Articles on Feminine Power,
Sexuality, Spirituality & More
Sexuality, Spirituality & More
Reclaiming the Word Whore
For centuries women have been classified into categories of being either good or bad. Good being virginal, (her hymen intact), a woman that does not sleep around or who is not promiscuous; bad meaning, just the opposite, a “whore”, slut, seductress/seducer, a woman who enjoys sex with many men who steals other women’s men or who just enjoys sex. Although today in Western society, women have more freedom than ever before, these old attitudes still remain. In many other countries throughout the world a woman’s virginity is still considered a prize possession kept only for her husband and if a woman is found to not be virginal when she is of a marriageable age she is ostracized and considered ruined and unclean.
These attitudes have been accepted by the collective field of humanity, and therefore passed down from generation to generation. Women, in particular, have taken these attitudes to heart as they have been passed down from great-grandmother to grandmother, to mother and daughter. They alive become entrenched within the collective psyche of all women and within the cellular memory of our bodies.
These ideas have become so prevalent and accepted as the norm that one of the worst things you can call another girl or woman is a “whore”, this word being an all-inclusive “bad” girl who sleeps around.
As a result of this women have felt split between the two. Am I a good girl or bad girl, Madonna or whore these being the only two choices we have had. Although today, we have to some degree shifted some of these old ways of thinking about women’s sexuality, you can still see the effects of these entrenched beliefs played out in our media and on advertising, music, and videos. Especially hurt are young girls who are still being told that their primary value is to be beautiful and sexy at any age.
"The separation into priestess and prostitute, or sacred and profane polarities, occurred for western civilization when the early fathers of Christianity claimed power by abolishing goddess worship and other nature-based pagan religions. In actuality, the bipartite woman, both whore, and Madonna, was a construct of the early Papal Councils around 600 AD.”
This separation was designed to diminish the power of the Goddess and her representatives, the priestesses of Her temples. Priestesses were eventually regulated to perform only certain tasks by the priests who were now given full range of power.
The Origin of the Word WhoreThe term "sacred whore" is not an oxymoron. If we explore the etymology of the words "whore" or "harlot," we find that the split between "priestess" and "prostitute" is a relatively recent one. In her book When God Was A Woman, Merlin Stone informs us that the Hebrew word zonah means both prostitute and prophetess. Barbara Walker, in her Dictionary of Woman's Myths and Secrets, points out that the Hebrew word hor means a cave, pit, or dark hole. The Spanish word for whore, puta, derives from the Latin term for a well, but the Latin term for grave, literally "a hole in the earth," is puticuli, meaning womb of rebirth. These terms for whore were not derogatory.
The Latin term had its roots in the Vedic, an early Sanskrit language, wherein the word puta is defined as pure and holy. The cave, the pit, the hole, and the bottomless black lake were metaphors for the Great Goddess, She who is unnameable, that darkness primordial from which all life (light) is born. She is the Everything and The Nothing -- Hole-y, Holy, Wholly. The Sacred Whore at work was, in fact, the manifestation the Great Goddess. Today these ideas are not completely lost.
The Hebrew folk dance named the hora, a tradition at Jewish weddings is named after the circle dances of the sacred harlots. Such holy harlots were often "brides of God" similar to modern nuns, the "brides of Christ." The holy harlots were set apart to give birth to Sons of God. In other words, these women had the job of changing human-animal into human-god.
It is time for women everywhere to reclaim their Herstory and to take back the original meaning of this word. The change must come from women first in order to effect a change in how the word is used. Just like the word cunt was reclaimed, women have the power, you have the power to reclaim the holy sacredness of your sexuality and your sexual power. By taking back the word Whore, and restoring it to its original meaning not only will you and I benefit but so will your daughters and all women everywhere.