Friday, June 26, 2009

Buzz Coil: June '09

Gorgon Resurfaces : Are Goddeses real or "something we project"? Do they incarnate within believers? How much interplay is there between deities and humans? How do the answers to these questions apply to "maiden Mary?" LaughingMedusa explores theses questions in her June 19 post, "The Virgin Has Disappeared from the Sidewalk."

At the end of desire: As part of the "Pagan Values" blogging this month, blogger Inanna is writing 5 posts beginning with "The Sanctity of the earth" on June 16. Others already posted include "Pleasure and beauty" and "Immanence." Still to come (at least when I looked): "Re-enchantment" and "Healing."

Alive Mind and Spirit: In a June 24 post, "New Book on Women and Spirituality from Women of Wisdom," Starhawk explains why she thinks "major publishers are no longer terribly interested in books on women's spirituaity."

In a June 19 post, "No! We Cannot Afford These Wars!" Carol P. Christ starts with a quote from U.S. Cong. Dennis Kucinich and goes on to link contemporary nonstop warfare to patriarchal religions that "spiritualized" warfare. She contrasts with this with egalitarian and peaceful ancient Goddess cultures, especially as described by Marija Gimbutas. Carol writes:

I believe Gimbutas to have been one of the greatest scholars of the twentieth century. However, her work is scorned in universities in the United States and Great Britain. Some who have carefully read her work believe that this is because her work undermines the widely accepted idea that all “higher” religions and cultures in the history of the world have worshipped Gods and male power.
She wonders, however, if another of Gimbutas views is "even more radical."

The Wild Hunt: Jason Pitzl-Waters’ June 20 post, "Keeping Track of ‘TheThird Wave’" is not about Third Wave feminism. It’s about a "prayer warrior" group called The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit. This group, Jason tells us, "nurtured Sarah Palin" and is wooing at least 2 other prominent Republicans. Their leader "organizes prayer wars against the Goddess" and has recently dissed the Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu.

Radical Goddess Thealogy: "Was Jesus Really a Goddess?" asks blogger Athana in her June 16 post, as she compares and contrasts Jesus as portrayed in Christian scripture to Mother Goddesses.

Amused Grace: In her June 22, "Goddess of the Week," Thalia Took visits with Nyx, Greek Goddess of the night, who gave birth to offspring conceived both with Gods and by herself. Thalia says she was surprised that this Goddess emerged at Summer Solstice. She asked Nyx for her comments, and you really should go to Amused Grace and read the whole message, but here is just a smidgeon of what Nyx had to say:
You always think the North is the only place in the world. I am here to remind you that it is, right now, Yule just as much as it is Midsummer. That is the darkness. That is the message of how to be complete. As the Earth is, always.

Not that I celebrate those holidays anyway; I'm Greek not a Celt after all. My summer festival is Skira, Sunshades. The year is not to be teased into points. That is just you humans wanting to make everything nice and neat, the year into eight equal wedges, eight separate pieces cut up into a chart, a paper folded, boundaries delineated. It is not as sharp, as defined, as you would like it to be. Get used to it.
Daily Kos: In her Wednesday series on Goddess spirituality and political activism, "How a Woman becomes a Goddess," blogger Tara the Antisocial Social Worker combines the myths of various goddesses with socio-political issues. Her June 10 diary about the Inuit Goddess, "Sedna," begins with a remark about Dick Cheney’s recent support of same-sex marriage and segues into the mythology surrounding Sedna, who thought she was marrying a man but whose spouse turned out to be a cruel seabird. When she tried to escape her marriage, her father cut off her fingers and then caused her death by drowning – and she became Goddess of the Sea and of Death. Blogger Tara relates this story to Mary Cheney’s situation, and ultimately President Obaba and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Denial of Marriage Act. Tara weaves her June 3 diary around the Greek Goddess of "discord and shiny objects," Eris, whom she relates to the American public’s short attention span, especially on political subjects and news. These and previous diaries in this remarkable series can be found here. When I checked yesterday there were no diaries in this series after June 10. I’m hoping this is just a temporary hiatus.

Goddess in a Teapot: In her June 21 post, "The Summer Mysteries: The Sacred Art of Transformation," Carolyn Lee Boyd notes the changes children often go through during the summer, and then explores several Goddesses of transformation.

The House of Inanna: In his June 1 post, "More on the name change," Idris says he feels "suspended between identities."

