Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Buzz Coil: May '11

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

Hecate: In a beautiful May 24 post, "In My Bones, I Am a Witch" blogger Hecate explains what Witchcraft is to her, including that it

honors that part of women that is also divine
and that it helped her heal from "Catholicism’s solitary emphasis on male images and versions of divinity and priesthood."

Katrina’s Joy: Katrina Messenger’s May 16 post,
"Identity (Crisis) Stage Two" tells how she has been

struggling with what to call myself over the last couple of years.
After a few years of identifying herself as a "shaman and mystic" she has most recently been using "wiccan mystic." But she is now again reassessing. She has a long list of her identities, as do many of us, and she shares hers with us in her post. Which should she choose? Or should she choose any?

Goddess in a Teapot: Carolyn L. Boyd ‘s May 1 post,
"The Royal Wedding, Disco Balls, and The Goddess of the Land," links the most recent British royal wedding to the Goddess of the Land tradition.

Full Circle: Blogger Sia shares her
"Thoughts On Pagan Coming Out Day." in her May 2 post, which begins:

I am going to say something I know will not be popular.
I’m not so sure of that. The post is illustrated with Max Dashu’s poster, "Power Female Icons." When I look at the poster surrounded by Sia's words, I get the feeling that those goddesses are looking on at least with understanding, and maybe even approval.

Broomstick Chronicles: Macha NightMare/Aline O’Brien’s May 13 post describes the
"Interfaith Day of Prayer" breakfast that the Marin Interfaith Council presents every year on a date near that of the National Day of Prayer breakfast. Macha points out that the latter is "exclusively Christian." In contrast the Marin County, California, event has been including speakers and participants from many different religions. This year is the first year that a representative of an "Earth-based" group has been one of the event’s three speakers. (no it wasn’t Macha, who is the only Pagan member of the Council.)

COG Reports: Macha/Aline’s post also appears in this blog on May 13, along with Earth-based speaker Don Frew’s remarks to the Marin group, under the heading,
"CoG Interfaith Rep. at Marin Interfaith Council Prayer Breakfast. "

A Crone Speaks Out: In her April 25 post, Cathryn Platine tells us
"Why the Legal Battle of Maetreum of Cybele Over Property Tax Exemption is of Vital Importance to all Pagans." A Maetreum priestess, Cathryn relates the court case to "the culture war being waged across all of American right now" and explains the Cybeline Religion’s "long, verifiable history."

The Village Witch: Byron Ballard’s May 22 post in the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times, "I Have Returned, so they say" promises a report on the Pagan Unity Gathering she attended this month. At this writing she had not yet posted her report, but you might want to check there to see if it's been posted since I wrote this.

The Wild Hunt: In his May 22 post, "Using Tragedy as a Bludgeon," Jason Pitzl-Waters comments on the coverage by a Canadian newspaper of a crime in the state of Washington. The newspaper article, Jason says, conflates New Age with Paganism and presents both in a negative light.

UPDATE, May 28:
House of Inanna: After a long absence from blogging, today Idris has posted his objections to the term, "The divine feminine" ,
prompted by my April 4 post about the video "Dear Woman," on which he also just commented. Part of his approach is from insights into the relevance of the sex act(s), which frankly hadn't occurred to me before. Both his comment on my post and his own blog post are well worth reading (his blog post has more about sex).

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


Thursday, May 19, 2011

What the President Said

What is true for religious minorities is also true when it comes to the rights of women. History shows that countries are more prosperous and peaceful when women are empowered. That is why we will continue to insist that universal rights apply to women as well as men - by focusing assistance on child and maternal health; by helping women to teach, or start a business; by standing up for the right of women to have their voices heard, and to run for office. For the region will never reach its potential when more than half its population is prevented from achieving their potential.
~U.S. President Barack Obama, Speech on the Middle East, May 19, 2011

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Events Coil: May 17 - June 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. Times for computer/Internet/Web events are given for the place of origin. 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 mid-June and will include events listed here that haven't yet happened, plus new events through late July or 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.

