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SageWoman Blogs

At SageWoman magazine, we believe that you are the Goddess, and we're devoted to celebrating your journey. We invite you to subscribe today and join our circle...

Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.

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Making (Fairy) Tracks

By serendipity I met a friend in town on Saturday. Over coffee and an organic raspberry and white chocolate scone (still slightly warm), Mandy told me how she and a friend had been haring round Ireland on a road trip on the trail of the sidhe. Their trip took them from Tara in the east, down to Clare, then up to Carrowkeel and Knocknashee in Sligo. They took in some of the most sacred sites and amazing megaliths in the land.  But they didn't really need to stir themselves so far from Fermanagh. They are all around us here. Or maybe I am just sensitive to the local fey vibrations.

Tourists ask me if I see fairies. I answer honestly. I don't see them and I very much doubt they are very much like Mabel Lucie Atwell's vision of them.  Here is West Cavan I experience them as nature's skin turners and messengers. But maybe that's just how they want to show themselves to  me, for I have a strong suspicion that when they want to make themselves known as friendly allies they choose a form that is least threatening to their beholder. So maybe children do see Mabel Lucie Atwell creations. Musicians hear fairy music. But I have seen a hitch hiker that turned out to be a heron standing on the road verge. A local storyteller saw a bent old woman that turned out to be a hare. 'Turned' being the operative word.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    The local tradition I was told, Francesca De Grandis, is that it is usually unwise to extend a building to the west. A neighbour s
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Thank you for that. I enjoyed reading the details of your local lore, it resonates with me. And, yes to the local easygoing atti
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    I LOVE your story of taking down the shed and luck changing. I sometimes feel like the Lone Ranger for believing in stuff like tha

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Rape culture


No, it's not a pretty phrase. But it's a fitting name for a set of institutions and ideas that steal away women's pro-creative power through physical violence, social shaming, and economic exploitation. 


In The Woman's Belly Book, I say pro-creative power is our body-centered power to promote creation — through childbirth, yes, and through life-affirming ways of being in every dimension.


Creating a cultural paradigm beyond rape is what Kim Duckett's about. How does she do it?


"I take women to Hel and back," she says.


Her vehicle for visiting goddess Hel is reviewing — and rewriting — the ancient Greek myth of Persephone’s descent.


"Stories lead to the heart of healing," my recent article in the Mountain Xpress, Asheville’s weekly newspaper, features Kim and her work. 


For whatever reason, the newspaper has shied away from relating the horrific aspects of the conventional myth to current events in the culture at large. I invite you to read the article here and add your comments online. Tell us: How is revising the myth of Persephone important for you, your family? 


Here's some background:


Kim Duckett, a.k.a. Woman Who Follows Her Heart, is an ordained Priestess and a shamanic ritualist rooted in the mountains of western North Carolina.


Holding a doctorate in Transpersonal and Spiritual Psychology with a focus on Feminist Theory, she’s taught women’s studies in college and university settings for thirty years. She also co-founded the rape crisis center, now known as Our Voice, that’s been serving the region’s women and men for more than forty years.


The Wheel of the Year as an Earth-Based Spiritual Psychology for Women names Kim’s forthcoming book. Those words also name the teaching she offers to women as she travels throughout the nation.


Kim describes her teaching this way in the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies:


The Wheel of the Year as an earth-based psychology for women is inherently feminist and also based in transpersonal psychologies. Women explore the turning points, or holydays of the Wheel, on both spiritual and psychological levels through a wide range of modalities that engage body, mind, emotion, and spirit.


The Wheel of the Year focuses the first year of Kim's Sacred Mystery School, a three-year curriculum in women’s spirituality. With the arrival of the autumn equinox, she invites women taking part in Mystery School to update and personalize the myth of Persephone.


Kim knows, as famed mythologist Joseph Campbell did, that myths validate and preserve a culture’s social and moral order. She knows, as Campbell did, that myths must change to keep pace with changing times. “Myths are teaching stories,” she says. “So it’s important to ask: What are they teaching?”


She begins by presenting women with the conventional version of the myth: Hades snatches maiden Persephone, rapes her, and imprisons her in his underworld realm. 


Does this scenario sound familiar? So many of us have similar stories.


Finally breaking through to national awareness with New York magazine's July cover story, scores of women have alleged that comedian Bill Cosby did Hades over decades, holding young women captive in an “underworld realm” of drug-induced loss of consciousness. They’ve alleged that agents of various cultural institutions aided and protected Cosby, keeping his actions secret, allowing him to continue.


