© – Copyright 2003 by Steven McFadden
Since my earliest spiritual awakenings, I have heard variations on a teaching passed down over many long years in the oral tradition. The teaching suggests that as the old world is passing away, but before the new world is fully born — in an era of unrelenting crisis — the feminine spirit will rise to heal the chaos, the madness, the willful destruction of the Earth.
As various elders have said to me over the years, watching the feminine spirit rise is somewhat like watching grass grow. It doesn’t happen all at once or with much drama, but it happens all the same.
To my eyes this rising is one inevitable force now unfolding in the world. The rising is happening almost imperceptibly, but inevitably despite a vast array of forces seeking to overwhelm or thwart it. The consequences of these forces are evident in the ravaged oceans, the decimated forests, the unstable climate, the numbness of government, and the screaming missiles of war.
These conditions will not prevail. The feminine spirit is upward bound. It must rise now. Life depends upon it.
They Know What’s Necessary for Life
All these circumstances were summoned to the forefront of my awareness in March, 2003 when I talked with Margaret Connolly of Ireland, who was accompanied by Cynthia Walker of northern New Mexico, President of Grandmothers of Mother Earth.
In the spring of 2003 she came from Ireland to America to teach at North Eastern University in Illinois. She also went to teach with Momfeather Erickson at her spiritual center, Mantle Rock, in Kentucky, and finally to rendezvous with Cynthia Walker at the Copper Mountain Center in New Mexico.
The visit gave Margaret and Cynthia the opportunity to discuss their planned appointment in May to speak at United Nations headquarters in New York City. They were determined to present a message to the world at that time on behalf of the feminine spirit and its worldwide embodiment in grandmothers.
“The present state of the world is disastrous,” Margaret told me while she was in New Mexico. “War is war, and men have never learned anything from it. I don’t think many grandmothers at the UN, or in Parliaments around the world, would be choosing all these wars and the destruction of the air, water and soil of the Earth. They know what’s necessary for life.
“There’s a big movement now going on for the grandmothers of Mother Earth to get a voice locally and globally. We grandmothers are past caring about the old battles, because our next step is heaven. So we are going to leave a legacy. That will be fulfilled, you can be sure.
“We Celts have our own prophecies,” Margaret said, “and they are very similar to the Dineh (Navajo) and everything else that you hear. The prophecies are that women will take back their power in a beautiful way and change the world. That’s happening right now, and it’s going to escalate.”
An Astonishing Level of Abuse
“The women of this world have put up with disrespect for centuries,” Margaret told me, “not just in my land but around the world.”
By way of example, she cited a personal thread of women’s history. “I’m coming from my own place, which is Ireland. We women have been denied the right to speak and to use our gifts to support ourselves over centuries. When we did use our gifts we were either burned at the stake, or our families were ostracized.
“In my country women are not allowed to be priests. We got churched when we had babies because we were claimed to be soiled. My mother, for example, after giving birth to a baby had to go through a Catholic service called churching before she was allowed back to receive the sacraments. She had to endure this humiliation because she became pregnant and had a child. Now mind you, this was within a church-sanctioned marriage to my father. This is but one wee example of the kind of thing they have been doing to women all over the world to try and control the feminine sprit.
“It is shocking to realize that in the context of the repression of the feminine, priests have meanwhile abused a vast number of boys and girls. One in six children in my land have been abused, either physically, mentally, or spiritually. That’s an astonishing level of abuse. It’s got to stop.”
To place Margaret’s personal thread of history in context, recall that our era is hardly the first time there has been an abusive response to the feminine spirit. For example, though most history books gloss over it, there was a barbarous period of repression in Europe about 500 years ago, now remembered as “The Burning Times.”
The mass persecution of the Burning Times unfolded primarily in the years 1550-1650, the era that followed the ravages and panic of the Black Plague. Many say that millions of women were unjustly murdered in that era. The Canadian Film The Burning Times places the figure at nine million women. Other researchers such as Robin Briggs suggest “perhaps 100,000 trials…with something between 40,000 and 50,000 executions.”
Whatever the true figure, there is no mistaking the wholesale injustice of the time. Priests and judges devised a conspiracy theory to punish women who stepped out of line. They accused women of being in league with the devil.
The victims of the Burning Times were human beings — midwives and herbalists and other independently minded souls — whose free-thinking and acting threatened the masculine status quo.
Women in areas where witch-hunts occurred knew that if they asserted themselves in a way which offended male authorities, religious or secular, they would be accused of being in league with Satan, and then tortured. If they did not “confess” during the first or second degrees of torture, then they would be subjected to the “Third Degree,” which brought a horrible death.
Likewise, though less overtly brutal, the world-wide rising of the feminine spirit in our era faces a global backlash evident in fundamentalism, reactionary governments, corporations intent upon exploiting the natural resources of Mother Earth, and a toxic popular culture marked by an unthinking chauvinism that denigrates women and the spirit of freedom and creativity. All this is plainly visible. Yet much more is at work in the world.
“The way it is now,” Margaret Connolly explained to me, “with all the forces seeking to repress the feminine spirit, men are deprived of the sacredness and nurturing that women allow even though, deep within themselves this is what they really want. But out of fear they fail to understand this, and so they respond with control.”
“My job from Creator,” Margaret said, “is to bring up this awareness. I share what I have so that others may claim theirs…I carry a sacredness within me, and I am going to have no man, woman, or child take it away from me, through their curiosity or whatever.
