Thursday, September 9, 2021

Boudicca’s Prayer on the Birth of Her First Daughter by Hayley Arrington

 

Art by Lucy Pierce


I have labored long
and I come to you now
with my prize, a daughter,
O, Invincible One!
My daughter,
newly born,
still wet with birth—
My limbs still stiff
from bracing and birthing.
O, Lady,
my daughter is my true Victory!
At the precipice, I cried your name—
I thank thee, Andraste, and call upon thee as woman speaking to woman*
I have risen from childbed.
I will rise to motherhood
and anything else that comes my way
for I am under your protection
now and always.

*This line is a supposed quote of Boudicca’s, from Historia Romana by Dio Cassius

Poem and art from our upcoming anthology, In Defiance of Oppression -The Legacy of Boudicca.

Hayley Arrington is a mythologist, poet, and writer. She received her MA in women’s spirituality from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA, where she wrote her thesis on Celtic sun goddesses. Her writings have appeared in various publications online and in print, including previous Girl God publications, On the Wings of Isis and Inanna’s Ascent; Whole and Holy: A Goddess Devotional, and SageWoman Magazine. Her interests include mythology and folklore as sacred text, writing essays, fiction and poetry, and discovering women’s myriad ways of knowing. She is a polytheist Witch and is particularly devoted to Pelasgian Hera. Hayley is from the greater Los Angeles area, where she lives with her husband and son. Learn more at her Arthurian Witch blog at loathlylady.wordpress.com.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Why We Need the Boudica Spirit Today by Sharon Smith

 

Art by Lady Wolf


Boudica (Latinized as Boadicea) was an Iceni woman born c. 30 CE, married at age 18 to Prasutagus, King of the Iceni, a tribe of early Britons. The memory of this ancient queen might never have survived the annals of Time, except for one important fact: She was a strong woman who was not content to sit back, after her husband died and left her a widow. Prasutagus had become a “client king” of Rome: The Roman general assigned to Britain, Suetonius Paulinus, pretty much let Prasutagus run things in his “neck of the woods” so long as he paid taxes to Rome and obeyed Paulinus and was loyal the Roman Emperor. But Boudica, on the other hand, did not favor Roman rule at all. And when the Romans sought to humiliate her, following Prasutagus’s death, by beating her, raping her two young daughters, and taking her wealth and lands, she would not be silenced.

And here is where her Warrior Woman comes out in a blaze of glory. She rallied her tribe with brilliant, inspiring rhetoric and even got other Briton tribes that had been at odds with the Iceni to rally together with them under her banner to fight against the Romans. That, in itself, was quite an accomplishment. As a unified army, they marched on Camulodunum (Colchester), routing the Roman division there and sending the Imperial agent fleeing for his life to Gaul. Then Boudica and her troops stormed Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St. Albans), sacking and burning the towns.

Unfortunately, these Briton victories, under a WOMAN no less, angered Suetonius Paulinus, who struck back against the Britons with a vengeance and decimated Boudica’s army. Boudica, herself, was not killed in the fray, but it is recorded that she took poison and ended her own life, rather than be taken as a slave of the Romans.

From that history, you may wonder why I see Boudica as a much-needed feminine icon for today: She lost, right? Well, she may have lost the battle, but she won the admiration of her people and even some of the Romans. One Roman historian, Cassius Dio, said of her, “The Britons mourned her deeply and gave her a costly burial.”

Boudica remains a figure of sovereignty and strength for women everywhere. She could have sat back and allowed the Romans to take her lands and her possessions; she could have become a servant to Rome, as had her husband, Prasutagus. But Boudica had a backbone and it wasn’t about to bend. She wanted her people to be free and their lands and possessions to belong to them, not to some foreign power. So, she fought back as valiantly and as fiercely as any male warrior.

What can we learn from this ancient Wild Warrior Woman?
  • Conflicts come, and it’s better to face them, rather than run from them.
  • Stand your ground; set your boundaries and don’t let others violate them.
  • You’re capable of much more than you think you are.
  • So, think confidently; speak confidently; and act confidently.
  • If hardships and difficulties come, rather than allowing them to defeat you, let them be the very stepping stones that will bring you closer to your goal.
  • There’s a time and a place to let that wild warrior woman out: Stay in touch with her! She’ll let you know!
  • Your freedoms are worth fighting for, even if, in the end, you lose the battle. Your willingness to stand up for those freedoms just may inspire others to do the same!
Boudica is one of my historical Sheroes. Whenever I hear her name, I feel a surge of pride in my womanity, because Boudica was a woman, just like you or me. What set her apart is that she walked in her sovereignty against all odds and, even in defeat, she ultimately won. Because she held on to the respect of her people, her nation and even her adversaries.

Now THAT’s a Warrior Woman I’m proud to follow!

Excerpt from our upcoming anthology, In Defiance of Oppression -The Legacy of Boudicca.

Sharon Smith is a writer, ghost writer, editor, and proofreader with a passion for helping women reconnect with their Authentic Selves and Voices. She loves & honors the Great Mother in all Her many forms, and has a deep connection to Nature. She identifies as a Green Witch and follows an eclectic spiritual path that is a blending of Native American and Celtic Teachings, both in her ancestral line.

Monday, September 6, 2021

The Daughters of Boudicca by H. Byron Ballard

 

Art by Lucy Pierce


Women have little to do with the march of history as we are taught it in our schools - women are the ones who wait at home or take on “men’s work” in order to get by and keep the war machine going. Women are, and always have been, the ones who nurse the wounded and bury the dead. Women are rarely the ones who make the decision to go to war and the sacrifice of women and of the culture is the psychic and physical health of the next generation. But those who perish for the cause attain a kind of immortality not often granted ordinary mortals. Mortality makes the loss of the beloved not only bearable but also glorious.

Women and power. Women and death. Western culture gives us the glory of death and courage wrapped in a warrior package and occasionally a woman is the warrior. But how do we now - as the world twists and changes - fully step into our role as creator and destroyer? Have we the skills and the hearts to survive the unmaking of the old orders, keep our balance and walk the tightrope between aggression and strength, between power and glory and wiping a baby’s nose?

We learn so much through the practice of living and through flying in our dreams. It is up to us now, as women, to define how the glory goes and when and to whom. Our quest as women is to find and claim our own kind of power in a world that has long denied us this privilege. How do we create a new world? As we midwife the death of the dominator system called patriarchy, we must organize and respond as women, consciously creating the world in our image. But first we must clarify that image and find the wit and courage to step into our own authentic power. We can look to the old systems for information, for inspiration as we gaze into the future of the planet and our species on it. We can honor the memory of the warrior-priestess, the queen, and the freedom fighter. Because it has fallen on us to birth the new world. Again.

We begin by acknowledging that those centuries of living under an autocratic and misogynistic culture has left gaping wounds in the human psyche. We accept that we must be healers as well as leaders, that we must salve spirits that are hurting and feed those that are hungry. We, as women, will define what a warrior is in this brave new world; then we will become that thing; we will model that for our sons and our daughters, for our grandchildren and our grandparents. For Boudicca and for her daughters, for we are all her daughters.

Fúmsa atá sé. Is cumin liom.
It’s up to me. I remember.


-H. Byron Ballard, an excerpt from ''The Daughters of Boudicca'' - featured in our upcoming anthology, In Defiance of Oppression -The Legacy of Boudicca.

H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a western NC native, teacher, folklorist and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Summerland Spirit Festival, Pagan Spirit Gathering, Southeast Wise Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference, Heartland, Sirius Rising, Starwood, Scottish Pagan Federation Conference and other gatherings. She is senior priestess and co-founder of Mother Grove Goddess Temple and the Coalition of Earth Religions/CERES, both in Asheville, NC.

Her essays are featured in several anthologies and she writes a regular column for Witches and Pagans Magazine. Her book “Staubs and Ditchwater” debuted in 2012 and the companion volume “Asfidity and Mad-Stones” was published in Oct. 2015. “Embracing Willendorf: A Witch’s Way of Loving Your Body to Health and Fitness” launched in May, 2017. “Earth Works: Ceremonies in Tower Time” debuted in June 2018. Byron is currently at work on “Gnarled Talisman: Old Wild Magics of the Motherland” and “The Ragged Wound: Tending the Soul of Appalachia.”

