Tag Archives: depression

Civilization Disease

homeless

Image of homelessness from the now-defunct Italian blog Moving & Learning.

Big Pharma loves to invent new ‘diseases’ so that they can then invent dubious new drugs to ‘cure’ them, give them an official-sounding acronym (“ED” for hawking Viagra to men with low self-esteem), and then frighten you into hounding your doctor to ask if their new drug “is right for you”.

Ever since the term Information Sickness was coined, and ever since I started saying that in our modern overcrowded world we’re all suffering from a form of mental illness, I’ve been looking for a label to put on this ‘illness’. So I thought I’d invent a new disease. I’ve decided to call it Civilization Disease. I thought of calling it a ‘sickness’ but the term ‘disease’ is truly ancient, and before the invention of medicine meant literally ‘lack of room or opportunity’. Ancient peoples understood that crowding and confinement really are the causes of ‘dis-ease’.

So having named this new disease, it’s only appropriate that I provide an appropriate medical summary of it : Symptoms & Diagnosis, Causes, Treatment & Prognosis, and Prevention.

Symptoms & Diagnosis:

  • Patient frequently appears anxious, distracted or depressed
  • Patient seems to be ‘disconnected’ from and distrustful of his/her instincts, feelings, sensory surroundings, and the natural world, all-life-on-Earth, with a tendency to retreat inside his/her head
  • Patient fears and hates nature and natural things, and sees nature as something that must be conquered, defeated, overcome
  • Patient is constantly competing with and trying to outperform and diminish others
  • Patient has delusions that the planet actually ‘belongs’ exclusively to his/her species
  • Patient is addicted to consumption unrelated to actual needs or even wants; this addiction is aggravated by encouragement from the corporatist establishment to get hopelessly into debt to feed this insatiable craving for ‘more stuff’
  • Patient may in particular be addicted to things made from or requiring oil, things containing artificial sugars, starches, alcohol and salt, and to desensitizing depictions of extreme violence and other activities that stimulate dopamine, adrenaline and testosterone release/reaction

Causes and Sources of Infection:

  • Disease is a form of deep-seated and chronic psychosis brought on by sustained trauma, beginning with parental humiliation whenever the infant/child patient’s behaviour is non-conforming, continuing with psychological abuse and  ritualized, relentless ‘normalizing’ propaganda from infected peers and adults in the competition-based education system, augmented by an imposed, unnatural hierarchy and scarcity in the ‘work world’ where approval is withheld, criticism and competition are constant, and the constant fear of never having enough, and by media which portray the patient as inadequate, a ‘loser’ and inevitably unhappy until/unless he/she acquires bigger, more and newer stuff
  • This continues life-long as the symptoms are reinforced by peers, friends and colleagues suffering from the same disease until the patient begins to believe this behaviour and this situation are normal, the only way to live
  • The disease is aggravated by chronic physical and mental malnutrition caused by:
    • eating processed, chemical-laden foods lacking in nutritional variety or micro-nutrients,
    • a disorienting separation from natural and peaceful places,
    • prolonged times spent in cities and other horrifically overcrowded, stressful and unnatural places,
    • exposure to unnatural toxins in the air and water, and
    • exposure to propaganda agencies that oversimplify complex issues and starve the mind of intellectual stimulation, replacing it with artificial adrenaline and dopamine stimulation.
  • The resultant stress responses disorient and confuse the patient until he/she chronically suffers from the symptoms above, and also acquires related physical and mental stress-provoked diseases, notably auto-immune diseases, asthma and allergies, cancers, attention-deficit diseases, and anxiety, depression and bipolar diseases

Treatment & Prognosis:

  • Proper treatment is unavailable and unaffordable for the vast majority, who are fated to suffer with the disease from onset in young childhood until death from diseases with related causes
  • Patients need to be removed, ideally at a young age, to a natural, healthy, sustainable environment, away from other sufferers, and for a protracted period; there, with therapy from others who have recovered and with practice, they can begin to reconnect with their instincts, senses, feelings and all-life-on-Earth, and come to understand how industrial civilization really works and why it must be dismantled to provide hope to other sufferers, and begin to discover a better way to live and make a living — the prognosis for such patients is good, though the threat of relapse if re-exposed to the above causes is constant
  • Until the causes noted above are systemically reduced or eliminated, the prognosis is for the current global epidemic of Civilization Disease to infect every human on the planet, as there is no natural immunity for the disease

Prevention:

  • For children not yet infected:
    • move the child to a natural, peaceful place, away from the sources of infection above
    • unschool the child, to enable him/her to learn naturally
    • bring the child up collectively in natural community with others who are not infected
  • There is no vaccine for this disease

 

http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2010/01/06/civilization-disease/

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Depression Is A Disease of Civilization: Hunter-Gatherers Hold the Key To the Cure

depression-title-image_tcm7-188201

“Depression is a global epidemic. It is the main driver behind suicide, which now claims more than a million lives per year worldwide. One in four Americans will suffer from clinical depression within their lifetimes, and the rate is increasing with every generation.

It robs people of sleep, energy, focus, memory, sex drive and their basic ability to experience the pleasures of life, says author of The Depression Cure Stephen Ildari. It can destroy people’s desire to love, work, play and even their will to live. If left unchecked it can cause permanent brain damage.

Depression lights up the pain circuitry of the brain to such an extent that many of Ildari’s psychiatric patients have called it torment, agony and torture. “Many begin to look to death as a welcome means of escape,” he said in a Ted Talks presentation.

But depression is not a natural disease. It is not an inevitable part of being human. Ildari argues, like many diseases, depression is a disease of civilization. It’s a disease caused by a high-stress, industrialized, modern lifestyle that is incompatible with our genetic evolution.

Depression is the result of a prolonged stress-response, Ildari said. The brain’s “runaway stress response” – as he calls it – is similar to the fight or flight response, which evolved to help our ancestors when they faced predators or other physical dangers. The runaway stress response required intense physical activity for a few seconds, a few minutes, or – in extreme cases – a few hours.

“The problem is for many people throughout the Western world, the stress response goes on for weeks, months and even years at a time, and when it does that, it’s incredibly toxic,” Ildari said.

Living under continually stressful conditions – as many modern humans do – is disruptive to neuro-chemicals like dopamine and seratonin, which can lead to sleep disturbance, brain damage, immune dysregulation and inflammation, Ildari says.

Civilization is the disease

hadza-dance-tanzania_13187_990x742Epidemiologists have now identified a long list of other stress-related diseases as “diseases of civilization” – diabetes, atherosclerosis, asthma, allergies, obesity and cancer. These diseases are rampant throughout the developed world, but virtually non-existent among modern-day aboriginal peoples.

In a study of 2000 Kaluli aborigines from Papua New Guinea, only one marginal case of clinical depression was found. Why? Because the Kaluli lifestyle is very similar to our hunter-gatherer ancestors’ lifestyle that lasted for nearly 2 million years before agriculture, Ildari said.

“99.9 percent of the human experience was lived in a hunter-gatherer context,” he added. “Most of the selection pressures that have sculpted and shaped our genomes are really well adapted for that environment and that lifestyle.”

In view of nearly 3 million years of hominid existence, since homo habilis first began use of stone tools, our genus has undergone rapid environmental change since the advent of agriculture about 12,000 years ago. And in the last 200 years, since the industrial revolution, our species has had to cope with what Ildari calls “radical environmental mutation.”

While our environment has radically mutated, our human genome is essentially the same as it was 200 years ago, Ildari says. “That’s only eight generations. It’s not enough time [for significant genetic adaptations].”

“There’s a profound mismatch between the genes we carry, the bodies and brains that they are building, and the world that we find ourselves in,” he said. “We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, socially isolated, fast-food-laden, sleep-deprived frenzied pace of modern life.”

