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Dear Friends,

In Ireland, January 6 is known as “Women’s Christmas” or Nollaig na mBan (pronounced NULĹ eeg na mawn).

Traditionally on this day after the holiday rush, women gathered to put their feet up, share food and drink, stories and camaraderie.  (An IRISH TIMES article remarked that even God rested on the seventh day but Irish women didn't stop until the twelfth and last day of Christmas.)   Today, women’s groups also mark the day with charitable works or donations to help those in need, particularly women’s charities. Women's Christmas is now considered an ideal day to launch a charity drive or raise funds and awareness on women’s issues. The practice: In gratitude, we help others.  In helping others, we help ourselves.  Gratitude is a circle.

What do we want to give ourselves this year?

Locally, I began helping The Dwelling Place of New York, a transitional residence for homeless women.

Nationally: How about the ERA?  Equality under the law enshrined in our constitution? Yes, the time is now.  It’s never been more important or more needed. What a lovely thing to gift ourselves! Here’s where the ERA stands right now: Here’s how to support it: http://www.eracoalition.org

Globally: Here are just a few excellent organizations improving the lives of girls and women, nationally and all over the world:

Planned Parenthood
International Planned Parenthood

Pathfinder International
Population Connection
FINCA  - (microfinance loans to low income people around the world)
National Organization for Women
Emily’s List
UltraViolet

This quote from George William Curtis sums it up for me:

“The test of a civilization is its estimate of women.”  

 




Women’s Christmas - January 6, 2017



THE FEMALE ICARUS

It could have been his daughter
who melted, burnt and crashed,
but girls were not encouraged
to fly.
Or would she, being female,
have realized that the sun could come to her?
Or, as a girl, would she have learned and known
just how far to go?
Would she have needed or heeded
a father’s warnings about the light and heat?
At the destruction of a daughter
would her Daedalus have wept harder?
Boys don’t cry
Girls don’t fly
Oh, the old
duality, the mirrored self
reflected
back at  you
in your precocious, precious child or hated enemy.
Oh, those old opponents -
female strength and male emotion
twisted in a heap on the landing strip
where each one of us will crash and burn,
on our way to drown in our own soul’s
desire’s water.
The parent’s heart will break
all over, the foolish child
will always win their wings.

“The Female Icarus”
From: NOTEBOOKS FROM MYSTERY SCHOOL by Margaret McCarthy
Finishing Line Press, 2015