This is not an easy time for those who are paying attention.
This is not an easy time for hope.
But these are exactly the times that require our attention and our hope. Active hope.
Because the feminine grieves when grief is needed and rages when rage is needed but never does she remain still, hand-wringing. The feminine is a responsive creatrix. When horror comes, the feminine stirs mercy and compassion (including self-compassion) and she uses those loving hands to create something new, something healing. She reaches them outward.
Last weekend was the last of the 2018 Womanly Arts Mastery learning program, and I usually share very little from inside the classroom. It is holy. It is sacred. It is deeply intimate. But I am making a small exception today because I want to bring the holiness out of the room. I want to drape it over us all.
It is not possible for many of us — in the United States, especially — to read the news and not hear the wails of children. Families seeking asylum have been divided, children from parents, siblings from siblings. I was told they were taking my daughter to warm up and she never came back. I was told my son would be given a shower and I haven’t seen him since and don’t know where he is. In some cases, the children have been transferred to other cities. In others, the children are kept in cages within the same facility but separate from their parents, who can hear their cries. Although the separations of child from parent have been ordered ended, there are serious concerns that it may not be possible to reunify the families already separated. Experts studying this situation fear there are no systems in place to return the children to their families. It is true horror.
On our last afternoon in the Mastery classroom, I entered the room with my mother and a procession of parents and children, all of us in white. The color of light. We made a circle together, we sang together, and we meditated on Justice, using the Statue of Liberty, Mother of Exiles, as a personification of what we believe Justice to be — courageous, clear, bold, a bearer of light, with many folds in her gown for children to hold.
We honored the bond between parent and child.
We were silent together to hold the vision — to create the vision — of these children being returned to their families, safe and well.
And we wept. How we wept together.
And then, in a circle around the room, we rang bells.
This country’s own Liberty Bell has a crack in it and as Leonard Cohen would sing us,
Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in
And we amen-ed. So shall it be, or something even better, sisters.
We agreed to continue this ritual outside the classroom as a powerful collective calling for justice, and collective love for these families, every day until July 4, American Independence Day. Some women are gathering in Central Park to sing God Bless America (you might opt to sing “Goddess”). Others are ringing a bell each night after tucking in their own children, a remembering of our sister-mothers who cannot kiss their babies goodnight.
Our ritual in the Mastery classroom was deeply inspired by this magic spell from ecofeminist Starhawk. Her suggestions are powerful and you may wish to follow them, too. Whatever ritual you make your own, please help create this vision with us. Let’s share in this together, with all the women around the world who are doing the same. I believe it matters.
What women dream collectively becomes real.
And, ritual is not enough; dreaming is not enough; we must also act. This is how our hope becomes active. This is how our hands unwring and become generous and useful and creative. Simple action. If you are in the United States, call your senator. There are also organizations seeking volunteers. And concerned people from anywhere in the world can make donations to help provide social workers and other support. (If you’re not sure where to start, we posted a couple of ideas here, last month.)
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” – Arundhati Roy
Sisters, let’s do this. Let’s birth another world.
Regena Thomashauer, aka “Mama Gena”
The School of Womanly Arts
Regena is a feminist icon, a teacher, a speaker, a mother, a best-selling author, and creatrix and CEO of The School of Womanly Arts.