The Cure

Though he’s not entirely opposed to medication, Ildari says we can throw all the drugs in the world at the depression epidemic, and it won’t make a dent.

Anti depressant use has gone up 300 percent in the last 20 years, but the rate of depression has continued to increase. One in nine Americans over age 12 is currently taking an antidepressant, and one in five have been on them at some point.

The answer, Ildari says, is a change in lifestyle. He says the results of his six step program have exceeded his wildest dreams:

1. Exercise

2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

3. Sunlight

4. Healthy Sleep

5. Anti-ruminative activity

6. Social connection

In his presentation, he emphasized the importance of exercise and social connection, as they are two of the hardest parts of the program for modern Americans.

Exercise is ‘not natural’

Ildari says the results of exercise on depression are so powerful that if they could be reduced into a pill, it would be the most expensive pill on earth. The problem is 60 percent of American adults get no regular physical activity. Ildari says it’s not their fault. Between long days at work and household and family responsibilities to attend to, who has the time or energy to hit the gym?

The dirty little secret about exercise, Ildari says, is “it is not natural.” We are designed to be physically active “in the service of adapted goals,” not to exercise on a hamster wheel.

Hunter gatherers get four or more hours of vigorous physical activity every day, but if you ask them they will tell you they don’t exercise, Ildari says. “They don’t work out. Working out would be crazy to them. They live.”

“When you put a lab rat on a treadmill … it will squat down on it’s haunches, and the treadmill starts to rub the fur and the skin right off it’s back side,” he said. “When you stare at a piece of exercise equipment, there is a part of your brain that’s screaming out ‘Don’t do it! You’re not going anywhere!’”

If you can’t go out gathering your own nuts and berries or hunting your own meat, Ildari recommends brisk walking with a friend. Walking for 30 minutes, three times a week, has better effects on depression than Zoloft, he said.

Social Connection

Another huge factor in modern depression is the lack of social connection in our modern nuclear-family bubbles. “Face-time with our loved ones puts the breaks on our stress response,” Ildari says.

The problem is we’ve replaced face-time with screen-time. “Our hunter gatherer ancestors spent all day every day in the company of their loved ones.”

Unfortunately illness, including mental illness, triggers people to isolate themselves, which only makes depression worse.

“Resist the urge to withdraw,” Ildari says, “because when you’re ill, your body tells you to shut down and pull away. When you have the flu, that’s adaptive. When you have depression, it’s the worst thing in the world you could do.”

Rewilding and Tribal Living

What Ildari didn’t mention in his Ted Talk is how difficult his cure is for most modern humans to attain. Sure, we’d all like more fresh air, sunlight, exercise, a better diet, better sleep, less monotonous work, and more interaction with loved ones, but who has time for all that?

I’m stuck here staring at my screen typing about it in an effort to make a living for myself, and many of you don’t even have time to read this article because you have 50+ hours-a-week jobs of your own. Meanwhile, immediate-return hunter-gatherers work an average of 17 hours a week. In this world, we certainly can’t just quit our jobs to be less stressed, when the financial stress would create more stress.

In my opinion, the answer lies in baby steps. Baby steps away from dependence on civilization, and toward nature, earth skills, and self-sustaining communal living. These are things I plan to learn more about while building this website. I’m excited to share what I learn with you, and hope you’ll share your knowledge with me.”

http://returntonow.net/2016/02/24/the-caveman-cure-for-depression/

MAKING LOVE !!!

~ not some New [C]Age mumbo jumbo… This hits the nail on the head ~

An extract from Barry Long’s book MAKING LOVE ~ SEXUAL LOVE THE DIVINE WAY

“I teach man and woman how to be true to love and how to be honest in their relationships. I help them to discover a divine love beyond all sexual imagining. The key to the mystery of divine love is to see love as it is, and not as you think it or imagine it.

The cause of most of the unhappiness on earth is that man and woman have actually forgotten how to make physical love. This is the greatest tragedy of all time. The forgetfulness has been going on and slowly getting worse for so many thousands of years that it’s now a tragedy for the whole of mankind. There can be no mass solutions. The problem is too personal and too deep. Everybody has to do it for himself or herself, or it can’t be done.

