(Prose) Noli me tangere by Nane Jordan

Photo by Nane Jordan

Photo by Nane Jordan

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.

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(Poem) Hystory by Susan Hawthorne

[Author’s Note: This poem is written in honour of the work of Marija Gimbutas, archaeologist, linguist, visionary. I was lucky enough to hear her give a lecture one day in 1990 in Los Angeles. She had the audience in thrall to her ideas. I hope that one day her name will be better known than any other archaeologist.  You can see by the bends and markers on her books that these are well-thumbed copies of just three of her remarkable books.]


The roses are in bloom. They are red and cool

and have a smell that makes me remember

my mother,  cutting stems of red roses.

Cutting red roses

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(Prose 2) The Cailleach: The Ancestral Mother of Scotland By Jude Lally


Cailleach – Photo by Jude Lally

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.

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(Prose 1) The Cailleach: The Ancestral Mother of Scotland by Jude Lally


Cailleach – Photo by Jude Lally

“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.

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(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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(Prose) Aine and the Giant Leap by Deanne Quarrie

For our full moon rites coming up on the first of July we will be honoring Aine, Goddess of Love, Light, and Fertility who is also Queen of the Faeries. Aine’s name means “Bright” and She is typically honored at the Summer Solstice when the sun is at its peak of power. The next full moon falls just after the Summer Solstice. The Solstice is associated with abundance, beauty and bounty. It is not necessarily about the harvest season, as that is yet to come. However, everywhere we look we can see the abundance of the Mother and so it is when we first acknowledge, with joy, what is before us.

In my Tradition, the Summer Solstice falls within the Oak Moon, the Moon in which we “court the lightning bolt.” What that means to us is that with our roots planted firmly in the ground, as does the oak tree, now is the time to take all of our plans and put them into action. “Go for it” is what we are saying to ourselves and to the world. Continue reading

(Prose Part 2) DANCING COLORS OF GODDESSES FROM THE NORTH by Kirsten Brunsgaard Clausen, Sweden

Photo Credit: Braido, https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96sterg%C3%B6tlands_runinskrifter_KJ54

Photo Credit: Braido, Wikipedia

The theme of each Goddess festival held the gathering together as a whole, and from there, it flowered into a wild diversity of lectures, ceremonies, workshops, dancing, sharing groups.

For example, in one of the programs we were introduced to Goddess Yoga, to the Sewing and the Dancing of our Hands, and to Birth-giving as a self-experienced Initiation to Motherhood. In the meadow, we danced Oriental Dance on Roses, and walked the Flower Labyrinth of Self Discovery. We learned of better alternatives to democracy, realizing that democracy will always allow the majority to over-rule the dreams of minority groups or individuals; instead, we (and society) might engage in giving support to and finding ways for everybody’s dreams to become physical. We heard about the Ancient Women Culture in Crete that has never died out, but lives on, to this day, underground. We stepped into our Divine Feminine Power though our Womb-Flower; and we learned about practical Green Economy; we used our Powerful Voices; and we manifested our sisterhood symbolized by Tortoise and Snake; we experienced Shamanic Communication with Plants; we learned about the dramatic change following the Minoan and Mycenae cultures colliding; we let our Dancing Feet Bless the Earth and we made Fire Ceremonies.

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(Essay) The Women of Fanes by Claire French

Old Agostino was the yardman in my uncle’s building yard. He was a hunchback with a large bony face, sad grey eyes and unkempt grey hair. His hands were like shovels, strong and hard, and he walked with a heavy shambling gait like Alberich in the Northern saga. But to me, a lonely little girl in a world of grown ups, he was always of exquisite gentleness, and I soon discovered that he was a wonderful storyteller. His voice was deep and strong, in stark contrast to his misshapen body, and his words, broken Austrian-German interspersed with his native Ladinian, sounded like water murmuring, rippling and gushing over a stone-filled creek bed.

