Monday, June 25, 2007

Buzz Coil: June

Tripping round the blogs shows that some people are living easy for summer and not posting much. But there’s still enough to keep us buzzy, I mean busy. For instance:

Doire Musings: In her June 17 post,"Dismantling the Castle (and the Cathedral)...Part II," blogger mdiv94 discusses the effects of exclusively male divine language and imagery, why the way Mary is venerated in Catholicism is problematical, and how to better empower her. Then she writes:

Movements in women’s spirituality including neo-pagan goddess worshipping traditions have revived female images for the divine being. These divine images take many forms. Some resurrect the ancient Paleolithic and Neolithic Mother Goddess, some are constructive of completely new associations and some simply replace the male language for the God of the Bible with female metaphors and images. There is scriptural foundation for the latter. A plethora of female images for God already exist in the Bible, though they have been suppressed. God is described as Mother Bear, Mother Eagle. The God who dwells among humankind, the Shekinah is female. The Wisdom of God, Sophia is female.
She bolsters her arguments with examples from the "Wisdom" literature in Proverbs 8 and Wisdom 8 and then continues:

....I have strong reservations about some of the modern movements for the "divine feminine," because despite good intentions it is all too often the case that female imagery for God is attached to "feminine" qualities. The female is cast in the role of nurturer, sensitive and compassionate sufferer, mother, kind healer, etc. This does not serve us (or Her) well. The result is the reinforcement and further propagation of the traditional (and patriarchal) Western sex-gender system which attributes to the female "feminine" characteristics and to the male, "masculine" ones. What must occur is NOT the attachment of "feminine" qualities to God, but rather the attachment of divine act and power to the female....
She then adds a combined quote from Proverbs 1 and 8.

Radical Goddess Thealogy:In her June 18 post, "Churning Out Goddesses," blogger Athana writes about so-called archeologists, this time Japanese, who are in Goddess-denial. (Reminds me of labyrs’ post on this blog about a similar [lack of] thinking.)

The-Goddess: Blogger Morgaine tries to convince ODE magazine to include Goddess in her May 24 post, "To ODE magazine: "Now we’re getting somewhere...."

Branches Up, Roots Down: This is the blog formerly known as "Roots Down," and we’re going to keep it that way in our blogroll for now. I personally liked the "secret password" aspect of the blog name being "Roots Down" and the url being "branches up," but maybe not everyone "got it." In her extraordinary June 13 post, "Queen of Hearts," Deborah Oak writes about the Reclaiming/Feri tradition of Three Hearts. In her June 20 post, "Some Things are Illuminated," she writes about Summer Solstice in San Francisco, past and present.

Hecate: In her June 20 post, "The Longest Day," blogger Hecate writes about "one of the most wonderful Summer Solstices of my life," and finding the right ritual group. The post ends with a Mary Oliver poem. In her June 16 "Saturday Goddess Blogging," Hecate writes about her women’s circle annual retreat and their choice of a Goddess to work with.

Driving Audhumla: In her June 23 post, "Dancing in the Meadows,"Victoria Slind-Flor describes her coven’s summer solstice celebration in Cesar Chevez Park, Berkeley, with raven solstice flags, the theme of sisterhood–and varying ages of sisters, dancing and drumming.

The Furious Spinner: In her June 21 post, Kim Antieau gives us "Summer Solstice Blessings."

Pagan Godspell: In her May 21 post, "Embodied Spirituality, Pagan Bodies," Sara Sutterfield Winn blogs about rumored efforts of speakers at a certain con to get Pagans to lose weight. (Pass the chocolate!)

Blog o’Gnosis: When is not-an-altar an altar? Anne Hill tells and shows in her June 21 post, "An Altar by Any Other Name."

The Wild Hunt: In his June 23 post, "Glastonbury Festival and Faith,"Jason Pitzl-Waters blogs about the June 22-24 Glastonbury Festival (not to be confused with the upcoming Goddess Conference in Glastonbury, Aug 1-5) . In addition to music, the Festival includes such Pagan or Pagan-like activities as a healing area, crafts, and environmental activities. Jason writes that this has made the Festival a target of some individuals and groups who seek to link Paganism with the Nazis (?!). At the same time, Jason writes, some Pagans feel the Festival is ruining their Summer Solstice at Stonehenge. In his June 18 post, "Sinead O’Conner and the Christian Market," Jason reveals that Sinead O’Conner is now singing to the Christian market.