Woman’s basic unhappiness, her perennial discontent, is because man can no longer reach her physically. Her emotional excess, depressions, tearful frustrations, even premenstrual tension and the conditions leading to hysterectomy and other uterine problems, are due to man’s sexual failure to gather or release in lovemaking her finest, fundamental, female energies. These extraordinarily beautiful divine energies are intense and exquisite and when left untapped in woman, as they are now, they degenerate into psychic or emotional disturbances, and eventually crystallise into physical abnormalities. The womb gives birth to all things.

Man’s basic unhappiness, his perennial restlessness, is because in forgetting how to make love he’s abandoned his original divine authority and lost sexual control of himself. His emotional or psychic degeneracy manifests as sex obsession. All men, without exception, are sex obsessed. This means compulsive sexual fantasising, chronic masturbation (even when living with a partner), sex repression leading to anger and violence, and the universal symptoms of chasing wealth and getting lost in work. Busyness and wealth-gathering compensate for being an inept lover and are cover-ups (in both sexes) for the inability or fear to love.

Because of his neglect of love, neglect of woman, man suffers from premature ejaculation, guilt, anxiety self-doubt, impotence, sexual atrophy masquerading as sexual disinterest, sexual abstinence due to repressed fear of failure, sexual bravado and lack of true wisdom – all of which he inflicts on woman, aggravating her basic discontent and his own restlessness.

No matter how much a woman loves her man and wants to give her love to him, she will not and cannot give up all her divine energies if he is not yet himself, fully integrated or aligned with love. As very few men are themselves, the gap of unhappiness between man and woman keeps on growing.

To be a fully integrated male, a man has to assimilate in his body the divine female energies that woman can only release to him through right physical lovemaking. But the man has to be man enough. He has to be able to love her enough; that is, love her selflessly during the actual act of lovemaking. He has to be able to absorb and express sufficient love in his body to reach the highest part of her, and love enough to extract the divine energies from her deepest centre. To be able to love in this way is the authority man has lost – his only true authority over woman.

This requires pure love. It does not depend on technique. A man may develop his sexual technique but he cannot use expertise to make divine love. Exciting sensations are gratifying and give him a form of authority, but they are not the love that woman craves. He may satisfy her, like a good meal. But soon she hungers again and eventually despises her appetite or herself, because she knows she is not being loved.

Man has failed to serve love and failed physically to serve woman, who is the personification of love. The penalty for man is woman’s tyrannous emotionality. Wherever he loves, or tries to love, she will one day shock him, stun him, devastate him by suddenly revealing herself as the fiendess, the living demon of emotion.

The fiendess shows herself when he is attached and can’t just walk away. A man who has not yet experienced the hatred of the fiendess has not yet experienced love. A woman who has not yet seen herself being the fiendess has not yet connected with her love.

To man, the fiendess of emotion in woman is hell on earth. This is the part of her he cannot handle or understand. The demon of his own failure to love comes to life to scorn, abuse and torment him. He is terrified of it. He bluffs and blusters his way through. But finally, as he grows old in the relationship and gives up for the sake of some peace, the fiendess will conquer him and force him to surrender the last vestige of his manliness and authority. Then they both grow old together, feeling safe, but half dead as they lean on each other in the awful world of compromise.

While the world continues as it is, the fiendess will not allow man to forget his failure to love woman rightly. Woman must be loved. The future of the human race depends on woman being loved because only when woman is truly loved can man be truly himself and regain his lost authority. Only then can peace return to earth. Yet woman as she is now cannot be loved for long (or for good) by man as he is now. Together they are trapped in a vicious cycle and if left to their own ideas of love, there is no way out for them.