Hecate: Blogger Hecate writes that she considers Paganism "a religion of Place" in her June 19 post, "A Sense of Place." She discusses why American Pagans haven’t been able to develop a deeper relationship with their own "landbase/watershed/genius loci."

Did we miss an item you think is important? We’d like to know about it, so please leave it as a comment.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Goddess Pages: Summer 2009 Issue

Goddess Pages is now available both online and in print (from UK). Some of the online articles are marked with an *, indicating "premium" content for which you must pay a fee. However, all articles, up to and including the Spring 2008 issue, that were marked * are now available free (see Goddess Pages Archives).

In this Summer issue, Goddess Pages introduces a new free feature, "Readers Letters" (aka "An Open Exchange of Letters,"), which in this issue contains a discussion between Tiziana Stupia and Jeri Studebaker about Studebaker’s previous article "Raising the Roof."

The opening art of this issue is "Queen of Owls" by Tiana. You can read the entire content of the following articles in this issue free online:

"Breathing Goddess: Visions of Burnmoor" - A Sacred Site of Cumbria" by Alex Chaloner. In Lakeland Fells (English Lake District), more specifically in the valley of Eskdale, at a site called Burnmoor, is a series of stone circles. Chaloner writes about several visits there, including her most intense visit last January, when her "inner eye" saw "hundreds of ancient figures," men, women and children "with brilliant eyes." She further describes what she feels was a vision of the people who once inhabited this place.

"Desire for Enlightenment and the Feminine in Early Buddhist Myth," by Andre Zsigmond begins by referring to the "Song of Songs" and then moves into a discussion of het sexuality in Buddhism, especially Tantra, as well as what Zsigmond calls the Dalai Lama’s misleading comments on the meaning of "om mani padme hum." He describes how Buddhism got from affirming sexuality to considering it a hindrance. With a fascinating comparison of the mythologies surrounding the births of Jesus and the Buddha, plus an etymological analysis of "Lama," revealing its true meaning.

"Thoughts on Sacred Sexuality, Non-Attachment, and Renunciation" by Tiziana Stupia presents a discussion of the meaning of "non-attachment," especially in Buddhism, written in response to Janie Rezner’s article, "Journey to the Soul of the Mother" in the Spring 2009 issue.

"Glastonbury Goddess Conference 2009 - A Preview," by Geraldine Charles. What to expect if you're lucky enough to attend the upcoming conference.

Poetry includes: "Bloody Everything," by Anne Baker, "Dressing the Bride," by Geraldine Charles, "Goddess Wind in Greece" by Maria Duncalf-Barber, and "Mincing Round the Maypole," by Jacqui Woodward-Smith.

Reviews (of books, unless otherwise specified) include: Switching to Goddess by Jeri Lyn Studebaker, reviewed by Geraldine Charles (and which we reviewed here, if you like to compare); 14 Steps to Awaken the Sacred Feminine: Women in the Circle of Mary Magdalene by Joan Norton and Margaret Starbird, reviewed by Miriam Raven; Heart of the Dragon -DVD & CD, reviewed by Geraldine Charles.

Premium" (pay-for) articles include:
"Feminine Mysticism in Art" by Victoria Christian, "Herbs for Hags" by Susan Weed, and "Moon and Sun/Earth Calendars by Sheila Rose Bright.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Events Coil: June 14-August 2

As far as we know, all events we list are open functions; but some may be limited to women or to adults. Please check the websites for group policies. If no country is given, the event is in the USA. All times are local. Events lasting more than 1 day are bolded. When listing events for the same date, we have tried to list those occurring first, taking into account time zone differences. If there is a difference between our listings and the listings on the web page linked to, assume their web page is correct, as it may have changed since we listed from it. Ongoing events are listed after the dated events. The next Events Coil is planned for mid-July and will include events listed here that haven't yet happened, plus new events through late August or early September. If you have an event you want listed, please leave info as a comment. See the end of this Coil for what info we need for listings.

