Thursday, November 28, 2013

Buzz Coil: November 2013

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

HecateDemeter: In her Nov. 12 post, Hestia and the Homeless, as winter approaches blogger Hecate suggests what you can do to help the homeless, including "a short magical working" with the Goddess Hestia.

Annelinde's World: Annelinde Metzner's Oct. 31 post, For Layne, a memorial poem for Layne Redmond, begins:
Taka, taka Doom, taka Doom!
With pics, including two of Layne drumming.

My Village Witch: In her Oct. 31 post, Samhain Is Come, Byron Ballard tells of her activities on this holiday and on "the lingering days of Samhaintide."

Living the Spiral Path: Blogger Stormy Seaside's blog was previously known as "My Life as a Goddessian," and all the posts from that blog-name appear to be archived on this new one. Stormy's Nov. 12 post, The Advent of the Daughter, tells of her attempt to "revamp" Christian Advent
  to fit within a Goddessian context in which one might celebrate the joyful awaiting of the divine Daughter....

Tamis Rentiera: was looking for a green stone Goddess that she found on the Internet but couldn't seem to find again. She tells about the Goddess and her search for it in her Nov. 14 post,  The Bird Headed Goddess, and shows a pic of it. In a comment, Tamis tells how a friend helped her find it. In a Nov. 6 post, she writes about How the Goddess Snuck Up On Me.

Love of the Goddess: Blogger Tara's Nov. 23 post is about Anuket, Egyptian Goddess of the Nile, especially its cataracts (aka rapids) as well as the field, and hunting. Her Nov. 8 post focuses on Baba Yaga, Slavic Goddess of Death and Rebirth and includes the myth of Baba Yaga and Vasilisa.

Works of Literata: Blogger Literata's Nov. 5 post, Voting is still a holy act, is about voting in Virginia this year. She discusses the political issues and then writes:
For me, the work of voting is also an offering to Columbia, the American Athena. But that isn’t just 'goddess-washing' the act of voting. It goes to the heart of what I’m talking about here.

The Wild Hunt: Heather Greene explores The Secular Purpose and Effect of the Word “God” in a Nov. 10 post that begins with a recent decision by the U.S. Air Force Academy regarding the inclusion of "so help me God" in its Oath, and also includes a recent Supreme Court case, other legal cases, U.S. currency, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the term "act of God."  

Hearth Moon Rising's Blog: Hearth Moon Rising's Nov. 22 post, is Part III of a  review of the book, A Nation of Women: Gender and Colonial Encounters Among the Delaware Indians. It discusses the interaction between Moravian Christian missionaries and the Delaware. With links to Parts I and II.

The Goddess House: In a Nov. 9 post, blogger As't Moon announces Brighid to be honoured in the first Sacred Goddess Circle for 2014 this February in the Adelaide, Australia Goddess House. The post also includes background on Brighid.

Large Group Blogs

Feminism and Religion: Some of this month's posts to this blog of many paths and many bloggers:

In her Nov. 28 post, Barbara Ardinger entertains us with a A Thanksgiving Story entitled "A Turkey Tail Tale" that includes literary and mythological allusions.

Coleen Clare's Nov. 27 post, Inner and Outer Darkness in the Skoteino Cave, is a poetic response to her visit to the cave during an Ariadne Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete with a group led by Carol P. Christ. With pics.

Carol P. Christ's Nov. 25 post, Is it Essentialist to Speak of Earth As Our Mother? begins:
The charge of “essentialism” has become equivalent to the “kiss of death” in recent feminist discussions. In this context it is taboo to speak of Mother Earth.  Yet, I would argue there are good reasons for speaking of Mother Earth that do not add up to essentialism.
She goes on to define and give a history of the term, "essentialism," and gives reasons that support using the term, "Mother Earth." In her Nov. 18 post, Giving Back to the Mother, Carol tells of experiences she and a friend have had with the Sacred Myrtle Tree at the monastery of Paliani. She writes:

 The Panagia, She Who Is All Holy, is said to live in the tree, and the nuns who tend the tree follow customs far older than Christianity.
In her Nov. 11 post, The Divine Mystery? she examines whether it is consistent with feminist discourse to speak of the divine as a mystery. Her Nov. 4 post, Mermaid, Goddess of the Sea, discusses a silk embroidery in a museum in Crete, including both its Pagan and Christian symbolism. With pic of embroidery. 

