(Prose) My Thanks to Dolasilla by Claire French

It must have been around my twelfth year when I found the Saga of the Kingdom of Fanes in the local almanac of the South Tyrolean city of Bozen/Bolzano. It was illustrated by a pen-drawing of the legendary princess Dolasilla mounted on a black horse, wearing a blue Rayeta Stone in her tiara and glowering against her enemies.

It was this woman on horseback who never left my mind. In those moments of truth that decided my life she appeared to me again and again.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne

On my arrival in Melbourne, a young migrant without money or connections, I was ready to return to my Tyrolean mountains, when I suddenly found myself in front of the equestrian statue of the State Library: this image of my heroine Joan of Arc changed my mind. Many years later, the altar of Epona at the museum of Stuttgart (Stuttgart means Garden of the Mare!) touched me just as much as the image of Australian saint Blessed Mary McKillop, riding in nun’s garb through the endless solitudes of Australia to bring the blessings of literacy to lonely farmers’ children.

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(Essay) Deeper Down Under: and Moonwalking on Uluru, by Taffy (Robert) Seaborne

This essay was originally written by the author in Spring of 2006, and was published in Gaian Voices Volume 4, Number 3 & 4

Uluru - sacred centerAustralia

Uluru – sacred centre Australia

Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park is a World Heritage Area listed for both its natural and cultural values, yet many living outside Australia still only know it by its European name – Ayers Rock. Here, even during a brief stay of only a few days, visitors can and do experience a profound sense of being in a sacred place. For the Anangu, traditional owners of Uluru, and for others who are fortunate enough to live in its presence, and who choose to dwell there in a receptive manner, it can be a place for deepening awareness of the manta – the Earth, as sacred.

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(Essay) Women and Religion – What’s Happening by Glenys Livingstone (1980)

This is the third in a three part series of old articles and papers by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D. that were written in the 1980’s and 1990’s, two of which were published at that time. The first in the series was “Notes on Leaving Christianity”, and the second was “Exodus 1980 Revisited”. This essay presented at the Women and Labour Conference in Melbourne Australia 1980, was not published in conference proceedings due largely to feminist prejudice at the time about women in religion, but it received media attention, being publicised on p.3 of The Age, p.17 of the Sydney Morning Herald, and full page in a regional newspaper with follow up letters to the editor.

Feminist analysis that stops short of religion, stops prematurely. It is in religion that we find the central office – the sacred male precincts that have given that final touch of authority to the oppression of women.

In this paper, I will largely be talking of women from the christian traditions, since this is the one I know – however I do know that the experience of these women resonates with women of other religious traditions. Patriarchy has been widespread, one might say! though of course each tradition is particular, in that women have either been allowed or not allowed more freedoms and “rights”, or shall I say more qualifications of the human person.

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(Essay) Exodus 1980 Revisited by Glenys Livingstone (1994)

This is the second in a three part series of old articles and papers by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D. that were written in the 1980’s and 1990’s, two of which were published at that time. The first in the series was “Notes on Leaving Christianity”, and this second essay is a very personal story of the journey out – some of what was involved for the author. The story is told and set within the context of a ceremonial meal, named as “Passout”, and imagined as a traditional annual restorative event, invoking Goddess whom all present were seeking.

This essay was originally published in Women-Church: An Australian Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Issue 15, Spring 1994.


It was “Passout” 1994, the night when women friends gather to celebrate their exodus (when others around them are celebrating Holy Thursday/Passover).The women light candles, anoint each other with oil, and play women’s music that has helped birth them. Sometimes they get up and dance as the Spirit takes them. They share a meal of flatbread, bitter greens, vegetables and roast pork; finishing with a dessert that uses milk and honey. They drink lots of wine throughout the evening, as they tell their exodus stories.

This was one of the women’s stories:

a simple country girl,

who got lost on the big freeways of the world

and thought she was someone else…

hopped in a big american car and went on a tour.


when the joyride ended, she came back to the poverty

of her inner landscape… she was dropped off

in the slums of her pain and fear

that she had sought to escape.

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(Interview) with Glenys Livingstone by Michelle Claire White: Seasonal Ritual in Southern Hemisphere


This interview was done for the Australian Pagan Awareness Network’s magazine The Small Tapestry, Winter (S.H.) 2014.

Glenys Livingstone is a Goddesswoman who facilitates seasonal rituals at her home in the Blue Mountans at Bru-Na-BigTree in Springwood. Her book  entitled PaGaian Cosmology: Reinventing earth based Goddess Religions is the fruit of her Ph.D. thesis completed at the University of Western Sydney: it  offers a unique perspective of a naturalistic pagan that fuses the indigenous traditions of Europe with scientific theory, feminism and a deep poetic relationship with place. Together she and her partner Taffy Seaborne have created the Mooncourt as a sacred space for sharing sacred ceremony and exploring the triple Goddess as a metaphor for cosmic creativity. She is published author, blogger, workshop facilitator and active member of both the Pagan and Goddess Spirituality communities here in Australia.

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(Art essay 2) An experience of the Cailleach Beare, primordial creatrix of ancient Ireland by Frances Guerin

Australian author David Tacey speculates that the power of the Australian land is activating a deep layer of psyche in white Australians that has been overlaid by civilisation…“ in this context a descendant of the Celtic world is likely to discover that a version of ancient Celtic spirituality is awakened… it is as if the psyche, automatically realising that a bridge must be constructed between the colonising consciousness and the primal landscape, reaches back into cultural memory to find an answering image of aboriginality.” (Tacey 2000, p. 139)

To reflect the hybrid state of an Irish person living under the southern cross, I also made works of oak grafted onto eucalyptus branches. Some branches had a snake-like quality that reflected both the Blue Snake of Ireland and the Australian indigenous Rainbow Serpent. Like the Cailleach the rainbow serpent is female and she created passages through rocks and formed waterholes in the Kakadu landscape helping form a habitat for all beings. She is also part of the life cycle of plants animals and seasonal changes.

The Book of Durrow Carpet – Page with interlacing snakes. c.675: 9x5 inches

The Book of Durrow Carpet – Page with interlacing snakes. c.675: 9×5 inches

This connection is lent weight by research which has also found common genes and language between the Dravidians of India and Australian Indigenous people. (Sidharth Gautham Sunder 2013)

The Indo-European words for oak and Pole Star have been traced to the Sanskrit words Daru and Dhurva respectively. The Gaelic word for oak is dair while druida and the Irish draoi refer to the wise man of the oaks. Drui -in is the wren, the little bird of the druid. Several D -R English words include duration, endure and durable. (Meehan 1995, p.17-18).

A monument to the ancestors was based on Grunewald’s Crucifixion. Psychoanalyst and art critic Julia Kristeva used Grunewald to describe the state of abjection a place of primal anguish where borders between self and other dissolve. The women at the foot of Grunewald’s cross arch backward in the Arch of Hysteria, a posture described by Charcot in the 19th C. asylums of Paris. The arch was the subject of many of Louise Bourgeois sculptures that reflect upon to the relationship between the genders, and in Ireland’s story a painful one of violence, alcoholism and multiple pregnancies emerged, as is found in any dispossessed and vilified people. The Catholic Church was both a source of comfort and control especially of women’s rights within marriage in terms of contraception and abortion.

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(Art Essay 1) An experience of the Cailleach Beare, primordial creatrix of ancient Ireland Frances Guerin

I was summoned to Ireland by a crow tapping its beak loudly against my window just after dawn for many months. In frustration I yelled out, “Who are you and what do you want?” Surprisingly, a thought responded, “Mother and grandmother”. Then the crow came no more.

However at night I dreamed of the Gaelic place names of Ireland, and the mysterious words, Cailleach Beare and Fianna, written in the scales of a snake’s back. The great blue snake sped across the south west of Ireland and transformed into a woman in white with a red sun behind her. Then little ceramic figures emerged including one of a woman riding a turtle.

Frances Guerin 2012, Woman riding a Turtle ceramic, raku fired .25mx .9m.12m

Frances Guerin 2012, Woman riding a Turtle ceramic, raku fired .25mx .9m.12m

The great Ah ha moment came when I found other contemporary artists who had made similar works of a woman on a turtle.

Annette Messager, 1988, detail from Le Jardin du Tendre

(a) Annette Messager, 1988 detail from Le Jardin du Tendre (b) Peter Jones,
Louise Skywoman falls to earth ( c) Vishnu’s 2nd incarnation as Kurma the Turtle

French artist Annette Messager drew a constellation in the form of a woman on a live turtle and set them free in the Jardin du Tendre. Peter Jones, an Iriquois Indian, told an old tale of Louise Skywoman falling to earth, off balance as she copes with contemporary life as a drinks waitress. The final discovery was the blue Hindu god Vishnu’s 2nd incarnation as a turtle that bore the earth mountain on his back during a flood similar in ways and times to the biblical Noah.

