Carl Jung was teaching us about the love revolution when he said that the opposite of love is not hatred, but will to power.
Will to power pretty well sums up the ethos that underlies our mainstream society where those at the top of the pile claim the right to dominate those below them. Self-interest and greed go hand in hand with will to power, and this toxic combination is what drives our political, economic and social systems.
The Goddess has been teaching me about this love revolution for years. Our humanity is at a pivotal turning point where the world as we know it, arising from this ethos of will to power, has set us on a collision course with ecological disaster and societal meltdown. When I ask the Goddess how we can change this destructive trajectory, She always tells me one thing over and over: love is what can mend our human soul, and transform our shared society.
The love revolution isn’t a new idea. It was gifted to us by the sixties counterculture, where love, compassion and awareness were seen as the basis of a revolution in our human consciousness and society. Then it seemed as if the love revolution fizzled out, and we continued on the same collective, destructive trajectory of self-interest, greed and will to power. But here we are, sixty years later, returning to this tenacious idea of love as a counterforce that can mend what ails our lives and shared society.
What is this transformative love that Carl Jung, the Goddess and the sixties counterculture are talking about? This question has been central to my own spiritual journey, and quest for personal and collective transformation, and this is what I’ve discovered.Love is a base human need.
We are wired to give and receive love both within our intimate circles of family, lovers, partners, children and friends, and the broader circles of our fellow humans and creature companions who share our Earth home. We can love ourselves, other people, things, ideas and activities. We typically think of this personal kind of love as emotional, but it’s also about service that honors and nurtures the well-being and happiness of others.Love is a state of being.
I’ve opened to this state of love through meditation. What I experienced wasn’t an idea or an emotion, but more a place or part of my being where I was love. My whole being was infused with an absolute peace and acceptance of everything and everyone. There was no separation between me and this love; it was in me and outside of me at the same time, everywhere and in all things.Love is the primal power of the living world.
We live in a material Universe, of matter, of Mother, of love as life’s unquenchable desire to create and nurture new life. From our flesh and bone bodies to our shining souls, we are woven of this primal love, as is everything around us. Love is our essence, and the energetic matrix that connects every living thing. We are part of this love, and we are this love. There is no separation, and never was.Love is a choice and sacred responsibility.
Humanity has been blessed and cursed with a dual nature. We hold within us the powers of creation and destruction, and their mirror forces of love and will to power. For millennia, we have collectively chosen will to power over love, and self-interest and greed over concern and care for others. To heal our souls and transform our world, we must consciously choose love over will to power, and then begin to live in accordance with this choice.Love is unconditional and inclusive.
No one and no part of ourselves are unworthy of this love. Beauty and wounding, light and shadow, creation and destruction, those who love, and those who cling to will to power — all of these complex, opposing aspects of our inner landscape and collective humanity have brought us to this turning moment, and all are in need of acceptance, healing and transformation. Love is deep and wide enough to hold everyone and everything, and in this meeting and mixing of the full range of our humanity, we can become whole, holy, and something new, kinder, wiser and more powerful.Love is a revolutionary force that can mend our souls and transform our world.
Beneath the thin veneer of a world constructed on will to power, beyond our personal burdens and scars of broken hearts and wounded life stories, this vast, infinite love calls us home to its welcoming embrace. We need only reach back to reclaim the love that we are, and the love that is ours to share. This love will heal and transform us, and then we, in turn, will heal and transform our world.
We, every single one of us, are the catalysts of the love revolution. The outer world can only change when we ourselves change, and choose love over will to power as the guiding force in our lives. This isn’t an easy journey. It calls us to claim and heal our wounded love, and to extend compassion and care to the great circle of our humanity, with all its mess, complexity and diversity. It requires that we become something new, a deeper, wider vessel for the love that is Goddess, life, and our true essence and best nature.
With each healed heart and mended soul, person by person, step by step, change by change, love is the counterforce to will to power that can guide our way forward into a kinder, caring and sustainable future.
