ColumnsHeli St. Luce


Resisting the patriarchy means venerating the Goddess. Venerating the Goddess is about connecting with the part of us that knows. Women are not Goddesses, they are physical representations of the Goddess – the planet. Our journey and struggle is to re-find the knowledge denied and reconnect with our deep knowing, in a way that rejects the One Man God(1MG) and patriarchal truths. That means accepting where we come from, who we are, our privileges, our pains.

I remember one of my mates insisting I had to be middle class, that it was somehow unreasonable and unfair to be educated, female, black and working class.

Like education can take away memories of childhood hunger. As if a learned and studied accent cancels the whole family in one bed and going to bed as early as possible so as not to freeze in harsh winters with no money for coal, then no money for the electric heater – and then no money to put on the council fitted central heating. Can a stamped recognised piece of paper erase a lived experience of poverty?

She’s my mate because we share experiences of bullying, isolation, disrespecting our bodies and having art as a refuge. But a poverty stricken castle, a horrid private girls school and educated parents grant privileges that an immigrant, uneducated single mother living in a home run by nuns cannot even begin imagine for her children.

My mother had dreams though, she sought out ‘higher’ arts desperate to ‘get it’, and make ‘it’ accessible to us. Despite the accusations and hostility which doing that aroused towards her from her ‘peer’ group. Somehow she had the understanding that classical as well as popular music, looking at art, paintings, trying to connect with them raises you above your inner desperation to just survive.

My friend’s idea of being poor is ‘having to eat’ her 4 storey house in the Jordaan (centre of Amsterdam) because she is un-entitled to social security money. Her poverty includes an allotment (tuinhuisje) with a second house that she can live in throughout the summer while she rents her real house, which has her artists studio on the ground floor. Being poor to her is a string of educational institutions and courses with research, arts grants and bursaries to travel to Africa, the Americas etc. Her deprivation includes the language of grant applications, acceptability in her skin, family, history, educational credentials.

People who are educated, pass the ability to educate one self on to their children, they see and know exactly how to nurture those facilities in their children. My child, I hope and think, will have these abilities, despite my failures and my mother’s lack of knowledge. Although not raised with money and also denied access to many privileges, she is still privileged beyond my mothers imagining when she raised us. We are blessed. Most uneducated people usually and often unintentionally undermine their offspring’s chances and/or abilities at best.

I decided after some attempts that I reject academia as invalid to my struggle – possibly because I find it impossible to accept the given’s based in a Eurocentric, male, 1MG version of ‘the truth’ and ‘the obvious’. Recognised academic education is to regurgitate the foul, racist, sexist, often classist and to my mind ignorant ideas of the aforementioned by rote to achieve their approval.

In my teens and 20’s I had sex indiscriminately with a wide variety of super dubious men and some equally indiscriminate women. I realised my body/mind had somehow made a decision to be impervious to std’s.

The moments I spent when the hospital rushed through an AIDS test for me because I was so well informed, changed my habits. I had continually put myself at risk. The hospital worker, when I went

filled with knowledge and fear got me the result as quickly as possible (2.5 hours), skipping all red tape. I needed to do another three tests over the following 18 months just to be sure. All four tests were negative. During this time, the person I had had unprotected sex with descended into full blown AIDS taking women and men he had slept with in the same weeks as me, with him. In my past I had had unprotected sex with people with venereal warts, herpes and, I could guess, but prefer to not name and say ‘who knows what else’. To date, I have proven by every check to be clear/clean.

I conceived a child in exactly the time frame I decided to. The friend who I began this piece with ended up having to go through fertility treatments to achieve her desperately longed for child. She presumes, probably correctly, due to her many sexual encounters with similar types to me, but she was also in the Americas and I have had sex exclusively with Europeans and Australasians.

There has been a certain amount of research carried out into why the rate for women particularly, for catching diseases from men is so much higher in the States and Africa than in Europe and Australasia and the conclusion is that men of the Americas and Africa (are so much ‘poundier’), thrust harder, have rougher vaginal penetration than the latter. I would put that down to greater and lesser regard towards women. Greater and lesser focus on a gentle (women’s) enjoyment and eager participation in sex than on their own gratification.

I learnt (decided) from those first hours in the hospital and the later visits that if I had somehow made myself impervious to these dis-eases that I should be in awe of that ability and respectful of myself. First step being to choose with care, self love and discrimination who I shared my body with.

The second step I decided was, in a society geared and aimed towards people unlearning, I would step into the life long task of learning to honour the sacred feminine. My body so clearly was trying to teach me that this is inherent in every female body.

There is knowledge that runs deep in our bodily rhythms, in the pain of our existence, in our dreams and desires – all people. Men are as disenfranchised and destroyed by the Patriarchy, their path to wholeness is different.

Heli St. Luce

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