Home Dedications: Our First Year
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Missing Girls 2 years later

In April 2016 Boko Haram released a video showing 15 girls who appeared to be some of the kidnapped Chibok girls. The video was apparently taken in December 2015. Although to date some girls have been returned to their families, others have not.

Hetairan Energy Fields: threats to Old Paradigms: Kidnapped Girls

Shelby Lynne performing Call Me Up

Sharing Our Life as Theology video

Confessions/Flying Saucers

Wolff's four structural forms

Recasting of Wolff's schema

Hetaira as a Divine Figure

An Authentic Spirituality?

South American Archives

Self-report inventories

Hetairan youthfulness/animals

Central masculine archetype

Ring composition

Relational and functional typologies in tandem

 Four Wommen Cave Art

Relatedness is more vital than any consciousness & lies within it. A human being is first of all a being-in-relationship, then consciousness, then personal creativity. ---Ivone Gebara

Now, more than hitherto, there occur shocks, surges, crossings, falls, & almost scrambles, creating a different space, a space scattered & unknown, space enclosing spaces, superimposed, inserted, polyphonic perspectives. ---Henri Michaux, Emergences, resurgences

Creation spirituality & the mysticism of the Beguines & other holy women are displacing the sense of the Fall with Original Blessing & it is especially in spiritual movements like ecofeminism that the variegated strands of conscious & unconscious giftedness are emerging. Symbolized & actualized in the belief systems of East & West, this double helix of strands of difference, interwoven in a new social "genome", has the potential to birth a new social order. ---Madonna Kohbenschlag

Welcome to an ecofeminist inquiry into ongoing processes of evolution.

We suggest that the energies of new life are the empowering archetypal forces within each relational form: within the Earth Mother's birthing and care for ever new possibilities, within the Amazon's leadership in activating political action for theological and philosophical innovation, within the Medium's visions of the material world as sacred as well as directing her bent for scientific research exposing threats to fragile eco-system.

Below are included expressions of hetairan/puer desire: Tina Turner and David Bowie: Let's Dance (this video is off site and will open a new tab), Lisa Kaltenegger's work as an astrophysicist discovering new planets and Mohawk Derek Miller's Devil Come Down Sunday.

Astrophysicist Lisa Kaltenegger's work involves the discovery of two nearby planets. They are earth sized and within the habitable zone. Demonstrating the dangerous hetairan desire animating amazonian accomplishments, in this video Kaltenegger embodies creative and visionary possibilities in our universe--leaving us with a relational challenge.

Background history: Wolff's schema and South American contributions

Nearly a century after Toni Wolff's lecture outlining four relational forms, the possibility of a revision of her schema emerged when women theologians, forming a school of spirituality and ethics in South America, chose to use Wolff's relational types in their analysis of women's history.

An ecofeminist analysis of the social exploitation of the earth for material gain, including the destruction of life systems needed for survival, made use of the images available in Wolff's schema of relationship to study projections on Goddess figures and mythological materials linking earth history to original sin and anthropomorphic domination systems. The South American School of Ecofeminist Spirituality and Ethics drew comparisons between the treatment of women and the treatment of the earth as significant to both material and spiritual systems naming types of relationship and explored variant determinants of four suggestive images: Mother, Amazon, Hetaira and Medium.

During the decade of the school’s exploration of cultural, mythic and literary images of the feminine, individuals identified with a most typical relational form, recognizing that some or all of the other three forms may not be integrated into one’s conscious relationships or may suffer from social denigrations.  Since the underlying shadowy aspects of each form haunt relationships, less developed relational skills could be examined in the context of ecofeminist insights. 

South American theologians sought a way to confront and reverse conditions imperiling planetary life by searching for the power eluding oppressed communities. Focus on the archetype of the feminine as the hetairan desire to be shifts attention to the reality that evolutionary challenges drive everything.

Influence of deep history on evolution of relational forms

While early human societies may have included outcasts, the social roles needed and prized by nomadic foragers and hunters valued women’s contribution in three of the four relational forms: the hearthmaker whose indispensable skills managed the physical and traditional realities of daily existence, the Amazonian athlete whose physical skills and courage contributed to protection against hostile aggression, and the Medium whose ability to forecast, to advise, and to analyze guided decision making. The hetaira form in Wolff's schema of relational types emerges in history with the rise of cities, empires and enslavements. In the Classic era of the Mediterranean basin, hetairas were unmarried women whose status suggested sexual freedom outside of the domestic arrangements of a marriage. We do not know what the women of the time thought about this since there are no records of their voices responding to the institutionalization of the hetairan woman. Twenty six centuries ago, the Greeks called desire Hetaira or Aspasia or Beauty, Grace, Invention, Discovery, Perfection. This proved to be an orderly way to arrange the ideals of the democratic society and the philosophical inquiry.