Now-July 26, "Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa & Its Diasporas," Smithsonian Museum of African Arts, Washington DC

June 14-16, Pagan Spirit Gathering with Summer Solstice Celebration, Circle Sanctuary, Camp Zoe, near Salem MO

June 14, 11 a.m. Goddess Service, Goddess Ate with Kathe Schaaf, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 19, time tba, Celebrate Summer Solstice & Goddess Juno, Daughters of the Goddess (Dianic), San Francisco CA

June 20-21, Summer Solstice-New Moon, Temple of the Phygianum, Matreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

June 20 7 p.m. Winter Solstice/Yule ,Akkademie PaGaian Cosmology,
Blue Mountains AUSTRALIA

June 20, 7:30 p.m.Summer Solstice Ceremony, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

June 20, gather 19u30, ceremony 22uur, Midzomer, Goddess Temple, Gent BELGIUM

June 20, doors open 6:30 p.m., ritual 7 p.m., doors lock 7:15 p.m., Temple Holy Day for Women: Summer Solstice, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 20, gather 7:30 p.m., ritual 8 p.m. Summer Solstice Ocean Beach Bonfire, Reclaiming,
San Francisco CA

June 20, 9 p.m. Summer Solstice Celebration, The Flying Lotus, Mt. Shasta CA

June 21, 5 p.m.,
Women's Winter Solstice: Goddess Mystery ceremony and midwinter feast, Fremantle AUSTRALIA

June 21, doors open 12.00 uur, ceremony 14.00 uur, Summer Solstice, Nederlandse Godinnen Tempel, Hillgom NEDERLAND

June 21, gather 11:30 a.m., ritual noon, Summer Solstice, ConnectDC, Spirit of Justice Park, Washington DC

June 21, 11 a.m., Goddess Service, Goddess Pomona
, Fathers Day/Summer Solstice; 7 p.m. New Moon Drumming with Candy Eaton, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 21, gather 7 p.m., ritual 7:30 p.m. Mid-Summer, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

June 22, 7 p.m.
New Moon Women's Mysteries, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

June 22, time tba,
New Moon on the Mountain, Montreal Reclaiming,
Montreal CANADA

June 25-28
5th Netherlands Goddess Conference with Anique Radiant Heart, Anke Zack, Isabella Verbruggen, Janneke van Wieren, Lida van de Water, Ruud Borman & others, Centrum Athanor te Lochem, NEDERLAND

June 28, 11 a.m. Goddess Service,
Goddess Eagle Mother with Debbie Barnnett, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 4-5, BBQ on 4th, Full Moon ritual on 5th, Matreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

July 5, 3-5 p.m. Full Moon, Temple of the Sacred Arts, Germantown MD

July 5, 11 a.m.
Goddess Service with Dianne Kapral; 7 p.m. Full Moon Drumming, Goddess Temple of Orange County,
Irvine CA

July 7, gather 7 p.m. ritual 7:30 p.m. Full Moon Ritual, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

July 7, time tba, Celebrate Columbia - Goddess of America, Daughters of the Goddess, San Francisco CA

July 7, 7:30p.m. The Craft Connection, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 10-12, "Mary Magdalene Re-Visioned," with Nancy Qualls Corbett, Sophia Institute, Charleston SC

July 11, gather 6:30 p.m., ritual 7 p.m. with San Francisco Amazon Priestess Tribe (Dianic), Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 12, 10 a.m.- 4p.m Budding Ceremony for girls and mums, Circles of Blessing, Hovea AUSTRALIA

July 12, 11 a.m. Goddess Service with Rabbit, Amazon Priestess, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 16, start of online course, "Spiritual Heritages of Ancient Europe," with Max Dashu, World Wide Web

July 18 7 p.m., Marguerite Rigolglioso speaks on "The Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece," Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 19, 11 a.m., Goddess Service, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 19 , 2-4 p.m., Isis and Mary Magdalene Birthday Salon and Tea, Vintage Tea Leaf Room, Long Beach CA

July 21, time tba, New Moon Celebration, Matreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

July 21, 7 p.m., New Moon Drumming, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 22, 2 p.m., Magdalene Feast Day, New Moon Healing, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

July 22, 7 p.m. New Moon Women's Women's Mysteries, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

July 23-25, Workshop with Melinda Allec (no "All Souls Service" on July 24-see "Ongoing" below), Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 26-Aug. 2 Goddess Conference 2009, with many presenters including Lydia Ruyle, Anique Radiant Heart, Starhawk, Jacqui Woodward-Smith, Carolyn Hillyer, Sandra Roman, Kathy Jones, Lady Olivia Durdin-Robinson, Glastonbury, ENGLAND

July 26, 11 a.m. Goddess Service with Nancy Johnson, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 28, 6-9 p.m. Seasonal Dressing of Temple for Lammas, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 31-Aug. 2, Green Spirit Festival, a Celtic Lughnassadh Celebration, Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve near Barnesveld WI

