Friday, January 31, 2014

For Brigid: Kabbalah Tree Purification

Re-visioned Kabbalah Tree by Judith Laura 
For Brigid this year I'm sharing portions of a ritual to purify the Kabbalah/Qabalah Tree of Life from what I have found to be patriarchal reversals and other inappropriate symbolism. The ritual appears in full in my book Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century, where I suggest that one of the times particularly appropriate for this ritual is Brigid/Imbolc/Candlemas.

The person(s) performing the ritual removes from the Tree, through action and words, "all patriarchal distortion," purifies the Tree, rededicating it to "the work of the Goddess," and speaks this blessing:
"Sacred Tree,
restored now to the beauty of nature
rooted again in the richness of earth
May your limbs blossom
with the flower of love.
May your branches brim with
the fruit of labor.
May we discover your secrets in openness.
May we know your truths with pleasure.
And may all your paths bring peace.
So be it.”

This is followed by ritual work re-visioning of the various aspects of the Tree (I suggest using candles--one for each aspect [aka sefirah]), and then by a guided meditation including the entire Tree. The ritual closes with this blessing:
"Blessed be that which we receive from ancient times.
Blessed be that which we recreate.
Blessed be that which we create anew.
Blessed be the Tree of nature.
Blessed be the Tree of life.
Blessed be the Tree of knowledge.
Blessed be the created and the creator.     
Blessed be."

Excerpts from Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century: from Kabbalah to Quantum Physics, copyright 1997, 2008 by Judith Laura. The Second Enlarged Edition of this book won the USA Best Books Award 2009 in the comparative religion category. The artwork shown in this post varies from the art in the book. For example, this art (available through Zazzle--click on pic link) is in color, the art in the book is b&w). More info on my research on this subject is available on the Feminism & Religion blog  and Matrifocus (the cover art in the Matrifocus article is from an earlier edition of the book.)

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Buzz Coil: January 2014

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

Living a Spiral Path: Blogger Stormy Seaside's Jan. 23 post begins:
 "When I was in kindergarten we were asked to draw what we thought God looked like.. I drew a woman with flowers in her hair in a dress of every color my crayon box had. I was told that God was a man and to redraw my picture. Later I asked my Grandmother if God was a male and she said 'Yes, he was'.. I asked my mom and step father the same thing, and got the same answer."
Stormy's  quest for explanations for his persistent feeling that the divine was female began to make sense to him after visiting an exhibit in a public library when he was in second grade. I could continue paraphrasing this wonderful post, but even better is reading the original of what it means to be "Goddess Born."

Broomstick Chronicles: In her Jan. 21 post, Macha NightMare (Aline O'Brien) gives an extensive and fascinating report on a "Neuroscience & Spirituality Interfaith Retreat," that includes discussions of spirituality/religion and science, brain maturation, and women-related issues.

Annelinde's World: Annelinde Metzner's Jan. 17 post, "Saule, Saule," contains her poem to this Latvian/Lithuanian Sun Goddess plus some background info and pics including a ritual celebration.

My Village Witch: Byron Ballard shares how she is "Preparing for Imbolc," including the first of several poems she plans to post, and a photo of a statue of Brigid.

WoodsPriestess: Blogger talkbirth's  Jan. 17 post, "Celebrations of a Maiden," begins with a poem and ends with ritual words for "Celebration of a Young Maiden." In between talkbirth discusses assessing how her time is best spent in terms of her blog and other activities, including a new website, Brigid's Grove, launching Feb. 1. With pics of talkbirth's Goddess sculptures and a ritual cord.

Works of Literata: In her Jan. 26 post, "Imbolc: Make a Brigid's Cross Ritual," blogger Literata  gives instructions for  using strips of paper to make a Brigid's cross and empowering each strip with an intention to send to Brigid.  

Casa della Dea: In this Italian-language blog's Jan. 20 post, "Viaggio a Kildare: introduzione e informazioni practiche" Eliantha Redspring tells of her journey to Kildare, Ireland, to learn more about the Irish Goddess Brigid. The post includes information about Brigid's sacred spring and sacred fire, directions of how to get to Kildare, and pics of some of what you'll find there.

