Thursday, March 21, 2019

Sisterhood First by Trista Hendren

Painting by Cheryl Braganza


Inga Muscio wrote that, “Women choose to be catty, cruel, prejudiced, competitive or jealous of each other partly because we grow up learning that negative behavior towards women is perfectly acceptable, and partly because it is a difficult task to see ourselves in our perceptions. Seeing ourselves requires effort and commitment. This unwillingness to see ourselves is greatly exacerbated by the fact that we, quite often, do not see even a remote semblance of ourselves in the images of women commonly found in our society.”1 

All too often, women focus on their differences instead of what they have in common. This is especially true online, which is why I think face-to-face interaction is so important. Feminism has become too fragmented. I can't tell you how many times someone has tried to tell me how they can't stand someone because they disagree with 2% of their ideology. Sonia Johnson wrote that, “Once we understand that patriarchy is totally dependent upon our mistrusting and thwarting and hurting one another, and that for this reason we have been deliberately, thoroughly, and fiercely indoctrinated from birth to hate and to hurt women, surely we can forgive one another and learn to resist the most central and deadly of all patriarchal mandates.”2

Personally, I am not interested in people's disagreements anymore and tend to stay out of them unless someone is being bullied. I don't agree with even 80% of what my closest friends believe. Malcolm X said, “Don’t be in such a hurry to condemn a person because s/he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.” We are all learning and growing. I am not the same person I was 10 years ago. 25 years ago, you would not recognize me at all!

Not to mention... the world would be a very boring place if we all thought the same things. I think it is time we give each other a break. Let's take a big collective breath and start fresh.

We also must do a better job of supporting women of color and those who are poor or disadvantaged in other ways. If you cannot be bothered to fight for the rights of your disadvantaged sisters, you probably will not get very far with your own liberation. We are all tied together in this. As Audre Lorde wrote, I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. And I am not free as long as one person of Color remains chained. Nor is any of you.”4

We must begin to listen to our sisters who are most hurt by colonialism, racism and militarism. I would venture to say that if more of us invited our local refugees to our dinner table, none of us would tolerate another day of war anywhere in the world.

bell hooks made an important distinction:

Solidarity is not the same as support. To experience solidarity, we must have a community of interests, shared beliefs and goals around which to unite, to build Sisterhood. Support can be occasional. It can be given and just as easily withdrawn. Solidarity requires sustained, ongoing commitment.”5

Who are the women in your life? Do they all look the same, speak the same language, and practice the same religion? If so, it may be time to take a close look at yourself and learn about other women. Don't expect these other women to teach you. Go out and buy their books and educate yourself first. There are some suggestions at the end of this book if you don't know where to start.

There is so much information available now. There are not any more excuses for racism or isolation. As my dear friend and activist Desiree Jordan says, “Choosing to close your eyes to racism IS accepting your own part in an 'organized resistance' to equality and justice.”

Expand your circle of sisters. Be a real friend to each of them by listening– and helping when you able to.


1 Muscio, Inga. Cunt: A Declaration of Independence. Seal Press; 2002.
2Johnson, Sonia. Going Out of Our Minds: The Metaphysics of Liberation.
3Chesler, Phyllis. Woman's Inhumanity to Women. Chicago Review Press; 2009.
4Lorde, Audre. “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism.” Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Ten Speed Press; Reprint edition 2007.
5hooks, bell. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. South End Press, 2000.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Lilith as Sexual Liberator by Joey Morris

Art by Arna Baartz

Long have I walked in darkness, spoken of in hushed whispers,
demonized and betrayed, a sultry solemn vow of sexuality sucked
off honeyed fingers and bitten into.
Wander into my temple, that exists after cataclysm, the Volcanic eruption;
a visualisation of inky black earthy harvested into a circle enriched
by disaster. All that once was vile has been burnt to ash, decay
has been cleared away and all that remains is the dark fertile
rich soil at My feet. Here I kneel, never submitting, never subservient,
but by choice, hands bloody from the trauma but
clawed deep into rich fertile soil, now infused with the energies
of Death and Rebirth! From my being is gifted sensual
and sexual energy and the promise that anything can grow from this joining.

Lilith chose Herself.

In the Jewish mythos, the Goddess Lilith, who was diminished into the guise of a mortal woman, was given an abominable choice: Submit and be dominated, or reject and rebel against man, and, supposedly, God.