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(Essay 2) The Terms ‘Feminine’ and ‘Masculine’ by Glenys Livingstone

This essay is the second part of an evolved version of an excerpt from Chapter 2 of her book PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion.

Beltaine flower

Beltaine flower

In the first part of this topic, I described dimensions of what I consider to be confusions about the terms “feminine” and “masculine”, and the general lack of clarity about the popular use of them to qualify aspects of being. I asserted that “wholeness” does not have to be understood in terms of a “feminine” plus “masculine” equation, and that the Universe was apparently not actually formed by “female” plus “male” energy, as is often loosely proclaimed: Cosmic creativity proceeded long before the advent of the male/gender (at about one and a half billion years ago),[i] and even before the advent of the biosphere  – the first cell (at about three point eight billion years ago).[ii] The qualities of femaleness and maleness may be something quite different from any cultural designations of “feminine”and “masculine”,  and do not appear to be essential to the Creativity of the Universe. I spoke for the unfolding of a cosmology wherein the Mother-of-All/Creatrix may be known to be a complete and whole unity of Creativity: characterised by a triplicity – not a duality, a “power of three”, as Marija Gimbutas described the apparently noted Creativity represented in ancient images of female Deity – Goddess.[iii] It is a triplicity that many cultures understood to characterize the essence of Cosmogenesis, and which has been identified frequently – in symbol and in anthropomorphic image – with female metaphor in a myriad of ways.

Another dimension to the confusion about the use of the terms “feminine” and “masculine” is the lack of clarity about the primordial nature of the cosmic power of Allurement – a “Power” that cosmologist Brian Swimme lists among others as “coursing through the Universe and each of us”[iv]: present primordially, before the advent of maleness or gender. Allurement itself, or Holy Lust as it may be termed,[v] unites the Cosmos: Desire itself unites the Cosmos, not the subject/object of the desire, and it is a reduction to imagine/assert that it is simply female plus male that unites the Cosmos, or our psyches. This may be lovely poetry – a metaphor and an experience, where the Power does occur, but it is not bound to this relationship. All being knows it – within the self and in relationship.

Medusa and Green Man

Medusa and Green Man

Masculinity or maleness is a particular physical expression that can give rise to its own symbolism – but the interpretation of that symbolism is something else. For example, the phallus can be passive, vulnerable and flower-like if the mind-frame is shifted. The Green Man metaphor may be developed as a deeply relational story – of “male-referring transformatory powers” as it may be termed[vi]: and there are some who are doing that well in recent times.[vii] The story of maleness as innately “active, dominant, inflexible”, by association with the phallus, is a patriarchal one that can be changed: and perhaps it was different in an earlier mythic era,[viii] and still so in some survivng Indigenous cultures. “Masculinity” and “femininity” are largely cultural developments – developed over time by story, belief systems, even the foods each sex have been allowed to eat in some cultures, the activities they each have been allowed, so that certain styles, physical and psychic, have been bred into and out of maleness and femaleness to suit the mindframe. “Maleness” and “femaleness” may be something quite different and more like a physical kaleidoscope: and it was a very creative move at a relatively recent point in the evolutionary story, that did enhance the Cosmogenetic enterprise of differentiation, communion and autopoiesis/subjectivity – a threefold Creativity unfolding the Cosmos.[ix] Both, and all genders on the kaleidoscope, are embraced and immersed in the  same Creative Dynamic of Being that preceded their evolution, and both and all may be described as exhibiting the three manifesting powers of Cosmogenesis.

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(Photo Essay) Sisterhood in OZ by Leslene della-Madre

I am so grateful that my four-part essay on Awe/stralia was posted here on the Mago blog. It was such an a-mazing journey in so many ways and will always stay with me as a life-changing event for me. I am delighted to be able now to offer another kind of view of this wonderful adventure. This photo journal is a focus on sisterhood. I was blessed and fortunate to cross paths with over 150 women; this is a tribute to them and is dedicated to the Indigenous Aboriginal women who remain the gatekeepers of the wisdom of the Universal Feminine.  I was so deeply moved by the support, love and presence of the women I had the honor of working with. For me, restoring sisterhood is the medicine that will heal us all.

Elder Indigenous Women Not to be reproduced without permission of the Kapululangu Aboriginal Women's Association.

Kapululangu Indigenous Women Elders
Not to be reproduced without permission of
the Kapululangu Aboriginal Women’s Association.

These are some of the remaining women elders in Balgo in Western Australia of the Kapululango Aboriginal Women’s Association. They are “pre contact” women who were born before the “whitefella” came. While I was not able to go and be with them during Women’s Law Camp after touring in OZ, I still feel a profound connection with them. I encourage any of you lovely women to go and be with them if you can during their annual teaching camps. More about them can be learned here: 
The Red Tent at the School of Shamanic Midwifery in the beautiful mountains outside of Sydney where my journey first began.

The Red Tent at the School of Shamanic Midwifery in the beautiful mountains outside of Sydney where my journey first began.

Embarking on a sacred journey of reclaiming Sacred Womb Wisdom, the Shamanic Path of Re-membering.

Womb Wisdom: Re-membering our Sacred Shamanic Path

Womb Wisdom: Re-membering our Sacred Shamanic Path

Womb Altar

Womb Altar

Co-creating a sacred altar allows us to share our invocations and focuses our attention and intention for our time together. Our altar inside the Red Tent.

In our first workshop, we learned how the body of woman is the holograph of the YoniVerse and how womb wisdom is the root of all knowing.

Sacred Geometry and the Fractal Womb

Sacred Geometry and the Fractal Womb

Women’s shamanic mysteries are the holiest of the holies. While they have been usurped and co-opted for the last 5000 years, the secrets remain in our DNA. It is time to re-member them and to trust our sovereignty as daughters of the Great Mother. Continue reading

(Essay 1) The Terms ”Feminine” and “Masculine” by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

This essay is an evolved version of an excerpt from Chapter 2 of her book PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion.


It is popular for writers in the area of consciousness to describe different qualities of consciousness as “feminine” and “masculine”, (for example, intuition as feminine and rational thought as masculine), and to describe humanity’s move out of an original participatory mind as “masculine”. The image of St. George (masculine) slaying the dragon (feminine) has been, and is still, commonly understood to speak of a “necessary” move in the evolution of consciousness, both of the collective and of the individual. It is popular to describe the active differentiating force of individuation as masculine. To quote one such writer: “The birth and development of the masculine principle in consciousness revolutionizes humanity’s experience of itself and of the world.”[1] It is implied (and often explicitly stated) that  “maternal” consciousness is simply amorphous and chaotic, and incapable of an evolutionary move. This is often seen as some justification for the patriarchal mind – that humanity needed to “get away from Mother”. Yet the move out of what might be named as “original participation” as a state of non-reflective consciousness[2] and the move into patriarchal mind appears to have been different things. There is now plenty of evidence of sophisticated, complex, matristic Neolithic societies – insights into “Goddess” cultures pioneered by the work of Marija Gimbutas and Merlin Stone in recent times, and developed by many scholars since. There is knowledge of many pre-patriarchal cultures with highly developed reflective awareness: indigenous traditions knowing deep Wisdom. Peter Reason expresses:

Egyptian Triple Goddess

Egyptian Triple Goddess

It is difficult to believe that these complex societies were based on a pure form of original participation: that there must have been a high degree of purpose, planning and reflexiveness. Yet the social organization was articulated in terms of equality and partnership.[3]

Reason also cites Paula Gunn Allen[4] who describes complex and sophisticated gynocratic Native American tribal cultures. He says that these highly developed, self-reflective participative cultures are “not a description of original participation in the sense of being unconscious and unreflective”.[5]

And there is cause to suppose that it may well have been the female mind that instigated the radical changes in the way humans did things, that it was her desire for order, storage, abundance, tools, fire, medicine, art etc. that led to many of humanity’s inventions, settlement in villages, writing, counting and social complexification: as Barbara Walker points out, reflecting  on the historical and mythic view of motherhood.[6] Walker asserts that it was precisely the female as mother who was the original “civilizing” force, who actually initiated the shift from spatial consciousness into time. The assumption that it must have been a “masculine” quality is perhaps part of the patriarchal mind set, which would rob maternity of its essential active creativity. Judy Grahn develops this notion also with her insights into “menstrual mind”, asserting the primal creativity of such a mind.[7] To fall prey to describing the shift in consciousness as “masculine” is rocky territory, and overly simplistic.