When I sat down to write this article, I consulted Wikipedia’s glossary of spiritual terms and discovered God but no Goddess under “G”. Although one of my readers immediately added a definition of the Goddess, I was deeply impacted by this omission. It verified what I’ve always known: in our modern sensibilities, God is the fundamental construct for Divinity, and the Goddess doesn’t even make the list. That’s not to say that the Goddess isn’t recognized and honored by many, but collectively we don’t identify with or adhere to a feminine concept of the Divine.
You may ask yourself: why does this matter? What do we gain from a feminine concept of the Divine? I could answer these questions from an intellectual perspective, but that doesn’t sit well with me. It’s like talking about someone in the third-person when they’re standing right beside you.
Beneath our everyday existence is a vast realm of mystery that is the between-the-worlds home of those we have named God and Goddess. We humans have always known this and have given voice to our connection to these otherworld beings by conceiving and naming their qualities, powers and gifts through our mythic storytelling and spiritual and religious practices. But the Gods and Goddesses exist in their own right, independent of our human conceptions.
Let’s return to the questions of why the Goddess matters, and what we gain from a feminine conception of the Divine. But rather than me answering these questions, I will do my best to get out of the way and let the Goddess speak for Herself:
I am the shining light in your cells and the beating love in your heart. My ethos is one of creation, of life giving birth to and nurturing life. Your body and soul are woven of my sacred essence, and the material world is the outer expression of my presence.
Three is a magic number.
There have been three Women’s Marches.
Before each of these marches, there were outer events that had profound impacts on our collective awareness.
Each of these three outer events show us guideposts that help answer a crucial question: how do we become active participants in the Women’s March movement?
The first event was the election of Donald Trump in November 2016.
Trump was the misogynist, racist, hate-mongering straw that broke the camel’s back. He clearly showed us the rotten core of our modern society, and the abuses of power and privilege of white men like him.
What had been hidden was now visible. With this visibility comes choice: do you succumb or do you resist?
A group of women activists in the US chose resistance. From the organizing efforts of these women, the Women’s March was born on January 22, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Trump.
This is the first guidepost in becoming an active participant in the Women’s March movement.
Yes is a potent magical word. When you say yes, you invite change into your life.
So it was with the first Women’s March. With this yes of collective resistance, the March became a movement.
The second event was the birth of the #metoo movement.
It was Tarana Burke, an American social activist, who came up with the metoo phrase in 2006. Then on October 15, 2017, the actress Alyssa Milano shared the metoo hashtag to encourage victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment to share their stories. Within 24 hours, the hashtag had been used by more than 4.7 million people. And it just got bigger and bigger from there.
The #metoo movement became an integral part of the January 2018 Women’s March. We now marched, with our allies by our side, not just as a protest against Trump but for women’s truth, safety and dignity.
This is the second guidepost in becoming an active participant in the Women’s March movement.
For those of you, like me, who have suffered sexual violence, I’m here to tell you that your #metoo stories have power. Claim them. Honor them. Share them, in whatever way feels safe and right for you.
For the men in our midst, we ask you to be our sacred witnesses — to let our stories move your heart, change your ways, and call you to our sides as allies in the dismantling of rape culture.
For everybody that has suffered from the hatred and abuses of racism, homophobia, and transphobia, your stories of wounding are essential to the Women’s March movement, and its fight for justice and equality for everyone.
The third event was the birth of the #toomuchwoman movement.
It began in Toronto, with a delicious, passionate speech by Gina Hatzis called: I’m a Dangerous Woman. A video of this speech, along with the toomuchwoman hashtag, went viral in September 2018, reaching 16 million people, and a new, worldwide movement was born.
This same #toomuchwoman message is loud and clear in the vision statement for the
2019 Women’s March: We are strategic, we are focused, and we are a threat to your grip on power. We are taking back what you have stolen. The Women’s Wave is coming, and we’re sweeping the world forward with us.
This is your third guidepost in becoming an active participant in the Women’s March movement.
This toomuch message expands beyond women, across all genders, to include every single one of us. It reminds you that you are beautiful and powerful beyond your wildest imagination. It tells you to reject the abusive, controlling messages of this culture that have made you small and afraid.
Let’s put these 3 guideposts together, and see how they answer the question: how do you become an active participant in the Women’s March movement?
