In Hebrew and Arabic the word for compassion comes from the word for “womb” (The Return of the Black Madonna: A Sign of Our Times or How the Black Madonna Is Shaking Us Up for the Twenty-First Century by Rev. Matthew Fox, Ph.D). I find the connection between the womb and compassion extremely interesting. “Meister Eckhart knew and taught: Compassion means justice.” If compassion comes from the word for womb and compassion means justice then the womb does not only have the capacity to create life but justice. Dr. Cornel West states that “justice is compassion in the public square” which to me means that as women our womb wellness will directly impact our ability to give compassion and practice justice in our society. If we look around our communities and see a lack of compassion and grave injustices we need to examine how we are treating our wombs-spiritually, mentally and physically. I do know the social causes of systematic oppression but I also know that our wombs give us the power to not only create life but to create art, love, compassion, justice and our entire reality. We are spirits, souls and bodies and if we are out of balance in any area it will affect our ability to practice compassion first with ourselves and finally with our neighbor.
Many women suffer with womb wellness issues, especially Black women (see my blog series Black Women & Fibroids: The Epidemic that is Screaming in our Community). I do not think it’s a coincidence that the group that faces the most injustice and receives the least compassion faces the highest rates of womb wellness issues. There is a divine connection between our liberation as women and our womb wellness. Though healing is our divine birthright it is ultimately our choice.
How can we balance the scales of justice for the healing of our wombs and communities?
Deep within lies our soul’s container.
Our wombs hold our dreams and the cosmic artwork we will call forth.
Tied to the moon a cycle of death and rebirth occurs within us in intervals of 28.
We must love our womb and all that it can create.
The seat of our soul, the womb is eternity within our flesh.
A few months ago a grave spectacle of so-called art took place in Sweden where a cake of an African-American woman’s body (created by a biracial man) was cut by the Swedish minister of “culture”, while those in the room cheered and laughed. What is shocking about this is that the cake was created to look like a black face caricature of a Black woman and the cake was cut where the reproductive organs would be. This cake is known as the “Venus Hottentot Cake”. Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman a slave became known as “Venus Hottentot” and was taken to Europe to have her body exhibited, she was sometimes kept as an animal in a zoo and the cake looked like a caricature of her likeness. This was not art but a barbaric reenactment of female genital mutilation and yet another example of how the Black woman’s womb is under attack. I have written about the high incidents of fibroids among Black women and though diet plays a great role in this health crisis stress, psycho-social and spiritual issues also play a role in reproductive heath. Though we may feel that all is well and that we are seen as fully human a quick look around in the media, music and now contemporary art shows that the Black woman’s sexuality is still being used to sell everything and her womb is still being exploited. Sadly this art was created by an African-Swedish man who has made weak attempts to address the criticism of this art “exhibit” Dr. Claudette Carr wrote an Open Letter from African Women to the Minister of Culture: The Venus Hottentot Caketo address this travesty.