Aug. 1, 19u30, Lammas, Goddess Temple, Gent BELGIUM

Aug. 1, gather 12:30 p.m., ritual 1 p.m. Lammas, Reclaiming, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco CA

Aug. 1, doors open 6:30 p.m., ritual begins 7 p.m., doors lock 7:15 p.m.,Lammas with Aeyrie Silver Eagle, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Aug. 1, gather 7 p.m., ritual 7:30 p.m. Lammas, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

Aug. 2 doors open 12.00 uur, ceremony begins 14.00 uur, Lammas, Nederlandse Godinnen Tempel, Hillgom NEDERLAND



Perth (White Gum Valley): Mondays, 17:30,
Chalice Ceremony, Daughters of Ishtar.

most days 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Goddess Temple open for personal prayers.

Sudbury: 1st Friday (Sept.-June) 7:30 p.m.,
Sudbury Women's Circle.
Saturdays, 4-6 p.m.
Open Classes ; gather 6:30-7 p.m. Open Circles , Hamilton Temple, Wiccan Church of Canada.

Great Britain
Glastonbury: Priestess/Priest of Avalon Training Program, both in Glastonbury (Avalon) and by correspondence, Glastonbury Goddess Temple.
Glastonbury: Most days except Mondays, Noon-4 p.m. Temple Open for personal prayers; Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. Belly Dancing
; Thursdays, 7 p.m. Temple Ritual Dance Class, Glastonbury Goddess Temple.

Soderhamn, Gudinne Temple Open weekdays Noon
-6 p.m. Mondays, 7-9 p.m., meditation prayer, conversation.

Arlington VA: 3rd Sunday of month, time tba, ritual Moonfire.
Canton CT: Sundays, 10:30 a.m. Services, Women's Temple: In Her Name

Charleston SC: 1st Tuesday of month, Women's Circle, The Sophia Institute
Geyersville CA:
Sunday Services 2-4 p.m.
Temple of Isis
Houston TX: Sundays, 10 a.m. Magdalene Community, Rothko Chapel; 1st &3rd Fridays at Noon, Group studying Gospel of Mary, Brigid's Place, Christ Church Cathedral.
Irvine CA: Sunday Services, 1st Service at 9:30 a.m. until July 5, then 10 a.m. inward, meditative; 2nd service at 11 a.m., dancing, drumming, singing; see dates for guest speakers.
Friday services, gather 6 p.m., service 6:30 p.m. "All Souls in Reverence." Goddess Temple of Orange County
Palenville NY: 1st Saturday of month, 4 p.m. Goddess Meet-Up Group, Matreum of Cybele.
San Francisco CA
: Wednesdays,
Christian Goddess Rosary, Ebenezer Lutheran Church; 1st Fridays, evenings at various locations, Woman's Spirituality group.
San Francisco CA: New Moon and Full Moon observances,
Maa Batakali Cultural Mission.
St. Sandy UT: second Saturday of each month, 4:30 p.m., Isis Devotionals, Iseum of Muth/Lyceum of Auset and Heru em Aakhuti
Washington DC: 2nd Sunday of month; gather Noon, ritual 12:15 p.m. , National Arboretum, Becoming DC.
West Concord MA:
1st Monday, 7-9 p.m.
Women's Circles; other ongoing groups include Demeter & Persephone's Circle for mothers and daughters; Council of Mother Bears; Menopause As Spiritual Journey; Menarche, for mothers and Daughter, at Women's Well.

We'll be happy to add your Goddess and spiritual feminist events (and those you know about that are open to the public) no matter where in the world they are. Leave a comment giving: Name of event, sponsoring organization (if any), town, date, time (if known), and, required: url of website where person can get more info (no pdf pages, no password-protected pages). (Do NOT give street addresses, phone numbers or email addresses. People should go to the website to get that info.) We plan to publish an Events Coil every month.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Goddess Ethics

(This is my offering in response to the suggestion by Pax at Chrysalis that we blog about Pagan values and ethics this month. It is excerpted from my column in the issue 38 (summer '06) of The Beltane Papers and was titled "Who Says We’re Weak on Ethics?")

It may not be surprising when people outside the Goddess community say Goddess spirituality seems to have no ethical framework. But what is disconcerting is that we ourselves sometimes level this accusation, in online discussion groups and elsewhere. I think the claim that modern Goddess religion is "weak on ethics" is an error based on a false understanding of what ethics are, and of confusing ethics with rules. For example, in biblical Exodus, Moses tells recently freed slaves that God has given them Ten Commandments. In Abrahamic religions to this day, the Ten Commandments are rules that cannot be broken without serious consequences. These rules are fairly specific and they are considered the ethical basis of religion and in some countries, secular justice systems....

