Graduation Day! — Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of graduating from Mama Gena’s Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp at the School of Womanly Arts.

I feel so blessed, grateful and proud to have been one of over 500 Sister Goddesses to take part in this class and the final graduating ceremony, which took place over a Zoom call Monday morning.

After speaking about the final art, “the Womanly Art of Inviting Abundance,” Mama Gena put on music and invited us to dance for ourselves and the other Sister Goddesses present.

Not only was it so much sexy fun, it was a testament to my progress and growth that I even danced at all! I know that at the beginning of the class I was barely able to even get myself moving for the dance breaks in the middle of class. Now, here I was, feeling sensual and powerful enough to join the other SG’s in our graduation striptease dance break.

Participating in this class has been a pure pleasure. It is also once of the most healing things I have ever done for myself.

I first read “Pussy” by Regena Thomashauer (aka “Mama Gena) around two years ago, and then moved on to reading her “School of Womanly Arts” as well as “Owning and Operating Men” shortly afterwards.

I was deeply touched and impressed by her work. I wholeheartedly agreed that pleasure is power, and that our desires are the gateway to our dreams.

But then life (or inertia or resistance to change etc.) took over, and I kept on living my life as usual. Great ideas, sure, but…. [insert excuses here]

Signing up for the class, I approached it from a business-as-usual kind of way, meaning: I tried to understand everything intellectually as quickly as possible without really putting anything into practice in my actual life.

The power of this class was that it challenged me to go beyond my resistance and to begin truly embodying these principles.

First of all, Mama Gena herself is an absolute powerhouse. Her turn-on and magnetic energy is palpable and high contagious, even when experienced solely through the Zoom calls.

I know that I felt super-charged and excited after every session, connected to my power and ready to go after what I wanted. Her presence is like a candle that, touching other woman, lights them up so they can shine with all the brightness they may have been holding in for so long.

Equally important to Mama Gena’s powerful presence was the role of community among the other Sister Goddesses (as we call our classmates and fellow empowered women).

We had a private Facebook group where we could practice each of the arts, and receive praise and “uprides” from other SG’s.

We were also encouraged to find a Fitness Partner to Spring Clean and share our Trinities with. I had the pleasure of working with 3 different women from all over the world (based in New York, Canada and India).

This what was truly took this work to the next level. In the process of working through each of the Womanly Arts, I was able to get clear on some of my own internal processes and thoughts around pleasure and more. I felt heard and seen by strong, beautiful and powerful women I respected and admired. And I was able to learn from what each of these women shared with me, from their own struggles and shame, as well as their triumphs and victories.

Although this class will formally be ending in just a few days, I’m looking forward to continuing to practice each of the Womanly Arts and everything else that I learned during this time. I’m also looking forward to staying in touch with the friends that I made here, and to living my life in a new, more expansive and empowered way, as a Sister Goddess should.

Lilith: The Original Feminist Icon

I recently acquired this pendant showing the Seal of Lilith on the front.

I’m still not sure if I’m ready to begin working with Lilith in ritual, but I do know that I’ve been somewhat obsessed with her since I’ve learned of her story.

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For those of you who don’t know, Lilith was Adam’s first wife in the Garden of Eden.
She was made at the same time Adam was, of the same material (not of his rib like her successor Eve), and believed herself to be equal to her male counterpart.

When Adam forced himself on her sexually, she chose to leave the Garden of Eden and pursue an independent life on her own.

This is where the story gets controversial. What did Lilith do after she left the Garden of Eden?

According to many sources (especially traditional Jewish texts), Lilith became a demonic goddess, who consorted with demons out in the wild territories far from God, bearing their devilish children and stealing the children of other women shortly after they were born.

Although this is what the majority of “tradition” has to say about Lilith, I’m not convinced. I personally count myself among those who would see Lilith as the original independent woman, the godmother of all feminists who choose to respect themselves and their power to choose their own path.

I think it’s likely that the majority of negative press Lilith has received has been constructed as the instrument of a patriarchal system, who would have other women who are starting to get certain independent ideas in their heads to think twice about disobeying the male-dominated social order.

I, for one, have a lot of respect for this mythical woman, who shows us that women were created in equality with men, and who deserve to have their rights respected, and refuse to tolerate any less.

