Friday, August 26, 2011

Buzz Coil: August '11

A look at some posts of interest from our blogroll and sometimes beyond:

Association for the Study of Women & Mythology : An August 1 post by Lin Daniels, "Die Zeit is Reif: The Time is Ripe..." gives a good summary of the International Congress on Matriarchal Studies held recently in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Daniels begins:
“Better to build lifeboats than to wait for the Patriarchy-Titanic to listen to reason” was the emphasis of this year’s conference. It was an examination of what to do about the patriarchy-built looming global crisis. The conference was a feast for the mind and the heart as women from all over the world convened to find answers.
Feminism and Religion: This new blog has many posts of interest for people on varying spiritual paths. Here are just some of them:

—In an August 5 post, "Exciting New Research on Matriarchal Societies," Carol P. Christ writes that she and other "English-speaking scholars" have avoided the word, "matriarchy" when describing ancient societies, and then goes on to discuss the anthology, Society of Peace: Matriarchies Past, Present and Future, edited by Heide Goettner-Abendroth, who "defines the term (matriarchy) differently."

—An Aug. 6 post by Starhawk, "On the Murders in Norway: The need for a multicultural vision," begins with Starhawk at a high school performance of Guys and Dolls, and goes on to examine the role of religion in the recent murders in Norway.

—In her Aug. 12 post, "Do White Feminists Have Ancestors?" Carol P. Christ observes that while black women giving addresses or lectures often begin by thanking their foremother womanists, it is rare for white women to thank white feminist foremothers. Rather, she says, white feminists often seem to want to distance themselves from their foremothers. Christ goes on to discuss how her term, "contamination theory," can help us understand this behavior.

—In her Aug. 16 post, "Charlene Spretnak’s ‘Relational Reality’: An Illuminating Read," Gina Messina-Dysert reviews Spretnak’s most recent book on interrelationship.

—In an Aug. 17 post, "M’rahemet She Olam: The Emwomber of the Universe," Theresa Yugar offers a poem influenced by Hebrew grammar, and which genders the divine as female.

(I haven’t given links to the individual articles frankly because each of the urls is verrrrry long and I am coping with both eyestrain and carpel tunnel, plus some computer wierdness. The posts should be easy to find though and well worth the visit.)

Evoking the Goddess: Blogger Paul shares 5 colorful photos from "Glastonbury Goddess Conference 2011" in his August 5 post.

From Jupiter: Blogger Cosette is running series called "44 Days of Witchery." On Day 5, Aug. 19, she writes about Artemis, "A favorite goddess." Other topics thus far include: her "witchy background," her athame, nature, a favorite god, and the element air, and a myth about Oshun.

Hecatedemeter: In her Aug. 15 post, "Practicing a Nature Religion," blogger Hecate begins by comparing "devout Christians" and "Christians" with "devout Pagans or Witches" and witches who celebrate Sabbats only and then "go ‘back’ to being average American consumers." She says she wants more, and describes what "more" is for her.

Works of Literata: In her Aug. 12 post, "‘Breaking Curses’ a fundamental characteristic of ‘Apostles’," blogger Literata analyses some passages from a book by C. Peter Wagner of the New Apostolic Reformation, including a passage on "breaking the curse of witchcraft."

Veleda: In her Aug. 18 post, "Thanks Donors to Woman Shaman: The Ancients," Max Dashu thanks the donors to her film production and shares some of the images from it. In her Aug. 20 post, "Sacred Women in North American Rock Art," she discusses her research into rock art and its relationship to ancient histories of Africa, Australia and North America.

Queen of Heaven: "Did God have breasts?" asks blogger Carisa in her Aug. 17 post comparing portrayals of Goddesses Diana/Artemis, Hecate, Cybele and others with the description of the biblical Father God, who is given the Hebrew title "El Shaddai," the word shaddai often assumed to mean with breasts or breasted.

The Village Witch: In an Aug. 24 post, "Honey for Osun," Byron Ballard writes of Asheville Mother Grove’s preparations for an Osun Verneration and Concert, a fundraisier for the North Carolina’s sister temple in Nigeria.

At Brigid’s Forge In her August 13 post, Lunaea writes about "Keeping the Faith" amidst life challenges, for example, moving to a new house.

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


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

REVIEW: Daniel Cohen's Goddess Stories

The Labyrinth of the Heart: Changed Myths for Changing Lives by Daniel Cohen, Wood and Water, 2011, trade paperback, 135 pages. Also available as an ebook.

In his introduction to this book, British Goddess feminist Daniel Cohen writes of his familiarity with the feminist re-telling of myths and folktales by women, and that he has found many of these stories "both profound and funny." Yet he also has felt "dissatisfied" because they didn’t speak to the his experience as a man. He writes:
I guess the feminist response. . . is that these stories were not written for me, that if I wanted stories to which I could relate directly then I should write such stories myself. This I have done.
Yes, this Cohen has done, and done well. So well, in fact, that his stories hold meaning not only for men, but also, I would say, for everyone.

