Saturday, February 16, 2019

Call for Submissions: On the Wings of Isis: A Woman's Path to Sovereignty



The Girl God is accepting submissions for our upcoming Anthology of women’s writing: On the Wings of Isis: A Woman's Path to Sovereignty. 

We want to hear from women about finding their path to sovereignty through the loving wings of Isis. Personal essays (up to 2,500 words), academic papers, poetry and (black and white) art are welcome.

Edited by Trista Hendren, Susan Morgaine and Pat Daly

Scheduled publication: September 2021

Submission Guidelines:
Please send your finished piece in a Word document.  Art should be sent in high resolution as a JPG.  You may submit more than one piece for consideration, but due to the volume of submissions, please only send your best work.

Please also include a bio under 150 words.

Please send your submissions to trista@girlgod.org by May 31, 2020. Please note that we cannot accommodate any late submissions or corrections.

The previous anthologies in this series are Re-visioning Medusa: from Monster to Divine WisdomInanna's Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power and Original Resistance: Reclaiming Lilith, Reclaiming Ourselves. A call for submissions has also been put out for Warrior Queen: Answering the Call of The Morrigan.

In the meantime, be sure to check out our book for children of all ages, My Name is Isis, The Egyptian Goddess



Saturday, February 9, 2019

You Are Inanna by DeAnna L'am

Abundant Inanna by Nuit Moore


On the day of your first Moon Blood – you were re-born as Inanna: She who travels between the worlds...

On your first Moon—you begun to journey with Her, through Her, as Her. When your Blood started flowing—Inanna took your hand and became your Guide for the journey: down into the Underworld, and back again. Every Moon, every Month -- for years to come... On that day—you became a Cyclical Being, guided by the Moon: expanding and contracting, descending and ascending... Anew with each cycle.

Inanna calls you to embody Her monthly. She leads the way through the darkness, if you only follow:
As your womb prepares to shed its inner lining, like a snake shedding its skin, it’s time to go inward. Inanna is preparing you for the journey down into the Underworld, into the realm where intuition rules, where fluidity is the meandering path. This is your MoonTime: time to leave linearity behind, to turn off the light of reason, to surrender to the unknown, and to trust. Inanna’s torch is shining in the dark. Can you follow it’s trail?

Veil by veil she strips you of the month that has just ended. It's time to let go of the cycle that’s gone. Release its joys and its disappointments. Don’t clingon to what could-have sprouted but didn’t... Don’t hold-on to the fruits you have harvested... Each interrupted seedling carries a teaching. Each juicy fruit holds nectar that feeds you. As you begin your descent into the underworld stop to savor each: the sting of the teaching and the sweetness of the fruit. Then, take time to release them all. To bury the withered leaves, the fading petals, and the remains of the fruit that nourished you. Take them off like jewelry. Approach the underworld lighter and lighter, as you shed one layer after another.

Enter the underworld naked, like Inanna. With no expectations, no pride, no plans. Only your true essence can pass through this gateway. Only your naked heart can meet Ereshkigal—your counterpart: She who is shaped by Change.

Ereshkigal invites you to mourn with her, in the darkness, for all the aborted projects, the interrupted blooms, the pain that was caused by the world—to you or to other living beings. This darkened Underworld cavern is where you can safely cry… moan… lament… This is where the Great Mother can hold you in her arms and gently rock you. Your pain belongs here. You can’t take this pain back with you, into the coming cycle, or it will bog you down and keep you in the Underworld. Let yourself feel it to its fullness, in order for it to dissolve. Let yourself experience the pain, and the Great Mother will comfort you.

It will take as long as it takes: An hour. A day. Your entire bleeding period. Or an instant. Your womb is calling you to tend to her, as she sheds her inner lining, as she bleeds the blood of life, as she releases another cycle.

Once Ereshkigal’s sorrow is consumed, your pain will subside. It will give way to hope. It will make room for the New to come in: new ideas, fresh initiatives, brand new projects. A new cycle is being born. It’s time to begin your departure from the Underworld. Adorn yourself with new veils and new jewels, as you trace the steps that brought you here, ascending back into your daily life.

