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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Goddess

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
My Journey with Goddess

Mother’s Day this year had me thinking about my mother and my journey with Goddess. As a child, my mother was my first Goddess- I looked to her to keep me alive. My physical and emotional needs were met by her. As I got older, my mother shared the pantheon with the Virgin Mary. My mother is a Virgin Mary devotee with a liberal attitude toward divorce, birth control and other women’s right issues. As I grew up, I learned to look to my mother also as prophetic Goddess, showing me where our life was leading to. I would then turn to the Virgin Mary in my dreams to comfort me and shield me from my nightmares.

As a teenager, I became aware that Goddess existed as a truth beyond my own personal experiences. I grew away from seeing my mother as Goddess, archetypal mother providing me with all the love I needed. As I drew away from my Catholic upbringing I could no longer find solace in the Virgin Mary with her submissive undertones. As I grew into my sexuality, the Virgin did not resonate with me. I researched the Goddess in the Neo-Pagan movement-- I welcomed the Goddess who saw all acts of love and pleasure as her rituals. I started shifting my need for greater mother love to the Goddess as well. I learned more about all the different Goddesses-- especially Ariadne, Kali and the ancient Goddesses of Neolithic times.

Later, I went through a dark time in my life full of depression and eating disorders, I immersed myself even more in the history of Goddess. Looking back, I see that time as lacking in self-love. I looked everywhere but to myself for the love and acceptance I craved. I am forever grateful to Goddess as deity and idea, holding my mother love until I could take it on. Eventually I realized that I could not heal without being my own Mother Goddess. A Mother Goddess nourishing herself physically and emotionally—I healed myself of depression and anorexia!

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you for your insight. I too chose to not have children, but also feel a deep sense of birthing and mothering many many thing
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you for sharing Lizann! It's great to know there are other women out there using there Mother Goddess energy to birth and mo
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you for sharing Lizann! It's great to know there are other women out there using there Mother Goddess energy to birth and mo

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Emily-Mills_Queen_Boudica_137.jpgWe look to the past to inform the present and to help define ourselves in relationship to those who have gone before us. For women that type of reflection can be clouded by the assumptions made by researchers operating in patriarchal environments. The role of women throughout history was often over-looked or even misinterpreted. This can still happen today, as we all have internal biases inherited from what our cultures teach us. When we think of women in the distant past, what picture forms in our minds? How does that shape how we feel about ourselves as women today?

In reality, the story of women is far richer, varied, and dynamic than we are taught in our schools and in our popular history. Like the Goddesses we read about, or worship, or simply respect, we have played an active part in all facets of human culture. The amazing legacy of women is one that archaeology and history is constantly uncovering.

I like to think of this as looking back in time with the eyes of the Goddess. We can see Her at work throughout history in our female ancestors. Whether in pre-Christian cultures that worshiped Goddesses, or in the divine feminine that still breaks through in Christian history, we can search through the mists and find Her. We do this by examining the lives of the women who came before us.

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  • Kalyca Schultz
    Kalyca Schultz says #
    I've never made the connection before that both Freyja and Artemis (another Goddess important to me) are charioteers-- perhaps tha
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you for your thoughts and questions. I look forward to hearing the whispering from beyond death that your thoughts and ques
  • Tammye McDuff
    Tammye McDuff says #
    I was born to my mother, taught by my grandmothers and birthed by Gaia, she continues to define me.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

While reading Dianne Sylvan's latest novel this past March, I had a flash of insight that knocked me out of her Shadow World and into the timeless, space-less realm of what Ellen Dugan calls “just knowing.” The scene in the book was of a young Witch drawing down the moon – pulling the Goddess into herself. I told my empty bedroom, “She's not pulling the Goddess into her. She's awakening the spark of divinity within herself!” Cool! I thought. Then I went back into the reading.

When I first came home to the Pagan path eleven years ago, I felt very uncomfortable with the Goddess and God concepts. The Wiccan Lady and Lord felt extremely foreign and abstract to me. I was raised Buddhist, and as a teen had gone through a period of absolutely despising religion altogether, especially the Judeo-Christian religions, whom I held accountable for committing torture, rape, murder, and genocide in the name of their Lord.

