Monday, May 26, 2008

Buzz Coil: May

Radical Goddess Thealogy: In her May 14 post, "Phew on PEW, I say" blogger Athana takes PEW forum to task for leaving out the Goddess movement in its survey on American religion. Writes Athana:
At least they had a Pagan category. Guess they lumped us in with Thor and the rest of the old war gods.
Be sure to also read the comments!

The Village Witch:"Authentic Power," Byron Ballard’s May 14 post in the Asheville NC Citizen-Times, is about the use and "flow" of power in a Temple she is helping create. I tried to post the following as a comment, but couldn’t get it to work for me, so I’ll post it here for Byron and whoever else may be interested: You might want to check with some existing Temples, such as the Goddess Temple of Orange County and Glastonbury Goddess Temple about how they handle power. Also, Medusa Coils has had guest blogs about these and other Temples that you might find interesting

Goddess in a Teapot: Did you know that in ancient Rome a woman’s soul was called her "juno" and a man’s soul his "genius"? I didn’t until I read Carolyn Boyd’s May 26 post, "Celebrate Your Woman’s Soul with Juno," which discusses how "‘juno’ disappeared, leaving women without their souls."

Matters of Minutia:
Australian blogger Lisa’s May 24 post, "10.09 a.m.-the Goddess Light in Us All," is a lovely poem about figs, dreams, visiting a hospital to cleanse chakras, a movie, and fairy Mary’s witches kitchen–all in ‘the goddess light’.

Branches Up, Roots Down: In her May 24 post, "Please and Thank-You" Deborah Oak follows an intriguing pair of men down a California street and finds her thoughts turning to the opportunity for narcissism in at least two Pagan traditions.

Hecate: Blogger Hecate returns from an annual Circle event with reflections on "grace" (but not what you’d think from the post title) in her May 25 post, "But Once, In My Wicked Youth Or childhood, I Must Have Done Something Good."

Textual Arachne: Blogger Arachne writes about Beltane’s challenge to speak and think in the unconditional affirmative in her May 1 post, "Learning to Say Yes."

Evoking the Goddess: In his May 5 post, "Dandelions and Daisies," blogger Paul shares his experience of Beltane/Bealtaine as "a riotous time of year" that confirms him in his path.

Driving Audhumla: Victoria Slind-Florr describes a Beltane observance in Tilden Region Park, San Francisco in her May 1 post, "Yet Another Merry May" and in the May 4 post, "And Even More Beltane", tells of the birth of the coven’s first baby the next day.

Women and Spirituality: Carol P. Christ writes her May 20 post, "Re-imaging the Divine in the World, Part 1: Re-imaging the Goddess and God" in response to Susan Reimer-Torn’s May 19 post, "Strange in Need, Strange in Deed," about Aviva Zomberg’s views of the "cruelty" of the biblical God. In her response, Christ blogs about process theology, the subject of her book, She Who Changes, to give a different view of Goddess/God than that of most interpretations of the Abrahamic God. Christ’s Re-imaging series continues next week. Charlene Spretnak has written a 3-part (so far) series this month on "Mary in May." To find the other two parts, I had to click on Spretnak’s name in the left column. I also had to click on the names in that column to find the following (maybe the site is undergoing changes?):
Starhawk’s May 12 post, "Dirt," is about the importance of the soil, the "denigration" of the earth, the body, and women, how the terms "higher" (as in higher self, for instance) and "lower" serve to reinforce these concepts, and what she has done in her teaching to try to change the negative implications. This month Amina Wadud writes two posts (so far) on prayer in Islam: "Prayer," on May 8, and "Prayer Too," on May 15. The second post gives several questions people often ask about Islam, but answers only the one about why Muslims pray five times each day. I wish she would also answer another of the questions she poses, about why women have not led prayer in mixed congregations. Maybe this is coming in a future post?

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


Sunday, May 18, 2008

GUEST POST:Making 'Women's Power'

Note from Medusa: We are proud to have this guest post by Max Dashu, in which she shares the inside story of the challenges of putting together the newly released DVD, Woman's Power, which now makes available to a wider audience the information that Max has been including in her famous slide shows for years.

by Max Dashu, Suppressed Histories Archives

I've been doing slideshows on global women's history and Goddess veneration since 1973. That was when Donna Deitch asked me to be historical consultant for one of the earliest feminist documentaries. We went through various university libraries in Los Angeles and photographed several hundred slides. This is how I got started using images to teach women's history, doing slideshows at women's bookstores and coffeehouses. Those first 300 photos became the seedlings of the
Suppressed Histories Archives, a collection that now contains some 15,000 slides and one hundred slideshows.

