The cultures of ancient peoples may provide the answers to the confusion and conflict surrounding the role of women in modern society.
I have the impression that there is a lot of confusion and conflict surrounding the roles of women in modern society. The topic is too large to handle in one blog, so I will write about the roles of women over several blogs over the coming weeks.
I take my position on women’s issues from the standpoint of ancient peoples like the Celts and the Basques, who ran a matriarchal society where women were at least equal to men, but had clear roles.
I will cover the Celtic philosophy in relation to women another time, but I thought in this blog to name three women connected to my town of Colchester who express to me certain positive roles in women.
Celtic “Queen” of the Iceni tribe in Norfolk. In 60 CE the husband of Boudica died, the Romans who considered women as property of men, confiscated Iceni land, whipped Boudica and raped her daughters.
To the Celt the “Queen” is the personification of the land, providing strength, fertility and existence to the tribe. The earth goddess that Boudica represented was the authority of the tribe, and protector of children and home. What the Roman did was sacrilege, as bad in scale as someone burning the Muslim Qur’an and feeding pork to Muslims. The Iceni went berserk, and rose in revolt against the Romans, joined by the Trinovante tribe of my town of Colchester, who had also been ill-treated.
A Roman legion was ambushed trying to save Colchester and obliterated, apart from its cavalry. Roman Colchester was burnt to the ground, leaving only the Temple of Claudius standing. Every Roman was killed without mercy. London and St Albans met a similar fate as Colchester.
The Romans nearly lost Britain, but defeated Boudica in a final battle. Boudica was immortalised forever as a warrior “Queen” of Britain.
The Church of England (CoE) has been fighting a civil war amongst themselves for two decades over allowing women priests. The authorities of the CoE fail to appreciate that Helena was responsible for Christianity coming to Britain and spreading throughout the world.
Helena was a Christian, and married a Roman general called Constantius. Whilst the Roman emperors were persecuting Christians Helena moderated her husbands anti-Christian activities to burning a few churches. Britain declared independence from Rome in around 295 CE, and Constantius was appointed to a Roman army to attack Britain. Constantius attacked Colchester, making this his base of operations, Helena was with him and made Colchester the first major centre of Christianity in Britain.
Eventually Constantius under pressure from anti-Christian authorities divorced Helena, and died fighting the Picts in York. Helena and Constantius were the parents of Constantine the Great. With the legions of Britain Constantine marched against Rome and became Roman emperor. Under the influence of Helena, Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire which set the foundation for Christianity to spread across the world.
With access to unlimited funds Helena travelled to the Holy Land to find relics of Jesus, bringing back with her fragments of the cross and other relics.
Colchester has one ancient church dedicated to St Helena, and she is part of the coat of arms of Colchester. Representatives from Colchester were part of those delegates who set in place the doctrine and Bible of the Christian church in the 4th and 5th century CE.
Lived part of her life in Colchester. Became Prime Minister of Britain in the 1980’s at the height of the Cold War. She led Britain to victory against Argentina in the Falklands War; worked with President Reagan to face down Communism, witnessing its collapse; broke the back of militant trade unions who were ripping Britain apart.
Britain benefitted from strong leadership under Thatcher, entering a decade of prosperity.
Contrary to the position taken by a fellow blogger against Margaret Thatcher, I consider Thatcher to be the personification of the expression of strength, that is one quality of the Celtic “earth goddess” archetype, which makes her female in outlook. The Celtic female archetypes are far from soft weak things, but powerful archetypes.