Professor Judy Grahn – A View from Metaformia
Listen to our conversation with Judy Below:
Metaformia is the creative power that derives from Menstruation.
Judy wrote her first poem about Menstruation in the l970s. That poem became her book, “Blood, Bread & Roses: How Menstruation Created the World.” Metaformia is metaphor turned into form, as in the red apple being the Menstruation of the apple tree — a Metaform, it’s real, not made up. Metaformia would transform everything.
Poetry and Sustainability – Feminist poetry helps us access the intuitive parts of our brain where we connect to nature, the sacred, beauty, and the love and solidarity between women. The sacred erotic connection that formed our movement in the l970s, and anciently with Sappho and Priestesses addressing Goddesses, was channeled toward projects that put women at the center of the world.
Lesbian feminists were crucial in putting women’s organizations into the public sphere and enabling women to come away from really corrupted family situations and into reinventing themselves in brand new ways. This needs to continue happening for the sustainability of our earth, our world. Our ideas and practices of the l970s are still reverberating with movements all over the world with women fighting back.
“We weren’t all scared. The bigger vision mattered more.” Judy shares how each Lesbian Feminist Household of the l970s specialized on projects out in the world: Bookstores and printing presses, art and poetry, women’s health centers and shelters, all propelled by the love that women had for each other beyond romance.
Judy became aware that patriarchy is centrally concerned with male fertility, and that Menstruation is an indication of male failure to impregnate. Metaformia is reclaiming all the power and rituals of menstruation suppressed by patriarchy. Menstruation rituals are peace based, not violence based as in male rituals of hurting and war.
Rituals that are changing things:
– Menstruation rites teach girls how to be a powerful woman without doing harm to yourself.
– Art and movement projects with veterans, children with ADD, etc.
– Mindfulness trainings with violent high school age kids
Advice for the future:
– Solidarity now needs to be on maintaining woman centeredness, and also earth centeredness, and living in ways that understand the connections to nature and the earth no matter how much fun is made for doing it.
– EcoFeminism is a crucially important movement around the world, and already existed among Indigenous Peoples whose women fought back against sexist, racist, and earthist prejudice.
– It’s important to cut across class lines and make use of the different wisdoms that come from different class positions in the world. This was one of the strongest parts of the 1970s Feminist Movement.
– Economy is community, spirituality, animals, microbes and environment — what is actually sustaining!
– Think with Nature in mind and do something, this is how social change comes about — we can do this!
Professor Judy Grahn is a poet and author, and one of the founding Mothers of the Lesbian Feminist and Women’s Spirituality Movements in the United States. She initiated and participated in profound cultural shifts brought about by the women’s and gay rights movements of the 1960s and 70s participating in the formation of new institutions and whole new ways of living.
Judy says she will spend the rest of her life articulating the stories, myths, and gestures — remembering and mapping the links between Menstruation and Cultural Development.
Learn more about Professor Judy Grahn’s work here: