The Goddess Lilith

You've probably heard of "Lilith Fair", the festival that celebrates women in music. Or maybe you've heard whisperings of a demon named Lilith, even the first Vampire according to some Nosferatu enthusiasts. But what about the historical evidence that portrays Lilith as a benevolent Mother Goddess, (albeit with her dark qualities, as is the case with most Goddesses) who dates back to antiquity?

According to some myths Lilith was Adam's first wife who was banished from Eden for believing she was equal to her mate. Lilith basically wanted to "be on top" but Adam found this emasculating so she was forced to leave the garden and it is said she was forever cursed to give birth to tons of demon babies a day. That seems a little silly to me since I don't understand why "God" would want there to be tons of demons in the world. But I will suspend belief in this instance based on the fact that that's not the silliest thing I've ever read in mythology.

Yet other myths say nothing of Adam, but speak of Lilith's creative, protective, and sustaining nature. She is forever Maiden, free and of herself, yet she is also a Mother to her people; feeding them and protecting them from harm. She weeps when they are hurt and for the destruction she herself must cause as part of nature. Lilith seems in all ways to be a complete image of Goddess; Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

Lilith has also been linked with the Goddess Inanna. It is possible that glimpses of Lilith's oldest images may be found in Inanna's myths as well.During my research I saw many references to Lilith as a demon and not as a Goddess. Could she perhaps be another demonized version of the Great Goddess that was made out to be evil by the influx of new religions who wanted to gain control over the people? Check out some of the links in this post and decide for yourself.

A Mother's Lesson in Words

I'm posting this little tid-bit of my childhood as part of my Mama Monday celebration.

One of my earliest memories is of my mother teaching me to succeed. When I would say "I can't do it." after failing at a task, my mother would say very succinctly, "There is no such word as can't." I was too little at the time to rebut by informing her that I could simply say "can not" (or is it cannot?) and I would indeed be using real words instead of a conjunction. But that's not really the point. The lesson she was teaching me was that I can do anything I set my mind to and by saying "I can't" I am just making an excuse to fail.

While my mother was never one to hold back a swear word or two, she never let me say things like "I hate such and such" or "I'm gonna kill whatshisface". In fact the word hate was probably the biggest swear word in my house. I was not allowed to hate anything or anyone. Instead I had to get creative and expand my vocabulary at an early age in order to express my disgust of something. If I did accidently let a curse word drop I only really got in big trouble if I said it out of anger towards someone else. Even so, I didn't know the really bad swear words until I was an adult because my mother wasn't one for obligatory vulgarity.

When I was growing up hearing my mother correct my words was a giant nuisance. As an adult I find that I am teaching my daughter the same things; teaching her that she can do anything, teaching her not to hate - to be tolerant and accepting, teaching her not to express her emotions violently (even if we never really mean we're going to kill someone when we say we want to).

The more I thought about all of this it seemed to be about intent and the meanings behind our words, as we think of it metaphysical terms. The things we say can have a profound effect on our own energy, not to mention someone else's. Learning to express ourselves in less negative ways can only be beneficial to ourselves and everyone around us.

So, without even knowing it, my mother was teaching me a very important, magic(k)al lesson. I'm glad that, now that I am all grown up, I can appreciate the subtle lessons of my mother and pass them on to my own daughter.




Interpreting Cernunnos

Above: The Gundestrup Cauldron
Mahud at Between Old and New Moons recently posed the question: "So Who is This Cernunnos Dude?". Surf over to read his post and learn about his great A-Z concept, then come back and read my comments. Or stay on his page and read my comments. Totally up to you.

What follows is my interpretation of Cernunnos based on the image on the Gundestrup Cauldron - which I have looked at many times seeking answers about this God.

As was said, Cernunnos is often pictured seated. Because of this, and the way he seems to be sitting in a lotus position, I tend to think of him as a kind of Buddha figure and a symbol for the human journey towards enlightenment.

Because of his antlers I have come to see him as a bridge between humanity and nature/the Divine and nature, and also the immanent force of Divinity in all life. He is a symbol for everything wild or untamed in us - a direct connection to the natural world.

He holds a torque in one hand and a serpent in the other. Both of these symbols have multiple interpretations. I see the torque as representing cycles, eternity, and the Goddess. Interesting how he is already wearing a torque of his own. I wonder if he might be offering the other torque in his hand to us. Could he be saying you too could "wear the torque" and reach enlightenment?

The snake is also a Goddess symbol. I have often wondered if he is choking the snake or simply holding it. Could the snake represent wisdom and thus be something to possess? Or maybe it's phallic? I'm not sure.

The way each item is held equidistant in each hand might show Cernunnos as a balancing force. This might further be illustrated by the animals surrounding him. Most of the prey animals are on his right while the predators, much more violent in appearance, are on his left.

Also within the Gundestrup image are representations of plants - perhaps seedlings of some kind. Most, but not all, of the plants appear to have the same shape as a womb, with fallopian tubes and a uterus clearly outlined. This could have obvious fertility connotations, with Cernunnos personifying the male aspect with the female aspect illustrated by the plants and symbolizing Nature, Mother Earth, Goddess.

Create-a-Goddess

In honor of Thou Art Goddess Thursday I'm announing a fun little Goddess doll making game. You can mix and match bodies, faces, head scarves, and pockets. Then add some hair, accessories: earrings, amulets, glasses, mermaid fins, and more.

This is meant as a fun game of dress up for kids and grown-ups both, but you can also create an avatar (a Goddess that describes your personality) to add to your blog or web page. Check out mine at the left.

Mix and match, or hit the randomize button to see what happens. Just sit back, relax, have some fun, and explore the possibilities.

Each and every one of us - no matter who we are, what our dreams may be, what we believe, who we love - is Goddess.

Panthea's Create-a-Goddess

Mama Monday and Miscellany

So I've been posting a lot lately, sometimes more than once a day. I've made a bit of time for Panthea lately, but it seems to be the only thing I've been able to make time for. I have emails I haven't answered, paintings to finish, laundry piling up, books to read, etc. Ah such is life I suppose. But I must say I am really loving the new layout. I loved the last one too but I couldn't manage to get over how weird it looked in Fire Fox. This one looks great in everything except the evil that is IE6. Anyway, hope everyone else likes it too. I think it will be around for some time.

Now onto Mama Monday goodness...


Above: Mother Love Goddesses from Amazon Earthworks


I was surfing around for something completely unrelated (can't remember what right now) when I wandered into Amazon Earthworks. I was suddenly inspired and entranced by the beautiful little Goddess altar items and vessels created by master potter, Margarite.
"When I combine clay, stones, feathers and other natural elements in my work, I am weaving the web and telling the story. We remember and reclaim the vital heritage of womyn as artists, creators of culture."
Everything was so pretty and I badly wanted the little white Goddess figure above. So I figured instead of spending some money I don't have I will simply share them with all of you. If any of you feels the need to purchase one of those lovely items please let me know so I can live vicariously. Hopefully one day soon I can gather up some change from all the pop cans I have waiting to be recycled (I drink soda instead of coffee) and support such talented and purposeful artists.

Is Goddess Religion Pagan?

According to the Pagan Pride Internation Website a Pagan is defined as:
A Pagan or NeoPagan is someone who self-identifies as a Pagan, and whose spiritual or religious practice or belief fits into one or more of the following categories:

  • Honoring, revering, or worshipping a Deity or Deities found in pre-Christian, classical, aboriginal, or tribal mythology; and/or
  • Practicing religion or spirituality based upon shamanism, shamanic, or magickal practices; and/or
  • Creating new religion based on past Pagan religions and/or futuristic views of society, community, and/or ecology;
  • Focusing religious or spiritual attention primarily on the Divine Feminine; and/or
  • Practicing religion that focuses on earth based spirituality.

  • While I realize that this definition is coming from a single source, I find that source to be one that appears representative of the population. None of the points above say anything to exclude Goddess Religion. On the contrary I think each of them is inclusive of it.

    Is it possible to say "All Pagans are Goddessians but not all Goddessians are Pagans" or "All Goddessians are Pagan but not all Pagans are Goddessian"? In my opinon there doesn't appear to be a real seperation between the two (which may be because I find it near impossible to be a Goddess worshipper and/or a Pagan without revering nature), but I do feel a distinct desire for Goddessians to seperate themselves from the Pagan mainstream, even if it's in label alone. It's possible this could be because of a curve towards patriarchal influences in Modern Paganism, but I don't think that's the whole story.

