Issue 20, Spring 2012
Reaching Out, by Jill Smith
Articles & Fiction
by Susun S Weed
Herbal medicine is the medicine of the people. It is simple, safe, effective, and free. Our ancestors knew how to use an enormous variety of plants for health and well-being. Our neighbors around the world continue to use local plants for healing and health maintenance. You can too.
Learning About Herbs
Information on herbs and their uses has been passed down to us in many ways: through stories, in books, set to music, and incorporated into our everyday speech. Learning about herbs is fun, fascinating, and easy to do no matter where you live or what your circumstances. It is an adventure that makes use of all of your senses. Reading about herbal medicine is fascinating, and a great way to learn how others have used plants. But the real authorities are the plants themselves. They speak to us through their smells, tastes, forms, and colors.
by Jill Smith
When I wrote my book Mother of the Isles (Dor Dama Press 2003) I had not yet managed to visit her. I had tried for 15 years, to no avail. Chartered boats were too expensive, cruises couldn’t guarantee to stop there and places on NT working parties impossible to get on. It was only when Angus Campbell of Kilda Cruises began day-trips in a speed-boat in 2005 that for me it finally became possible.
Where is St. Kilda (or Hiort or Hirte)? Forty miles west of the Western Isles, which are themselves a long way west of Scotland. Rocky remnants of an ancient volcano, the group of islands and stacs rise sheer from the depths of dark green water, covered with hundreds of thousands of sea-birds which the islanders hunted precariously through millennia until the last few people left in 1930.
by Linda Foubister
Goddess in the Grass explores the relationship between the Goddess and her sacred symbol, the serpent, by focusing on myths and fairy tales from cultures around the world and from the dawn of humans to the present day.
The serpent is associated with renewal, fertility and prosperity but like many images of the Goddess, it has come to symbolize evil. Goddess in the Grass examines the symbolic meanings of the Serpent Goddess, revealing her origins as the life-giving, death-dealing Great Goddess. This excerpt looks at the renewal aspects of the Serpent Goddess.
The Renewing Serpent Goddess
In prehistoric times, images of the serpent indicated seasonal renewal, the coming of spring and summer. In Europe, the emergence of the snake in spring from its winter hibernation took on a prophetic quality, with certain signs predicting either a prosperous or a difficult new year. The ability of the snake to shed its skin led to the old belief that snakes were immortal. The Serpent Goddess was worshipped for her ability to renew life, healing illness in the process. (read more...)
by Dr. Rev. Karen Tate
A plethora of sacred sites of Goddess can be found on almost every continent, ranging from archaeological sites and churches to museums, industrial parks and natural landscapes. The variety of these sites depicts the diversity of her worship across the globe from living traditions thousands of years old to contemporary temples founded and blossoming during the last decade. With each of these locales one discovers the treasure trove that is the herstory of the Sacred Feminine.
These destinations reveal the many faces and aspects of She of Ten Thousand Names and her profound age, coming alive in the human psyche over 36,000 years ago, long before worship of any male gods. We know this because her devotees have left their mark on herstory from standing temple stones and textiles to ancient texts, artifacts and the traditions that thrive today. These holy sites are fast becoming recognized pilgrimage sites for women and men as they incorporate the Divine Feminine into their spiritual repertoire. The Sites are particularly important to women’s psychological and religious identities, since they can see in all these strong archetypal feminine images of Goddess traditions where women were heroines, queens and divine, that they too were also created in the image of deity. The sites substantiate a time of egalitarian societies, when women held power and influence and were not relegated to second class status as with the advent of the Abrahamic religions.
Some sacred sites of Goddess reflect an intersection of religions and earlier cultures, such as the holy places of the Saint named Brigid blending with Goddess Brigid in Ireland and Our Lady of Guadalupe mixing with the Aztec Goddess, Tonantzin, in Mexico City. In both these destinations we discover the pagan Goddess intermingled with Christianity, just as we find, over and over again, churches which have been built atop ancient pagan holy places, co-opting the previous religion of the people of the land, since churches for Guadalupe were built atop the sacred sites for Tonantzin. We also discover the pagan Goddess’ aspects, symbols and titles were passed along much like a baton to the new face of the Sacred Feminine, usually Mary, the mother of Jesus, because the people refused to give up their ancient Great Mother. One example of this was with the Goddess Artemis in Ephesus, whose temple was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. We also find with some sleuthing, sites or artifacts sacred to Goddess which would greatly surprise most people, particularly the Kabaa stone of Mecca, which was once worshiped as Goddess, according to early Muslim scholars. We learn that Jerusalem, thought to be the holy site of Jews, Christians and Muslims, was and is a holy site of Goddess advocates. And we discover the many names and holy sites of the Goddesses in the Middle East from pre-Islamic times. (read more...)
by André Zsigmond
“Woman is the Creator of the Universe, the Universe is her form.
Woman is the foundation of the world....
There is no prayer equal to a woman,
There is not, nor has been, nor will be any yoga to compare with a woman,
no mystical formula nor asceticism to match a woman”
(Shakti-Sangama Tantra II.52)
Hindu Goddesses – Indian women
Vasant Panchami is the Hindu festival that marks the end of the winter in India and ushers in the spring. Young girls wear bright yellow dresses and participate in the festivities. The colour yellow holds a special meaning for this celebration as it signifies the brilliance of nature and the vibrancy of life.
The celebration of Vasant Panchami is centred around the Hindu goddess Sarasvati. She is the goddess of wisdom. She embodies the different facets of learning, such as the sciences, arts, crafts and skills. The symbols of learning - pens, notebooks, and pencils are placed near the goddess' feet to be blessed before they are used by students. On the first day of spring, India celebrates Sarasvati, the goddess of arts, music and knowledge, who was born on this day. (read more...)
as told to Katara Moon
Hello Sweeties, Baubo Biggins here
So much has transpired since I last put pen to paper but instead of luxuriating in musings on creativity or spiritual epiphanies, I must jump right in to a most retching development on the American political scene. Let me state before I start that the opinions herewith imparted are mine and mine alone - no other entity or deity should be held culpable.
Usually, for health reasons, I avoid news shows. When I must peek in, it would be to dear Rachel Maddow or Jon Stewart. There I feel my time and energy are honored. As the US presidential election of 2012 is gearing up here I have to look in a time or two to see who or what has jumped the tracks.
I was in for quite a surprise.
A novel by Clarise Samuels
Chapter 13: An Army of Angels
The brutality of humans after having descended to the lowest depths of their animal souls far surpassed anything Odin could have foretold. The coarse and indecent aspect of human nature was a flaw in the works, an oversight, a divine miscalculation. Wild animals roared, pounced, and tore living creatures apart limb by limb in order to feast on raw meat and drip with fresh blood without remorse, without reflection, and without contrition.
Odin, who created the animal soul and embedded aspects of the beastly soul in the human body alongside the divine soul, wanted the complex creatures called humans to know the exultation of the triumphant beast. The All-Father freely gave mortals such animal instincts and a taste for the thrill of vanquishing one’s foes, but he did not balance the formula as well as he thought he had. All too often, the instinctive animal side of the human being prevailed, and the otherwise divine creatures became no better than the lions, cougars, and panthers of the jungle who fought to the death while ripping all adversaries to bloody pieces. Nonetheless, Odin did not make mistakes; he merely could not have predicted the bloody gore resulting from what he delicately termed a minor misstep.
Atli of Hunaland was a supreme example of Odin’s impetuousness—this small indiscretion—which had occurred in the All-Father’s haste and enthusiasm to complete the work at hand, when he gave humans every gift he could possibly endow. Atli’s heart was almost completely dead. The legend holding the wise and sagacious King Budli to be Atli’s father was difficult for my Icelandic kinsmen to accept. Paradoxically enough, when Atli was not leading savage invasions all over the continent, when he was at home, secure and in power in his own land, especially later in his life, he ruled in the fashion of my father, with discipline and order. But when the war beat started throbbing in his blood, Atli was uncontainable. The merciless chief organized barbaric onslaughts; he plundered entire cities, allowing his soldiers to run wild in the midst of the chaos and the destruction they had created. As king of the Huns, he was feared throughout the civilized world for his butchery and his ravenous greed for more power and more land. Atli was, for the most part, characterized by his pitiless cruelty, which bordered on insanity. Even the wisdom and talents my half brother might have inherited from the benign genetic material of King Budli could not do much to temper such primitive instincts. (read more...)