(Prose) Snowy: Tribute to a “Spirit Animal” by Sara Wright

Photo Credit: Sara Wright

Photo Credit: Sara Wright

(4/10/13 – 1/22/16)

What do I mean by the words Spirit Animal? Indigenous peoples take it for granted that each animal has an Elder Spirit who watches over that particular species. Most of the time this Elder Spirit stays in the other world as a discarnate being. But there are exceptions and sometimes these Spirit Animals cross over to our world. Some come as teachers, some come to warn of impending danger, some give their lives so other can live, some come to bless a child or to act as a protector, healer or personal guide, all embody Grace and love with a capital “L.”

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(Poem) new year’s circle dance by Andrea Nicki

© Joy McKenzie

© Joy McKenzie

we wore white flowing cotton
shirts, pants, skirts
a circle of white petunias

we danced without speaking
made soft, quiet movements
to usher in the new light

our bodies coming close
arms embracing those on our left and right
then backing away…advancing…
receding again…
a kaleidoscope of white

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(Prose) The Circle of Life by Sara Wright

Wreath Photo_Sara Wright

Wreath, © 2015, Sara Wright

Each December I feel as if I am participating in an ancient rite when I tip the aromatic branches of our native balsam tree to bag and bring home to make a wreath.

Each year as I cut the twigs I ask to be forgiven if this act hurts the tree.

Each year standing in front of the balsam I give thanks for all trees, but especially for this one because of her fragrance…

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

cailleach_edited

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_edited

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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(Poem) The Storm by Lizanne Corbit

Photo Credit: Stonehenge, Sky, Moon, Night, Stone; public domain at: https://pixabay.com/en/stonehenge-sky-moon-night-stone-741485/

Photo Credit: Stonehenge, Sky, Moon, Night, Stone from Public domain

We are the Frontier.

We are not the fringes.

We are not the disenfranchised.

We are the wisdom keepers, the shared seekers of truth and light and beauty

that live in the heart of all hearts.

We are The Mothers, The Daughters, The Sisters, The Wives.

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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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(Budoji Essay 5) The Magoist Cosmogony by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang

Part 5: Magoist Cosmology

“The primary aim of Magoist cosmology lies in lifting up the conceptual veil in people’s mind so that they can see what is given at birth.”

[This is a translation and interpretation of the Budoji (Epic of the Emblem City), principal text of Magoism. Read the translation of Chapter 1 of the Budoji.]

Mago, banner art by Lydia Rule

Mago, banner art by Lydia Rule

Magoist cosmology: Magoist cosmology, knowing of the female principle of Magoist cosmogony (story of the Female Beginning), reconstitutes, heals, and maintains the original vision of gynocentric soteriology. Its primary function is to guide humanity according to the law of nature whereby all things are born and evolve into their greatest potential. In short, Magoist cosmology is a gynocentric mode of thinking that shows the Way of all beings. By extension, it is an inherent principle of nature- and women-honoring civilizations.

I suggest Magoist cosmology, underpinning of the Magoist cosmogony, as an antidote to the detriments of patriarchal consciousness. Its female principle restores the original unity among all entities, which has been thwarted by patriarchal cosmologies. Comprising the most foundational program of human consciousness, so constitutive that no one is born without it, Magoist cosmology is ever active and accessible to people. Nonetheless, it is made dormant in the conscious mind of people under patriarchal cultures. Thus, the primary aim of Magoist cosmology lies in lifting up the conceptual veil in people’s mind so that they can see what is given at birth.

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(Video) 2013 Mago Pilgrimage to Korea by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang

[Author’s note: The first Mago Pilgrimage to Korea took place June 6-19, 2013. We visited Ganghwa Island, Seoul, Wonju, Mt. Jiri, Yeong Island (Busan), and Jeju Island.]

Read Mago Pilgrimage Essay 1 and Mago Pilgrimage Essay 2.

See Meet Mago Contributor, Hae Kyoung Ahn  for “Ma Gaia Womb” chant music and Meet Mago Contributor, Helen Hwang Ph.D.

(Poem) December by Yvonne M. Lucia

Long past its usefulness,

a robin’s  empty nest

nestles in the dormant branches

of  our dwarf magnolia tree –

now, after the first snowfall,

a woven bowl

filled to the brim

with downy whiteness.

Fledglings incubated here

a few short months ago,

held in the  circular enclosure

of this perfectly constructed

straw container.

I observe

the incongruous

juxtaposition.

A bitter north wind

stings my face;

autumn’s long, slow descent

into cold and darkness

roosts  silently.

The wheel of the year

turns.

Words & image  © Yvonne M. Lucia 2013

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See Meet Mago Contributor, Yvonne M. Lucia.

(Interview) Women and Shamanism: An interview with Max Dashu by Hearth Moon Rising

Women’s history scholar and Mago contributor Max Dashu released a DVD this year called Woman Shaman: The Ancients. It contains two discs of early art work showing goddesses and female shamans from around the world. Recurrent themes are explored in depth, such as serpents, drums, staffs, and mirrors. The DVD documents the rich variety in worship patterns and artistic expression in ancient history, as well as the pervasiveness of female spiritual power. The following is a discussion with Max about the DVD.

I’m wondering what inspired you to create this DVD.

