I just finished a fascinating book by Karen Bishop, entitled “Heart in the Night”. She juxtaposes the Ascension process against the story of a fictional character named “Laura” (coincidental – no connection to me!) and her story of great loss and ultimate arrival at an entirely new life. I do not carry this book at the shop, if you’d like to order it you can do so atwww.gamabooks.com. You can learn more about Karen Bishop simply by searching her name, she has written several books and her former newsletter was entitled “Wings”.
So … let’s talk about The Ascension Process. If you search the internet, you will find a plethora of posts, articles and blogs on the subject. I began to fixate on elements of Ascension when many of my intuitive counseling sessions (“readings”) began to present common themes across a wildly diverse group of people. And while there are many “symptoms” pertaining to Ascension, I will focus only on those I have personally experienced or which have been described to me over and over on a first-hand basis.
But first – what is “The Ascension process” anyway? The phenomena refers to the experience of a mental, physical and spiritual leap in consciousness in conjunction with the metaphysical evolutionary process of the entire planet – a leap to a higher vibration, and creation of a new world and new reality.
So let’s address an obvious question: Why does the world need a new reality? Frankly, because our current reality doesn’t work! Three percent of the earth’s population holds 97% of its wealth and power. There is simply no excuse for the unchecked starvation, disease, greed, pollution, human and animal rights violations that are our global reality. Unless you have been living under a rock, you must realize that far too much is out of control – and that balance, compassion and integrity have fallen by the wayside. Both dark and light are required for balance (think night and day here) – but an evolved energy, one consisting of love, caring, respect and unity – is necessary to counteract our current state of apathy, listlessness and fear. Ego and arrogance challenge this process greatly. About a year ago, I actually sat in a reading and was told “Listen, Laura, I don’t know about this 2012 stuff but if everything is going to change and I can’t live my life the way I do now, doing the things I enjoy – hell, if I have to live in some kind of commune where we grow our own food and share meals and that sort of thing – well, I just hope a meteor or whatever the hell is going to happen lands right on my house and kills me because I am NOT going to live that way!” I smiled and said, “Well, there is this thing called self-induced prophecy – and I assure you, if you don’t want to live that way, you most certainly won’t be forced to!”
Many people seem to have the idea that “Ascension” means we will go back to horse and buggy days, or maybe the renaissance period of “ye olde goode tymes”. I really don’t think so. Nor do I associate Ascension with the biblical Rapture in any way shape or form (then again, I am not a Christian. Or a ”fluffy bunny” pagan). I honestly am not certain exactly HOW things will turn out, only that a cleansing is apparently required to restore balance to our gravely wounded Mother Earth – and she seems quite intent on waking up and “rebooting” our entire state of existence. Because my personal faith is rooted in a Divine Mother and Father (Goddess and God) who love and cherish us, I do not believe we are being punished – however, our collective unwillingness to participate in a higher vibrational state of being necessitates a global action. There is almost always an easy way or a hard way to do anything – and as a species, humans have apparently chosen the hard way. Sadly enough … but so be it.
On a personal level, the changes listed below indicate you are changing for the better; heading for a life of deeper fulfillment and purpose. Change and growth are taking place; the discomfort you experience is increased by resistance. Know that all is exactly as it should be, let go and roll with it (often easier said than done, yes, I know because it feels as if you are going CRAZY). For many, these changes started becoming palpable in 2007 – yes, the year I opened Talisman. Smile, and consider yourself validated!
Emotional rollercoaster: You may find yourself on the verge of tears more often than usual. Crying at the drop of a hat over the news or a display of sentiment that you would not have cried over before is common. You may also find yourself to be more aggressive or angry with people. Some days you will feel depressed and other days full of joy. You truly feel the full range of emotions and yes it is draining, but it’s happening for a reason. Stay present in your emotions, feel them fully and they will pass. In your dealings with others, try to operate from a place of kindness without allowing others to take advantage of you. Learn to walk away – sometimes for an hour, sometimes for good.
Stronger connection to nature: Previously your attitude to nature may have been “take it or leave it”. Now, you have a deep appreciation for all of nature, feel connected to seasonal changes and welcome them. You may also start to enjoy animals, wild and domestic, seeing them integrate into your life and personal spaces/dreams as never before.
Changes in energy levels: One day you are bouncing off the walls, another day you can’t even get out of bed! There is something called the Triad Sleep Pattern that occurs for many – you sleep for about 2-3 hours, wake up, go back to sleep for another couple of hours, wake again, and go back to sleep again. Eat healthily and try not to stress or feel guilty, it will stabilize.
A feeling that something has changed within you: You simply feel different, you may not look any different but you know something has changed internally. Your old ways are falling by the wayside and the real you is starting to emerge. You may have been living out the same old patterns for decades but suddenly you become aware of it. You may realize that you always destroy what you create, always pick unavailable partners or always attract dependant people – the list is endless. This is great, becoming aware is the first step in eradicating it. A deep yearning for meaning, purpose, spiritual connection, and revelation. An overwhelming desire to search out, find and connect with your soul mate or twin flame – to the point others may wonder at your apparent desire for self-destruction or willingness to lay ruin to your current life. And you may.
A desire to break free from restrictive patterns, life-draining jobs consumptive lifestyles, and toxic people or situations: You feel a compelling need to “find yourself” and your life purpose — NOW! You want to be creative and free. You might find yourself drawn to the arts and nature. You want to unclutter yourself from things and people that no longer serve you. Your material needs have been met and there is still a longing for more. You may start to question who you really are and start to see that your current life may not have been a conscious choice and is more of a by-product. Before you can consciously choose you may find yourself stripping away layers to reconnect with YOU … the spiritual you.
An increase in occurrences of coincidence: Better known as synchronicity, favorable people and beneficial circumstance start to appear with exactly what you need. Answers to questions are revealed to you through signs and messages. Synchronicity is a sign you are on the right track and that you are aware of these miracles happening around you. The more you notice and take heed, the more they appear so show appreciation for the guidance you are receiving. Notice how numbers appear synchronistically in your awareness. Everything has a message if you take the time to look.
Speedy manifestations: Spiritual awakening raises your vibration; this involves a release of blockages which allows abundance to flow to you. Being in alignment with a higher vibration results in quicker and more beneficial manifestations to be received by you. Be aware of your thoughts so you get what you really want or better. “Teachers” appear everywhere with perfect timing to help you on your spiritual journey: people, books, movies, events, etc. Teachers may appear to be negative or positive when you are trapped in polarity thinking, but from a transcendent perspective, they are always perfect. No one is out to “get you” some lessons are just harder to learn than others. Just take what you need to learn from the experience and MOVE ON. By the way, we never get more than we are ready to master. Each challenge presents us with an opportunity to show our mastery in passing through it.
Vivid dreams: Sometimes the dreams are so real that you wake up confused. You may even have lucid dreams in which you are in control. Many dreams may be mystical or carry messages for you. And in some dreams, you just know that you are not “dreaming” — that what is happening is somehow real.
Life altering events: Events that completely change your life – death, divorce, change in job status, loss of home, illness, and/or other catastrophes … sometimes several at once! Forces that cause you to slow down, simplify, change, re-examine who you are and what your life means to you. Forces that you cannot ignore. Forces that cause you release your attachments. Forces that awaken your sense of love and compassion for all. You finally understand what it is to be part of the collective consciousness. Allow that to comfort you. You are never alone.
A perception that time is accelerating: It seems that way because you have had so many changes introduced into your life at an unprecedented rate. The number of changes seems to be growing. Try not to panic, meditation can help with this.
A sense of impendingness: There is a feeling that something is about to happen. This can create anxiety. Also impatience – you know better, but sometimes you can’t help it. You want to get on with what seems to be coming your way. Uncertainty is not comfortable.