In the Introduction, which he titles "Surprising the Soul: The Secret of Stories," Cohen, a retired professor of mathematics, writes:
We live in two worlds, the world of facts, which we call the real world, and the world of stories, which we call the world of imagination or fantasy. Many people think the world of the imagination is unimportant. But there is no meaning in the world of facts. All meaning comes from the world of stories, which makes it supremely important.
The first story in this book elaborates further on Cohen’s approach to "the story." The next 16 stories are based on mostly well-known myths and fairy tales. Then a re-telling (or midrash) on the biblical Adam and Eve story (which also appeared in the anthology, Patriarchs, Prophets, and Other Villians, edited by Lisa Isherwood) forms a bridge to 8 more stories, most of them in more modern settings.

Each reader will likely have favorites among these stories of depth and humor in which men (or male deities or demigods), through their encounter with goddesses or through other spiritual experiences become not "feminine" but more fully developed beings, whether human or divine, as they find new, more effective, ways of being.

Some of the stories that I found particularly intriguing are: "The Heart of the Labryrinth," a story about Theseus and the Minotaur, with its unexpected turns; "Face of Wisdom, Face of Dread" and "Maiden and the Monster," both about my namesake Medusa and Perseus, with their surprise endings and insights; "The Ferryman," written from the point of view of the title character, who also appears in at least one other story; and "Happy the Land that Has No Heroes," another story about Perseus." Of the stories with contemporary settings, I particularly liked "The Man Who Did Not Like Spiders." which contains a trick for removing spiders from the bathtub without hurting them; "The Mathematician who had Little Wisdom," about an interaction between a salmon and a mathematician, and the almost-last story, "The Dancer and the Dance."

Cohen has provided a section of Notes that explain each story. In fact, he explains some of the stories with other stories!

Knowing of Cohen’s background in mathematics, there were places in some of the stories that seemed to me to contain mathematical allusions, even jokes. One example occurs in, "The Interpreter: or An Introduction to Hermeneutics." In his Notes, Cohen describes the story as being about Hermes, "trickster and lord of language" who " likes puns," and writes that the subtitle and last line are puns. In this story, there appears in place of the letter "o" a series of zeros in the word constant on page 59. Since I never went further than Algebra 1 and Geometry in school, I needed to use my special Google magic decoder ring to find out if there was any relationship between "constant" and the numeral 0. Indeed there is: for starters, in calculus 0=constant speed or a derivative of "constant function." (Just jump in any time and explain this right, math whizzes). The zeros are repeated, replacing the oo’s within the syllable "proove" in another word a few lines above the story’s closing pun. And then there’s this: the first page of "Face of Wisdom, Face of Dread," a story about Medusa, her sisters, and Perseus, starts on page 13, while the story,"Happy the Land that Needs No Heroes," about Perseus and Medusa told by one of the sisters (Graiae), begins on the page numbered the reverse of 13, page 31. Did the author intend this, or is it a magic mathematical coincidence?

Cohen writes that he favors the oral tradition of reading stories aloud. The stories in his book are well suited to this, written as they are in casual, easy-to-understand language even as they are profound. Some of them reach cadences that could be considered ritualistic, mostly through the use of repetition of words or phrases. Several of them contain ballads or poems.

This book has received praise from a wide range of well known authors, including Carol P. Christ, who included Cohen’s story, "Iphegenia: A Retelling," in the epilogue of her 1997 book, Rebirth of the Goddess.

Francesca De Grandis has provided the preface to The Labyrinth of the Heart. The artist Z*qhygoem’s 15 stylistically-related drawings, and other drawings by Wen Fyfe and Cathy Dagg, are among the illustrations for the stories.

Cohen dedicates the book to
all those in whom the Goddess has shown herself to me. Most especially to Asphodel Long (1921-2005), companion and guide on the journey. Her life and her work are good enough reasons for the world to turn.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Events Coil: Aug. 16-Sept.30

As far as we know, all events we list are open functions; but some may be limited to women or to adults and some may require that you notify them that you plan to attend. Please check the websites for group policies. If no country is given, the event is in USA. All times local. Times for computer/Internet/Web events are given for the place of origin. Events lasting more than 1 day are bolded. When listing events for the same date we have tried to list those that occur first, taking into account time zone differences. If there is a difference between our listings and the listings on the link, assume their web page is correct as details may have changed since we listed from it. Ongoing events are listed after the dated events. The next Events Coil is planned for mid-September and will include events listed here that haven't yet happened, plus new events through late October or early November. 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.

