Modern, Invented, or...?

Soli writes:

I have to admit a certain level of skepticism when it comes to Graves'
work. Not to say that it has not had a positive impact on the world, but
I have to wonder how much was "real" and how much he "created." (I also
say this having not read him, so take that as you will.)

*****You are not the only one...I have heard that
established scholars have not given Graves much credence. The same is true for
Elizabeth Gould Davis (The First Sex) and Barbara G. Walker (The Women's
Encyclopedia
of Myths and Secrets). Of course, free thinker that I am, this makes me tend
to respect them and to look for what is valid for me in their writings.
Whether or not they invented some of their discoveries, they have certainly
struck
a chord in the psyches of thousands, and helped to spark movements and trends.
And even the most reputable scholars have their own biases and contexts
that frame the "facts" they interpret and publish.... it's all debatable for
someone somewhere. It boils down to what feels right within ourselves, as you
say, Soli sis, and when a lot of people seem to feel similarly about something,
lo and behold, we have a trend that can develop into a culture. If it
validates women and helps to preserve the earth and helps to dismantle
patriarchy, so
much the better, in my opinion, whether it's old, new, or anywhere in between.
Everything has to have been "invented" sometime anyway... somebody somewhere
sometime thought up a story about a magical Tree... thought up squiggles and
signs that became alphabets...thought up ways to measure time. I believe in
the 100th monkey effect; that if enough people embrace a concept to reach
critical mass, it is likely to expand from there and take root in the mass
unconscious.

Soli: I've also never
really gotten into the whole Celtophilia thing tied to modern paganism, in
part because I have an avoidance for most things "trendy," hence another
part of why I've not read Graves.

******It's wierd to me that these things have become "trendy." I
have always been a resistor of trends, of anything that gets too "popular".
When I discovered Graves I was pioneering Goddess awareness, and didn't know
anyone else who was into it besides me and the handful of women who came to my
classes. I have been astonished at how popular the whole Celtic and Faery
phenomenon has become, and I watch it happening with many grains of salt. There
are folks who embrace something because it has genuine meaning for
them...others who are simply "climbing on the bandwagon"... a phrase that was
taught to
me in highschool to describe blind conformity to propaganda. I was actually
kind of disgusted at times when suddenly my classes got so big the year my book
was published, and when I would ask people who enthusiastically congratulated
me "did you read it?" or "what did you think of it" only to see blank faces.
Much of the attention one receives from success is superficial, I have found
to my dismay. Yet one needs the attention just to have enough credibility to
be included and have a voice at all... and to reach those who are for real.
Rien est simple as my mother always used to say... <grin>...joking that it was
our family motto. (Nothing is simple)

Soli: That said, does it truly matter if something is ancient for it to be
valid
and hold meaning and magic? Consider that the dominator paradigm has a
long history at this point itself, does that mean we have to like it or
want to see it continue?

*****I agree. For every virtue one can extoll about the ancient
world, one can also unveil atrocities. And for every atrocity one can cite
about present times, one can discover virtues. Age or duration do not in
themselves prove worthiness.
On the other hand, there is something to be said for
tradition. Sometimes when something has lasted a long time, it takes on a
patina of
beauty, stability, and useful information. Just as we should not shelve and
throw away old people, I believe there is value in cherishing old and ancient
things. America is a young and relatively rootless country, and I could really
feel the difference when I went to Europe and gazed upon the ancient
cobblestones of the streets of medieval cities. And again, tradition can become
stifling, boring, and deadening. We need the new, the adventurous, the
inventive
too. I think balance is best in such matters...

It was a fantastic thing for me to find out that folks adored the Goddess for
thousands of years before our current social system... believed in
magic...loved and included women. What a validation to know that such practises
existed
on this earth, when all I saw around me was empty materialism, male
domination, ugly architecture, hustling to make money or be out in the cold. I
think a
lot of feminists must have felt this way as they unveiled the old stories and
traditions.

Merlin Stone discovered that our time goes back another 7,000 years (modest
estimate) before the birth of Christ. When she announced this at the very
first Goddess conference here at UCSC in the early 70s a lot of us began dating
our letters and writings according to her calculations. I remember when the
year 9999 (1999) came up and I thought..wow. Four 9s... that's got to be
something special. It gives us roots, and as the survivor of a broken home and
scattered family, I have appreciated them very much. I believe we women need to
have a sense of roots in our own woman ways. They have been blotted out,
burned at the stake, raped, exploited and declared nonexistent, so much so that
we
are all deprived of wholeness and empowerment one way or another. Finding
roots, invented or actual, helps to heal and transform and gives us a chance to
build something wonderful for ourselves and our world.

Soli: Right now I am personally content to have my life work with both
lunar and solar cycles, and I've not yet figured out how trees may play a role
in
that. Which is not to say that I don't like trees, but for me they are a
constant to my life, whether bare, budding, fully in leaf or losing leaves
(or in the case of evergreens, ever present in their greenery).

*****I feel I still have a long way to go, myself, to
integrate an awareness of trees into my daily life. When I discovered tree
calendars
I was amazed. Perhaps Graves just put two and two together (I still don't
think so, regarding the tree calendars, however)... but there are clearly
countless tree and plant references to be found in folksongs, fairy tales,
myths,
herbal lore, and poetry the world over. Just as there are countless references
to women and female autonomy and empowerment. The two go hand in hand to
me...trees and women. ... as well as the earth, the moon, the sun, the stars,
animals, music, ecstasy, psychic abilities, egalitarianism, magic, cyclicity,
story, art, creativity, spirituality, passion, abundance and freedom. Our
separation from the trees and from all of these, I feel as a loss. We have
become
fragmented and cut off from our birthright. That's why it helps to discover
that it's there...has been there from the beginning...and can still be
recaptured and brought back; there is still time...it's not yet too late. I
hope! :0)

Soli: I say if something works, go with it. Whether it be documented ancient
rites or hopping around on one foot saying "flip flop floop" to ensure a
good day. ;)

*****Right on.

Soli, who is going to catch up, really!

*****LOL! Take your time sis, and enjoy.... no pressure.

Hugs,
Shekhinah

More pages