Thursday, October 21, 2021

On Dreaming Big - Trista Hendren

 


Work in progress by Anders Løberg*

These last years have taught me to dream big—and embrace the LARGENESS of my heart.

Connecting to the power and love of Goddess through ritual has been a big thing for me lately. The last year, I purchased a Sistrum after being inspired by several of the pieces in our Isis anthology. I have rattled many dreams into existence—and found my strength again.

A few months before that, I purchased an Incantation Bowl, inspired by the words and imagery in Sue Monk Kidd's inspiring novel, The Book of Longings. In it, the main character pronounces over her bowl: “Bless the largeness inside me, no matter how I fear it.”1

For too long, women have played small. It is not surprising, given that for centuries, women were tortured and even killed for their power. For too long, the work of women has been devalued. And that goes beyond the work of mothering and care-taking. Our artistic accomplishments are also undervalued and underpaid. Even feminist work has not been valued—despite the fact that it has done so much for women around the world.

But I feel a real turning point, especially in the last year.

We are collectively reclaiming all the broken and stolen pieces of ourselves.

So, I want to announce my big, big intention—and plan for a Goddess House here in Bergen, Norway, where I now live. To stake our claim on this big dream, my husband Anders has begun to reconstruct the giant Willendorf statue pictured here in the anthology—in our front yard. We were delayed by Bergen's famous weather and many other obstacles, but remained undeterred. We will reveal the final statue on Saturday.
 

This statue will not go unnoticed. We want to reignite a movement to put women back front and center—as the living Goddesses that we are.

We toured the museums of Vienna extensively when we visited Tamara Albanna and her family. My daughter ate it all up. But I could not help but notice the utter lack of female artists. As the Guerrilla Girls asked on one of their posters, “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum? – Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female.”

We originally planned to call it the Willendorf Museum, but then decided the Norsk Goddess Freya was more appropriate for our location—and 'museum' sounded too limited and old fashioned. So, we have decided to call it Freya House. I have purchased one of Lydia Ruyle’s Freya banners to hang near our front door and boldly declare our intention.

We plan to have a museum filled with women's art from around the world; artist-in-residence suites; rooms to create all sorts of art; a restaurant and cafe; a library; a gift shop filled with Goddess books, art, jewelry, music and more; a concert hall for Goddess music—and much, much more. We hope to attract visitors from around the world—and school children from throughout the country.

And of course, we will have a Willendorf Room, dedicated to Her!

More importantly, it is my dream to raise enough money for the opening to invite as many of the Foremothers of the Goddess Spirituality movement here as possible—all expenses paid.

So many of these women have given their entire life in service—without much back from all of us. This is not the Goddess way. And it is my intention for all of us doing this work—that we live abundant and glorious lives. And that those benefiting from this work better support the women who have brought forth so much ancient wisdom.

If you would like to help make this dream a reality, make sure to sign up for my mailing list on my website so you can get updates on this exciting project: www.thegirlgod.com.

This essay was adapted from a chapter in Willendorf's Legacy: The Sacred Body.

*Inspired by our Willendorf anthology, my husband, Anders, began building an enormous Goddess of Willendorf statue in our front yard, modelled after the one outside of Vienna, but closer in proportions to the original (4.4 inches) Willendorf.

She will be over 6ft tall and 4ft wide, weighing in at more than 2 tons. She is made primarily of cement made from sea shells, but also many upcycled materials, including broken pieces of my Grandmother's China, oyster shells, steel, chicken fence, steel wire, old tools, birds net, rope and more!) Her breasts are mixed with milk; Her womb and yoni are mixed with menstrual blood; her belly is filled with pasta, red wine and other goodies. Her head is filled with early proof copies of Girl God Books.

1 Kidd, Sue Monk. The Book of Longings. Viking; 2020.

Monday, October 4, 2021

When The Colour Of Emotion Floods The Nervous System by Claire Dorey

 

Arlene Bailey, ''Rage of a Woman''


“I Am Woman Hear Me Roar.” -Helen Reddy

Rape is red, blue and black.

Red is blood. Blue is bruises. Black is trauma.

Red is the menstrual Muladhara, a downward cleansing tide of energy that connects the ‘blood root of existence’ to Mother Earth. Mula ‘root’ and dhara ‘in flow’ are primordial, intelligent, purifying actions – completed by the moon. Muladhara flows down to Gaia and up to Divine Female Cosmic Power. To violate this sanctum is the ultimate act of savagery, upon the survivor, the Goddess and the creative force of life itself.