Contemplation - Yeshe Rabbit: In her Jan. 23 post, "Our Beautiful Radical Hippie Pagan Wedding," Yeshe gives a detailed description of her October wedding to Albert, starting with the proposal, and continuing through the extensive planning, which included:
"one major consideration was that I had already made a vow to myself that I would not legally marry anyone until same-sex marriage was a legal reality. At the time of the proposal, that was still a contentious subject in California. I was prepared to go forward with a spiritual ceremony alone if gay marriage did not pass into legal acceptance....Albert and I decided to use our engagement as a spell to bring about positive results for gay marriage"
 And she tells us about the ceremony. With big pics.
 A Crone Speaks Out: Rev. Cathryn Platine 's Jan. 20 post, "We Aren't Wiccan," explains the difference between the Maetreum of Cybele's Cybeline Revival and Pagan reconstructionism, Wicca, and Witchcraft in general as well as "Dianics."

HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate posted twice this month on the topic of  Everyday Pagans (EDPs):  "Everyday Pagans — They’re Legion" on Jan. 2 and "Everyday Pagans are Everywhere" on Jan. 23. Hecate writes:
You couldn’t pick them out of a crowd as Pagans because they look and dress a lot like everyone else. They get up and go to work, or work at home raising a family, or go to school.  
Hecate shares some of stories about EDPs, and says she'd like to see Pagan Pride organizers et al. focus more attention on them and less on other issues.

The Wild Hunt: Two posts on the possibility that Paganism is becoming more mainstream  appeared in this blog this month: Jason Pitzl-Waters' Jan. 11 post, Institutions vs Counterculture in Modern Paganism , which begins with a discussion of the purchase of land by Circle Sanctuary (and others) and then moves on to other topics, and Heather Greene's Jan. 26 post, "Wicca in the Cultural Spotlight," which examines whether recent mentions of Wicca in the media and elsewhere mean that Wicca, and by extension Pagan paths in general, are becoming more acceptable to the general public.  

Veleda: In her Jan. 6 post, Max Dashu delves into information about  "Taula and Kaula Wahine, prophetesses of the Pacific,"  and tells about the her method in dealing with the difficult aspects of finding and interpreting the information, as well as her interpretation of what she found.   

Love of the Goddess: Blogger Tara refutes some misconceptions about the role of "Priestesses in Ancient Egypt" in her Jan. 10 post. 

WATER Voices: In her Jan. 6 post, "The Trouble With Francis: Three Things That Worry Me,"  Mary E. Hunt assesses the Pope in terms of the history of the papacy's attitudes towards several social issues, "Women and Gays," and the "public relations success, not to say coup, that the papacy of Pope Francis represents." Regarding the latter, she asks:
Is this the stuff of real change or is it a way of shoring up a model of church that has endured for centuries?....Where are the women theologians called in to consult, the young people invited to discuss their lives and choices? Where are the lay people who might preach at the pope’s daily mass so he would listen instead of speak sometimes? Where are the lesbian and gay seminarians to explain the facts of life to an old Jesuit who entered the Society of Jesus before gay was gay? Where are the survivors of sexual abuse by priests and cover-ups by bishops to whom the institutional church, beginning in Rome, owes reparations?  

Tamis Hoover Renteria: asks, in her Jan. 20 post, "Is Philippa Gregory a Political Lefty and Closet Goddess Writer?." Tamis explains why the work of this historical romance novelist causes her to answer in the affirmative. 

Large Group Blogs

Feminism & Religion: From this month's posts of bloggers from many paths:

In a Jan. 25 post, "Imbolc and Transformation," Deanne Quarrie discusses the meaning of, and her preparations for, Imbolc.

Dawn Morais Webster discusses Catholic Church issues, including those surrounding Pope Francis, in her Jan. 22 post, "Women for a Franciscan World," writing: 
"Women have been seen primarily as little more than petri dishes, vessels for the development of fertilized eggs and the perpetuation of the human race. The refusal to accord to women the right men enjoy of making their own decisions about their lives is the basic dehumanizing affront that underlies the tradition of male dominion over women."

