Passion vs Security

File under “Dilemmas of Consciousness”  😉

In the last little while, I’ve found myself speaking with a lot of people about the difference between adrenaline-based and nesting sexuality.

The passion of the first is fueled by the perception of danger, and makes perfect sense as a mechanism for the survival of the species. Plants will often flower when under stress, desperately attracting pollinators quickly so they can reproduce before they die. We have the same instinct….

The sexual surcharge that accompanies adrenaline/testosterone rushes can be blamed for the atrocities of sexual aggression committed by soldiers everywhere and forever. It explains a wide range of human sexual behaviour, from the Mile-High Club to the hook-ups with strangers that have become normalised with the swiping generation, to the many and darkening shades of SMBD that are also becoming socially acceptable.

Adrenaline is as addictive as any hard drug, and I’m seeing both more people who are hooked, and more people burned out from years of feeding the habit in its myriad manifestations. We experience adrenaline rushes as fun and exciting: bungee-jumping, horror movies, gambling, Russian roulette, risky sex…. We forget that foundation for the Buzz is our programmed physiological reaction to impending death.

Also, as women are generally less physically strong and often have heavily culturally-limited opportunities for supporting themselves, sex is commonly traded for survival – for food and/or a roof over one’s head.  As harsh as this sounds, it is still the functional reality of millions of women around the planet. One could argue that this is basically a definition of the institution of marriage.

What I think of as “nesting sexuality” requires a diametrically opposed emotional 2nd image - feetcontext –  an oxytocin-induced sense of security and belonging. Tenderness, and a deep intimacy that evolves from trust, are the characteristics of this kind of connection.

As we often define security in financial and material terms, it makes sense that we historically have been more sexually open in relationships when we’ve felt safely “taken care of”. In the now nearly-extinct Classic Couple, the male is taken care of by his spouse who feeds him, maintains the Home and bears and cares for any children. The woman is “provided for” financially by her partner, and the couple fulfills each other’s sexual needs.

image for articleTime, habit, and social conditioning can turn this paradigm into a big yawn, lacking the spice of the unknown and sending disgruntled partners looking for excitement in pornography or in other beds, or as a couple into “riskier” situations: partner-swapping, edgier sexual practises, etc.

Although I haven’t crunched the numbers, it seems to me that there is a cyclic nature to the complaints I hear about sexuality. In the summer when passions typically run with the volume turned up, people in committed relationships seem to be concerned about their libido. Let’s agree that women’s sexual desire didn’t use to be an issue – we were expected to just do our duty, regardless. I imagine the same could possibly be said for some men. But more people in general are simply not willing to compromise anymore on what they feel and want, which seems to translate into less sexual activity. (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/aug/02/less-sex-please-were-millennials-study)

What I’ve noticed is that whereas the issues are presented as either “something’s wrong with me” or “my partner wants sex all the time”, the real problem is a lack of the feeling of security required for “nesting”, and therefore a return to the default mode of adrenaline sexuality. Couples are often conflicted between a desire for the rush of passionate sex and the aching for closeness and connection. The “shoulds” fly around fast and furious in our minds and hearts, and expectations are always a set-up for disillusionment and disappointment.

Often partners feel that they are not being supported – the other is not fulfilling the role that is expected (often unconsciously) according to familial imprinting. Someone who is carrying either all the financial weight or all the child-care/homemaking responsibilities in a couple can feel that sex is just another thing he/she is expected to do. Because of our social programming, women can have trouble being sexually aroused when they hold the financial power in a couple – the culturally-engrained definition of being “taken care of”, and even of being a “Real Woman” is not being fulfilled.

Seductive men are especially successful at roping in strong women because they make us feel like we believe we are supposed to feel – fluttery, sexual and insecure.

Partners (still mostly women) who are “just” housekeepers and motherers in western cultures often feel unaccomplished, unfulfilled and inadequate. If the supporting partner is capable of hiring help, she/he may have the energy and desire to attempt to keep herself exciting for him/her. Otherwise, the scenario where the Lady of the House welcomes her Man home from work dressed in a negligée and with supper ready on the table is, shall we say, “less likely”. In a sociocultural reality where empowered women are less available to be sexually dominated, but where men believe that to be Men they must have power and dominance over Someone, human trafficking, sexual slavery, paedophilia and all other trappings of what is currently defined as Rape Culture are kind of emotionally logical.

Here in Quebec, I’ve been surprised by the number of couples I’ve heard of who are together with no sexual intimacy at all….

The hard and fast Truths of binary reality: right vs wrong, black vs white, the Right vs the Left, even Truth vs Lies are becoming more fluid and hard to nail down. Gender is just one of the manifestations of duality consciousness that used to keep us safe and secure in its “one-or-the-other”-ness –  as a species, we’re finally learning to step out of our identity cages and colour waaaay outside the lines.

It can all feel so complex, entangled and impossible if we get stuck in trying to control Life and keep things the way they were in the (really-not-so) Good Olde Days.

When we learn to let go and connect in each moment with our own, personal inner Truth, understanding that each of us lives his or her own equally-valid reality, we release ourselves from the shackles of the Shoulds, and the world from our judgements.

When we perceive the Oneness of all manifest existence, of all sentient beings, we can see the Light at the core of each of us, and the wounding that has been layered through the generations over that Light.

This may do nothing whatsoever to simplify our choices, but it certainly makes us happier as we muddle through it all!

Blessèd Be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer Solstice, 2017

summer-solstice-2016-600x319

The Summer Solstice is on our doorsteps! The “joke” in this neck of the woods is that after June 21 Winter is on its way, as the daylight begins to slowly shrink towards the cold and the dark. And here at Heartroot, our frost-free date is in the second week of June. Sigh…. We’ve got to get that greenhouse done!

A heads up for those of us who’ve forgotten: this is the time of greatest solar, yang, male energy in the northern hemisphere.

The genetic/cultural/social programming we’ve received about How to Survive Out in the World will be rising to take centre stage these days. Do you find yourself pushing yourself past any rational physical limits? Are you feeling martyred? Have you caught yourself being an aggressive jerk lately? Think about it… Where was that behaviour learned? How far back in your family lineage can you see the same attitudes and actions reflected? How’s it working for you these days 0_o ?

Maybe we don’t have to charge into Life like it’s a battlefield, desperately attempting to prove that we aren’t stupid, worthless and unlovable…?

We’ve got a wonderful opportunity in this period of greatest Light, to take some time to reflect on our highest Truths – to align ourselves with the most elevated vibrational frequencies that we can access at any given moment and to radiate them consciously as we walk in the World. Let’s cultivate Gratitude and make it our offering to the multiverse!