By joining the 2019 Women’s March, you’ve already arrived at the first guidepost, some part of you has said yes to resistance, and has chosen to stand in solidarity with millions of others in sister marches across the US and around the world.
This is the first step in becoming an active participant in the Women’s March movement.
The second and third guideposts come next. With them, you have everything you need to play your own, special part in the Women’s March movement.
In your one hand, from the second guidepost, you hold your stories of wounding, be they #metoo stories or other stories of how you’ve been hurt by this culture.
In your other hand, from the third guidepost, are the power and gifts of your big, beautiful, too much self.
Now here is the most important part. If you’re like most of us, you’ve been trained to think that you are one thing or the other — either wounded and small, like the second guidepost, or big and beautiful, like the third guidepost. But this kind of thinking is a lie that keeps you from the powerful truth that you are all these things at once.
You start with yourself, your stories, your gifts, your heart, and then follow from there.
When we do this together, each sharing our wounded stories and special gifts, and widening our hearts to be sacred witnesses for others, we will be an unstoppable force of cultural change.
May these three guideposts help you deeply, truly show up and become an active, positive part of the Women’s March movement. And may we ride this Women’s Wave together, sweeping the world forward with us into a new culture of love, justice and equality for all.
Photo Credit: Jessica Podraza on Unsplash
Source: Karen Clark Speech, 2019 Women’s March, Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
Something essential is shifting in the foundations of our world as we witness others tell their long-hidden, #metoo stories, and tell our own stories in turn. We’re speaking truth, and being heard. We’re saying: you’re time is up, and holding male perpetrators accountable. We’ve woken up en masse, and we’re not going back to sleep. And we’re not alone.
The Rape of Persephone
From the long ago of Greek civilization, comes the #metoo tale of The Rape of Persephone.
Demeter’s trim-ankled daughter whom Hades rapt away, given to him by all-seeing Zeus. Apart from Demeter, lady of the golden sword and glorious fruits, she was gathering flowers over a soft meadow, roses and crocuses and beautiful violets, irises also and hyacinths and the narcissus, which Gaia made to grow at the will of Zeus and to be a snare for the bloom-like girl–a marvelous, radiant flower. And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take the lovely toy: but the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the plain of Nysa, and the lord, Hades, with his immortal horses sprang out upon her. He caught her up reluctant on his golden car and bore her away lamenting. (Source: Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter (abridged) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.)
Let this piece of Persephone’s story sink in. Persephone is a Goddess. Her Mother Demeter is a Goddess. These are big, powerful, feminine beings that bring life, abundance and beauty to the Earth. Yet the God Hades, with the help of the almighty Zeus, can do want He wants to Persephone.
Hades desires Persephone so He abducts and rapes Her, and makes Her his bride. Persephone is taken against Her will, and Demeter can’t protect Her beloved daughter. Later in the tale, Persephone is returned to Demeter, but the damage has been done. She’s eaten the fruit of the Underworld, and is forced to be with Hades, Her abductor and abuser, part of every year.
Our #metoo stories are this old, and older still. We modern women are the latest manifestation of the suffering of our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and the long, long female line that went before us. And the Goddess stands with us in our suffering, and our awakening.
Persephone’s story is our story. We didn’t write or choose this story. It was written by men in power with the intention of usurping and subduing the sovereignty and powers of the Goddess, and we, Her earth-bound daughters. The purpose of this story was, and still is, to make us forget and fear our vast, mysterious feminine nature, and to make divine and normal our powerlessness in a male-defined reality.
The Descent of Inanna
Dial back another 3000 years to ancient Sumeria and the tale of The Descent of Inanna:
From the Great Above She opened Her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above the Goddess opened Her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above Inanna opened Her ear to the Great Below.
Inanna abandoned Heaven and Earth to descend to the Underworld.
When Inanna arrived at the outer gates of the Underworld, She knocked loudly.
She cried out in a fierce voice: ‘Open the door, gatekeeper! Open the door, Neti!
I alone would enter!’
Neti, the chief gate keeper of the kur, asked: ‘Who are you?’
She answered: ‘I am Inanna, Queen of Heaven, on my way to the East.’
