Women's hidden history : witch-hunting craze sweeps Europe: misogyny, midwives, and other easy targets.

Midwives and Witches
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Women's Hidden History

The European anti-witch paranoia of the time was found to a much lesser degree in England, with about a thousand executions between 1542 and 1684. They were days of mass hysteria and frenzy. Never did superstition and bloodthirstiness put out such abundant, poisonous flowers as during that time of overwhelming artistic creation and intellectual achievement.
Misogyny alive and well in America

For the Public Good?

Joan of Arc
The heretics have not thought and suffered and died in vain.
Every heretic has been, and is, a ray of light. (Robt Ingersoll)

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see Gerhard Venzmer's Five Thousand Years of Medicine
5000 Jahre Medizin
It began with the foundation of the Cathar sect (or purists) on the Balkan peninsula and the Waldensian sect, established by Petrus Waldus of Lyons. The Cathars wanted to resurrect the pure fundamental teaching of Christ, the Waldensians were also dissatisfied with the existing Catholic Church and demanded the restoration of the original purity of Christian belief. Both sects soon spread across Italy, France and Bohemia. The Church was afraid of the large following which the 'heresies' were attracting. The word 'Cathar' became gazzan in Italian and the German word for heretic, ketzer, was derived from this. During the years to come, the term 'heresy' came to be applied to everything that displeased the Church. The sectarians were attacked with almost unparalleled brutality; the towns and villages in which they lived were razed to the ground; men, women and children pitilessly slaughtered.

Dogs of the Lord: Dominicans
In the Dominican Order, the Pope found a congregation which devoted itself, with exemplary zeal, to the extermination of heresy. The Inquisition was established and torture introduced. The Dominicans were delegated to carry out these procedures and, as a result, they acquired almost supreme power. They did not concern themselves with worldly justice; all measures were justifiable in cases where heresy was suspected.

Because of their constant pursuit of heresy, Dominicans who, like the secret police centuries later, were accountable to no one, formed a regular state within the state. It was they who, by means of their passionate sermons in village and town, by their broadsheets and proclamations, systematically bred such a belief in devils, demons, the black arts and witches in people's imaginations, that they thought they saw the hand of the devil in every unusual incident.

An unprecedented psychosis took hold of the people; even those belonging to the intellectual, civilized ranks of society were overcome by the manic belief in devils and demons which was to continue to hold sway over men's minds for centuries to come. It is scarcely credible but true that, whereas in AD 500, a belief in demons and devils was regarded as a wicked regression into heathendom, almost a thousand years later the everlasting circle of events caused a profoundly new belief in magic, demons and witchcraft to grow up which was to equal that of the worst era of classical antiquity.

By the 1431 trial of Joan of Arc for witchcraft at Rouen, the hysteria could be turned to political purposes. In Joan's case, the rivalry between the English and French provided the backdrop. Joan's purported witchcraft and heresy were merely the weapons of the executioner -- in her case, Christianity itself. Her witchcraft trial was conducted by His Reverend Excellency Peter Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais. In retrospect, ironically, Joan has always looked better than her accusers, who seemed like bullies and "heavies" all along. A recent cartoon comments on the Church's efforts to extricate its image (from its sorry involvement in the whole mess). "Ooops, we just killed a Saint!" (In 1920, Joan of Arc was officially declared a Saint.)

But in those days of fear and fanatacism, it seemed, the most vulnerable were always fair game. Especially Jews (or any minority), "heretics", and women. The Church declared bitter war on devils, magic and witches; in 1484 Pope Innocent VIII issued his bull Summis Desiderantes Affectibus, summoning the clergy to exercise no mercy in their pursuit of heresy but to use the harshest measures to destroy it. Sectarianism, heterodoxy, magic and witchcraft soon became merged into a single concept and out of this amalgam of mania and superstition, a figure was formed which was presented to the people as public enemy number one: the witch.

Generations of people have tried to discover why the female sex should have been accused of being the personification of all evil beside, or in connection with, the devil. Passages can be found in the Bible which can be interpreted in this sense. For example, there is a passage in Ecclesiasticus which suggests that the evil of the world is but slight compared with that of woman and that as sin came first from a woman it is because of woman that we all must die.

