Monday, October 19, 2020

Sovereign Unto Herself by Trista Hendren

 

Painting by Leticia Banegas


Deep in the psyche even of great women, there has not been a female metaphor for greatness, for strength, for the wisdom which they themselves embodied. The female Deities had been so slandered, so stripped of essential integrity… this is not myopia. The millennia of patriarchal narrative has left our minds locked up, unable to grasp the Female Metaphor… that she may stand sovereign, not as greater than, but in and of herself: so that, when a woman or a man desires to express greatness, nobility, strength they are able to easily reach for a female image.” 
-Glenys Livingstone, PhD1

Imagine for a moment a picture of your greatest hero. Who is it? Why is this person your hero? How does her life relate to yours? How HAVE THEY influenced you?

Our heroes are important: They guide us to where we can go (if we dare) and save us from our own limiting beliefs about ourselves. How do we guide our children to find role models who will empower them?

Every woman I know who took Women’s Studies in college talks about how their whole world sort of opened up with their first class. Why do we deprive our girls of this experience throughout most of their education? Is it possible more children would love going to school if it related back to them directly?

How can they have heroes that don’t reflect who they are?

The highlight of my son’s second grade school year was a “Hero Speech.” The kids researched various historical figures, picked the one that they identified with most strongly, continued to research that person more thoroughly, and finally wrote and presented a speech (in costume) to the entire second grade community, including parents and grandparents.

It was a wonderful project, and I was thrilled to see my son so engaged with his research on Benjamin Franklin. When he finally took the stage, he was Ben Franklin.

However, when I went into his classroom a few months before to celebrate his birthday, I was dismayed. I was only hearing about research on male heroes. The kids were allowed to ask anything of me about my son’s very early years. The questions they came up with were both creative and fun to answer. I decided to ask a few questions of my own.

I asked if the kids could name some female heroes.

No one could name even one.

The teacher explained that they were somewhat limited because the project required that they research books dedicated to heroes at their appropriate reading level. Apparently there just were not enough books written for second graders about women in history.2

The day of the speeches was a proud one. It was heartwarming to see all the kids dressed up in their costumes, filled with pride after months of mastering their presentations. As the children’s speeches were delivered, I couldn’t help notice the numbers of girls who were dressed as male heroes, giving brilliant speeches in men’s words.

There was not a single boy, of course, who dressed as his female hero or spoke in her words. My heart ached for all the second grade girls. In fact, I felt very sad for every woman in that room.

I couldn’t help but wonder why this is still happening.3

Fast-forward about a decade, and I don't see a lot of change. While we now live in 'progressive' Norway, to-date, my daughter has had one day (ONE DAY!) where they focused on women's history in school.

When she has brought up Goddesses in the schools of this secular country, she has been hushed. Even with a curriculum that teaches all the major world religions, Goddess is never mentioned.

Imagine a world where our daughters grew up knowing Her many names and rich history. Imagine a world where women did not spend their entire lives searching for their divinity.

As Simone de Beauvoir wrote 60 years ago, “Man enjoys the great advantage of having a god endorse the code he writes; and since man exercises a sovereign authority over women it is especially fortunate that this authority has been vested in him by the Supreme Being.”4 

I believe the time of men's authority is over. He has colonized the female sex long enough. As Monica Sjöö and Barbara Mor wrote: “...the female sex has functioned as a colony of organized patriarchal power for several thousand years now. Our brains have been emptied out of all memory of our own cultural history, and the colonizing power systematically denies such a history ever existed. The colonizing power mocks our attempts to rediscover and celebrate our ancient matriarchies as realities. In the past, women have had to accept this enforced female amnesia as “normal”; and many contemporary women continue to believe the female sex has existed always... as an auxiliary to the male-dominated world order. But we continue to dig in the ruins, seeking the energy of memory; believing that the reconstruction of women’s ancient history has a revolutionary potential equal to that of any political movement today.”5

Mainstreaming women's ancient history is long-overdue. Gerda Lerner wrote, “Women’s history is the primary tool for women’s emancipation.”6 When women learn their rich HERstory, there is a significant shift that ripples through their entire way of be-ing.