Don’t think for a second that the Martyr or the Bully or the Social Butterfly or the Depressed Loner is who you really are – these are roles that we were so subtly guided into that we believe they are our identities.

But…Nothing that is not Love is who you truly are.

You are Love – period. All the rest has been learned and, once witnessed, can be released. The World – our Earth – awaits your Light.

Summer Solstice Blessings to All….

 

 

 

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WORDS and WOMEN

This first appeared in ‘The Heretic’ magazine, Vol.3, (which you can still buy in Kindle version from Amazon!), in 2012. I am pleased to realise that there is more awareness of these issues, 5 years on….

I hadn’t been prepared to be so upset by Renoir. The Sterling and Francine Clark collection was touring and it was with some excitement that I queued up when it came to Montreal, its one Canadian stop. Rousseau, Sisley, Manet, Degas, Monet, Pissarro, Cassatt, a couple of surprisingly alive and delightful Boldinis – they all drew me into their lives and time. That all those landscape paintings – the ‘portraits’ of ancient trees – were part of a successful ecological campaign to save what was left of Europe’s forests thrilled me.

But one after another of Renoir’s doe-eyed women, sewing, reading, looooounging, just about did me in; I could feel my remaining good teeth rotting in my skull as I stood there. My impression of this particular Impressionist was underscored by the quotations, liberally strewn about the walls – Pierre-Auguste apparently felt that to men should be left the boring jobs of law, writing, politics, etc.; women were needed for what only they could do, which was to make life ‘bearable’ (for men, bien sûr). Renoir, père, told his son that he painted ‘with his prick’, and ‘I like women best when they don’t know how to read, and when they wipe their babies’ bottoms themselves’ is among the least offensive of his pronouncements.

The exhibit was entitled Once Upon a Time, which worked in my mind for the other artists represented – it was a historical encapsulation of a particularly vibrant transitional period in Europe. Renoir, however, had a rankling currency about him.

1 Lise_Sewing_-_1866Lise Sewing by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1866), Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

A very active Canadian documentary film-maker recently announced to me in breathless tones that he finally had a story about women and children being trafficked as sex slaves, but with a male hero. ‘No one wants to listen to a woman,’ he intoned into the shocked silence between us, ‘that’s just the way it is.’ Pause. ‘This is great!’ As flabbergasted as I was to hear this, someone was finally stating as an inalterable fact what I’ve been insisting for decades to be true: ‘No-one wants to listen to a woman.’

Over the years this insistence of mine has inevitably met with the same brand of enthusiasm that greets other statements of a similar timbre (such as, ‘Women become invisible after 50’): a shaking of the head, a clucking of the tongue, and either a look of icily amused pity (‘Dear me, it must be terrible to become old and irrelevant’), a look of the-penny-just-dropped horror (‘Omigod! This is going to happen to me!’) or a white-gloved, white-bread look of disapproval (‘It is really so unpleasant of you to speak of these things, my dear’).

We certainly don’t start out not listening to women: even physiologically babies are more able to hear higher-pitched voices in their first month or so. This perhaps explains why so many people seem hard-wired to talk to babies in inane Teletubbies voices. Have you ever wondered why the voices of puppets, cartoons, and even adult humans in children’s television shows, are so unbearably squeaky? Have you ever been irritated enough by them to contemplate horrible acts of violence? Hmmm.

Oriental medicine tells us that a high-pitched voice can warn of weakness in the Soil element organs – the spleen, pancreas and stomach – and of someone who has pulled themselves into their thoughts, out of their bodies and emotions. Think of a tensely smiling face, sparkly eyes, a voice like a high-tension wire, and a sharp knife held behind the back. Scary! Actually, think of coloratura soprano divas and you might get the same sort of frisson – I certainly do.

Then again, the low, husky voice of hypnotherapists and late-night radio hosts – the kind of voice that so many find reassuring and sexy – is a Water element voice, related to the genitourinary tract and fear of an existential sort (Who am I? How will I survive? How can I make people love me so that I will survive?). Hmmm, again.

Clearly, ‘No-one wants to listen to a woman’ is not just about physiology.

The same film-maker involved in the documentary project about women and the sex-slave trade – the one overjoyed to find a male hero for his movie – proposed to hire (at a daily fee that could feed an average household for a year), as ‘spokesperson’ for the project, an ex-Playboy bunny and porn star – ‘because she is well-known’. Presumably people would ‘listen’ to her? A whole room-full of men involved in media and marketing saw nothing ironic or paradoxical (much less ludicrous) in this idea. The one other woman involved and I have since been quite neatly cut out of the decision-making loop on the project – in which I have, shall we say, ‘lost interest’.

So, no one wants to listen to a woman, unless…? This happened in the autumn of 2012, but it feels like a flashback to another era. Rapid rewind to the mid-1970s and to Winnipeg, Manitoba, smack-dab in the middle of Canada: involved in feminist politics (you guessed this, right?), I end up administering a Media Monitoring Committee to provide a forum for those wishing to do something about sexism in the media. A mountain of complaints comes in about obnoxious comments in a Winnipeg Free Press sports column, so I collate and mail them with a polite cover letter to the writer of the offensive material. The response is an article about feminists, in which he surmises that Ms. Dawn Bramadat, Chairperson of the Media Monitoring Committee, is obviously a mousey, repressed spinster who hasn’t been getting any for a while. At the time I nicely fit into a size 7 and many people’s ideas of what ‘attractive’ is, so when I (loudly) announce my presence and purpose in the newspaper office, in front of the wide-open room full of people banging on typewriters, the first reaction is dead silence. The receptionist leads me to a conference room as hoots of laughter accompany the sportswriter’s rising from his desk to follow. I felt better then about my coup than I do now.  Rubbing the fellow’s nose in his assumptions was one thing, and setting him up in front of the women in that office was satisfying, to say the least, but I was also buying right into the Beauty is Power paradigm. Damn!

I have this niggling sensation that I can’t, in good faith, ignore. This tells me that there is relevance here to the adage, ‘Men are seduced through their eyes and women are seduced through their ears’, but this leads the mind down a variety of tangled trails typical of any reflection based in duality:

‘Men want to look at women, not listen to them.’

‘Yes, but women don’t listen to other women, either.’

Oh.

‘Women want to hear sweet nothings whispered into their ears.’

‘Yes, and men need to constantly be praised.’

Oh.

We get stuck when we attempt to stolidly delineate polarities – trapped in parallel lines that can never meet and are nothing akin to the weaving of realities that are our present, human experience.

The Right to Write – and to be heard

More women now are having their voices heard through the written word – gone are the days of women having to write under male pseudonyms – but between having the right to publish and actually being read – being heard – is an interesting gap. (‘You go ahead and express yourself, dear. It will do you good. You have far too much time on your hands, anyway.’)

