Thursday, February 27, 2014

Buzz Coil: February 2014

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

Tamis Hoover Renteria compares what gods in Abrahamic and Pagan religions require of those who worship them with the Charge of the Goddess that proclaims, "All Acts of Love and Pleasure Are My Rituals." Here's part of what she writes in her Feb. 21 post:
"At first I wrestled with this idea that a deity——in this case a goddess——would claim that anything I did that expressed love and that gave me pleasure was an appropriate way to express my devotion to her.  This felt somehow immoral (evil hedonism!) and potentially threatening to human society."

Hearth Moon Rising's blog: Hearth Moon Rising's Feb. 14 and Feb. 21 posts are about drinking (especially beer) and other extracurricular activities in Mesopotamia. 

My Village Witch: In her Feb. 12 post, "A Long Season of Imbolc," Byron Ballard tells of her preparations, celebration, and why she doesn't think "Imbolc is quite finished with me yet."

HecateDemeter: Nonna tells her grandson An Imbolc Tale, in Hecate's Feb. 1 post. And, in case you missed it, Hecate interviews me in her Feb. 19 post

Panthea: In a Feb. 2 post, Aine, Sun and Moon, blogger Lisa explores symbolism of this Celtic Goddess and its relevance to polarity and spiritual balance. 

Love of the Goddess: Blogger Tara's Feb. 23 post explores the mythology of Aine, Celtic Goddess of Love. 
WoodsPriestess: Talkbirth's Feb. 21 post, Womanrunes: The Yoni, explains the relationship of a rune stone to the significance of the yoni and shows her yoni Goddess sculpture. Talkbirth writes:
" In our house, we’ve used the word 'yoni' for a long time. I find it much more descriptive and appropriate than the often-incorrectly used 'vagina' and the often-awkward-sounding 'vulva'.”  

The Wild Hunt: Heather Greene's Feb. 23 post gives "An Overview of PantheaCon Wiccan Privilege Discussion," that lasted 2 hours with an SRO audience. Heather writes that the discussion grew out of earlier articles and blog posts about whether Wicca is or should be considered "normative" for Paganism, and notes that among those taking part in the PantheaCon discussion were Margot Adler and Starhawk. 
An Overview of the PantheaCon Wiccan Privilege Discussion - See more at:
An Overview of the PantheaCon Wiccan Privilege Discussion - See more at:
An Overview of the PantheaCon Wiccan Privilege Discussion - See more at:
Fellowship of Isis Central: If you've never been to an Imbolc Seasonal Festival at Clonegal Castle (and even if you have), you'll want to read Maire Doyle's Feb. 10 post about this year's. The Feb. 12 post announces and gives details about the Fellowship of Isis Gathering in London this May.

Works of Literata: In her Feb. 23 post, OHF Current Location Will Close, blogger Literata reports on a town meeting of the Open Hearth Foundation, a DC area Pagan organization. Literata writes that
 "the biggest news is that OHF will no longer have its current location after the end of March. The board is currently working on making decisions about what OHF will do after that."
 Then she gives background on the situation. 

WATERVoices: A Feb. 21 post on this blog of the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, "Talking Taboo Part Two Notes" is a summary of a Feb. 5 teleconference with Christian feminists Grace Biskie, Gina Messina-Dysert, Tara Woodard-Lehman, and Katey Zeh about a anthology for which they  wrote chapters. 

Large Group Blogs 

Return to Mago: Among this month's posts to this Goddess-centered blog:

Blog owner Helen Hye-Sook Hwang continues her series on The Magoist Cosmogeny in her Feb. 24 post, focusing on the sex of the Four Heavenly Persons and Mago's eight grandchildren.

In her Feb. 17 post, Re-Storying Goddess: A Pagaian Cosmology, Glenys Livingstone writes that to her the title of her post means "re-storing a sense of 'She' to the Cosmos."

Jassy Watson's Feb. 14 post, She Who Has Faith in the Unknown, is based on a painting she did in 2013. This post shows this wonderful painting, which Jassy reveals she sees as her "Inner Priestess Self." She goes on to explain her approach to her artwork.

