Sunday, October 31, 2010

May Conference in Switzerland

"The Time is Ripe," an international conference in St. Gallen, Switzerland will take place May 11-15, 2011, under the direction of Dr. Heidi Goettner-Abendroth. It will include indigenous scholars from the Americas, Asia, and Africa discussing their own "matriarchal" societies, a discussion of "matriarchal" politics, the opening of the MatriArchiv, a multilingual library founded by Christina Schlatter, and spiritual art and rituals, culminating in a procession through St. Gallen.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Buzz Coil: October '10

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

Evoking the Goddess: It’s wonderful to see Paul blogging again after an "absence" of several months. His Oct. 24 post, "Goddess Temple Budapest," tells of and shows (with great pics) his recent visit to the Goddess Temple in Budapest, Hungary.

Dirt Worship: Starhawk gives us "Some Quick Scenes from the Trip" in her Oct. 1 post. She writes about a Demeter workshop in Sicily; a workshop that included Baba Yaga stories and a trip through the woods gathering wild mushrooms in Poland; a talk, spiral dance, and Fall Equinox celebration in London; and the Goddess Conference in Madrid. With pics!

Pagan Godspell:
Ruby Sara asks us to do a certain "dance" before we shimmy into her Oct. 23 post, "Conundrums and Kerfuffles: Clergy Language and the Pagani," Near the beginning she writes:

...Whether or not we are reconstructing, inventing, or syncretizing, the fact remains: contemporary Pagan/pagan religions are post-Christian phenomena, and there is a relationship there that must be explored, deeply and honestly, if we expect to grow and engage with those around us both inside and outside our traditions (even if we differ on what the goal of our growing and engaging ought to be).
She then gives a summary of what she objects to in Christianity, writes that "Pagans too can be guilty of ignorance when it comes to Christian history," and gives examples. And there’s much much more in this terrific think piece.

Hecate: Blogger Hecate has been posting about how Pagans/Wiccans/Witches might deal with media questions, sometimes bringing in her legal expertise. Two of the posts are Oct. 4's "Just Stop" and Oct. 6's "In Which Our Heroine Goes On and On Because It Matters," which includes remarks by Thorn Coyle. As someone with professional journalism experience, I say—Go read ‘em.

The Wild Hunt: The latest on "Witch’s Wit" ale’s label leads Jason Pitzl-Water’s Oct 23 "Updates: Witch’s Wit, Air Force Academy, Canadian Polyamory Case." The Witch’s Wit label issue revolves around a California-based beer company’s label on a brew showing a pretty blonde woman being burned at the stake. Its apparent resolution involves the collaboration of Vicki Noble and Cynthia Eller, supported by email to the company from many other individuals. However, if you read the readers’ comments below the post, things don’t seem to be entirely wrapped up yet. And if you read those comments you’ll also see why some Goddessians feel that part of the greater Pagan community is as misogynist as some other religious communities.

The Village Witch: Byron Ballard’s Oct. 24 post in the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times, "Find the Pomegranate. Eat It. Remain a Time with the Dark Goddesses," discusses the myths of Persephone and Inanna, and invites us to eat pomegranate seeds and "cross over the thresholds of a deeper spiritual experience."

Read This and Weep: In her Oct. 25 post, 'Somewhere in between what the song & the silence say,' Carol Lovekin shares some beautifully-written thoughts about the beauty of autumn.

Goddess in a Teapot: In her Oct. 17 post, "Lili Boulanger: Composer for the Great Wheel of Life," Carolyn L. Boyd writes a tribute to the well-known French composer and musician who died at age 24 in the early years of the 20th century. Carolyn writes that when she listens to Boulanger’s music, "I hear a human voice of Kali and all the goddesses who bring together life, death, and rebirth."

Amused Grace: In her Oct. 17 post, "Truth," artist Thalia Took writes about changes she has made to her blog and changes she is thinking about making, related to some deeper issues.

Medusa Musing: Best wishes to blogger gorgon50, who announces she is getting married in 5 weeks in her Oct. 23 post, "Countdown Begins." In her October 14 post, "The Case of the Missing Virgin, Again," gorgon50 writes about the second time an image of Mother Mary has "disappeared" from her. I muse: Is this some sort of spiritual guidance?

Pantheos/Pantheon: "We are Born in Original Blessing," was posted on Oct. 20 by Star Foster in response to a post elsewhere on Pantheos. Star’s Oct. 24 post, "God is Not One, No really..." explores what Star calls "Universalism, as spun out by Theosophy, Joseph Campbell, and the inclusivist movement. . . ." Star calls this view "too easy."

Z Budapest Blog: Z’s Oct. 24 post, "Why I vote for Democrats" reminds American women why voting in the upcoming election is important.

