DIVINITY: Natural Woman

My Writing

Natural Woman by Julia Marks

I think that perhaps what I have experienced recently in visions may be considered the sharpest turn in focus that I have ever experienced.  Yes, there have been an infinite number of times when, having come to the “end” of a vision quest, the ultimate revelation is so far from what I expected that it sometimes takes years – decades, even – to mull over, absorb, and understand.

But, for the most part, the path has seemed a logical progression.  From this step to the next, perhaps a curve here and there, a moment to remember the rules of the road so as not to get too discouraged, and then the light at the end.  The finger of God pointing.  Here it is, Julia.  This is what you have been looking for.

And then, of course, my response: I was looking for THAT?  No kidding.

But this time, it wasn’t a matter of logic.

It was a chasm that I walked right into, or over, or whatever it is that we do when we keep going as though the chasm had not been there.

Just a bit more than an, Oops!

Now, considering our current state of affairs in the world, it was no surprise that, a few months ago, I once again took up the matter of war.  Of violence.  Of the Muslim soul, in fact.  It began, I remember, back at the time of Princess Diana’s death.  It is still so clear to me: the first vision on the Muslim soul and spending the night on which Diana died tormented by the sight of death barreling down toward me.

Except it wasn’t me it was coming for, it seems.

And over the years since then, the Muslim soul, terrorism, and all that is connected with those concepts would arise in my visions and I would pray.  Overwhelmed with a feeling of helplessness, I would pray.  Convinced of my complete inadequacy to face such a reality, I would pray.

And then it would fade.  Until the next time.

And then this time it came.  Not surprisingly.  It began in the summer.  Some time ago.  A few months ago.  It was back.  This time with a difference in the prayer.  I would pray outside.  In the dark.  With my arms raised to the sky.  Our Father, who art in Heaven; hallowed be thy name….

It relieved me to know that no neighbor could see me, as I hugged as tightly as I could to the back wall of the house.

But it was a stunning experience.  The moon sometimes shining.  The stars.  At other times the clouds would stand out, hanging on the darkness.  And the wind in the leaves that grew brittle as the year progressed.

It felt complete somehow.  I can’t really say why.

Then the turn came.

A turn, I am confident, no one could have anticipated.

There is a source underneath all this violence, this chaos: The Earth.

How’s that for an unexpected turn of events?

To be honest, I had had thoughts along those lines, well not exactly along those lines, for years.  That the Earth would need to stop all our foolishness at some point.  That Mother Nature has cleansed herself of her boarders five or six times already, and we could be just the next civilization that would be shown the door.

So to speak.

But I thought of it more as a natural act.  It would have to be, wouldn’t it?  That toxic gas released from the bottom of the oceans, stored there until the red button was pushed.  Mother Nature unleashing her fury in a quiet, invisible way.  Death.  For the entire world.

But my visions recently changed my view.  Sourcing the anger that has gripped our world, feeding the aggression, there is Nature.  Like the water that trees absorb with their roots, this globe’s people are drawing up into ourselves the putrefaction that we have tried to plunge deep into Nature.  Our trash.  Our poisons.  Our greed.  Ripping and tearing, destroying and building, spitting and cursing.

We have transformed our bed of glorious beauty and riches into a rack.

Now it is our turn to be tortured.

So my prayers have gone from being uttered in the dark, to being declared at dawn.  Even in this bitter cold, I raise my arms to the sky.  Our Father, who art in Heaven; hallowed be thy name. . . .

I have even begun to take out any garbage I may have in the house and place it at the edge of the woods.  So small a token of respect.  Of honor.  Of giving back.

It’s a funny time for me for this to happen.

Convergence.  Threads coming together.

It’s the time of Mary.  The Mother of the church.  And here I am nose-to-nose with the Mother of the world.  So I began to think about womanhood.  And my anger at what the church does to Mary has resurfaced.

Mary, a girl.  A girl who said, yes.  Like girls have done before her, and have done since.  Yes.  The word of the woman.

