Saturday, May 23, 2015

the Duggars

Update: due to new informed, I have added corrections next the original text.

I've chosen to write about the Duggar family, who are essentially today's modern puritans, are going through a sex scandal of mass proportion. In fact they are even more oppressive in regards to sex than their puritan counterparts, because the puritans did allow young people, in the pursuit of marriage, to kiss and fondle one another, through a sewed up sheet or wooden board across the bed. This method was called bundling. I find it appropriate that this little part of Josh Duggars past, has reared its head during this time of year. The date of Beltane a time of sexual fever, may have past, it's fires still burn bright, but should we allow it to burn up Joshua James Duggar? (Update: it was confirmed he molested his five-year old sister at the time)

Now don't get me wrong, it's very tempting to want to destroy a lobbyists from the Family Research Council, who support values like forced birth, discrimination towards the LGBTQ community, young earth creationism and essentially to turn the United States into their theocracy. Josh prides his and his parents family as role models that every family should strive to be. He and his family have been down right insulting. Asserting LGBTQ individuals of being sexual predators,  comparing evolution to the holocaust and utter denial of over population. Yes he and his family are tempting kindle for the fire of irony and public shame, when Josh is accused of molesting five underage girls, four being his own sister's. However from reading the 33 page police report and having familiarize myself with the show and their religion, I don't at all blame Josh (I do now, but his parents and their religious fanaticism are the direct cause). He is a victim of his parents and more importantly the unhealthy mentality of extreme forced absence. (Even more grossest that their up bring created a predator.)

Even when I was young, growing up in the real world, during the 1980s and 90s, adults would pressure young people to suppress normal urges of sexual desires, in place for the unnatural mentality of absence only. Ideally until marriage. I remember watching a talk show in the early 90s, chastising sexually active teenage girls. One brave teenager asked the audience in the studio, when did they first had sex. All the women who answered, claimed to be virgins, have waited until marriage or that they married their first sex partner. None of the men stood up.

 Josh and his siblings lived under much more extreme conditions. For example, they were all home schooled, but in an oppressive manner. I'm a supporter of homeschooling, but for its educational purposes, not to shelter. My family and I are active in socializing our child with other children of all backgrounds and beliefs. The Duggars children were denied access to people who differed from the oppressive religious regime they lived with everyday. They are not only forced to live this way, but they are forced to like it. They were not allowed to express any opinion that differ from their parents. The teaching methods the parents use to force their mentality, include being hit with a "rod" (how biblical) according to one of the four sisters Josh allegedly molested, forced submission, shame, forced mental, and physical obedience. If a grown child rejects this lifestyle, they are shunned by the community that has always been their world.

Even as adults, until marriage the Duggar children are constantly supervised. Their second son John-David, who is a firefighter, police officer, tree cutter, plus many other extremely viewed masculine jobs, has to be accompanied by a sibling, parent or church member to just go to work.
 Joy-anna, in an interview, along with the other older Duggar girl's, openly stated she wanted to live in a city. She was quickly put in her place by her sisters and later her mom doing damage control, stated her daughter only meant she wanted to live closer to stores. That's called living in town, Joy-anna clearly said and described the desire to live in a city. The simple fact, she isn't allowed.(Sadly due to the article stating one of the victims who is still a minor asked that the records be destroyed. She is the only Duggar daughter who fits this time frame and was five years old at the time.)
Duggar's aren't alone in this cruel abuse, the Westbaro Baptist church apply similar methods of abuse, except their children go to public schools. They both apply extreme religious views, social isolation, cruel punishment like beatings and being completely shunned if they reject even some of the lifestyle.

Under such oppression, teenagers are forced hide any normal sexual experimentation. I even suspect that in least of some of the sexual contact between Josh and the girls involved, was consensual. (This I felt was more probable with the oldest girl Jana, who is only two years younger than Josh.) I think it's sexist to assume only Josh and men in general are the only ones seeking sexual contact. If this is the case, Josh is taking a very cruel punishment to protect his counterpart. It is also very possible that Josh himself may have been an unwilling participant in sex acts with others, possibly with adults. (Even more likely, because he molested a small child) Even if it wasn't consensual, Christian extremists tend to extremely look down on natural sexual releases like masturbation and God's forbid any same-sex sexual curiosity. This leads to sexual desires being viewed as a level of weakness and shame. Imagine growing up like this, not only with the constant supervision of people, but the belief of being supervised at all times by their supreme authority, the Christian God. (Apparently the fear of God isn't enough to make him leave a five year old alone.)

I can imagine the overwhelming fear, guilt and shame, the Duggar children had to endure just to go to third base. Josh's behavior with his sister's, to those who weren't close to his age (he was 14 (confirmed youngest was five years old)) and anyone who wasn't willing to participate, is abhorrent. However so is the entire mentality of this lifestyle! (Clearly) Josh's ordeal is not unlike many closeted homosexual religious leaders. Afraid of natural human sexual desires and overwhelmed with guilt and shame for having them. Over and over, we find the most extreme have much to hide. Sex outside their order, to them is a shameful, dirty, sinful and condemning pleasure. It's what leads to incest, sibling incest is the most common form of incest,  sexual assaults, peeping, along with self destructive behavior like alcohol and drug abuse, recklessness and even suicide. This self hatred is a sickness.