Clad yourself with hope, as Inanna leads the way to a fresh new beginning. Gather new seeds to plant in the coming month. Grow them in the new cycle, and foster them into flowers and fruits as the cycle unfolds.

The new cycle will bring unimaginable gifts. Some sweet, some not. But you will not be swept out of orbit by one, nor crushed to the ground by the other, for you know the cycles repeat every Moon. Each Moon will bring an opportunity to plant again, to harvest and to bury, with Inanna at your guide!

You are Inanna. You expand and contract with the moon. You descend into the underworld to mourn, to shed, and to release. You leave behind what doesn’t serve you. You surrender to the Great Mother’s love and comfort. You gather your courage and strength, and you ascend again. And again. Every month. For you are a woman. You are a cyclical being. You are a spiral dance!

An excerpt from Inanna's Ascent.



DeAnna L'am is fondly known as ‘Womb Visionary.’ DeAnna is a motivational speaker, workshop leader, author, and a trailblazer who defined the last missing pieces in women's psyche today: harnessing the spiritual forces hidden in both Menstruation and Menopause. DeAnna has been leading workshops, and certifying facilitators, nationally and internationally for over 30 years.

She is author of: Becoming Peers - Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood and A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period. Founder of: Red Tents In Every Neighborhood – Global Network; Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™; WOMB WISDOM Tribe, and International Red Tent Day (celebrated globally on November 8). Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

Friday, February 8, 2019

Of Goddess’ Nature: Balance by Iriome R. Martín Alonso

Of Ocean and Stars, Wildness and Sun
by Iriome R. Martín Alonso

The Dark Goddess in particular, through Her many faces across mythologies, legends and cultures is that so needed catalytic figure that unleashed the ropes that have been tying us for so long. Unfortunately, She has been reduced to the role of villain in all the stories we have heard, and so our natural response to Her presence is that of fear, as it is natural to fear the unknown. The Dark Goddess path is one of surrender, of giving away control and all the mental constructs that have helped us to survive but most of the times kept us from fully living. Re-imagining Her and being aware of Her true nature without being blind to Her shades, is a way of knowing ourselves for real.

In a time in which the so-called progress has not only disconnected us from ourselves—but also from our very own home on this planet—Goddess is also a way of returning to an ecological
consciousness so imperative now: To know how to deal with the way we have exploited Her resources and the other creatures and plants with whom we share this wonderful land. Loving Goddess not only as a Great Mother but also as a closer Lover, a dear Sister or a fragile Child we have to protect is a way of making sure we will not allow Her to suffer harm from us any longer. She is used to transmuting and has nurtured species far greater than we are; She has endured the severest conditions. She will surely adapt and evolve, but, will we follow Her? The most intelligent thing is to protect the way She takes care of us now.

Goddess is also crucial in a time in which feminism is spreading as a way of confronting inequality. She does not know of ethnic groups, gender or sexual orientations, but She perceives us all as equal. In a society that holds women, people with other genders and orientations and with different cultures and skin colours in such an inferior position that toxic dynamics of power, before led by religious beliefs, are now intrinsically embroidered into culture—Goddess is not only a source of healing but also an inspiration of empowerment. She has given me courage in my most desperate moments, and She gives purpose and a sense of hope to a modern existence that seems to be numb, in an eternal anesthesia that hollows us like empty Shells whose lack of inner content eventually makes us so weak that we crack.

Goddess celebrates vulnerability, She celebrates the falls and the rises, She adores difference, the endurance in moments of struggle and the compassion of a person that helps others due to empathy. She holds and loves everything that is repudiated by the outside world—because everything comes from Her. Considering something out of the norm or unnatural would be like believing that nature is imperfect just because some things are less common than others. There is as much beauty in the rarest and loneliest of flowers as there is in a field full of the same plant.

What is Goddess? How is Goddess? Who is Goddess? Why is She important? Is She Dark, Light or Balanced? No scholar or paper, no priestess or wise person will ever answer it properly enough for you, such is the blessing and the burden of a path that cheers self-discovery like this does. But I promise that even though it might seem slow, frustrating and unpractical, nothing compares with the joy of experiencing Her not only around all of you, but also growing inside your very soul.


An excerpt from ¨Of Goddess’ Nature: Balance¨ by Iriome R. Martín Alonso in Inanna's Ascent.


