Thursday, May 28, 2009

Buzz Coil: May '09

Panthea - All Things Are Goddess: We are delighted to see that Panthea (Lee Hutchings) is back! She explains her blog’s recent absence in an April 23 post, "Panthea Returns" . She tells of the role of Kali and Persephone in the ending of her marriage a few months ago in an April 26 post, "Changes and Life Reflections" and, on the same day, follows this post with a beautiful series of photos under the title, "Spring Photo Blogging."

Driving Audhumla: In an May 10 post, "Yesterday at Festival," Victoria Slind-Flor shares the full speech she gave as part of her "Keeper of the Light" responsibilities at the Pagan Pride Festival in Berkeley.

Evoking the Goddess: Congrats to Paul, whose first grandchild, a girl, was born on Earth Day. Paul offers a special prayer to the Goddess Bride for this blessing in his April 22 post,
"New Life." Paul, who lives in England, blogs about the Irish Catholic child abuse report and other UK current events in his May 21 post, "Wise words from my parents."

The House of Inanna: The blogger formerly known as Brian is now blogging under the name "Idris." He explains why in his May 10 post, "A Major Change." Idris, who is originally from Britain and now lives in Hungary, gives his opinion on the report about the Catholic Church in Ireland, including an incident not included in the report, in his May 20 post, "A Long Overdue and incomplete report..."

Hecate: Blogger Hecate, an American, has been running a series of excerpts from Ireland’s report on the Roman Catholic Church abuse of children. The series begins on May 20 with a post titled,
"Ireland Should Have Kept the Snakes And Kicked Out That Nasty Patrick Person."

Full Circle News Blogger Sia, in a May 24 post, "Returning: Looking for the goddess in Malta and the new film ‘Agora’" has links to the You Tube video "The Goddess Temple of Malta," and refers to reviews (including Jason Pitzl Waters’--see below) of the new movie on the subject, "Agora," about the life of Hypatia. Includes link to movie trailer. Sia also mentions the music CD "Returning" by Jennifer Berezan, which I own and find profoundly moving and use in ritual.

The Wild Hunt: Jason Pitzl-Waters writes about
"The Post-Cannes Reaction to ‘Agora’." His May 27 post, "The Coredemptrix Dog Whistle?" examines the possibilty of the Roman Catholic Church making Mary (mother of Jesus) a co-redemptrix and mediatrix.

Radical Goddess Thealogy: In her May 3 post,
"Praying to Goddess," blogger Athana publishes a question from a friend about how or if Goddessians pray. Don’t miss the answers in the comments already there. Perhaps you have something to add?

Read this and weep: In her May 21 post,
"Word Association~5 Word Meme" takes on the challenge of a 5-word meme given to her by a friend. The words she writes on are Goddess, Feminism, Family, Writing, Weaving.

Amused Grace: In her May 19 post,
"Unfinished Business," Thalia Took shares what she calls an unfinished portrait of Skaoi, which she began as a fulfillment of a vow she made on a ski slope to this Norse Goddess of Winter.

The Village Witch: In her May 7 Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times blog post, "Fluffy Bunny," Byron Ballard writes that when people call her that, she laughs. She then reflects on abusive teachers and the role of "teachers" in various spiritual paths.

Daily Kos: Tara the Antisocial Social Worker continues her Wednesday series on Goddess spirituality and political activism, "How a Woman becomes a Goddess," in which she combines the myths of various goddesses with socio-political issues. Her May 27 diary is about Psyche, whom she relates to when thinking about California’s Prop 8. Her May 20 diary focuses on Sarasvati, whom she calls the Hindu Goddess of Words, and explores the role of words in various spiritual traditions as well as in a memoir, part of which forms the basis for the movie, Hotel Rwanda. Her May 6 diary is about "Nzambl," whom she calls the Congolese Earth Mother, and the current U.S. political concept of "exceptionalism." These and other previous diaries in this remarkable series can be found here.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

REVIEW: The Temple of the Subway Goddess

The Temple of the Subway Goddess, a novel by Carolyn Lee Boyd (Lulu 2008) trade paperback.

