(Prose) Letter to Cypress: We have Forgotten our Roots by Janie Rezner

The Moors, 1990. Jean Claude Photographercroped.

[Author’s Note: Cypress was an older divorced woman, about my age, in her late  60’s, living in Bolinas, California, a  wonderful village, filled with  creative/hippy like  folks.  The way into Bolinas was to follow the sign, BOLINAS, on a cutoff from Highway one.  The townsfolk, preferring their own company, took the sign down regularly.  I was living in Berkeley at the time and often spent the night with Cypress in her sturdy redwood home–already deep in my journey.  This letter came from my heart to hers. March, 1997, Mendocino]

Dear Cypress,

I’ve been thinking about you and wanted to drop you a little note. Thank you so much for your gracious hospitality, once again. Good to connect with you . . . and get more of a sense of who you are. Takes time for people to get acquainted, don’t you agree?

I noticed you have a lot of books, Cypress, many are the latest spiritual/psychological reads. We were talking about reading books, weren’t we? I get a sense that you’re searching for something . . . for some truth . . .  for some way to make sense of this world we find ourselves in. . . for some way out of the pain. Sounds like you’re doing some much needed grieving, too, around your mother, the mother you missed out on. Do feel her presence? Sometimes I feel as if I am my mother.

I feel you are searching for your own voice, Cypress. I hope you don’t mind my being so direct with you. I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t already know. But maybe you need to hear it again. Wisdom lies inside you, not in someone’s book. Inside the heart of the wise ones within you, your mother and your grandmother. The ones who called a spade a spade. The ones who did not flinch from truth.


The ones who could listen to what happened to the suffering pregnant Indian women who went into labor on the Long March of long ago. They could listen to the story of the horror, the horror that was inflicted upon those innocent women by crazed white men, dressed up in uniforms, insatiable in their lust for the most debased and extreme screaming horrors one could ever imagine. Taking their swords and ripping the baby out of the mother’s belly, flinging them about, stabbing, raping, shooting, and dragging. Setting dogs upon the helpless women and children. With gleeful, debasing monstrous energies, delighting in the suffering they were creating. Drunk into alcoholic insanity with the power of evil sweeping through them.




I’ve never heard of groups of women exhibiting such actions, have you? Behaviors repeated again and again in a horrifyingly predicable way, throughout history as we know it. In any and every culture, as far as we can look, the stories are always the same. The Bible is filled with such stories. The men do these terrible things to women and children, whenever they have the chance and to other men too, throughout history, and it is happening today as well.

I am reminded of a story that my first husband, the doctor, confided to me in whispered tones, that his patient, a Mrs. “Smith,” had confided to him. She told him that her husband forced her, at gunpoint, to have sex with their dog. This was back in Davenport, Iowa, fifty years ago. Poor Mrs. Smith. I doubt if she got much solace or help from my husband.


Is there something basically the MATTER with men?


The scene I’ve just described is beyond our comprehension. Or is it? Just this evening, I went to an Amnesty International Meeting, where a former political prisoner of Chile spoke of the torture he had endured for three years. Need I describe it?

What kind of men think up these unspeakable things to do with other human beings? The answer is, “oh, just some regular guys from our United States joined together in a group called the C.I.A.  And, they get paid to create these lascivious and horrific actions.” (Probably with the money we pay in taxes.) Normally, you would put somebody in a mental institution and throw away the key for doing that kind of stuff.  This behavior is not limited to our country.

There is a lot of permission in this man’s world for men to do the unspeakable, the unthinkable.  It is condoned in quite a few circles … of men.


Our Indian mothers and grandmothers could not only listen, but be right there as well, grieving with their whole hearts for those suffering mothers and fathers, with their babies. Our mothers and grandmothers would rise up in rage that such atrocities would be allowed to happen on the face of this earth. They would have, that is, if they had had any power.


Seven million children a year still die before their fifth birthday, (from UNICEF.2015) and malnutrition leaves one-quarter of the world’s children suffering from stunted growth. Millions of children are not getting enough to eat and do not have clean water to drink or wash with, and if they get sick, there aren’t enough doctors or medicines to help them recover,[i] while the ‘powers that be’ focus on war and arms and money rather than the suffering of the innocent ones.

There aren’t too many of us mothers, rising up in rage, either, are there?  I wonder why?  Seems like we’ve gotten separated from our power, too. It is understandable in this man’s world, where nothing in our external landscape reflects back to us our deeper, wiser selves. Nothing in our external landscape invites us to step forward and recreate life as it should be lived.

We have been and are strongly affected, deep in our psyches as were our mothers and grandmothers, and their mothers before them, by the crushing of our maternal wisdom and personhood that occurred, without exception, five thousand years ago. A diminishing that continues and is easier to maintain these days, since our past has been well concealed from our eyes. We have forgotten our roots.


The slaves no longer remember life BEFORE slavery.