Blue is shock. It is the liminal, safe space above the body, where the soul escapes to, when the body-mind freezes and pain can no longer be endured. Just as bruises fade, blue cedes to the violet of cosmic ‘knowing’. Trauma unleashes a state of hyper awareness. Learning to surf this wave unlocks boundless vaults of intuition and clarity. A healed survivor can never be fooled.

Black is the abyss. Dissociation. Disconnect. Chaos. A coffin- shaped space of grief and mourning. Black is damage and flashbacks. The cosmic void. The place of death, internal battles, self-loathing, renewal, recovery, resolve and magic. The womb of time where the immense and terrifying forces of destruction and creation reside.

When a daughter is raped, her mother is reminded of her own rape. When Red becomes Rage it is Raw, as raw as the welts lacerating Boudicca’s flesh, from her public whipping. Boudicca’s story is about harnessing the molten menstrual larva of Red Rage as it heaves, in response to the attack upon her daughters, like vomit, out of every orifice.

When Catus Decianus seized Boudicca’s land, he threw her daughters, Isolda and Siora, to the slaves and soldiers, as if he was throwing meat to a dog. This was a Roman rape, in the tradition of the spectacle of the Colosseum, where lions are slaughtered and gladiators fight for survival before a salacious crowd, frenzied with blood-lust. Violence for gratuitous violence sake. It was a trophy rape, of hierarchy, nationalism and public humiliation, where slaves and soldiers, fight for their master’s scraps.

It was a political rape, a culture clash, between the extreme patriarchy of the conquerors and the matrifocal values of the colonised. It was Rome telling Briton, her Warrior Women had no voice. No more decision making, owning land or inheriting titles. It was the ultimate form of power and control, silencing ALL women.

In Rome there were good women and there were bad women – madonnas and whores. Good women were good mothers – defined by the values of the Roman male. Other behaviours were viewed as stepping out of line.

Isolda and Siora were no more than twelve when they were attacked and Boudicca was forced to watch.

What sort of sick regime brutalises the vulnerable like this? How do a mother and child recover from such sadism?

Fight is Red. Flight is Blue. Freeze is Black. The Fight, Flight, Freeze mechanism can kick in so violently, it cripples the survivor, possibly for years. Confusion. Anxiety. Numbness. Disconnect. Goodbye feeling safe. Hello bouts of shame, flashbacks and complex trauma. Victims and witnesses of violence need prompt physical and psychological care. There can be no rights or wrongs in recovery. It is a personal journey.

-An excerpt of a longer paper in our upcoming anthology, In Defiance of Oppression -The Legacy of Boudicca 


Claire Dorey
Goldsmiths: BA Hons Fine Art.
Main Employment: Journalist and Creative, UK and overseas.
Artist: Most notable group show; Pillow Talk at the Tate Modern. Included in the Pillow Talk Book.

Curator: 3 x grass roots SLWA exhibitions and educational events on the subject of Female Empowerment, showcasing female artists, academic speeches and local musicians. Silence Is Over – Raising awareness on violence towards women; Ex Voto – Existential Mexican Art Therapy; Heo – Female empowerment in the self-portrait.

Extra study: Suppressed Female History: History of the Goddess; Accessing Creative Wisdom; Sound and Breath Work; Reiki Master; Colour Therapy; Hand Mudras; Reflexology; Sculpture.
Teaching Workshops: Sculpture and Drawing.

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.

Define: Boudicca by Kay Turner

 

Painting by Lisbeth Cheever-Gessaman



Great British Queen, Change Maker, Warrioress.

Defender of Home.

Self-Directive, Non-Compliant, Autonomous.

Model of Agency.

Righteously Rageful, Vindicated Vengeance, Fearless.

Embodiment of Fury.

Extinct archetype ready to be revived.

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



Kay Turner has been teaching and working with children and adults in a pastoral and healing capacity since 1996. She graduated from Durham University with a BA (hons) First-Class in Theology in 1995 and went on to study a PGCE in Religious Education at York St John the following year.

Kay worked in Secondary Education as a teacher of RE, Psychology and Health and Social Care, a Curriculum Leader and a Sixth Form Head of Year between 1996 and 2016, apart from a short career break during which she gave birth to three children, completed a counselling qualification, MA in Theology and undertook volunteer pastoral work at a Healing Centre.
 
Since 2016 Kay has qualified as a Wellbeing Coach, Yin Yoga Teacher and a Trainer and Advanced Practitioner in Energy Medicine, Mysticism and Shamanic Healing. She also walks the Priestess Path. Kay works as a Body, Mind & Soul Evolution Practitioner working with clients individually as well as facilitating workshops and retreats. She is an Intuitive, Energy and Shamanic Mentor and Advocate for Sacred Womanhood Growth.