Lockeridge Dene

Around Avebury

by Geraldine Charles


Avebury is fascinating! Stonehenge may be more famous, but if I had to choose one monument for interested visitors to Wiltshire, Avebury would win every time.  One reason is accessibility – at Stonehenge you can’t usually walk within the stones without arranging special access, while at Avebury you can walk among them, touch them and follow ancient ceremonial routes.  And where else can you find a pub within a stone circle?!

But there is far more to Avebury than the henge and stones, and even after visiting regularly for years I still have much more to learn. The whole World Heritage Site is huge, stretching from the Neolithic causewayed enclosure of Windmill Hill to the west, while to the east it includes part of the ancient Ridgeway, a trackway used for millennia. Now 87 miles long, the Ridgeway passes many ancient sites such as Wayland’s Smithy and the Uffington White Horse on its way north, but that’s just the modern leisure route: the path once covered a much greater distance, from Lyme Regis on the south coast to Hunstanton in Norfolk. And still there’s more: dozens of round and long barrows, including the famous West Kennet Long Barrow, sacred springs and rivers, and of course the astonishing Silbury Hill. Few who circumnavigate Silbury know that below the ground they tread lie the remains of an entire Roman town, stretching out as far as Swallowhead Springs to the south west. Roman coins and jewelry have also been found at West Kennet Long Barrow. I have so many questions about this - did the Romans share our awe for Silbury Hill and dedication to Swallowhead Springs and the Goddess of the Springs?  Was this a convenient stopping-off place on the long journey to the hot springs at Bath, seen as an extension of that sacred site and perhaps another place to worship Sul, whom the Romans associated with Minerva?
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Wonder and Paradox

by Geraldine Charles


I want to be young in wonder again,
To hold a single seed to the sky and marvel
that it owns the energy of a star
Rose Flint, Prayer to Live with Paradox.1

I want to celebrate something I often take for granted: the opportunity for an endless “summer”; a life of delight, discovery and exploration.  I rejoice that Goddess requires no strict rules of belief, imposes no dogma, burns no heretics.

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Myths Shattered and Restored: A review

Volume 1 – Proceedings of the Association for the Study of Women & Mythology, edited by Marion Dumont and Gayatri Devi

Reviewed by Geraldine Charles

Myths Shattered and Restored

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.

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She changes everything She touches…

West Kennet Avenue, from Waden Hill, Avebury, photo: Geraldine Charles
West Kennet Avenue, from Waden Hill, Avebury

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!

With many blessings
Geraldine Charles

Bristol Goddess Temple: birth and growth

Weavers of Bristol Goddess Temple, Imbolc 2018: Nikki Haasz,  Dawn Osborne-Tiller, Ruth Cogan, Ruth Parham, Nikki Swann
Weavers of Bristol Goddess Temple, Imbolc 2018: Nikki Haasz, Dawn Osborne-Tiller, Ruth Cogan, Ruth Parham, Nikki Swann

The Bristol Goddess Temple opened its doors to the public for the first time on 5th August 2017. That day saw the birth into the world of a vision that had been cherished in the creative cauldron for several years – a birth that finally became possible when a room came up for rent in the Clocktower Association, a community space in Warmley on the eastern edge of Bristol. The Clocktower was already the home of a women's free-flow drumming circle and a monthly Moonlodge Red Tent held by Nikki Swann. Nikki gathered around her a small group of people who felt the call to help bring this vision into the light, and together we took a big leap of faith.

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Goddess Funerals go live!

FGoddess Temple Funerals logoor several months now, three members of Glastonbury Goddess Temple have been putting together plans to offer Goddess-focused funerals, both in Glastonbury and elsewhere in the UK.

“We are all priestesses, as well as independent funeral celebrants, and feel passionate about choice – the choice we all should have to celebrate the end of our life, and the lives of those we care about, in a way that reflects our beliefs, and the way we have lived our lives”, said Lorraine Pickles, one of the organisers. “For Goddess loving people, that may include a ceremony that reflects a belief that death is but a returning to Goddess. And for those who see death as a return to the shores of Avalon, this may be reflected in a variety of ceremonies both for those close to death, and for those who have crossed the veil.”
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Review: “Healing Through the Goddess”, by Lynne Sedgmore, illustrated by Susie Jones

Reviewed by Geraldine Charles

This anthology of poems and other works expresses Lynne’s own journey round the wheel of the year and her own growth into a Priestess Healer in so many ways – from Beginnings, which describes the feelings and re-membering as everyone comes together for the first time, to the final Invocation, calling in the Motherworld. Between these two are works that both evoke the call of the Goddess and praise Her. In Returning, we see the beauty of Her return to the land:

Our Lady shimmers in the waning of the mist
Revealing Her contours in the land

An Interview with Julie Felix

Julie bungee jumping over Shotover River, New Zealand
Julie bungee jumping over Shotover River, New Zealand

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! Continue reading "An Interview with Julie Felix"

Goddess Temple Weddings – an Interview

Left to right: Sharlea, Iona and Dawn
Left to right: Sharlea, Iona and Dawn

Until quite recently, if you wanted anything but a standard Church of England wedding in the UK, you were out of luck unless the registrar could also come along, and even then only if the building were recognised for marriages.

In many churches and other recognised locations, the “ceremonial” part of the wedding is then followed by the legally required registration.  And it’s not uncommon in the UK for even Christian clergy not to be qualified to perform this part of the wedding.

If you were pagan, or wanted to join with your beloved in sacred space before the goddess, you were out of luck altogether, and most people had to be satisfied with a handfasting and a quick trip to the registry office for the legal bit.

How wonderful, then, not only to have a Goddess Temple – Britain’s first for thousands of years – recognised as a legal place for marriages and but also two trained Priestess Registrars!

Goddess Pages interviewed Dawn Kinsella, Sharlea Sparrow and Iona Jones, the women behind Goddess Temple Weddings. Continue reading "Goddess Temple Weddings – an Interview"