13    INT.  STUDY - NIGHT<br />
recurring motifs that are the focus of the show<br />set the stage<br />OPENING CREDITS! <br />OK, maybe not just like; bu...
So here’s the<br />PCA/ACA & Southwest/Texas Popular Culture and <br />American Culture Associations joint conference, Sci...
YOU’re invited t‚ enter A world…<br />
BON TEMPS…<br />…WHERE BON TEMPS<br />“A PLACE SMALL ENOUGH TO LET THE DRAMA BECOME HUGE”...FAR AWAY FROM THE SCRUTINY OF ...
IS THE<br /> setting for <br />(<br />A modern-day EPIPHANY <br />of the Demeter-Perseph‚ne MYTH<br />“About myths, it is ...
inTwo TRUEblood sexual story arcs<br />one centered on Tara Thornton…<br />…the other on Sookie Stackhouse<br />…both culm...
THE characters & themes of perseph‚ne’s mythology “like they are real, not just an archetype or a symbol, but a psychic fo...
each of these story arcs – which bear both similarities and marked differences<br />res‚nate in different ways with the cl...
THE WELL-KNOWN PATRIARCHAL GREEK VERSION OF PERSEPH‚NE’S ABDUCTION AND RAPE (austen, 1990)<br />
…AND THE FEMINIST IMAGINING OF THE ORIGINAL<br />PRE-OLYMPIAN SACRED STORY IN WHICH THE<br />G‚DDESS HAD A FREE AND JOYOUS...
Produced<br />as <br />A VISUAL, multimodal, experiential TALK<br />
Cycling between TRUEblood and the mythology it enlivens, we’ll look at a few standout elements ‚f both carnal encounters &...
Virginity<br />sex-roles & stereotypes<br />Pleasure<br />Initiation<br />the erotic<br />Violence, dominance and rape<br ...
disclaimer<br />talk contains mature images & content reflecting its pr‚vocative  and adult themes <br />
BILLY id‚l<br />(“white wedding”)<br />Music by<br />
N‚ COPRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED <br />all rights to TRUEblood belong to HBO, credit is ascribed to sites where images ap...
Perseph‚ne’s mysteries confront us with the divide between Goddess and patriarchal consciousness <br />
Drawing upon 800,000 years of art;<br />a collection of the world’s images of the sacred feminine – both archaic & contemp...
contextualize modern notions about sex & gender revealed in TRUEblood within the shift from egalitarian to dominator socie...
BASED ON<br />ANALYIS & CREATIVE SYNTHESIS<br />OF TRUEblood SEASONS 1 & 3<br />LITERATURE REVIEW IN WOMEN’S STUDIES, POP ...
TALK – INCLUDING PAPER WITH CITATIONS, POWERPOINT WITH HYPERLINKED TEXT & IMAGES AND ARTW‚RK INDEX – IS AVAILABLE AT: <br ...
STOP<br />hit escape and re-start PowerPoint from next slide <br />
Persephone’s myth plays out in “a working class, Bible-belt bayou” (Poole, 2010, p. 76)<br />
“a shift in the human condition as fundamental as the expulsion of <br />Adam and Eve from the<br />Garden of Eden” (Ward,...
shifting root metaphor from mechanistic to web and ecosystem metaphors<br />shifting root metaphor from mechanistic to web...
<ul><li>the earth’s fertility
the agricultural cycle
woman’s life cycle *initiation & sexuality
the natural intimacy of the mother-daughter relationship
the primordial union between life & death</li></ul>*my main focus<br />overlaid tale of kidnap and rape obscures<br />orig...
knowledge of a different kind (than what is the case and what is true) – tales call for empathy.<br />“The tale is the for...
The Maiden’s Tragedy<br />female puberty initiation is at the heart of this  “female fairytale”;  stories in this category...
“Begging for pity and fighting him off, she is dragged into his golden chariot” (Homer, Hymn to Demeter, II. 11. 19-20 in ...
 shades of “her uncle Hades” theme in Sookie’s arc - Uncle Bartlett<br />Vicki Noble echoes Sookie’s abuse (which, since i...
“secret clefts” (Spretnak, 1989)<br />sacra<br />vulva<br />of archaic &<br />living<br />Indigenous<br />cultures<br />va...
the brutality of male-female relations in patriarchal culture (Gadon, 1989) <br />this is a revisionof older myths… <br />...
Her companions seem to dance or wave as she disappears into <br />a vagina-shaped chasm in the earth; in the right we see ...
Image may instead depict the maiden’s two companions gazing down a huge black cleft at  Persephone in willing descent. <br...
Minoan Crete<br />cooperative culture<br />egalitarian gender roles<br />both men and women were<br />frankly sexual; exal...
Contrast Tara’s flight away from her<br />“lover” (captor)<br />
Silbury Hill. Photograph. The Great<br />Goddess Pregnant. Her womb is <br />the mound, the mighty female’s body is seen i...
harpazein:   <br />“to seize, snatch, carry off,” a term usually reserved for acts of war or thievery; the assault is viol...