But I think a lot about how she did, in fact, exist outside the norms of the church.  Then and now.

She was part of a miracle.

Her pregnancy was not normal.

And she conceived outside of wedlock.

None of this, in terms of the real church, is acceptable.  We don’t need no stinking miracles.  And abnormalcy is anathema.

And walking around with a belly and no husband?  Sure, we joke about how hard it must have been on Joseph.  But the church, the church, really, in its belly, has never been able to look at this straight on.

No.

What the church has done is to strip Mary of everything that actually makes her a woman.

No menstruation.

No sex.

No children.

No grasping for breath while trying to accommodate all those around her.

Nope.

Just serenity.

Who in the world has ever met a serene woman?

So, in an effort to accommodate her confrontational behavior, confrontational to the norms of the church, that is, the church has stripped her of humanity and put in her place a doll.  A nice, nicely painted, porcelain doll.  So sweet.  So pretty.

So inanimate.

So unreal.

We can’t even address the issue of her bossing her own son around at a wedding feast.

God.

She bosses God around.  And we smile tenderly.  And nod.

What a mother!

Yeah.  But that’s not how I would say it exactly.

The church has gone to such extremes that I have even seen art that makes Mary the Wife of God.  And not God the Father.

No.  Mary, the Queen of Heaven, (where is that in the Bible, exactly?), Queen of the Angels, (again?) is the wife of her own son.

Mrs. Christ.

She’s been given a virgin birth to equate her with her son.

Except I don’t see that in her lifetime she performed any miracle.  Or taught anything to anyone.

And I keep asking, if Mary is such an important person to her own son, why didn’t he appear to her after hisr resurrection?

Anyway.

On thinking about our refusal to honor the feminine creative power of the Earth, and combining that with my thoughts on the church’s reduction of a perfectly good girl who said, Yes, to God, I realized that I see our current culture, most especially that which is being proclaimed by the feminist movement as being pretty much part of this whole “movement.”

It has become a package deal in my mind.

No babies!  (Check, we don’t Mary to have children (in spite of what is in the Bible), and we don’t want the Earth to continue producing.)

No wifedom!  (Check, Mary doesn’t ever really marry Joseph (and after all he did for her!) according to the church; and while we find our ability to honor God, the Father, we pretend that the idea of Mother Nature has no longer any relevance in our lives.)

And most especially. . . .

Obsess about your career!  (Check, Mary never gets to be ordinary after her miracle.  No.  She’s a one-concept human: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.  No husband, no children.  Just her “assigned” obsession.  Just as we have forced the Earth into “working” for us twenty-four hours a day.)

It’s no wonder women are the way they are today.

They’ve been listening to their Sunday school lessons.  And taking them to heart, it seems.

I have always felt that giving young girls the fairy tale that is the current image of Mary was a dangerous thing to do: it gives them the message not to grow up to a “natural” woman.  Don’t get married; don’t bear children.  If you want to be the best kind of woman, then be a vowed religious.

Except this message is given to all girls.  Not just those inclined to put away the “natural” aspects of their lives.

And what are married women supposed to take into their hearts?  That on some level, they are always a failure?  Dirty?

That they should, in the secret place where their religious belief resides, be ashamed?

That they are not Mary?

We have turned our face away from womanhood: the blood, the sweat, the tears.  The pain.

Women are not only able to create and maintain joy around them, we are also able to absorb infinite amounts of pain.

Until the bottle is too full, and it overflows, and creating joy is no longer an ability for a broken-hearted woman.

And, when this happens, the world suffers.

We do this to the women of our world.

We do this to Mary.

We do this to Mother Earth.

We don’t take care of the precious gift that is womanhood.  Instead, we trample it into the dirt and demand MORE!

Create, but not be cherished.

Give, but not be given to.

Live, but without sustenance.

Perhaps it’s not such a surprise that God has revealed to me that to approach this mantle of violence that our world has taken on, we must look to restoring the honor and glory of women.  As women.  Not as empty vessels, trying to be dolls or men.

But women.

The source of life.

Amen.

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