Located somewhere between what we usually call fantasy and what is commonly called reality, The Temple of the Subway Goddess is an adventurous, imaginative novel written by Carolyn Lee Boyd with a loving ear for language.

The chapters are unnumbered, but each has a title. The 1st chapter "An Invitation," can be considered an extended and modernized "Dear Reader" statement, inviting us to imagine that it is 7000 years BP (before present) and we are sitting "in a circle in a round sanctuary" taking part in a Goddess ritual in which people tell their stories. The rest of the novel contains the interwoven stories of Mira, a priestess initiate from 7000 BP and Suzanne, living in a present-day unnamed American city. In the second chapter, "At the Gates" we learn about the ancient Temple of Women; we meet Suzanne, living now with her husband, Sam, in the 21st century in the rather unconventional Pickmont Park section of the city; and we meet Mira, a woman whose initiation as a priestess in the ancient Temple of Women occurs during an earthquake. The other priestesses leave the Temple to save their lives but don’t disturb entranced Mira because they believe it is improper to interrupt an initiate in mid-trance. The earthquake seals the Temple shut and Mira remains "with her Goddess," somewhere between life and death, until an archeologist unearths the Temple remains in the 21st Century. Mira then enters the Present at Pickmont Park, at first lacking a physical body, and becomes acquainted with Suzanne during a hurricane.

In the following chapters, Mira develops a physical body. She sometimes merges with Suzanne and is sometimes embodied on her own. Mira teaches Suzanne about life in Ancient Times, and Suzanne teaches Mira about life in the 21st Century. As she turns 40, Suzanne resumes her interest in photography, which she had abandoned when she was 30. She develops unusual powers after "melding" with Mira at a zoo and becomes famous because of them. Mira’s influence changes Suzanne’s view of herself, the city she lives in, and her relationship with her husband, an astrophysicist who discovers something unusual astrophysically-speaking about Pickmont Park. But there comes a point when Suzanne must decide whether she will allow Mira and other spiritual entities to entirely take over her being or whether she will assert her individuality.

To me, the novel can be read and understood on at least two levels, the spiritual and the psychological. For instance, I can see Mira as an imaginary figure that emerges when Suzanne is scared during the hurricane. Or I can understand her as an actual ancient spirit, similar to the "ghost" in Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

The thematic tension between "magic" and "reality," as well as thematic material about what constitutes fully-developed spirituality, is highlighted in a fantasy-filled parade that culminates in the need to rush one of the participants, a terminal cancer patient, to the hospital. The patient, leader of a chorus Suzanne belongs to, makes an unusual request of the chorus members. Suzanne leads in responding to this request, which presents another spiritual challenge – one that has surprising results.

This is a finely crafted novel. Each chapter begins with a teaching or "lesson" from the ancient Temple, which lead up to, in what could be called a circular manner, a final lesson about the destruction of the Temple. One of my favorite "lessons" begins an earlier chapter titled "Snakes and Elixers." Boyd writes:
Many priestesses-to-be who entered the Temple of Women desired the magical power to remake the world to their liking more than anything else the Temple could offer them. Therefore, for their first lesson, the Chief Priestess would gather them into the circle to teach them the secrets of enchantment and conjuring.
I’m not going to reveal the way the Chief Priestess teaches them these "secrets," but only say that as far as I’m concerned, her method and message was perfect.

The Temple of the Subway Goddess is a beautifully written novel that can be a gentle, yet intriguing introduction to some aspects of Goddess thought for those just beginning on this path. I believe it will also be warmly welcomed as an inspiring read by those who have been close to Goddess for some time.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Press Coverage of Archeological Find Varies; Goddess Figure about 40,000 Years Old

An archeological find in Germany that some scientists say changes the way they view Paleolithic art received press coverage that varies from the fairly objective to the clueless and distorted.

