Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Buzz Coil: September-October 2017

Here are some recent posts from blogs on our blogroll (please note, we don't knowingly list posts in Buzz Coil that have been published previously by the blogger elsewhere or on the same blog):

Women & Mythology: ASWM’s Oct. 14 post announces the deadline of Nov. 15, 2017 for the 2018 Sarasvati Book Award for non-fiction books published during 2015-2017. The post includes a link to the submission form.

Fellowship of Isis Central: An Oct. 17 post, “Message from Isis Oasis—Northern California Wild Fire,” by deTraci Regula, director of Isis Sanctuary, begins with these words:
We are blessed. Fires in the area surrounding us are contained. Thankfully the Advisory Evacuation notice was lifted. All of our animals have been safely returned. Isis Oasis is currently hosting evacuees.”
The post goes on to report on the effect of the fires, including Isis Oasis’ November plans.

Annelinde’s World: Annelinde Metzner’s Oct. 4 post is a poem, “Release,” about the hope that Goddess brings in time of violence. Her Sept 1 posted poem, “Sycamore,” begins:

“Delicious! the astringent scent
of wet leaves, wet humus
     on the forest trail
     in this rainy, dark and brooding August weather.
It is late summer, and our Mother
     warns, “Change is coming!”


Starhawk’s Blog:  Starhawk’s Oct. 11 post, “Lessons from the Fire,” includes material from a fire protection ritual, “honors fire for the great teacher she is,” and discusses 5lessons we all need to navigate a world where climate change has intensified the dryness and the winds.” Her October 2 post is “A Statement from Starhawk on the Las Vegas Tragedy.”

PaGaian Cosmology: In her Oct. 7 post, “Triple Goddess Breath Meditation,” Glenys Livingstone shares a meditation that has been her “daily practice for nearly 20 years. In her Sept 25 post, “Persephone’s Return or Departure?” Livingstone discusses this question in relation to her own life. With pics of her younger self.

HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate’s Sept. 21 post, “This is a Prayer for Mabon. This is a Prayer for Resistance,” begins:

This is a prayer for the Witches’ Thanksgiving. This is a prayer for Resistance.
This is a prayer for mead and cider, for cornbread and collards. This is a prayer for Resistance.”

Her series, “The Magical Battle for America,” continues, each with a meditation/working. In reverse chronological order (as the blog rolls) the recent posts and their topics include: 10/22, receiving messages from your ancestors; 10/5, the U.S. Senate and Trump’s roles in the health care battle; 10/8, libraries and librarians; 10/1, an incident involving Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe; 9/24, the Underground Railroad during U.S. slavery; 9/17, the influence of Dion Fortune on the series, with meditation including “Lady Liberty”; 9/10, the buffalo and “The Resistence”; 9/1 the approaching cooler and colder weather of autumn and winter.

Brandy Williams, Author: Brandy Williams’ Oct. 18 post is a brief “Prayer to Hecate.” Her Oct. 16 post, is a brief “Prayer to Pomona, Goddess of the Orchard.”

Because of the large number and variety of bloggers and posts on these blogs, we are now suggesting that you visit them and select the posts that interest you most.

The Motherhouse of the Goddess: Blog affiliated with Motherhouse Podcasts and Mystery School.

Feminism and Religion: Many bloggers from many different religions and paths.

Pagan Square: This blog of many mostly-Pagan paths is sponsored by BBI Media and includes SageWoman blog posts

The Wild Hunt: Pagan, news-oriented blog that has grown from single blogger to many bloggers.

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Sunday, October 08, 2017

Review: Susan Hawthorne's Novel, Dark Matters

Dark Matters, a novel, by Susan Hawthorne, Spinifex Press 2017, trade paperback, 192 pages. Also available as an e-book.

Susan Hawthorne’s stunning novel, Dark Matters, is both a work of art and an exploration of important social issues. The title has a number of meanings that become clear as you read the book. These include the “darkness” of Kate’s story and the dark matter of the universe.

I rarely comment on covers, but I can’t help commenting on this cover’s outstanding use of color, font, and balance of graphic elements. On the front cover, designer Deb Snibson places, on a black background, the author’s name flush right in white at the top, followed by the book title, flush left, in larger pinkish red type with the subtitle (“a novel”) below it flush right in white. Beneath this is a side-bled image by Susan Bellamy of mitochondrial (maternally inherited) DNA in black, gray, and white except for two small spots of the same pinkish red of the title inside two of the DNA circles. Flush right beneath the image is name of the press (gray on a black background). The book’s spine is a strong pink with the title in white and author’s name and press logo in black. The back cover’s top half has a black background containing a book description in white type except for the first letter, “I” in the same pinkish red as the title on front. The bottom half is set on the pinkish red background, which has a smaller picture of the DNA image along with a credit in black type. (The small type above the author's name and below the publisher's name was placed by Amazon.com, from which this picture is used with permission.)