Iriome R. Martín Alonso is an anthropology and performing arts student, born in the Canary Islands, Spain (1996). Coming from a strictly Catholic family in which it was usual for women to become nuns, she changed Her faith at the age of thirteen- After seven years moving with the cycles of the Wheel of the Year consciously, she’s currently taking face-to-face training to become a Priestess of the Goddess at the Goddess Temple of Madrid.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Journey with Inanna by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

Art by Arna Baartz


Forty years ago (1978) I signed a letter to an editor “in the name of She who is rising;” he had rejected an article I had submitted on women and religion. Indeed, many now witness that She has risen since then, prolifically, and ever more so, collectively; and also for me personally. I reflect on those forty years as they unfolded personally: It has been a terrible journey. It may sound surprising to say that the journey has been “terrible” when the outcome in my life in more recent times has been so fruitful, creative and beautiful. But it did indeed require a descent—an initiation, for which I largely thank the power of Inanna. Inanna knows about descent and stripping back, cleaning up. She may answer your call for Her integrity—for Her wholeness—with an obliging journey to the Underworld, a visit to the Great Below, the realm of Her sister Ereshkigal. In an earlier reflection on the journey, I stated:
I was fortunate, my life did fall apart, I was lost. The journey into Her story, means a participation in Her descent and return, it means a shattering of what went before. How does a woman stop being object, and become subject? How does she become the body in her own mind? It requires more than a headtrip, it requires the descent of Inanna, a falling apart. I was still a product of patriarchal narrative, and still seeking the Beloved (the Mother) outside myself. What did it take to move from that, to allow a fertile darkness within, from which the Self could begin? The regaining of integrity, and an understanding of why we lost it, or did not have it, can require a great darkness.1
Sometimes one’s deepest desires require a journey one would not have the stomach for: Her shattering is merciful. The mystics of many religious traditions have sung of the beauty of the dark night — “more lovely than the dawn” as John of the Cross expressed it, and dark Goddesses have been revered for their awesome and creative dismantling. Chamunda, a skeletal Deity of India for example, has been praised with: "only terrifying to those who oppose Her, for Her devotees She is a powerful vigilant guardian. Chamunda belongs to the group of 'matrikas'—the powerful Mothers who ensure universal order.”2 Inanna’s power is in Her daring to descend, to get to the bottom of things, to subject Herself to the truth, to trust that She will return—and Her trust is also in the faithfulness and resourcefulness of the companion Ninshubur who will wait for Her at the entrance, who will send for help if she senses its need. Inanna’s power is in Her fierce passion for life and beauty, and Her journey is one of true heraics,3 calling forth the power in one’s depths—and the shared desires of companions, watchful attentive others.

The portal for me into the journey with Inanna was a ritual weekend workshop with a group of women, facilitated by a skilled woman, in 1991. We joined Inanna in a ritual descent, giving over personal representations of what was requested at each of the seven gates to the Great Below. I knew something was not right in my life, though I did not know what or why—but I knew I desired deeply to set it right, and I was willing to give myself over to this Goddess, to strip myself back with Inanna; to allow only Her grace in any re-emergence. I deeply wanted Her garden in my soul, not the weeds that seemed to be strangling me. So in the process of the Inanna ritual, I gave up significant real things at each of the seven gates, as Inanna does. I cannot remember them all exactly, but there were my keys (to house and car and all) left at one of the gates, and my jewellery was left at another. I took off significant clothing at another gate. I left significant books that represented my intellect and learning. Each participant left what she was willing to give at each gate, not knowing if or how that capacity or power would be restored. Not every woman was as radical as I was willing to be; She meets each where they are it seems. She listens to the heart and each one’s yearnings. Mine were earnest and deep: I wanted Her. We slept that night in a room together in the Underworld we had descended to, to join Inanna as a “rotten piece of meat” in the realm of Ereshkigal.