In the same book, Ecclesiasticus, however, there are also many eulogies on virtuous, good and tender women. It therefore seems positively absurd to make use of the Bible as a carte blanche for the persecution of witches. The real reason why witch-mania was artificially stimulated, why even the writings of Thomas Aquinas were drawn on in an attempt to justify such persecutions, lie on an entirely different plane. The Church had to set to work with all zeal to restore absolute sovereignty, for ominous cracks had begun to appearing its fabric. What does a state do when it sees danger approaching? It throws down the tastiest possible morsel before the masses.

This long-established recipe was followed then. The Order of Dominicans took to its macabre task more quickly than expected; the Church's coup d'état -- as a theologian described the Inquisition -- had succeeded. Perhaps the unbiased reader may ask what connection there is between witch-hunting and medical science. However, the whole phenomenon which Gustav Schenk described as the 'greatest epidemic in Western, and probably even world history' is such a unique example of mass psychosis and delivered so many millions of people to the most agonizing of all deaths, that it deserves just as much attention as the epidemics of earlier centuries.

The persecution of witches was reduced to a simple and straight-forward system when the inquisitors, Heinrich Krämer (Henricus Institoris) and Jacob Sprenger, both German Dominicans, wrote The Hammer of Witches (Malleus Maleficarum), which appeared in 1487. It has been justly called 'the most pernicious testimony in all the world's literature.' In 650 printed pages was set out, in three sections, which kind of people should count as witches, what kinds of bewitchment there were, and how the extermination or punishment should be effected by the temporal or spiritual court. A translator called the book 'an incredible monster filled with an intellectual stench' and decided that 'in the arguments which in his view bordered on stupidity, but a stupidity shot through with theological pride, a cold-blooded, idle cynicism supervened, a wretched and contemptible predilection for tormenting people which constantly reawaken's the reader's wrath and uttermost bitterness over this monstrous religious mania.'

The more the witch-trials gained ground, the more plainly was revealed the motivating force which should already have been apparent, reading between the lines, in The Hammer of Witches. This was the unbridled, habitual sadism, a perverted bloodlust, of the inquisitors, and a bestial delight in tormenting people -- especially when the victims were of the female sex. This was what happened: before the offenders were brought in for torture, they were bathed; in some places their hair was also dressed, and then, as prescribed in The Hammer of Witches, they were stripped in order to discover whether any kind of witch's instrument had been sewn into their clothes --instruments which they were frequently supposed to have been taught by demons to make from the bones of an unbaptised boy. As a further precaution, The Hammer of Witches also prescribed that the hair should be shaved from every part of the body for the same reason as the removal of clothes had been recommended. "For they have sometimes, in order to further their witchcraft, hidden some superstitious amulet made of certain things, either among their clothes or the hair of their body and sometimes even in the most secret, unmentionable places.'

After she had been prepared in this way, the 'witch' [or midwife] was laid naked on a bench for examination and every part of her body, however concealed, subjected to the most embarrassingly exact scrutiny, in search for a witch-sign. Such things as moles, warts and the like were counted as witch-signs; red hair was itself highly suspicious. That the whole procedure only served to satisfy the perverse titillation of the inquisitors is best shown by the fact that the outcome was always the same, no matter what the examination revealed. If the stigma diabolicum was found it was a sure sign of the victim's relationship with the devil; if it was missing, this was an even more conclusive proof for the devil could naturally be expected to protect his strumpet.

The enormities to which the inquisitors ventured can be seen by the fact that young girls were even examined to see if they were virgins. Here again, however, the results made no difference to the sequel. If the firl proved to be a virgin it was argued that the devil induced this condition in order to protect his strumpet. If the young girl was no longer a virgin, she must naturally have had intercours4e with the devil.

Hardly anyone was safe from the clutches of the Dominicans. In Würzburg, for example, the following types of people were tried for witchcraft and, after torture, executed: the daughter of a noble chancellor, a goldsmith's wife, midwives, a twelve-year-old foreign girl, a councillor, a middle-class woman and her daughter, the wife of a councillor, a rich man, a mother with bother her infant daughters, a young twenty-four-year-old girl, a schoolboy, two noble boys, two daughters and maid of a town bailiff, the chemist's wife and her daughter, a fifteen-year old girl, themost beautiful girl in Würzburg, etc, etc.

In the innumerable records of trials preserved from those dark times, the facts are always the same: the accused had to state that they had intercourse with the devil. They had to describe in every detail exactly what they had experienced and, in order to get these statements from them, they were subjected to the most horrible tortures which a perverted mind could imagine.

