(Essay) The Controversy of the ‘Old Religion’: The Necessity of Intrafaith Dialogue by Patricia ‘Iolana

Avebury Circle and Chapel - Photo by Patricia 'Iolana

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

(Prose) Reacquainted with the juice by Nane Jordan

Photo by Jane Jordan

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

Harriet Ann Ellenberger

Harriet_02aug2012Read 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/

Recently published posts: 

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(Special Post) Why I am a RTM Contributor by Sara Wright

Sara Wright

Sara Wright

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.

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(Essay 4) Radical Doll Making From Willendorf to Today: The Relevance of an Ancient Tradition by Jude Lally

Doll in Folklore

Breejah. Art doll by Jude Lally

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

(Essay 3) Radical Doll Making From Willendorf to Today: The Relevance of an Ancient Tradition by Jude Lally

Jude LallyRadical 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

(Prose) The Traveling Cosmogony by Alaya Advaita Dannu

Photo Credit: Unsplash // Edited by Alaya A. Dannu

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.”
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(Prose Part 2) Woman Spirit, Woman Soul by Susan Morgaine

Susan Morgaine

Susan Morgaine

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

(Art/Poem) You Do Not Speak For Me by Shiloh Sophia

Grieving America

You Do Not Speak For Me (resized)If you do not speak for the earth
You do not speak for me.
If you do not care for the water
You do not care for me.
If you do not protect our skies
You do not protect me.
If you do not see our firey sun
You do not see our food is on fire.

If you do not preserve our lands
You are destroying our home. Continue reading

(Essay) The Sacred Feminine or Goddess Feminism? by Carol P. Christ

Perseus with the Head of Medusa - Sacred Masculine and Sacred Feminine

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.

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(Essay 2) Patriarchy as a System of Male Dominance Created at the Intersection of the Control of Women, Private Property, and War, Part 2 by Carol P. Christ

Carol ChristPatriarchy 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.

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(Essay 1) Patriarchy as a System of Male Dominance Created at the Intersection of the the Control of Women, Private Property, and War, Part 1 by Carol P. Christ

Carol ChristPatriarchy is often defined as a system of male dominance. This definition does not illuminate, but rather obscures, the complex set of factors that function together in the patriarchal system.  We need more complex definition if we are to understand and challenge the patriarchal system in all of its aspects.

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.*

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(Prose) The US Election in 2016… Interesting Times by Liona Rowan

USA election 2016 © Liona Rowan

USA election 2016 © Liona Rowan

As I sit here looking at this blank page trying to figure out how to start, I decided to start just like this. Telling you about my process as I try to untangle my feelings, my beliefs, my opinions so that I can make a coherent and cogent statement. This will be somewhat stream of consciousness mixed in with deeply thought-about ideas and reflections on just what is going on in me as a result of what is going on in the world right now. It is March 2016, an election year. This is the most extended and appalling election cycle of my nearly fifty-five years. I cannot wait for it to be over, and yet I am filled with dread at the prospects of what could happen next. Truly. If Cruz is elected, or Trump, well I could end up in a camp someplace to be burned or baked or shot as a traitor because I’m not Christian, or simply because I have been involved in some revolt someplace, or for simply voicing an opinion that I do not like any of the Republican candidates. Who knows. Or perhaps Sanders will win and the house and senate will be in control of the Democrats or maybe Clinton will win.   It is a long time until November. Continue reading

(Poem & Art) committed by Maya Daniel

Art by Maya Daniel

Art by Maya Daniel

you bonded your heart
and committed to serve the people
the enemies painted your name black as coal
they hunted you that calls from home
were painfully undone
some thought of you a mystique
no one could dare say
you are dead or alive, it’s just
that you disappeared in shadows
and fasten your heart
to the revolutionary movement,
embraced a life that beats
survived moments of death cheating
and now fading away to the stars
thank you for being here
you who found life’s motive
and dared the challenges of our time.

