Issue 30, Spring/Summer 2017
by Suzi Edwards-Goose
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Articles & Fiction
by Liz Perkins
This summer, I made a Crone’s garden. Not with plants, but with fabric. In July, I found myself on a silent retreat entitled Gardens of the Spirit, at Woodbrooke, the Quaker College in Birmingham. I’d booked it months before, attracted mainly by the silence and the working method - I forgot all about the theme until the detailed information about the programme arrived a couple of weeks before. I was not pleased – I’d spent quite a lot of time in the previous six weeks trying to create some order in my own overgrown garden and the last thing I wanted was more gardening. Or so I thought.
The course started with a plethora of postcards –we had to wander round and choose two each, which would travel through the retreat with us. Or, more accurately, let two choose us. And this one chose me. Quite obviously Crone – wise, insightful, benign, but also shrewd, a stander-of-no-nonsense. From then on, the retreat went Her way. Quite clearly, she had to have a garden. I bent the gentle suggestions of the facilitators to suit.
Having found my Crone I started to feel for what kind of garden she would have. Woodbrooke has a good art room so there was a lot to play with. I found a straightforward piece of embroidery fabric in the bottom of a box of bits and then collected lots of other things. I was intrigued that I didn't feel the garden ought to have walls. Fuzzy boundaries through fraying the fabric felt right. Being frayed at the edges feels fairly normal, to me…. (read more...)
Julie Felix has been a very welcome fixture at the Glastonbury Goddess Conference for at least seventeen years but I’ve been a fan of her music since the 1960s, so couldn’t wait to interview her for Goddess Pages.
Curious, first, about her early life, I asked Julie about that. She told me that she remained a devout Catholic until her late teens and in fact remembers seeing Loretta Young play a nun in Come to the Stable, which came out around 1949. Loretta Young got an Oscar nomination for her part; Julie decided she wanted to be a nun. Fortunately, that didn’t last too long! (read more...)
By Georgina Sirett-Armstrong-Smith
This report is based on the birth date, place and time of Goddess Pages, created by Geraldine Charles. Conceived in 2006, Goddess Pages is now belatedly celebrating its 10th anniversary. Geraldine asked me to look at the Goddess Pages birth chart for this great milestone in time.
With the Sun, Venus and Mars all in the 10th house and Scorpio, this Goddess magazine was destined to structure information that had been long hidden from public view, bringing to the surface historical information and passion of the Goddess with drive and creativity.
The 9th house shows the old knowledge that was researched and that needed equality and freedom to be heard, with the Asteroid Lilith here (the dark Goddess), information had to be sought, sifted and researched to be brought into awareness as a service to all humankind. It also had to be correct and without fabrication. People had to be found to write, photograph and share their experiences and information. (read more...)
by Atasha Fyfe
For many reading this, it will come as no surprise that modern-day feminists and followers of the Goddess often had past lives as priestesses in the ancient worlds. While many of those memories come from Egypt, Greece or Rome, they may also come from less obvious times and places.
At first glance, it seems that we know all about the last 2,000 years - the astrological Age of Pisces. Memories of lives in that time are sadly often about the persecution of women who tried to use their esoteric knowledge for the good of others.
These experiences may create traumas that are carried from one lifetime to the next. In modern times, this can create a baffling blockage when people – both men and women – decide to take up work that is in tune with their spiritual path. A traumatic unconscious memory may then act like some invisible force which keeps stopping them from making any progress on their new path. (read more...)
by Keli Gingolph
Once, long ago, a goddess, born of the Moon and equal in glory to all other deities, ruled an ancient city. In her youth, she planted a tree on the banks of a life-giving river that flowed through her Garden. The wood of this tree was strong yet flexible, and it grew alongside the goddess until they both reached maturity. When the goddess in her was ready to claim her sovereignty, she went to her tree to make the emblems of her power, the throne from which she would rule and the bed from which her sacred sexuality and fertility would be celebrated.
But when she got to the tree she found that others had made it their home. A great snake, representing the oldest chthonic deities of life, death, and rebirth, had made its home in the roots of her tree. In the tree’s soaring branches, a great bird of wind and storm had made its nest. In the very center of the tree was a dark maid, who was the young goddess’s shadow self, embodying an insatiable sexuality.
In order for her to claim her sovereignty, she would have to conquer these beings.
This goddess is, of course, beloved Inanna, she of great power, beauty and wisdom. A goddess who was perhaps the very first target and the first weapon, of patriarchy. (read more...)
by Katie Hoffner
I consider the title Aunt Lydia a noble one. If you believe you choose your parents when you are born into this world, then I must believe you choose your aunts too.
Aunt Lydia and I had something very special. A sacred contract of sorts. She has literally been part of my life since I was born. As a young mother, she was not only taking care of her three children but also of me and my brother while my mother finished her medical residency – so she was tending to five of us all under the age of four.
She used to tell people that there were points during that time when she considered killing us or killing herself… that is until one day… she decided to start painting. So for all our sakes (and the world’s), we’re really glad she discovered art. (read more...)
An excerpt of Chapter 1 from Goddess Matters: the Mystical, Practical, and Controversial , copyright 2011 by Judith Laura.
If you told me in the mid-1970s, when I first started exploring the ancient reverence for female deities, that less than a quarter of a century later there would be hundreds of thousands of people in the United States whose spiritual lives were Goddess-centered, I wouldn’t have believed you.
At that time, as I made my way though Mothers and Amazons by Helen Diner and Women’s Mysteries by Esther Harding, I felt very alone. Then an article in Ms Magazine put me in touch with the journal, WomanSpirit. In the 1980s, I discovered the journals Woman of Power and The Beltane Papers. How thrilling to find that there were probably at least a few hundred women out there, exploring this new way to think about religion. (read more...)
by Lesley Jackson
The image of Nut is very familiar for those who love Ancient Egyptian art. Her starry body arches over the earth and depicts the heavens in many beautiful astronomical ceilings in tombs and temples. She gave birth to Horus the Elder, Osiris, Seth, Isis and Nephthys and each morning births the Sun God Ra but she has little interaction with her offspring. Nut has no dedicated temples and apparently no followers yet she is an essential component of funerary tradition and is one of the most helpful of the afterlife Goddesses where she frequently appears in the guise of a Tree Goddess. These seemingly disconnected facts prompts the question why? What lies behind all this?
Nut’s name derives from the Egyptian word for water, nw, and her symbol is the water pot. In a wet climate the link between sky and water is obvious but the water element of Nut is actually derived from the Egyptian’s understanding of the cosmos. The watery nun existed before creation and the universe is a bubble of order and life floating in these chaotic and dangerous waters. Nut holds back the waters of the nun, enclosing the created world in a protective embrace. She is like an invisible force-field through which the blue waters of the nun can be seen during the day. Space and water are her two key attributes and these explain the key aspects of her character. (read more...)
by Susun Weed
The Vagina – part 1
I am the sheath of the sword. I am toothed, armed, and ready to bite. I have the power to defend, to keep women safe. I am not passive, accepting, ready to be filled. I am aware, watchful, ready to reject what I don’t want and to seize what I will.
Listen to me and I will tell you how safe we are, right now, in this moment. When we are secure, I am open and receptive, moist and inviting. When we feel threatened, I become cold and hard, hot and tight, irritated, and inflamed. If the danger goes on and on, I weep, I am overrun.
In health and joy, I am a rich and thriving ecosystem: friendly yeasts, beneficial bacteria, and a generous assortment of slippery, slidey lubricants thrive in my tangy-tasting depths.
I am stretchy. I am expansive. Fill me and I yearn for more. I am yielding; I melt, I surrender. Yet in yielding, I deliver. I am the victor. I clench my fist and grab the prize. Mine. (read more...)
by Carolyn Lee Boyd
I was reborn on the mountain whose seasons I had loved for the fifty years of life I had lived so long ago. I knelt on its breast and breathed in the black, musky, fertile soil, tasted its bitter groundwater and sweet stream nectar, rubbed its skin into mine. Then, when I was ready, I washed it off my body, but not my soul, and walked into the village square whose sights and sounds I still remembered from 500 years before.
During my centuries as a spirit I had chosen to stay near where I had lived, still surrounded by those I had loved. The people had since turned to dust, but I could see their features in the faces of their great-great-grandchildren’s great-great-grandchildren. I sat with them, unseen, under the same trees, turned their eyes with my thoughts to the same herbs I had given their ancestors so many years ago to make them well, witnessed the wars and movements that came and went in the outside world and saw how they touched the village, and mourned and rejoiced with each new generation. (read more...)
Poetry & Reviews
Reviewed by Marilyn Steele
Reviewed by Carolyn Lee Boyd