Aug 20, 10:30 a.m. Workshop: Brighde Turning the Wheel, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Aug. 21, 11 a.m. Goddess Service honoring Hatshepsut, with Wendy Griffin, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Aug. 27, Noon, Ceremonial Healing Day, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Aug. 27, doors open 6:30 p.m., drumming begins 7 p.m., New Moon Drumming, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Aug. 27, potluck 7 p.m.; sharing 8 p.m. Women's New Moon Sharing Circle, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

Aug. 28, 11 a.m., Goddess Service honoring Hygeia Tozi with Dr. Miluna Fausch, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Aug. 30, 2 p.m. New Moon Healing, Glastonbury Goddess Temple,
Glastonbury ENGLAND

Sept. 1-5, Sacred Fire Intensive, Circle Sanctuary, near Barneveld WI

Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. Circle of Craft, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Sept. 11, time tba, Introductiedag inwijdingsweg (Introduction to Initiatory Path), Nederlandse Godinnen Tempel,

Sept. 11, 10:30 a.m. Descent of the Holy Sophia celebrated, Church of Gnosis, Mountain View CA

Sept. 11, 11 a.m., Goddess Service honoring Sekhmet with Presiding Priestess Ava, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Sept. 11, 1-4 p.m. Day of Peace, Goddess Temple Inc. Lakewood OH

Sept. 12, 7:45 p.m. Full Moon Gathering, Goddess House, Adelaide AUSTRALIA

Sept. 12, 7 p.m. Full Moon Ritual, Circle Sanctuary, near Barneveld WI

Sept. 12, 7 p.m. Full Moon Ceremony, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

Sept 14-18, UU Womanspirit Fall Retreat, Unitarian Universalist Women & Religion, The Mountain NC

Sept. 16, 4 p.m., Temple Dressing for Autumn Equinox, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Sept. 18, doors open 13.00 uur, ceremonie begins 14.00 uur, Herfst Equinox Ceremonie,
Nederlandse Godinnen Tempel, Hillegom, NEDERLAND

Sept. 16-18
Harvest Home, Caya, San Francisco CA

Sept. 23, 6 p.m. Autumn Equinox Ceremony, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Sept. 23, potluck 7 p.m., ceremony 8 p.m. Mabon, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

September 24, 4 p.m., Eostar/Spring Equinox ritual, MoonCourt, Blue Mountains AUSTRALIA

Sept 24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Merlin Stone Memorial, UU Church, Clearwater FL

Sept. 24, Welcome Fall, Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve, near Mt. Horeb WI

Sept. 24, "Gender & Earth-Based Spirituality," theme of Conference on Earth-Based, Nature-Centered, Polytheistic & Indigenous Faiths, Pagan Alliance, San Francisco, CA

Sept. 24, 1 p.m. Mabon/Equinox Ritual, SF Reclaiming, San Francisco CA

Sept. 24, 4 p.m. Mabon Ritual, North Bay Reclaiming, Sebastopol CA

Sept. 25, 3 p.m., Mabon Service, Goddess Temple Inc., Lakewood OH

Sept. 27, 2 p.m. New Moon Healing, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Sept. 27, potluck 7 p.m. sharing 8 p.m., Women's New Moon Sharing Circle, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

Sept. 30-Oct. 2, In het Hart De Godin (In the Heart of the Goddess) 3-day intensive, Nederlandse Godinnen Tempel,

Sept 30-Oct. 2 "A Taste of Cakes," UU Women & Religion, JPD,
Buckeystown MD


Adelaide, 2nd Tuesday of month, 7:30 p.m. Goddess Devotional Service, The Goddess House.

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


Solderhamm, weekdays, Noon-6 p.m,Godinne Templet Open; Mondays p.m. meditation, prayer, conversation.

Annapolis MD, Friday of each month closest to full moon, 7 p.m. Women's Full Moon Circle, UUCA
Asheville NC, Sundays 10 a.m. drumming, 10:30 a.m. Service, Morning Devotionals, Mother Grove Goddess Temple.
Berkeley CA, last Sunday of month, 5 p.m. East Bay Goddess Rosary, University Lutheran Chapel.

Canton CT, Sundays, 10:30 p.m. Services, Women's Temple: In Her Name.
Carson City, NV, Mondays 6 p.m., Women's Spirituality Studies with Mama J, Sisters of the Sacred Circle.
Concord MA, 1st Monday 7-9 p.m.Women's Circles' other ongoing groups include Demeter & Persephone's Circles for mothers and daughters, Council of Mother Dears; Menopause as Spiritual Journey; Menarche for mothers and daughters; Goddess Groove Drum Circle, at Women's Well.

Geyserville CA, Sunday Services 2-4 p.m.
Temple of Isis
Irvine CA,
Sunday Services, 1st service at 9:30 a.m., inward meditation; 2nd service at 11 a.m.; see dates for guest speakers, Goddess Temple of Orange County.