In a Nov. 25 post, Size Islam: Where Do I Fit In?" Jameelah X. Medina discusses issues that confront her as a large woman, especially those that involve posture in group Muslim prayer.

Deanne Quarrie poses another question, Who Am I Under Oppression?, in her Nov. 23 post.

In a Nov. 20 post, The New Feminist Revolution in Religion, Gina Messina-Dysert looks forward to leading a roundtable discussion with Xochitl Alvizo at the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature meeting held recently in Baltimore. The discussion centered on the Feminism and Religion blog founded two years ago and the "revolution" Gina refers to is digital. 

The Quiet Voice of the Frame Drum is a Nov. 16 post by Oxana Poberejnaia. The post memorializes Layne Redmond, frame drummer, author, and teacher. It also tells about Oxana's experience with drumming and its relationship to her spiritual life.

In a Nov. 9 post, Angela Yarber, writes about Painting Dorothy Day. Angela's portrait of Day (1897-1980), an American Catholic journalist socialist pacifist activist in the mid-20th century, is among the "Holy Woman Icons" that Angela features each month and which include humans, fictional characters, and deities. She begins her feature on Day:
Radical Revolutionary.  One with the workers.  Daily works of mercy.  One who challenged the status quo.  She never wanted to be called a saint, though the Claretian Missionaries proposed that she be canonized in 1983.  The Catholic Church calls her a “Servant of God.”  I call her a Holy Woman Icon. 

In a Nov. 7 post, Saudi Women Drive,  Amina Wadud,  takes a look at this initiative through the lens of the larger Muslim women's movement.

Sara Frykenberg's Nov. 5 post, Surviving and Thriving: For My Defender, discusses survival skills and the role of meditation and prayer for her in accessing these skills.

Jassy Watson focuses on mothers, human and divine, in her Nov. 2 post, Ode to Mum - Source of My Being.

Judith Shaw's Oct. 31 post is about Fand – Goddess of the Sea – a Shapeshifter for Samhain. With Judith's art portraying this Celtic Goddess known as "Queen of the Fairies." .

Pagan SquareAmong this month's posts on this blog of many paths under the direction of BBI Media:

In her Nov. 20 post, Yeshe Rabbit shares a Daily Self-blessing With Aphrodite, including consecration, at Aphrodite's altar that she has performed for many years. 

Posts memorializing Lady Olivia Robertson include: on Nov. 20, Magical Lives~Lady Olivia Robertson, in which Natalie Zaman shares Katherine Clark's "experience" that includes historical information about the late co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis; two Nov.15 posts:  Meeting Lady Olivia Robertson, by Francesca De Grandis and An Elder Passes... by Galina Krasskova. 

In a Nov. 14 post, Museum Meditations, Emily Mills shares her favorite Goddess images from the St. Louis Art Museum.

Kalyca Shultz describes Meeting Freyja, in her Nov. 13 post. With her painting of the Norse Goddess. 

In another Nov. 13 post, Gaia's Winter Mantel, Judith Ann, also an artist, discusses painting Gaia as a winter Goddess. With her art.

Paola Suarez shares The Silly Story My Goddess Self Wanted to Tell in a Nov. 12 post.

In a Nov. 11 post, Pristine Priestess, Klara Adenena delves into the experience of being a priestess and the significance of this word to her.

In a Nov. 3 post, It Gets Easier. Trust Me on This One, Byron Ballard writes about giving a presentation at a Unitarian Universalist Religious Education class, and about meeting the sometimes perceived difficulties of being a Pagan.

Lisa Sarasohn writes More on the Origins of Belly Magic, in a Nov. 2 post, beginning with the word for "tribe" in Hebrew being the same as for "mother," and the word for "tribe," being the same as for "belly."

Return to Mago: The url of this blog was recently changed to Some of this months' contributors to this Goddess-centered blog under the direction of Helen Hwang:

Harita Meenee's Nov. 25 post, Sophia, the Sacred Feminine Wisdom, explores the personification of Wisdom in the Bible and beyond. 

On Nov. 21, Mary Saracino posts No Country for Old Women, a poem in both English and Italian.

Heart Moon Rising interviews Max Dashu about her work concerning Women and Shamanism in a Nov. 18 post.

The film, The Book of Jane, is reviewed by Judith Laura (aka Medusa) in a Nov. 15 post, re-blogged with permission from an October post here. 

