- By Tiana Jacout
I had a dream last night and woke up to a deeply uncomfortable realisation, and, to my knowledge, and please correct me if I'm wrong, this seems pretty unique to England:
The most destructive practices throughout our history as a nation, have been overseen by Female rulers:
Elizabethan Times: The Royally sanctioned Introduction of Legalized Slavery, The beginning of British Colonisation (especially of Turtle Island), Peak of the Burning Times - More "witches" killed under her reign, than at any time.
Victorian Times: Aggressive Expansion of Colonial rule to all but 22 Countries in the World - I can't even begin to go over the atrocities done in her name, much like Elizabeth - It was a "english army being perpetually shit, kind of a scenario"
Margaret Thatcher: The Privatisation of Public ownership and de-regulation of the free Market (Colonialism repackaged as Capitalism), Destruction of the Unions, The systemic upping of oppression of Minorities (LGBTQIA+, BAME, Gypsies etc.)
(obviously there is Elizabeth 2 to be considered here, but she had no real power and was merely a figurehead, so for the premise of this piece, I leave her as a side note, or as an archetype of the silent Twisted feminine - quietly perpetuating the issue)
In all these cases, they are Lauded as ushering in a "new wave of Prosperity" for this country.
That we as a nation have seen our greatest "achievements" and "times of prosperity" propelled off the genocide and systematic abuse of Black/Brown, Indigenous and The Poor. So much of what is seen as culture even in our mainstream modern society can be attributed back to these periods - Elizabeth oversaw Shakespeare and a renaissance of the arts, Victoria oversaw the Industrial revolution, Maggie.....well, she laid the groundwork for Modern Britain, in all it's inescapable fascism.
I say these things, in no way to inflame either side of any argument. I say these things because it pains me, because this is a huge shadow that looms over us as British women that I've never seen spoken anywhere, and is such a important part of understanding that Patriarchy/Colonialism/Fascism is nothing to do with Gender, and that the women who have internalised it are, historically, far more dangerous.
That's the shadow side.
The Dark side of the Maiden. Mother, Crone.
The Maiden: Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, Sir Walter Raleigh famously named Virginia after her, even as she sent forth legions of men to violate the "Virgin Land" the "new World" - You can blame it on innocence, but her inability to let anyone touch her, distanced her from her Embodied self. Almost like there was no connection for her between her spirit and her body . She had no concept of the sacredness of Land/Body and it's connection to our spirit and thus could, in her ignorance allow others to own other "bodies", to plunder and violate other "bodies".
Also, the fear of the wise woman - the fear of potent female sexuality/force, of their own "wildness", the HAG (hagge is old celtic for Holy woman). I'm running on a theory now that all this bullshit could have been avoided if this one woman had had even one fantastic orgasm at the right moment.
The Mother: Victoria, Mother to all, even if they don't want it, "mother knows best", S-mothering everything in it's path, the looming threat of the angry Spider mother, more likely to kill, more ready to devour everything in it's path. The inability to listen to "her children", until she's shaped them in HER image, what's she's decided is best for them, without taking into account the Cultures, the desires, the personality of those children/countries she is "nurturing". Punishment as a tool, a weapon of their "love".
Crone: Margaret Thatcher: The Tyranny of Crone - The dark side of Being unable to flourish back into a wonderment of life, instead crystallising in all their pain and resentment, shrivelling, becoming ugly, becoming stuck, becoming dry. The Gaunt Matriarch, stern, unyielding, mistaking her forcefulness for power, and her pain as wisdom. Becoming IRON, becoming Tyrant.
Please don't get me wrong. This is not an inditement of Women in Power. This is a warning for us all, because when the unhealthy powerful feminine meets an Internalised Patriarchy, there is a path of historic destructiveness. This is my attempt to retell our story not just as one of complicity and oppression.
Just for comparison, when we take women in these archetypes and in their Healthy power, we get:
Maiden: Greta Thunberg, Malala, Emma Gonzalez
Mother: Jacinda Ardern, Vandava Shiva, Wangari Maathai, Josephine Butler
Crone: Jane Goodall, Jane Fonda, Maya Angelou
Women are amazing, and powerful, and can change the world, but when this power meets Internalised Patriarchy, well.... That becomes Kali levels of Destruction.
