Saturday, August 29, 2015

Two Additional ASWM Opportunities

In addition to the Kore Award mentioned in our August Buzz Coil (see post below), the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology has announced two additional opportunities (ASWM material that follows is marked "please distribute widely"):

2016 Biennial Conference
Association for the Study of Women and Mythology
April 1­2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts
Call for Proposals
“Seeking Harbor in Our Histories: Lights in the Darkness”
Goddess Scholarship draws on historical, ethnographic and folk sources, among others, to document and honor the sacred and mundane stories which animate the traditions and spiritual lives of our global sisters and our foremothers. In past conferences, the innovative methodologies and scholarship of ASWM participants have served to problematize contemporary perceptions of civilization, “modernization” and “progress.” Multi­discipline research methodologies have focused on representing historical, thealogical, philosophical, mythological, symbolic, cultural, linguistic and aesthetic lineages.
This year’s conference theme embraces the heritage of location in the historical City of Boston, a harbor city rich in stories and symbols of First Nations of the Atlantic Northeast and the formation of the United States.
We invite papers and panels including,but not limited tothe following topics:
Harbor and hearth as women­centered metaphors
Myth and lineage of the spirit of place, especially focus on the larger Boston area
Indigenous stories, histories, and women’s communities of the Atlantic North East
Paradigms of rebellion, freedom and independence
Water, ritual and civilization, stories of aquatic goddesses
Perspectives on First Nations/First Worlds
Women’s sense of self, social agency, and their roles as citizens
The female principle in ethics and ancient wisdom for modern times
Cultural ecofeminism
Animal mysteries and myth
Ancestry, foremothers and methodology
Changing experiences and definitions of the sacred and the profane
Papers should be 20 minutes; panels with up to four papers on a related topic may be proposed together. Workshop proposals should be organized to provide audience interaction and must clearly address the theme. All sessions and workshops are limited to 90 minutes.
Presenters from all disciplines are welcome, as well as creative artists and practitioners who engage mythic themes in a scholarly manner in their work. Presenters must become members of ASWM.
Send 250 ­word abstract (for panels, 200 word abstract plus up to 150 words per paper) in PDF or MSWord to by November 15, 2015. Use “2016 proposal” and last name in subject header.  Include bio of up to 70 words for each presenter, as well as contact information including surface address and email. See www.womenandmyth.orgfor program updates and registration.
Association for the Study of Women and Mythology
Sarasvati Nonfiction Book Award Notification
The Sarasvati Book Award solicits nonfiction books published during 2013-2015 in the field of goddess studies.  Named for the Hindu goddess of learning and the creative arts, the Sarasvati award from the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM) honors creative work in the field of goddess and mythology studies. The award will be presented during ASWM’s biennial conference, Boston, April 1-2, 2016.
Past winners include Sacred Display: Divine and Magical Female Figures of Eurasia by Miriam Robbins Dexter and Voctor H. Mair (Cambria, 2010). and The Dancing Goddesses:  Folklore, Archaeology and the Origins of European Dance, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber (Norton, 2013).
Note to Publishers
Please submit books for consideration and guidelines queries at this email address:  Deadline for submissions is December 1, 2015; the winner will be notified by February 25 2016.
The award covers books published during the past two calendar years. Nominations must come from the publisher. Self-published books and anthologies are not eligible for the award.
Criteria for Submission
·        --Must be published in the last two calendar years 
·      --Must belong to the field of goddess studies and mythology  
·      --Must add to and enhance the field of goddess and mythology studies with distinction 
·      --Must demonstrate an original approach to goddess and mythology studies in all its diversity 


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Monday, August 24, 2015

Buzz Coil: August 2015

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

Association for the Study of Women and Mythology:  An August 24 post announces the opening for applications for the “Kore Award for Best Dissertation” about women and mythology. The post includes a form and rules for applying. Time period for submission is November 1, 2015 – January 15, 2016.

Woods Priestess: In her Aug. 14 post, “Call for Contributions: Practical Priestessing,” blogger Molly invites contributions to an anthology section she is planning to add to her dissertation. The post includes guidelines. Deadline is Feb. 1, 2016.

Yeshe Rabbit: Rabbit’s July 31 post is the full text of her presentation at this year’s Glastonbury Goddess Conference, “Sky Dancer: Flight of the Dakini.”

 Casa della Dea: This Italian blog’s August 9 post, “Katinka Soetens è una Sacerdotessa di Avalon e di Rhiannon, Dea dell'Amore. Madre di tre figli, originaria dei Paesi Bassi, vive a Glastonbury/Avalon,” announces a two-year course with 10 meetings, beginning in December 2015 and running through November 2017, to be given by Katina Soetens, priestess of Avalon and Rhiannon.

The Goddess House: Beginning August 1, Frances Billinghurst (the Australian blogger formerly known as As’t Moon?) has been posting a series about the similarity of a serious health situation in her life to the descent of Inanna to the Underworld through seven gates. As of my last visit on August 24 there were four posts, the last on August 8 titled “Before the Third Gate.”
The Motherhouse of the Goddess:  Priestess and founder of The Motherhouse of the Goddess Kimberly Moore writes about “Celebrating the Goddess Hecate as Protector from Storms,” in her August 13 post that includes the history of this association.
Hearth Moon Rising’s blog: Blogger Hearth Moon’s July 31 post, “What’s in a Name Part Part II (Witch),” discusses the meanings and derivations of the words “witch” and “wicca.” Second in a three-part series.
Annelinde’s World: Annelinde Metzner’s August 16 post, “New to the World,” is a poem welcoming her great-niece. With pics.

 The Wild Hunt: Cara Shulz’s August 18 post, “Kermetic Wiccan Builds Temple Dedicated to the Goddess Hathor,” is an interview with the builder of the temple in Wisconsin, which is nearing completion after 10 years.
Katrina’s Joy: Katrina Messenger’s August 9 post, “Celebrate Wildness:Feraferian Beauty & Depth,” is a review of a book by Jo Carson about the Pagan tradition of Feraferia. In her review, Katrina writes:
“I am especially in awe of the raising of the Maiden as the cure to our collective patriarchal madness. Kore becomes more than a fair maiden who becomes swept away; she becomes the empowering life principle within us all to counter the toxic influences of our Western culture.”

Works of Literata: On August 18, blogger Literata also posted a review of “Celebrate Wildness.” In it she writes:
“My biggest discomfort about the book is that something about the approach feels slightly off to me in a feminist sense. It’s very hard to put my finger on, but the whole attitude seems like it honors the goddess as the divine feminine other, perpetuating the idea that masculinity is normal and the feminine is other. . . .”

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.
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.
Return to Mago: A Goddess-centered blog whose administrator/owner is Helen Hye-Sook Hwang.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Blogroll Policy

Going through my blogroll as I prepare the August Buzz Coil, I removed seven blogs from the listing, not because I don’t like them, but because there have been no posts on them for more than a year. Medusa Coils has a long-standing policy of removing blogs from the blogroll that not have not had posts in more than a year. Sometimes these blogs start up again. If you have a blog that used to be active and was listed in our blogroll but has not had a post in more than a year and you start blogging again, please let us know (preferably when you have posted anew at least twice) so we can put you back on the blogroll. Also, while I’m on this subject, if you have a blog whose focus is Goddess spirituality/religion and/or feminist spirituality and if you are posting original material regularly and are not now listed on our blogroll, let us know. You can let us know about either of these instances by leaving a comment on this post.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Buzz Coil: July 2015

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

Mythkenner’s Myths: In her first post on her new blog, on July 17 after a pilgrimage to the Psychro Cave in Crete, Carolyn writes about Diktynna, Goddess of Hunting Nets, Sister of Britomartis and Aphaea.”

 Glenys's Blog: Australian Glenys Livingstone writes about the relationship of the winter holiday of Imbolc and the summer holiday of Lammas in her July 9 post, “Imbolc/Lammas August 2015.”

 HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate’s July 22 post, "The Feast of St. Mary of Elegance Blogging,” includes a pic, two videos of songs for Mary Magdalene, and a poem. Hecate also tells why the word “elegance” is included in the title of her post.

Hearth Moon Rising’s blog: Blogger Hearth Moon’s July 17 post, “What’s in a Name Part Part I (Pagan),” discusses the history of the term “pagan.” The next two parts will discuss the words “witch” and “heathen.”

A Crone Speaks Out: “Be Thou the One and Renew the Light,” by Rev. Cathryn Platine of the Maetreum of Cybele on July 8, brings together several topics from her previous blogs about what she feels are problem with current Paganism.

 Annelinde's World: Annelinde Metzner’s July 25 post, “Yemaya Knocks Me Down,” is a poem about that Yoruba Orisha and information about her. With pic.

Love of the Goddess: Blogger Tara’s July 17 post, “Inanna in a Visionary Style,” includes her portrait of and comments about the Goddess and about Tara’s visionary paintings.

