Sunday, November 27, 2011

Buzz Coil: November 2011

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

The Pagan Blog Directory: Nov. 14 and earlier posts have information on a number of participatory blog events the Directory is sponsoring this Solstice season. Featured on the Nov.14 post by Serenity Raven is the "Yule Magic Blog Party 2011."

The Wild Hunt: Jason Pitzl-Waters, reporting from the American Academy of Religions annual meeting in San Francisco, posts on Nov. 21, "AAR Day 2: Starhawk on Elemental Theology," which includes a description of "dual keynote talks" by Rosemary Radford Ruether and Starhawk. In an Oct. 30 post, blogger Literata contributed "Guest Post: The Hail Columbia Movement," which explains this Washington DC-centered movement with US national implications and asks for your help.

Hail Columbia: In a Nov. 1 post, blogger Literata writes about the "Celebration of the Divine Feminine" that took place Oct. 30 in Washington DC’s Lafayette Park as a response to the Christian Dominionist DC40 crusade targeting DC at that time.

Katrina’s Joy: Katrina Messenger’s Nov. 3 post, "Hail to Inanna, Queen of Heaven" contains the speech, invocation, and prayer she gave at the Oct. 30 ceremony in Lafayette Park, DC.

Feminism and Religion: I'll describe just two of this month’s many posts from people on varying spiritual paths. "Birthing God, at the Edges of Life, Death, and Beyond..." by Tracy Sayuki Tiemler," is a Nov. 25 post about Tiemler’s Roman Catholic childhood, during which she became devoted to Mary, mother of Jesus,
because of whom I was not. Mary, the perfect woman, was blond, blue-eyed, thin, and white, like the girls who got to crown Mary. I was chubby, brown: ugly. I sought her intercession in desperate pleas to be “normal,” which to me meant blond and white. I told everyone that my middle name was Mary – not Sayuki, a name given to me in honor of my Japanese female ancestors. Perhaps, if Mary saw my devotion, she would fix me. It never occurred to me that the historical Mary was herself brown.
Tiemler goes on to suggest ways, in addition to physical traits, that Mary should be "reimagined."
In a Nov. 18 post, "Football as a Ritual Re-enacting Male Domination Through Force and Violence," Carol P. Christ asks as us to examine
‘football’, one of the ‘sacred cows’ of American patriarchy, just as we need to examine the culture of hierarchical male domination of the Vatican in the context of child-rape by priests.
The Village Witch: Byron Ballard’s Nov. 18 post, in the Asheville (NC) Citizen Times, "Thinking About Community at the End of the World," discusses people’s hunger for "genuine spiritual experience," the views of "earth religionists," and both spiritual and scientific views of connection.

Broomstick Chronicles: In her Nov. 8 post, "It’s a Generational Thing: Musing on Our Youth," Macha NightMare reflects on the moving participation of the younger people in the 32nd Annual Spiral Dance Samhain ritual, including the East Altar (with pic) and the Calling of the Beloved Dead.

At Brigid’s Forge: In her Nov. 13 post, "Ah! Like Gold" Lunaea Weatherstone describes and shows the beauty of the deciduous trees in her new Oregon location and includes some quotes in Elvish by J.R.R. Tolkien. Her Nov. 20 post, "The Last Sunny Day" has more gorgeous autumn pics.

Blog o’Gnosis : Anne Hill’s Nov. 23 post, "From Samhain to Solstice" tells about what is involved when she takes down the Day of the Dead altar and changes her focus to "decorating with colored lights, bringing in fragrant fir boughs and branches of bright red berries...."

Hecatedemeter: Blogger Hecate’s Nov. 25 post, "On Celebrating Holidays," gives a summary of Pagan holidays whose "remnants" remain in Christian holidays, including Winter Solstice and Christmas.

Peeling a Pomegranate: In her Nov. 20 post, "Hanukkiah: Symbol of Kislev," blogger Ketzirah (Carly) discusses various aspects of Hanukah, including the relationship of this Jewish Festival of Lights to the Winter Solstice.

Z Budapest Blog: Z writes "Hello Dearest Goddess, it’s Z" on Nov. 24, a thank you note that includes memories of the year’s losses and gains, research and interviews for the Merlin Stone memorial project, and Z’s first speech at a university.

Dirt Worship: In a Nov. 9 post, Starhawk publishes "An Open Letter to the Occupy Movement: Why We Need Agreements" from the Alliance of Community Trainers (ACT), with which she works. The detailed letter examines frameworks and tactics, and recommends that Occupy use "strategic nonviolent direct action." The letter defines the meaning of this term and why ACT recommends it.

Paleothea: In her Nov. 8 post, blogger Ailia announces that "Paleothea. Com is no longer made by Ailia Athena," and explains why–and who is currently in charge of the website. She says she will still "occasionally" be blogging though.