I don't apologise if this brings up some ugly things for you, but I empathise with them. I've been shaking all morning, There's so much work to do, that I don't believe we've even begun to knuckle down and start doing it, around the darker sides of what our unhealthiness as women, especially women of England, has brought upon this world. That sometimes, it wasn't our tacit complicity, or our ignorance, or our own oppression; sometimes we led the way.
And nowadays, it doesn't matter what creed, colour or religion/spirituality you are. If you were brought up in this country, the echoes of oppression ring true for ALL women (women like Priti Patel spring to mind here). In the way we speak, how we act/don't act, how we choose to see each other and others. There will be an internalised oppressor in all of us - it's insipid and has infected our entire culture, and there's no woman I know, including myself, who is free of all these things.
But this gives me hope. Because, in the journey to really heal from this nightmare, to begin to Weave a new world, one that MATTERS, one of dignity, equality and reciprocity, we as women, especially, but not only, white women, must face the uneasy, sometimes painful truth of what and who has come before us, and what lies in the shadow of our own Being.
We like to hold signs, saying that We are the Granddaughters of the witches they couldn't burn, but the sad fact for most of us, is we are probably related to the women who pointed at others so they would be burnt instead, or the ones who kept silent and afraid, or the ones who whispered in their husband's ear, or even the ones who actively did the oppressing.
And now our big Mother is suffering, dying, gasping for air, after being violated, burnt and owned. All our toxic behaviour is coming into inescapable fruition as we find out the root of all Oppression is the Oppression of Life itself.
"Things are not getting worse, they are being revealed, let's hold onto each other, and keep peeling back the veil."
There's no doubt that last year was an extraordinary event. All those women, showing up, letting go of all that bound them and getting to heal with and celebrate the magic that true sisterhood provides. We had such a juicy, deep, nourishing blast!
We yearn for each other. Studies have shown that women with close females friends live healthier, longer lives - it's because we wither without our sisters, and thrive with them.
It is my deep desire to bring this to any woman in the world who doesn't have it - now, more than ever, we need women in their full power, to take leadership into a new world, one in right relationship to each other and our big Mumma - this abundant, delicious world we live on, and all other beings who call her home.
I had the honour this year to be one of the co-ordinators of Extinction Rebellion - where I got to use my talents of gathering people in a space of Radical Participation, in LOVE, where we all bring our gifts - so that we were not just blocking roads - we were using that space to occupy it with a vision of the world our hearts knew was possible - I saw so many of my WomanFesters there, in their strength and resilience and we cried with each other as we were taken away one-by-one by the police. I remain so humbled by everyone who KEEPS SHOWING UP to the table, again and again and again, in the face of overwhelming adversity. In their own life, in the struggles for freedom and justice, and a sustainable, thriving planet. A deep bow to you all for showing up when she most needs you, a deep bow to those still too paralysed by the grief and and rage what we've done, and fear of what's to come - we see you, and we are here to help you through that into action whenever you need us.
Woman Fest 2019 is just around the corner, and once again it is a call to all those who yearn for it, all those who wish to step into their power and purpose - to find your place in the new world we HAVE to build, for the sake of all living beings and for ourselves.
We need everyone in this - especially Women - The rebellion is indigenous and female centred - it is not just about climate change - it is a reconnection to the world around us and a defiant NO to the ties that bind us to the old paradigm of Scarcity, division and control.
We reclaim our Sovereignty as Women, as humans, as beings of LOVE.
Bring on this year's cauldron of transformation and delight! Bring on 2019!
With all my love
see you in the field
Hello amazing Women all over the World!
I'm Emma Meadows and I will be holding the Women's Circle throughout WomanFest where, amongst other things, we will enjoy the Shamanic Ceremonies, the Jade Egg workshop, Gong Healings, Womb Wyse Stories and the Sex Magic Ceremony.
I feel there has never been a better time for WomanFest - We are living in changing times, all around us we are now seeing women gather together and claim their power both individually and collectively. The Feminine Energy is rising and we are standing together in juicy strength and potency. We are standing in our true power, reclaiming our voices and most importantly, we are gathering in love, because in the end that is all there can be to co-create the new ways. In love we can co-create new ways that no longer tolerate separation, division and pain. It is our time to lay down the swords of defence, attack and intolerances and pick up the flag of compassion, kindness, tolerance, understanding and love. In this way as older women leading the way and as younger women coming with fresh eyes we hold the threads of our ancestors and gather together to weave a new cloth for the times we live in and for the generations to come and this, I believe, is the essence and magic of WomanFest.
