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When Woman Was Whole


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The body moves us.
The mind teaches us.
The heart warms us.
The spirit inspires us.

When they are united we are passionate,
 joyful and committed.

~ Molly Catron, Storyteller


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Life was simpler in ancient times, back when God was a woman. Harder, no doubt—but simpler.

Woman had only a handful of roles to play in life: gathering food, being a sex partner (willingly or not), giving birth, caring for her young, getting someone (most often a man) to bring her protein and to protect her and her offspring while they were vulnerable.

No wonder the oldest goddesses, the Great Goddesses, usually belong to a category we call ‘fertility’ or ‘Mother’ goddesses!

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But soon human females were to take on additional roles, becoming midwife, herbalist and healer.

Woman proved so adept at multi-tasking that new responsibilities just kept getting added to her list.

Today it is typical for a woman to play well over a hundred roles on any given day – chauffeur, cook, waitress, laundress, photographer, children’s hairdresser, personal shopper, florist, gardener, concubine, and much, much more.

The life of a modern woman is a delicate and tricky balancing act.
































My inner voice keeps telling me that the changing roles of women and the increasing complexity of their lives also had a lot to do with why the Great Goddess has virtually disappeared. It goes a long way toward explaining how she got dismembered, carved into such tiny pieces that we can barely discern a glimmer of her former radiant self. Only fragments of the myths of the Great Goddesses remain.

How did woman cope with such a rapid expansion
of her job description?

By specializing, of course. . . by becoming psychologically adept at doing just a handful of things at which they could truly excel.  At the same time the goddesses were becoming more differentiated, their powers more limited . . . and more distinctly human.

And what has been the consequence of all this role expansion and specialization, you might ask? The development of the female psyche has fragmented as well.

Over time, women have ‘evolved’ to such a degree that it is sometimes hard to find a contemporary woman who feels she has created a wholesome balance in her life.

The Warrior Woman is busy climbing the career ladder and generally being insensitive to everybody’s feelings, including her own.   

The Lover's latest shopping spree has just pushed her family to the brink of financial catastrophe. The Mystic Maiden has withdrawn and is off in her own world while the Matriarch is wearing herself out being a martyr to everyone else’s needs.

What is going on here?

Though we are proficient and productive (or trying hard to be) , though we are mindful of our bodies (some would say obsessed), and though we are organized (or feeling guilty about not being), something is missing in our lives.  

Every woman comes to a point in her life when it is time to grow up and face the sad fact that nobody is perfect, not even a goddess.  We are too often crippled by neglecting those parts of ourselves that would give us balance. 

We have learned to 'do'. At the same time we have forgotten how to simply 'be'.

Can we relinquish the need for power and control in our relationships? Can we relearn how to be both humble and compassionate? Vulnerable and strong?

Can we learn to dream a better life? Can we let ourselves be filled with joy for the infinite beauty of every sunset? I think we can.

Can we learn a new way of finding peace and grace?

h the need for power

There was a time when you were not a slave, remember that. You walked alone, full of laughter, you bathed bare-bellied. You say you have lost all recollection of it . . . but make an effort to remember. Or, failing that, invent.

 ~ Monique Wittig, Les Guérillés

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