2 Bronze_young_girl_reading_CdM_Paris Roman bronze statuette of a young girl reading (first century), Caylus Collection, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

For the information of the few of you reading this who have not entertained serious thoughts of becoming writers yourselves, the deal with interview shows and most conferences is that you are not paid to speak, but are expected to earn your revenue through book sales – your presentation therefore becomes a sales pitch. If you are not a published author, it is unlikely you’ll be asked to present at conferences and to do interviews, yet it is notoriously difficult to get published (and becoming even more so) and research shows that the odds are significantly stacked against you if you happen to be a woman (Benedict Page, ‘Research shows male writers still dominate books world’, http://www.guardian.co.uk, 4 February 2011). This means that if you are not a published author, you have much fewer opportunities to share whatever it is that you feel compelled to share and to literally have your voice heard.  It is once you are published and become unimaginably rich and influential (I don’t want to discourage any of you out there!) that people will actually pay for the privilege of listening to you.

A few years ago, I was on about this topic (we do harp, don’t we?) with Philip Gardiner, a media personality in the UK who had an interview show called Gardiner’s World, where, typically, people spoke about the fascinating research discoveries they had made in the realm of hidden wisdom, conspiracies, ancient history coming to light, etc., and promoted the books they had written about their work. The topics were interesting and illuminating – it’s just that Gardiner’s World was populated almost exclusively by men. (Excuse me – white men.)

I met Philip through a friend – one of the white male authors being interviewed, actually – and took umbrage at the lack of women’s voices being showcased. A very public verbal duel ensued (on Facebook!), in which Philip ‘good-naturedly’ expressed every rabid stereotype he could come up with about women, our interests and relevance. It was only when I summarised his stance (It’s OK, Philip, it is clear that you are interested in men, not women) that he invited me to be interviewed the next time I was in England. There was a threat involved, however – he was going to give me a really hard time. In the end he sent Filip Coppens (1971 – 2012; may his soul fly free…) to conduct the interviews with the six male authors and myself for the taping I attended. Dear Filip asked me, more or less, to express a woman’s point of view on the unfolding of human history – perhaps to make up, in half an hour, for the lacunae in the rest of the series! (The video of the interview can be seen on YouTube.) To give Philip Gardiner due credit, he did film me later on two occasions, saying he had not heard what I was saying from any other sources and that he felt it ‘should be heard’.

The ultimate irony, though, is undeniably to be found in the circles of the new spiritual movement, where these days it’s all about the Divine Feminine. If you don’t pull these two words out side by side in every second sentence, you’re obviously barking up the wrong Tree of Life – hitched to an inadequate Axis Mundi. The Sacred Feminine is rising on the Earth and within each of us individually – and, thank (a masculine) GOD, there are gazillions of men around to teach us all about it!

I responded last year to an email advertisement for yet another conference on the Future of Humanity, where there were at least a dozen speakers headlining – all the latest ones – and they were all male. I sent them a list of the wonderful women I knew who could teach the same subjects, but got no reply. (‘You go ahead and express yourself, dear. It will do you good. You have far too much time on your hands, anyway. Oh, and sign up for our conference!’)

I don’t mean to intimate that men are the source of this problem. (This is where I add sincerely, ‘Some of my best friends are men – honest!’) At issue is a social agreement that places men in positions of authority, whether they are capable of and equipped for that role or not. I can’t even count the number of times that students who have studied with me in one context or another have expressed exhilaration over a wonderful new concept that they have just read by an amazing new male author – a concept that I have been attempting to get across to them for ages and in every which way. It’s not that I’m a lousy teacher, either; I’ve heard of and witnessed this as a common occurrence with other women teachers as well. The most probable cause of this, it seems to me, is the epidemic ‘absent father’ experience – I’ve watched the most intelligent and self-possessed people totally flip for one male teacher after another.

A couple of years ago I was asked to speak at a conference, because quite a few people in my home town made a stink about my NOT speaking. Conferences must be on a list somewhere as one of the Best Places to Meet a Mate – the games of seduction and the sexual buzz are obvious and palpable, regardless of the topic at hand – so, when the organisers asked what I would speak about, I decided to finally mention the rhinoceros in the room and address the co-evolution of sexuality and spirituality. I thought perhaps we could at least talk about it. Wrong! I was censored in a most polite way: ‘Are you sure you wouldn’t like to talk about shamanism or something?’

Taboo, what Taboo?

The wonderful indie film, Breaking the Taboo, released on YouTube in December 2012 and out in theatres in 2013, featured interviews with many male experts on the War on Drugs and drug reform. Among the few women interviewed, Ruth Dreifuss, former President of Switzerland (1999), shone as a heart-centred woman’s voice, clear and strong: ‘Who are the drug addicts? Our children. People we love and want to bring back to life.’ Under her aegis, laws were passed in Switzerland to decriminalise the use of all drugs, so that their use is seen as a medical rather than a criminal problem.

In India Dr Vandana Shiva (a woman, I feel, of the same almost-mythical, prophetic stature as Gandhiji) leads a brilliant movement called ‘Seed Freedom’ that has gained worldwide momentum: ‘Seed is the source of life and the first link in the food chain. Control over seed means control over our lives, our food and our freedom.’ Already, in the same country’s province of Uttar Pradesh, the pink-saried ‘Gulabi Gang’ mete out justice and carry big sticks.  Led by their feisty and über-practical founder, Sampat Pal Devi, they are putting a feminine face to the arbitration of fairness and decency and no-one, not even the local police, is exempt from scrutiny.

In 2010 the President of Iceland, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (the first publicly lesbian world leader), whose government actually banned the commercialisation of sex, said,

“Last year we passed a law against the purchase of sex, we recently introduced an action plan on trafficking of women, and now we have shut down the strip clubs. The Nordic countries are leading the way on women’s equality, recognising women as equal citizens rather than commodities for sale.” (Julie Bindel, ‘Iceland: the world’s most feminist country’, http://www.guardian.co.uk, 25 March 2010.)

How many of you had heard of Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Ruth Dreifuss, Vandana Shiva or the Gulabi Gang?

It’s more likely that you have heard the voice of Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in her 15-minute rant against the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, which went viral in October 2012.

