Friday, February 09, 2007

Goddess Pages - Imbolc Issue

This second wonderful issue of Goddess Pages includes a stellar article by Max Dashu, "The Meaning of ‘Goddess’," which begins (ital. hers):

So much confusion has been sown about goddess veneration. Resistance to seeing any sacral value in ancient female icons has been a particular sticking point in academia. There, emphasis is usually placed on theoretical frameworks that seem to ignore the sense of sacredness that pervades aboriginal cultures. And there has been fundamental misunderstanding of what the Women’s Spirituality movement means when we speak of Goddess or goddesses. These are some of my reflections on these gaps and what needs to be clarified.
Dashu then comments on various (mis)usages, such as "sex goddess," Greek and Roman pantheons, and "fertility idol," as well as the "forbidden" quality of serious discussion of Goddess subjects, including its stigmatization in Women’s Studies and, paradoxically (to me) the increasing acceptability of such discussions in patriarchal religions under certain conditions. She writes:

The good news is that some of what we have been saying is coming in through another door. The bad news is that they don’t want to hear it from us. They want any consideration of sexual politics stripped out, so that the discourse can be kept safely abstract and psychological. And it must be theoretical, not spiritual, for the play-acting of objectivity.
Dashu goes on to touch on the historical suppression of Goddess religions and "the political function of male supremacist religion." She also discusses contemporary concepts of Goddess and their history.

This is one of the best summaries of current understanding of Goddess history and thealogy, and I urge you not to miss it. A Part II, looking at "how the ‘Western’ heritage of academia has shaped the heretical status Goddess discourse" is promised to us in the next issue of Goddess Pages.

Other articles in this issue include "Let Down Your Hair," an account of the symbolism of hair, haircuts, hair coverings, and veils, by Jacqui Woodward-Smith; "Imbolc and Bridget" by Cheryl Straffron; "The New Goddess Advocates: Who Are They?" by Rev. Karen Tate; "The Computer Goddesses," by Barbara Ardinger.

Poetry includes: "Serpent Skirt (dedicated to Monica Sjoo)" by Jacqui Woodward-Smith; "Imbolc 1995" by Jill Smith; "Beauty of the Heart" by Joyce Bergkotte; "Hoar Frost: Winter in the Era of Climate Change" and "Goddess Come," both by Leona Graham-Elen; and "Imbolc in the Quantocks" and "Dozing" both by Rachael Clyne.

Also featured in "The Standstill Gallery" is a series of images by Jill Smith. Reviews include London events, Witchfest International and The Halloween Festival; two reviews of the same non-fiction book, Savage Breast; and a review of the novel, The Passion of Mary Magdalen.


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Judith Laura

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