“Dire Straits did Brothers in Arms here you know,” says Sting.
We are standing on the terrace outside of George Martin’s Air Studios on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. The early morning banks of fog are beginning to break up, gliding past each other like ocean liners, revealing a glittering bay far below on the coast. “Seven weeks into recording—the same point we’re at now—they decided to junk the whole thing. Started over again.” He continues to stare out to sea. Suddenly he snatches his towel from the railing and sprints off toward the studio garage. “Let’s go for a swim.”
Twenty minutes later we’re headed towards a moored yacht in the center of the deserted bay. “I don’t know what the critics will think of this album,” offers Sting between crawl strokes. “It’s rather cold and technical, not very up. Working with digital is weird, all the flaws are exposed, there’s no warmth. It’s like building a brick wall with no mortar.” I grunt sympathetically, but say nothing, knowing he hasn’t gotten to the heart of the matter yet. We reach the yacht and hang on the mooring line for awhile before heading back. “I know all this is connected with my mother’s situation,” he sighs, squinting towards the shore. Sting’s mother has been ill with cancer for the past two years. Back in Newcastle, she’s entered the last stages of her illness. “Until she’s… out of pain. Until she dies… I can’t really open up and be creative.”
The next day he drops by the studio pool while I’m doing laps. Sitting on the diving board, he offers, “I’ve got an idea for the title of the album I want to try on you. I’m thinking of calling it In Praise of Women.” I give him my best you’ve-got-to-be-kidding grimace as I churn by. “But Victor, that is what the album is about,” he insists. “That’s the theme,” I agree. “But that doesn’t work as a title. You can do better than that.” Later we discuss the emerging pattern of the album. “I don’t start out with a preset scenario like, ‘Tommy was a spastic deaf, dumb, and blind boy,”” Sting explains. Instead, his unconscious mind gradually unravels the theme through snatches of lyrics, dreams, musical moods. The new album is about women, but on a deeper level it’s about the archetypal feminine in everyone and everything. His work with Jungian analytical psychology has helped him realize that his relationship with his mother is deeply tied to his feelings about his own “female” nature, that is, the creative, intuitive, emotional, right-as-opposed-to-left-brain half of himself. With his keen and constant awareness of his mother’s pain and impending death, an awkward dichotomy is at work. On the one hand, fresh insights and revelations about that part of his nature are emerging in the form of dreams and songs. This is what synchronicity is all about. On the other hand, his empathy and concern for his mother have impacted and shut down his emotional/creative side. He’s working with one hand tied behind his back, trying to overcompensate with his rational/technical side for the missing emotional energy.
But something is clearly missing. Engineer Neil Dorfsman is relentlessly cheerful, but clearly concerned. “When do you think he’s going to be able to open up?” he asks me one night. “When this thing with his mother is over,” I answer. Later that night, back at the studio bungalow, I bring the matter up with Sting. Why not halt work on the album until after the crisis is over? Why beat your head against a brick wall? ‘Look, I know what I’m doing,” he snaps uncharacteristically. “And I don’t need you and Neil and Danny worrying and nagging me like this.” A few minutes later, he comes over and puts his hand on my shoulder. “I’m sorry, I know you’re only trying to help. Maybe you’re right, maybe I am only working with half of myself now…and maybe even I’m worried about whether this is going to work. But it’s too late to stop now. I just have to plow ahead and handle things one day at a time. Having that negative worrying energy around only makes it harder.” He’s right.
Three days later Sting is called to the phone while we’re playing pool. He comes down a few minutes later. “That was Trudie in London. My mother died just as we finished the last game.” He stares out into the tropical night. “It’s alright now, it really is, he adds in his horse whisper. “She’s not in pain anymore.”
Within two weeks the album has pulled out of its nosedive. The studio is vibrant with energy as lead vocals are laid down and song arrangements finally come into focus. Ten days later Sting is off to London the bulk of the work done. He’ll join the others in New York for final mixes at the Power Station.
Back in New York I have a strange dream in which my therapist asks me to deliver a lecture for him. Suddenly the name Eisler flashes across my field of vision in immense, numinous letters. I later have brunch with a writer friend who’s done work with dream analysis, and we puzzle unsuccessfully over my dream. Who or what the hell is Eisler? After brunch I head downtown to the Power Station to watch the mixing process. As Sting promised, it’s about as exciting as watching paint dry.
“Have you come up with an album title yet?” I ask. Sting looks up briefly from the mixing board and flashes me a sardonic grin. “Yeah, I did. But I’m not going to tell you what it is…for your own good.” “Why the hell not?” I respond. “Because if you don’t like this one, I shall be forced to kill you,” he replies sweetly. I agree that that would be his only rational alternative. “Oh, alright, it’s called Nothing Like the Sun. One night I was walking on Highgate Hill when a drunk accosted me and kept asking, ‘How beautiful is the moon?’ I replied, ‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…’ He said that was a good answer, and lurched off. Shakespeare works quite well with drunks, I’ve found.”
During a break he plays me a simple vocal and piano piece that he wants to add to the album. It’s called “The Secret Marriage,” and it’s about the inner joining of two people without the official sanction of the church or state. I enthuse about it being the most gorgeous Bertolt Brecht song I’ve ever heard. He grins shyly. “Actually, I completely rewrote Brecht’s original lyrics—it was originally called ‘The Little Radio’—and I just kept his collaborator’s music.” I remind him that in Jungian psychology, as well as American Indian lore and other mythologies, the “inner, secret marriage” refers to the balancing and joining together of the male and female parts of oneself to achieve a state of wholeness.
“By the way,” I ask. “Who did the music for Brecht’s ‘Secret Marriage’ piece?” “A musician he wrote with who I think was later hounded by the McCarthy people,” answers Sting. “His name was Hanns Eisler.” “How do you spell that?” I ask. “E-i-s-l-e-r.”
SPIN: You said this album is ostensibly about women, but there are a number of levels here.
STING: I suppose it’s about femininity, the yin instead of the yang, which is a factor in all music. I mean, playing music and singing, writing songs, are definitely activities that are right-brained. It’s female, it’s intuitive, it’s gentle, it’s not aggressive. Even the most violent punk band can’t help but be creative. There’s a benign element in all music that you can’t hide or you can’t disguise very long. Look at an artist like Billy Idol. His whole thing is to be this kind of aggressive, grimacing warrior, if you like. But he has to work very hard now to maintain that because the music is mellowing him. Which is why heavy metal is not long-lasting for most groups, because when you play music for a while it matures you in a way that’s not aggressive. I’m not saying that music always ends up wimpy. I just think it can make you grow as a person to maturity. And I think maturity, as Jung says, means accepting the feminine principle, accepting sensitivity into your life as part of you and not as something that’s alienating and frightening.
SPIN: Why is it so alien?
STING: I think we’re conditioned by society to think of it that way, conditioned by the warrior caste in films and books and heavy metal music. It’s a ritual, but we don’t need to be like that anymore.
SPIN: And that warrior mentality is actually a form of weakness since it denies half of reality. It’s incomplete.
STING: It’s about immaturity. It’s interesting that I think I’m more sensitive now, probably more feminine, and yet I’m physically much stronger. I mean, if someone came into this room and tried to beat me up I’d kick the shit out of them cause I’m very fit and strong. So it’s not a matter of being a wimp, or scared of aggression. I still have that as a component—but it’s only half the truth.
SPIN: So the “real” man has to be balanced between action and receptivity, left brain and right brain. Can you talk about those two forces interacting?
STING: Well…songs just kind of grow. You get a little seed idea and it’s almost like a DNA code that comes into play as the limbs grow, verses grow, and a bridge and chorus grows. And it plays this code, like the DNA. And basically, as a songwriter, you actually only monitor and control it. You don’t produce it. It’s kind of mysterious, and no matter how much credit you take for it, you’re the agent. And I’m not really sure how the process works.
SPIN: Well, if you identify yourself only with your rational, linear mind you can’t take credit for it. But once you realize that the intuition and inspiration are flowing from something deeper that’s also part of “you.”
STING: Yeah, and there’s a time for the right brain and a time for the left brain, and I tend to think they’re equal. First there’s the gestational period which is definitely the right-brain activity, where I just try to relax and not worry about things and let ideas come and note them down. With this album there was a period of about two years collecting those seed ideas. Sometimes they coincided with the title like, “They Dance Alone.” The seed idea was from reading about the wives and mothers of political prisoners in Chile who dance by themselves in front of the prisons as a form of protest. The images were of dancing, of protest, of expressing grief. It’s like a pregnancy in that you carry these things around with you for months and every so often you get a musical idea, or an idea for a line that you can attach to it, or some other development. So the seeds grow and maybe cross-pollinate and join one another. But where the left, “linear” brain comes into play was in the three months before I went into the studio, when I had to craft these ideas into a shape where I could program them on the computer or shape them so I could present them to musicians and it wouldn’t be gobbledygook. That’s about understanding musical structure—left-brain work—and there’s a component to it that’s really hard work.
