We should not wait for someone else to come and raise our voice. We should do it by ourselves. We should believe in ourselves. Yes, we can do it. One day you will see that all the girls will be powerful; all the girls will be going to school. And it is possible only by our struggle; only when we raise our voice. ~ Malala Yousafzai
On International Women’s Day, there is an opportunity to join the organized global uprising, but the work, the prayers, the blood, sweat, and tears is given every single day.
March, organize, wear red, donate to the causes and organizations that matter, but most importantly show up for yourself, your children, and your sisters. Find ways to uplift and serve those in need. Create powerful foundations in your life that allow you to reach out with ease to those who have been shattered. Be an ally – take the time and due diligence to find out what this truly means. Be responsible for your own education of issues. Ask how you can help.
I bless the founders, organizers, and participants of the Women’s March, the Women’s Strike, and all those who stand on the front lines of woman-centric and social activism every single day. I bless the women who struggle, who are alone in their work, and the raising of their children. I acknowledge that no movement, no social action, can encompass all of those who are marginalized and endangered daily. There is not a magic bean that works for every single person on this planet, so we, each of us, do what we can and what we are called to do.
Here are some links to connect and share:
Voices Rising (free ebook) – a gorgeous offering from Sas Petherick & an inspirational group of women
My Goddess, my Mother, my Source is All. She is the black of the primordial void from which all creation springs forth; She is the brown of the alluvial soil that enriches and sustains; She is the red of life blood pulsing through all living things; She is the white of the moon directing the tides; She is crystal clear and weaves through the world like a great snake. Her skin is dusted with gold, enticing us into Her sacred dance. I see Her in every face, every iteration of the great mass of humanity, every breath of the trees, every stare of the wild beings. She is our essence, our hearts, our creations, and our remembrances. She is our screams, our rage, our grief, and our demands of right action. Goddess. Mother. Source. All. ~ Kimberly Moore
In A Day without a Woman, women are channeling Goddess and taking up the banner of stories that have been told for thousands of years, across cultures, and the world. Goddess mythology is a repository for innate truth, reminding us of the importance of women, their presence, their energy, their SUPER POWERS. Need that reminder? You will find it in sacred texts, repeated stories, and foundational mythology for major world Goddesses.
This truth is so simple: without the power and presence of women, the world will die.
I chose two Goddesses to share: the Orisha Goddess Oshun and the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi. Their stories seemed apropos for today and stand as important reminders for what can happen when Goddess/Women decide to withdraw from the world.
Honor the steps forward taken today for International Women’s Day and A Day Without a Women. With each step, we get closer and closer to the world that we are visioning.
The Orisha Goddess Oshun
Oshun’s name means “source” – She is the source of the river, of the people, of children, of life, of the very blood of life itself. As the world was being created, Oshun quickly demonstrated in a powerful odu that She was intrinsically linked with all life and could not be dismissed easily (actually at all). If Oshun withdraws from our world, life is over – Her elemental power as the source of Sweet Waters on Earth (the fresh waters) makes life possible and preserves life for creation. Oshun is specifically the source of feminine power and women’s intrinsic creative power. All that we are in the embodiment to create, sustain, and bring forth life falls under Oshun’s purvey.
It is a grave mistake to dismiss Oshun simply as a Goddess of beauty and sexuality or love. Her reach is far more encompassing and complicated. She is our origin as woman through all the feminine cycles of life. She is a fierce protectress of women and the embodiment of all cycles of women especially through life, death, and rebirth. Oshun stands as a champion of the elevation and recognition of woman as the source of life – the reproductive process which sustains life.
Oshun in Her syncretized saint form – La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre (Our Lady of Charity) – is much beloved and Cuba’s patron Saint. For the people of Cuba, She embodies all of their suffering, their triumphs, and their hopes and wishes. As Caridad, She is the symbol of the melting pot of Cuba and unification. In Her Saint aspect, Oshun crosses social, economic, and racial lines. her accessibility for all the people of Cuba is the unifying factor in Her worship and elevation.
Caridad del Cobre has come to represent Oshun’s warrior side; She defends Her children against the manipulations of evil men. The freeing of the slaves of the copper mines in 1801 by the Spanish King was credited to the influence of Caridad and She is a symbol of not only a loving, protective presence, but also a rallying point for social injustice. She represents freedom, revolution, and liberation to the Cuban people and those who stand in alignment with her.
Oshun is also a symbol for unification of all people. In Brazil, it is said about Oshun: “the power living in the waters does not distinguish between colors”.
Oshun’s activism is very apparent in Her role as Caridad del Cobre, but also as the owner of the Sweet Waters – all the fresh water on Earth. Without the sweet waters, humanity cannot survive and working to protect the sweet waters is a way to participate in the sacred activism of Oshun. The plight of the bees and contamination of honey (sacred to Oshun) affects all of us and our food supply and connects us again to Oshun’s importance.