This anthology is our attempt to bring back some of the ancient and suppressed wisdom—via the Goddess commonly known through much of the world as Isis.

An excerpt from the introduction to our upcoming anthology, On the Wings of Isis: Reclaiming the Sovereignty of Auset.

Notes:

1 Livingstone, Glenys PhD. PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. iUniverse, 2005.

2 I tried to remedy this with my (younger) daughter by searching out our own books—which I read with her at home. The Who Was/Is Series was one of the best we found—and we read through all the books on Women. I wrote to the publisher to request that they publish an equal number of women but they never responded.

Burleigh Muten's Goddesses: A World of Myth and Magic and Ten Thousand Names: Goddess Stories from Many Cultures were the first two Goddess books we found for children. (Muten's book, Return of the Great Goddess, was my first introduction to Goddess in college!) Now that I have a younger niece and nephew, I can see there is greater selection of books for children about women, people of color and LGBQT people. Whether or not these books are read in schools remains a mystery to me.

For those of us who are grown, I highly recommend the work of anthology contributor Max Dashu, who has been restoring women's history for over 50 years through her Suppressed Histories Archives.

3 Adapted from an earlier essay published in Elephant Journal entitled Women's Studies Must Start Earlier. June 15, 2012.

4 de Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex. Vintage; First edition; 1960.

5 Sjöö, Monica and Mor, Barbara. The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth. HarperOne; 2nd edition; 1987.

6 Lerner, Gerda. The Creation of Patriarchy. Oxford University Press; Reprint edition, 1987.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Medusa as High Priestess by Maureen Owen

 

''The Real Medusa'' by Santhel Thwaites


Evidence points to Medusa being a high priestess of Africa—a fact reinforced in her story when we are told she “was the only one of the three sisters who was mortal.”1 From this, I know she is more than just a mythological figure; she actually lived and breathed and walked the earth as I do. For me this reinforces that Medusa is not just a character in an ancient myth—that she has a real substance and an essential truth about her. This truth applies equally to the level of demonisation and devastation she experienced, and the healing, wisdom and transformation she represents—and that I feel her inviting me to reclaim.

Being a high priestess meant that Medusa was a keeper of knowledge, trained in the sacred arts of religious rites, adornment, massage, the practices of healing and divination, and the secret mysteries of sexual union. The role of priestess included initiating men into the deep and secret mysteries of the heart; “awakening them to their spiritual potential;” and channelling their spiritual fire inward and upward along the sacred path of enlightenment.2 A man who came to her temple would have approached her as the embodiment of the goddess hoping or knowing that through her he might experience the goddess. She “would be his priestess, not a prostitute—a holy woman, not a fallen woman.”3 Thus, I sense Medusa pointing me toward a vastly different understanding of sexuality, my body, and of the spiritual potential of sexual union as a source of spiritual awakening.4

I now know that the priestess of the ancient world cultivated kundalini energy to facilitate spiritual awakening. This sits in stark contrast to the conditioning I received that endeavoured to etch deep into my psyche a belief that the path to realisation, fulfilment, and enlightenment was all about denying the body and something a woman could never ever aspire to. Hence, I sense Medusa urging me to truly comprehend that my female body is a receptacle and transmitter of divine energy.5 I hear her urging me to question the messages I have been fed about my body, urging me to reclaim the mystical affiliation with the archetypal feminine and the sacredness of my body. This sacred invitation is to know myself fully as woman and therefore as goddess—the embodiment of the divine feminine principle.6

An excerpt from Re-visioning Medusa: from Monster to Divine Wisdom

Maureen Owen (www.lotusspace.com.au) is an internationally accredited coach and facilitator. She holds a Master’s degree in Organisational Development and Training. For the last 20 years, she has worked as a consultant, change agent and senior manager in the areas of human resources and organisational development. Maureen lives in Brisbane Australia with her husband Nick and their enigmatic cat Stefan.

