Given the predations of the current occupant of the Oval Office and of formerly popular politicians, actors, and film studio owners, I become depressed that it seems dangerous nowadays to be a woman. But then I think of the Women’s Marches (for which I write monthly stories and/or blogs), and the #MeToo movement…and those give me reason to feel cheerier. Suddenly I remember one of the little daily essays I wrote for my book Pagan Every Day (Weiser Books, 2006). Now I remember at least one reason life is worth living—it’s our connections with our girlfriends! Here’s the page from Pagan Every Day:
March 10: Girlfriends
Back when we were hunters and gatherers, it was the women of the tribe who did the gathering. They gathered the beginnings of civilization and wove them together. Later, they put down the roots that became homes and villages. In my imagination, I see these archaic women gathering and planting grain, domesticating animals, building houses and altars, weaving and cooking, feeding each other’s children, supporting each other through bad times. I’m sure they worked closely together. I’m convinced they gossiped the whole time, explaining what they were doing and showing the others how to do it. I believe our ancient mothers were the first girlfriends.
Where would we be without our girlfriends? How would we survive without loyal friends who pay attention to us? Who give us wardrobe advice and reality checks. Who go with us to have the cat euthanized. Who help us pack when we move and unpack when we arrive. Who are the mirrors of our souls, our roommates, and our teachers.
Some of us have life-long friendships. We grow up together, attend each other’s weddings (and divorces), baby-sit each other’s children. Because we live in such a rootless society, other friendships may be deep but shorter-lived, though with email and long-distance phone plans, it’s easier than it used to be to keep in touch after we’ve moved away.
Reader, who are your best friends? I hope you have not just one but a whole circle. Stop reading and make a list of your girlfriends. Next to each name, write down how long you’ve known her. (“Forever” is an acceptable answer.) Now make notes about experiences you’ve shared—her surgery, when you earned your college degree, a project you worked on together. Finally, visit or telephone each of your girlfriends and thank her for being in your life.
~Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. is the author of eight published books including Goddess Meditations (the first-ever book of meditations focusing on goddesses), and Finding New Goddesses (a parody of goddess encyclopedias). She has also written more book reviews than she can remember, and her blogs and/or stories appear every month on her website and on Feminism and Religion http://feminismandreligion.com, where she is a regular Pagan contributor. She has been writing for the Llewellyn annuals since 2004, and her work has also been published in devotionals to Isis, Athena, and Brigid. Barbara’s day job is freelance editing for people who have good ideas but don’t want to embarrass themselves in print. To date, she has edited more than 300 books, both fiction and nonfiction, on a wide range of topics. (If you’re writing a book, hire Barbara as your editor! firstname.lastname@example.org .) She lives in Long Beach, California, with her two rescued cats, Schroedinger and Heisenberg. Her doctorate is in English.
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