Thursday, July 3, 2008
Sex, Violence & The Divine Feminine
By Cheryl Brooks
In my upcoming novel, Warrior, I write about a witch. Tisana is not the Halloween variety, but is a witch in the original sense of the word in that she is the local wise woman, skilled in herbal medicine and healing. She is in tune with nature, but can also summon fire and communicate with animals—powers which come from her alien ancestry. She's an Earth Mother, waiting for the “One” to come to father her child, and she finds him in the form of Leo, a Zetithian slave who is brought to her for healing. I had a strong affinity for the character of Tisana because most of what I do is nurture—my family, my animals, my garden, and my patients. These things I, and other women, do without any magical powers, and while it's great fun to write about a powerful woman, let's face it, we haven't got much power in this world. We may think we've come a long way, baby, but in all honesty, we haven't even begun the fight.
Witches—who were all women, of course!—have been cruelly persecuted in our world's past, and if you've read The Da Vinci Code or seen the movie, you have some idea as to why. The book may be fictional, but what facts are included are quite enough to see why we women are still second class citizens writing second class novels.
Whoa! Did I hear some snarls out there? It's true, and we all know it. The “domestic god” is a hope we all have who will begin to predominate and will someday level the playing field. If we have men who adore us, then things may go back to the way they were when women were revered for their skill and knowledge and their ability to bring forth life and nurture it, and not be seen as something to be dominated or abused. The fact remains that the domestic god is a rare specimen at one end of the male spectrum who is, sadly, far outnumbered by his wife-abusing counterpart at the opposite end.
Don't get me wrong: there are a lot of good men out there, and we should celebrate them. This is one reason why my heroes aren't aggressive or belligerent. I believe we should celebrate the men who love women and life in all its forms, who fight only when they have to, and not those who make war for the fun of it and grudgingly fall in love only because their hormones insist upon it.
Why do I bring up this topic? Because it's something that has bothered me for a long, long time, and watching The Da Vinci Code was a revelation for me. So, that is why women are mistreated and reviled! That is why sex became a dirty word! It never ceases to amaze me that violence is less censored in our society than sex. No one seems to be afraid to write about acts of violence—or to be seen reading about them. When grisly, horrific crimes can be described in gory detail, but the worst swear word anyone can think of is one which refers to the act of procreation, and the portrayal of the act of love is more taboo than that of taking someone's life, I think something has gone very wrong.
I have to laugh at the reverence expressed each Father's Day and Mother's Day and at the ooo's and ahh's over a new baby. It took sex for those things to happen, but we can't talk about that—that's a dirty, filthy subject!
When I write, I do so for enjoyment, and I do not enjoy writing about murder and mayhem; I prefer a sensuous love story with a healthy dose of humor. Who says the two can't go together? I've done my best to add a few laughs to what I write, and I've read reviews of Slave written by people who thought it was hilarious, but weren't sure I meant it that way. Of course I did! For the record, Slave was written to be as funny, sexy, and imaginative as I could make it, but, unfortunately, it does contain some violence. I wish it didn't, but as you know, there must be bad guys and a devious plot!
I've written a number of contemporary romances where there are no aliens, no magical beings, the men are nice guys that you might find working in your local grocery store, the women are just like your best friend, and there is no crime of any kind, but they'll probably never be published. Why? Because a romance by itself is seen as boring, and I find that very sad, indeed. Love is the very best thing this life has to offer. Why should it be depicted as anything less?
Not to provoke a religious discussion, but in writing this blog, I did a bit of reading about the Divine Feminine, and ran across a site by the Rev Laurie Sue Brockway. http://www.soulfulliving.com/divinefeminine.htm
There's a lot of thought-provoking stuff there; you might want to take a look at it.
I know this post isn't particularly upbeat, probably won't sell any books, and might ruffle a few feathers, but it's a topic that's been on my mind for a long, long time. What are your thoughts?