Regenerating the Feminine in Brazil!

Regenerating the Feminine in Brazil!

I am thrilled and honored to have been invited by the prestigious Universidade Federal de Rio Grande do Sul’s Department of History’s Graduate Program to present at the Latin American Institute for Advanced Studies (ILEA) next month!

This international workshop, entitled “Historical Conflicts and Overcoming Violence,” offers a unique opportunity to dialogue with Brazilian and European historians and students seeking to understand and address core issues as change agents. As a cultural mythologist, my goal is to identify how and why these historical patterns and archetypes re-emerge in popular culture—particularly focusing on lingering collective wounds requiring tending.

My talk, “Regenerating the Feminine: Taking the Long View on Fear, Violence, and Changing Culture,” will peek through trends rooted in Antiquity and the Middle Ages to best understand the power and potency of the global resurgence of the feminine in culture. From the #MeToo movement, to shifts in the political agency of women and girls, and the emergence of exemplary literary and speculative fiction by and about women, this presentation seeks to amplify the incredible force of the feminine unfolding in us all.

I am especially grateful to Professor Cybele Crossetti de Almeida for her commitment to organizing this incredible event over the past year—what a committed labor of love of learning. Look for updates on the event and a journey back to a country that has been my second home and now finds itself wrestling with core issues of justice, reconciliation, and restitution.


Every step of the journey moves us towards regeneration, even those which seem destructive, dangerous, even deadly. 

As I was relistening to Joseph Campbell's iconic Power of Myth interviews with Bill Moyers, I heard him describe how I was wrestling with these post election times and the power and energy constellated by someone whose behavior I considered "monsterous." "By a monster I mean someone who breaks all of your standards for harmony and ethical conduct." Campbell illuminates the functions of monsters, who often carry our own disowned power and shadow, as well as the necessity of destructive acts.

By offering space for new growth--often via grief--these change agents are rarely pretty, welcome, or thanked for their often essentially ground breaking contribution. In a strange type of participation mystique, we are bound by our unacknowledged shadows to the monstrous which feeds on them. This tremendous opportunity to see, reclaim, and incorporate our (usually invisible) shadows is a profound gift of dark, even dangerous, times.