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Cassandra Speaks by Elizabeth Lesser: Part 1: Sophia

Today I read the “She’s got the whole world in her hand” chapter in “Cassandra Speaks” by Elizabeth Lesser. This chapter made me mad that I was raised on the ideas she exposes and it also made me feel justified that I haven’t believed in those ideas for the past 10+ years. Here are my notes.

The Book of Sirach Ecclesiasticus is a book of moral instruction that used to be part of the bible but removed. Originally written in 200 BCE- It has many quotes on what a women should be and how fathers should care for their daughters. The erroneous teachings can be distilled down to the following:

  • Men are better than women, even the wicked men.
  • A woman’s sense of shame is deserved.
  • A women should be silent
  • Men dominate women to protect women from other men
  • Alliances between women are dangerous.

Biblical Teachings about Women Influences Today

The author then researched how these teachings and other similar teachings in the old and new testament influenced Jewish and Christian theologians and then traced the influence to modern literature.

The author includes multiple quotes from Ancient Siddur, Timothy, St. Augustine, Saint Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther about how basically women are bad and men are good. Outrageous quotes. Here is one from Martin Luther “If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that is why they are there. “

If all of history painted women as bad and men as good women might have risen up a long time ago but it history didn’t paint it like that. They extolled sacred wisdom in women but it had to be earned. This quieted and confused women and men.

Dualism view on women

There was a dualism introduced throughout history. You could worship the divine feminism but also mistrust the flesh and blood women. There were images of the female isn’t inherently divine. She has to work for it. If she’s quiet, virginal, subservient, then her sacred spark will be brighter than her sinful instincts.

Today there is still images of good girl (submissive, pure) or bad girl (empowered, embodied and sexual).

What women could be/are

Women have interesting and every changing mixtures of those “good girl, bad girl” qualities.

The Sophia statue in Sophia Bulgaria was installed in 2000 after removing the statue of Lenin. See the image below. She is erotic, pagan, holy and high. She’s every woman and Queen. She’s in a body that isn’t purposed to be temptation or a curse. She holds the whole world in her hand..she holds a symbol of peace.

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I read as part of my morning routine. I’ll share my notes about what I read here.

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