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Shirley-GA2009Yes!  Distinguished scholars tell us we humans may have an ancient heritage of partnership and peace.  My hope is that the current uprisings mean that people everywhere are beginning the process of reclaiming that heritage.  Surely we have all had enough of domination and war.  -- Shirley Ranck, author Cakes for the Queen of Heaven

Rev. Dorothy Emerson on rightMaking connections is so important. Women weaving the web of life remind us to connect the difficult past with present struggles and give birth to hope in a more peaceful and just future.

Back in the early 1980s, I remember questioning the traditional mythology presented at my son’s Waldorf school, mythology that told of war as inevitable. Weren’t there any powerful, responsible women who might come up with better solutions to conflict, if they weren’t depicted as eternally weak and shallow? Where were the stories of wise women and men making peace, protecting the web of relationships and life? I was just beginning to learn about goddesses and alternative gender relationships in very early times, so I knew there was more to the story. Maybe changing the belief that war would always exist needed to precede the end of war.

MistySheehan-TCRE-Jan2011jpgIslamic women are powerful ladies drawing on powerful mythological sources. My favorite is Shirin Neshat (1957-), from Iran.  I just watched a film directed by her, Women without Men, which is available through Netflix. The surrealistic film is based on a surrealistic novella by Shahrnush Parsipur (translation available from Syracuse University Press, 1998)

Neshat’s story is about four women living in 1953 when a coup ousted the President Mohammed Mosaddeq in favor of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. (In case you haven’t heard of Mosaddeq, and I had to look him up, he was an elected leader in Iran, who the CIA and the British intelligence deposed, putting in the Shah of Iran with his repressive reign. And that is only one of the reasons the people in the Middle East are angry at the U.S. and Britain.)

One woman is a communist; one is a prostitute; one an older women who had been a singer, but her husband didn’t allow her to sing; and the last is a woman who is concerned about the importance of virginity.

Florida NE Cluster 2011 retreat

“Great planning and presentation!  Wonderful inclusion of participants!  Collage activity was a delightful journey along the path of individual creativity and self-expression.”  What a wonderful experience.”  “Great weekend.”  “This has been an enriching experience.”  “Time to reflect,time to share, time to be joyous and time to be creative.  I loved the ritual, the meditation and the creative activity.”  Thank you, this has been a wonderful way to connect with other women.”  “By the time the date arrived for this retreat, I really had not wanted to come.  I must say I am leaving with energy and sorrow that it is over.  Thank you.”  “Loved the music, loved the collage, and unfortunately loved the food!” “Perfect weekend.”  “What a marvelous way to join with otherUU women in spirit, song and feast.”


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