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So what does it mean that the Elk cows and their calves are simply lying down and dying

The elk cows deaths mirror females state and status earthwide.

Categorized in these topics: Bioculinary Feminine Matrix and Female Culture Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Weather Women's Trauma Issues


I am female first before any ethnicity, race or tribal affiliations. My Serbian, South Slavic heritage accompanies my female being where the elk threaded through my life and in dreams.

In February, 2004 I had a nightmare about an elk calf which I held in my arms warding off two white wolves. The nightmare continued into day for soon after my nightmare I came across an article titled, “Biologists Look into Wyoming Elk Deaths.

In the second elk article, I discovered buried in the article that the mysterious deaths pertained only to Elk cows and calves on a 15 Wyoming square mile land patch. The first article title had made no mention that 15% of the elk herd, all cows/females and calves were simply laying down and dying.

Quietly erasing female gender from all things is a gynocidal practice. I realized in the elk articles how gender neutering and gender cleansing is normalized in the use of obscure idioms which proclaimed to research the Wyoming Elk deaths. Then I wondered if it was not for my dream would I have even noticed the gender cleansing, let alone to research any further then that first article.

I realized how I was ingesting the reporter’s subconscious need to erase gender. As I excavated more about the elks, I identified two ‘supposed’ divergent trends. The elk cows deaths mirror females state and status earthwide. My dreams and nightmares portend the screaming messages I and other women have chosen to avoid or to deny.

With my nightmare I turned to the work of Marija Gimbutas, a classically trained archeologist. Her research of the Slavs noted elk remains in many of the Slavic archeological sites which pointed to my deep understanding of how the elk were once sacred to the Slavs. The Elk to Slavic peoples often represent ancestors imparting messages of great significance. Able to withstand the most formidable environmental conditions, Slavic peoples noted the importance of the elk amongst their community. Elk symbolized a universal tie to all females since females manifest communities with their blood mysteries -- ­birth and creativity.

I understood the elk cows to be adaptive to harsh life-threatening conditions and after my many journeys to Bosnia to do trauma treatment, I saw this adaptive ness reflected in the Bosnian women who survived war and war crimes. This can be noted with women earth wide: Amnesty International research and investigation determined one billion women (one in every three) had been beaten, forced to have sex or otherwise abused, often by a friend or family member.

I still hear from many women about how much better things are for females. This staggering figure, one billion beaten or sexual abused, portrays how females have forgotten to be with their same sex as (lived by) the elk cows do, leading directly to an eclipsing of female solidarity. Otherwise, would so much violence be targeted towards the 51% feminine population majority? (Would the majority of the population which is 51% female have so much violence targeted against them?) Female solidarity is the single most important ingredient that erases gender violence.

A new field that studies animal behavior called “social ethnology," "ecological ethnology," or, more recently, "sociobiology,” finally attempts to reveal what Slavs and wise women have known all along. The elk community is not separated into its individual components; rather it is layering the generations of adaptive behavioral strategies adopted by that species (such as the elk) that become the product of its genetic and social inheritance. Also considered are the elk community’s learning abilities as influenced by the constraints and opportunities of the environment in which they live.

The elk are in essence “Old World Deer” that are sensitive to their ecology and to the earth on which they tread. Like the tree rings, the elk can speak much about the conditions of their habitats in their adaptive behaviors and their gender specific communal participation. Interestingly, the elk adopted behaviors that resulted in the appearance of the female to not differ from that of the male elk appearance or behavior.

These behaviors are due to the elks life lived in broad and wide open landscapes. When the male and female elk forage together on the open plains, the females compete with the males for food, and still prevent males from courting and harassing them. The gender specific behavior for the female elk is to mimic males.

Isn’t this exactly happening for women who can do anything a man can and better? Are we competing for our right to live without violence against women, such as rape, assault, beatings and mass murder? And is it safer to be more male in this world today? Since many female behaviors adapt to male preference, women are thereby becoming gender neutered and gender cleansed.