SPIN: It’s interesting that you’re unconsciously using all this archetypal female imagery—gestation, pregnancy, seeds germinating—to describe this process. Obviously you’re accessing more and more of that part of yourself. “They Dance Alone,” for instance, seems to be an acknowledgement of the nonaggressive power of the feminine aspect.
STING: Its power is that it’s ostensibly a peaceful gesture. It’s innocent in a way: Security forces can’t arrest you for dancing, although I’m sure they’d like to. But this is such a powerful image, of women dancing with pictures of their loves ones pinned on their arms and clothes instead of going out there with Molotov cocktails, which only elicits another kind of violence. This is something that has to win—it’s so powerful that it actually has to succeed. Whereas terrorism, no matter how justified by previous violence, will never work.
I’ll tell you an interesting story. When we first started to record with the Police, I wrote some hard-driving rock ‘n’ roll songs, like “All I Want Is to Be Next to You.” Andy and Stewart said that I shouldn’t write a love song, that the future was in pseudopolitical songs, or whatever. So I said, “Well, I’ve written this, why don’t you try and write something else?” So they both went home with the song’s backing tracks and Andy came up with “I’m Not Going to Take a Gun to You,” and Stewart came up with something almost the same. Miserable.
SPIN: Instead of getting angry, you used psychic judo. But obviously not all arguments within the Police were settled with such lack of friction.
STING: Yeah, but all through that incident I was prepared to be as horrible and obnoxious as I could be. I’m not a nice person when my wishes have been gone against. If they’d voted for another song, I’d have gone completely off it. I’ve actually done that in the past. I’m quite horrible. [Laughs.]
SPIN: Conflict can produce some creative sparks; maybe that was the only way you could get fired up during that period.
STING: Yeah, I hated being in the Police after the first few years. It was very difficult to balance what I was thinking and what I wanted to do with my creative life with what the band wanted to do as a whole. So having left it, I don’t have to fight those battles anymore with people. It’s as you say, conflict may have produced those albums, made them sound a certain way, which might have been good. But now I don’t feel that conflict is necessary in terms of being in a band…to such an extent that I’d rather not be in a band if there’s going to be any conflict. In other words, the criteria for this new band that I’m forming is not whether they’re the greatest musicians in the world. I want people that I can get along with and love for a year. And absolute commitment to what we’re doing, but no tension and no aggression. I’ve gone through that and I don’t want it. I’ve done that phase of my life.
SPIN: But some conflict is inevitable —you have to learn to manage and structure it when you can’t avoid it. But it could be that you’ve reached a level where you’re beginning to face those tensions and conflicts in yourself rather than having to deal with them by projecting them onto other people.
STING: Yeah, I don’t need other people to symbolize what’s going on inside me. And I get bored when they try. That’s why the Police getting back together—which is still a horizon issue—would be literally a step into immaturity and regression. There’s no possibility.
SPIN: Were those sessions last year for the Greatest Hits album the last straw?
STING: We tried it for a brief period, three days…and I have to say it wasn’t me. Other people needed the sparring, needed that symbolism. First of all they complained that I hadn’t written any songs. [Laughs.] And then they thought I was just able to be baited—so that I would be the old Sting. You know, the old feisty aggressive. I just basically walked out and I haven’t been back since. I still love Stewart very deeply…I really do love him. I miss him. But no way will I return to that situation.
SPIN: What about Andy? You had him play on the new album, and he knocked off these exquisitely beautiful and complex parts in one or two takes at the most. Obviously, some of the old artistic chemistry is still there. But personally, your relations with Andy were never as polarized as your relations with Stewart, were they?
STING: No, no. Stewart and my relationship—he wouldn’t understand this—but it had a sexual tension that was very strong. And that was never true of Andy. He’s a different age from me and a different kind of person. But Andy’s very amenable…when he’s amenable. [Laughs.] So working with him again was very easy. I also know how to get the best out of Andy as well. He has a very considerable reservoir of talent to tap into, which he doesn’t really know how to control himself. But someone else can. And I think Andy will always work best in situations where he is part of a team…a major part of the team, not a support, but something that’s essential.