In 1976 I created a show called Women of Power. It was a very international look at cultures that honored public female leadership and professions--what I call female spheres of power--and also showed women who overcame the multiple barriers thrown up by patriarchal society. It became the most-requested and most-performed of all my presentations. It was also the most comprehensive.

Before long, there was a magazine called Women of Power, and that phrase began popping up everywhere, to the point where it was becoming a cliché. So I decided to shift the emphasis a little farther and renamed the show Women in Power. Over twenty-five years of presenting it at women's bookstores and coffeehouses, universities and public schools, I kept refining its contents, adding and changing images and stories. New shows hived off from it and grew: "Female Rebels and Mavericks" and "Rebel Shamans: Indigenous Women Confront Empire," among others. Finally, because so much of the original show covered women dealing with patriarchy and empire, I wound up changing the title one last time, to Women's Power. Simple, basic--and yet still so problematic in this world.

About two years ago I decided to take advantage of new computer technology, namely the iMovie program on my Mac, and make a DVD of Women's Power. A techie friend told me, "It's simple; just scan the images and format them to 640 by 480 at 72 ppi." My slide scanner was broken, so he scanned the images for me, and I spent weeks formatting them. Then I imported them to iMovie and started editing. I didn't get very far. Turned out that 72 ppi is for the web, and not high-enough resolution for the video. So I reformatted everything again at 300 ppi. This was still no good. It so happens that iMovie has its own quirky aspect ratio, which is 2880 x 2112. Anything else results in black banding, which was undesirable. For a third time, I reformatted everything. We're talking weeks.

This time things were looking good. But there was a new problem: I couldn't get the pan and zoom function to work. (This is where the "camera" passes across the image or draws in close or pulls back.) For months I was practically banging my head against the wall trying to figure out what could I be doing wrong. I asked everyone who might know about iMovie or computer video what could be causing the problem. No one had an answer. Finally, the explanation was revealed when I tried the same operation on a Mac laptop. Now the pans and zooms worked fine. It was my old, donated G4 that was the problem; it had no video card and lacked enough RAM to run those operations. And that was why all my savvy advisers hadn't been able to diagnose the problem; they couldn't imagine anyone working on such minimal, outdated equipment.

Long story short, I had to get a new computer with sufficient power and storage space for video production. Thanks to a generous donations from a supporter of the Archives, this was accomplished. All that remained was to go deeper into the quirky ways of iMovie and progressively solve the various tech problems that appeared along the way, in editing, sound recording, and other arcane digital mysteries.

By now I had passed several deadlines by which I'd hoped to have the movie finished. Ah, the innocent optimism of the unwary. There were more deadlines to be missed, and more programs to be tussled with: Garageband for sound and the real dragon, iDVD, for disc formatting. No matter: I kept plodding along, cleaning up muddy images, colorizing dull monochromes, adapting vertically-oriented images for a horizontal screen format, editing in transitions, creating title stills.

Actually, tech problems aside, I had a lot of fun designing the movie and creating custom graphics where no suitable images could be found. For the Alexandrian astronomer and philosopher Hypatía, for instance: I ransacked the Web looking for a decent picture, and all the sites featured the same insipid drawing of a fashionable Hellenistic lady. Finally I found a somewhat usable picture, a Renaissance painting showing Hypatía as the lone female amidst a crowd of male philosophers. But it was too low-res, and it also made the Egyptian look rather pallid, with an expression lacking depth. So I imported the image into Photoshop and painted overlayers to make it look good at 300 ppi. The red hair went to black, her eyes became dark and penetrating, and I placed her against a backdrop of Ptolemaic astronomical figures. Voilà: a Hypatía I could believe in. Another image needed to be created for the section on female chieftains in North America. I wanted to talk about how the Shawnee, Miami, and Illinois peoples had parallel tracks of chieftainship for males and females. Yet the European conquest had decimated these peoples and suppressed their culture and history. Finally I located a beautifully painted buffalo hide of the Illinois, which may well have been created by a female artist, and created a still combining this image with text.

