I remember as a six-year-old, feeding my little two-year-old sister Laura in her high chair, and being told by my mother to make sure she ate all the little meat pieces because she needed to get her protein. I would have to do all kinds of pleading, urging, commanding, and creative trickery to get her to actually swallow the meat; it seemed her natural impulse was to spit it out. I was doing my best to be loving and kind to her, and wanted her to be healthy and strong, so I was modeling meat-eating and urging her to imitate me. Of course, I was just following orders, as my mother was as well, orders that she had gotten from her mother, going back through many centuries of progenitors. The irony is that we were all forcing meat and dairy on helpless infants and children, generation upon generation, in the belief it was the loving and healthy thing to do. Eventually, of course, Laura became, like me, an indoctrinated omnivore. I am delighted to say, though, that my dear sister Laura has been a vegan now for many years, as has my mother as well, and also Laura’s daughter Christy and now Christy’s little son is a vegan from birth. Which all goes to show that, though the only reason we all eat animal foods and cause relentless misery to nonhuman animals is because we’re following the orders drummed into us from infancy; it is possible to effectively question these orders. This is profoundly encouraging.
In many ways, the core wound that we endure today is the nearly relentless attack on the feminine sensitivity, kindness, and nurturance that we yearn for in our mothers and that is repressed within all of us by every institution in our culture, particularly our culture’s meal rituals. We are forced from infancy not just to witness our family members, neighbors, teachers, religious leaders, and others eating animal flesh and products, but to participate with them in doing this. We humans learn by doing. What we learn is to repress our natural sensitivity and our ability to make connections, as well as our inherent self-respect and self-esteem. Eating cruelty and fear, we eat separateness and competition, elitism and entitlement, disconnectedness and denial. And a lot of saturated fat, cholesterol, and acidifying animal protein to boot.
Increasingly, as we yearn to create a world of peace, justice, freedom, and abundance, we understand intuitively that the foundation for this world lies in re-awakening the inner sacred feminine dimension that I refer to in The World Peace Diet as Sophia. Sophia is the indwelling divine wisdom mother that is an essential aspect of our true nature, and that is suppressed with our every bite of the flesh of terrified mothers, as well as eggs and cheese from dominated mothers. The fact is, from the very beginning of animal agriculture with the herding revolution about 10,000 years ago, it has been the female animals—the mothers—that have been particularly severely abused. Meat, dairy products, and eggs require us to completely dominate the mothering functions of female mammals, birds, and fish, and exploit their reproductive organs and abilities, and their nursing and nurturing of their young. This causes not just enormous anguish to the mothers who are repeatedly impregnated and have their babies stolen; it causes misery to us and to our children as well. We just don’t make the connections. We’re well-practiced in the art of avoiding the obvious.
It is well-known, for example, that eating dairy products, which are loaded with estrogen, is the driving force behind the age of menarche (first menstruation) in girls going from about 17-18 as it was for tens of thousands of years, to 10-12 as it is today. Think of the enormous suffering this causes our children and entire culture, with huge teen pregnancy and abortion issues, and all the rest. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. When we viciously dominate female animals on the massive scale of literally billions of animals every year, we are at the same time ruthlessly repressing our own basic capacity to care, feel, nurture, and protect. These inner mothering capacities that we all have are vital to our health as individuals and as a culture.
Mothers have always been the strongest voice against war and against violence to children and to our Earth. What we are seeing today in these critical times is both an acceleration in the degradation of the sacred feminine, as well as a powerful re-emergence and rising up of the sacred feminine within all of us. Going vegan is the most practical and empowering response to this situation. When we open our hearts and minds to the nature of our predicament, and question the orders hammered into us from infancy, and allow our inner mother to express her compassion and grace through us, we become part of the solution. War, environmental devastation, injustice, and disease are all cut from the same cloth, and can be healed as we awaken our inner mother-love for all living beings, and shower them with the kindness and respect that is our true nature. This is the calling of all the ancient holy days to the sacred mother of abundance and mercy, and it is our calling now, after our Mothers Day celebrations and explore the deeper meaning of our lives on this beautiful and abundant Earth.
We can each be part of this awakening of Sophia and experience healing on the deeper levels of our being by questioning our culture’s obsolete food dogmas, and partaking of organic foods provided by lovingly-tended gardens and orchards. It is time for us to remember that practicing the radical inclusivity of veganism is the foundation of spiritual awakening, cultural harmony, radiant health, and protecting the future of life on Earth. All mothers are connected, and we are all mothers.
Image Source: Nosha/Flickr