Moondance
Celebrating Creative Women

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Winter 1998

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Our Vision, Our Wisdom, Our Strength

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volume 3 Edition 2

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Erasing the Silence

"[The history of most women is] hidden either by silence,
or by flourishes and ornaments that amount to silence."
Virginia Woolf

Silence, the overwhelming record of feminine history, leaves us adrift. Without concrete acknowledgement, we feel like little more than a footnote through time. Yet women's accomplishments are great, lessened only by a failure to be chronicled.

Early patriarchy deliberately minimized or erased the importance of women on both an individual and a collective basis. One stellar example is Mary Magdalene, who was reduced to little more than a whore in religious thought. Her true historic importance was finally revealed in the Nag Hammadi manuscripts, found in 1948 and only recently released as The Gnostic Scriptures. These scriptures discuss her role as the wife of Jesus and the highest of apostles. Why did these distortions occur? The reasons are clear: women who celebrate their history and power are not subservient. Reclaiming our history and our mythology is as vital as breathing, if we want our future to include a celebration of our authentic selves.

Joseph Campbell, in Primitive Mythology discusses this necessity." It has always been the prime function of mythology and rite to supply the symbols that carry the human spirit forward, in counteraction to those other constant human fantasies that tend to tie it back."

He adds further enlightenment in Myths to Live By, " Are we today turning mythology into fact? Let me introduce this truly wondrous topic with a passage from Dante's Divine Comedy... It is of that moment of the poet's visionary journey where he takes off from the Earthly paradise, to ascend to the moon, the first celestial stop of his spiritual flight to God's throne. He is addressing himself to the reader:

O You who in a little boat, desirous to listen, have been following behind my craft which singing passes on, turn to see again your shores; put not out upon the deep; for haply, losing me, you would remain astray. The water which I take was never crossed. Minerva breathes, Apollo guides me, and the Muses nine point out to me the Bears.

"That will set the mood. The breath of a goddess, Minerva, is to fill our sails, patroness of heroes; the naming of Apollo is a pleasant surprise; and we are to be guided by the muses, teachers of all arts, pointing out to us the navigational stars. For although our voyage is to be outward, it is also to be inward, to the sources of all great acts, which are not out there, but in here, in us all, where the Muses dwell."

It is time. Women needn't follow behind the craft of men and can set the course for their own voyage, even if the danger of sailing astray is present. With the breath of the goddesses and the muses as guides, how can we refuse the greater adventure while in search of our soul's higher journey?

In Your Mythic Journey, Sam Keen and Anne Valley-Fox discuss our journey, which begins within. " Finally, the entire legacy and burden of cultural and family myth comes to rest on the individual. Each person is a repository of stories. To the degree that any one of us reaches toward autonomy, we must begin a process of sorting through the trash and treasures we have been given, keeping some and rejecting others. We gain the full dignity and power of our persons only when we create a narrative account of our lives, dramatize our existence, and forge a coherent personal myth that combines elements of our cultural myth and family myth with unique stories that come from our experience....Whoever authors your story authorizes your actions. We gain personal authority and power in the measure that we question the myth that is upheld by 'the authorities' and discover and create a personal myth that illuminates and informs us."

The importance of this reclamation of history and womanhood is also the subject of Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self by Sarah Ban Breathnach. " The Quaker writer Jessamyn West believed the past was almost ' as much a work of the imagination as the future.'Any archeologist will agree. Archaeology is humanity's humble attempt to understand the meaning of life by looking at how civilizations and cultures lived before us."

Fortunately, women have long followed their instincts, creating journals which serve in the place of 'official' history. Our legacies are being recreated out of these journals, retracing the steps of pioneer women. As the authors of our own stories and actions, our gain is not only for ourselves but for those who travel in our wake. While we are busy reclaiming our history, we are also becoming the beacon that illuminates and informs our daughters of the future. In this edition, Moondance celebrates these generations through the ages: past, present and future. Please join our journey as we record the thoughts and events of the women within.

Loretta Kemsley Publisher/President
Women Artists and Writers International
Writer, Editor and Editorial Coach
Loretta was recently awarded the
ADVANTAGE WOMAN 1998



Business Women's Advantage


Loretta Kemsley's
Personal Portfolio: Women's Writings
http://lores.lair.moondance.org/

 

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