Once the basic sequence of images was lined up, it was time to craft a final version of the script and record the voice-overs. Problem was, I had no access to a sound studio. I went to the basement where it was quieter, and recorded a bunch of tracks on my laptop, crouching close to its built-in mic. But this method added unacceptable levels of white noise. I got a USB mic, but it didn't work well with the laptop. So it was back upstairs to the desk computer. There I sat, recording voice tracks--until a car drove by, or someone started talking on the street 8 feet from my window, or a door slammed. Do over. Do over. It was a slow process.

With two months to go before my absolute, final deadline, I scrambled to finalize contributions from the various musicians who had offered to donate their work. The very gifted Terri Rivera Piatt composed and sang a special recording, "The Calling," for the theme music, and contributed other music from her CD, Contemporary Native American Music. Julie Hammond, my talented sister, recorded several songs on Irish harp, some a capella vocals, and the beautiful Sofrimento track that underlays a passage on female liberators. Laney Goodman recorded a haunting passage on Double Native Flute, as well as chimes and bells. The redoubtable rumbera Matú Feliciano assembled her drummers, Rumba Mezclao, and I recorded them on my laptop. Their congas potentize several of the chapter transitions in the movie, and Matu's drumming and singing accompanies the African queens and female shamans.

All this had to be edited into the video, which led to further struggles with iMovie and the Garageband program. At this point, I was working with an extremely complex document: over 200 stills, each with its own voiceover track, and a large number of them with added pan and zoom edits, and on top of all that, dissolves or fades that connected one image to another in a fluid sequence. This is a lot of data, and things can go wrong at that level of complexity. (Yet more RAM would have definitely helped, but I had already exceeded the boundaries of contemplatable debt.) And things did go wrong.

Most movies are made up video recorded with a camera, with sound automatically linked to picture. Mine was like a mosaic made up of many tiny facets. At a certain point, the sound I had so carefully pegged to each picture began to slip, throwing the whole sequence off. I kept lining them back up, but further edits and additions would cause it all to get jumbled up. So I had to carefully calculate the length (in frames, not seconds) of anything that got added or cut, and then compensate accordingly.

Suffice it to say that the whole experience of making the movie was an exercise in tech problem solving. Hardest of all was pouring the movie into a DVD-formatting program, which behaved in incomprehensible ways. I will spare you the details, except to note that it was necessary to burn six master copies before it came out right. The same went for learning enough about the InDesign program to produce the cover graphics.

It was a moment of pure joy to hand over the completed disc for replication. Even better was receiving a shipment of 1000 DVDs in perfectly printed covers, just two days before the release party here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Women in other places, including Britain and Australia, convened showings of the DVD. These were planned as Women's Empowerment Councils, so that after seeing the video women could discuss the issues raised.

For decades, whenever I presented this slideshow, someone would always ask the same questions at the end: How did this happen to women? How did we end up in this severely patriarchal and colonial society? How come we don't know about these female spheres of power, these women and their deeds, their influence, their courage? So Gariné Roubinian, an editor of the feminist journal Rain and Thunder, and I dreamed up this idea of having community screenings of
Women's Power as a catalyst for discussion, and for strategizing about what needs to be done now. You are invited to convene more showings and councils, whether women-only or multiple gendered, and to expand the conversation, and the push for change.

For more information about Women's Power, placing orders, and to view video clips from the DVD online, see
For articles, see

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

REVIEW: Women in the Christian Clergy

A Church of Her Own: What Happens When A Woman Takes the Pulpit by Sarah Sentilles (Harcourt 2008)

This book is at once big and intimate – big not only in number of pages (310 plus several pages of back matter) but also in scope. Its main emphasis is the challenge awaiting women who attempt to become ministers or priests, but it also brings into the picture gay, lesbian, and trans issues. Its feeling of intimacy arises from the author basing the material on her story, her experience, as well as anecdotes from many other women.

Author Sarah Sentilles tells how, a decade ago, she geared her entire life toward becoming an Episcopal priest, attended Harvard Divinity School, where she was a founder of a WomenChurch group , entered the ordination process, but in the face of obstacles dropped out of the process and at least at one point, lost her faith entirely. At first she thought she was to blame for what happened to her. Then, she writes, she started

paying attention to the experiences of other women from my divinity school....Either they struggled through the ordination process in mainline Protestant denominations ...or, once ordained and working in churches, they were silenced humiliated, and abused....Many were depressed. Some were angry. Most were ashamed.
A Church of Her Own began as an attempt by Sentilles to figure out what and why this was happening. She interviewed women in Christian denominations, both Protestant and Catholic. Their stories, interwoven with Sentilles' experience, are told in this book.

