Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Goddess 'Zine is Born

Goddess Pages, a free online journal, or ‘zine in blogspeak, was born this Samhain and its first issue is wonderful.

Many of the writers are affiliated with the Glastonbury Goddess Temple and other British Goddess organizations; there are also contributors from other parts of the world. The invocation
for this issue, I’m honored to say, is by moi.

Goddess Pages has what amounts to a poetry journal within a journal, with world-class poetry by 11 poets

"The Great Goddess and Her Influence Herstorically and in the Present," by Cristina Biaggi Ph.d., is the opening article. "Re-membering Asphodel P. Long" by Lydia Ruyle, is a tribute to the late Asphodel Long , who passed from this Earth on Imbolc 2005. A pioneer in British Goddess feminism, Asphodel was author of books and articles that, among other things, made important contributions to our understanding of the pre-Abrahamic religions of the ancient near east, including their Goddesses and the concept of Sophia. I was lucky to be on some mailing-lists with Asphodel and considered her an online friend. Lydia’s article is beautifully written and illustrated—and well worth the pdf click (the rest of Goddess Pages are in html, but leaving this particular article in pdf helped preserve the excellent format and quality of illustrations).

"The Goddess vs. the New Age: Singing the Sacred Land" by Jacqui Woodward-Smith is about a subject that has concerned me for a long time. In the first paragraph, Jaqui writes:
... there is a threat...from within what many would consider our own circle. It is the threat of the New Age and its writers and gurus who talk of ascension, of transcending human form, and of becoming one with our ‘light bodies’, and other similar concepts, and who are providing us with many of the contemporary ideas about, and images of, the Goddess. Theirs is not the language of the Earth, but of the dualism which has held us in chains for millennia. In our thirst for the rise of the Sacred Feminine, in our joy at sensing her return to human consciousness, many of us have ceased to consider the form in which She is being presented to us through the many New Age images and writings that grow in popularity by the day....
Jacqui goes on to discuss the late Monica Sjöö’s book, New Age and Armageddon (1992), republished as The Dark/Light Mother (1999, Plain View), which, imo, hasn’t received enough attention. In it, Sjöö, in great depth and detail, explains the differences between Goddess spirituality and New Age thought. As I said, this has bothered me for some time, ever since the late 1980s when I went into bookstores looking for Goddess books and found them shelved in the "New Age" section. This confusion, this subsuming of Goddess into ideas that are antithetical to our understanding of Her, has gotten worse. In addition to what Jacqui discusses, I see some other "reasons" (which are really excuses) for this: some Goddess feminists use the same or similar spiritual tools as New Age practitioners–such as astrology, tarot, meditation, and herbal and other alternative healing. Another "reason" for the confusion between Goddess and New Age is that there has been pressure by publishers for books that are not as feminist as earlier Goddess material. What is left when you filter out feminism may seem very similar to New Age (and so, from the publishers’ pov, be much more saleable.) Jacqui goes into other reasons, and also points out some of the differences between Goddess spirituality and New Age thought. Near the end of this important article she writes:
We have come so far, and She is within our reach, but we must not forget how hard the journey has been, nor how much we have to lose in allowing Her image and nature to be subverted by the New Age. We must continue to examine and question the forms in which the Goddess is shown to us and, as we do so, remember Her roots within the dark soil, that aspect of Her that is most rejected and most feared. She is in everything, not just in those things that we find ‘acceptable’.
If you thought Goddess and New Age were the same or similar, we forgive you. But please go read Jacqui’s article. If you already understand the difference, I think you’ll want to read her article too, to clarify your own thinking and to be able to explain it better to others.

Goddess Pages joins several other free online Goddess journals. We plan to explore two more of them (Matrifocus and RCGI’s Seasonal Salon) in the next few days. If you know of any others we should be writing about, please tell us in a comment.


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At Tuesday, November 14, 2006 11:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your invocation in Goddess Pages has already had some effect. See http://www.globalorgasm.org/ for an activity being organized for the Solstice.


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Judith Laura

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