Spretnak<br /><ul><li>the invasion and conquest perpetrated by war-like patriarchal tribes that ushered in the decline of ...
a gradual decline in the status of women</li></ul>and the power of the Goddess*<br />*perhaps triggered by advent of liter...
whatever the impulse behind portraying Persephone as a rape victim, this violent twist was added as an overlay (Spretnak, ...
Goddess = a symbol of immanence – not “a being somewhere outside of this world or a new belief system” (Starhawk, 1982, p....
key themes repeat on global scale: vulva signs, female figurines, ancestor megaliths, and ceremonial vessels in the form o...
Lespuge Goddess<br />France, C. 21,000 BCE<br />Asherah<br />11th-6th centuries BCE<br />Israel/Palestine<br />Acheulian G...
dismembered Goddesses; represent rupture from  Goddess-centered world to “dominator” world of today. Dismemberment attribu...
Left: Mary Magdalene as prostitute, Donatello, 1454-55<br />Right: Woman, The Devil’s Door<br />12th C. CE, France<br />“D...
Sex = original sin<br /> (Stone, 1976)<br />Virulence of Church’s enforced celibacy erupted in the burning of 9 million wo...
father as virginity warrior  <br />(“the surprisingly progressive Bill of True Blood”<br />As a teen in the 1950’s feminis...
In the Homeric hymn, Persephone is referred to as Kore until her return from the underworld. Kore is a young girl of initi...
“We experience our collective annihilation repeatedly, psychically and physically, as a woman is raped every thirteen seco...
physical rape of women paralleled by rapacious attitudes toward the Earth itself…<br />with unholy glee we enter “virgin” ...
“When Franklin wanted to make Tara into his Vampire Bride he went into the King’s vault of precious period clothing at the...
1880s & 1890s phenomenon in England – the New Woman;  she<br /> sought equal legal standing, greater economic opportunitie...
“Dracula”aroused dormant passions of 19th century English women raised to subjugate their own needs. Affinity between vamp...
Sookie’s no Virgin Mary, i.e. “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38)<br />Iss...
fire & warmth<br />-VS-<br />weapons of war<br />
blooming or blunting of female sexual pleasure <br />Australian Aboriginal story  - females with  clitorises so long they ...
lesbian pleasure celebrated when it’s <br />a product for male consumption…003).<br />…and redeemed through male participa...
VIDEOsexual consciousness; the forbidden fruit<br />Persephone’s Pre-Olympian initiation would have been fertile in that i...
The Erotic = celebration & pleasureShakti is the Sanskrit term for the erotic as female life force (Austen, 1991). <br />S...
women empowered with the erotic are dangerous (Lorde, 1989);Lilith’s exile for her sexual independence – emblematic of the...
The erotic misnamed, made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, the plasticized sensation (Lorde, 1989); perverte...
“Persephone’s story (pre and post-Olympian AND Tara and Sookie’s) tells of death and re-emergence, “both in the natural wo...
Sookie-as-virgin <br />19th C. American literature of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harold ...
Beautiful Charmer; chaste and more or less free of desire though erotically alluring to others
The Divine Woman as Minister and Mediator toward sinful man (Bill professes she is “his miracle” who allows him to once ag...
a binary vision with no middle ground: Eve and Mary, Vixen and Virgin, “either sacred beyond belief, or whores from the pi...
Tara as Shakti Woman, deep Feminine and Dark Goddess<br />…”feeling the call of the Dark Goddess – the deep, serious will-...
Through the lens of gender AND race<br />Tara and Sookie’s arcs may be answering to stereotypes of black life <br />as pri...
Slave narratives originally appearing in "We are Your Sisters: Black Women in the 19th Century" by Dorothy Sterling, docum...
should not be seen only, or mainly, as victims. Despite slavery, black family ties persisted, and slaves, both men and wom...
she has directly challenged men
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  1. 1. 13 INT. STUDY - NIGHT<br />
  2. 2. recurring motifs that are the focus of the show<br />set the stage<br />OPENING CREDITS! <br />OK, maybe not just like; but inspired by…Digital Kitchen’s<br />…just like<br />“gateway from the real world…” (Kimmel, 2010, p. 3) <br />“takes us from our living rooms and into the world of True Blood” (Kimmel, 2010, p. 17)<br />quick-shot<br />complex layers of imagery<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjooosDIFgQ<br />True Blood credits in HD:<br />
  3. 3. So here’s the<br />PCA/ACA & Southwest/Texas Popular Culture and <br />American Culture Associations joint conference, Science Fiction<br />and Fantasy Area: Special Area: TRUEblood<br />True Blood Reenacts the Goddess Persephone's Ordeal of Abduction and Rape...or Self-Directed Sexual Initiation? Opening a Vein on Woman-Centered Sexuality<br />OPENING CREDITS<br />WAITINGSUCKS<br />NOW<br />
  4. 4. YOU’re invited t‚ enter A world…<br />
  5. 5. BON TEMPS…<br />…WHERE BON TEMPS<br />“A PLACE SMALL ENOUGH TO LET THE DRAMA BECOME HUGE”...FAR AWAY FROM THE SCRUTINY OF OUR EVERYDAY THOUGHTS AND REASONABLY CAPABLE OF MYSTERY”<br />IN RURAL L‚USIANA<br />“A CERTAIN FEAR AND DARKNESS”<br />“A PLACE CROWDED WITH GHOSTS”<br />RACIAL LYNCHINGS<br />23 CIVIL WAR BATTLES<br />(rogers, 2010, p. 48)<br />
  6. 6. IS THE<br /> setting for <br />(<br />A modern-day EPIPHANY <br />of the Demeter-Perseph‚ne MYTH<br />“About myths, it is striking that the same myth can refer to either initiation or sacrifice, to natural maturing as well as to the most unnatural violence” (burkeRt, 1996, p. 75) <br />
  7. 7. inTwo TRUEblood sexual story arcs<br />one centered on Tara Thornton…<br />…the other on Sookie Stackhouse<br />…both culminating in scenes featuring a white nightgown reminiscent of a wedding dress <br />
  8. 8. THE characters & themes of perseph‚ne’s mythology “like they are real, not just an archetype or a symbol, but a psychic force still making their way in the world today” (ward, 2006, p. 146) <br />WE viscerally enc‚unter<br />
  9. 9. each of these story arcs – which bear both similarities and marked differences<br />res‚nate in different ways with the classic story of descent, death and rebirth from 7th-5th century BCE (austen, 1990) <br />…both versions of it<br />
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
  12. 12.
