Saturday, November 11, 2006

Matrifocus: Samhain issue

The online Goddess journal Matrifocus, published at the cross-quarters, has been with us for a number of years and never fails to provoke and please. Like previous issues, the current one is divided into several sections, ending with photo essays and book reviews.

The section on Goddess/Woman has a poem and 4 articles including "Nin-Kasi: Mesopotamian Goddess of Beer" by Johanna Stuckey; and "Tregenda (Wild Host) of the Old Goddess, Spirits, and Witches," by Max Dashu. The section on Earth/Life has 2 poems and 4 articles, including "Do the Math," an article on the practical aspects of energy conservation, and a poem, "Leaving Cashleen," both by Patricia Monaghan.

I spent most of my time in the issue theme section, "Feminist Wave Dynamics." Introducing the theme in "Feminism and Spirituality," Sara Bebhinn writes:
The Goddess Movement has been a target of feminism since its inception. Women who do feminist work through magic or other spiritual means have been accused of distracting vital energy from the really important causes of feminism.

Bebhinn goes on to describe how she produced and directed a full-cast version of Carol Lynn Pearson’s "Mother Wove the Morning," originally a one-woman play. Bebhinn writes:
The reason Carol Lynn gives for writing the play is that: "Where God is male, the male is God." For me, this is, in a nutshell, why spirituality is not only a valid aspect of feminism, but a truly essential part of changing the world for the better, for good.
Each of the section’s other articles discuss spiritual aspects of the various waves of feminism. Kat Sojourner writes "Rewriting the Bible–Spirituality and the First Wave." Sara Willow writes about the second wave in her interview of Ruth Barrett, "Waving Tradition," and about the third wave in her article, "Each Wave is Part of the Ocean." In "Each Wave..." Willow relates her personal experiences at age 13 (in the late 1990s) chaining herself to the steps of a State capitol to protest cuts in AIDS funding, attending her first public ritual at the age of 16 (2001), participating in "Take Back the Night," and directing campus productions of "The Vagina Monologues." She tells how she was ostracized by her family for her radical actions, and called a "femi-nazi" on the college campus. Later she became acquainted with feminist spirituality through Starhawk’s work and came to understand the relationship between Goddess and political activism.

Willow says she has "found a home in the Dianic tradition" and is about the enter a priestess training program. She writes:
Some days I wonder if I am the only grrl my age on this path....I often feel I am a Maiden wandering in a sea of Mothers and Crones...; occasionally I worry that it isn't okay that I am so young. And then a womyn comes to me, a former stranger, and tells me with tears in her eyes how much she wishes she had known what I know at this young age.
I find Sara Willow’s article a moving personal statement and a perceptive view of the interrelationship of the political and spiritual in feminism.


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Judith Laura

More blogs about /goddess/feminist theology/spiritual feminism/pagan/feminist spirituality/.