This morning I picked up the book Circle of Stones by Judith Duerk. I read this book many years ago. It’s actually not a book to be read from cover-to-cover once and then shelved. It’s a book that can be used as a woman’s daily reference, her support, her validation, her encouragement, her reminder–that she’s not alone in her aloneness. Although so much in our world points to that existential loneliness, there is a culture of women that seeks unity across time and the earth. It is a culture that celebrates our differences as it recognizes the commonality among women. It suggests a unity that would support an individual woman as she grows and develops over the course of her life.
It asks the question:
“How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you, a place for you to go to be with your mother, with your sisters and the aunts, with your grandmothers, and the great-and great-great-grandmothers, a place of women to go, to be, to return to, as woman?”from Circle Of Stones by Judith Duerk
Some cultures do support this sisterhood among its women. It’s a rare culture, however, that fosters connection with women of other cultures. And, it’s also rare to gain support across the generations of our living relatives and to experience the connection to our ancestors. In the US and across the world, the accessibility of transportation gives us a mobility that has separated families from the innate support system of proximity.
In my own life, I have four sisters and four brothers. Throughout my childhood, my father lived by the term “divide and conquer” in raising his children. Regardless, many of us formed alliances that have lasted over the course of our lives. Specifically, a sisterhood among siblings can either be experienced as a rivalry or a deep bond (or somewhere in between) that sees you through whatever life brings.
The thing is that there is strength in numbers. We have examples of this–like when women united in England and the United States (and later on in other countries) to gain the right to vote! In today’s world, there are so many imperatives–climate change, social injustice, economic inequities, etc. It has been shown that women in third world countries who form and operate businesses are an empowered group that changes the circumstances of their villages. They aren’t typically trying to become successful business entrepreneurs, rather to improve the quality of their lives in present time and for future generations. This unified effort also lifts the individual and collective self-esteem. There is the recognition that they cannot do it alone. In the United States, we often have a competitive (even among the women) rather than a cooperative attitude. This doesn’t serve the true purpose of woman which is to unite, support, uplift and heal with compassion. A healthy culture of women recognizes and utilizes the abilities and gifts of each and every woman to create a better whole.
I wonder how we are to overcome our divisions within this Culture of Women. It could be happening in a less-than-obvious way at this time. Change starts with discomfort. Then there is the yearning for something better. Imagination of the way things could be kicks in. We begin to become aware of synchronicities. We dream of the better world we desire. We discover that our sisters have that dream too. Women are weavers…we weave our various yearnings together and go forward into the unknown and perhaps better world. I hope so.