  13. 13. THE WELL-KNOWN PATRIARCHAL GREEK VERSION OF PERSEPH‚NE’S ABDUCTION AND RAPE (austen, 1990)<br />
  14. 14. …AND THE FEMINIST IMAGINING OF THE ORIGINAL<br />PRE-OLYMPIAN SACRED STORY IN WHICH THE<br />G‚DDESS HAD A FREE AND JOYOUS SEXUALITY<br />(gadon, 1989)<br />
  15. 15. Produced<br />as <br />A VISUAL, multimodal, experiential TALK<br />
  16. 16. Cycling between TRUEblood and the mythology it enlivens, we’ll look at a few standout elements ‚f both carnal encounters & explore the charged concepts and themes of SEX and sexuality THEY ILLUMINATE<br />***<br />
  17. 17.
  18. 18.
  19. 19. Virginity<br />sex-roles & stereotypes<br />Pleasure<br />Initiation<br />the erotic<br />Violence, dominance and rape<br />attitudes toward sexually autonomous women<br />the sacred sexual<br />
  20. 20. disclaimer<br />talk contains mature images & content reflecting its pr‚vocative and adult themes <br />
  21. 21.
  22. 22.
  23. 23. BILLY id‚l<br />(“white wedding”)<br />Music by<br />
  24. 24. N‚ COPRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED <br />all rights to TRUEblood belong to HBO, credit is ascribed to sites where images appearing here were originally found <br />Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use<br />
  25. 25. Perseph‚ne’s mysteries confront us with the divide between Goddess and patriarchal consciousness <br />
  26. 26.
  27. 27. Drawing upon 800,000 years of art;<br />a collection of the world’s images of the sacred feminine – both archaic & contemporary - Chosen for visual impact and cross-cultural perspective <br />*clusters of art feature a representative piece sketching its historical, archaeological, mythological & anthropological context, all other figures are indexed<br />And myth, histories, and poetry; prose, chants, guided meditations & ritual to help you experience this talk inwardly & respond with feelings and imagination<br />
  28. 28.
  29. 29.
  30. 30. contextualize modern notions about sex & gender revealed in TRUEblood within the shift from egalitarian to dominator societal structure<br />We WILL<br />explore w‚man and sex-positive cultures<br />Identify models for sexual and b‚dy sacrality – both female and male <br />
  31. 31. BASED ON<br />ANALYIS & CREATIVE SYNTHESIS<br />OF TRUEblood SEASONS 1 & 3<br />LITERATURE REVIEW IN WOMEN’S STUDIES, POP CULTURE, MYTHOLOGY, RELIGIOUS STUDIES, HISTORY, 19TH CENTURY & CONTEMPORARY FICTION<br />AND<br />
  32. 32.
  33. 33. TALK – INCLUDING PAPER WITH CITATIONS, POWERPOINT WITH HYPERLINKED TEXT & IMAGES AND ARTW‚RK INDEX – IS AVAILABLE AT: <br />WWW.PIERCEDPOMEGRANATE.BLOGSPOT.COM<br />WRITTEN AND DIRECTED<br />BY<br />IN LEUI ‚F<br />HANDOUTS<br />(GREEN IS GOOD!) !)<br />RACHEL e. seiler<br />lmsw, ph.d<br />Rachel.Seiler@hotmail.com<br />
  34. 34. STOP<br />hit escape and re-start PowerPoint from next slide <br />
  35. 35. Persephone’s myth plays out in “a working class, Bible-belt bayou” (Poole, 2010, p. 76)<br />
  36. 36. “a shift in the human condition as fundamental as the expulsion of <br />Adam and Eve from the<br />Garden of Eden” (Ward, 2005, p. 69) <br />a social reality of many women’s<br /> lives under the emerging patriarchy (Gadon, 1989) <br />
  37. 37. shifting root metaphor from mechanistic to web and ecosystem metaphors<br />shifting root metaphor from mechanistic to web and ecosystem metaphors<br />Systems thinker Sally Goerner (2001) suggests a speedy rethinking is crucial because<br /> we can destroy ourselves more rapidly and more thoroughly than at any other time in history. <br />transdisciplinary theorists call for paradigm shift <br />(Morin & Kern, 1999; Nicolescu, 2002; Plumwood, 1993; Wilshire, 1990); a new vision to replace the dichotomous thinking forming <br /> the bedrock of modern society & its many ills. <br />The “great turning” thesis <br />self-generated metamorphosis; civilization <br />transforms as a result of pressure, pushing from inside-out. <br />from mechanistic to web metaphor<br />paradigm shift underway <br />we are reaching critical mass<br />(Goerner, 2001)<br />The Goddess is reappearing in our midst as a symbol of healing necessary for our survival – a transformation of consciousness that<br /> holds promise of renewal (Gadon, 1989) <br />
  38. 38. <ul><li>the earth’s fertility
  39. 39. the agricultural cycle
  40. 40. woman’s life cycle *initiation & sexuality
  41. 41. the natural intimacy of the mother-daughter relationship
  42. 42. the primordial union between life & death</li></ul>*my main focus<br />overlaid tale of kidnap and rape obscures<br />original theme: “the flowering of daughter’s gentle nature into<br />compassionate womanhood” (Gadon, 1989, p. 150).<br />
  43. 43. knowledge of a different kind (than what is the case and what is true) – tales call for empathy.<br />“The tale is the form through which the complex experience becomes communicable” (Burkert, 1996, p. 56).<br />“something that never was and always is”<br />~Jean Houston (Mendel, 2009, p. 17)<br />the organic truth of the mythic tale<br />archetypal relevance<br />exists in temporal construct; imaginal realm in which new forms evolve<br />(Mendel, 2009)<br />a cosmology; a form of condensed <br />history summarizing centuries of social, political and economic change in one story<br />teaching devices which transmit the values of <br />a culture; because they are alive they change to meet the needs<br /> of the people (Austen, 1990).<br />Tara& Sookie’s story arcs illustrate dynamic tension of an evolving mythology for our times; which path/pole will we choose RE: the representation of power, control, sexuality, the feminine, the masculine in our culture? <br />
  44. 44. The Maiden’s Tragedy<br />female puberty initiation is at the heart of this “female fairytale”; stories in this category exhibit the same basic structure and clearly parallel motifs. Pattern differs from the heroic quest and follows a sequence reflected in Persephone’s myth.<br />(Burkert, 1996)<br />
  45. 45.
  46. 46. “Begging for pity and fighting him off, she is dragged into his golden chariot” (Homer, Hymn to Demeter, II. 11. 19-20 in Gadon, 1989)<br />note the wondrous, magical, glowing narcissus<br />that lured her into the trap<br />
  47. 47. shades of “her uncle Hades” theme in Sookie’s arc - Uncle Bartlett<br />Vicki Noble echoes Sookie’s abuse (which, since it wasn’t penetrative rape, Sookie minimized as “just touching”):<br />“Women today are remembering their early sexual invasions. The father, stepfather, grandfather, brother, uncle – all the males who should be protecting young girls until they are old enough to leave the nest – are fucking them against their will, <br />even before they have developed the will” <br />“…modern women are determined to get out from under the devastation of these early childhood<br /> experiences” (1991, p. 194) <br />
  48. 48. “secret clefts” (Spretnak, 1989)<br />sacra<br />vulva<br />of archaic &<br />living<br />Indigenous<br />cultures<br />vagina-shaped fissure<br />signifying rebirth<br />
  49. 49. the brutality of male-female relations in patriarchal culture (Gadon, 1989) <br />this is a revisionof older myths… <br />Prior to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (7th C. BCE) <br />no mention of rape in the ancient cult of Demeter and her daughter, nor was there rape in the traditions antecedent to Demeter’s mythology (Spretnak, 1989).<br />Mary Frank, PERSEPHONE, 1985<br />The fragmentary reclining figure of Persephone<br />with her great mane of hair is an image of<br />devastation, a powerful expression of the mythic<br />them of abduction & rape (Gadon, 1989)<br />
  50. 50. Her companions seem to dance or wave as she disappears into <br />a vagina-shaped chasm in the earth; in the right we see a highly sexualized flower sent up by the earth to lure Persephone.<br />PERSEPHONE’S DESCENT, 2000 BCE. Drawing after painting on the inner surface of cup. Terracotta. Minoan. (Gadon, p. 147, 1989)<br />vulva was 1st religious symbol, representing the doorway, entry to life, leave-taking at death (Noble, 1991)<br />highly sexualized flower (s)<br /> to lure Persephone (Tara)?<br />
  51. 51. Image may instead depict the maiden’s two companions gazing down a huge black cleft at Persephone in willing descent. <br />floral decoupage mirror signifying youth and fertility?<br />THE MAIDEN<br />7th millennium BCE<br />Catal Hüyük <br />The Youthful Goddess<br />is exuberant<br />(Gadon, p. 28)<br />
  52. 52.