Agostino hailed from the Dolomite mountains, from the forgotten tribe of the Ladinians, and that was his pride and his sorrow. “Agostino, tell me of Dolasilla”, I begged, and waited for the radiant smile to light up his face.


ancient image: Woman/Goddess on horseback. Credit: “HorseDreams”, Spinifex Press, 2003.

“Ah, Dolasilla, the Princess of Fanes … she was so beautiful. Straight and slim she sat upon her charger, and the blue Rayeta Stone gleamed in her crown. She wore the white mantle of the marmots and she had the unfailing silver arrows in her quiver.”

This was a story that I did not find in my book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. A princess who fought in battle and who was an invincible warrior. But Agostino did not spare me the tragic end. Yes, Dolasilla wanted to stop fighting and conquering, but it was her father, the wicked king, who would not allow it. He banished her lover, handsome prince Ey-de-Net, and promised his daughter to the King of Aurona, the Great Goldmine. But Dolasilla would not be married against her will. When the King of the Aurona came to get her, she fought against him. But without her lover, who was also her shield bearer, she was vanquished. She was killed in battle and her kingdom, the Kingdom of Fanes, was destroyed.

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(Poem) Dew Kissed and Beltane Blessed (Beltane) by Deanne Quarrie

Photo Credit: Maypole; © open domain: https://pixabay.com

Photo Credit: Maypole; ©

hawthorn gathered in the may

atop a tree of birch

gaily blowing in the wind

rainbow ribbons spin


queen of may, jack o’green

bless the fields and land

lively dancing kissing twirling

ribbons in the hand

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(Meet Mago Contributor) Deanne Quarrie. D. Min.

deanne_2011_B_sm_Deabbe Quarrie_ContributorPhoto.jpgDeanne Quarrie. D. Min. is a Priestess of the Goddess, and author of five books.   She is the founder of The Apple Branch where she mentors women who wish to serve as priestesses. There she teaches courses in Feminist Dianic Wicca, Druidism, the Ogham and Northern European Mysteries.

She is also an adjunct professor at Ocean Seminary College. She is the founder of Global Goddess, a worldwide organization open to all women who honor some form of the divine feminine, and the publisher of The Oracle, and online magazine for Goddess Women.

(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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(Special Post Isis 3) Why the Color of Isis Matters by Mago Circle Members

[Editor’s note: The discussion took place in Mago Circle during the month of July, 2013. Our heartfelt thanks go to the members who participated in this discussion with openness and courage.]

Part 3 Isis, Arab Women Revolution, and Black Goddesses

Naa Ayele Kumari Going back to the original topic of the post…. Some quotes ” Women are in half the society… How come there are only 7 in the Assembly… and they are all Islamist! ” I can’t beat up my wife and almost kill her and call it discipline… this is not discipline… this is abuse and insanity”


12-Year Old Explains Egyptian Revolution in Under 3 Minutes


Max Dashu It is tremendously heartening to see these insights being expressed, and spread. The Salafis have made such inroads, and now the pushback is happening.

Harita Meenee Dear Naa Ayele Kumari, thank you actually reading my post and commenting something relevant to it. It’s refreshing when someone does hear what we have to say instead of projecting their own notions. Building a solidarity movement with those who are oppressed but fighting is very important during these critical times!

Harita Meenee See also:


The uprising of women in the Arab world انتفاضة المرأة في العالم العربي

حرية الفكر ، حرية

التعبير ، حرية الاعتقاد ، حرية التنقل ، حرية الجسد ، حرية اللب…See More

Glenys Livingstone … as you say Max …” way too much of it going on” – amongst people who should know better (I would have thought): “Dark goddess as terrifying, challenging, white goddess as benign; “black magic” as harmful; I see way, way too much of this going on out there.” And related to that in my mind is all the “love and light” business that is so common: the Ground of Being is Dark … it seems to me that mystics have always understood the quintessential darkness of Love/Deity.

