we are the women and we will not fall: (wo)manifesto for the fearless

I’m always astounded by what emerges after a road trip, and the 3,500 miles I just drove with a 78-year-old woman friend and my 19-year-old daughter, led me circuitously to this potent piece. Then, an alchemical friend tossed a match onto my creative process. I have posted numerous pieces around “men” — so here’s a (wo)manifesto to balance the sacred marriage. The image appeared in my email this morning via a friend of a friend, and I knew instantly that the barn’s rampant vulnerability and unquestionable strength and inner grit was a perfect accompaniment. Thanks to Jeff Mitton for use of the photo.

photo of crumbling barn
we are the women who squatted in the fields
who birthed our babies and anointed ourselves
with a splash of impure water
we are the ones who folded the tents, filled alabaster jars
gathered the oxen, the oils, the tambourine
and with venus perched low in the sky,
meandered through the night toward uncertain destination.

we are the women who have gnawed off bleeding appendages
escaped from legholds and cages draped in chiffon and lace,
plunged into icy waters to retrieve forgotten pearls
walked through flames of inquisition, grillings by self-pronounced judges and juries,
we were dragged to the gallows for pledging allegiance to truth above all
and despite the shaming and the maiming,
our collective voice has never been silenced.

we are the weavers, the healers, the poets, the painters,
the mothers, the courtesans, the daughters, the queens
the bringers of all that is lovely and alive
we walk a tautened rope separating genius and madness
labor every single day to bring forth the ripe fruits of creation
drip and ooze with overflowing expression straining for release,
and in exchange for our priceless offerings to the soul of humanity
we are offered thimbles as containers for torrential showers of unleashed passion,
meager restitution for the strip-mining of gemfields aglitter with beauty and wisdom.

we are the women who give it all away every time
compromise the tender blossoming of our own interior gardens
to take up unsustainable positions in an unrelenting world
we willingly stuff fragments of ourselves into strawflat mattresses
and on back burners drained of fuel,
while we obscure the breadth and depth of our illuminative splendor.

we are the women who have been blessed with a radiant grace
and damned as harlots, Eve, Delilah, Jezebel
we carry ten thousand universes within our souls
and the knowings of eternity in every drop of our blood
we have been abandoned by fathers of damaged hearts
mothers too tightly bound in their own misbegotten apprehensions
sisters dead-set for battle in an unholy match of acquisition.

we are the women who have carried the light since before time began
who donned the breastplate of warrior and scoured the countryside in acts of holy triage
we have eviscerated ourselves in the face of twisted obligation
shrouded our all-seeing eyes from mirrors of authentic reflection
danced on floors littered with poisoned slings and arrows that missed their mark,
and continued to love in the face of unspeakable predatory maraudings of the spirit.

we are the women who once agreed
to spread emergent starlight over a scorched and burning earth
and we will not relinquish our original instructions.

sanctified by divine contract and condemned by the meek and frightened
at once scorned for being too much yet diminished for being not enough,
we are the women who dance with the moon
cavort with fairies and roughhouse with stallions
and we will not relinquish our original instructions.

we are the women who will live on, remain standing
long after others have fallen under the weight
of their own perceived predominance

we will not crumble
we will not fall

we are the women

11 comments

  1. Ahhh, finally women glorified, to the degree that no one ever ever could do!! Are we not special? And do we not deserve this? Rachel, only you could do justice to such a piece of art. Thank you, thank you.. I say thank you as a woman, who survived, as a lady who is rising from the ashes like a phoenix. Cheers, Punam

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  2. fullsun

    If only the tail of time didn’t taper off, perhaps man would always remember the fullness of woman (and vice versa). Thank you for the reminder. It’s a worthy inventory.

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  3. @souldipper,
    Hmmm, allowing your soul to be pulled out of the socket does not seem at all feeble to me! Thank YOU for having eyes and hearts with which to see and feel.

    @Punam,
    Although you have not yet put henna on my hands, I feel that you helped to prepare me for the marriage of the inner feminine and masculine – and these words are part of that preparation. I honor your strong and beautiful path as a woman and a lady.

    @dann,
    Truly, the great gift is that your heart is sufficiently open to take in the vastness of the story that we all share. A gift to the entire world…

    @tekia,
    I felt that this would resonate with you, Te’Kia — and I am pleased beyond measure to know that it is true. Yes! We are the women…

    @fullsun,
    Perhaps the fullness of each one of us is easily found not only in the radiance of the sun and the reflection of the moon – but in the endings and beginnings of sunrise and sunset. We simply need a friend who will walk alongside us for a moment or a week or a month. We are all the women; we are all the men. Thank you for being part of the dance.

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  4. fitting in this age of women. i’m not talking about women’s rights or anything like that. i just feel an internal empowerment movement beginning to rumble, way off in the distance. i can’t see it. yet. but if i was a betting man — and i am:) — i’d say it’s a women’s movement. you’re singing some colors here that are about to light up the sky.

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  5. @Sally-Deems-Mogyordy,

    You are very welcome, and I am equally (if not more) delighted that you discovered me, too! If you get around to it, I’d Love to know how you found your way to Be Whole Now.

    @edpilolla,

    Just when I’m funked out about the state of the universe and the diminishment and marginalization of those of us who honor the strength and transformative power of words — you pop in and light up MY sky. Yeah, this is what the return of the Divine Feminine looks like, and every body (regardless of biology) gets to join in the dance! Thankyou, thankyou for the sweet honey drops…

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  6. Ahhh, Rachel. This is sublime verse for certain. I know the grinder of the past has been over me so many times I have permanent lumpiness in some areas, hahahaha.

    The comment I wish to make here is that all this and more is dissolving for me now. In this moment of now, and this is so important, I feel, to where I’m going, my attachment to my own his-tory is no longer as real as it was when I lived it. There’s something happening here which is novel. It defies my rational mind.

    It’s something to do with the absolute knowing that none of my stories have Anything to do with me, the Real Me, and Who I AM. This is somehow showing itself to me as what I must shuck off of me like the skin off a snake in order to move forward in my fullest potential. My full glory demands this sacrifice on the sacred altar. Flame on! I no longer need this fuel to fire me up (it whispers in my ear).

    This is not to say that none of this happened, or to dishonor the suffering or the extreme devotion it took to come through it to BE here now. It did, and we did it! Only to say that I no longer have the need or desire to carry it with me, to attach to it in any way going forward.

    Either way, I will not fall, or fail. WE will not fall or fail.

    xoxoxoxox

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  7. Andrea, you speak a beautiful and radiant truth! Like you, I feel that nearly everything happening in this Now “is novel…defies my rational mind.” And, as a sisterwoman, I echo your words: “…I no longer need this fuel to fire me up (it whispers in my ear).” Flame on, indeed. LoveBlessings!

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