I’m really interested in the subject. I’ve done a lot of research on it. It’s also part of my spiritual practice. The recovery of these ways is something I think is really important. A lot of people have been denatured of their ancient cultural heritage and aren’t really quite sure how to follow that back, how to retrace it. It’s part of my overall women’s history research, where I have a concept of female spheres of power, and this is one of them. We have stereotypes of what women are about, the conventional ideas of what women’s place is, and what women have done in the past has been misrepresented. One of the major spheres of power for women in a lot of societies was various forms of spiritual leadership. That would include everything from medicine women, priestesses, oracles, diviners, healers and prophets to formal roles that involved community leadership. I use the word “woman shaman” as an overall term that might cover those most exhaustively.

Can you give us a generic definition of shaman?

The original source is a Northeast Asian term out of Evenk and the Tungusic languages, Manchu and a lot of other related cultures. It referred to a person of any gender who was able to enter transformative states through incantation, drumming, dance and other practices, and work with spirit helpers in the states of dreaming which allowed them to access wisdom from the spirit realms. And so you have precognition, prophecy, divinatory powers, the ability to heal, to retrieve souls—this is the classic definition of shaman. Because English became so impoverished in words describing all of these realms and states and acts, scholars began borrowing terms from indigenous societies—“shaman” from Siberia, “mana” and “taboo” from Pacific island cultures.

What part does the natural world play in that?

It plays a huge part, because the whole cosmology is based on the idea that nature is alive and conscious. We’re living in this matrix of being, and so trees and rivers and mountains, all the animals, the birds, the plants all have powers. We can interact with those powers, relate to them and they can help us. The shamanic world view talks a lot about people offending powers, like they uprooted a tree or did something that angered the guardian spirits of a particular place. And so a lot of times shamanic healings have to do with removing these obstructions that are laid in the spirit world as a result of acts like that or offenses to ancestors. The shaman will be carrying on back-and-forth dialogue between them and whoever the spirit being is, attempting to discover what is the cause of the illness or whatever misfortunes that are happening.

There are the academics in anthropology and other areas who would say the word “witch” is not a shamanic term and witchcraft has nothing in common with shamanism. What are your thoughts on that?

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(Film Review) The Book of Jane by Judith Laura

The Book of Jane, an Antero Alli Film (Vertical Pool 2013), 117 minutes. Written and Directed by Antero Alli; Cinematography by Antero Alli.  Also available as a DVD.

As this intriguing film opens, the wind blows, a raven calls, and a Crone-like woman in black coat, jeans, and dark blue cap walks with the aid of a walking stick made from a tree limb. With a backpack and attached baby doll dressed in red, the woman limps around a college campus,  We may not be sure if what she is saying is coherent, but it is poetic: “The world is a busy place, a very very busy place. The world is in the business of consuming the planet. But the planet has other plans. The world is burning. The world is burning with the business, the busy business of saving the planet. But the world is not the planet and the planet does not need saving….Gaia is calling the shots now….” The woman continues her soliloquy for a bit, and then laughs and laughs.

Possibly related to the word “Book” in its title, this film is divided into chapters. As Chapter 1, “Signs and Omens” proceeds, the woman, Jane (Luna Olcott), speaks of “Mother Rhea” and goes beneath a bridge that spans a brook. As she takes a nap, we share the first of the wonderful dream sequences in this film, this one with music from the beautiful Ad Astra by contemporary composer Marie-Anne Fischer. In Chapter 2, “The Muse and Her Artist,” we meet two blonde women in their apartment, one a few years older than the other. The younger woman reveals a portrait she has just completed and set on what could be considered an altar. The portrait shows the slightly older woman as a crowned Goddess. We are then taken back to Jane sitting on a campus bench. She prays to Morpheus as she takes pain pills and tells of her first-born and only child, Brigit. Elsewhere on the campus, we see the older of the two blonde women sitting on a bench. Jane notices her but at first passes her by to pick up a feather, which she appears to listen to. She then turns around and brings the feather to her lips before speaking to the woman on the bench, who introduces herself as Alice (Marianne Shine). Alice explains she is a professor of comparative religious studies. Jane asks for the topic of her dissertation. At first Alice tries to dodge the question by saying she is busy, but Jane persists, and Alice replies, “Ancient Goddess Mythologies: PreHellenic Era.” As the conversation continues, Alice refers to Jane as “homeless.” But Jane says that she prefers the term “nomadic.” Jane also mentions the pain she’s in is related to the fact that she “can’t shit….it’s all backed up.” Alice continues to alternate between being fascinated with and being impatient with Jane, but eventually is won over by her knowledgeable and wise remarks, which include, “Goddess never advertises.” Though clearly quite intelligent and informed, Jane speaks mostly from the heart. Alice approaches, or tries to approach, matters intellectually. To me this conversation is the start of a theme related to an issue that has interested me for some time: the intellectual approach to Goddess studies compared with the experiential approach to understanding Goddess. Is it a comparison or is it a conflict? Does the intellectual focus on Goddess studies in a university (or other setting), which, though it establishes the legitimacy of anthropology, archeology, and history of Goddess veneration, detract from our deeply experiencing Goddess? Can we have both? This theme continues, often subtly, throughout the film.

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