Culture

Patterns of Oppression

Using the myths of classic Greece, Uranus, Cronus and Zeus, we can identify patterns of oppression within the archetypal field of patriarchy.

Within the continuing crisis in Missouri, all of these myths are at work. Starting October 22, 2014, I will expand on this topic across three weekly online seminars. Join us by registering at www.reflectionsmyst.org.

Devouring Fathers

Late last year I was thinking a lot about the mythic symbolism associated with Uranus, Cronus and Zeus. Uranus who despised his children, the Titans, even pushed his youngest children back into Gaia’s womb (into the darkest part of the underworld) causing her great pain. Uranus was defeated when Gaia gave Cronus a weapon that could dispatch his father.

Cronus, because he feared being overthrown, swallowed his children that were sired with his sister Rhea. Rhea hid Zeus from Cronus, and when Zeus grew up he freed the underworld Titans to help him to defeat his father.

The mothers aided each of the conquering sons. In the myth associated with Demeter and Persephone, it is Zeus who allows his own daughter Kore to be adducted and taken to the underworld. And once again it is Kore’s mother, Demeter, who is critical in her escape.

The reason these myths began to resonate with me was because I started thinking of my relationship with my own father and his relationship with his grandfather. In each of these myths, the fathers cripple their children’s growth and development by sending them into various symbols for the unconscious – pushing them back into the womb, swallowing them and arranging an underworld abduction. And in each case, it is the mothers who arrange the circumstances that lead to their escape.

Why do these ancient fathers need their children to remain unconscious? In The case of Uranus and Cronus, they somehow knew that their children would challenge their rule. Classically the old king must die before the young/new king can emerge.

But I believe there is more to these myths than simply the usurping of the old in preference for the new. Collectively these myths articulate the origins of patriarchy and displays the patterns of oppression within its archetypal field.

Join us online starting October 22 from 8 to 9:30 pm Eastern.

Register at www.reflectionsmyst.org

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Fri, 10/10/2014 - 8:41pm.

Why Talk About Myths?

“With the world going to hell in a hand-basket, why on earth are you wasting time talking about myths and fairytales?”

This is the unspoken question I face nowadays as I promote my upcoming myth series, Loss of Innocence. It is an excellent question, I must admit. There seems to be no end to the list of atrocities, scandals, political shenanigans, massacres and environmental outrages. It seems as if we either need to storm the battlements for life, liberty and justice or collectively bury our heads in the sand.

At a time like this, why would anyone want to spend her time studying those old tales of endangered children, mean middle aged women and absent fathers? Why indeed?

As I mentioned way back in one of my very first blogs, the old gods do not just fade away when their temples are destroyed. They remain in this realm by inhabiting or overshadowing those elements of nature that most resemble them in power, attitude and focus. So the gods of war haunt the battlefields and the gods of love leer suggestively in the red light districts. The gods of healing cycle through the hospital air system and the gods of knowledge sink into the libraries and lecture halls.

The same is true for the old tales.

When these old stories, like the old gods, are no longer spoken about around the glowing embers, when the dark is no longer propitiated with song and dance, and the bloodied teeth of the night terrors are no longer allowed to move freely through the words and gestures of the griot ... they take on lives of their own.

And these old tales and these old gods come alive without the mediation of culture, elders and the soul of humanity. So instead of us offering the first fruits of the harvest to the agricultural deities, we instead place monsanto derivatives into their soil of their bodies. Instead of offerings for the sweet waters of our rivers, we let industrial and superfarm waste spread diseases to all that lives down river. (And face it, we all live down river.) So the stories and the gods become distorted caricatures of their real nature. So the tortured land taints our food. And the dark tales enters the blood of the willing and terror is let loose upon the land .... and upon our very children.

So I seek answers within the words of our ancestors. Maybe we can identify why the wolf waited for Red Riding Hood instead of devouring her as soon as he found her in the woods. Or we can learn the skills of the dwarfs and rescue the lost children. Or maybe, we can strengthen our hearts, brains, homes and courage for the work that is already in our hands. And then maybe, just maybe ... we can reconcile these beasts of our own makings.

Surely it is worth a try. Join me for the first seminar on February 27th at 8 pm eastern. You can either dial in on our toll free number or join via the internet. This first session is free. Register online at www.reflectionsmyst.org

See you then.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Sun, 02/10/2013 - 11:21pm.

STFU Already!

Okay, this has to be said outloud or I am going to burst.

If you are a man, and you find yourself discussing rape ...

UNLESS you ...

  • ...have been a rape victim,
  • ... have held a screaming, bloody woman in your arms all night so she could find some kind of peace,
  • .... have held a screaming bloody child for the same reason,
  • .... are activiely working to stop men from raping, or
  • ... have put your body on the line to help take the night back for women,

    SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT RAPE!

    You have no fucking idea what you are talking about,

    SO SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT RAPE!