A simple shift in perspective reveals the truth; it becomes clear that Lilith rebelled against a life of servitude, she broke her chains and utterly refused to be degraded and used.

In the aftermath, Lilith was labelled as evil for her disobedience – another act of slander and shaming from her captors, but eternally Lilith refuses to submit – not to any man, and certainly not to their powerless words.

By Her actions, Lilith became a liberator, even though She would be eternally “damned” for doing so.
In a sense, She was damned; to be mislabelled throughout human history, to have her divinity warped into perhaps the oldest ‘slut-shaming’ story on record, and yet, Her energy has never wavered.

In the face of onslaught from Her captors, She rose throughout history in defiance, liberating not only Herself but all of those that came after Her.

The old stories claim she murdered Her children, but as with the rest of this clear warping of older myth, it seems to wish to pervert Her standing as a female and so takes what it claims to be a venerated position of motherhood and slanders that too.

In the history of magick this lie was perpetuated, in times of pregnancy and childbirth women felt they needed protection against malicious spirits and even against the Goddess Lilith, as a Talisman found in Syria from the 8th Century proclaims; “O you who fly in (the) darkened room(s), / Be off with you this instant, this instant, Lilith. / Thief, breaker of bones.”[1]

In the Sumerian version of the mythology, Lilith was unable to produce children and presumably, this led to the idea of her jealously attacking other women at certain stages of their sexual development and reproductive cycles.

Given that Lilith is also shown to indulge in sexuality and is labelled as temptress and succubi (sexual demon) in the Sumerian, we can once again see that the mythology is indecisive in how it wishes to besmirch the Goddess.

The motive behind the mythology, however, is apparent – to drive fear into the hearts of mortal women that they will be harmed by the Goddess Lilith and everything that She represents.
As a ‘breaker’ of bones, Lilith is associated with all forms of release.

Her mythology paints her as seductress and links her energy to both Sexuality and Death, and to illustrate this point we will take a quote from the Zohar and seek to eke out wisdom from beneath the insults.

She adorns herself with many ornaments like a despicable harlot, (remove comma) and takes up her position at the crossroads to seduce the sons of man. When a fool approaches her, she grabs him, kisses him, and pours him wine of dregs of viper's gall. As soon as he drinks it, he goes astray after her. When she sees that he has gone astray after her from the paths of truth, she divests herself of all ornaments which she put on for the fool. Her ornaments for the seduction of the sons of man are: that her hair is long and red, and from her ears hang six ornaments, Egyptian chords and all the ornaments in the Land of the East hang from her nape...her tongue is sharp like a sword, her words are smooth like oil, her lips are red like a rose and sweetened by all the sweetness in the world...yon fool goes astray after her and drinks from the cup of wine and commits fornications with her...that fool awakens...[and] she stands before him clothed in garments of flaming fire, inspiring terror and making body and soul tremble...and she kills that fool and casts him into Gehenna.”
Zohar I 148a-b Sitre Torah

The very first line of this description is illuminating about the nature of Lilith beyond the slander, as we see a Goddess in charge of her own actions for “She adorns herself.”

If ever a sentiment could describe Lilith it would be that She is utterly dominant, in complete control of her own fate, for even within the extended mythology surrounding her, She ascends from wife of Adam to the bride of the Demon King Samael, ruling as a Queen of Zemargard and Sheba, and rose to become a consort of God himself.[2]

The use of harlot and the association of taking pride in one’s appearance equating to prostitution is clear; it seeks to take the sexual liberation of Lilith and force her back into service to men.

Even when insulting a female’s sexuality, it appears ‘necessary’ to realign it back to belonging to someone else (a male someone else) even though it is the absence of the ownership that the author wishes to deride.

Within this text, Lilith is also associated with the crossroads, linking her to other Dark Goddesses such as Hecate, and the liminal space of Otherness.

The Crossroads have incredible magical and spiritual significance, and it is telling that this one mention of this location is seemingly ‘throwaway’ in its nature – as it is mentioned only once and in passing.

Traditionally, the crossroads is depicted as an “X” with four directions stemming from the midpoint and is symbolic for all creation and possibility, as well as the process of decision.

When at the crossroads, a choice for direction must be made, and in that process, all potential futures are considered; anything is possible in the spark of creative thought.

The numerology of four is that of making something physically manifest, so all seeds planted here are thought to be cosmically aligned for success.

Further, the two paths intersect, a union between the ‘legs’ or ‘bones’ of two paths that intertwine; a sexual analogy for the embrace, the planting of seeds, and then the fruit of that union becoming manifest.