Our healing knowledge, the wisdom of our loving hearts, our maternal instincts were ground into oblivion. Stripped of our divinity and Sacred Ways, we were reduced to being a saleable item.  Fathers sold their daughters, husbands sold their wives, or handed them over for sexual abuse, to a male visitor. We had no claim to our own bodies, our own minds, or our own children. And certainly, no claim to our own destiny.

The tenants which men carved out when they crushed the worship of the Great Mother, a few thousand years back to facilitate their own economic and perverse ego needs, have not changed.   This is a man’s world.

All the writings of the Old and New Testament followed a single theme, contempt for the female as a “mindless, CARNAL creature.”[ii] A creature who was to be subservient to man in every situation, including the creation of life.

This most important and profound act of nature, without which, all of life would immediately end, that which so clearly sets woman apart from man, and shows her to be the creator of all life . . . from tree to plant to fish to us . . . was suddenly attributed to man.

The reason we call her Mother is because she, of the two types of creatures here on earth, births the offspring. Having offspring is the determining factor for the title, isn’t it? That’s why we call her Mother, because she is one. A mother creates life.

Everyone of us on earth lived our first few months of awakening consciousness, in the precious warmth and comfort of our mother’s womb. That’s where our life began. We are each the product of our mother’s love. Her body loved us and took care of us, even before we emerged into this life. And we certainly loved her. We were part of her body; we lay in a warm bath next to her heart and were comforted by its steady beat. We were like two peas in a pod. Two peas of consciousness inside the same skin. Two souls within a single body acutely aware of each other.

And, we were filled with love for her. Our little hearts brimmed over with love. After all, she was our Mother.

What could have been going on with those men of early times? They, too, had mothers and sisters and aunts and uncles. Didn’t they begin in a family, just like the rest of us? They must have been insane, driven by the brutality they were subjected to from birth onward, into a crazed, violent mode; slitting men’s throats, stoning women to death, burning them at the stake. They were scarcely human.

The religion of my early years considered the creation myth of Genesis to be the literal truth. It would have been blasphemy even to suggest that the story was a myth woven from the imaginings of our Hebrew ancestors . . . the image of a male God ordering the world into being was firmly imprinted on my imagination. I did not even notice the absence of the mother.”[iii]

It is amazing how we have listened to that story all these years, with its obvious propagandizing motives. So, to combat this brainwashing requires a great internal shift on our part. It requires remembering our past. It requires coming into our hearts where truth lies. It requires becoming authentic and in that, becoming powerful.


Make no mistake. The seat of power rests in Spiritual power. It casts a compelling archetypal and real influence upon us all. Underneath, we are each Divine . . . Spirit made manifest into human form. In spite of this seemingly godless contemporary world, Mother God still reigns and her love is becoming manifest on Earth. Through us!


This is the time of our Cronehood. Embrace it! We need not look outside ourselves for answers.   We already have the answers. That’s what being a Crone is. We do not look away from the horrors, from the pain of the world; instead we take it on. We transform it into a banner for justice, for compassion, for integrity. We see the injustices. We see how wrong things are in this world, and we rise up to make a difference.

My friend, Marian, about our age, went to see the documentary, Waco, because she wanted to find out what kind of tactics the FBI had used against the innocent people who were killed in that horror a few years ago in Texas.  The real events had been hushed up immediately.  The news folks didn’t touch it.

She discovered that our FBI went in and gassed, just like Nazi Germany, women, children and men. Then, they set the building on fire. The ones that survived the gassing and who tried to escape the burning building were gunned down by the police. Right in Texas, in this amazing country, a strange little religious sect of mothers and fathers and children were annihilated. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, hearing the terrible stories we’ve all heard about police brutality.  Those men in uniform again.

I asked Marian if the sect had any guns in their possession. She said they did have a few but that everybody has guns in Texas. Even the churches! She went to this violent film and sat through it because it was showing the truth, and she wanted to see what the truth was. I don’t think I could have done that.


Once we get clear that the present paradigm is in need of great change, and that we can make a difference, we realize there are many ways to effect that change. The Universe continues to present us with endless opportunities in the moment to shape-shift a situation . . . to reframe an event . . . to reclaim the priorities of the heart; to call for respect and compassion for the innocent ones, for the ones who have no voice, for the victims, to bring back Herstory.

We experience the JOY of a MISSION that we have been preparing for all of our many lives!

My very best to you, Cypress.  May all your dreams come true!

Meet Mago Contributor, Janie Rezner.


[i] OXFAM. 2008

[ii] Merlin Stone, WHEN GOD WAS A WOMAN, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York & London, 1978, p.224

[iii] Patricia Lynn Reilly, A GOD WHO LOOKS LIKE ME, Ballantine Books, New York, 1995, p. 109

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“Everyone of us on earth lived our first few months of awakening consciousness, in the precious warmth and comfort of our mother’s womb.”

Sadly, not all of us. My mother had every intention of aborting me and I have carried this body memory for 72 years….

But the atrocities of men continue to defy the senses.

How can we hold onto our authentic power with the dark cloud of Patriarchy looming? We fall down, we pick ourselves up again and we keep going on. We speak the unspeakable female truths. We never give up.

Absolutely stunning essay – thank you.