  53. 53. Minoan Crete<br />cooperative culture<br />egalitarian gender roles<br />both men and women were<br />frankly sexual; exalted in proud<br />physicality (Gadon, 1989)<br /> civilization pulsing with, suffused, quickened by and with Eros…<br />“feeling of deep connection to other people and all beings in the web of life” (Christ, 1997, p. 107); of which sexuality is a part <br />
  54. 54. Contrast Tara’s flight away from her<br />“lover” (captor)<br />
  55. 55. Silbury Hill. Photograph. The Great<br />Goddess Pregnant. Her womb is <br />the mound, the mighty female’s body is seen in profile. Not meant to be viewed from a distance but experienced directly<br />The early agricultural rites of Demeter in Crete were mimetic…the people magically evoked by their own actions the fertility of the earth. This magic probably included invocation, singing, dancing, and lovemaking. <br />The people celebrated their own sexuality in harmony with the creative powers of nature, as natural, human and divine (Gadon, 1989, p. 158).<br />May Day celebrations contain vestiges of <br />the sacred sexual rites of the past; can we <br />tap once again into this deeper level <br />of connection and being?<br />Gadon, 1989, pp.78-79<br />
  56. 56. harpazein: <br />“to seize, snatch, carry off,” a term usually reserved for acts of war or thievery; the assault is violent and Persephone is unwilling (Gadon, 1989). <br />
  57. 57. Spretnak<br /><ul><li>the invasion and conquest perpetrated by war-like patriarchal tribes that ushered in the decline of Goddess culture (Spretnak, 1989).
  58. 58. a gradual decline in the status of women</li></ul>and the power of the Goddess*<br />*perhaps triggered by advent of literacy which favored development of the left-brain and its linear-rational reasoning over the meditative, artistic interpretation of reality of goddess-centric archaic cultures like: <br />Ice Age, Old Europe as described by Marija Gimbutas, Çatal Hüyük as described by James Mellaart, the pre-patriarchal Mediterranean, Near, & Middle East and Africa, etc. (Mendel, 2009)<br />
  59. 59. whatever the impulse behind portraying Persephone as a rape victim, this violent twist was added as an overlay (Spretnak, 1989) obscuring the older woman-centered culture <br />rock murals, clay and bronze pots, & countless figurines - which were in earliest human cultures almost exclusively female <br />
  60. 60. Goddess = a symbol of immanence – not “a being somewhere outside of this world or a new belief system” (Starhawk, 1982, p. 11) or <br />the opposite of male godhead. <br />Life force, “all-that-is”; encompasses “the feminine – parts of whole missing , denied & suppressed in dominant culture – nurturance, compassion, sensuality, egalitarianism, emotions, the body & “the masculine” – balanced power, fierceness, rationality , etc. <br />term “Goddess” applied here to images representing <br />Ancestors, Spirits, other beings revered as <br />Goddesses are in other cultures; used as it conveys <br />the most power in the English language & to compensate for <br />suppression of the Sacred Feminine (Austen, 1990). <br />
  61. 61. key themes repeat on global scale: vulva signs, female figurines, ancestor megaliths, and ceremonial vessels in the form of women or female breasts. <br />these recurring signs reflect spiritual <br />concerns and ritual life of the people who created them. <br />commonalities recur in artifacts of diverse archaic cultures; same patterns appear in more recent indigenous societies in the Americas, Africa, parts of Asia. <br />http://www.suppressedhistories.net/<br />
  62. 62. Lespuge Goddess<br />France, C. 21,000 BCE<br />Asherah<br />11th-6th centuries BCE<br />Israel/Palestine<br />Acheulian Goddess – Golan Heights 800,00 yrs. old <br />She pervaded…<br />…truly lived amongst her people<br />Great Goddess of Willendorf<br />Europe, C. 25,000 BCE<br />Imagine holding one of these Goddesses in your hand. Feel her roundness, the comforting security of it. <br />Imagine carrying her throughout your day’s work…<br />…on your travels, sleeping with her beside your bed, waking up beside her (Austen, 1990, pp. 4-5). <br />For 25,000 years+ the female body was revered as sacred. How might living in such a culture make you feel about women? The world? <br />
  63. 63. dismembered Goddesses; represent rupture from Goddess-centered world to “dominator” world of today. Dismemberment attributed to a male god who replaced the Goddess in every culture (Noble, 1991). <br />Coyolxauhqui, Aztec Moon Goddess<br />Slain by her brother<br />new male Gods solidified authority in heavens, as did warrior-invaders on the ground, by abducting, raping and marrying women, priestesses, queens, or Goddesses of the region (Gadon, 1989). <br />
