Many of us experienced a range of emotions in the wake of last year’s election—disbelief, frustration, confusion, fear. I spent November 9th crying in the bathroom in between meetings at work and Google searching the cheapest route to become a permanent resident in some country with universal healthcare and a solid human rights record.
I was shook. Some were shocked. Many weren’t—marginalized communities knew the underbelly of America that many white liberals have up to that point ignored. They weren’t surprised that those folks, as well as your low key racist bosses, nationalistic uncles, and everyday white people, voted Trump in.
The months following Trump’s election has been predictably turbulent. Scandal. Jingoistic rhetoric. Toxic policy and legislation.
A year after his election, his reign has also brought an awakening. A rebellion.
Donald Trump is known for talking about how he's going to 'drain the swamp,' and is a sideways way, I think he is actually doing it. For many of us, he's the archetype for the bully, the abuser, the liar we have all endured through life. Seeing him in power is shaking things up and forcing us to confront past and present traumas. His presidency is revealing all the dirty secrets and abuses we felt forced to hide and is exposing the monsters lurking beneath the surface within our lives and our society.
As a country, we’re slowly peeling away the layers of structural oppression and violence that we’ve ignored or buried and exposing all of the hidden trauma to light.
There has been a massively significant shift in our cultural awareness as a society in the last few weeks with the explosion of #metoo and stream of public allegations of sexual misconduct against high profile men. For the first time, many women are sharing their stories and perpetrators are actually facing consequences as a result. This is monumental.
I think it’s no coincidence that this is happening in the midst of Trump’s presidency. Seeing Trump, a sexual predator and alleged rapist, democratically elected to the highest office of the United States re-traumatized many of us. And now, a year later, it has ignited a fire within us; an internal rage that is moved to speak truths, challenge power, and claim our space. It has weaponized us. It has awakened the Dark Goddess.
The Dark Goddess is an archetype that has existed for millenia. She is Kali on a rampage of destruction, reaping all in her path to bring about fertile beginnings. She is Oya commanding the storms of change. She is Innana stripping herself of her identity as she descends in to the underworld. She drags us from comfort. She exposes. She demands justice. She is rage. She is destruction. We need her more than ever.
For femmes raised on fairy tales and have absorbed the message that we must be nice, pretty, complicity, and quiet, these stories are particularly inspiring. They give us a model for transformative anger. They show us versions of feminine power. They remind us that destruction is necessary for creation. And they provide a radical notion of self-acceptance.
To all those who have been abused, marginalized, and silenced: it’s time for us to fully embrace our power. We have a lot of work to do, both within and without ourselves. In coming years we will be called to examine ourselves and society in a way that will be painful, confusing, exhausting, and, ultimately, empowering. As we engage in this process, I suggest we draw on the stories of the Dark Goddess to guide us.