The novel, which takes place in Australia (where the author lives), South America, and Europe, has 3 first-person narrators. The first one we meet is Mercedes, (nicknamed “Merci,” which I took to possibly have the double meaning of the French “thank you” and the English “mercy.”) She is Kate’s lover. The second is Desi, Kate’s niece, who is struggling to make sense of Kate’s fragmented writings found after her death. The third narrator we meet is Kate herself, as she tries to endure capture, imprisonment, rape and other torture. Kate’s is the central story. Mercedes’ and Kate’s chapters are not titled with their names. Desi’s chapters bear her name as title. Some of Kate’s fragments/chapters have the day of captivity on which they were written titling the first fragment of that day, apparently placed by Kate. Desi mentions that there aren’t fragments for every day. For example, Kate’s narrative goes from “Day 1” of captivity to “Day 2,” and then skips to “Day 5.” The fragments contain descriptions of how Kate was mistreated, poems, Kate’s memories of her past (including her relationship with Mercedes and her wondering if Mercedes is still alive), and mythology including Goddess and animal references. Among the animal mentions are those that could be seen as allusions to at least 2 of Hawthorne’s 8 poetry books, Cow and Lupa and Lamb. Among  the female divinities and mythological women mentioned are Persephone, Demeter, Hecate, Athena, Psyche, Styx, Kali, Isis, Inanna, Europa, Mary, Cassandra, Kyane, Mnemosyne and her daughters, the Muses (9 according to Kate’s writings; 10, according to Desi, who, agreeing with Plato, adds “Psappa” [aka Sappho] to the list). In addition to mythological and historical allusions, there are references to current people, places, and organizations including spiritual feminist authors; Suzanne Bellamy, creator of the front cover image of this book; Niki de Sainte Phalle (“Sainte” in this name is usually spelled “Saint” in English—the final “e” used in this book renders the spelling French feminine) and her Tarot Garden in Tuscany; and a manual for torture, for which Desi guesses “the CIA” as one of 3 organizations that might be its publisher.

The book has no “running heads,” which are present in most books at the top of every page except the first page of chapters. They usually bear the book author’s name or chapter names on the page on one side and the book’s title on the page on the other side. The lack of running heads in this book reinforces the feeling (at least for me) of free-floating space, or unspoken material, or the similarity of characters, that also comes from the lack of chapter headings for some of the material.

The novel moves in time back and forth from before to after Kate’s death. In the first chapter, Mercedes (whom Desi describes in a later chapter as having come from South America to Australia with her family in the 1970s), receives the news from a family member, José, that, “They’ve released Kate.” We don’t know, at this point, from what she has been released. When José urges Mercedes to contact Kate, she responds that “It’s too soon.” We don’t know exactly who José is until later chapters. I believe that this initial murkiness is intentional on Hawthorne’s part, establishing a need for clarity—including clarity of identity— important thematically in the novel. The second chapter, written by Desi, takes place some years after Kate’s death. She tells about trying to make sense of the fragments that her aunt Kate left.  Desi tells us that that Kate, as well as her great aunt and possibly other ancestors, were lesbians. She writes: “That’s the thing about lesbians, it’s a kind of detective story that unwinds in scraps but half of the pages are shredded and the rest are so destroyed as to be unreadable. What we have left are fragments.” Among Desi’s other revelations are that Kate “sometimes used her birth name Ekaterina when she wanted to be noticed.” In the third chapter, Kate gives more background on her family. This is followed by the first fragment written by Kate in captivity and titled “Day 1.” Later in the book (Day 13), Kate tells how both her birth name and “Kate” are related to Hekate.

Desi gives a clear description/definition of “torture” within Kate’s fragments of Day 32. Desi writes: “Torture is a distortion. The torturer is not after the truth. Not even after information. The torturer wants to break the person….When it comes to women, the torturer wants to inflict shame on her. To do this he will reduce her to sex, by which he means her genitals. When they torture a man, the most effective method of shame is to reduce him to the female  sex….”And several paragraphs later: “Torture is like rape. If you don’t resist, where is there stature as a torturer?”

Yes, this novel is both art and an exploration of important social issues. Most readers will consider the book literary fiction. It also has elements of the mystery genre. And for some readers, it will be a novel of the “horror” genre. Though Hawthorne avoids overtly graphic descriptions, if you are concerned about “triggers,” tread carefully. Expertly structured and beautifully written, Dark Matters is about dreadful, challenging subjects. And though its story is about terror, it is also a story about family, women’s heroism, and love.

In addition to her 8 poetry books, Susan Hawthorne  is author of 2 previous novels, 3 books of non-fiction, and an editor of 10 anthologies. Her work has been translated into 6 languages. Among the awards she has received are the 2017 Penguin Random House Best Achievement in Writing (part of the Inspire Awards) for increasing awareness about epilepsy and the politics of disability, the 2015 George Robertson Award for services to the publishing industry, and the 1996 Hall of Fame Award (part of The Rainbow Awards) for her contribution to the gay and lesbian community.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Review: Medusa Anthology

Re-visioning Medusa: from Monster to Divine Wisdom, a girl god anthology; Glenys Livingstone, Ph.D, Trista Hendren, Pat Daly, editors; preface by Joan Marler; cover art by Arna Baartz; CreateSpace 2017, trade paperback 6” x 9”, 266 pages; also available as an e-book.

If you’ve ever wondered about the mythical persona known as Medusa, this is the book for you. Re-visioning Medusa covers a lot of ground and includes a number of different points of view and interpretations. It is excellently edited to alternate among essays, art, and poetry. Included among the many points of information, for instance, we learn that the animals associated with Medusa and her iconography include snakes, birds, horses, lions, and boars. 

In her Preface, Joan Marler, known for her association with Marija Gimbutas and for founding the Institute of Archaeomythology, explains that this volume contains work by people from “Australia, North America, Europe, Israel and Turkey.” With brief summaries of some of the essays in this book, Marler discusses the history of Medusa mythology in many different cultures, including Southeastern European, Greek, the Balkans, and Renaissance (Christian) Italy, as she writes: “Renaissance artists, inspired by Greek mythological themes, frighteningly realistic portrayals of decapitated women with snakes for hair….emblematic of the Inquisitional murders taking place in Europe during that time…. Later, during the 18th-19th centuries, Romantic artists, poets, and Decadents recast Medusa as a beautiful victim, not a monster….” She goes on to explain the influence of Freudian psychology in the 20th century and urges us to be present in the “here and now,” as we “listen deeply...to the ancient wisdom that is our True Inheritance.”

An introductory note by Editor Trista Hendren, explains why the editors of Revisioning Medusa decided to allow the authors from diverse countries and institutions to use the spelling, punctuation, and other style features that they were used to rather than standardizing such style items in the entire book, as is customary. I think it was a wise, innovative decision to allow this diversity and adds color to the book. In keeping with this style freedom, I am not including degrees (such as Ph.D. and Rev.) with the contributors’ names, although they are included in the book.

I’m going to leave my coverage of the many essays in this book until after I list the poets and artists, and approach the essays in what I hope is an innovative way.

Contributing poets (in order of appearance of their first poem in this anthology) are Barbara Ardinger, Susan Hawthorne, Janet Guastavino, Angela Kunschmann, Penny-Anne Beaudoin, Kerryn Coombs-Valeontis, and Elizabeth Oakes.

In order of appearance of initial art contribution, contributors of art showing various interpretations of Medusa (in black & white—both original and photos of art or sculpture) include: Glenys Livingstone, Cristina Biaggi, Miriam Robbins Dexter (within essay), Sudie Rakusin, Jeanne K. Raines, Lizzie Yee, Caroline Alkonost, Diane Goldie (with descriptive text), Kaalii Cargill (within essay), Luisah Teish (with descriptive text), Alyscia Cunningham, Jack K. Jeansonne (with descriptive text by Marija Krstic), Susan Hawthorne, Arna Baartz, Nuit Moore (with descriptive text and poem), Glenys Livingstone (artist unknown), Kerry Coombs-Valeontis, Marie Summerwood, Meg Dreyer, Pegi Eyers (with descriptive text).

Some of the essays are scholarly, some are more personal in tone, and others have still other stylistic approaches. To demonstrate the views and styles of the many essayists, I will briefly comment upon the essay and quote a short passage from each.

Writing from her personal experience over the years, Glenys Livingstone, in her essay, “Mother Medusa: Regenerative One,” writes of wearing a headpiece that was “characteristic of the ancient primordial Medusa, though I did not know it….Only gradually have I come to identify Her snake coils and bird wings, as an ancient combination representative of Medusa….I realize now that I had been invoking Medusa; calling Her into my being, embodying Her in Seasonal ceremony, embedding Her in regenerative creativity in my life.”

In her essay, “Medusa: Ferocious and Beautiful, Petrifying and Healing: Through the Words of the Ancients,” Miriam Robbins Dexter, one of Livingstone’s sources, presents scholarly material to show that “Medusa is a compilation of Neolithic European, Semitic, and Indo-European mythology and iconography.” She explores the meanings of Medusa’s name as well as her various myths, which she has translated from Greek and Latin texts. She points out the differences in the way Medusa is understood over the centuries, writing, “Whereas the Neolithic Goddess is a powerful arbiter of birth, death, and rebirth, she has been transformed in Greek from a Goddess of the life continuum to this a dead head.”

Jane Meredith’s long, personally-focused essay, “Calling Medusa In,” concludes with an invocation, I excerpt and quote here in part: “Oh, Medusa, I’m calling you in….I invoke you into my own life and the lives of my friends, I invoke you into the houses and families of childhoods everywhere….Bring your qualities Medusa….It is time serpents were released and wildness broke the stone face of what is acceptable and we saw behind the masks….”

In the shortest essay in the book, “To Stand Witness,” Teri Uktena writes that although the Medusa myth has always been a favorite of hers, she was “bothered by the myth from the very beginning because it made no sense.” She goes on to explain why she felt this way and ultimately links it to real life instances in which women have been sexually abused.

In her essay, “Medusa: The Invitation,” Maureen Owen writes, “The story of Medusa is fundamentally the story of the domination of the patriarchal invaders of mainland Greece over the early goddess culture of North Africa….When I hear this story, I hear Medusa’s invitation, urging me to look deeper….” Owen continues by delving into the roles of serpents, and Medusa as high priestess, Goddess, and Queen, and Crone, depending on the time and culture.

In “Till We Have Bodies, “ Kaali Cargill, discusses Medusa mythology as part of her “love affair with myth.” She writes, “She [Medusa] has been known as the Destroyer aspect of the Triple Goddess called Neith in Egypt, Ath-eena or Athene in North Africa. It is through Medusa that mythology offers a hint of what once may have been possible for women in terms of birth control.”

