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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, August 20

A local community tries to convert the site of an old coal mine into a solar farm. Africa marks its first year polio free. And investigations into the declining population of land snails may reveal troubling implications about our planet's ecosystem. Here at Earthy Thursday we do our best to bring you informative and useful news about the Earth and the sciences. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Animal Messengers

Sometime ago, I dreamt that I was a giant squid playing with the other squids in the blue ocean. Wiggling my tentacles, I had fun jetting from here to there. When I woke up, I pondered what Giant Squid had wanted to tell me

 While pondering my dream, I understood that Giant Squid wanted me to play more. Moreover, She came to remind me to be more flexible. With my brain injury, I have become a fixed thinker. Since it takes me a long time to do my chores, I tend to focus solely on getting them done. Giant Squid decided to enter my dreams to have me become more fluid in my waking life. She told me to zoom away from housework and go play.

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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Rape culture
.

 

No, it's not a pretty phrase. But it's a fitting name for a set of institutions and ideas that steal away women's pro-creative power through physical violence, social shaming, and economic exploitation. 

 

In The Woman's Belly Book, I say pro-creative power is our body-centered power to promote creation — through childbirth, yes, and through life-affirming ways of being in every dimension.

 

Creating a cultural paradigm beyond rape is what Kim Duckett's about. How does she do it?

 


"I take women to Hel and back," she says.

 

Her vehicle for visiting goddess Hel is reviewing — and rewriting — the ancient Greek myth of Persephone’s descent.

 

"Stories lead to the heart of healing," my recent article in the Mountain Xpress, Asheville’s weekly newspaper, features Kim and her work. 

 

For whatever reason, the newspaper has shied away from relating the horrific aspects of the conventional myth to current events in the culture at large. I invite you to read the article here and add your comments online. Tell us: How is revising the myth of Persephone important for you, your family? 

 

Here's some background:

 

Kim Duckett, a.k.a. Woman Who Follows Her Heart, is an ordained Priestess and a shamanic ritualist rooted in the mountains of western North Carolina.

 

Holding a doctorate in Transpersonal and Spiritual Psychology with a focus on Feminist Theory, she’s taught women’s studies in college and university settings for thirty years. She also co-founded the rape crisis center, now known as Our Voice, that’s been serving the region’s women and men for more than forty years.

 

The Wheel of the Year as an Earth-Based Spiritual Psychology for Women names Kim’s forthcoming book. Those words also name the teaching she offers to women as she travels throughout the nation.

 

Kim describes her teaching this way in the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies:

 

The Wheel of the Year as an earth-based psychology for women is inherently feminist and also based in transpersonal psychologies. Women explore the turning points, or holydays of the Wheel, on both spiritual and psychological levels through a wide range of modalities that engage body, mind, emotion, and spirit.

 

The Wheel of the Year focuses the first year of Kim's Sacred Mystery School, a three-year curriculum in women’s spirituality. With the arrival of the autumn equinox, she invites women taking part in Mystery School to update and personalize the myth of Persephone.

 

Kim knows, as famed mythologist Joseph Campbell did, that myths validate and preserve a culture’s social and moral order. She knows, as Campbell did, that myths must change to keep pace with changing times. “Myths are teaching stories,” she says. “So it’s important to ask: What are they teaching?”

 

She begins by presenting women with the conventional version of the myth: Hades snatches maiden Persephone, rapes her, and imprisons her in his underworld realm. 

 

Does this scenario sound familiar? So many of us have similar stories.

 

Finally breaking through to national awareness with New York magazine's July cover story, scores of women have alleged that comedian Bill Cosby did Hades over decades, holding young women captive in an “underworld realm” of drug-induced loss of consciousness. They’ve alleged that agents of various cultural institutions aided and protected Cosby, keeping his actions secret, allowing him to continue.

 

Drawing on Charlene Spretnak’s research, reported in Lost Goddesses of Early Greece, Kim inspires women to recognize alternatives to the Greek myth as it’s usually told, including versions pre-dating the ones validating rape culture.