Many confessed; but it is hard to decide today wheter they really believed what they said or whether they merely preferred to die whether than go on being scourged, whipped, subjected to the thumbscrews or Spanish boot, have their limbs dislocated, crushed or torn on the rack, their bodies filled with water or be drawn up by their hads -- which had first been tied behind their backs -- and thoen dropped, suddenly -- or whatever other satanic methods of torture were devised.

Moreover, the inhumane torments which the victims were repeatedly made to endure, helped provide the inquisitors with fresh material. When the agony was at its height, the inquisitors would dangle before their victims the prospect of mercy if they would name accessories, accomplices or other 'witches.' In order to escape further torture, the desperate creatures must often have murmured the name of some acquaintance or even relative. However, it was more than enough for a new prosecution; denunciation, mere suspicion even, was enough on which to base an action which brought a whole string of others in its train.

In 1587, midwife Walpurga Hausmännin was flogged so brutally, and tortured so hideously, that ultimately
she confessed to untold diabolical pervesions and crimes, patently untrue. She was burnt in Dillingen.
more


There were, it is true, beside the sadistic perversions of the inquisitors, other motives for the inhuman processes against witches and midwives. Many a personal act of enmity, many a deed of revenge, may have been performed in this terrible way; and finally, there existed a third motivating force: money. The greatest care was taken to note the taxable value of their property in the documents on the person under suspicion. If anyone, man or woman, was wealthy, he was already doomed for if, as a result of the denunciation, he was put to the question and a 'confession' extracted under torture, his property was liable to be confiscated as soon as sentence had been passed by the court. Two-thirds of the victim's property would go to the public treasury, the remaining third would be divided among judge, inquisitors, denunciators, torturers and the executioner.

The number of victims claimed by the European witch-hunts, which lasted for three hundred years, is reckoned by historians to be between five and six million people; it therefore caused more deaths than all the wars waged over the period. [The 'witches' hanged in Salem Massachusetts from 1692-1693 were nineteen, with over a hundred awaiting trial. The mania there lasted just over a year, ending as abruptly as it began, all those not yet hung were released. America was not exempt from the madness.] People today may find it hard to understand how civilized people could put up with having their nearest relatives imprisoned, tortured, and finally burnt alive [or hung in the Salem case] as a result of an anonymous denunciation.

It is only when one takes into account the brutal, pitiless, expression of mass mania, and that a belief in the devil, his traffic with witches and warlocks, was constantly being fanned anew by the Church and exhortations to fight them passionately proclaimed, that it is possible to gain any measure of understanding of the horror-inspiring mixture of religion and brutality, fervour and fear, lasciviousness and outrage, which reigned over people in those times.

Why target Women?

Woman to primitive man is a thing at once weak and magical, to be oppressed, yet feared. She is charged with powers of child-bearing denied to man, powers only half understood, forces of attraction, but also of danger and repulsion, forces that all over the world seem to fill him with dim terror. The attitude of man to woman, and, though perhaps in a less degree, of woman to man, is still to-day essentially magical.
[Jane Harrison, Themis. Quoted by Adrienne Rich]

Blaming the mother - women as sluts and bitches


Obviously other groups were targetted, too. When Jacques DeMolay and the Templars were tortured and accused of sorcery (DeMolay was burnt in 1313, the motivation of his inquisitors was greed. Later, when the witch craze swept Europe, greed was a factor. Rossell Hope Robbins charged that the chief motive was the desire to appropriate the property of the condemned. But Jeffery Russell and Brooks Alexander counter that women, and midwives especially, were simply handy targets, both weak and vulnerable. The question is:
What is the reason for this sexism, chavinism, or -- more accurately -- misogyny [targeting midwives and others]? The very weakness of the women's social position made it easier to accuse tham than to accuse men. Chilcbirth always carries countless risks, and who else makes a handier target than the midwife, should something go wrong.

The connection of witchcraft with heresy encouraged the emphasis on women. Historians have long observed that women were more influential in heresy than other aspects of medieval society. Women, finding themselves prevented from rising to positions of influence in the establishment, turned to heresy instead. The Waldensians (Vaudois) for example, allowed women to preadh, and the Catharists admitted them to the ranks of the perfecti. The relative importance of women in heresy trials transferred readily to witchcraft and witch trials.
The Sexual Urge : sadistic perversion
Many questions, however, remain unanswered; and it seems baffling that the sexual urge should have become transformed into bloodthirsty sadism in such a great number of people. After all, there is hardly one sphere of human life that is so full of mysteries as the sexual urge. The fact that it is impossible to imagine Ancient Greece without homosexuality strikes the person of today as scarcely less strange than the bloodlust and routine savagery and sadism of Christianity's medieval Inquisitions.

