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Kali, the laundry, and the insidiousness of the patriarchy

A few days ago, I posted something on Facebook that sparked a “spirited discussion.”

I posted about how appalled I was that a US Senator asked a Supreme Court Justice nominee during a hearing – “Who does the laundry in your house?”. (It probably goes without saying, but you likely know enough about my perspective on things to know all the reasons I don’t want this person nominated but, that is not what that post or this one is about.)

I am writing today about something that came up in the comments of that post. And it isn’t the first time I’ve encountered it recently. It isn’t even the second or third time.

Many women right now are rising up and saying ENOUGH.

Many women are rising up and calling out racism when they see it. Calling out homophobia when they see it. Calling out sexism when they see it. Calling out WRONG when they see it.

This is no accident. This is no coincidence. THIS is the SACRED FEMININE RISING.

And guess what? She doesn’t always look like what society thinks feminine should. She does not always look soft and pretty. She does not always speak sweetly and agreeably.

She does not always make acceptable jokes about her children when she is asked who does the laundry during her job interview (although it certainly isn’t surprising when she does because women have been conditioned for millennia to fear our true voices and our power.)

The Cailleach Beure (public domain)

Sometimes she sounds FIERCE. Sometimes she looks WILD. Sometimes she is ANGRY.

This is Kali. This is the Goddess of Destruction and Change. Wild. Powerful. All-Loving. In Celtic mythology, she is the Caillech (pictured left), the storm hag who personifies the destructive powers of the natural world. In Awakening Shakti, Sally Kempton writes of Kali as the “NO” of Revolution, “Kali has the force to sweep away the old structures. Her energy, moving through a group or a nation, can topple a dictator, bring down the Berlin Wall, and melt down the stock market so quickly that it leaves us dazed.” She also writes, “You don’t know what love is until you’ve felt the depths of Kali’s love.”

This is the BOTH/AND. Not the false binary of love OR anger.

It is one of the most tragic consequences of the oppression of women created by the patriarchal society we live in that sometimes (often) other women respond to the voice of feminine power with words like some of these in the comments on my Facebook post:

“People speculate so much looking for the sexist or negative intent which I find just as offensive.”


“To think that is a sexist comment just seems to point towards another negative intent in an already negative society. Let’s all aim to find the positive in life - less stress is always a healthier choice.”


“It’s called Feminism and women’s justice - and women need to “speak up” “be louder.” It just isn’t working so now anger sets in and women start bashing women if they aren’t offended by a laundry chore question.”

Do you hear what I hear?

Do you hear the voice of the oppressor coming through the oppressed? (The voice of the women hundreds of years ago so terrified to be called Witch that instead they pointed at other women and called WITCH!).

Or do you hear what we have been conditioned to hear? Just think positive! Love and light! No stress!

Here is my response:

Anger is not just setting in. Anger has been suffocated and simmering for millennia when it was not safe for women to voice their anger.

If it is now safe at last to voice our truth, it is thanks to our mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers before them who survived despite the incredible oppression that women have lived through in the system of the patriarchy.

The fact that pointing out the ways in which that oppression is so ingrained in our society upsets people is just that much more telling of how much more work we have to do.

For me, and for many women AND men who see this as our work in the world to call attention to these issues, the “less stress- think positive” narrative is just another reminder that there is great resistance to the rising of the sacred feminine and the dismantling of the patriarchy as we move forward towards true balance.

We can take excellent care of our mental and physical health while having hard conversations. Avoiding these difficult conversations and suppressing our truth is the much unhealthier choice.

Sister, we have so much more work to do.

And the way we do this work in the world without depleting ourselves, exhausting ourselves, and burning ourselves out is by returning regularly to sacred space to tune into the voice of our power, to the voice of the Goddess, the voice of our soul. Coming together with other women in sacred circle is the holiest and most nourishing way I know to rebuild my strength, reconnect with my voice, and remember who I really am so I can show up in the world and use my voice. With anger AND with love.

If you too are nourished by being in sacred circle with other soulful women who are committed to connecting deeply with our voices and our hearts, I hope you will consider joining Anjali Budreski and me for our upcoming online Samhain retreat.

The Earth Magic for Uncertain Times retreat will be filled with ritual, magic, & soul to nourish your soul and support you in deep and meaningful self-care in these tumultuous times.

I hope you will join us. The veils are thinning, the voices of our ancestors are drawing closer, the winter is coming, and we can’t wait to welcome you into the warmth and love of the circle.

With so much love,



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