Issue 24, Winter 2013/Spring 2014
Earth - Hecate - Mother of Loss
© Annabel Du Boulay, 2012
Click here to read more about this image and about Annabel
Articles & Fiction
by Jeri Studebaker
For quite some time I'd known that archaeologists have been digging up thousands of small female figurines from ancient Neolithic archaeological sites, both in southeastern Europe ("Old Europe") and elsewhere around the world. However, I was surprised recently to find two Russian fairy tales that seem to contain the literary equivalents of these ancient figurines. The fairy tales, "Vasilisa the Fair" and "Prince Danilla Govorilla," both contain magical "dolls" that help young fairy-tale women through rough times. After reading these tales, I wondered: do they provide clues about how ancient Europeans might have interacted with their goddess figurines: about what they did with them – and when, and why, and how?
Most Neolithic goddess figurines were sized to fit comfortably in the human hand. Many appear "otherworldly," their ancient makers having given them women's bodies but birds' heads and beaks, for example, or coiled snakes for legs. Since these female figurines are typically accompanied by few if any male figurines, and are inscribed with many of the same symbols found on the walls of associated temples, the renowned Harvard/UCLA archaeologist Marija Gimbutas suggested that they represent goddesses, and that their makers belonged to societies oriented around female deity. (read more...)
by Mari P. Ziolkowski, Ph.D.
In the first installment of this paper, we reviewed a sampling of respected academic sources, both Western and Indian. We looked at sources that named themselves subaltern, as well as spiritual bio/autobiographical sources focused on male saints. However, in none of these sources was the focus on the role of women as adepts, gurus, or yoginis. Yet in each source, we found references to the presence of women of power, to yoginis. I would like to now demonstrate that this was, in fact, only the tip of the iceberg, as Schussler-Fiorenza’s hermeneutics of suspicion would claim. By surveying articles and books specifically focused on the role of women in India, I will demonstrate the return to the Hindu Tantric foreground of the female yogini adept.
Lynn Gatwood, in Devi and the Spouse Goddess, charts the spousification of the independent, sexual tribal goddesses by the Brahminic priestly caste as reflecting the historical effort to ‘domesticate’ the ancient Dravidian peoples, and their wild, untamable goddesses. When discussing the role of the goddess Kali in left handed Tantra, and the transformation of sexual energy into psychic energy through identification with the male and female aspects of divinity, she states “there are references in the literature to female gurus and initiators.”1 (read more...)
by Annabel Du Boulay
I was inspired to paint 'The Healing Womb' art installation for the Glastonbury Goddess Conference 2012 by my personal experience of mothering three children, two of whom were born with life-threatening syndromes and multiple disabilities. During the months I lived on neonatal intensive care and paediatric surgical wards, I heard many stories of womb wounding. Stories of sadness interwoven with abortion, of grief from miscarrying, of the trauma of still-birth. Stories of failed IVF attempts, of childless women, their wombs over-flowing with lost dreams. Stories from overwhelmed and frightened mothers nursing ill and disabled children. And stories of motherhood and mothering in the community, its challenges and its rewards.
As women, we all have stories of womb wounding to share but so often we can feel silenced by a society that does not honour our experiences. Abortion remains shrouded in stigma whilst feelings of anger, resentment, grief and despair can be challenging for family and friends to witness, leading us to hide our shadow feelings, pushing them deep inside us where they can fester, causing ill health both physically and mentally. (read more...)
by Susun S Weed
Herbal medicine is the medicine of the people. It is simple, safe, effective, and free. Our ancestors used -- and our neighbors around the world still use -- plant medicines for healing and health maintenance. It's easy. You can do it too.
In your first lessons, you learned how to "listen" to the messages of plant's tastes, how to make effective water-based herbal remedies, and how to distinguish safe nourishing and tonifying herbs from the more dangerous stimulating and sedating herbs.
In this lesson, you will learn how to how make herbal tinctures. You will make tinctures from fresh and dried roots as well as from fresh flowers and leaves.
Then you will collect your tinctures into an Herbal Medicine Chest and begin to use them. Shall we begin?
Tinctures Act Fast
Tinctures are alcohol-based plant medicines. Alcohol extracts and concentrates many properties from plants, including their poisons. Alcohol does not extract significant amounts of nutrients, so tinctures are used when we want to stimulate, sedate, or make use of a poison. (Remember that nourishing herbs are best used in water bases such as infusions and vinegars.) (read more...)