Empowerment, Goddess

Goddesses Don’t Wear Bras

 

Friends, it’s hotter than Brigid’s forge in lower Alabama, so I’ve been going sans bra as much as possible. It’s ridiculous to be layered when atmospheric conditions are at rain forest levels. If it would not result in arrest, I’d probably go around naked through the Dog Days of summer. Since public nudity isn’t an option, I can at least shed my bra.

If you trace the word brassiere to its Old French origin, it means armor or “a protector for the arm.” I’m not going into battle, so why do I need “armor” for my breasts? Why does any woman? What are we protecting our breasts from, or rather, why is the world still so concerned with the appearance of breasts that we spend $16 billion on bras annually? Such a waste of funds!

When I look at ancient statues of goddesses, so many of them are bare breasted. Consider the Venus of Willendorf, or Astarte, or the Minoan Snake Goddess…I could go on. All of them reflect eras when the life-giving, nurturing aspect of the Goddess was honored. Breasts were powerful, not just sexual. They represented fertility, sustenance, and abundance of the land and its people. Goddesses don’t wear bras. The very idea would be insulting.

Today, breasts are hypersexualized, objectified, and somewhat divorced from their main function. Ask any woman who has breastfed her child, and she will describe the challenges of doing this in public without feeling shamed and judged. Society is much too worried about the appearance of a woman’s nipples, despite the fact men have them, too.

How far we have fallen from our matriarchal roots.

When I posted about bra hatred on my personal Facebook page, several friends raised their virtual hands in agreement. We discussed the fact that even when we go braless, we often resort to hacks like covering our nipples with those nifty circular Band-Aids if we’re wearing tight clothing. So even if our breasts are freed from the underwire cage, our nipples might still be muffled under cheap adhesive bandages or nude-colored pasties. Why? Because we feel self-conscious. Our culture has made us believe that if our breasts bounce and our nipples show, we will be considered loose and immoral. We’ve been trained to avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention, lest we be assaulted, raped, or killed.

Yes, trained—and it all begins with the training bra we’re told to wear at the first signs of sexual development. Think about it. Who or what is being trained? Are we training our breasts to get used to the bra, or are we training ourselves to conform to a social standard that we didn’t even set? I remember asking my mom for one, because all the other girls in school were beginning to wear them. I was beginning to feel self-conscious without a bra, which shows just how much pressure girls are under to conform. The message we internalize is that there is something much too vulgar and tempting about breasts, so they must be hidden under double layers of fabric. We carry that message our whole lives, unless we consciously work to reclaim our natural beauty and worth. Reaching way back into our collective memory and connecting with the Goddess is a doorway to the process of reclaiming our selfhood.

Thankfully, some wonderful teachers and empowerment coaches are now actively assisting in the work of showing us better ways to appreciate and work with our bodies. Saida Desilets, Ph.D., creator of the Taoist-based Jade Goddess teachings, describes the energetic quality of breasts in this way:

Our breasts are considered our love center because they sit on either side of our heart and represent the external expression of our heart chi. Chi naturally flows from our heart center out into the world. Our breasts have long been a symbol for nurturing and loving energy. They also hold the secret to our longevity. (206)

Susun Weed, herbalist and author of The Wise Woman Way, also speaks of the power we hold in our breasts:

We are the Ancient GrandMothers and our breasts are ancient. Perhaps you find them ugly. See how they drift yearningly toward the Earth, lower with every passing year. We smile knowingly; we know our breasts contain a power that is resilient, flexible, supple, easy, and impossible to restrain. Whether the whim of fashion says our breasts are to be large or small, pointed or flattened, with cleavage or without, padded or bound, accented or obscured, it matters not to us. Our breasts fall free, untouched by current notions. The power of our breasts is the power of life.

Yet, we block and constrict that power, and we’ve been doing so for the last 500 years since the introduction of the corset.

I have this fantasy that women all over the globe will join together in a Bra Burning Day. I see us all flinging off our constricting garments of torture and dancing around the flames, never looking back. I see men there with us, drumming in the outer circle, supporting us lovingly and committing to the work of demolishing the old paradigms.

May we unlearn the rules imposed upon us by earlier generations that were ruled by fear and shame. May we nourish our breasts with freedom of movement, healthy relationships, massage, good nutrition, and a positive self-image. May we remember that we are the reflections of the goddesses of old, who are still alive and within us now, calling forth our courage and our love.

So Mote It Be

Copyright © 2017 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved.


