Breaking free from persecution and using our voices

A cream coloured square featuring pink and green flowers and the logo and web address for, together with the text "Hold your torch aloft and stand tall. Let your voice shake and speak true. Feel your doubts and shed your tears and know, KNOW that none of those make you weak. Know a connection to them, a connection to all - of the world and of you - is what makes you strong." Breaking free from persecution and using our voices.
Breaking free from persecution and using our voices

Note: This is not my usual blog post. It flowed out of me in ways I wasn’t quite expecting and so I’ve gone with it. If you want to read it all, that would be awesome and I’m super grateful! But if you just came for the channelled message, which I truly believe is an important one, then you might want to scroll down to the sub-heading which reads “the words that were given to me”

Since I first started paying attention to the stars, one thing has begun to irritate me more than most – the bad rap that Mercury Retrograde gets.

Yes, when the planet of communication slows down and looks like it’s going backwards we might well find electronics starting to break, plans going haywire and communications being misinterpreted to the point of causing havoc. But that’s only half of the story.

What these “may your Mercury be less retrograde and more Freddie” (OK, that one does always make me smile)-type memes and words of warning never seem to tell us is that Mercury Retrograde is, however, a brilliant time to connect with yourself, to break patterns and to get still and listen to the wisdom that’s coming through for us.

And this current Mercury Retrograde in Pisces – going from 17th February to 10th March – is no different.

Except that if what is being shouted (or more like screamed!) at me is that this time around we’re being asked to connect all three of those things in a very specific way and with a very particular reason.

It’s time the persecution stops

The wonderful Caroline Flack. Photograph courtesy of the Press Association.

Last weekend, the British TV presenter Caroline Flack was found dead at her home in London, having taken her own life.

I didn’t know Caroline, but like so many of the UK, I was a big fan of hers. In fact it’s fair to say that I had a pretty damned huge girl crush on her.

The passing of a celebrity is always cause for news of course, and for outpourings of grief from both those who knew them and are forced to express that most painful and soul-breaking of emotions publicly; and those in a weird place of mourning someone who touched their lives without ever actually being part of those lives.

In this case it’s been obvious over recent days just how loved Caroline was, not only because of the beautiful things being said about her and the wonderful stories being shared, but also because of the changes that are being called for.

Because despite how popular this beautiful woman was – not only with the people who actually knew her, but with those who connected with her through TV screens, her social media accounts and countless other channels – for far too long she was vilified through those very same channels.

For over a decade she was hounded, vilified, mocked – let’s call it what it is – bullied by the British tabloid media and on social media too, where she had death threats regularly from the time she dated Harry Styles back in his early One Direction days.

And because of that there have been calls – there are still calls now, days later – from what seems like all corners of society that we should regulate the tabloid press, be kinder to one another online and change the way we see people in the public eye.

I stand by all of those things. Hell, I even wrote a post along those lines myself over the weekend. And although I won’t write more deeply about them here I will recommend Russell Brand’s beautiful blog on the subject, and if you’re in the UK I’ll share the link to a petition for “Caroline’s Law” which was started earlier this week.  

However there’s one call in particular that I’ve heard ring out since Saturday which has particularly stopped me in my tracks a few times, not because it’s any more valid than the others, but because it’s precisely what shouted inside of me the moment I first heard the tragic news.

It’s something the wonderful Lisa Lister spoke about in a powerful She Power Collective post on Sunday, and something I’ve seen magazine editor Jo Elvin refer to in a post on her Instagram:

It’s time that we stopped vilifying women.

It's time that we women starting building one another up even in the face of that persecution.

And what’s more, it’s time for all those who are tired of being scared of that vilification, tired of saying the wrong thing for fear of bullying or harassment or persecution, stood up and fucking shouted.

For ourselves, for the women that have been persecuted in all manner of tragic and horrific ways, and for those in times ahead that should be free to speak and act and live and love freely, in the ways that feel right for them no matter how that might be.

Finding our voice in the face of persecution

Photo by Mario Azzi, courtesy of Unsplash.

I know. That short rally call looks simple, but in reality we all know it’s nowhere near. In reality it’s terrifying, and never more so than when we have very real and very recent evidence of the effects of persecution in even the most seemingly wonderful lives.

And I’ll be honest, when I first heard that sentiment being shouted within me on Saturday I very much tried to ignored it. Because I’m scared too; even I, with only a few hundred followers on social media, a super supportive network and a safe little base in a part of the world people tend to forget about, often find myself tempering my words and missing bits of my story for fear of being called names, harassed or criticised.

It took me over three years to start my Divine Feminist podcast because referring to myself by those two words made me scared of the abuse they might lead to.

And after being vilified and harassed in my own life for daring to live as a single woman, I absolutely shut myself down and became terrified of men, terrified of even daring to appear attractive for a good while.

So when the voice shouted at me to tell me it was time for us to stand up in the face of that fear, and that this Mercury Retrograde would, for many of us, be about breaking through the patterns and fears that have led us to stay silent and scared, I definitely did my damnedest to ignore it.

But when a message is important it refuses to be ignored.

So I saw and heard it repeated three times the following day from three wise, wonderful women who I respect massively and trust implicitly; every one of them telling me that Sunday had seen them triggered massively into a place of shame that they somehow weren’t enough to do the work that they had been called to; that they should stop trying to do things “their way” and instead slide back into those old easy patterns that had felt so painful and restrictive to them but that society had told them were acceptable.

I was momentarily livid each and every time. And then I rolled my eyes and said OK fine, I’m listening. You’re right. It’s time this stops.

Not that we stop being afraid of judgment and persecution, because as the beautiful Caroline Flack proved, and as women much further outside of the spotlight prove each and every day in every corner of the world, those things are very real and can have incredibly damaging consequences.

But that we stop letting that fear hold us back. That we speak what needs to be spoken and live what needs to be lived even in spite of that fear and that we do our damnedest to support one another not just in doing those things but also when it comes to fighting off the persecution it potentially leads to.

Because what is that persecution? What is the harassment and the vilification, the witch trials and the abuse, the bullying online offline or anywhere these people who are afraid of us shining or light choose to target us?

It’s an attempt to keep us small. All of us. It’s an attempt to remind us – whoever we are and whatever we do – that we are not enough and will never be enough, so should stay in our tiny little boxes and satisfy ourselves with the lives and beliefs that society deems to be acceptable.  

I saw a post on Twitter earlier this week (and then lost it before I could screen grab or even credit the author – sorry about that) which suggested that any time you see someone being harassed online or in the media it’s time to stop taking a screen shot of that, or rolling our eyes and navigating away from it.

Instead it’s time to start reporting the posts and comments, complaining about the articles, and maybe even doing what we can to combat them by adding our own positive comment to the original post to let the person featured know that someone is supporting them.

Mercury, photograph courtesy of NASA

Maybe it’s about more than that too; about recognising that this “cancel culture” we’ve all played out part in creating needs to stop, and allowing people to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes rather than believing that putting one foot out of line will result in catastrophic consequences for them and their lives.

We’re human. Isn’t it time we allowed ourselves to act that way? Particularly in the face of a society so keen to tell us that in itself is some sort of inadequacy?

As I was looking through Instagram before writing this post, I saw something about Glennon Doyle’s new book, which is due out next month. I’m a big fan of Glennon and her work, so have heard a lot about this book, Untamed, which is all about the need for we women to get wild again. To stop living life shackled and tethered by what it is to be a “good girl”, and instead remember what it is to live and speak on out terms.

But reading about it this morning struck me as incredibly resonant – resonant to the message I’d been given and the patterns I’d been told that we’re being asked to break. Even more so when I realised that the book is due our on March 10th – the day Mercury

goes direct and, with it, invites us to move forward free of all of those patterns we’ve broken in the three weeks previous.

The words given to me this morning

Before that trip onto Instagram though I started my day in the way I always do; with a heavy spot of morning journalling. But this morning’s writing was a little different… more of a channelling which left me firmly in the backseat in terms of thought, and just holding onto a pen as I scrawled for dear life and tried desperately to keep up.

Those words felt important and powerful, and very much like they needed to be shared. So here, without further ado, are the words that were given to me:

This is the year of the woman’s voice – yours and so many others that you know.

This is the year of the woman’s truth, and of so many refusing any deterrent that tries to prevent them, you, us, from sharing that truth. Not because they are told, nor because they must sell their soul and their story – take a stance of vulnerability in order to be granted a place from which to speak. No, but because it is time.

For some time now the feminine has been awakening, opening one eye and gently, cautiously stepping out from a slumber that was forced upon her. Cautiously she watched. With intrigue and insight she waited to understand what she had missed, how the world had unfolded during the time of her exile.

And now she returns. Sleeping Beauty has awakened fully from her cursed betrayal, and from the self-selected downtime which allowed her to recover thereafter. But no longer is she the genteel princess, longing to be chosen.

No. Now she is the Queen, the Wild One, the Priestess.

Now this woman of clear knowing, clear speaking, clear sight stands at the centre of her circle; fires blazing around her and hair streaming wildly into the wind. And she calls.

She calls to her sisters of all places, of all times.

She calls to her sister of all races, all creeds.

And she asks them to stand, to speak, to be.

She asks them to trust.

She reminds them that the key to this time, to the progress she heralds lies not in us not being afraid. For after all, who could not be afraid in the times in which we find ourselves? But instead to know that the key is in trusting enough to act in spite of our fear. To tend our roots so that we may stand tall and strong in even the most vicious of winds.

For those winds are coming.

That which has been in control, which has clasped its power in a harsh and tightened fist for longer than any of living memory will fight unto the death to retain its place at the top.

But this is the year that woman does not cede to it. This is the year that woman shouts back, fights back. This is the year in which we truly begin our reclamation.

And know that it is not only the feminine that we reclaim.

Know that the masculine; the true and beauteous masculine of our earth, has been beaten down too. Know that part of our journey in this year is in guiding him outwards – through the same awakening that we have taken – and to claim back his own seat alongside us, and the energy that we may once again call his own.

You have heard the call. And thousands more have also heard calls of their own. Will you trust it? Will you take the next steps as you are guided even when those seem vague and uncertain?

Will you stand with her, with us, and do your part in reclaiming our world, in setting the new ways of the future even as we have no idea where those new ways will lead?

From the smallest corner to the grandest platform, every voice is needed.

From the freshest outlook to the most wizened bodies, every part of every woman is valued.

We are here to take back our world.

We are here to reclaim a humanity built upon wisdom.

And we are here to lead the way into an ancient new beginning.

Hold your torch aloft and stand tall. Let your voice shake and speak true. Feel your doubts and shed your tears and know, KNOW that none of those make you weak.

Know a connection to them, a connection to all – of the world and of you – is what makes you strong.

And know it is that strength which leads to our triumph.

For those that have fallen, for those that were persecuted, for we, for she and for those yet to come. Our reclamation is upon us and begins with our voice.