In a Jan. 19 post, "Beyond Clenched Teeth: Reflections on Forgiveness,"  Elizabeth Cunningham looks at an alternative to the concept, actions and reactions of "forgiveness."

In Carolyn Lee Boyd's Jan. 16 post, Tending the Fire of Our Circle of Older Women, she writes:
"...the older I become, the more aware I am of how obsessively American culture has belittled and marginalized older women.  Bringing a powerful, vital, and wise image of the  older woman back into our  consciousness — whether by calling older women “Crones” or using other words — is, to me, a tremendous achievement of feminism and feminist spirituality."
She also discusses the difficulties that today's older women face.

Carol P. Christ has two posts on the story of Jepthah's Daughter in the Hebrew Scriptures. In her Jan. 13 post, "Who Is Jephthah’s Daughter? The Cost of War," she responds to Angela Yarber's January 11 essay and painting on the subject, and compares the story to the story of Agamemnon’s daughter, Iphigenia, referring to the rewriting of this myth by Daniel Cohen. She also tells about the discussions she and Judith Plaskow have had about whether such "texts of terror" should be excised from liturgies.  In her Jan. 20 post, "Who Is Jephthah’s Daughter? The Sacrifice of Women and Girls," she focuses on the gender dynamics of the story.

In her Jan. 9 post, Saba Farbodkia  asks: "Is My Baha’i Faith Compatible with Feminism?" and reaches some provocative conclusions. 

In a Jan. 7 post, "Why I Need the Goddess," Judith Shaw tells how Goddess affects her paintings and her environmental views and actions. With examples of Judith's artwork.

Barbara Ardinger answers the  sometimes complicated question, "Who Are the Pagans?" in her witty Jan. 5 post.

Return to Mago: Some of this month's posts from this Goddess-centered blog of many bloggers hosted by Helen Hye-Sook:

Lydia Ruyle shows and explains her art of the "Acheulian Ancient Mother" in her Jan. 24 post.

Hearth Moon Rising's Jan. 20 post, "When Drummers Were Birds," begins with a reference to the late Layne Redmond, frame drum teacher and author of When Drummers Were Women. Hearth then looks back further, to a time, she theorizes, when people copied the drumming activities and other sounds of birds. To back up her theory, she embarked, with a frame drum, upon a 9-day "auditory journey" in the woods.

In a Jan. 13 post, Con-Text: Personal/Cultural/Cosmic Stories  Glenys Livingstone shares an excerpted chapter of her book, PaGaian Cosmology.

In her Jan 7 post, "The Magoist Cosmogony," blog owner Helen Hye-Sook Hwang shares part of a book she is writing.

The Nüshu (Women’s Script) Poets  is Donna Snyder's Jan.1 post, in poetry and a bit of prose, about the secret poetic language of Chinese girls and women.

Pagan Square: Some of this month's post from this blog of many Pagan paths, sponsored by BBI Media:

In a Jan. 17 post, Byron Ballard, asks: "But what am I to do with all this fury, all this rage?"  Her rage is about the the chemical leak into Elk River, West Virginia, and the (insufficient) response of the press and others. Byron, who lives in the mountains of North Carolina tells how she moved
 "out of the fear and frustration, and into a cold and calculating fury. It was honed by the comments of ignorant and arrogant bloviators who think that the people of West Virginia somehow deserve this...." 
And then she hints at what she plans to do about the situation.

In her Jan. 14 post, Sable Aradia explains why she considers "Cyberspace: An Astral Realm."   She writes that she considers "Surfing the net.... astral travelling of a sort...." and gives advice on how to use the same sort of protection for the 'net as for other forms of astral traveling, including befriending a cyberspace spirit guide.

Molly begins her Jan. 13 post, "Endarkment," with a poem. She then explores the "Dark Mother," and writes:
"Darkness holds our DNA–-our link to past and future. At the birth of the universe, some part of us was there. I do not find that dark automatically translates as “bad” or negative or as the 'shadow side' of anything."