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


Thursday, November 24, 2011

ASWM Deadline for Conference Proposals Jan. 15

The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM) is seeking proposals for presentations at its Biennial National Conference to be held in San Francisco in May. The theme of the Conference is "Creating the Chalice: Imagination and Integrity in Goddess Studies." The deadline for proposal submission is Jan. 15. The Conference will be held May 10-13. For more information, including some suggested topics, visit

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Events Coil: Nov. 19 - Dec. 31

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 December and will include events listed here that haven't yet happened, plus new events through late January or early February. 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.
updated 11/24

Nov. 19, doors open 6:30 p.m. event 7 p.m.,
Amazon Ritual, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Nov. 20, Noon-5 p.m.,
Thanksgiving Circle for Newcomers, The Sacred Circle of Maidens, Mothers & Crones, Carson City NV

Nov. 20, 11 a.m.,
Goddess Service honoring Odudua, harvest, thanksgiving, with Amazon Priestess Tribe, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Nov. 23, Noon-5 p.m.
Thanksgiving Circle for Newcomers, The Sacred Circle of Maidens, Mothers & Crones, Carson City NV

Nov. 25, potluck 7 p.m., Circle 8 p.m.,
Women's Full Moon Sharing Circle, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

Nov. 25, 2 p.m.,
New Moon Healing, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Nov. 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Goddess Journey with GlenYs Livingstone, Gaia's Garden, Kew East Victoria AUSTRALIA

Nov. 26, 11 a.m.,
Ceremonial Healing Day, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Nov. 26, Noon-3 p.m.,
Temple decorating for Yule, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Nov. 27, 11 a.m.
Goddess Service honoring Selket, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Long Beach Womanspirit Faire, Long Beach CA

Dec. 4, 11 a.m.
Goddess service honoring Takanakapapsulak, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Dec. 9, 7 p.m.
Full Moon Circle, Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve, near Barneveld WI

Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.
Ceremonial Embodiment of the Lady of Avalon, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Dec. 10, 7 p.m.,
Full Moon Ceremony, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Ruth Barrett in Concert, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Dec. 16, 7 p.m.
Interfaith, Multicultural Winter Solstice Pageant, Circle Sanctuary with First Unitarian Society, Madison WI

Dec. 17, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Community Yule Festival, Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve, near Barneveld WI

Dec. 17, 6:30 p.m.,
40th Anniversary of Dianic Tradition, Winter Solstice Event, Topango CA

Dec. 17, 7 p.m.
Winter Solstice Ritual, Temple of Isis Los Angeles, Long Beach CA

Dec. 18, 19.00 uur,
Winter Zonnewende Ceremonie, Nederlandse Godinnen Tempel, Hillegom, NEDERLAND

Dec. 18 1 p.m.
Yule/Winter Solstice, Goddess Temple Inc, Lakewood OH

Dec. 18, 11 a.m.
Goddess Service honoring Mother Mary, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Dec. 18, 4 p.m.
Yule Gathering, The Sacred Circle of Maidens, Mothers, & Crones, Carson City NV

Dec. 18, gather 6 p.m., ritual 7 p.m.,
Yule, North Bay Reclaiming, Sebastopol CA

Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Winter Solstice Ceremony, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Dec. 21, 7 p.m.
Winter Solstice Celebration in the Red Tent, Women's Well, Concord MA

Dec. 21, 6 p.m. Winter Solstice, Sisterhood of the Sacred Circle, San Jose CA

Dec. 21, doors open 6:30 p.m., event begins 7 p.m.,
Winter Solstice , Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Dec. 23, 6 p.m.
Summer Solstice/Litha Ritual, PaGaian Moon Court, Blue Mountains NSW AUSTRALIA

Dec. 24, 2 p.m.
New Moon Healing, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Dec. 25, 11 a.m.,
Goddess Service honoring Rainbow Serpent, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA


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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Monday, November 14, 2011

Goddess Pages - Autumn 2011

Autumn's issue of Goddess Pages contains art, articles, fiction, poetry and reviews. The issue opens with art by Rachael Clyne, titled, "Hypogeum - Sounding the Vision," and editor Geraldine Charles' introduction to this issue, "She changes everything She touches..."

"Avalon in Silk, " in which Jan Billings shows and comments upon her artwork, inspired by the Glastonbury area as well as Gover, on the British coast.
" Dia de los Muertos," by Mari Ziolkowski, who tells how she learned about this holiday while in San Francisco. The article also includes a discussion of Halloween.
"Everyone Ought to have a Little Mother[wort] Around the House" by Susun S. Weed, who shares her grandmother's treatment for hot flashes.
"Get Your Goddess Shine On," in which Tracey Jewel writes about evolving from a "plain Jane" childhood to a "blossoming" teen, yet still not knowing who she was inside. This article also gives tips on bringing out your "inner sparkle."
"Goddess Pages Horoscopes" by Georgina Sirett-Armstrong-Smith
"Holiday in the Land of the Moon" by Laura Gee, which suggests a visit to Lunigiana, Italy to find peace during the holdidays and explore an "old earth culture."
"Reclaiming Nonna: Forgotten Goddess" by Becky Thomas, who tells how in a remote region of western Wales, she heard ancient Goddess Nonna whisper. Thomas also shares the history and symbols of this Goddess.

