(Essay 1) The Power of Metaphor: Spelling Ourselves, Our World by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

Meet Mago Contributor Glenys Livingstone.

[This essay is part 1 of an edited excerpt from the Introduction to her book PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion.]

Metaphor is not merely a matter of language, it is pervasive in everyday thought and action; “the way we think, what we experience, and what we do everyday is very much a matter of metaphor.”[i] Lakoff and Johnson say that conventional ways of talking about anything “pre-suppose a metaphor that we are hardly ever conscious of”.[ii] They make the point that “the metaphor is not merely in the words we use”, that it is in our very concept of the thing.[iii] They say that “the essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another”;[iv] so (for my purpose here), “the Divine” or however one names what is Deepest in existence, is perhaps not ultimately gendered: that is, not female and not male, though the metaphor used may suggest a likeness. The Webster’s Dictionary defines “metaphor” as “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase denoting one kind of object or action is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them”,[v] and further that metaphor is an implied comparison, as opposed to an explicit comparison. As Starhawk notes, “an overt metaphor is a map, a description we may find useful or not, may accept or reject”,[vi] whereas if the metaphor is covert it is free “to restructure our reality by leading us to accept the map as the territory without questioning where we are going or whose interests are being served.”[vii] The fact that the Divine, the Essence of existence, is so ubiquitously called upon as “God”, systematically influences the shape “the Divine” takes, and the way it is talked about.[viii] It suggests a likeness and it is usually a covert metaphor that restructures our reality without question.

Inanna/Ishtar in "Mother of Living Nature" by Adele Getty, p.39
Metaphor systematically influences the shape ‘the Divine’ takes … structures our reality

“The Divine” may be metaphorised many other ways – “vibratory flux”, “creativity”, “relatedness”.[ix] Thus I frequently imply the Divine in many terms – “Deep”, “Change”, “Dark” – and capitalize the terms to signify this. I feel this is a necessary process for the changing and diversifying of minds. Mary Daly points out that “the word metaphor is derived from the Greek meta plus pherein, meaning to bear, carry” and that “metapherein means to transfer, change”.[x] Metaphors may thus “transform/transfer our perceptions of reality, enabling us to ‘break set’ and thus to break out of linguistic prisons.”[xi]

Joseph Campbell describes a functioning mythology as “an organization of metaphorical figures connotative of states of mind that are not finally of this or that place and time …”,[xii] and such are made known in visual art and verbal narrative (written and oral). It is applied to communal life by way of a calendar of symbolic rites, festivals and ceremonies, that enable the community to participate “with its universe in eternity.”[xiii] Campbell notes how, in the popular mind, “such metaphors of transcendence” get locked into chiefly functions of control and socializing, but that “the way of the mystic and of proper art (and we might also add, religion) is of recognizing through the metaphors an epiphany beyond words.”[xiv] Campbell was convinced of the necessity – “a social as well as spiritual necessity”[xv] – of a new mythology that he felt was “already implicit among us as knowledge a priori, native to the mind.”[xvi]

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(Art) Bee goddess by Lydia Ruyle

Meet Mago Contributor, Lydia Ruyle.

LR Bee goddess

The emblem of Potnia, the Minoan-Mycenaean Mistress, is a Mother Bee. Her priestesses were named Melissa. Bee maidens, usually identified with the Thriae, bestowed gifts of prophecy. The bee, found in the Near East, Egyptian, Aegean and Mayan cultures, was believed to be the sacred insect that bridged the natural world to the underworld. Tholos tombs and bories in France, Spain, Sardinia and Anatolia were shaped like beehives. Bees fertilize blossoming plants and are essential to human life. They are threatened today by commercial farming and pesticides.

Source: Gold plaque embossed with winged bee goddesses, perhaps the Thriae, found at Camiros Rhodes. 7th century BCE. British Museum

We, the co-editors, contributors, and advisers, have started the Mago Web (Cross-cultural Goddess Web) to rekindle old Gynocentric Unity in our time. Now YOU can help us raise this torch high to the Primordial Mountain Home (Our Mother Earth Herself) wherein everyone is embraced in WE. There are many ways to support Return to Mago. You may donate to us. No amount is too small for us. For your time and skill, please email Helen Hwang (magoism@gmail.com). Please take an action today and we need that! Thank YOU in Goddesshood of all beings!

(Click Donate button below. You can donate by credit card or bank account without registering PayPal. Find “Don’t have a PayPal account?” above the credit card icons.)

(Poem) Fragrant Sacrifice by Melissa LaFlamme

Meet Mago Contributor, Melissa LaFlamme.

Some wounds
will not let go.
They have not come for that.

What pains you,
shapes your soul,
has come
to claim you,
call you
to your knees,
instruct you,
induct you,
reveal to you
the elixir in your heart,
the Mystery in wilder, natural
ways, in the ways
they taught you
to turn from,
to fear.
To snuff.

