It’s about Subjugation

I’m not a fan of the March for Life or even the moniker “pro-life” for the people who are anti-abortion.  Watching our country’s representatives rail against abortion while abolishing the ACA says to me that they don’t really give a fuck about life.  If someone were truly pro-life they would be fine with the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), they would be fine with low income families receiving Link or other aid so they don’t starve to death or die.  They’d be ok with allowing refugees to come to our country.

They would actually fight for the lives of the living beings as well, not just those in utero.

Spoiler alert – they don’t actually care about life.

When they de-fund free contraception and teach abstinence only, abortions increase.  This has been shown in various studies.  If someone is truly against abortion because they feel it is murder, they should be the biggest proponents sex education and contraception on the planet.

However, the virulent anti-choicers out there are now attacking contraception, sex education, and other systems that actually PREVENT abortions – don’t even get me started on the demonization of Planned Parenthood, one of the biggest organizations out there providing the tools to avoid abortion.  This illustrates that the anti-abortionists don’t actually care about the lives of unborn children, they care about the subjugation of women.

Pro-lifers handing out condoms and sex-ed pamphlets would show me they care about the unborn, but instead most of them just think you shouldn’t have sex.  As if it weren’t a biological imperative.

All of which is to say that I’m done with the abortion debate.  As far as I am concerned the abortion debate is simple – let us do what we want with our bodies.  Period.

Women wanting body autonomy has been at the crux of most of my feminist issues.  No one should feel ownership over my body except for me.

After the March for Life I read a Rachel Maddow quote about how if women are forced to have a child because abortion is illegal then men should have to be there to pay for child support.  That’s a lovely thought that ignores the history of abuse that is often intricately tied to childbearing.  Abusive men will tamper with birth control.  Abusive men will knock someone up to “keep” them bound to their side.

Hell, a rapist can knock someone up and then sue her for custody and visitation rights, meaning that the rapist is now in the woman’s life forever, even though she didn’t want him in the first place.  This isn’t something men have to worry about.

One of the most effective ways to subjugate women is to keep them poor and pregnant.  That seems to be what this administration is all about.


We’re Pissed

People have been having some run-ins with “angry” feminists. There are so many schools of feminist thought that no one person can speak for all, but I will tell you where this feminist is coming from and how I think it might apply to run-ins with “angry” feminists people might be experiencing.

Ever since the election there is a part of my brain that feels like it’s on fire with rage. It’s visceral and real and constant. Frustration and fury are omnipresent.

I’m pissed. We have a rapist president because of many reasons, but the biggest one is the inherent misogyny in our society. Trump won because he has a penis even though he is a demonstrable monster lacking empathy or morality.

My husband was trying to support a friend arguing about why women felt betrayed and I asked if I should jump in on the conversation, too, and he said, “No, I think we need more than a ‘Fuck off and die’ for this argument” because there is a part of me furious at ALL men because this happened. My knee jerk response to these dumb reactions tends to begin and end there.

I can recognize this and tamp it down with logic, but I’m seriously at the point of slitting Bern Bros throats just for speaking. I’m tired of men getting make the rules and women being fucked over in the process. This country hates women so much we elected Cheeto Hitler.

We already have laws being suggested making it easier to rape. The president sets the tone, whether we like it or not, and our rapist president’s tone puts all women in danger. Before he was even sworn in, women reported being grabbed by the pussy and the total lack of help they received when they reported it.

All of which is to say that being told to fuck off because you’re a man trying to add to the conversation doesn’t surprise me. If these women are anything like me they feel betrayed even by our male allies, especially the so-called allies tearing down Clinton with terms like Kilary etc. We’re fucking pissed off enough to march globally in goddamn January.

Women have been told how to act, think, behave, fuck, drink, dress, talk, argue and everything else under the sun so much that we’ve collectively hit a breaking point. When a man opens up his mouth to comment on how we should protest, too, it becomes infuriating.

This is not to excuse their behavior but to maybe explain why you aren’t getting a terribly warm response.

Compassion Over Conflict During Mars Retrograde

OK, Goddesses … here is a 3 page (literally – three single spaced pages in my word document) article I’ve been writing for the last hour or so. It expresses some very important thoughts and feelings that I need to share with all of you.

Many of us have felt the direct effects of the 2014 Mars retrograde. As we’ve discussed, “retrogrades” have these rocky influences on our lives, and the important thing to remember when working with these energies is the “re” … reflect, remember, reexamine, reevaluate, reimagine, recreate, redo, repair … repose …

In specific reference to Mars, retrogrades happen only about once every two years, but last several months. The current retrograde isn’t over until July 21, 2014. Here is some information from Café Astrology about the current Mars retrograde:

When Mars is in its retrograde cycle, we are forced to re-assess our current projects, our approach to getting what we want, and our desire nature. Rather than directly asserting our desires, we tend towards introspection … with Mars in retrograde motion, Mars energy is essentially turned inward–it’s internalized, intensified, personalized, and perhaps pressurized. We can be hesitant about taking action, second-guessing our instincts or our natural impulses rather than acting upon them […] When anger is internalized, there can be some rather negative byproducts, such as tension, resentment, depression, apathy, and even some paranoia. […] We might require more rest than usual. Some of us are more accident-prone or illness-prone, almost as if the cosmos are forcing us to slow down if we haven’t listened to our natural impulses to take a break. It’s time for regrouping, and this is important on both physical and emotional levels. […] Rather than direct and healthy expressions or outlets for frustrations, we might resort to sneaky, indirect, or obtuse methods of going after what we want. If we push ahead impulsively, we run into problems, obstacles, and frustrations.

In addition to Mars in retrograde, we’ve experienced a lot of astrological influences in the past week that lead us towards irrational behavior, quick anger responses, confusion, flights of imagination and fancy, and on Wednesday and Thursday last week specifically, an inability to develop closeness and connection with friends and loved ones.

I’ve been prattling on about these energies for several days. I think it’s very important for us to be aware of these energetic influences, so that we can understand what might otherwise seem to us to be irrational thoughts or behaviors – either from ourselves or others – practice patience and compassion – BOTH with ourselves and others – and temper our responses in able to internalize, hold space, and actively engage in all the “re”s mentioned earlier. This is how we grow. If we didn’t face tests and trials, we would remain stagnant. We need these energies to help us reflect, reexamine, and learn from our experiences and internal natures. We need these challenges to push us further. If we think about our water exercise – the vesica piscis – this is exactly what that is all about.

So now I want to get right down to the nitty-gritty, and it’s about “re”action and “re”sponse.

The manners in which we react to external situations, events, discussions, matters and issues are a personal thing. We encounter comments, conversations, behaviors, interactions and events that do affect and raise emotions within us. Emotions are visceral, and we simply can’t help the way we “feel”. But we can control the way we react, and, in turn, the way we respond. Bringing personal emotions into these matters can often turn what may just be simple matters of problem-solving and solution-seeking into conflict and drama.

This brings me to the very reason I’m personally reexamining discussions, actions and reactions, behaviors, and motivations we as a group have encountered as a whole. What I’ve seen and realized as problem-solution events can easily become “conflicts”, “fights” and thus “drama,” based on the manner in which we may or may not react to those events.

Not everything that comes up as a logistic that needs to be worked out, a decision that needs to be made, a matter of how to work out issues that affect one or all of us or our group energies, needs to become “conflict”. The very term “conflict” is defined as:

1. to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; clash. 2. to fight or contend; do battle. 3. a fight, battle, or struggle, especially a prolonged struggle; strife. 4. controversy; quarrel: conflicts between parties.

Conflict implies a FIGHT. Conflict implies that lines are drawn, we are divided, and we are focused more on working towards winning a battle rather than working towards finding a solution or compromise that works towards the good of the group.

I truly believe, as a group of peers, equals, sisters … with a goal of exploring our spirituality, growing magickally in a safe space we provide for each of us, working with women’s energies, learning about women’s roles in religion and spirituality in varied systems and cultures, and providing love and support, that it is very necessary to allow everyone a voice. When asked our opinions, when discussing how decisions affect us as individuals, when each woman gives her input and ideas, we are working towards solution and compromise. If we don’t agree with what another says, feels or believes, this does not mean we have to react as if her words were an attack. This does not mean we are in “conflict”; this means we, like any group of individuals, have different opinions and ideas, and that is GOOD. We each have that voice, so that as a collective, we can hear one another and strive towards SOLUTION.

When we engage in the process of discussion and problem-solving, but in turn react in response to a perceived “conflict”, then our process becomes one of “drama,” where lines are drawn, feelings get hurt, people “choose sides” and the overall energies and harmonies of the group are damaged. These reactions are not conducive to coming to solutions that work best for the majority of sisters and flow with the focus and intentions of the group.

I think it’s important to hold space for one another when such issues arise. For example, “When we’re faced with this kind of situation, especially one that has yet to be completely resolved, we have good cause to refrain from snap judgement, and to hold space. “Holding space” may be a useful way for Pagans to practice discernment, for by holding space I mean waiting, listening, keeping in kind thoughts all the parties involved. […] Our partisanship does not always contribute to the resolution of political conflicts. It often exacerbates it. The quick creation of an “Us v.s. Them” mentality makes it very difficult to consider all of the information with a clear head and without bias” (Teo Bishop, “How Do We Respond to Conflict in Pagan Communities?”).