 

In a circle of mutual support, expressing themselves through dance, poetry, and drama, women create their own versions of the myth. In these, Persephone chooses to descend. 

 

Each woman acknowledges, as Persephone does, her need to deepen. She chooses to move inward, to re-member and re-collect herself, to be with her inner wisdom. In the deep, dark, womb-like realm of goddess Hel she finds a place for rest and replenishment. She meets not Hades but Hecate, the wise woman within.

 

And then she emerges, refreshed. She embodies greater clarity, more vitality, and a renewed sense of purpose. She returns with a mythic guide to her own well-being. 

 

What’s more: Women rewriting the myth of Persephone as woman-affirming stories of descent and return build the foundations for a generative, peaceable culture of life.

 

How do you rewrite the myth of Persephone? I invite you to add your own story, your own comments, here.

 

 

 

 

More info:

 

Kim Duckett
A Year and A Day Sacred Mystery School for Women
followheartkd@gmail.com

 

Charlene Spretnak

Lost Goddesses of Early Greece

 

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Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, August 19

New Orleans relocates a major ritual for "religious reasons." Modern Heathens celebrate the Poetic Edda. And just how accurate are the myths native to your local community? That's right, we're back for Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news related to community issues within the Pagan community and similar or affiliated groups. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_freyr.jpgFreyr or (anglicized) Frey: Means “lord”.  Is considered more of an epithet or title rather than his personal name.  The Old English (Anglo-Saxon) version is Fréa (curiously, the Old English version of his sister’s title is Fréo, pronounced “Frowe”).

Ingvi, Ingui or Ing: His personal name, which the ancient Germanic tribe of Ingaevones is named for, who were said to dwell next to the ocean, consisting of the Cimbri, Teutons, and Chauci tribes; the Ingaevones form the majority of the Anglo-Saxon settlement in Britain, and the linguistic scholar Noah Webster speculated they gave England its name. At the very least, an Ingui is listed in the Anglo-Saxon royal house of Bernicia, and he was probably seen as the progenitor of all Anglian kings. Ing is most likely one and the same as Yngvi, the founder of the Yngling dynasty of Sweden. In the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, a rune is named for him, with the corresponding verse

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A few spokes shy of a wheel?

The Wiccan Wheel of the Year is a wonderful thing. The eight evenly-spaced sabbats provide a balanced, coherent view of the seasonal cycles over the course of a year. The Quarters and Cross-Quarters are a great way for modern pagans to connect with nature and to become more in tune with the shifts and changes of the natural world, particularly in temperate climates. But the Wheel of the Year is a recent invention, compiled from a wide variety of sources. Ancient cultures didn’t follow the Wheel, or at least, not all of it.

For instance, my Celtic reconstructionist friends tell me that their historical sources mention only the Cross-Quarters sabbats: Samhain, Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasadh, often called Fire Festivals in their tradition. Hilda Ellis Davidson’s work on the ancient traditions of northern Europe suggests that some cultures celebrated the solstices but not necessarily the equinoxes, and harvest festivals fell whenever the crops were ready and not on a particular calendar date. The ancient Roman sacred calendar contained more festival dates than you can shake a stick at. So what about the ancient Minoans?

...
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Robin of Sherwood: An Appreciation

12th century England, the yeomanry crushed beneath the heel of their Norman overlords. Shooting a deer to feed your family is a capital offense. The people cry out to their ancestral god to free them.

And Herne, ancient god of the forest, hears his people's cry. He calls a dispossessed young English nobleman, Robin of Loxley, to be his son and to lead his people in their struggle against Norman oppression.

This is the heady premise of Richard Carpenter's landmark Robin of Sherwood, which aired in the UK from 1983 to 1985, the first television series to be shaped by the newly-emergent paganisms of the West. In the process, it transformed forever both the Robin Hood mythos and modern paganism itself.

That's a lot to say for one TV series.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Well, I don't usually endorse non-pagan businesses, but...um, there's this company named for a large South American river.... Loo
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Steven, where the heck did you get ahold of the series? I've been looking for it on DVD or Blu-Ray for ages, to no avail.

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