The divine feminine is not impressed with bullying. Bullying is the opposite of caring or compassion or even justice. It is domination; power-over; I rule, you obey.
Julian of Norwich, by developing an in depth understanding of a post-patriarchal world and a post-patriarchal religion, invites us beyond bullying, beyond power-over dynamics. She is Moses leading us out of the land of Pharaoh who stands for all those who think they are anointed to dominate others and deprive others of their freedom and their right to be themselves.
Racism is a kind of bullying based on color of skin; Sexism is a bullying based on what genitals one possesses; capitalism is all too often a bullying based on how much money you have to buy politicians and judges and law schools to decide in your favor; what class rules and dominates and makes the laws about who gets tax breaks and who pays for public education, roads, highways, police and fire departments and the rest.
And who gets health care and who does not (even though both the bullies and the bullied have the same human bodies—so too do black people and white people, Asian and Latino, indigenous and others.) The same body but not the same care for the body when the body politic is one of bullies and the bullied. Wall Street often treats Main Street with bullying tactics.
Have we learned lessons from the financial debacle of 12 years ago that was caused by the greed of Wall Street “bundlers” of bad loans and the rest? Millions of Americans lost their savings, their retirement, and their homes but when Wall Street went into a dive, guess who had to bail them out with hundreds of billions of dollars of loans? Yes, Main Street. The everyday taxpayer.
Then, when things got better and Wall Street got back on top, guess who got over a trillion dollars in tax breaks? It wasn’t Main Street. And no Wall Street manipulators who caused the crash went to jail. Infamous differences in power and decision making. Is it any wonder that many middle class people are angry at the “system” that is the government?
Democracy is meant to cure this tendency to dualism, haves vs. have-nots. Democracy is not currently healthy in the body politic of today. Just as Mother Earth is not healthy today because bullying dominates her too.
Julian of Norwich is urging us to step up to acknowledge and to celebrate the divine mother and all of motherhood which she understands as actions of service and love and compassion. She is saying, Put love first, operate out of the goodness that is deep in all beings (including ourselves). Grow up and move beyond a one-dimensional patriarchy and a toxic masculinity of power-over. Vive la difference! Celebrate the differences in all dimensions of the body politic—sexual, racial, ethnic, gender, class. Put love first.
Julian sees a universe surrounded by love and kept together by love.
See Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, pp. 20-33, 45-58.
What have you learned from bullies and bullying? What medicine do you see for bullying, whether personal or societal?
Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond
Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.” –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.