What I love about the Elk is how they are gender specific; the elk cows remain with same sex throughout their lives except for mating. Identifying how elk are gender specific makes the connection with women who once thousands of years ago were organized into an immense community with their menstruation; synchronized bleeding. I have never known the solidarity of synchronized bleeding on an earthwide community level, but have with close girlfriends and my daughter.

The nightmare is not only about the elk cows and calves deaths but that of the lost potential for menstrual synchrony. Our first mothers in the Paleolithic and Neolithic past had the power to live for millennia without wars and without violence. They understood female solidarity and female humanity, which is how the elk cows live.

Chris Knight, evolutionary biologist pronounced in his research of Paleolithic and Neolithic female culture how “women created culture,’ acknowledging the power of same sex association in which female solidarity becomes a living reality. Archeological and anthropological evidence such as the research by Sjoo and Mor in their book “Great Cosmic Mother,” showed females were in solidarity before the Bronze Age.

This prompted a reflection on my Slavic Serbian heritage through language to excavate the meaning of sister. In Serbo-Croatian-Bosnian language sister/sestra is translated to ‘own woman’ and ‘woman of my clan.’ Woman of my clan speaks of a sister kinship unknown today but known by the elk cows.

The lack of female language prompts amnesia about sister kinship. Without female language and with gender cleansing and neutering sister kinship, women’s values are not sourced from a female’s reality or truth. To exclude gender fosters many gynocidal issues earthwide.

Female neutering and gender cleansing in manmade language participates on erasing females earthwide. By not realizing the connections to all living matter, especially that of animals, we do not hear the messages the animals and all living matter can provide. Eradication and cleansing of the many species result.

Following the mysterious deaths of Elk Cows and calves, I noticed that many of the articles again did not mention the female elk as being the target or main focus of their investigation. But the resulting evidence from the elk deaths investigation mirrors the state of being for females earth wide who aspire to be every male’s fantasy and servant instead of migrating more towards female solidarity and identity.

Failing to be opportunistic, females like the Wyoming elk cows simply lie down and die. The elk cows and calves that died were from another habitat about 50 miles away from the Colorado border and did not have the ability to ingest the lichen which was not a problem for the Wyoming elk herd. Here we have an authentic example of what my ancient Slavs wise women understood how the layering of life experiences add into genetics and life.

With the Wyoming Elk cows and calves deaths, it was determined that their ingestion of Usnic acid, a substance found in some weight-loss diet supplements, killed 300 elk cows and calves. The elk ate the lichen, where Usnic acid is found, causing the elk cows and calves to simply lie down and die; helpless to eat, drink or escape predators. Isn’t this a female’s life today in the patriarchal cults globally with all the eating disorders and body images mirroring a boy’s body with huge breasts?

Patriarchies are global since there is not a single country in the world where men raise children.

What happens with female neutering/cleansing is the same. There is a direct relationship between the poisoned elk cows and female bodies. I have witnessed it in the wars and the violence towards females and anything feminine earth wide. Rising breast cancer, uterine cancers, hysterectomies, eating disorders, depression, etc., speak of how female bodies are expressing truthfulness. The truth and the reality is that females are simply too tired to fight off predators—too tired from living in a world filled with gender violence towards them.

The catastrophic statistics are the endless accounts by women who have faced and experienced violence. Violence against women is normalized and metabolized into their bodies with the rapes, assaults and bombing of our homes. Our bodies, our homes, our children are the very battlefields for violence and wars and in the end what has happened for the elk cows and calves happens to females earthwide.

Female bodies with their screaming messages are a direct metaphor of what’s happening to females globally. In neutering gender by omitting female gender, by hiding the feminine, we blame the victims for what has transpired. Women would rather be male or a part of the brotherhood then to be female or know sister kinship.

Neutering gender from our lives and words are in essence the planting of lethal landmines in women’s minds and spirits right in their wombs. I have witnessed many women being martyrs. Feeling superior in the martyr role where they can take anything and take on patriarchal male’s accountability with ease only cripples males and prevents females from being individually accountable.

