Over the last week, the world hasn’t stopped talking about the Queen, the new king, the dynamics of the royal family. I even noticed a video today of Charles having a spoilt hissy fit about a leaking ink pen – is that something anyone really needs to witness? Whatever your position or level of interest in the happenings of the Royal family and recent passing of the Queen is not my place to comment on or judge. However, the complete saturation of internet, social media and the world press with every tiny thing that happens regarding the royal family at the moment to me feels out of balance. There is a more authentic meaning to the sovereign and it has been forgotten and deliberately obscured. The Dark Goddess has gone into hiding.
It is balance I wish to highlight in this post. I feel that the images of Her Majesty the Queen, very much like the catholic images of Mother Mary, are a very one-sided, patriarchal representation of the feminine. They are white for a start. They are very restrained images of what it is to be female. There is nothing wrong with that, except when they become “the norm,” even sanctified or declared special and are considered whole.
For me they are only small parts of the feminine dynamic and we shouldn’t forget that. Why don’t we give equal importance to the role and lives of indigenous wise women, who don’t have servants and uncountable material wealth, but are themselves servants of the earth, keeping the hearth fire burning when it comes to ancient feminine wisdom and traditions?
Why don’t we remember and celebrate in the same way as the Queen, all the women killed throughout Europe for being witches?
On a personal level, I was brought up by my mother and her sister, who were both born into a mixed-race community in Calcutta, India. The Anglo-Indian community is defined as people who are domiciled in India and whose fatherline has its origins in Europe. Although it is not pointed out, the motherlines of Anglo-Indians originate in India, by definiton. My grandmother and great-grandmother were both given a uniquely English education in Anglo-Indian schools and taught that England was the homeland.
My mother and her sister suffered from three generations of internalized racism and tried to hide and deny their maternal roots. Instead, they made the Queen their role model. They tried to dress like the Queen, speak like the Queen, share the same values as the Queen while burying with shame their Indian origins. Without knowing it, growing up I felt something was missing–an earth connection, a soulful feminine energy. I made it my job to reclaim this part of my lineage and my psyche.
The dominant western culture that spews its one-sided values and views all over the media, internet and the earth have relegated to the shadows and the underworld the dark Goddess (Kali, Hecate, Lilith, Khamakhaya, Brigid, Persephone, Circe, Nyx, …), the black Madonna, Mary Magdalene and her other embodiments. All these representations of the deep power of feminine that exist in every culture have been marginalized.
Saint Sarah, also known as Sara-la-Kâli (“Sara the Black”) is the patron saint of the Romani people. Worship of and shrines to the black Madonna were central to many old French and Spanish churches. Until she started to disappear, some of the shrines and statues were burnt, others painted a lighter color, others relegated to a dusty, dark corner of the crypt where no-one would see them. These representations of the feminine are the shadow side of Mother Mary and the Queen, the hidden side, the side that is denied, shamed, denigrated. They are, however a vital part of the feminine.
The dark Goddess represents the crone aspect of the triple Goddess, the least accepted part of the feminine by our dominant culture. Jungian analyst Marion Woodman said, “the dark Goddess is the mother of the crone.” She teaches us to transform ourselves, to be at home in the underworld, to be midwives of birth, death and rebirth. Woodman also said that the Black Madonna went into hiding “to protect humanity from destroying her.”
I believe the Dark Goddess is rising now through each of our motherlines. She has no choice, even if she still risks being destroyed by the patriarchal forces still rampant on earth. We need her to heal. We need her to move forward, so we can be whole. We can no longer deny her existence. Healing the feminine is to honor the dark Goddess and give her back her rightful place within the collective psyche. Reclaiming the wild, dark, mysterious aspect s of the feminine is an ecological necessity.
So, I wish the Queen a good journey into the next realm, but I don’t think we should forget the shadow side to her reign and those whose shoulders she stood on. Instead of the media honing in on every boring breath any member of her family takes at the moment, isn’t it the right time in the history of the world to make retribution for the yet not fully assessed carnage the British Empire carried out in the world? Haven’t we arrived at a moment where we need to let go of the old, outdated patriarchal images of the feminine and allow the dark goddess to lead us through these challenging times and into a completer and more empowering image of the feminine?
“The white fathers told us: I think therefore I am. The black Goddess within each of us – the poet- whispers in our dreams: I feel therefore I can be free.” Audre Lorde
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