... and my response to the Dalai Lama’s assertion that sex spells trouble*
by Janie “Oquawka” Rezner, MA
I hope someone passes Riane Eisler’s beautiful book, “Sacred Pleasure,” on to the Dalai Lama. Did he really say that “sex invariably spells trouble?” He is definitely missing something! It’s that nasty body again with all its feelings that patriarchal religion abhors, getting close, being vulnerable, opening one’s heart to love. He is missing being connected in that way.
Compare the life of a monk to a man with a family living in a community, in a life rich with attachments to his loved ones, a man who experiences a deep love for his child as he watches her grow, who cares for his friends, who is engaged in a variety of interactions and tasks in his life. A separated being like a monk is living half a life; his opportunities to experience life's important and maturing processes, like loving and being committed to another human being, like experiencing the heart connection of fatherhood, and the responsibilities of that role, are non-existent.
by Jacqui Woodward-Smith
by Rita Lewis
We are so fortunate, for the Goddess is everywhere. She can be seen in the Peruvian jungle, in stone carvings of roses and grain decorating European churches, in Buckingham palace as Isis supporting the hearth, and as a gentle, haunting spirit in the traditional sacred groves of the British Isles.
I have been blessed to feel Her presence in all these varied places, but it was in my own back garden in Buckinghamshire where I first truly saw Her face, heard Her voice and enjoyed Her constant, wise companionship.
by Susun S Weed
In the beginning, according to the Wise Woman tradition, everything began, as everything does, at birth.
The Great Mother of All gave birth and the earth appeared out of the void. Then the Great Mother of All gave birth again, and again, and again, and people, and animals, and plants appeared on the earth. They were all very hungry. "What shall we eat?" they asked the Great Mother. "Now you eat me," she said, smiling. Soon there were a very great many lives, but the Great Mother of All was enjoying creating and giving birth so much that she didn't want to stop. "Ah," she said smiling, "now I eat you." And so she still does.
By Tiziana Stupia
I read Jill Smith’s article on the appropriateness of importing Celtic Goddesses into the Southern Hemisphere with great interest.
The relevance of invoking foreign deities in our land, as well as worshipping ours abroad, is a topic I have given much thought to recently. To answer this question is complicated, because, as Jill points out, first of all we need to establish what we believe God/desses actually are. Are they manifestations of the spirit of place, are they archetypes, energies, concepts, or actual beings with distinct traits and personalities? Or are all God/desses representations of one Divine Energy, one Truth, one Source?
I agree with Jill that certain deities can be manifestations of the spirits of place, and that these spirits often have specific relevance to a particular land. In some power places, for example Glastonbury, Avebury or on The Isle of Lewis, this energy is stronger than in others. When visiting such sacred sites, respect and consideration for the spirits and energies that inhabit them is very important, even if we do not know their names or what they represent. This became very clear to me when I recently spent five months in the Indian Himalayas. There, the Hindu deities are extremely powerful, especially in the mountains and rivers, because millions of people worship and honour them several times daily and believe in the sanctity of those places. With such a high concentration of devotion, the presence of the deities is tangible. During my time there, I developed a solid relationship with the Indian God/desses and learnt some of the Vedic rituals and devotional ceremonies. When I returned, I took the vibrations of these deities with me, and I still honour them daily in my practices, even though I am now in the UK.
By Serene Conneeley
Living in Australia – or anywhere in the southern hemisphere for that matter – can be a little confusing for a witch.
All the books about magic print elemental correspondences that are back to front (the fire of the sun is certainly not in the south down here!), and list dates for the sabbats that bear no relation to the actual cycle of our seasons. I’ve met a surprising number of people from the US and UK who didn’t realise that our seasons are six months behind (or ahead, depending on how you look at it) the northern ones. Our Midsummer falls around December 20-23, when the north is blanketed in snow, while our winter solstice falls around June 20-23, the height of summer up there.
Perhaps long ago we may have followed the oft-printed dates and celebrated these rituals along with our northern friends, linking up psychically in December to celebrate Yule and welcome the birth of the sun god, even as here he was about to start fading as summer reached its peak, or doing autumn rituals of harvest and release while our land was quickening with the new growth of spring.
by Thorskegga Thorn
Freyja (often Anglised as 'Freya') is the most popular goddess honoured by modern Heathens, the pagan tradition inspired by the ancient religions of Scandinavia, England, the Netherlands and Germany. Freyja's independent personality makes her an ideal role model for the modern Heathen women and her interest in sexual pleasure makes her an ideal patroness for many full blooded Heathen men.
Historically speaking Freyja is known from Scandinavia where she is the chief goddess of a divine household called the Vanir. Only a handful of the scores of ancient Heathen deities are specified as Vanir, including Freyja's father Njorđr, a god of the sea, wind and fire, and her brother Freyr, the god of fertility. The other well known Heathen deities, such as Thórr, Ođinn, Týr, Loki and Frigg belong to the rival Aesir household.
The Brighton Goddess Temple is a group of women working to create and run a sacred space dedicated to the Divine feminine in all.
Lynx Wildwood, the first founding member, has been running open community rituals for the wheel of the year and the full moon for many years. Lynx was inspired by the enthusiasm and energy of the women who came to the rituals. She initiated the creation of a permanent space to honour women’s spirituality and power. A group was established and has been meeting since September 2007. We don’t align ourselves with any particular spiritual or religious group. We are open to all women of all racial, cultural and spiritual roots. Our aim is to join women together to empower and support each others love of nature and ourselves.