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(Video) 2015 Published Goddess/Female Divine Books by Hearth Moon Rising

day 3 copy[Editors’ Note: This video presentation was created as part of 2015 Nine Day Solstice Celebration, a special event sponsored by Mago Academy and The Girl God.]

“2015 Published Goddess/Female Divine Books” hosted by Hearth Moon Rising

Stay in touch with emerging concepts in Goddess spirituality. Join us for a review of spiritually oriented books published in 2015. The program was aired live at 3:00 pm EST on December 16th. There is a mixture of essays, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

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(Book Excerpt) Wild Politics by Susan Hawthorne

WP Colour 300 6cmUnderstanding diversity involves imagining oneself differently. It means learning to unpack the assumptions we pick up through our life experiences. Taking a similar stance to Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999), Fantu Cheru points to the process of decolonising “the imagination” (2000: 123). Cheru goes on to argue that global change relies on the recognition that “poor people’s knowledge about their own reality . . . counts most, even when that local perspective appears on the surface to be inconsistent with (or less relevant than) the analysis and wishes coming from the North” (2000: 130).

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(She Rises 3) Introduction by Kaalii Cargill

Forthcoming June Solstice, 2015

[Author’s Note: This is part of introduction to She Rises, Why Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality?” forthcoming June Solstice, 2015]

When Helen invited me to join her in editing this collection of writing, art, and poetry, I knew it would involve many hours of work. I have been delighted that the project has also involved many hours of immersion in words and images that speak to my deepest longings for wisdom and practices that heal ourselves, each other, and the World. I am grateful to Helen and all the authors and artists who have shared their work here. I hope this collection speaks to you as deeply as it has to me . . .

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(She Rises 2) Introduction by Trista Hendren

Forthcoming June Solstice, 2015

[Author’s Note: This is part of introduction to She Rises, Why Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality?” forthcoming June Solstice, 2015]

Goddess has been a guilty pleasure of mine for the last twenty years, although it wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I was able to fully embrace Her. She had been hidden and demonized throughout my childhood in a way that took me a long time to recover from. I was always the quiet and submissive daughter that I was supposed to be. Once she was fully unveiled, there as no turning back on the rage that I felt and the power that slowly returned to me.  This awakening cost me the relationship with my father. It has been a painful realization that my continued silence and subordination was a mandatory requirement for some of my relationships. Despite the loss that I still feel, I cannot revert to the person I once was.

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(She Rises 1) Knowing the Great Goddess: Act of Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang

Forthcoming June Solstice, 2015

[Author’s Note: This is part of my introduction to She Rises, Why Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality?” forthcoming June Solstice, 2015]

Without doubt, undertaking the project of this anthology is a way of advocating a feminist/activist/spiritual Goddessism/Magoism. Knowing the Great Goddess itself is an act of Goddess feminism/activism/spirituality. “To know” is an active verb. To know the Goddess is an act that hurls one to an uncharted territory in the patriarchal foreground. Precisely, in that bewildered place we find the door to the Way of the Goddess. We are collectively waking up to the deep memory that ancients paved a way for us to remember.

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(Essay) Notes on Leaving Christianity by Glenys Livingstone (1989)

This is the first 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. Though a lot has changed since then – in communal hearts and minds, and in the thickening of the women’s spirituality placental network, and to some degree in some religious organisations, a lot has not changed: and at this time in some places, things are slipping back. The old papers and articles seem to be relevant, as well as serving as historical document.

This first short article is a slightly edited version of the 1989 original, which was published in Women-Church: an Australian Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, No.5. It is a few notes regarding the author’s personal departure from Christian mythology and mind, which actually occurred in 1979:

Some churches and some religions may sometimes pay lip service to the Divine being both male and female – but how often do you hear the feminine pronoun used? How would they possibly know what both female and male might mean? On the spectrum of He and She, the weight has been on the “He”, and for an awfully long time. Before a middle point can be arrived at, both extremes have to be understood. “She” does not get any airplay let alone there be any understanding of female experience, female theology.

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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)