May 17, time tba, Cybeline-style Full Moon Celebration, Maetreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

May 17, 7 p.m.,
Full Moon Ceremony, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

May 19, Midwest Symposium,
Association for the Study of Women and Mythology, Madison WI

May 20-22, Gathering of Priestesses and Goddess Women with Jade River, Lynnie Levy, Patricia Monaghan, Sid Reger and other presenters, Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess International,
Wisconsin Dells WI

May 20, 7:30 p.m.
Treasures of African Women Part II, with Max Dashu, Temple of Ravenmoon, Long Beach CA

May 21, 7 p.m.
Ancient Spain: Shamans, Ancestors, Priestesses and Godesses, with Max Dashu, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

May 22, 11 a.m. Goddess Service honoring T'ien Hau, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

May 26-30, Sacred Fire Circle, Circle Sanctuary, near Barneveld WI

May 27-29,
Sacred Woman Retreat, Pomegranate Grove, Nelson, Victoria, AUSTRALIA

May 27-29, Beltane Retreat: Discover Rhiannon, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

May 29, 11.00 - 16.00 uur,
Workshop with Maria Circle, Nederlandse Godinnen Tempel, Hillegom NEDERLAND

May 31, doors open 13.00 uur, ceremony begins 14.00 uur,
Dark Moon Ceremony, Nederlandse Godinnen Tempel, Hillegom NEDERLAND

May 31, doors open 6:30, Circle begins 7 p.m. New Moon Drum Circle, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 1, 2 p.m.
New Moon Healing, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

June 1, time tba,
Cybeline New Moon Celebration, Maetreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

June 1, 6:30 p.m.,
Women's New Moon Sharing Circle, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

June 4, time tba, Goddess Meetup, Maetreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

June 5, 11 a.m. Goddess Service honoring Saules Mati with guest speaker Amalya, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

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

June 11, 2 p.m. Green County Femnist Meetup; time tba, New Moon Celebration, Maetreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

June 12, 11 a.m. Goddess Service honoring Juno, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

June 14, 7 p.m. Full Moon Celebration, Circle Sanctuary, near Barneveld WI

June 14,time tba, Wiccan Style Full Moon Celebration, Maetreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

June 15, 7:30 p.m.
Full Moon Ceremonial Embodiment of the Lady of Avalon, Glasonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

June 15, time tba, Cybeline Full Moon Celebration, Maetrum of Cybele, Palenville NY

June 17, 2 p.m.
Temple Dressing for Summer Solstice, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

June 17-19 Summer Solstice Retreat, Sisterhood of the Sacred Circle, High Sierras NV

June 18-19 Summer Solstice-Season of the Sacred Marriage-Full Moon, Maetreum of Cybele, Palenville NY

June 18, time tba, Summer Solstice ritual, Caya Coven, Berkeley CA

June 19, doors open 13.00 uur, ceremony begins 14.00 uur,
Zomer zonnewende ceremonie (Summer Solstice) Nederlandse Godinnen Tempel, Hillegom NEDERLAND

June 19, 4 p.m. Summer Solstice, North Bay Reclaiming,
Sebastopol CA

June 19-26, Pagan Spirit Gathering, Circle Sanctuary, Stonehouse Park, near Earlville IL

June 20, time tba, Celebrate Summer Solstice and Juno, Daughters of the Goddess, San Francisco CA

June 21, 7:30 p.m.
Summer Solstice Ceremony, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

June 21, gather 7:30, ritual 8 p.m. Summer Solstice, SF Reclaiming, San Francisco CA

June 24-26, Shenandoah Midsummer Festival, Middletown VA

June 25, 11 a.m.,
Ceremonial Healing Day, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

June 26, 5:30 p.m., 5th Annual Yoni Puja Festival (RSVP), Sharanya, Maa Batakali Cultural Miision, San Francisco CA

June 26, time tba, Fertile Mother Ritual, Amazon Caya, San Francisco CA

June 30,time tba, Wiccan Style New Moon Celebration, Maetreum of Cybele, Palenville NY


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


Solderhamm, weekdays, Noon-6 p.m,Godinne Templet Open; Mondays p.m. meditation, prayer, conversation.

Annapolis MD, Friday of each month closest to full moon, 7 p.m. Women's Full Moon Circle, UUCA
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 p.m. Services, Women's Temple: In Her Name.
Carson City, NV, Mondays 6 p.m., Women's Spirituality Studies with Mama J, Sisters of the Sacred Circle.
Concord MA, 1st Monday 7-9 p.m.Women's Circles' other ongoing groups include Demeter & Persephone's Circles for mothers and daughters, Council of Mother Dears; Menopause as Spiritual Journey; Menarche for mothers and daughters; Goddess Groove Drum Circle, at Women's Well.

Geyersville CA, Sunday Services 2-4 p.m.
Temple of Isis
Irvine CA,
Sunday Services, 1st service at 9:30 a.m., inward meditation; 2nd servie at 11 a.m.; see dates for gues speakers, Goddess Temple of Orange County.

Palenville NY, Saturdays 5 sessions; Sundays 4-6 p.m. open classes, 7 p.m. Pagan Circles, Maetreum of Cybele.
San Francisco CA, Wednesdays, Goddess Rosary, Ebenezer Lutheran Church.


Alternate Fridays,
"Celebrating Cosmogenesis," for people in both Southern and Northern Hemispheres, with Australian author Glenys Livingstone, originates in NSW, Australia.

Podcasts:times tba, "Talking to Goddess," interviews, music, and more from Gaia's Garden, originates in Melbourne, Australia.
Podcasts: Wednesdays 6 p.m. PT,
"Voices of the Sacred Feminine," interviews with well-known Goddessians and Pagans hosted by Karen Tate, Blog Talk Radio. Originates in California.

Podcasts: 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'd be happy to add your Goddess and spiritual feminist events (and those you know about that are open to th
e public) no matter where in the world they are. Please leave a comment giving: Name of event, sponsoring organization (if any), town, state (if in US), country (if outside of US) 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 eamil addresses. People should go to the website for that info.

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Monday, May 09, 2011

How Women Get Erased from History

UPDATE: (5/12 10:13 p.m. but unable to post until 5/13 1:59 p.m. because Blogger was down to resolve some issues) Looks like someone took Hecate's suggestion (see her comment below) or maybe it's that great minds think alike... In any event, has published the pic in question with only the two women, because, according to Free Williamsburg, having the men in the photo was "too "scintillating to handle." WTG Free Williamsburg! (And tip of the hat to Rachel Maddow, who closed with this item on her MSNBC's program last night [i.e., Thursday night].

An ultraorthodox Hasidic Yiddish newspaper, Der Tzitung, has "photoshopped" out Hillary Clinton and Audrey Thomason from the well-known White House photo of people watching the raid on the Bin Laden compound. Clinton is U.S Secretary of State; Thomason is Director for Counter-Terrorism. Der Tzitung is located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY. The newspaper says it was following its policy of not showing women in photos with men because it can be sexually suggestive. For more info with pics, see The New York Magazine, and The Jewish Week, which is critical of Der Tzitung. This is of course just the most recent instance in a long tradition of various religions finding ways to erase women from history.

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Friday, May 06, 2011

REVIEW: 'Cow' by Susan Hawthorne

Cow by Susan Hawthorne (Spinifex 2011), 166 pages, trade paperback

What an extraordinary book of poetry this is! It’s all about cows! Or is it?

In the second poem of the book, Queenie, a cow who could be called the protagonist or main character, tells us:

these are stories about cows
who have lost their histories.

To me these poems are also about women and goddesses whose histories we have lost.

In her "acknowledgements" prefacing the poetry, Susan Hawthorne, an Australian, explains that she wrote most of the poems while studying in India, and that they are influenced by many poetic traditions, including Greek lyric poetry and the multi-vocal approach of Tamil poetry, including the Tamil Sangam tradition of love poetry, often written in women’s voices. The Tamil influences appear most obviously in Cows in the multitude of "voices" and the poem titles, such as "what Queenie says," "what Fatima says about Queenie," "what Queenie says about Meena," and so forth.