Concerned with the number of people (particularly the number of women) she encountered in her corporate work who were drained of energy and exhausted from the endless striving, Maureen grappled with ways she could provide a service that would address these challenges. And from these early musings Lotus Space was conceived to focus on the whole person and to support women to live unapologetic lives of passion where their individual uniqueness can shine through. Lotus Space, using the Chakra System as the guiding framework, supports women to embark on a journey of self-discovery to renew, rediscover and reawaken powerful aspects of themselves.

Maureen knows from her own experience, the power of working with the chakras and their capacity to return us to balance and provide us with an expanded and enriched experience of being alive. She believes that the chakras provide a profound formula for wholeness and the blueprint for the evolution of the soul that enables us to look at life with fresh eyes; to see beyond our conditioning that limits what is possible for us; whilst learning how to deepen the connection and relationship we have with ourselves.



Notes:

1 Demetra George, 1992, p 153.

2 Jean Shinoda Bolen, 2004, pp 129-134 & Sharon Rose, 2002, p 139.

3 Jean Shinoda Bolen, 2004, pp 129-134 & Sharon Rose, 2002, p 139.

4 Sera Beak, 2013, p 86.

5 Sharon Rose, 2002, p 212.

6 Jean Shinoda Bolen, 2004, pp 68-69.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Weaving by M^h

''The Weaver'' by Lauren Raine

The story of my life is unravelling before me,
No premeditated form for me to mould myself unto

Blank canvases await the swirls of my sweat and blood

The fight of forgetting who I never was,
A flight to a freedom found in the cosmos that is me

I may have not known of such a possibility before

Never heard of realms where it is not squeezed out of me;
This life force

Always falling short,
In strife I was to trust

But the story of my life is unravelling before me,
I learn to inhale and exhale as an infant just born
Crying to the tune of holding space for myself by being held,
It is not pain, but relief,
A safety just for me
Fashioned to my very needs,
Wounds I now know with certainty will heal,
A quenchless yearning turns to a realised desire
In finding words long searched for –

In a creation tailored to my own flourishing cells

When I need reminders I create my shrine,
Bathing in reviving ritual
Fertility for my dreams and existence fully embodied

A throne of exploration and the ecstatic heights of knowing aliveness
Intimate wings that always lead to familiar safety at the crux of my home,
My body

She reminds me of the she I am, I was and always will be

To walk right into the dark
And entice myself out, bring it all to the surface
To be seen,
A heavy truth is lifted,
Gifted to my inner child,
Devoted to the future that lives and breathes in me

A web of my own energy where none possesses me but me
Spinning nets of nights spent basking in the glow of a waxing moon,
A love fest in the making, solely for one

Not a trap down the way of disenchantment, but self-trust

Unfiltered sands of truth are told,
I take myself back

Oh the sheer pleasure,
In realising-

The magic is me,
The life I seek and have long hidden from is within.

A poem from the upcoming Girl God Anthology, On the Wings of Isis: Reclaiming the Sovereignty of Auset

Lindsay goes by the Nom de Plume ‘M^h’; mind ‘to the power of’ the heart. M^h is a Creative Writer who often refers to herself as a truth-seeking, soul-searching storyteller. She believes in the power of words to perceive, create, and destroy all forms of life. Ultimately she is concerned with the human condition and this is evident in all its forms in her work. Her work that allows her to somehow feel a thing or two, deeply, without judgment. To speak when no one else will.

She has recently debuted her Poetry Chapbook of this nature, titled, simply – Human Nature followed up by another provocative collection; Of Lilith and Delilah.





Tuesday, September 29, 2020

THE CURSE OF THE MORRIGAN by Lauren Raine

Image by Lauren Raine



You who bring suffering to children: May you look into the sweetest, most open eyes, and howl the loss of your own innocence.

You who ridicule the poor, the grieving, the lost, the fallen, the inarticulate, the wounded children in grown-up bodies: May you look into each face, and see a mirror. May all your cleverness fall into the abyss of your speechless grief, your secret hunger, may you look into that black hole with no name, and find....the most tender touch in the darkest night, the hand that reaches out. May you take that hand. May you walk all your circles home at last, and coming home, know where you are.

You tree-killers, you wasters - May you breathe the bitter dust, may you thirst, may you walk hungry in the wastelands, the barren places you have made. And when you cannot walk one step further, may you see at your foot a single blade of grass, green, defiantly green. And may you be remade by it's generosity.

And those who are greedy in a time of famine: May you be emptied out, may your hearts break not in half, but wide open in a thousand places, and may the waters of the world pour from each crevice, washing you clean.

Those who mistake power for love: May you know true loneliness. And when you think your loneliness will drive you mad, when you know you cannot bear it one more hour, may a line be cast to you, one shining, light woven strand of the Great Web glistening in the dark. And may you hold on for dear life.

Those passive ones, those ones who force others to shape them, and then complain if it's not to your liking: May you find yourself in the hard place with your back against the wall. And may you rage, rage until you find your will. And may you learn to shape yourself.

And you who delight in exploiting others, imagining that you are better than they are - may you wake up in a strange land as naked as the day you were born and thrice as raw. May you look into the eyes of any other soul, in your radiant need and terrible vulnerability. May you know yourSelf. And may you be blessed by that communion.

And may you love well, thrice and thrice and thrice,
and again and again and again,
may you find your face before you were born.
And may you drink from deep, deep waters.


An excerpt from the upcoming Girl God Anthology, Warrior Queen: Answering the Call of the Morrigan.

Lauren Raine, MFA, has been creating visual and performance art about the Great Mother since the early 80's. She studied sacred mask traditions in Bali, and exhibited at Buka Creati Gallery in Ubud, Bali. Her collection of “contemporary Temple masks” devoted to worldwide stories of the sacred feminine, The Masks of the Goddess, traveled throughout the U.S. for over 20 years used by dancers, ritualists and storytellers, and venues included the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, the International Mask Symposium, the New College of California, and the Parliament of World Religions. In 2007 she received a Fellowship with the Alden Dow Creativity Center at Northwood University and a Puffin Grant for her “Spider Woman” Community Arts Project. In 2009 she was resident artist at the Henry Luce Center for the Arts at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Currently she works in ceramic sculpture and teaches at the Tucson Clay Co-op. www.laurenraine.com www.masksofthegoddess.com


Monday, September 28, 2020

a calling - by Jennifer Cooper

 

Shaman Spider Woman by Susan Seddon Boulet


she wakes in the night
to find the fear of a thousand strangers
sewn like stars to the fabric above her bed,
the linen sail that she and her love use to slip past the moon

the fears glitter at her
they take what’s left of the streetlamp
after the woods and the window are through
and wave it at her like golden flags in the dark

she follows the fine and pearly webbing
from each flag to its anchor,
to the spiders in their traps

sunlight flaring inside her
she casts her own threads,
whipping them out
across an aerial view of the world
out to cities of light bundles
and to souls in between
she finds them and binds their monsters

spin spin spin
the web glows
and she growls
or she hums
plucking fears
all lit up from within
she weaves in the light
she spins and she spins
capturing monsters
and tying off binds

when the monsters have all been bound
left dangling for their makers,
she retracts her eight legs
they become her eight roots
reaching down through the earth
to the heart underground,
she sends a warm glow to the spiders

and each of the spiders she
snip snip snips free
severs the threads left behind
the ones with the hooks
those tied off with dark binds
she unhooks and she snips
and she prunes off disease

with silk and lamplight
she patches flags back into sails,
she sews instructions into pillows
the dark threads must be snapped
and these hooks be unhooked
the weeds may grow back
thread by thread, snip snip snip
soon the hooks will be gone
and the threads won’t grow back,
rest, heal, and then help the others

with a sigh of relief from each spirit released
a fresh wind blows into her sail
she takes up her own fine silver thread
and climbs back to her sweet starboat bed

