Discoveries & Recoveries

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Goddess necklace made by local artist Katie Payne at Writ & Vision.

In 2016 I decided to face the spiritual feminist undertaking of reading The Chalice and the Blade (by Riane Eisler). It's a book built on the premise that historically, warfare and domination depended on one sex being subjected to the other, while peaceful societies were/are built on gender equality in life and in divinity. Sounds like a thriller right?

Well it is for me. I do actually worry I might be growing increasingly deficient in intelligence and I have dedicated myself to exercising my brain with thoughts and feeding my soul nutrients with words. If by the end of 2016 I can read a paragraph without checking my phone once I will call my mental strength training a success!

One of the things I have thought about while reading on early civilization's apparent worship of the female life-giving body is how much we still do worship the female body today. Of course today we have it all wrong, we worship the body for it's ability to transform into almost-impossible parameters and beauty ideals--a gaping wound in our society for sure. And although we seem to be making great strides at healing this wound, I think what we all ache for is the mother-body once worshiped by our ancestors. Where is she? Where is her body?

Then one afternoon as I was reading this book it dawned on me that my body is a goddess body--we ALL are the goddess body. The body I routinely reject for being too round or too full is the one that was modeled with clay and kept throughout the centuries as proof--bodies are divine. Our mothers are the divine goddesses, our sisters, our friends, our daughters. We've endured centuries of a imbalance of the sexes and it has been incredibly hurtful and confusing. But perhaps what we've lacked is less about religious knowledge and more about self-ownership. We are the goddesses we seek.

But also, this body is the actual origin of my children. I am their literal home. How I respect and love their home will reflect in how they think about themselves, their origins and their life. I know this because I have seen it in the patterns of mother-child body acceptance for as long as I have been around. Our children's homes are sacred. How do I respect their home?

And I've thought about my infertile period and how that body was a home to so many big ideas, so many essays and so many emotions. It was still a full, bustling, lively home. It was in fact very fertile.

This time of year I always prepare for the battle that ensues between me and my determination to honor my body as I swim around in declarations of body-based resolutions. I have to remind myself, I know how to care for my body better than anyone else. I know how I like to move. I know what to eat. I know how to sleep. I know how to practice self-care. And for the internal mysteries I often run into, I know they will be resolved as I work on their discoveries and recoveries.

I want to be able to say to my children, my ideas, my emotions: I know your origin, I know your home, and I honor it, and I honor you for coming from it.

And always end with: and thank you for coming from it.

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