SPIN: Don’t you think he has some unresolved issues about being a bandleader that he’s trying to explore with his solo albums?
STING: Bandleader? You’re talking about singing, really. You just don’t become a singer-songwriter overnight. Andy’s not a singer.
SPIN: Yeah, but I noticed you insisted on trying to play lead guitar on your album at first. And that didn’t work out so hot.
STING: Okay, true, you don’t become a singer or a lead guitarist overnight, it’s true.
SPIN: Watching the two of you backstage at Andy’s Ritz show, Andy puts out this friendly, inviting vibe, but can get tough when people take advantage of him. Whereas you emanate this intense force field that says “Keep away,” but it’s a bit of a bluff.
STING: Well, yeah. When I’m being photographed I know I can dominate the camera, not feel intimated by it. It’s like a Zen game, really. You have to appear vulnerable, to let people look inside you, the soul behind the eyes. At the same time, you do not want people invading your space. So you play this constant sort of opening up and closing up. The best photographs are that way: There’s promise in the eyes but the face says, “Stay away.” For the subject it’s essential. You can tell when people are looking inside your soul…all the time. People can scrutinize so carefully, so you really have to be defensive. At the same time, you can’t walk around with a bag on your hand—that goes against the purpose of the thing. So there’s a dichotomy. Yes, you want to reveal, and yet you do it by implicating what you have to say from behind a mask, which is not alienating. And that’s hard. And, of course, I know how effective it is. When you put a force field up, people want to get near you.
SPIN: The most powerfully revealing song on the album has to be “Lazarus Heart.” You’ve told me how the imagery for the lyrics came directly from a dream you had, so there was no chance for the mind to censor whatever the unconscious was trying to send up.
STING: I had this dream about my mother. Almost verbatim, the images were put down into verses. Looking under your clothes and seeing a wound and you show it to your mother, because your mother would be the one to help you. Then you realize you’ve been given this wound by your mother. Then you see a flower grow from the wound. Then you see birds on the roof, which is a symbol of death. In the dream I didn’t have any stones to get rid of them. It was a real nightmare about my mother’s death because I was feeling totally powerless. But at the same time, it’s about being given a lot of strength by your mother.
SPIN: A therapist in England told me that 95 percent of the patients he works with have unresolved mother and father projections to deal with. In a way, your relationship with your mother tends to both reflect and influence your relations with all aspects of the feminine in your life—other women, your emotions, intuition, the arts. Can you relate to that?
STING: Oh, absolutely. I quite literally got music from my mother. One of my earliest memories is of sitting under the piano at my mother’s feet as they worked the pedals as she played the piano. And it was her who encouraged me to play the guitar, it was her who listened to me. At the same time, it was her who created a lot of tension in me. I was the first child, and I think the first male child has a bigger psychological burden to carry than other children, because it’s like a love affair. I speak from the experience of looking at the two women who have borne me male children. And it’s love…it’s sexual love, without mincing words, it’s actual sexual love. And that doesn’t have to manifest itself with actual cocks and vaginas, but it’s still deep, sexual love. And it’s even competitive for the father. That’s something I’ve only recently come to understand about my mother, this kind of love affair, this kind of sexuality. I also thought my mother was extremely attractive. And she was only 18 years older than me. I have to say that I’m very free now, particularly since she died. Largely because I believe that she was trapped in this body that was no use to her. She was a very free spirit…my mother was a scarlet woman, an adulteress, and she lived in sin with this guy. But she couldn’t stand rules. So now she’s free.
SPIN: The Lazarus dream reminds me of a book about the Grail myth called He, by a Jungian analyst named Robert Johnson. In the myth the young fisher kind receives a wound that can only be healed by finding the Holy Grail. Johnson identifies this wound as childhood trauma, sometimes associated with the mother or father, that produces a sense of alienation. The unconscious mind often hides the memory of all this till it comes up later in therapy, or dreams, or art or something. The quest for the Grail stands for coming into your real self, which involves gradually bringing these hidden traumas and fears up into consciousness to be healed. Realizing this about your mother, might that affect your trust situations with other people?
STING: My mother even in a way encouraged infidelity. When I first left home she was very keen that I should be a libertine. And I’m not particularly faithful…I became my mother occasionally this way sexually. I emulate that, the need to look outside of established relationships, even though they’re wonderful.
SPIN: But besides emulating her, could it be her behavior unconsciously convinced you that females and the feminine in general—including your emotions—are unstable and difficult to trust?