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(Essay 4) I Must Call Her Awe/stralia by Leslene della-Madre

I spent my last week in Awe/stralia at Watego Bay in Byron Bay with my daughter. From the autumn chill of Melbourne to the tropical warmth of sun and surf! We were there for R and R, and for me, hopefully some healing from a trauma I had experienced in my adult life with the ocean. While in Hawaii I had been swimming and snorkeling in her crystalline waters and was fairly far from shore looking for sea turtles. Rather suddenly, the wind changed and the swells in the water began to get bigger and stronger. I could see my daughters looking like tiny little dolls on the shore. Fear immediately set in as I found myself no longer feeling safe in the water. And then more fear was generated as my thoughts raced about — could I make it back to them? And then panic. Panic will cause one to drown quicker than the waves. I knew this, and was faced with the fact that my life was in my hands and that I needed to do what I needed to do to stay alive. There is a teaching that says one must want liberation as much as if one is drowning and taking her last breath. I learned the meaning of this teaching that day.  I knew I couldn’t resist the swells. I quickly saw that if I just surrendered to their power, I could ride them into shore, because that is where they were heading. Fortunately there were no crosscurrents. And I was wearing fins. So, I rode. It was like riding the waves of giving birth. And death was right there with me. I had a deep unspeakable gratitude in my heart when I could feel the sand beneath my feet and I could see the precious faces of my beautiful little girls, who had no idea of the drama I had just encountered!

The view from our apartment, Watego Bay

The view from our apartment, Watego Bay

I was not untouched by the trauma of it, however. My relationship with the ocean changed after that and I had a very difficult time getting back into her waters. It took me a number of years to be able to just go back into the waves — and thinking of snorkeling offshore was not even a possibility. While I eventually went back to Hawaii and did go into deep water to snorkel, it was not going out into the water from shore. I went out on a boat with others into calm waters. While in Watego Bay, I found a deeper courage to go back into the waves to dive and play. I felt like I was coming back to myself — to the woman who loves the ocean and is not afraid to allow her once again to embrace me. As my daughter and I were playing together, a pair of dolphins jumped from the waters near us. They were also playing in the surf. I learned that dolphin is the totem of the Aboriginal Arakwal women of that area. I felt blessed by them, by the ancestors and the spirit of the Aboriginal women of that land. It was a perfect way to say goodbye (for now) to Awe/stralia!

Wonderful painted pole, Watego Bay

Wonderful painted pole, Watego Bay

My heart is still quite full. I have received feedback that many women feel I brought something new to them, that there is a longing for more. I would love to return, and share with my beautiful new sisters! We came together for a reason, perhaps many reasons. May the unfolding continue! Let us sing and dream together, to bring forth our collective wisdom that we all know is the healing medicine for the planet.  Sacred sisterhood. Womb wisdom. Fierce and wise serpent power. Let our powers be unleashed!

Thank you, thank you, beautiful women, beautiful land, beautiful ancestors!

Read part 1, part 2, and part 3.

(Essay 3) I Must Call Her Awe/stralia By Leslene della-Madre

After a welcoming stay with Glenys, and being able to visit sacred places in the Blue Mountains with her like “The Three Sisters” in what I saw as Awe/stralia’s version of the Grand Canyon, I traveled on to Brisbane to Susan’s lovely home in the bush. The birds, landscape and lushness all nourished my soul! The fact that Awe/stralia’s population is only 22 million people invites one into a spacious, grounded and heart-warming experience of the land. I felt this everywhere I went. I went barefoot as often as I could. (In fact, when I first arrived at Jane’s in the beginning of my adventure, I immediately removed my shoes and grounded into the earth. I believe it is this practice of “Earthing” that kept me from being jet-lagged. I never experienced it after a fifteen-hour plane trip and travel from the past to the future through a time change. Nor did I experience it upon my return.) I spent another lovely time gathering with kindred sisters in the Friday night talk and workshop.

The workshop was particularly a-mazing because a beautiful Sri Lankan woman, a cancer survivor, brought the ashes of her recently deceased sister who also suffered from cancer and placed her ashes on our altar. It was one of those things that could not have been put in a schedule. It was the first time she had brought out her sister’s ashes in the presence of others beyond her family, blessing all of us with her sacred presence. With her ashes on our altar we had twelve women in physical form and one in spirit — a perfect circle of thirteen. We opened our circle sharing a grieving process with her that I felt was held by the ancestors. We bonded immediately in sacred sisterhood — as the circle of women acting as shaman. This particular workshop allowed some women, who had been unsure about coming due to feeling not quite ready because of recent transitions of loved ones in their lives, to feel held by the collective of women and to be witnessed in safe loving space. This is the tribal way of women I feel we are all longing for. Women just know how to love each other. And allow what needs to emerge in the moment. This is the experience that I like to honor as being dreamed together where any agendas of doing are surrendered.

Mothering the Dying workshop, Brisbane

Mothering the Dying workshop, Brisbane

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(Essay 2) I Must Call Her Awe/stralia by Leslene della-Madre

The second stop for me was in the Blue Mountains with Glenys Livingstone at her lovely home and beautiful ritual space, Moon Court, where Glenys holds seasonal rituals as well as different presentations, sharing her moon temple with others of like mind. The topic of the three talks I gave throughout the month as a precursor to my workshops was “Midwifing Death: Revisioning Death and Dying.” The first Friday night talk was at Glenys’. Rather than focusing on the “how tos” and the “what to dos,” I preferred to invoke ancestral wisdom about how early people — from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic, mostly from Old Europe — regarded life and death. I feel our current culture is so fear-based, that if we have some understanding of ancient earth-based and cosmos-based wisdom of our foremothers, perhaps we could be less afraid of death.

Even with “talks” I prefer to sit in circle if possible. At times this wasn’t conducive, so I just went with the flow. I based my offerings on my book, Midwifing Death: Returning to the Arms of the Ancient Mother. Though the book is several years old, I am still learning who the “Ancient Mother” is. I feel the revelation of her essence is a never-ending journey. I was thrilled to meet so many wonderful women already working in the field of conscious death and dying.

Mothering Dying workshop, Moon Court, Blue Mountains

Mothering Dying workshop, Moon Court, Blue Mountains

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(Video) PaGaian Winter Solstice by Glenys Livingstone

At Her PaGaian MoonCourt, Bru-na-BigTree, Blue Mountains, NSW Australia. The Poetry is largely from the book “PaGaian Cosmology” available on-line at http://pagaiancosmology.com/.

I acknowledge the work and inspiration of Starhawk, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme and Connie Barlow, in this composition. The name “Tiamat” (meaning “Goddess Mother”) used for the supernova that birthed our Solar system, was the name given to Her by Thomas Berry (see his book, co-authored with Brian Swimme, “The Universe Story”), though the celebration of Tiamat in Winter Solstice ritual was inspired by Connie Barlow – in her book “Green Space, Green Time”. Tiamat is originally the name of the ancient Babylonian Goddess – and I also tell something of her story in “PaGaian Cosmology” p.73-74.

The music “Mundus Vergens” by Pascal Languirand, from his CD “Gregorian Waves” is used with his permission:http://www.myspace.com/pascallanguirand

(Essay 1) I Must Call Her Awe/stralia by Leslene della-Madre

Soaked in loving sisterhood, I have recently returned from being on tour in a-mazing Australia. After nearly three years of conjuring with the magnificent women of the School of Shamanic Midwifery in Australia, Melinda Whyman, Jane Harwicke Collings and Susan Stark, I spent this past April there in this sacred land that I must call Awe/stralia! The book/workshop tour invitation was an absolute honor and the tour was beautifully planned and mapped. These women are absolute treasures! My other sister hosts, Glenys Livingstone and Brooke Burton, brought me into their homes as if I had been a relative they hadn’t seen in a while! More women treasures! I was also womb and heart connected with Zohl de Isthar, though we only met over the phone. Zohl is Executive Director at the Kapululangu Aboriginal Women’s Association in Balgo, Western Australia. She cares for the elder Law Women there and is holding the Women’s Law Camp as I am writing this piece. Zohl graciously invited me to come and participate in the Women’s Law Camp, which I so fervently wanted to do, but knew I would need a good rest after my extensive travels and had to turn down her most gracious invitation. I knew I could not do the extensive travel required to get to her and to the beautiful Aboriginal women.  It was another way I felt deeply honored, even though I couldn’t be there in body with those a-mazing women. But they are all in my heart! Oh, the power and grace of women!!

