This morning I hiked up the mountain of St. Baume, through the beautiful, ancient Druid forest, to Mary Magdalene’s cave where she spent the last 30 years of her life as a contemplative. The hike was wonderful, good for my soul to be in such an old forest. The view from the cave was sublime. As was the sheer rock face that rises from where forest meets ancient stone stairs, winding up to the cave entrance.
Amazing, I am holed up (as in: a refuge, a cave) for three days in St. Maximin, an ancient little village holding the gothic basilica of Mary Magdalene. Her relics, especially her skull, are on display in the crypt, sheathed in gold, and held by golden angels. The small stone entrance to this crypt is inviting, a quiet place to dwell underground with her mysteries. Horseshoe carvings, all over the walls that go down into the crypt, are inscribed into the stone by pilgrims past.
This cathedral housing her mortal remains is run down, in need of repair. It is like a relic itself, with its crumbling stone facade. But there is the beauty of what is falling down, the ancient feeling of such a place.
Lupita, Guadalupe –
Your agave points of light glow in grave darkness.
Hecate’s Moon is Red.
The Raven slices the sky into shards.
The River catches shivering stars.
We remember the First Mother… Continue reading
As a presenter in the Contemporary Pagan Studies Group at the recent American Academy of Religion, I was looking forward to the possibility of some meaningful intrafaith dialogue (dialogue between members of the same faith tradition) among members of my own faith community. While I had a wonderful time at the annual meeting and connected with a wide range of both radical and reformist scholars in a variety of sub-fields, I found the annual meeting to be a rather solitary affair amongst 10,000 attendees. Granted, my Continue reading
A wonderful, magical weekend. Spent with sister-scholars, friends, mentors and elders from the Women’s Spirituality Masters of Arts program in the San Francisco Bay area, a trip I have made many times, down the great fault-line running through the mountainous, volcano-strewn landscape of the West Coast, from British Columbia to California. My very own pilgrimage route to be inspired/inspirited in the close conversations and practices I experience there, a weekend spent with colleagues I love and admire, who have supported the many years of my developing voice, scholarship, and art. A community Continue reading
This is the central question of Nicole Schwab’s book, The Heart of the Labyrinth (Womancraft Publishing, 2014). This question paves the way for her eco-feminist approach to balancing the self and the environment. Schwab’s book is a parable as multilayered and complex as human nature, and it moves through the ages to probe the pure core of the self and the sustaining energy that connects all.
The Heart of the Labyrinth is a vital book, sending us deep into the self and the past to help us remember who we are, showing us how to reintegrate ourselves with nature through the elements of the divine feminine, so we can positively rebuild both our personal futures and the future of the planet. Schwab eloquently reminds us that in this time of social disconnect and planetary destruction, we each Continue reading
A Wild and Ancient Site
There are many sites across Scotland and Ireland relating to the Cailleach for there wasn’t just one Cailleach as she had many sisters. Less than one hundred miles from where I grew up is the long loch of Loch Tay in Scotland. If you were to take to the hills until you reach Glen Tay, then continue onto Tigh na Cailliche (Glen Cailleach), you will come across the little structure of Tigh Nam Bodach, the Shrine of the Cailleach. It is possibly the only surviving shrine to the Cailleach in all of Scotland.
“She is a symbolic personification of a cosmos that has been in place since time immemorial, certainly since before human society.” Gearoid O Crualaoich (2003)
While growing up my Samhain’s (Halloween’s) were all about Guising – diving into my grandmother’s bag of old clothes and wondrous fabrics and piecing costumes together. Guising was all about dressing up so that when the ancestors and spirits came through from the otherworld, they wouldn’t know who was who as we were all in disguise. I can remember the thrill of running from neighbours’ houses imagining the ancestors and spirits embodied in the night’s winds – swimming through treetops and swooping down to chase us while blowing up piles of fallen leaves for dramatic effect.
I think it’s very important to support the creative works of other women in a feminist context. I also think that it’s important to comment on what others have written to help them to feel seen and heard. We feminists must work harder than others to be acknowledged and MAGO has been a beacon in the night for those of us who continue to choose this life -path.