  64. 64. Left: Mary Magdalene as prostitute, Donatello, 1454-55<br />Right: Woman, The Devil’s Door<br />12th C. CE, France<br />“Do you not realise, Eve that it is you?<br />The curse of God pronounced on your sex <br />weighs still on the world. Guilty you must bear its hardships. You are the devil’s gateway, you desecrated the fatal tree, you first betrayed the Law of God, you softened up with your cajoling words the man against whom the devil could not prevail by force. The image of God, Adam, you broke him as if he were a plaything. You deserved death, and it was the son of God who had to die!”<br />(Tertullian)<br />
  65. 65. Sex = original sin<br /> (Stone, 1976)<br />Virulence of Church’s enforced celibacy erupted in the burning of 9 million women in Europe, the Inquisition, the Malleus Maleficarum…<br />“blaming of the flesh;”<br /> (Sanchez-Grant, 2008,<br />p. 89). Female body as <br />site of oppression; <br />naturally unstable, <br />deficient, unruly<br />Left: THE WITCHES SABBATH<br />German, 1510. brazen nakedness was a sign of witches' evil nature. Once held as sacred, female body now represented depravity<br />…women accused of being “carnal” at the core, the source of every temptation for men, linked with evil, sin, & degradation (Noble, 1991)<br />Adam = soul type, Eve = of the flesh (Stone, 1976)<br />gendered hierarchical dualisms<br />
  66. 66. father as virginity warrior <br />(“the surprisingly progressive Bill of True Blood”<br />As a teen in the 1950’s feminist writer Vicki Noble was shattered when her father accused her of being pregnant, since “on some unconscious level I must have been keeping my hymen intact for him” (1991, p. 196)<br />Ms. Magazine blog post praised “the suprisingly progressive Bill of True Blood “ who, “Despite his reluctance to vamparent” is<br />patient with his new vampire daughter and is a “nice trade from dad as quasi-virginity warrior”; he understands she is a sexual being & respects her relationship with Hoyt. <br />http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/06/20/whos-the-best-vampire-dad/<br />
  67. 67. In the Homeric hymn, Persephone is referred to as Kore until her return from the underworld. Kore is a young girl of initiatory age; synonymous with the Greek parthenos, “maiden, virgin” (Gadon, 1989). <br />Helios, the Sun God, reveals the truth to Demeter about her daughter’s abduction, then tries to assure her there’s no need to be angry, Hades is a worthy son-in-law, a member of her own lineage <br />
  68. 68. “We experience our collective annihilation repeatedly, psychically and physically, as a woman is raped every thirteen seconds in North America…” (Noble, 1991, p. 3).<br />
  69. 69. physical rape of women paralleled by rapacious attitudes toward the Earth itself…<br />with unholy glee we enter “virgin” territory…she must be conquered, reduced, put in her place…The Earth must be entered, emptied, changed. She can be made to “yield up her secrets”. We will have from her what we need (Razak, 1991, p. 165). <br />Rape as dominant social and cultural metaphor for behavior<br />primary model for the interactions between developing nations and the dominant Euro-Western cultures <br />this link is shown in the myths of Persephone and of the Japanese Sun goddess Amaterasu (Austen, 1990).<br />
  70. 70. “When Franklin wanted to make Tara into his Vampire Bride he went into the King’s vault of precious period clothing at the Mansion and swiped this gorgeous Victorian nightgown for Tara because it resembles a wedding dress”.<br />http://www.ancientpythoness.com/2010/10/02/<br />
  71. 71. 1880s & 1890s phenomenon in England – the New Woman; she<br /> sought equal legal standing, greater economic opportunities, political<br /> equality, and sexual emancipation (McCabe, 2010).<br />“Sookie actualizes…a fully developed erotic life” (Hirschbein, <br />p. 125)<br />“True Blood sends a sex-positive message, at least on the <br />surface…Sookie’s growing sexual self-confidence is a central theme of the show’s first season” (Cranton & Jonell, 2010, 114) p. 114). <br />Gibson Girls<br />
  72. 72. “Dracula”aroused dormant passions of 19th century English women raised to subjugate their own needs. Affinity between vampiric and female sexuality suggested; both represented as primitive and voracious, both threaten patriarchal hegemony. <br />The Count’s worst sin may have been not only rendering women capable of enjoying sex, but transforming them into sexual aggressors (McCabe, 2010). <br />The legends of Innana contain some of the most erotic, female, and eros-positive literature known; the words of her female attendants reflect an intimate and possibly sexual relationship with the Goddess’ body (Austen, 1990).<br />she’s described as “dominant partner” in sacred marriage; brings her lover to her own house, is asked as the Queen of Heaven to allow him to enjoy long days at her holy lap (Gadon, 1989). <br />
  73. 73. Sookie’s no Virgin Mary, i.e. “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38)<br />Issues/concerns RE: her relationship with Bill aside…she’s initiated on HER OWN TERMS<br />
  74. 74.
  75. 75.
