Who Am I?

If you are reading this site, you may wonder who I am.  For about 40 years, I have written stories,  poems, memoirs, features, reviews and other pieces for a variety of women’s literary, art, and spirituality publications.  My work has appeared in The Goddess Pages, Feminism and Religion,  SageWoman, Moondance,  the We’Moon calendars, Matrifocus, The Beltane Papers, and Women Artists News, and in a number of book anthologies, among others.  I have also given readings and workshops.  I see my writing as a bridge between everyday life now and a world where all people believe that they and all other beings are sacred, everyone is respected for who they are, love is unconditional, and creativity is an everyday occurrence.  I am also a student drummer and hope to intertwine that with my writing in the future.  For 30 years, I was a public health and social services professional working with vulnerable people in urban, suburban and rural areas, an experience which has greatly influenced my thinking and writing.  I grew up in Michigan, but now live in New England.

A Few Words about How I Got Here

The ideas in these blog pages have come about over some 35 years. I grew up in a very progressive church and family in which everyone was considered to be sacred and worthy of respect and dignity and my sister and I were encouraged to think expansively about questions of theology. I have been blessed by this upbringing every day and I know it is rare.

In my 20s, I moved to New York City where I first encountered the concept of goddesses, and a spirituality of special relevance to women, as something other than long-forgotten stories. As a writer, I was interested in myths, and so when Diane Wolkstein announced an evening performance of her newly translated Inanna (Wolkstein, Diane, and Samuel Noah Kramer, Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, Harper and Row, New York, 1983) at the American Museum of Natural History, I bought a ticket. Winding my way through the darkened galleries, a la “A Night at the Museum,” was the perfect setting for the mystical experience that awaited me.

As I watched Diane Wolkstein perform the story of Inanna, I had the epiphany that throughout most of human history, it was a common human experience for women to see their own faces in the Divine, to walk into temples and see statues of goddesses who looked like them and whose experiences may mirror their own. I had, of course, known that goddesses were worshipped, but I had never before understood at the most profound level, how seeing a deity in the form of a woman made me understand my own sacredness in a way I had not before. I realize that for many women, seeing an image of the Divine that looks like them is not important, and I fully believe that the Divine is beyond gender, but at that time, understanding that humanity had also seen the Divine as female was important to me.

I thought about this as I went about my work in New York City in a large municipal social services agency. As part of my job, I went to the various boroughs to raise awareness of and find ways to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable residents — frail, destitute elders, people with AIDS (at a time when there was no cure or much understanding about how it was spread or could be managed), and others. I lived in the East Village and so met many neighbors who were homeless and hungry on my way home from work every day. I have continued to provide public health and social services in urban, suburban, and rural communities since moving to New England.

As I considered what was truly behind the suffering I was observing — not just the institutional issues but the fear, hatred, and devaluing of some people by others, and the lifelong abuse endured by many — I connected it to my epiphany at the Museum and the reading I had begun to do about goddesses and the matriarchal (meaning egalitarian, peaceful, and creativity-loving, where women and men are equal and neither dominates) cultures that worshipped some of them. I came to see that because only some people in our society are considered fully sacred; because compassion, gentleness and peacefulness are perceived as weakness; because the Earth is no longer our divine Mother, but just real estate, the despair I saw all around me was inevitable unless these perceptions changed.

I realized that maybe we can uncover those elements of the Female Divine that are hidden in our western society so that everyone feels celebrated and we can find models in societies that valued and still value peace, justice, and nurturing, including those that honor some aspect of the Divine as female. If we can do so in a way that is meaningful to the people who we see all around us — the person we meet in the supermarket, in school, at the neighborhood coffee klatch, at church, synagogue, mosque or temple, or wherever they may go and whatever religious beliefs they hold and spirituality they may practice— maybe we can begin to turn our world around.

This blog is my contribution to that effort.

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