There are times in the Open Table when a reflection does not come close to capturing the essence of the evening much less offer something that is close to the depth of the live experience. This reflection will be one that falls into that category. Alex Kimball Williams joined the Open Table to explore aspects of First Nation or Native worldviews as they intersect with the Sacred Feminine.
Alex started the discussion with (re)defining some terms from the Native American perspective:
- Relationship: any connection to another person or ourselves.
- Person: any plant, animal, fungi or non-living resource.
- Completed Relationship: a connection where each level of magnitude has been acknowledged, respected, embraced.
- Example: Appreciating water for providing us with hydration, yet also accepting and appreciating floods.
Alex then went on to discuss some aspects of indigenous philosophy. The largest part of this discussion was about deep eco-centric ideals within the indigenous traditions. There is a deep ecological and environmental philosophy that uplifts the inherent worth of living beings regardless of their utility to human needs.
This ecological philosophy, when combined with aspects of the divine feminine, is where Alex took the largest focus of her talk. Ecofeminism ties together ecological and feminist issues and beliefs, regarding both of these as a resulting from male domination of society. It discusses how both the environment and women are abused in similar ways and along similar timelines. In other words, the interconnectedness of nature is seen in womxn.
Alex challenged us to reflect: What are some of the ways you have seen women and the environment similarly abused? Can you think of examples of the way our society places anthropocentric values over any and all ecological values?
After some reflection time, Alex pointed out that a sense of radical self-love is one of the most important parts of the divine feminine in an indigenous perspective. She then had us participate in some exercises that challenge how we see ourselves and how we see another person. The exercise challenged us to take some of the worst things we say to ourselves about ourselves and say them to someone else about them. Could you really say something so mean to someone you love? As it turns out, the meanest things that we say we say to ourselves.
In between the various exercises and talks about Alex presented us, they’re also performances of modern style music and poetry that Alex had written. Those ideas and exercises can be all be heard on our podcast.