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


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

FILM REVIEW: 'Vision'...Hildegard von Bingen

Vision: From the Life Of Hildegard von Bingen, a film written and directed by Margarethe von Trotta, (Zeitgeist Films). In German, with English subtitles.

This historical biopic about Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), Benedictine nun, visionary, composer, poet, healer, herbalist, and nature-lover, opens with a scene in a church at the close of the first millennium. Expecting the world to end at midnight, some people flagellate themselves, others pray. Eventually they fall asleep. The next morning a girl about 5-years-old and a teenage boy are first to awaken. As the little girl watches in wonder, the boy goes to the church door, opens it, and glories in the bright sunshine. The scene shifts to a blonde girl of about 8 being taken to a cloister where she is expected to eventually become a nun. This is young Hildegard (Stella Hozapfel), one of ten children in a weathy family, whose childhood has been marked by illness, once so severe that she had to stay in bed for a year. After Hildegard’s family leaves the cloister the nuns inhabit under the supervision of Benedictine monks, the Magistra, Jutta von Sponheim (Mareile Blendl) tells her, "I’ll be your mother now. You can trust me." Hildegard rooms with another girl her age, also with the first name Jutta, and they becomes close friends. They are dismayed by another instance they witness of self-flagellation, a common practice among the Benedictines. The film then jumps forward 30 years. The Magistra is dying and asks all the nuns to leave the room except Hildegard (Barbara Sukowa). She asks for and receives from Hildegard a "farewell kiss." Hildegard and her friend Jutta (Lena Stolze) have the responsibility of preparing von Sponheim’s body for burial and discover that under her habit, she has been wearing a belt that appears to be of sharp metal. They remove the belt and are appalled by the practice that has left caked blood and scars on her skin. The monks inform the nuns that Von Sponheim’s wish was that Hildegard be the new Magistra. Jutta is jealous that the Magistra preferred Hildegard over her. The monks are ready to carry out the Magistra’s will and appoint Hildegard. But Hildegard asks that instead the nuns vote on whether they want her in this high position. They vote by dropping either a white (yes) or black (no) ball into a box. All but one ball is white and she is elected. Thrilled by her election, all the nuns but one happily kneel around Hildegard. Jutta remains standing in the background.

As Magistra, Hildegard uses herbs to heal a monk’s flagellation wounds and says, "He who kills the flesh kills he who inhabits it." We then hear the first of Hildegard’s songs included in this film. Hildegard is the first woman whose musical compositions have survived to the present time. Many of her vocal compositions have a sublime ethereal quality, as they soar to high soprano registers without male voices to anchor them. Besides teaching her nuns to heal with music, Hildegard teaches them to heal with herbs and with chrysoprase (a variety of quartz), saying, "First our souls must heal and then our bodies will follow."

Hildegard confesses to her friend, Brother Volmar (Heino Ferch), that she has had visions since she was 3-years-old. This is a dangerous move because the Church then must decide whether the visions come from God or from the Devil. Usually they assume the latter. Hildegard tells Volmar that her sin is not doing something she was appointed to do. She kisses him on the lips, but don’t get excited. There is a lot of lip-kissing in this film among the cloistered, yet I don’t think we are to necessarily read the erotic into this—it apparently was just the custom, possibly the equivalent of today’s cheek-kissing. Hildegard is brought before a group of monks who will decide from whence or whom her visions come. She tells them she didn’t see the visions in a dream or dream-like state, rather she saw them when she was awake and clear-eyed. The monks are ready to recommend her ex-communication, but Bernard of Clairvaux intercedes on her behalf and the Pope grants her permission to publish her visions.

A young woman named Richardis (Hannah Herzsprung), is brought to the cloister by her wealthy family, including her particularly enthusiastic mother. Lively Richardis seems to have a crush on the Magistra. Later, Hildegard talks to her about the nuns being a community. But Richardis tells Hildegard that she wants to be joined only to Hildegard and wants to be close to her as long as she lives. Consistent with the low-key, emotionally-even characterization of Hildegard (and most of the other characters), she neither accepts nor rejects Richardis’ passionate statement and we are left to wonder what her feelings are. Later in the film, we find out.

Hildegard uses lapses in the vows of one of her nuns and a monk to build a case for obtaining a nuns-only cloister. First she is threatened with ex-communication for this apparently uppity request, but Brother Volmar comes to her aid and is appointed "provost" of the new convent (they have to have a male to oversee them, right?). During a beautiful scene in the German woods as the Sisters and Brother travel on horseback to Rupertsberg, where the nuns have been granted land in Bingen, Hildegard experiences a vision. Although the project does not always go smoothly, eventually the Abby is built, with running water at Hildegard’s insistence. Hildegard, now Abbess, becomes known as a seer and is sought for her predictions of the future by clergy and royalty. In her Abby, we are treated to a scene from Hildegard’s Ordo Virtutum, considered by some to be the first medieval morality play. (I was fortunate to see the January 1989 performance of it at the Washington [National] Cathedral.) We hear another of Hildegard’s vocal compositions—this one with all voices but one singing in drone; the single voice singing in high soprano—after one of the nuns dies. The film closes with Hildegard making yet another unconventional choice.