    From my persepective a lot of Goddessians have been moving towards religiosity. Now that's touchy, but let me try to elaborate a little. Goddessians (people who identify themselves as Goddess Worshippers) are often focused on things like worship, ritual, community/fellowship, the building of temples, structure balanced with consensus, etc. The Goddessians I know that are solitary are not so by choice but by lack of options. I have also noticed that there is a more willing acceptance of syncretic beliefs, meaning less bickering over semantics, details, etc. I think this is because those of us who have been touched by the Goddess understand that not everyone is touched in the same way, because that is the nature of how Goddess works.

    I've also noticed that there are Goddessians moving away from New Age ideas and choosing instead to root their spirituality in the Earth, in the mundane, and in reality. Perhaps that may be because the Age of Aquarius has been lost on us, or we've become disenchanted by it. Or perhaps we've moved away from the "Light Worker Mentality" because we've relearned that nature is our true guide; that the Goddess shows us how the universe works through the changing of seasons, the cycles of the moon, and the overall rythyms of the Earth.

    When it feels as though all of nature is speaking to you there seems no need for New Agey divining and channeled excerpts on the Star Seed Theory. Perhaps the time of Victorian seances, Theosophy, and Spiritualism is no longer appealing to some folks. Could it be that (thanks in part to the liberation of the New Age movement) we now have the freedom to choose what we believe in and something new and different is on the horizon?

    New Age, or what some may even call "fluffy" concepts, are very common in Paganism and sort of come with the territory. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Everyone should be given the opportunity to experience Divinity and their spirituality freely and individually. But, I think the "fluffiness" has pulled some Goddessians to think about how we define ourselves.

    I also think that Pagan is perhaps too broad a term and it doesn't really explain what we believe succinctly enough. If I say I'm Pagan it's not clear that I am a Goddess Worshipper. But Goddessian is pretty darn clear, defining exactly what my spirituality entails in one little word.

    So, is Goddess Religion Pagan? I think it really is. I thinks it's also a tradition (or multiple traditions) within Paganism. Goddessian itself can be an umbrella term which includes all Goddess paths. In that case a Shaktist is Hindu and Goddessian. But are they Pagan? Wow, that's a whole other post which goes beyond the Goddessian connection to Modern Paganism specifically.

    In closing, I think that it's okay to question the labels we give ourselves and realize that many might be correct in definition, but there is usually only one that fits just right.

    These are my opinions based on my experiences. I am not presuming to say this is how all Pagans or all Goddessians believe, think, act, etc. If you have similar or different experiences, please take a moment to share and get some conversations started.

    For more on this topic read the posts that inspired it:

  • Trends in Feminist Spirituality @ Medusa Coils
  • Is Goddess Religion Still Pagan? @ the Wild Hunt
  • The Goddess Movement and Definitions @ Firehawk's Nest 


  • Picture found at GetReligion.org.

    Goddess Writing Prompts

    I once created an entire list of weekly blog writing prompts or memes (pronounced meems). Some of them were silly and some of them were meant to be completely serious. The two that I felt were most relevant to Goddess-y things are listed below.

    Thou Art Goddess Thursday


    This idea was a life changing one for me, and it changed the tone of this blog as well. See the post Everything's Coming up Goddess for all the background info and examples you need to create your own "Thou Art Goddess Thursday" posts.

    There are many ways to celebrate Thou Art Goddess Thursday. I have posted my first ever T.A.G. Thurs. post below. More examples follow and will be added as I find them. Also check the comments of this post.

    I think the key to getting the most out of this one way (below) is to make your posts open and honest and not too edited. Just let it all out (your gripes, your thankfullness, your love, your pain) and remember it's all Goddess.
    The cigarette - potentially deadly; toxic, billowing spirals of smoke around my head like "my own locomotive" as Billy Collins said - this is Goddess. The grocery store clerk who makes me want to call her a dumb ass - she is Goddess. My mother - who drives me nuts and makes me love her fiercely all at the same time - she is Goddess. My daughter - my source of giggles and faithful partner in ice cream crime - she is most definitely Goddess. The people I try not to roll my eyes at - like twenty year olds who wear jeans so low their labia are almost visible or their boyfriends with their hats spun sideways and a chunk of fake diamonds around their necks - they are Goddess. My Circle mates - they are Goddess - Goddess of much needed laughter, love, and spiritual connection. My best friend - long time support system and my journeying companion - she is very much Goddess; the Goddess of no-panties.

    View Thou Art Goddess Thursday Posts @ Panthea

    More Thou Art Goddess Thursday Bloggers and Their Posts...

    7.31.08 - Terri @ Aquila ka Hecate
    7.31.08 - Lavender @ Bruised Reality


    Mama Monday


    I've seen some Goddess-specific or Pagan bloggers write posts like "Saturday Goddess Blogging" by Hecate. It's not a regular thing most of the time, but a spontaneous "Insert Day Here Goddess Blogging" sort of idea. Mama Monday is a writing prompt that basically reminds us that every Monday there is always something you could be writing about on your blog. Call it "Monday Goddess Blogging" if you like.

    You could make these posts as detailed or as simple as you like. Tell a long tale of your experience with the Goddess or just type some general correspondences and background myth behind one of her faces. Maybe you could take the opportunity to learn about a Goddess you've never even heard of or delve deeper into a Goddess who has been calling to you for some time? Perhaps you might post a prayer or chant? Or maybe even write one of your own?

    If anyone uses these prompts on their own blog, why not let everyone know where to find your post by using the comments link below?

    Goddess Newsletters and E-zines

    The newest edition of the Goddess Gift Newsletter/E-zine is online. In this issue:
    • The Goddess Has A Lesson
    • Wandering in the Wilderness
    • Mazu: The Goddess Who Rescues
    • Yemaya, She Who Comforts
    • Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
    Also check out Matrifocus , a cross-quarterly e-zine chock full of valuable Goddess info. The current issue is Beltane 2008, but Lughnasadh should be coming soon. Regular features inlude:
    • Articles
    • Poetry
    • Photo essays
    • Book reviews
    There are other Goddess publications that require subscriptions but are no less valuable.This is by no means a complete list. Do some Googling and make your own discoveries.

    Goddess Blogging Round-up

    I think I am going to make this a bit of a regular attempt, though I notice there are times when the topic of the Goddess is more active than others. So since I noticed a lot of good Goddess content on the web recently, I thought I would gather some links in one spot and let you guys surf around to your heart's content. This is also a good way for me to keep track of all the topics that I want to ponder and possibly create future posts of my own on.

    One June 11, 2008 Carol P. Christ talked about the "Ethics of Goddess Religion" on the Women and Spirituality blog.
    Last week in a cave in Crete 17 women pilgrims solemnly affirmed nine touchstones of the ethics of Goddess religion in front of a naturally formed stalactite altar used by the Minoans more that 3500 years ago.

    The topic of whether or not Goddess Religion was still Pagan floated around a few blogs last week. I think the original catalyst came from Judith at Medusa Coils. I have been developing my own theories on this one, but as usual I'm taking my time about it.

    Trends in Feminist Spirituality from Medusa Coils:
    Feeding into seeing Goddess as a distinct path of Paganism is the feeling among participants in some Pagan groups that patriarchal practices or attitudes which led them to leave Abrahamic religions have made their way into some Pagan groups.

    Then led to a response from Jason at the Wild Hunt Blog which seemed to lead to a few folks linking to it and spreading it around nicely.

    Ailia at Paleothea has been posting some really interesting stuff lately as well such as the two posts quoted below.

    Was There Ever a Goddess and What Was She Like?
    It makes a great deal of sense to me personally that separating one’s worship from oneself physically - either by worshiping an utterly non-corporal deity, or locating the deity far from one’s experience of the world (e.g. in Heaven), or theologically denying physical experience (such as death) - might put the feminine divine at a disadvantage. As a woman, I root a number of my conceptions of my own gender in my body’s (hypothetical) ability to produce life. I am extremely aware that this has been a crucial definition for my foremothers. Thus it seems “only natural” that feminine deities - particularly the Great Ones - should include as a crucial element of their identity the creation (and potentially destruction) of physical life.

    Athena the Misogynist
    Go online, and it is easy to find scores of sites dedicated to Athena as the patron Goddess of good feminist neo-pagans. In my opinion, however, Athena was more of a product and purveyor of “the patriarchy” than any other Goddess in the Olympic pantheon. There was no other goddess with such power in the (Athenian) populace, and this came from the very fact that her power was not that of a feminist revolutionary, but rather the embodiment of the patriarchy as the parthenogenic daughter of The Father (Zeus). The oppression of women had been Athena’s realm since she founded Athens (and decreed that women shouldn’t vote or be citizens). Sex was an important tool for that oppression (keeping in mind the fact that gender identity and erotic desire can and should be distinguished) as illustrated in the myths surrounding the House of Athens.

    Book Tag, I'm It!

    A while back Evn tagged me with a little meme. I didn't notice it before (because I'm a bad blog-girl) so it's a little late in coming.

    This reminds me of how much I miss TV Tag. I have a distinct memory of crawling between my cousin's feet and yelling "Wonder Woman!" while trying not to get tagged myself, thus leaving me helplessly frozen until someone crawled through my legs yelling out vintage television shows. Good times.

    So, here are my instructions. Fortunately, this page will not self destruct in 15 seconds. But I might.
    • Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).

    • Open the book to page 123.

    • Find the fifth sentence.

    • Post the next three sentences.

    • Tag five people.

    The nearest book on hand is the mass market, paperback romance I am currently reading while in bed at night/on the toilet, loaned to me by my dear BFF.

    The 5th, 6th, and 7th sentences on page 123 of Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts:
    "All right. Connections." She knodded. "I'm more in favor than ever about the theory regarding connections."
    That might technically be considered four sentences since... yep four periods there. But I liked the whole thing as a quasi-meaningful snippet from an otherwise meaningless source of entertainment escape. To me it seems oddly synchronistic.

    I'm not sure I can come up with five people who haven't already been tagged by this meme, so I will hold off on that. Or, how about five people take it upon themselves to complete this meme and let me know about it? Then I can just list you here. I am a lazy meme-er.

    In Her Image: Manufacturing the Dark Goddess

    Humanity has a tendency to create Deity in its own image. We make it what we need it to be to suit our current situation. While spirituality is an instinctively personal experience, and many times personifying Deity can be a valued way to connect, therein lies problems when we forget that nothing is ever really that cut and dry. Especially with a deity as multifaceted as the Great Goddess.

    There is a trend among some individuals to use Goddess as a crutch. There are those who choose to work exclusively with personal interpretations of “dark” Goddesses as a way of justifying their harmful actions. It’s almost as though they create a Goddess they believe will carry their banner of anger and allow them to be a jerk for the simple sake of being a jerk. They believe the Goddess hates Christians, men, etc. because they need her to hate them in order to feel righteous.

    It’s easy to get lost in a theology that seems to have no hard and fast rules. In Goddess Religion and most of Modern Paganism morality is a very touchy, hotly debated subject most often left up to the individual. There are no commandments, no laws save one. Do no harm.

    Self responsibility is a key lesson of the Goddess in general. Everyone is going to cause some amount of harm in their lives. The ability to accept the injury we cause, deal with the consequences, and learn from our experiences is not always so effortless. It’s much easier to create a personal image of Deity that makes us feel better about the choices we’ve made.

    Creating Goddess as we see fit in order to validate destructive behavior or misguided beliefs simply shrugs off personal responsibility, much like an oil slick slipping off the hull of a ship. It’s not okay to cause damage simply because we’ve manufactured an image of Goddess that would raise her fist in support of our self-righteous indulgences. She will never stand idly by while we pollute ourselves and the world around us with pain. Karma will inevitably be knocking at the proverbial front door.

    Perhaps if there is such a thing as sin, it exists only in the moments when we hurt another. Of course, as was already said, nothing is ever that cut and dry. Some moral concepts are open to debate, with various shades of grey perceptions. Others still are more or less black and white.

    It’s difficult to discuss morality as an idea without falling back into the concepts of “right” and “wrong”. While many of us might be trying to escape such polarities, and the polar thought processes that come along with them, it’s nearly impossible to exist in a society without identifying what is considered right and what is considered wrong. On the path of the Goddess these ideas are not determined by society, but by the natural laws of the Goddess. The oneness of the Goddess, being that she is inherently balanced, calls for everything in nature to be in balance as well. As human beings we are no more removed from nature than the tree outside our windows. Even though we may presume to be “civilized” or better than our wild animal kin, we are still of nature and subject to Her laws.

    Adultery, as an example of a moral concept with various shades of grey, is not wrong because it leaves us destined to go to some make believe land of fire and torture after death. Nor is it wrong because sex is something to be ashamed of. It is wrong because promises are being broken and there is potential to cause great harm. Goddess doesn’t sneak into bedrooms at night, tip-toeing about the Berber carpet and peeking under the sheets to make sure it’s our spouse we’re sleeping with. She doesn’t care who we choose to share our bodies with so long as no one is getting burned in the wake of our passions.

    Indeed our bodies belong to us alone and no one can be “owned” by another. And some people don’t believe in the trappings of marriage, but then why not just not be married? Imagining Goddess as a deity who agrees with sexual liberation and autonomy is one thing, but it is not within our rights to wound another individual without assuming there will be some consequences to deal with.

    Then we have to beg the question of love. If you’re in a marriage and either you or your partner fall in love with someone else, is that wrong? Can love ever be wrong? Maybe in such a situation the best thing to do is to cause as little harm as possible while still following your heart. There may be some things that are just not up to us. In certain cases perhaps things are just meant to be. But it is helpful to remember that most matters still contain elements of choice.

    Hating, as a black and white example, is wrong not because an old book tells us to love our neighbors. No matter who causes us injury and how unjust it is, hate fills the world with pain and anger like a nasty venereal virus. It’s infectious, destructive, and creates separation. No amount of deity-manufacturing will change that.

    Now it’s not being proposed that we should sit around feeling bad for the harm we've caused throughout the course of our lives. It's useless to dwell in the past, wishing we could find the rewind button and make things different. We also shouldn't assume we are bad people by any stretch. Mistakes, accidents, poor choices, etc. are just a part of life. Without them what would there be to learn from? The point is to accept responsibility as opposed to using the Goddess to justify ourselves.

    Things can get a bit sticky when we decide to bypass the qualities of Goddess that we merely find unpleasant or useless, be they of the light or dark variety. It's counterproductive to accept only her "light" qualities or only her "dark" qualities. She’s sort of a packaged deal and stripping her of any one of her innate qualities robs us of her full power and of our full potential as human beings.

    Those who are healing from emotional wounds may logically choose to construe an image of Goddess who supports their feelings of being wronged; an image that somehow advocates the revenge brewing inside their hearts. In those cases a dark Goddess (created as a being who detests who we detest) may be a comforting shoulder to lean on and a protector in a daunting, painful world. She is created by our own ego to make us feel right without judging or questioning our motivations. She simply says “You’re righteous. You’re good. I’m here to support you and any harm you feel just in causing.” She allows us to say things like “I am mean to her because she hurt me” or “They deserve it”.

    Is embracing a solely dark and vengeful image of Goddess, who picks and chooses which children to love over others, really the road to becoming a whole person? To healing on a soul level? Isn’t that image incomplete? Where is the loving Mother who teaches compassion for all life? Where is the Maiden with her lessons of personal freedom and choice? Where is the old Crone, full of experience and wisdom? Is it she who is hiding inside these personal and convoluted faces of the Dark Goddess?

    Images of the Dark Goddess abound throughout time. Many of these dark portrayals are later additions to the pantheon of Female Divinity, contributed by patriarchal influences that wished to demonized the ancient Goddess and strip her of the captivating power she held over the people of the Earth. These patriarchal forces made the Goddess into a demented fear-monger who stole little children away and ate them for supper. All of the qualities that bring us closer to nature and thus to the Goddess were stripped away and turned into bogeymen and monsters.

    The point was to make the Goddess something to be terrified of as opposed to something to accept and embrace. They misunderstood her powers of necessary destruction, her connection with the baseness of humanity, and the mysteries of death. They didn’t see that the darkness was a symbol for the forces in the universe that scare us; the unknown, the painful, the things we can’t control.

    So why are we believing the hype? Why are we drinking the kool-aid of the patriarchal cults and grabbing a hold of the images they created as our own symbols of power, liberation, and justification? Is it purely to suit our personal agendas of being angry, wronged individuals driven by a self-righteous belief that we are owed something because life just isn’t fair? How does it help to imagine the Goddess as someone who punishes and detests those of her children who wrong the others? How does it help to think of her as a being that delights in the pain of "wrong-doers"? Isn't that the image of God we were trying to escape from in the first place when we chose to leave the war-god mentality behind in favor of the Goddess?

    There is a difference between reclaiming a symbol for the purpose of liberation; taking that which was meant to frighten us or degrade us and turning it out onto the unjust systems who created it; and utilizing that symbol to enable injustice ourselves. One is an act of reclaiming personal power. The other is an act of vengeance.

    The reality of the Dark Goddess is that she is at times that terrifying, ugly hag. She is not there to fuel our anger or justify the harm we cause, but to teach us of those things that are not often beautiful, that are sometimes unknowable, and that we are not always willing to embrace.

    The Dark Goddess calls to us to understand the darkness of death and destruction and know that it is purposeful. She beckons us to look within ourselves, see those dark, scary shadows, and love them. She is the destroyer of egos, not a tool to be used to perpetuate our own secret darkness.

    The Goddess is whole and complete, taking us by the hand in order to guide us to our own completion. Listen to all of her voices, gaze upon all of her faces. Only then can we truly know her and love her in her totality.


    Picture courtesy of the BBC.

    Love is the Whole of the Law...

    Or so I thought. Apparently love is only the whole of the law if you carry your reproductive parts on the inside.

    Well it looks like I pissed someone off. Debi (a self proclaimed women's liberationist) of the Corvid Diaries has taken some offense to just about every word I have posted over the last few days. Some have been addressed in the comments of this previous post here. Another one I think deserves front page attention so I'm responding to it below.

    Debi said: "I'm actually disgusted that anybody would presume to speak with the words of the goddess, and in such a patronising tone. It is utterly disrespectful both to the goddess and to all women of earth to do so."

    Rhondda said: (commented on the Corvid Diaries) "Yes, I do agree with you. I really dislike making the Goddess a monotheistic entity. For me she is life in all her diversity. She is not an either/or and she is not a role to play. She is deep connection and as Mary Daly says a verb and not a noun."

    See all comments from Debi's post here: Apparently Even the Goddess can be Patronizing Sometimes...


    The Goddess (emphasis on THE) has a million names and faces, yet remains ONE. All life is a manifestation of her which means all life is divine. This also means both men and women are Goddess. Re: All Things Are Goddess. By presuming that no one can speak with the words of the Goddess you only succeed in making her out to be that monotheistic deity who is untouchable, not connected to her creation, etc. Sheesh, why not just call her Yahweh? She is both verb and noun and everything in between. There is no way to say she is this and not that. She is unlimited and never black and white. You make her what you want her to be and that's fine, but not when it's solely to fit into your argument and help you rationalize all of the injustice you yourself are causing.

    She is not a role to play? Are you even Pagan? First of all no one needs to play at the role because we already are Goddess. Second, that's exactly what a priestess does every time she performs ritual - whether she in a group or solitary. See Drawing Down the Moon (the ritual not the book). Embodiment of the Goddess is what's supposed to happen.

    I am willing to bet that if my comments weren't presumed to be anti-fem than I would've gotten "lovely post" or at the very least nothing at all. But because certain sensibilities were stepped on now it's fair game on the little Goddessian girl who believes she is divine - as Goddess teaches. How dare I? Rest assured it won't be the last time I "presume" to be Goddess. While you're blasting me about it do be sure to trample on Doreen Valiente, Starhawk, and countless others who have dared to speak the words of the Goddess. *gasp*

    By the way, did you even read the first paragraph of that post? If flat out says I asked myself what would Goddess do and that's what came out. I said this is what I think she would say. When did I ever claim to be speaking for her or anyone else?

    Wow, someone says something positive and this is what happens? Someone basically says "let's love each other" and this is what happens? And yet the statement "all men are rapists" (because all men are capable of rape apparently) gets applause. Well it's finally happened. I've officially slipped into a crazy cosmic bunny hole of nonsense. That's just the most ridiculous, sexist BS I've ever had the displeasure of reading. What an outlandish statement. Kudos for having brass ones, by the way. I'm ashamed to be of the same species, let alone the same gender of someone who could utter such rubbish. Why not just say all people are murderers because we're all capable of it? Anyone and everyone is "capable" of every atrocity ever committed. Wake up!

    Men are not evil and woman are not just the sweet, unconditionally loving, innocent victims. I am no one's victim and I will not allow myself to follow a line of thinking that has women acting like they are rabid animals trapped in a friggin' cage. Seriously, that kind of attitude towards men is reminiscent of Hitler's attitude toward the Jews. Watch out! Here comes the gestapo! "Where are zee men? We must take zem and cut zeir nuts off!" Take your self righteous indignation and passive-aggressive sexual terrorism somewhere else.

    As those of you who visit often know, I rarely get this fired up. Funny thing is, I'm not really all that mad. I'm happy and having a great day. People are smiling, life is good. I tend to think of my posts as usually pretty positive. Unless of course I'm bitching about Kirk Cameron or something. :) I try very hard to address comments and different opinions as politely as possible. Everyone deserves to have their say. This is the main reason I don't moderate comments and I allow for anonymous people to post. But, I think this is the first and last I'm going to say about this situation in an actual blog post. While there may be comments pouring in eventually I won't be taking it the front page again. Well unless I get pissed enough to do so. *wink* Yay for blogs: creative/bitching outlets.

    pic: Light from the Heart Nebula from Astronomy Pic of the Day

    Mama Said Knock it Off

    I have noticed lately that there is a lot of man hating going on. At least that's what it seems like to me. Maybe I'm looking at things from a different angle. I am very willing to admit that, but I'm feeling some real bashing towards the boys that isn't sitting right with me. In situations such as this I look towards what some would call a bit of a cliche: What Would Goddess Do? Well I believe Mama, as I like to call her, would say something like this:

    "Knock it off girls. Be angry at the patriarchy, be angry at years of female oppression and misogyny, be angry at the societies and religions who teach our men from an early age to turn their backs on me. But stop lashing out at the boys who are as much my sons as you are my daughters. They are Goddess too, penises and all. And they are as much victims of this time as any one of you. They too have been robbed of their Mother for millenia.

    My law is love unto all beings and I teach the oneness of all things. Separation is not my way. Find common ground. Teach of my mysteries in tolerance and compassion. Remove words like man-hater, male-bashing, etc. from your lexicons. Neither sex should be under the thumb of the other. Strive not to replace the patriarchy with a matriarchy but with a system that embraces all people as equal and divine. Be dreamers and seek the Utopia I intended for you since the beginning of time.

    Remember that as women you are the teachers and the keepers of culture. With this comes responsibility to future generations. Raise your sons in my image. Teach them equality and respect for all life. Teach them how to love selflessly and with all of their hearts. And give your daughters the same with strength, courage, and compassion to raise their children well in their time. Know that things will not improve so long as fear, hate, and intolerance are the things that fuel your passion for change."

    Prayer to Mother Demeter

    Mother,
    I must make this journey
    of life alone
    But I know always
    that you are with me.
    Your hand...
    will never leave my hand.
    Your heart...
    will never be far from mine.
    We are always together...
    always one.

    Though I must journey alone I ask
    That you lend me your strength...
    in times of need,
    Your shoulder...
    in times of sorrow,
    Your smile...
    in times of joy,
    And your love always.

    When the time comes
    I shall return to you again
    As in all things
    there is a cycle
    That has no end.


    - From the Meditation and Worship section of The Temple of Demeter @ Panthea

    Escaping or Incubating a Miracle

    Since Midsummer I've found that I am needing more solitude than I have in a long time. I feel very alone but I realize I am alienating myself purposely. I could chalk it up to a bit of stress - which I think is accurate - but I also feel there is some other, underlying reason for desiring only my own company.

    What I know is that I haven't been painting, writing, etc. It seems all of my creative energy is trapped inside and not yet ready to come out. I am doing all of the "taking in" instead by getting lost in stories. I love stories. Even the fluffy romance novels I began reading as a kid. Not the trashy kind of novel, but the feel-good mass market romances with hints of supernatural things and a strong plot line. Those are my favorite. I've also been watching movies and catching up some tv.

    This is certainly some kind of escape mechanism, because I not only watch/read these things but find myself daydreaming about them later. Can anyone deliver Tom Welling to my house wrapped in a big red bow and nothing else? But I digress. Or do I? Aren't these daydreams ways that my subconcious mind is trying to tell me that I'm missing something in my life? Or is it just as simple as the fanciful thoughts of a woman who has always had her head shoved up in the nimbus?

    So what I am trying to escape from? Or am I really trying to escape at all? Could it be that there are things I am nourishing that are just not ready to be born yet? There are pregnancies all around me lately. Maybe this is my way of sympathizing, albeit subconsciously. Maybe after a rough year a whole new me is about to come into the world; fresh and new and ready to meet all the challenges that life tends to toss out.

    What you are getting here are little insights into the workings of my mind. I didn't plan this post. It just showed up here on the screen spontaneously. The mind at work is fueled by the Goddess and her lessons. There are few things in my life that are not influenced by her. This makes perfect sense. The way a person thinks and what a person believes is the driving force behind their actions and decisions.

    So what I see after typing all this out is that the Mother aspect of the Goddess has settled in over me and I will soon be rebirthing myself into something different; into someone I need to be. And suddenly I am excited about such a prospect and looking forward to the days ahead. Look out world. Here I come.

    Pic: my feet in my old brown boots (complete with paint drippings) and a lovely little daisy growing all by itself in my back lawn.

    Back to Blogging Basics

    So I gave the place a little redesign as you regular folks can probably see. I've decided it's time to get back to the basics of what this blog was intended to be.

    I guess I thought all the superfluous stuff would up my traffic, increase comments, etc. But after seeing no real change I just figure it's best to stop clogging up the sidebar with a million unnecessary widgets and thing-a-ma-jigs. It's the content that counts and that's what I should be focused on. Not all the annoying bells and whistles.

    I hope everyone likes the new design. It looks a little less than perfect in Safari (sorry mac users) and it's made for a big resolution. If you feel so inclined to let me know how it looks to you I would be greatly appreciative.

    Oh, I would also like some opinions on something. I've been toying around with the idea of moving Panthea to blogspot. I already use blogger but I use my own webspace to host this blog. What do you guys think? It would be at a blogspot address (pantheablog.blogspot.com) that I suppose I could eventually get a domain for - and I would have to deal with the blogger nav bar at the top of my pages. The perks: easy publishing and a bunch of other tools that make things super cool and easy. Any thoughts? My other thought was wordpress, but I can't move all of my posts over there as easy as I would like. I've tried. Grr.

    Now, let's see if I can come up with something blog worthly in the days ahead. Sometimes inspiration is knocking all the time and I could blog all day. Other times there's like some great void spinning through my mind and no words seem to come. Sentences get especially tough. :) Hopefully I can get some more temples done soon and get back on track.

    Pic: the little harvest Goddess in my garden.

    Goddess Bless This Garden

    Goddess, Bless this Garden
    With the peace and love of lavender,
    The purity of sage,
    The vigorous strength of yarrow,
    and the wisdom of mugwort.
    Whether there is rain or shining sun
    Let my garden be a place of healing and happiness.
    So mote it be.






    Pic: A garden sign that I made sitting among my overgrown catmint and an old terra cotta pot.

    I Have No Broom Closet

    Or linen closet... or front hall closet for hanging coats in... or pantry. I barely have enough of a closet to hang my clothes in. Well what do you want? I live in a hundred year old house that used to be owned by crazy people. That last bit is based on the various home improvement projects I've tried to tackle over the past four years. Who stuffs a hole in the wall with paper towel then wallpapers love hearts over it? Who lays down carpet padding with a staple every friggin centimeter? Crazy-like-the-Shining people. That's who. I have nightmares about a guy with 1975 lambchop sideburns, a porn-stache, and a staple gun chanting "all work and no play..." Shudder.

    This is basically a blog response to Monday's Wild Hunt post about the recent lack of figurative broom closets in the Pagan community. I don't have one and I'm not sure I ever did. Well okay, maybe there was a time in my early Pagan days where I was more worried about what people thought. As time went on I decided I didn't care a single bit. Everyone who knows me now knows that I am a Pagan priestess of the Goddess. I'm not ashamed. On the contrary, I'm proud of the fact. It's something I worked hard for so I see no need to hide it. Then again I don't go around advertising the fact either. I don't wear a shirt proclaiming my Pagan-ness nor do I just blurt it out to people I've just met.

    I guess I don't really believe in the secrecy thing. How can other people learn anything if we aren't willing to be open and honest about what we do? This not only turns off other seekers but makes the mainstream folks uneducated and scared of us. And we know what happens when people get scared. Someone undoubtedly gets burned at the stake - sometimes figuratively and sometimes not so much.

    With the exception of not wanting to give my kooky Southern Baptist Granny a coronary by using words that would trigger her devil-worship-radar, I am open about my beliefs. Gran knows I believe in the Goddess, that I don't believe in the Bible, and that I believe nature is sacred. That about sums things up and prevents agitating the elderly.

    I take my honest and open approach pretty seriously and I refuse to play the Rumpelstiltskin game. What I mean by that is that I have known some people who keep their magic(k)al names secret because they believe someone will then have power over them. This measures a whopping 9.6 on my BS scale. (Granny passed some of her radar skills down to me I guess, but I use mine for the good.) Names are names. Go ahead and call me Fandula the Love Pig if you want. Who really gives a crap? My "magical" name is more of a priestess name to me. It's like how nuns take new names when they become... well nuns. It certainly means something but it's not an open door to my true soul or something.

    As for some of the other things spoken about in Jason's post...

    My altar is in my bedroom because that's where I like it to be - not because I'm trying to hide anything. I can be undisturbed there whenever I need peace. On any given day there are books strewn about my house: on top of the wood burning stove, the kitchen counter, the dining room table, the entertainment stand, and oddly enough on bookshelves. There is Goddess themed art on my walls, goddess chimes over the sink, and signs in my garden. I probably have less stuff than your average Pagan because I'm not really a buyer of those sorts of things. If I buy an altar figure it typically stays on my altar. And I make the decorative things I want instead of purchasing them. I'm not really a nick-knack sort of person.

    Anyway... to sum it up I'm not in the broom closet but that's because I don't have one. I don't want one or need one. I am who I am and poo on anyone who doesn't like it. Except Granny.

    Miscellany from the Hive

    I have been extremely busy lately and I haven't been able to find a lot of time for Panthea - or the net at all. I was able to work a bit on the Demeter temple before life interfered and I have much of it done. It's not quite ready, but I hope it will be soon. I'll paste the opening "Musings" section below.

    Kali is the winner of the latest poll so after I finish up Demeter I will begin her temple. I might hold off on another poll until I can at least begin on Kali.

    I'm really thrilled with the temples project and I think I may even have another book in me based on these virtual sacred places and the concept of the Three Keys. I have a very vague outline done already, but it may just look good on paper. Not sure if I can really put together something cohesive.

    I've added a webcam stream to the sidebar in place of a profile photo. Whenever I am fit for camera I will try to stream. I think it would be interesting to use when I'm working on paintings in my studio too. There are a few audio tracks from the Pagan music group Gaia Consort attached to the webcam that you can listen to as well.

    Okay, I've got lots to do today. Give the musings below a read if you've got the time. See you soon!
    For centuries in Ancient Greece the ultimate vision of a mother was seen through the face of Demeter. She is most commonly thought of as Grain Goddess; a solely agricultural deity and patron of those who work the land. This is far too simple a role for such an important Goddess as Demeter. To followers of her mysteries she was the caregiver of the Earth and all who lived upon it. In many ways she was seen as the Earth itself.

    Kore, Demeter's daughter, brought the Goddess much joy and while Demeter could hold her child in her arms all was right on Earth. Crops grew, animals multiplied, and flowers colored the land in splendor. But then Kore was taken into the Underworld by Pluton (Hades). Demeter's joy turned into terrible sorrow. Her heart broke without her little girl and the Earth began to wilt and die. As the Goddess mourned, so too did the Earth. Fruit rotted on the vine, flowers turned black with death, and nothing would grow. The land was barren and empty like Great Mother Demeter's heart.

    Demeter called to me initially on her own, as part of an ancient, timeless myth surrounded by mysteries and traditions that have captured the hearts and imaginations of people all over the world for millennia. Her daughter Kore (in her guise as Persephone) soon began to take my focus however. It was Persephone whose voice rang out the loudest and it is through her that the understanding of her mother comes into light.

    Step into this little temple and reach out your arms to Mother Demeter. Raise them up as if you were young Kore and embrace the Goddess who is Mother of all Life. Walk up to her shrine and light candles in her honor. Beckon her to enter your heart and gift you will the lessons you require. And as with her daughter, Persephone, may her light embrace you and take you into the hallowed caves of Eleusis with all the wisdom of an initiate.

    Kali vs. Aphrodite

    I can hear the announcer now - and he sounds like the guy who does the commercials for premier league football (soccer) in the UK.
    "Kali-Ma V. Aphrodite; The dark Hindu Goddess matches up with the Greek Goddess of Love. Will Aphrodite mesmerize the crowd with her beauty or will Kali come out on top and covered in blood? Find out this week-END on Sky Sports."
    Well that's what I hear anyway. Check out the poll - 2 posts down. It seems like there is a bit of battling going on. Every time I check in Kali and Aphrodite are neck and neck. It's like watching a really strange auction on Ebay.

    Goddess' Messenger Rat

    My daughter recieved $50 for her birthday over the weekend and immediately decided she wanted another pet. We already have two dogs, three cats, and some fish but Little Girl decided we needed to gather an entire food chain in our home by getting a rodent.

    At first she was all about the hamsters. She had asked me at least a bazillion times, "Mommy, when are we going to get my hamster?" Finally we made it to the pet store where she all but ran to the pet rats.

    I will admit I was much more willing to get a rat than a hamster. I had heard rats were like little dogs; smart, friendly, people-loving. We've already done the hamster thing and they are cute but don't really stay still for more than three seconds at a time. More annoying than anything really.

    So we got a rat and I immediately fell in love with his little face and oddly human-shaped hands. It seemed strange to me. I looked down at this little creature, fully aware that his ancestors caused the black plague, and my heart melted. He sat with me for a few hours last night. Sniffing me, licking my fingers, sleeping in my lap. He's wonderful. This immediate connection to the rat led me to wonder if perhaps he wasn't sending me a message. Yes, it's a bit fluffy, but I looked up all sorts of symbolism surrounding rats anyway.

    I already knew about the Karni-Mata temple where rats are the main occupants and considered sacred by all who visit. The rats in the temple are believed to be the incarnation of a Goddess who was herself the incarnation of Durga. Kali also comes from Durga (and is considered the same Goddess by some) so I find here some connections to my recent pull towards Kali.

    In "animal medicine", or the concept of totem animals, I found some things to be significant about rats.
    "If a Rat has appeared to you, the message is to examine the ways you may be participating in wasteful consumption or fearful emotions and to awaken from your illusions." (link)
    Fearful emotions was the something that caught my eye. I have allowed myself to become a worrier at times and I have recently let fears creep up into my life. I think this is the obstacle Kali has been trying to remove.

    So, I am now a rat lover and this morning I am running up to the pet store to get another one. I did some research last night (which I should've done before hand) and found out that rats are extremely social and it's popularly believed by fanciers that they should never be solitary due to emotional stress, neurotic behavior, and other problems. I have enough room for two but we'll be getting a larger cage for them in the future.

    By the way, the rat's name is Toby. My daughter wants to name the second one Wubsy, but I'm trying to talk her into something like Buddah or the Dude. Even Dave would be cooler. :) Pictures of Toby and the Dude (aka Wubsy) coming soon.

    Demeter It Is...


    I've let the poll go to 20 votes and Demeter has won with 9 of them. Thanks to everyone who voted. I honestly appreciate your input. Now I have to turn some focus to the Great, Greek, Earth Mother Goddess Demeter and see where she leads me. If anyone else has musings on this face of the Goddess please feel free to get a conversation started.

    I'm still looking for historical proof of the laws of Demeter - or the Thesmoi of Demeter. If anyone could point me in the right direction on that I would be eternally grateful.

    I have posted a new poll leaving Brigid, Kali, and Isis in place as options and adding Aphrodite to the list. Don't let Aphrodite fool you. She is much more than your average Goddess of Love. So let the voting continue and when Demeter's temple is done a new one can be started immediately.

    Vote here or check the sidebar at the right.


    Stonehenge Decoded

    Last night the National Geographic Channel premiered Stonehenge Decoded and presented new theories about the ancient stone circle to the world. The newest theory is all about how Stonehenge was a monument to the dead; a sacred place where people may have brought the ashes of their deceased loved ones to join their ancestors. A bunch of evidence was presented to support this theory. While archeology is often full of guess work, I think this theory makes a lot of sense from a Pagan persepective and I have some elaborations on the info I watched last night.

    First, I think the theory is most likely right about Stonehenge being a temple of the dead. As the show pointed out, it's made of stone, which makes it permanent (like death). It was built to honor the sun at Midsummer, when the sun begins to die. If people brought cremains there perhaps they implored the sun to take the spirits of the dead with it as it waned in the sky over the following months.

    There is a wooden henge a couple of miles from Stonehenge. As the theory goes this was most likely a temple for the living; for celebrating life. It's made of wood which is impermanent like life. At Midsummer the people would walk to Stonehenge and then walk back to the wood henge; going from a place of the dead to a place of the living. At Solstice they took the opposite root and stood to watch the Solstice sun set through the wood henge - which seems to have been built specifically for the event. Here they would know the sun was being reborn; that it would soon begin to wax again as the days grew longer. Perhaps the sun also had the power to give rebirth to the people who had died and whose ashes had been spread at Stonehenge? Maybe the ancient Britons believed that as the sun was reborn at the "Temple of Life" so too were the spirits of their ancestors.

    Regardless of what actually occured at these sites it seems rather obvious that the ancient people who built them were people who lived in harmony with nature. They were agricultural and depended on nature as their way of life. They would've been interested in praying for fertility, honoring the dead, and celebrating life. Ah... those lovely ancient Pagans.

    I think this is all very Goddess-y in nature though there has yet to be any evidence of a female god - or any god to the best of my knowledge. It seems the emphasis here is placed on the ancestors, though there is little to support this as well. I would say there is better evidence to support a deity of the sun. There is no way to know for certain what was worshipped at these sites, at least not until some idol is unearthed. Until then we will have to theorize.

    Watch Stonehenge Decoded on June 5th at 9pm on the National Geographic Channel. Image found at the official National Geographic web site for Stonehenge Decoded. Go there for more theories and more info. Check out the Earth Mother theory too.

    Good Herbalists Know Latin

    This is my third season as an herb gardener and every year brings new lessons. The first year I just planted whatever I could find that I knew was an herb, which pretty much means anything and everything. I focused more on the medicinal varieties as opposed to the culinary ones. I didn't bother looking at the Latin names too much because they were hard to remember and ever harder to pronounce. But I've learned that in order to market a plant to the "common" gardener plant names often get a little fluffy and you may think you have a lovely variety of thyme plants when in reality you have three of the same darn thing now crowding up your garden. So, let me impart a few things to you that I've discovered over the past few years.

    Lesson #1 English Sage is Common Sage
    I thought I had two different types of sage here but instead I have realized they are the same plant. There is no variety at all. They are simply Salvia officinalis... common, English sage.

    Lesson #2 Same Plant Two Names
    Have you heard of Bergamot, the lovely citrus scented plant used to flavor earl grey tea? How about Bee Balm, that pretty spiky flower bees adore? Well they are exactly the same thing. If it says Monarda didyma it's Bergamot... or Bee Balm... or whatever. Same thing different name.

    Lesson #3 Just Because it's Yarrow Doesn't Mean it's Medicinal
    Did you know the only Yarrow that has any real medicinal qualities is your run of the mill, wild white Yarrow? Have you ever tried finding it at your local nursery? If you have then you have probably run into the same problem I have. All I find is varieties like "Coronation Gold" and "Paprika". They're pretty but that's all their really good for. Check your tags and make sure it just says Achillea millefolium with no variety whatsoever. You may have to do what I did and order it from an herbal company online like Richter's. I even finally managed to find some Mugwort there too. No variety. Just Artemesia vulgaris.

    So, the main moral of the story here folks is to check you tags and know your Latin before you spend money on something you don't want and don't need. It's hard to find the real deal anymore... the real original, un-manufactured, un-hybridized product the way Mama intended it. Personally I find more beauty in the less tampered with plants out there. You know, the ones that haven't been bred with other plants or grafted or whatever. But it's all about aesthetics I guess. If that's not a metaphor for society at large I don't know what is.

    Honestly, gardening of any kind brings us closer to nature and closer to the Goddess. It's fun, educational, rewarding, etc. I have learned more during three seasons with dirt under my nails that I did with a decade of herb books. It's almost as though getting closer to the plants by caring for them leads to insights into how they can be used. They each have their own personality and it's wonderful to simply sit with them and enjoy their scents, colors, and company.