Friday, September 11, 2020

Goddess Isis by Joey Morris

Art by Katherine Skaggs


Soft steps through imprinted sand,
A Journey repeats,
Stepping into the timeless River,
To wash my lashed body,
Cleansing water and fallen tears meet,
I have been broken and
I have been discarded
Torn apart from the inside
Overthrown
I toppled from my own seat,
To taste only dust in my mouth,
Forgetting who I was,
I bathe in my remorse,
And stand at the altar of my foolishness
Naked before you, abrupt in my presence,
Calling out for your blessed wisdom,
I have been parched
And my body concaves into its’ shell,
Mustering the resilience
To hope again
The water evaporates,
My lips turn to the burning Sun,
Whispering Your name,
Seeking Your balm,
I have been dismembered
By not belonging
A lack of love shadowed my every step,
Left me crumbling,
Yet I remain,
Bathing in Your light,

Memories stretch into view,
Threatening cataclysm,
As you rest Your palm on my brow
Reminding me to partake
Only of my holiness
And where all the cracking joints adjoin
I reunite
With all the wounded parts of myself
I live again
By the breath and grace of She;
Isis.


A poem from our upcoming anthology, On the Wings of Isis.

Joey Morris is a Celtic Creatrix and UK-based daughter of The Morrigan. She is an author, creatrix CEO of Starry Eyed Supplies, and co-owner of the What the Flux podcast.

To become a tempered blade of The Morrigan, one must be baptized in blood and fire. These struggles within my lifetime have led me to become a voice for the voiceless, to reach out to the broken, and to poke the shadows in others so that they might begin to heal.


“Such a path is dangerous. But so are we. This is the birth of a wild witch who sees with their 'other eyes' and treads the path of edges, sharp and unusual, but filled with adventure, magick of the liminal and the in-between spaces.”  – Joey Morris

Within the spiritual landscape, her soul mission is to deepen the understanding of our interconnectedness by both honouring the sacred and exploring the masks of the self through channelling relationships to the Divine through written work, poetry, videos, products, and services.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Agency in the Face of Adversity by Olivia Church

Art by Elisabeth Slettnes

The story of Aset and Wesir is a famous one, which cannot be explored in full detail here; however, a summary of key moments serve to provide a portrait of Aset’s sense of agency. The first section of stories belonging to this mythic cycle survive through the combination of the Egyptian Stela of Amenmose and the retellings of the Greek authors, Plutarch and Diodorus Siculus.1 The myth unfolds with Aset and Wesir ruling as successful divine monarchs over Egypt. Their brother Sutekh (Greek Seth), God of the desert and thunderstorms,2 was jealous of Wesir’s good fortune, and from the Middle Kingdom onwards Egyptian sources assert that Sutekh was responsible for the death of Wesir.3 The most common method recorded is that Sutekh tricked Wesir into entering a coffin whereupon he sealed the lid and cast him into the Nile to drown.4 Aset was stricken with grief. She had just lost her beloved in a devastating act of violence at the hands of her own family. The story goes on to describe how Aset fled in search for Wesir’s body and “did not rest until she found him…”5 Even as a mourning widow Aset did not succumb to her grief, determined to recover Wesir’s coffin. She trusted in her own magic to help him somehow and could not allow Sutekh to get away with his terrible crime.