STING: I’m not sure…I don’t think I really fear being left. I have absolute faith in the women I’ve spent time with. I don’t trust myself.
SPIN: You mentioned your mother’s death freed you. I think that’s also true in terms of your creativity on this album.
STING: Nothing in life is isolated. Everything’s connected. And the timing of my mother’s death was linked to a lot of other events. It coincided with a time when this album became freed of the machinery. Only now are we pulling it out; it’s been hiding in the machinery so long. Which is why people were getting uptight and worrying that there wasn’t anything there. I don’t have any doubts about this record. Although recording digitally was difficult and kind of alienating, it allowed me more flexibility in terms of arrangement…and that drove me crazy. I could change the key, add whole sections to the song when it was already finished, change the tempo, everything. But basically I knew there was a core in each song that worked that you couldn’t destroy.
SPIN: Did you intend “Be Still My Beating Heart” to be a musical representation of what you were going through emotionally during all this?
STING: Yeah, I think that song is a good example to take. This is one of the songs that was “dead.” But what I wanted from the song all along was not performances, not emotion. I really wanted this layer, just like a river, just loping along. Anything that stood out, like a drum beat or a guitar lick, I’d take off—anything that jumps out isn’t there. I wanted this kind of tension because the song is about not wanting to lose emotional control. And that is emotional in itself—the desire to hold your emotions is very engaging.
SPIN: Springsteen’s approach on his new album seems to be the antithesis of what you’ve done with ...Nothing Like the Sun. How do you feel about his work?
STING: I respect Springsteen greatly as a performer, songwriter, and musician. I think he’s made a wise decision by going smaller with this album… and yet I still feel that he’s trapped. That’s the worst thing for me, entrapment, whether it’s artistic, sexual, or emotional, and os I project this same fear onto other people. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe he’s very happy with all this. But I’d like to see him try something different musically—a singing or musical style that isn’t so comfortable. He puts these songs on like he’s wearing a glove, like he’s Johnny Cash. I know what he’s going to sing and I know how he’s going to present it from the first bar. Whether somebody likes my album or not, there are things on it that nobody expects. Now, some of it is more mainstream than the last record but some of it is quite exotic. And for me, the logic behind it is…what the fuck! People might listen to it and wonder, What’s he doing? I knew I was on the right track when I confused everybody in the studio—they didn’t have a clue about what I was trying to get at, which was a real pop record. I wanted a record that is funny, emotional, sad, sexy, danceable, and serious. That, to me, is what pop music should be—not this homogenous record that has one guitar sound and one snare drum sound from start to finish.
SPIN: In “Rock Steady” you use the Noah myth to lampoon modern TV evangelists. Watching Jerry Falewell last week on TV really ticked you off, and you asked out loud, “Why do I hate and fear these people so much?”
STING: They are very clever manipulators of the media. They’re really exploiting people’s fears and abusing their best intentions for money and power and I think that’s very dangerous. Part of their unspoken belief is that the world will end in a violent conflagration and that Russia will be destroyed by nuclear attack, and somehow the righteous will survive through the power of God. If there is a nuclear war, you will die, you will die in the first ten minutes or a year later of disease and radiation. God cannot save the human race if we start firing these things. So I think it’s horribly dangerous if people think this way. I have to say, if Noah was building the ark this weekend I’d be one of the people laughing at him. It’s ultimately dishonest, the only sane response to these people is laughter.
SPIN: It’s an abuse of the sacred, which is linked with the archetypal feminine.
STING: That’s it. Really, the God of the TV evangelists is very much the Old Testament God, who is this angry, very male, very vengeful figure. The whole thing about Christ was that he got rid of that. The New Testament God is much more receptive, more feminine, if you will. So they’ve reintroduced the old God, which I’d have to call pagan. They’ve elicited the help of this entity which is not the God we need. In fact, I think it’s the opposite. It is Satan. And they’re linked to the politics of this country through Reagan, through people like Oliver North.
I was watching Peter Gabriel the other night. Here’s this repository of sane thought, this English pop star at an arena trying to explain torture and the dangers of nationalism to the audience. He introduced “Games Without Frontiers,” which is all about the dangers of nationalism. His preamble was that he was worried watching Ollie on TV. And as soon as he mentioned Ollie there was a cheer…and it wasn’t an ironic cheer. It was a cheer that the American people as a whole are raising about this inept Boy Scout who made a total fool of America in the wyes of the world. America is fucked up on the idea of freedom fighters. America describes contras as “forces of democratic freedom,” when really what they mean is gun-toting, drug-dealing gangsters.
