A wonderful series entitled Women on the Edge of Evolution is taking place and I have been listening to the weekly podcasts – all focused on how and why women are at the cutting edge of the evolutionary shift toward a more compassionate and enlightened society. I encourage women and men to listen to these podcasts.
I was surprised, however, to hear Jean Houston, Ph.D. explain that is was the Industrial Revolution which was the primary historical factor contributing to the subjugation of women. She opined that it was the removal of men from family farms in the 1800s and the division of labor (outside vs. inside the home) which prompted patriarchal cultures. Then, almost as an afterthought, Dr. Houston added that the churches also contributed to the demise of the Sacred Feminine and systemic female oppression.
The Industrial Revolution … say what?
As one of the women who has dedicated her life to assisting the long-awaited and prophesied evolutionary shift into the New Millenium – what The Oracle Institute calls the Fifth Spiritual Paradigm (www.TheOracleInstitute.org/press) – I feel it is not only a mistake but also quite dangerous to gloss over what certainly was and remains the greatest factor causing worldwide female subjugation – the five man-made religions: Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Quite frankly, until these ancient belief systems are either update or relegated to the history books themselves, we stand little chance of experiencing the shift so lovingly anticipated by all spiritual evolutionaries.
With the Eastern religions, we encounter misogynistic dogma at the inception, since in classic Hinduism a woman may not even begin to approach enlightenment until she reincarnates into a male body. And Buddhism, for all its New Age repackaging in the U.S., also perpetuates the spiritual inferiority of women. Indeed, despite his theoretical support for female ordination, the Dalai Lama has yet to ordain a woman.
For American women and our sisters in South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, the three religions of Abraham continue to shape our cultural reality. Make no mistake, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim women all suffer from spiritual abuse at the hands of orthodox male clergy and the male personification of God. Let us not forget that in Judeo-Christian-Islamic his-tory, it was Eve who was disobedient, responsible for the “fall of mankind” and, therefore, deserving of perpetual punishment. (Note: the Quran does not recite this myth, but it is referenced and reinforced in the Hadith – doctrine based on the words and deeds of Muhammad.)
In short, the Industrial Revolution pales in comparison to the damage done to us by “trickle-down-deity” (i.e., the adverse effects of male-centric theology). Moreover, to ignore this fact is to condemn our daughters to further spiritual stagnation – if not outright death, as in the case of our beleaguered and war-torn Muslim sisters. Lastly, for those progressive Christian and even New Age women who believe they no longer are impacted by patriarchal pulpit propaganda, I would add this warning from one of the great second wave feminists:
Many women do not recognize themselves as discriminated against; no better proof could be found of the totality of their conditioning. – Kate Millet