Julian’s fierce commitment to the divine feminine and deep love for the divine mother seems to stand in broad opposition to the oppression of women that still plagues so many cultures and institutions in our day. She offers medicine for the perennial oppression and subjugation of women in societies around the world.
Julian also sheds light on the killing—indeed, the matricide—of Mother Earth that we see all around us. Of all humanity’s capacities for evil, it is hard to imagine anything quite so destructive as the way the earth is being subjugated and tortured, raped and murdered, just in our own lifetimes.
The destruction of her forests and rainforests, her soil and oceans, her rivers and lakes, her glaciers and animals, her birds and insects, her microorganisms that feed the food chain in the oceans—all this is evidence of the killing of Mother Earth as we know (and need) her.
It is not just Mother Earth that is under duress, however, but women, too. Let it not be forgotten that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, an older, white, male congressman from Florida called a thirty-year-old Latina congresswoman from the Bronx a “f***ing bitch” on the steps of the Capitol. To top it all off, when his actions made the news, he then gave a speech using his wife and two daughters as “proof” that he respected women—puckering up to cry as he invoked “my God” and “my country.”
This is naked sentimentalism which, as Carl Jung pointed out, invariably harbors violence. Violence and sentimentalism go together. Beware of sentimental pseudo-pities, whether religious or political (both of which are so often wrapped up as “patriotic”). Judge people by their actions, not their tears.
Yet not a single member of his political party spoke up against his diatribe. Women across the country responded by saying they, too, had experienced such language and attacks. Indeed, my sister and my niece volunteered that information immediately on hearing of the incident. And my sister added, “I know no women who have NOT had that experience.”
The “war on women” is not that different from the war on Mother Earth. The patriarchal heart, the reptilian brain, must dominate and subjugate—at least until it undergoes a conversion experience. The same political party that denies climate change also houses this misogynist congressman and his sentimental piety that hides behind the skirts of the women of his family when he is called out for his violence. His president and so many of his fellow party members share the same ways of being.
Such hatred of the feminine cannot be denied, nor can it be allowed to continue and reign in the halls of power. It begs for the light of truth to be shined on it, revealing it for the falsehood that it is. Julian is a truth-teller who shines a bright light on the need for feminine wisdom. And on its opposite, homicidal folly.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, pp. 93f.
Also see Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society
Banner Image: The 27th annual Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, 2017 Vancouver. Photo by Mark Teasdale on Flickr.
Do you have stories to tell of folly vs. wisdom, of killing of mother earth or matricide you see going on around you? Of misogyny? What to do about it?
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.