I had an especially hard time choosing my magickal name, because the only name that felt right was a Goddess name, and I did not feel worthy of naming myself after a Goddess. After a couple months of struggle, I took the name Rhiannon, because I wanted to internalize her ability to overcome unfair burdens and punishments and become vindicated.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Lovely - thanks for sharing this bit of your journey. We do indeed contain all that is holy within each molecule of our whirling
  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae says #
    Thank you, Lizann!
  • Ashling Kelly
    Ashling Kelly says #
    What a powerful homecoming for you....thanks for sharing such a personal story.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Litha has passed; Summer is upon us. The Full Thunder Moon is softly waning, and the warm July night is jeweled with the twinkling fairy lights of fireflies. The air is scented with the powdery sweet musk of milkweed blossoms luring the monarchs, frogs offer up their throaty love calls, and my heart trembles with the holy joy of this peaceful night. There’s nothing easier than being a Goddess-loving Pagan at this moment.

When life is lovely, devotion to Her flows like silk, a shimmering thing of weightless beauty. My prayers are poetry, signs and messages abound, and my feet tread lightly on the Earth. Moments of inexplicable bliss catch me unaware, leaving me breathless with gratitude. But inevitably, the sky darkens, the seasons change and one day the world seems encased in ice as freezing rain chills the bones and wind whines and howls. Staring into the void outside the window, I feel alone, made of glass moments from shattering. I feel betrayed, forsaken; I can’t hear Her in this cold sunken place of despair and doubt.

Most of us have been in such a place in our person-to-person relationships….we’ve known what it is to be broken by someone we love, to feel tossed to the winds, to know anguish and anger. We’ve felt like fools, turned our backs on loved ones, determined never to be so vulnerable again. Sometimes though, we survive the storm. We forgive. We make our way back to each other. It starts with the smallest of steps: a bunch of flowers, a favorite meal, a small joke that breaks the icy shell. We begin again. Why is that harder when we speak of the Divine?

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  • Tammye McDuff
    Tammye McDuff says #
    Thank you for expressing your thoughts. In this world of marketing and working and internet hype it is all to easy to forget to li
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Blessings on all our wild and mutual relationships with The Goddess. Thank you for you words.
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    An important read for any Pagan/Polytheist!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Honoring Shakti

When I was in college, I had the wonderful experience of taking a class entitled “Goddess and Gender.”  Because of that class, I was introduced to the goddess Shakti, and that introduction continues to shape my worldview and creative actions.

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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

Goddess Travel: Where in the World?

Hello from the new kid on the Square! I’m excited to be joining this community and sharing my experiences with y’all.

As you probably guessed from that last sentence, I’ve fully adopted the dialect of my southern home in North Carolina, although to be fair, I was already using y’all when I lived in Michigan (I worked with a Texan in college, if that’s any excuse). Other than the accent, I love the diversity of both the mundane and magical communities here, and I’m so happy to make my home in the Old North State.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Welcome to PaganSquare! I look forward to reading your posts. If you can find a copy, I recommend Goddess Sites: Europe by Anneli
  • Jen McConnel
    Jen McConnel says #
    Thanks for the welcome! I've read (and loved) Savage Breast, but I had not heard of Goddess Sites...I appreciate the recommendati

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

 

I thought it would be appropriate to post on the subject of the Great Mother on the day my firstborn son turned six years old. Motherhood encompasses pretty much my whole life right now and I have had to put much of everything else on hold for it. But it is the sacred journey that has been given to me at this moment and I would be doing neither my family nor the gods honor if I did not let it consume me fully.

 

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Title: Goddess: A Celebration in Art and Literature

Publisher: Abrams/Stewart Tabori and Chang

Editor: Jalaja Bonheim

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Hekate is a complicated Goddess. Crossroads, entryways, and liminal spaces; journeys and war; the moon and the night and the underworld; ghosts and cemeteries; magic and herbology; pregnancy and midwifery and nursing; sailing and fishing and shepherding and dogs; all fall under her aegis. Honored originally in Anatolia, her worship spread throughout the Greek-speaking world. Adopted by the Romans (who tended to call her Hecate or Trivia), her worship spread even further. She is a major figure in the Theogony, the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, the Greek Magical Papyri, and the Chaldean Oracles. She even survived -- sort of -- the purging of the ancient pantheons and the conversion to Christianity as a hag figure in many folk tales and fairy tales. Today, she is honored by Pagans of many different traditions, ranging from Hellenismos to Religio to Wicca to unaffiliated, nondenominational Goddess worshippers.

It is, perhaps, not surprising that there are quite a few texts devoted to Hekate, as well as long chapters within other works. Helene P Foley's The Homeric Hymn to Demeter: Translation, Commentary, and Interpretive Essays, for instance.

For those who are curious about this Goddess, I can recommend several texts from my bookshelves. If you are looking for dense, solid academic work, there are two titles that should be at the top of your list: Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece; and Hekate Soteira: A Study of Hekate's Roles in the Chaldean Oracles and Related Literature; both by Sarah Iles Johnston. The former chronicles the evolution of Greek ideas about, and interactions with, the dead (with special attention paid to Hekate and the Erinyes), while the latter examines the evolution of ideas about Hekate herself, from Mother Goddess to mediating World Soul to Queen of Demons and Witches.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Say the words "coloring book" and most people conjure childhood memories of kitchen tables or classroom desks covered in crayons, markers, or (if they were lucky) paint and brushes. Coloring books, with the rare exception, were and are targeted at children. In most cases, I am sure, the publishers are not specifically targeting a Pagan audience. Nonetheless, there is a large number of coloring books which will appeal to adults and children from a variety of Pagan paths. Those that deal with mythology and ancient history, in particular, can be great resources for parents and teachers, inspiring kids to ask questions about the hero or God or Goddess or culture before them. 

I still love coloring books. Perhaps that makes me odd, but there is nothing quite like returning to a favorite childhood activity after a stressful day of adulthood. It is comforting and reassuring. My latest acquisition is The ABCs of Lesser-Known Goddesses: An Art Nouveau Coloring Book for Kids of All Ages by W Lyon Martin. The twenty-six Goddesses included here are from cultures all over the world: Roman (Aestas, Pax), Chibche (Bachue), Greek (Chimera, Leucothea, the Moerae, Nike), Chinese (The Dark Maid, Wang Mu), Celtic (Flidais, Gula), Hittitte (Hannahanna), Cherokee (Igaehindvo), Semitic (Jerah), Egyptian (Kebechet, Opet), Incan (Quinoa-Mama), Hindu (Raka, Ushas, Vasudhara), Shinto (Tatsuta-Hime), Aztec (Xochiquetzal), Aboriginal (Yhi) and Russian (Zorya). I will definitely be doing research on some of these Goddesses.

Dover is one of the big coloring book publishers. Among my favorites in their mythology line are Goddesses Coloring Book,  Greek Gods and Goddesses, Norse Gods and Goddesses, The Adventures of Ulysses, Gods of Ancient Egypt, and Celtic Gods and Heroes. They also have an entire line of stained-glass coloring books, which can be great fun to tear out and hang in the window.

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  • Kyrja
    Kyrja says #
    These are some GREAT choices - which I will happily share with others! May I also suggest "Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year
  • Kyrja
    Kyrja says #
    These are some GREAT choices - which I will happily share with others! May I also suggest "Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year
  • Kyrja
    Kyrja says #
    These are some GREAT choices - which I will happily share with others! May I also suggest "Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I talked in my first post about the importance of integrating our spiritual beliefs as Pagans with our everyday mundane lives. Most of the Witches and Pagans I know strive to do just that. I also think most of us struggle to find the time and energy to do so, when we are already overwhelmed by our busy, hectic existence and our obligations to others. Certainly I wrestle with this dilemma: how do I find the space and time to practice my Craft when I barely have time to eat and sleep? (And forget having a social life or taking a vacation. Vaca-what?)

