Issue 11, Summer 2009
Queen of Owls, by Tiana
Articles & Fiction
by Geraldine Charles
I managed to get a preview of the 2009 programme and it all looks very exciting – this is the fourteenth conference and one of the things I like best is that it seems new each year; there are always fresh ideas and amazing new ceremonies but there are regular favourites too. I also enjoy meeting up with old friends and making new ones.
Having done the job, I know that the ceremonial group works all year around to bring us stunning ceremonies, and a whole team of Melissas – conference helpers - work throughout the conference week – for although the conference officially opens on Wednesday 29th July there are fringe events and ceremonies from Sunday 26th.
By Victoria Christian
The rise in the United States in recent years of feminist religious movements that focus on female images of the divine Goddess suggests that many women, in addition to men, find goddess symbolism to be appealing.
Many feminist artists, too, claim to have found inspiration in goddesses and goddess symbolism as they provoke reminiscent feelings of a distant past—a vague, yet familiar reality lost to westerners. Feminist critiques of religion and some postmodernists have taken issue with traditional images of God, arguing that male hegemony in Western cultures can be correlated directly with the centrality of a single, all-powerful male god in the dominant strands of the predominately Jewish and Christian religious heritage of Europe and the United States. Many would argue further that given this situation, it is important for women as well as for men with feminist goals to recover or create empowering female symbols to help combat the ones that support patriarchy and the denial of the feminine principle.
by Susun S Weed
I'm so glad I'm finally old. Sadly, many of my friends don't like me to use that word. They say they don't want to be "old". I think what they really mean is they don't want to be the kind of old that's infirm and dependent. I agree.
Vigorously old, excitingly old, sensuously old, daringly old - those are the adjectives I like to apply to myself as an old woman.
Toward the goal of remaining vigorous, exciting, sensuous, and daring for many more decades, I pay close attention to the food I eat and the medicines I use, and don't use. So you may be as vigorous, exciting, sensual, and daring as you wish to be, too, I'll share my thoughts and choices about health and nourishment with you.
by Alex Chaloner
It seems that many people who have a love of the Goddess also have a love for the ancient cultures and sites upon which She was worshiped and venerated. We don’t have to go too far on these fair isles to come across circles of stone and earth, spirals carved into rock and natural pools and hills sacred to the Goddess.
The complexes of Avebury and Stonehenge in Wiltshire are popular with Goddess-loving people as are the mounds and passage tombs of County Meath in Ireland. But it’s to Cumbria I would like to take you, to a lesser known site scattered and hidden within the Lakeland Fells where the Goddess still breathes.
by André Zsigmond
Om Mani Padme Hum - Hail, the Jewel in the Lotus
Solomon’s Song of Songs in the Hebrew Bible has a rich, sensuous and erotic imagery that has been the subject of various allegorical interpretations, chiefly as relating to God's love for Israel, or Christ's love for the Church.
In fact, the poem is what it seems - an unashamed celebration of the feminine: erotic sexual love, both human and divine, rooted in the fertility religions of the ancient Near East, the sacred marriage rite. Janie “Oquawka” Rezner’s article: The Journey of the Soul into the Mother, in the Spring 2009 issue of this journal, looks at the dismissive comments made by the Dalai Lama on sexual love and reminded me of parallels in Buddhist religious doctrine and interpretation.
By Tiziana Stupia
Janie Rezner makes many excellent points in her interesting article ‘The Journey of the Soul into the Mother’. I’ve been researching the subject of renunciation for a while and would indeed agree that, in many cases, religious celibacy can be traced back to a fear of the feminine and the power of sexuality per se.
However, I feel that Janie has misinterpreted the Buddhist concept of ‘non-attachment’ somewhat. Non-attachment is not to be confused with ‘detachment’, the latter meaning avoiding emotional involvement altogether. In contrast, non-attachment does not equal non-involvement; rather, it is the understanding that everything on earth is impermanent and that it is therefore futile to cling to it. It consists of being calm and collected, even in stressful and painful situations; not attaching oneself to either pleasure or pain, as both will pass eventually.
By Sheila Rose Bright
I cannot let Jacqui Woodward-Smith’s reference to ‘our patriarchal solar calendar’ (GP9, Reviews) pass without comment. To my mind there is nothing patriarchal about using a solar calendar, only about ignoring the moon. And you’ve given me the ideal opening to leap up onto several of my favourite soapboxes, Jacqui!
I completely agree that we need to let the moon shine in and on our lives much more. A month is, for me, a perfect length of time to acknowledge and work with one cycle of new, waxing, full, waning, dark and new again in my life. I consciously attune my physical and spiritual life to the moon’s phases, taking the opportunity to reflect upon what new seeds/beginnings I want to sow, what growth to nurture in my life, what fullness to celebrate and what to empower, what to turn away from or let die, what to cut and end, what I want to return to and resurrect.