Yesterday I had a delightful swim with a friend in the cool Aegean Sea. In in the evening I met two dear friends at an open air restaurant for a delicious meal and good conversation. Last night a beautiful moon rose over the sea and a soft breeze caressed my skin. All of this made me very happy. However, the state of the world does not.
Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. The Ferguson police. Hold your ground laws. Bombing in Gaza. War in Ukraine. War in Iraq. War in Afghanistan. War in Syria. Wars that are not on my radar. Rape as a part of war. Joe Biden threatening to chase ISIL “to the gates of hell.” Citizens United. A rash of laws restricting voting rights. A rash of laws restricting abortion rights. Police brutality. Police brutality that is racially motivated. Young men being sentenced to prision for minor drug offenses. The brutality of the prison system. A woman with children being paid $8.50 an hour working at McDonalds and not even knowing when she will be called in to work. Open carry laws allowing Americans to walk the streets with loaded weapons. And that’s just off the top of my head this morning.
When I was young and protesting poverty, racism, and the War in Vietnam, I thought that it would be a relatively simple matter to change the world. It turned out that I was not only wrong: I was very wrong.
The suicide death of Robin Williams prompted me to reflect again on my own experience with depression and to share my story in the hope that it can help others.
In my twenties, thirties, and forties, I suffered severe intermittent depressions. My life in those days was a series of ups and downs. When I feel in love and was having good sex, I was in love with the world and could literally feel energy radiating from my body connecting it to the world. When I was dumped, the energy retreated, and I crawled into a dark hole of despair and self-pity from which there seemed to be no escape. In the in-between times, I carried on my life with neither the highs or the lows.
In recent days, a number of people have tried to describe what depression feels like. Here is what it felt like to me.
It was as if my mind had a single track on which were repeated a few deadly words: “No one loves me. No one will ever love me. I might as well die.” I could not erase the track or jump to another one. The words repeated themselves relentlessly in my mind.
I have learned as much about Goddess Spirituality from participating in rituals to the Panagia in Greece as I have from books. This is the time when Greeks honor the falling asleep of the Mother of God, an echo of the rituals of Death and Rebirth in honor of Demeter and Persephone.
From the evening of the 14th through the day and night of the 15th of August, thousands of pilgrims ascend the Holy Rock of Petra, Lesbos to honor the Panagia—She Who Is All Holy. There is something really beautiful in being among them. Last year six of us set out from Molivos at 7:30 on the 14th to meet in the square of Petra to ascend to the church.
Petra was already full of so many pilgrims that police had forbidden traffic in the main square and were directing cars into a nearly full parking lot in a field. When we got out of the car, the two others who came with me and I had a perfect view of the steady stream of pilgrims climbing the rock, which was already lit up in the twilight.
The summer issue of the progressive spiritual-political magazineTikkun includes feature essays on the topic "Thinking Anew about God" which should be of interest to PaganSquare readers. The editor of the journal suggested to contributors that though many thoughtful people have rejected the (dominant male) God out there who is in control of the world, these same people often are not aware of new ways to thinking about divinity. All of the contributors respond to the challenge to imagine and conceptualize divinity in new ways. Though most of them are not pagan, I suspect that aspects of some of their views will resonate with every reader of this blog.
Jewish feminist Judith Plaskow and I contributed a jointly written essay. In it, I speak of Goddess as a personal presence who loves and understands the world and whose power is power-with not power-over. Judith speaks of God as a power of creativity that is the ground of both good and evil.
The Table of Contents provides a glimpse of the exciting new ideas about Goddess and God discussed in the issue.
Joy of Life in Ancient Crete w/Carol Christ& Matthew Fox on Meister Echhart
Scholar, author and foremother, Carol Christ joins us tonight to discuss The Goddess and the Joy of Life in Ancient Crete. We'll delve into new research on matriarchies, the difference from patriarchy, define "love is free" in matriarchal societies and chat about Crete being a "gift giving" society. We'll talk about ancient rituals on Crete, redefine patriarchal myths and discuss the "immanental turn" in feminist theologies - and more.....
Is Goddess feminism an old religion or a new creative synthesis? Can it be both? Goddess feminism draws on the feminist affirmation of women’s experiences, women’s bodies, and women’s connection to nature; the feminist critique of transcendent male monotheism as the symbolic expression of male domination of women and nature; and 19th and early 20th century discussions of Goddesses and matriarchy.
Most Goddess and other spiritual feminists have experienced Wiccan rituals, which are often simply called Goddess rituals. For many of us, elements of Wiccan practice strike a chord of knowing, while other aspects seem odd or strange or even just plain weird. What are the origins of Wiccan ritual? Are some its roots to be found in male secret societies that in no way promoted "the full humanity of women"?