The Rise Of Sisterhood (Part I)
In ancient times, women were considered the keepers of wisdom, intuition and the sacred arts of poetry, dance, and music. In fact, men modelled brotherhood around the sacred gatherings women held that were always within communities. For over 2000 years, we have lived in a male dominant culture, otherwise known as the patriarchal paradigm. We have slowly seen women resurfacing in society, weaving their genius and endowments within all fields of arts, culture, science, politics and economics. We are gradually observing and appreciating the female vision, intuition, and profound perceptions that offer another side to the coin. This did not come easily; too often we forget that women have gathered together in great numbers to simply demand basic rights such as to vote (it took a very powerful movement of women protesting to accomplish this), to have reproductive rights (which are still lacking in most places) and to enter the workforce. To keep things in perspective, there are over 200 million young girls and women in 30 countries that have experienced Female Genital Mutilation in Africa, the Middle East and Asia (more on that here).
Women have experienced centuries of oppression and suppression on multiple levels. The time and opportunity to heal individually and collectively is becoming strongly present, accessible, and possible. Our voices need to be heard and one evidence of this is reflected in the #MeToo movement. The respect and rights of women benefit the whole of society, and we need the male support behind us. This is not about one overriding the other, but the two coming together to work in harmony, co-operation, and collaboration. The honouring of the feminine movement is a human movement that brings men and women together to work in unison, as both equally contribute valuable gifts that complement one another to balance and harmonize society.
Ancient Sisterhood Traditions
When women come together collectively, this creates a healing and nurturing space where they can open their hearts, share their vulnerabilities, and support and strengthen their efforts to empower one another. This collective potential and force has sadly been forgotten, and very often women, ‘our sisters’ are found belittling each other, negatively competing, and even in many instances destroying one other. This is a byproduct of the patriarchy where the female became less than, lacking importance as a being who is capable of contributing to society overall. They have internalized the patriarchy to the point that they have forgotten themselves and their sisters. As Noam Shpancer writes in Psychology Today, “As women come to consider being prized by men their ultimate source of strength, worth, achievement and identity, they are compelled to battle other women for the prize.”
These sisterhood movements return us to our roots, our ancestors, so that we may rise, honour, and remember the feminine once again. Women once joined forces in tribes to celebrate fertility, rites of passages, and moon (menstrual) cycles. These female circles were a place where women could be genuine, authentic, and find deep loving connection on all levels.
In many indigenous cultures, women always worked and continue to work together to gather the harvest, cook and support each other in the community. They often made clothes together, preparing and weaving the fabric as one. They maintained the spiritual aspects of life, the nurturing of the children, and caring for Mother Earth. As Azriel ReShel writes, “Australian Indigenous women cared for each other’s children, as if they were their own, and the children often didn’t know which woman was their birth mother as these bonds were so close. In today’s fragmented society, some women feel alienated and alone, longing for this connection with other women that was such a natural part of everyday life.”
We can simply look at the ancient temples found in India, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and other places around the world as evidence of sacred structures that held vibrant, meaningful activities within communities. Those temples were alive and a place of high value where women would sing, pray, and connect with the divine. These skills were developed for themselves, their families, as well as their tribe and community.
3 Reasons to Gather in Sisterhood
‘Sisterhood’ is not a bonding that has anything to do with being anti-men. Rather it is a way of life that carries deep compassion, empathy, love, and wisdom. It is a space where people gather and unify as friends, whether teachers and students, mothers and daughters, grandmothers and grandchildren. It envelops all women regardless of faith or nationality. It honours the male and is used to heal both male and female wounds within, which we carry on an individual and collective level. It is a powerful movement which embraces and celebrates the feminine in all her glory.
1. Support & Friendship
All too often women have been alone in their efforts to raise children, to be both the perfect wife and to also excel at work. When women gather side by side, it’s a safe place for their actual ‘selves’ to be seen, heard, and expressed with others; removing all masks of perfection. What women talk about in unity is often not shared in the presence of men. Sisterhood offers a receptive, safe, and revitalizing space for this to unfold. Friendship, inspiration, and sharing life lessons are the main missions.
Deep down within every woman is the need to honour, love and respect herself. Once she is able to do that for herself, she is also proficient and capable to do that for others. We need to relate, restore, and share our resources in order to survive, thrive, and strengthen ourselves. William Molton Marstan created the super-heroine known as Wonder Woman, representing the total embodiment of empowerment. Eloquently stated, “Wonder Woman fights for justice, love, peace, and gender equality. Wonder Woman is a warrior princess of the Amazons tribe, native to Paradise Island, a secluded island in the middle of a vast ocean.”
Our feminine power lies in our receptivity, our stillness, and our inner sensuality. These qualities are not developed in a linear fashion but rather from a non-linear, insightful, carnal approach. These are best developed in sisterhood, strengthening our inner beauty, sexuality and ability to be guided by our inner heartfelt visions. Building a tribe of sisterhood that is intergenerational and varied promotes healthy growth for all. Angela D. Coleman states, “Our sisterhood is our tribe and each of us is gifted with something unique, our own arsenal of knowledge, skills, and weapons (not literally, but figuratively) to assist us in our mission. Our tribe is a diverse sisterhood exemplified in the many ages, shapes, colors, and textures of our physical selves.”
That’s all, dear sisters and brothers! We hope this encourages you to find your tribe in sisterhood. We love hearing from you, so please do share any support groups that you know about. We will leave you with a short video on why sisterhood is so important.
Female Empowerment Video: