(Review) Heretics: A Love Story by Mary Saracino, reviewed by Donna Snyder

HereticsFCwebHeretics:  A Love Story by Mary Saracino, Pearlsong Press, Nashville, TN 2014

Rich details of the Barbaricini culture, and the Genargento Mountains in the Babargia, the most remote region of Sardinia in which they live, ground Mary Saracino’s novel in a very specific place.  Saracino blends the research of an anthropologist with a gift for story-telling, rendering a sort of ethnographic fiction.  The foundation of culture, topography, flora and fauna, and linguistic details is firmly based on fact but vividly realized in a story so beautifully and poetically written that the scholarship and data are effortlessly ingested, threaded through the book’s pages so naturally that the reader is caught up in the fictive moment as if surrounded by the wild mountains and centuries old holme oaks.  Through her scrupulous research, Saracino brings to life a village of shepherds, basket makers, wild bee charmers, and deeply knowledgeable and intuitive folk healers.

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(Poem) Invoking the Muse by Donna Snyder

Meet Mago Contributor, Donna Snyder.

She who can write on a dime, every time,
purveyor of instant poetry,
poet on the spot.
Words never fail Her.
She speaks
and the coffee drinkers quit stirring their cups.
Illicit lovers break gaze.
Waitresses grab pens and scribble on scraps.
The words whistle and dance,
zing like neon tracers through the air,
and poetry happens.

 

Boys turn shy and think of Woman,
She who speaks the words of power,
an aspect of the Triple Goddess.
She who embodies abundance.
Maker of kings.
Caster of spells.
Inciter of riots.

She who wields the power of words.

15th century painting of Polyhymnia by Francesco del Cossa, which is from the Wiki commons.  I love this image because the muse is depicted as a farmer or peasant.

15th century painting of Polyhymnia by Francesco del Cossa, which is from the Wiki commons. I love this image because the muse is depicted as a farmer or peasant.

 

We, the co-editors, contributors, and advisers, have started the Mago Web (Cross-cultural Goddess Web) to rekindle old Gynocentric Unity in our time. Now YOU can help us raise this torch high to the Primordial Mountain Home (Our Mother Earth Herself) wherein everyone is embraced in WE. There are many ways to support Return to Mago. You may donate to us. No amount is too small for us. For your time and skill, please email Helen Hwang (magoism@gmail.com). Please take an action today and we need that! Thank YOU in Goddesshood of all beings!

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(Poem) Moon wears Serpent as Her crown by Donna Snyder

Meet Mago Contributor, Donna Snyder.

Sinuous and sensual touch exotic skin to skin and then more skin.

A trill of strange thrills the hand.

Serpent’s gift repaid with calumny.

Not meant to be worn but by gods

 

The moon wears serpent as her crown, kneels before it with fervent kisses.

She outlines the paintings on its back, makes glyphs from an ancient root, serpentine secrets from a stellar past.

Serpent’s caresses fall like feathers on air.

Its tongue flicks along the ravaged flesh, each quick lick a reminder of beauty long succumbed to the depredations of jungle.

Thorns and stinging things guard secret places,

 

but barriers cannot exclude the serpent’s touch, surreptitiously snaking beneath and below and over, raising its lovely head from the darkness, touching softly the secret places.

Unafraid of the moon

Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec Moon Goddess

Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec Moon Goddess

 

We, the co-editors, contributors, and advisers, have started the Mago Web (Cross-cultural Goddess Web) to rekindle old Gynocentric Unity in our time. Now YOU can help us raise this torch high to the Primordial Mountain Home (Our Mother Earth Herself) wherein everyone is embraced in WE. There are many ways to support Return to Mago. You may donate to us. No amount is too small for us. For your time and skill, please email Helen Hwang (magoism@gmail.com). Please take an action today and we need that! Thank YOU in Goddesshood of all beings!

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(Poem) In the forest of birdsong by Donna Snyder

Past

The influence of the sirens’ song is long since past.

Women dressed in yellow petals,

bosoms like islands,

 

bare feet planted firmly in the red sky.

The air smells of sweat and green fronds fanning.

Women sing and ring bells,

the secret places wide open.

Where are the sailors weak from hunger?

They wish for beds hidden in the trees.

 

Present

There is a peacock goddess subsuming my present.

She strokes me with cobalt blue and magenta.

The deep red sex of woman screams with hunger.

 

A royal bird gives me the plumes of her mate.

She wraps me in a robe of eyes so that I may see

My here, my now, my forest for the trees.

 

Future

In the forest of birdsong one sings the colors of the world.

Fire on her head does not consume the jelly brain.

Some wear a mask and hint of warfare.

 

We are all comandantes here.

Our future listens to the language of birds,

hand held out in peace.  A battle lurks.

 

Dress me in every color and I will make war in the name of freedom.

Blood turns to ocean,

bones to trees.

Juno and Argus by Peter Paul Rubens. Wikimedia Commons

Juno and Argus by Peter Paul Rubens.
Wikimedia Commons

El Paso, Texas

May 16, 2009

Read Meet Mago Contributor Donna Snyder.

We, the co-editors, contributors, and advisers, have started the Mago Web (Cross-cultural Goddess Web) to rekindle old Gynocentric Unity in our time. Now YOU can help us raise this torch high to the Primordial Mountain Home (Our Mother Earth Herself) wherein everyone is embraced in WE. There are many ways to support Return to Mago. You may donate to us. No amount is too small for us. For your time and skill, please email Helen Hwang (magoism@gmail.com). Please take an action today and we need that! Thank YOU in Goddesshood of all beings!

(Click Donate button below. You can donate by credit card or bank account without registering PayPal. Find “Don’t have a PayPal account?” above the credit card icons.)

 

(Poem) Rainbow girl by Donna Snyder

brown bug crawls across rainbow girl’s face but she doesn’t care
she holds the sacred plant in her hands and faces east
leads the people on the rainbow way
hagoneh
thank you
it is good
sweets come wrapped in velvet
but the goodies are gone
a red ribbon for your hand

time is that way
leaves you behind in a velvet blouse
looking at silver hairs in the mirror
the young ones call you shimasani
grandmother
the ancient one
the one who talks for all
the powerful one
mother of the world

there is a joker spying from a waning moon
coyote grins
he knows the light will come again
spread its milky feathers on the rocks and mesas
rainbow girl bows into the wind 
her earrings dangle turquoise like teardrops for her people and their ways
the future is a blue glass bottle
break it if you will

or unstop it and let the teardrops catch there
to drink when rains forget they love the sky
and brown bugs no longer crawl across paintings in the sand

Navajo sand painting

Navajo sand painting

Read Meet Mago Contributor, Donna Snyder. We, the co-editors, contributors, and advisers, have started the Mago Web (Cross-cultural Goddess Web) to rekindle old Gynocentric Unity in our time. Now YOU can help us raise this torch high to the Primordial Mountain Home (Our Mother Earth Herself) wherein everyone is embraced in WE. There are many ways to support Return to Mago. You may donate to us. No amount is too small for us. For your time and skill, please email Helen Hwang (magoism@gmail.com). Please take an action today and we need that! Thank YOU in Goddesshood of all beings! (Click Donate button below. You can donate by credit card or bank account without registering PayPal. Find “Don’t have a PayPal account?” above the credit card icons.)

(Poem) Prayer by Donna Snyder

O great and beneficent energy flow

cast out from me
that which is an abomination to my spirit.

Envelope me in your electric aura
and lend me its protection
and its strength.

Restore my vitality
and make it pure and sweet.
Heal my wounds with your tears.

Give me technicolor dreams
at midday and ¡por favor!
a safe haven in the night.

Cloak me with your starry mantle.
Cool my fever with your caress.

Bring to my cheeks
the scent of rain and clover.

Feed me honey with fresh yogurt in the morning
and mint tea or sage at noon.

In the evening stroke me
with the peacock feathers
of your benevolence.

Remind me of the sweetness of my existence
in your heart.

Keep me from ugliness
and lead me to recognize beauty in all its guises.

Forget not either my friends
or my enemies.

Bring peace with valor
to my soul.

Blessed be your presence throughout infinity.

Cygnus Loop

Cygnus Loop

Read Meet Mago Contributor, Donna Snyder.

We, the co-editors, contributors, and advisers, have started the Mago Web (Cross-cultural Goddess Web) to rekindle old Gynocentric Unity in our time. Now YOU can help us raise this torch high to the Primordial Mountain Home (Our Mother Earth Herself) wherein everyone is embraced in WE. There are many ways to support Return to Mago. Donate $3.00 to $10.00 is one way. For your time and skill, please email Helen Hwang (magoism@gmail.com). Please take an action today and we need that! Thank YOU in Goddesshood of all beings!

(Click Donate button below. You can donate by credit card or bank account without registering PayPal. Find “Don’t have a PayPal account?” above the credit card icons.)

(Poem) The Nüshu (Women’s Script) Poets by Donna Snyder

Nushu Script, Source

Nushu Script, Source

The words are hidden in strands of silk or letters

A secret language for women’s voices only
a language broken and bound prettily like feet

a silken dress conceals the secret poet she is
she walks before portraits in a Taoist temple
also envy of male scholars celebrated empirically

a hidden poet sends a basket of flowers to a girl
in the scarf she wove words hidden in plain view
songs of summer mountains wistful for her friend
secret lessons for the girl as if she were a boy
as if a schoolboy slated for imperial examinations
a fisherman’s child wife she sends hidden lessons

she writes her dreams in their woman’s language
she weaves pictures of wild sea creatures in her gift
the friend’s delight rings in her blood as loud as waves
lowered eyes see shoes given by her lord and husband
but tonight she will dream of sea creatures and passion
and in the morning sea salt will outline her girlish lips

Nüshu fan

Nüshu fan

Written March 21, 2009 at Tumblewords Project after hearing about the secret language of Chinese girls and women used to teach each other poetry and other matters, and to maintain passionate friendships.  Vestiges of the language have persisted into the modern era, with only a few women still knowing the words.

Read Meet Mago Contributor, Donna Snyder.

(Special Post) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE FOR EL PASO ARTIST MARIO COLÍN by Donna Snyder

Born in Juárez in 1959, Mario Colín lived his entire life in the Five Points area of Central El Paso, where he attended Houston Elementary and Austin High School. From the age of fifteen, he worked as a construction worker, building silos and other large construction projects across the U.S.A., at some point hitch hiking from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic shores.   In his late twenties, he began to focus all his attention and energy on art, which had been an interest since early childhood, working as a muralist and portrait painter.  Much of his art is of a religious nature, although he also painted secular art, portraits, and historical scenes.

Mario Colin

Mario Colin

Colín painted his first mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe in collaboration with deceased artist Chuck Zavala in 1987 at Esparza’s Grocery, a small store in Central El Paso.  It has now become a shrine, with community members building a stone arch and bringing flowers and candles, and has been pronounced a religious site by the parish church. Since that first mural, Colín has painted over 40 pieces of public art, many of which have become landmarks. Many of those murals are in that same Central El Paso neighborhood, on or near Piedras, including the House of Pizza, Los Alamos Grocery, The Elbo Room bar, the former Sanitary Plumbing at Piedras and Fort Boulevard.

196268523837890Colín twice painted a 25 foot mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe, at Alameda and Zaragoza, across from the Ysleta mission. The first version, painted in 1997,  became decayed, but was a popular landmark. That mural has appeared in periodicals, art books, calendars, many newspaper articles, and in photographs exhibited in the El Paso Art Museum and galleries. In 2004, Señor José Villalobos donated and members of the community contributed money to pay laborers to replaster the wall of the century-old adobe building where it is located, and Colín repainted the entire mural for donations from passers-by and community members.

Colín’s work has also been featured on the International History Channel and Canal 44, XHUI TV, in a Ford television commercial, and numerous times in the El Paso Times and the defunct El Paso Herald-Post, as well as in periodicals such as Texas MonthlyDallas Morning NewsTexas ObserverAustin American StatesmanStanton Street magazine; literary journals such as Mezcla and GypsyMag.com; in documentaries including Walls that Speak: El Paso’s Murals, directed by Jim Klaes; in art books such as Colors on Desert Walls:  The Murals of El Paso and Texas 24:7, and in various editions of Chicano Studies: Survey and Analysis, a text book used throughout the country.

(Poem) The Dancer by Donna Snyder

the woman is a fetish
all bellies and breasts

she moves across the floor like undulating silk
the air caresses her hips

she moves like the Ayasofya mosque
if it were to dance through Istanbul

the scent of the Egyptian market        clings
to the arabesques of air that flow around her hands

the strength of her beauty moves me
pleasure & grace find me

freed of the burden of corporeality
I dance

Darlina Marie

El Paso Dancer Darlina Marie
Photograph by Tom Baumann