THE GODDESS PROJECT: Made in Her Image HERstory Changers Series #2
“I’m not afraid. I was born to do this.” -Joan of Arc
Women are inherently valiant. In extreme situations we armor up and lead others through whatever we are battling at the time.
Joan of Arc was a human woman with otherworldly faith who, as a young teenager, listened to Divine voices and lead an army that eventually ended the 100 Years War. “The real Joan of Arc is an uncomfortable fit as an icon of female solidarity or democratic rights. She achieved what should have been impossible for someone of her gender and class in 15th-century France.” wrote Helen Castor in her book Joan of Arc: A History. She was so respected and revered that 20 years AFTER Her death, 115 people testified on behalf of Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) and overturned the ruling.
Enbodying the Divine Feminine on Earth, women look to Joan as an inspiring example of a BRAVE AND ACTIVE WOMAN. Joan inspired the Suffragettes, they held HER banner and WORE WHITE (as Joan chose to wear white for purity when She was taken to the stake to be burned for the crime of cross-dressing) as they marched for women’s right to vote. Recently, newly elected Congresswomen all wore white in solidarity.
The newfound liberation of roaring twenties flappers took a nod from Joan of Arc as they lopped off their hair into short “bob” haircuts (still known in France as “la coupe a la Jeanne d’Arc) signifying their joy in having their own jobs, monies and freedoms. (Interestingly, Joan was not canonized until 1920.)
Our Goddess Project model, Lynn, texted me from Paris two years ago that she wanted to portray Joan. She was inside of Notre Dame, standing at Joan’s statue, at the time. This is what she has to share about her portrayal of Jeanne d’Arc:
“There is a beautiful marble statue of Joan of Arc at the Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, D.C. That statue brought Joan into my life.
I found her motto: I AM NOT AFRAID, I WAS BORN TO DO THIS, empowering and inspiring. She reminded me of so many sheroes across time. They and Joan did what they were called to do: march against injustice, petition the government to recognize them as full citizens, to struggle against the tide of patriarchy to be recognized as equal. And they faced the unjust consequences of their actions. Joan was only 19 when she was burned at the stake as a heretica little more than two years after she started on her divine quest. By a court that the Vatican later ruled violated church law. Her conviction of heresy was reversed 25 years later.
After the 2016 election, I wore a shirt with her motto on it, knowing I would need the courage and conviction of that young woman to face the days ahead. Girding myself in the armor of inspiration of another woman from so long ago. In Mexico, in 2017, I painted her motto on a background of the cloak of Guadalupe. I was so sick when I returned, an illness that lasted over a year and two surgeries later, Joan’s motto and the cloak of Guadalupe reminded me of how much strength I could call on through the Divine Mother and the many women who have gone before. Joan’s courage on the battlefield was nothing less than what I needed to face what was happening with my body.
Joan was a warrior called by the Archangel Michael, Saint Catherine (denounced the cruelty of the Emperor Maxentius whose marriage proposal she rejected and he eventually had her beheaded) and Saint Margaret (killed for being Christian and refusing to marry a Roman prefect) to save France against the English during the 100 years war. Of course, no men in power believed that such a young woman (or any woman) could successfully lead an army and yet she did. Turning the tide of the war in France’s favor after many years of decline.
I’ve always loved Colette’s Goddess Project but couldn’t decide which one I would want to be. When I was at Notre Dame in June, 2017, I realized who it was finally: Joan of Arc. I immediately texted Colette to let her know I wanted to be Joan. She immediately agreed. But I had some serious doubts about being Joan. I was already far older than she was in her life. Then I was very sick and Joan was put off for a bit, but not forever. When we heard of the fire at Notre Dame, both Colette and I knew it was time for Joan.
The moment I put on the armor, I felt a bit awkward but then I got used to it and I thought of how Joan must have felt wearing hers. And I realized that I embody the spirit of Joan of Arc. As do all women who take on impossible tasks, against the forces of patriarchy, and succeed in the millions of small ways that add up to making the world a better place for all women. “I am not afraid, I was born to do this.”
Thank you, Lynn, for donning Her armor and for having the courage to bring Joan of Arc to the project!
“[She was] by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.” -Mark Twain