If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie

If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie

Author:Sharon Blackie
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781910463277
Publisher: September Publishing

As I read the words, something in my heart split open. The whole earth? Woman? Me? I wanted to know who she was, this poet, that she could know such things, that she could have such a powerful sense of womanhood and value it so. How could I learn to value it in turn? How could I develop that certainty, that feeling of being the whole earth? That would be a sense of self-worth indeed; that would be a sense of belonging. And now that I had finally seen the possibility, I wanted it more than I’d ever wanted anything.

I discovered that Harjo was a member of the Mvskoke/Creek nation, and that many of the ideas and images in her writing came out of the traditions of her people. I found, and began to devour, other books by Native American women writers: Linda Hogan, Louise Erdrich, Leslie Marmon Silko. And through those writings I found myself turning back to my first loves – to myths and stories – to see where it came from, this beautiful sense of woman as the Earth. In those Native American traditions I found so many stories of women as creators: Changing Woman, Sky Woman; Grandmother Spider, who wove the world into being. Always, women as the bright, burning force of creation, women as the givers and sustainers of life.

I loved those stories that I found, but I was acutely aware that this wasn’t my mythology, that it derived from a land and a culture that I didn’t belong to. Where would I find such stories in my own traditions? Were there any such stories at all? As a child who devoured every book on mythology she could find, I had grown up with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Greek and Roman myths, but fascinating as they were they too sprang out of countries that I had no connection to; they didn’t seem to say anything about my land, or my life.

Nevertheless, I found myself remembering that in the Greek tradition it was Gaia, the great Mother, who created and gave birth to the universe and to the Earth, and who was also the mother of all the other gods. The great Mother? . . . and yet I had been brought up in a Christian tradition in which there was no Mother – there was only a great Father, and in the creation story that he dealt out, women were merely afterthoughts, created for the benefit of men. Worse than that: those Christian stories taught us that it was Eve, the first woman, who destroyed the Garden of Eden, who let evil loose into the world. But then I remembered that the Christian traditions and the Hebrew traditions out of which they had grown didn’t originally spring out of my native culture, either; they were imports from the desert lands, far away in the Middle East. And so what, really, were my own native traditions, the ones which grew out of the ground beneath my


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