“In silence you must bear a world of pain, subject yourself to the cruel abuse of men.”
~ Greek Goddess Athena, from The Odyssey, by Homer
The sudden, rapturous emergence of the divine feminine on the bloodied streets of Portland represents the perfect counterpoint to George Floyd’s murder on the streets of Minneapolis. I realize that statement could offend hard-core #BLM activists, but hear me out. I’m a life-long connoisseur of direct action and civil disobedience, having participated actively in the Earth First! campaign that saved the largest roadless area in the lower 48 from 212 clearcuts approved for the Nez Perce NF in the mid-90s, and have been arrested myself both in the forest, documenting illegal timber harvest, and on top of the tallest building in Boise, after hanging a 7-story banner protesting logging without laws under Al Gore’s Salvage Rider program.
And I’m a YUGE #BLM supporter who means no offense to all those working so hard to end four centuries of oppression. But I also view all social movements today through the clarifying lens of Climate Trauma, which is triggering all of our cultural and generational traumas, demanding that we resolve them if we are going to survive as a civilized species. We’ve seen this play out with #MeToo, #BLM, and hopefully we will soon see it catalyze the Indigenous Peoples Movement as well, because that’s when it will truly begin to ripen into climate recovery. Indigenous activists are also killed regularly by fascist corporate police, and oppression is a global phenomenon.
As a veteran activist and eco-defender, I have bemoaned the stale tactics which have mostly attended the climate movement since 9/11, when police began treating serious protestors as terrorists (see, e.g.: Standing Rock, whose tactics were beautiful and elicited attack dogs from fascist mercenary cops). Until Extinction Rebellion came along in UK, the only contemporary activists I really admired were FEMEN, conceived by the actions of some of the bravest, most idealistic, and radically creative women in the world. The birth of FEMEN is a really inspiring story, because the Ukrainian women — girls, really — who started it were standing up in the most shocking ways to one of the most repressive regimes in the world at that time (2008), under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable for an activist.
The Power of FEMEN
The beauty of FEMEN is that the world has been ruined mostly by patriarchal oppressors and their never-ending, stupid wars. FEMEN activists stand up to this patriarchal order by re-asserting dominion over their own bodies, often in quite artistic ways.
As we know here in America from the long battle over legalized abortion, women reasserting dominion over their own bodies flies in the face of patriarchal religion and imposed social order. My personal favorite FEMEN action is that of Josephine Witt, the German philosophy student pictured above who ascended the altar of the Cologne Catholic Cathedral during Christmas fucking mass of 2013, throwing her hands to the heavens before the astonished eyes of a celibate priest and declaring, with her whole body and in all caps “I AM GOD!”
That act of ‘political performance art’ is right up there with the apocryphal story of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of his Church to protest Catholic indulgences in 1517. Witt was protesting the Church’s attitudes toward women and the anti-abortion stance of Cologne’s archbishop at the time. While she risked 3 years in prison for “disturbance of a religious practice,” she ultimately was fined 1200 Euros, after pointing out to the court that “[e]ven Jesus is hanging half naked on the cross.”
Naked Athena Descends from Mt. Olympus
In the wake of ongoing civil disobedience triggered by killer cop Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd, Portland recently became Ground Zero as Trump and his henchman, Attorney General/Orc Bill-Bar Baggins, sent racist border-agents into the streets to practice psy-ops on mostly peaceful protesters.
Let us not miss the significance of this blatant fascism lifted from the playbook of Joseph Goebbels. If Trump means to cancel the November elections, using the pandemic whose flames he continues to fan as his excuse, declare martial law, and overthrow our government before the year is out, then it makes sense that he would begin deploying stormtroopers in Democrat-controlled cities now, testing how much they can get away with over the protests of local law enforcement and politicians (while at the same time cultivating key alliances with the many white supremacists who populate those local police forces).
That’s just how fascists roll. These border agents, hand-picked by Trump, put babies in cages, after all, in defiance of federal courts. What have Nancy and Chuck done to stop that?
At the height of this madness, at approximately 1:45 a.m. on July 19, with police lines amassed in opposition to the protesters and tensions about to break out into yet another unprovoked police riot, into the breach of the no-man’s land that separated the two factions strode Naked Athena, in all her glory…
According to Dr. Craig Chalquist, publisher of Imminence: The Journal of Applied Myth, Story and Folklore, “Where injustice goes institutional, some version of Athena, goddess of justice and wisdom, can be expected to appear to protest.” And as the West’s leading expert on mythology, Joseph Campbell, liked to say, if we don’t live our myths, then our myths have a way of living us.
Strutting like the Goddess herself, asserting perfect dominion over her beautiful body, identity masked, Naked Athena found her mark before the astonished eyes of the militarized army ready to pounce on the Americans it deems enemy combatants, and proceeded to “strike a pose.”
According to reports, “The agents, in gas masks and helmets, continued firing pepper balls in a staccato ‘pop, pop, pop’ heard on video, aiming low at the asphalt, where puffs of smoke mingled with clouds of gas” — while Naked Athena assumed “tree pose,” and at one point declined protection from a protester who had come forward with a shield out of concern for her safety.
Athena remained perfectly composed in the ten minute interlude over which she ruled completely.
About the same amount of time it took for the fascist pig, Chauvin, to snuff out the equally beautiful, black life of George Floyd on the asphalt of Minneapolis, in his own attempt to rule completely our collective psyche on social media. While Chauvin’s brazen action took place in broad daylight, Athena ruled the night, with comet NeoWise in the sky above already heralding the birth of something ‘new’ and ‘wise’ (having first appeared in the early degrees of Aries, the birthing point of the zodiac).
We inhabit prophetic times. A time of apocalypse when the veils are being pulled back to reveal all that has been hidden.
George Floyd’s last words were “Mama… I’m through.” In the afterglow of that plea, the symbolic significance of Naked Athena’s signature pose cannot be over-emphasized. In the streets of Rip City, before the glare of militant police headlights and the naked aggression of Herr Drumpf’s SS Stormtroopers, the Goddess Athena assumed the birthing position:
This image has immense symbolic resonance.
Naked Athena has already been compared to Lady Godiva, the lone Tiananmen Square protester who stood down a tank, and the 60’s flower girl who placed a carnation in the barrel of a National Guardsmen’s rifle to protest the Viet Nam War.
What is the Goddess Athena giving birth to in the harsh glare of police brutality that continues treating life as collateral damage on behalf of Trump’s “Law & Order”?
As an ecopsychologist on the front lines of climate activism, it has been apparent to myself and many of my more thoughtful peers that it is the emergence of the divine feminine in the world today, in all its forms, that will eventually save humanity from the hubristic perpetration of ongoing Climate Trauma. At the same time Naked Athena emerged to make this point with artistic courage, a group calling themselves ‘Portland Moms’ also stepped up to form lines of protection between cops and protesters (they were gassed by the stormtroopers). And of course young girls like Greta Thunberg and Elsie Luna are striking deep chords with the message that the youngest generation is not willing to bear the collective, generational trauma that we are trying to pass down to them.
Goddesses, Moms, and Daughters. This is the Divine Feminine that is emerging in response to our collective assault on the ultimate divine feminine: Pachamama (Mother Earth). Gaia.
The time of Patriarchy, Colonialism, and Oppression is at an end.
Mother Earth can’t breathe…
Something new is arriving… something wonderful.
Calling all spiritual midwives. Your mother is in labor.