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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in feminist spirituality

One of the things I love about working with Kris Waldherr's Goddess Inspiration Oracle is that she includes Goddesses from many cultures, including nonWestern and indigenous ones. This deck has really expanded my awareness of different Goddesses, and I always smile when one I haven't pulled before comes up. (And though I've been working with the cards for nearly three years, I still have new ones come up!)

So I smiled when Benzai-ten, Japanese Goddess of Talents, came into my life for this week. And I chuckled when I saw her message, which is

"Your talents can bring you wealth.

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  • Susan Harper
    Susan Harper says #
    Thanks so much for reading! Benzai-ten came for me at just the right time, too! I'm delighted to have you exploring her message wi
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Great questions and great timing with this post. I really needed to read this. Thank you Susan!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Do Women's Circles Actually Matter?

“We need rituals of memory…because a political movement, the public policy and tactics of our movement, does not come from our ideas, but from the bloody and joyful substance of our lives. We need to be conscious about what our lives have been, to grieve and to honor our strength, in order to break out of the past into the future.” –Minnie Bruce Pratt

Last year, I was feeling depressed and discouraged after reading some really horrifying articles about incredible, unimaginable violence and brutality against women in Papua New Guinea who are accused of being witches as well as a book about human trafficking around the world (I wrote about this book in a post for Pagan Families). Then, I finished listening to David Hillman on Voices of the Sacred Feminine, in which he issued a strong call to action to the pagan community and to “witches” in the U.S. to do something about this violence, essentially stating that it is “your fault” and that rather than spending energy on having rituals to improve one’s love life (for example), modern witches should be taking to the streets and bringing abusers to justice. And, he asserts, the fact that they don’t, shows that they don’t really “believe”—believe in their own powers or in their own Goddess(es).

This brought me back to a conversation I had with a friend before one of our last women’s circle gathering…does it really matter that we do this or is it a self-indulgence? We concluded that it does matter. That actively creating the kind of woman-affirming world we want to live in is a worthy, and even holy, task. I’ve successfully created a women’s subculture for myself and those around me that comes from an ecofeminist worldview. However, is that actually creating change? Or, is that just operating within the confines of a damaging, restrictive, and oppressive social and political structure? Last time I facilitated a Cakes for the Queen of Heaven series, I made a mistake when I was talking and said, “in the land that I come from…” rather than saying, “in my perspective” or “in my worldview.” This is now a joke amongst my circle of friends, we will say, “in my land…that isn’t what happens,” or “let me tell you what it is like in my land.” I have to feel like that DOES make a difference. If we can share “our land” with others, isn’t change possible? Doesn’t “our land” have inherent value that is worth promoting, protecting, and populating?

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Lovely, sensitive, well thought out. As David Hyde Pierce remarked about the current level of funding for Alzheimer's research, "

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Every religion is both a product of its times and, to the degree its vision takes hold of practitioners, transforms those times.  Ours is no exception. I think Pagans interested in our larger significance within American society as a whole will want to take a look at my new book, Faultlines: the Sixties, the Culture War, and the Return of the Divine Feminine, published last month by Quest. 

It was as a guest at a NROOGD Midsummer Sabbat many years ago that I had my first and most powerful encounter with the Wiccan Goddess. After that encounter my life existed in a context I had not even imagined possible. It would be years before I began to grasp how different.

At first the Pagan world differed only in the most obvious ways.  We dealt with different deities, and more of them and had different sacred days.  Often we had more fun and were rarely on time. But the longer I lived within our world the more I realized it opened me to insights far deeper than these relatively minor ones.

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  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Thank you Jamie. I think you will like the larger context, ultimately spiritual. in which I put the very accurate points you are
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. diZerega, I'm a fan of your writing, and your book made it onto my gift list shortly after I became aware of it. Spot on. Ev

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

 

I grew up on a farm in Puerto Rico where I experienced  the full cycle of life.  My days were filled with domestic dogs, cats, goats, pigs, hens, and rabbits. As I took care of these animals, I learned to love them.  In particular, I welcomed the miracle of life with every new litter of animals.  I also encountered grief as I mourned the creatures when they died.  Amazingly, my nights were filled with different entities.  Lions, cheetahs,  giraffes, leopards, elephants, monkeys, and many other exotic animals visited my dreams.  Since childhood, I have been dreaming about the African wildlife.   Until now.  

I was fortunate to visit Tanzania during this summer.  Through the eye of my camera  I captured African animals, not to mention a multitude of bright colored birds.  Besides the magnificent wildlife and spectacular Tanzanian vistas, something unexpected captured my attention:  A tree.  Not a regular tree, but instead, a wish tree.  This beautiful tree had a large opening in its center.  “People come here and pray to the wish tree,” a Tanzanian man told me.  “Women who desire to become pregnant climb up the tree and enter its trunk,” he said with a mysterious smile.  “The sacred tree always grants females their wish. “

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  • Lillian Comas
    Lillian Comas says #
    Thanks, Lizann!
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Lovely, thank you for this powerful tree story!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Goddess Body, World Body

Here is your sacrament
Take. Eat. this is my body
this is real milk, thin, sweet, bluish,
which I give for the life of the world…
Here is your bread of life.
Here is the blood by which you live in me.”--Robin Morgan (in Life Prayers, p. 148)

All religion is about the mystery of creation. If the mystery of birth is the origin of religion, it is women that we must look for the phenomenon that first made her aware of the unseen power…Women’s awe at her capacity to create life is the basis of mystery. Earliest religious images show pregnancy, rather than birth and nurturing, as the numinous or magical state” (Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor, The Great Cosmic Mother, p. 71)

I am working on a thesis project about birth as a spiritual experience. As I collect my resources, the quotes above keep running through my head. Birth as the original sacrament. Breastfeeding as the original communion. Blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone, women transmute blood into breath, into being, into life for others.

Abrahamic theology in its root mythology, sets up the male body as "normal" as well neatly includes the notion that there is a divine hierarchy in which men are above women in value, role, and power. It also twists reality, by asserting that women come from men’s bodies, rather than the other way around. This inversion didn’t begin with Christianity, it has roots in more ancient mythology as well. Connected to the conversion of women’s natural creative, divine-like powers of the womb into the originators of sin and corruption, we readily see the deliberate inversion of the womb of the Goddess into the head of the father in the gulping down of Metis by Zeus and the subsequent birth of Athena from his head. Patriarchal creation myths rely heavily on biologically non-normative masculine creation imagery. I really appreciated the brief note from Sjoo in The Great Cosmic Mother that, “In later Hindu mysticism the egg is identified as male generative energy. Whenever you come upon something like this, stop and ponder. If it is absurdly inorganic—male gods ‘brooding on the waters’ or ‘laying eggs’—then you know you are in the presence of an original Goddess cosmology stolen and displaced by later patriarchal scribes” (p. 56).

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