This essay was written as an Introduction to the “Resurrection” theme of the Spring 2000 issue of Crone Chronicles. The human race had just surrendered to the new millennium. An astonishing moment. And that I would rediscover this old essay today, given the ghastly, same-ol’, same-ol’ military strike on Syria last night, feels perfect. While the old world is still bent on destruction, unable to imagine, as (female!) British PM noted, another “practical” solution, we who are alive to the possibilities of each new moment, we who dare to recognize Friday the 13th as a day originally dedicated to the wild fertility of the Goddess, have not forgotten our imaginations. We know that every idea that materializes into form was, until focused on, not even yet a “particle,” but instead dissolved into the continuum, the quantum field wherein an infinity of possibilities can arise. It all depends on where we put our attention, where we choose to focus our energy. For yes, the universe is pregnant with seeds, and we human females who have experienced pregnancy recognize the mysteriously creative primal power that moves through, using our bodies as vessels, on its way to manifestation.
Unlike creation, let’s face it, destruction is boring. Let’s get over it!
THE UNIVERSE IS PREGNANT WITH SEEDS
CC #42, Spring 2000.
In 1974 I married for the second time. Dick had been my high school boyfriend, and finally, when we were in our early 30s, our dream came true. I was so in love that I even moved back home to marry him. And while our inner life filled my parched heart with joy, the outer life I was expected to lead as his “wife” in that small Idaho town sent my feminist system into shock.
Yet, as alienated as I felt in this suburban environment, I was equally estranged from what seemed to be a new wave of feminism washing up on my shores once a month, through the mail.
My friends Jean and Ruth Mountaingrove had started a magazine, Womanspirit. Each issue was stuffed with articles and poetry on what its female authors called “the goddess,” plus “rituals and ceremonies” linked to menstruation. Even more distasteful to me were the small murky photos of women (some with breasts bared!) out in the woods, or dancing around fires, and line drawings of goddesses and other female figures. To me they either looked like chicken scratches or so curlicued as to be impossibly romantic.
I was a recovering Catholic. I wanted to banish all talk of “God.” Why create another mythical entity to rebel against? Why bring in “goddess”!
This was my proudly held ideological position.
Closer to home, and hard to admit, I hated to look at female bodies. They were either too soft, too fat, or else skinny, scrawny. In any case, they were way too vulnerable.
Afternoons I would sit there in a big stuffed chair, the drapes drawn over the living room picture window (I wanted to keep my distance from neighbors, too), staring at Womanspirit with contempt and fascination. Why was I even looking at this silly stuff?
And what was I doing in this boring ranch-style house? Cooking. Baking bread. Cleaning. Being called “Mrs.” Running around like a rat in a cage until nightfall, when my new husband would return to once again ignite our special magic.
I was a feminist revolutionary, I thought. And I was rotting away in a small Idaho town which hadn’t changed since I was a child. And yet, so tender was our love that I now winced to recall my decade-long outrage against what I had dismissed as the worthless male half of the species.
I could no longer support that brand of feminism, and I felt superior to this strange new alternative feminism pioneered by Womanspirit.
I was lost and confused, with no focus except for an all-consuming love, and the practice of even that turned out to be short-lived. That marriage, I see now, was a healing interlude, the soul’s gracious gift.
Twenty-five years later, as we enter the new millennium, I edit a magazine in which the heart of the Resurrected Goddess beats like a resonant drum, calling us to share our stories, to discover who we are as women growing older. And in this publication, despite the objections of some readers, we also move beyond the appearance of physical gender to re-member the female principle inside all humanity.
This is a journal in which the female form, female energy and female experience have been documented, explored, contemplated, celebrated, ritualized, ceremonialized — season after season for over ten years now.
So what happened? Did I simply give in? Was it either The Goddess or The Mainstream? Did I see things as so polarized back then that I could only pick one or the other?
Both are true. I gave in, and in so doing, the polarities dissolved.
Until love bathed me in her fertilizing waters, I had been detached from the physical world. Eyes narrowed into pinpoints, I had divided everything into polarities: male/female, left-brain/right-brain, mainstream/alternative. In every case, I had been determined to be on the alternative side, no exceptions. Nothing broke my rules. Without realizing the contradiction, I was thinking “like a man.”
I wanted my view of the world to be clear and logical, and yet, as a trained philosopher, I knew that logic is only as good as the assumptions from which an argument flows. I also wanted to be “spiritual,” and thought that by keeping myself “above it all”— more thought-full than (superior to) others — I would succeed.
The reunion with my first love was a first step in what I recognize now as a continuous evolutionary process bending me around yet another unforeseen corner every six months or so — or is it every three months? I feel as if I am spiraling in the arms of the Mother, drinking from the sky-clad breast of her Milky Way, while also allowing gravity to center and ground me into her beautiful, blessed Earth womb.
That two-year encounter with my first love called me back into my body. And though I still didn’t like to look at it, I could surrender to its nightly ecstasy.
And though I forgot that too, for awhile, once our healing interlude was over, my body again called to me during my 40s and early 50s. She called long and hard, over and over again, in subtle and blatant ways, throughout seven mysterious years of menopause, whimpering her symptoms of unease, screaming her overt pain, whispering in my inner ear for me to stop! Stop!—and Listen. To the “still small voice within.” To my memories. To re-member the miracle that, when barely 21 years old, had catapulted me into the Divine Presence.
In order to conform to the “real world,” I had “forgotten” that experience: the natural birth of my first child. During that endless night of breathing to consciously harmonize muscles expanding and contracting in rhythmic oceanic waves; during that headlong push to climax, the forces of nature converging to pulse my child through the channel into light; to the miraculous moment when his head finally crowned — in that one long sustained ceremony the universe opened to reveal Her innermost secret, the inexhaustible fountain of energy pouring through form. Creation ex nihilo. Creation out of nothing! Out of nothing, comes something! Oh!
This was the ecstatic moment, and I was alive to it, a witness to creation utilizing my body as both substance and template to configure a new body. With no guidance from me. It knew what it was doing. I was the vessel. I was the vessel of the divine. This was the communion. All my questions about meaning distilled into awe.
And yet the years, and the culture — I was a young mother with no emotional support from my (first) husband — took its toll. Within a few years I had forgotten my own epiphany.
And I had forgotten that what had gifted me with epiphany was an experience within my own physical body.
During my late 40s and early 50s, as I underwent that long ceremonial initiation known as menopause, I once again entered the body. This time for good. This time I was ready. And what I discovered, in re-living the exquisitely painful experiences of my own early childhood, was that I was vulnerable, and tender, and soft, and round. That this small child had always wanted to snuggle against my breast. That I was to nourish her and care for her. That I was her mother.
And I re-membered the birth of my first child which had sealed me into glory, anointed me as an instrument of the Goddess.
The birth of myself in myself, the birth of my son into the world, are both creations ex nihilo. Out of nothing, something comes! The void is pregnant with seeds. Seeds of infinite variety, all seeking expression. All equal in the eyes of the Goddess. And all we need do is mother them.