On Jan. 11, Lia Hunter blogs, "Where Women Gather, Magic Rises: WomanSpirit in 2014." She tells of her plans for attending a UU women's circle, and the meaning it has for her, writing:
"There is something unique here among the women…...a part of the larger whole of existence....
This...has been appreciated through the ages (some ages more than others).... It is gathering up again.... It is coming home… a home that has been locked up for centuries, unless you knew the secret entrances. Now enough women have come home that they can melt away the locks from the inside, start healing the poison of internalized patriarchy, and welcome in all their sisters (including their two-spirit sisters), and prepare the temple-house  for becoming a full participant in the human community, again." 

In a Jan. 4 post, "Santa Muerte," Lillian Comas tells of her "special relationship" with death, including her family name, a premonitory dream, and other communications. She also explains the Latina Santa Muerte.  


Friday, January 24, 2014

Winter-Spring Goddess Pages Published

With a new format featuring a larger cover ( with my favorite colors prominent--purple and lavender), Issue 24 (Winter 2013-Spring 2014) of Goddess Pages has arrived. The cover art,"Earth-Hecate-Mother of Loss" is by Annabel Du Boulay. Editor Geraldine Charles explains, in her introduction, "She Changes Everything She Touches,"   (also on a lavender background :-D) how the e-journal's new look evolved.

Oh, in fact all the the pages have a lavender background! I wonder if they will be lavender every month or will change. In any event, this month's articles (which have beginnings on the homepage and then link to the full articles)  include:  Part 4 of "Be Your Own Herbal Expert" by Susun S. Weed; "'Dolls,' Fairy Tales, and Ancient Goddess Figurines," by Jeri Studebaker;  Part 2 of "The Return of the Yogini" by Mari P. Ziolkowski; and "The Healing Womb," by Annabel Du Boulay

This issue's poems (also linked from the homepage) include: "Alone on Earth at Hawkscry," by Annelinde Metzner, "An Ode to Ma," and "To the Holy Earth Mother II" by Marija Makeska; and "The Moon and I" by Dora Wright.

Reviews (also linked from the homepage) include: Karen Tate's review of Sharon Stone's film, Femme: Women Healing the World; and Lene Jacinta Martinussen's reviews of the books, Odes to the Goddess by Esta Weiss and Nina's Story: Endymion Oracles by Heaven Leigh.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Book Club to Discuss Goddess Matters

A Goddess book group, that, I just found out from one of the discussion leaders, Jennifer Jones, is open to all interested, will be discussing my book, Goddess Matters. I will participate in the last session. Here's the info from Jennifer:
" A 4 week hour-long telephonic Book Group on Goddess Matters - the Mystical Practical and Controversial  by Judith Laura will start Wednesday January 22 at 7 PM EST. Sid Reger & Jennifer Jones will host and there is no fee to participate. Please note that the conference line to be used is not toll-free. Please e-mail Jennifer Jones at jenniferjones3 AT comcast DOT net for the conference line information. Our format is as follows:
-- January 22 - Introductions & Organizing Our Book Group

 During the next two weeks we will review 3 section themes from the book
- we will discuss and collect questions for author Judith Laura.

-- January 29 - Today's Trends, Thealogy & Controversial Words
 -- February 5 - Metaphysics; Practical Thealogy and Applied Metaphyics;
Looking Forward
-- February 12 - Judith Laura will join us to discuss the book & answer
The book is Recipient of Finalist Awards from International Book Awards

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tomorrow's Vigil Responding to WV Chemical Spill

[second paragraph updated 11.40 a.m. Jan. 21]
In what started in West Virginia and is turning into a multistate event, "Honoring the Waters - Candlelight Vigil" is planned for tomorrow (Tuesday) evening near the West Virginia Capitol building and other sites in that state, and in North Carolina.  One location of what has been announced as a statewide event in West Virginia is near the Capitol building in Wheeling, near the river. Announced time of Gathering is at 5:45 p.m., with the event starting at 6 p.m. with an interfaith prayer. This will be followed by a Blackfoot nation ceremony called "Honoring the Waters," led by Kanawha Valley and Native American Elder Danny Two Eagles. Candle lighting will follow at 6:30 p.m, and be followed by several speakers and music presentations. For full schedule see Jan.18, 5:26 p.m. post at link above.  The Wheeling WVA event will take place at 6 p.m. at the Wheeling Jesuit University.

