I was tickled to learn yesterday of an historical account of a famous Queen of Assyria, Semiramis. I had never heard her story before, even though she was the only ancient ruler other than Alexander the Great to conquer beyond the Indus River.*
Too often, women are content to learn the patriarchal stories we are told and leave it at that. This makes it hard for us to identify and form our psyches into something whole and balanced. Instead, we are inundated with lessons of pious girls who get wishes granted because they are beautiful and meek. We believe the tales of the good child who continues to be trapped and unable to blossom because she doesn’t stand up to the bully. Only by magic and wishes is she freed, and this does not come from within her, but from a male provider taken by her charms and pretty dresses.
Don’t get me wrong. I like men. They are individuals and not be lumped together into the images created by our stories, any more than the women are to be considered dainty and incapable. This is more of a cultural issue. One that we, as individuals, can change by bringing forward stories that show strong women making their own choices, and accepting personal responsibility for those choices...good or bad.
Semiramis had to face the challenge of having her freedom taken by men. The first tried to hide her, as he was afraid that he would be unable to keep her if other men saw her. She refused to stay hidden or quiet. She trusted in her self and her abilities. She chose to defy him and led a great battle with an idea she had cleverly devised. King Ninus saw this and took her for his own, putting the first man to death. Again, she was not content to be owned or bullied. She overthrew this King, punished him for his injustice, and then became Queen.
Her words really say it best.
“Nature made me a woman, yet I have raised myself to rival the greatest men. I swayed the scepter of Ninos; I extended my dominions to the river Hinamemes eastward; to the southward to the land of frankincense and myrrh; northward to Saccae and Scythians. No Assyrian before me had seen an ocean, but I have seen four. I have built dams and fertilized the barren land with my rivers. I have built impregnable walls and roads to far places and with iron cut passages through mountains where previously even wild animals could not pass. Various as were my deeds, I have yet found leisure hours to indulge myself with friends.” *
That is inspiring.
*from Women Warriors by Marianna Mayer taken from an ancient bronze statue dedicated to Semiramis.
My Day Three Muladhara: