Deep in the back of a cold dark cave
The men prepare for the hunt.
They paint the pictures of bison and deer
As the shaman enters a trance.
At the front of the cave near a warm hearth
The women sit down together.
They hold in their hands small figurines
Carved out of flint and stone.
They all know the power the goddess wields:
From her womb she gives us all life.
At death she opens to take us back in
And the cycle begins again.
Cycles of nature and rhythms of life
All women are paired with these.
13 marks the moon and the blood
Nature and women are one.
As we come together to make new life
No one shuns or calls it unclean.
It is just part of nature and part of life
And the pleasure it gives is not sin.
While women gather the seeds for food,
The men take leave for the hunt.
We discover the power of planting
When we drop the seeds and they sprout.
The cycle appears again in the spring
When we plant and the rain waters all.
In the fall we gather the harvest and seeds
For soon it will start all over again.
Our life is to change and not for the best
When we give up our wandering ways.
We settle in groups and begin to build
But also to covet and fight.
Then from the far north people invade
And bring a new god who is male.
He lives on the top of the mountain
And comes down with thunder and lightning.
At first he welcomes the goddess of old
Together they reign over all.
But this partnership is not meant to last
As he decides he must rule alone.
A new story now is told of creation
It is by word that it comes into being.
This god is above and beyond not a part
Of the great earth the goddess once made.
Soon this new god asks of his brothers
For permission to rule alone.
As part of the promise he makes to them
He will murder the female divine.
Tiamet’s body is cut into pieces.
Asherah’s high places come down.
Eve becomes the new symbol of woman
And forever our lives are changed.
The goddesses’ symbols are put aside
And the snake means renewal no more.
Instead it becomes the symbol of sin
And woman is charged with its cause.
No longer will life and death be one
Our unity with nature must end.
Instead it becomes the here and hereafter
With spirit and body no more one.
The new religion creates many reasons
For us to be right and make others wrong.
This leads us to kill and enslave
For now and forever no more seen as one.
What became of the woman in this new world
Without her goddess of old?
Just like the vessels and weapons and crops,
To man she must now belong.
Jacob buys Rachel, Achsah is booty
Tamar is raped by her brother.
Lot’s daughters make sons for their father
And the concubine is cut into twelve.
When Sarah and Rachel cannot conceive
This new god takes over the job.
He makes them give birth to strong sons
Who will serve him as leaders of men.
First God asks Abraham to offer his son
Then suddenly changes his mind.
But when Jephthah makes his vow to God
His virgin daughter must die.
God commands his chosen to fight in wars
And women become their booty.
As spoils of war they have no choice
So they are sold and raped and murdered.
When Rachel dies at the birth of her son
She desires to give him his name.
Her husband says no and names him instead.
She dies and knows she’s worth nothing.
When daughters are born to women
The wait to be pure is doubled.
With sons it takes a mere thirty-three days
But double for those who have daughters.
Sons are desired, daughters mean little.
Even slaves bear different values.
The price for a man is fifty shekels.
For a women just thirty is given.
Men must now have their foreskins cut
Which makes them holy and special.
Only they can be priests and enter the temple,
The women still seen as unclean and dirty.
Men may have as many wives as they want.
But on that first night of marriage,
If the new bride cannot prove she is pure,
She will be stoned, her life ended.
Women wail at the gates of the temple.
They mourn the loss of Tammuz.
The son of the Queen of Heaven is gone
And nothing is ever the same.
Karen L. Garst
The Faithless Feminist
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