The North Carolina events will occur in Asheville NC, announced by Byron Ballard of the Mother Grove Goddess Temple, and at Lake Tomahawk in Black Mountain, announced by Sarah Vekasi. Both events start at 5:30 p.m.  As of 1/21, Mother Grove  Goddess Temple added a Facebook page, Ceremony of Grief and Empowerment for the Waters and People of West Virginia.  

We will try to keep you informed if other related events are announced. If you know of a public event on this issue being held concurrently, please leave a link to info in a Comment and I will add it.

I'm not going to be able to get to any of these events, but will be joining in spirit by lighting a candle, meditating and praying between 6 and 6:30 p.m. ET  tomorrow evening.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, January 18, 2014

'Cons on the Coasts

The East and West Coasts of the United States will be hosting Pagan conferences about a month apart.

Sacred Space will be held March 13-16 at the Holiday Inn in Laurel MD, about midway between DC and Baltimore. Registration is currently open. Among the presenters are featured presenters Selena Fox, Orion Foxwood, and M. Macha NightMare, and sponsored teachers Jason Pitzl-Waters and Renna Shesso. A complete list of presenters and workshops currently scheduled is here.  

Pantheacon 2014 will be held Feb. 14-17 in San Jose CA. Though online registration is now closed, you can register at the 'Con. Lodging information is here. Just some of the many individuals and groups presenting workshops and other events are: Max Dashu, Thalassa, Margot Adler, Mary Greer, Selena Fox, Starhawk, Brandy Williams, Victoria Slind-Flor, Luna Pantera, Sara Astarte, Amber K, Temple of Aphrodite, Sacred Fires and CAYA Coven, and Temple of Inanna and Dumuzi. There will be several opportunities to participate in sacred dance, and several concerts, including one with Holly Tannen and Ruth Barrett. For more on events and presenters see the program guide.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 17, 2014

Update for ASWM Conference

The following information is a slightly edited version of information from Sid Reger, who encouraged recipients to share it widely:

January 31 is the deadline for Early Bird registration for Borderlands: Scholarship as Pilgrimage and Mystery, the March 28-29 National Conference of the Association for the Study of Women And Mythology (ASWM).  It will feature keynotes by Jean Shinoda Bolen-- “Borderlands;” Sylvia Marcos--“Duality and Divinity: Gender and Eros in Mesoamerican Spirituality” and Laura Fragua-Cota, Jemez Pueblo artist, on her art and inspirations.

Some of the panel topics include: Collective Goddesses of Place in Ancient Europe, The Persistence of Corn Mothers, Gender Borderlands as Sacred, Transformation of Divinities, The Goddess in the Jewish Tradition, Exploring Horses as Living Myths, Mothers Who Won't Back Down, Myth & Magic: Spiritual Power and Sexual Agency in European Folk Tales, Crossing Over: Intra and Inter-species Transformation and Empowerment, Reading the Goddess: Literary Interpretations of the Great Mother, and Shamanism, Indigenous Grandmothers and Art: Remembering our Womb Connection to Ashpamama.

For the past decade, ASWM has been creating events intertwining scholarship, education, ritual, and the arts exploring aspects of the sacred feminine, women, and mythology. It has become known as a great place to hear what’s new in scholarship and to meet other like-minded people. This year’s national conference will take place March 28-29 at the El Tropicano hotel on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. Please see ASWM Conference program updates and registration information for the latest details.
The ASWM Conference will be preceded on Thursday, March 27, by Matriarchal Studies Day--a symposium of international speakers. Click the preceding link for more information on the program and registration details for this separate event.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

From Australia: Two Online (and 1 On-Site) Courses

Glenys Livingstone is offering a year-long mentoring program for those who want to become ceremonial celebrants and teachers of PaGaian Cosmology. The program is available both online and at  Moon Court, Springwood, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia. The introduction for the online course can be taken at any time; other sessions for the course begin in late March/Early April for the Southern Hemisphere and September/October for the Northern Hemisphere.  The on-site course given at Moon Court begins with an Introductory course on April 5.