O Sinead Sinead Sinead, what happened to the woman who sang to "Universal Mother," tore up the pic of the Pope on SNL, and was ordained a Catholic priest in spite of the RC Church’s prohibition on women’s ordination?

If we missed an blog post you think is important. Please leave the info as a "comment."


Saturday, June 23, 2007

RCG-I Seasonal Salon: Summer Issue

Call me upside down (not necessarily a bad thing, right?), but I’m going to start with the last article listed in the RCG-I’s Seasonal Salon’s Summer Solstice Table of Contents: "Wheels and Spirals" by Max Dashu. Max feels transformation is underway and contemplates "the Great Wheel," and other symbols of change in several cultures. She then goes on to tell about the appearance of "omens" during a recent "Gaia’s Womb retreat" and lets us in on the opening ceremonies of Mishkan Shekhinah ,"a moveable sanctuary of the Jewish Goddess."

This Goddess e-journal begins a new feature in its Summer issue: A series of articles featuring goddesses "whose stores are rarely told." The first in the series, "Goddess Stories – Huanaxu" is by Patricia Monaghan and is taken from her book, Goddesses and Heroines, a fav of many that is about to be issued in a new edition. This story is about a Goddess of the South American Yamana people in Tierra del Fuego.

In "As My Grandma Anna Used to Say," Bellezza Squillance offers relationship advice inspired by her Italian grandmother.

"Goddess Limericks" by Donna Fay Reeves treats us to a bit of humor featuring goddesses Diana, Pele, White Shell Woman and 7 others.

"Seasonal Poems for a Mediterranean Climate" by Debby Zygielbaum include: "So this is Summer, "Relief," Summer Cooker," Worries," Container," and "Summer Hunter."

Happy reading!

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Why Goddess Temples?

We’ve had a number of guest posts from people involved in various Goddess Temples so I thought I’d blog a bit about why I think the fairly recent phenomenon of buildings (or parts of buildings) dedicated to modern Goddess rituals and functions is important.

In our beginning (meaning, for contemporary Goddess spirituality and other feminist religious forms, sometime in the 1970s) most of us met (if we met at all) most often outdoors –in the woods, on the beach–or in each other’s homes, or squirreled away in some room in a sympatica church or synagogue. We still meet outdoors–for many of us this is the ideal setting – but there are times (for instance, very stormy weather) when we may prefer to be indoors. Also, as we age or become less than fully physically-abled, everyone who wants to attend rituals may not be able to tromp through the woods or even sit on the ground. Someone’s home or a room in a church may do, but there are advantages for a group to have "a place of one’s own" to vary a phrase from Virginia Woolf. For some people, who like to think of themselves as existing on the fringes, this may be too "establishment," too much "like church." And I understand that feeling. But I think there are strong reasons for establishing our own special Goddess places at this point in our development.

To me, the advantages of having a specific building dedicated to Goddess celebration are many. Here are some off the top of my head:
– Using the space repeatedly may increase feeling of that place being sacred. In some ways, this can also be true of outdoor space or space in someone’s home if used repeatedly. But this space, we know, is also used for other things. There is something special about using space dedicated for Goddess purpose only.
– Having a specific building or part of a building gives us the aura of being a "legitimate" spiritual path, rather than a "cult," especially if, in the US, we also incorporate as a religious non-profit.
– Having a specific place, and a group that identifies with that place, increases a sense of community and the likelihood that the group will continue to exist through changes in membership. In my experience, the falling apart of groups that meet in a church basements or in each other’s homes, is in part related to the perceived temporariness of the group. Because the group is not bonded by spaced dedicated solely to that group, it may instead develop a bond, or dependence, on just a few founding or prominent members. When these members leave, which is often inevitable, the remaining members may not feel the group is worthy of perpetuating. Having a Temple which houses the group encourages group identity apart from any one or few individuals.
–This one I see as a partner to the reason above. Rather than being a "club" or even "tribe" or "coven," the Temple encourages a wider scope, is usually perceived as being "open" to the general public, and so attracts people who are interested in Goddess but might not join a specific Pagan or Wiccan group. This can provide a steady stream of new people so that the group doesn’t feel as diminished when some members leave.
– People with physical disabilities are often more easily accommodated in a Temple situation than than in constantly changed space or most outdoor locales.

I’m not saying stop having outdoor rituals or stop having rituals in homes. What I am saying is that it is ALSO important for our future growth to have specific buildings dedicated as Goddess Temples (or some similar term, such as "House" or "Shrine").

What has held us back from doing this? Partly the reluctance to become that organized. Partly money. But from the recent experience of some of these Temples, there’s now hope that you don’t have to have a lot of money to begin the process. What it really takes is dedication and innovation. Some of today’s Temples exist because one or two people had enough money to purchase a building and/or land. But others have come into being by starting small, attracting people who identify with the Temple and give small steady donations. Temple attendence increases along with donations, and the Temple is able to move to a larger physical space. A good example of this process is the Goddess Temple of Orange County , which has established itself as a religious non-profit (the equivalent of a church). Begun in a small space in a shopping center, this Temple has moved to larger space and now has two services each Sunday, other rituals throughout the year, and a seemingly unending array of activities and workshops, some of which are "official" Temple events and others of which are events of sometimes very loosely related groups renting the Temple’s facilities (another source of income as well as a way to extend the Temple’s community relevance). If I were starting a Goddess Temple in the US today, I would want to learn from what this Southern California group has done, and continues to do.

In Britain, the Glastonbury Goddess Temple , located in a town with deep Goddess roots (the mythical Avalon), is flourishing. Like the Orange County Temple, the Glastonbury Temple has a regular schedule of events and a staff of priestesses, while being open to the public.

Back in the USA, The Goddess Temple Dedicated to Sekhmet graces the Nevada desert. In a guest post here, "The Importance of Goddess Temples," Priestess Anne Key wrote:
Space. Consecrated, sacred space is vital. First we need space to do our own work. Space for us to know ourselves and meet the Divine...Images are the second important component for the Goddess Temple...When I sit in front of the statue of Sekhmet in the Temple, I see the solar disc on her head, aligning her with the sun, the cobra full of the earth and the cosmos combined. She has the head of a lioness, which stirs this cord inside of me that remembers when humans and animals were sisters, when we were one. Her body is of a full woman.

It seems that one Temple inspires another and often, yet another. After visiting The Goddess Temple Dedicated to Sekhmet, as well as the Glastonbury Temple, Anique Radiant Heart decided to begin a Temple in Australia . Of the Sekhmet Temple, Anique writes:

When I was in Nevada, I was fortunate to be taken to experience the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, donated to the people of Nevada by Genevieve Vaughn. This little Temple took my breath away. Totally open to the elements and the people and creatures of that place, the Temple was built of straw bale construction and had openings on all sides and an open roof. A beautiful wrought iron artwork of a half sphere created of crescent moons "covered" the roof and a smaller wrought iron circular artwork of Goddesses holding hands protected the central fire pit. A large black stone statue of Sekhmet adorned the Western wall and a stone statue of a typical abundant Goddess sat facing Her. Everywhere, people had left offerings….pictures, jewelry, feathers bones and stones, all kinds of objects....I had an epiphany in that moment, as I understood how powerful Temples are.
And of her visit to the Glastonbury Temple, Anique writes:

It was a blessing to walk into a space which was so obviously dedicated to the Goddess. The main altar, which had a large painting of a very abundant Goddess as the backdrop, was beautiful. On the altar, were many lovely artifacts and candles and incense….but what struck me most was the hundreds of little pieces of paper which held the prayers of people who had visited the Temple that week.... Priestesses of the Temple collect the peoples' prayers and in ceremony, offer the prayers to the Goddess in spoken word....Large wicker statues had been lovingly made for each Element, creating an eerie feeling that they were actually alive. Each altar had been decorated with appropriate items.... On the floor, here and there, were statues and objects donated by lovers of the Goddess to the Temple. It was obvious to me that many people appreciated this sacred space where they could embody fully their spirituality of choice.

