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An Ancient, Divine Feminism

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 Like the Greeks before them, the ancient Romans could sense the spirit in a grove of trees or in a geographic region, or within a person, a family, or a marriage. In men, they referred to this spirit as the animus, or the genius, and they honored it with statues, rites, poems, and songs. The genius felt in the presence of a woman was called juno, after the great goddess. Juno was the protector of women throughout their lives: in their youth, during their time as brides, and then as they moved into motherhood. Every woman had her juno that she celebrated the same day as her birthday.Although it’s unusual to turn to the Romans for inspiration for our spirituality today, the notion that every woman has her juno is a rich one. It could help us honor and respect femininity, gaining perspective on what it means to be a woman. We could distinguish between the feminine spirit in each woman and her individual personality. Because whether you’re male or female, when you stand next to a woman, you can sense the presence of a spirit. The quality of this spirit may vary somewhat, because women have moments tha …

Thomas Moore is the New York Times best-selling author of Care of the Soul, as well as many other books on deepening soul and cultivating a mature spiritual life, three of which have received the Books for a Better Life Award. At turns he has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, a psychotherapist, and an S&H columnist. 


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