In her essay, “Medusa, Athena, Sophia: the Fierceness of Wisdom Justice,” Bonnie Odione writes: “we cannot look at her face directly, as the patriarchs could not view Yahweh’s.” In exploring Medusa’s relationship to Wisdom goddess(es), she suggests, “a rapid transit from Greek mythology to pre-common era Jewish Alexandria….The Wisdom (Hebrew: Hockmah) tradition that was present throughout the Hebrew Scriptures is Grecianized (Greek: Sophia…) to better reflect Alexandrian culture….” She continues by discussing a quote from the Book of Wisdom, used at Donald Trump’s inauguration.

In her essay, “Medusa, My Mother and Me,” Barbara C. Daughter explores her relationship with her mother and her own self-image in light of various images of Medusa. She writes of conflating Medusa with “a small statue Arthur Evans is said to have unearthed at Knossos Greece: the Minoan Snake Goddess….Who were these snake-wielding women and what could they reveal to me?”

Marie Summerwood begins her essay, “Medusa Goddess: Up Close and Personal,” with a memory from her priestess initiation of “the first time I knowingly met the presence of Medusa….” She had called in other goddesses, including Isis, Quan Yin, Mary, Aphrodite. She had not planned to invoke Medusa, but “the moment when I had planned to speak the name of the next goddess, my hands clenched and unclenched and I found myself fiercely whispering – over and over – the name of Medusa.” She goes on to describe the work she has done through Medusa, and ends with a chant with notated music.

In her essay, “Medusa’s Hall of Mirrors,” Leslene della-Madre writes that as a result of her work with women’s mysteries, “I have felt that helping women to reclaim Medusa by symbolically reattaching her head through ritual is deeply empowering.” She goes on to discuss the ritual for such a working, as well as her research to try to find out why “the origins of myths from cultures around the world that seem to bear similar resemblances, even though contact amongst people living far apart most likely did not occur.” Her explorations take her to what to some may be a startling—and to me fascinating, and innovative— conclusion involving the possible change of “planetary configurations in our solar system.”

In “Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times, “ C. Loran Hills reflects on the effects of various versions of the Medusa myth. In some versions, she notes, “Wild women are condemned as corrupt, depraved, and wicked….unruly, ungovernable, visionary, savage, and ferocious….Strong-willed women are demonized in the patriarchal system and socialized to behave.” To counter this, she urges us to nurture each other and educate ourselves. She also comments that women’s aging is “viewed as repugnant”and “treated like a disease…” and discusses the history of the word, “hag.”

Marguerite Rigoglioso’s essay tells us “How You Can Reattach Medusa’s Head,” with instructions based on a ritual she first performed with a group in 2012 and which has been performed by a number of groups since. Of the ritual’s significance, she writes: “With the enactment of this reparatory ritual, we set in motion the re-memberment of this ancestor, and thus the reversal of her story. With that, we set into motion the reversal of all women’s disempowerment.”

“Medusa: Wisdom of the Crone Moon,” by Theresa Curtis is a dramatic (some may feel at times melodramatic) narrative. At the beginning of this essay Curtis writes, “her tale is long and rich, and constantly growing deeper – it can never truly be known…. For me, She reeks of endless mystery of the secrets beyond the dark moon.” Curtis then goes on to write of Sigmund Freud’s referral to Medusa as “Vagina dentata…exhibiting panic and horror…in the face of her power…. he was never able to complete his treatise on Her.” Curtis then recommends how women can “reflect on Medusa without statuing to stone” through an initiation that involves setting intention, an induction that involves becoming Medusa, and awareness.

Gillian M.E.(dusa) Alban begins her essay, ”Medusa’s Stunning Powers Reflected in Literature,” with this sentence: “The monstrously divine Medusa is emblematic of women’s struggles to rise above oppressions with her serpentine power and invincible gaze.” After reviewing Medusa mythology, among those whose work she delves into are Frieda Kahlo, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Robert Graves, Jean Paul Sartre, Margaret Atwood, Sue Monk Kidd, and Angela Carter.

Dawn Glinkski’s “Making Amends with Medusa” focuses on the fixed star, Algol, at 26 degrees of Taurus, which is known as the “demon star” or “Medusa’s head.” This position is of particular interest to me because I have a stellium (several planets) at or near this position. Among the famous people Dawn discusses whose planets are conjunct or near Algol, is Bob Dylan, whose birthday is the same as mine (yes, date and year)—our charts are close in time (taking into consideration time zone difference), differing most in location. Glinkski points out that Dylan has Uranus conjunct (in same degree as) Algol (as do I) and sees this related to his being involved in the civil rights movement (as was I) and rebelling “against the establishment though his music.” (as I have through my writing?) She writes that 3 words she associates with Algol are “protection, preservation, and prevention.” Though this information was unknown to me at the time (about 3 decades ago), I selected a statue of Medusa to place in my office at work for just such purposes. And that is also why I named this blog after Her. Among other people Glinski discusses who have birth charts with relationships to Algol are Oliver Cromwell, John F. Kennedy, and Donald Trump. Glinkski interprets the placement in their charts and also suggests ways to interpret this placement if it appears in your birth chart.