You find a spiritual track that makes sense to you and “speaks to you” at the most profound levels: Suddenly you are gaining a perspective that you would never have considered before. You hunger to know more. You read, share with others, ask questions, and go inside to discover more about who you are and why you are here. You are moving through learning and personal issues at a rapid pace. You sense that you are “getting it” quite readily. Try not to lose patience with others who cannot keep up with you
because it is not a race but a process.
Amplification of the physical senses: In terms of sight, this may manifest as blurry vision, shimmering objects, seeing glittery particles, auras around people, plants, animals, and objects. Some report seeing formerly opaque objects as transparent. When you close your eyes, you no longer see darkness, but a redness. You may also see geometric shapes or brilliant colors and pictures when eyes are closed. Colors appear more vivid — the sky might look teal or the grass an amazing green. You may see grids running across the ground. As you become more sensitive, you may see shapes or outlines in the air, especially when the room is almost dark. When your eyes are open or closed, you may see white shapes in your peripheral vision (these are your guides).
Hearing may be increased or decreased. Other symptoms are hearing white noise in the head, beeps, tones, music or electronic patterns. Some hear water rushing, bees buzzing, whooshing, roaring or ringing. Others have what is called audio dyslexia– you can’t always make out what people are saying, as if you can no longer translate your own language. Some hear strange voices in their dreams, as if someone is hovering near them.
Enhanced senses of smell, touch, and/or taste. You may now smell and taste chemical additives in some foods in a rather unpleasant manner. Other food may taste absolutely wonderful. Some people report feeling surrounded by beings at night or having the sensation of being touched or talked to. Often they will wake with a start. Some also feel their body or bed vibrate. The vibrations are caused by energetic changes after emotional clearing has taken place. Electrical and mechanical malfunctions – when you are around, light bulbs flicker, the computer locks up, or the radio goes haywire. Heart palpitations – A racing heart usually accompanies a heart opening. It only lasts for a few moments and means that the heart is re-balancing itself after an emotional release. Note: Please see a medical professional to determine you are not having an actual medical emergency!
Increased integrity: You realize that it is time for you to seek and speak your truth. It suddenly seems important for you to become more authentic, more yourself. You may have to say “no” to people whom you have tried to please in the past. You may find it intolerable to stay in a marriage or job or place that doesn’t support who you are. You may also find there is nowhere to hide, no secrets to keep anymore. Honesty becomes important in all your relationships. There is a feeling that you are somehow different. A disquieting sense that everything in your life feels new and altered, that you have left your old self behind. You have. You are much greater than you can possibly imagine. You are exactly where you are meant to be. And there is more to come … !!!
Here is her post, taken from Talisman’s monthly newsletter. And note that you can sign up for the newsletter directly from our website, at http://www.talismanct.com by clicking on the link.
Another eventful month ahead, folks! As you’ll recall from last month’s Astrology Corner, Mercury turns retrograde at the outset of this month on the 3rd and this will last through the 26th. When it does, it will be in opposition to Neptune – a tough proposition for negotiating deals, communicating clearly, traveling, and for ironing out plans. Neptune has a tendency to obscure and create a lack of clarity and confusion, which throws gas on the already annoying hiccups that can occur during the retrograde period. If you’re planning a summer road trip this month, double and triple check everything. Don’t just rely on GPS to get you where you are going, carry a map as well so that you don’t get lost if your GPS acts up. Keep track of your baggage, your itinerary, and make sure you’re clear about your travel plans.
Communication may not be the best during August, so if you have plans to travel make sure you’ve already done your due diligence and checked that you have no conflicting appointments/responsibilities and be sure that you’ve already requested the time off at work. Forgetting things – especially important details like this – can be a real issue this month! You may want to write things down and post them somewhere visible, because chances are high that things will get lost in the mental fog that gets kicked up in this planetary combo’s wake. Lastly, when dealing with others and/or ironing out contractual agreements be sure you’re not just doing things “on a handshake”. Pay attention to the fine print and avoid wishful thinking, because there is a real possibility with this combo that you might find yourself duped.
Mars will be also be re-activating the Cardinal T-square/Cross during August. This combination has the potential to be quite volatile so I’m cautioning all of you that the sky will have a “hair-trigger” this month. Be extra careful, avoid rash and impulsive behavior, and tread lightly around others. Spoiling for a fight is ill-advised under a sky like this – don’t go looking for trouble, because if you do you’ll most certainly find it and it won’t be pretty. I don’t mean to scare anyone by saying this, it’s just that I want everybody to be safe and to do whatever they can to keep situations from escalating and getting out of hand because this isn’t a planetary combination you’ll want to provoke if you can avoid it. If you’re in a relationship that involves domestic abuse, I would strongly advise you to be very, very careful this month and do whatever you can to keep yourself safe.
Matters on the home front will also be very active this month and hold the potential to be explosive. Mars – the planet setting this formation off – will be in Cancer (the sign of home and family) and you may find that family conflicts arise during August. For example, you may find yourself in conflict with your spouse over parenting issues, your kids may be acting up/out, or perhaps you might find yourself quarreling with your own parents. However this plays out for you understand that family members may be feeling touchy, irritable, or defensive and if you know this going in you can hopefully mitigate some of the upset that may occur under such a cross sky!
** A note to readers: If you would like to receive my FREE monthly newsletter via email which is packed full of information and astrological insights, simply send an email AHunt617@aol.com and I’ll be happy to add your name to my list of recipients!
This is a very long post, taken from the blog www.AstroDispatch.com which I highly recommend. It is the best overview of world events as seen through the telescope of mundane astrology. Enjoy!
June 23rd, 2011 @ 2:27 pm by Willows Web
- Gemini New Moon: June 1, 2011 at 4:03 p.m. Central, partial solar eclipse at 11 degrees
- Sagittarius Full Moon: June 15, 2011 at 3:14 p.m., total lunar eclipse at 24 degrees
- Cancer New Moon: July 1, 2011 at 3:54 a.m., partial solar eclipse at 9 degrees
We are heading into very similar astro conditions as last spring/summer with a Cardinal Grand Cross forming by the June 21 Summer Solstice and the entry of the Sun into Cancer.
It feels like deja vu. Or rather it feels as if we never left the conditions of the Summer of 2010. Ontario, Canada was turned into a “you aren’t in Canada right now” official police state as it hosted the G8 and G20 meetings last summer for the initial ingress of Uranus into Aries. The tone and agenda were set at that time for the series of Uranus in Aries – Pluto in Capricorn squares running through 2015.
Currently, we have widespread flooding in the Canadian prairie provinces, just like last spring. Roads are closed and washed out. Homes are flooded. I don’t remember my home area ever flooding, and now it has been under water two years in a row. Many farmers were unable to seed crops last year due to excessive moisture, and the same problem two years in a row is devastating. Many farmers who were able to plant last year saw their crops drowned out later. In addition to the obvious hit to food production and farmers’ incomes, there were many offshoot problems, including honeybees starving to death because there were no flowers to sustain themselves with. Honeybees starving to death in addition to the mass deaths due to colony collapse disorder. Very, very unpleasant. A harbinger.
Last year on April 20, the Deepwater Horizon exploded, leading to the ongoing nightmare of oil, Corexit and synthetic oil-eating micro-organims that has laid waste to the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico and caused tens of thousands (more?) of people to become sick. Some are dead. People are dying of bacterial infections down there or just dropping dead with no satisfactory cause. Many have flesh-dissolving rashes. Respiratory problems. Pain. Nausea. Diarrhea. Tremors. Exhaustion. Their organs are compromised. Cleanup workers are going blind from exposure to the toxins. Three-year-old children have chemical toxicity and kidney stones. People have been poisoned and infiltrated with organisms the human body has never experienced before.