Glenys Livingstone's Nov. 11 post, Moon Goddess: Primordial Trinity and Cosmic/Personal Heritage is "an evolved version of an excerpt" from her book, Pagaian Cosmology.

A Nov. 8 post, Luciana Percovich discusses the relationship between The Temple and the Forest in ancient mythologies.

In a Nov. 2 post, Lydia Ruyle shares her art showing the Mexican ancestor spirit Tzitzimine giving birth to Ixchel.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Maetreum of Cybele Wins Court Battle

The Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater , a Goddess-centered and Pagan-identified not-for-profit incorporated religious organization in the town of Catskill NY, won a battle Thursday that began in 2009 to defend their tax-exempt status. The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court reversed the Court's previous decision which would have upheld the Town of Catskill's efforts to deny the Maetreum's real property tax exemptions despite the the Maetreum's IRS tax-exempt status. The Appelate Court's decision affirms the religious nature of the Maetreum's activities and annuls the town's denial of tax exempt status for 2009, 2010, and 2011.

 As I wrote last night in response to Rev. Mother Cathryn Platine's "status" post announcing the victory: "Thanks and blessings to Cathryn and the Maetreum of Cybele for persisting and achieving a victory not only for Goddess folks, but for Freedom of Religion."

The Maetreum's website today has the following statement about the case:

"The Maetreum would like to thank the greater Pagan community for the spiritual and financial help to win this case.  It is truly a win for all minority religions setting forth the standard that we Pagans are to be treated in law the same as the so called mainstream religions.

"Throughout this battle we at the Maetreum of Cybele have kept doing our charitable works and recently have applied for a low power FM radio license to further serve our community with true community radio.  If we recover our costs that money will go towards further green projects at the Maetreum, continued charitable housing, funding the community radio station and setting up a local food pantry.

"The lessons from this battle are keep true to your beliefs and values and never give up even when it looks rocky.

Rev. Mother Cathryn Platine from the Maetreum of Cybele."

Also covering this story, The Wild Hunt, Witches and Pagans, New York Law Journal, Wiccan Woman  [links updated 11/26, thanks to Wiccan Woman for NY Law Journal link]

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Events Coil: Nov. 17-Jan.1

As far 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. On our list, 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 unless otherwise noted. Events lasting more than 1 day are bolded. When listing events for the same date we try 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 and events that occur on a regular day each month or week are listed after the dated events. If you have an event related to the subject matter of this blog that you want listed, please leave info as a comment. See the end of this Coil for what info we need for listings. [updated 11/24]

Nov. 17, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Woman Shaman Workshop with Max Dashu; time tba, evening ceremony, Bundaberg AUSTRALIA

Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m. Full Moon Ritual, Mother Grove Goddess Temple, Asheville NC

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

Nov. 18, 7 p.m. Full Moon Circle, Circle Sanctuary, near Barneveld WI

Nov. 20, 7 p.m. Deosophy: Goddess Wisdom with Max Dashu and Anique Radiant Heart, Coffs Harbour NSW, AUSTRALIA 

Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m. Embodiment Evening, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND

Nov. 22, 7 p.m. Deosophy: Goddess Wisdom with Max Dashu, Sydney AUSTRALIA

Nov. 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Woman Shaman with Max Dashu; 7 p.m., Ceremony Celebrating She Who Is All with Max Dashu and Anique Radiant Heart, Sydney AUSTRALIA

Nov. 24, 10 a.m. Breasts! Visual Presentation; 1 p.m. Grandmother Stones of Megalithic Europe,with Max Dashu, Sydney AUSTRALIA

Nov. 26, 7 p.m. Deosophy: Goddess Wisdom with Max Dashu, Blue Mountains NSW AUSTRALIA

Nov. 27, 7 p.m.  Deosophy: Goddess Wisdom with Max Dashu, Canberra AUSTRALIA

Nov.28, 7:30 p.m. Rhiannon Moonlodge for Women, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND
Nov. 29, evening time tba, Deosophy: Goddess Wisdom with Max Dashu, Melbourne AUSTRALIA

Nov. 30, day time tba, Woman Shaman with Max Dashu; evening time tba Ceremony Celebrating SHE, Who Is, with Max Dashu and Anique Radiant Heart, Melbourne AUSTRALIA

