You also organize Circles of Women. What significance do they have for you?
Let me answer with another question: which is the very first circle we know of?I was thinking about this with a dear friend of mine recently, Flavio Pinto, whom I would like to define as a Gylanic scholar of ancient languages, and he in fact pointed out to me that in Italian, we should rather use the feminine form “cerchia”, our very first circle being the womb of our own mother. Our ancestors would never have used the male form referring to the womb of the mother. Is it not marvelous that this was said by a man?
We could say that coming together in a “circle” meets an almost biological need of our most intimate nature, but we have been living for more than five thousand years in pyramid structures, and it is by no means easy to bring the circle back into our life.
As women, we feel an urgent need to live “circular” experiences. We can no longer go on supporting the violent and sexist system we live in, and let our children grow up within such a system. But nothing will change as long as we continue as isolated women, in that condition of permanent Diaspora of which Mary Daly speaks, for this is the very state of alienation that continues to provide fertile ground for patriarchy.
Women Circles are base upon performances that are at the same time physical and spiritual, upon the celebration of the cycles of nature. They provide women with a space where to share and exchange energy courage.
They also provide us with a powerful antidote against that competition for which we are being blamed so often. Competition responds to the demands of patriarchal mechanisms, it is not in our nature, as they would have us believe. Actually, the women and men who recover the values of matriarchy become Homo e Femina Donans, with an outlook that encompasses cooperation, giving, nurturing, and resolving conflicts in a manner that is not destructive. And thus reclaiming the value of the circle becomes essential for all of us, and especially so for women.
In your highly interesting book on female Shamanism “Donne Sciamane”, you also refer to blood and moon lodges, places to which women would retire in order to meet, meditate and “create” during their “red period”. Do you think this kind of practice should be encouraged in western cultures as well?
It would be a great step if women were finally to regard their red cycle as being intimately and intrinsically connected to their spiritual powers. As I tried to point out in my book, all societies that are bent on suffocating female energy tend to depict menstruation as impurity. So it becomes all the more important for us to free ourselves from that association of menstruation and impurity. In my workshops, I frequently use red Okra, which was used during female rituals for ages. It is a way of reconciling ourselves with the blood that brings life. The fact that women used to meet during their red period was a biological response to community life. When women live together, their cycles become synchronized. This is certainly a very beautiful habit, maybe a little bit difficult for us, since we live isolated from one another. It might be experimented by those who live in co-housing or eco-communities. In any case, we can set out from such experiences, trying to find other forms of celebration. I think that creativity is an essential aspect of female energy.
I noticed that recently you have been signing with you double surname: Morena Luciani Russo. Why did you decide to add the second surname to your first?
I decided to add the name of my mother to that of my father since the right to do so is not yet recognized by the law in this country. It really hurts me profoundly not to be able to use the name of the person who gave me life with her body. And it hurts me that my children do not have my name next to the name of their fathers. I have two children from two different fathers, but the law does not recognize them as brother and sister. Is this not absurd? They were both born from my womb. Right now, here in Italy, you can file an application for permission to add the name of the mother to that of the father. It is a rather lengthy procedure, and I am going to do so soon. But deep inside I hope for more justice, for if I file this application, I would in any case still have to bear the name of my grandfather and my male ancestry.
And then let us not forget that calling ourselves by the name of our father has some symbolic and energetic implications that should not be underestimated. Any person working on a spiritual level should be aware of this. This is also the reason why I always ask for both names during my workshops on female Shamanism. I discussed this once with Luciana Percovich, and according to her, the name of our mother or grandmother might actually provide us with a real maternal name. I think that this is a splendid idea, even if it may still seem a dream, since there is still no law by which we can give our children both the name of their mother and their father.
Do you think that the cult of the Goddess is about to be recovered within the next decades or centuries?
The Goddess is much more than just a cult. It is as if you were to ask me “Do you think that we will ever be able to treat our planet with heightened awareness, respect and attention, that we will ever manage our resources with justice and equality, that we will ever be able to form enlarged families that support mothers with the help of other women and Gylanic and willing men? Do you think that women will ever find their own spiritual and political space and liberate themselves from all patriarchal and male models? Do you think that there will ever be men ready to acknowledge the role of women, ready to question and redefine their own identity, and renounce coercion and hierarchy?” I can just say this: “I am Morena Luciani Russo, this is the year 2015, and I can assure you that much of this is already underway, and has been going on for some time now, and that those who are working in this sense and in this direction are part of a process that will heal fractured Womanhood. We are all on our way towards the Goddess, and once we set out on certain roads, the sensibility for the sacred develops almost spontaneously. It is part of human nature. We are born to be neither egoist nor violent, and equity is the way of the Goddess.”
From an interview conducted by Giovanna Lombardi. For the complete text, please consult her book, “Sciamane. Donne che si Risvegliano” Verdechiaro Edizioni, 2015