In “Re-visioning Medusa: A Personal Odyssey” Sara Wright tells how, when she was a child, for her a painting conflated her mother with Medusa. She writes, “This image of my mother with her long, curly hair, seemed quite frightening to me. It was as if this painting held a key – but to what?” Continuing, she writes, “as an adolescent, I started to call myself Medusa….self-loathing became the mask I wore. I hated my body.” The essay ultimately tells how, as an adult, she came terms with the fear of her mother by finding out more about Medusa. Near the end of the essay. She ties her “odyssey” in with a current political situation.

Laura Shannon, in her essay “Medusa and Athena: Ancient Allies in Healing Women’s Trauma,” sees these goddesses as helping women, mostly in similar ways, despite their differences in mythology. She cites a number of other authors who have written on the topic of these goddesses and trauma (such as PTSD) including Patricia Monaghan, Sigmund Freud, Joseph Campbell, Carol P. Christ, Marija Gimbutas, Miriam Robbins Dexter, Anne Baring, and Annis Pratt. She sees both Athena and Medusa as protectors and writes: “By placing Medusa’s head in her heart, Athena gives Medusa a post-traumatic sanctuary in a safe and strong body, and Medusa gives Athena a part of her protective powers.” Shannon goes on to discuss the role of circle dancing, both in ancient Athens and in current Greece and the Balkans (and, I would add, in other countries such as the U.S., where I have participated in such dances).She feels these dances help women heal from trauma as well as “affirm and transmit pre-patriarchal values.”

Trista Hendren is another one of the authors who, as she puts it in“Re-stor(y)ing Sanity,”the book’s last essay, was, as a child “terrified of Medusa.” In exploring the reasons why— both as a child and growing into adulthood— she delves into the writings of Margaret Atwood, Mary Oliver, Toni Morrison (particularly Sula), bell hooks, Jane Caputi, Hélène Cixous, Monica Sjöö, Barbara Mor, Andrea Dworkin, Audre Lorde, Mary Daly, and Starhawk. One of the conclusions Hendren reaches is: “Our patriarchal brainwashing thoroughly rinsed out the richness of our being— even the biological realities of our bodies. Everything is supposed to be bleached. Our body hair removed. Our faces, masked. Our glorious womanly smells, perfumed over. Our menses, hidden or erased completely….”

An exceptional anthology, Re-visioning Medusa will be valued not only by people who have studied and worked with Medusa for some time, but also those who haven’t yet wondered about Her. A complete list of the Table of Contents, including title of contribution and contributor’s name, can be found by clicking on the “Look Inside” feature on the book’s page on Amazon.com

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Buzz Coil: July-August 2017

Here are some recent posts from blogs on our blogroll (please note, we don't knowingly list posts in Buzz Coil that have been published previously by the blogger elsewhere or on the same blog):

Women & Mythology: This blog’s Aug. 19 post announces “2018 ASWM Conference and Call for Proposals.” Deadline for proposals is Oct. 15 for the conference being held in Las Vegas March 16-17. A link to info on proposal guidelines is included.

 Annelinde’s World: Annelinde Metzner’s July 29 post is her poem (with 2 illustrations), “The Magic Pouch.” The poem is scheduled to appear in the 2018 We’Moon Datebook. It begins:
“I have released my magic pouch.
Fathom this – the miracle sac nestled in my abdomen
where spirits come to Earth and find their destiny.”
Metzner's July 22 post, “Magdala Tower, is addressed to Mary Magdalene and posted on her feast day. With 5 illustrations.

HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate’s Aug. 22 post, “This is a Prayer to the Erinyes; This Is a Prayer for the Resistance,” is written in support of anti-fascists et al., and as a response to the death of Heather Heyer. Her Aug. 20 post continues her series, “The Magical Battle for America,” with a response to Stephen Bannon’s exit from the White House and a meditation involving wands and “your landbase.” Hecate posted other posts in this intriguing series on Aug. 13, Aug. 6, July 30, July 23, July 17, July 8, and July 1.

Works of Literata: In an Aug, 21 post, "Magic for the eclipse," blogger Literata shares the advice she has received through working with the total solar eclipse.

My Village Witch: Byron Ballard’s Aug. 1 post, “Setting of the Sun—a Harvest Lament,” explains the difference between the harvest holidays, Lughnasadh and Lammas, and discusses the opinions among Pagans about this first Harvest Holiday. Includes ritual material.

Pagaian Cosmology: In a July 22 post, “Imbolc/Lammas at Earth Gaia, August 2017,” Glenys D. Livingstone compares the celebration of Imbolc (“Early Spring”) in Australia, where she lives, with Lammas (“Late Summer”) in the Northern Hemisphere.

Broomstick Chronicles: On Aug. 22, in a post titled, "AAR 2016," Aline O’Brien (aka Macha NightMare) publishes a long post about the syncretism of various religious and spiritual paths within Paganism. With several illustrations, including a copy of a painting of a well-known actress by a well-known pop artist. Published simultaneously on COG Interfaith Reports.

Because of the large number and variety of bloggers and posts on these blogs, we are now suggesting that you visit them and select the posts that interest you most.

Feminism and Religion: Many bloggers from many different religions and paths.

Pagan Square: This blog of many mostly-Pagan paths is sponsored by BBI Media and includes SageWoman blog posts

The Motherhouse of the Goddess: Blog affiliated with Motherhouse Podcasts and Mystery School.