The Glastonbury Temple has also inspired the establishment of a Temple in The Netherlands, Avalon-Mystic . In their guest blog here, priestesses of Avalon Mystic tell how two of them, Nanon and Sandra, were inspired to start the Dutch Temple while visiting Glastonbury. When they returned to the Netherlands they began talking about their idea with others and soon they had about 150 people interested from the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Then:

Sooner than Sandra wanted and expected we were offered a space to use for free for at least one and a half years.... We got the key in mid-August and started to work, first decorating, then smudging (a lot) followed by performing eight private ceremonies, calling in the Goddesses based on Ana's Wheel, , which we had learned from the Glastonbury Goddess Temple....
Avalon-Mystic opened to the public on September 21, 2004, underwent a "makeover" in 2005, has a full program of rituals, and has been host to Goddess conferences.

Medusa Coils will try to keep you updated about activities at these and other Temples through our monthly Events Coils (the most recent one appears right below this post) and through our "News from the Temples" features several times a year. If we are missing a Temple you think should be included, please leave the info as a comment. Right now we are focusing on Temples that have actual physical space and a specific geographical location. To read more about specific Temples see the list on the right under "Archived Favorites" or click on the label "Temples" at the end of this article.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Events Coil: June 7 - August 5

We are bolding the links to events that last more than one day because you often need to make plans well ahead of time for those. 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. All times are local. All locations are in the USA unless otherwise indicated. 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.

The next Events Coil is planned for early to mid July and will include events listed here that haven't yet happened, plus new events for about the next 6 weeks. If you have an event you want listed in future events coils, please leave it in a comment. See the end of this Coil for what info we need for listings.

June 7, 11 a.m. Service honoring the Goddess Sarasvati, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 8-12,
Earth Spirit Rising Conference with Connie Barlow, Michael Dowd, Kirkpatrick Sale, Jim Schenk, Starhawk, & others, Louisville KY

June 12, 7:30 p.m. The Craft Connection, GoddessTemple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 12, gather 7:30 p.m. Celebrate Juno and women in public life, Daughters of the Goddess (Dianic), San
Francisco CA

June 13, 7:30 p.m. New Moon Drumming, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 15, 7 pm,
New Moon Women's Mysteries, "Goddess Priestess of Ancient Mexico", Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

June 15, 7:30-9 p.m. Rosh Chodesh/New Moon Shabbat with Cyrise Beatty, Max Dasnu, and D'vora Kelilah, Mishkan Shekhinah, San Francisco CA

June 16, 7-9 p.m. Summer Solstice/Havdalah with Judy Grahn, Leilani Birely and drummers Patrice Erickson and Ann Lapham, Mishkan Shekhinah, San Francisco CA

June 17-20: Pagan Spirit Gathering 2007, Wisteria (southeastern) OH

June 17, gather 12:30 p.m., ritual 1 p.m., Summer Solstice, ConnectDC, Washington DC

June 19, doors open 6:30 p.m., ritual 7 p.m. Summer Solstice Ritual with guest priestesses Nita Rubio & Geanna Wood, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 20, 7 p.m.
Summer Solstice Celebration, Women's Well, West Concord MA

June 21, 4 p.m., Timeline talk with Barbara Ardinger; 7:30 p.m.,
Summer Solstice Festival, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury, ENGLAND

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

June 21, gather 7:30 p.m. Summer Solstice, Daughters of the Goddess (Dianic), San Francisco, CA

June 21, gather 7 p.m., ritual 8 p.m.,
Summer Solstice (Reclaiming) Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA

June 21-21, Zomer Solstice, Avalon Mystic, Hillegom NEDERLAND

June 22-24:
Feminist Hullabaloo with Paula Gunn Allen, Mary Daly, Sally Gearhart, Sonia Johnson and others,
Santa Fe NM

June 22, 18:30, "Birthing Mystery Ceremony," Istar's Daughters, Perth AUSTRALIA

June 25, Noon, Drum for Peace ceremony, National Mall at 4th St, Washington DC

June 27, 8 p.m. Goddess Shrine Wishes Rite, Temple of Lunation Magick, Canberra AUSTRALIA

