Category: Issue23

MAKA INA, Upon Sacred Ground

She has many names in many tribes and many cultures, she is One and yet she is within all. In Australian Indigenous tribes she is Kuturu, heart, spirit of the Earth. In Incan mythology, Pachamama. In Northern Native American cultures, Maka Ina, Mother Earth. Her blades of grass seek the Sun’s warmth through narrow cracks in the cold hard world of concrete. Her tiny birds sing their sweet songs in the filthy gutters and gloomy alleys of elegant society. She flowers, she blooms, she flows, she grows, her vines entwined beneath spreading piles of stinking rubble and polluted chemical skies.

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Cobra Goddesses

Being a contrary child I always liked snakes and was later delighted to discover that they had a very close relationship to the Goddess. I could never understand why snakes were considered evil when other deadly creatures were viewed as merely dangerous. This link to the Goddess subsequently explained it. The ability of the snake to shed its skin symbolises rebirth and cyclical time and links it to the ever-changing phases of the moon and so to women through their menstrual cycle.

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Thirteen Women in Search of Wild

The land did not make it easy for us to love her; she made us work for her beauty. We had to face our disappointment and frustration at finding the moors enclosed, fenced off. She made us feel the anguish of the forestry battlegrounds that surrounded us, our rage at being hemmed in and the grief of knowing that it was we who had put up the fences, who had demanded the trees, so systematically slaughtered.

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“The Strega and the Dreamer”, by Theresa C. Dintino

In this novel, which is based on a true story (that of the author’s great-grandparents) the main characters Eva and Marcello arrive in the USA from Italy in the late 19th century, and the story follows their separate narratives as they struggle with the early years of migration; Marcello goes first, hoping to send for Eva soon, but in fact the couple are forced to be apart for six years. Interwoven with this is a history of the Stregas, of childbirth and healing in both Italy and the USA – and in the latter the practice of midwifery is increasingly under attack as “barbaric”.

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Red Oleander

A salamander pale green as the new leaves of May
opens its orange lung-sac, brilliant, to the sun.
Three times at every pause!
In the breeze, red Oleander bends on her long stem, celebrating.

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Nirvana

 She was unfortunate.
Not that it happened very often.
The intention was to sublimate
your being, allow your memories to soften

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Charon

She had not expected to see a river,
shining brightness or sweet song
perhaps, instead a serpentine sliver
of water wound its way along

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Our Souls between Earth and Sea

If you stand on the shore long enough, the ocean’s waves and the pulse of the blood in your veins will synchronize. Go to the water’s edge. Wait and be mesmerized by the ancient unstoppable rhythm until you no longer hear the waves as separate from yourself.  That moment is the beginning of the story I have to tell, and that of all of us.

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The Return of the Yogini – Part 1

The term ‘yogini’ has several meanings, according to Miranda Shaw. She states that the term can mean a female practitioner of yoga, or ritual arts, a female being with magical powers, or a type of female deity.1 Though I am interested in all of the above, in this paper I will focus on the human female adept, guru or yogini.

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In Praise of Juno

Every woman has her ‘juno’.  Guiding spirit, higher self, female genius, call her what you will, according to Roman belief we all have one, just as every man has his ‘genius’.  Whatever the social, political and domestic restrictions imposed by patriarchal Rome upon its women, here was something no husband, father or master could deny: a little piece of the Celestial Goddess, the Saviour, Mother and Queen of Rome, resided in every woman, slave and free, as a guide and companion through life.

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