  76. 76. fire & warmth<br />-VS-<br />weapons of war<br />
  77. 77. blooming or blunting of female sexual pleasure <br />Australian Aboriginal story - females with clitorises so long they drag on the ground are the most active characters. When men win power, they shorten the women’s genitals. Interestingly, the clitoris is the only organ whose sole function is pleasure. (Austen, 1991) <br />Noble<br />Middle Eastern clitoridectomies; American girls who masturbated were subjected to the same by the gynecological establishment (Noble, 1991).<br />
  78. 78. lesbian pleasure celebrated when it’s <br />a product for male consumption…003).<br />…and redeemed through male participation. If the women do not conform to stereotypically “feminine” standards of beauty, their desire for each other is repulsive and a threat. Lesbianism is acceptable only given a phallocentric logic; without a penis, there is no “real” sex. From a heterocentric perspective, lesbian fetishism is not about actual female-to-female desire but about a cute show for male consumption (Rivera, 2003). <br />
  79. 79. VIDEOsexual consciousness; the forbidden fruit<br />Persephone’s Pre-Olympian initiation would have been fertile in that it was a complex, transformative experience<br />Death, life, male, female and, above all, <br />the irrepressible power of reproduction—all are found in the image of <br />the pomegranate seed. It is this seed that Persephone takes within <br />her body—literally incorporating it into her own being. With this seed, <br />she becomes a new person: whole, mature, fertile, and infinitely more <br />complex than before. Having tasted it, she has crossed a barrier from<br /> which there can be no turning back. (Gadon, 1989, p. 159)<br />
  80. 80. The Erotic = celebration & pleasureShakti is the Sanskrit term for the erotic as female life force (Austen, 1991). <br />Sexually sovereign goddesses alive with Eros: <br />
  81. 81. women empowered with the erotic are dangerous (Lorde, 1989);Lilith’s exile for her sexual independence – emblematic of the Judeo-Christian suppression of women (Austen, 1991).<br />
  82. 82. The erotic misnamed, made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, the plasticized sensation (Lorde, 1989); perverted by ideas associated with pornography (Martin, 1995). <br />In Euro-Western culture, the erotic denigrated and relegated to so few areas of life that its remaining expressions are overloaded & distorted (Austen, 1991). <br />We are taught to separate the erotic from most vital areas of our lives other than sex – and to take the true eroticout of our sex. <br />“…to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings” (Lorde, 1989, p. 211).<br />How would our society differ for men and women if the erotic’s true psychic and emotional components were fully integrated in our lives?<br />
  83. 83. “Persephone’s story (pre and post-Olympian AND Tara and Sookie’s) tells of death and re-emergence, “both in the natural world and in our own psyches”,“process of soul-making” (Austen, 1991, p. 72).<br />Tara as living 19th century author Margaret Fuller’s theme of “having been her own Redeemer, if not her own Creator”…<br />…”creative spiritual force of awakened womanhood” “regenerate and self-reliant womanhood”, (Gatta, 1997, p. 34) <br />“woman’s capacity for fecundity and self-reliant renewal” (p. 36) <br />Women are choosing to heal ourselves from the world illness of Patriarchy. <br />We have no choice. We are having a collective near-death experience, <br />and the blinding light of it is showing us how to transform our lives” (Noble, 1991, p.6).<br />female shamanism, a gradual mastery of oneself, and a healing or recovery from the chronic<br /> dis-ease of our time. <br />
  84. 84. Sookie-as-virgin <br />19th C. American literature of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harold Frederic, Henry Adams, T.S. Eliot <br />Themes:<br /><ul><li>“mystique of surpassing purity and latent sexuality”
  85. 85. Beautiful Charmer; chaste and more or less free of desire though erotically alluring to others
  86. 86. The Divine Woman as Minister and Mediator toward sinful man (Bill professes she is “his miracle” who allows him to once again contact his humanity)
  87. 87. a binary vision with no middle ground: Eve and Mary, Vixen and Virgin, “either sacred beyond belief, or whores from the pits of hell”. (Parlour, 2009, p. 3, ¶2). </li></li></ul><li>alternativeview of virginity - whole unto oneself; sexual autonomy is a reflection of political freedom (Austen, 1991). <br />“virgin” goddesses: Diana/Artemis the Huntress, Kwan Yin, <br />Diana/Artemis of Ephesus<br />
  88. 88. Tara as Shakti Woman, deep Feminine and Dark Goddess<br />…”feeling the call of the Dark Goddess – the deep, serious will-to-live…” (Noble, 1991, p. 7) <br />Black woman in Ntozake Shange’s play sang “i found god in myself / and i loved her / i love her fiercely” <br />end of Season 3 - a new Tara, leaving Bon Temps. Is she reasserting her female life force; the need for black femaleness in a culture that devalues blackness and femaleness? <br />
  89. 89. Through the lens of gender AND race<br />Tara and Sookie’s arcs may be answering to stereotypes of black life <br />as primal, sexual, violent. <br />“A female’s dark looks diminish her femininity” (Rivera, 2003, p. 133). <br />"white colonial society simply denied the 'rights of womanhood' to black slaves" (Abramovitz, 1996, p. 60) - particularly in the South.<br />After the slave trade outlawed in 1808, inhumane "breeding" of slaves emerged. <br />Threat of sexual assault from white masters and overseers was constant. Virtually all of the slave narratives contain accounts of the sexual victimization of slave women. <br />