Ethical & Evolutionary Dimensions in Relationality

Many contemporary women's voices--those of Vandana Shiva or bell hooks or Jane Goodall or Ivone Gebara or Anne Carolyn Klein or Rosi Berdotti or Hannah Arendt or Denise Najmanovich or Margaret English or Isabel Behorck or Anne Fausto-Sterling or Ofelia Schutte--focus on ethical dimensions of material interrelationships as these are threatened by exploitation, greed, and narcissism.

In moving beyond identifcation with a single form, relationship theory focuses on how one relates to identifcations presenting as other. As hetairan energy emerges it creates new places in the community of life, places requiring interest in difference, adaptation and assimilation. Ofelia Schutte, considering the otherness of what is new and the challenge to navigate between healthy and unhealthy self idealizing of what is already known, writes: the other is not the one who passively confirms what I am predisposed to think about her; she is not the one who acts as the mirror to myself or the one whose image justifies my existing ego boundaries. If this were the case, the other would only be a stand-in for the self's narcissism. Just the contrary: the other is that person or experience which makes it possible for the self to recognize its own limited horizons in the light of asymmetrically given relations marked by sexual, social, cultural, or other differences. The other, the foreigner, the stranger, is that person occupying the space of the subaltern in the culturally asymmetrical power relation, but also those elements or dimensions of the self that unsettle or decenter the ego's dominant, self-enclosed territorialized identity.

 

Site Content / Applications of a Relational Theory

Memoirs acknowledges North American Rachel Fitzgerald's debt to the South American women's collective, Con-spirando, and to its pursuit of the ethical dimensions of Wolff's use of feminine images. Sponsored by the Con-spirando collective and beginning in 2000, for ten years the School of Ecofeminist Spirituality and Ethics among other studies made formal inquiries among South American women in an examination of this relational theory. Con-spirando's publications pursue questions of origin, the body, home, sexuality, women's rights, migration, art and inner/outer experience.

A graphic diagram of the interaction of the forms, playfully inspired by Carl Jung's warning not to treat differences like a parlor game, nevertheless attempts a quick check of one's identification with a form. For those seeking further understanding of a form, bibliographical references for each of Wolff's four forms give quick access to useful resources.

An example of the interface of history and myth is in the anthropological work of Jeannine Davis-Kimball. Davis-Kimball's Central Asian grave findings suggest a Eurasian nomadic society valuing the accomplishments of warrior women (the amazon), the dignity of the hearthmakers (the mother) and the powers of the priestess/oracles (the medium). Each social role is understood as a contribution to communal life.

Two North American writers who find all four of Wolff's relational forms possess erotic energies are Nor Hall whose The Moon and the Virgin is an extended study of Wolff's symbolic types and Madonna Kohlbenschlag who explores the recovery of the authentic feminine as a woman's identity as a self-in-relation in Lost in the Land of Oz.

Toni Wolff, situating relational wounds at the heart of the psychic disorders, claimed relational woundings as the reason women seek therapy. She believed that women are tasked as carriers of soul for the western culture. In paying homage to the classical Greek version of the hetaira, Wolff failed to critique that historical form as a threat in that it robs the other forms of their own potential to free the individual from deadening social restriction. Such diminishment leads to the misconception of the hetaira as an eternally youthful icon untroubled by domestic caretaking functions, encourages a masculinization of strong women and an infantilization of older wise women. Stereotypical hetairan figures allow us an opportunity to project on them the freedom and fantasy we do not find in our own lives. For a fictional exploration of these issues read Toni Wolff's Forms: She Moves in Circles/Vital Links to the Archaic Mind.

Polish Prayer Rug

Polish Prayer Rug

Isabel Behncke: Evolution's Gift of Play

Monty Alexander/Harlem Kingston Express "No Woman No Cry"

Tlazolteotl

Tlazolteotl

Images of the body of the Mother Earth archetype reflect a cultural range of possibilities. Here are three of these: Coatlicue, the Lady of the Serpent Skirts, a Mesoamerican representation of the entire cosmos from which life emerges and continuously returns, Mary, the Virgin Mother with her crucified Son, the central figures on a Polish Prayer Rug used during the Catholic ritual sacrament blessing of a dying person, and Tlazolteotl, a Sin Eater Goddess.

The later historic representation offers an image contrasting with the emergence of the cosmos--the sorrowing Earth Mother and the merciful Sin Eater. The Virgin Mother, unable to assure life's continuance which is dependent upon the redemptive sacrifice of her divine son, reigns over death in her failure to sustain eternal material life. This Mother is linked to sin, punishment, death, and sorrow. As in the creation story set in the Garden of Eden, material life forms are understood as ethical dilemmas, promising life but delivering death. The South American traditions of the Sin Eater Goddesses honor the mother who eats the sins of the dying person in recognition of the need for that redemptive mercy which recreates and fertilizes the Earth.

Coatlicue

Coatlicue