I have had a deep place in my heart for Awe/stralia for a long time — mainly because the Aboriginal indigenous culture is the oldest continuous shamanic culture on the planet. I have always felt a connection to that reality. Now, after having only recently returned in early May, I realize I was sung there by the ancestors. I was dreamed there. My shamanic work has been connected to the ancestral grandmothers of the cosmos and the planet for a long time. I know the grandmothers of the Dreamtime are part of this vast network, which is something I am coming to understand as a cosmological living mythos pulsing in our cells, in our blood, in our very being — a wisdom, of course, that Aboriginal women have always known. The Dreamtime ancestor world is about the forces of nature and the universe — what I call the YoniVerse — including gravity and electromagnetism as the forces of attraction and repulsion and resonates very well with my recent research into electric universe theory. It is a very different sense of ancestors than what I have been used to in terms of family lineage. However, I feel when one really looks into family lineage, we can find ourselves on a journey that expands into the cosmos. I was called to Awe/stralia because I need to learn what these ancestor grandmothers want me to know. Johanna Lambert, editor of Wise Women of the Dreamtime, writes, “Traditional Aboriginal society is founded on the preeminence of the characteristics of the Universal Feminine.”[1] To have an opportunity to be on the land where women have held this truth for over 50,000 years was profoundly sacred for me — a gift beyond measure. As a devotee of the Sacred She for a long time, and one who is also devoted to uncovering her deep wisdom in any and all ways possible, I feel humbled beyond words by being called, sung and dreamed to this sacred land whose magic I will be integrating for a long time. One trip is not enough!

Sacred V at dawn, Sydney

Sacred V at dawn, Sydney

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(Essay 2) The Body – Essential or Not? by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

This essay is the second part of an evolved version of an excerpt from Chapter 2 of her book PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion.

Often the work of woman-centred and Gaian/Earth-centred philosophers and writers has been subject to critique by gender-sceptical feminist theory as essentialist, as a perceived “collapse” of female into nature.[i] In the case of my own work and writing, I am actually identifying all being – not just female and male, or just human, but flora and fauna and stars and rocks as well, and even human culture – with nature, and I then metaphorise the dynamics of all being as female, which could be construed as essentialist.  It does invoke  “female sacrality” which for some indicates an essentialising of sacredness as female.[ii]

I acknowledge that it may be so, but also assert that it need not be understood this way. In the case of my work and practice PaGaian Cosmology, there is a recognition or naming of “female-referring transformatory powers”[iii] that are identified as cosmic dynamics essential to all being – not exclusive to the female. For example, “conception” is a female-referring transformatory power, that is, it happens in a female body;[iv] yet it is a multivalent cosmic dynamic, that is, it happens in all being in a variety of forms. It is not bound to the female body, yet it occurs there in a particular and obvious way.  In past ideologies, philosophies and theologies – many of which still make their presence felt, and hence are present – the occurrence of “conception” in that place (the female body) has been devalued; “‘conception” has only been valued in the place of the mind – usually the male mind – as “concept”. Then in some circles of feminist spirituality particularly, there has been reversal of this so that the female body – and sometimes her bodymind – was the only place for significant “conception”: I am not saying that. My work and cosmology affirms “conception” as a female-referring transformatory power which manifests multivalently in all being, thus affirming female sacrality as part of all sacrality. It does thus affirm the female as a place; as well as a place. I do also affirm other qualities of the Universe’s transformatory powers as female-referring … birthing, feeding, containing: and thus She is the most appropriate metaphor to describe the Body we find ourselves within, as we recognise the resonances.

Earthly Mother: Sculpture by William Ricketts, installed at the William Ricketts Sanctuary, Dandenong Ranges, Australia http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/william-ricketts-sanctuary-gardens-of-the-dandenongs

Earthly Mother, sculpture by William Ricketts,
at the William Ricketts Sanctuary, Dandenong Ranges, Australia

My Search in its academic form (of doctoral research) was an inquiry into the affects of such recognition on the hearts and minds and actions of participants – female and male, and including myself. It remains a question for most of the present world: what difference would such recognition and affirmation make to our world? What difference would a “menstrual cosmology”[v] make to the human co-creating of the world – as has been asked and suggested by such brilliant woman-centred philosophies of Judy Grahn[vi] and numerous others. In our times Western science in some niches is arriving at a resonant cosmology, but often with no recognition or acknowledgement of the Maternal nature of these resonances, of the repeated patterns within the female body in particular: She is still left out of the equation. So it often becomes more of Zeus “giving birth” to Athena, a stealing of the “female-referring transformatory” powers of the Cosmic Cauldron in which we are, our Maternal heritage – that of all genders. It may just be more of treating Her like furniture – sitting on Her lap playing King, with no recognition that it is Her sacrality, Her Place and Body. Charlene Spretnak’s work over decades is notable in her conscious and explicit linking of new unfoldings of Western science to female-referring reality.[vii] Continue reading

(Essay 1) The Body – Essential or Not? by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

This essay is an evolved version of an excerpt from Chapter 2 of her book PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. 

All knowledge is an experience of body – what else can it be? Mind is body, body is mind. Humans know enough these days – including empirically – to end the dualistic notions of bodymind, to enter or perhaps re-enter in a new way, an integral comprehension of the bodymind we each are. In his book The Spell of the Sensuous David Abram affirms that

Without this body … [could there be] … anything to speak about, or even to reflect on, or to think, since without any contact, any encounter, without any glimmer of sensory experience, there could be nothing to question or to know.[1]

I ask then: what difference if this body menstruates, lactates, births – if these body processes were/are considered and sensed as the norm, that is, not as “different/other” as they so often have been in recent times of the human story? The “modern” woman – she of recent centuries – was held down by this difference, by the fact of her organic processes. The postmodern woman, convinced that the body can be “erased”, that its substantive presence can be dismissed,[2] may be expected to deny that it matters, that it affects her experience in any way.

The organic processes of the female body, her “elemental capabilities”,[3] are not cultural inventions, though much cultural invention about woman’s physicality has occurred (for example, the cultural idea that she was unsuited for education). And cultural invention continues to occur – across the full spectrum of thinking (for example, the persistent cultural notion that menstruation is a disability, or that physically strong women are “masculine”). And whilst it is true “that everything in human experience, including nature and human physicality, … [is already an] …  entity shaped into cultural perceptions”,[4] it is an error to deny any foundational experience. We are in deep relationship with our environment before we enter it – we are already shaped by environment as we form in the womb: “to be is to be related”.[5] We, like our primal forebears, breathe, drink water, excrete, feel. We do have a genetic code within each cell, that is a physical memory of origins … we are seeded with memory. This is especially true of the female body, whose ovum transmits the cytoplasm from one generation to the next.[6] The inability or unwillingness of a philosophical position to deal with a reciprocity between the being and environment – that the being itself has some innate foundational integrity, is a trait of the patriarchal mind in that it does not allow the materia any agency, sentience or autopoiesis. Scientific research is rampant with such minds. An example and typical of such a mind is that of Nobel award winning scientist Francis Crick,[7] who claimed that human joys and sorrows, memories and ambitions, sense of personality and free will “are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules”,[8] as if to assert that this “vast assembly of nerve cells and associated molecules” has no sentience.

I am suspicious of texts that would “erase” the body, including “new age” spiritualities, as well as academia, and popular culture – texts that would deny physical sentience or difference, since in patriarchal cultures it is the female particularly that is associated with physical reality. Whose body is it then that is primarily being erased, that has been erased since the emergence of the patriarchal mind? (Yet artists have been obsessed with her body – as if trying to paint her back into the picture perhaps or at times to frame her there as object.) The early Greeks denied her inclusion in the “kosmos” because of her messy body.[9]  In other cultures where her body had been the lap upon which rulers sat and thus gained their right to rule,[10] her body was gradually stylised into furniture – a throne, and then forgotten: her body became “part of the furniture”, utilitarian. And so, it still often is … as is the Mother Earth Herself. Female sacrality – the sacrality of the female body – has been “unnamed non-data in secular culture; peripheral sub-data in the phenomenology of religions”, and considered essentially “pagan” or unclean in Western religious culture.[11]  All bodies exchange substances with the environment – the land – whether or not it is obvious to an etherealised and sanitised culture. Aboriginal cosmologies have never forgotten this exchange; as Heather McDonald describes in her book Blood, Bones and Spirit – a work on Aboriginal Christianity. The body of these cosmologies is

an organic body which is consubstantial with, and permeable to, the living environment. It is composed of flesh and blood, bones and spirit, and is subject to the organic processes of fecundity, growth and decay.[12]

And the exchange of bodily fluids with land is valued and significant – a participation in the very flow of life, and relationship with “the ancestors”.[13]  Australian writer David Tacey points out that the spirituality that arises from the land in Australia, carried in the themes of its poets, and known by its indigenous inhabitants, is one that is profoundly continuous with the body.[14]

Milky Way Goddess, Gangavati, India

Milky Way Goddess, Gangavati, India

It is likely that when humans really remember the body, all bodies – this relational dynamic, this materia, in which we are – they will remember the female body, and once again will have to deal with a foundational cyclical experience of life – which includes birth and death.[15] How we story that experience is really very open, but it will be a recognition of the web of life into which we are woven, as well as being weavers.

