Classes and So On

June 20, 2010

Sadly, it’s been more than a month since I turned in my first homework for the Holy Book One class, but so far it has not been graded & I can’t move on to the next lesson because the system doesn’t show it to me until the first one has been graded. I don’t really know what is going on with it! I’m very disappointed.

I was however told by a livejournal friend about this: http://www.thesilverbranch.org/

And their “Ninth Wave” program. I asked on some forums for review, and it seems quite positive. The program looks very intuitive and I like the structure. So I’m thinking about it. It seems the creator is on the BPAL forums I post on, which is funny to me! But also indicates activeness online, something that seems lacking in the HB1 class.

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One thing I am loving about the Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries class is that Z Budapest records audio podcasts in the lessons. We read from the book, but there are also files you can listen to, where you learn directly from her talking to you. Her voice is very interesting, and she speaks so frankly! I am using this entry as a note-taking entry as I listen.

Lesson One she talks about Politics & Women’s Spirituality. One thing she says, “first, I should clear one thing up: everything is politics. what you are talking, what you do, what you eat, it’s all politics.” And I agree with this. She says feminist witches are women who search within themselves for the wisdom of their DNA, of their inheritance, looking for the female principle of the universe — the Goddess. Here we claim relationship with the Goddess. Everyone understands that we have to own the ass we are sitting on, she says, because everybody else owns everything else. That is why we must fight for our rights as women. We must fight for the rights over our own bodies and souls — the “fight for our sweet women’s souls”, as she says.

So we are fighting a revolution, fight for cultural diversity, against racism, for sexual freedom… everything needs some change. It’s a lot of work. We must make sure we are grounded in our spirituality, we must make sure we have replenished our energies. We must have fun! A secure grounding, a woman’s spiritual strength is knowing both fun and our herstory — those who came before us. This reminds me of my recent read of a book titled Manifesta, which covers a lot of feminist history. Budapest says to know the past is to know who we are, to know where we come from.

The changing universe of consciousness is important. The new consciousness that was born from women’s movements is a glorious gift. We must be mindful of how we relate to each other. At this moment she talks about why men fear powerful women, or women gaining power. It’s because, she says, maybe they fear we would treat the men how they have treated women for thousands of years. Perhaps there is a fear of retribution, of getting even? This, she says, is because perhaps men in this position would do so. They are not fit to rule over us, Z says, a hint of laughter in her voice.

She mentions the Venus of Willendorf, who is 25,000 years old compared to the Bible which is 2,000 years old, and the Koran which is only 500 years old. In this section she talks about the age of the goddess consciousness. While it is true that a “universal goddess religion” theory, as written about by Maria Gimbutas, has been disproven by the last twenty years, it is also true that there is evidence for some matriarchal society, and there is certainly evidence for Goddess-based religions. She is discussing also the origins of lack of work ethic and the invention of rape and slavery.

“We believe the female control of the death principle yields human evolution.” This is big. Human evolution… she talks about cultures treatment of death, and the idea of heaven or any such place. The death principle of goddess consciousness is to look around you. Everything dies. The goddess energy, the pure love of the universe, the pure miracle of life, this energy is what will go forth, again and again. “Death is just a swing door,” she says, “one side of it says Life and the other side of it says Death, and we are all just always coming and going, all the time.” This topic was something my sister and I discussed recently in our lessons, so I was surprised to hear it again! It’s been on my mind a lot, consequently. She touches on death as not a source of fear, of something which has a date already that we carry in our body. We all bloom and then we die. This is, to me — and judging by her voice, to her, too — a comforting thought.

Living life lovingly. Now she is mentioning our need for self love, our need to serve OURSELVES. This is so important. Sisterhood is good for us. Learning from your sisters is good for you. No matter where you are from you are still a woman, she says also. Lastly, in this audio podcast, she talks about how we can love others better if we make sure we love ourselves. Have a little self-reflection, she says. Love yourself. If you are short of some quality, make it up somewhere. Life is a gift. Affirm your life.

The Holy Book, Class One

March 11, 2010

I may have mentioned — and probably did — that I have enrolled in Zsuzsanna Budapest’s The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries Class. It’s a beginning, introductory class for Dianic, or Feminist, Wicca. This morning I’m devoting myself to the reading and homework that goes with this class. In so doing, I have found a line in the Holy Book that I think is quite amazing:

“A self-created god who has no mother is an unacceptable concept.” To deny motherhood is to deny women, and there are two kinds of people: mothers and their children.

p.xxiv

The Holy Book first appealed to me because I had learned of its stance as a Feminist book. Indeed, it began as the “Feminist Book of Light and Shadow”. There any many things in it which I have found helpful, and I will be studying this book in one year and one day, the proper amount of time. While there is some controversy over Z’s work and some of the things her covens and practices uphold — like the denial of transwomen in their circles — I do think that there are still some good things here. I have also not made up my mind about certain things. For instance, would I be comfortable at a ritual if it were being held skyclad (or, naked, as we should say), if there were male-bodied people present?

I have to confess I would not. I am a survivor of sexual assault. I am learning to become more comfortable with men in general following this. But I can’t feel comfortable about having them in my most intimate space, in my sacred circle. I don’t think transwomen should be banned from the circles, no, but do I think it’s wrong for a person such as myself to feel uncomfortable with the presence of a male body, no matter what her spirit might be? I just don’t know. There are arguments about this all the time; some say the transwoman can never know the fullness of female experience. Some say they can. I say I don’t know.