 

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  • Theresa Wymer
    Theresa Wymer says #
    That's what I do on a daily basis, and it works really well. I think it's not a bad idea, whatever your spiritual beliefs.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Honoring the feminine divine means trusting women as full moral agents with control over their own bodies. Period.

In the past year's war on women and especially on women's access to reproductive health care, one of the hidden justifications is that women can't be trusted with their own choices, either because they're ignorant or because they're just not capable of making good choices for themselves. Look at forced ultrasound requirements before abortion: the people who make the laws will explain, time and again, that the procedure is for a woman's own good, so that she is "fully informed" before making a momentous decision. It's inside her own body - do you really think she doesn't know what's going on?

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  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    Joseph, I have no idea at the precise moment when the fetus becomes a person. The point is that, this is mainly a women's issue, m
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Diotima: I'd have posted this as a reply to your post, but for some reason the site isn't letting me do that. So, here I am. 1. I
  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    Interesting point Anne. Whenever women's choices are challenged, it pushes "a handmaid's tales" button. The artificial environment

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

A few weeks back, I listed the how-to writing guides which I found most useful. Among them was Corrine Kenner's Tarot for Writers. Throughout her text, Kenner references the traditional Rider-Waite deck -- a deck which I have never owned or used. Nonetheless, Kenner's exercises and suggested spreads work with (virtually) any deck.

That (virtually) there is important. The book has proven most useful not just with the decks with which I am most familiar, but also those decks that contain the most densely packed imagery.

The first two decks that I purchased (I really can't remember which came first) were The Motherpeace Round Tarot by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble, and The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr. I have since added The Anubis Oracle by Nicki Scully, Linda Star Wolf, and Kris Waldherr; Ancient Feminine Wisdom of Goddesses and Heroines by Kay Steventon and Brian Clark; The New Mythic Tarot by Juliet Sharman-Burke, Liz Greene, and Giovanni Caselli; and the Art Nouveau tarot from Lo Scarabeo, to my collection.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Thanks for mentioning Dugan's new tarot deck. I will have to see if I can find a copy.
  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    Wonderful post! I haven't picked up The Goddess Tarot, but I love that the staves are the path of Freya. I just took a class about

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Once upon a time, in the not so distant past, “you are not the boss of me” was muttered any time two or more of us were gathered together. Wicca had erupted into a new tradition every few days, Druids were behind every oak tree and the rise of the Recons made everyone proud and bristly with new knowledge of old matters. We ate the prolific casseroles of endless potluck feasts and we went to each other’s rituals when that was allowed.  Afterwards we’d gather with folks of our own trads and we’d compare circle castings and elemental pairings, and gossip about the size of the high priestess’s crown.

The same thing goes on still, of course. We each choose the path that is laid for us and we seek out a tradition—old or new—that seems to fit what we believe, really believe, down deep inside. We go through the Seeker stage to the Neophyte stage. We read all those simple 101 books and go to workshops and public rituals. We buy or make flowing gowns and tunics and sport a big pentacle from Spencer’s gifts. We learn to pronounce “Samhain” correctly and at some point we choose a tradition that really fits or we proudly declare ourselves Solitaries. If we are very lucky, we have a succession of good teachers. There may be a circle or coven or grove in which we learn the arts of leadership and we begin to teach the next generation of Earth-loving, opinionated folk who are not going to be bossed around.

Lately though I’ve noticed a change in our crabby and electronic world. Instead of quibbling about whether it’s proper to work within a circle or if one can stand in a lineaged Wiccan tradition while also being a Sumerian Recon, we’ve gotten awfully pissy about right and wrong and…correct.  No longer content to go our separate ways and merely gossip about those goofy (fill in the blank), we seem to expend rather a lot of electronic air in actually trying to convert each other.

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  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    I could not help laughing as I read this, thinking that anyone who tries to convert you probably doesn't try moe than once! Good p
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    You'd be surprised. :>)
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Wonderful post, Byron!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

No, that title is not a typo. I do mean theoilogy.