In Canada, on 10 December (Amnesty International’s Human Rights Day) last year, it was announced that the Chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation, Theresa Spence, was beginning a hunger strike. She set up camp in a tipi, facing the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, in protest of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s refusal to meet with her. Timed to coincide with this were nationwide protests organised under the banner of a fledgling movement, Idle No More, that was founded by four women – Nina Wilson, Sheelah Mclean, Sylvia McAdam and Jessica Gordon – in response to the Harper government’s introduction of the 457-page Omnibus Bill C-45 that contains, buried within it, ‘drastic changes to environmental laws, subverting democracy and weakening protection of air, water, soil and ecosystems.’ Fundamental to the mission of Idle No More is the demand that women be respected, and that ‘There will be NO MORE further harm inflicted on our First Mother, Mother Earth.’ Following on the heels of these protests in Canada, on 16 December 2012 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey was savagely tortured, raped and eviscerated in New Delhi. Poor and rural women are routinely violated and murdered in India, but Jyoti was a middle-class physiotherapy student (accompanied by a male friend). It has been promised that education is a doorway to security for women – if it isn’t, then perhaps no woman is ever safe. Her death on 29 December 2012 set India alight with rage. Protests sprang up in the major cities, with thousands demonstrating and clashing with police. The country now seems riven between the extremes of those who know, absolutely and without a doubt, that respectable women never get raped, and others who demand eye-for-an-eye retribution in order to deter the gender-based violence that is so commonplace that it is regarded as mundane.

The murder of Jyoti Pandey may have been the last catalytic drop – that flutter of the butterfly’s wings – that is now gathering into a worldwide tsunami of transformation.

3 Delhi_protests-students,_Raisina_Hill
Protesters in Delhi react to the gang-rape and death of Jyoti Singh Pandey

‘V-Day’ (founded by Eve Ensler of The Vagina Monologues to coincide with Valentine’s Day) began 15 years ago as an initiative to raise awareness of the global and systemic nature of violence against women. One of the concrete results of this has been the City of Joy, established in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, to help heal and support women who have survived the epidemic of rape in that country.  The uprisings in India have inspired the transformation of V-Day 2013 into ‘1 Billion Rising’- a call for a planet-wide general strike on the part of ‘women and those who love them’ – a call to ‘dance until the violence stops’.

Support for the categorically non-violent Idle No More has since spread internationally as well.

MapMap showing Idle No More events in 2012

Prime Minister Harper has met with a variety of male aboriginal leaders (who then met with Chief Spence to convince her to stop her fast), but as of today he has still not addressed Chief Spence herself. Reminiscent of the film-maker of whom I first spoke, he still doesn’t want to listen to a woman.

As I finish this text, we celebrate Imbolc; winter turns expectantly to the east and to spring; wild winds swirl the planet ‘round. Heart by heart, belly by belly, we are becoming awake and alert – we sniff the air and feel indefinably out of sorts. Change is rising, the living sap of the Earth – you can feel it in your bones, can’t you? – and, with this quickening, the voice of the Feminine will surely be heard.

Earth, isn’t this what you want? To arise in us, invisible?
Is it not your dream, to enter us so wholly
there’s nothing outside us to see?

What, if not transformation, is your deepest purpose?

…Sheer abundance of being floods my heart.
             (Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Ninth Duino Elegy, 1922. Translator uncertain.)

No, it is not only women who speak for the Feminine – Rilke, Hafiz, mystics, tantrists and artists of varied and unlikely stripes throughout history did not only elevate, sanitise and adore that feminine ideal that hovers in the heady regions between martyr and fable, yet is still anchored in our culture; some of them understood and beautifully expressed the sacred nature of physicality, of Being, Darkness and Presence – of the feminine aspects of Existence. Unknown to most of us, some of them were women.

From the Mothers’ Day Proclamation, written in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe in the post-civil-war USA:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
‘We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.’

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: ‘Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.’
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of council.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take council with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…

And, more recently, from Arundhati Roy in her 2003 essay compilation, entitled War Talk (the emphasis is mine):

Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. 
The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. 

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them. 
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. 

May we all feel inspired and free to allow the highest Wholeness of our Selves to manifest in the world.

Blessèd Be.

 

Further Reading:

http://www.babycenter.com.au/a6509/developmental-milestones-hearing

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/feb/04/research-male-writers-dominate-books-world

Gardiner’s World interview with Filip Coppens:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykZ7V4bHuyQ

http://www.youtube.com/breakingthetaboofilm

http://www.vandanashiva.org

http://www.gulabigang.in

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/25/iceland-most-feminist-country

http://www.seeclouds.com/julia-gillards-15-minutes-rant-at-tony-abbott-on-sexism-misogynism-and-ditch-the-witch-slogan-2012-10-10

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2012/10/major-environmental-groups-oppose-damaging-federal-omnibus-bill-c-45

http://idlenomore.ca/index.php/item/129-for-immediate-release

http://drc.vday.org/city-of-joy

1 Billion Rising: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y02TqXZ-MSQ

 

 

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RE-IMAGINING INCARNATION

 

First posted on July 11, 2014

We have learned to think of our bodies as what isolate us from the rest of the world – as prisons, not temples, of Spirit. The illusion of separation and aloneness is the source of so much of our collective suffering…et pourtant….

Imagine your root chakra as really having roots that descend deep into the Earth, interlacing with the roots of All Our Relations: of the plants, the animals, the mineral realms – of all Beings created of and sustained by Gaia. This is so much more than a lovely image – it is a fundamental reality that has gone missing from cultures that consider themselves “civilized”.i.e. who have declared themselves free of the wonder and dominion of Nature and therefore no longer “primitive”.

Your body is created of the Earth – of the stuff of the planet. We consume the fruit of the Earth in order to grow these bodies according to the template programmed into each of our cells by our parents and ancestors. We gather particles of the Earth in order to construct our bodies in the image of what we have learned we must be.

Through space and time, threads are woven from the different energetic personalities of the variety of places on the planet from whence your ancestors have come. See your body as being woven of all these multicoloured threads – an intricate, exquisite tapestry of this world.

In the past, our senses have limited the amount and the sort of information available to our conscious selves with the fervour of a protective parent: “The poor dear won’t be able to handle this – we’ll just ignore it for now”. Now, however, we are in times of potential transformation, when higher and higher frequencies are flowing toward the Earth, bathing her and all her denizens in a purifying flood of energy…. The active parts of our brains are expanding past the fear and survival-based tiny percentage previously available. Imagine branches, or antennae or streams of energy leaving your brain and extending into all other realms/dimensions of existence – we are evolving (for some of us, being catapulted) into a multidimensional state of being. Indigenous prophecies of Turtle Island call this the Fifth Root Race of humanity, or the People of the Eighth Fire….

Our skin does not have to be seen as armour anymore, protecting us from the Jungle Out There. Become aware that this membrane that you have thought of as the frontier between You and The World is an illusion – not only is it full of holes on a macro level, but when you delve into the atomic scale of things, the deep, velvety void that underpins all Existence is ubiquitous and identical in both the somewhat fuzzy and arbitrary Inside and Out…. Particles resonating with your intentions can be found waaaaaay outside the conventional limits of your body, and even of your “personal space”.

