you have no idea what it was like growing up in a boys own annual I tell the daughters




 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



17 thoughts on “you have no idea what it was like growing up in a boys own annual I tell the daughters

  1. You stoke a lot of memories here, and maybe it explains why I feel that my husband is the captain of the ship, but I refuse to be anything less than the admiral of the fleet. 🙂 My mother would be shocked, but silently proud. 🙂


  2. Debra

    I totally agree with everythign said here. I grew up in a Catholic community but our mothers were unhappy and quietly, patiently subversive. My family went to a church named after Mary and her images were everywhere which gave my friends and I a tiny spark of inspiration. We made up new stories based on those images. She was Maid Marian wild and free. She was the person we turned to when we needed to confide something. And we most certainly did believe in fairies and even left offerings when nobody was looking. There was nothing in the violent and mean-spirited bible stories, nothing in the pomp, ceremony, architecture and trappings of wealth that could ever touch our hearts in the same way as the hope of freedom did. We also saw that all the real work — the caring, the compassion, the effort into making the world a better place came from our mothers. That was far more meaningful and something we could truly admire. Seeing this divide between the sexes was just so bizarre — the men got all the glory and were the ones standing in front of us in their fancy robes every week while the women who did all the work (and there was always so much to do) had to wear hats to cover their hair!


    1. oh debra lucky you having mary in your life and making her into what exactly what you needed was brilliant . I was sent to the baptist church – no images and no mary except as someone who has a baby in a manger with a donkey and a few wise men.
      really you nailed it when you say none of it could ever touch us as much as the hope of freedom did and I know it is that yearning for it that kept me inquiring.
      I am amazed at the level of my mums output not just the meals preserves garden housework but all our clothing sewn and jumpers knitted and curtains made and the embroidery and craft and then she went and got a job to help out. makes me feel a bit slack really.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandra thank you for this so beautifully articulated. I don’t remember reading pippa longstocking though I know of her adventures. And certainly growing up in that era when boys were more favoured in some subtle sense. Thank heavens for all goddesses past present and future for our re-awakening. Thank you for you.


    1. dear susan, yes indeed thank heavens and I am grateful for that upbringing because it has shaped me into who I am becoming- if I hadn’t had a rebellious spirit though I may have got stuck.Not that I intend to imply a goddess only renaissance or even suggesting the times were better because I don’t really know but what we do deserve is the opportunity to grow and refresh our spirituality without censure. surely a balance of the feminine and masculine energies is what is called for on the planet at this time.


  4. Oh this all rings so true for me … beautifully written … I could never understand how God had no mother either. It maddens the life out of me now to know what we’ve been done out of and to see how we as half the world, have been demonised from pulpits and holy books. I see young women who have turned from hippies into religious maniacs overnight and ask, how can you possibly believe all that after what they’ve done to women. I k now there are many religious types who are very honest, true believers. Just as long as they don’t try to convert me back again.


    1. what I learnt was there is a difference between religion and spirituality and left to our devices we each find our own way into the heart of it for us.

      by the way fil for the last 20 odd years every february we have a folk festival in the village of Cobargo not far from me- you might like to pop over some time – I know it is a hemisphere jump…still….


      1. I’ve just been checking you out on the map:) We’re actually making plans to be down for the National next Easter and I’m hoping to get around a good bit of NSW – my brother lives up in Bowral and this will be our first hemisphere jump – I love the sound of that – much nicer than planning a long flight


  5. therapyjourney

    Powerful recollections of growing up, sad and poignant and all mixed in with this religious thread. I can relate to this as I have a hyperreligious mother also.


    1. I read about your mother and thank you for the link you draw with mental illness – an interesting one that I haven’t really looked into it. I do know that I found the hypocrisy of my parents views in terms of racism etc so at odds with the sermons preached on sundays.


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