Origin of Mothers Day

Today I honor the beautiful Marie Himley Sartori, my mother,

Mama and Susie

Marie Sartori this day, nearly 98
Marie Sartori this day, nearly 98

author's mother in nursing home

and give a special tribute to Julia Ward Howe, who in 1870 wrote the following original Mother’s Day Proclamation as a protest to the carnage of the Civil War:

“Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have heart, whether our baptism be that of water or tears! Say firmly:

‘We will not have our great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.’

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limits of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period considered with its objects to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, and the great and general interests of peace.”

For the love of all mothers’ sons and daughters, let us take Julia Ward Howe’s eloquent plea to heart. Let us look at our own lives, and search out where and how each of us can contribute peace. If you are so moved, please comment on how, in your own small or large way, you add peace to the world.(more on Julia Ward Howe)

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My Country is the Earth

MotherShip Earth

I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE EARTH, and to the flora, fauna and human life that it supports, one planet indivisible,with safe air, water and soil, economic justice, equal rights and peace for all.

Earth Day, Women’s Environment and Development Organization of the Women’s Foreign Policy Council, 1996

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”

Virginia Woolf

Single New Violet

IMG_1144Near where I lie
blooms a single new violet,
virgin to human view.

Through branches tipped
with green beginnings,
I gaze at azure sky.

The wind plays the forest—
tree-creak musical phrases
sound at thrilling intervals.

At my feet, the stream
skips, and restores
my composure.

The earth’s heartbeat
pulses up,
resuscitates my being.

©Susa Silvermarie 2016

A Crone’s Coming of Age

Antiga - Herstory1 Antiga Herstory2Last Sunday at her Memoir in Music and Story, Antiga the beloved Crone of Asheville gave us the gift of her rich herstory. Born Mary Lee in 1932, she took her new name, Antiga, meaning next to earth, after she left her marriage at age 47. She came out, first as a singing Pagan then as a singing lesbian and finally as a singing witch. How did the Wise One teach us yesterday at her Musical Memoir? By singing us her lessons! “I am divine. I bless my long life… I am an aged crone. Between life and death, I provide a line.”

Unapologetic about any aspect of her far-reaching self, and in spite of her blindness and other life challenges, Antiga radiated satisfaction with her life. It was a pleasure to watch and listen to her tell her story with utter undefensiveness and simple honesty. Her posture and her open face held a noble elegance as she stood tall in front of her own shroud, the winding sheet stitched together from pieces she requested from her many friends.

Between songs, she narrated and answered questions from her eager audience. “Each time of life has its work and purpose,” Antiga said; “the maiden to begin things, the mother to create, and the crone, at her ending time, to tell the community what energies must stop…And so,” she continued, “the Dark Moon Circles I host each month are for hexing as well as singing.”

Antiga’s Musical Memoir performance was both an example of and a clarion call to transformation. Standing up to share her story at the age of 84 while she is in full possession of her amazing faculties challenges the rest of us to consider doing the same. A Crone’s coming of age, proud and public, reframes everything! If a Croning ceremony signifies an entryway to old age, then this public presentation by Antiga signifies a final crowning of old age. It was above all a bold event, a memorial service offered before death by the very one who is memorialized.

May this brand new rite of passage initiated by Antiga take root in our women’s culture and inspire other crones to pass our legacy forward in our own fashion when our time comes. The coming of age which is asked of us at this time of The Great Turning is not the first one of early adulthood, but the rich one that Antiga demonstrated, the authentic and final coming of age that can be brought forth only by the experienced Crone.

(photo credit with thanks to Sue Hibbetts)