SPIN: Having lived in both England and America, how would you compare what’s attractive and unattractive about each culture?
STING: Basically, misinformation is the most frightening aspect about American culture. People only get the information that confirms their prejudices. The opposing view isn’t really easy to find. America is pretty homogenous, but England is at war with itself on all levels: class, race, politics—even art. And therefore everything is ghettoized. As a pop singer, you never meet an artist or a novelist or a choreographer. Whereas in New York, which is set up like a medieval city with people living all around each other, everybody gets to know each other. You’re constantly being exposed to artists from a different line of work and there are no barriers.
SPIN: So why is English society so self-conflicted?
STING: There’s a good line in Plenty that’s spoken by Ian McCallum about the Foreign Office, which is the English State Department. He says, “In the old days, when we ruled two-thirds of the earth, there were only 20 people in the Foreign Office. Now we rule less than one percent and there are 3,000 people in the Foreign Office.” So of course we’re fucked up. [Laughs.]
SPIN: Speaking of offices, you’re now co-owner of a new record company. What’s the idea behind that?
STING: [Yawns.] To make money.
SPIN: Am I keeping you up? You could have started importing olive oil if you wanted to make money.
STING: Frankly, I would have never thought of having a record company. I’m too into my own music to be even remotely interested in somebody else’s. [Laughs.] Actually, I met Christine Reed, who used to head CBS Masterworks, and was inspired by her integrity and her desire to do something interesting in the world of commercial music. So I put her in touch with my manager, Miles Copeland, which was…uh…
SPIN: Inspired? Cruel?
STING: …something we might all regret. It’s just that she was someone who I wanted to integrate into my life, because she’s an extraordinary person. I’m an executive in the company, but I feel more like the mascot, really.
SPIN: Could you envision yourself doing something other than music when you’re older?
STING: I don’t really want to be a pop star all my life. So recently I was sitting in a sauna in Sydney, Australia, thinking about this, and thought, I’d really like to be a Jungian analyst. That would be a really nice way of living when you’re over forty or fifty—I could see myself balding and a bit rotund working as a Jungian analyst. So I’m sitting there thinking this thought and just at that very moment a guy came in the sauna and sat down. He looked at me and said, “You’re Sting, aren’t you? “Yeah.” “You’re interested in Jung and dreams, aren’t you.” “Yeah, funny you should mention that,” I said. So he says “Well I had this dream last night…” [laughs] and he went on and he told me about this dream where he’d been shot in the head. So there I was, hot and sweaty in the sauna, telling this guy that basically his dream was a very good one and trying to take him through this whole idea of killing the personality. But I’m not exaggerating the time sequence. It was instant! I had the idea about being an analyst and my first client came in, sat down, and immediately launched into this dream. Now once again, there’s this wonderful comforting kind of connection that once you’re open to it keeps flooding in. And each episode confirms and confirms it.”
A few weeks later Sting returns my call from Rome. “Did you hear about Jaco Pastorius dying?” he asks. ” I met him a few times…I feel terrible…I want to cry.” We talk of how Weather Report’s blend of musical sophistication and economy was a seminal influence on both the Police and the Blue Turtles Band. “Listen, Victor, next time you call please don’t leave a message that it’s urgent. It makes me think someone’s died.” I apologize.
“All I can do now is send my love, for what that’s worth,” I add. “And exactly what is that worth, Victor?” “At this time of night from Rome at AT&T rates—about twenty bucks.” He laughs. “See you at my birthday party. And remember, I’m not letting anyone in without a present.”
The following week while shopping for his present in a downtown bookstore I’m drawn to a book in the new arrivals section called “The Chalice and the Blade.” The author, an anthropologist, contends that our present male-dominated, aggressive, hierarchical society is a result of the literal and figurative suppression of the female element over the last few thousand years. She claims that earlier cultures, like the Neolithic and early Minoan, that respected the female element and encouraged goddess worship and reverence for nature were not female dominated (domination being a male concept.) Instead, they were balanced between the male and female elements, and therefore were spiritually, culturally, and economically much healthier than our own, which is beginning to show signs of redeeming our lost half. I flip the book over to check the author’s name. It’s Riane Eisler. E-i-s-l-e-r.
This will do nicely.