UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Women's March on Washington D.C., Jan.21. Photo by Mobilus in Mobili/Flickr/CreativeCommons

Dear Tabitha

‘We have seen the resurgence of women's strength and power'

By Carolyn Pogue


Dear Tabitha,

The stories about you that we read today end up mostly being about a man, and how he raised you from the dead. But this letter is for you, Tabitha; I hope it won't be redirected. I'm writing about how you managed to gather together women during perilous times. I wonder what you would say about how that all worked out. Last week, after all, women around the world gathered on a scale that was unimaginable during your time. Children and men, too.

Ojibway elder Arthur Solomon famously said that "it is time for women to pick up their medicine to help to heal a troubled world." That's what you did. You gave widows and other vulnerable women a safe haven in your home 2,000 years ago. What medicine did you offer one another, I wonder? Was it the medicine used to raise you up?

Of course, your story has few details. You lived in Joppa (now the port city of Jaffa in Israel). You would have had good fish recipes then, seen sailors on the street, and known danger, beauty and exotic wares in your market. What’s more, you were "always doing good and caring for the poor." It's believed that you, yourself, were widowed but had enough money. You were beloved, and you were a seamstress.

One day, though, you dropped dead, and then you were raised. There's little more to your tale. We just know that your lovely name Dorcas — or Tabitha — means "deer." Were you quick and quiet also?

Because "women's work" never really changes, it’s not hard to imagine your life. We, too, know about sewing circles women chopping, stirring and baking, as well as children running underfoot. It's not hard to imagine you listening to stories of violence or joy over cups of hot tea.

This past week, American politics and a murder in a mosque have shocked and awakened us to the need for true healing and balance. At the Women's March on Washington D.C. on Jan. 21, Jungian analyst and author of Gather the Women, Jean Shinoda Bolen, addressed tens of thousands. She is 80, and like environmental activist Joanna Macy — who is 87 — has decided that retirement must wait. They want to continue being a part of this monumental narrative of change. Is that what raised you up, too, Tabitha? Do you have more to do and more stories yet to tell?

People around the world are still talking about the joy and enthusiasm of the women's gatherings. In our family, alone, there are many stories: Ottawa's Women's March was attended by my 84-year-old cousin — his first time protesting on the streets. And our daughter, Sarah, drove all the way from Toronto to Washington to be a part of this story.

In Calgary, 6,000 of us gathered at the statues of The Famous Five — the women who worked to have women declared "persons" in 1929. It reminded me that we must know our history and that gatherings of women have always been part of our global story from the beginning. "Gather the women" is a call to action, a prayer and a healing step. You knew that, of course, and I’m grateful that you did and that men included your story in Scriptures, which we consider to be sacred today.

Bolen said at the march: “I’m not speaking of the need for women to run the world; I'm saying that women need to speak up and speak the truth in order to bring balance into the world."

I thought of you, Tabitha, when she also declared that "we have seen the resurgence of women's strength and power." So thank you for your part in our women's story.

In gratitude, 

Carolyn

This is the third in Carolyn Pogue’s “Letter to a Spiritual Ancestor” series.


Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a Calgary author and longtime Observer contributor. New posts of The Pogue Blog will appear on the first and third Thursday of the month. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Announcement

New Observer editor and CEO, Jocelyn Bell. Photo by Lindsay Palmer

New editor named

by Observer Staff

Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

A perfect send-off

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: My Year of Living Spiritually

by Observer Staff

Anne Bokma left the Dutch Reformed Church as a young adult and eventually became a member of the United Church and then the Unitarian Universalists. Having long explored the "spiritual but not religious" demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.

Promotional Image

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

October 2017

A tale of two cancers

by Catherine Gordon

One year after the writer discovered she had breast cancer, her sister in California received the same diagnosis. They both recovered, but their experiences were worlds apart.

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

November 2017

Grey matter

by Trisha Elliott

Is consciousness just a function of the brain — or something more?

Promotional Image