The Wild Hunt: Pagan, news-oriented blog that has grown from single blogger to many bloggers.

Labels:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Buzz Coil: May-June 2017

Here are some recent posts from blogs on our blogroll (please note, we don't knowingly list posts in Buzz Coil that have been published previously by the blogger elsewhere or on the same blog):

HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate’s June 4 post, “The Magical Battle for America 6.24.17,” focuses on Abraham Lincoln and continues Hecate’s weekly series with the goals of affecting present U.S. politics and helping “America build up a library of magical/archetypical tools….” Her June 17 post in this series focuses on the Underground Railroad. Her June 15 post, “This is a Prayer to Ama-no-Uzeme, Baubo, and Silly Old Aunts. This is a Prayer for Resistance” begins:
“This is a prayer to Ama-no-Uzeme. This is a prayer for Resistance.
 "This is a prayer to her sister, Baubo. This is a prayer for Resistance.
 "This is a prayer for the old women who dance naked to make us laugh. This is a prayer for Resistance.”....

Her June 10 post in the Magical Battle series begins with mention of 2 films and then focuses on accessing the help of trees; the June 3 post focuses on 5 magical banners. This extraordinary series has been ongoing for several months.

 Women & Mythology: This organization’s June 16 post announces its “Conference in Las Vegas NV” to the held March 16-18, 2018. Their May 12 post announces and links to “International Transpersonal Conference in Prague” scheduled for September 28-October 1, 2017.

The Retiring Mind: In a June 27 post, Wendy Griffin writes that she is in Seattle attending a workshop about climate change in a group founded by Al Gore. She says that while she is there she plans to post more about the conference.

Annelinde’s World: Annelinde Metzner’s May 25 post is a poem about the feast day of “Sara La Kali,” particularly among the French Romani. The poem address her as:
“Sara, passion of the two great beings,
Sara, lovechild, Magdala and Yeshua”….

Annelinde’s June 2 post is “Homage to Water.” Both posts accompanied by many pics.

Brandy Williams: Brandy Williams' June 4 post tells and interprets the story of “How Zeus Became Wise by Swallowing a Goddess.”

My Village Witch: In a June 12 post, “What I’ll be Doing the Rest of the Year,” Byron Ballard gives us an annotated list of her planned appearances in the U.S.

Works of Literata: Blogger Literata discusses the magical use of three-ring binders in her May 16 post, “The Witch’s Three-Ring Binder.” In her May 4 post, “National Day of Money, Power, and Politics,” she disputes a certain executive order that some claim is about religious liberty.

Broomstick Chronicles: In a June 8 post, “Table to Action Design Workshop,” Aline O’Brien (aka Macha NightMare) writes about what she learned at a recent Marin Interfaith Council monthly clergy meeting.

Pagaian Cosmology: Glenys Livingstone’s June 6 post, “We Are Cosmic Dynamics,” contains a ritual for Winter Solstice celebrated this month in Australia, where she lives.

Hearth Moon Rising’s blog: Hearth Moon’s June 16 post announces the blog’s move to a new url and how to navigate it. Her May 26 post is a review of Max Dashu’s book, Witches and Pagans (which was also reviewed here).
 
Fellowship of Isis Central: This organization’s June 20 post announces and links to a repost of the “Journey of Solar Alchemy,” a “guided journey” by Fellowship of Isis founder, the late Olivia Robertson.

 Large Goddess/Spiritual Feminist Blogs

Because of the large number and variety of bloggers and posts on these blogs, we are now suggesting that you visit them and select the posts that interest you most.

Pagan Square: This blog of many mostly-Pagan paths is sponsored by BBI Media and includes SageWoman blog posts

The Motherhouse of the Goddess: Blog affiliated with Motherhouse Podcasts and Mystery School.

Feminism and Religion: Many bloggers from many different religions and paths.

The Wild Hunt: Pagan, news-oriented blog that has grown from single blogger to many bloggers.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Glastonbury Goddess Conference 2017

The annual Glastonbury Goddess Conference will be held this year  August 1-August 6 in Glastonbury, England, with fringe events, including concerts and other activities, July 29-31. This year’s theme is Celebrating...“the Great Goddess in all Her many forms, expressions, and colours. She of a million names and faces.” In addition to presentations, workshops, and rituals, the conference will include art exhibits.
 
Some of the special events are Conference Welcome, Aug. 1, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Opening Ceremony, Aug. 1, 7 p.m.; Lammas Ceremony, Aug. 2, 7:30 p.m.; Goddess Procession through Glasonbury/Avalon Aug. 6, 10 a.m.; Conference Closing, Aug. 6, 4 p.m. 

Just some of the presenters are to include: Marion Brigantia, Katinka Soetens, Dr. Makgathi Mokwena, Lilia Khousnoutdinova, Annine van der Meer, Carolyn Hillyer, Anique Radiant Heart, Dov Ahava, Ka Dineen, Roz Bound, Angie Twydall, Bee Helygen, Miriam Raven, Sadhu, Kathy Jones, Jane Meredith, Brooke Medicine Eagle, and Eline Baath.
 