In the Introduction, Sentilles writes that listening to other women’s stories helped her understand that the "good-girl" part of herself was "a dangerous myth"; that the assumption by women in the clergy that if they can get people to like them, this will solve their problems, "is not a good recipe for resisting oppression. It is however, a good recipe for shame." She describes sexism in the church as "insidious," and writes:

It dresses in garments we all wear. It speaks our language. It works in concert with other forms of discrimination. It blesses some of the most fundamental ways we have of understanding ourselves and each other.
Though they may be accepted into the ministry, women clergy continue to be paid less and are offered part-time or interim work more often than their male counterparts. When women clergy do find parishes, even with many years' experience, they are very unlikely to be hired as senior ministers of large churches. Rather, they are stuck as either solo ministers in small churches or assistant/associate ministers in larger ones. When they try to change ways of thinking (about God, about church, about "ourselves") they are often "punished by their congregations." They are also punished when their "bodies become too female to ignore," such as when pregnant or lesbian, or single – or when they are not female enough ("too loud, too proud, too strong, too brave").

Many of the problems encountered by female clergy will be familiar to women in any number of professions (there is even an analogous term to the corporate "glass ceiling" –in the church it’s called the "stained glass ceiling"), but there is one important difference that makes the situation of women clergy worse: In the U.S. in most other workplaces, women now at least have the law on their side; they can bring legal actions against employers who discriminate on the basis of sex, as well as religion and race and several other classifications. But churches are apparently exempt from these laws. Sentilles says this is because the churches can claim "we are following the will of God." But I would add that more precisely, this is a (probably unintentional) outcome of separation of Church and State in the U.S.

Sentilles writes:

...our relationship with God and our relationship with women are inextricably linked.... We have been told that religious sexism is supported by the Bible.... Historical critics, progressive biblical scholars, and feminist theologians try to explain away sexism in our sacred texts, putting offending passages in context, redefining words, pointing out mistranslations, and claiming God and Jesus as essentially liberative. But what if you can’t erase sexism?
In Part One, Sentilles examines "Vocation" or "the call" to be a minister or priest, telling how various women experience it, and continuing through the ordination process, mentoring, the difficulties of actually getting a church position, and the relegation of women to assistant or associate minister status in large churches. She gives useful info on when various Protestant denominations began ordaining women and points out that mainline Protestant denominations’ beginning to extend ordination to women in the last few decades

...wrongly suggests that ordination of women is a modern problem, a result of the women’s movement...with which churches are just beginning to wrestle.... Historical evidence, however, reveals that leadership of women in church communities is not new at all.... What is new–at least relatively– is refusing to allow women positions of authority in churches. Given the evidence, you might argue that ordaining women is more orthodox than not ordaining them.
In Part Two, Sentilles looks at "Incarnation: The Body" and includes "Inclusive Language" as well as sex, and gay and trans issues. She distinguishes gender (as in masculine and feminine), from sex (as in male and female). She and many others including me consider gender strongly influenced by society’s expectations and rules. Sex, she says, is biologically based but not as clearcut as was once assumed. She writes that

Christianity has played a huge role in collapsing the difference between biological sex and gender.
She goes on to explore the two creation stories in Genesis, and the Vatican’s (and the present Pope’s) use of these and other biblical texts to keep women out of the ministry/priesthood, concluding:

It is no accident that God happens to exhibit qualities ascribed to "man" (spiritual, intellectual, rational, strong) and human beings happen to exhibit qualities ascribed to "woman" (embodied, physical, emotional, weak), no accident that God is called "He." Men created a god to do the work they needed him to do a long time ago.
She discusses attempts of Christian clergy, mostly women, to use alternative god-language, such as "Creator" instead of "Father." The aim seems to be at inclusive language rather than asserting the female/feminine divine. Yet, Sentilles points out, as evidenced by at least one survey in the Episcopal Church in 2003, that even though survey respondents supported inclusive language in other contexts, "inclusive language referring to God is less acceptable than ever..." The experience of the women ministers Sentilles interviewed supports this. When they attempted to change god-language they became targets of nasty emails and secret meetings. What is Sentilles personal opinion on inclusive god-language? She writes
Inclusive language...does not mean that churches stop calling God "He" and start calling God "She."...Inclusive language is more expansive than that. It requires that we use multiple images , metaphors, and analogies when talking about God....God is not only Father, Lord, or King. God is Mother. God is breath. God is rock and tree and wind. God is mystery. God is creativity. God is light. And God is darkness, deep and infinite.

Sentilles then moves on to a chapter on clothing, whose arguments I felt were the weakest in the book. First let me point out that if you look at the way men and women dress for business, for example, you will see that women have more leeway than men. The requirements for men’s dress are quite rigid: men must wear a shirt, usually long sleeved and buttoned up to the neck (ouch), plus a tie (double ouch) and pants fastened at the waist with a belt (really comfortable, right? especially after lunch), and totally closed, hard-soled shoes with appropriate socks. OTOH, women are usually considered suitably dressed when any of the following: a skirt with a blouse or sweater, often with or without a jacket; a dress, often with or without a jacket; or a pants-suit. Types of shoes usually acceptable include flats, "heels" of various heights, and often boots and lace-up hard-sole shoes as well. Frankly, I don’t think we can say that most dress requirements in the business world, as well as the professional world (including clergy), oppress women more than men. If you are a woman who becomes a letter carrier, police officer, or firefighter, or other vocation requiring a uniform, you are expected to wear it, as are the men. To me, the garb of a minister in many denominations falls into this category. In other denominations it is similar to dress for business. Sentilles tells of her own and other women’s experience being instructed, for example, not to wear open-toed shoes; or feeling constricted by the requirement to wear a clerical collar, robes, and other clerical garb. She tries to tie this into bias against woman, because, I guess, these requirements were set up by men for men. She and other women interviewed, especially younger women, feel that they should be given more leeway to be different: to wear short skirts with no outer clerical garb, nose rings, fashionable but non-minister-looking hairdos, etc. Now I have nothing against women dressing however they want to dress, but it seems to me when we select a profession we know what the dress expectation is. It shouldn’t come as a news flash that women are expected to wear clerical collars and robes if the men are. Re: open toe shoes – Wouldn’t there also objection to male clergy wearing sandals when officiating? So here’s my sermon: When you enter a profession or a corporate culture where there are dress expectations, it seems to me that when you accept the job, you accept the cultural expectations – at least until you have established yourself within that profession or culture. I must also say that I don’t understand the objection to robes that Sentilles and some of the other women express. Isn’t this an equalizing form of dress since both men and women are wearing robes? And isn’t this a case when, at least in our culture, the form of dress is more feminine than masculine (robe=long dress, no?)?

I found the next chapter, on Sex, to contain some of the most moving stories in the book, and some of the most astute language. For example, Sentilles writes
The dominant religious voices shouting that birth control, homosexuality, and sex outside marriage are sinful pretend to be protecting the sanctity of marriage and the holiness of sexual intercourse. The words, however, do the opposite. By supporting only a narrow sliver of sexual behavior, these voices have perverted our understanding of healthy human sexuality, a perversion that has contributed to the AIDS epidemic and to behaviors that put everyone at risk....
Moving stories include those of Irene, who was left in a trash can when she was six months old, yet went on to attend Wellesley College, come out as a lesbian, and eventually establish a health ministry in the African American community in New York that addressed the problem of HIV at a time when it was not being given attention either by the white medical establishment or by the African American community itself. She framed the ministry as part of "overcoming the trauma of slavery."

Another is Monica’s story: Raped during her seminary years, Monica tried to discuss her experience with a number of ministers in her denomination. But the ministers either ignored her or expressed discomfort with the subject. Apparently because of her rape experience, Monica had difficulty finding a placement in a church of her preferred denomination. She finally found a spiritual home in an interdenominational church with a more sensitive minister, where "liberation theology was preached from the pulpit, and the liturgy used only inclusive language." Eventually Monica established a ministry in the church around sexual violence and wrote a handbook that inspired similar groups to form in other churches.

Part Three of this book, "Creation: Ministry," includes the story of "Catholic Womenpriests, who have found a way to be ordained despite the Vatican’s opposition. This blog had a post about the rancor that just the mere existence of this group raises in the male establishment.