    When I get my camera all set again I plan on posting some pictures of my garden for those who care to see it. I've also made some great plant stakes and signs that say things like "Goddess Bless This Garden". I just love them and I've been giving them away as gifts to friends. I hope to be able to share some images soon.

    Religious Freedom vs. Minors Rights

    *BIG, GIANT, POSSIBLY INCOHERANT RANT ALERT*

    I was watching the View today. I don't make it a habit like ever... but I just happened to be flipping through and heard Whoopi talking about the Texas polygamy issue that's been in the news recently. On the screen behind her was a picture of an (allegedly) 12 - YES TWELVE! - year old girl and her 40+ husband.

    Whoopi basically played devil's advocate by saying that it would be hard for jurors to draw a line in this case because it's all about religious rights. Her words were something like "...well maybe then we would wonder should Scientologists not be allowed to do what they do as part of their religious rights?..." (not a direct quote) I wanted to slap her.

    Religious rights take a backseat to the obvious endangerment of a minor. I can hear some people already. Yes, some Christians think Paganism endangers minors - but in the case of these child brides I think there is no room for debate. These girls are barely pubescent and being made to have sex with men almost triple their age. It's sick and perverted and any religion that advocates something like that is completely immoral and the creation of men with a distinct brand of sexual deviance.

    I am the mother of a little girl who will be 9 next Thursday. She is a LITTLE GIRL - not a woman who would be ready for marriage and children in 3 years. Any mother who could allow her child to be taken into a situation such as this should have their children removed for being a weak willed woman who has forgotten to fight for the well being of their children. I'm not movable on this one. I don't care how you rationalize it, justify it, make sense of it... etc. It's wrong.

    Do you think these people even realize the kind of damage giving birth so young can cause on the bodies of these girls? Some young women in Africa are plagued with broken bodies; bladders and bowels that leak, prolapsed wombs, and more. Those serious medical conditions were caused by giving birth too young because they were raped and impregnated as children.

    Speaking of rape - why doesn't the statutory law apply in the polygamy case? I believe it's a state issue, but I can't imagine any state says it's okay for a 40 year old man to have sex with a 12 year old girl. She's barely able to make her own decisions with a 7th grade education - let alone decide who to give her body to and why.

    I'm not claiming to be the most educated on the polygamy case or the practices of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. What I know is that it's wrong to have sex with children. I don't care what religion you are - or how it's justified. 12 year olds are children plain and simple. And if keeping these children away from their mothers allows them the peace to grow into healthy women who can make choices for sex, marriage, and children when they are ready... I'm all for it.

    As Athana has said many times... what would a healthy mother do? Not give her daughters away as child brides. Not allow them to be sexual abused minors. Not believe in a god who says any of this is okay. EVER. It's not okay. It's criminal.

    Goddess, Mother, wake up these women and empower them to take control of their lives and the lives of their children. Let them see the sacredness of motherhood and all that comes with it. Make them fight for their daughters. Make them fight for their sons also so they might not be raised to abuse young girls the way that their fathers have. And awaken these men to you and to the respect of the female body. Allow them to embrace the fathers within them and shun the war god who advocates any form of child abuse in the name of religion. So mote it be.

    Poll: The Next Temple


    I'm struggling with which Goddess to devote the next virtual temple to. So I've created a poll so you guys can help me out. All of these Goddesses are calling to me, but the two who seem to be in my thoughts the most these days are Kali and Demeter.

    Why I'm having trouble deciding:
    I have a book on Kali coming soon that I am hoping will give me lots to think about when creating her temple. She calls to me in a strong way. I already have an ample amount of info on Demeter, but her image seems so much clearer to me through Persephone - who I just did a temple to. Both existing temples are Greek in nature. So, should we move on to another pantheon for a bit? Or should we stick with the Greeks until they are all done? Brigid for me is the Great Goddess in Ireland - a land I have long since been connected with. Should I move "home" for a while with her? And Isis is such a Great Queen Goddess that I have always been fascinated by her and all her incarnations.

    So you can see why this is hard for me right now. I would love to know what readers are looking to see so that I can be swayed one way or the other to start working on a new temple (or two). I also need to finish the meditation on Persephone. Or maybe not... maybe she doesn't call for one. I'm not sure.

    Thanks in advance to everyone who votes. You can vote here on this post or there is a static poll in the sidebar under Virtual Temples. Just click the link up top to go there.

    Experiencing Christianity

    I was recently asked to do a short interview on the way women experience Christianity. A few months ago I did an interview (a 5-part piece) with Susy from Unmasking the Goddess who passed on my info to author Jonalyn Grace Fincher. Jonalyn was interesting in knowing how I experienced Christianity as a woman and I suppose also as someone who no longer subscribes to the beliefs of the church. I've pasted my responses below. Please feel free to leave comments and get a conversation started.

    1- From your experience does Christianity seem to teach that God is male, female, both or neither? What caused you to think this?

    A: I believe Christianity teaches that God is male. There is much emphasis placed on concepts like God the Father, Christ the Son, etc. but there have been no concepts surrounding God the Mother until recently. From what I gather that is very commonly not a popular concept with many Christians.

    Mary is a positive figure, as the Mother of Christ (God), but she is never deified. Instead she is commonly believed to have been a mortal woman with no divinity of her own. At best she is seen as a saint and her worship is often only found in some denominations. Goddess worshippers believe Mary to be a face of the Goddess.

    2- How is following the Goddess more affirming to you than following God?

    A: There is a common misconception that all women migrate to Goddess worship because they are not empowered by a male concept of God. I would say in the beginning that this is true for some. Personally I never felt as though I needed empowerment. Instead I saw a concept of God that was more complete for me than a male concept. In short, Goddess makes more sense to me.

    I do find the Goddess more affirming but not because I’m a woman. I personally feel she is more affirming for people as a whole. She is a being of balance and completion who teaches equality for all life. Her lessons also encourage her followers to understand that their personal experiences are valid and that those experiences can be a way of connecting with her. No one is told their interpretations of the Goddess are wrong or unworthy. Spirituality is seen as such an individual concept and not everyone requires the same lessons.

    3- Does the Christian church seem oppressive to women? If so, can you share any stories?

    A: I think at times it can be. Again here, I see that the church can be oppressive to people in general and not just women; teaching them that they are naturally evil and that they need to earn God’s love. I do however find that the lack of female clergy in Christianity is a problem and a testament to the way women have been seen throughout time as vehicles of temptation and evil.

    4- What passages/places in the Bible seem to limit women? Are there any Bible passages that seem to value women equally to men?

    A: I have pasted a few passages below that paint a less than flattering picture of the way the Bible speaks of women. I realize that during Jesus’ ministry he taught gender equality. He took women into his inner circle, spoke with them as equals (as God’s daughters), and used terminology that implied that women should be seen as no less and no better than men. Unfortunately though, his words are not as direct and to the point as those of the Old Testament. I suppose it would’ve been nice if he had just come out and said it in plain language. I also think it would’ve been nice to see Mary Magdalene given the role of one of Christianity’s founders as she so deserved in my opinion.

    1 Corinthians 14:34:
    Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.

    Genesis 3:16:
    To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

    Isaiah 19:16:
    In that day the Egyptians will be like women. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the LORD Almighty raises against them.

    Deuteronomy 22:20-21:
    If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house. You must purge the evil from among you.

    Leviticus 12:1-8:
    Numbers 5:12-31

    Temple of Persephone


    The Temple isn't exactly complete because I haven't been inspired to write the meditation yet. Everything is there though - most of which you may have already read in previous posts. Check it out and hopefully enjoy!

    Virtual Temple of Persephone

    Jung and the Anti-bunny

    Carl Jung proposed a technique called Active Imagination which theorized that one could connect with the deeper subconscious through active daydreaming and fantasy. I believe this technique was only named by Jung. In my opinion it is exactly the same process employed by shamanic traditions throughout time and it is exactly the process being utilized by individuals who believe they have contact with mythological creatures like faeries, dragons, etc.

    For many years I have carried around a certain amount of frustration when interacting with people who believe in the reality of myth and legend. I became exasperated and admittedly began to shut down every time. I realize I was placing judgment, but my brain simply couldn’t rationalize certain ideas as real and certainly not as useful. After studying a little of Jung’s ideas I have a new opinion. I’ve had an epiphany.