I personally found my reactions to the problem and resultant reactions to problem-solving over the past few days as LACKING in compassion and understanding, on my part. Yes – I said LACKING IN COMPASSION ON MY PART. But I stepped back and reexamined, reevaluated, and THEN responded. By the same token, I perceived that reactions to my efforts were met with a level of emotional manipulation and a certain level of questioning of my abilities and experiences in facilitation. That is my ego speaking, and my own emotions very raw and on display for all of you to see. What my goal and intentions boil down to is nothing more than this: I want this group to be one of safe space, support, focus, sisterhood, and a positive experience for the women who participate. I work very hard towards this goal, and like any human being, my emotional state and energies reveal that vulnerability, and I am angry and hurt when I feel like others don’t understand or see this. However, my reactions and responses are what ultimately affect the group. I responded by being honest, expressing my opinions, and doing my best to find a solution that worked.

So, back to the nitty-gritty … not every situation is a “conflict”. We don’t have to draw battle lines. Each woman’s honest opinion about her experiences and energies within our space is valid and must be heard, while we hold space for one another, and respond with honesty, openness, and compassion. This isn’t a “fight”; this isn’t “drama”. This is a group coming together to work towards growth and sisterhood. Everyone’s opinions and needs are important. We can’t forsake our focus and experience in group for the conveniences of a few, but we can work together towards finding solutions that can best accommodate everyone. If accommodations cannot always logistically be met, we must each take personal responsibility for ourselves, our own energies, and respect the needs of the rest of the group.

Unsung Heroes – Like My Mother, and Like Her Mother Before Her

My mother was a trailblazer.  She is not famous, although in our home town she cannot go anywhere without running into ten people that know and like her.  She is not a world renowned figure.  She is not someone that you will read about in the history of feminism.  That doesn’t really mean anything, though.  The reason women have made the strides for equality successfully is because of the unknown trailblazers like my mother, the women who simply defied convention to go their own way.

My mother was born in the late 1940’s and raised Catholic.  She went to Catholic school, she played the organ at all of the Catholic masses growing up, and she was considered a “good girl”.  What my mother really want to be when she grew up was a physical therapist.  However, her father wanted her to be a wife and mother.  He refused to pay for her schooling.  My grandmother worked as a nurse, though, and thus was able to afford to send my mother to nursing school.  My mother did not go to school to be a physical therapist, but was able to go to nurses training and become an RN.

Her mother told her that education was important because no one could ever take it away from her.  This sounds like a small act of defiance, not much of a big deal, but you have to think of the time period here.  The early 1960’s, as an only child colluding with her mother to defy her father, going to nursing school was very much a brave act of defiance.  A young woman at that time period simply did not do things like that.  Except people like my mother did.  These little acts of defiance, standing up for what she wanted, even if it was merely a compromise, was a huge deal.

My grandfather was not an easy man, and could really make life miserable for the people around him when he didn’t get his way.  My mother has spoken of how he refused to speak to her for weeks at a time.  As a people pleaser, I cannot imagine how much determination and bravery it took for my mother to simply follow through with her own plans for the future.  To simply choose a small part of her own future, a compromise at that, was an unpleasant, uphill battle.

The fact of the matter is that my mother getting that education was important to the success of our family, as she was able to bring in enough money to afford to send her kids to college, because she had three girls and she wanted to make sure that they all had an education, because it would be something that was theirs alone, and no one could ever take it away from them.

Another act of defiance from my mother came from her desire to marry my father.  My dad lived, literally, on the wrong side of the tracks from my mother in my hometown.  My mother lived on Elm Street, and across the railroad tracks, my father lived on Oakland.  Good side, bad side.  My father was a Marine, he rode a motorcycle, he smoked, and he probably scared the shit out of my grandfather.  My grandfather made the mistake of telling my mother that she would not be able to marry my father (or possibly even see my father, I need call her and ask what the exact ultimatum was) while she was living under his roof.  So, she moved in with my father.  Without being married.  In the early 1960’s.

She was raised in a strict Catholic home, and in a time period where “living in sin” was NOT something you did, but she did it.