Although I’m still unprepared to follow some of the more traditional uses of Lilith’s seal, I will still choose to honor her and let her seal represent the values of independence, self-respect, and fiercely expressed femininity.

Lilith reminds me that taking the path of conviction and honoring your full self as a woman can be difficult (if not seemingly impossible at times). Although she never recovered in the eyes of her society of origin, she was true to herself and lived a life of brave authenticity, which is something I will always admire.

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“Supposing that Truth is a woman–what then?”

Nietzsche asks us to consider the possibility (in his preface to Beyond Good and Evil) that “all philosophers … have failed to understand women,” and by extension, the Truth that she represents.

Maybe a feminine conception of truth will be opposed to the dogmatism of western philosophical history.

A feminist epistemology would approach the nature of truth differently. Instead of looking for one objective Truth, it would acknowledge the many relative Truths that we are able to experience.

From ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’

hc3a9lc3a8ne_cixous_par_claude_truong-ngoc_2011“And why don’t you write? Write! Writing is for you, you are for you; your body is yours, take it. I know why you haven’t written. (And why I didn’t write before the age of twenty-seven.) Because writing is at once too high, too great for you, it’s reserved for the great-that is for “great men”; and it’s “silly.”

Besides, you’ve written a little, but in secret. And it wasn’t good, because it was in secret, and because you punished yourself for writing, because you didn’t go all the way, or because you wrote, irresistibly, as when we would masturbate in secret, not to go further, but to attenuate the tension a bit, just enough to take the edge off. And then as soon as we come, we go and make ourselves feel guilty-so as to be forgiven; or to forget, to bury it until the next time.”

–Hélène Cixous

She is right, I have personally always felt that way. But now I’m the same age Cixous was when she started to write, and I’m finding I can’t escape it anymore. I’m encouraged by her words, urging me to finally take ownership of my body and my mind and my work.

Thanks,Hélène.

The Name of the Rose

When I was 23 years old, I took a walk by the river near my father’s house on an early summer day. While walking behind our neighbor’s yards, my eyes fell on a single red rose, the only one of its kind behind the fence. Stunned by its singular beauty, I stopped for a only moment, before I shuddered and hurried to continue on my way.

I quickly rushed away, scared my neighbor would see me and confront me. I walked away as fast as I could manage, but not because I was afraid he’d be upset at my intrusion on his land, that was only an incidental afterthought.

Without wanting to, I imagined the man would come down to where I stood, smile, and hold out to me the severed bloom, this innocent wounded beauty.

“What’s wrong with that?” I questioned myself. “You should be thinking of how fortunate you’d be instead.”

But my allegiances had spontaneously established themselves.

I now only had sympathy for the rose.

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Not long afterwards, I discovered the poetry of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. I accepted it as a gift, and I felt thankful that she had written what I’d been too timid to even admit to myself.

So in gratitude to her, I chose to translate a poem of hers which spoke the words I’d never even allowed to become conscious. 

Proof of the Apparent Danger that, Once Possessed, Beauty is then Abandoned

Rose incarnate flaunts proudly to the meadow,
bathed in cochineal and carmine:
luscious, in lush open fields;
but no, for being beautiful
you will also be sorry.
Do you see, the first white light rushing
towards the Dawn?
So the risk becomes more imposing
as much as one’s beauty grows more impressive.
Don’t believe it makes you invincible:
If, misguided, you consent,
to be cut by an insolent hand
for the seduction of beauty and fragrance,
When guilty cheeks can no longer blush
you will also be sorry.
You see that charm which collects
assurance with his courtesies?
Then don’t esteem beauty
more potent than lust.
Run from the calculated caress;
if, imprudent and ingenuous,
you convince yourself that you are loved,
you’ll find yourself coming;
who, in coming to be possessed,
will also be sorry.
Surrender your beauty to nobody,
for it’s a crime that your perfection
should serve as conquest for his vanity.
Take pleasure in ordinary eminence,
without finding yourself the servant
of one who, once conquered,
won’t properly respect you;
you who, singularly had,
will also be sorry.

Anyway, even today, I think of the rose with compassion. I don’t  believe we’re really that different, after all.