It’s no big revelation that the “Pagan Community” is a broad term that encompasses countless small groups that may (or may not) consider themselves “Pagan”. We all know that the term “Pagan” comes with controversy and debate, but how often do we consider the other word in the phrase?
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?...