Dreaming The Dark
Dreaming The Dark: Magic, Sex and Politics by Starhawk came out in 1982. I didn’t read it until the reprint came out in 1997. Starhawk wrote the book when Regan was elected and we were on the brink of war with Russia. She wrote it on an electronic typewriter as a 30yr old graduate in a chaotic marriage. At the reprint Starhawk was writing on a laptop with a new love.
“The torture stories and the rage come from the dark. But if you retell the horror without creating the dark anew, you feed it. You do not break the mold,” she says. We need to dream the dark process and dream the dark as change. Because the dark creates us.
When we tell of turning dark, Hecates birth-giving darkness, the shadows listen to that also and what we name feeds into the open imaginations that are listening. So their concept of what is narrowly called death can change.
The dark is what we all are afraid of, all that we don’t want to see. Fear, anger, sex, grief and death are all apart the darkness of the unknown. The velvet dark is the skin soft night, the stroke of flesh on flesh the touch of joy and mortality.
The question of the dark has become a journey. How do we face the dark on the edge of annihilation? How do we find the dark within us and transform it as our own power? How do we dream it into a new image? Dream it into action that will change the world into a place where no more horror stories happen? Where there are no more victims?
We face the dark with the power of the unseen. The power that comes from within and the power of the immanent Goddess who lives coiled in the heart of every cell of every living thing, who is the spark of nerve and the life of every living breath.
Science killed off God after God sucked the life out of the world. All that is left are the hierarchical patterns of our institutions like the Church, The government and Corporations. All of them embody authoritarian power, all formed in the image of the patriarchal God with his subordinated troops of angels engaged in perpetual war with the patriarchal devil in his subordinate troops of demons.
The Goddess for women means restoring a sense of authority and power to the female body. It means restoring the life process of birth, growth, lovemaking, aging and death that western society has devalued. Women have been identified with the virgin or the whore for far too long. Language distributes power and language conveys metaphors.
Energy is not separate from things. Death is not absolute and not to be feared. Death and life balance each other out. Sexuality is sacred. It is our connection to ourselves and others. We must create justice from the power-within and no longer be victims.
We must guard ourselves and be guardians of the threshold. We must set limits and boundaries, have a sense of honor and a self esteem. Saying no to drugs and alcohol is a start to respecting ourselves. Our guardians are our deeper selves, a place where healing begins.
Hecate is the Goddess of the Crossroads. Maiden Athena is the Goddess of all things wild. Kore became Persephone and Kore is like Isis, Inana and Astarte. Patriarchal society subverts the Goddess Myth and Power of the Goddess. Men are scared by women’s power. Men deny the body’s dark demands and avoid feeling vulnerable.
Groups have structure even within the sacred circle. There is the facilitator who keeps the meeting focused and moving, the vibes watcher who watched the process, the priest or priestess who channels energy and has a duel conscious, the mediator who is neutral and resolves conflicts when needed as well as the coordinator who keeps things centered and keeps up with all the info.
You can role play when you are together. There is the lone wolf who gives advice but can’t commit. There is the Orphan who wants closeness but pushes people away. There is the filler who takes up space and whose opinion isn’t valued. There is the princess who is sensitive and competitive. There is the clown who provides comic relief but can be serious when necessary. There is the perfectionist who is the self hater. There is the rock of Gibraltar who takes on thankless tasks and is afraid to show weakness. Then there is the star, the center of the meeting who likes to impress people. It is important to try to equal out the power in the group and delegate responsibility though.
Mirroring begins with the self. All love beings with the self. The root of disease is power. Politics are deeply rooted in our sexuality. Sexuality is the way we have, as adults, to experience this particular dance deep within the caves of the body. For in sex we merge, give away, become one with another, allow ourselves to be caressed, pleasured and enfolded. We allow our sense of separation to dissolve. But in sex we all feel our impact on one another. We see our faces reflected in another’s eyes, feel ourselves confirmed and sense our power as separate human beings to make another feel.
The core of identity is their separateness. Pain and the death of victim of violence is not felt by the aggressor. They are not alive to him. Hierarchy itself is sadomasochistic. We see this again and again in the masks of the roles of guard and prisoner, teacher and student, adult and child and master and servant.
An estranged culture breeds sadists and masochists. Gay and Lesbian liberation is threatening because love or attraction to one’s own gender un-validates the idea of sex only as a reproductive function.
To honor sexuality is, ultimately, to stop defining ourselves in terms of our sexual partners, to realize that the richness of sexual attraction and experience lies in hues, its infinite shading and only our cultural estrangement restricts us to the three primary colors.
In a monogamous relationship things go in phases. We fall in love with part of ourselves and then fight for power. When we live with someone we ground the relationship in the mundane everyday things. We struggle to see their true selves and not ideal images of that person. We love what is in us and value both ourselves and them.
In our partners we have the mirror where you like what you see and don’t want to change it. We have the double that we imagine as our twin. We have the companion for ourselves. We have the one of loving nature and we have lovers who send and receive energy. Advice from Starhawk: Dance! Dance Naked! Dance Together!
My advice? Read this book if you have an interest in nature, sex, Wicca and/or feminism. It is a great book with lots of insights.