Woman has learned to make love through man who does not know how to make love. Hence the dreadful mess that love is in. Since time began she has been manipulated and encouraged to feel that the finest expression of her love is to please man sexually. The truth is the other way around. The finest expression of love is to have man delight her sexually. This he can only do when he can forget his preoccupation with orgasm and be sufficiently selfless or present in love to collect and receive her divine energies. For him, these are the finest expression of her love.

By teaching her to please him and satisfy him down through the ages, man has taught woman to desire him, to project herself sexually, to make herself attractive to him. He addicted her to an emotional and physical craving for his sexual attention. And he did this by neglecting to love her.

Woman had no affirmation of love, her true nature, since there was no man to love her rightly. So she settled for sexual excitation, which man had persuaded her was love. Men addicted her to this by teaching her that there is no purpose to physical love outside of making babies or selfish pleasure.

Man in his selfishness taught woman to be selfish. He taught her to excite him physically whenever love was not present; to project herself sexually for their mutual entertainment through clothing, make-up, dance and posing. And he encouraged her to let him excite her (and himself) through digital stimulation of her clitoris to the point of orgasm, instead of loving the beauty of her whole body.

The loveless narcotic of sex numbed her and like all addictions, engendered fear – fear of losing him or his attention, and fear of other women in the form of jealousy and female competition. If she didn’t satisfy him another woman soon would. And with this went the intimidating thought sown in her by all her sexual partners: that if she didn’t comply she’d be left alone.

As a reaction to this male infamy woman discovered cunt power – the power to tease man and manipulate him without delivering the goods, or by denying the goods when he wanted them. But the spell of cunt power, being largely imaginary, soon wore off after she let him enter her body. He would soon tire of her and go off with another.

Woman’s subconscious dependence on the fluctuating sexual attention of men rules her choice of partner. She may go for either an exciting man whom she thinks she can control, or an agreeable and safe partner whom she can quietly bend to her wants. Both kinds of partnership usually end – either in disaster or boredom and indifference.

Male sexuality is put into woman in sexual intercourse and, because it is substantive, it stays on in her. Its effect is a periodic wispy shadow of depression that she can’t explain but accepts as normal. It clouds her perception, making her feel emotional and not herself. The same male sexuality is the active outgoing selfish drive which made the world a violent and loveless place. In woman, this destructive shadow of man subtly influences her choice of partner. So very seldom is he Mr Right.

The male shadow in her is doubt. And it is the shadow that chooses. While woman wants the right to choose she has to make a choice; and then she must live with the shadow, doubt, in the man and in herself.

Woman in her natural state is not dependent on man. She loves him. And in love there is no dependence, and no fear of losing. She is the passive, attracting principle. She is an irresistible living magnet. She draws to herself a right man to love her truly and divinely. There’s no choice in it.

For woman today to return to her natural golden state – of pure love – takes time. But having suffered enough from man’s sexuality, she gradually learns not to compromise when there is not enough love. Finally this brings her a man who can remove the shadow from his love.

A woman is only ever less than her true nature because of man’s lack of love. She went off into her dream of love to escape his sexuality. Her babies have long been a substitute for his love. Unlike man, a real woman can exist without sexual intercourse or masturbation. She waits for love, not sex. Woman only lusts for man when she identifies with the male sexuality he has induced in her. ‘Nymphomania’ is a male invention and fantasy projection, like sex-shops, pornography and prostitution, all kept going by male sexuality and lack of love in all concerned.

Woman has been utterly fooled by man, pathologically brainwashed. And as modern woman congratulates herself on her progress in breaking down male domination in the world, she fails to perceive that she is as firmly hooked as ever on his orgasmic sexuality and his clitoral substitute for love. Her protests are really about love, not equality; but that’s not heard in the strident male arena.

It is man’s world and he built it on the strength of sexual aggression. Male domination began in sex and in sex it continues unabated. Woman cannot alter this position by marching with banners or withdrawing from sex. She has tried all the means at her disposal down through the centuries; none has worked and none will. The solution is for her to be in command of love. That does not mean to be in command of the man. It means to know inside herself what is right and true and stick to that, even if it means the man leaves her. Woman is love. All she has to do is realise that, by giving up her self doubt and fear.”