Until the second chapter in Part Three, Chapter 21:"Minister (N.) vs To Minister (V.)," I was fine with this book being limited to the Christian clergy without any reference to the path that many women disillusioned by Christianity eventually walk: Goddess spirituality. But in Chapter 21, Sentilles veers off into non-Christian traditions, especially when she spends 8 pages on "The Church of Craft, founded by Tristy Taylor and Callie Janoff. The Church of Craft (not to be confused with "Craft" as in Witchcraft) is a ministry totally without doctrine or formal ritual, in which the main activity is gathering with other people and doing your craft – whether it be knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, egg-dyeing, etc. People in this church experience their craft as spiritual. This church is not specifically Christian, nor are its founders fleeing from Christianity. Taylor comes from a Unitarian Universalist background (her father a UU minister) and Janoff is daughter of a secular/agnostic Jewish father and secular/agnostic Protestant mother. Here’s my point: To demonstrate an alternative to the mainline Christian Church, Sentilles has selected a not-necessarily-Christian group with non-Christian leaders whose mission, as far as I can tell from the way it’s described in the book and on its website, is not particularly feminist. Since she has strayed from focusing just on Christians and Christian churches, why is there no mention of the most obvious, most populous, and most widespread alternative: the Goddess path and its many and varied groups? The word "Goddess" is never used in the book, even in Chapter 2, when discussing alternative language for the divine. Why? It can’t be that she is ignorant of the Goddess path. She attended Harvard Divinity School at a time when Goddess was part of the discussion. She interviewed a number of UUs, whose denomination has offered courses on feminist spirituality (both in Abrahamic and Pagan religions) and on the history of cultures that worshipped goddesses. Why not mention Goddess? Was this Sentilles decision or the publisher’s? Was the decision based on fear? On snobbery? If fear, what are they afraid of?

To Sentilles credit, among her endnotes is mention of an interview with Starhawk in a book edited by Derrick Jensen, and her extensive and excellent bibliography lists WomanSpirit Rising, an anthology edited by Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow, which includes early Goddess material (including Christ’s renowned and still timely essay "Why Women Need the Goddess"), two of Christ’s Goddess books, and several books by Mary Daly. Perhaps Sentilles and/or her editors felt this covered it. But I still think "Goddess" deserves a mention in the text of this book, and could have been easily inserted in Chapter 6, "Inclusive Language" (even if she were to explain why she doesn’t like the word or concept) or in Chapter 21. Just one sentence would be enough to put a smile on my face.

A Church of Her Own should be high on the reading list of any woman attempting to enter the Christian ministry. It is also of interest to Christian clergy in general and to Christian congregations. Female rabbinical students, rabbis, and some Jewish congregations may want to read the book and compare it to issues they are experiencing. It fact, it's of interest to anyone interested in women’s roles and difficulties in these religions today.


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Friday, May 09, 2008

Events Coil: May 10-June 30

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. Links to 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. The next Events Coil is planned for mid-June and will include events listed here that haven't yet happened, plus new events through early August. If you have an event you want listed in future Events Coils, please leave info a comment. See the end of this Coil for what info we need for listings.
Updated last: June 3

May 10, 7 p.m. Samhain/Beltaine, Akkademie PaGaian Cosmology
, Blue Mountains AUSTRALIA

May 11, 11 a.m.
Service honoring Parvati with guest priestess Elana Golden, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

May 11, 7 p.m. gather 7 p.m., ritual 7:30 p.m. Mother's Day, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

May 17, gather 4:30 p.m. Womyn's Beltane Ritual, Daughters of the Goddess, Alameda CA

May 18, 11 a.m. Goddess Service Honoring Frigg, guest priestess tba, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

May 19, gather 7 p.m., ritual 7:30 p.m. Full Moon Ritual, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

May 23, 7 p.m. "The Inspiration of Activism In Art" with Dr. Cristina Biaggi and Starr Goode, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

May 24, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. "The Greek Eleusinian Mystery Cult," North Tambourine AUSTRALIA

May 25, 7:30 p.m. Moon Lodge Women's Circle with Priestess and Doula Katinka Soetens, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

May 25, 11 a.m. Goddess Service honoring White Tara, guest priestess tba, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 1, 11 a.m. Goddess Service honoring Juno, guest priestess tba, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 3, 7 p.m. New Moon Women's Mysteries, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

June 3, 7:30 p.m. The Craft Connection, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 4, 7 p.m. New Moon Drumming with Candy Eaton, Goddess Temple of Orange County,
Irvine CA

June 8, gather Noon, ritual 12:15 p.m., Circle of Connection (Becoming), National Arboretum, Washington DC

June 8, 11 a.m. Goddess Service, "Creative Energy and the Feminine" with guest Priestess Dr. Elsbeth Meuth, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 15-22, Pagan Spirit Gathering (Summer Solstice) , sponsored by Circle Sanctuary, Wisteria OH

June 15, 11 a.m. , Goddess Service, Auspicious Goddess Durga with gues priestess Marsha "Orca" Lange, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 17-22 Goddess Festival, Budapest HUNGARY

June 20, 7 p.m. Winter Solstice Ritual: PaGaian Moon Court inaugural ritual, Blue Mountains, AUSTRALIA

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

June 20, gather 7 p.m., ritual 7:30 p.m., Midsummer, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

June 20, gather 7:30 p.m., ritual 8 p.m. Litha (Solstice), Reclaiming, Ocean Beach, San Francisco CA

June 21, 20 uhr, Celtic Summer Solstice Celebration/Sommersonnwend-Feier, Nemea Goddess Center, Salzkammergut AUSTRIA

June 21, 1 p.m. Light of Summer Ritual (Becoming), Turkey Run Park VA

June 21, gather 6:30 p.m., ritual 7 p.m.
Summer Solstice, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 22, gather 11:30 a.m., ritual at noon; Summer Solstice Ritual, Connect DC, The National Mall, Washington DC

June 22, 11 a.m., Goddess Service honoring Saules Mate, guest priestess tba, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 26-29, Netherlands Goddess Conference, Hillgom Nederland

June 28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m."Archaelogy and the Goddess," 1-day symposium. Speakers include Carol P. Christ, Mary Condren, Lucy Goodison, Kathryn Roundtree. Trinity College, Dublin IRELAND.

June 29, 11 a.m. Goddess Service honoring Thmei with guest priestess Rev. Karent Tate, Goddess Temple of Orange County,
Irvine CA



Canberra, 10 a.m.most Saturday mornings, Meditation. The Goddess Shrine, Temple of Lunation Magick
(White Gum Valley): Mondays, 17:30, 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)
Canton CT: Sundays, 10:30 a.m. Services, Women's Temple: In Her Name
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,
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.
St. Sandy UT: second Saturday of each month, 4:30 p.m., Isis Devotionals, Iseum of Muth/Lyceum of Auset and Heru em Aakhuti

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 (no pdf 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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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Australian Goddess Conference, Oct. 10-12

Another Goddess Conference we want to let you know about enough ahead of time to make travel plans: The 2008 Goddess Conference sponsored by the Goddess Association in Australia (GAIA), Oct. 10-12 in Broadbeach, QLD, Australia.

So far announced presenters include: Amrita Hobbs, Glenys Livingstone, Lynne Sinclair-Wood, Mikailah Gooda, Lucy Cavendish, Anique Radiant Heart, Laura Doe-Harris, Ruth Shepherd, Tanishka...and more...

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Protests Over Planned Honorary Degree for Schlafly

Just a shortie to let you know that Washington University in St. Louis is planning to award anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly an honorary degree at its commencement exercises next Thursday. Student, profs, alums and others are protesting. More info at these networking sites:


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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Global Goddess Oracle: Beltane '08

The first article listed in this issue of Global Goddess Oracle is "The Magic in Beltane" by H. Byron Ballard. Byron thinks the word "magic" is overused these days, and that this results in us missing "the real thing when it presents itself." She weaves in various May Day customs and the U. S. Religious Right's response: Pray Day.

I'll discuss the rest of the articles not in the order that they're listed on the left column of Oracle's page, but in my own possibly eccentric order:

When Mut Danu goes out in her garden and tells family and friends what she's focusing on, they hear her say " the hole" but in her mind she's saying "the whole." In "Goddess in My Garden," Mut writes:
For me, gardening often as not turns into a meditation of "the whole" and ends as a form of worship.
Mut takes us along as she gets down on her knees and blissfully plants her garden. This is lovely to read, even if you don't garden!

As Walt Disney prepares to release another of its films based on the Narnia books series, Courtney McLaughlin gives us "The Lion, The Witch, and the Witch Hunt: How C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia Demonizes the Goddess." She compares the treatment of witches and goddess symbolism in the books and films and gives a fascinating discussion of the "White Witch." Even if you're not into Narnia, I think you'll want to read this.