Jane Meredith is offering Distance Aphrodite's Magic, an electronic version of a course she has given frequently at a number of geographical locations around the world. It will be given via conference calls, Facebook group, and Skype.  The course which begins when it's February 13 in Australia (where Jane lives) is open to anyone anywhere and runs through September.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Matriarchal Studies Day and ASWM Conference

Matriarchal Studies Day 2014 will be held March 27, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. It precedes by one day the Conference of the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM), March 28-29 in San Antonio. These are two separate conferences requiring separate registrations but held at the same venue.

Matriarchal Studies Day presenters include Lydia Ruyle, Joan Chihon, Christina Biaggi, Lauren Rain, Miriam Robbins Dexter, and Vicki Noble. For a full list of presenters and bios, as well as registration information, see Registration is least expensive if you register by the end of January.

The theme of the Third National ASWM Conference is "Borderlands: Scholarship as Pilgrimage and Mystery." Keynote speakers are Jean Shinola Bolen, Sylvia Marcos, and Laura Fragua-Cota. Activities include a number of panels on a variety of subjects and cultures. For program information, see For registration information see Registration is least expensive before the end of January.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Changes Here for New Year

Taking a cue from the traditional New Year's maxim, "out with the old, in with the new," I'm making the following changes on this blog in 2014:

Events will be covered in a different way. "Events Coil" will be discontinued for (at least) two reasons: (1) People now have more ways to find out about events than when we started listing them in July 2006 --especially local events sponsored by smaller groups. There are more websites, and people are posting about them on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. (2) Though I still feel it's inspirational to see how many events are going on all over the world, the job (big job!) of gathering them and listing them has become taxing as I try to cope with other issues in my life. Also, when I posted about a year ago asking whether people still found the Events Coil useful, there was only one response. So instead of attempting to cover all events, no matter how big or how small, here's what I have planned:

Coverage of Larger Events
I will attempt to give you notice of larger events related to Goddess and other spiritual feminisms--no matter where in the world they are being held. These will usually be events lasting more than one day, mostly festivals and conferences. My best guess is that in most cases, these will each have a separate post. This will give you more notice than you now get from the "Events Coil" in case you want to register for the event and make travel and hotel reservations. I will try to spot as much information as I can on my own, but if your group is having such an event, to make sure that I know about it please send me an email with the link to a web page that has details of the event. If you already have an email address for me send it there. If you don't presently have an email address for me, send the info to < medusa  AT  judithlaura  DOT  com >   Please remember that events should be Goddess-related or related to some other form of feminist spirituality, and that I must have a web page to link to that is fully accessible (no pdf; no FB pages unless they are public). You don't have to send me the information itself, just the link to the web page. I will write the post from that and will link to it so people can get information not contained in my post.

News from Temples
I would like to have more coverage on this blog of what is going on at the increasing number of Goddess temples, "houses," etc., worldwide that meet in specific physical/geographical places. This is not limited to events.  In fact, I'd prefer it be about other matters: for example, it could include your temple's views on Goddess topics, issues that your temple is dealing with, plans (other than events) for the future, etc.   I feel this is best done by having guest posts by people affiliated with the each temple, preferably a leader or someone designated by the leader or the group. I invite you to write up to one post a month  (fewer or less frequently is fine) about your temple . If your temple is not in a country where English is the primary language, I invite you to write your post in your language of choice and, if possible, include a translation into English, to the best of your ability (hint: Google translate is pretty good if you need help). If you are interested in writing guest posts about your temple, please let me know by emailing me as described above.

Happy New Year to all!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,