A History of Burning Women — Want to discredit a woman in the real world? All you need is one word. Witch.

(because I’ve been thinking a lot about all this “witch” shit today and a topic I have yet to ventilate about, lemme continue on by quoting some of Lucy Pearce’s book ‘Burning Woman’ cuz it is potent) — from Chapter 2: A History of Burning Women — for my sisters.


 

her fire burns hot.

flames lick through me.

but, there’s no stake holding me here.

no, here she burns for me,

the goddess of fire,

to remind me that

deep in my belly a fire should be raging,

burning,

consuming.

the women of my line,

did they fear this fire?

was fire too close to the history of this line of women immemorial?

I see them, their faces dark,

no firelight in their souls,

no burning in their core,

no fuel to fire longing and desire, to give volume to voice.

 

this fear of fire,

how deep does it run?

I see them,

a line bleeding back into the dark bowels of centuries past where

no flame burns.

dark faces, tightly drawn skin reminding me of my own jawbone.

 

how powerful was this message?

put out your light, woman.

by fearing our own fire,

we douse our own flame.

 

we cannot live what we are here to do without fire.
(Julie Delay)

 

In order to fully understand our own limitations, hesitations, blocks and anxieties, we have to delve into our his-story. Both the official his-story that we have learned, as well as her-story that has been suppressed. We need to become conscious of the culture that we have numbed to in order to survive. We have to bring into conscious awareness that which goes sensed but unspoken: the threat of being a woman who lives to her own tune in this world.

….

 

‘W’ IS FOR WITCH

Whenever I hear a guy say, “She’s too wild, too much, too hard to figure out, too complicated, too intense, too hard to handle, too emotional, too opinionated, or crazy.” I hear, “I’d have burned her ass at the stake back in Salem. She’s too connected … I won’t be able to tame her.” ~ Jenny G. Perry

We are the granddaughters of the witches they were never able to burn. If history teaches us that a “witch” is nothing more than a woman who doesn’t know her place, then damn straight, I consider myself a witch. ~ Ruby Hamad

When I learned my alphabet, W was for witch. The archetypal Burned Woman, there in front of my pre-school eyes. R wasn’t for rapist or P for pedophile or psychopath. But there it was: W for witch.

We are taught about the dark feminine early, we imbibe the warning of the witch with our nursery stories. Beware the solitary woman who lives in the forest, casts spells ad will eat human children for breakfast. And as a perceived pretender to patriarchal power, of course she was depicted in a silly black hat with a phallic broomstick poking out from between her legs.

Want to discredit a woman in the real world? All you need is one word.
Witch.

Still. In the 21st century. Just this week an Australian Federal Minister called a respected political journalist who wrote about a sexism scandal that a senior colleague had just resigned over, “a mad fucking witch”.

The W word has been a one-word death sentence to women for centuries. The fire starter. It has been used to condemn women who inhabit the outlying edges of our patriarchal culture and flatly refuse to have their lives decided for them. It has been used to shame and silence those who speak up. As well as those who chose not to marry or have children, who healed using unknown means, who cursed the wielders of power for their inhumanity, who attended deaths and births, or have followed their own spiritual and sexual impulses.

The witch represents the patriarchal fear of women’s power, embodied in an individual. She who must be destroyed so that society can prosper. But look a little closer and her spells, her abilities to do the supernatural, to enchant, to shapeshift are, I would argue, paranoid reversals of the Bible. Her powers are spookily analogous to those assigned to the great heroes of the Bible. But if patriarchs’ were done through men, via the power of the male God, then hers, done not in the name of God, must be done in the name of his shadowy counterpart — the Devil.

The witch (AKA a powerful woman) has been pitched as a direct threat to the carefully constructed male dominated system of “divine right”. And so the System has done everything within its power to erase, discredit and disconnect women who exhibit any form of power, and label them witches. With society’s blessing. Because, throughout history, where women have never been considered as human as men, witches were not human at all. They do not deserve our pity or defense, we are told, we are well rid of them. They would destroy everything we hold dear. And so we must destroy them first.