“I have been taught to honor the earth and these fields. My mother said to never strike the earth before spring since she is pregnant. I have taught my daughters and sons hate. All these grenades hidden in the soil?” shouted the angry Bosnian grandmother holding fists of dirt on one of my frequent journeys to Bosnia to do trauma treatment. Bosnia is estimated to have one million landmines, currently.

My feminist trauma work has taken me to Bosnia, Sri Lanka and into the Northwest backyards in the states. I have borne witness to the females simply laying down and dying with their children. Blighted with an infectious agent or toxin which I know is a product of the pathological patriarchal hierarchy, many females are unconscious of their female humanity.

Unable to define what females are, women either move into the patriarchal stereotypical gender role-the good daughter that never grows into her Goddesses- or become the super agents of gender neutering and cleansing as martyrs. As we erase female gender even from a Science article about elk, the shadow of that erasure is a gynocidal metaphor.

Out of fear of violence, many women participate in female gender cleansing by not holding the male-represented powers-that-be accountable. Holding men accountable is taken as blame or hatred for males instead of recognition that a female is naming her reality. Somehow, this divorce from the heart and female ways of knowing can rationalize atrocity. This language and way of speaking is that of slavery and second class citizenry; a gender cleansing infectious toxin.

What I noted from my seminars, trauma treatment sessions and presentation follows these 5 ingrained patterns for response:

1. Being quick to lay blame on women and children: one elder woman at an International Woman’s Day function asked if there were any female pimps in human trafficking. The question came after hearing the overwhelming evidence that males run this billion dollar operation along with how if women are pimps it is out of survival.

2. Asking what about the men-taking on all their accountability and not holding men accountable due to fear of retribution which historically has been devastating;

3. Not wanting to use the “G” word, Goddess, “F” words, feminist, female, feminine stating that as women they do not hate men associating feminism with hating men but in reality it is women hating.

4. By defending the defended passionately responding with ‘it would never happen with my husband, brother, son or uncle’ rather than to look directly at the patriarchal violence towards women. Not naming a female’s reality and a female’s truth is living in denial.

5. Devoted service found in the endless rounds of excuses and rationalizing why women themselves cannot possibly donate money to a women or feminist cause but have enough to eat at fast food restaurants weekly amongst other male cult influenced consumerism behaviors. We don’t put our time, service or money on gender specific causes and needs instead we erase them.

What I do know is that we no longer can afford to lose contributions of both genders. As with the bachelor herds of the elk population feeding on the lush Wyoming range there will be a price to pay for the erasure of the feminine: when it comes for the mating season no females will be alive to ensure another generation. Being complacent about the female gender, rationalizing her away with service and excuses to values that are not engendered is bringing all of us to a dangerous precipice.

Contributing to movements that engender and courageously have female and feminine language and values can provide shelter, counseling and sustainable economies for war torn lands and war ravaged females earthwide. Make no promises, act in advocacy for the inclusion of females and the feminine into our lives. Make no excuses, give time, money and your values back to the mother earth and recognize the sister kinship that is so sadly neglected and abandoned.

By inserting female reality and female language into our everyday lives, we create an alchemical healing response to super agents of gender neutering and cleansing which fosters female visibility and acknowledgement. More importantly it is female human rights activism.

Next time when asked what is your citizenship or nationality say, “I am female and the earth is my country.”

Come and participate in the annual “Peaceful Dimensions against Gender Violence,’ conference held annually in Novi Travnik, Bosnia. Manifest a truly human population that includes the females, does not exclude the males and eternally remembers the children.







Danica Anderson, founder and Executive Director- the Kolo: Women’s Cross Cultural Collaboration is a forensic psychotherapist with a private practice in Olympia, WA. A fellow in the Academy of Trauma Experts, Ms. Anderson has been working in Bosnia since March 1999 with refugees. Developer of a culturally appropriate trauma treatment that utilizes engendered culturally appropriate psychology practices, called the ‘Kolo” (circle or to dance in Serbian), the work has culminated into annual human rights conferences for Bosnian women. Danica facilitates numerous female humanity and female human rights seminars and sacred pilgrimages to Bosnia, Crete, Malta, Scotland and Turkey. Website: www.kolocollaboration.org







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