Last night I attended local author Suzanne Mathis McQueen’s talk at Bloomsbury Books about her recently published guide and journal titled “Four Seasons in Four Weeks.” For those who know her, and when you meet her, you’ll see a vibrant and enthusiastic champion of women’s knowledge, wisdom and vivaciousness. Her seven years in the creative process has brought forth a unique, informative and beautifully visioned, written and actualized book that sheds light on the importance of feminine cycles.
Earlier in the week, with the idea of writing a review, I attended the opening of the much anticipated war/espionage thriller “Zero Dark Thirty” about the search, capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. After all my viewing and note-taking at the film, besides gleaning an insider’s and/or a Hollywood view of the machinations and mazes of research, bravery or tenacity of individuals, I came away with a huge and strong reminder about just how inadequate our portrayals of and beliefs about females often are!
The young heroine of the film “Zero Dark Thirty” is a typical example. If you remove all the heart-pounding drama she’s like many women who have worked at least twice as hard as male counterparts to receive equal recognition or compensation. With discipline, dedication, thorough attention to the details and often deadening homework, she succeeds against many obstacles. Yet even her final triumph, where her convictions are doubted all along by her male peers and supervisors, is anticlimactic. She had it right yet in the final scene after all the guts and glory of triumph, capture and shooting, we are left to sit alone and in silence with her as she comes to grips with her personal achievement as well as the ostracism and lack of applause that many successful women know all too well. They incubate and give birth to many achievements only to see the prize embraced and the result applauded while they, the producers, go unacknowledged or are dismissed.
“Four Seasons in Four Weeks” uses metaphoric and physical comparisons of the feminine moon cycle to Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer – each week in the 28 day cycle tracing the approximate weekly parallels of mood and body senses corresponding to a resting time, a planning time, an implementing time and a time of basking in accomplishment before the cycle begins again. It is the lost understanding of women’s natural state and the overlay of masculine value systems which have mislabeled the female cycle as “hysteria” or irrationality. This lack of understanding has contributed to diminishing the role and effectiveness of women since the end of matriarchal times.
Both “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Four Seasons in Four Weeks” can be viewed as powerful reclamation tools and messengers of the resurgence of the Feminine Principle, long overdue in modern history. In our present state, rape and mistreatment, degradation and making women targets of violence or abuse correspond exactly with the continuing rape of the planet. This attitude of disrespect can be heard quite clearly when listening to arguments about the economy; how often do humans forget that all sources of wealth are direct gifts from the natural resources of Mother Nature, Mother Earth.
Women are holding the social safety network but that grasp is becoming more tenuous. With our hands so full of immediate needs of children, the elderly, the poor, disabled, ill and hungry we can hardly get a handhold on how to stop the downward spiral. It is time for everyone to re-engage with the Sacred Feminine and begin giving due honor and acting in ways that give back to the planet. We cannot continue to support our civilization if we ignore the fundamental basis of our prosperity. That means women must either take or be given far greater voices and roles in curbing the trajectory of technology and expedience over time-tested practices of natural and whole systems, the original tenets of mother wisdom.
Suzanne’s book gives support and information for women to reclaim, honor and champion their nature, and she has included a Man Guide in every chapter to help partners, sons, brothers and fathers understand Her Journey. Helping men understand the continuous female cycle of building and taking apart that is the nest of nature, birth and nurture to our species may temper the old and untrue story of women as weak or inferior. On a different front, the heroine of “Zero Dark Thirty” embodies the truth of Woman as Warrior, using intelligence, beauty, determination, guile, deep studiousness, finesse and creativity instead of brawn, muscle and force, to accomplish her most idealistic goals. She is truly a magnificent unsung hero!
Better stories and better understanding are paths to healing and recapturing our respect for women, and thereby for reverence, respect and replenishment of Mother Earth. To restore peace and balance to our world we need both male and female energy, not one or the other but both equal and true. I hope you will read “Four Seasons in Four Weeks” and look beyond the obvious story to the positive message of feminine power in “Zero Dark Thirty.” Please add your thoughts to the discussion of these ideas.
January 15, 2013