We have been told enough fairy stories in our girlhood to know to beware of the witch. We have read enough his-story to know that as women we don’t want to be mistaken for her. The desire to live, to be accepted and to belong, keeps most of us in our places. And so we spend out lives running from the darkness, trying out hardest to be good and work hard and keep others happy.

To me, a witch is a woman that is capable of letting her intuition take hold of her actions, that communes with her environment, that isn’t afraid of facing challenges. ~ Paulo Coelho

So when we feel the fire rising in our bellies, we also smell smoke in our nostrils. We feel passion and sense danger. And so we step back, pipe down, play it safe. For fear of what if. Because his-story has taught us clearly: “bad” girls are branded as witches. “Bad” girls get burned.

When we feel the upwelling of power within us, our bodies respond with deep fear. Far deeper than just a worry about losing face or looking silly. But rather the threat of losing our lives or those we love. The fear is real. Our bodies know it.

Whether you believe in past lives, in the collective unconscious, the recent scientific discoveries of the cellular transmission of trauma down the generations, or simply in historical awareness, we remember the Burning Times. We remember the high price that was paid for living according to your own inner voice, following your heart, questioning  societal norms and being different to your tribe. ….

Times are changing.

And yet still we are haunted by the Burning Times of old. They are still alive in us. We must dig deeper.

The Burning Times

There shall not be found among you any one that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. ~ The Bible, Deuteronomy 18:10

For centuries around the world, the ultimate punishment for women was public death by fire. Perhaps the most well-known Burned Woman was Joan of Arc who was burned at the stake for her actions and beliefs.

She was not alone. In Europe between 1470-1750 figures ranging from a conservative 35,000 to a truly terrifying (though discredited by mainstream his-storians) 9 million women were burned as witches. But as Brian A. Pavlac, PhD, Professor of History at Kings College, London, who specializes in the history of the witch hunts reflects, “even the lower figure of under 50,000 dead would have meant over a hundred thousand put on trial. Then, considering all the personnel involved in the justice system as court officials and witnesses, friends and family members, and those who even felt the ‘fear’ caused by the hunts, millions of people’s lives changed, usually for the worse, because of the witch hunts.”

Whilst the Catholic church started the craze, with the publication of The Hammer of the Witches, from 1542 and 1735 a series of Witchcraft Acts were enshrined into law by parliaments around Europe. The punishments — imprisonment, torture and death — were focused on individuals who were deemed to practice witchcraft and magic. Common accusations of witchcraft included: raising storms, giving the evil eye, killing people or livestock or causing bad luck.

To justify the killings, both Christianity and secular institutions created ever broader definitions of witchcraft including being “associated with wild Satanic ritual parties in which there were much naked dancing.” Ah, yes, naked dancing. Dangerous stuff that!

And whilst the victims of witch burnings included men and children, Brian A. Pavlac notes that “some witch hunts did almost exclusively target women, in percentages as high as 95% of the victims.” Whilst Anne Barstow, author of Witchcraze reminds us that the members of the legal system, its “judges, ministers, priests, constables, jailers, doctors, prickers, torturers, jurors, executioners” were nearly 100% male.

Radical feminist, Marxists scholar, Silvia Federici, points out in her acclaimed book, Caliban and the Witch, that the witch burnings were systematic, happening at the same time as bloody land grabs in Europe and the New World, concurrent with massive increases in the Catholic church and nation states’ power and wealth. This domination and brutalization of nature, native peoples and women was one and the same. It has been argued that witches were burned to coerce women into accepting “a new patriarchal order where women’s bodies, their labor, their sexual and reproductive powers were placed under the control of the state and transformed into economic resources.”