Each breath you take has travelled to you through clouds and streams and stars, passing through the bodies of multitudes of other beings before flowing through you. As you exhale, you send your breath, tinted with your own colours, to continue circulating through the multiverse. Cultivating the physical sensation of gratitude and wonder sets up a high vibratory frequency that we share with the world with every breath.  And when we lay our bodies back down in the earth, we will have assisted in the elevation of the planet….

Like a rainbow’s colours, phasing and melding one into the next, the fractal layers of this planetary reality intersect and reflect each other: the symptoms erupting in your physical body and in your life are manifestations of the same clearing being experienced in families and communities, in cultures and societies and in the body of the planet.

We are the Earth in transformation: feel this as reality in your bones and flesh and breath….  Hold gratitude in your heart, still and strong. As you walk through your life, do so in full awareness of the Light that You Are.

Go and Shine.

Go and Shine.

Go and Shine….P1400261

Blessèd Be…

 

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The Tyranny of “Normal”

First posted in August, 2014.

Still relevant….

 

Not by any means a novel concept, but one that has been even more deeply etched into my heart these past few months, is the extent to which our definition of  ‘sane’ and ‘normal’ is an effective means of social control. This has been a recurring motif throughout my life, challenging all the little pieces in the puzzle of Identity – it is no surprise that it has come back to stare me in the face once more.

All that is Different is suspect – this is one of the fundamental survival tenets of Clan and Tribe. It is what keeps us safely within the white picket fence, tucked into the fluffy white smugness of Belonging. It is what ensures us support in times of distress – our Homeys will get our backs. Family is Forever – have you heard that as often as I? Family…Clan…Society… We long ago learned that we must conform in order to deserve the benefits that derive from the human community. The enforced submission to social pressure is a well-documented and long-standing aspect of human culture and tradition.  ‘Io, Galileo Galilei…’, begins the text, still very legible in brown ink, written with a strong hand on technologically-preserved parchment. (see: https://dawnbramadat.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/lux-in-arcana/) In 1633, Galileo was forced to recant his heliocentric understanding of the solar system or be burnt at the stake; in 1992, the Vatican admitted it had unjustly condemned him. (http://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/31/world/after-350-years-vatican-says-galileo-was-right-it-moves.html)

Some degree of iconoclasm is acceptable – in artists, and, in times past when higher learning was supported by religion and aristocracy, not corporations, in the theoretical meanderings of Academia. But in-your-face Different is not cut of the same cloth – it is a threat to community identity and homogeneity, and therefore makes something in that reptilian hindbrain of ours go ‘Ding’ as adrenalin mounts and we begin frothing irrational slurs.

There is a psychological term dealing with the discomfort created by Otherness: ‘norm violation’. It’s got a distinctively criminal ring to it, don’t you think? This label is reserved for the sort of behaviour that makes a particular society cluck its collective tongue in disapproval and is used to explain the phenomenon of shunning. An individual who has the temerity to act as if she is not bound by the same rules as everyone else is ignored completely and sometimes even treated as if she has died. Excommunication, disinheritance and exile are of the same order of punishment: ‘You are no longer one of Us’.

But, as J. Krishnamurti famously said, ‘It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society’, and I would venture to suggest that few of the deeper thinkers on this present Earth of ours would give their social orders a clean bill of health.

Prof. Cornelius Jaenen, a specialist in early French-Canadian history at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, postulated that the thick volume of early laws that historians (still) use as evidence of oppression by France over its colony is rather an indication of a people who excelled in finding loopholes in the law. A regulation might state, for example, that ‘Persons shall not race their horses around the church during the saying of High Mass.’ The following year a regulation is added, reading: ‘Persons shall not race their horses around the church during the saying of Low Mass.’ It is clear that we are dealing with a resilient and witty folk – a far cry from the subservient populace of conventional wisdom.

I think we are dealing with something similar now. The internet has given us degrees of access to information and self-expression that were unthinkable even 10 years ago, and this coincides with an activation of other networks – of consciousness and planetary and universal Oneness. This is a time of great awakening and transformation – many feel we are in the Shift of the Ages (see my article in The Heretic magazine, Vol.5, ‘The Shift of the Ages’: http://www.amazon.ca/The-Heretic-Magazine-Volume-5-ebook/dp/B00K1P6LJS). As greater numbers of us snap out of the limited-visioned torpor that has been defined for us as normalcy and sanity, more repressive regulations are being created and applied with greater force.

Fatima Doumbouya recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl at her off-grid home in Pennsylvania – this was suspicious enough for medical authorities to seize the new-born for further ‘testing’ when the parents brought her to the hospital 6 days later for a routine check-up, and for accusations of negligence to be laid with Child Protection Services (see http://waittilyouhearthis.com/hospital-refuses-to-let-home-birth-mom-leave-with-her-baby ¸ and http://www.naturalcuresnotmedicine.com/2014/06/police-confiscate-healthy-baby-born-home.html ), accomplishing the secondary benefit of sowing terror and rage in home-birthing and off-grid populations.

Although the buzz-word of the last little while has been ‘sustainability’, if one raises it from out of the slimy context of the U.N. Agenda 21 ( http://www.postsustainabilityinstitute.org/what-is-un-agenda-21.html ) and actually lives it, one becomes a trouble-maker…even a potential terrorist.  (http://www.trueactivist.com/florida-mandates-off-grid-living-illegal/  and  http://thebovine.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/raw-milk-farmer-michael-schmidt-on-saving-the-sheep-from-the-wolves  and http://worldtruth.tv/collecting-rainwater-now-illegal-in-many-states-as-big-government-claims-ownership-over-our-water/ and http://www.wesupportorganic.com/2014/05/michigan-loses-right-to-farm-this-week-a-farewell-to-backyard-chickens-and-beekeepers.html) Suburbs are defined by lawns, and you’d better not try to plant anything that deviates from this often-toxic aesthetic – it’s actually illegal in many parts of the North American continent (http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/right-to-grow-food-zl0z1211zrob.aspx#axzz36F4TSN00).

The official definition of terrorism in N. America has been stretched like cling wrap around the populace to smother dissenters, including those ‘reverent of individual liberty’ and ‘suspicious of centralized federal authority’ who ‘pay with cash’, ‘travel illogical distances’ or ‘stockpile food’ (http://pandaunite.org/who-is-a-terrorist/ and http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/21/official-says-water-complaints-act-of-terrorism/2445071/ ). Are you fed up with your school dress code? What!? Where on earth did you get those terrorist inclinations (http://pandaunite.org/ndaa-middle-school-students-plan-to-break-dress-code-principal-screams-terrorism/ )? Facebook’s recent disclosure of psychological experiments done on thousands of members to determine the malleability of their emotional states is disturbing, but the more alarming aspect of the story is the U.S. Department of Defense’s role in this ‘research’ (http://www.freedominfonet.net/facebooks-psychological-experiments-connected-department-defense-research-civil-unrest/).

Increasingly militarised police forces around the planet are engaging in wholesale plagiarism of the Old Testament, meting terror and conflagration for perceived threats to The Code – but people are FINALLY noticing. The American Civil Liberties Union issued its annual report on June 23 of this year, entitled ‘War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Police’ (https://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/war-comes-home-excessive-militarization-american-police-report) and Bill Maher (a popular U.S. TV personality) entitled his monologue of July 25 ‘Blitzkrieg Cop’: http://youtu.be/qM0diRFBifA. On the morning of August 17, I opened my computer to see that the National Guard had been called in to the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. On August 9, 18-year-old Michael Brown had been shot dead by a police officer who fired 6 bullets into him as his hands were raised in the air and he was allegedly saying ‘Don’t shoot!’ A few days later, lawyer Mya Aaten-White was shot in the head, inspiring Harvard University law students to gather for an iconic photo that was sent tweeting around the globe (https://twitter.com/The_Blackness48/status/499714499688300545/photo/1https://twitter.com/The_Blackness48/status/499714499688300545/photo/1). Protesters and hordes of media in the streets of St. Louis resulted in the classic solution on August 17 – Call in the Guard!

People of colour in the Americas are used to being harassed at the very least – we learn to roll with it as a basic survival skill. But the infamous 1% is defining itself more and more precisely by alienating an ever-widening spectrum of the population, and all of us squeezed into this little corner are beginning to talk to each other, or at least overhear each other’s conversations. Finally, missing and murdered aboriginal women are being noticed. The horrifying extent (http://www.globalresearch.ca/global-human-trafficking-a-modern-form-of-slavery/5377853 ) of the slave trade of primarily women and children is no longer the best-kept secret of global heads of Church and State. The debilitating effects of white patriarchy on humanity of all genders, colours and creeds cannot be ignored – it is just too big and nasty a critter to sweep under the carpet anymore.  I won’t even begin here to broach the topic of Israel…or Syria…or Egypt…or….Well, we could go on and on, couldn’t we?

Die Gedanken sind frei’ – ‘Thoughts are free’ – expressed an ancient human sentiment when it was composed by an unknown hand during the Peasant Wars in Germany in the 1520s (Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer, Songs of Work and Protest, 1973). Tailored to time and oppressions by such various voices as Mahler in 1898 for Lieder aus “Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Pete Seeger for his 1966 album, Dangerous Songs!? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbwQXVcbkU0), Megaherz (Wer Bist Du, 1997) and Brazilian Girls (Brazilian Girls, 2005) it is even in the Unitarian Universalist Church hymn-book, where I heard it first as a child.

The most contentious piece of real estate on the planet is now between our ears. Perhaps our due diligence at this point is to realise the extent to which our thoughts are not free, but rather programmed by various strains of survival mentality, all based in fear.

 ‘There is a war on for your mind’, declares the slogan of InfoWars, one of the multitude of alternative news outlets available to those of us who question the baby-food menus of mainstream media. (InfoWars is famously rabid – I do not suggest swallowing their content without a healthy dose of scepticism) Religion may once have been the opiate of the masses, but The Screen has supplanted it as our drug of choice.

Decades ago I went looking outside of my field of study in oriental medicine because I felt that this discipline had classed human emotions as symptoms of imbalance rather than honouring them as tools for self-understanding and realisation. That belief has been adopted by and now pervades allopathic medicine as well; we are all being convinced that we are mentally ill, requiring medication. ‘I mean’, how can we possibly remain productive members of society if we have to deal with the deep, deep wells of anger, sadness, fear and creative inspiration that lurk under the surface of every one of us? This could lead to chaos – social disintegration – the creaking halt of the wheels of the global economy! ‘Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!’

Not only have we reached the boiling point of generations of suppressed emotions and self-expression, we are also evolving into a fuller experience of our multidimensionality. ‘Gifts’ that once would relegate us to travelling freak shows are becoming the new normal: Everyone is psychic/telepathic/time-travelling…

Last month I spent a day in court defending a friend’s right not to be diagnosed as schizophrenic, incarcerated in a psych ward and injected with psychotropic drugs against her will. She’s a medicine woman, for heaven’s sake! What is she supposed to say when you ask her, ‘Do you hear voices?’! And anyway, don’t we all hear voices these days? It has become more a question of which ones we choose to listen to… The psychiatrist on my friend’s case considers himself extremely with-it. ‘I’m not here to be the tool of a patriarchal, colonial power’ was proclaimed to us before a cluster of his devotees, followed in private, witnessed only by my friend and me, by a chilling ‘I’ve been given this power and I am going to use it’.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the real War on Terror is being fought within ourselves, as we resist the powerful forces attempting with heavier and heavier jackbooted steps to suppress every wisp and whimsy of self-realisation. Confronted with a tsunami of planetary transformative momentum, it is taking ever-increasing quantities of determination and energy to maintain the fear of not fitting into cookie-cutter ‘little boxes on a hillside’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_2lGkEU4Xs) herd reality.

The next time you hear that internalised voice of your culture insisting, ‘If you do that they’ll think you’re crazy’… why not just GO for it! You may give someone else the courage to do the same…

Blessings,

Dawn

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The Return of the Mommy…

Reposting, with love….

First posted on July 28, 2012

Ok, people…Let’s put all the hidden weapons on the table: all the arguments with teeth, the pointed looks, the dismissing gestures – yes, the prayer books, the time-worn copy of The Secret Doctrine and the crystal wands as well… and the crucifixes and malas and everything else that you use to protect yourself when backed up against material existence.

Let’s get rid of the uncomfortably-pitched, holier-than-Thou tone of voice and the tight smiles and the bowing and scraping. Turn off the ambient trance-inducing music, take the buds out of your ears and shut off that Eckhart Tolle CD. Put out the incense and the smudge stick, stash the Ayahuasca, close up that crown chakra  and come sit here by the fire. We need to talk.

Sometimes I wonder whether I will live long enough to see us make it through this shift – to see people really GET the Divine Feminine….

We know that we need to protect the Earth –  Facebook is rife with achingly beautiful photos of this jewel of a planet invoking our love of nature and images of logging and oil-interest devastation evoking shame and incredulous rage (and eventually, hopefully, inspiring action).  The Earth aspect of the Divine Feminine is easy to wrap our minds and hearts around, right..?