Within the year, my life fell apart and I was shattered: The image I had at that time about my situation was of a rocket that had gone straight up and turned back to Earth, crashing like broken glass into millions of pieces. The poison was exposed. Here is a poem I wrote within the next few years that ensued, as I reflected on what had taken place:

Transformation
Completely dismantled
—all the stock taken out of the cupboards.
Strip them bare
Pull apart my knowings
—rip them open, let the connections be severed.
Expose all the parts, every cell
to the sunlight
de-toxify
throw away
move it all around
mix it, mix it
skim the dross
With mortar and pestle pound Her
Is She mortified sufficiently yet?
Has She seen it all yet?
Pound Her more, take it from Her
Like panning for gold...
is there any?
What will be left?
The grit, the metal, the stones
found at the bottom of the wash
This is the new composition.
Begin composing it now.

Write it, sing it, melt it back together,
re-Form it, re-Cognize it,
breath it, dance it.
Let it grow
Praise the Dark One who dismantled you dear
who took off your robes
exposed you
She took you apart
—because you lusted to know
Now She has filled your cells,
your blueprint
with new possibility
—bled the poison
emptied the cup
that it may be filled.

I wrote many things at that time: The dark is a fertile place. I asked many questions, re-viewed details of my life as I had been living it—now that truth had been revealed and heretofore hidden shapes and stories could be seen. I was horrified. I was frozen. I was the “rotten piece of meat” as is described in Inanna’s story. I wrote: “My passive body washed up onto the shores of a dark island.”

There is no doubt that commitment to such a process, to a journey with Inanna, requires daring and courage, and trust in Her; but that will arrive if one is passionate enough to know truth and integrity. I did return, along with those who had been harmed in the midst of my blindness. We have returned, we made it back from the Underworld, to the sweet surface, with the riches of the dark journey. I have been deeply graced, in the reconstruction of myself, an organic re-creation out of Her clay and earth, not of glass—and in the company of others who came, desiring my well-being, the gifts that they saw I held embryonically. My re-emergence was with the assistance of a web of companions, some who came from afar, were unknown before, as well as through the power I discovered within me. It was an emergence into Inanna’s garden—the original sacred Garden, a new place for me, where She flourishes and bears fruit for many. The hera’s journey with Inanna is to return with the goods, the self-knowledge, a lot wiser and radiant: to be like the Sun and the Moon and the stars, and regenerate the world.


© Glenys Livingstone 2018

An excerpt from Inanna's Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power.



Glenys Livingstone, Ph.D. has been on a Goddess path since 1979. She is the author of PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion, which fuses the indigenous traditions of Old Europe with scientific theory, feminism and a poetic relationship with place. She lives in the Blue Mountains of Australia where she has facilitated Seasonal ceremony for over two decades, taught classes and mentored apprentices. In 2014, Glenys co-facilitated the Mago Pilgrimage to Korea with Dr. Helen Hwang. Glenys is a contributor to the recently published Foremothers of Women’s Spirituality: Elders and Visionaries edited by Miriam Robbins Dexter and Vicki Noble. She has recently produced a set of meditation CDs which are available at her website, along with her book http://pagaian.org/book.

References:

Getty, Adele. Goddess: Mother of Living Nature. London: Thames and Hudson, 1990.

Livingstone, Glenys. PaGaian Cosmology: Reinventing Earth-based Goddess Relgion. NE: iUniverse, 2005.

Spretnak, Charlene (ed). The Politics of Women's Spirituality. NY: Doubleday, 1982.


Footnotes:

1    Glenys Livingstone, PaGaian Cosmology, p.76.
2    Adele Getty, Goddess: Mother of Living Nature, p.84
3    This term is based on Charlene Spretnak’s advice that “hera” (a pre-Hellenic word for Goddess) predates “hero”, a term for the brave male Heracles who carries out the bidding of his Goddess Hera. Charlene Spretnak notes that the derivative “heroine” is completely unnecessary. See “Mythic Heras as Models of Strength and Wisdom”, in The Politics of Women’s Spirituality, p.87.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Call for Submissions: Warrior Queen: Answering the Call of The Morrigan



The Girl God is accepting submissions for our upcoming Anthology of women’s writing: Warrior Queen: Answering the Call of The Morrigan. 

We want to hear from women about their insight into this Goddess - and how they have used Her story as inspiration to claim their Queendom. 

Personal essays (up to 2,500 words), academic papers, poetry and (black and white) art are welcome. Please keep submissions on-topic, using the title of the anthology as a guide.