Battle Cry by Erika Lopp

 

Painting by Barbara O'Meara

Twas a time long ago when the Great Isle was ravished with war and bloodshed. Invaders from the east swept through the land intent on domination.

Amidst these trying times rose a warrior. Boudicca, a name still whispered in the echoes of time. Boudicca the great Iceni Queen. She who is unafraid to stand smeared in the blood of her enemies. She who withstood many horrors and witnessed countless injustices—and still found her power. Tattered and worn, beaten and bloodied she stands with us now.

Her voice cry's out, “Dig deep within yourselves my daughters. Find your voices, reclaim your power. You are part of a great line of brave sisters whose time has come to fruition. My story represents all of you. My gift to you all is that of unwavering strength of spirit, despite the cruelties and harshness of the world. Come together now, walk my path as one.”

“Pick up your daggers, raise your bows and follow me into battle.”

 

Excerpt from our upcoming anthology, In Defiance of Oppression -The Legacy of Boudicca.

In her younger days, Erika Lopp chose a path to help others. She attended college and received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and later a Master's in Education and Counseling Psychology in order to help victims of domestic violence. Later, her heart led her to an Anthropology degree out of her love for history, archaeology, and cultural studies. She currently works for a cultural resource management firm called Corn Island Archaeology. Her passions include an avid love for the realm of magic including, mythology, magical herbalism, and moon lore. Her creative soul has led me to a love for gardening, healing herbs, arts, crafts, baking, photography and writing. Things that inspire Erika: An open moonflower at dusk, the sunrise on a cool fall morning, and the distant call of the crow.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

The Story of Woman by Tamara Albanna

 

Art by Arlene Bailey


Boudicca was never a figure I knew intimately.

I have heard her name. I learned that she is known for her bravery and sacrifice. I also know that even though her story is an older one—it lives on today in women all over the world.

I felt her fierceness deeply very recently, when the Taliban swept through Afghanistan once more, and we saw the images of people, mostly men, trying to flee.

I then saw images of Afghani women, heavily armed and vowing to protect their country.

I was reminded of homeland, Iraq, where there were similar scenes of women fighting against Daesh, to push them out of their country.

Men come to rape, pillage, and destroy.

Then they flee.

Women hold the earth, hold their children, and fight.

Women sacrifice, pay the ultimate price, to fight and protect what is theirs.

Boudicca took her life in honor, rather than succumb to the hands of the aggressor.

Women in Syria and Iraq committed suicide, rather than fall into the hands of Daesh and a fate worse than death.

How can this be seen as anything other than the ultimate power, the ultimate show of autonomy?

We die on our own terms, we die with honor, we die fighting.

We are not the victims the media likes to show. Far from it.

By telling the story of Boudicca, we are telling the story of women today. The women who carry her spirit. Of justice, autonomy, and liberation.

We tell Her story; we tell the story of Woman.

Excerpt from the upcoming anthology, In Defiance of Oppression -The Legacy of Boudicca.


Tamara Albanna has always been connected to the Goddess, even when she didn’t realize it. As a Doula and Childbirth Educator, she witnessed divinity first hand through other women. Now as a writer, artist, Reiki healer and Tarot reader, she hopes to help others overcome their difficult pasts while healing with the Divine Mother. She has published two books on Inanna—Inanna's Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power (co-edited with Trista Hendren and Pat Daly) and My Name is Inanna; two books on Wilendorf—Willendorf's Legacy: The Sacred Body (co-edited with Trista Hendren and Pat Daly) and My Name is Goddess of Willendorf—as well as three poetry chapbooks, As I Lay By the Tigris and Weep, Rosewater, and Kismet. Tamara currently resides in Europe with her family. She can be found at https://tamara-albanna.com

Friday, August 27, 2021

The Mysteries of Feeling Embodied Aliveness by Kay Turner

 

Art by Arna Baartz

 

How does aliveness move and express through you?  How do you make love with the divine?  How is the sacred a living aspect of your life?

There are times in our life when we feel extra-ordinarily alive.  This may be a one-off, a single moment in time, when we suddenly feel entirely integrated, connected to ourselves or another or the world.  Or it may be a place, resource or activity we have incorporated into our day-to-day life, as we know it is there and during it that we move beyond the mundane and into the realm of the sacred, feeling expansive, ecstatic even, and totally in flow and union, both fully ourselves whilst simultaneously fully connected to something that is beyond ourselves, the erotic, a force, the divine.

