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

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
EASTER AND THE GODDESS

This is my body, given for you,

This is my blood, given for you.

While these words are the center of a Christian liturgy celebrating the sacrifice of Jesus as the Christ, they are more appropriately spoken of our own mothers. Your mother and my mother and all mothers, human and other than human, mammalian, avian, and reptilian, give their bodies and blood so their offspring might have life. True, mothers do not always make conscious choices to get pregnant, but almost all mothers affirm life in their willingness to nurture the young who emerge from their bodies and from their nests. Had mothers—human and other than human–not been giving their bodies and their blood from time immemorial, you and I would not be here.

The Easter liturgy fails to acknowledge that the original offering of body and blood is the mother’s offering. Christianity “stole” the imagery associated with birth and attributed it to a male savior.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    I needed to read this today. Thanks.
  • Amoret BriarRose
    Amoret BriarRose says #
    "Should we reject the gift of life because it doesn’t last forever? Should we reject flowers because most of them bloom only in sp
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you Carol. You eloquently explain what continues to bother me about Christianity-- it's denial of the mother and the divinit

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
My Path to the Goddess, Part 1

I believe this earth is a beautiful, magical place and that this world is our true home.  I believe life in the body is good. I feel connected to all beings in the web of life. I feel the Blessed Mother always with us, and I know the love of God the Mother or Goddess to be like the love of my mother and grandmothers for me. Though I was brought up Christian, I learned all of these things as a child.

  

I was brought home from Huntington Hospital just before Christmas in to my grandmother’s home on Old Ranch Road in Arcadia, California.  Peacocks from the adjacent Los Angeles County Arboretum screeched on the roof. There was another baby in the house, my cousin Dee, born a few months earlier.  My mother and her sister were living with their mother. The war was over, and they were anticipating the return of their husbands from the Pacific Front.  My earliest memory, recovered during a healing energy session, is visual and visceral. I am lying crossways in a crib next to the other baby. There is a soft breeze. The other baby is kicking its legs, and I am trying to do the same.  I look up and see three faces looking down at us.  Although the faces are blurry in the vision I see, I feel them as female and loving.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Interesting than a pea cock rather than a pea hen was chosen to represent your path to the Goddess.

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“Gold lion’s going to tell me where the light is…” Yeah Yeah Yeahs

"The Delphic priestess in historical times chewed a laurel leaf, but when she was a Bee surely she must have sought her inspiration in the honeycomb." Jane Ellen Harrison

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I'm really enjoying your writing. Maybe we'll run into you at the next Phoenix Pagan Pride Day. My wife and I don't get out as m
  • Aleah Sato
    Aleah Sato says #
    Greetings, Ted! So glad to hear you're enjoying Juniper & Crow. I'd love to meet the two of you at the next Pagan Pride. Yes, I
  • Meg Beeler
    Meg Beeler says #
    Great blog!! The energy and vibration of gold are so fun to work with, and you capture them well. A long time ago I wrote "Finding

How do we make sense of loss, great loss, and everyday disappointment? Some would tell us that “everything has a purpose” or that whatever happens ”must be the will of God.”  I have found that these answers to questions raised by life as we know it often do more harm than good.  Yet they have a sticking power–we hear them all the time, sometimes even from other feminist seekers.

From the beginning feminists in religion rejected “the God out there” who rules the world from a throne in heaven. Most of us have insisted that “God” is more “in” the world than “beyond” or “outside it.” However we have not always been consistent in our convictions. When feminists are confronted with untimely death or great evil or just not getting what we think we want, we can sometimes be overheard to wonder, “Why did God (or Goddess) let that happen?” This question is based in the assumption that God or Goddess is omnipotent and rules the world from outside it. This is the theological idea I intend to question today.

The “zero fallacy” is a term philosopher Charles Hartshorne used to explain the “theological mistake” known as divine omnipotence.  Hartshorne pointed out that if God is omnipotent, then God has “all” or “100%” of the power. If this is so, then human beings and all other beings have “zero” power.  But if we have zero power, then do we even exist?  It is hard to imagine what “existence” means if it is a quality attributed to beings with zero power to affect the world. In fact, if God has 100% of the power, then no being other than the divine being can be said to exist. This is what Hindus may mean when they say that the world is “maya” or illusion.