Peoples lives, livelihoods, ways of life have been wiped out. Florida Oil Spill Law remains the best site for ongoing coverage of the Gulf.
But the world media has moved on.
Time has become compressed as we’re psychologically and physically rocked by multi-layered global crisis events being set off like dominoes. Does it really feel as if an entire year has passed since the Gulf disaster? As the fabric of our energetic existence on this planet is screwed with by those who erroneously believe they hold dominion over God, things have gotten very, very bizarre.
This April, we have another (in my mind pre-planned) End Times scenario going on with the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. The earthquake/tsunami/nuclear crises were triggered just as Uranus slid out of Pisces and into Aries, moving into cardinal square formation with Pluto in Capricorn. Uranium square plutonium. The latest news I’ve seen on timeline indicates a best case scenario of nine months until they can contain the radioactive emissions. Food, milk and water are now contaminated with radioactivity. It’s hard to say how far it will reach, but my guess is, after nine months or more of continued spewing radioactivity, there won’t be many areas on this globe completely spared. The Northern hemisphere will be widely affected, at the very least.
We can expect the Summer of 2011 to be a continuation on the theme – another tension-filled and unpredictable summer with many things coming unglued both personally and on the world stage. The mind-boggling shitstorms we’re dealing with on this planet continue to sink in at the same time as new ones are unleashed.
The ballgame continues to shift. The cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) relate to the points in the year when the seasons change. We’re in the midst of a period of time (2010-2015 most intensively) when all four seasons change at once – and then again, and again, and again. This hasn’t really let up from last summer’s cardinal action, and it increases stress levels. The next steps on the global agenda are unfolding, and people are striving to find survival territory – both physical and soul-level – in their own lives.
As upheaval-weary as the human population is at this point, we’ve only just begun. New directions are being forced on multiple fronts with new community leaders coming to the forefront out of sheer necessity as the global agenda steamrolls ahead.
Mercury will enter Cancer June 16 and kick off a two-month Cardinal Grand Cross. This is two oppositions forming four squares among the initiatory, leadership-oriented cardinal signs. It is kept strong as Mercury, the Sun, Venus and then Mars in Cancer trigger the Cardinal Grand Cross configuration into late August opposite Pluto in Capricorn with Uranus in Aries opposite Saturn in Libra. Saturn in Libra stations direct June 12 at 10 degrees.
Squares (90 degrees) and oppositions (180 degrees) are considered challenging aspects requiring a great deal of energy, focus and dedication to successfully navigate. In the cardinal signs, these aspects are forcing us to make our moves under tense and pressure-filled conditions. Let’s be clear: we’re taking the directions that are being spurred and stepping into newly opened leadership positions with humanity under various levels of duress. Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge this fact is not fully aware of the situation on this planet.
This summer, things are even tighter than last. There is even less room for error or for denial. Last summer, the configuration was actually a cardinal t-square with the fourth leg of Saturn in late Virgo making it an energetic Grand Cross. It was a Grand Cross by orb (degree), but it was not a Cardinal Grand Cross because Saturn was in a mutable sign.
This summer, Saturn’s in Libra, and we’ve got the full-on real deal.
In addition, Uranus will be highly potent, pulling into a retrograde station July 9at 4 degrees Aries. As it stations, Uranus will be within a degree of its first exact square to Pluto in Capricorn at 5 degrees Capricorn within the Cardinal Grand Cross formation. This is some lightning-hot intensity ahead of the first exact Uranus-Pluto square June 23, 2012. Next spring/summer, Saturn will be in late Libra, out of orb of the Cardinal Grand Cross.
If people were able to resist or deny the grand-scale movements and global upheaval initiated (and forced) during the cardinal t-square summer of 2010, that will change this summer, the Cardinal Grand Cross summer of 2011.
Sagittarius North Node: Our Real History Isn’t in the History Books
With the North Node transiting Sagittarius, there will be renewed optimism and expansion in our lives betwixt and between the horror. It’s when we’re pushed to our breaking points and beyond that the power of our inherent wisdom, passed along through generations enduring historical horror after historical horror, proves its real mettle. Here, we draw strength from the real history on this planet – our history, the people’s history. The grace and wisdom we’ve gleaned through our cultural heritage moves through us, lives in us, guiding us and connecting us across cultural lines, hand-to-hand, heart-to-heart. This is the truth of the human condition on this planet – for those who know and live it.
The versions of truth being portrayed on this planet – even the supposed alternative versions – are not even close to the real story. The magic we hold has never been captured by their history books. What we know could never be contained there.
What the history-keepers (predominantly men) of the world think matters is not what I think matters. My version of an important historical event or trend, what’s important to me personally, wouldn’t be big or sexy or monied or deadly enough to enter their record books.
There are those who think they have the story all wrapped up. We know differently.
The women of the world have the missing half of the puzzle inside them.
As Jupiter enters Taurus June 4 and becomes the dispositor of the North Node, we draw on the wisdom of simplicity, goodness in basics, groundedness, reserve, and one of the most important aspects of humanity’s continuation on Planet Earth – endurance. Like the bull, we persevere. We dig in. And we really don’t get too excited about much of anything – even a two-month Cardinal Grand Cross within triple eclipse season.
Triple Eclipse Season
The Cardinal Grand Cross at the northern hemisphere’s Summer Solstice this June is sandwiched in a triple eclipse season, which includes a total lunar eclipse at 24 degrees Sagittarius conjunct the North Node.
We’re not going to be able to hold standard positions in the same old fort this summer. Everything is on the move. The cardinal points are triggered all at once, and there’s no damming ourselves up against the force of what needs to move. Things are not as they were, and we come to understand more fully what that means.
Eclipses usually produce a between-spaces, unglued energy, resulting in big emotional back-drop changes and sometimes involving shattering events. The timing of global socio-political events is often tied to these points.
Eclipses happen every six or so months and are basically New and Full Moons that involve a more exact alignment than usual of the Sun, Earth and Moon and are considered more potent than standard New and Full Moons because of it. There are usually two – a Full Moon eclipse and a New Moon eclipse – though three is not all that rare. The last triple eclipse season we had was July/August 2009. The next one will be April/May 2013 and then July/August 2018.
Post-Eclipse Emotional Backdrop Transformations and What the Crab Can No Longer Deny
Previously held safe havens – both physical and emotional – have evaporated into thin air. Bulldozed unceremoniously. Razed to the ground or poisoned beyond the point of being habitable.
With the Sun in late Cancer, we can see quite clearly (for those who wish to look) that the complete transformation of the energy of that sign is deeply underway, acted upon relentlessly by the unearthing of stark collective realities from the other end of the spectrum and Pluto in Capricorn.
As a Scorpio stellium in the 4th house, life taught me up to now that no matter what hell scenes existed around me and no matter how tumultuous my emotional reactions to those scenes, there was a safe haven deep inside me that was always there. I was always connected to it and all I had to do was go inside to feel it, know it. To know that I was connected to something much bigger than this single life on this planet.
And then I was slipped poison by the Nazis at Big Pharma. They penetrated that safe haven and attacked right to the core, right to that safe place where I could previously calm and still myself. And that place was turned into a nightmarish hell zone, reflecting exactly what was and is going on externally all over this planet.
This scene, I think, is indicative of a broader process going on. As Pluto razes and (hopefully) resurrects our entire structural reality on this planet over the next decade-and-a-half, the opposite sign of Cancer is inextricably linked to that process and will come out of the Plutonic alchemical fires no less changed.
The crab can only retreat so far – its natural inclination. At the point that the external threat penetrates it’s shell, it’s home, it’s body, it’s self, it must take action. Cancer is a cardinal sign after all. But a security-clinging cardinal sign. A sign that must be poked and prodded into action in a lot of ways. A sign that seems to only take action when it is absolutely forced to.