But the ideals and principles that we are fighting for –what we would often say is our mission in life – are based on the opposite of what we saw and were programmed with when we were young. We struggle for justice when we have experienced injustice; we dedicate our lives to helping children because we were wounded deeply when we were kids – we push against what hurts us and make this the focus of our lives. The problem is that what was programmed into us – what we experienced between about 0 – 5 years of age – is the foundation of our belief systems. What we consider to be the ideals upon which we found our existence are therefore actually fighting against what we really believe. And so we struggle and fight and sacrifice – all those words based in opposition – but we at the same time are denying what our true beliefs are, and in the end we will sabotage our own struggle. The person who throws herself at the world to prove that she is NOT stupid, ordinary, fragile, powerless, that she will never get anywhere in life, etc. really believes on an absolute cellular level that she is all those things….If we fight for justice, it is more than likely because we truly believe that the world is an unjust place….and it is our core beliefs that create our realities, NOT our ideals. So…we will always have something to fight against…unless we can recognise and release our programming.

We’ve learned through the millennia that life in a physical body is a battle – our bodies are prisons that we must struggle to feed, clothe and protect. On top of this, we come into a body and the first thing the vast majority of us learn is that we must mould our behaviour in order to be loved by the people upon whom we are dependent for our physical survival. We learn that in order to be loved and cared for (and by corollary, therefore to survive physically), we must betray our souls – our true selves…. The soul/body split is underscored and an antipathy toward the body is instilled. At the same time, a love-hate relationship is established with Mother – one that will colour our perceptions of food, of the Earth and of our bodies, particularly if they happen to be female…..

What I am saying here is that the vast majority of us, particularly in spiritual communities, have not come anywhere near admitting, much less understanding, the extent of the distaste /distrust/disgust we really feel about those Other aspects of the Divine Feminine – motherhood, our bodies and material existence in general. Yes, we find kittens and flowers and sunsets beautiful, but they’re not quite enough to balance out the dissonant down side of physicality – old age, war, poverty, cruelty, disease….. We focus on our minds and spirits and all the different techniques we can learn and apply to get out of here as fast as possible.

“God the Father” is the absent daddy who is always a hero and can do no wrong because he is never around – Mother Earth is the ever-present and therefore non-respected mommy who has historically shouldered most of the blame and responsibility for anything that’s gone awry.  Our present state of awareness is similar to that of the person who declares “My mother was a saint”, while never, EVER wanting to be like her….. Daddy may have been a creep – but he had all the power….

Throughout my life, I have often found it wearing and even heartbreaking to be an advocate for the Feminine – for our bodies as part of the Earth, not only as repositories of our human history, but also as the one necessary tool to our ascension – and this has not only been because of being the object of so many mommy projections…. I guess that this particular rant has been a long time coming!

Here it goes:

  • Training our bodies to look great (whatever that means to us individually) and to make them do everything and anything we want them to do does notequate with loving our bodies, any more than we are really “loving” a child or an animal as long as it is obedient, or loving Nature only when it is manicured and domesticated, not wild;
  • Loving the Earth while hating Humanity is a non sequitur – we are all part of the living being that is Gaia;
  • We women are just as, if not more, misogynous as men:  we revere our intellects and dislike and abuse our bodies; we claim to crave sisterhood but so often prefer the company of men – or male-defined women; we are still buying all the negative stereotypes about our emotions, the ability to receive and the ability to simply Be without performing – all of these seen as evidence of weakness and vulnerability;
  • To the frustration/amusement of many female teachers, a male voice is almost always given more credibility and therefore more support. A woman can say something for years that will only be heard when it is said by a man. Published authors are routinely favoured for promotion over anyone working in the oral and experiential traditions.
  • Most of us are like tourists in our bodies – and we consider it an extreme adventure to even do a day-trip into our hearts. The belly – well – that’s like walking into a war zone. That is where we have stored all the toxic waste of our lives – the sludge of shame and self-hatred that surrounds and eventually suffocates the creative life force that also lives there…. Any activity that pulls us into our bellies – sex, pregnancy and birth, belly-dancing – will end up emotionally far messier than we often imagine

Our work to rediscover the Divine Feminine (she hasn’t gone anywhere, by the way, and exists quite independently of our ability or inability to perceive her) must involve some potentially less-than-pleasant forays into our bodies, to unpack from our cells the mouldering ancestral beliefs about physical reality and our place within it…. In encountering and witnessing these beliefs, we can release them bit by bit and so liberate both our bodies and our ancestors of the limitations of duality… We will finally be able to exercise our true free will to create the future we desire….

We are in the process of birthing a New Human. It’s a normal birth, with the head presenting first….but the body must follow….!  To become fully incarnate, body and soul uniting the duality of Heaven and Earth/ Spirit and Matter, is, I believe, our destiny…and our responsibility.

Stay with me a bit, here by the fire….With feet rooted in the earth, imaginations stretching into the multiverse, hearts connected by our common humanity…our common destiny…Can you not feel it in your bones and flesh, how wonderful it is – what an honour it is – to be in this body, here and now? As gratitude fills your heart and spreads to warm your Being, the Goddess rises within you….

Blessèd Be!

Blessings and Love,

Dawn

For support with living in your body, you can go to:

https://dawnbramadat.wordpress.com/visualizations/    (in English and French)

 

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We ALL have PTSD : TriggersRUs

It seems to me that in the Pre-Trump Era (PTE) there were trigger warnings popping up every time we blinked, preceding all but the most neutered of media offerings. “Careful, now – hearing/watching/reading this bit of information may just bring up some nasty memories from your past! (and we don’t want to be sued for that!)” Has anyone else noticed that there’s significantly less of these niceties now? The present U.S. President has lowered the bar on political correctness so far as to allow precious few of us to limbo easily under, safely untriggered….

I recently had to tell a young woman that if she was unwilling to be triggered, she’d better not come to see me. My understanding is that to heal our wounding, we must bravely go where no one (in our families) has gone before, diving into our cellular memories to become aware of, to feel, and to then have the opportunity to release the pain and trauma that we have inherited through generations and carefully maintained as essential aspects of Who We Are.

Crippling PTSD is experienced by war veterans, survivors of sexual abuse, crime victims, survivors of natural disasters, survivors of terrorist attacks, refugees from war-stricken lands…the list is expanding exponentially.  The same symptoms can be found, though, in those who have experienced systemic racism and misogyny, whose families are hiding secrets… really, in everyone who has felt enough shame to hide their true thoughts and feelings from the world. Precious few of us are free of somatised trauma.

Lascaux hands

We are the sum total of all the stories that have been told about us – this is an ancient understanding of the world’s wisdom traditions and indigenous cultures, and is finally being tentatively accepted by western scientific communities.

Just think about the history of humanity on this planet. If you believe in past lives, just how many of them do you think are likely to have ended peacefully at a ripe old age? Even if you don’t believe that the soul reincarnates, what about our biological family histories?