These encounters are beyond words.  They are numinous and mystical. Yet, I would like to capture how contemporary women are still accessing and communing with magic through their bodies.  How they are making love with the divine, in a plethora of ways.  How we know through these occurrences, there is more in this realm than just the ‘common place’ and that we channel lifeforce, creating with the divine through self-pleasure, sexual union, movement, art, gardening and no doubt other ways I haven’t even considered.

I need your shares to make this book happen.   Are you willing to share an anonymous story, experience or anecdote with verbally or in written form?  I’m doing research for the book Making Love with the Divine,  Sacred, Ecstatic, Erotic Experiences, scheduled to be published by Girl God Books 2022/3.  If you are please email submissions@girlgod.org by Sept 22nd, 2021. 

Kay Turner
Education. Evolution. Embodiment.
www.anotherlogonthefire.com

Saturday, August 21, 2021

So…What’s a HERmnal? by Sharon Smith

 

Art by Cheryl Braganza

“A what? What’s a ‘hermnal?'” That’s a question I’ve been asked repeatedly whenever I’ve mentioned this collection of rewritten hymns from Girl God Books. And it’s a question that’s both easy and somewhat difficult to answer. The easy part: It’s a book of praise songs to the Great Mother Goddess. The “somewhat difficult” part: Explaining, to those comfortable with Patriarchy, why we need one in the first place.

We’ve been inundated with images and stories and pronouns that define the Creator as “masculine-only”: The Almighty One; the “King of kings and Lord of lords,” the Eternal Father”—always referenced with the masculine pronouns “He,” “Him,” “His;” never with the feminine pronouns “She,” “Her” or “Hers.” This has become so deeply ingrained into all aspects of our culture that many cannot envision the Divine as anything but “masculine-only.” To think of God as female is silly at best…and blasphemous at its worst.

But something has been happening over the past several decades: Women are awakening. We’re remembering who we are. And we’re done with patriarchal stories that cast us in a “lesser-than” role; that punish us for “Eve’s disobedience” in the Garden of Eden which, according to the Patriarchs, resulted in the damnation of Mankind—and all the pain and suffering that has resulted from her “rebellion.” So we’re leaving traditional patriarchal churches to find something that better aligns with our Feminine Intuition and Deep Ancestral Knowing. And we’re rediscovering the Goddess: The Divine Feminine. The “Great SHE.” The Creatrix. The Mother of All.

When Trista came to me with the idea of creating a book of rewritten hymns in praise of the Great Mother, I was beyond excited. “This is something we really need,” I told her. To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a complete book of worship songs to the Goddess. So we began brainstorming. Trista came up with the title, “Just As I Am: Hymns Affirming the Divine Female” and we settled on the beautiful, body-positive artwork of Kat Shaw for the cover. Then we subtitled the work, “A Girl God Hermnal.”

With emphasis on the HER.

And why not? The Goddess has been in the background for five millennia, while the patriarchal “Father God” has monopolized the stage—and the spotlight. Now it’s HER turn to shine! And shine She does through the beautiful, inspiring Herms and artwork of so many talented, Goddess-loving Women included in this book.

What is a Hermnal? It’s the collective sigh of our ancestral Grandmothers. It’s a means of drawing us closer together as Sisters. It is a compilation of songs that affirms our Sacredness, apart from Man, and assures us that we are Sovereign Beings and Creatrixes, too. And it is our Love Gift of Gratitude to Mama.

We hope you will enjoy these Herms and use them often in your Circles, Services, and Ceremonies.

May Goddess be praised…and may She bless you all!

Introduction to our upcoming Hermnal, Just as I am: Hymns Affirming the Divine Female.




Sharon Smith is a writer, ghost writer, editor, and proofreader with a passion for helping women reconnect with their Authentic Selves and Voices. She loves and honors the Great Mother in all Her many forms, and has a deep connection to Nature. She identifies as a Green Witch and follows an eclectic spiritual path that is a blending of Native American and Celtic Teachings, both in her ancestral line.