For more information about events and presenters,plus how to book and register, see goddessconference.com/2017.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Book by Danielle Dulsky: Woman Most Wild

Woman Most Wild: Three Keys to Liberating the Witch Within, by Danielle Dulsky (New World Library, 2017) trade paperback, 6” x 9,” 252 pages. Also available as an e-book.
 
Although this book is mostly prose, Danielle Dulsky begins Woman Most Wild with a remarkable poem:
 
This Truth

 Snuff out the candles! Make the room dark!
I’ll cradle you close, star-shaped child.
Inside your heart’s ripe, red center— a spark!
When I speak of Her rhythm, this Woman Most Wild.

 She lives in a hut made of soft guts and hard bones,
She crawls out of your mouth while you sleep.
In the forest, the desert, She sets up her stones.
‘Fore bare-breasted swimming in the salty blue deep.

When She comes back to your body, Her hearth and Her home,
She’s tired, and filthy, and fed.
She hopes that you’ll notice the sand, water, and loam
She’s painted all over your bed.

Peel off her hard mask, the woman so mild,
And drink of the succulent moon.
You, my sweet one, are the Woman Most Wild.
You’ll swallow this truth whole and soon.
 
 (Copyright ©2017 by Danielle Dulsky. Used with publisher’s permission)

 
In an unusually personal and warm approach, Woman Most Wild focuses more on practitioners’ or potential practitioners’ needs and questions rather than on the history of Witchcraft, deities and mythology. Beginning with her introduction, Dulsky addresses the reader as “my love,” and “Sister-Witch.” In the introduction, she writes: “I will honor you as a high-level Priestess. I am neither above you nor below you; we sit at the same table.” She promises the reader that it’s okay not to be fully comfortable with naming yourself “Witch,” and that she will not ask the reader to let go of “any part of your belief system you hold as true.” Calling the reader to be a Witch, she offers instead of religion, “glimpses of how your soft and perfect being may be infused with the marrow of ritual, magic, and circle-craft.” She writes that although this book is “primarily for those who identify as women, your wild spirituality does not require a physical womb; it only asks you to honor the fusion of your body and psyche to your feminine spirit.”

 The book is divided into three sections called Keys that, per the subtitle of the book, are aimed at “Liberating the Witch Within.” Key 1, “Your Wild Rhythm,” begins with a poetic invocation, followed by an introductory few pages in which the author discusses embodiment and both the body’s and world’s cycles, writing: “There is no great chasm between your enduring spirit and your holy, sensual self.” She then relates this to her concept of “wild.” The chapters of this section include material related to the seasons; the moon , including a meditation, a prayer, and a ritual; material related to the sun and fire also including guided meditation; blood rhythms related to the moon; and the role of yoga and chakras. This and the other Keys’ chapters also include a feature called, “Verses of the Holy Feminine.” Key 2, “Your Wild Ritual,” includes chapters on circle-casting and its relationship to ecology; healing spellwork; Goddess ministry; pathworking, and prayer and meditation. Key 3, “Your Wild Circle,” includes discussion of magick and circle-craft, working with various energies in the circle; ritual and other ways of belonging in a circle. The last chapter in this Key is “Benediction of the Liberated Wolf-Woman.” The back matter includes an epilogue, an appendix, “Moon Rituals for Lone Wolf-Women and Witches Circles”; acknowledgments, notes, recommended reading, an index and an author biography.

Woman Most Wild is a beautifully written, empowering, and inspiring book. It is directed primarily to those new to this path and who have yet to identify as Witches. It is also likely to be of interest to those who have identified as Witches for years as well as those who, like me, may not identify as Witches even after many years identifying as Goddessians and/or spiritual feminists.

To complete this post, I’d like to share with you parts of an interview with the author provided by the book’s publisher.

How do you define the word “Witch”?
Danielle Dulsky: A Witch is someone who has affirmed their connection to the wild, claimed their right to handcraft their own spiritual path, established a flexible and personally relevant practice of embodying nature’s cycles, and realized their birthright as a global healer of the wounded feminine. “Witch” is not a name that can be given by any external authority, nor is Witchcraft solely the domain of women. It is the feminine—that soulful and cyclical energy within all beings that yearns for a meaningful relationship with nature, craves sensual presence and creative expression, and intuitively understands the role of ritual and magick in our world that can groundswell within us and urge us to claim the name Witch. To be a Witch means to see magick in the mundane as often as possible, to attune oneself to both inner and outer rhythms, and to know oneself as divine. In my experience, a Witch is also a change-agent, as every spell or ritual cast by the Witch’s hand is a reflection of the world in which s/he wants to live.