And its lack of action up until this point has been fully complicit with the horrors being wrought by the corrupt power structures around this planet.
Socially privileged parents living in safe, little bubbles. Believing, falsely, that the very act of producing their precious offspring warrants them safety and security somehow above and beyond the other members of this planet.
Maintaining the false understanding that the soldiers, the police, the governments, the rules, the banks, the money are “keeping them and their’s safe.” Protecting the sanctity of these nuclear family bubbles. Feathering the nests. Their Cancerian shells.
Or maybe not truly believing that, but going along with it all the same.
Happy to paint pictures with the kids, make mud pies in the yard, to shut out any unpleasantness, to keep it “out there.”
While soldiers are killing, irradiating, and destroying the families of people in other parts of the world. Keeping them safe. While soldiers themselves are being killed, irradiated, destroyed “keeping them safe.”
While more than 1,000 peaceful demonstrators in Toronto are brutalized, strip searched, strangled, mocked, threatened, tossed into unmarked vans and illegally detained by police for hours on end. Cordoned off by police officers and then illegally forced to provide identification and have their bags searched in order to leave the area. Lied to by police and city officials about supposed new rules that allow these breaches of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The “protected” obediently train their eyes on agent provocateurs on the payroll to break windows and stage violence and light purposefully abandoned police cars on fire. They snuggle in with the kiddies in front of the telly as martial law “keeps them safe.” They watch United States Marine Corps helicopters flying over Canadian airspace and feel all warm and fuzzy that they’re being taken care of on all fronts.
Separating themselves from the mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers peacefully protesting the murderous tyranny of the world governments.
Separating themselves from the mothers giving birth to children deformed from exposure to depleted uranium or Agent Orange or any number of chemical weapons. Even when it’s mothers in their own country. That’s them. This is us.
Driving SUVs to and from soccer practises, art lessons, play dates, all the while cluck clucking and tsk tsking about what’s going on in the Gulf.
Filling swimming pools and watering lawns to outdo neighbours and golfing every Saturday. While three billion people don’t have enough clean water to drink to keep themselves healthy. While Palestinians are slowly being tortured by thirst.
Doesn’t matter what Daddy (or Mummy) does from 9 to 5 every day as long as there is money to support this (slowly rotting) dream. Mortgage scams, Ponzi schemes, poisonous oil regimes, toxic pharmaceuticals companies, crooked stock markets. Doesn’t matter who the employer is as long as the income keeps streaming in. No questions asked. As long as they get their two days off per week in their little bubbles, it doesn’t matter a good Goddamn what goes on the other five days.
So very separated, so very detached. That’s them. This is us.
A false protection offered them on a silver platter through the destruction of the sanctity of browner, blacker, poorer families all around the world.
The false Cancerian world of precious pure white babies, birthday parties with bouncy castles, designer strollers filled with bored-looking toddlers.
We all know Johnson & Johnson as the baby corporation. What most people probably don’t know is that it produces the most heinous and toxic fluoroquinolone antibiotic, Levaquin. This drug has destroyed the lives of thousands of people now struggling to recover from complete systemic poisoning.
And yet, the mothers on the advertisements keep smiling down on their lovely little tots, scrubbed clean with No More Tears shampoo and Head-to-Toe baby wash.
No one can scrub this shit clean.
Our home has been penetrated. Our Earth. Our selves.
It seems to me we should have moved on long ago. To the new spaces that full awareness bring. But the clinging, the holding, the denial has stopped us from that.
There is only so far Cancerian denial can take us. We’re at the Do Not Pass Go point.
The natural inclinations, the natural rhythms have been purposefully, poisonously disrupted. Weather patterns are being manipulated and so are the underlying energetic patterns related to being a natural human being.
To continue as if nothing is amiss at this point becomes more and more insane.
We see the fishermen of the Gulf coast trying to keep their life rhythms, the only rhythms they’ve ever known. The rhythms ingrained through generations. And the farmers attempt the same thing.
We see Gulf fishermen going out to sea now, allowing themselves to be employed by devils who have destroyed their ways of life. And they’re getting sick. Just as the clean-up crews of the Exxon Valdez spill got sick. Many later died.
BP has denied the clean-up workers respirators or full protective gear as it would be bad for PR. Ha. Add this to their crimes against humanity, just as the conspirators and perpetrators of 9/11 can add the sickness and deaths of thousands of rescue workers who breathed in toxic dust in New York City to their list.
And then there is the long-term social deterioration. The divorces, bankruptcies, suicides. Just ask the people along Prince William Sound, Alaska. Twenty-one years later, they are still bearing the brunt of it.
There’s a deep primal knowledge trying to surface. We have to dig way down to find it. It’s the thinnest of threads at this point, dragging us out of the muck but only if we hang on for dear life and follow its lead to a tee.
Accepting this mess is not easy – especially for those who have worked their entire lives to try to head this off. We didn’t. We couldn’t. And now we have to remember Plan B. We have to remember why we agreed to be here for this, what our end of the deal is. And complete it.
This petition is intended to bring awareness to a grave injustice, incite a spiritual call for a miraculous reversal of a judicial decision and to call people to action to contact their elected representatives to look into the perjury that occurred in a US Federal Court case. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is to hear oral arguments on June 9, 2011. Everything written is true and can be confirmed by photos, sms messages, videos, recordings and emails.
On July 23, 2010 Judge William D. Steihl (Norinder v. Fuentes, 10-cv-391-WDS) ordered a 29 month old American born child who lived alone with his mother for 12 out of 29 months to be returned to his drug addicted, alcoholic, violent and negligent father. The mother who asserted and maintains that it is a grave risk for a child to be with a man who is an admitted alcoholic, an admitted drug addict, a chronically and debilitated depressed person and violent against his domestic partners and children was denied the right to discovery so that the court could hear all of the evidence. The father is a rehabilitation medicine doctor in Boras Sweden and has been addicted to synthetic codiene and codeine off and on for 17 years, abused alcohol for at least 15 years, hit his daugher, threw his son on the floor, beat the mother of his daughter and the mother of his son and has been so depressed that he has not been able to work for several months at a time during the year for more than 15 years.
Please forward to every person you know. Call your elected federal officials in your area and tell them you want Justice for JRN and to look into the perjury by the three Swedes that conspired and stole an American child from his mother (Norinder v. Fuentes, 10-cv-391-WDS). Write to the DA in Boras Sweden and politely ask that they investigate the mened (perjury) by their countrymen (Attn Mr. Daniel Edsbagge: firstname.lastname@example.org). And pray for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the decision by Judge Steihl who did not think twice about denying a mother time to collect the evidence needed for the trial and without one thought of the psychological damage that would be done by sending a 29 month old child away from his mother to a man who had very little to do with him and who left the mother of his child outside to freeze to death.
Please know that it is her 3 year old son’s little army truck that is on the Kali shrine at Talisman. I have been praying for her to be reunited with him every day. Sharon’s parents are dead, and she has gone through all her savings (and has huge debt) in trying to win back custody of her child. She just returned from a 3 week trip to Sweden so she could see her son. Sharon’s big crime was fleeing Sweden with her American born son, after being abused and living in a shelter and receiving no help from the local police or authorities whatsoever. She assumed the American courts would help her – instead, she lost custody of her child. Sweden is very “paternity” minded, and takes the rights of the father very seriously … and even though she is a pathologist and worked in hospital there, she was still viewed as an immigrant (and an American one, at that). Thank you for lending your time and energy to this. In the seven years I worked for the CT Dept. of Mental Health and two years I was at St. Luke’s in Stamford I NEVER heard of a miscarriage of justice such as this! We can make a difference! Please sign, call, write and forward along!