"Loving Brynhild -Part 5 of a novel" by Clarise Samuels, contains chapters 9 and 10 of the novel. Links to previous chapters published in Goddess Pages are at the end of this piece.

"Ancient" by Doreen Hopwood, "Autumn Samba" by Annelinde Metzner, "Salmon Skin Soul Magic" by Rachel Mica McCann.

Geraldine Charles
reviews the books Sacred House by Carolyn Hillyer, Secret Lives by Barbara Ardinger, Shinto: A Celebration of Life by Aiden Rankin.
Rachel Clyne reviews the book, The Serpents's Tale by Annabel du Bouley, as well as a visit to Malta and Gozo with two friends.


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Global Goddess Oracle: Samhain 2011

The current issue of the online journal, Global Goddess Oracle, is well worth the click to its site. It includes:

Dawn "Belladonna" Thomas's editorial about turning within at this time of year and thoughts on her grandmother from Hungary; with art by Orna Ben-Shoshan. Also from Dawn "Belladona" Thomas: "Goddess for Samhain - Oya" with background on the Goddess and a short ritual; and "Moon Schedule Samhain to Winter Solstice."

Deanne Quarrie's "Angrbooa and her Children and Our Shadow Selves" about Norse mythological "beings" and stories; and "Felt Need," which tells about a 2005 discussion with her partner about the group, Global Goddess.

Mama Donna Henes' "Ask Your Mama," responding to a question about incorporating traditions from cultures other than your own.

Barbara Ardinger's excerpt from her new novel Secret Lives (see our review in the post below this one) and two other contributions, "Pagan Every Day: November 17th - Drumming" and "Pagan Every Day: November 3rd - Silence."

Leslie Brroks' "Hecate," with background on the Greek Goddess.

H. Byron Ballard's "Invocation to Durga," used at a priestess ordination.

Jessica North O'Connell's "Living on a Fault Line," a poem about Oya and the poet, followed by additional information about Oya.

Carmen Reyes' "Moons and the Wheel of the Year," relating the solar holiday Samhain with the balsamic phase of the moon and also giving plant, tarot, and Goddess correspondences, as well as a suggestion for ritual and affirmation.

Leslie Brooks' "Morrigan," which gives background on the Irish Triple Goddess.

Aaralyn Terra's poem, "Spider."

S. Kelley Harrell's, "Samhain - Nature's Holy Day for Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder," with background on the holiday and speculation about how ancient peoples may have been affected by this time of year.

Mavesper Cy Cerridwen's "When the Veils Unraveled," a story in a long-ago setting accompanied by a "Prayer to the Lady of Samhain," translated from Greek.


Thursday, November 03, 2011

REVIEW: Secret Lives by Barbara Ardinger

Secret Lives by Barbara Ardinger (CreateSpace 2011), trade paperback, 632 pages. Also available as a Kindle E-Book.

What a remarkable novel this is! Barbara Ardinger’s Secret Lives moves from the Neolithic Old Europe in the Prologue to late 1980s California in most of the rest of the book. The Prologue is set c. 4400 BCE in what is now Romania. At the dawn of the transition from the Iron Age to the Bronze Age, a group of elders, presided over by the oldest woman in the village, a shaman, meet to discuss reports of approaching invaders who kill, rape, and enslave. The shaman tries to encourage the people, offers a prediction, and passes her shamanic staff to a green-eyed boy. She urges the people to leave their settlement so they can evade the invaders; among her words to her people:

"Now hear a new truth. The Great Mother Herself will be forced to hide from those who are coming. She will seem to disappear while they grow strong, but someday She will return. . . ."
Like the Great Mother, the shaman seems to disappear. But she returns much later in the book. The green-eyed boy also reappears, in a different way.

Chapter 1 shifts to Long Beach, California, in the late 1980s. We meet another group of elder women. Some of them live in private homes and some live in a residence for older folks, called Center Towers. We meet 72-year-old Herta and her daughter, Milly, who are threatened by a gang of boys on the street. Milly tells Herta, "This invasion has got to be stopped." The gang continues to threaten them and hurl racist and misogynist slurs. Barely escaping, Herta decides her daughter has a point. They meet with their unusual (for that time) circle of women mostly of crone age. The circle decides upon action, which includes bringing out of "retirement" the active and magical aspects of their group. A powerful ritual to create a "guardian" follows. People in some of today’s Wiccan traditions may find the correspondences of directions with elements to be somewhat different from what they are used t0—in this ritual, east=fire, south=water, west=air, and north is "silence" and I assume earth. But, hey, it works!