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  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    From a scientific perspective, as Neil deGrasse Tyson said; “We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chem

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Creating a Goddess Group

It all began like this...

The phone call was innocent enough. “Hey Julia. Can we meet for lunch or something? I have an idea I want to float by you.”

Tara, a dear friend, and I met over pub food--hearty sandwiches and dark beer in a historic part of Spokane one slushy January afternoon.

She told me a story about her hometown where a group of women friends gathered every month near the full moon. She recalled how they told enthusiastic stories about drumming, singing, celebrating but never once invited her to participate. The exclusion was deliberate and undeniable for reasons she couldn’t understand. She eventually moved away, knowing that one day she’d find a tribe of like-minded women with whom she could celebrate lunar energy.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Ancestor Vigil

We've been doing the Ancestor Vigil here for about 20 years and every year it is a little different but the intention is always the same. It is not a Samhain ritual, it is not a celebration of Hallowe'en, it does not glom onto the trendy love of Dia de los Muertes. It is a ritual commemoration of the Recent Dead, the Beloved Long Dead and the Mighty Dead.

We set up a central altar, a candle-lighting station and a place to get more info on Mother Grove Goddess Temple and to leave your food donations for the food pantry. People are invited to place mementos on the altar and there is a place in the ritual where we speak the names of the dead that are closest to us.

I keep a Samhain list every year and I read that aloud, too.  There is a section of the ritual devoted to victims of religious persecution and a segment there on the European Inquisitions.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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Since discovering my GoddessMuse several years ago, I have worked with women in middle age and beyond to help them do the same through the experience of transformational art.

The idea of creating art can be intimidating to those who have never tried it. There are so many expectations. It has to be good. One has to be trained, take serious art classes, study the masters, and learn technique. One must have artistic talent.

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  • Áine
    Áine says #
    Beautiful words, and an even more beautiful painting - it was well worth the time it took to develop! I have considered the idea o

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Embracing The Other

I was recently interviewed on a radio program and the host asked me if I might name one way my mother influenced my life.  I immediately knew the answer to her question.  Evelyn, my mother, taught me to fight for the under-dog.  She never verbalized it, but I think she felt like an under-dog.  She grew up in Louisiana in the 1940's.  It was a time when women had little choice about the direction their life would take.  She had no protections like Roe v Wade.  Her mother was a janitor and education for women was not a priority.  Her world view consisted of getting married, keeping a roof over her head and her kids fed.  I can still remember her and my step-father, too poor for a decent meal because selling vacuum cleaners door to door was not putting food on the table, eating corn chips with some cheese spread for dinner.  Sometimes my breakfast cereal did not come with milk, but water to moisten it.  Ham was out of the question and I came to love bologna sandwiches, especially if I had potato chips to slap between the slices of bread instead of lettuce. 


Never having taken a class in Women’s Studies and a product of the conservative South, I don’t think Evelyn can name the cause for her circumstances.  I can still hear her misplaced loyalty to her Southern roots as my step-father, a northerner from Iowa,  would tell her of the rampant ignorance and racism in the South.  Sexism never came up, however.  Afterall, women just had their role in society.  Evelyn’s life path was not in question - it was normal for the times, but I doubt she was happy.  I wonder if she even felt happiness was something she could hope for.  I got the feeling she was happy surviving.   I wonder how her life would have been different if she had the option to finish high school and go on to college or if she could make enough money not to have to get married or fulfill society’s expectations that women have children.  So, yes, Evelyn instilled in me to fight for the under-dog, probably because she felt there was no one fighting for her. 

She encouraged me to reach out to the lonely kids on the playground who were rejected by the popular kids.  We shared what little we had with neighbors who had less than us.  She told me to go out and get what I wanted in life because it would not come “knocking on my door.”  She tried her best with what she had to work with, which wasn’t much materially or education-wise, but she had compassion and empathy, which I believe, made her very rich.