 The MotherHouse of the Goddess: M. Isidora Forrest continues to write about the Goddess Isis in her July 25 post, “The Goddess ISIS – Ma’at Lady of the Truth.” In a July 22 post, Carol P. Christ writes about “Mermaid – Goddess of the Sea.”

Starhawk’s blog: in a July 23 post (see calendar to the right of post and click on greyed dates to see when posts were posted), “City of Refuge – The Self-Publishing Saga Continues,” Starhawk explains why she has decided to self-publish the sequel to her novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing, and how she plans to raise money for it.

Fellowship of IsisCentral: The July 22 post, “Veil of Goddess of Mysteries,” is a quote from Fellowship of Isis’ co-founder, Olivia Robertson. With 2 pics by David de Roeck.

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.
Return to Mago: A Goddess-centered blog whose administrator/owner is Helen Hye-Sook Hwang.
Feminism and Religion: Many bloggers from many different religions and paths.



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Goddess Pages Summer/Autumn 2015

Issue 27 of Goddess Pages is out! It opens with the art, "Untitled," by Foosiya Miller, and with Geraldine Charles editorial, "She Changes Everything She Touches."

Article authors include Atasha Fyfe, Elizabeth Chloe Erdman, Helen Anthony, Susan S Weed, and Louise Sommer. Fiction is by Carolyn Lee Boyd. Poetry is by Souza Silvermarie, Penn Kemp, and Annelinde Metzner.

Book reviews are Blacksmith Gods by Pete Jennings and Breaking the Mother Goose Code by Jeri Studebaker, reviewed by Geraldine Charles; The Heart of the Labyrinth by Nicole Schwab, reviewed by Lisa Newing; and Voices of the Sacred Feminine, edited by Karen Tate, reviewed by Laura Slowe.

As last month, I'm unable to write as full a description as I usually do, due to carpal tunnel syndrome. Any typos are the fault of the voice recognition software I'm trying to use ;-)


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

REVIEW: Jeri Studebaker's Breaking the Mother Goose Code

Breaking the Mother Goose Code: How a Fairy-Tale Character Fooled the World for 300 Years by Jeri Studebaker (Moon Books 2015), trade paperback, 319 pages. Also available as an e-book.

Breaking the Mother Goose Code is written with a scholarly approach, yet in a style and language that is easy to understand. The book seemed to me to be, in parts, like a mystery novel as Jeri Studebaker tracks down the connection between goddesses and Mother Goose traditions, tales, and poems and songs, as well as, in the second part of the book, other fairy tales.
In the Introduction she poses several questions that people have asked about Mother Goose and then writes,
 “The answer to all these questions is, we don’t know for certain. Mother Goose is an enigma lost in the mists of time. But she did leave a few telltale clues to her identity. . . .”

Studebaker goes on to summarize the best know of these “telltale clues.” Then, in chapter 1, “Beginning My Search for Mother Goose,” she adds to them some of her exciting research whose results surprised even her. The beginning phase of the research climaxed on a day in 2012 on which she was able to bring together information from items she found on eBay with material from her previous readings. This led her to conclude that Mother Goose represented a melding of several different goddesses from different cultures. Yet, she writes, questions remained:
 “How was the knowledge of the connection lost? Was it simply the result of a loss of interest through time? Was the creation of Mother Goose an intentional plot to disguise and best serve this goddess during a time when it was dangerous – and frequently lethal – even to mention her name? Did Mother Goose fairy tales carry coded messages left for us by our pre-Christian ancestors during a time when non-Christians were routinely rounded up, roped to stakes, and roasted alive? If so, what exactly were our ancestors trying to tell us?. . . If Mother Goose was code, what was the point of dressing her as a witch?”

In the next chapters of Part I, she explores a number of these clues including the only nursery rhyme about Mother Goose; goddesses Mother Goose resembles; the connections among Harlequinn, Hellequinn, Helle, and Holda; representation of Mother Goose in art; other evidence that Mother Goose was a goddess; whether Mother Goose was a pre-patriarchal goddess; and secrets hidden in nursery rhymes.

Studebaker has a rare gift for turning complex concepts into colloquial and entertaining explanations. She uses this gift sparingly, yet effectively, in this book. For example, in chapter 4 when explaining the relationship between Aphrodite and Mother Goose, she writes:
 “… some writers think Aphrodite began as a powerful goddess who was gradually besmirched by the Greeks and Romans. … we’ve been told Aphrodite was a somewhat empty-headed physical knockout. Also though, according to the Greeks, she was a vamp. Her vampiness might have been the result of Zeus forcing her to marry the god Hephaistos, who was lame, misshapen and mean. Since she had nothing in common with Hephaistos, and also didn’t take kindly to being forced to marry anyone, Aphrodite began going out with other guys….”