  90. 90. Slave narratives originally appearing in "We are Your Sisters: Black Women in the 19th Century" by Dorothy Sterling, documenting rampant (sexual) abuse <br />Ma mama said that a nigger 'oman couldn't help herself, fo' she had to do what de marster say. Ef he come to de field whar de women workin' an' tel gal to come on, she had to go, He would take one down in de woods an use her all de time he wanted to, den send her on back to work. Times nigger 'omen had chillun for de marster an his sons and some times it was fo' de ovah seer. <br />I don't like to talk 'bout dem times 'cause my mother did suffer misery. You know dar was an overseer who use to tie mother up in the barn wid a rope aroun' her arms up over her head, while she stood on a block. Soon as dey got her tied, di block was moved an' her feet dangled, you know, couldn't tech de flo'. Dis ole man, now would start beaten' her nekked 'til the blood run down her back to her heels. I asked mother 'what she done fer 'em to beat and do her so? She said, 'Nothin 'other dan 'fuse to be wife to dis man'.<br />(Abramovitz, 1996, p. 64)<br />
  91. 91. should not be seen only, or mainly, as victims. Despite slavery, black family ties persisted, and slaves, both men and women, resisted their subordination.<br />…we must consider slavery’s legacy<br />we see some of this in Tara's character development and story arc;<br /><ul><li> she is depicted as a strong self-educated woman
  92. 92. she has directly challenged men
  93. 93. Bill over the issue of slavery in his family
  94. 94. Sam over what she perceives as his racism in their sexual relationship
  95. 95. Andy and Bud over what she views as illegitimate police power</li></ul>Might her sexual relationships be problematized in part due to the history of female slave's sexual exploitation by white men- especially given Franklin - her rapist and captor’s - racial identity?<br />
  96. 96. new/old models for sex and body sacrality – both female & male <br />“Restoring the erotic…is a political act…<br />…There are many sex-negative attitudes in straight, gay, and lesbian culture.<br />…To experience dynamic relatedness and to integrate one’s sexuality and spirituality are huge contributions to the evolution of life-affirming consciousness” <br />(Martin, 1995, pp. xi-xiii). <br />
  97. 97. Self-Blessing Ritual<br />In a culture that associates women’s bodies with prurience – a morbid sexual desire; a propensity to lewdness, animal, marked by an appetite or passion of the body - we can come to a self-possessed, resacralized carnality of the female body through the concept of the self-blessing ritual. <br />“It is a woman’s own self-blessing on herself; her own divinity is honored in a ritual with herself. It is a self-affirmation…” (Budapest, p. 269). <br />No division between the mundane and the sacred; we don’t need someone else to mediate our experience of the divine. In this, we are virgin – whole unto ourselves. <br />
  98. 98. “Z., how can you allow biology to become destiny again?” (p. 271).<br />(re)sacralized female body and sex<br />
  99. 99. Use images to: <br /><ul><li>Picture goddesses in public places or in your living room, or that you make offerings to them daily, as people have done throughout time.
  100. 100. Try somatic research; take the pose of a Goddess to find out more about her qualities and what she conveys. </li></ul>If physically difficult, do as <br />much as you can, or use imagination. <br />Try moving as she might move, speaking what she might say. Let yourself become her; let her become you (Austen, 1990).<br />
  101. 101. We need new images of masculinity (Christ, 1997)<br />Many men uncomfortable with our culture’s image of male heroes as warriors, <br />conquerors of women and nature. <br />Growing number of men (i.e. writers Ralph Metzner, Tim Ward, etc.) have discovered <br />in the civilization of the Goddess a vision of a culture that affirms their <br />search for a “non-warring, non-dominating social system” (Christ, 1997, p. 7). <br />Rasak (1991) suggests that in a society that wishes us to see men as devoid of all feelings, let us hold an image of men as nurturers:<br />“Nurturing is not a genetically feminine attribute. Tears and laughter are not the province of women only. The last time I looked, men had tear ducts. They had arms for holding babies. They cared about their children. And they cried at births. Let the shared experience of childbirth reclaim the human soul” (pp. 94-95).<br />
  102. 102. <ul><li>what IS The Masculine, what IS The Feminine - can they be rigidly defined, or are their boundaries porous?</li></ul>Alan Ball wants Lafayette to embody the masculine AND the feminine. ..<br />Terry Bellefleur, self-described as "a nurturer"; an odd juxtaposition with his military background<br />
  103. 103. In conclusion…<br /><ul><li>Talk was not meant to be exhaustive or authoritative
  104. 104. Aim was not to to
  105. 105. idealize women over men or to paint broad brushstrokes
  106. 106. romanticize or appropriate other cultures</li></ul>...no culture represented here is perfect, virtually all from 3,000 BCE to present have overlays of patriarchy and its attendant ills: sexism, racism, colonialism, classism, homophobia, etc. (Austen, 1990) <br /><ul><li>call for a retreat to the past. </li></ul>…although many scholars of archaic Goddess-based cultures agree that <br />they showed all the signs of peaceful egalitarianism - as Gadon <br />(1989, p. 377) writes, "We cannot - would not - wish to return to <br />some golden prehistoric age; but in reclaiming our lost heritage we can<br /> build upon the values encoded in the prehistoric survivals".<br />
  107. 107. Please accept my deepest gratitude for attending my presentation and for being such a wonderful audience!<br />

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