Ecofeminism is the idea that both nature and women
are suppressed in a similar way by patriarchy.
The idea goes deeper, to say that all oppressions are linked,
including racism, homophobia and so on.
For many years, and onwards and onwards, we have been and will be
stuck in this state of 'duality'.
Everything is a contrast:
man/ nature, man/ woman, science/ nature, mind/ soul, soul/ body, man/ God, reason/ faith...
Many of us see Mother Nature, or Mother Earth as a feminine entity, which automatically points to the link between nature and women. Women and nature are both plundered, raped, put to work, penetrated. We say 'virgin' soil and 'dirty' woman. But perhaps what patriarchal society sees as 'mother' is in fact someone who feeds us, cleans up our waste, gives without taking. Perhaps this image of our Earth as mother is in fact the problem: we take, take, take and expect no retribution or need to give back. We can say that climate change is 'Earth being a pissed off bitch', or that the floods are her tears, but that personifies something that is not human. Earth is far more powerful, unpredictable and inescapable than any human being.
We see Earth as female, which disconnects men from our own planet. And so all male-centred religions (and I count science as a religion) say the same thing: Earth is a stop-gap, an entry point to a better place. Find God, reach Enlightenment, build the technology to take us to another planet when this one is so fucked we can't live on it any more! The problem is, everyone is trying to leave. If we stayed, if we saw the Earth as our permanent home, maybe we would take better care of it. So I want to say to you all: stay stay stay!!! And I disagree with those who say we are too many people, that some of us need to leave. We are nature! Would you say the same about ants, trees, water?? No, we can all live here very easily, the Earth is big enough, abundant enough, for every human AND all of nature (which are in fact the same thing- there's that dualism again).
Men are not further from nature and Earth than women: we are born of the same stuff, in the same place. Men are very present at the conception of their children! Men get broody, nurture their children, have their 'time-of-the-month', just as women do. So perhaps the solution is to bring up men who can find the balance between their masculinity and femininity, are not afraid of it, to own it, cherish it... and cherish their women because of their in-built understanding. We are so obsessed with fixing the wounded feminine: maybe it's the wounded masculine that needs fixing!
And the Earth doesn't need fixing: our planet is perfect as it is, a perfect balance of masculine and feminine energies. How else could everything be alive? We need both, equally. It is humanity that needs 'fixing', not the Earth: because humanity's masculine and feminine energies are not balanced at all. That causes the destruction of everything we know.
Modern medicine and science tells us that women's bodies are problems to be solved (by cosmetic surgery, IVF, the pill etc etc), that menopause is something to be dreaded, periods are something shameful to be hidden, women's bodies are to be covered up (but not the 'perfect' women's bodies in magazines and porn films), that women are indeed dirty animals.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. Actually it is the thing that I would wake up thinking about every morning for over a year: the thing that churns my insides, that makes me the most angry, that out of all the atrocities humanity commits is, to me, the absolute worst. Deliberately cutting, slicing, sewing up millions of girls' vaginas(without anaesthetic usually), for why? Because women are 'unclean' if they don't. No reasons of religion, health, no reason at all, except that someone, at some point, decided that women's bodies needed to be put under control. Fear of the wild, fear of women's sexuality, fear of creativity, fear of chaos, fear of feminine power: which of course are all, very effectively, squashed when her genitals have been mutilated.
Wow that got a bit heavy, OK onward...
Another aspect of Ecofeminism is this idea of feminine spirituality. Bringing women's bodies back to nature, reconnecting with both, is a spiritual practice and one that will bring us closer to a balance within our bodies and our societies. But there is no 'other' entity out there that we can call on to do it for us (no dualism). Our own bodies and the Earth we live on are the only things we actually have. We want control of our bodies, sexuality, sensuality? Then we must reconnect with the Earth, and in the Universe that contains it, in its' divine balance of masculine and feminine. We must find that balance within ourselves.
In new spiritual settings the words 'masculine' and 'feminine' are spouted about so often, in so many ways, so before simply agreeing or disagreeing with my statements here... ask yourself... what do these words really mean TO YOU?
We in Glastonbury are very used to feminine spirituality, as we live in the Goddess centre of the world. The Goddess religion was rejuvenated as a response to the masculine ideals of science, reason and technology, to bring back some power to the feminine. I unabashedly say that Goddess worship is the same as God worship: it's still a religion, focusing on one particular energy (in this case the feminine) rituals are used, and the aim is to be 'closer to the divine'. Forgetting that we are divine, we live on the Earth, as animals, as nature, and WE ARE DIVINE. We are not Goddesses or Gods upon this Earth, we are not closer to God or Goddess than anything or anyone else, that is a delusion we tell ourselves to be 'above' nature and 'above' other people... everything that exists is divine because we are all made out of the same stuff.
Goddess worship, as God worship, is a wonderfully satisfying way to find that divinity within ourselves, and it works for many, but for me, it simply lacks something: something tangible, something real: it is still this idea of 'duality'. Woman/ Goddess, Man/ God, God/ Goddess, Man/ Woman... and I have been called a 'Goddess' and I have been told (as an insult) that I am not a 'Goddess', and I have read in a book that all women on Earth are Goddesses, even the toilet cleaners. We must look at this word and not get carried away... what does 'Goddess' really mean? The word has so much past history and hope for the future attached to it, that to me it is over-used, over-sought, over-thought, and it means very little now in my reality.
Others may disagree, but
I personally am very happy to be 'just' a woman,
living here, on Earth, in Earth's divine perfection
(what we call 'nature', as if it's outside ourselves, when actually
'nature' is just everything).
And I am not planning on leaving any time soon.
Stay with me?