You see,
the medicine in your fundamentally
dangerous
human
capacity to imagine, to expand
into ecstasy, shatter, melt into
prayer,
when everyone
is looking,
calling you
crazy?

Some wounds insist you
let yourself
be crazy,
Beautiful.

Let these wounds
teach you how to be
beautifully
human.
Unleashed, animal,
embodied, snarling,
spitting,
laughing,
making
fucking
noise
enough
to save your
soul,
to prepare you
to love
the earth.

That is what these wounds are for.
These wounds are Beauty-makers.
Some say, Trouble-makers.
I say, same thing.

Let these teachers
initiate you
on the terrifying ground
of what undone
smells like.

Let these teachers
show you how
to ravish the sacred
nature of your being.
And then,
give it all
away.
Make it sacred,
sacrifice
what has kept you
small, safe,
sweet and good.

With this song
of sacrifice,
I lay down
this sweaty
vow.

Let’s submit to sacred
terror,
salivating,
anticipating the wild ones,
the hungry, come
to carry us off,
take us
to ecstasy
in the breath of the divine.

We gather,
mustering
sinew,
bodies
grown ripe from
carrying land song like
archaic prayer,
tears
pulsing in
the under
ground of Dream
in landscape
verdant beyond
the Machine’s measure.
Allied,
torn up to bone.
Ripped hard to warm and
runny.
Ravished by Darkness.
Shiva, Shakti, Durga,
Gaia,
Pachamama,
Ashpamama.

Warmed by outrageous
hope, without
knowing what for.

Soul of the fecund,
the animal body,
the anima mundi
come to re-collect
a debt, a dark-winged
vow
to Mother.
To Beauty.
To Love.

To this luscious,
animal
body, come
to give away
this fragrant
sacrifice
to the blood of tomorrow.

© 2014 Melissa La Flamme

MLF Fragrant Sacrifice image

We, the co-editors, contributors, and advisers, have started the Mago Web (Cross-cultural Goddess Web) to rekindle old Gynocentric Unity in our time. Now YOU can help us raise this torch high to the Primordial Mountain Home (Our Mother Earth Herself) wherein everyone is embraced in WE. There are many ways to support Return to Mago. You may donate to us. No amount is too small for us. For your time and skill, please email Helen Hwang (magoism@gmail.com). Please take an action today and we need that! Thank YOU in Goddesshood of all beings!

(Click Donate button below. You can donate by credit card or bank account without registering PayPal. Find “Don’t have a PayPal account?” above the credit card icons.)

(Dual-language essay 1 English) “Planetary Consciousness” – What is that? Obituary for Rosalie Bertell by Claudia von Werlhof

Meet Mago Contributor, Claudia von Werlhof.

CvW Rosalie BertellRosalie Bertell is dead. She passed away peacefully on June 14th of 2012 at the age of 83. After having suffered from cancer she closed her eyes forever at the convent of the “Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart” in Pennsylvania which she had been a part of for most of her life. She had been able to experience the publication of her book in German half a year earlier. This causes me great happiness, since I am aware of the relevance of this event for Rosalie. It was very important to her.

I maintained ongoing contact with Rosalie for as long as it was possible to do so. One of our last topics of discussion was the Fukushima disaster and the events surrounding it, which appeared more than strange to her as well. According to her calculations the earthquake had not taken place in the potentially sensitive tectonic rift of the Pacific Ocean, as generally presumed. Rather, she traced its origins to a region that was neutral in this context. She was very worried about the long term effects caused by this disaster, after all, this was her area of expertise for which she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1986 (Bertell 1986). However she had not been able to grasp the tremendous effects of the Fukushima disaster anymore (cf. www.pbme-online.org, 6th Information-Letter: Fukushima and We, June 2012).

Another topic that she had been observing very carefully and a question she had been unable to find an answer to during her lifetime was that of the phenomenon of the melting of parts of the Antarctic region. She assumed that the reasons could not be the same as those that she had pinpointed through her research on the rapid melting of the ice in the Arctic region, namely the employment of electromagnetic ELF waves by the Soviets and the Americans since the mid 70ies, as she describes in her book.

One thing was certain to her: it is not just CO2 that is responsible for climate warming, as pretended for the Arctic region. This belief has been promoted by political and economic interests in the United States, and throughout the world since Al Gore’s presidential candidacy– and since then even alternative and ecological movements believe in it. CO2 accumulates in the earth’s troposphere while the warming actually takes place in the higher layers of the ionosphere. And this is precisely the layer that military experiments target utilizing electromagnetic waves to heat it up and creating the potential for natural disasters, as we have come to know decades ago already (s. attempt by the UN to prohibit military application of these technologies through the ENMOD convention of 1977).

Maybe, in the case of the Antarctic region, the reason does not lie above,  in the artificial warming of the air, but rather below, namely in the warming or any other changes of the water in the oceans?