Désilets, Saida. Emergence of the Sensual Woman: Awakening Our Erotic Innocence. Kihei, HI: Jade Goddess Publishing, 2006. Print.

Weed, Susun S. “Ancient Breasts.” Wise Woman Herbal Ezine, www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/February09/breasthealth.htm. Accessed 14 July 2017.

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Empowerment, Goddess

Being a Succulent Woman

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The word succulent always makes me think of a perfectly ripe peach—the kind you can bite into and feel the juice dribble down your chin. Maybe that’s appropriate for a writer who has lived her whole life in the Peach State, even though South Carolina grows a lot more of them than we do here in Georgia.

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Despite my roots, I’ll admit that I tend to recoil at the Georgia Peach stereotype—tan, blonde, cut-off jeans, cowboy boots, deep southern drawl, and even deeper cleavage. There’s nothing wrong with that image per se, but it’s one extremely narrow view of Southern women. We don’t all fit into that mold, I assure you, no matter how many country songs say otherwise.

Maybe I could identify as a Peach if it meant something more…perhaps a woman who is vibrantly alive and sensual, radiating her Divine Feminine essence, living her truth, sharing her gifts with the world, and making an impact. That’s what I think of as true succulence, and it’s the only peachiness I’ll claim as my own.

Many moons ago, a friend gave me a copy of Succulent Wild Woman by Sark, and that blessed little book cracked open a new door. I had just emerged from a long-term relationship, and I felt the exact opposite of succulent…more like the vast, parched terrain of the Mojave. My friend was a writer as well, and she knew I needed something to pull me out of my pity party if I was ever going to create again. Somewhere between the pages of Sark’s rainbow-hued illustrations and her gentle encouragement, I found the me that had gotten very lost in the we. I also learned that fruit isn’t the only thing on earth that can be described as juicy.

Being a succulent woman (full of juice and rich in desirable qualities) requires some fortitude, though. Saida Désilets describes the challenge perfectly in her book, Emergence of the Sensual Woman:

The world we currently live in greets the feminine essence with bitterness, hostility and violence. It is scary to be juicy. To become our sensual selves and embrace our fullness as women, we must realize that who we are will create reverberations in this dry world. How can we not? When rains fall on a barren dessert, the excitement of freshness and new life stirs the dust from the ground and creates a commotion. (5)

People will react in different ways to succulence, and not all of them will be friendly and supportive. Just remember that whatever they are projecting is a reflection of their internal state, and it has nothing to do with you personally.

Reactions from women may include:

  • You’re one of my tribe. Welcome to the fold!
  • I want to be just like you, so I’m going to imitate everything from your hairdo to your pedicure.
  • I perceive you as a threat, so I’m going to slander you with gossip and attempt to break your indomitable spirit.
  • I like you, but I’m insanely jealous; therefore, I’ll be your frenemy.

Reactions from men may include:

  • You are a queen and shall be treated as such.
  • I’m really attracted to you, but you threaten my fragile ego.
  • I don’t know how to handle your energy, so I’ll try to suppress and control you.
  • Let’s get drunk and screw. Now, preferably.

It might seem like there aren’t many perks to being succulent, since the negative reactions appear to outweigh the positive. One really, really big perk is that the positive reactions are genuine because you’re being authentic. You’re not hiding or people-pleasing or trying to wear shoes that don’t fit. Other succulent women won’t be threatened by you—they’ll understand you in a way that is completely validating and uplifting. They’ll become your soul sisters. Men who love succulent women aren’t easily threatened, either. They are the warrior kings of this world, and they know exactly how to handle all of your wild, queenly juiciness. In fact, they won’t even notice you unless you’re rocking your badass succulent self in the first place.

So, how do you go from dried prune to juicy plum? I think every woman’s journey on that road is unique, but I know it begins with a choice. You can decide to be succulent. You can make that affirmation every single day until something shifts, and your life becomes a reflection of who you really are on the inside. Age means nothing, as I’ve met crones who are incredibly juicy and young women who are utterly desiccated. We are exactly what we choose to be in each moment of our lives, so let’s make them count. Be succulent. Be juicy. Be alive. The world is waiting.

Blessed Be

Works Cited:

Désilets, Saida. Emergence of the Sensual Woman: Awakening Our Erotic Innocence. Kihei, HI: Jade Goddess Publishing, 2006. Print.

Resources for Living a Succulent Life:

Copyright © 2015 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved.