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The Immortal Life

March 30, 2010

Rebecca Skloot’s superb book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, tells the story of scientists taking cells, without permission, from a young black woman’s cervix. Those cells, continuing to live past Henrietta’s death as they’re cultured in research labs around the world, have become the basis for nearly every advancement in the medical treatment of chronic disease.

As I read the book, I kept hearing a refrain: the words that Elinor Gadon wrote in The Once and Future Goddess, A Symbol for Our Times:

Women’s wombs are [our] power centers, not just symbolically but in physical fact…. The power of our womb has been stolen from us.

Henrietta’s story has mythic, archetypal resonance with the Dark Goddess, the Black Madonna — in Jungian author Marion Woodman’s words, the Big Chocolate Woman.

For thousands of years, patriarchal culture has literally denigrated women women’s pro-creative power, the Sacred Feminine. Henrietta’s story illustrates this process exactly.

I hope her story moves us to honor, rather than exploit, the Sacred Feminine. I hope her story inspires women to reclaim our womb-power — the power to promote creation in whatever dimension we choose.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2010 12:17 pm

    It is profoudly moving to reconnect with our Goddess given wombanhood. We own our bellies and our bodies. We can join together and defeat this patriachal need to keep us smalll and tiny, and rip out our wombs and steal our power. We are one with the Earth Mother, and she needs us to own our power and help her as we empower ourselves. Never before, as Starhawk states, will this many womban be approaching the “change” as the baby boomers go into their next doorway , this change can move the earth, as our bellies become our source of intuive, and incitefull information. The very word Change will echo throughout he nations!! Hear ye, hear ye!!!


  2. August 5, 2010 12:53 pm

    Bonnie, huzzah for your inspiring, moving words. Please keep us posted with what you and the women in your community are doing.


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