One of the best articles, with an excellent pictures of the Goddess figure, appears in May 14 issue of The Science Daily and is titled, "Ivory Venus Figurine from the Swabian Jura Rewrites Prehistory." It begins:

The 2008 excavations at Hohle Fels Cave in the Swabian Jura of southwestern Germany recovered a female figurine carved from mammoth ivory from the basal Aurignacian deposit. This figurine, which is the earliest depiction of a human, and one of the oldest known examples of figurative art worldwide, was made at least 35,000 years ago. This discovery radically changes our views of the context and meaning of the earliest Paleolithic art.
Archaeologists have dubbed the figure the "Venus of Hohle Fels" and conclude that it is consistent with other carbon-dated finds to assume that it could be 40,000 years old. The Science Daily article continues:

Many of the features, including the emphasis on sexual attributes and lack of emphasis on the head, face and arms and legs, call to mind aspects of the numerous Venus figurines well known from the European Gravettien, which typically date between 22 and 27 ka BP. The careful depiction of the hands is reminiscent of those of Venuses including that of archetypal Venus of Willendorf, which was discovered 100 years earlier in summer of 1908. Despite the far greater age of the Venus of Hohle Fels, many of its attributes occur in various forms throughout the rich tradition of Paleolithic female representations.
(Note: BP=Before Present)

The figure will be on display in Stuttgart, Germany in an exhibit called "Ice Age Art and Culture." Science Daily gives no specific location for the exhibit.

Meanwhile, over at the The Times (of London), this important archeological find is compared to porn. In an article headlined, "Prehistoric female figure ‘earliest piece of erotic art uncovered’ ", the Times reporter writes:
A piece of Prehistoric pornography carved from mammoth ivory at least 35,000 years ago may be the oldest known example of figurative art. The female figurine, which stands 6cm (2.4in) tall, has outsized breasts, huge buttocks, exaggerated genitals and open legs.
He then quotes the equally clueless comment from Paul Mellars of the University of Cambridge, in the May 14 issue of Nature:
“The figure is explicitly — and blatantly — that of a woman, with an exaggeration of sexual characteristics, large, projecting breasts, a greatly enlarged and explicit vulva, and bloated belly and thighs, that by 21st-century standards could be seen as bordering on the pornographic.”
What are these people clueless about (possibly intentionally so)--is that far from being pornographic--or even erotic or bordering on porn--the figure is sacred sculpture from an era that honored the deity as female.To compare this (or similar) art to porn is insulting to women, shows ignorance of the knowledge of early religions we have from archeology and anthropology , and therefore is tantamount to comparing a depiction of Jesus' crucifixion to S&M.

The coverage over at the New York Times is a smidgeon more balanced than other Times, but still leaves a lot to be desired. Headlined, "Full Figured Statuette, 35,000 Years Old, Provides New Clues to How Art Evolved," the story begins:
No one would mistake the Stone Age ivory carving for a Venus de Milo. The voluptuous woman depicted is, to say the least, earthier, with huge, projecting breasts and sexually explicit genitals.
The article also quotes Mellars' porn comparison but also includes some of his less colorful commentary. This article is accompanied by a video of the Goddess figure, and gives us the information that the figure is less than 2.5 inches long, weighs less than an ounce, and is carved with a ring at the top in place of a head, leading to speculation that the object was worn as a pendant.

Though archeologists say this object is the oldest of its kind, an article in the current Spring/Summer issue of Goddess Alive! by Goddess scholar and artist Lydia Ruyle, titled
"The Acheulian Ancient Mother," is about a Goddess artifact found many many years earlier in the Golan Heights, Israel. Ruyle bases her conclusions on an article in The Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society, Vol. 19, Jerusalem 1986 and includes a pic.


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Friday, May 15, 2009

Matrifocus: Beltane 2009

This Beltane issue of the fine e-journal Matrifocus begins with a cover photo,"The Earth that is Her Body," by Jacki Hayes taken in Big Basin, Redwood State Park.

The articles are:
"Atargatis, the 'Syrian Goddess' " by Johanna Stuckey, which discusses the Ancient Near Eastern Goddess also known as "Dea Syria." Stuckey writes that Atargatis is possibly connected to Hera, Cybele, and a number of other goddesses. She is often pictured enthroned, and flanked by 2 sphinxes or 2 lions. Stuckey, who has written of a number of other ANE goddesses in Matrifocus, explores this Goddess’s extensive iconography and mentions that Her name appears to be derived from a combination of Anat and Astarte and possibly, though "hidden," also of Asherah (aka Athirat).