Theology, to quote the ever-handy Wikipedia, derives "from Ancient Greek Θεός meaning "God" and λόγος-logy, meaning "study of." God. Singular. By its very nature, at its very root, the word assumes a single Godhead. As such, I find the term best suited only to those religious systems which are explicitly monotheistic or monistic, eg Islam, most strains of Christianity, some branches of Judaism, and some sects within Hinduism.*

But, it is an ill-fit with explicitly polytheistic or even duotheistic systems, such as some branches of Judaism, some Christian sects, most sects within Hinduism, and the majority of Pagan and indigenous traditions. When I write about the nature of Zeus, I am not engaging in theology -- I am engaging in theoilogy. Zeus is not God Alone. He is part of a vast family of Deities; He is part of a web of relationships and responsibilities, and I cannot even begin to comprehend him outside of that web. Thus, theoilogy, from the Ancient Greek Θεοί meaning "Gods." Plural.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

One of the key foundations of modern (and ancient) Paganism is also one of the most contentious. We find it very hard to talk about, it seems, and yet it's fairly key to many people's personal practice. When I've talked about it in the past, it almost seems like I'm breaking a taboo, with the words themselves being 'dirty' or embarrassing. And yet, learning from my passionate and heartfelt Heathen friends, that embarrassment is itself disrespectful, dishonourable and, ultimately, rather foolish.

Who are your Gods and Goddesses? What does Deity mean to you, and how does it influence and affect your Paganism? From the Platonic 'ultimate Male/Female' images (tallying with 'All Gods/Goddesses are One') to the pantheistic, international eclectic transference of pretty much any deity with any other no matter where you yourself live, talking about Deity is a tricky business. Especially because ultimately, nobody can really tell you you're wrong. Or right. Except, perhaps, those Gods themselves.

The Judgement of Paris (Classical)

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Cat: Like Elani, you are articulating one of the major cutting edges of contemporary Paganism -- what *do* we believe? I, for one,
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Wonderful post. I think about the Gods in general, and my patron/matron Gods, all the time. But too often I forget to stop, liste

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

The day I started this post was pretty easygoing, spiritually. I got up early and took a six-mile bike ride. Later in the morning I edited the first chapter in a novel-in-progress about pilgrims who travel thousands of miles to worship a tree. In the evening, I biked about a mile to help a local feminist theater company label brochures for their new season. Blessed be.

When I started in Paganism twelve years ago, big, elaborate rituals were the order of the day. Every day. This took a lot of time (one of the few times I've been glad of underemployment). In some ways, that's a good thing: sacrifice can (and perhaps should) be an integral part of religious practice. Problem was, the rituals did nothing for me, spiritually. Day after day I performed these solemn rites, and I never felt connected to the divine, the Cosmos, or my Highest Self. I felt like a silly girl surrounded by fire hazards, waving a knife around.

a1sx2_Original2_Reclaiming-by-Doing01-00.jpgHere's where I felt the deepest sense of spiritual connection: walking the two-mile mini-pilgrimage from my apartment to the Mississippi River, experiencing the wondrous aliveness of my body and humility in the presence of this ancient and majestic river. Ghost-writing letters to the editor for a conservation and renewable energy campaign, placing mind and hand in service to the Earth I loved. Making a game out of how many days in a row I could go without starting my car, challenging myself to do better, to be better, for Gaia. I knew these things about myself. Yet for my first Pagan year, I resisted this understanding. I'd embarked on a new religious path rich in magic and mystery; I couldn't find spiritual fulfillment doing the same mundane things I'd always done, could I?

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Fascinating idea (solitaries with occasional potlucks) sounds GREAT!
  • Eli Effinger-Weintraub
    Eli Effinger-Weintraub says #
    Thanks, Anne. I think you might even groove on the way we do "joining" around here; Twin Cities Reclaiming is a loose association
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Brilliant exposition of the way I do my Paganism as well, Eli. If I was a joiner instead of a committed solitary, your "elevator p

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