I found the structure and style of the book fascinating. In addition to the multi-vocal approach, Hawthorne divides the book into "strings." (I Googled "cows+strings" and found that 3 associations are: a term used by producers for a group of cows; natural gut strings used for tennis rackets; and spherical cow theory, which is part of physics string theory.) The first voice of "string one" is "the philosophy cow." We then enter "Queenie’s dillie bag" in which Queenie and an assortment of other "cows" talk about themselves, each other, and various subjects. "String two" opens with "what the philosophers say," comments from Diotoma and Gargi. What follows is a section called , "Queenie’s tongue," where we delve into different aspects and meanings of tongue(s). String three opens with a beautiful lyric poem, "what the lovers say" and then, many voices tell about "Queenie’s loves." The fourth and final string is "what Queenie says about the philosophy cow."

Interwoven with the cow talk are mythological allusions and references to today’s feminist/women’s issues. The cows/goddesses/women speak in contemporary colloquial English. For example, here are two excerpts from a poem entitled, "what Queenie says about Sita." The poem, related to the Indian epic, Ramayana, begins:

Sita is no slouch just a woman
in the tumult of emotion
she tries to help her man get a life
get out and about
she says why not follow that deer dear
she needs time alone
but it’s always hard for women
to find solitude
Sita is no differen

Later in the poem is this:

Ravana too doesn’t get it
what is it with these men?
can’t they tell the difference
between great conversation and desire for sex?
(in the case of Ravena)

or great love lust and passion
but no wish to give up on
intellectual pursuits
for housework sitting pretty
and emotional deserts?
(in the case of Rama)

The goddesses referenced in the poems include (but are not limited to) Al-lat, Demeter, Persephone, Kalypso, Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Ereshkigal, Durga, Leto, Mahadevi, Meena, Bhudevi, Baubo, Hecate (in this book aka Ekaterina), Trivia, Hera, Hathor and Artemis. Historical women alluded to include Io, Guinevere, Simone Weil, Diotima, Gertrude Stein, and Sappho, along with several of her companions and lovers and her daughter, Cleis. Hawthorne also alludes to the work of Socrates, Robin Morgan, Monique Wittig, and others.

She also draws on her knowledge of Sanskrit and other languages. Before the poetry begins, she gives the multilingual etymologies of "Cow," and "Queen." When she uses terms in a variety of languages that may not be known to most readers, she places the words' definitions and often derivations in the margins of the poems. Other information about mythological and other allusions are included in the extensive Notes at the end of the book, which begin with a pronunciation explanation.

Many of the poems seem at first glance to be about commonplace subjects, but upon full reading have mythical, mystical, and metaphysical meaning. For example, in the poem, "what she says about the anatomy of a cow pat" in string two, what can be taken for a down-to-earth description of cow dung in various parts of the world includes mythological allusions here and there and ultimately becomes what could be described as mystical.

The poetry is written in a variety of forms. For instance in string three the poem "what the pedant says," is what I would call, being pedantic, pantoum-like,or perhaps what is called an "imperfect pantoum" (or it may be a form with which I am—don’t tell—unfamiliar). Like a pantoum, the stanzas of "what the pedant says," are linked by a pattern of repeating lines. However, the lines that repeat aren't the same numerically as in a proper pantoum and the stanzas are 8 lines rather than 4 lines. In any event, the repetition for me was very effective, even ritualistic. String two opens with the increasingly lyrical and sensuous, "what the lovers say." Many of the poems in the section that follows, "Queenie's loves," also have these qualities and are written in a variety of interesting forms. For example, in "what she sings to her maiden aunt," the concluding line of each 3-line stanza is a slightly varied refrain, and "what we sing in one voice" is a beautiful villanelle, with echos of Dylan Thomas’s "Do Not Go Gentle..." but with very different intent and focus.

This is Susan Hawthorne’s 6th book of poetry. She has also published one novel, two books of non-fiction, and been editor or co-editor of several anthologies. She is the publisher of Spinifex Press in Melbourne, and an adjunct professor in the writing program at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia.

Cow is a multilayered, innovative book. Even the cover design is unusual. Both the front and back covers are covered with a cow photo-montage, with the only type on the front cover being the name of the publisher, integrated in such a way as to make it part of the montage. The title of the book and the name of the author appear only on the bright pink spine. The photo montage is a collaboration between Hawthorne, who supplied the cow photos, and the cover designer, Deb Snibson. Cover to cover, Cow is simultaneously a wonderful work of scholarship, of craft—and of art.

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