Drawing on Charlene Spretnak’s research, reported in Lost Goddesses of Early Greece, Kim inspires women to recognize alternatives to the Greek myth as it’s usually told, including versions pre-dating the ones validating rape culture.


In a circle of mutual support, expressing themselves through dance, poetry, and drama, women create their own versions of the myth. In these, Persephone chooses to descend. 


Each woman acknowledges, as Persephone does, her need to deepen. She chooses to move inward, to re-member and re-collect herself, to be with her inner wisdom. In the deep, dark, womb-like realm of goddess Hel she finds a place for rest and replenishment. She meets not Hades but Hecate, the wise woman within.


And then she emerges, refreshed. She embodies greater clarity, more vitality, and a renewed sense of purpose. She returns with a mythic guide to her own well-being. 


What’s more: Women rewriting the myth of Persephone as woman-affirming stories of descent and return build the foundations for a generative, peaceable culture of life.


How do you rewrite the myth of Persephone? I invite you to add your own story, your own comments, here.





More info:


Kim Duckett
A Year and A Day Sacred Mystery School for Women


Charlene Spretnak

Lost Goddesses of Early Greece



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Positive Thinking for Realists

Some people have the impression that positive thinking is all glitter and rainbows and a river in Egypt.

It’s true that positive means happy, good, and encouraging.  However, positive also means helpful, constructive, and tangible, or real.

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Top 10 Reasons To Design Your Own Spread


Someone asked me why I like using my own spreads or spreads others have created. They pointed out that the Celtic Cross has been around for a long time so why didn't I just use that? We had a very good discussion that ended with him sticking with his beloved Celtic Cross but understanding why I enjoyed creating spreads. That led me to come up with a series of answers to that question.

The graphic above is from my second post here on SageWoman blog. It is from my spread Revealing The Blind Spot.

In no particular order, here are my top ten reasons you should design your own spread.

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Ancestors and Integration

I learned something fascinating this weekend.  I learned that as women, when we are in our mother's womb, we already have all the ovum (eggs) that we will release during our fertile years. So, to put that into context, when my mother was in my grandmother's womb, I was also there, partly, as one of the eggs that would be fertilised by my father.  This link only occurs in women, and it just blew my mind.  I was in my grandmother's womb.

Our lines of ancestry can be glorious and transformational journeys of discovery. Not only in a historical sense, exploring records and genealogy, but also connecting spiritually with our ancestors.  As the darkness creeps in and the days get shorter, in the cooling air with the harvest being taken in the fields all around me, my thoughts turn to my ancestors and to the self, releasing into the approaching autumn and finding great comfort and joy in the letting go.

In order to release that sense of self, however, we must first come to know our self.  Exploring who we are, where we came from, what makes us "us" is key to this work.  Understanding circumstances, experiences, lines of ancestry can enrich our lives and help us to uncover depths of our own soul that may have previously escaped our notice.

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And now for something completely different! 

Well, not completely different. But this week brings a reading from a new deck, Doreen Virtue's Goddess Guidance Oracle. I love working with Kris Waldherr's Goddess Inspiration Oracle, and will continue to do readings from that deck here on the blog. But I've been working with a couple other Goddess decks as part of my new monthly Women's Full Moon Circle here in DFW, and I thought it'd be fun to bring them to you.

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Your body's center, sheltered within your belly, is the one-point through which you address your body as a whole. It's a principle of physics: A motive force applied to your body's center moves your entire form.

As I write in The Woman's Belly Book:

What happens to the center happens to the whole.... When your belly center leads you into action, your whole body moves easily, gracefully, almost effortlessly. The whole of you moves as one.

Your body's center is also your center of being, the one-point where the matter and energy of who you are converge. It's the one-point from which your physical and emotional expressions emerge.

The best actors enact this truth. They entirely embody a character, bringing the physicality and emotionality of a particular — however fictional — person  to life. They deepen into their body's center and bring forth an individual. They don't give us an impression; they give us a genuine experience of another human being.

Tom Hanks is not my favorite actor, although I think he did a splendid job as Chuck Noland, the stranded FedEx exec in "Cast Away."

Whatever my opinion, he does know acting.

In fact, he revealed acting to be a body-centered practice when he said this (at 1 minute, 2 seconds) after receiving the Kennedy Center honors in 2014:

"I hope the look on my face was reflecting the honor and pleasure I had inside my belly."

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