My sisters and I have what I like to affectionately call a “fuck you” streak.  If you give us an ultimatum, you’ve lost.  It may make us miserable, it may hurt us, it may be a case of us biting off our noses to spite our faces, but we will simply respond with “Oh, yeah?  Fuck you.”  I think it comes from an intense resistance to being controlled.  Ultimatums are situations about control.  The person giving the ultimatum wants their way no matter what and takes discussion or logical thought off of the table.  Well, we can either talk and work out a compromise or we can be irrational and deal with ultimatums.  If you are irrational enough to make the ultimatum, we are irrational enough to take the option where you are not in control of us.  For example, when deciding whether or not to play the trumpet or the flute as a child, a boy in my 5th grade class told me, “Girls can’t play the trumpet.”  Of course, I then chose trumpet because fuck you.

My mother thinks this is something we get from our father, but I think she is wrong.  I think it comes from her.  Oh, so I cannot marry the man I love as long as I live under your roof?  I’ll just defy convention and my upbringing and move in with him prior to the wedding.  Problem solved.

Another lesson from my mother was to never give your money to a man.  She worked with a woman who honestly had no idea how much money she earned per pay period as she simply signed her checks over to her husband without looking at them.  This might not be such a bad thing if her husband was a wonderful, genius, financial expert who wisely invested her earnings while making sure all the bills were paid – although I would still have an issue with working and not knowing where my money was.  However, it seems the men who want you to blindly trust them and sign over your money are always the ones who don’t work, but drink a lot or do a lot of drugs, or both.

Another lesson from my mother was “Never sign your money over to any man.”

There are so many young women today who eschew the word “feminist” as if it were the most awful thing to be associated with.  They don’t have the memory of stupid things women were raised with or awareness of the stupid things they were raised with.  My mother was raised in era where just her getting an education – and not even in the field she wanted, but rather in a field that was more socially acceptable for women to have – was a major act of defiance.  Where choosing what man she would marry was another act of defiance.  Where women still handed over their money to the man of the house.  Women today have made so many strides towards equality, that many don’t see that these strides have really come about in the past several decades.  It is still new, and that is part of why we have to keep fighting to keep it.

Women did not get the right to vote in the United States until 1920 – which means that women have not been voting in the United States for 100 years, yet.  It took from 1848 until 1920 for women to be allowed to vote – 72 years (although, it might have even been longer than that, this is just what history has documented).  Some of the women who fought for the right to vote died before ever even achieving this goal.  This was the first wave of feminists.

The second wave came during the Civil Rights era, and gave us a lot of the progress we have made up to date.  My mom lived during the time of second wave feminists, and she did her part by simply making her own choices and sticking by them in the face of her father and convention.  Her personal act of defiance was echoed by other women across the country who were tired of being forced to do things by men seeking to rule and control their lives.

I am a third wave feminist, by birth year and in thought.  I am saddened by the number of women who have benefited from feminism who look at the word as a pejorative.  Even the many liberals in my life often tell me I should be a humanist instead.  As long as we still have a large number of rapes and general abuse of women, I am going to go with feminist.  As long as we still have men making the laws about my reproductive health, I am going with feminist.  As long as we have women blaming other women when they are raped or harassed, I am going with feminist.  As long as any discussion of rape comes with how the woman could have “avoided” it, then I am going to go with feminist.  As long as male and female pagans are offended by Dianics, I am going with feminist.  This list could go on and on and on, but you get the general idea.

My mother raised me to be a feminist simply by telling me I have the right to be in charge of my own life, and that my wants and needs are second to no one else’s, not even a man’s.

New Posting Regulations

I know this blog is not updated as often as it should be, and we are hoping to change that over the course of the next few months.  That said, there are some new comment posting regulations that have been put into place.  In order to post, you now must be registered with WordPress in addition to leaving an email address and name.

This change was made by all three blog moderators after several posts of a personal, harassing nature were made to the blog.  Comments that are on topic are welcome, but personal attacks that have nothing to do with the blog, personal grudges, and slanderous accusations add nothing to the dialogue of spirituality.  As this blog is about spirituality, comments that seek to harm, slander, or otherwise create negativity will not be tolerated.

To all of you who comment on topic, registering with WordPress is free and easy and I hope you continue to post comments and enjoy the blog and our interactions.

WOD 7-25-12

This is a blog I read frequently, and totally quote seemed to really resonate with my day – “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.” Hope you enjoy.

An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises. – Mae West


I feel like hell today.  I didn’t really perform well with the ‘Angie’ workout on  Monday, but it felt good to pound through that workout.  Yesterday, I helped some good friends pack up a moving truck – that meant A LOT of lifting.  I’m glad I was able to help, but the heat, straining, and dehydration has made me VERY sore today.

