The Wilderness: A Women’s Journal for Spiritual Growth

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This journal is for a woman seeking her true place. It begins on the “Great Sea of Despair” where there is no purpose for life. The reader then is led to an island with a viable shoreline, but realizes that she cannot come ashore because the one who controls that shoreline is full of mind sets. She realizes that she is free and is able to develop her own path towards self and pushes on. She finds another part of the island to come ashore and the first thing she sees of safety is a cave. She moves on to other areas of interest in her curiosity to find out what the island is about. Among the places she journeys to and/or through are the shoreline of temporary joy; long narrow path to nowhere; demonic haunts; salt valley depression; oasis of…; plains of loneliness; abandoned garden-monastery; pool of poison, stagnant water; mountains of a better view; rock hills of personal danger; death valley; jungle of pressure/stress; stairway; of angels; hollow of unheard prophecy; well of everlasting life; burning bush; pinnacles of temptation; cross of agony; gates of hope. Traveler learns many things about herself during the journey, many things about society, and many things about her potential. 

Part 2 Shoreline of Mind-Sets – from “The Wilderness: A Journal for Women”� 1991

While floating on this Sea of Despair, once in a while we come upon a shoreline which looks promising. We float closer and closer, ever straining our eyes to really see what the sands hold for us. There may be an occasional person on the shoreline too, shouting at us, trying to give us “knowledge”. Sometimes we listen and hear. Sometimes we almost paddle our raft in that direction because the sight of land looks so good and we don’t care what the person is saying to us, as long as we have a respite from the despair we are experiencing. At other times, another strong current grabs us and we are drawn into some other mind-set shore-line because of the strength of the current. We have no time or opportunity to steer our own raft and are drawn so close to the speaker on the beach that we are almost trapped by his mind-set.

A mind-set is the opinion of an individual, society, and/or nation which decides the traditional beliefs and symbol systems that govern the individual, society and/or nation. It has been these traditional beliefs, as mentioned earlier, that has decided the function and role of the female.

Humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him…woman is simply what man decrees.

The belief that woman is a mutilated or incomplete man…and that woman are colder and thus have less soul pervades even the bedroom when the man complains of how cold his wife’s feet are, while ignoring the ice cold attributes of his own.

Aristotle stated “that a female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities…we should regard the female nature as afflicted with natural defectiveness.” I wonder if a woman is afflicted with “defectiveness” in HER lack of qualities which causes (forces) her to be a negative creature, etc., then man must also be afflicted with “defectiveness” in HIS fullness of qualities which eventually causes (forces) a woman to BE a negative creature. Unfortunately, while on the Sea of Despair though, one does not think of quick comeback’s.

As mentioned earlier, mind-sets are transmitted by the system of symbols which govern the thought processes of individuals, societies, and nations. But it must be understood that a symbol’s effect does not depend on rational ascent.

Symbols have psychological and political effects, because they create inner conditions, deep seated attitudes, and feelings. They lead people to feel comfortable with or accept social and political arrangements.

Geertz states that religious symbols shape a cultural ethos and define the deepest values of a society and the people in it.

Women have been sucked into believing the deepest value of society and its mind-set which tells the women will be happiest if they submit fully to the dictates of man in the guise of their husband, church father, brother, and/or father. Lacking these, she is believed to be an odd one out who foibles through life ever consistent in her errors of judgement, wrong turns, etc., etc.

This ever present tracking system of a woman’s life through its symbols is not necessarily governed by the Church either.

Even people who no longer “believe in God”…are [affected by] the power of the symbolism of God the Father.

A father-figure has guided and tracked down women since possibly the hunting times of man. This father-figure appeared in the trappings of the belief that man should be the provider, the mighty hunter who brings home the much needed game of his hunting exploits. No matter that the gathering woman probably sustains the group with as much protein and sustenance. Of course, the reason that man had to go OUT and hunt was because the woman was in the evolutionary mode of birthing larger brained infants. This supposedly widened her hips and made her unsuitable for running and in turn, caused her to stay IN and care for her infant..

This whole subject then brings up another matter. Somehow in the transition period women’s value was beginning to be associated with childbirth only. Their value to the tribes was associated with how many lives they could bring to the fold. Of course, this was only acceptable if there was enough food to go around.

Woman was not allowed to enjoy her “creation” of children because they were burdens to the traveling community =infanticide is common. Childbirth seemed useless, something to be passively resigned to in fate. Women have never set up female values in opposition to male values.

Simone de Beauvoir states that women are seen as being with only ovaries. We are not seen as being with a mind also. Our emotions supposedly result from our ovary secretions which results in the male conception of hell PMS, but never as the resultant expression of centuries of domination by the male sex.

1. The Second Sex Simone De Beauvoir. Introduction.
2. Aristotle. History of Ideas on Women
3. Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir.
4. WSR
5. Women’s Spirit Rising.
7. Ibid.

Part 12 The mountains of a Better View – from “The Wilderness: A Journal for Women”� 1991

When we come to the top of the mountains we begin to see that we are responsible for our own gift(s) and not just the gift(s) that pertain to the advancement of the male portion of society. We see that the One who gave the gift(s) is not the cruel judge who will take away our gift(s), because if we DO use our gift(s), he will increase them more and more. We no longer feel afraid to step outside of the boundaries placed on us by the male section of society. As we see the magnificent sight while standing on the Mountain Tops, we begin to see other women down through the ages and in Scripture who used the gifts that were given them. They were able to rise above their fear, or go beyond their fear and do what they believed they were intended to do, no matter that they were the “wrong” sex.

Part 16 Jacob’s Ladder – from “The Wilderness: A Journal for Women”� 1991

Jacob was one who deceived his brother so that the inheritance was given to him and not his brother. He immediately ran away from the hostile advances which he believed his brother was plotting against him. He ran into the wilderness towards his uncle’s place. He laid down one night and went to sleep. Lo and behold the place where he lay was the place that angels ascended toward and descended from. He woke up and dug a well in honor of the place.

Now my reason for bringing this story into the paper is that it may be very difficult for some people to believe there is a place on the planet earth which angels just walk up and down in. Yet, many people believe in the existence of such a place. His story was even believed to the point that it was added as a part of Scripture. No one but Jacob saw the place, and it was given to him to see in a dream. Yet it was believed and is a part of the folklore and mythology of the Old Testament. This was an expression of Jacob’s experience.

Now, if Jacob can have a dream of angels and have it believed and a part of religious history then why would it not be possible for women’s experience to be believed and made a part of religious history? Pamela Dickey Young believes that Women’s experience should be included into the theology of today

Any theology claiming to be both feminist and Christian should draw its norms both from the Christian tradition of which it sees itself a part and from the long-overlooked experience of women.

One aspect of Theology that women are experiencing from the other side of the fence is the rediscovery of the God as Mother. The early Christians prayed to a God who was both Mother AND Father. She was believed to be Silence and was also called Grace (Greek Charis). She is the “She who is before all things.

8. The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
9. Ibid.
10. Feminist Theology Christian Theology In Search of Method, Pamela Dickey Young, page 20.