Issue 19, Winter 2011
Queen Clytemnestra, by Linda Darby
Articles & Fiction
by Lesley Jackson
Take any book of Ancient Egypt and look for Nephthys in the index, more likely than not it will read ‘see Isis and Nephthys’. Why isn’t Nephthys viewed as a goddess in her own right? She doesn’t appear to have been worshiped on her own and there is no evidence for any cult centre or temples dedicated to her.
At first glance Nephthys can appear as a passive victim and, dare I say, a bit too quiet and uninteresting. Does Nephthys personify the perpetually unappreciated or is she merely a shadow side of her globally recognised, illustrious sister Isis? Certainly she is seldom portrayed on her own and is usually mentioned in the same breath as Isis. They are referred to in terms such as the Twin Sisters and the Two Kites and are depicted as physically identical twins, distinguishable only by their headdress. A longer second glance is required to discern the essence of Nephthys.
by Rohase Piercy
“I sing of golden-throned Hera, whom Rhea bore.
Queen of the Immortals is she, surpassing all in beauty”
Thus begins the Homeric Hymn to Hera, Queen of the Olympian Gods and protectress of women throughout every stage of life;1and yet not only do we know relatively little about her cult in Ancient Greece, but she is often overlooked by modern Pagans, being far surpassed in popularity amongst reconstructuralists by Aphrodite, Artemis and Athena. The reason for this is neatly encapsulated in the second stanza of the hymn: “She is sister and wife of loud-thundering Zeus”.
Feminist scholars have pointed out that Hera’s alliance to the patriarchal Thunder-God – a husband who by most accounts forced himself upon her, taking refuge in her bosom in the shape of a frightened cuckoo before revealing his true form2 has done her no favours, subjugating her to the male deity and distancing her from her origins as an aspect of the all-powerful Mother Goddess. Whilst acknowledging the truth of this, I do not think it is the whole story, nor do I think it necessary to take Hera out of the Olympian context in order to connect with her as a modern Pagan woman. This is the Goddess who describes herself as ‘The Eldest Daughter of Time’ (Chronos), and whose mother’s name, Rhea, means ‘flow’, or ‘course’. Of all deities, she should be able to adapt and thrive in any age and context, patriarchal or otherwise. (read more...)
by Mari Ziolkowski
off to alaska again on that magic ship - the ship that seemed to remember me. sun peeking through the fog on the way up, mountains welcoming us on both sides as we come into victoria ... after sampling local art, saying hi to mount baker, and watching ravens chasing a bald eagle across the sky - the ship heads out again into the mystic, setting sun over rising fog bank .... wind whipping across deck, alone at the front of the ship, i spread my arms in a kate winslet move and offered myself to the sea ....
light playing over the water, shadows dancing on the waves .... whales spouting off both sides of the ship .... soon we are back in juneau, and the beautiful blue glacier, humpback whales tail slapping - baby whales showing us their faces, orcas in a pod swimming all around us. bald eagles on the shore hanging out. the wind whipping on the back of the boat, i stare at the snow-capped mountains and whisper: i'm back! (read more...)
by Kirsten Brunsgaard Clausen
"Brighid is here, Brighid is here!” The children in Gaelic areas still merrily announce Her coming to this day.
It is the 2nd of February. Icy cold. The earth is frozen deep. The landscape black, white, grey. No life. The world is dreaming, still and deep. Cailleach, the Wise Mother, has reigned throughout the winter - now even Her time has come. On every hearth the fire is put out, the last glow cooling to coal and ashes. Silence.
by Susun Weed
Herbs that influence sexual functioning are safe, easy to use, and highly effective. They can improve desire, performance, and frequency for both men and women.
Down There the Wise Woman Way includes specific information on using my favorite sexy herbs, including: oatstraw, schizandra, ginkgo, fenugreek, ginseng, tribulus, ginger, marijuana, damiana, potency wood, yohimbe, guarana, and dendrobium. Plus information on sexy foods, and the effects of supplements such as arginine.
Oatstraw infusion is my favorite sexual tonic, for both men and women. It frees up, and thus increases, the amount of circulating testosterone. This aids lubrication, improves blood flow, increases stiffness, amps up interest, and heightens enjoyment. Postmenopausal women say oatstraw turns a vaginal desert into a flowing oasis. A cup or two a day helps lower cholesterol, too. Oaststraw counters environmental estrogens, too, decreasing cancer risk. For best results, alternate with red clover infusion to adjust hormones gently and build potency.
by Becky Thomas
At the Winter Solstice or Yule the wheel of Britannia turns toward the north. At this time we honour Danu, ancestral goddess of the Tuatha De Danann. As a group the Tuatha De Danann looked over all human activity as original ancestral beings who came to these lands from far in the north.
Danu is the mother goddess of the Tuatha De Danann and in Ireland is considered to be the mother of all the Irish gods; however she is recognised throughout the British Isles. Here in Wales we honour Welsh mother goddess Dôn who has over time been masculinised into Don. Dôn is the Welsh equivalent of Danu, and they are really one and the same goddess. She is our ancestral mother, who came from beyond the north winds, from the ancestral lands that is the home of the beings of fire and ice from whom we are all descended.
A novel by Clarise Samuels
Chapter 11: The Helmet of Dread
But my reprieve was only temporary. Gunnar did not sleep at all after having left my chambers, for he was, how shall I say—fit to be tied. My peeved husband burst into Sigurd’s room and shook his brother-in-law awake. Sigurd had spent a miserable night tossing and turning with the agony of having witnessed my marriage, and he had finally fallen asleep with his head buried under the pillows. The son of Sigmund felt no desire to get out of bed the next morning.
Upon awakening at the hint of dawn, Sigurd remembered the events of the day before—most sadly, the royal wedding where I was given away to Gunnar—and he groaned, immediately burying his face in his pillows once again. But this second awakening an hour later was much ruder, with Gunnar shaking his brother-in-law and imploring him to get up at once. At first Sigurd thought he was dreaming that Gunnar was shaking him, and he hoped he could change the venue of his dream. But after a few moments, the half-conscious knight realized Gunnar was indeed at his bedside, and Sigurd opened his eyes to the drab, gray duskiness of the early morning. “Good gods, Gunnar!” Sigurd exclaimed as he sat up in bed rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. “Is there a fire?”