so there's this...."conference"....this weekend - the 7th annual belly and womb conference. here's a link
to the site about it, and below is what avi sent, from a tribe.net posting. so after busting a gut reading this thing - i think it was the grief work with our wombs and bellies that started the guffaws, which were then extended by the $20 Maps of the clitoris session, topped by the all night belly painting, and cinnamon dusted with the addendum "women without wombs are so welcome here" - i thought man oh man it would be so excellent to attend this thing except i would have to be invisible. because i could not keep a straight face. I'd vacilate between total red-faced embarrassment for all concerned (the way you blush watching particularly bad "three's company" episodes, for instance), and outright sniggering.
Which brings up the participant observation dilemma - what do you do when the "natives" are acting retarded? you tend to pull back to strict observer - but have you lost anything, in terms of analytic methodology, by doing so? I'm not so sure. What was ever meant by participant? Back when Cushing et al took on this approach, the qualitative insight they felt they were gaining did not require them to actually participate in cultural practice, but rather to gather data by observing cultural practice in action, as opposed to gathering data by categorizing behaviors and then measuring performance intensities of those behaviors. Somewhere along the line, though, it was not ok to have manservants and drink with the colonial administrator (a la malinowski) while in the field. Perhaps it was the advocacy politics that became part of anthro - the notion that ethnographies had a political purpose - a Sullivan's travels politics of empathy through participation - which then led to the ultimate "must take peyote to write ethnography" school. But playing native also had its problems - just like slumming - and then we had the whole "can't do fieldwork" set - back to the archives, as the politics of empathy were revealed to be the self-indulgent fantasy escapes of ethnographer colonialists. Which has yet to move the field to the next stage (but what do i know - i'm out of the loop now) to ethnographies of privilege - and if the 7th annual belly and womb conference is not a perfect place to observe the politics of privilege, then what is?
From the Life-Giving Belly
Return to the Wild and Sacred Spirit of Woman
(Includes bellydancing, herbs, rites of passages, shamanic journeys, belly painting, ceremonies, healing, communication, voice from belly, pilates, medicinal herbs, empowerment, sexual education, women's blood mysteries and menstrual activism, women's council and community, drumming, grief work with our wombs and bellies, cultural change, unity and celebration among the women where we share a common bond in our life, the belly and the womb space. Let's share our stories. We will have a RED Tent for women to enter too.)
To register and find out more go to this website members.aol.com/alisastar/...nf2005.html
Saturday, November 5th, 2005
near Amherst, Massachusetts
Registration fee of $150 includes vegetarian lunch and dinner
Facilitated with ALisa Starkweather and special guest teachers
Pre-conference Friday November 4th
Our world is calling women to be in our power, our gut-knowing, our truth right now. Women are aching for changes internally and externally. We are facing terrible destruction and disease and growing hardships. Many of us have already lived through inner and outer wars long before now. In spite of this we still long to be in our bodies, know our ecstasy, share our gifts and be present with life as life is occurring. In an unprecedented container, the Women's Belly and Womb Conference deliberately makes space for collective healing. It is not just a learning and informational day. It is a day to make new choices, to come out of denial, to recommit to our visions, our lives through loving our bodies and who we are in this world. It is an unforgettable moment in the life of a woman when she recognizes more of who she is and what is possible in her life. It is fertile ground for transformation. We make space for what needs healing in hearts, bellies, wombs and lives as women. Welcome to the 7th generation of the Women's Belly and Womb day! JOIN US! It is going to be even more awesome than ever before because we just keep getting more beautiful as we gather year after year. Come dressed in red!
If you have problems with this Google "ALisa Starkweather" and go to my website. Click the Belly icon.
November 4th Pre-conference events on Friday evening:
Opening the RED TENT to honor all women and share our stories
Maps of the Clitoris; The Truth About Female Anatomy
Sheri Winston $20 7:30- 10pm
Sparkling the Jewel: Playing with and Strengthening our Deep Muscles Through Belly Dance
Hel?na Melone $15 8pm- 10pm
November 5th, Saturday 8:30 am until 1O:30pm
Showing Up and Loving Ourselves Right Here and Now
ALisa Starkweather and Morning Star Chenven
Toltec Womb Passes: Clearing the Fog form the Belly's Intuitive Center
Kimberely Eve aka Jaia
Awakening the Fire in the Belly - Middle Eastern Dance
Into the Belly of Grandmother Bear
The Blood Mysteries: A Ritual of Empowerment for Maidens, Mothers and Crones
Camilla Parham known now as Opeyemi
Voice of our Spirit the Song of our Body
Special Guest Artist of Goddess Chant, Shawna Carol
Personal Boundaries as Sacred Trust
BodyDance Belly Power
Your Body IS the Sound of Power and Joy
Red Power - Honoring the Medicine Wheel of the Moontime: A Celebration of Menstrual Health, Traditions & Wisdom
Priestessing Your Relationship with Your Belly's Hungry Desires
Joanna Lindenbaum and Dawn Copeland of NYC's WomanVision
Community Healing Ritual: Sourcing Power in Our Bellies for Strength in These Times
Herbal Teas for our bellies and wombs
Celebration of Our Bellies and Wombs
Shakti Rowan assisted by Hel?na Melone
ALisa Starkweather and Shawna Carol
An evening SURPRISE and an All Women's Dance Event with Belly Painting at night
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or call 978 939 5366. Registration forms can be printed online. It is held in Shutesbury, Massachusetts at Sirius. Pre-registration is necessary and will need to be done ASAP to assure correct numbers for cooking meals. There is a limit of 100 women who are able to attend due to space so please register soon to save your place here if you are planning on coming. You can call Sirius office for lodging (413)259-1251 at $40 per night including your breakfast.