Director Margarethe von Trotta, who is usually identified as a feminist and as part of the New German Cinema , gives us a picture both of medieval life in a Benedictine cloister and of an extremely talented woman’s effort to overcome restrictions placed on her by society, religion, and illness. Von Trotta does this not with melodramatics, not with flashy cinematography, but with a straightforward approach that seems to mimic real life. Under von Trotta’s direction, Barbara Surkowa’s portrayal of Hildegard therefore gives us not a glamorized hero, though she may take heroic actions, but rather a human.

Vision had its U. S. East Coast premiere in New York City on October 13 and is scheduled to have its West Coast premiere in Los Angeles on Nov. 5. For a schedule of showings elsewhere in the U.S. visit, scroll down to the bottom and click on "playdates." The film opened in Germany in 2009. I watched Visions on a "screener " DVD from Zeitgeist Films.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Was Proverbs 31 Changed to Obscure Goddess Reference?

You might want to have a look at this video, which Yonah ben-Ashera calls "conjectural," concerning the possibility (probability?) that Proverbs 31:28 was changed in Hebrew to obscure the fact that the Goddess Asherah (Athirat) was being referred to, particularly in the passage, "Her children shall rise up and call her blessed." In addition to transliterations of Hebrew, the original Hebrew text and Ugaritic are shown in the video. Yonah follows the video with supporting text, including the work of Rabbi Jill Hammer. Thanks to Max Dashu for the link to this video.
url for video:

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Events Coil: Oct. 16 - Nov. 30

As far as we know, all events we list are open functions; but some may be limited to women or to adults and some may require that you notify them that you plan to attend. Please check the websites for group policies. If no country is given, the event is in USA. All times local. Internet events have the time zone indicated. Events lasting more than 1 day are bolded. When listing events for the same date we have tried to list those that occur first, taking into account time zone differences. If there is a difference between our listings and the listings on the link, assume their web page is correct as details may have changed since we listed from it. Ongoing events are listed after the dated events. The next Events Coil is planned for November and will include events listed here that haven't yet happened, plus new events through late December. 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-Oct. 24, "Without and Within" Louie Lasowski's photography and painting, including Creatrix subjects, Tippecanoe Arts Federation Galleries, Lafayette IN

Oct. 15-17, Australian Goddess Conference 2010: She Who Is Weaver, with Anique Radiant Heart, Jane Meredith, Jane Hardwick Collins, Glenys Livingstone, Shekhinah Morgan, and many others; workshops, ceremonies, drumming, dancing and more, Broadbeach QLD AUSTRALIA

Oct. 16, 7 p.m., 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Suppressed History Archives with Max Dashu, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology,
Palo Alto CA

Oct. 16, gather 6:30 p.m., doors lock for ritual,7 p.m.,Ritual for the Daughter of the Dismembered Mother, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Oct. 17, 11 a.m. Goddess Service honoring Nisaba, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Oct. 20, 12:30 p.m.
1st meeting "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven" Course, Burbank CA

Oct. 21-23, Goddess in Germany Retreat, workshops, ceremonies, etc., with Joanne Foucher, Cassandra, Kathy Jones, Katina Soetens, Elin Hejll-Guest, and others, Sternschnuppe DEUTSCHLAND

Oct. 21, time tba,
Full Moon Celebration, Maetreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

Oct. 22, 4 p.m.,
Temple Dressing for Samhain, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Oct. 22, 7 p.m.
Full Moon Ritual, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

Oct. 23, pre-ritual 7:15 p.m., ritual 8 p.m.
Samhain Ritual: Mexican Day of the Dead, Moonfire, Arlington VA

Oct. 24, 11 a.m.
Goddess Service honoring Hine Turama, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Oct. 28, 7 p.m.
Ancestor Vigil, Mother Grove Goddess Temple, Asheville NC

Oct. 29, 7:15 p.m. Crystal/Drum Journey into the Cauldron, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Oct. 29, time tba,
Daughters of the Goddess Annual Womyn's Spiral Dance, San Francisco CA

Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m.
Moon Lodge, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Oct. 30, doors open 6 p.m., ritual 7:30 p.m.
The Spiral Dance (Samhain), San Francisco Reclaiming, San Francisco CA

Oct. 30-31,
Day of the Dead, Maetreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

Oct 30-31,
Samhain Festival, Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve, Barneveld WI

Oct. 30, 9 p.m.
Samhain Drumming, Open Hearth & Ecumenicon, Jefferson Memorial, Washington DC