Palenville NY, Sundays 5 sessions; Sundays 7 p.m. Pagan Circles, Maetreum of Cybele.
San Francisco CA, Wednesdays, Goddess Rosary, Ebenezer Lutheran Church.
Seattle WA, 2nd Sunday, doors open 10 a.m., Goddess Service 10:30 a.m., Gaia's Temple.

Alternate Fridays,
"Celebrating Cosmogenesis," for people in both Southern and Northern Hemispheres, with Australian author Glenys Livingstone, originates in NSW, Australia.

Podcasts:times tba, "Talking to Goddess," interviews, music, and more from Gaia's Garden, originates in Melbourne, Australia.
Podcasts: Wednesdays 6 p.m. PT,
"Voices of the Sacred Feminine," interviews with well-known Goddessians and Pagans hosted by Karen Tate, Blog Talk Radio. Originates in California.

Podcasts: Sundays 11 a.m. PT, "Creatrix-Media-Live" roundtable discussions include guests and phone-in audience participation, co-hosted by Jayne DeMent and Anniitra Ravenmoon. Blog Talk Radio.

We'd be happy to add your Goddess and spiritual feminist events (and those you know about that are open to th
e public) no matter where in the world they are. Please leave a comment giving: Name of event, sponsoring organization (if any), town, state (if in US), country (if outside of US) 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 eamil addresses. People should go to the website for that info.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Candidates, Dominionists, & NAR

I don't usually get into much politics on this blog, but I feel I must offer at least one post about the relationship of the right wing Christian groups known as Dominionists, including the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Why now? In the past few days, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, reportedly preparing to announce his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination, held a "prayer rally" which featured a number of people affiliated with the NAR, a group which fancies itself the second group of Apostles of Jesus, whose aim it is to combine their brand of Christianity with government and just about every other part of American society. Some of their distasteful, to put it mildly, beliefs include:

-- The Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol

--Oprah is the forerunner of the "harlot" movement (a notion related to the emergence of the antichrist)

--the Emperor of Japan has sex with the Sun Goddess who is a demon and this caused the Japanese stock market to crash, as well as the
earthquake in Japan.

Rachel Maddow, who has been one of the few mainstream media persons reporting on this, in earlier coverage referred to the Sun Goddess mainly as "a demon" or "demons." But tonight she finally identified her as the "Sun Goddess" (Amaterasu, a Goddess central to the Japanese Shinto religion).

Closely related philosophically to the NAR views are those of a group of Christian Dominionists who identify the Democratic Party as "the party of Jezebel," and they don't mean it as a compliment. They are planning "take back" Washington DC from the Goddess Columbia in a late October event called DC40; they want to rename the U.S. capital the "District of Christ" and are mightily offended by the statue of Columbia (aka Freedom) who stands atop the U.S. Capitol dome.

What do all these (pick one or more: scary, twisted, nutty) beliefs have in common? In addition to being a step towards taking over the political platform and erasing the separtion of Church and State in the US, they are all grossly misogynist. Notice that all the sources of "evil" are either goddesses or powerful women. The one male character in these scenarios, the Emperor of Japan, they present as simply a deluded fellow, lured and/or underattack by a female demon who was once (or is at the same time?) a Goddess, in a way that is to me reminiscent of the story of Adam being led to evil by Eve. This demonization of Goddesses and women perceived as powerful (Oprah and Jezebel, a queen) by extension demonizes women in general.

Hecate and Literata have been providing good coverage of the DC40 aspect of this. And Jason Pitzl-Waters on The Wild Hunt has been providing ongoing coverage of the Dominionist movement and NAR. I suggest you visit these blogs for more information.

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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Australian Goddess Conference, Oct. 14-16

The 2011 Australian Goddess Conference will take place Oct. 14-16 on the Gold Coast. The theme of the conference is "Resonating with the Earth Mother," and is sponsored by the Goddess Association in Australia (G.A.I.A.). Here are just a few of the conference's presenters and facilitators: Kathy Jones, priestess of Avalon; Jane Meredith, author and ritualist; Tanishka, director of the Ishtar Mystery School; Glenys Livingstone, author, ritualist, and teacher; Yia Alias, transpersonal counselor; Avril Webb, conference weaver; Dani Graczyk, creatrix of Desert Moon Dancers Belly Dance; Shekhinah Morgan, principal and teacher at the Awalim School of Middle Eastern Dance and Percussion; Tricia Sziron, creator of Gaia's Garden; Lucy Cavendish, creator of Witchcraft magazine and writer for Spheres, Spellcraft, and FAE magazines. There are many others, so check the links above.

There will be a concert Saturday night. Performers include: Wendy Rule, Anique RadiantHeart, Ganga and Louise, Laura Doe Harris, Shekhinah Morgan, and Tanishka.

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