Mother Goddess, ca.7250-6700 BCE, Catal Huyuk Turkey

Mother Goddess, ca.7250-6700 BCE, Catal Huyuk Turkey

Life – birth and death – does not seem like much of a “foundational cyclical experience” to most people. It seems more like a one way trip – linear, birth to death. But that depends on your perspective … if you take it from within our own small life, our own small perspective, then it appears that way. From within the larger perspective of EarthGaia, in which we are, there is no “away” … all things appear to come around in the real world, in which we find ourselves.  An analogy may be drawn to Euclid’s parallel lines.[16] While his postulate that parallel straight lines will never meet, holds true within a limited space (or in a perfectly flat featureless space – limitless and three dimensional), it does not hold true in the actual world that we inhabit – a spherical Earth.[17] Within the context of Earth, the lines will meet. Over time, Euclid has been proved incorrect from within a larger perspective. So with our lifeline, viewed from a larger perspective, from the perspective of Gaia, there is re-emergence, rebirth, though it is not personal – because we participate in a larger picture: we are participants in a Cosmos and Earth wherein every bit of us is constantly in flux, never-endingly renewed. We are a small part of the parallel lines, which actually go around a much larger entity – Earthbody/Gaia. In that context it is good to remember the exquisite prose of Susan Griffin in her book Woman and Nature – an integral crafting of words with our sensorial reality of being:

… I know I am made from this earth, as my mother’s hands were made from this earth, as her dreams came from this earth, the body of the bird, this pen, this paper, these hands, this tongue speaking, all that I know speaks to me through this earth[18]

And some indigenous languages have never forgotten this intimacy of all flesh with earth and cosmos; and then there is no need to capitalise to indicate a sacred entity when all speech expresses this relatedness, and all bodies are integral to the web.

(To be continued in Part 2.)


Abram, David. The Spell of the Sensuous. NY: Vintage Books,

Coates, Irene. The Seed Bearers – the Role of the Female in Biology  and Genetics.  Durham: Pentland Press, 1993.

Griffin, Susan. Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her. NY: Harper Colophon, 1980.

Guthrie, W. K. C. The Greek Philosophers. NY: Harper Torch Books, 1960.

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

McDonald, Heather. Blood, Bones and Spirit: Aboriginal Christianity in an East Kimberley Town. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press,

Neumann, Erich. The Great Mother. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974.

Raphael, Melissa. Thealogy and Embodiment: the Post-Patriarchal Reconstruction of Female Sexuality. Sheffield: Sheffield Press, 1996.

Spretnak, Charlene. States of Grace: The Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age. SF: HarperCollins, 1993.

Swimme, Brian and Berry, Thomas. The Universe Story. NY: HarperCollins, 1992.

Tacey, David. “Spirit and Place”, EarthSong journal, issue 1, Spring 2004, pp.7-10 and pp.32-35.

Vare, Ethlie Ann, and Ptacek, Greg. Mothers of Invention. NY: Quill, 1987.

[1] David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous, p.45.

[2] Charlene Spretnak, States of Grace: the Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age, p.122.

[3] Charlene Spretnak, States of Grace: the Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age, p.122.

[4] Charlene Spretnak, States of Grace: the Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age, p.122 referring to Derrida.

[5] Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, The Universe Story , p.77, where they are describing  the Cosmogenetic dynamic of communion.

[6] See Irene Coates, The Seed Bearers, p.10.

[7] Francis Crick was credited with the co-discovery of the double-helical structure of DNA along with James Watson. Rosalind Franklin, whose work appears to have been crucial to the discovery, remained uncredited for decades and even discredited until recently – see Ethlie Anne Vare & Greg Ptacek, Mothers of Invention, p.214.

[8] Referred to by Cameron Forbes in an article “Thirst for Thought”, page 4 in The Weekend Australian February 3-4 2001.

[9] See W. K. C. Guthrie, The Greek Philosphers, pp.34-40.

[10] See Erich Neumann, The Great Mother, pp.98-100.

[11] Melissa Raphael, Thealogy and Embodiment, p.21.

[12] Heather McDonald, Blood, Bones and Spirit: Aboriginal Christianity in an East Kimberley Town, p. 20.

[13] Heather McDonald, Blood, Bones and Spirit: Aboriginal Christianity in an East Kimberley Town, p. 21.

[14] David Tacey, “Spirit and Place”, EarthSong journal, issue 1, pp.9-10.

[15] “Life” is not the opposite of “death” – “Life” contains both “birth” and “death”. I feel it is important to correct this in our language.

[16] David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous, p.198, refers to Euclid’s postulate in a slightly different context.

[17] David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous, p.198.

[18] Susan Griffin, Woman and Nature, p.227.

(Essay) Through a Darkened Door—Light, Part 2 by Mary Ann Ghaffurian PhD

Between the beginning-story and now, at different times, a great numinous proximity welled. It was then that I knew I was onto one or other of the great vital puzzle pieces that could help put all the ghosts to rest. It was all the more shocking to realise because it took almost mental, spiritual and soul cataclysm to bring it on — so successfully had the pathways been deliberately effaced or rubbed out.  Dr MAG

When the seeker of truth or pilgrim sets out on a journey, he or she is on an open-ended path of self-discovery.  There is a degree of submission to the path, and alertness to new intimations of “the whole”. Echoing the Tao: “She is modest, like one who is a guest, She is yielding, like ice that is going to melt, She is simple, like wood that is unplaned,” [i] yet, equally: “Chaos must be faced.”[ii]

Early on I began to use maps for human consciousness interpretation, and as a way to press forward.[iii] Maps are image, direction and “whole picture” suggestions, depicting the imaginative struggle of individual or culture to pin to the known what is actually unknown, or the so-far indecipherable, as well as that which has been partially discovered. All knowledge proceeds this way, via maps, regardless of whether information is computational, intellectual, scientific, anecdotal or visceral. Maps, no matter how sketchy, unfilled-in or inaccurate, are created in people’s heads as they proceed through life. It is also true of the great discoveries of human inner life. We map our experiences as we make sense of how to go forward in a world where there is a growing sense of incomprehension and dismay as to what has been received knowledge — that things are not what they seem, and therefore the maps might be wrong, including our internal ones.

If we view an imaginative map of the entire knowledge-world, the dominant received information of the education system has a North-Atlantic, US-European slant, even if that information and “knowledge” is received via many media: books, TV, films, magazines, other people and the internet.

The “Inanna Moment”

This is possibly an “Inanna-moment” for many, where one has to be confident Ereshkigal is not waiting at the end of the journey to leave one naked and cold on a meat-hook to dry out deep in the earth. One has to be poised, to stand at the door to the unknown, and knock. A moment of trust. When soul and psyche begin to wrest free, they leave much behind in the process, clearing body and soul of the hampering past, burning dross on pyres, unwinding metaphorical shrouds, emptying mildewy capes: at the same time learning new ways of the ancient, forever new, assisting us in our reconnection to Origin.

Were she already among the immortals – were she already there at the goal to which this difficult path seems to be taking her – with what amazement she would look back over all this coming and going, all the indecision and wild zig-zagging of her tracks. With what a mixture of encouragement and blame, pity and joy…[iv]

A “Mago Moment”… 

Feminism is now an established scholarly tradition, so as we step into the deeper as well as broader context of “women’s knowing”, we are drawn also into unlayering the past or what has been forgotten, in order to gain the bigger picture. Will what we call “Feminism” go through another round of transformation (as it could if it is in the unwinding, energetic phase, and not fixed), to become, what? Whatever that is, the direction has to give ultimate dignity to the woman, to the feminine, to the initiation of women, to sexual innateness, to mothering and motherhood, to birthing, and to the phases of women’s bodies, hearts, souls, minds and psyches, as women go through rebirthing via education, knowledge, initiation, awakening and regeneration.