I don't believe Josh will be a repeat offender,(I no longer agree with the first half of this sentence) but he, his wife Anna and the other now married Duggar children, will continue the same methods their parents did to them, causing the pattern to repeat itself (still true). The Duggars, including Josh are celebrities. Celebrities are visual, aiming as high as they can in social media. Celebrities help wheel power in societies, which the Duggars certainly did. Celebrities are also convenient scapegoats. While the left side calls Josh a child molester and the right sides claim the left are making a mountain out of an ant hill, the fact is both sides are wrong. (In this case the left ended up being correct in its prediction, however) Both are distractions of the serious issues that are bigger than the Duggars, the Family Research Council, left and right views, but the entire puritanical mentality. We need to expose the root of the problem, not just the symptoms.

The fact is, the Duggars are not living a healthy lifestyle. It's a very limiting lifestyle, stealing from children their own identity and forcing them to regurgitate it to their own children. Their view of sexual oppression before marriage and then sexual submission to the women when married. The Duggars subscribe to the mentality that women aren't as sexually needful as men and that they must allow their husband to have full, unprotected sexual intercourse, risking pregnancy, whenever their husband insist. Giving men a sense of entitlement and women the lack of control over their own body, including reproduction.

Was this lifestyle ever useful? Yes. Along time ago when 30 was considered old age and a 14 year old was considered an adult. When it was common to bury some of your children, before they reached adulthood. Before DNA or blood test could establish paternity.

 As a society we forget that thirty years ago being married right out of high school was common. My mother was just 19 years old when she got married. Further back to the early 1900 century, marriage as young as fourteen was not unheard of. During biblical times, a girl could be married off as soon as they developed their menstruation. There really wasn't much time for one to abstinen from sex. Then there was the reality people died much younger, hence living to age fifty was an accomplishment, let alone fifty years of marriage. 

Our society has longed changed since these time periods. Men and women pursue higher education. Both genders work, often outside the home. Marriage isn't about family obligation any more, but the pursuit of love, hopefully. This isn't the society the biblical principles were meant for. In this society, these methods are disastrous. They are too oppressive and conflicts with the modern reality our society has evolved too. We no longer need to marry young and make as many babies as possible to ensure family lines survive. This is progress and should be embraced, or you end up with the same mistakes the Duggars refuse to learn from.

I would like to press that the Duggars should not receive special treatment. If they were  any other family, Children's Services would have had a full investigation into the matter. There are still minors present in the family. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mother's Day and the Divine Feminine

Dedicated to
 my Mother

Long ago, my mothers Mother's Day, was a day we celebrated our mom. We picked her flowers, decorated her a card, made her breakfast in bed with coffee including the grinds in the cup. It was the day we automatically made offering to our divine feminine, our mother. Times have changed and the modern family is no longer viewed in just the 1950s black and white ideals. 

Via Australian Marriage Equality
Statue of a mother at the
Yasukuni shrine,
dedicated to
 war widows
who raised their children alone.

Children now grow up in variety of different homes. Some have two parents, some only have one, while others may have four or more. Some live with grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, same sex parents and many other varieties in between. 

Some times the child has a mother, other times aunts, grandmothers or one or two dads filling this role. The reality is the divine feminine is not limited to just our mothers, but to all that is feminine, bring out this energy, which Hinduism refers to as Shakti.


Hera: Symbolizes loyal spouse, home, domestics, motherhood, child birth. However Hera also reflects those jealously, betrayed by partner or suffered from an unhappy relationship.

Isis: Symbolizes single parents and widow/ers. Those whom are or have grieved over the loss of a partner and parents who must battle the task of two roles. This can apply to single fathers as well.

Gaia: Symbolizes pregnant mothers  people trying to conceive, those awaiting to adopt or require a surrogate. She is life, for she is the earth that inhabits us. We are forever embraced in Gaias womb.

Demeter: Symbolizes parents who lost a child to death or has placed up for adoption. With the loss comes hope of seeing the lost child, either in the next life or when the child is legally an adult reuniting with their biological parent.

Venus: Symbolizes the virgin or the inexperienced mother, such as a first time mother or even a bride hoping for a honeymoon baby.

Brigid the Triple Goddesses: Symbolizes universal feminine, the maiden, mother and crone. She can symbols your daughter, mother and grandmother all in one. Convenient if you have limited ritual space. 

Ninhursag: Symbolizes pregnant women, breastfeeding women, surrogate mother's, step parents, nurtures, care takers, parent/s of a newborn. This can apply to the child primary caregiver, nannies and nurses, especially midwives and ob gyns.

Frigg: Symbolizes parents of older children and military families. Often strong and wise. She is the parent who has seen it all. She represents military personnel/ parents, parents of military personnel and their spouses.

The Virgin Mary: Symbolizes pregnant girls or parents in trouble. Very commonly teenager parents, but parents who are out cast among society, such as those with criminal records, unpopular religion or political views or even age old racism and bigotry. During the time of Mary pregnancy, she risked being stone to death. Mary may symbols your Christian relatives, but she also represents those on the opposite side of societies stones.

Sarah: Symbolizes women of upper status. This could be a career like legislator, a marriage such as the cliche of marrying a doctor or the family matriarch. She also represents parents who had children later in life. If you have Jewish relatives or wish to embrace Jewish mysticism, Sarah wife of Abraham is the feminine root.

Amman: Symbolizes protectors and those who cure disease. This Hindu goddess represents doctors, nurses and caregivers, both professional and personal.

Guanyin: Symbolizes mercy, mother's or those who care for a child/ren as their own. Guanyin literally translates to perceiving the sounds of the world. She is a great listener and those who embody her traits, like forgiving parents, devoted foster parents, loving adopted parents and all the good listener's of the world.

Theses are but a few of the deities that express the feminine point of view. There are many more and even my examples come in many names.

You may wish to invoke these deities for guidance, draw in their qualities or uses this figures to represent the divine feminine in yourself or those you love. 

May the divine feminine in your life 
bless you 
Happy Mother's Day!