Further, the ‘X’ Chromosome in our DNA is female; and as the universe intersects on a macrocosmic level with our inner microcosm, it can be suggested that this is a divinely female energy running through the Crossroads.

Such a setting is certainly worthy of the Dark Goddess Lilith.

Men seduced by Lilith are claimed to be ‘fools’ here, which is interesting given the original etymology of ‘harlot’ was applicable to males:

Usually male in Middle English and Old French. Used in positive as well as pejorative senses by Chaucer; applied in Middle English to jesters, buffoons, jugglers, later to actors.”[3]

It is also interesting to note that the Goddess Lilith was described as a demon of the air, which ties to the root of the word ‘fool’:  

Fool… PIE root *bhel- (2) “to blow, swell.”

Compare also Sanskrit vatula: “insane,” literally “windy, inflated with wind.”[4]

There is a definite sexual undertone here as elated erotic pleasure is often described as a kind of madness or even a state of almost death; both of which are felt deep in the bones. Wine and viper poison are additionally mentioned as substances that induce altered states of perception alluding to a form of sexual surrender; perhaps it is this submission which causes such fear in the masculine ruling body seeking to subdue the power of Lilith (and the sexual freedoms of all women).

Art by Arna Baartz

The snake is a further symbol of transformation that became demonized; it was often connected to Goddesses of antiquity who were free from considering the sexual needs of men, such as the Greek ‘Serpentine’ War Goddess Athena and her ‘monstrous’ priestess Medusa.[5]

The serpent symbolism is also tied to wisdom through Athena, healing knowledge through the staff of Asclepius and knowledge.

These are just three examples in an incredibly rich body of folklore and mythology surrounding the snake which would be an essay unto itself.

Returning to the text on the Goddess Lilith, “When she sees that he has gone astray after her from the paths of truth” is certainly somewhat of an ironic line, given that the varied body of work surrounding Lilith cannot seem to make its mind up about who She is, what She is, and what her exact powers or abilities and motivations happen to be.

Evaluating its meaning beyond the bias of the material though, this harkens back to the crossroads, as a ‘path’ which is ‘true.’ 

Although the Zohar determines Lilith’s sexuality to be a falsehood (with the cost of death attached), it seems that Lilith values choice and truth.

Nowhere within this particular quote is the man forced, only seduced, which tends to be true within the entirety of the mythos surrounding Lilith.

She is blamed, of course, for the temptation, and the supposed weakness of men choosing to engage with her sexually, as is the case for all women branded by hypocrites in this fashion.

It is an interesting side note that there are many examples of red hair within folklore denoting ‘Otherness’ and even deification. Vampires, with whom Lilith is associated, were thought to have red hair, as was Judas.[6]

In Celtic mythology, red was a colour associated with Otherworldly Goddesses, particularly of those associated with War and Death, such as the Morrigan, particularly red-mouthed Badb”[7] and they were, interestingly enough, also described as Demons of air:

“…hooded crows, or women from the síd; lying wolves, that is, the false demons, the morrígna. Or “falsehood,” so that they (the bansigaidhe and the hooded crows) are not demons; “falsehood,” so that they are not demons of hell but demons of the air.”[8]

Whilst it is possible that the many examples of red colouring being associated with Goddesses of blood and death from across varying cultures is unrelated to the Goddess Lilith, it seems unlikely. Instead, these are more tantalising hints of the divinity behind the mythos which is presented to lessen the Goddess.

The final point of note is that supposedly the consummation with the Goddess Lilith results in death for the human male; “that fool awakens...[and] she stands before him clothed in garments of flaming fire, inspiring terror and making body and soul tremble...and she kills that fool…”

There can be many interpretations here: that a mortal man was not able to partake in the pleasure with a female deity and was overcome; that Lilith took a note out of the preying mantis’s guide to relations; or that the death here is not a death of the physical incarnation but instead the death of who they used to be.

Whilst the text would vilify Lilith there are alternative perceptions to the image presented; that the fire is, in fact, the ‘fire in the loins’ – a raging inferno of sexual energy; the Kundalini rising is presented as a snake of flame awakening through the body, after all.

The trembling of soul and body could be a reaction to this, and the death could simply be orgasm, as it is often described as a temporary state of death energy.

These are some of the explanations that I have discerned from this one example, and I invite you to do the same.