In a Feb. 7 post, which contains a reproduction of Lydia Ruyle's  stunning Goddess icon banner of Venus of Willendorf, the artist gives background on the symbolism she used in this banner, as well as news from Vienna.

 Xanath Caraza's Feb. 5 post is her poem, El reboso de Adelita/The shawl of Adelita, in both Spanish and English.

In a Feb. 3 post, Christian Women and Thealogy, Mary Ann Beavis writes about her research into what she calls "Christian Goddess Spirituality."

Pagan Square:  From this blog of many mostly-Pagan paths, sponsored by BBI Media:

Blogger Candise's Feb. 18 post, Transitioning into the Mother Weaver,   tells of her changing from Maiden to Mother on her priestess path, a change which included grief, wonder, and the weaving of magic.

In her Feb. 18 post, Brighid--Harbinger of Spring, blogger JudithAnn discusses the difference she felt celebrating this holy day in the southern U.S. rather than in the north, as she has done previously. With beautiful Brighid art. 

In a Feb. 13 post, Deep White and Silent World, Byron Ballard tells of a recent wintry night in Appalachia that becomes a preparation for spring. An excerpt from what she writes:
"When this snow has made its transformation from flake to droplet, the world here will be ready to welcome the new spring, I think. We'll have more cold and perhaps more snow--March is often a snowy month here--but there is a shift out in the garden, amongst the perennials and the fruit trees. They have shaken off their winter's rest and the buds are fattening in expectation....
There is a responsibility inherent in following a spiritual path so closely tied to the changing of seasons and the turning of the Great Wheel....We have a responsibility to know when to leave the old season behind and embrace the new."

In a Feb. 12 post, pondering the death of a friend, Deborah Castellano writes that Everything Is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless. Focusing especially on those who practice magic, Deborah writes (excerpted):
"If we’re not careful, it’s easy to find ourselves as Workers of all stripes to wind up stuck in a Secret trap – that if you were just better – a better Worker, a better manipulator, a better wouldn’t have found yourself in the situation that is causing you unmitigated grief and despair.  You could have prevented this if you were better.  You deserve these terrible things that have happened to you because you didn’t work harder to prevent these situations.....
I refuse to believe that all of these incredibly painful events could have been mitigated if I just tried harder as a Witch.  You think I wasn’t praying as hard as I could pray?  You think I wasn’t crying as hard as I could cry?  You think I wasn’t Working as hard as I could Work?..... It’s terrible and awful but it’s the way things work in the universe.  Not everything can be changed."

In her Feb. 12 post, Carol P. Christ shares "What I Learned on the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete," focusing on 5 "gifts," as well as other occurrences in her 20 years of conducting tours that seemed negative at the time, such as:
"On the first pilgrimage, I lost my voice. Back home but still not able to speak, I realized that 'I' could not control everything and that this meant that I could not 'make things happen' exactly as I wanted them to happen in my life."

In her Feb. 12 post, Max Dashu explores artifacts, mythology, and other information about Australian Aboriginal traditions such as Jillinya, Great Mother of the Ngarinyin.

In a Feb. 11 post, Bee Smith writes about her experience of The Cailleach Initiation in rural Ireland.

Galina Krasskova gives information about a conference planned for this July in New York state in her Feb. 8 post, Polytheistic Leadership Conference A Go.

In her Feb. 8 post, Magic of Place, Jane Meredith writes about the Coogee Women's Baths in Sydney, Australia

In a Feb. 6 post, writing from the perspective of New Zealand, blogger Mistress Polly writes about Omens, Signs, Messages, and Symbols.

Feminism and Religion: From this month's posts of many bloggers on many paths:

In a Feb. 26 post, Making Our Way -Updating the Guide for Women in Religion, Kecia Ali tells about the planned update of the Guide she is undertaking with Mary E. Hunt and Monique Moultrie, the changes that have taken place since previous editions, and asks for your input.

Carol P. Christ's  Feb. 24 post,  Is Goddess "With Us" or "In Control" of Everything? The "Theological Mistake" of Divine Omnipotence,   begins:
How do we make sense of loss, great loss, and everyday disappointment? Some would tell us that “everything has a purpose” or that whatever happens ”must be the will of God.”  I have found that these answers to questions raised by life as we know it often do more harm than good.  Yet they have a sticking power–we hear them all the time, sometimes even from other feminist seekers.
In her Feb. 17 post, Matriarchy: Daring to Use the "M" Word, Carol explains why she is departing from long-standing Goddess feminist usage in naming the social construct that preceded patriarchy. Her Feb. 10 post, Women and Weeding, The First 10,000 Years, relates her personal experience with weeding, which she says has been "women's work" since about 8000 BCE.  Her Feb. 3 post, The Great Commandment for Women: Love and Care for Yourself as You Love and Care for Others," begins by comparing Jesus of Nazareth's teaching with a "midrash" by Charles Hartshorne and extending it the women's culturally-based ideas of self-sacrifice.

Kile Jones interviews Judith Butler in a Feb. 19 post, Sex, Religion, and Discourse.

In a Feb. 12 post beginning with a poem, Molly Meade writes of the Echoes of Mesopotamia in both her spiritual practice and her sculpture.

In what she realizes will be a controversial post, on Feb. 11 Andreea Nica writes "Why I Don't Believe in Female Pastors."

In her Feb. 9 post, On the Path of Holiness, Ivy Helman compares what is considered holy in two Abrahamic religions.

In a Feb. 2 post, Barbara Ardinger suggests Let's Build an Altar for Springtime and gives some ideas about how to go about it. 

Laura Shannon's Jan. 31 post explores Women's Ritual Dances... especially from the aspect of healing, with a particular focus on Balkan folk dances.


Monday, February 24, 2014

First Joseph Campbell Book on 'Goddesses'

Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine by Joseph Campbell, edited by Safron Rossi, New World Library (2014), hardcover, 336 pages.

Although Joseph Campbell  (1904-1987) wrote some material on goddesses and included Goddess mythology in his lectures, this is Campbell's the first book (published posthumously) devoted specifically to these topics. Campbell’s Goddess material has been compiled into book form by Safron Rossi, curator of Collections at Opus Archives and Research Center at the Joseph Campbell Foundation (JCF) , which houses the Campbell archives as well as those of Marija Gimbutas and other scholars.

One might ask: What took so long? That is a story in itself. According to JCF’s David Kudler, “In 1980, when JCF president Robert Walter was working as Joseph Campbell's editor, the two men drew up a list of books that Campbell felt were important to publish. At the top of that list was a book on the feminine divine.” The project went slowly, however, primarily because Walter was not satisfied with the efforts of two previous editors who attempted the task, the first in 1989 and the second in 1997. “The third time’s the charm,” Walter says of Safron Rossi’s successful editorial work in the just-published volume. (See video interview with Walter at end of this review for more details.)

In her Foreword to Goddesses, Rossi,  a Ph.D. associate core faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, explains the influence of Marija Gimbutas on the development of Campbell’s work on the female divine, and that Goddesses was created to “honor the legacies” of both Gimbutas and Campbell. Rossi writes: “The exploration and study of goddess mythology has progressed significantly since Campbell presented these lectures over three decade ago. It is my hope that this volume holds the counterpoint to the idea that Campbell was focused solely on the hero and was not sensitive to or did not find of interest goddesses….”

Indeed this book, which contains not only the narrative but also many of the pictures from the slides Campbell used in his lectures, achieves that goal. It is valuable both for Campbell’s insights and as a historical document, showing us what was known on the subject nearing the end of the 1980s—some of which remains our best knowledge to date and some of which has been updated by later information, especially archeological finds and anthropological work.

Serving as Campbell’s Introduction to the book is a chapter titled, “On the Great Goddess,” which draws on a 1980 article by Campbell in Parabola and material from Campbell’s Historical Atlas of World Mythology, Vol. 2. The Introduction begins to explore what Campbell saw as a shift in male and female roles, which he calls archetypical, and differences between female and male magic; the Goddess in the “Old Stone Age,”and in the time of “early planters,” including archeological finds from Catal Huyuk; what Campbell calls “The Golden Age” of the Goddess, her subsequent “degradation,” and her “return.” These discussions include a variety of cultures. Campbell’s Introduction ends with this question:
 “And is it likely, do you think, after all her years and millennia of changing forms and conditions, that she is now unable to let her daughters know who they are?”

The next eight chapters go into more detail on these topics, include many illustrations, and delve into many Goddess mythologies from many different cultures. Chapter titles and some of subjects include: "Myth and Feminine Divine" (Paleolithic Culture; relationship to nature); "Goddess-Mother Creator: Neolithic and Early Bronze Age" (Anatolia and Old Europe); "Indo-European Influx" (spears, languages, burial mounds, suttee, Mycenae); "Sumerian and Egyptian Goddesses" (Mesopotamia, Sumeria, "Semitic Influx," Egypt, Isis and Osiris); "Goddesses and Gods of the Greek Pantheon" (special focus on Artemis, Apollo, Dionysus, Zeus, Ares, Athena); "Iliad and Odyssey: Return to the Goddess"; "Mysteries of Transformation" (comparison of changes in various geographical areas and cultures, "mystery cults," Persephone myth, "Dionysus and the Feminine Divine"); "Amor: The Feminine in European Romance," (Virgin Mary, Authurian legends, Joan of Arc, Marie de Champagne, Tristan and Iseult, Lancelot and Guinevere, Goddess and the Renaissance).

 In addition to the usual back matter, Goddesses has an appendix with Campbell’s Foreword to Gimbutas’s The Language of the Goddess, Editor Rossi’s bibliography of “Essential Readings” in Goddess studies (10 books by 9 authors), and a bibliography of Campbell’s works.

Goddesses is a welcome addition to Goddess scholarship and is likely to appeal particularly to fans of Campbell in general, to Goddess scholars, and to the growing Goddess community worldwide.

Interview with Bob Walter, executive director of Joseph Campbell Foundation

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hecate Interviews Me About Audiobook

Today HecateDemeter published "Interview with Judith Laura on Recorded Meditations from Her Books." Hecate sure knows how to interview! 

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Monday, February 03, 2014

Glastonbury Goddess Conference 2014

The 19th annual Glastonbury Goddess Conference will begin July 29 and run through August 3, with fringe events beginning July 26, Kathy Jones, conference organizer, announced. The theme of this year's conference is "Celebrating the Crone Goddess: The Cauldron & the Loom." The conference is held in Glastonbury, England, aka Avalon, also the location of the Glastonbury Goddess Temple. The Conference traditionally culminates with a parade through Glastonbury (see video below for last year's).

"Come and enjoy this amazing Transformational Spiritual and Bodily Experience held within the temenos of the Sacred Isle of Avalon, in which Priestesses, Presenters and Participants journey together through Sacred Ceremony, Presentations, Workshops & Performances, moving ever more deeply into the Heart of the Mysteries of the Crone Goddess." Kathy wrote.  "Come for a day or for an ultimate life-changing Goddess experience participate in the whole Conference!!"

Among the announced presenters are Anique Radiant-Heart, Carolyn Hillyer, Dragonsfly, Kathy Jones, Jane Meredith, Julie Felix, Kellianna, Starhawk, Terence Meaden, Tricia Szirom, and Wendy Rule.

Among the art exhibitions:
--Carolyn Hillyer: The House of the Ancient Weavers, including:  "The Loom of Ancient Weavers," "The Tomb of Ashes and Earth," "The Old Women’s Weaving Room," and "Old Woman’s Face through Young Woman’s Eye."  Carolyn and Annabel du Boulay will coordinate the creation of a Death Road to be sewn by volunteers during the conference and walked in Ceremony.
--Tiana Pitman: "Crow and Crone."
--And work of Ange Massey, Foosiya, Miller, Gwen Davies, Vikki Shillingform, and Kent Goddess Temple.

The full Conference programme is here. The full fringe program is here.

Here's video from last year's Procession (thank you, You Tube.):

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