Why Would YOU want to attend
the Women's Belly and Womb Conference?
First of all, because it is way fun and very alivening to be in such a rich circle of women who are awake, alive and ready for a day like this in their year! Our Women's Belly and Womb Conference is for us as women. We gather as a strong community of women for you to know but first one must show up.
Do any of these things apply to you? If you are a woman, than you have a belly and womb story. It is a radical idea to pay tribute to our journey concerning our lives. There is not another Belly and Womb Day on the entire planet like this one! Let's stay healthy and honor ourselves. Note: Women without wombs are so welcome here. Your story is important.
Are you able to love your body, your belly, your self, your womanhood with unequivocal acceptance? Do you carry shame about your body? Do you have a cultural base that honors your beauty and your size? Have you ever suffered from an eating disorder? Can you allow yourself to age?
Are you disease free in your colon, liver, pancreas, small intestine, spleen, stomach, sexual organs (including sexual diseases and viruses)? Do you still have a uterus? Have you had any major surgery for childbirth or for your health that involves your belly and or womb? What is your mother's herstory with her body? Do you suffer from PMS or hormonal imbalances?
What is your herstory with fertility? Are you able to bear children? Are you resolved with your birth stories (i.e. C-sections, stillbirths, traumatic births, adoptions)? Are you resolved in your decisions to terminate a pregnancy? Did you ever have an opportunity to grieve your loss or release your guilt? Did you have support for the choices, the losses, and the destiny of your path as a woman? How do you feel about yourself as a mother? How do you feel about yourself as being childless?
Have you suffered sexual, emotional or physical abuse in your life? Are you able to deal with how you may abuse yourself by your internal dialogue or your actions? Do you feel empowered to thrive and shed another layer of pain? Are you depressed in your gut?
Do you honor your gut feelings and intuition? Do you get indigestion, stomach upsets or sluggish digestion? Where does fear live in your body? Where does power live in your body? If you got in touch with the power you hold deep in your belly how could it be used as a catalyst for truth, action and empowerment for good in your life?
What happened when you first began to bleed as a young woman? Was your period or moontime celebrated? How do you honor your rites of passage now with your daughters, your Menopause years, and your monthly cycles? Do you participate in women's circles, rituals or ceremonies intentionally honoring the Goddess in every woman? Do you want to?
Do you maintain any spiritual practices that cultivate energy in your belly for longevity and well being? Our chi, or life force, generates from our hara below the belly button. Do you know how to gather universal energy, store it and renew it? Do you breathe well? How much ecstasy do you allow yourself?
How are your relationships with other women? Do you trust them or compete with them? Do you feel superior, inferior or equal to them? Do you want healing that happens in the context of what we have endured together in this culture? Have you done any Shadow Work to find out where you might be projecting parts of your self onto others? Do you want find meaningful ways to connect right now?
Do you have a yes or a no inside your belly that aches to be spoken? Do you have a love for life on earth that demands you to know what you know and to voice your opinions? Do you need more energy to act from? Have you let sound out of the silent places inside? Is it time for you to come out, to come up, to be seen?
These are some of the many complex issues and questions that the Women's Belly and Womb Conference seeks to address. Any woman can find something of importance for her own healing and growth.
As you can see the Belly and Womb Conference has a wide "birth" of reasons why it is important for us as women to gather and as women we have a distinct journey with our belly and womb. When we detest, reject, or disown it we cut ourselves off from the very source that could feed us, nourish us and empower us to live more meaningful lives. It is a time for all women of all ages to meet one another eye to eye, heart to heart and belly to belly. It has been said that this mere day, this precious time together, has permanently changed lives for the better in meaningful ways that matter to us on a day to day basis. Please consider joining us for this eventful community day. If you are unable to come, please hold us in prayer. We are showing up in our power as women in multitude of ways, especially now. Blessed Be. ALisa
"When ALisa wrote that it would be an unforgettable day in my life as a woman, it was an understatement. It changed everything and I have been blossoming ever since. It was the day of many firsts as a woman and it was like going inside out with myself or from flat to three dimensional. I found my voice for the first time and discovered my own uniqueness. I have traveled far to attend because I consider the day a celebration of rebirth of my own inner Goddess. It is a homecoming but without coming you never really know who you are missing." Mariella Bozzuto, Graduate student of Ancient Languages
(Men and Women) PLEASE JOIN US IN LETTING WOMEN KNOW!
Through your heartfelt efforts women discover this healing day. Thank you!
"Because as women, we hold the possiblity to regenerate life from our creativity that is fertile in a multiplicity of meanings, it may very well be time for us to birth from our collective wisdom new paradigms for our world to live from." ALisa Starkweather