This was where our discourse ended; it was the beginning of June 2012.

What would she have thought about all the other disasters that have occurred since? Large earthquakes throughout the planet, storms like “Sandy” which hit the US east coast just in time for the presidential election, and volcanic eruptions like the one in New Zealand last November. How would she have applied her knowledge in order to differentiate between true and fake natural disasters?

For if there is one thing we have gained clarity on since the writing of her second book Planet Earth. The Latest Weapon of War, it is that today nobody can just assume natural origins behind the accumulation of enormous natural disasters anymore…

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(Dual-language essay 1 German) „Planetares Bewusstsein“ – was ist das? Nachruf auf Rosalie Bertell von Claudia von Werlhof

Meet Mago Contributor, Claudia von Werlhof.

The English language version of this essay is scheduled to be published tomorrow.

CvW Rosalie BertellRosalie Bertell ist tot. Sie starb im Alter von 83 Jahren an einem Krebsleiden am 14.6.2012 friedlich im Ordenshaus der „Grauen Nonnen vom Heiligen Herzen“ in Pennsylvania, USA, denen sie fast ihr ganzes Leben lang angehört hatte. Ihr Ende kam ein halbes Jahr nach Erscheinen ihres Buches in deutscher Sprache. Ich bin sehr froh darüber, dass sie es noch erleben konnte. Es hat ihr so viel daran gelegen.

Solange es möglich war, stand ich in permanentem Kontakt zu Rosalie Bertell. Zuletzt diskutierten wir vor allem die Katastrophe von Fukushima, die auch aus ihrer Sicht merkwürdig verlaufen war. Denn nach ihren Berechnungen hatte sich das Erdbeben gerade nicht in einer tektonisch dafür infrage kommenden Spalte im Pazifik ereignet, wie immer behauptet wurde, sondern in einer Gegend, die in diesem Sinne völlig neutral war. Und sie hatte große Sorgen wegen der langfristigen Auswirkungen, war dies doch jahrzehntelang ihr Thema gewesen, für dessen Behandlung sie 1986 den Alternativen Nobelpreis erhalten hatte (Keine akute Gefahr? Die radioaktive Verseuchung der Erde, 1987). Allerdings hatte sie die ungeheuren Ausmaße der neuen Katastrophe noch nicht erkannt (cf. www.pbme-online.org, 6th Information-Letter: Fukushima and We, June 2012. No hay versión espanola).

Eine Frage, die sie nicht mehr beantworten konnte, drehte sich um das von ihr mit Aufmerksamkeit verfolgte Phänomen des Abtauens in Teilen der Antarktis, dem Südpol. Denn da der Nordpol, die Arktis, nach ihren Recherchen so rapide abtaut(e), weil er seit Mitte der 70er Jahre seitens der Sowjetunion wie den USA mit elektromagnetischen ELF-Wellen beschickt wird, wie in ihrem Buch nachzulesen ist, musste für ein ähnliches Phänomen am Südpol ein anderer Grund vorliegen.

Denn eins war für sie klar: nicht einfach das CO2 kann für den Klimawandel bzw. die Erwärmung bestimmter Gebiete, wie eben der Arktis, verantwortlich gemacht werden, wie wir es seit Al Gore´s Zeit seiner Präsidentschaftskandidatur in den USA überall auf der Welt von der Politik und der Wissenschaft, ja sogar den sog. Alternativ- und Ökologiebewegungen hören. Das CO2 sammelt sich nämlich in den Luftschichten der Troposphäre, während die Erwärmung in der viel höher gelegenen Ionosphäre stattfindet. Und dort arbeiten die militärischen Anlagen, die mit elektromagnetischen Wellen die Ionosphäre untersuchen, mit ihr durch Aufheizung experimentieren und dabei Naturkatastrophen auslösen können – wie wir es seit Jahrzehnten wissen (s. der Versuch der UNO, mit der ENMOD Konvention von bereits 1977 die militärische Anwendung solcher Technologien zu verbieten).

Vielleicht ist ja im Falle der Antarktis der Grund kein ober-, sondern unterirdischer: nicht die künstliche Erwärmung der Luft, sondern die des Meerwassers der Ozeane…

Hier hörte unser Austausch auf. Es war Anfang Juni.

Was hätte sie wohl zu den anderen Katastrophen gesagt, die seitdem andauernd stattfinden, großen Erdbeben überall auf der Welt, Stürmen wie „Sandy“ kurz vor den US-Wahlen und Vulkanausbrüchen wie im November in Neuseeland? Wie hätte sie gearbeitet, um herauszufinden, was echte und was vielleicht keine echten Naturkatastrophen waren?

Denn eins ist nach ihrem Buch klar: Heute kann niemand mehr davon ausgehen, dass die vermehrt stattfindenden und zunehmend großen Natur-Katastrophen einfach alle natürlichen Ursprungs sind…

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