Oct. 31, doors open 13.00 uur, ceremonie begins 14.00 uur;
Samhain Ceremonie, Nederlandse Godinnen Tempel,

Oct. 31, gather 11:30 a.m., ritual Noon, Samhain Ritual, Connect DC, Washington DC

Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m., Samhain Ceremony honoring the Crone, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Oct. 31, 10:30 a.m. All Saints and All Souls Celebration: Ritual for the Dead, Church of Gnosis, Mountain View CA

Oct. 31, 11 a.m.
Goddess Service honoring Hecate with costume party; gather 6:30 p.m., ritual 7 p.m. Temple Holy Evening: Hallows Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Oct. 31, 1 p.m., Samhain/Day of the Dead, Goddess Temple Inc., Lakewood OH

Oct. 31, 7 p.m. Sabbat -Samhain, Wiccan Church of Canada, Toronto Temple, Toronto CANADA

Oct. 31, gather 6:30 p.m., ritual 7 p.m. Samhain Ritual, North Bay Reclaiming, Sebastopol CA

Oct. 31, 7 p.m. Samhain Ritual, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet,
Indian Springs NV

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

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

Nov. 3, 7 p.m., Red Tent New Moon Women's Circle of Selene, Canberra AUSTRALIA

Nov. 4, 7 p.m. Red Tent New Moon Women's Circle of Diana, Canberra AUSTRALIA

Nov. 4, 7:30 New Moon Drumming , Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Nov. 6, 5 p.m. Beltaine Ritual, PaGaian Moon Court, Blue Mountains NSW AUSTRALIA

Nov. 6, 7 p.m. Crone Encounter, Circle of Aradia, Topanga CA

Nov. 6, 7 p.m. Women's Ritual: The 7 Gates of Inanna, with Amazon HP Manea Trinacria, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Nov. 8, time tba, Celebrate Pomona, Daughters of the Goddess, San Francisco CA

Nov. 12-14, Faith and Feminism/Womanist/Mujerista/Conference-Festival, with Monica Coleman, Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, Caryn D. Riswold, Jann Aldredge-Clanton; music, art, dance, workshops, liturgy and ritual, Herchurch, San Francisco CA

Nov. 13, Celtic New Year Feastival, Mother Grove Temple, Asheville NC

Nov. 14, 1 p.m. 1st meeting of "Cakes" Part II, Deerfield IL

Nov. 14, 11 a.m. Goddess Service with guest priestess Manea Trinacria, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Nov. 18, 7 p.m. Ritual Group, WATER,
Silver Spring MD

Nov. 20, 7 p.m. New Moon Drumming, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Nov. 21, see link for times, Webinar: Rebel Shamans:Women Confront Empire, with Max Dashu, YOUR COMPUTER

Nov. 21, 11 a.m.
Goddess Service: Thanksgiving Ritual, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Nov. 25, 6 p.m. Sound Healing, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Nov. 28, see link for times, Webinar: "Ancient Treasures of African Women, with Max Dashu,

Nov. 28, 11 a.m. Goddess Service with guest priestess Miranda Rondeau, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA



(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.

Hamilton: Saturdays, 4 p.m.
Open Classes ; gather 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.
Asheville NC: Sundays, 10 a.m drumming, 10:30 a.m. Service, Morning Devotionals, Mother Grove Goddess Temple.
Berkeley CA: last Sunday of month, 5 p.m., East Bay Goddess Rosary, University Lutheran Chapel.
Canton CT: Sundays, 10:30 a.m. Services, Women's Temple: In Her Name

Charleston SC: 1st Tuesday of month, Women's Circle with Carolyn Rivers, The Sophia Institute
Geyersville CA:
Sunday Services 2-4 p.m.
Temple of Isis
Grants Pass OR: Sunday Services; doors open 10:45 a.m., service starts 11 a.m., doors lock 11:10 a.m. Southern Oregon Temple of the Goddess
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 10 a.m. inward, meditative; 2nd service at 11 a.m., dancing, drumming, singing; see dates for guest speakers,
Goddess Temple of Orange County
Palenville NY: Saturdays, 5 p.m. training sessions; Sundays 4-6 p.m, open classes, 7 p.m. Pagan Circles, Maetreum of Cybele.
San Francisco CA
: Wednesdays,
Christian Goddess Rosary, Ebenezer Lutheran Church; 1st Fridays, evenings at various locations, Woman's Spirituality group.
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.

World Wide Web
Online, Wednesdays, 6 p.m. PT "Voices of the Sacred Feminine" interviews with well-known Goddessians and Pagans, hosted by Karen Tate, Blog Talk Radio.
Online, Sundays, 11 a.m. PT, "Creatrix Media Live" roundtable discussions include guests and phone-in audience participation, co-hosted by Jayne DeMent and Anniitra Ravenmoon, Blog Talk Radio.

We'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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