In a more scholarly tone, she writes that
 “Jane Harrison thinks that before the Greeks demoted her into a sex goddess, Aphrodite was a goddess who just never married, a parthenogenetic deity who could create life without mating… – which of course suggests that originally she was a great goddess, the uncreated source that created everything.…”
She goes on to discuss the goddesses Holda and Perchta, which in relation to Mother Goose she calls Holda-Perchta, and explains that they both had many other names depending on the time and location. She describes how these goddesses were “degraded” by those who were trying to stop Europeans from worshiping them, and then goes on to discuss the Grimms’ Fairytale, “Mother Holla,” giving Heide Gottner-Abendroth’s opinion of the tale and Marija Gimbutas’ opinion about Holda. Her exploration of the connections among Harlequinn, Hellequinn, Helle, and Holda are focused on “early modern” theater productions which show relationship among these and among Holda and what was called
 “The Wild Hunt, a supernatural group of mostly dead people that roamed the medieval medieval countryside in the dead of night.”

Her investigation of “Mother Goose and the Graphic Arts” is an extraordinary example of scholarship that includes primary research. In the section on American portrayals of Mother Goose, in which she takes a close look at 18 Mother Goose images, she tells of trying to find the answer to the question of how Mother Goose came to be portrayed as “witch-like.” She finds the answer to this in a description of an 1806 theater production of a play by Thomas Dibdin and tries to figure out how to get a copy of the script. She discovers that such a copy is in the Harvard University library where “Harvard librarians weren’t letting it out of their hands.” She describes the way she finally got a copy of the document as a “miracle of miracles” and how, through it, she found even more information than the reason for the “witch-like” representation.

Part Two of the book includes a close look at Mother Goose fairy tales including a list “of 12 characteristics that, taken together, set the fairytales apart from other fiction”; a look at the implications of “Cinderella” and other fairy tales and codes within them; and other fairy tales about “creation, cosmology and theology” as well as those about “magic spells and incantations.” In “Fairy Tales About Right and Wrong” she looks into the question of why there seems to be no portrayal of war in fairy tales and whether the violence that does exist in them “might be the result of patriarchal revisioning.” The last chapter of the book is titled “Questions, Questions and more Questions.”

The back matter of the book includes appendices with “Frequently Used Terms and Time Periods,” “Mother Goose Timeline,” the text of “ Grimms Fairy Tale N0. 24, Mother Holle,” “Perrault’s Tales of Mother Goose: A Synopsis of Each Tale,” “Fairy Tale Code Words and Their Meanings (From Heide Gottner-Abendroth’s The Goddess and Her Heroes),” “Discussion Questions”; and a 16.5-page bibliography and 19-page index. The front matter of the book includes acknowledgments and notes about illustrations, including an explanation of why they aren't included in this book, along with information about a book and websites that can provides the reader with such illustrations.

Breaking the Mother Goose Code is an important book, not only for its subject matter about Mother Goose, fairy tales, and Goddess mythology, but also for the examples it sets of ways to trace the history of Goddess suppression and of how to present this type of material in a scholarly yet very accessible way. I recommend it with great enthusiasm.

Jeri Studebaker has worked on several archaeological sites and has advanced degrees in anthropology, archaeology, and education. She is also author of Switching to Goddess.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Buzz Coil: June 2015

 Some recent posts from blogs on our blogroll (please note, we don't knowingly list posts published elsewhere before being published on the blogs referred to in this post. ):

My Village Witch: On June 22, Byron Ballard, leader of the Mother Grove Goddess Temple in North Carolina, posts a sermon she gave the previous day at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Titled, “Midsummer Dreams of Justice and Peace for the UUCSV,” the sermon touches on the murders at Emanuel AME church in South Carolina and previous violence at a UU church in Tennessee, North Carolina politics, and other problems worldwide, as well as thoughts on how to deal with what she calls a “Tower Time.” She also shares how Summer Solstice is celebrated in her community and related European folklore.

Starhawk’s blog: Starhawk’s June 19 post is a response to the “Charleston Massacre”and other racially-motivated violence.

HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate tells how she celebrated summer solstice in her June 22 post, “Sacrament of the Soil.” In another June 22 post, “Really? Really?,” she begins:
“Do I need, here in the Twenty-First Century, to explain that when a white man shows up spewing bullets and talking about how the “others,” aka African Americans, want to rape 'our' women and take over 'our country,' Patriarchy is at work?”
In her in June 19 post, “Thursday Night Odd Bedfellows Blogging,” she explains why what she calls a “real post” was delayed by the murders in Emmanuel AME Church in South Carolina to tell, in what I consider a “real post,” why she, a Pagan donated to that church.