So… I took a break this morning and delayed today’s WOD instead of completing it at 5am this morning.  If your body needs to rest, it’s important to let it rest.  BUT, once it’s rested, it’s important to start pushing again.

I’m seriously considering the Sacramento Spartan Beast in November, so today’s WOD will help give me good idea of where my cardio is – it’s important to know where I am before developing a…

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Philosophy Outside…

This summer, I am teaching two philosophy courses: comparative world religions, and intro to philosopy. I teach world religions every summer, but this is my first time with intro, and it’s been many years since I’ve read a lot of this material. I am incredibly excited! Since I’m refreshing myself with these readings, I will need to keep up with my “homework” right along with my students.

So today, I was planning coursework and beginning to prep for class. I was sitting outside, and I started doing a little journaling in between readings, which turned into a combination of a commentary on the nature around me and a commentary on some of the content I was reading. I decided it might be fun to try to journal with this material everyday, and do my readings outside for perspective.

So here goes!

Karl Marx, “Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right”: Religion is the opium of the people. […] It is clear that the arm of criticism cannot replace the criticism of arms. Material force can only be overthrown by material force; but theory itself has become material force when it has seized the masses.

–That damned bluejay came at me again. I’m clearly paranoid about its intentions, but disturbed by them nonetheless. He sat in the grass and looked at me for a long moment before returning to his post in the canope of tree limbs overhead. Exhausted by his repeated threats, I fetched the momma cat and one of her babies, the smallest but most aggressive, whom we have dubbed “Murder.” Now they lie happily, snuggling at my feet while Murder nurses. The large male kitten has joined them, and Momma occassionally shoots the bluejay a look of casual curiosity.

Freud, “The Future of an Illusion”: As we already know, the terrifying impression of helplessness in childhood aroused the need for protection-for protection through love-which was provided by the father … [WHAT?] It is an enormous relief to the individual psyche if the conflicts of its childhood arising from the father-complex-conficts which it is has never wholly overcome-are removed from it and brought to a solution which is universally accepted. [Baaaah!!! Hah hah hah hah hah!!!!!!!!!!]

Freud goes on to explain his definition of “illusion.” A deduction based on empirical observation that appears to be true but is false, yet no one cares or held any belief or faith or desire in its truthfulness is not ILLUSION, but just a falsehood. Yet a deduction based on empirical observation that appears to be true and people WISH it to be true, DESIRE it to be true and have faith in its truthfulness, despite its falsehood, is illusion.

I propose that Freud’s illusion was that the FATHER was the provider of protection and love, nurturing, a godlike figure, during his lifetime (6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) or during periods when contemporary forms of religion were forming. A more fitting conclusion from his theory would be religion as a Goddess-Culture … the Great Mother … as evidenced by this Momma cat, with her power to chase off bluejays by her mere mothering presence. The arms I take up against arms are womanhood and the power of the Great Mother, and they overthrow the material force of the patriarchy, with all its theoretical illusions!

Not to degrade the role of Father. My own father is the greatest man who ever lived, and I know many women who feel the same way about their own fathers. But provider of love and protection? For centuries, the division of labor has placed women in the role of caregiver, nurterer, provider and protector of children. Were Freud on the right track with the development of religion, it makes much more sense that children would see the mother as Goddess, and thus, societies would see Goddess as Mother. Only in a misogynist culture would men strive so hard to remove the obvious element out of creation: the Woman. And there is no bigger misogynist than Freud, with all his illusions.

Marx was a big ole’ misogynist too, despite the feminist theories that have grown from Marxism. Women in common? Like property? Right. Has anyone READ the Communist Manifesto?

Two bees: two different bees are buzzing about in the same patch of clover. The carpenter bee is fatter, fuzzier, with a louder, lower drone and a much brighter yellow to his fat body.

The other bee is sleek, smaller, with a richer gold color to his trim body. His drone is quieter and at a higher pitch, yet is equally as aggressive as his counterpart’s drone. This bee seems inherently more DANGEROUS.

Descartes, First Meditation: And how could I deny that these hands and this body are mine, were it not perhaps that I compare myself to certain persons […] At the same time I must remember that I am a man, and that consequently I am in the habit of sleeping, and in my dreams representing to myself the same things or sometimes even less probable things […] on many occassions I have in sleep been deceived by similar illusions […] Arithmetic, Geometry and other sciences of that kind which only treat of things that are very simple and very general … contain some measure of certainty … For whether I am awake or asleep, two and three together always form five, and the square can never have more than four sides, and it does not seem possible that truths so clear and apparent can be suspected of any falsity (or uncertainty).

Rationalism? Existentialism? To be or not two bees … until next time.