Rest in Penance: A Eulogy for Patriarchal Religion - Simply Woman

By on November 27, 2017

By Stacey Chantal Tsourounis

A long time it’s been coming now. A great many hundreds of years this has been in the making, looming large on a horizon blinded by your twisted version of enlightenment. We are gathered here today to hold you accountable to all that you would still not see and still not name. We are here to speak truth. Religion most patriarchal and controlling, you have been a great many things to humanity. We will call you now by your many names.

Religion – you have been a thief. A stealthy thief of the old ways, you stole the symbols, rites, and wisdom from our ancient keepers. You melted it down, moulded it, dressed it in white robes and called it purity and divine truth. You robbed people of their holy ritual, rebranded it, repackaged it, and resold it to them for the price of their own knowingness. We call you out as the thief you are.

Religion – you have been a great manipulator of hearts and minds. The sword of influence you wield has often been used to slit the throats of the very people who recite your psalms and sing your hymns. You have twisted divinity, and you have bent humanity’s higher nature to serve your lowest purposes: murder, rape, indoctrination, torture, colonization and slavery. You have used threats and fear to turn people away from their own judgment, clear-seeing and truth, and then rewarded and praised them for living a lie. We call you what you are: a manipulator.

Religion – you have been a tyranny against Woman. A great flaming and vicious comet you have been, intent on wiping us out until you paused and reflected. Woman is useful, you thought. Woman can serve man’s pleasure and every need. Woman can create life – and it infuriates you to admit it, doesn’t it? The very foundation of your belief in a male creator is so easily refuted by blood, by a simple pregnant belly! Nothing enrages you more. So you crafted, and you schemed. You will say you have revered Woman. You will even say you have passages in your holy text to prove it. Yes. Yes, you revered Woman – but only those aspects of her that serve your purpose.

The innocent, naïve Daughter who fetches a nice dowry? You revere her. You rejoice as men grow wealthy off the price of a girl’s fate.

The subservient, quiet Wife who dutifully fulfills her husband’s every need? You honour, yes – you honour not her, but what she can do for you. And she does so much! She cleans, she cooks, she supports, she obeys, she pleasures, she does not exist except in her service to Man, and you adore her for her selflessness. You stand tall on the weary shoulders of her sacrifice to further your own gains.

And the nurturing, giving, ever-loving and sweet Mother? You exalt in this life-giver! You sing her praises to the high heavens, even as you spit on and scorn the blood that endows her with the power to create. Where would you be without Mother to grow your flock, to feed and clothe and raise your next generation of believers? You love her even more when she’s holy and pious and devout, unquestioning as you spew the doublespeak that at once holds her in highest esteem and denounces her as a creator. Only your male God can do that. Mother as a creative force is a necessary evil to you, and you love her like one.

Religion, you have cherry-picked and sliced apart the original holy trinity: Maiden, Mother, Crone. You’ve kept what served you and demonized the rest, trying to destroy these parts of us in flames both metaphorical and all too real. To you, the sweet, naïve, exhausted, non-threatening Woman is the unholy ground on which your temple stands.

The rest, you cast away.

A vibrantly sexual and creative woman? You call her Whore, Temptress, Slut.

The healer and keeper of body knowledge? She’s the Witch, the Evil-Doer who stirs a cauldron at night.

The old wise woman, the queen of the crossroads whose torch leads us through the darkness? She’s a useless hag, an ugly old bitch.

But only a fool would think they could forever banish the Dark Goddess to the shadows and never see a day of reckoning. We call you for what you are: a fool. Did you not remember the Dark Goddess lives in the shadows?

Everywhere, everywhere, the world burns and suffocates from your unrelenting focus on the light. An epidemic of depression and unrelenting stifled grief in a culture that insists we be positive and happy all the time. A culture that seeks to pathologize and medicate all sadness, fear and rage. An insomniac world that refuses to be still, to dream, to be quiet in the dark – everything illuminated always by lamps and screens of all kinds. A new-age scourge of “love and light” that seeks to transcend pain without ever feeling it and transforming it.  A calendar, even, that still refuses to acknowledge that the moon is dark for just as long as she is full – we only ever want to see the light!

Darkness does not exist merely to be swallowed by light.

Night softens the edges of the world. Stillness brings balance. Quiet restores, and solitude fortifies. There are things one can see in the darkness that are not visible in the light of day. This is the gift the Dark Goddess brings us.

And she is not rising, or awakening. She is not arriving. No, she is here. She pulls us into transformation, and there can be no refusal – if we are to evolve and survive as human beings, we must enter the dark. We must see ourselves for what we are. Religion, we must see you for what you are – no longer will your over-emphasis on light blind us from the truth and deny us our shadows.

Religion – the Dark Goddess calls to you now. She beckons and holds out a key. This and only this key opens the door to our new world. But all are not welcome through this door – it will admit only those who have released the burden of the dead and outdated things they carry. And Religion, you have much to leave behind.

Even now as you resist, the Witch of the Dark Moon waits for you. She is patient and far-reaching and you can never outrun her. All her many faces and phases are ready. The wings of Isis envelope you in shadow. Oya’s storm tears you away from your roots. Baba Yaga stalks you from the sky. Hekate stirs your bones in her cauldron, and the severed head in Kali’s grip is yours.

She who you banished now welcomes you in the dark.

She who you burned now burns you – and builds an empire on your ashes.

She who you cursed with damnation now offers you a single chance at transformation.

She who you told to bow before the saviour now holds your salvation in her palms.

This new holy ground lies in the dirt beneath our feet. This new hymn is the simple song of our truth. This new sacred temple is made from our bellies and our bones. It can never be withheld from us, and will be open to you only if you redeem yourself. Drop to your knees before us and let your first prayer be for our forgiveness.

The doorway to the Dark Mother awaits. It doesn’t matter that you’re not ready. No one is ever ready.

She is not rising. She is not awakening. She is not arriving.

She has risen. She is here. She is now.


biopicStacey Chantal Tsourounis is an artist, writer, and empowerment coach based in Toronto. Her training at home and around the globe in dance and Expressive Arts Therapy drive her work of helping women and youth reconnect to their power through the body. She offers transformational coaching and powerfully truthful writing.

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