Edited by Trista Hendren, Jessica Johnson and Pat Daly

Scheduled publication: September 2021

Please send your submissions to trista@girlgod.org by May 31, 2020. Please note that we cannot accommodate any late submissions or corrections.

Submission Guidelines:
Please send your finished piece in a Word document.  Art should be sent in high resolution as a JPG.  You may submit more than one piece for consideration, but due to the volume of submissions, please only send your best work.

Please also include a bio under 150 words.

Accepted contributors will receive a contributor's copy of the book and the option to order as many copies of the book as they'd like at cost during the pre-order period to sell or gift as they wish.

The previous anthologies in this series are Re-visioning Medusa: from Monster to Divine Wisdom, Inanna's Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power and Original Resistance: Reclaiming Lilith, Reclaiming Ourselves.


In the meantime, be sure to check out our new book for children of all ages, My Name is The Morrigan




Friday, January 18, 2019

Permission to Fall Apart by Nina Erin Hofmeijer

Art by Liliana Kleiner


I grant you permission to fall apart.

here,
I will make you this nest
here,
I will tie your hair back
here,
I will wait with you

Your heart is a stone sunk to the bottom
of the bottom
Hot and cold
a dead thing, pulsating
a thing that cannot be

Let it be that.

Your skin is coming off,
peeling and sloughing around the
coarse string you’ve used to truss
yourself, to keep your old shape,
the one we all rely on

Cut it off; shed it all

The howl that is developing
in the subterranean pockets
of your grief,
that is swirling behind your name,
a sound that is a mouth in shock at its gaping

Release it
Here. Now.

Look in the mirror of my face
See what I see:
All that you broke was already broken
See what I see:
All that you shed was no longer yours

Your renewal is centuries old,
made of the shed pieces of the
winters of your ancestors

Your storm is the honest expression of the sun:
Turning seeds to crops, turned thresh turned dust

Explosions of stardust and the wind of creation;
We are what’s left after God fell apart



An excerpt from the girl god anthology, Inanna's Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power.




Nina Erin Hofmeijer is a writer, mother, healer and mostly-gentle truth-teller living in Eugene, OR.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Medusa Goddess: Up Close and Personal by Marie Summerwood

Painting by Laura Daliga


THE FIRST TIME I knowingly met the presence of Medusa, I was being initiated as a priestess. My lover and I planned the ritual ourselves, or so we thought. It was in the middle of the night during winter solstice, the deepest darkest time of winter. We had rented a cabin in the woods, snowy, silent and still. The intention was deep. We went to sleep early and set a small sweet bell alarm in the other room that would awaken us as though we were being called by the [imagined] sisters of our temple. Our bedside altar held candles, ritual objects and a small feast for afterward. I had planned to call upon several goddesses to stand with me in various aspects of my power: Isis would be called to help me remember I am a sacred woman; Quan Yin for the strength of my joy and my ability to sing out in the sacred power of grief; and of course, Mary—my namesake—She who is present at the doorway of life and death in my world and holds me in Her sacred heart, always. And I had planned to call upon Aphrodite to come and stand with me in the name of Beauty, which I ultimately was free to do, but not before another goddess showed up.

A note here. My strategy, in addressing a goddess energy that I want to work with, is to ultimately promise Her that I will tell Her story. And I do, with my teaching and my chants. Especially my chants. To keep the goddesses alive and strong in our hearts, we tell Their stories, sing about Them—and Their powers. It works. They love it.

Anyway, we awoke to the temple bells and began. It was a simple yet deep ritual, and one of important surrender. We cast the circle and chanted. I called Isis and smiled, I invoked Quan Yin and felt at ease. Mary brought me home to my own sacred heart. At the moment though, the moment when I had planned to speak the name of the next goddess, my hands clenched and unclenched and I found myself fiercely whispering—over and over—the name of Medusa. It went on for several long moments. From my astonished depths I felt her name rise in me as I heard my own voice say “I will tell your story, Medusa, I will tell Your Story.” So here I am.

