Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Matrifocus: Samhain '08

The cover art for the Samhain issue of the ezine Matrifocus is "The Path to Infinity," an oil & acrylic by Sue Vincent inspired by the Tarot card, "The Universe."

In this issue's editorial (look for the link at the end of the contents list), "There's No Vermont in the Bad Reality," Feral shares her thoughts on faith in the "Good Place" in dystopic sci fi. Ferel explores how this sci fi world affects our outlook on real life.

In her article, "Spirit Possession and the Goddess Ishtar in Ancient Mesopotamia," Joanna Stuckey explains that the Pythia was an Oracle who channeled Apollo, and speculates that rather than being entranced by eating psychedelic substances or breathing volcanic fumes, as some believe, the Oracle was a medium who went into a trance induced by spirit possession without the aid of chemistry. (Today the term "medium" may not always entail spirit possession. For example,
John Edward, James Van Praagh, and Sylvia Browne are not possessed by the spirits [usually of departed humans] whose messages they channel. Rather they work as messengers. These types of mediums often refer to themselves as "psychic mediums." To avoid confusion, it may be more accurate to call mediums [or channels or channelers] who are possessed by spirits "spirit mediums," "spiritual mediums" or "spiritualists." ) Stuckey goes on to explore what she feels are various instances of spirit possession in Ancient Mesopotamia: the sacred marriage ritual of Inanna, prophecies contained in the Mari letters, and the Ninevah collection, which involved predominantly female prophets and the Goddess Ishtar, whom Stuckey describes as having transvestite characteristics.

In "Deconstructing Yeshe Tosogyal, Tibet's Amazing Mother of Knowledge," Vicki Noble compares and contrasts discrimination against women in Tibetan Buddhism with this religion's honoring of female deities. Noble describes how she helped changed discriminatory practices, and tells of the woman Yeshe Tosogyal's role in this religion.

In "The Cihuateteo," Anne Key looks at Mesoamerican cosmology through a feminist lens and discovers powerful female deities, including the Cihuateteo, mortal women who died in childbirth and were deified, and then demonized.

"Behold This Compost" by Mary Swander explores alternative and innovative methods of mulching. In another view on composting, Madelon Wise's Walking the Hedge - A Hedge Witch's Musings on Permaculture," begins with a myth on "Goddess as Compost" and discusses composting as a sacred activity.

"Mudras (Finger Yoga)" by Nancy Vedder-Shults, Ph.D., describes how to use Hindu and Buddhist hand gestures for divination.

How do we know Baba Yaga is old? Susun Weed answers this and other questions about the Russian folkloric figure in "Baba Yaga Stories."

This issue's poetry includes "Maenad Prophecy" by Starhawk (used in the recent Dance for Life and Regime Change), and three poems by Sondra Bell: "This Second," "Cracks," and "Inner Voice."

The photo essay by Gwyn Padden-Lecthen, "Morning Hike at Blue Mounds State Park," has stunning pics taken just a few days ago.

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Judith Laura

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