I love Z Budapest. I am a feminist, and I am not afraid to say it (on both the net and in the real world). I love Goddess, books about Goddess and myths about Goddesses. So one book I would really like to get my hands on and read is Switching to Goddess by Jeri Studebaker.
This book takes the premise that the only hope for humanity and the future is to turn away from all the male warmongering gods and switch 100% to Goddess. (I am not entirely sure what form her version of Goddess takes however). The big guy Gods in religion are and have been for the past couple of thousand years jealous, violent, anti-women and intolerant. I agree with this, though I maintain that it is not divinity itself that is the above, it is humanity’s perceptions of divinity that create this psycho-male god persona. Studenbaker reckons that as long as God, the ultimate standard for what is right and good in the world, is an angry male mysogynist figurehead then humanity will never get along with itself and with the planet. Where the virtues of beating other people up are extolled, more people will be beaten up. Where an exclusivist attitude prevails, there will always be injustice – where belief in ultimate good and ultimate evil continues, people will continue to lump things in one category or the other.
A good mother never picks favourites – she loves all her kids equally, and just wants them to get along. Mums, forever the centre of child rearing, teach kids how to be good people. They’ll stop kids throwing stuff at cats, tell them off for picking on the kid with glasses, encourage them to share with their siblings and friends, and to tidy up their toys before bedtime. So, if we all acted like good sons and daughters, then hopefully we’d share our resources, end all sorts of racial, income-based and gender based discriminations (and a whole lot of other Isims), stop nicking stuff off eachother and beating eachother up and just get along. If the idea of Goddess is expanded to mean not just female divinity but female divinity linked with the earth, as in all this neo-pagan nonsense, then we would also invest more time, money and effort into looking after the ecosystem, permaculture, mom-fossil fuels and recycling. A bit like the fairies in Artemis Fowl.
So far, pretty idyllic.
However, as a race notorious for not getting along, I am unsure how even a hundred people could all get together and agree to get along, much less a planet full of people. It is all very well to wax on about the missing spirituality in people that causes all this ego imbalance and strife (some thing I definately love to talk on about) but people who lack the humbleness gene or have large doses of the selfish gene and/or the ego gene will not want to know or do anything to address it. As a recovering athiest, I’m not even sure I want to know at times.
Studebaker’s theory is that 4000 years ago (or a bit longer), women were on top and things were all fine and dandy. Men were cool with it, women were cool with it, we were all cool with it. However, in the northern countries, changes in climate lead to poor harvests and bad times for people all round. We were not cool with it. People figured that it must be something to do with the Goddess, as Goddess was the earth and goodness that they lived upon, and by proxy something to do with women as well. If the Goddess had forsaken them, why should women live happily and equally? Men became more relied upon for their manly skills of procuring food for the tribe by force, hunting, and running around finding stuff (a skill that has mysteriously been lost in the mists of time) and a more warrior like society ensued, leading to invasion of southern lands (Greece, Sumeria etc.) to gain resources.
(If I have relayed this inaccurately, my heartiest apologies to Judi)
I love this theory – I am sure most feminists and goddess worshippers do too – but I am unsure of the reality of it. I read an excellent book the other day detailing the unfair tradition-steeped problems with marriage in today’s world – Wifework by Susan Maushart – which detailed the origins of todays patriarchal world as being intricately bound up with marriage, women’s ability to give life, and men’s ability not to. Men got the knowledge that their purpose as a biological being – offspring – was being fulfilled through marriage, and women got safety and food whilst they were ridiculously incapacitated by pregnancy, lactation and looking after pathetically helpless kiddies. All this patriarchal nonsense was, in Maushart’s view, womb envy on behalf of men. They couldn’t give birth, so they made up for it in other ways.
Maushart’s theory makes a lot of sense to me, but I cannot but recognise the conflict between Maushart’s probably more logical theory, and Studebaker’s perhaps more idealistic theory. In any case, I cannot wait to read Switching to Goddess and find out if Studebaker can change my mind.
For Judi Studenbaker’s blog, click here
For Judi Studenbaker’s site dedicated to her book Switching to Goddess do click here