which we have identified as Divine. For me it seems perfectly logical that the Divine source will therefore encompass both feminine and masculine energy. Since we can experience both kinds of energy it’s important to be celebrating both of these inner flows. Yet much of our spirituality is still based in acknowledging the masculine energy of the Divine only. The wonderfully creative spark of Divine Feminine energy is mostly excluded from our discussions and practices around how to be a spiritual being.
That leads me on to the third thing that caught my attention. I have been aware since I was nine that everyone talked about God as a masculine being pronouncing paternally on all aspects of women’s lives. As I explored other religions and avenues of spirituality it seemd that even those with multiple Gods and Goddesses gave the lead to the masculine deities. I’ve recently picked up a thread of knowledge I began to explore in my teenage years. So I was reading a book by Lynn Picknett, one of many authors to write about Mary Magdalene, where she explores the creation story many people use as the basis for their attitudes in life. It is interesting that in the story of the garden of Eden God gave Eve the pain of birth because she had temped Adam. He also placed the idea of ‘sin’ with women as our responsibility for being able to tempt Adam. Interestingly enough these attitudes captured in an old book have become the bedrock for the way women are treated. Celebrating Goddess energy has therefore become something to be suppressed, denied or ignored. Much like the fate of women for centuries.
One of the things that I ask my Guides about a lot is how we can change this denial of the Divine feminine. What will my daughter’s daughter’s daughter make of it all. Will she still be told what to wear, who she can be with and where it is safe for her to go? Will she approach the birth of her daughter feeling anxious, disempowered and believing that childbirth has to be a painful experience. Will she be free to learn as much as she wishes, work where she wants and be paid as if her work is of equal value to the men she works with. Will she be praised for raising the next generation of citizens and rewarded accordingly? Will she be free to love whom she wants for as long as she wants? They always throw these questions back at me. They ask me what am I doing to make changes so that this child of the future will inherit a brighter world. They have a rule – there is no interference in the way we operate our free will choices. So it’s up to me and the women of the world to start celebrating the Divine femenine.
That is where my day ended up. I went to a gala performance at the Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival. I sat in an audience of probably 60% women as we enjoyed the positive energy of women who were perfroming with pride and passion. They had applied their creative energy to displaying positive body images, love of the skin they were in, and joy at being able to share the true beauty of being a woman. Celebrating the sensual nature of being female, something stripped away by religious condemnation of women as sinners, the freedom to be who they chose to be and the power of empowerment these performers are helping to change the perception of women as women.
Interestingly there is still a great deal of misunderstanding about burlesque and a lot of it comes from women. Sadly celebrating having a body that gives and gets pleasurable sensations is still under heading of ‘bad’. The assumptions underlying this view centre around the idea that men are weak minded, have no control over their physical urges and therefore it’s the woman who has to be hidden so as not to tempt the man. Burlesque is definitely not hidden. Burlesque is a glorious celebration all all things feminine. It connects women to their sensual nature by encouraging the love of your own body. There is a freedom within burlesque that has been hidden. It is a statement of women being women and ‘playing’ the paternal system. Celebrating the Divine Feminine means looking for the Goddess within and bringing her into the outer world. Here’s to all those Goddesses who were in Todmorden tonight sharing the positive feminine creative energy.
Day 166 of my blogging challenge.