What a day...... I knew when we started Woman Fest that there would be people that disagreed, people who praised us, people who vilified us. It's a sad inevitability that when women say out loud what they want.....well, everyone has an opinion about that, man and woman.
And it says a lot about our society that an all-woman festival - just a place for us to celebrate each other, makes PAGE 3 of the Observer, SKY NEWS, the express (who don't even bother to read the website and just riff off of another journalist....lazy boys), in the same day.
It's also a mirror that each one has an agenda. So I feel like I need to be crystal clear about US, using OUR VOICE. What WE ARE as a woman's festival and, really, what we hope to achieve.
WE ARE NOT NEW. We are not a faze, We have gathered since the beginning of time. We are the grand-daughters of the Witches you failed to burn. We are the Spinsters, the Crones, the women who would not be sold as cattle, who never leave a good joke just lying there. We got the vote, we raise children, create art, masturbate. Sometimes we just sit around and do nothing but enjoy a good day. We are WARRIOR WOMEN, we have unspoken oceans of strength and creativity in us. We can hold everyone gently, and we can breath fire.
We are Boudicca, and Vandana Shiva, and Maya Angelou.
We are Malala, and Amanda Palmer and Emma Gonzalez.
We are every woman, always, either out there in all our glory, or waiting till we're ready, and we bloom forth
We have never changed, we have always been here.
So Why Woman Fest?
It's a call to all of us, a call home. We just want to chill out with each other in a field. Learn from each other's stories, celebrate our journeys and dance. Remind ourselves of the importance of Sisterhood and our connection to the Earth and our responsibility towards it. We are here to be US! to revel in all our diversity and mystery and brilliance. To surprise each other, teach each other, delve into the shadows and come out wise and willing. And YES! let the divine feminine burst out of us like a prayer!
And Heal too, cause we've all been through some serious shit.
With all my love
Hello All You Wonderful, Brilliant Women,
I felt it was time to Introduce myself, I'm Tiana, Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of Woman Fest.
I'm over the moon to be able to be a part of something like this and to be able to share it with you all. The rise of the Feminine, the MeToo movement, Time's up, The Women's marches.....it goes on and on, and it's an extraordinary time to be a Woman as we see the old patterns and oppression being shrugged off as we grow into our wild and free selves.
That's why we made Woman Fest: it's a shameless celebration of all that makes us! To gather in a space with women of all shapes, sizes, colours, experience, all with their own gifts, their own divine spark, to reconnect, create and grow the network of empowered and authentic Women.
Now: to the concept of Radical Participation...... We know we've created a hard sell with this festival, we have no Headliners! No Crowd pullers! How are we going to pull this off?
The answer is we aren't....YOU are, all of you, every woman coming has the invitation to bring their knowledge, their art, their music, their experience. We all can teach each other something, and by giving that space for it to happen, we are creating a space of INFINITE POTENTIAL and the (terrifying for us organisers) infinite possibilty...
And for You, maybe a time to finally share something you've not been able to yet, or felt you couldn't, or hadn't felt supported enough to, but if we're all doing it, being vulnerable and brave, then something quite amazing will happen, that I have no doubt.
On a last note, I know the price of the ticket looks steep for many, you can always volunteer! But know that it is all going into organising the festival, FULLY catering it with the most amazing local organic food, and the spa.
I've worked on this project now for free for almost a year because I adore it, I've already pledged half what I make to two charities: The first is SARSAS - The Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support, and the Other is Meena, a refugee women and Children's centre in Birmingham set up by my amazing friend Liz Clegg who I had the honour of working with in the Calais Jungle.
So we get to come together knowing that just that act is rippling out into the most vulnerable of the sisterhood and being able to help them from afar.
The last I'm going to say is we need you all now....if you believe in any way in what we're doing, share us! talk about us! Tell all your girlfriend's, invite everyone! We have the space, the idea and All the LOVE! We now need to get the word out!
With all my love Tiana xxxxxxx
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