Dec. 1, Morning Workshop time tba, Breasts! Sacred Symbol of the Lifegivers; Afternoon Workshop, time tba: Grandmother Stones of Megalithic Europe,with Max Dashu, Melbourne AUSTRALIA

Dec. 2, 7 p.m.  New Moon Esbat, Goddess Temple Inc., Lakewood, OH

Dec. 2, time tba, Celebrate Mary in All Her Forms, Daughters of the Goddess, San Francisco CA

Dec. 3, potluck 7 p.m., ritual 8 p.m Women's New Moon , Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m., Circle of Craft, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Dec. 14, time tba, Empowering Ritual with Movement & Percussion with Shekhinah Morgan, Gaia's Garden, Melbourne AUSTRALIA

Dec. 14, set-up begins 3 p.m., ritual 5:30 p.m. Yule Feast, Chesapeake Pagan Community, Columbia MD

Dec. 14, 1-5 p.m. Class: Goddess Witchery, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Dec. 15, 4-7 a.m., Giving Moon, Grove of Artemis/CAYA, Berkeley CA

Dec. 16, 7 p.m. Full Moon Circle, Circle Sanctuary, near Barneveld WI

Dec. 16, doors open 6:30 p.m., ceremony 7 p.m., Sacred Full Moon, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

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

Dec. 20, 7 p.m. Winter Solstice Pageant, Circle Sanctuary, near Barneveld WI

Dec. 20, time tba, Celebrate Winter Solstice and Hawaiian Snow Goddess, Daughters of the Goddess, San Francisco CA

Dec. 20 or 21, time tba, either Dec. 20 evening beach ritual or Dec. 21 day ritual, check link after Dec. 1, Yule, San Francisco Reclaiming, SF CA
Dec. 21, 6 p.m. Winter Solstice Ceremony, Pagaian Moon Court, Blue Mountains, NSW AUSTRALIA

Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. Summer Solstice Ceremony, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Glastonbury ENGLAND
Dec. 21, 4 a.m.-6 p.m. Solstice of the Goddess Rising, CAYA, Berkeley CA 

Dec. 21, gather 6:40 a.m., "Sing Up the Sun," East Bay Reclaiming, East Bay Hills near San Francisco CA

Dec. 21, 7 p.m. Community Yule, Circle Sanctuary, near Barneveld WI

Dec. 21, 6:30 p.m. Winter Solstice, Circle of Aradia, Studio City CA

Dec. 21, doors open 6:30 p.m., ritual 7 p.m., doors lock 7:15 p.m. Temple Holy Day of the Wisewoman: Winter Solstice, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine CA

Dec. 21, potluck 7 p.m., ritual 8 p.m Yule , Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, Indian Springs NV

Dec. 22, 3:15 a.m.-6:30 a.m. CAYA Solstice of Eternal Renewal, Berkeley CA

Dec. 22, 1 p.m. Yule Sabbat, Goddess Temple Inc., Lakewood, OH

Dec. 22, 1 p.m.  Winter Solstice-Yule, Sisterhood of the Sacred Circle, San Jose CA

Dec. 22, 6 p.m. Winter Solstice-Yule, Sisterhood of the Sacred Circle, Carson City NV

Dec. 22, gather 6:30 p.m., ritual 7 p.m. Yule Ritual," with Starhawk, North Bay Reclaiming, Sebastopol CA

Dec. 31, time tba, Summer Solstice ritual, Gaia's Garden, Melbourne AUSTRALIA


Adelaide, 2nd Tuesday of month, 7:30 p.m
. Goddess Devotional Service, The Goddess House.


Glastonbury: Most days except Mondays, Noon-4, Temple Open for personal Prayers; Wednesdays 1 p.m. Bee Blessings; Priestess/Priest of Avalon Training Program, both in Glastonbury (Avalon) and by correspondence. Glastonbury Goddess Temple.


Ashland OR, Thursdays 7 p.m., Temple Services;third Thursday of month, 7 p.m. Crone Honoring Circle; Goddess Temple of Ashland
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.
Carson City, NV, Mondays 6 p.m.,
Women's Spirituality Studies with Mama J, Sisters of the Sacred Circle.
Geyserville CA, Daily, Noon, Ritual; Sundays, 2 p.m. Sanctuary Tour, 3 p.m. Transformation: Understanding the 42 Ideals of Ma'at, Isis Oasis.  

