Day 23,677: From Coven To Community
If you want to disempower someone, put them in solitary, or disenfranchise them from their community. Prison wardens know this, as do abusers. Just look at #4 and #6 on the list of 10 signs of an abusive relationship:
4. Controlling Behavior – to ‘Alienate you from everyone in your life other than them.”
6. Alientation – separating you from your friends and family.
No wonder years ago men and people in positions of power were so afraid of Covens – groups of women positioned to study their beliefs together. Both the words “coven” and “witches “ have pejorative connotations, but what if they really started as “kitchen table” type get togethers of women looking for friendship and to compare notes on how to best take care of families, friends and each other? Was the war on witches really an early war on women coming together to gain strength and knowledge from each other? God forbid we become smart and sassy!
In the early 1920s, the word coven came to mean exactly 13 witches congregating together versus other religious traditions such as Judaism, where 10 adult men are a devotional quorum or minyan. Unlike covens, minyans are not considered ominous, just religious. Reform traditions now allow women to be counted among the 10, with the number coming from Hebrew word “edah” which means congregation, and its sister word “esehr” meaning 10. This is also is the basis of the religious tradition of tithing, or giving one tenth to charity.
Is it any wonder that the number 13 is generally considered unlucky since it was the number of women in a coven, versus 10, the basis of the decimal counting system, or even 12 the basis of the metric system? The next time someone passes the hat to you at a function or religious gathering, or asks for a donation online why not put in $13 or a multiple of 13 just for the symbolism?
There is power in numbers as proven by the January 2016 Women’s March on Washington and its corresponding sister marches, together considered the largest single day demonstration of any kind in American his and herstory. The march did not create immediate change ,but it is the harbinger of it, and certainly demonstrated the depth of the community.
Yesterday’s post discussed the power of women in creating and changing culture around drinking and driving by MADD.org. Imagine what other challenges can be conquered with women banding together in sisterhood or to create policies based on a mother’s heart!
Instead, women have earned a reputation for tearing each other down, particularly honing judgmental jabs at the powerful among us. What if, instead, we embraced the enhanced power we can gain by banding together and finding common good, purpose and chances for change? It’s certainly worth a try.
Crone Mantra: Next time you harbor a negative thought about a fellow woman, consider if there’s a way to be empathetic and supportive instead. Can you look at her as being potentially isolated and being set up for failure or abuse particularly in the workplace? Can you instead try to find a sliver of common ground to begin building a congregation of hope rather than disfunction?
Staying Focused: Per the last two day’s posts, I am staying focused and trying to find ways to join communities dedicated to gun sanity. Here’s one: WAGV.org (Women Against Gun Violence), a group apparently in the fight for the last 25 years to #endgunviolence.