Plutarch elaborates, explaining how Aset recovered the coffin containing Wesir’s body in the ancient city of Byblos, in modern day Lebanon.6 Aset brought his body back home to Egypt, but was unsuccessful in hiding it from the knowledge of Sutekh. Furious with Aset’s audacity to retrieve the body, Sutekh proceeded to viciously tear it into thirteen pieces and scatter them across the Egypt.7 Although a devastating blow, Aset still refused to give in. Accepting that she needed help, she called upon her twin sister Nebet-hut (Greek Nephthys) to retrieve each part and perform a funerary rite which would restore Wesir back to life, long enough to conceive an heir. This is beautifully illustrated on numerous reliefs, with Aset in kite form hovering above Wesir’s body as Nebet-hut weeps.8 Though it may appear that Aset is the epitome of resourcefulness and strength, she is not devoid of feeling. The tears shed by her during this time were enough to cause the Nile to flood its banks:

“…I desire to see thee!

I am thy sister Aset, the desire of thine heart,

(Yearning) after thy love whilst thou are far away;

I flood this land (with tears) to-day…”9

The cries of grief expressed by Aset and Nebet-hut as they searched for Wesir were akin to the screeching of kites seeking carrion.10 Wesir’s funerary rites were likewise desperately sad:

and our eyes are weeping for thee,

the tears burn.

Woe (is us) since our Lord was parted from us!”11

The events described above serve to demonstrate three key things: First, Aset recognises that sometimes even powerful individuals, such as herself, need help from others; she is not too proud to ask for this and trusts her sister (who is also her enemy’s wife) to support her.12 Second, once again, Aset refuses to give up when something traumatic happens to her and despite the turmoil, she is able to think rationally about how to handle her situation. Refusing to allow Sutekh to get away with his actions, Aset knew that in order to regain her sovereignty she would need to produce an heir, who would challenge Sutekh’s claim to the throne. Third, in addition to displaying an iron-will to carry on, to fight against her aggressor, and to regain her authority, this queen remains in touch with her emotions. She cries literal floods of tears, she screams in rage, and is comforted by her sister. This shows how being in touch with one’s emotions does not compromise one’s strength in the face of adversity.


An excerpt of a longer essay entitled ''Agency in the Face of Adversity'' by Olivia Church from our upcoming anthology, On The Wings of Isis: Reclaiming the Sovereignty of Auset.


Notes:

1 Stela of Amenmose; Assmann, J. (2005). Death and salvation in ancient Egypt (trans. D. Lorton). Ithaca, Cornell University Press; McCabe, E. (2008) Anexamination of the Isis Cult with Preliminary Exploration into New Testament Studies. Maryland, University Press of America (pp.5, 13).

2 Pinch, G. (2002) Egyptian Mythology. A guide to the Gods, Goddesses and Traditions of Ancient Egypt. Oxford, Oxford University Press (p.192).

3 Hart, G. (2005) The Routledge dictionary of Egyptian gods and goddesses (second edition), London, Routledge (p.117).

4 McCabe (2008), p.6.

5 Stela of Amenmose; translation fromAssmann (2005), p.24.

6 Plutarch, Isis and Osiris, 14-17; Plutarch, Moralia, Vol. 5, ‘Isis and Osiris’. trans. F. C. Babbitt (1936). London, Harvard University Press.

7 Lesko (1999), p.162.

8 Wilkinson (2003), p.147.

9 Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 3:13-16; translation from, Faulkner, R. (1936) The Bremner-Rhind Papyrus: I. A. The Songs of Isis and Nephthys. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. 22 (2), pp.121-140. Please note that I have replaced the quote’s original “Isis” with “Aset” for consistency.

10 Bailleul-LeSuer, R. (2012) Birds in Creation Myths. In: Bailleul-LeSuer, R. (eds.) Between Heaven and Earth. Birds in Ancient Egypt. Chicago, Oriental Institute Museum Publications, pp.131-134 (p.134).

11 Bremner-Rhind Papyrus, 3:17-19; Faulkner (1936), pp.121-140.

12 Pinch (2002), p.171.