Chapter 2, titled "Madame Blavatsky Takes a Flying Leap," provides comic relief with the appearance of a cat with unusual traits, whom the group names after the co-founder of the Theosophical Society and who becomes their familiar. This chapter also contains references to some other well-known metaphysical leaders of the 19th century, along with the information that Arthur Waite has "come back as a Muppet." No, I’m not going to tell you which Muppet, but the circle member Bertha does.

The novel moves on to explicitly introduce two of the book’s serious subtexts: aging and the care and mistreatment of elders, especially women. We get to see older women in all their glorious human variety, not always obvious to non-crones. For example, what starts out as a group of old ladies playing gin rummy morphs into a dramatic confrontation with an infamous centuries-old spirit whose views seem to me starkly and startlingly like those of present day Christian Dominionists. The malicious spirit claims to have known all the women in previous lives. In midst of this serious, powerful and empowering event are are several jokes (from our point of view), such as a devout Catholic woman’s accusation: "Queer things. You don’t act like normal women. You meditate."

Ardinger then takes on the subject of sex and aging, both in jokes the women tell about men’s private parts and in the tender sexual relationship between octogenarians Sophie and Warren who, to resolve family conflicts, have a handfasting, performed by Herta. As part of the ceremony a lesbian couple, Cairo and Margaretta, read part of Act 1 Scene 5 of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with Cairo taking the part of Romeo and Margaretta, Juliet.

Another wonderful ritual is woven into the fabric of this novel to celebrate the first menstruation of Janie, daughter of Milly, granddaughter of Herta, after Janie is confronted at school by alarming comments about women’s monthly bleeding. Due to her upbringing among the women in the circle these ideas are new to her, yet mystifying and frightening. The ritual is a formal initiation into the circle, and an affirmation of Janie's womanhood. The discussion about and description of the ritual repeats the words, braid, braiding, braided, etc. For example, Janie’s grandmother tells her:
"Our knowledge comes from many strands, braided together in the endless thread of women’s wisdom."
Janie's mother holds out to her daughter three strands of yarn—white, red, black representing Maiden, Mother, and Crone—knotted on one end. She tells Janie:
"But the three goddesses[...]are really one goddess and you can make this unity visible. All you have to do is braid these three strands of yarn together to make one
After Janie braids the yarn, Milly says:
"Everything in creation is truly braided together, And look—see how the colors wind back and forth and appear and reappear? That’s life. This braided cord also rebinds you to our tradition and its many blessings."
Although used in the book to describe activities and items relevant to the ritual, these words also describes something else, something unstated: The novel is written in "braided" structure, meaning that the chapters can be understood as separate strands (even separate stories) yet, at the same time, also as strands woven or braided together to make the whole of the novel. This ability to write on multiple levels, stated and unstated, realistic and symbolic, reveals Ardinger as an author who is both inspired and highly skilled.

One of the main threads braiding these stories together, from the Neolithic to the late 20th Century, is the invasion and conquering of peaceful and loving groups (and sometimes individuals) by violent people and groups. The historical incidents of invasion and violence are sometimes at first described in such similar ways that I didn’t initially recognize which invasion was being described until the details emerged. This subtle technique of Ardinger’s allows us to recognize parallel events that began with the encroachment of patriarchy and continue to this day.

I’m going to close the review of this wonderful book soon so you can discover the rest of it on your own, but first I want to tell you about Chapter 9, which I think should be required reading for anyone who confuses New Age thought with the beliefs and approaches of Goddessians, feminist Witches, and many other Pagans and Witches. It has some very funny lines, at first as part of a satire, but as the chapter builds, verging into magickal slapstick (some of which is at least equal in comic caliber to passages in, for example, Tom Robbins’ novel, Skinny Legs and All).

Though it is at time extremely humorous, Secret Lives clearly isn’t a light "fluffy bunny" type novel. Its themes are serious; some passages are grim, strong, written with appropriate toughness. Its character description, use of symbolism, and other authorly techniques, including comedy, are dexterously done.

Some extras come with this marvelous book: The front matter offers a "Who’s Who" describing the various characters for easy reference, if you need it, while you’re reading the book. Also Ardinger has put
a reader’s guide to the book on her website. Among other things, the guide explains the book’s multitude of literary, metaphysical, musical and other allusions. (I preferred to read the novel and write the review without referring to the guide until I had finished writing everything except this paragraph.)

Barbara Ardinger holds a Ph.D. in English Renaissance Literature. She is the author of five previous books, including the novel Quicksilver Moon and Practicing the Presence of the Goddess. Her website is

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