- 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."