Like a womb readying itself to give birth, the cave opened. Victoria grabbed a tree to steady herself on the shaking Earth, the rocks tumbling away to reveal a small aperture near the ground. She stepped off the hiking path to peer in, drawn by the gaze of the mountain’s newly revealed eye. Once her eyes became accustomed to the blackness, she travelled deep inside, mesmerized by the beasts painted on the walls seeming to move in her phone flashlight’s roving yellow beam.
She stumbled over a pile of bones then fell, grasping an object that came into her hand as she caught herself. It was hollow, a bird’s bone, with holes in the top and one end carved with swirls and lines. She shook the dirt from inside the flute, for she realized that’s what it was, pressed it to her mouth and blew. She heard only a muffled gasp. She cleared more dirt then focused her breath until the flute sang one low, clear note.
But what about the human bones surrounding her? She was not frightened, but rather comforted, as if she had discovered a lost sister or mother. It did not occur to her that the bones were not female. A few ornaments were scattered among them, but the body had not been laid out ceremoniously. This woman had simply laid down and died, Victoria thought.
When it was time to go, Victoria wrapped the flute in a crimson scarf hand-woven for her by her sister and tucked it into her backpack. She placed loose boulders across the mountain’s opening to hide it. She was not sure if the woman within would have wanted to become a spectacle for archeologists and the media.
The flute lay wrapped in its shroud for three months before Victoria picked it up again. Her faith in her intuition that she was meant to play this invaluable relic had left her the moment she stepped out of the cave. Finally, one searing summer evening when the city was quiet, as if waiting for her to find her courage, she gingerly took the flute off the shelf. If the woman in the cave had wanted her to find the flute, what did she want Victoria to play?
Not the same thing, but frequently confused, even by doctors. When columnar cells grow too quickly, they push aside the squamous cells, causing eversion and erosion. In an eversion, there is generally a clear dividing line between the cells. In an erosion, there is no definite border.
Cervical eversions show a clear dividing line between the two types of cells, though the columnar cells are spilling out of the os, instead of confining themselves to the inside of the cervix. Cervical eversions revert to normal when the hormones triggering them - such as birth control pills - are removed. Some women have a “congenital” eversion which is present at birth, regresses until puberty, may be especially prominent if she is pregnant, and regresses after menopause. Eversion generally requires no treatment; if confused with erosion, over-treatment is likely.
Surgical procedures - such as endometrial biopsy, D&C, aspiration extraction of the contents of the womb, radiation implantation, cone biopsy, cryosurgery, and laser ablation - as well as trauma from childbirth and intercourse, can, in the presence of inflammation and infection, lead to cervicitis or erosion.
Cervical erosion is a term that is often applied to any redness seen on the cervix, from an abrasion to a full-blown infection. “[It] conjures up a frightening picture of the cervix wasting away like bare earth after a heavy rain, [and] is not only erroneous, but absurd.” Conservative doctors may suggest removal of the “eroded” tissue. Alternative methods are quite successful in healing cervical erosion; complementary medicines can ease side-effects and hasten healing if drugs or surgery are chosen.
After sitting alone in the circle for half an hour or so I decided to ask the stones if they had any messages they wished to share with me, that I had brought along a pen and note paper. Just then a cow and her calf slowly walked past the outside of the circle. The bond of love between them was so apparently strong it could be felt from a distance; obvious, almost tangible. I realized that the message I was being given was a simple one. "Love", in all ways! I doubt if the ancient spirits who inhabit this formation even speak my language, but the language of the love between these two creatures was universal and powerful.
Monday evening 9:00pm:
I am enjoying an evening meal ritual which I cannot ever imagine tiring of; a "Toasted Special and a pint of Guinness". You will not find a "Toasted Special" on any menu in any pub in Ireland, but it is always offered just the same. All one need do is walk up to the bar and request one. It is basically, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with tomato and onion. And it is always the cheapest meal you will ever eat in Ireland, but first you have to know that it exists and that you must ask for it by name. I was turned on to this Irish delicacy by two Dubliners, Joe and Lara Darbey, whom I met in Adrigole, who were also staying at the Hungry Hill Hostel on the Beara Peninsula. The hostel also has a nice pub and we met and chatted over a Guinness on my first night there.
Volume 1 – Proceedings of the Association for the Study of Women & Mythology, edited by Marion Dumont and Gayatri Devi
Reviewed by Geraldine Charles
This book is a fantastic resource for me, providing both information and inspiration. If I have any complaint at all, it’s this: I can’t seem to finish it! This is certainly not because of the quality of the writing or the interest the book holds, but rather that every time I open it something I read sends me off on a journey, chasing up a reference or turning to The Civilization of the Goddess1 to check a thought or idea.
The Emperor’s Old Clothes
As Joan M. Cichon writes in the first of two papers included in the book2, the archaeologist Colin Renfrew chose in the 1970s to focus on understanding Maltese temples as the territorial markers of chieftains, arguing that only great economic and political power in the hands of such chiefs could have made possible the major construction projects of that time. He certainly wasn’t the first: early excavators of Silbury Hill in Wiltshire fully expected to find “King Sil” within this giant mound, quite possibly astride a golden horse and bearing the weapons one would expect of a great warrior, not to mention any treasure that may have been deposited with him.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Lammas! I was in Avebury last week: for me, the perfect place to celebrate. Even though Britain has seemed a little less "green and pleasant" because of the unusually warm weather, it was still great to see the wheat and barley ripe and ready for harvest in the fields around the Avebury henge, West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill, to mention but a few amazing places to visit there.
Some excellent news for Goddess Alive! readers: I looked after the website for years and when Cheryl Straffon, the founding editor, retired I couldn't bear the thought of all that content vanishing. I wasn't sure if I had the technical ability to pull all the information into a separate website within Goddess Pages, but it seems to have worked and you can now find all the wonderful material published in GA!by clicking here. There may be teething troubles, don't hesitate to let me know if you find a link that doesn't work or any other problem.
Cheryl and I have borne the cost of this between us so I hardly need say that donations to the cause are welcome! If you do decide to donate, please don't forget to let us know how you would like your donation to be used, whether for Goddess Alive!, Goddess Pages or split between the two magazines - you can do this by using our usual contact form.
If you'd like to contact Cheryl, you can do so from the contact page on the GA! pages - but to make life easier, do click here to find it!
We are a collective of diviners, we call ourselves Strega Tree. We are medicine people, Goddess devotees from many traditions and backgrounds but we spend much of our time out in the wild listening to the trees.
The trees are teaching us and guiding us how to walk the path: the path of our ancient foremothers, the path of truth.