Can you tell us the story of your “coming out” as a Witch?
Dulsky: I am asked this question a lot, and I always wish I could pinpoint a single event or pivotal conversation that prompted my “coming out.” A large part of me has always known I was a Witch, though I suppose I did not call myself one until my mid-20s. I was raised attending a strict born-again Christian elementary school and similarly evangelical church. When I a little girl, I remember having many experiencescommuning with dead family members, seeing angels, and generally having magick-riddled dreamsthat I would share with my teachers or mother, only to be immediately scorned or invalidated in various ways. I have vivid memories of men from my mother’s church putting shaking hands on my shoulders to cast the demons out, all the while feeling like there was nothing really wrong with me. I remember hiding tarot cards under my bed, talking to tree spirits, practicing yoga, rituals, and chanting in secret, and numerous other signs that point to my being a Witch during girlhood, but I did not call it anything other than childhood. In my experience, women often have memories of being little Witches, as children are far more attuned to nature and feminine rhythms that are adults. In attempting to be contributing members of society and appearing to be in fierce control, we tend to spiritually conform and reject that which is most divine within us; I am lucky in that, as soon as I possibly could, I refused to practice anyone else’s religion. For a few years, I believed Wicca would satisfy my thirst for spiritual authenticity, but, alas, there are as many predators and narcissists in the Pagan community as there are in more traditional religions. I can say with certainty that I did not fully own the name Witch until I separated myself from all covens and hierarchal Pagan organizations. There is a necessary sense of agency that comes with claiming the name Witch, and I think most wild ones require a level of sacred solitude and personal practice before they are sufficiently empowered to liberate their Witch’s soul.
 
What is “wild woman spirituality” and how does that relate to being a Witch?
Dulsky: To my mind, there is no significant difference between following a path of Wild Woman Spirituality and being a Witch, other than the obvious need to identify as a woman. Gender is a social construct, but wild spirituality speaks to the feminine energy within all human beings. To be wild is to be soulfully awake but hardly immature or out of control. To be wild is to honor the ebbs and flows within you as well as those in nature, being particularly attuned to the relationship between those two forces. A Witch does all of these things, refusing to separate her sensuality, emotionality, and creativity from her spirituality.

How do your two sons feel about their mommy being a Witch?
Dulsky: Honestly, apathetic. They have lived with it their whole lives, so, while I think they have an understanding that not everyone’s mother is a Witch, they don’t really see it as anything special either. My older son is 11, and I think he just realized this past year that not everyone buries apples in their yard for their ancestors on Halloween night. I involve them in circle casting and spell work every so often, but only minimally. I am not raising them to be Witches, as I think everyone should have the right to choose their own spiritual path, but I answer every question they ask, to the best of my ability. If my boys grow up to stand against oppression and be open-minded, tolerant individuals, I will be a happy Mother-Witch.

Can you be a Witch and also religious?
Dulsky: A Witch follows her own spiritual path, and I do not believe religion and Witchcraft are necessarily incompatible. There are a number of religious traditions that condemn Witchcraft, however, and I do not believe a Witch should be forced to hide who she is in order to practice her religion. Importantly, though, Witchcraft is a practice and not a religion; it demands nothing from the practitioner other than what s/he is willing and able to give. There is no concrete dogma or contract to sign. You take what you like and leave what you don’t; this is the way of wild spirituality.

How does sexuality and wild woman spirituality intertwine?
Dulsky: A hallmark of wild woman spirituality is the refusal to separate the realm of the soul, that is the connection with nature, sensuality, emotionality, sexuality, and selfhood, from the realm of spirit. A wild woman honors her bodily autonomy and acknowledges she can be a sexually vibrant creature who is also spiritually awake and at one with the world around her.

What is your advice for people who are scared about coming out as a Witch?

Dulsky: My go-to advice is never to come out as a Witch until you are ready and confident enough in your identity that you can face any condemnation. That said, a Witch does not owe anyone her “coming out.” You are not made more Witch by telling the world you are one; it is admitting to yourself you are a Witch that is the real “coming out.”

How does your experience in a coven differ from your experience in a women’s circle?
Dulsky: Let me begin by saying I know there are very empowering and soulful covens in the world that are longstanding and hierarchically ordered; I was never a member of one of these organizations, however, and I will say that my experience in a manipulative and spiritually predatory coven is unfortunately a common one that keeps many young women from safely practicing the Craft. A women’s circle is a non-hierarchal entity that is a beautiful affirmation of feminine communication, women’s right to speak and be heard, and the importance of sisterhood. In my work, bridging the coven and women’s circle has been paramount, as I believe whole-heartedly in the genuine, healing power of women coming together, sharing their stories, and working magick together. I also believe younger/newer Witches are in dire need of a safe context for mentorship and support, where they are not in danger of being manipulated or exploited.

How does feminism play a role in witchcraft and wild woman spirituality?
Dulsky: Feminists are fundamentally against oppression, as are Witches. There is an element of vindication involved in claiming the name Witch openly, as most of the women prosecuted, tortured, and killed during the Witch hunts were not Witches but women who did not fit the socially validated role of dependent woman. They were women without support networks or independent earners. They were women who were isolated, and they were women who were vulnerable to prosecution because they represented aspects of the feminine that could not be sufficiently bound by the predominantly male-controlled social, political, and economic instruments in place. For the most part, they were oppressed people, not Witches. By extension, taking back the name Witch and claiming wild womanhood is a refusal to succumb to such deeply institutionalized prejudices again.

What do you love most about sharing your new book with the world?
Dulsky: I love that I live in a world where the wild feminine can speak and be heard, whether through me or through other feminist voices; I want to never take that for granted.

Danielle Dulsky is an artist, yoga teacher, energy worker, and founder of Living Mandala Yoga teacher training programs. She leads women’s circles, Witchcraft workshops, and energy healing trainings and lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
 
Interview copyright ©2017 by Danielle Dulsky. Excerpted and printed with permission from New World Library. You can find another interview with Dulsky about the book (of about 5 minutes) on the publisher's site
 

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