The Mago Circle opened as a new door for Western women and for Korean and south-east Asian traditional culture, ancient and modern, to be brought together. In the Mago Circle space, a heart-felt, explorative environment has become manifest in Social Media, where women (and men) can allow themselves to “come forth”, out of the closet of deeply held fear, apprehensions, even closely guarded secrets about their inner journey, to embrace spiritual certitude, as they embrace the renewal of the sacred Goddess and Mother connection, her forms, powers and entrustments from traditions both inside and outside traditional Western systemic, patrilineal lines, and from the sacred traditions of the East.

So, it is exciting to have another door opening on to formerly darkened areas of knowledge and know-how, with opportunities to expand mental and mythical reach, and to deepen perception of the inner as well as the outer world geographical map.

 “Mago” Tradition

Magoism is a new word to the modern Western vocabulary, yet it has its linguistic roots in many parts of the globe and in an ancient knowledge and know-how almost lost. Dr Helen Hwang determinedly and methodically is excavating the little-understood historical Mother-Goddess knowledge of Korea, and its traditions, the Mago, and Magoism, and in doing so is unlocking another previously invisible door, and replacing another ripped-off corner of the global map of significant, almost-lost tradition and forgotten knowledge. This is a most welcomed prospect. The newness of this discovery for those who learn of it fills them with excitement because every step to remember the ancient ways, particularly the lost Goddess ways, and those ways that hint of Source, are crucial to humanity remembering itself.

Moderns have become accustomed to modes of mind that strip the soul and psyche of finer attunement to earth, sea, stars and each other. This renders most adrift on a sea of seeming limitless freedoms, to be picked up by any technological hook that would substitute for inner knowing. The map becomes the new computer wiring, insurance policy or bank regulation to follow. But once we scrape from our psyches the encrustation of mind most moderns have settled with (which calcifies the innate senses and finer antennae of knowing, emboldening technologically driven modes of mind and being to take their place), then we are on our way to a vivifying recollection.

Here is an earlier presentation of the “mago” root word in “imago” or image. Not coincidentally, perhaps, it is connected to maps.

Mappae Mundi and the Imago Mundi

Treatises called imago mundi accompanied “world maps” or mappae mundi in the medieval to Renaissance era. Imago mundi were world maps carefully filled in with images that conveyed a medieval world “view” with accompanying mental and imaginative landscapes, full of the terrors and threats, fantasies, mythologies, animals and monsters, along with the wonderment and hesitancy of the unknown.

When Columbus set sail in 1492, he set store by his mappae mundi with illustrated imago mundi (images of the world) furnishing “pictures in mind”, in his head. When off the north-east coast of Cuba in November, penning a journal entry, he had beheld islands “without number… places at the end of the East… spread out in every direction”.

Paolo Toscanelli, a Florentine physician, had earlier urged King Alfonso V of Spain in 1474 that there was a Western route to the “Indies”.  But the Indies back then was not what we know it by today, i.e. the Caribbean. In Columbus’ time, the Indies was thought of as the East.

A route Eastward was proposed by Westward means, as seen in The Beatus Map of St. Sever, a 13th century mappa mundi with imago elements. (See picture above.) [1] It was plausible to envisage the earth’s surface as folding around the globe of the world and leaving but a small belt of ocean to be crossed  “from so-called west to so-called east”, via the Straits of Gibraltar, for example. In this way, the merchant explorers could imaginatively and religiously set out.
Real discoveries touched the mappae mundi very little… the further back the boundaries of geographical knowledge are driven, the more zealous are makers of such maps to preserve the sense of the marvellous… its faithfulness to its biblical roots, and to its mission to inspire hope and fill with wonder in the cause of Christianity.

Columbus set great store by The Beatus Map in his imaginative vision of the east.[v]

The preinscribed minds of explorers, like Columbus and Magellan, furnished fantasised imagery of the inhabitants of the East. This helped them to anticipate the unknown, and to subdue, overcome and vanquish opposition, with the goal to bring back glory, souls for God and gold for the monarchy (and of course some for self).

Portolan chart, of Marco Polo’s era. Naked men leap overboard to seize precious gems, gold, booty.

From portolan charts of the 13-14th century (detail above) to the etched Magellan of 1519 (below), Europeans gradually armed and prepared for any eastern monstrosity or contingency. Maps evolved along with ideas of the world image (imago mundi). Conquest had been on the mind of many for centuries.

Magellan, the Explorer, dividers in hand, readies to divide the world, surrounded by a mythological world of fantasies and marvels. 16th century etch.

So we have just found a medieval Western context where the word root “MAGO” appears in a mapping context, as an imaginative map of the mind, an excitation of the envisioning process of the world as an ideological canvas of mind projection, in a biblically-narrating mentality or, in my terminology, the Western mind-space. We can learn quite a lot from medieval imago mundi.

Take the term “IMAGO” back further and the Latin-to-Italianate MAGO moves from a visual context of seeing or viewing the world as image/imago, to a sage, wisdom context in the Zoroastrian Persian MAGUSH, from which the Ancient Greek MAGOS, Latin MAGUS (singular) and MAGI (plural), and MAGE are derived.

From this terminology, moving to a Western dominant vernacular, we encounter MAGISTRATE, MAGISTER, MAGISTERIAL, as well as MAGNIFY. In a patrician-guided world, the emphasis settles on robes of glory, what is seen as magisterial: authority, dominion, power by show, as well as the visual context of excitation of the eye by the MAGNIFICENCE in a context of pomp and the ordering of the gaze of the onlooker.

Yet there are other contexts that come from the East, from Persia, China, Asia-Pacific, to Korea. The non-patriarchist contexts are now ready to be brought forward out of their secondary or previously occluded meaning and value, along with their ancient feminine attributes, as queen, goddess and priestess. This evocation of memory potentially expands the further back we are driven.

From West to East, More Pilgrims and Explorers…

Not only in Columbus’ day moving West to discover East, carrying imago, but moderns setting off yet again in the endless phylogenetic quest for certainty amid the shards of knowledge and splinters of truth to find something solid. Seeking for certainty amid chaos, the MAGO pilgrimage is now being formed for pilgrim women who do not carry swords, wear a morion readied for combat, or have an eye to steal women, men, children, spice or gold; nor do they carry gin and bibles.[vi] They do not bring plague. This is an immense statement of intent — women stepping up out of their patriarchal roots in a more integral mode, to find something more, something other, something inner, beyond the “burning of bras” era of feminism or corporate equality, to a more mature moment.

The need today is to bring knowledge East and West into touch with each other in a new way, vibrationally, in the minds, hearts and souls of those ready to listen, learn and to make a leap. This movement has been resisted for millennia in the past, perhaps more or less unconsciously, but since the Church—Masons—Illuminati gathered sensed power, then swaggered into dominance, the merging has become a completely conscious repulse. While those women who join the repulse to make it in a man’s world, subsumed under the terms it dictates and rising as its new actors, have no place in the world where women simply own their own power.

To secure the knowledge that would bridge the divide between East and West, North and South, between masculine and feminine, and the splintered psyche in a completely organic and innate unfoldment towards Origin, such a move would render the “power brokers” (inordinately moneyed “elite”), without a constituency to play off, and internally/innately broke. Their powers hinge on the segregation and compartmentalisation of wholes into smaller and smaller units and parts that have lost touch with any grand plan, map or larger picture, except the corporate one the mapmakers of that world wish to advance. They also leach the good faith of those who still have the belief that the occluding, effacing methodology (or perhaps more accurately, the “feel-good” marketing machines) may lead to some good in the end. They won’t.

The only answer is to put the map of the world back together with a new wisdom, born of having been taken apart in the existential apparatus of historically losing the way to ourselves, and becoming fragmented in the process. Perhaps now is the day to restore our own “god-heads”, the Suns of the original innocence, of when the world was still new, and what was above connected to what was below effortlessly, without rancour or covetousness.  And knowledge was born direct.

End of Part 2 of “Through a Darkened Door — Light”. (Read Part I Here.)

©Mary Ann Ghaffurian PhD. All Rights Reserved

[i] Tao Te Ching XV

[ii] Colin Wilson, The Outsider, Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, 1956.

[iii] “Psalter Map”, mid-thirteenth century Ms., London, B.L.Add.28681, f.9.  British Library.

[iv] A little bit of licence taken here to substitute “he” for “she” and  “him” for “her”. Herman Hesse, The Steppenwolf  (tr. Basil Creighton), Secker, 1929, p.94.