From the very beginning, you should feel comfortable and at-ease
I remember the first time I sat with Judith. That morning, I had woke with a sick stomach and worried I would have to cancel the reading – but felt much better after lunch and kept our appointment. Judith read from her home, in a lovely room located right off the main entrance which was dedicated to this purpose. She would begin by having you sit in a chair while she stood a distance away and meditated. When she was done, she stood behind the chair and said a prayer – asking that all information be only for the highest good. Then she would do a chakra reading, assessing the health of each and how to help or further develop them individually. When she began that first time, as soon as she started she said, “Oh dear – have you been sick because your solar plexis is just churning!” For the next part of the reading, I was moved to another seat at a small table – whereupon she closed her eyes (and kept them closed) as she described in great detail all of the current concerns and challenges of my life at that time. When she was done, she opened her eyes and invited me to ask any questions I might have. Occaisionally she would share a past life vision, visit from a loved one (if they chose to pop in!), and/or read a photograph or object. Finally, she would pass over a box filled with tumbled stones and ask that I close my eyes and choose one – after smudging it, she would tell me what that particular stone’s attibutes were and how I might utilize it. She would also have me take a slip of paper out of a basket – an affirmation, which was always relevant. Last, she would hand over a folder with an astrological print-out of the next six months’ transits, a computerized rune reading (usually uncannily accurate) and a post-it note containing her initial scribbled impressions, written immediately after the phone call to schedule a reading had ended. It fascinated me how they reflected what was going on at the time of the reading – as opposed to when the appointment was scheduled, which with Judith’s very busy schedule might have been weeks or even months earlier.
You should know exactly how long the reading will last and how much it will cost
Judith’s readings usually lasted 45 minutes to an hour and cost $50.
If you want to talk, see a psychologist. When you see a psychic, THEY should do most of the talking! A simple “yes” and “no” to a question should suffice
Those few times that Judith would ask a question, she would quickly “shush” you if said more than yes or no.
The best readings validate what you are going through or dealing with, letting you know you are on the right track
Often, when I expressed my frustration over a specific challenge, Judith would smile, pat my hand and say “My dear, you already know the answer … you can do this yourself, you know!” And it was close to ten years ago when, in answer to my question “What should I be doing with my life?” she answered “I see you doing something similar to what I do – not reading out of your home, but something in this area. I see a storefront …” (to which I immediately protested, letting her know that I HATED retail) but she just smiled and said, “Not right away my child – in time though, we’ll see”.
Unless you are in crisis, you don’t need a reading more than once every six months to a year
After my first reading, I was walking on air – I felt WONDERFUL! I quickly asked when I might see her again, only to be told no sooner than six months. “It simply isn’t necessary”.
You should leave the reading feeling more light-hearted than when you came in
Every single time I saw Judith – and from everyone I sent to her I heard the same – that no matter how difficult or sad the current state of one’s life might be, afterward it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off your shoulders.
One last thing … A message from me to Judith
Judith, even though we only saw each other face to face during our readings – you were a wonderful friend and I leaned on you HARD during some of the most challenging times of my life. You offered encouragement, true vision and kept me bouyed at those times when I thought I would surely sink under the weight of it all … telling me it would pass, and all would be fine in the end. And it always was. You had faith in my talents and fostered my gifts. When I sent someone to you, even though I asked them to not mention my name, you always managed to attach them back to me and/or Talisman (which you described in detail even though you never stepped foot inside). Rarely does a day go by when I do not think of you, and even though I feel your presence often I still miss you greatly. When it is my time to finally leave this world and cross over, I hope your friendly face is one of the first that I see. Until then, my friend – I know you walk in light and love.
I am thrilled to announce the opening of our second shop, Talisman II, at Captain’s Cove Seaport on Sunday May 1st. Captain’s Cove is located at #1 Bostwick Avenue, Black Rock (Bridgeport). You can visit the site at http://www.captainscoveseaport.com then click on the top link “Boardwalk Shoppes” for a look at this picturesque full-service marina. Talisman II will be seasonal, opening May 1st through the end of September. We’ll be open weekends in May and September, and six days a week (closed Mondays) June, July and August.
In addition to the small shops there is a food concession, night club, live music on the boardwalk, dance pavillion, sightseeing boat rides, aquaculture school, museum, etc. This is a wonderful family and pet-friendly place, which has no admission fee, and we are thrilled to be a part of the 2011 Summer Season. Coincidentally enough, I bought my first condo (while I was still modeling, way back in the “olden days” as my kids say) across the street from Ellsworth Park – and spent many happy hours visiting Captain’s Cove, Bloodroot Vegetarian Restaurant, and walking my dog around the seawall at St. Mary’s by the Sea. So my memories of Black Rock are fond ones, and I am quite pleased to be making a return there!
Roy and I met with Mr. Kaye Williams and his son Bruce last weekend, and the management at Captain’s Cove has been very welcoming to Talisman. We are anticipating a wonderful summer experience at “The Cove” and hope everyone will stop by and visit! I will be there on Sundays, and splitting my time between the two shops the rest of the week. Lucky for me, I have Jamie, China, Allison, Kim (my sister in law who was the inspiration behind this decision, urging me a year ago to open a shop there – so props to her!) Mark, Gwen, Andrew, Lina, Barbara, Rachel, Starr, Tim, Tammie, Jenn and even my own little Daisy helping out and taking hours at both Talisman and Talisman II, which is how I can even consider opening a second shop in the first place! I plan to move a substantial amount of Talisman’s current inventory into the smaller shop, making room for the very exciting new product lines which are coming to Monroe!
The month of March is named after Mars, the Roman God of War. Mars is portrayed as a warrior in full battle armor, wearing a crested helmet and bearing a shield. His sacred animals are the wolf and the woodpecker, and he is accompanied by Fuga and Timor, the personifications of flight and fear. His Greek equivalent is the god Ares. In astrology, Mars is the ruler of Aries. The sun enters the sign of Aries on March 21, the vernal equinox, and it heralds the season of spring when everything awakens after the dormant winter months. Aries is the leader, the first sign of the zodiac wheel. Mars is the planet of energ, action, and of lust and passion. It is the survival instinct/the animal nature of man. It is an active, initiating sign and its element is fire – bringing enthusiasm, chi, and the spark of life. With Mars, there is no contemplation before action … the drive is self-assertion rather than assertion of the will; it is raw energy rather than creative energy.
Well, all that being said I’m going to assume that Mars is quite pleased with our current world stage. Revolution, upheaval and angry protests are taking place in countries all over (including the U.S. – hello, Wisconsin?). Obviously, passivity just isn’t cutting it anymore.
To quote, “These are the times which try men’s souls”. Suitably enough, given the historic ill foreboding felt around the date of March 15th, otherwise known as the Ides of March. The warning was first given to the Roman Emperor Julius Ceasar, whose empire stretched throughout the known world. As Caesar’s power grew, so did the number of his enemies who secretly plotted the emperor’s fatal comeuppance. The date they chose was March 15th, the Ides of March 44 BC. The word ides comes from a Latin word that means “to divide” and marked the halfway point in Roman months. “The ides”, then, is simply the middle of the month. It was only in 44 BC that dark clouds began to form around the middle of March as the famous plot to assassinate Caesar drew near. Today, historians think the plot had already begun to buzz around Rome when soothsayer Titus Vestricius Spurinna famously warned Caesar …“beware the Ides of March.” The terrible forecast, therefore, may have been based more on Rome’s worst kept secret than any special psychic powers on the part of the seer. Alas, at the end of the day it didn’t matter. A swaggering, over-confident Julius Caesar met his terrible fate when he ignored the advice. The moral of the story? Abuse of power has its pitfalls, with a day of reckoning just up ahead.