People may look at Goddess religions and see nothing as specifically stated as the Ten Commandments and conclude that contemporary Goddess religions lack ethics. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually the Ten Commandments are not ethics in themselves, but rather are specific rules derived from an ethical viewpoint. That ethical viewpoint leaves little to individual choice. It reflects a view of human nature in which people can’t be trusted to act ethically without being told what is right and wrong. Because of this, it’s necessary to have a strict deity... as reflected in the statement: "I am a jealous God. . . ." I speculate that such an ethical viewpoint may have grown, at least partly, out of the need to keep order among people not used to freedom, who were at the time wandering in the desert without a strong social structure.

The ethical viewpoint of modern Goddess religions places more trust in human nature, perhaps because it emerged and flourishes in societies where people are already used to a good deal of freedom. Therefore, there is less of a need to give a laundry list of what is right, what is wrong, what is allowed, what is forbidden. The assumption is that through participation in Goddess veneration and through being exposed to Goddess teachings, the ability to distinguish right and wrong flows naturally to the individual, who is empowered to live ethically. Nevertheless, some of us involved in modern Goddess religions, possibly in response to the need to replace the patriarchal commandments with some other specifics, have sometimes created lists of sorts. These lists tend to be less specific and less forbidding—and more open—than the biblical commandments. For example, I included the following, titled "Her Words," in my 1989 book, She Lives! The Return of Our Great Mother:
Seek knowledge. Revere wisdom. Be joyful. Know pleasure. Love one another. Protect life. And live in peace.
In her 1997 book, Rebirth of the Goddess, the following "ethical touchstones" are proposed by Carol P. Christ:
Nurture life. Walk in love and beauty. Trust the knowledge that comes through the body. Speak the truth about conflict, pain, and suffering. Take only what you need. Think about the consequences of your actions for seven generations. Approach the taking of life with great restraint. Practice great generosity. Repair the web.
Neither I nor Carol Christ give these as "commandments," but rather as statements that can be used to sum up Goddess ethics. What are those ethics and where do they come from?

Sometimes our ethics flow from the imagery we use. Many of us honor the Triple Goddess of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. The independent and strong Maiden aspect of the Goddess sets an example for women to be independent and strong and gives us permission to sometimes put our needs first; the Mother aspect sets nurturing as a valued behavior; and the Crone aspect teaches us to honor elders and to have the wisdom to know when change and transformation are necessary. Therefore, we consider as ethical: independent, assertive behavior by women; nurturing and compassionate caring; honoring elders, and changing what has become outmoded and restricts further healthy growth, both in ourselves and in our world.

Sometimes our ethics derive from commonly held tenets and concepts. For example, participants in Goddess spirituality who are Witches (and even some who aren’t), follow the Wiccan Rede: " 'An it harm none, do what ye will," which is understood as giving us permission for self-fulfillment based on a sort of honor system that trusts our ability to make judgments and decisions. At the same time, it warns against causing harm to any living thing, including the Earth. In addition, the Wiccan belief that "what you send, returns three times over," means that if you do good, you can expect good to be returned to you, and if you harm or do ill, the hurt will return to you, in portions multiplied three times. Another example is the phrase in the Charge of the Goddess, "all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals." This sanctifies sex and other pleasures without enumerating which are allowed, and without requiring further ritual to sanctify them. Acts of love are, in themselves and without anything fancy added, rituals of the Goddess. This results in an ethic affirming sexuality. Sex does not carry the implication of impurity nor does it need ceremonies to make it okay. There is a key word here, though, along with pleasure, and that is "love." If an act is "of love," it is non-exploitative, non-oppressive and entered into freely. So that rather than legitimizing sex through official ceremonies, it is legitimized by non-exploitative, non-oppressive, freely-given love.

Still other sources of ethics in the Goddess movement are the understanding that humans are part of nature and that all life is an interconnected web; thus, harming even a small part is to be avoided and may bring harm to the whole. We set partnership rather than domination as a goal for human societies; this leads us to place a high value on the ethics of cooperation, shared leadership, and consensus-building....

The complete text of this column, plus 13 other of my (Judith Laura's) columns from The Beltane Papers are available as an ebook, Goddess Spirituality at the Crossroads and Other Columns, 2002-2007.


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