[v] The Beatus Map of St. Sever. Reproduced from K. Miller, Mappae Mundi. Die altesten Weltkarten. See the Syndics of CambridgeUniversity Library.

[vi] Spanish Conquistador 15th century morion, or hard hat. The metal hat that brought the “hard heads” that visited death, disease and unpitied grief on the inhabitants of the Americas, in the context of shipping off all their melted-down gold.

(Part I and II copy-edited by Rosemary Mattingley.)

(Essay) Through a Darkened Door—Light, Part 1 by Mary Ann Ghaffurian PhD

Radiant Sun Figure. Revolutionary context, c.4000BCE[i]



My name is Mary Ann Ghaffurian, aka Dr MAG; my work unheralded on the world stage or any stage, in particular.

During postgraduate years, my research focused, over a broken 30 year period, on the psychoetechnologies and archaeology of human consciousness; the structure of mind, soul and psyche over historical periods; and the interior passage or alchemic journey of the individual, then society in an atmosphere of nightmare and awakening.

However, an academic journey into the undercurrents of time, space, history and consciousness was something I didn’t foresee, when suddenly catapulted into a luridly, stark awareness before the age of 3. Up until then, I lived in a watery, cocooned world of motheriness and hovering, benevolent faces in a leafy place opposite a beach. But something changed, dramatically. It was not just the appearance of a new baby in the family (a very sick baby), but because the cocoon of care I lived in was summarily snatched from me.

Deposited in a hospital to be looked after by unfriendly people (probably because I was screaming continuously) while my mother recovered, I was left to fend emotionally in a sterile environment without parents or visitors. The rush of the outside world hit me with all its detached ano­nymity and separativeness. It was an experience of the ego of the child, who as the sun of itself, abiding in glowing beneficence, is suddenly and summarily expelled from its orbit, as the thing around which everything else turns, capitulating the solar being into the impossible— cold, empty space. From cushioned padded warmth and the wholeness of oneself unconditionally, to the outside crushing in with its abject Newtonian mental constructs of imprisonment. I became super-aware of different mentalities, barriers separating human to humans, without flow and each as a separate world with vast gulfs between. So out­side reality hit, not just as separation, but as existential catastro­phe.

Once the floodgates to this awareness were opened, they remained open and I began from that time to deal with the conflict of inner and outer, internal and external, self and other, abyss and connection, coexisting uncomfortably together. Of them alone, that was enough, but the floods brought more, the multidimensional cacophony of memes and memories with the plight of child-consciousness being pressed up against a membrane of existence-as-it-was, as well as memory itself that was much longer and larger than the memory of the singular child.

This last was the hardest to abide. Day or night I felt perniciously close to the thumping heart of milliard existences clambering for attention in memory, if I, just a little, dipped in to that drum-skin membrane that separated my little world from a vast teeming ocean of life just bustling to get in. At the same time I could not discern who or what memories, voices, memes were in that swill, because it wasn’t sorted, so the child became overwhelmed and exhausted.

So there was a notional 3 year old struggling to get on in a household of adults and a new brother struggling with life, plus the new inner and outer world opened up to a child who had no-one to talk to, and indeed was just beginning to talk coherently herself.

This beginning set the stage for the unravelling of a dedicated, seeking life. But it wasn’t just that I was alone in my new state of the inner and outer being merged somewhat, or threatening to merge all the time, and my valiant efforts to keep them apart, so I could get on with a normal kid life. No, many other scenarios developed out of that prescient clarity which was completely undesired by the child.

I also felt interferences from another world, domain, dimension, technologi­cal intrusion, or worlds, with no apparatus of incarnate maturity to deal with it. And that was the thing, I was completely aware that the membrane that separated me from the deluge behind the screen was also the gift of forgetfulness that came with coming into this world, yet again. And there was the rub. Existential anguish at 5.

Yes, there was the world of Father Christmas, The Nativity, Easter Bunny, Birthdays, Mickey Mouse Club, kindergarten, Mass on Sunday; books of Binkle and Flip and The Faraway Tree, although the story of Terra, the terrapin, remained the most significant (a book I never found again later, no matter how hard I searched).

Then there was that other world, the world of the dead of night, when dark doors of dimensions opened and I (psyche, emotions, and vital energy) was at the mercy or behest of forces, powers, I had no vocabulary of skills to manage the terror of. “They” were without respect of person, violating one’s “personal space” uninvited. No boundary was holy or sacrosanct then. How do you deal with lack of boundaries or “no boundaries”— introduced from the “other side,” —when you are 4 or 5. The beautiful sanctum of non-interference is what babe and children revel in, in total enveloping trust: warm smiles, snuggly toys, nice smells, shining eyes and hugs. To whom do you turn when you call out to an adult, “Mummy!” who switches on the light and no one, no one else at all is there in the room? Night paralysis began and became continual.

But there was more, there was always more. In hindsight I can look back and show you how I dealt with each issue case by case, unravelling the core of each situation incrementally by the grit of struggling awareness, and by digging into and clinging to the seed of my being.  It coexisted in the experiential melange one was hurled into body and soul before one could barely give utterance to what was happening, and there were no mentors to help.

Beside the bereavement of being in that condition, it is important to tell, there was a very narrow band of a sense one could talk to someone or something else, very distant and knowing, who would never show. Why? Because one had chosen this condition/manifestation, this flesh-and-bone, and insignificant, patchy little life willingly, so one just had to tough it out.


Are Seekers Made, Not Born?

With this brief introduction, it can be deduced it was not unnatural, but necessity-driven to seek answers, even though there was total concatenation of conflicting influences and psychic babble, that this child did not know if she would be able to sur­vive it. A sort of game ensued of terrifying hide-and-seek, to flush things out and piece them together, in a maddening puzzle, regardless of whether one was an adult or under 10.

Equally, you might see why in later years, the same person might seek to qualify the search through the historical, psychological, philosophical, anthropological, linguistic and spiritual vocabulary of the Western world, its mind and civilisation, and to go on to other cultures and civilisations, plus exit strategies from the vagaries and pres­sures of confusions upon consciousness and psyche (without expla­nations or salient pathways), that living this situation wrought.

At least this is what this person moved towards, artistically, then academically, pref­aced by the fore-acknowledged experiences from almost babyhood, which included intimations of the cosmic and what is called the divine.

I share this at the outset with you, and in a way declare all the above for two reasons:

1. With internet access there has become a blurring of lines between what is academically or scientifically achieved at university (Degrees, Masters, or Doctorate), and what anyone can know anyway. Thanks to the narrowed education system not encouraging either “free” thought or “pure” research, being married to the religious ideology from its inception, then “Enlightenment” science, and more recently the corporate agendas, it is almost as if anyone with no qualifications has to be better informed than one who has. My position was clear: to pursue a doctorate in a disciplined area to lay down a theoretically and experientially -tested interior path through the morass I discovered of the Western mind I met and was born into. Academia or scholarship does not replace all the other ways and means I have learnt also, nor another’s, but adds clarity, structure and definition to my original search, distinguishes a path, and by default, may perhaps add to the collective con­sciousness of the current human search which also needs to ground knowledge and experience into new educational models.

2. It has been assumed (ass-u-me) by a number of people I have met, family included, now that I mention it — That because one has achieved a high level of education distinctions, that one has, therefore, missed out on life. This idea draws whole body mirth from me, crowned by a peal of laughter; nothing could be further from the truth. More times than I care to remember, in arguing or contention, people have railed me as being separated from the life everyone else lives, of living in an ivory tower, or being separated from their reality, the reality that everyone else lives! They have no idea how that “tower” they perceived was not made of ivory but of psychic protective matter as this person tried to work out, from the multidimensional and multileveled strands and twisting rope of experience, how to live in a world that was not what it seemed.

So now you know a little of my story, and I have got something off my chest.

A  Door to the Labyrynth, the Watery Realm[ii]

©Mary Ann Ghaffurian PhD. All Rights Reserved

[i] Shrine of the Goddess artefacts  are often covered with “meanders,” intimating the watery and energetic realm of the Great Goddess. These are not simply “meanders” (an often-used anthropological description of these spiral forms), but energetic coils  into which an entrance, a doorway is offered to go in. Temple item, Vinca culture of South-West Romania, c.5200-5000BC; H.40cm. From the Marija Gimbutas collection, ibid.