Max Dashu Sure. I would just like to add that the critique raised here addressed issues much broader than the substance of the article, which made some good points. But once the choice of graphics flagged the issue of representation, people had much more to say about that old yet still very fresh wound which is constantly reopened by the cultural habit of whitening Egypt, or interpreting Africa through a eurocentric lens. It is not on any one person to carry the weight of that; we all have a responsibility to address the issues, but especially those of us of European heritage need to familiarize ourselves with how this plays out over and over. Just as men have a responsibility to speak up in support of women when patriarchal assumptions are on board. We all can learn something from each other, along all the various axes of domination, and overthrow them in coalition.

Naa Ayele Kumari I have often considered where the roots of this psychology comes from. It is dualistic thinking that causes us to compare and contrast, then sum up judgement of good or bad and place a value on each. It extends into competition and justification for war. It also doesn’t escape me that often this came with certain civilizations who systematically destroyed others. It didn’t just happen with blacks in Africa… but blacks in Asia and the Indus Valley as well.

With the Aryan invasions of India, came the eventual introduction to lighter divinities and more emphasis on male divinities. Southern Indians, Sri Lankans are very dark… even more so than many African Blacks. The caste systems implemented by the Aryan invaders did the same thing to them casting them as “untouchables”. With that came the marginalization of their black female divinities such as Kali. Kali actually has 10-16 forms… from compassionate mother, the fountain of wisdom, to she of great beauty but she is minimized as just destructive and terrifying… especially as Brhaman, Vishnuu, and Shiva grow in popularity. One of Kali’s statues has her black self standing on top of Shiva because she conquered him. Later there is a discussion in on of the Hindu text explaining Kali (as Parvati) after being subdued by Shiva she becomes lighter. Further they have stories about him rejecting her and calling her blackie which made her do austerities to rid herself of her black skin.

Naa Ayele Kumari It should not be overlooked that in the Story of Alice in Wonderland… a story intended to keep Goddess elements for future generations, has the Elder sister ( the Queen of Hearts) portrayed as man, ego, and power driven who cuts off heads and has a fierce dragon…a clear reference to Kali. The White goddess as the younger sister is her opponent… and her mission is to usurp the throne of the Queen of Hearts even though she was the rightful heir as the oldest … or primordial. Stories like these also reinforce the stereotypes and negative iconography.

Max Dashu Yes, it is pervasive in many cultures of domination. Demons are portrayed as black not only in Europe, which we know well, but also in China and in a lot of Buddhist iconography. In modern India, the sweet goddesses are shown as pink, the wrathful as black; and Krishna (name means “dark”) is turned powder blue. (Another of his titles, s’yam, also meaning dark, is the word translated as “green” in Green Tara.) The countercurrents (Black Mazu, loving Kali – esp in Bengal and south India, Black Madonna) bubbled up from the common people, who knew and longed for something other than the dominant racialized hierarchy.

5Naa Ayele Kumari I am just discovering Mazu ( Matzu/LuShui) in China today! Never knew about her. This discussion has led me to look deeper for black goddesses in Asia.

Max Dashu Taoist spiritual tradition often refers to Xüan Nü, which can be translated in several ways. You’ll usually see it rendered as “the Mysterious Female,” a phrase that occurs in the Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching), and this is a valid translation; but what is less emphasized is that it also means “the Dark Woman.” In this usage she is an initiator into the Mysteries. Ultimately of course these meanings can’t be separated.

Rick Williams This thread was awesome. I intended to awaken diverse versions of TRUTH. Received much more, thank you all. Want add that SPECTRUM color variations coincide with empowerment of vibrational imagery. To see this REALM with one VISION goes against all that I REmember, as IM taught NOthing in this REALM. When any political CONflict lacks a reVIEW of SPIRITUAL imBALANCE nothing in relationship to that LIFE circumstance will be resolved. To continualy HOPE that WE may ONEDAY see TRUTH without AFFIRMING TRUTH in the SPIRIT of MER MA’AT conflicting ENERGY will reMAIN to RULE the DAY by NIGHT. HTP, LOVE and PEACE.

(End of the Discussion. Read Part 1 and Part 2)