Lilith is a reclamation of the desire that binds us to the energies of sexual life force and the bones that reveal themselves only after death.

She has stood in the shadows, condemned, a liberator of sexual freedom for women, harkening them back to themselves, inviting them to engage in acts of rebellion and to choose themselves, as a reflection of Goddess.

Many blessings,
Joey Morris 




Joey Morris is a Celtic Creatrix and UK-based daughter of The Morrigan. I am 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, my 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.


[1] 6 Translated by Theodor H. Gaster in Siegmund Hurwitz, Lilith—The First Eve (Einsiedeln, Switzerland: Daimon, 1992), p. 66. Another translation does not mention Lilith’s name and reads, “Be off, terrifying ones, terrors of my night.”
[2] 7 https://www.jstor.org/stable/537379?read-now=1&googleloggedin=true&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
[3] 8 https://www.etymonline.com/word/harlot
[4] https://www.etymonline.com/word/fool#etymonline_v_46851
[5] 10 For more information - https://www.starryeyedsupplies.com/single-post/2017/10/04/Shadow-work-with-Snake-energy-The-Gorgon%E2%80%99s-mask
[6] http://www.themythsandhistoryofredhair.co.uk/vampires.html
[7] Bruiden da Choga
[8] War Goddess: the Morrígan and her Germano-Celtic Counterparts thesis by Angelique Gulermovich Epstein

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Hag’s Prayer, Hissed from Crone to Innocent by Danielle Dulsky

Painting by Helena Nelson Reed

To be sure, there are the sweetly rhyming prayers those soft-breasted grandmothers whisper innocently to their bleary-eyed babes, those now-I-lay-mes and blessed-bes, then there are the deeper prayers, the prayers that reek of everything but innocence, that stink of an ancient longing for worm-riddled truths and gods far older than any whose names we might now come to know, now when our hearts are hungry for that potent medicine of in-the-bones storytelling. These from-the-bowels incantations erupt from the grandmothers’ lips like dark poetry hissed straight from the underground demons themselves and channeled only by those wild elders, by those flame-tending hags who want their young ones to know what they know. Here is one such prayer, first spit from the tongues of our dead-and-buried foremothers who learned how to see in the dark and speak the language of crows better than they learned how to bake sugared things or curtsey demurely, who were born long before the over-polished times of bright screens and time poverty, who would call Lilith queen and bow to the Cailleach.

Bless our little wildlings, darkest Goddess of wind and flame. Set your black-mirror eyes upon them and whisper-hiss in their ears while they sleep. Tell them of their souls’ merit and assure them that the ghosts are indeed real. Remind them that not all is as it seems, and bid them never forget how to see those spectral figures that haunt the land and haunt it well.

Grant them dream-visions of a snake-skinned Lilith spreading her black wings and soaring high above that unholy Eden, screeching like a raptor bird and blotting out the moon. Gift them with joyous nightmares of Witches gathering ‘round ceremonial fires and chanting in that heathen tongue, and bestow upon them a mission of healing the many ills of this wounded world. Lean toward that ache, tell them. Make your art, tell them.

Gone are the days of heeding rules written by the hands of the power-hungry, and wake, we will, to be the Dark Goddess embodied in soft creaturely skin. You are the forked, long tongue of destruction, tell them, and there’s never been a better heroine born.

All blessings be on this wicked night when all things are possible. So may it be for me, and so it may be for the innocents.

Those sure-footed and stalwart grannies nod then, not upward toward any ethereal heaven but down to the hallowed ground, tuck the blankets tight ‘round their sleeping kindred ones who shall surely inherit the heart of the hag, then leave them swaddled in shadows and grace, protected not by any white-robed angel but guarded by a horned demi-goddess crouched low in the corner, swaying with a primeval rhythm and waiting for the chance to rise.

And so it is.


An excerpt from the upcoming Girl God anthology, Original Resistance: Reclaiming Lilith, Reclaiming Ourselves.





DanielleDulsky believes in the power of the wild feminine and human-to-nature intimacy. She is the author of The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman (New World Library) and Woman Most Wild: Three Keys to Liberating the Witch Within. She translates the wild feminine into motherhood, magick, multimedia art, and teachings of embodied spirituality, writing, and movement alchemy. Danielle is a Celtic free-style Witch, a lover of Irish Paganism, a mist-dweller, and a shadow-walker. May all beings come home to the wilds.



Tuesday, February 26, 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 OurselvesA 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.