"Dakini: The Goddess Who Takes Form as a Woman" by Vicki Noble, in which Noble compares the Tibetan Buddhist Dakini to the Fool in the Tarot deck and calls her "a compelling icon of untamed female freedom." Dakinis are connected to synchronicities and "inexplicable conincidences of fate." Noble says that although "historically dated to 8th century Tibet," dakinis are related to much more ancient female deities and khandro, "female travelers in space." Noble writes:
Dakinis are explicitly understood to take form as human women, and although not all women are dakinis, any woman at any time might be a dakini. The simplest way of understanding this is through the biological bloodline of menstruation, a legacy bequeathed from all mothers of daughters in every culture throughout time, all the way back to the beginnings of human evolution

"A Garden Flooded with Gold" by Mary Swander answers the question, Why does a certain landfill smell like rotten eggs? Includes memories of Iowa floods, with pics.

"Intuition," by Nancy Vedder-Shults, Ph. D., gives a brief history of seers and psychics, and expands upon the usual definition of intuition with an extensive "how to" on 2 different ways to access your own inner guidance.

"Tlazolteotl: The Goddess of Filth" by Anne Key discusses a Mesoamerican Goddess who can usually be indentified by the black around her mouth and chin. Her name comes from the Nahuatl word for garbage and is related to sex, especially when excessive. Her headress of unspun cotton connects her to weaving. Key explains the sexual symbolism of this activity. Tlazolteotl is also a Goddess who gives absolution, including to adulturers. Ultimately she represents the life-death cycle.

"Goddess Feminists and the Body" by Giselle Vincett is the second article based on Vincett’s research for her Ph. D. thesis, and is based on her interviews and observations of Goddess feminists and Christian feminists in the UK.

"April 17" by Dolores DeLuise is about flowering trees, death, and being well organized (and much more!).

"Stone Circle in the Hand" by Jennifer A. Mantle tells of her experience with the Ebenezer Lutheran Church, aka Her Church in San Francisco, where women meet weekly to honor Goddess with a rosary recitation. Mantle also describes her experience making her own Goddess rosaries, which she compares to stone circles. in Britain.

"Wild Food for Wise Women" by Susun Weed points out healing "weeds" that may be growing in your backyard and tells how to use them.

This issue's poems are: Dark Maiden" by Sage Starwalker; "About the Season" by Katherin Gullett; and "This is the Dance," by Kvayn.

There are 2 photo essays: "Perspectives" by Gwen Padden-Lecthen, which includes "washing winter away/renewing the earth" and "what the field mouse might see"; and "Spring Triptych" by Kate Clapper, comprising photos of 3 plants.

In this issue’s editorial, "May Day! May Day!" Feral describes what she calls an "odd" May 1 for her this year, which included getting "laid off." Why wasn’t her first response one of panic? Read it and find out!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Events Coil: May 14-July 5

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. 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. Ongoing events are listed after the dated events. 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, please leave info as a comment. See the end of this Coil for what info we need for listings.

Now-May 31 , Exhibition: The Fertile Goddess, The Brooklyn Museum , Brooklyn NY

Now-July 26, "Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa & Its Diasporas," Smithsonian Museum of African Arts, Washington DC

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

May 15-17, "Sophia and the World Soul" with Dr. Lee Irwin & Carolyn Rivers, The Sophia Institute, Charleston SC

May 16-17, Wise Woman Festival with Flash Silvermoon, et al, Melrose FL

May 17, 11 a.m.
Goddess Service with Amalya, founder of The Goddess Studio, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

May 24, Dark Moon Red Tent at Herland, Mother Grove, Asheville NC

May 24, 11 a.m.
Goddess Service: "The Mothers Speak"; 7 p.m. New Moon Drumming; Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

May 24, meet up 7 p.m. New Moon on the Mountain, Montreal Reclaiming, Montreal CANADA

May 24, time tba, New Moon Celebration, Maetreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

May 31, 11 a.m., gather at Capitol Hill and go to Arboretum, Wicked Witches of F'ing Everything, Washington DC

