Emma Sham-Ba Ayalon, Israel, is part of a group that holds the vision for building a Peace Research Village in the Middle East. She felt that peace between the genders is a crucial base for peace between the nations and religions. Looking for inspiring wisdom to develop this deep level of peace, she connected to the most erotic text of the bible, the Song of Songs.
Lately, I have worked on translating the Song of Songs. It is the most erotic text in the bible. It shows how eros and nature are interconnected. It describes how the gifts of love are better than wine. It gives voice to the longings that we hold for the connection with each other as men and women. It tells about the research for true love.
I translated it in a free way while holding the question in my mind: What is a peace culture in the area of love?
I live with a group who holds the vision to create a Peace Research Village in the Middle East, a vision for creating a model of life in which Israelis, Palestinians and internationals live together and heal the earth, heal the base of trust between humans and nations, and also heal the base of trust and cooperation between the genders.
I like to connect the words from our ancestors to a vision for a new culture. I like to connect to the spirit of King Salomon who was the king that created peace treaties with all the surrounding countries. His name also includes the letters of peace in Hebrew: Shalom. For me, the knowledge that is hidden in his text reminds me that creating a new culture in love is part of peace work. I get to know that accepting and discovering myself as a woman is part of a revolution. Here are some words that I revised from the song of songs as if they speak for me:
I am a woman and I am a peace seeker.
My beauty comes from my connectedness to my sexual power.
I am connected to my sexual power that for millennia was seen as dark force.
Its darkness is like a tent that creates darkness to hold the mystery.
Its darkness is like the black color that contains all colors.
Don’t see sexual power as a shadow.
I am dark as I lay tanned by the sun rays.
My brothers and friends taught me to be as natural in my sexuality as an open vineyard.
I know that sexuality is a giving force.
I take care of my sexual power as I take care of Mother Earth.
I take care of my vineyard while caring not to become self centered.
As a peace worker, I can see the similarity between our love stories and the story of the land. In the last year I fell in love with a man. My Palestinian woman friend fell in love with the same man. How similar it is to the story of Hagar and Sarah, the story from which the hostility between the two nations arose!
Can I see this situation not only as a problem, but as an opportunity of transformation? Can I see that it is the same that we love in this man? Can I find a way to cooperate instead of compete? I discovered how both nations claim to love the land, but actually are fighting upon it and exploiting it. Fighting to get more of it instead of being in service for its prosperity.
I know that after decades of patriarchy we, as women, need to come together to support men to transform and become what we are longing for. To help them to become free loving beings. To help them, and ourselves, to know that the personal love and the universal love should come together.
When you live in community, the love to a love partner is interlinked with the love to your friends, and to the love for the land, and to the love of what you do. You fall in love with people who commit themselves to peace and healing. You fall in love with people that learn the full spectrum of love, who learn that love is connected to compassion, and that in true love you don’t focus on what you get but on what you give. You learn that it is healthy for your love to share a vision so that you don’t focus too much on each other, but, instead, focus on being in service for what you love.
In the translation I created for the Song of Songs there are three voices: the voice of the woman, the voice of the man and the voice of the friends. The voice of the friends is like a choir or a community of friends that wishes to support their love. It has the wisdom of being less identified with the story. It can give good advice and ask good questions. When we put our love questions in the mirror of the community we learn that our personal problems are universal problems and that solving them is a universal process. The friends can tell us something like this:
Swear to me oh women, oh seekers of peace, by the gazelles, and by all the wild deer,
Don’t excite love.
Don’t stir it up,
Until the time is ripe,
And you are ready.
Until love can be healthy, free of comparison, neediness and obsession.
Learn to free your lover from your projections.
Don’t build your identity on the contact with your partner.
This is not an easy task after years of patriarchy. As women of the modern world, we don’t even see how much we build our identity based on the contact with our partner. We need friends who can remind us of our own path of growth. We need spaces in which we can let love grow in its own time. Not to stir it up, but to let it ripen on the basis of truth, friendship and solidarity.
In a new culture, the men support the women to become leaders again. The men support the women to show their wild nature. The men support the women to become who they are meant to be. They don’t bind the women to themselves. They are happy when the feminine aspect can flourish again through the wild nature of the women in the community, and through the wild nature of Earth itself that can become healthy again.
Rise up my beloved,
My beautiful one.
Go on your way!
The autumn is over
The rain has gone.
Buds are seen all over the earth.
It is the time of the singing bird
The voice of the peace dove is getting closer
The vines are in blossom and give forth their fragrance
The fig trees are ripening slowly.
It is also time for you to blossom.
Arise to your greatness oh my beloved, my beautiful one, walk toward yourself.
Walk toward your realization.