Midwives used ergot to speed up birthing, and belladona to slow down birthing. After all, from earliest times humans have turned to nature for whatever healing aids might be found. In Latin, they said, vis medicatrix naturae. But once the witch-craze swept Europe, even the very effectiveness of the midwives approach was used against them. They must have had the devil's help. That vicious handbook Malleus Mallificarum declared "No one does more harm to the Catholic faith than midwives." [quoted by Tina Cassidy. Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born]

Venzmer continues:
What the 'witches' -- according to the trial reports -- said about their relationship with the devil is, however, as full of mystery as the sadistic, sexual-obsessive aspect. Leaving aside the 'confessions' extracted under torture, a great number of self-accusations remain to give one pause for thought. W. Lindenberg connects the devil experiences which many witches freely volunteered with the magic potions which were in common use at that time. In every farm garden grew solanaceae as henbane, belladonna, mandrake (Mandragora officinalis), Japanese belladonna (Scopolia japonica) and stramonium; the 'alkaloid' contents of which, being either euphoric or intoxicating in effect, were used by medieval practitioners as a stimulant. Hemlock and aconite completed the list of plants that induced ecstasy. Extract of henbane was even added to the ale which men drank every day.

It is not hard to see that people, especially women, who were living in an atmosphere of hellfire, demons and devilry which was constantly being stirred up again by sermons, broadsheets and pamphlets, should, under the influence of hallucinatory drugs, imagine they were genuinely experiencing something devilish and testify accordingly. Frustrated females availed themselves of the services of 'wise women' (sages-femmes) dealing in love-potions and magic salves in order to achieve the required result, and many of them probably made the 'voluntary' confessions which the witch-trials mention.
The Church has done more to degrade women than all other adverse influences put together.
~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton ~
[quoted by S.T. Joshi]
Un-christlike Angry White Males?
During the Middle Ages and beyond, midwifery was seen as an unclean profession. The misogyny of the Church Fathers, which saw woman -- especially her reproductive organs -- as evil incarnate, attached itself to the birth-process, so that males were forbidden to attend at births, and the midwife was exhorted to make her primary concern not the comfort and welfare of the mother, but the baptism of the infant -- in utero, with a syringe of holy water if necessary. [Adrienne Rich. Of Woman Born]

Blaming the Mother - women as sluts and bitches

'Hombres Necios' -- Foolish men who accuse women.
They are like the child who invents a boogey man / And then grows afraid of the image he himself created.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Related : Spanish mysticism

Blame it on Woman

Eve was deceived by the Serpent; Adam was not (I Timothy 2: 14)

In Judeo-Christian theology, women's pain in childbirth is punishment from God. (The notion of birth-pain as punitive is found, as well, in other cultures). Adrienne Rich, in "Of Women Born," cites the 1591 Scotland case of Agnes Simpson, who was burned at the stake as a witch for having attempted to relieve the birth pangs with opium or laudanum. [p128]

James VI of Scotland, who would reign in England as James I, was notoriously obsessed with witches. He was a pedant and book-worm, and was well read on the witch-craze already afflicting the continent. Then came the Agnes Simpson case. Agnes, the "grace wife of Keith", having been hideously tortured, was then interrogated by the king in person, then deprived of sleep and subjected to days of barbaric torture until she confessed to being the leader of 200 witches who rode out to sea in sieves at Halloween and enjoyed a rendezvous with Satan in North Berwick.

[See King James, Absolute Monarch - an erudite defender of Divine Right, yet very fallible
Also see [Mother Shipton, burnt at stake in 1561, now called "England's Nostradamus"]

Quaker midwife Frances Kent (d. 1685), midwife and persecuted Quaker from Reading. Reputed to be the best midwife in England, she suffered imprisonment. Obviously she was not a "well-behaved woman."