What do you really know about your ancestors – the people who programmed the DNA blueprint from which your body emerged? Do you know anything about the lives and struggles that have created your life and body? Chances are that it has not all been bouquets and picnics….

gatheringoftheclans-1

[The Prince of Wales hosts the legendary 19th Century Gathering of the Clans. Identified are the Chieftains of the Clans Cameron, Campbell, Chisholm, Farquharson, Fraser, Forbes, Gordon, Graham, MacDonald, MacDonnell, MacFarlane, MacGregor, MacIntosh, MacKenzie, MacLachlan, MacLean, MacNab, MacPherson, MacRae, Munro, Murray, Ross, Scott, Stewart, Sutherland.]

 

It used to be that when tribes or clans gathered, or when ceremonies were held,the participants would announce who they were by reciting their genealogies. Names of the ancestors were spoken in recognition of their presence, physically in the blood and bones of the speaker, as well as in spirit, as they were called into the circle.

How many generations back are you able to name your People..? There may be a few sheets of paper somewhere that Cousin Martha has put together because she’s into that sort of thing – a diagram of connected and broken lines – a short-hand for lives/unions made, lived, dissolved…. Can you summon the names of your predecessors from memory, and with a feeling for the flesh-and-blood people who carried those names?

Most of us cannot, but nevertheless, we are more and more aware that we carry the stories of our ancestors in our bones and blood – in our DNA. Intergenerational trauma is finally being recognised as a major factor in the understanding and treatment of addiction, depression, and other self-destructive states. Family histories of suffering and/or joy and accomplishment become our personal measures of value and success.

Over the course of a few decades of listening to people’s stories of trauma and suffering, I’ve come to believe that we’ve all ended up with PTSD, and that the the reason for this boils down to the fact that we have learned to define personal value as having power over something or someone.

Pyramidal structures of social hierarchy arose so long ago that we believe them to be natural and inevitable. Studies of animal communities undertaken to understand the evolution of social organizations are based in the assumption that there will always be competition for resources – food, territory, or mating partners – and that power hierarchies are a natural result of this struggle. Any given population will expand to the limit of available resources, power dynamics will result, and the hierarchypopulation will then stabilise to a place of equilibrium with its environment.

Although most discourse on the topic assumes that scarcity of resources will inevitably create a power hierarchy, the opposite is also true, and pyramidal hierarchies depend on scarcity – on the fear of not having Enough. We’ve established that often the intelligent, connected and wily are those that will reach the apexes of power, but it doesn’t take a degree in marketing to figure out that as long as people believe they need and desire something that we can provide, we’ve got it made!

This pyramid paradigm perhaps began with brute dominance – the Right of Might…the Law of the Jungle…eat or be eaten. Testosterone and adrenaline were required to push dominant individuals to the top of the Physical Survival pecking order and maintain their position once they got there. Being quick of mind also helps us survive, though, as does heightened intuition and other-dimensional perception – if one is not able to dominate physically, either in strength or in beauty/fertility, one can find power in other ways. Those over whom we have power may have others under their power and control, extending our influence and increasing our perceived personal worth. Although at some point, the human brain proved equal if not more powerful than brawn, it still takes a huge and constant expenditure of energy to plot, manipulate and negotiate one’s way to the pinnacles of power and stay there (Have any of you watched A Lion in Winter?). Power/control/dominance became a commodity available to anyone with the stomach and stamina to achieve and maintain it.

The beauty of this setup is that wherever you are in the pyramid, you can find someone below you. The employee at the bottom of the food chain in a factory, subject to the whims of overseers and bosses, can go home and beat his wife, who yells at the kids who torture the dog. You’ll probably also agree that when we are tired and people ask us for things (i.e. When we are maybe not so sure we can provide what they want and maintain our image as The Person in Power), we tend to get cranky – even nasty. Just think about being an exhausted parent….

Actually, when I think about it, it’s been suggested that the pyramidal power paradigm took over when certain cultures made their supreme deity into a bossy Big Daddy. Maybe he just got reeeeeeally tired…?

Most of the colonial settlers who came from Europe were fleeing something – saving some treasured part of their identities from annihilation. True to time-honoured human tradition, they turned around and attempted to obliterate identities of the communities they found once they got here. The cultures that value domination have run rough-shod over those based in cooperation for millennia.

C_council-circle1

Tribal Council Circle

These days, traditional earth-based societies that never relinquished the Circle of Equality for the Pyramid of Hierarchy are rare, but many indigenous people have held on to their traditions, and kept them alive in oral teachings that could not be wholly destroyed as long as some of their people survived.

The abused will abuse, the powerless will dominate with whatever power is sprinkled their way – we have see-sawed back and forth between extremes of power-defined dualities through generations and generations. Those of us who define ourselves as poor, powerless victims often bolster our sense of self by considering ourselves morally superior – which is still a manifestation of the need to have some sort of power over someone.

I feel it’s important to recognise that the infamous 1% learned to be avaricious – loss of ancestral lands and wealth, betrayal by ‘others’ – a confluence of painful situations cultivated the need to accrue material wealth as security – the only ‘true’ security. The privilege accorded to the wealthy has been predicated on disempowerment of the have-nots, and the slow-grinding wheels of time have left many of us with the perception that The Rich and The Poor are real and permanent categories of existence – the only ones that count.

The language of activism so often revolves around these polarities. We will wrest 720px-Fist.svgpower from the hands of those presently in control. We must never relinquish The Struggle – demanding/fighting/opposing with all our might. But duality is a closed system. There are only 2 options, and any ‘change’ is a flip-flop of extremes from heads to tails, black to white, in power to powerless, ad nauseum.

I, for one, am grateful for the people and situations that land in my path and wreak havoc in my life! I believe that a wiser part of myself called them to me so that I can be ‘triggered’ (not a word I normally use ). The more intense an emotional reaction I have to something or someone, the deeper in my unconscious resides the original memory that is being activated.

Emotions are running very high these days for many of us who have declared to the Multiverse that we wish to manifest the clearest, most light-filled versions of Ourselves.  Old themes that we thought had been dealt with lifetimes ago are rising, consciousness Whack-a-Moles, giving us another shot before they duck down into our bellies again to hide – until the next trigger! 

When we’ve been taught that ‘negative’ emotions are not ‘spiritual’, we can end up judging ourselves pretty harshly. The thing is, when we can stop bashing the stuff coming up – when we can manage to witness difficult thoughts and emotions with an amused curiosity rather than shrivelling shame, they gradually just fade away! It’s the most amazing, miraculous, liberating experience – and accessible to anyone with the intention to live it….

Blessèd Be!Life's enjoyment

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