Issue 23, Summer/Autumn 2013
The Birth of Earth, by Sophia Breillat
© Roslyne Sophia Breillat
by Lesley Jackson
Being a contrary child I always liked snakes and was later delighted to discover that they had a very close relationship to the Goddess. I could never understand why snakes were considered evil when other deadly creatures were viewed as merely dangerous. This link to the Goddess subsequently explained it. The ability of the snake to shed its skin symbolises rebirth and cyclical time and links it to the ever-changing phases of the moon and so to women through their menstrual cycle. The snake is also a symbol of infinity, portrayed by the tail-eating Ouroborus. The symbolism of snakes is, appropriately enough, endless and far too vast a topic to dwell upon in one article so I will confine myself to three Egyptian Snake Goddesses.
by Milina Jovanović
Ecofeminism as a modern concept dates back to 1974, yet most Women and Gender Studies programs in the U.S. do not offer courses on it. Some even fail to mention this important revolutionary perspective. We have generations of feminists and Women’s Studies graduates who are unfamiliar with ecofeminist world views.
Facing the many global challenges and grave dangers of our times--including climate change and its disasters--we might return to ancient views and practices that acknowledged the unbreakable links between women, men and nature. As our life on earth may be in danger, the need to recapture ancient and develop modern ecofeminist theories is more important than ever.
by Rohase Piercy
Every woman has her ‘juno’. Guiding spirit, higher self, female genius, call her what you will, according to Roman belief we all have one, just as every man has his ‘genius’. Whatever the social, political and domestic restrictions imposed by patriarchal Rome upon its women, here was something no husband, father or master could deny: a little piece of the Celestial Goddess, the Saviour, Mother and Queen of Rome, resided in every woman, slave and free, as a guide and companion through life. The concept of female Deity would soon be all but obliterated by the new religion of Christianity with its masculine threefold God, but women of the Classical era still took it for granted that they, like their Bronze Age ancestresses, reflected the Divine image equally with men. Juno’s Greek counterpart, Hera, offered a role-model to women throughout every stage of life, from Pais (child) to Khera (widow); but Juno goes a step further, and personifies the female principle itself.
by Roslyne Sophia Breillat
She has many names in many tribes and many cultures, she is One and yet she is within all. In Australian Indigenous tribes she is Kuturu, heart, spirit of the Earth. In Incan mythology, Pachamama. In Northern Native American cultures, Maka Ina, Mother Earth. Her blades of grass seek the Sun’s warmth through narrow cracks in the cold hard world of concrete. Her tiny birds sing their sweet songs in the filthy gutters and gloomy alleys of elegant society. She flowers, she blooms, she flows, she grows, her vines entwined beneath spreading piles of stinking rubble and polluted chemical skies.
And She, this female spirit of the Earth, is the primordial essence of thee, woman.
by Melinda Marton
I love the rich, spiritual feeling of this ancient land and spent my last summer holiday in Pythagoreion on the beautiful island of Samos. There is so much to see here, I didn’t spend much time lying on the beach!
First stop was the local museum, which is a beautiful new building in the middle of the town. It’s placed next to the ancient city and has current archaeological excavations right next door.
by Mari P Ziolkowski PhD
The term ‘yogini’ has several meanings, according to Miranda Shaw. She states that the term can mean a female practitioner of yoga, or ritual arts, a female being with magical powers, or a type of female deity.1 Though I am interested in all of the above, in this paper I will focus on the human female adept, guru or yogini.
by Carolyn Lee Boyd
If you stand on the shore long enough, the ocean’s waves and the pulse of the blood in your veins will synchronize. Go to the water’s edge. Wait and be mesmerized by the ancient unstoppable rhythm until you no longer hear the waves as separate from yourself.
That moment is the beginning of the story I have to tell, and that of all of us.
Forty years ago, my mother came to this New England beach where I now stand because she had begun hungering beyond all reason for seafood. For weeks she had consumed pound after pound of fish, mussels, clams, shrimp and seaweed. She had sought the ocean’s edge hoping for salvation from her compulsion, but instead she found that she wanted nothing more than to annihilate herself under the waves. Distracted by the sound of an ambulance siren just as she was about to take the first step towards the deep, she ran a half mile back to her family’s vacation cottage, locked the door behind her, and vowed never to go alone to the shore again.