Benjamin Rush, American founding father and revolutionary patriot, reported of Native-American mothers that
Nature is their only midwife. Their labors are short, accompanies with little pain. Each woman is delivered in a private cabin, without so much as one of heer own sex to attend her. After washing herself in cold water, she returns in a few days to her usual employment. [quoted by Adrienne Rich]
Adrienne Rich observes that even accounting for a certain amount of romanticising of a sort of 'primitive' ideal, there is bound to be a solid core of truth, here. Have we gotten too modern and 'enlightened' for our own good? In a later passage, Rich comments that only 'advanced' societies like Europe and North America demand woman to lie in the supine, lithotomy passive posture, to our own detriment. Virtually every other culture uses either the birthing stool, or similarly employs gravity on behalf of birth, rather than against it.

In their classic pamphlet, Witches, Midwives and Nurses: A History of Women Healers, Ehrenreich and Deirdre English trace the rise of the élitist male medical profession, which emerged out of the suppression of women healers during the centuries of witch hunting, persecution, and murder. Eighty-five percent of the many millions executed as witches were women. They were charged with an imaginative variety of crimes, from causing a man's genitals to disappear to bringing about the death of a neighbors cow; but wise women (sages-femmes), healers, and midwives were especially singled out for prescribing a pain-reliever during labor; may more were charged with using 'heathen' charms and spells, under the direction of the devil. In the Massachusetts Bay Colony in America, midwives were often viewed with suspicion and charged with witchcraft. [For example Anne Hutchinson. Anne Hutchinson stood trial alone, with no lawyer to defend her. She faced a panel of 49 powerful and well-educated men. Just being a Quaker was punishable by whipping, mutilation, or death. More. Also see Jane Hawkins. See Mary Dyer.]

Nevertheless, says Judy Barrett Litoff, most colonial midwives were held in high esteem by the community.

In Puritan Boston Anne Hutchinson, a prominent Quaker woman, was tried and banished from Massachusetts in 1637 after attracting a religious following and "casting reproach upon the faithful Ministers of this Country." Although Hutchinson was never accused formally of being a witch, the delivery of a deformed, stillborn infant to one of her female associates in 1638 was interpreted by the Puritan fathers as the Devil's work.

As a midwife, Quaker Anne Hutchinson was well respected for her skills in "catching babies." Preacher John Cotton said of her: "She did much good in our towns, women's meeting, travails (childbirth) and good discourses about their spiritual states." A statute of Anne Hutchinson stands today in front of the present meeting place of the General Court of Massachusetts and a tablet in her memory is placed in the First Church of Boston.

Childbearing was, of course, intimately associated with sexuality, and midwives were often suspected of administering aphrodisiacs, to empower women (in medieval man's fears) to get control of their men's sexuality. The midwife, with her already formidable expertise in the matter of life itself, became completely threatening if added to it were a knowledge in the realm of matters spiritual. [Adrienne Rich. p137]

It seems obvious that throughout history, as one of the few professions open to women, midwifery must have attracted women of unusual intelligence, competence, and self respect.

Ehrenreich and English point out an important distinction between the witch-healer and the medical man of the late Middle Ages:
... the witch was an empiricist; She relied on her senses rather than on faith or doctrine, she believed in trial and error, cause and effect. Her attitude was not religiously passive, but actively inquiring. She trusted her ability to find ways to deal with disease, pregnancy and childbirth -- whether through medication, herbs, or charms. In short, her magic was the science of her time. [quoted by Rich. p137]
But the climate of misogyny surrounding the woman in childbirth took many forms. There was much opposition to the mere publication, in English, of The Byrth of Mankynde, a 1540 translation from the Latin of a text on midwifery by one Eucharius Rösslin, De Partu Hominus -- possibly because it would then be available to the common people who knew no Latin.

Ehrenreich and English point out, the midwives were in many ways, relative to their time, more scientific than the men; they knew female anatomy as men did not, they were more often than not dealing with a physical process which they themselves had experienced, and their education was empirical, thoroughly reality-based, whereas the men's medical training, even the very best, was steeped in often ethereal philosophy and theology, in Plato and Aristotle and heavily male dominated Scholasticism.

The primordial tribal millieu - The "science" of midwifery was an empirical thing, and "inductive" in the sense of learning from real life, and not from abstraction. It was first and foremost feminine, a peasant or "primitive" thing, close to nature mysticism, a witness of the heart, the wisdom of the body.