“When you claim back that which is your birthright, on behalf of your grandmother and great grandmothers, then you are not going to give it away again very easily. We share our spirituality in order that other people will claim theirs, and we show a way to claim back spirituality. It is neither intimidating nor oppressive; it is a gentle way for people.
“There are many women on the Earth at this time who are like ascended goddesses, or ascended teachers. Women mostly around the age 50. This is been my experience. They seem to be coming forward like beacons.
“What I know from my soul and my heart, is that I am here to carry awareness that there is another way of looking at problems. I see for myself that mission is within me, and it has to do with healing.
“I make a safe place for people to connect with what they already know. I don’t give another human being anything of value. They already have it themselves. How do I do it? Well, it’s very simple. I am very conscious every minute. I create sacred space wherever I go, whether it’s a restaurant or whatever. I do this in a very obvious way as a teacher.
“A teacher is someone who extracts greatness from a person. I do ritual, and I reconsecrate. It’s like reconsecrating the womb of the Mother, the Earth Mother. And that is done in a very safe place to activate energy or memory in a person until they start remembering why they are here on this Earth.
“That’s the way I live. I am just a woman, a real woman answering the call of the times on this Earth. But take note,” Margaret said “Just now there is a worldwide pattern of ceremonies on sacred ground at sacred time. This is a big rhythm, part of the rhythm of growth of the feminine sprit. The ceremonies give energy back to the Earth and to the Spirit that weaves within it.”
Grandmothers’ Message at the UN
When May, 2003 rolled around Margaret Connolly and Cynthia Walker journeyed to United Nations headquarters in New York City to deliver messages at the second session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
This permanent forum is one accomplishment of the UN’s “Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples” (1995-2004). Up till now indigenous peoples — who generally embody the feminine spirit in balance to the generally masculine spirit of the dominant techno-industrial cultures — have had no voice whatsoever at the UN.
At the forum there was a lot of talk among indigenous people about injustices and abuses. Many native peoples are still being sold into slavery and prostitution, their land is still under assault from corporations, their resources are systematically defrauded by governments, and their sacred sites are commonly desecrated.
There was also a lot of talk at the Forum about the World Bank and what it is doing to indigenous communities around the world.
Margaret and Cynthia brought different messages, messages that originated with Momfeather Erickson, of the Cherokee and Margaret Connolly of Ireland. They manifested a dream that Momfeather had many years ago regarding the Grandmothers of Mother Earth.
Margaret and Cynthia journeyed to the UN as a consequence of that dream. “Grandmother voices have been silenced for millennia,” Cynthia explained. “Now it’s time for their voices to be heard again. Now we are speaking together with one voice because it goes beyond color or race or religion, beyond prejudice. We have all received teachings from our grandmothers, and we have memories of their love. It’s time for that kind of message to be heard again, and for the elders to be heard and honored, as they have not been in years.
“The grandmothers requested a seat on the Permanent Forum,” Cynthia said, “and asked that the Permanent Forum secure a seat at the United Nations so we could assure that our voices would be heard. We want to speak for social development, and to bring the message of the grandmothers’ voices to the community.”
There was vigorous applause in response to the grandmothers’ proposal. As it stands in the process, there will not yet be any vote in the UN. That’s what Cynthia and Margaret, and many other grandmothers, are working toward. This was an initial step in the process. As Cynthia put it in her speech at the Forum: “We the Grandmothers of Mother Earth, are here to speak for the children, the future generations, those yet unborn, the germinating seeds of our human race.”
When she spoke at the Permanent Forum, Margaret Connolly made another specific proposal. She said the Retrieve Foundation, of which she is head, was founded to promote and support indigenous Celtic heritage, and to reconnect children and adults to their traditions.
“For two thousand years,” Margaret said, “we have been forced to adapt to a culture that was foreign to us. Yet the Celtic people have already faced the test as to whether their spiritual traditions can exist outside their original framework. We have survived, although somewhat fragmented, without loss of respect. Today we ask for an acknowledgement of our existence under the Indigenous Charter by the government of Ireland.”
Margaret further proposed a college to facilitate teaching of the sacred Celtic Arts. “We seek the cooperation, support and acknowledgment of this authoritative UN forum,” she said. “We ask for support and funding from our government as we are outside the network of conventional educational practices…our children need to learn the ways of the ancient ones. It is their right to choose.”
This is Real
When Cynthia reflected on what she and Margaret and the other grandmothers have accomplished, and what lies ahead, she said, “There’s this feminine energy that’s coming in now. It is part of the prophecy of the coming together of the Eagle and the Condor. I first heard that prophecy from a female shaman from Ecuador: ‘The Eagle and the Condor will mate. The feminine must come forward.’ That was about 10 years ago. The voices of the grandmothers, and the work that we are doing with the ceremony of the Reconsecration of the Womb — healing the ancestral trauma — is part of the feminine coming forward.”
Margaret Connolly agrees: “All over the world people talk about prophecies. My understanding of it is, it’s the time for women to heal themselves, to support each other and then from that men are healed. Then the family is healed. And then you take it from there, and your community is healed. It’s the power of one. And it’s the women who have claimed that, after all the isolation and oppression.
“Women from all the different parts of the world are sharing and coming together, strengthening that seedbed of knowledge, healing, and sense of well being for the world. It’s happening all right. This is not a wish list. This is real.”
The Retrieve Foundation, Ireland: Retrieveeire@eircom.net
Cynthia Walker, Radiance Practice.
Grandmothers of Mother Earth: Grandmotherunite@aol.com