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SageWoman Blogs

At SageWoman magazine, we believe that you are the Goddess, and we're devoted to celebrating your journey. We invite you to subscribe today and join our circle...

Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.

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Druidry as a religion and spirituality for modern life.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Antelope_Woman_4e5a883547e86.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_For_a_Girl_Becom_4e51938f757b6.jpgOnce December arrives, I am routinely asked to recommend books for young people for winter holiday gift-giving that present culturally authentic stories about Native Americans. What a happy task!

There are so many wonderful books for children of all ages (and for those adults who love to read "children's" books--yours truly included) to learn about culturally-accurate Indigenous culture.

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Darkness and the Winter Solstice

The solstice season is upon us, and it’s only a couple of weeks before the longest night of the year here in the northern hemisphere. It’s a season of darkness and cold, where we are given the opportunity to find the gifts that darkness brings. It can be hard, when the rest of the world seems to be doing their best to stave off their fear with bright lights, noise and extended shopping hours, but if we are able to push beyond that we can see the sacredness of this holy time, and the exquisite power that it brings.

I am mostly a diurnal creature myself. I prefer to go to bed early and rise early, rather than staying up late. However, at this time of year the darkness catches up with me, and by 4pm it is pitch black out there. My usual sunshine nature turns inwards, and time for reflection and contemplation kick in. But that is not all there is to the darkness that pervades my life at this time of year.  The sweet relief of darkness beckons me to release into its embrace, when edges are abandoned and we are allowed to float free in space and time.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • John Reder
    John Reder says #
    What “impressed” me with what (or how) Joanna wrote is that it triggered the memory of the original Fleetwood Macs song “Bare Tres
  • steven rice
    steven rice says #
    Love it. For many years I was a second shift worker and the shift usually lasted to the early morning hours. Many times I would a
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Hello Steven, Oh, how I miss the snow! Living on the edge of the North Sea, the water keeps the temperature too high for snow most

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Music of the Longest Night

To many, winter is a time when the grief of loss strikes hardest.  The symbolic death of spring and summer combined with the cold have us turning inward, some seeking a spiritual hibernation.

For me, this grief has been compounded by my mother's December birthday.  This year she would be turning sixty.  One of my friends grieves both her parents today, while another sits in a hospital waiting for her mother's unconscious body to relinquish its hold after a stroke.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2015-11-25-at-11.40.28-AM.jpgRecently I saw Spotlight, the movie. Set in 2001-2002, the film chronicles how the Boston Globe's team of investigative reporters revealed the pattern of child sexual abuse rampant among Massachusetts' Catholic priests — and the Boston Archdiocese's systematic cover-up.

Early on, the film gives us psychotherapist Richard Sipe. He's been braving the Church's opposition and documenting this pattern for decades. He cites one aspect of the problem's origin: the secretive atmosphere surrounding priests' sexual activity.

Sipe estimates that, at any point in time, about half of all priests are engaged in a sexual relationship, despite their vow of celibacy. Given the film's timeframe, Sipe's "metric" indicates that 6% of all priests are molesting children. With further research, Sipe later revised that figure to 9%.

Recently I also read Margaret Starbird's book, Mary Magdalene: Bride in Exile (Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont, 2005). Another of her books on Mary Magdalene, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, was a central, inspiring resource for me back when I was writing The Woman's Belly Book.

Starbird presents a convincing argument that Jesus, being Jewish and according to Jewish custom, would most likely have been a married man. His partnership with Mary Magdalene as wife, consort, and colleague would have testified to the wholeness, and sanity, of creation.

Starbird links the Church's 12th-century rule of priestly celibacy with its denial both of Mary Magdalene's relationship with Jesus and of the Sacred Feminine:

In the aftermath of scandals involving Roman Catholic priests, people are now, for the first time in centuries, seriously asking, "What else did they forget to tell us?" Because the current crisis of confidence in the Catholic hierarchy is directly related to this hierarchy's dissociation from the sacred feminine, the relationship of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is entirely relevant to the problem. Enforced clerical celibacy, after centuries of devaluing the feminine half of creation, was mandated in 1139 when an edict by Pope Innocent II forced married priests to abandon their wives and children. (p. 150)

Absent Magdalene, insanity arises in a multitude of forms.

Spotlight shines the light on one form of insanity: Nearly one in ten Catholic priests have engaged in sexually abusing children.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Yes, the painful reality of denying the Divine Feminine within institutional structures. Thank you for this post. I am one of th
  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn says #
    Thanks, Lizann, for your comment, and for your good work. Blessed be!

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The time of birds

It’s the first day of December, and most of the leaves are now down from the trees where I live. There’s one little ash tree that is, somehow, still mostly green but the yellows are creeping in there, too. It’s been a matter of weeks since enough leaves fell from the horsechestnut to reveal the bird feeder I put there last year.

During the summer, bird watching is a difficult activity because there’s so much cover. Seeing a whole bird isn’t easy unless you can put up a bird table and lure them out into the open. In years when I’ve been able to do that, it’s still not been easy to see birds in summer because most of them prefer to be in the trees or out in the fields. I’ve noticed that birds tend to return to urban gardens in the winter, they’ve got wise to bird feeders.

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Womb Cauldron, the seat of Feminine Power

The most physically inspiring experience that I have had as a Priestess and as a woman has been the reawakening of a conscious relationship with my womb. 

 

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