I find it strangely fascinating to watch as the reign of entrenched dictators such as in Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt – reach the tipping point of abuse to their citizenry and inevitably fail. The story of Tanisia’s “last straw” is particularly heartrending, as it is thought to have been sparked in February of this year by the suicide of a young man who could not find a job and was barred from selling fruit without a permit. After police confiscated the contents of his homemade produce stand when the man was unable to provide required paperwork. Distraught, he committed suicide in the public square. After 23 years of iron-fisted rule, the president of Tunisia was driven from power by violent protests over soaring unemployment and corruption. Virtually unprecedented in modern Arab history, the populist uprising sent an ominous message to authoritarian governments that dominate the region.
But revolutions take place internally – personally – as well as in public or political forums. With increased frequency, during readings people are telling me about personal situations they are finding unbearable. The status quo (such as staying in a miserable job because it has good health benefits or remaining in a sad marriage for “the sake of the kids”) simply isn’t working out for many people right now, it seems. Peace at any price apparently comes at a very high price, indeed. Especially when an individual longs to spend his/her days engaged in work that is creative and fulfilling – or when someone pines to be with another, because there is no connection with their current partner on a soul level.
I think we all have our own internal tipping point, a place we are driven to (or not) at which time every fibre of our being screams “enough!” and an abrupt break is the only viable option. This moment can arrive after a singular event or years of abuse – it doesn’t really matter, because in these situations the destination is more important than the vehicle which got us there. Validating the level of frustration for the person sitting across from me is honestly all I (or any other ethical intuitive) can do to help. However, I will pass along the advice which my grandmother, Lillian McGlynn, gave to me at a time I was trying to make a difficult decision. She said, “I’m not going to tell you what to do, Laura, you have to decide that for yourself. But I will say that whatever you do, don’t look back in five or ten years and ask yourself ‘what if I had gone the other way, how would my life be different?’ Make the best choice you can and move forward, but never look back. Regret will ruin your life.”
Years later, when my grandmother was dying from COPD, against the advice of physicians and family members who warned it would “destroy my home life” I brought my grandmother to live with me while under the care of Hospice. To this day, I cherish the memories of caring for someone I loved so much – and it makes me smile to remember Derek and Devin fighting over who would get to bring up her breakfast tray each morning because she always managed to slip them a candy or dollar – never realizing I was in on the secret as I listened via the baby monitor (she shared a room with baby Daisy). And later, my heart would break when I overheard her telling Daisy that she loved her, and hoped she’d remember her after she died although she knew she was too young and would forget her. Following my grandmother’s death soon after, my then-marriage reached its tipping point fueled by disinterest and a lack of compassion, at a time I was both emotionally and physically spent.
I guess that’s the challenge we are presented with - when we have nothing left to give, we either give up in despair or fight for autonomy and the right to redirect the course of our life. Or in other words: “Courage is as often the outcome of despair as of hope; in the one case we have nothing to lose, in the other everything to gain”. ~Diane de Poitiers
The speech below was forwarded along by Zsuzsanna Budapest. It was delivered at Salem Community College in March ’93 by Gloria Steinem. It remains relevant and galvanizing – I hope my readers enjoy (and learn) as much as I did.Blessings,
LauraScholars, Witches And Other
by Gloria Steinem
American Feminist AuthorSpeech At Salem State College – March 1993Thanks for your generosity of spirit in coming out on a very cold and snowy night and taking a chance on a stranger.We have something very precious together and that is an hour or so in this room. So here’s my plan: if all goes well each of us, me included, will leave here with one new fact, one new idea, one new feeling of support, one new subversive organizing tactic. In order to make that happen, I need your help in overcoming this old fashioned structure of you looking at each others’ backs and me looking at you. This is a hierarchical structure. Hierarchy is based on patriarchy, patriarchy doesn’t work anywhere anymore. So I hope that during what is usually called the question and answer period you will feel quite okay to help us overthrow or humanize this particular hierarchical structure by not just asking questions, but giving us answers–we could all use some–by making organizing announcements of any upcoming trouble-making meetings you think this group should know about, by standing up and saying where the bodies are buried locally. If you’d rather not say it yourself, pass me a note, I’m leaving very early in the morning, I’ll read anything. And generally turning this into what every meeting of this size, of good heart and good spirit ought to be, which is an organizing meeting.The best role of outside agitators or whatever it is I am, is to be an excuse to get you all in one room and discover you didn’t need an outsider in the first place. You have all the knowledge and smarts and anger and good ideas for making the world a better place that you need right here. That is especially true on this campus where I know there has been so much positive activity and change in the recent past, where you now have taken a leap toward a critical mass of diversity in your student body and on your faculty.I know that the last three years of Nancy Harrington’s presidency have really made a great difference here. She is much loved–I have discovered that since my arrival. You have women’s studies, African American studies, at least the beginnings of all those that might better be called remedial studies, so eventually we will study the world as it really is. We can talk about your working on mainstreaming so that world literature actually becomes world literature. Wouldn’t that be exciting. And I know too that this is a campus made more exciting by a lot of non-traditional, as they say, age students and that has a special importance for bringing vitality to the women’s part of this campus, because women happen to be the only group that grows more radical with age.It is true, you know, that newspaper reporters and sociologists are always kind of going to high school and campuses and traditional age young women looking for the red hot center of activism and there are, of course, many more activist young women than ever before, but nonetheless it is also true that women are more conservative when we’re young and get steadily more activist as we grow older, which makes sense when you think about it because an 18 or 20 year old woman has more power–in the sense that women have power in a patriarchy, which means as sex objects, as child bearers, as energetic workers, and so on–she probably has more social power at 18 or 20 than she will when she is 50. Whereas a young man of 18 or 20 probably has less power than he will when he is 50, which is why men grow more conservative with age, except the men in this room, whom I’m sure are an exception to everything.So, I really am looking forward to our discussion together and as you can tell from the title I had given to my speech, “Scholars, Witches and Other Freedom Fighters,” even though I’m sure if there is a scholar present they would be happy to tell us that the hangings didn’t take place in Salem, they took place in Danvers, but none the less, it’s what made all of you famous and so, I couldn’t resist reflecting on the reasons that both are freedom fighters even though scholars are serene, non-activist, honorable, and respectable and witches are emotional, activist and all-together dishonorable. In other words, the first are masculine in their imagery and the second are feminine in their imagery. But both have a role to play as revolutionaries and freedom fighters for us all.Think about scholars for a moment. When I went to college, I was taught that America was discovered when the first Europeans set foot on it, that Greece was the cradle of democracy, that Europe was the center of civilization, that other areas of the world were spoken of with appellations like “far” and “near” and “middle east,” until someone said to me when I was living in India, “far and near from what?” From England of course. I said okay, I see what you mean. South Asia makes a lot more sense. And generally that the female half of the world, whatever our race or ethnicity or sexuality or class, was treated with great invisibility. I’m afraid that continues to be the rule in spite of brave incursions of remedial studies as we see on this campus and others. And it is for that reason that studies show, for instance, women’s self-esteem goes down with every additional year of higher education. It makes sense when you think about it, no matter how good the grades we get, we are studying our own invisibility or denigration much of the time. And we are seeing fewer and fewer women honored in authority in our classrooms or in our administrations and of course, the same is very much true racially. That was true in my day and is still far too true now.
