The Moors, 1990. Jean Claude Photographercroped.
View all posts by Janie Rezner.
Heralding the Return of our Mother
I am a great grandmother, singing publicly most of my life, influenced by my musical mother who grew up on a farm in Illinois, 1933. After 2 abusive marriages, and 3 lovely children I came to Berkeley California, received an MA in clinical psychology. I then began a profound spiritual journey inward, initiated by separation from someone I loved. My past thirty years have been devoted to heralding the return of the Great Ancestress through music, art, writing, speaking, and life itself. I also interview women on Women’s Voices, KZYX radio, who work for change in our troubled world.
This essay is from She Rises: How Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality? Volume 2 edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, Mary Ann Beavis and Nicole Shaw, Mago Books, 2016.
A poetic map or Her seasonal wheel
My Goddess devotional practice of celebrating Her in the Seasonal wheel of the year grew over decades, from small humble occasional affairs to elaborate consistent well-planned events; as I came to be aware of the power of conversing with Her in this way, and also with others who desired to participate.
Participation in the annual Seasonal wheel process, particularly when practised as a whole year-long experience and over the period of years, re-identifies one’s small self with the larger Gaia-Self. It is a practice of coming to know Her … it may be at times “playing like we know, until we know”. Continue reading
Avebury Circle and Chapel – Photo by Patricia ‘Iolana
As a presenter in the Contemporary Pagan Studies Group at the recent American Academy of Religion, I was looking forward to the possibility of some meaningful intrafaith dialogue (dialogue between members of the same faith tradition) among members of my own faith community. While I had a wonderful time at the annual meeting and connected with a wide range of both radical and reformist scholars in a variety of sub-fields, I found the annual meeting to be a rather solitary affair amongst 10,000 attendees. Granted, my Continue reading
Photo by Jane Jordan
A wonderful, magical weekend. Spent with sister-scholars, friends, mentors and elders from the Women’s Spirituality Masters of Arts program in the San Francisco Bay area, a trip I have made many times, down the great fault-line running through the mountainous, volcano-strewn landscape of the West Coast, from British Columbia to California. My very own pilgrimage route to be inspired/inspirited in the close conversations and practices I experience there, a weekend spent with colleagues I love and admire, who have supported the many years of my developing voice, scholarship, and art. A community Continue reading
Read all posts by Harriet Ann Ellenberger.
Harriet Ann Ellenberger
Harriet Ann Ellenberger was an activist in the U.S. civil-rights, anti-war and women’s liberation movements before immigrating to Canada at the age of forty. She was a founding member of the Charlotte (North Carolina) Women’s Center (1971), co-founding editor of the journal Sinister Wisdom(1976-81), a founding partner in the bilingual feminist bookstore L’Essentielle (Montreal, 1987), editor of a small web publication She Is Still Burning (2000-2003), and co-editor (2004-8) of Trivia: Voices of Feminism. She lives in rural New Brunswick, where she writes, practices piano and helps her partner rebuild their old farmhouse. She blogs at http://www.harrietannellenberger.wordpress.com/
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I think it’s very important to support the creative works of other women in a feminist context. I also think that it’s important to comment on what others have written to help them to feel seen and heard. We feminists must work harder than others to be acknowledged and MAGO has been a beacon in the night for those of us who continue to choose this life -path.
Doll in Folklore
Breejah. Art doll by Jude Lally
Before she died, Vasalisa was given a doll by her mother and advised to feed the doll and ask its advice when she needed it. Clarissa Pinkola Estes (1995) explains that the relationship between Vasalisa and her doll symbolizes a form of empathic magic between a woman and her intuition. While many women find their intuition weak, she explains that this is something which through practice can be strengthened and regained. When this occurs, it is as if the handing down of intuitive reliance between a woman and all females of her lines who have gone before her, this long river of women, has been dammed. Continue reading
Radical Doll Making
I call myself a radical doll maker taking this practice back to its roots. Back to roots of dolls as tools of magic, of holding intention, created and used within ritual. In a world that views female stone figurines as male pornography this is indeed a radical art!
I choose the gatherer’s story. I choose to spend time with my sisters in a sacred creative circle where together we weave magic envisioning it stretching out through space and time to Continue reading
Photo Credit: Unsplash // Edited by Alaya A. Dannu
There are three devotional practices that I engage in every day. I will share the details of one of them, since it is the most striking and public display of “How” Goddess spirituality and activism.
“… you’d have to find the primordial waters of creation… … that is where I come from, that is what created me. I am from the Oldest of the Old. She/The Waters created itself from itself and then brought forth the sun. So light came from within darkness. … a nebulous space, mostly red in color, where stars were being created… … moving within this space is like swimming in water, only I am swimming amongst stars. A large eye appeared, manifested from the red gases of the nebula. In this eye – within its pupil – I can see more universes held within it… I reached out to it… … small stars swelled within it and fell from the Eye, floating/gravitating towards me. The Eye cried tears of stars… they clustered onto my fingertips, spreading out into a thin layer of light on my body… I was pulled back to fertile ground.” Continue reading
My observation is that once women find the Goddess, it opens their eyes, not just to the injustices done to women, but to all injustice. Our current culture is one where the patriarchy believes that it has dominion over everything; women, children, animals, the planet. Animals are destroyed for food, for the pleasure of sick individuals, for money, i.e. dog-fighting, racing. Look at just a couple of articles on factory farming and be sickened at what is being done to animals, and by extension, the humans working in and on these factory farms. Continue reading
Perseus with the Head of Medusa – Sacred Masculine and Sacred Feminine
In recent years “the Sacred Feminine” has become interchangeable with (for some) and preferable to (for others) “Goddess” and “Goddess feminism.” The terms Goddess and feminism, it is sometimes argued, raise hackles: Is Goddess to replace God? And if so why? Does feminism imply an aggressive stance? And if so, against whom or what?
In contrast, the term “sacred feminine” (with or without caps) feels warm and fuzzy, implying love, care, and concern without invoking the G word or even the M(other) word–about which some people have mixed feelings. Advocates of the sacred feminine stand against no one, for men have their “sacred feminine” sides, while women have their “sacred masculine” sides as well.
Nothing lost, and much to be gained. Right? Wrong.
Patriarchy is a system of male dominance, rooted in the ethos of war which legitimates violence, sanctified by religious symbols, in which men dominate women through the control of female sexuality, with the intent of passing property to male heirs, and in which men who are heroes of war are told to kill men, and are permitted to rape women, to seize land and treasures, to exploit resources, and to own or otherwise dominate conquered people.*
In last week’s blog, I explained patriarchy as a system in which men dominate women through the control of female sexuality with the intent of passing property to male heirs. How did a system that identifies a man’s essence with his property and the ability to pass it on to sons come about? I suggest that the answer to this question is war and the confiscation of “property” by warriors in war. Patriarchy is rooted in the ethos of war which legitimates violence, and in which men who are heroes of war are told to kill men, and are permitted to rape women, seize land and treasures, to exploit resources, and to own or otherwise dominate conquered people.