April 23, 2023

Mom Said It’s A Man’s World


Guest post by Karen Tate

I can remember my mother saying, “It’s a man’s world.”  We are reminded of that in so many ways even in this day and age; the dearth of historical information available about women, the limited medical research done on conditions related to women, pay disparities, the disproportionate number of women retiring in poverty compared to men, and religions telling women when they’re second class and must submit to male authority are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  Today’s women, however, are trying to change that for our daughters and grand-daughters but women still have much to overcome in this patriarchal society.  We have not yet achieved equality and we have had major set-backs like the theologically driven United States Supreme Court overturning a 50 year ruling which granted a woman’s right to an abortion within certain reasonable limits.  Now in jeopardy are a woman’s rights to her reproductive health and body that affect among other things, her emotional, economic, and educational future.  But we are standing up and fighting back in ways my mother and hers never dreamed possible. 

One new development in the last few decades (because change happens too slowly) is the reclamation of Goddess or the Feminine Face of God.  Sekhmet, the lion-headed Egyptian Goddess, is just one deity, archetype or role model that offers women a beacon of light for empowerment to shake off patriarchal shackles.  To begin with, those who know and love Sekhmet will tell you the myth out in the world about her rampage is patriarchal propaganda, so I suggest you take it with a grain of salt, so to speak.  There is not much in the story worth keeping if you want to know Sekhmet.

Sekhmet, or The Lady of Tenacity Manifested, as I and many others call her, is a role model for women (or anyone) to have strength and courage.  To say “NO” without shame or guilt.  To set healthy boundaries so as not to be abused, misused or exploited.  To emulate Sekhmet means to stand firm in your convictions and not conform for the sake of the status quo who might not have your best interests at heart, especially if you’re a woman.  Sekhmet is a mother and healer.  Her son, Mehes, was a patron to doctors and her consort, Ptah, the god of builders.  As a lioness she teaches about working in harmony and support with other women – as a lioness pride together takes care of their cubs and family.  I’d suggest looking into some of the contemporary writings on Sekhmet and see what she and other Goddesses offer women in the way of achieving wholeness, autonomy and the strength to be one’s authentic self.

That said, it is vitally important we begin to recognize we are living in a culture of domination, abuse and exploitation.  We are so saturated in it, like a fish that no longer sees the water they swim in, we deem the horrible things we endure to survive as just normal and the way things are.  Why do I say this?  You think it might sound extreme?  Well, I considered myself savvy and educated and an advocate for peace, fairness and equality.  I thought abuse was something that happened to others, not me.  But it was happening to me.  It had happened to me.  I was asleep at the wheel and didn’t see the danger signs as my life careened off the road.  Abuse and the resulting trauma can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, gender identity, beliefs or economic status.  I truly believe we are all enduring abuse to survive and we must not continue to normalize abuse.  We must recognize our pervasive culture of abuse for the sins, injustices and unacceptable practices that permeate the workplace, religion, corporations, government, media, academia, culture, society – even family and friends.  We must rid ourselves of toxic people and situations in our lives and have the courage to walk away and create new beginnings.

I believe this so much I took a break from my three decades of Goddess-centered work and my long-running podcast, Voices of the Sacred Feminine, and I dedicated myself to the task of three years of research, personal truth-telling and reflection.  I interviewed hundreds of people, some who initially did not believe they were experiencing abuse in their lives until we looked more closely.  The result is my seventh book, Normalizing Abuse: A Commentary on the Culture of Pervasive Abuse, a book for those interested in the intersection between social justice, self help and alternative spirituality.  It takes readers on a serious yet heartfelt journey of discovery, not just of oneself, but also looking into many aspects of our everyday lives, such as abuse and exploitation in academia, government, corporations, the workplace and media, family and friends, society and culture, religion, military, and more, to peel back the veneer hiding rampant insidious abuse and exploitation.  It suggests alternative modalities, including the values and practices of Goddess Spirituality to help us heal our trauma.

With dozens of prestigious endorsements and a powerful foreword written by pioneering spiritual educator Matthew Fox, well-known activist for gender and eco-justice, Normalizing Abuse is being hailed as a bullhorn for truth-telling desperately needed.  It speaks to how society is rife with trauma we do not recognize and abuses we do not reject. It helps readers recognize trauma and abuse, identify the cause and have the tools to transform how they react to the situations.  Today we are being called to stand up and speak truth to those wielding toxic power over us, not just for ourselves but for the future.

About Karen…

Thought leader, speaker, seven-times published author, podcaster and social justice activist, Karen is a Caring Economy Conversation leader and Power of Partnership presenter. 

She has a certification from Smith College in the Psychology of Political Activism:  Women Changing the World and she can be seen in the award-winning docu-film, Femme: Women Healing the World.  She has been named one of thirteen Most Influential Women in Goddess Spirituality.  Her newest book, Normalizing Abuse: A Commentary on Our Pervasive Culture of Abuse has been recently released along with the return of her long-running podcast, Voices of the Sacred Feminine.

Her other book titles include:  Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations,  Walking An Ancient Path, Goddess Calling, Voices of the Sacred Feminine; Conversations to Change Our World, Awakening the Feminine and Goddess 2.0.  Karen is an inter-faith minister who leads sacred tours.  She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of 35+ years and their feline daughters, Lilly, Luna and Freya.

For more information or interviews please see www.karentate.net

To purchase Normalizing Abuse: A Commentary on the Culture of Pervasive Abuse, please click here.

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