Irvine CA, Sunday Services, 11 a.m., 4th Sunday all genders and ages, other Sundays women-only; see dates for Goddesses being honored, guest speakers, and other information about individual services
: Goddess Temple of Orange County. Temple open to public Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday Noon-5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m
Palenville NY, Sundays 5 sessions; Sundays 7 p.m. Pagan Circles; 1st Saturday of month, Goddess Meetup, 
Maetreum of Cybele.
San Francisco CA, Sundays 10:30 a.m. Liturgy of the Divine Feminine; Wednesdays 7 p.m. Goddess Rosary Meditation; 1st Friday, Friday Night Group for Women, Ebenezer/HerChurch Lutheran .
Seattle WA, 2nd Sunday, doors open 10 a.m., Goddess Service 10:30 a.m., Gaia's Temple.
Staten Island NY, closest Saturday to full moon 7 p.m. Women's Full Moon Drumming; 3rd Saturday 7 p.m. Goddess devotional service; Goddess Temple of Staten Island.
Wisconsin Dells, WI, Mondays 10 a.m., Motherhouse Monday Morning; Tuesdays, 7 p.m. Women's Craft Night; 1st Wednesdays 7 p.m. She Sings!; 2nd Wednesdays, Goddess Book Group; 3rd Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Women's Bardic Circle; 4th Wednesdays 7 p.m. Divination Night;Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess-International.

"Celebrating Cosmogenesis," for people in both Southern and Northern Hemispheres, with Australian author Glenys Livingstone, originates in NSW, Australia. Join online at any time.
 Women's Thealogical Institute (RCG-I) Athena Online Programs: Cella, Crone, and Guardian.

times tba, "Talking to Goddess," interviews, music, and more from Gaia's Garden, originates in Melbourne, Australia.
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.
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.
Tuesday 8 p.m. CT,
Circle Craft with Selena Fox, Circle Sanctuary, Blog Talk Radio

We would 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. 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 email addresses. People should go to the website for that info.

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

In Memoriam: Olivia Robertson 1917-2013

Olivia Robertson, co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis, passed into spirit the evening of November 14 in the UK. She was 96. A tribute to her on the Fellowship of Isis Central website, along with links to related spiritual material, can be found here. A page of links to other information about her can be found here. Memorials and funerals will be held beginning with a service Nov. 20 at Huntington Castle in Clonegal, Ireland, followed by Church of Ireland service at St. Fiacc's in Clonegal. Additional memorials are being planned for Nov. 27 and for December. For more information see the websites of Fellowship of Isis  and Fellowship of Isis Central. [updated Nov. 17, 12:42 a.m.]

May she rest in the arms of Isis and be renewed.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Max Dashu in Australia

We will be posting additional information on our Events Coil in a few days with specific remaining dates of Max's extensive tour that starts today and goes through Dec. 1 . In the meantime, if you're in or near Australia, please see for more info.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

REVIEW: Motherghost by Eclipse Neilson

Motherghost: A Journey to the Mother, a memoir by Eclipse Neilson, Star Meadow Press, trade paperback (2012), 240 pages; also available as a Kindle e-book (2013).

People come to Goddess in a variety of ways. For some of us, like me, the initial path is intellectual, through reading books or through our own feminist analysis of our original religion. For others the beginning is more spiritual, a pull toward polytheism, pantheism, nature as sacred. And for some it is more personal, a way to affirm the positive or replace the negative aspects of our human mothers. It is the latter, along with her long-time feeling of closeness to nature, that seems to have played a large part in Eclipse Neilson’s finding the Goddess, and of which she writes in her heart-felt memoir. Motherghost. She dedicates the book to Isis:
"She who picks up the pieces,
 Whose lap is the throne of heaven,
Whose heart holds her child forever."

Eclipse was given the name Robin at birth. Her parents, Alfred and Stephanie, hung out with the poet-artist-theater crowd in New York City. Among their (some not-yet famous) friends were Beatrice Arthur, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, and Bob Hope. After Alfred disappeared when Robin was a toddler, Stephanie relinquished her into foster care just before her second birthday. Robin stayed with two foster families. In the first she was abused. The second, a happier experience in which Robin bonded with her foster mother who reminded her of Doris Day, ended abruptly for Robin when she was between 3 and 4 years old and Stephanie gave her up for adoption. In the book’s Introduction, Eclipse writes of her biological mother’s actions:

 “Just before she gave me away, in a silent act of desperation, she drew upon the folk tradition of her grandmother’s old country. She enacted a sacred rite with me….She stood in front of a mirror, holding my tiny hand while staring at our reflections. She looked directly into my eyes and whispered ancient words that sealed a prayer into my heart, and…imprinted an image of mother and daughter---Goddess and child forever.”