Native American Midwifery - The words "midwife attended birth at home" is a tradition among Native people throughout the world. The practice of excluding or outlawing this practice through laws governing standard accepted practices is an often unrecognized practice of racism in our country. Indigenous people traditionally gave birth to their babies within their culture, with the assistance of caring women from within their neighborhoods. More

Granny midwives in the South - Midwives, women healers and root workers have been central figures in the African American folk traditions. Particularly in Black communities in the rural south, these women served vital social, cultural and political functions. It was believed that they possessed magical powers: they negotiated the barrier between life and death and were often regarded as the "knower" in a community. Today even as medical science has discredited or superseded their power, granny midwives have resurfaced as pivotal characters in the narratives of contemporary African American literature.

Elizabeth Singleton, a 104-year-old black "granny" midwife from Wayne County. Georgia, underscored the importance of the "calling." In recounting her experiences as a midwife, Singleton remarked, "The good Lord taught me how to catch babies. I don't know how many babies I caught; must have been more than 1000, both black and white babies .... When I was catching babies I would pray for you. I was ask the Lord to help you and to help me to take care of you. I have prayed so hard, and my soul would be so full of joy."
[Phillip K. Wilson]

Mamie Odessa Hale Garland - leader in upgrading Arkansas black granny midwives. In the rural South, both black and white women relied heavily on granny midwives. After the war, black women continued to be delivered primarily by granny midwives, who attended almost seventy-five percent of all black births.

Judy Barrett Litoff writes that in America, "Part of the opposition to the midwife was a result of the anti-immigrant and anti-black prejudice of the period. [p138]

The Church had always taught that women giving birth deserved the pain they suffered, as the Bible said. Women would be "saved" in child-bearing. Blame it on Eve. All women are forever guilty of Eve's sin. But midwives, when they could, generally sought to ease the stress and fear and pain of the mothers in their care. In 1853, when Queen Victoria asked for chloroform as she gave birth to her seventh child, she wrought a major break-through of sorts for women throughout the English-speaking world.

Midwives, however, had always been one step ahead of the theologians on the real-world dimension of birth-giving. Five thousand years ago in India and Egypt, they made use of opium, from which we today derive morphine. The Greek midwives gave mothers willow bark, the predecessor of aspirin. During Inca days, the analgesic of choice was coca leaves, the source of cocaine. And some biblical interpreters tell us that Jesus birth, in the Christmas story, witnessed a timely and germane use of the sacred myrrh from the East country, to help Mary with the pain of delivery.

Through the ages, parturient women have drunk wine and poppy juice, eaten mandrake and hemp. The theologians, for all their righteous erudition, should have been learning from the women -- and from native cultures -- rather than trying to dictate to them.

[See Tina Cassidy. p77]

Several authorities have estimated that from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, nine million witches were executed for their alleged beliefs and crimes. Persecution of witches was particularly brutal on the Continent, torturing, burning, death. [quoted p 543 Sisterhood is Powerful. Edited by Robin Morgan. ]


Some Feminism and Midwifery Links
Witches, Midwives, and Nurses A History of Women Healers

Johannes Weyer, a lonely voice for accused women

Witches? a brief history of midwives

Rogue Midwifery: Birthing Babies on the Sly

Midwives are as old as humanity :: a history of 'baby-catching'

Young Feminists: A Doula's Story : women's health network

Native childbirth : Inuit midwifery through time

A History of midwifery and childbirth in America: a time-line

Ellen Lea, the Quaker midwife for mothers in Confederacy

Revolutionary War: Lydia Darragh, Irish-born Quaker midwife

Quaker praise for midwife as Lady Wisdom

Legacy of Black Midwives : American history

A Ritual Tradition : black midwives and healers

Georgetown University Midwifery Alumni

Barbara Ehrenreich, Deirdre English

A smart woman threatened the male elites:
Wonderful Emmy Nöther

Mother Teresa

George O'Neill and Nena O'Neill write we do not "possess" human beings

She may be my wife, but she "belongs" to God

The idea of sexually exclusive monogamy and possession of another breeds deep-rooted dependencies, infantile and childish emotions, and insecurities. The more insecure you are, the more you will be jealous [and Abraham Maslow proves this].

Jealousy, like a destructive cancer, breeds more jealousy. It is never a function of love, but of our insecurities and dependencies. It is detrimental to and a denial of a loved one's personal identity. (p 237)

Only radical feminism can act as "the final cause," because of all revolutionary causes it alone opens up human consciousness adequately to the desire for non-hierarchical, nonoppressive society revealing sexism as the basic model and source of oppression.
[Mary Daly, Feminist Catholic Trail-blazer]

McNeill - fly by night

[cat yronwode]

Robert Shepherd
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