Once there were images of the goddess with temples dedicated to her many manifestations.
She was fair and she was dark
She was forbidding and stern
She was bawdy and fun
She was wise and compassionate.
She was wild unrestrained joy exuding a divine creative feminine force on the planet.
She was the wings under which we sheltered, the first breast we suckled and the teacher of the mysteries.
She held the earth in the palm of her hand and her feet straddled the universe.
She was the great mother and we, her children her creations.
growing up in the 60s I did not know her.
she had no existence in my suburb, town or country.
Instead I was taught about god the father the son and the holy ghost but when I asked about the mother I was told not to be silly.
in my family there was dad my mother and two sisters and it wasn’t long before I found out from the girl across the street that it took the efforts of both my mother and father to make me and that somehow despite great pain my mother expelled me from between her legs and out I popped.
who is god’s mother? he doesn’t have one I am told – he is the one who made us in his likeness he is the creator .
and then I discovered at Sunday school that because of Eve allowing the evil snake to tempt her into eating the apple we got chucked out of the garden of eden and instantly became sinners.
but that was ok because Jesus who I had a bit of a crush on at the time had died on a cross so that I could be forgiven for being so bad.
to compound matters mary mother of jesus hadn’t done the dirty with Joseph, no-no- no it seemed to involve Gabriel a trumpet and a state of virginity which had a lot to do with keeping your legs closed and acting ladylike my mother informed me.
I have to say my mother with all her religiosity was very coy about the details and whenever I queried into this subject matter I was told not to be silly. hardly satisfied with this state of affairs I decided to hedge my bets both ways – pray to god when I wanted to pass my exams and boycott Sunday school taking my collection money to the local dairy and spending it on lollies instead.
every room in our house had biblical verses set into paintings of an idyllic scene . things like ‘for god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son ‘… and ‘I am the way the truth the life’ and ‘trust in the lord with all thine heart’ there it was framed in every room – the story of a big daddy god and a son .
hey in case you haven’t noticed I am a girl. I know that was just me being silly again.
much later I was told faith was required to understand these things . lets face it a child knows quite a bit about faith – we are until it is taken off us eternal optimists – knowing we will be fed and put to bed, told off for failing to put the bin out or feed the cat.
we have faith that the sun comes up every morning and we will have to go to school and that when it gets dark there will be another blue about watching tele or going to bed.
by this time I had reluctantly given up the fairies in the garden as well as the easter bunny the tooth fairy and santa claus. In this case having faith meant accepting a god without a mum a father without a wife and a son that didn’t have any sisters as well don’t forget some geezer who called himself the holy ghost.
but what sort of ghost I wanted to know and how did that fit with ‘ there are no such things as ghosts’ whenever I complained about being scared of being left without the hall light on.
none of it made sense and all of it denied me a reflection of the girl child.
suddenly I am emerging into puberty into a flowering of hormone and breast muscle of feelings and flushes and prickly sensations.
my role models were eve the wicked temptress that caused the stain on all females ever after and mary frocked in white never been kissed with a halo over her head holding a baby that saved the world.
welcome to the feminine my dear
whore or virgin.
which one will you be?
what a choice?
sheer luck that I read Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren about the red-haired freckled lass that had adventures. I shared the red hair and the freckles but not the adventures. Pippi was rebellious and independent, she could stand on her head walk upstairs carrying her horse on her back wore odd socks was a champion for the weak and did not need adults.
what was there not to admire about her?
by the time I made it into my 20’s and the 70’s were doing their bit for the feminine the goddess sailed back into my orbit and we made fast again, we embraced and studied all those long centuries in which she had been outcast.
you have no idea what it was like growing up in a boys own annual I tell the daughters.
you have no idea what it was like growing up under the vengeful gaze of the male trinity.
and I have no idea what could have been if I had not been stamped with the mark of sinners.
the stories we tell each other are sacred
they are the actions of who we are