    And if you are a woman ( or a man) who cares about woman having the freedom to continue to be part of the well spring of change that it so needed in this world.

    TELL THESE FUCKERS TO SHUT THE FUCK UP AND VOTE THEM THE HELL OUT!

    that is all ...@#$%^...

    Posted in

    Submitted by katrina on Tue, 08/28/2012 - 1:52pm.

  • Unpacking a Community Crisis - Part 2

    The Open Hearth Foundation has had as it primary charter the founding of a pagan community center here in the Washington DC metro area. I had been an early critic and skeptic, because as a native Washingtonian, I have longed been irritated when things are named after my city but actually reside in Maryland or Virginia.

    So in January of last year when I was invited to a local leadership summit held by OHF, I was surprised when we reached general consensus that the center actually be located in DC. At the time, I was also greatly impressed with the leadership of Iris Firemoon and Maria Aquila. They listened to our feedback, frustrations and hope.

    So when the center opened this year, I was so proud of OHF but most especially damn proud of the two of them. They kept their promise and they manifested our dreams. Iris, a charismatic, hard working and seasoned leader, lead the board of OHF into its greatest success.

    But OHF failed Iris in many ways.

    As a community, we have a responsibility to support and protect our up and coming leaders. In my years of running groups as small as a coven to statewide organizations like Maryland NOW with close to 10,000 members, the one thing that came up over and over again was how do we grow and nurture our leaders.

    One of the ways we can harm our leaders is to treat them as if they are not human or have human foibles. We do this by not building in feedback loops, open and transparent processes, and escalation procedures. These procedures not only protect the organization, they also protect our leaders from themselves.

    And we failed Iris when she fell in love. We failed to protect her from herself. There should have been an automatic process that clicked in to insure that Sean was removed from a leadership position. The other concerned and alarmed board members should have known who to contact to voice their concerns. Members of the community, including myself, should have known who to contact to express our concerns.

    OHF has taken steps to correct these issues, but it is way too late to help Iris. And folks like myself, who continually voiced concerns informally, waited too late to make them public. As a result we, all of us, failed Iris.

    And so here we are with Iris in great pain having suffered emotional and mental abuse, feeling forced out of leadership just as she achieved her greatest success, and feeling as if her only option was to publicly air her grievances against her husband and the board of the organization she once ran.

    You will notice that I never faulted Iris for blogging her pain. As a feminist, I will never seek to silence a woman. I will hold people accountable when they overstep the boundaries of fair play, or when they manipulate processes or people toward the achievement of personal goals. But I will never seek to silence a woman who speaks her truth.

    This is also why I can hold compassion for Iris as a woman while critiquing her actions as a leader.

    And this is a key point.

    Many folks acted as if this crisis was simply about either being for Iris or against her. This is the same polarization we hear from the Tea Party, the Religious Right and the current leadership of the Republican Party.

    But we as pagans can ill afford that kind of politics inside our communities. We should be able to be more nuanced. Our paths, though differing all honor the earth, the seasons, the masculine and the feminine, and the light and the dark. We literally stand at the crossroads and find ways to dance and make magick together.

    And so we need to be very careful when we find ourselves being pulled for or against anything. We need to find ways to be not simply for-or-against but more broadly both/and.

    I both admire and respect Iris, and believe that things went too far in the subsequent attacks on Sean. Sean may be a lot of things, both admirable and deadly. But he is also a human being. And with the attacks on him and OHF, it opened up a negative spiral that led many folks who otherwise hold to standards of acceptable behavior in public to begin making lewd, nasty and horrible statements about Iris, Sean, OHF and Firefly.

    And it was because of those statements that I felt I had to step in to protect all of them in my original post. My early posts were spells to stop folks from filling the airwaves with so much toxic energy that serious debate and discussion of the core issues was extremely difficult. People were un-friending long time colleagues within social media at the drop of the hat without listening to each other or respecting legitimate differences of opinion or perspectives.

    It is a sad day when members of a community cannot respectfully disagree with one another. And what hurts most of all is that we could have avoided the entire episode if we had treated Iris and her leadership as the precious natural resource it was.

    And so let me be the first to apologize to Iris for not having her back when she needed us the most. I am sorry I did not sit down with you and express my concerns. I am sorry I felt compelled to just offer words of support whenever I saw you without providing real support when I knew you needed it.

    I know you are angry with me right now, but that is fine and in many ways quite healthy. Be as angry as you need to be, I can take it. But also know that I will also be your biggest supporter when and if you are ready to step back in the sphere of local leadership. We at the Order are praying for your continued healing, an easy delivery of a healthy baby, and that your spiritual community continues to hold and protect you.

    You have my respect and love.

    Sincerely,
    Katrina Messenger

    Posted in

    Submitted by katrina on Mon, 08/27/2012 - 1:34pm.

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