    The main thesis of my recent epiphany is that the problem I have is not in the ideas of the mythical creatures themselves, but when people see them for reality instead of a route towards understanding their own subconscious.

    The Active Imagination Technique is similar to daydreaming, but in an active way as the title suggests. This is where the dreamer takes a mindful role in the fantasy being explored in order to learn about themselves on a subconscious level. The state that the brain goes into during waking dreams is called the alpha state. This is the same state we go into when we’re driving, taking a shower, doing the dishes, or any other kind of “mindless” action. So, every time I hear the voice (referenced in the previous post) I am in alpha state which means my subconscious may be trying to tell me something. I’m not sure yet what I may be trying to tell myself, but I believe now that the voice is not outside of myself, but a part of my subconscious mind.

    I think with this new understanding I can better deal with my frustrations and my own feelings of hypocrisy since I too am subject to my subconscious mind; my active imagination. I think I’ve found a way to rationalize and reconcile the abstract and the analytical halves of my personality that can not only help me better understand myself, but also others.

    Hope this made some sense. What do you think about the theories presented here? Am I still robbing myself of the magic or have I found a way to embrace it without stepping past the bounds of what I know to be reality - and what I consider to be the domain of fluffy bunnies?

    Robbing Myself of Magic

    Raven Grimassi once told me to be careful not to “rob myself of the magic”. He had just signed some books for me and since I had waited until later in the day to visit his booth he was free to chat for a bit. I was on the Pagan Pride committee that year (the event he and his wife were attending as guest speakers) so we had already been introduced and quickly moved to topics of deeper interest. I was expressing my disenchantment and frustration when Raven, looking for all the world like Paul McCartney's love child without his moustache, said those words. I consider Raven to be an extremely well learned man whose books are meticulously researched and void of much of the fluffiness some authors embrace. So of course I took his words to heart, but to this day I'm still not sure how to put them into action.

    I have experienced certain things that I badly want to believe were real and true. As time passes I rationalize my experiences until there is nothing left of them. Consequently experiencing these things again is rather difficult.

    When I was a child I used to hear a voice. It was completely incoherent and I always felt that if I listened just a little harder I might be able to make out the words. This scared the crap out of me as a kid and eventually the voice stopped. I think I might have willed it to stop.

    When I hit about 19 or so the voice began to return and 11 years later there are times when I still hear it. Am I crazy? Maybe. I’ve thought about Schizophrenia, but that doesn’t usually hit someone until their early twenties. Because this has been ongoing since early childhood I have ruled that out. Could this be some inner voice? Is it my intuition? My conscience? The one constant is that the voice always comes along when I am doing something repetitive or not requiring concentration – when my brain is in an alpha state.

    If I was listening to someone else tell this story I would be convinced they were crazy and I expect nothing less from anyone who is reading this right now. I am very scientifically minded. I believe in reason and I strive to understand why things are and how they work. I’m also very creatively minded. I’m an artist and creating is like instinct for me. So I suppose there is sort of an inner struggle going on. One part of me thinks there must be rational explanations for everything while the other is not opposed to more abstract ideas.

    I’ve considered that perhaps I’m clairaudient but I also think mediums are most often frauds. Maybe famous psychics have ruined it for me. John Edward, Sylvia Browne, Chris Fleming, etc. have really just left a bad taste in my mouth about psychics and mediumship in general. I am certainly not going to say I have an ability that I have never been able to believe in others. I have had numerous readings and not one of them has ever been more than a cold reading or a general interpretation of cards laid out on a table. I believe everyone could potentially have psychic ability, I just haven’t proven that yet.

    On the topic of channeling, I have thought that maybe if we’re all Goddess than it isn’t too crazy to think she could speak to us or through us. Why is it people who channel pick things like Arch Angels, aliens, star clusters, famous dead folks, etc? I just can’t swallow the whole concept. But I wish I could.

    I want to believe. Who doesn't? Isn't that desire to believe what gives psychic charlatains their power in the first place? I’m willing to suspend all sorts of belief but I need something concrete, something that can be evaluated and then revealed to be true. Maybe I need to stop putting reigns on everything before the magic is lost to me forever.

    Could I be a Jaded Wiccan?

    Warning: Tongue-and-cheeky-ness to follow. Thick skin and/or a good sense of humor required. Turn back now if you offend easily.

    This post is being brought to you by the brain function that occurred after reading a post entitled Wicca on the Down Low at Lover of Strife - which I bookmarked immediately and should’ve added to my recently quasi-alphabetized links list by now. I haven’t considered myself Wiccan for at least ten years, but after reading the afore mentioned article I suddenly feel compelled to see if I’ve been lying to myself for a decade or so.

    So I guess the first thing to do is define what makes someone a Wiccan. I looked around the net and really didn’t find a concrete definition – or a list of bullet points which I am obviously kind of fond of. Many Pagans share beliefs systems that are so similar that there is little to no distinction between one tradition and the other. Most of the time it comes down to pantheons, language used, ritual structure, etc. So I guess the only view I can use here is my own.

    Note: I have a lot of Wiccan friends who I don’t want to offend, so I am going to trust that they all know me well enough to understand where I’m coming from if they happen upon this blog of mine. I circle with Wiccans and I respect many Wiccan individuals for their devotion and scholarship. I’m obviously generalizing and am by no means saying every Wiccan is the compilation of fluff that I may be about to type.

    Wicca (Through my eyes)
    - Belief in Goddess and God as two separate but equal parts seen through a myriad of other completely separate deities with their own names, faces, purposes, powers, and geographic origins.
    - Very specifically Celtic.
    - Adheres to the Wiccan Rede.
    - Practices magic, often ceremonial and involving bunches of tools.
    - Leans towards a belief in the literal interpretation of the mythical (faeries, dragons, etc.).
    - Knowledge of Tarot cards and other tools of divination are considered standard for all adherents and those who don’t dig on the divination are looked down on or considered not “Witchy” enough.
    - Astrology is gospel.
    - Gardner and his contemporaries may as well be Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John of the Wiccan world.

    I will reiterate that this is not some official list of bulleted points describing Wicca. It is only how I personally view it. Is my opinion slanted in some way? Yes, absolutely. Have I run into too many self proclaimed High Priestesses of Pomp and Circumstance who claim to channel spirits from other dimensions or have a direct line to the Goddess? Yes. Yes, I have. Maybe I am simply jaded. But could I really be a jaded Wiccan? By my own admittedly preconceived list of defining factors above I would answer no.

    But it’s time for another list of bullets to catalog what my tradition might have in common with Wicca. Now I think the point here is to see if anything listed is solely the property of Wicca or if it’s sort of a non-denominational Pagan standard.

    - Circle casting.
    - Element calling.
    - Nature viewed as sacred and revered in ritual practice.
    - Belief in something like the Wiccan Rede which in my opinion is a Neo- Pagan version of the Golden Rule.

    Okay, short list I guess. In my opinion everything in the list above is universally Pagan, right down to the Native American traditions. As a matter of fact I don't even find circle casting or element calling to be necessary, especially in solitary practice.

    Now let’s take a look at the things I don’t think I have in common with Wicca. This list could also be called “Reasons Why I Became Disenchanted with Wicca at an Early Age”.

    - No separation: Belief in one deity imagined as Goddess, completely connected (meaning not separate) from any of her other aspects be they mythically male or female in distinction.
    - Magic is prayer and no props are ever really needed, but the desire to use props to touch with the unconscious is often desired. I don’t care about athames or bolines or what color their handles are.
    - Witchcraft can be (but not always is) a religious practice and not a specific religion. The same goes for divination.
    - Lack of belief in the mythical world(s). Don’t believe in faeries, dragons, etc. because I simply haven’t seen any of them and I don’t choose to live in a world of un-reality where I can blame my missing keys on mischievous house gnomes. Though that would be cool if I could.
    - Emphasis is placed on religion – worship, prayer, connection, spiritual understanding, betterment of self, etc. as opposed to getting really good at scrying or using runes.
    - Myth is never interpreted literally and its uses are unique to every individual practitioner.

    None of the lists in this post are complete by any means. I could probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Besides, this post is long enough already. I’m going to turn the questions to you instead. What makes a Wiccan? Am I Wiccan? Has Wicca gotten a bad rap? What is the solution if so? Am I a closed minded crazy lady? Let’s find out. Add some comments and continue the conversation.

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