Editors: Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Mary Ann Beavis
SOCIAL MEDIA AND GODDESS FEMINIST ACTIVISM
The wheel of Goddess feminist activism by nature stands on the boundaries of patriarchal identities/definitions/institutions, which I call the Wilderness. The Wilderness, a space wherein patriarchal grips are loose is indeed a place for us, Goddess feminists/activists. In the Wilderness, we encounter the Creatrix and are empowered by HER. The Wilderness has been associated with individuals who are in search of a divine revelation; seekers/seers stand in the Wilderness alone, separated by distance in time and space. However, what if a community of people stand together in the Wilderness? Can “the Wilderness” be actually or virtually populated by a group of people? If so, where would such Wilderness be found? As a feminist, I once longed for the Land of Wild Women. Mary Daly, who left an enormous influence on my feminist thought, imagined it as the Lost and Found Continent to be found at a future time. In her fictional writing, she returns and visits the Lost and Found Continent in 2048.[i] Did Daly’s dreaming of a feminist utopia exist only in her mind? No one knew including myself, until now, that The Mago Work would take her vision of the Lost and Found Continent and implement it in its own way.[ii] As I write this introduction, I realize that The Mago Circle created in Facebook in 2010 has broken a new path for our collective gathering in the Wilderness.
The Mago Work has extensively utilized social media such as WordPress, Facebook, and Wikipedia for various purposes. From the beginning, the very structure of The Mago Work has relied on them. By saying this, I don’t mean that The Mago Work is a product of social networks. We are brought into social media for the cause of Goddess Feminist activism. Precisely, we are utilizing social media to summon the space/time of WE in S/HE for individuals and the world. We are in social media with our own goals, distinguished from those of the founders of social media. Through social media, we can form and operate the cogwheels of Goddess feminist activism on a day-to-day basis. If maneuvered strategically, social media turns to be a fertile ground for Goddess feminists/activists to meet and network with one another across the continents, which otherwise we can’t. We take social media to be the Wilderness for Goddess feminists/activists. Instead of running away from it, we tackle with this new phenomenon of our time.
Recent decades of the twenty-first century has witnessed a new era led by social media. Permeating the very fabric of people’s lives, social media is ever persistent in forming an artificial environment on which moderns rely for their social activities. We are flooded with the web-based options that they offer. For good or bad, social networks have brought people virtually “face to face”. In this setting, such personal differences as race, class, sex, nationality, religion, etc. don’t interfere in one’s initial contacts with others. Despite the built-in capitalist drive, many users utilize social media for bringing out the voice of the hidden and the marginalized. It is a venue where social activism is treated on a par with corporate interests, at least to the public eye. There is a room for personal journalism, which is distinguished from corporate journalism. One can personalize public data, while at the same time publicizing one’s personal data. New discoveries are constantly updated, as old myths are debunked. Consensuses are drawn on the spot, while disagreements are expressed at will. Due insights, forgotten histories, and cultural malpractices are brought under the limelight through one’s selected acquaintances.
Magoism was destined to be known through social media. Drifting in academic institutions as a part time lecturer, I knew deep inside that I was a misfit to pre-established disciplinary practices in universities and their subsidiary enterprises. For several years of my academic career, nonetheless, I had imagined nowhere outside academia for the future of my research of Magoism. I kept delaying myself to accept the invitation to Facebook. An opportunity came in 2010, when I was invited by Jayne DeMente and Anniitra Ravenmoon to speak on their radio talk show.[iii] I wrote my talk on Mago and soon felt a need to share it on Facebook. Shortly thereafter, The Mago Circle, the Facebook group, was created.
In retrospect, venturing out in social media was the path that I was meant to take. Beginning something new in a new territory was not unfamiliar to me. Had I not left behind my motherland of South Korea to live in “the unknown land” in search of the Way in my twenties? Had I not become a member of the U.S.-based Catholic missionary organization, Maryknoll Sisters, and left Christianity by becoming a post-Christian feminist? Had I not become a radical feminist refusing patriarchal identities for myself? Had I not become a follower of the radical feminist thought of Mary Daly? Had I not re-embraced my homeland as the Land of Magoism? Had I not let go of an academic career which conflicted with my vision of The Mago Work? I had embraced myself as a stranger in patriarchal foregrounds.
Needless to say, we, Goddess feminists/activists, are an unexpected herd in social networks, if even noticed by the public or their administrators. For our purpose is to redirect the very purpose of social media by undoing patriarchal socio-economic-political-environmental-religious practices with the public. We nag and chastise the history, news, and idea that are (hetero)sexist, capitalist, racist, classist, and colonialist. The very presence of Goddess feminists/activists in social media is a statement against the patriarchal establishment. There is another level at which we are working in social media. Social media is not just a place wherein we counter patriarchally violent happenings. We co-create a new reality on behalf of all beings on the planet. Riding the waves of constantly cresting feeds, we snatch the data and reassess them for the cause of Goddess feminist activism. Then, we send them back along with our own message to the public. We, Goddess feminists/activists, are re-created through social media.
On a personal level, social networks have changed my work style. It is a place wherein I find data for my own learning and for my teaching to the world. I am inspired by those who emit a similar message and aspire common projects with them. As a writer and advocate of Magoism, I enter the virtual world enabled by social media and engage with people whom I wouldn’t have known or met otherwise. In the first place, I myself would not have had the means to meet potential colleagues and collaborators from around the world. I have met volunteers and supporters whom I call Mago Sisters. Furthermore, The Mago Circle, the Facebook group, continues to serve as an apt venue for Goddess feminists/activists to connect and share visions and projects.
There is more. I am guided by social media to renew and deepen my own commitment to the cause of Magoism. I overcome the patriarchal condition of isolation by engaging myself in its daily news that I choose to see. It is in social media that I learn afresh a fathomless abyss of irreconcilable sufferings inflicted upon all beings on the planet. It is sobering to witness people, when they can’t stay numbed by the rotten smell of patriarchal atrocities. However, signs are too clear that modern minds have lost the text of our existences. People are constantly pressured not to think Otherworldly. Severed from the very source of their existences, moderns are driven to find solace nowhere.
Last but not least, we need to be reminded that the wheel of Goddess feminist activism we build partakes the inter-cosmic operation of gynocentric economy or maternal gift economy, as Genevieve Vaughan advocates.[iv] Goddess Spirituality engaged in feminist activism channels us to the Source of our planetary resources for our wellbeing. Precisely, we learn to live like our Sisterly wild non-human beings (wild animals and plants) who tap into nature’s delimited resources beyond the grip of patriarchal colonizers. The wheel of Goddess feminist activism is here to awaken people (feminism), to resist patriarchal destructions (activism), and to trust in the inter-cosmic economy of the Creatrix (Goddess Spirituality).
In a capitalist society imposed upon us, living under the condition of uncertainty for our physical survival compels us to tap into the innate spiritual power of the Great Goddess in us, as in nature, in an ever tangible manner. Struggle for one’s own wellbeing is a due action prompted by a built-in instinct in all beings. And nature is built to reward the strife of one’s wellbeing. To the point, our toil to maintain physical/mental wellbeing is an act of trust in the reality of the Creatrx. In the course of human history, however, the human world has gone off the track to disturb nature’s way of gifting those who strive for their own wellbeing. We, born in the era affected by patriarchal establishments, are hurled to a man-made maze of necrophilia. We, humans, are born with the responsibility to undo patriarchal wrongdoings personally and culturally on behalf of the terrestrial community.
The anthology of Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess marks another watershed for the collective effort of Goddess feminists/activists. The wheel of Goddess feminist activism we support is made possible by the practice of gift-sharing on the part of authors, editors, the publisher, supporters and readers. Each of us partakes the cyclic movement of gynocentric economy. A Sisterly positive response is a befitting gift to the inter-cosmic economy of the Creatrix. We congratulate our authors who have come from around the world to share their lifetime blessings of intelligence, love, hope, and solidarity in the form of essays, poems, artworks, researches, and/or photo works. I, together with my coeditor, Dr. Mary Ann Beavis, invite our foremothers and foresisters from the hidden worlds to rejoice with us in celebrating OUR TIME together HERE/NOW manifest through this book. And I am here to pass the spell of Mary Daly:
Like the tides, Elementally Sounding women directly address the sense of hearing, speaking a language distinct from that of the Foreground. The sounds of Tidal women rising are heard most clearly in removed places and in the stillness of night. There is a tumult of women’s sounds, not unlike the swashings and swirlings of the tide. Sometimes there are undertones of murmurings and whisperings. Then suddenly all lesser sounds are obliterated by the torrential roaring of women.[v]
[i] Mary Daly, Quintessence… Realizing the Archaic Future A Radical Elemental Feminist Menifesto, (Beacon Press, 1998), 66-7.
[ii] With Mary Daly’s recommendation, I was invited to speak to the feminist conference, A Feminist Hullabaloo The Historic Reunion of the Wild Sisters, held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 2007. Prior to this event, Daly came across my article on Magoism online. She was pleased and complimented it. This was two years after I received a Ph.D. degree in Religion with emphasis in Feminist Studies from Claremont Graduate University and thirteen years after I first connected with her in 1994. She eventually read a couple more articles that I wrote on Magoism but did not live to see what would be coming through my research on Magoism. She died in January 3, 2010 and in late May of the same year, I created The Mago Circle in Facebook.
[iii] I have revised this talk and included in my book. See Hwang (2015), 8-30.
[iv] See Genevieve Vaughan, “The Gift Economy”, Return to Mago E-Magazine, accessed June 30, 2017, https://magoism.net/2016/08/22/essay-the-gift-economy-by-genevieve-vaughan/.
[v] Mary Daly (1984), 313.
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