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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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...My bounty is in conversation August 2015 106
circling the veranda in
steady, strong loops
of raw possibility
hope and wonder.

My bounty is in moments of despair and hopelessness
that break like waves on the shore
and make way for sunrise.

My bounty moves quickly
fluttering like a butterfly
and traversing continents of desire
before alighting on a thistle
and beautiful.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Candise
    Candise says #
    this is just lovely, it is my morning inspiration. Thank you.
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thank you!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Young-couple.jpgIn my line of work, you have to develop patience.

Whether I am at the dentist or a dinner party, as soon as someone learns that I am a teacher and writer of Native American Studies the questions start flowing. Most questions are asked out of sincere curiosity, and I am usually glad to educate these folks. However, sometimes people will flatly say with a huff, "I  thought all the Indians were dead" or "Indians can't read and write." As I said, over the years I have developed a lot of patience! Because of so much benign, and sometimes obviously racist, ignorance, I have dedicated myself to teaching about Indigenous cultures and histories as widely as possible--most people are respectful and genuinely want to learn more. But what we need is everybody to work on raising awareness about Native people today, not just educators like me.

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I love Chaos Gods. They fill my life with hugely beneficial synchronicity, if I only open to these supposedly chance occurrences, instead of stubbornly digging in my heels. (Yeah, I know Chaos Gods are portrayed as all evil and dangerous, but that's a lie. Well, some Chaos Gods are evil, but I don't work with them.)

I felt moved to write about this Divine chaotic kindness because of a recent event. It dazzled me so much that I have to share my delight—or I'm going to burst—in how beautifully and intricately the World Tree weaves to embrace me in its branches constantly.

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  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    This post is pure gold, Francesca!
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Wow, Bee, thank you so much! ✨
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Love this, Francesca, and I hope Ravyn contacts you for tips on disability crafting. It's both comforting and humbling to look bac
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Thank you! Yes, I am so grateful for divine designs. Did you read my book Share My Insanity? In it, I talk about chaos only appea
  • Jenn
    Jenn says #
    This is so awesome! I love felting - I do needle felting but have a book about wet felting and definitely want to get into it. You

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs


If you haven’t yet swum in the mighty Atlantic Ocean, gulped in a little salt water, floated in billowy delicious waves, hiked through deep cream-colored beach sand, picked up shells, jumped to save your bare feet from becoming burnt as you walk over 20 foot, hot dunes, wandered aimlessly in a small New England fishing village, or laughed to an outdoor-theatre Shakespeare Troupe, I highly recommend it. This August saw me doing all of this, and while it was an incredible week, what made it extra special—and a summer’s vacation I will treasure—is that I did it all with my sister.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
What Poison Oak Teaches

It is cool this late June morning in the California Redwoods.  The path leading out of camp is lined with thigh high ferns and low patches of sorrel and wild ginger.  There are over a dozen of us, witches of all genders and generations, walking single file looking up the tall Redwood trunks through the green canopy of their branches, still wet with fog.  We stop periodically while our teachers speak of each plant and tree, and what these Greenbloods have to teach us.  Our teachers invite us to see and smell, and with permission from the plant itself, touch and taste.  I particularly love the taste of the tiny bit of Redwood I put in my mouth - it is sour and astringent on my tongue, then floods me with a deep sense of rootedness, vast amounts of time and history, and a promise of connection to what has come before, including  the possibility of deeply witnessing the lives of my own ancestors.


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  • Steve Archibald
    Steve Archibald says #
    Lizann -- Love the messages, the beautiful writing, the clear images. Thank you.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Steve!
  • Elizabeth Creely
    Elizabeth Creely says #
    Beautiful Lizann! Poison Oak has its purposes, indeed.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you Elizabeth!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

By serendipity I met a friend in town on Saturday. Over coffee and an organic raspberry and white chocolate scone (still slightly warm), Mandy told me how she and a friend had been haring round Ireland on a road trip on the trail of the sidhe. Their trip took them from Tara in the east, down to Clare, then up to Carrowkeel and Knocknashee in Sligo. They took in some of the most sacred sites and amazing megaliths in the land.  But they didn't really need to stir themselves so far from Fermanagh. They are all around us here. Or maybe I am just sensitive to the local fey vibrations.

Tourists ask me if I see fairies. I answer honestly. I don't see them and I very much doubt they are very much like Mabel Lucie Atwell's vision of them.  Here is West Cavan I experience them as nature's skin turners and messengers. But maybe that's just how they want to show themselves to  me, for I have a strong suspicion that when they want to make themselves known as friendly allies they choose a form that is least threatening to their beholder. So maybe children do see Mabel Lucie Atwell creations. Musicians hear fairy music. But I have seen a hitch hiker that turned out to be a heron standing on the road verge. A local storyteller saw a bent old woman that turned out to be a hare. 'Turned' being the operative word.

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  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    The local tradition I was told, Francesca De Grandis, is that it is usually unwise to extend a building to the west. A neighbour s
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Thank you for that. I enjoyed reading the details of your local lore, it resonates with me. And, yes to the local easygoing atti
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    I LOVE your story of taking down the shed and luck changing. I sometimes feel like the Lone Ranger for believing in stuff like tha

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Rape culture


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.





More info:


Kim Duckett
A Year and A Day Sacred Mystery School for Women


Charlene Spretnak

Lost Goddesses of Early Greece



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