June 28, 7:30 p.m. Women's Mysteries Group, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

June 29-June 30, "Coming Home," Blue Moon Winter Retreat, Ishtar's Daughters, Perth AUSTRALIA

June 29-July 2: "Explore the Earth Spirit & Earth Justice with Starhawk" Sudbury, Ont. CANADA

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

June 30, 7 p.m. Full Strawberry Moon Drumming, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 1, 2 p.m. "Shamanic Mysteries of Egypt," with Nicki Scully, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 5-8, National Women’s Music Festival & Spiritual Conference, with Jade River of RCG-I directing spiritual conf., Illinois State University, Bloomington IL

July 8, 11 a.m. Service honoring Korone (ancient ancestress of Orange Co.) & Goddess Hera, with guest priestess Kathy Sandoval, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 10, 7:30 p.m. The Craft Connection ritual, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 14, 7 p.m. New Moon Women’s Mysteries, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

July 14, 7 p.m. New Moon Drumming, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 15, 2 p.m. New Moon Healing, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

July 18-22, Isis Festival, Temple of Isis, Geyersville CA

July 20, time tba, Welcoming the Sabbath Queen, Mishkan Shekhinah, San Francisco CA

July 22, 11 a.m. Feast Day of Mary Magdalene with guest priestess Jeanne Michele, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 22, lecture 6 p.m., worsip 7 recpetion 7 p.m., Feast Day of Mary Magdalene with April DeConick, Brigid's Place, Houston TX

July 23, gather 7:30 p.m., Celebrate Sekhmet, Daughters of the Goddess (Dianic) San Francisco CA

July 28, 7 p.m. Full Moon Drumming, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 27-29: "Green Spirit"- Full Moon and Lughnassad, Circle Sanctuary, Mt Oreb WI

July 28, gather noon, ritual 1 p.m, Lammas (Reclaiming), Golden Gate Park, San Francisco CA

July 31, 7:30 p.m. Lammas Ceremony, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

July 31, doors open 6:30 p.m., ritual 7 p.m. Lammas with guest priestess Loria Soma, Guddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Aug. 1-5 Goddess Conference, many well-known presenters; fringe events July 29 & Aug. 6, Glastonbury, ENGLAND

Aug. 2-5 Goddess Gather with Mother Bear, Temple of Isis, Geyersville CA

August 3, gather 7:30 p.m. Celebrate Lamas, Daughters of the Goddess (Dianic), San Francisco CA

August 5, 1400 uur, Lammas, Avalon Mystic, Hillgom NEDERLAND

Aug. 10-12, The Heart of the Sun Ceremony Honoring Sekhmet ,Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV


Canberra, 10 a.m.most Saturday mornings, Meditation. The Goddess Shrine, Temple of Lunation Magick

(White Gum Valley): Mondays, 6 p.m.,
Chalice Ceremony, Daughters of Ishtar.

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

Soderhamn, Mondays, 7-9 p.m., meditation prayer, conversation, Gudinne Templet.

Arlington VA: 3rd Sunday of month, gather 12:45 p.m., ritual 1 p.m. Moonfire CUUPS.
Baltimore MD
: Sundays 10 a.m., Rites of Cafeina,
Cedar Light Grove (ADF)
Geyersville CA: Sunday Services 2-4 p.m. Temple of Isis
Houston TX: Sundays, 10 a.m. Magdalene Community, Rothko Chapel; Mondays at Noon, Christian feminist theology study group ; 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. inward, meditative; 2nd service at 11 a.m., dancing, drumming, singing; see dates for guest speakers. Goddess Temple of Orange County,
Mt. Horeb WI: Goddess Circle, Thursdays 7-8:30 p.m., Circle Sanctuary.
Portland OR: Rituals at new and full moons, quarters and cross-quarters. Full Circle Temple , Tuesdays-Sundays 10 a.m.-10 p.m. "Open to all self-identified women and girls."
Rockville MD: night before new moon, Dark Moon Book Group, Spiral Heart (Reclaiming).
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.
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 with your event, giving: Name of event, sponsoring organization (if any), town, date, time (if known), and, required: url of website where person can get more info. (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.