Neti said: ‘If you are truly Inanna, Queen of Heaven, on your way to the East,
why has your heart led you on the road from which no traveler returns?’
Inanna answered: ‘Because of my older sister Ereshkigal, Her husband,
Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, has died. I have come to witness the funeral rites.’
(Source: Wolkstein, Diane; Kramer, Samuel Noah (1983), Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer)
Let this fragment of Inanna’s story sink in. Inanna is the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Ereshkigal is the Goddess of the Underworld. This is a story and reality where Goddesses, not Gods, reign in the Great Above and Great Below, and hold between them the primal mysteries of life, death and rebirth.
Later in the tale, we discover that Inanna, like Persephone, suffers the trials of the Underworld. But She does so by Her own choice and great courage. Through Her descent, She submits to the transformative mysteries of the Dark Goddess Ereshkigal. She is stripped bare, and dies to Her old self in order to be reborn into Her full powers and beauty. When She emerges from Her journey in the Great Below, Inanna is whole, holy in the full spectrum of Her Goddess powers and wisdom – Queen of Heaven, Earth and the Great Below.
The Great Below isn’t the realm of Hades and male power. The dark isn’t a place of rape, violence and domination. These are lies and distortions that block us from the wild, raw depths of our women’s power and mysteries, and from the very things that can mend our lives and world: our pain, grief and rage, and our truth, beauty and sovereignty. And, like Inanna before us, when we emerge from this journey, we can become whole, holy in the full spectrum of our feminine powers and wisdom, transforming not only our personal lives but also our shared society.
Our Modern #MeToo Tales
Persephone’s story is our story. Together we share a #metoo legacy of sexual violation and descent into a hell of male dominion that speaks to the everyday reality of sexism, misogyny and violence that’s endemic to our society.
Inanna’s story is our story. Together we share a heritage of the feminine mysteries of life, death and rebirth, and their pathway of descent into the Underworld as a journey of transformation into our full beauty and powers.
Feel the power of Persephone’s and Inanna’s legacy. Your #metoo story is a part of these ancient Goddess tales, and the lived experiences of the long line of women ancestors that have gone before you. Your voice is part of a world-changing movement of women speaking truth that can unravel the past, and reweave a collective reality that returns women to their rightful place in our shared society.
Hades, Zeus, the male ancestors who wrote these mythic tales, and the men who continue to abuse and dominate women: their time is up. Whatever comes next will be of our writing and choosing, in service of our greater womanhood and sovereignty, and beauty, love and justice for all.
Image Credit: Rupert Bunny, Rape of Persephone, via Wikimedia Commons
Words are a fundamental part of our humanity. The physiology of our brains is designed to make sense of ourselves and our world through language. We name things with words, and then load value and meaning onto these names. Every aspect of our shared society, interpersonal relationships and inner self-talk are dictated by these word-names.
There’s immense power in names. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the names people give to us, and the ones we give to ourselves. This naming can either narrow or expand who we are, and how we engage others and our greater environment.
Oppressors, those who conquer, dominate and control others, have used this power in names throughout history. Take away the names people give to themselves — taint and distort them, make these names a weapon — replace them with other, socially acceptable, domesticating names — and you’ve set up a system of control that becomes a normal, entrenched part of our social fabric. And not just names are taken away, but also language, story, dance, art, and other forms of culture, self-identity and expression.
All marginalized groups — on the outside of the white, male, heteronormative, Judeo-Christian ethos that dominates our Western society — have been impacted by this system of control through names.My Story of Names
I’m a white woman of British descent, born into a working class family of moderate means, and raised in a middle-of-the-road city in the eastern part of Canada. My upbringing was mainstream, banal and seemingly innocuous. And this is my story of names.
If I had the conscious awareness to name myself in my youth, I would have called myself a good girl.
I was a domesticated creature — nice, sweet, pretty, and well behaved. I did what I was supposed to do: work hard at school, follow the rules, hang out with other nice girls, date boys that my parents approved of, and keep a smile on my face, even when boys and men said and did not nice things to me.
No one in particular, and everything around me, gave me this name and the very narrow band of personhood that went with it.