“On any spiritual path, and most especially on one that is simultaneously a path of magical practice, our real progress and growth is measurable largely in the capacity to pass the challenges that are set before us. The easy parts of the journey are not the most important.”
–Philip Kane (in his essay on Laverna, Naming the Goddess, p. 232)
Naming the Goddess, published by Moon Books, is a collaborative work bringing together essays written by over eighty scholars and practitioners of Goddess Spirituality, including contributions from Selena Fox, Kathy Jones, Caroline Wise and Rachel Patterson. A unique aspect of this book is that it is a two-part project with the first part of the book containing a series of contemplative and scholarly essays and the second part serving as a “gazetteer” of different goddesses, making it useful both as a reference book and as well as one that encourages reflective spiritual thought.
Yesterday I had a delightful swim with a friend in the cool Aegean Sea. In in the evening I met two dear friends at an open air restaurant for a delicious meal and good conversation. Last night a beautiful moon rose over the sea and a soft breeze caressed my skin. All of this made me very happy. However, the state of the world does not.
Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. The Ferguson police. Hold your ground laws. Bombing in Gaza. War in Ukraine. War in Iraq. War in Afghanistan. War in Syria. Wars that are not on my radar. Rape as a part of war. Joe Biden threatening to chase ISIL “to the gates of hell.” Citizens United. A rash of laws restricting voting rights. A rash of laws restricting abortion rights. Police brutality. Police brutality that is racially motivated. Young men being sentenced to prision for minor drug offenses. The brutality of the prison system. A woman with children being paid $8.50 an hour working at McDonalds and not even knowing when she will be called in to work. Open carry laws allowing Americans to walk the streets with loaded weapons. And that’s just off the top of my head this morning.
When I was young and protesting poverty, racism, and the War in Vietnam, I thought that it would be a relatively simple matter to change the world. It turned out that I was not only wrong: I was very wrong.
The suicide death of Robin Williams prompted me to reflect again on my own experience with depression and to share my story in the hope that it can help others.
In my twenties, thirties, and forties, I suffered severe intermittent depressions. My life in those days was a series of ups and downs. When I feel in love and was having good sex, I was in love with the world and could literally feel energy radiating from my body connecting it to the world. When I was dumped, the energy retreated, and I crawled into a dark hole of despair and self-pity from which there seemed to be no escape. In the in-between times, I carried on my life with neither the highs or the lows.
In recent days, a number of people have tried to describe what depression feels like. Here is what it felt like to me.
It was as if my mind had a single track on which were repeated a few deadly words: “No one loves me. No one will ever love me. I might as well die.” I could not erase the track or jump to another one. The words repeated themselves relentlessly in my mind.
I have learned as much about Goddess Spirituality from participating in rituals to the Panagia in Greece as I have from books. This is the time when Greeks honor the falling asleep of the Mother of God, an echo of the rituals of Death and Rebirth in honor of Demeter and Persephone.
From the evening of the 14th through the day and night of the 15th of August, thousands of pilgrims ascend the Holy Rock of Petra, Lesbos to honor the Panagia—She Who Is All Holy. There is something really beautiful in being among them. Last year six of us set out from Molivos at 7:30 on the 14th to meet in the square of Petra to ascend to the church.
Petra was already full of so many pilgrims that police had forbidden traffic in the main square and were directing cars into a nearly full parking lot in a field. When we got out of the car, the two others who came with me and I had a perfect view of the steady stream of pilgrims climbing the rock, which was already lit up in the twilight.
Joy of Life in Ancient Crete w/Carol Christ& Matthew Fox on Meister Echhart
Scholar, author and foremother, Carol Christ joins us tonight to discuss The Goddess and the Joy of Life in Ancient Crete. We'll delve into new research on matriarchies, the difference from patriarchy, define "love is free" in matriarchal societies and chat about Crete being a "gift giving" society. We'll talk about ancient rituals on Crete, redefine patriarchal myths and discuss the "immanental turn" in feminist theologies - and more.....
While I was in Crete on the Goddess Pilgrimage teaching about and experiencing a Society of Peace where violence and domination were neither celebrated nor encouraged, another war broke out in Iraq, breaking my heart, breaking all of our hearts—yet again. When will we ever learn, oh when will we ever learn?
I am sometimes asked why I continue to lead the Goddess Pilgrimages to Crete after more than 20 years. I am also asked why I don’t lead pilgrimages to other parts of Greece where Goddesses were also worshipped. One of the answers to these questions is that in Crete I am not simply teaching about the existence of Goddess worship, but also about the possibility that cultures can live without celebrating violence, war, and domination.
For many people the idea that a relatively “advanced” civilization could exist without violence and war is considered to be a romantic fantasy, a dream of a golden age that never existed. This is the “party line” in the academy today—as it always has been.