Notes Alex Knight in his essay, “Who Were the Witches? — Patriarchal Terror and the Creation of Capitalism”: “The witches were those women who in one way or another resisted the establishment of an unjust social order — the mechanical exploitation of capitalism. The witches represented a whole world that Europe’s new masters were anxious to destroy: a world with strong female leadership, a world rooted in local communities and knowledge, a world alive with magical possibilities, a world in revolt.”

But it wasn’t just witches who were burned. In England burning was the most common punishment for women for many other crimes against the patriarchy: plotting to kill the king or any other superior (i.e. male) including her husband. Or for coining (counterfeiting money) which, when you are kept out of the economic system by dint of your gender, would be a reasonably common way to try to gain currency for yourself.

It matters. It does. Because those flames the burned our foremothers in their hundreds of thousands, burn us still today, albeit metaphorically, for exactly the same reason.

They were burned simply for speaking their own truth. Otherwise known as heresy, “any provocative belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs.” To be heretical was to be dead.

Look again at the word: Heresy… Her say…

A woman lived under threat of being burned alive for living, speaking or acting in any way which contradicted or questioned the cultural norms which surrounded her: medical, spiritual or hierarchial. She was burned for earning a living on her own terms. The very systems which told her at every turn that she was a sinner, was less than a man, limited her power, authority, sexuality and economic survival.

Men were burned at the stake it’s true, but with far less frequency. The official reason given for the dominance of burning women is that they did not want to expose a woman’s body — heaven forbid, we must ensure her modesty even in death — as happened when a person was hung, drawn and quartered. But even the (male) commentators of the time, could see the contradictions: “There is something so inhuman in burning a woman, for what only subjects a man to hanging” (The Times, 1788).

The woman on fire was not a private act. She was burned in public, as a warning to all women: disobey and this will be you.

Women have not been burned at the stake in England since 1790 and the last trial for witchcraft in the US was as recent as 1833. But sadly, it is not ancient history.

Witch hunts still occur today in societies where belief in magic is prevalent, including sub-Saharan Africa, rural north India and Papua New Guinea. According to the World Health Organization, around 500 women a year are killed as witches in Tanzania, and between 2010 and 2012 over 2,100 reported (in 2012) on six witch camps where women who have been accused of witchcraft can flee to safety. And in Saudi Arabia (a country with a 57% male population) witchcraft is still legally punished by death. In 2015, ISIS was reported as having burned two women as witches, and their husbands too, on accusations of “sorcery” and using “magic for medicine”.

In India the practice of “widow burning” or sutee was officially outlawed in 1829, but continued well into the twentieth century. Women who had been widowed would “voluntarily” be burned alive beside their husbands. Though many were bound and forced in order to “show their devotion”. This is even more hideous when it is understood that young girls would be married off to much older men. So a girl may be widowed at eleven, having been married for two years, and would then either face a life of shunning and starvation as a “widow” whose sins — in this life, or karma from a previous incarnation — were believed to have brought about the death of her husband. A man’s death was always considered the “fault” of his wife.

I want to stop. I want to stop these words and stories, but still they keep tumbling out. I want that writing it will stop this happening. I want to never read or write another list of facts like that again.

But we must learn to see and feel. To feel it fully in our bodies allows us access to the Feminine. We cannot flinch from this reality, from the fear and control and domination of the Feminine by the masculine as it is played out by fathers and husbands and priests and judges in village squares and kitchens and mosques and churches and courts of law around the world.

We must learn to dig down for the very real roots of our fears as they are played out in the world.

We are not crazy.

We are not paranoid.

We are not imagining things.

This is what we fear when we feel our power rising.

This is what we know.

This is real.

[I was gonna stop here… but you know what? Lemme keep going…hope ya don’t mind, Lucy]

Honor Killings

The purpose of honor killings is to maintain men’s power by denying women basic rights to make autonomous decisions about marriage, divorce and sexuality. ~ Madre

The right to life for women is conditional on their obeying social norms and traditions. ~ Hina Jilani

Hear me when I say, this is not just dry history. It is still happening. Women around the world are being burned, simply because they are women.

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