May 31, 11 a.m. Goddess Service, Hestia with Suzan Vaughn, Goddess Temple of Orange County,
Irvine CA

June 2, 7:30 p.m. The Craft Connection with Lady Deberah, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 7, 11 a.m., Goddess Service, Goddess Uzume with Melinda Allec; 7 p.m. Full Moon Drumming with Liz Prall, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

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

June 7, time tba, Full Moon Celebration, Matreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

June 14-16, Pagan Spirit Gathering with Summer Solstice Celebration, Circle Sanctuary, Camp Zoe, near
Salem MO

June 14, 11 a.m. Goddess Service, Goddess Ate with Kathe Schaaf, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 19, time tba, Celebrate Summer Solstice & Goddess Juno, Daughters of the Goddess (Dianic), San Francisco CA

June 20-21, Summer Solstice-New Moon, Temple of the Phygianum, Matreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

June 20 7 p.m. Winter Solstice/Yule ,Akkademie PaGaian Cosmology,
Blue Mountains AUSTRALIA

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

June 20, gather 19u30, ceremony 22uur, Midzomer, Goddess Temple, Gent BELGIUM

June 20, doors open 6:30 p.m., ritual 7 p.m., doors lock 7:15 p.m., Temple Holy Day for Women: Summer Solstice, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 20, gather 7:30 p.m., ritual 8 p.m. Summer Solstice Ocean Beach Bonfire, Reclaiming,
San Francisco CA

June 20, 9 p.m. Summer Solstice Celebration, The Flying Lotus, Mt. Shasta CA

June 21, 5 p.m., Women's Winter Solstice: Goddess Mystery ceremony and midwinter feast, Fremantle AUSTRALIA

June 21, doors open 12.00 uur, ceremony 14.00 uur, Summer Solstice, Nederlandse Godinnen Tempel, Hillgom NEDERLAND

June 21, gather 11:30 a.m., ritual noon, Summer Solstice, ConnectDC, Spirit of Justice Park, Washington DC

June 21, 11 a.m., Goddess Service, Goddess Pomona
, Fathers Day/Summer Solstice; 7 p.m. New Moon Drumming with Candy Eaton, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

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

June 22, 7 p.m. New Moon Women's Mysteries, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

June 22, time tba, New Moon on the Mountain, Montreal Reclaiming,
Montreal CANADA

June 25-28
5th Netherlands Goddess Conference with Anique Radiant Heart, Anke Zack, Isabella Verbruggen, Janneke van Wieren, Lida van de Water, Ruud Borman & others, Centrum Athanor te Lochem, NEDERLAND

June 28, 11 a.m. Goddess Service, Goddess Eagle Mother with Debbie Barnnett, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

July 4-5, BBQ on 4th, New Moon ritual on 5th, Matreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

July 5, 3-5 p.m. Full Moon, Temple of the Sacred Arts, Germantown MD

July 5, 11 a.m.
Goddess Service with Dianne Kapral; 7 p.m. Full Moon Drumming, Goddess Temple of Orange County,
Irvine CA



Perth (White Gum Valley): Mondays, 17:30,
Chalice Ceremony, Daughters of Ishtar.

most days 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Goddess Temple open for personal prayers.

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

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

Soderhamn, Gudinne Temple Open weekdays Noon
-6 p.m. Mondays, 7-9 p.m., meditation prayer, conversation.

Arlington VA: 3rd Sunday of month, time tba, ritual Moonfire.
Canton CT: Sundays, 10:30 a.m. Services, Women's Temple: In Her Name

Charleston SC: 1st Tuesday of month, Women's Circle, The Sophia Institute
Geyersville CA:
Sunday Services 2-4 p.m.
Temple of Isis
Houston TX: Sundays, 10 a.m. Magdalene Community, Rothko Chapel; 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.
Friday services, gather 6 p.m., service 6:30 p.m. "All Souls in Reverence." Goddess Temple of Orange County
Palenville NY: 1st Saturday of month, 4 p.m. Goddess Meet-Up Group, Matreum of Cybele.
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
Washington DC: 2nd Sunday of month; gather Noon, ritual 12:15 p.m. , National Arboretum, Becoming DC.
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 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, no password-protected 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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