[ii] Figure with head radiating as the Sun. Branches (leaves or antennae) in the hands suggest combing and connection. The Sun Goddess and head as a Sun/star in a binary system,  with 12 planets, is a revolutionary image, c.6000 years old. Male writers who present Sun-king symbols do not engage that the Sun  might have been  a feminine symbol also. Athena was born from Zeus’ head in the Greek era, but here, the Goddess is the Sun. The beheading of Sun-kings occurred much later in recorded history and alchemic imagery.  Looking at this image from a consciousness structure point-of-view, this is the Archaic. The simplicity  of Sun as radiant god-head, and the hourglass (and double-axe) triangular body, connecting what is above with wehat is below,within the body, is given most direct, simplified form. An innocent expression of perception or experience,  shown to many thousands of years before Assur—Masonic symbolic downgrade. This image accompanies the telling  of my own experience as  the child, just out of babyhood, who, through its head, turning in cot, or on shoulder, being bathed, or in pram, basking in warmth and self-enjoy, experiencing the world as moving before it and for it, complete as the Sun (god-head). Then comes the shock of awakening. Ozieri culture, Sardinia, c.4000-3800BCE H.11.3cm.  Image from Marija Gimbutas, The Language Of The Goddess, Thames &Hudson Ltd., London, 1989.

(Read Part II Here.)

‘En-trancing Gaia’s Womb through Seasonal Ceremony: Re-creating Her Sacred Site’ by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

In the earliest of Her stories, Gaia – also known as “Ge”, meaning Earth – was the possessor of the oracle in Delphi, the place at the foot of Mount Parnassus in Greece, that was said to be the font of sacred knowledge, the navel of the world – the Omphalos of Greek tradition. It was Gaia’s Wisdom that was being listened for, and continued to be, even though the names of its ruling deities changed. Earth – Ge, Gaia – was understood as the “primeval prophetess.”[1] To listen to Her one could sleep “in a holy shrine” with an ear upon the ground [2] (and it is interesting how that expression “keep your ear to the ground” survives, to speak of how one might really know). Her priestesses often sat on a tripod over vapours arising from a crevice: a tripod perhaps because of the holy Three being significant, and also perhaps practical, so the priestess could sit with her legs astride opening her bodymind.

It is now thought that the site of this oracle was originally located high up on the shoulder of Mount Parnassus in “a mystery centre” called the Corycian Cave, and that it was presided over by Three Sisters – a triad of Goddesses called the Thriae.[3]  The Thriae are said to have invented the art of prophecy – their name means “little stones”, which story tells, they threw into an urn of water and watched how they danced. These Three Sisters taught the later gods the art of “divination”, which I translate to “knowing the mind of the divine”, though they themselves often came to be referred to merely as “nymphs” which in patriarchal times enabled a lowering of their status. There has also been much note in various texts, of another Three who were “bee-maidens”, with a very similar name – the Thriai – also said to be the teachers of divination at Delphi. Some researchers address them as the same entity – as “the Triple Muse of Divination at Delphi”[4]. By whatever name, it was They who spoke Gaia’s portents/potentialities to those who wished to listen.

We may glean from these fragments of story found scattered in many texts – these shattered pieces of ancient vessel that once held a matrifocal culture – that it was from within the Corycian Cave that Gaia spoke to Her people, Her very offspring … in the earliest of stories of this tradition. Later, some time in the eighth century B.C.E., the Cave was abandoned for the present location and later re-dedicated to Apollo. This Cave, and the earliest times at Delphi, may be thought of as Gaia’s Womb, which in our time is no longer simply located on this mountain in Greece: many now globally name our whole Planet as Gaia. And Her Womb, the sacred Navel of the World, may be understood to be located in any number of places – wherever one chooses to sit (or dance or play or lie down) and open to receive Her teachings. Such a site then becomes the primary Temple – the “holy shrine”: that is, the Place that houses the sense/sensation of the real Space and Time in which we most truly live, the Centre/Mother who holds us at all times … of whom we may become conscious. Such consciousness – “sacred awareness” – may be named and experienced as “trance” … and indeed such awareness is “en-trancing”: we may en-trance Her sacred place/site. One’s mind will be changed. Shift will happen.

MoonCourt Australia – a Gaian Womb

Gaia’s Cave is within as much as anywhere – in the dark sentient space that each being mostly consists of: there is no need to go anywhere. The Sacred Space may be called forth to consciousness,  from the Womb in which we are immersed. Sacred Space – an Omphalos – may be re-created, for Her to rise up from the depths within and speak. She has done so under the guise of many names and places in different sacred traditions of the globe … Earth Mother, known as Gaia in Western philosophical/religious texts, and now named as an entity in scientific texts, has been recognised as the Ground of lore/law by which to live and act. In Australia this Law has been called “Tjukurpa”[5], by Indigenous people.

The ritual celebration of Her Creativity expressed in the flow of the Seasonal Moments may be an entrance to Gaia’s “cave”, a  womblike Place where one can be held: a method of becoming intimate with Her[6]. The circle of the year that is paced with the consistent year-long practice of seasonal ritual, may be a refuge, a safe place that can be trusted – it becomes a Place, a sacred site. Earth’s journey around Sun is a sacred site, and joining one’s consciousness to that journey – which we all make every day, whether conscious or not – makes sacred one’s journey. One’s ear will be to the Ground. The sacred space that is created by such practice of Her whole annual wheel of seasonal transitions, is a Womb that holds one … one may come to feel held in Her Dynamic of Creativity, where She speaks. It may be considered a task for those who desire Her and know Her: to bring Her forth in this way.

I do suggest a small tangible and portable wheel of stones that represents the Seasonal Moments of Earth’s journey … and hence one’s own journey of practice of these ritual celebrations. Such a modest construction re-assembles Her Womb for one’s bodymind, within which one may sit. And the “tripod” upon which one is sitting will be the Triple Muse – the triple-faced Dynamic of never-ending renewal that is celebrated in this complete cycle/circle.  Such an assembly is a medicine wheel, for it locates one in the Present. The whole annual wheel of Seasonal Moments/transitions holds within it awareness of the dark depths upon which the present is built – the past: and all that is gestating within these depths – the seeds of the future, and all that is manifest right now: a sacred Three, which I name as She Who creates the Space to Be, She Who is the Urge to Be, and She Who is this Dynamic Place of Being.

Sitting out in my wheel of stones in MoonCourt

Minds and imaginations must be fed good food – good story within which to grow, like plants do in good soil. But many minds are fed only junk food – “news” and sermons of consumption, immersed in tick-tock time 24/7. What metaphors might be chosen instead? What Poetry could be the staple diet within which to be sit-uated? The Triple Muse of Divination awaits. She has a long track record of Creativity in which we are all immersed and of Whom we are subjects. One doesn’t have to be a sage – simply a child willing to receive, “like a child ere it has breathed”[7].

It has been my experience that in this Womb of Gaia’s, I have and do become More – more than I thought I was. Within Her circle of creativity I may expand into my whole Self, who is always within me, seething in the quantum foam, waiting to be invited forth.


McLean, Adam. The Triple Goddess. Grand Rapids MI: Phanes Press, 1989.

Rigoglioso, Marguerite. The Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.

Spretnak, Charlene. Lost Goddesses of Early Greece. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992.

[1] Charlene Spretnak, Lost Goddesses of Early Greece, p. 46.

[2] Charlene Spretnak, Lost Goddesses of Early Greece, p. 45.

[3] Adam McLean, The Triple Goddess, p.79.

[4] Adam McLean, The Triple Goddess, p.79.

[5] a Pitjantjatjara term for the law of their Land.

[6] … as the popular song Hymn to Her (by The Pretenders) begged: “let me inside you, into your womb.”

[7] Jami 1414: note that this poem is usually translated with male metaphor, but need not be. Try rewriting it with female metaphor – it works much better.

and I acknowledge the work and advice of Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso for clearer understanding of the earliest parts of the story of Gaia’s sacred site, and Her priestesses.

(Poem) Oh Mother, Our Mother by Mary Saracino

When the sun rises

and the moon sets

when the earth sings

and the sky sighs

will we remember

that clouds are kin to every human

that every woman, every man

is mother, father, sister, brother

to every bird that soars every tree that welcomes the wind?

Oh Mother, Our Mother

when will we remember

we are aunt and uncle to every flower

every bee, every field of grain

grandmother, grandfather

to every river, every ocean, too

that water blesses each of us

and blood binds every living thing?

Oh Mother, Our Mother

when will we claim your rhythms as our own

heed the secrets in our DNA

one human race, one planet

one precious home, one sheltered haven for

every living creature, great and small?

“Oh Mother, Our Mother” was first published on April 22, 2010 at wwww.newversenews.com to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.