The Wild Hunt: In “Pagan Community Notes” of June 22, Heather Greene includes news of the support by Pagans of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC including a statement by Cherry Hill Seminary, also located in South Carolina, and the Wild Hunt’s work with SC Pagans.
Broomstick Chronicles in her June 4 post, “On*a*Pagan Community Statement on the Environment,” Aline O’Brien (aka Macha NightMare), comments on a statement signed not only by Pagans around the world but also by Buddhists, Anglicans, UUs, CRs, African Diaspora, Heathens, and interfaith colleagues.” She goes on to write about Pagans who said they felt they couldn’t sign the statement because they aren’t public about their Paganism. She quotes a blessing by Paula Walowitz and goes on to write:
“We are no better or worse Pagan for choosing a private spiritual life. That said, our ecosystems are shared; thus, I see it as the obligation of each of us to do whatever we can to maintain its sustainability and viability. Recycling, voting Green, donating are all good, but in the bigger picture they don't make a huge difference. Not any more than this remarkable statement makes without follow-up in the real world.
“Signing a document that states things you agree with is not ‘doing public pagan stuff.’  What it is, however, is standing with others in the face of a dire situation, and standing together makes for a stronger force....No one's personal spirituality is compromised in the least when she signs a document that serves the entire planet.”

The statement can be found at At this writing there are 6459 signers. Stating your religious/spiritual affiliation is optional.

The Motherhouse of the Goddess: M. Isidora Forrest has two posts about the Goddess Isis on this blog this month: “The Goddess Isis and the Waters” on June 20, and “Offering to Isis,” on June 13. I am glad to mention these here, not only because they are fine posts, but because this is a time when we need to remember who the real Isis is.
Branches Up, Roots Down: In her June 13 post, “A Bowl of Cherries,” Deborah Oak writes about the relevance of her Paganism and a farmers market in coping with a friend’s illness.

Mythology Matters: In a June 19 post, “Summer Solstice Mythology: Midsummer Night,” Arthur George gives an extensive history of this celebration especially in Europe and including the influence of Christian holidays.

WoodsPriestess: Blogger Molly’s June 17 post, “Summer Solstice Imprint Necklaces,” starts with a short poem, then reflects on summer and gives instructions for making a necklace that may give you a message.

Hearth Moon Rising's blog: What started out as a four-part series on “The Mathematical Priestess,” with the first part posted on May 22 (see May Buzz Coil), has grown to a five-part series, the last of which was posted on June 19. Part II, about mathematical systems in Mesopotamia, posted on May 29. Part III, about Greek mathematics, posted on June 5. Part IV which includes an announcement that this will be a five-part series, is about Alexandria, Egypt and posted on June 12. Part V is about the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Towards the end of this post, Hearth Moon tackles the question of the relationship between metaphysics and science. She recalls trying to follow the advice of a male physicist who told her that when dealing with metaphysics one should avoid scientific language because “science and metaphysics are two different things.” She writes that after trying to follow his advice,
 “I now believe that by putting a firewall between science and the occult what we have is bad science and bad magic, including flaws in the predictive sciences.”
All parts with pics.

Radical Goddess Thealogy: In her June 5 post, blogger Athana answers the question, “What Would a Goddess Country Look Like?” including social, financial, economic, political, and legal aspects, and including the opinion that, “There’d be no such thing as a police force.”

A Crone Speaks Out: Rev. Cathryn Platine of the Maetreum of Cybele takes issue with a post on the Pantheos Pagan channel in her June 3 post, “Caitlin Jenner as the Goddess? Seriously?”

Annelinde’s World: Annelinde Metzner’s June 15 post, “The world opened,” is a poem about seeing mountain laurel blooming for the first time when she was a child.

Casa della Dea: A prayer for the Goddess Tiamat in Italian, titled  “Preghiera a Tiamat” is the June 6 post by Eilantha Redspring.

Godddess/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.

Return to Mago: A Goddess-centered blog whose administrator/owner is Helen Hye-Sook Hwang.
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.
Editorial Note: I am having problems getting the fonts to be consistent, so please know that if some look bigger than others (or, horrors, are actually different fonts!) it is not my intention. We are not going to spend a lot of time correcting them due to my persisting carpal-tunnel-like fingers (still not properly diagnosed by dr.) Thank you for bearing with me.