Wild Lessons from Herstory

by Theresa Curtis-Diggs

There is a small house that sits on a plot of land in which I live. It is a chunk of earth and I think I own it. There is a patch of Garden in which nothing grows; in fact this Garden can be defined by the paradox of her absence of green, resistant and rebellious within an ocean of life.

She does not respond to my gardening demands; it seems she has another agenda. This is certainly curious. So, plopping down on her soft skin I begin to wonder and while sitting there in reverie I ponder her and her Earth language. Can we translate the song with which she calls us …is this possible or am I nuts? I request a conversation with her about her stubborn barrenness, and somehow believe she has something she wants to say. In which tongue-less language might she dialogue? I realize that we cannot endlessly identify her with measurements and reductionism any longer if she is to agree to befriend us. I wish us to settle into accepting more primitive and receptive ways of recognizing life and thereby come to honor all Otherness more intimately. Who is she, this gardenless garden; what does she need or want? I will lie here on her gentle belly, and listen. Listen.

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Yes, Virginia, There is a Newgrange

by Theresa C. Dintino

Virginia Woolf
London, 1941

Because we forgot how to console ourselves, because we forgot our connection to the earth, to the sky, to the smallest cell within us, the most encompassing black hole surrounding us—because of this, we know despair.
     Once, we walked to Newgrange.  Once we knew, the snow crunching for miles beneath our feet, we knew how important it is to remember —to remind ourselves, to experience rebirth and so, believe again.
     I laughed when I wrote this.  I, who had only just decided to walk into the river.  I who was so cold, so cold—so alone—that to me, the water felt warm.

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Hel’s Dish: some thoughts on hunger, anorexia and the Goddess

by Geraldine Charles

She condemned him
To Hunger —
But infinite, insatiable Hunger,
The agony of Hunger as a frenzy.

From Tales from Ovid, Ted Hughes

I set myself the task of writing about hunger and the Goddess without any clear idea of which Goddesses I would write of, but my Google search ("Goddess +hunger") quickly turned up Hel or Hela, certainly a Scandinavian Goddess but also connected to other northern European countries. And what a Goddess!  It is likely that her name gave us the English “Hell”, for she is Queen of the Dead, and Goddess of the underworld; she dwells beneath the roots of the sacred world tree and, according to some tales, was given dominion over all nine worlds, sending those who die of sickness or old age to one or other of them.  Half her body is blue/black (which reminds me immediately of the Cailleach Bheur, who is often depicted entirely blue). According to mythology, Hel’s dish is called Hungr and her knife Sullt (starvation).

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The Archetype of the Womb – Part II

by Theresa C. Dintino

Womb Ovens

Fascinating artifacts depicting beliefs about the Archetype of the Womb are bread ovens created in the shape of a pregnant human uterus, images of female hips as wide, encircling alchemical ovens and temples of worship that contain bread ovens as a focal point.

In the Neolithic Cucuteni culture of Eastern Europe we find profound illustrations of this concept. The Cucuteni culture (circa 4800-3500 BCE) located in areas of Romania, Russia where it is called Tripolye and Ukraine where it is Trypillia, was a pre-patriarchal culture that grew to enormous size and left a wealth of artifacts. Their ceramic pottery and designs are among the most elegant in human prehistory.

The largest Cucuteni village, Tal’noe, south of present day Kiev had up to 20,000 people and 1500 houses on 700 acres.[1] Here, the earliest cultivation of cherry trees is found, as well as other orchards of fruit, and fields of cultivated grains. They raised cattle and pigs and engaged in hunting and fishing. Cucuteni villages were often circular with the tallest buildings positioned at the outer ring for protection from wild animals and a meeting place at the village center.

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Salome re-awakens: Beltane at the Temple of Venus in Sicily

by Tiziana Stupia

Temple of Venus, Mount EriceIn western Sicily, perched high on a steep mountain called Erice, once stood a magnificent and illustrious temple dedicated to the Goddess of Love, known successively as Astarte by the Phoenicians, Aphrodite by the Greeks, and Venus by the Romans. This temple stood for over a thousand years and a sacred fire always burnt from its enclosure, so brightly that sailors used it as a guiding beacon. It was here that the Priestesses of Venus served the Goddess with their bodies through the art of sacred prostitution, a spiritual practice that included the celebration of the sacred marriage rite. Today, sparse remains of this remarkable temple can be found in the Castello di Venere, a twelfth-century Norman castle incorporating some of the original foundations.

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