Yeye Luisah Teish shares the odu about the importance of Oshun beautifully below and in another must listen video speaks on social activism and the sweet waters here.
Embodied within the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi is everything that makes life sweet and wonderful. She is success, prosperity, beauty, fertility, the luster of life that invigorates us and propels us forward in joy and happiness. Shri Lakshmi is every form and expression of goodness in the Universe and if she were to turn her gorgeous face from us, the world would die.
Indra, king of the Gods, found out precisely how important Lakshmi’s power and balance of the world is when he inadvertently refused her blessing. He was riding his celestial elephant and feeling rather self-important and celestial himself when he came upon the sage, Durvasas, who was standing by the side of the road holding a dusty garland. Durvasas called out to Indra that he has a great blessing for him and offered up the garland. Indra accepted and then casually tossed the garland over the neck of his elephant. The garland missed and was trampled by the elephant. Durvasas watched this arrogance in shock – the garland was a divine blessing of Shri Lakshmi. He then utters a curse: “Just as you dishonored auspiciousness (Lakshmi’s ancient name Shri means “auspiciousness”), auspiciousness will abandon you.”
As Durvasas spoke the curse, all that was flowering and blooming in Indra’s kingdom wilted and began to die. The luster of life became pallid and gray. No prayers and sacrifices were offered. People ignored the poor and quarrels erupted within families and communities. No crops grew, no taxes were paid, and the cows had no milk to offer. Even the Soma (the Nectar of Immortality) dried up. Lakshmi had withdrawn herself from the land completely and retreated to her place of origin – the Ocean of Milk. The Ocean represents the primordial waters of Shakti and of life. It is the cosmic womb, eternal and unending, and the divine fluid from which all life is born. Lakshmi is the sacred container of the cosmic waters and sea of nectar.
The Celestials, including all the Gods and demons, became desperate at the state of affairs and appealed to Lord Vishnu who has the cosmic task of keeping the material world in balance. Lord Vishnu is also the consort of Lakshmi – She is his Shakti and gives him the power to perform his cosmic tasks. Vishnu investigated why the balance of the world had shifted so dramatically. He saw the moment when Indra insulted Lakshmi and realized that in the face of Indra’s pride, she simply retreated from the world.
He devised a plan and instructed all beings, celestial and demonic, to gather around the ocean in preparation for churning the seas. Creation may only arise out of the Ocean of Milk when it is churned with will and intention, and Vishnu knew that it would take the combined force of all of the Celestials. Lakshmi, in returning to the ocean, had returned to her primordial Shakti state and Vishnu knew that an extraordinary effort was going to have to be displayed to get her to return. He assumed his forms of the divine serpent and tortoise to provide balance for the Celestials and the churning.
Together, they began to churn the ocean. As they churned, prayers and supplications were offered up to Lakshmi, entreating her to return and restore all goodness to the world.
Eventually, great bounty and blessings began to arise from the ocean: kalpavriksha (the wish-giving tree), Kamadhenu (the divine cow), wish-fulfilling jewels, and more. The Celestials continued churning frantically, hopeful from seeing the treasures emerging from the ocean.
Finally, their efforts were rewarded. Lakshmi rose from the Ocean of Milk. She was on a pink lotus and wrapped in a pomegranate-red sari. Her lush, curling black hair wrapped down to her waist and her golden skin illuminated all that was around her. From her hands poured coins to represent her blessings. The Celestials were struck dumb in the face of such radiance and beauty. Her intensely beautiful features and evocative light enraptured all who looked upon her.
But Lakshmi only had eyes for Vishnu. She stepped from the lotus and walked to him. With a sweet smile and ignoring the clamors for her attention from the recovered Celestials, Lakshmi placed her garland of flowers around his neck. He smiled, she smiled, and, as all watched, Lakshmi made herself smaller and smaller, and then melted directly into Vishnu’s heart. He was overcome with intense love and emotion as he stated that no one, not Celestial or human, could resist the blessings of Lakshmi. And so the world was right again with the union of Wisdom and Love, Order and Harmony sealed.
In Lakshmi, we see the Shakti that embodies the vitality of life and the ability to preserve, sustain it (making note here that Vishnu, her consort, is also called the Sustainer, the Preserver through her Shakti powers). She is the water of life ~ the nectar of the heart. In the material world, she is beauty and light, flowing waters, and blooming flowers. One of her many names is Kamala – lotus – which represents the female yoni and spiritual transformation.
Lakshmi and Vishnu are a power couple, but in Lakshmi is the right to rule and the power of rulership itself. Integrity – the “rightness” of action (dharma) – is vital to Lakshmi and this is reflected in her approach to bestowing all forms of wealth. Lakshmi and her wealth remain where there is a balance of giving and receiving. The motion of continual flow, the sense of having enough are all embodiments of Lakshmi and for those that do not recognize the value of that flow, she leaves poverty of every kind in her exit.
What Goddess mythology inspires and empowers you? Share the stories!