Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Goddess Economy

It is always a joy to give and receive gifts around the Winter Solstice and I love the adventure involved in searching for beautiful things that will bring a little magic into someone's life.

Here in Brighid's Isles it isn't always easy. Somehow we have all been asleep whilst the big chain stores of the corporate world have cloned our high streets. Now they all have the same stores selling the same boring things, much of it manufactured by women working long hours for poor wages in the far east. In truth our high streets have become battlegrounds of domination and competition aimed at relieving us of our money as quickly as possible.

I live between two cities, Leeds and York and they couldn't be more different. Leeds is a typical british clone town whilst York is filled with small independent shops offering a veritable cornucopia of magic and delight. In Leeds people look rushed and harassed. In York you can see the delight on people's faces and they seem to have time to stop and socialise.

So York seems to me to be closer to a Goddess economy, one based on beauty, magic, nurture, co-operation and real social interaction. In Leeds you go into a shop and buy. In York you still go into a shop and buy; but you also receive gifts, personal service, the delight of an artisan in her own work, the chance to talk and exchange ideas.

By now you can guess in which city I bought my Winter gifts ! However, Leeds didn't seem to be all corporate greed for there was one oasis of difference which made it actually worthwhile to get the bus into that city. The old Corn Exchange is a beautiful building which was a haven for small independent shops selling their own kind of magic and every weekend the floor was filled with artisans selling their wares. The place buzzed and had its own special atmosphere. It rapidly became THE place for the city's teenagers to socialise. A little Goddess economy in a world of corporate greed.

Then came the bad news. It was suddenly announced by the owners of the Corn Exchange that it was "under-performing" and all the small shopkeepers and artisans were given notice to quit. Instead, the Corn Exchange was to become an expensive restaurant and a luxury food hall.

Needless to say "under-performing" is all about greed. As a value added, gift added, magical, Goddess economy place to socialise and shop the Corn Exchange was quite clearly performing very well indeed.

So last Saturday I took the bus into Leeds to visit the only place that made it worth the effort to travel to that city, you guessed it - the Corn Exchange. Over the last few weeks many of the shops had given up and closed and there were few artisans left weaving their magic on the floor.

But, one thing gave me real hope for the future. On a cold, wet, winter afternoon some 300 teenagers dressed in the finery you could only buy in the magical shops of the Corn Exchange stood outside protesting the closure. Their spirits were high and their behaviour impeccable. Three corporate heavies watched them closely, their presence and their attire quite incongruous. I felt really, really proud of our young people and they gave me real hope for the future and for a truly Goddess Gift economy.

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Blogger yellowdog granny said...

dang..I knew there was a town I would fit right in...what the hell am I doing in West, Texas?...I love you blog..found you on the gods are bored..will blog roll you if you dont mind and tell people about you..there are many on my blog who worship the goddes, who actually makes an occasional visit to my blog and answers all questions..

Blogger Paul said...

Hi; welcome to the blog and by all means blog roll the site.

Go for the "what would the Goddess do" t-shirt, or for those who would ban the Golden Compass books a t that says, "First you burn books then you burn women"

Goddess blessings,


Blogger S. Nichole said...

Paul - while I did not visit Leeds, I do think I know what you are talking about when mentioning York.

Both the city and it's residents have a calm and happy presence. People were so willing to stop briefly to help me out when I was trying to find my way about. I felt very safe walking around York, even late at night. It is a beautiful place that I hope to have the opportunity to visit again.

I agree with what you said here in regards to corporate greed - the modern way of doing business is so cold and calculated. It is not about living; it is about their bottom line.

There are very few places that you can go into and actually talk to the person that made the item you are buying. I would love to see more places like the one you are talking about! It is sad to know that this one will no longer be around.


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