So we need scholars that are revolutionaries, who dare to think what we might study if we looked at the world as if everyone mattered. If we studied every continent in the reality of their existence instead of the political fact of their power in our view of the world. In fact, by not doing that we are missing a very great deal.Think about what we did not learn about the Native American cultures with a sophisticated nuanced interest. And we are only just discovering how useful to us Native American cultures [are] that were already in this country before it was “discovered.” And think about the true source of much of our democratic tradition in this country. I doubt very much that the European immigrants knew a great deal about Ancient Greece. And in any case in Ancient Greece only about 5 people voted. It was a very limited privilege. In fact, the source of our knowledge of democracy really came from the Native American cultures that were already here. We learned the structure of our government in large part from the Iroquois confederacy. Those wise people advised us and were present in Philadelphia explaining that it was, of course, possible to allow a high degree of autonomy as they did to various nations, the Cherokees and others and still cede certain overall umbrella powers in a confederacy. Benjamin Franklin admitted this as a major source of our democracy in this country, but with condescension: well, if those savages can do it, so can we.Well I don’t know about you, but I was much more likely to believe that everything was owed to ancient Greece and very little was owed to the Native American cultures of this country, because I suppose if we had admitted that, we would have also had to admit the genocide that was performed on those cultures and the fact that 90 percent of the individuals were wiped out in just a couple of centuries after the “discovery” of this country or that the teaching of the religion and culture and languages of those who remained was forbidden, was actually illegal well into the 1960s. We have penalized ourselves, in fact, by not having scholars who were freedom fighters and not enough scholars who were willing to go back and look at the real history and uncover the richness of cultures, who in many cases understood a balance between humans and nature, understood a balance between the male and the female, and have–as we are only now discovering–many secrets and much wisdom that we have looked outward for and have not known enough to look in our own back yard, to look inward, and to look at this country and see what we have missed.Sometimes I think that the history of a country is much like the history of a person. We’re just beginning to discover that if we had certain patterns put upon us in our childhood–if we were treated with neglect or with violence or were not appreciated for our unique selves, but forced to create a false self to get love and approval–that we continue these patterns in adult life. Even if they are painful, even if they do not serve us well anymore, nonetheless they feel like home–and that has a great power. It is only when we go back and look at the origins of the bruises, which events in current life may be hitting, that we understand the events in current life are not the total cause of what we are experiencing. And if we connect them to their original source, those bruises begin to heal and the patterns begin to change. We begin to make our own decisions rather than continue those decisions that were made for us in childhood.I wonder if the history of a nation isn’t something like that history as well. I wonder if we don’t need to go back and look at the childhood of this nation, of those years just after it was founded and after Europeans arrive, to admit what happened to Native American cultures, to really look deeply at what slavery did to all of us and the callouses that it grew upon our souls. If we are to stop repeating the violence that comes with denial.You can see it in our own leaders. For instance, think about the difference between Reagan and Clinton. Both were the children of alcoholic fathers who were quite violent to them, both had uncontrollable households to which they returned with great fear and trepidation, not knowing what they would find there. Reagan handled it in the way many of us in the room were encouraged to handle it, which was to feel ashamed of what was happening in the house and therefore, to deny that it was happening at all–No, everything is fine, there’s no elephant in the living room, there’s no shame, everything is fine. And without the chance to go back and look at those childhood patterns, he became the king of denial and he took the whole country into denial–No, there’s no deficit, no there’s no homeless, no, there’s no racism. And you can see the pattern of his leadership as the pattern of his childhood. Not, mind you, that I am preaching childhood determinism, as if whatever happened to us in our childhood determined the rest of our lives–absolutely not. Maybe quite the reverse. If we can go back and look at it and decide if we want to choose it or not, or heal the wounds, then we become even more compassionate toward other people. But in Reagan you could still see the rage of a young man, a boy, facing an all-powerful violent father, even in his attitude toward communists, toward the “evil empire,” toward the Soviets. He demonized the enemy. They weren’t just other human beings, they were all-powerful adults in the face of a much less powerful small boy.Clinton, on the other hand, with a similar childhood, seems to have been able to go back and look at what happened, to understand the suffering of his mother, of his brother, and of himself. To be honest about it, talk about it. There are some people who say that Clinton and Gore are the first two post-therapy leaders. I’m not sure I would put it that way, because therapy is not always so wonderful, either–and it can be quite Freudian and full of denial in and of itself, but none the less it does seem that they have both been able to go back and look clear-eyed and open-hearted at what happened in their childhoods–forgive, understand, and thus be able to actually listen to other people, to look at reality, to say this is what is really going on.How rare it is and how much we have suffered for not having leaders listen. It doesn’t mean that you and I don’t have to work. It doesn’t mean that we can ever say “can this leader do it for us.” No. We can only do it for ourselves. What we need is someone who listens. And at least we do seem to have that. If we look at what we have been learning, at the degree of denial and the lack of scholars who are really freedom fighters, even the things we have been studying, we have been studying incompletely.I studied Virginia Woolf, too, when I was in college. I never learned she was the survivor of incredible sexual abuse in her household, and once you know that you understand so much about her and you understand her suicide, and her fears. And that has only come out in the past few years, as it has begun to come out about individuals, as women especially have been able to stand up and say what happened to us, not be disbelieved because it was something we imagined (and wanted, mind you), but confirm each others experience, and of course the many boys to whom it happened too, but we were learning only part of the truth.Consider something as recent as the space program. I think many of us probably, understandably think that Sally Ride was the first female astronaut. Right? Wrong. In fact, there were 12 women astronauts in the very first class along with John Glenn. They passed all the tests, and did very well and would have been accepted, except they were washed out simply because they were women. There was even a Senate hearing on this question. So it was not a secret, but it isn’t in our history books and it isn’t in The Right Stuff. I suppose if Tom Wolfe would have put that in, it would have been the wrong stuff–if women could do it, too. The sad thing is that those women are still trying to be the explorers and pioneers they were meant to be. I tried to find some of them to take them to Sally Ride’s launch, because I thought I would force the press and the media to understand that there had always been women qualified to do this. I did find one woman named Jane Heart, who had continued to be a pioneer and had gone around the world in a row boat with another woman. I couldn’t find another member of this original group of 12, and I discovered that she was out of the country, because for the last 20 or 30 years she has been collecting money, buying medical supplies, and flying them in a single engine plane up the Amazon River to distribute them among tribes in Brazil. We don’t know this.On one evening I watched The Right Stuff on TV and Amadeus. Amadeus, I suddenly realized was completely silent on the fact that Mozart had a sister named Nannerl, whom Mozart said was “the talented one.” They traveled together. The degree to which we have been looking at the world with one eye open and not even all the way open, we have only been seeing particular groups of people, and their history is really staggering. Even the scope of what we study is political. For instance, what we call “pre-history” and dismiss as “pre-history,” is more than 95 percent of human history. We know now–since carbon dating and all of these methods–allow us to understand how long human beings have actually been on this earth. The finds in Africa have also helped us to understand that. So we are actually dismissing as pre-history 95 percent of human history, about which we actually know quite a great deal. It wasn’t patriarchal, it didn’t have the racial divisions, it wasn’t nationalistic. We are studying what we politically have been encouraged to learn so that we will replicate it.How did we get into this jam in the first place? We always ask people this question. Women, people of color, any less powerful group we are often confronted with some version of–if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich–if you’re equal how come you’re not equal. Why aren’t you in the history books? It must be your fault somehow anyway. Of course, nobody knows the whole answer, but it does seem that this current stage of patriarchy, hierarchy, nationalism and so on, began with the discovery of paternity. Until that time, people thought that women bore children when we were ripe, like trees, like plants and so on. The connection between conception and birth was not fully understood and indeed there are some societies in the world in which it is still not fully understood.But gradually, with the discovering of paternity, there seems to have come over a millennia the desire to establish ownership of children by particular men and thus to restrict the freedom of women long enough to make sure who the father of the child is. Marriage de-mystified. Right. Restricting the freedom of women long enough to determine paternity. With the new ideas of ownership of children, of ownership of women, came the idea of ownership of territory, of warring for other territory, bringing captured peoples in who were often marked by race or ethnicity as different, to use as slaves and so on. There came to be gradually these kinds of structures that we now consider normal, but they did not always exist, and indeed if we consider the history of spirituality, of religion, it tells us the same thing, because for most of human history god was present in everything, in animals, in plants, in men, in women, in all races. The word pagan just means “of nature.” It’s supposed to be a terrible thing, of course, but that’s all it means.Actually, the overturning of the pre-existing, pre-historic millennia of various kinds of pagan beliefs was done very, very cruelly. It is from this period of 500 years of Inquisition, of the 13th-15th century in Europe, when heresy was the crime and then grew into full-blown witch hunts in the 16th-18th century in an effort to overturn the pre-existing pagan religions, very cruelly getting rid of, literally killing between 1 million and 9 million, nobody’s quite sure, witches. The conservative and probable estimate is 6 million. These were mostly women who were the leaders of the pagan religions. 80 percent of the people burned at the stake, who were tortured, who were killed were women, but there were men as well. The town records in Germany and France reveal whole towns that were left with no females at all of any age, young or old. Travelers reported a countryside absolutely littered with stakes and funeral pyres. The old pagan, everyone matters, all of nature matters, kinds of world views and spiritual views were overturned over the centuries with great, great cruelty and the male gods that had been imposed by the Greeks and the Romans and their imperial systems gradually became Christianity, which, though certainly revolutionary in its origins, became the religion of the elite and feudal lords and later kings who insisted on Latin being the official court as well as the church language.I realize that is a breath-taking overview of many thousands of years of history, so let’s just take one example: Joan of Arc. I’m very interested in the revisionist both-eyes-open theory of Joan of Arc. She was legendarily a member of a coven, a part of the old religions, the pagan religion of the common people and it seems that the Dauphin perhaps, an alternate explanation, who had been conducting wars and whose court had been conducting wars for a very long time and decimated the French population was having a lot of trouble getting the peasants to join these armys anymore, understandably. So, perhaps he needed a leader of the old religion still adhered to by the peasants in order to lead the armys so the ordinary people would join up again, have faith again. Joan of Arc seems to have been used in that way. In this interpretation, she becomes not so much a heroine, as a kind of Gunga Din, who went over to the other side, with all good will perhaps, and led her people into the armys of their oppressors, the army of the upper class. She was loyal enough to the old ways to make sure that she herself never killed. As she said, “when we went forward against the enemy, I held my banner aloft to avoid killing anyone, I have killed no one.” But nonetheless, once the wars were won, she had too much power and so she had to be burned as a witch.I think it’s endlessly, endlessly interesting to look at history whole instead of half. And thanks to your 300th anniversary here in Salem, I know that you have spent the last year looking at this and being very careful about commemorating your own pale but still tragic version of the witch burnings in Europe. But I think if we look at the events of our own childhoods, of our history, of the world in which we will live now whole, we can learn a lot of lessons about our current life and our current dilemmas. There is a reason why justice for all women, feminist movements, etc…make common cause with justice for gay men and lesbian women. Most obviously because all women can be stopped from bonding and rebelling by the word lesbian as long as that word is a bad word. So we all have common cause in making it honorable, because we will all be stopped by it, all non-conforming women will be stopped by it until it becomes as honorable a word as any other. In fact, if we look at the witch burnings, we find that homosexual men were the object of those persecutions, just as strong and independent women were, who were healers, the wise women, the witches and so on. So much so, that homosexual men were bound together at the foot of the pyres on which witches were burned. The thesis was that only the burning bodies of homosexual men could make a fire hot enough to burn a witch. And that’s where the name faggots comes from, that’s our heritage from those days.But it makes sense in our current life to understand why our cause is common. If the point of patriarchy is to restrict women as the most basic means of production and reproduction and direct all sex into having children inside patriarchal marriage, so they are properly owned, then any form of sexual expression that can’t end in conception is the adversary–and it’s still the adversary. It’s exactly the same now, if you look at the Moral Majority who actually are probably the people our European ancestors came here to escape. You will find that this explains what otherwise might seem illogical. Why is it that they are both against contraception and lesbians? Why is it that they actually take formal resolutions in their conferences against masturbation? Incidentally, masturbation was proof of witchery, as far as the church persecutors of women in Europe was concerned. Any form of sexual expression that doesn’t take place inside patriarchal marriage and isn’t directed toward conception is the enemy–and it is the enemy. The adversaries of love between two men and two women and the adversaries of equality for women are still the same people.And if we look at history whole we can learn a lot. We can think of Pat Robertson. It may find that we were killing witches because they were healers, because they taught women contraception, because they could perform abortions, because they gave women control of their own bodies. In other words, they were doing a very radical thing in fact, which is seizing control or maintaining control of the means of reproduction. Even sounds radical when you say it that way, right? It may seem a long time ago that they were accused of eating babies and conversing with the devil and all this kind of stuff, but Pat Robertson can tell us today that all feminists really want is to leave their husbands, kill babies and become lesbians.If we look at the Malleus Maleficarum, which was the handbook of witch killing–what to do about uppity women who insisted on being autonomous, independent and practiced medicine and healing–which was incidentally an instruction in killing and witch hunting written by two Dominican monks in 1486, we find that they said “among women, mid-wives–who often perform abortions–surpass others in wickedness. All witchery comes from carnal lust in women which is insatiable.” I bet we could put that in the mouth of the head of the Mormon Church or the Ayatollah and it would sound quite the same. We could look in our own bible where it says in Samuel 15:23, “Rebellion is as the sin of Witchcraft.” We can look at Martin Luther–we shouldn’t land only on the Catholics–who was the founder of Protestantism, “If woman grows weary and at last dies from child bearing, it matters not, let her die from bearing, she is there to do it.”If we wonder why men who now also assert their whole selves and dare to claim the supposedly female parts of their nature–if you’re going to have a male dominated society, you have to teach men to suppress the gentle, nurturing, empathetic, flexible parts of their nature, by saying that it is feminine, which of course is a libel on men. Men have all these qualities, too. Men who assert this wholeness are punished now, much in the same way as warlocks were punished in earlier centuries. And if we allow religions, which are often politics made sacred–you know: politics in the sky, god looks like the ruling class–to convince us to live a deferred life, to live for life after death–it’s really quite amazing that they got us to do that–then that is not at all different from the philosophy of the burning times of the witch burning days, when this world was judged to be a punishment and one was to live only for life after death.If we dare to live in the present, to live to the fullest, then we may be punished in somewhat the same way. But we can learn from scholars who look at the world whole. We can learn from understanding that witches were indeed healers and freedom fighters and not people to be denigrated on Halloween or any other time. Perhaps we should devote our next Halloween to having a celebration of witches as wise women. This means a very deep change, because it means changing the whole paradigm of masculine and feminine with which children grow up and which is the root of the idea of subject/object, winner/loser, and the whole model on which race and class and all other hierarchies are built. In the name of both scholars and witches I thought I’d read from a poem called “Network of the Imaginary Mother,” which Robin Morgan, a wonderful poet and now editor of Ms. Magazine, a wonderful writer, wrote because I think we need to hear the names of the women and hear what happened to them, just as we need to understand what happened in our own childhoods and look at it with open eyes and just as we need to understand what happened in the childhood of our own country before we can stop repeating those patterns.“Repeat the syllabull……..” [Poem not included in the text of the speech]And every day when we open the newspapers and we see in Montreal the massacre of women killed because they were feminists, when we see the mass murderers who say that they picked out women who seemed too smart, too rebellious. When we see the statements of the very clear patriarchal and racist leaders who are still among us, we can learn a lot from looking at the past and from looking with new eyes as scholars, as witches. With a sadness and a tragedy, I have really come to believe that, as I wrote in Revolution from Within, “if our biggest dreams for ourselves, for what our world could be like, if those dreams weren’t already real inside us, we couldn’t even dream them.”Let me leave you with more practical lines, by Marge Piercy:Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over youBut two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an armyTwo people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organization. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.It goes on one at a time,
It starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.∞ Copyright 1987 by Gloria Steinem. All rights reserved