Reviewed by Paul Williment
by Jill Smith
When I wrote my book Mother of the Isles (Dor Dama Press 2003) I had not yet managed to visit her. I had tried for 15 years, to no avail. Chartered boats were too expensive, cruises couldn’t guarantee to stop there and places on NT working parties impossible to get on. It was only when Angus Campbell of Kilda Cruises began day-trips in a speed-boat in 2005 that for me it finally became possible.
Where is St. Kilda (or Hiort or Hirte)? Forty miles west of the Western Isles, which are themselves a long way west of Scotland. Rocky remnants of an ancient volcano, the group of islands and stacs rise sheer from the depths of dark green water, covered with hundreds of thousands of sea-birds which the islanders hunted precariously through millennia until the last few people left in 1930.
by Linda Foubister
Goddess in the Grass explores the relationship between the Goddess and her sacred symbol, the serpent, by focusing on myths and fairy tales from cultures around the world and from the dawn of humans to the present day.
The serpent is associated with renewal, fertility and prosperity but like many images of the Goddess, it has come to symbolize evil. Goddess in the Grass examines the symbolic meanings of the Serpent Goddess, revealing her origins as the life-giving, death-dealing Great Goddess. This excerpt looks at the renewal aspects of the Serpent Goddess.
The Renewing Serpent Goddess
In prehistoric times, images of the serpent indicated seasonal renewal, the coming of spring and summer. In Europe, the emergence of the snake in spring from its winter hibernation took on a prophetic quality, with certain signs predicting either a prosperous or a difficult new year. The ability of the snake to shed its skin led to the old belief that snakes were immortal. The Serpent Goddess was worshipped for her ability to renew life, healing illness in the process. Continue reading "Excerpts from Goddess in the Grass: Serpentine Mythology and the Great Goddess"
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 Alex Chaloner
The esoteric philosophy of Helena Blavatsky and Alice A Bailey both advocated the idea of the seven rays. These mysterious rays have been described as “seven great divine Emanations, Aeons or Spirits”1 and “Seven Holy Ones, self-born from the inherent power in the Matrix of Mother Substance.”2 It is said that each ray holds a unique quality which manifests in the universe and throughout all of creation.
Earlier this year my organisation, Goddess Within, produced a ritual performance piece entitled “The Goddess and the Seven Rays”. The aim of the performance was to map the rays to well-documented Goddess archetypes and through their stories come to understand how these ray qualities manifest within human consciousness.
by Cheryl Straffon
In rural areas, especially in the Celtic enclaves of Ireland and Scotland, a great number of customs grew up around this time, most associated with the Goddess whose festival this became, Bridget or Bride (pronounced Breed). When Christianity eventually took over, it found that such an important festival and its much-loved Goddess could not be ignored, so they changed the name to Candlemass, which still takes place in the Christian church on February 2nd, the festival of the purification of the virgin. The all-loving and nurturing Goddess, protectress of women and of childbirth, was turned into a festival in which the mother of Christ (who was still considered to be a virgin) had somehow to be cleansed of the process of giving birth, as if it were somehow unclean or shameful.