Tag Archives: Mother Earth

Review: “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Four Seasons in Four Weeks”

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.

Catie Faryl
January 15, 2013

Through a Glass, Greenly

Polaris, watercolor by Catie Faryl, 2009

Polaris, watercolor by Catie Faryl, 2009

Art Statement

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  And now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known . . . . . . . .”
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
1 Corinthians 13, verse 11 and 13

This quotation returned to my attention in July 2009 while pondering my years of work with environmental, social and political issues.  I was questioning the human ability to see what is actually real and how often we think we know the right paths to take, but are often disoriented and become lost or disillusioned.  It seemed to me, that summer of 2009, we were at a crossroad or in a precarious balance – at the tipping point of seeing what could be done to stave off and heal the consequences of human-caused damage to the planet.

Creating art is a shamanistic duty and tradition that our culture must reclaim.  An artist guide’s role is to visit the spirit world and the future to bring back positive messages, symbols, dreams and goals, remedies and “cures” for the tribe.  In the summer of 2009, I observed the apathy, cynicism and inaction reflected in some people’s cavalier statements that “huge population die-offs were meant to be” or that “our human civilization either can’t pass or is undeserving of passing this evolutionary hurdle” and I could not let those beliefs go unchallenged.

Human beings, in my view, are noble creatures.  We can embrace our role as Stewards of the Planet and look deep into our collective conscious to find answers to uphold the best future for all sentient beings and Mother Earth.  We can think and act locally and sow seeds not of our differences but cultivate gardens where all can grow in peace and prosperity.  Like nature’s bounty, love needs little tending in hearts that are willing and in minds that dare to imagine, not despair.  Our energy can be gathered to see clearly and do the work that must be done.

“So let abide these three: faith, hope and charity.”  We have seen things through a green but cloudy glass – confusing, disturbing, inconclusive – and now we are ready to move forward with courage in illuminated passages through these interesting times.

Catie Faryl
January 2012