According to Edith Hamilton, Medusa is one of the Gorgons, a trio of evil sisters who share one eye. She is the only mortal one of the sisters, and is so ugly and fearsome that she has snakes for hair. So fearsome and ugly that She is deadly to behold; and one look into Her eyes turns men to stone. After Perseus slew Her, the blood dripping from Her severed head gave birth to the wingèd horse, Pegasus, and to legions of demons. That is some powerful blood.

For years, this story of Medusa was my only source of information. My oppression was still in place, and I could not yet imagine there might even be other versions of Medusaʼs story—perhaps a version where Medusa is a serpent-goddess of the Libyan Amazons, decended from Lamia, the Libyan serpent goddess of creation? Or one where Medusa is the Crone/Destroyer aspect of Neith, The Triple Goddess in Egypt? Or perhaps one where our re-claimed, re-found, re-sung goddess Medusa shows up when we pray or chant to Her (and where She has our back!) as we stand in our own authentic fierceness. Her name, Medusa, comes from linguistic roots meaning “female wisdom.” Gorgon masks were used by more than one culture; the women wore them in ritual. A womanʼs face surrounded by serpent hair is an ancient symbol worn by those whose work it is to protect blood mysteries and divine female wisdom.

No small wonder then, that in the twisted creation story of the next religion—Christianity—an evil snake gets a woman in trouble over knowledge SHE is not supposed to have.

In Edith’s Classical Greek story, Perseus beheads Medusa and brings her head to Athena, who wears it forevermore on Her breastplate. The real King Perseus (circa 1209 B.C.E.) and his armies fought against and slaughtered the Amazons and other peoples of the matrifocal cultures. The Greek story was rewritten to indicate that Medusa, the divine female wisdom, has been destroyed and is now relegated to mere ornamentation. The mythology of the people was changed, and over time their basic beliefs were affected, but not lost.

For me—in that deep ritual and visitation—for us as women of power, it was and is clearly time to fully reclaim Medusa as a Goddess of protection and fierceness! Fierce means “Wild and Proud.” Fierce as the Mother Bear; fierce as the old woman, the crone, the giver of death; fierce as the Amazons who stood in sacred circle to fall together.

In my own ritual work with the energies of the directions I feel a spectrum of emotional stories in each. Medusa appears in the South. For me the South holds the vibrations of Passion, of Anger, Outrage, Rage, and anything in between—including Enthusiasm, Fierceness, Eagerness and Zealotry. When I call Her, Medusa comes and She comes in fierceness instead of deadly danger. She brings wild pride instead of rage, untamed beauty instead of armor. We can heal from the frozen night desert of rage with Her at our back. Medusa holds the place of rage as a sacred power of the women together. Medusa offers us Her shield of fierceness whenever we need it. Medusa helps us come forward into the world in our own untamed beauty, in our own passionate fierceness. Medusa is shielded in the power of Her own fierce beauty. May every woman’s face be engraved upon the shield of Medusa. I know mine is.

I chant to open to Her fierceness,
I chant to remember my own truth about Medusa.
Let us chant to Her:
Ave Medusa
Fierce woman wild and proud, stand in the gaze of Medusa!
Fierce woman wild and proud, stand in the gaze of Medusa! Sacred daughter of Her, sacred daughter of Her
My face adorns the shield of Medusa.
Sacred daughter of Her, sacred daughter of Her
My face adorns the shield of Medusa.
Ave Medusa, Ave Medusa, Ave Medusa, Ave Medusa!



From the CD, “Step Into The River” © 2006 by Marie Summerwood msummerw@twcny.rr.com

An excerpt from the girl god anthology, Re-visioning Medusa: from Monster to Divine Wisdom.



Marie Summerwood (5/1/49-1/17/19) was an author, teacher and composer of women’s sacred music. Her chants helped women remember the sacredness of women and life. Many of the chants on her first CD, “She Walks With Snakes” are beloved at women’s gatherings and circles. Her second CD, “Step Into The River” offers several chants to specific goddesses, including Kwan Yin, Isis, Venus and Medusa.  Marie Summerwood offered wisdom gleaned from the Spiral of Life. She teaches taught about women’s topics, including the sacredness of grief, and ritual emotional work with the four directions. A grateful apprentice to the force of Beauty, Marie welcomed its many faces. Ave Medusa. Marie left us too soon. We thank her for her work and bless her memory.
www.Mariesummerwood.com