So it’s no surprise, today I consider myself a social justice advocate.  I fight for “THE OTHER” because today, so many more of us are THE OTHER.  We are the ones with a boot on our neck. The boot of white, male, fundamentalist Christian men and their female counterparts who benefit from the oppression of others.  Yes, this is the root of so much of the oppression and denigration and it’s not just oppression from the elites.  Often it’s poor, white, male, fundamentalist Christian men and their female counterparts who play their part in this patriarchal scheme. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Empowered Goddess

The beauty of the Goddess is often displayed by the luminous glow of her skin, the fluid movement of her body and attire, and by her nourishing and loving qualities that identifies so splendidly with the Feminine Divine.  When we envision the Goddess, we visualize the mermaid, the fairy and the priestess; all very beautiful and soft representations of the Female aspect.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you for your wise words - if time is not linear, but really simultaneous, our nature as Maiden, Mother, Crone, can be as wel

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Admittedly, most of the time, when someone refers to me as a feminist, the word they follow it up with is not “Witch” (though the word they choose does rhyme with Witch). In fact, I find that people are somewhat confused when I refer to myself as a “Feminist Witch.” This confusion is probably best summed up in the question I got from a young woman in a college class I had been speaking to about Witchcraft and Paganism. Her voice full of sincerity and clear perplexity, she asked, “So you're a feminist? What's the difference between you and a man-hater?”

Well then. I guess that's better than the “What's the difference between you and a Satanist?” bit I usually get at these public lectures, I thought to myself. Then I took a deep breath and gave her my standard answer: “Feminism is the radical idea that women are people. Feminism is the idea that there is no such thing as a lesser person, and that all people deserve dignity and equality, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, class, or anything else.”

She didn't look convinced.

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  • Ashling Kelly
    Ashling Kelly says #
    Couldn't have said any of this better myself; in fact, you expressed it far better than I could have. Thank you for bringing this
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Its good to hear that young women in college today have so much wisdom.
  • Heather Freysdottir
    Heather Freysdottir says #
    I just love how every time a woman self-identifies as a feminist, that has to be quantified with "but I'm not a man-hater, honest!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

It could be argued that there is no more famous Goddess in modern Paganism than Isis. Her figure -- often winged, with ankh in hand or perhaps an infant Horus, usually crowned by a sun and horns -- is immediately recognizable. 

Such was the case in much of the ancient Western world, as well. Known as Au Set or Aset in Egypt, her myths and worship spread across northern Africa, deep into the Middle East, throughout Europe, and as far north as Roman Britain. The memory of her survived even into the Christian Middle Ages. With the (re)birth of Paganism, songs and hymns are once again being raised in her honor; Wiccans, solitary Pagans, Goddess Spiritualists, Kemetics and many others praise her as the Queen of Heaven, the Throne of Creation, the Great Magician, the Mother of Mothers, the Rose of Eternal Life.

Isis was the first non-Greek Goddess to catch my eye. I loved reading stories about her: how she won the Secret Name of Ra, how she mourned her murdered husband, conceived a son, and eventually helped him to win his rightful throne. I found it fascinating that Isis was the personification of the Egyptian throne and that the few women to rule Egypt in their own name (such as Cleopatra VII) closely identified with her.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Isidora: I'm so glad to hear that "Isis Magic" is back in print. And I'm glad to hear that you've been enjoying the devotionals
  • Isidora Forrest
    Isidora Forrest says #
    Thanks for the mention, Caity! Isis Magic had been out of print for several years...but happily, it is now back in print in a 10t
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Caity: thanks for the suggestion!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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  • Naomi Shank
    Naomi Shank says #
    What a wonderful trip and story you have to tell of it. I hope someday I can travel to China and have as memorable an experience.
  • Jen McConnel
    Jen McConnel says #
    Thank you, Naomi! I hope you get there soon!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

In my last post, I discussed a few of my favorite nonfiction Goddess Spirituality texts; and those were only a few of the many, many books available on the subject. This time, we'll look at some of the fiction books which focus on Goddesses, the Goddess, and Goddess Spirituality. They include children's picture books, graphic novels, romance novels, fantasy, and science fiction.* 

First is the picture book, Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, by Mariana Mayer and KY Craft. Baba Yaga is an amorphous figure from Russian lore who is sometimes a Goddess, sometimes a malevolent figure, sometimes a shamanic guide, sometimes a witch, sometimes all four and more at once. Here, she reluctantly takes in the young Vasilisa, a courageous and clever girl eager to learn everything Baba Yaga can teach her. The Russian hag is a terrifying figure, making this book an excellent way to introduce children to more frightening Goddesses, or aspects of the Goddess. 