In "The Computer Goddesses (Part 2)" Barbara Ardinger PhD continues her humourous discoveries and introduces us to three "Wyrd Sisters of Office Automation," Formuleria, Typoreina, and Folder-holder-older-molder, as well as other other new deities ;-).

In "Feminine Intuition--Your Power to Know What's Really Going On," a book excerpt, Gayle Goodwin gives her opinion about "spirit guides," and I think what she says may be controversial for some of us. Gayle writes that there was a time "in the fog of prehistory when Woman didn't need oracles to predict her future" and that women still have "a direct link to Divinity." And she doesn't stop there...

In "Spring Fever," Mama Donna Henes, an "urban shaman" in "exotic Brooklyn," views spring.

Welcome especially because Beltaine/Beltane for many of us seems the most social of holy days though we might spend it alone, Karen Thoms gives us a "Solitary Ritual for Beltaine."

"A Letter to Ayla of the Earth's Children" by Elizabeth Phillips is poetic prose about a dream, a coma, a scream...

This issue's poems are "Dew Kissed and Beltane Blessed," by Bendis (a poem around a Maypole), "Life's Dance" by Mary Lyons, and "Remember" by Anita Chapman.

Dawn "Belladonna" Thomas contributes "Herb of the Season: Hawthorn," "Moon Planting and Harvesting Schedule" from Beltane to Litha, and a review of the book Good Fortune and How to Attract It by Titania Hardie.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Matrifocus: Beltane issue

I always enjoy reading Matrifocus. The Beltane '08 issue continues to have great stuff. It opens with art called "Bear Gate" by Sara Teofanov. The articles include:

"Sacred Repositories and Goddess Figurines" by Johanna Stuckey, which tells about the archeological artifacts from the 9th Century BCE found in a Philistine Temple site near what is now Tel Aviv, Israel. The goddess figurines are accompanied by lions, bovines, goats, and sacred trees. Johanna speculates on how an "ordinary person" in ancient times might treat a "female pillar figurine," as many archeologists call them, or representations of Asherah as some of us might call them.

In "Buying a Tibetan Peace Vase in Peru," Vicki Noble tells how she took one of 6,000 Tibetan peace vases to Peru, where she was working to counter male-biased archeology. Read the article to find out where she and her companions buried the base--and what they buried with it.

In "Hitting Bedrock," gardener Mary Swander writes about "a host of golden daffodils"...and much more, with some fascinating geological info about Iowa.

Nancy Vedder-Shults Ph.D. describes dancing as a way to enter "ecstatic trance" in a number of different trads in her article, "Dance." She also gives instructions on how to use dance in divination.

In "Menopause is Enlightenment," Susun Weed explores similarities between menopause symptoms and the "awakening of kundalini." Are "hot flashes" signaling "enlightenment"? I found this fascinating.

Clea Danaan tells how she made a mask from her own own face in "Facing My Power: The Queen Mask." Clea tells about the role this mask has played in her life.

"Highway 138" by Shay Harris takes you on a trip down a country road that leads to "simple adventures" and Goddess encounters. With photos.

Why does Rev. Nano Boye Nagle hate her curly long dark red hair? Read her article, "The Long and Short of It" to find out--and learn what she did about it.

Madelon Wise asked for a Dutch oven for a holiday gift. In the "Cauldron and the Crone," she shows what she received, describes how she has worked with this gift over the last few months, and tells about celebrating Walpurgisnacht in Wisconsin, rather than Beltane.

This issue's wonderful poetry includes 4 poems by Sharon Brogan: "The Making of Eve,"the bubbling place," Fibromyalgia," and "All Fall Down"; and Holin Kennen's "Returning to Our Senses."

This Beltane issue has 3 photo essays focusing in the U.S. Midwest: "Mississippi River Backwater" by Gwyn Padden-Lecthen, "Images of Compassion, Love, and Mercy" by Jacki Hayes, and "Full Moon in Libra" by Lance Link.

And there are 3 book reviews: Madelon Wise's review of The Woman in the Shaman's Body by Barbara Tedlock Ph.D.; Dahti Blanchard's review of Big Fat Manifesto (young adult fiction) by Susan Vaught; and Staci Schwarz's review of the novel The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd.

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