This is just one of the many magical/spiritual experiences that Eclipse writes about. Another was seeing fairies. Of these and other early memories before the age of 4 she writes that she is not quite sure which parts actually happened and which she made up, a relatively common experience with early childhood memories.

In her adoptive parents' car on the way to her new home, her adoptive mother, Frances Neilson, who reminds Robin of the young Bette Davis, insists that her first name is now “Marcy,” and that the change of first name is necessary because her biological mother didn’t love her. When Robin objects both to the new name and the idea that Stephanie didn’t love her, Frances replies, “ ‘After all, she gave you away, didn’t she?’ ”

Robin/Marcy seems to get off on a better footing with her adoptive father, but unfortunately this doesn’t last forever. The Neilson family includes several siblings and dogs. Eclipse describes both adoptive parents as alcoholic, and Frances as being alternately (and thus confusingly) spiritually compatible and abusive. Her wealthy adoptive parents had friends among the rich and famous in several countries whom “Marcy” met. They included Robert Frost, Igor Stravinsky, and Willem de Kooning. She also met some famous people on her own, for example while selling her art on the Spanish Steps in Rome at the age of 15, a woman who said she was “Mrs. Ex Rockefeller,” bought one of her paintings. And a man, who Eclipse describes as a controversial “prince of the royal family of Italy,” offered to back a show of Marcy’s art. But Marcy’s adoptive father wouldn’t allow the show, because “Fame at too early an age can destroy the spirit of a young artist.”

Rome was the second of two countries where Marcy attended boarding school in the 1960s. Surrounded by Roman and Etruscan art she experienced early Goddess intimations but the knowledge base wasn’t there for her to fully understand their implications. She was sent to the first of the boarding schools, in Switzerland, as what her adoptive mother thought would be a punishment, but it turned out that Marcy liked it, developed in a positive direction, and found a particularly nurturing teacher there.

Back in the States, still in her teens, Marcy experienced a difficult time, as did many others, especially of her generation. Aggravated by her rebelliousness, her adoptive parents kicked her out of the family home near Philadelphia. Going first to NYC (barefoot!), Marcy took refuge in one of her adoptive sibling’s homes near Providence RI, and became enrolled in “one of the top” Rhode Island private schools, from which she proudly graduated. The author takes us through adventures during her years at art college and several years thereafter, including a foray into drugs whose main aim was to find her “mother,” and from which she emerges through the intervention of a female spirit. The author also takes us with her on her journey to becoming a mother herself, to her involvement with feminism, to her persistent search for her biological mother and other family members, and to her discovery of her relationship with the Goddess, a path which, in retrospect, she has been on for most of her remembered life. An in-depth exploration of “Finding the Goddess,” comes towards the end of the memoir, beginning with a concert and ritual led by Kay Gardner. It is in this section we discover how Eclipse’s “true name” is revealed to her, and how Goddess led her to healing of the relationships with her mothers, and to animal rights work. Further on, this often tumultuous memoir has a beautiful ending that I treasure too much to reveal before you read the book.

The incidents of which Eclipse writes do not appear chronologically in the book. This gives the story the novelistic feel of flashbacks and flashforwards. It’s also certainly a valid way of presenting material from one’s life—like a friend telling you about an incident in her life and then being reminded of something else. It’s not quite rambling, but rather a relaxed, informal, way of telling.

Today Eclipse Neilson is a visionary artist, human and animal rights activist, and director of Woman Soul at Rowe Camp & Conference Center in Massachusetts. She has led eco-feminist spirituality workshops for more than three decades and is also founder of the Magaian Way, a program that teaches visionary practices. She is designer of C.O.P.E. (Circles of Peace Education), a program that addresses bullying in schools. According to Rowe's Star Meadow Press page , proceeds from the sale of Motherghost from the site will benefit The Iris Fund for establishing a women’s library. [updated 11/15]

The back cover of the Motherghost includes endorsements by Starhawk, Margot Adler, and Chief Luisah Teish.

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