The Books of Great Alta by Jane Yolen is an omnibus edition containing Sister Light, Sister Dark and White Jenna. In this epic fantasy, twice-orphaned Jenna is taken in by an Amazon-like community, learns to call forth her dark twin Skada by the light of the moon, makes war, takes a lover, adopts an orphaned one-armed girl as her own child, and faces death heroically. Yolen takes an unusual approach to the tale: she uses poems, anthropological reports, songs, garbled fragments of myths, and elegant prose to tell the story of Jenna and Dark Skada. This book had a huge impact on my teen self, and was definitely an influence on my later writing. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Like many people moving out of Christianity and into "alternative" spirituality, it was devotion to female Deities which first attracted me. As a child, I was drawn to Artemis and Athena (and Apollo). Through my teen years and into college, it was books about the Goddess and Goddesses which steadily filled my shelves, eventually overflowing. I was fascinated, enthralled by this idea of a female Deity, so different from the male Deity I had grown up honoring.

In graduate school, that overflowing pile turned into a landslide as Goddess Spirituality became the focus of my master's thesis. While I concentrated on the Fellowship of Isis (even making a pilgrimage to Clonegal Castle), I read broadly on the subject -- and it quickly became apparent that there is no one Goddess Spirituality. Goddess Spiritualities would be more accurate, as those who honor the Female Divine fall all along the spiritual spectrum, often touching different points simultaneously. Some devotees are monotheistic in their thealogy, believing in a single, all-encompassing female Deity. Others are more pantheistic or panentheistic, honoring nature and the female entity which created and manifests in it. Still others are henotheistic, acknowledging the existence of other Deities but choosing to honor only one (or a small handful). And there are devotees who identify as polytheistic, acknowledging and honoring multiple female Deities exclusively, or giving them priority over male Deities. Finally, there are strains of Goddess Spirituality running through progressive branches of Judaism and Christianity and (less visibly) Islam. 

For those interested in practicing or becoming more familiar with Goddess Spirituality, there are lots and lots of books available. They range from heavy academic texts on ancient beliefs and rituals to translations of Gnostic Christian texts to modern Isian texts to archaeological reports to collections of poetry to modern fantasy and science fiction. Considering just how vast a topic this is, I'll focus here on my favorite nonfiction* texts, those I found most informative or which had the most impact on me.

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  • Sharon Fargo
    Sharon Fargo says #
    I believe Karen Tate has a book about goddess tours. At the least, she gives guided tours. She hosts the radio program Voices of t

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Inanna is a very old Goddess.* She is one of the oldest Deities for whom we have a name and a record of worship -- and that worship lasted all the way up to the conversion of the Near and Middle East to first Christianity, then Islam. Today, Inanna (or Ishtar, in the Akkadian) is an immensely popular Goddess among Pagans, especially solitaries and those who practice Goddess Spirituality.

There are a number of resources available to those who are interested in Inanna, ranging from the densely academic to the poetic to children's books.**

In that first category can be found In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth by Tikva Frymer-Kensky. Controversial and iconoclastic, this text chronicles the gradual marginalization of Goddesses in the Sumerian and Akkadian pantheons, which Frymer-Kensky contrasts with the more egalitarian monotheism of very early Judaism. You may not agree with her conclusions, but the book will still make you stop and think. 

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Byron: you're welcome. And if you find any new books or articles about Her, please let me know.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks for this! I've been dedicated to Inanna for decades now and continue to be thrilled when new information emerges. During

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