Friday, April 20, 2018

Glastonbury Goddess Conference 2018

This year's Glastonbury Goddess Conference has been announced by Conference co-organizers, Marion and Katinka, in an email at the Vernal Equinox. The Conference theme is "Moon Maiden." The conference, which is held in England, opens on July 31 with the opening of a Moon Temple and continues through August 5. Its fringe events occur on July 29, 30, and August 6. Full information on events, presenters, and registration can be found at the link above.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Buzz Coil Jan.-Feb. 2018

Here are some notes about recent posts from blogs on our blogroll:

Association for the Study of Women &Mythology: February posts concerning the ASWM 2018 Conference March 16-17 in Las Vegas (as announced in our Jan.-Feb. Buzz Coil) include: on Feb. 15:“Animal Myth and Mysteries at Conference,” and “Schedule for Conference”; on Feb. 12: “Presentation Grant Award Winner: Rachel Kippen,” “Conference Panels,” “Fierce and Beneficient Female Figures,” and “Women and Earth-Centered Mythologies”; February 10 and 9 posts are about presenters and grant award winners Vicki Noble, Nancy Vedder-Shults, Cristina Biaggi, Max Dashu, Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba, Tahnahga Yako Meyers, Apela Colorado, Frances Santiago, and Yuria Celidwen. A Jan. 30 posts gives details on presenter Kathy Jones. (A link to information about other events and speakers is included in the Feb. 12 post.)

Annelinde’s World: Annelinde Metzner’s January poetry posts include (Jan. 20) “Tell A Woman,  which begins:
“Tell a woman that, deep inside,
deep in her heart, where no one can see,
she holds the flame that lights the world.”

and (Jan. 7) “Among the Galax.” Both with pics.

BroomstickChronicles: Aline O’Brien (aka Macha NightMare) gives us 2 posts about her experience at the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting in Salem, MA. Her Jan. 5 post is an overview of the meeting’s panels from various parts of the world other than the Americas. Her Feb. 20 post focuses on “Native Traditions in the Americas.”

Fellowship of Isis Central: FOI’s Feb. 6 post, “Oracle of the Goddess Tara,” includes an invocation and message from Tara on the importance of darkness, peace, and faith. Here is excerpt from one of its passages:
“The greatest evil you fear is death. There is no death. While you are identified with a body of clay you find it difficult to enjoy the bliss of the heavens. You are beset by grief, hatred, violence and cruelty. But you also acquire merit through overcoming these obstacles to Illumination….”
The blog’s Jan. 31 post, “Isian News Brigantia 2018,” gives the contents of this journal and a link it its pdf.
Veleda: Max Dashu begins her Jan. 17 post, “Resources and publications,” by telling us that this is her first post in quite a while due to her working to finish the first book (now published) in a series she is writing. In the post, she discusses the history of the Suppressed History Archives, which she founded and maintains, her slideshows and videos, online courses, the SHA website and Facebook page, her page on, and the second book in the series, which she is working on now.
HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate’s Feb. 6 post, “Being and Doing – What the Goddesses are Telling Me,” relays messages from the deities in general and specifically from Brigid. When I visited the blog, the most recent post in Blogger Hecate’s “The Magical Battle for America” series was dated Feb. 18. It introduced the subject with autobiographical material and then offered “a protection” related to the recent mass murder at a Florida high school that includes biographical material about Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, after whom the high school is named. Other recent meditations in the “Magical Battle” series are posted on Feb. 11 (Black History Month/Underground Railroad), Feb. 8 (marking one year of the Battle and asking for readers’ feedback), Feb. 4 (the Resistance), Jan. 28 (fires), Jan. 21 (Ellis Island), Jan. 14 (railroad history), Jan. 7 (Salmon), Dec. 31 (of which Hecate writes, “a bit different from our normal workings,” and involves “warding.”)

Starhawk’s Blog: In her Jan. 24 post, “Building a Welcoming Movement,” Starhawk sets out details about ways to continue to survive the current political situation in the US. In the introductory section “The Movement We Need,” she writes:
Only a massive, broad movement can succeed.
“That movement exists in incipient form, like a great whale swimming just below the waves that surfaces now and again to blow. But we—and by ‘we’ I mean committed social justice activists of all races, genders, and backgrounds—can do a much better job of expanding it and activating its power.”
She then offers details on what she calls “10 Guiding Principles for Building a Welcoming Movement” (here I paraphrase and excerpt): The movement should feel good, not demanding—it should not require absolute perfection; it should be diverse in a way that finds a role for everyone (includes suggestions of what “a white cis-gendered, heterosexual male can do”); it should be actively welcoming, especially to people taking their “first step into activism,” by limiting criticism and listening to their opinions, creating structures and rituals of welcome, giving public praise, and using easily understood words (which are often poetic); it should educate; and it should be kind, especially to “supporters, friends, co-conspirators and allies.”
PaGaian Cosmology: In her Feb. 13 post, “Beginning Again,” Glenys D. Livingstone of Australia, writes about Lammas and its relationship, in her practice, to black, especially black ribbons. It also includes a poem that she says could also be used for Imbolc (aka Brigid). Her two posts, “Lammas/Imbolc Season Feb. 2018” on Jan. 24 and “Lammas/Imbolc Earth Moment” on Jan. 6 discuss the relationship of the 2 cross-quarter holidays celebrated in the Northern and Southern hemispheres in early February. With pics.
My Village Witch: On November Feb. 1, Byron Ballard of the Mother Grove Goddess Temple in Asheville NC, posted “Brigid is Written in the Water,” about a Brigid ritual that occurred a few years ago. 
Because of the large number and variety of bloggers and posts on these blogs, we are now suggesting that you visit them and select the posts that interest you most.

Feminism and Religion: Many bloggers from many different religions and paths.
Pagan Square: This blog of many mostly-Pagan paths is sponsored by BBI Media and includes SageWoman blog posts.

The Wild Hunt: Pagan, news-oriented blog that has grown from single blogger to many bloggers.

The Motherhouse of the Goddess: Blog affiliated with Motherhouse Podcasts and Mystery School.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Buzz Coil: November-December 2017

Here are some notes about recent posts from blogs on our blogroll:

HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate’s December 21 post, “This is a Prayer for the Darkest day; This is a Prayer for Defiance,” begins: 

This is a prayer for the darkest day; this is a prayer for Resistance.
This is a prayer for the longest night; this is a prayer for defiance.

“This is a prayer for warriors, for women who rise up, wounded,
And do what needs to be done.
Feed the animals in the frozen dark.
Make coffee in the bitter cold.
Pull on sweaters, and fingerless mittens, and socks over cracked feet.
Make five more calls….”

Hecate’s series of meditative posts, “The Magical Battle for America,” continues (topics in parens): December 17 (video about Harriet Tubman), December 10 (cowboy theme), December 3 (cemetery art), November 26 (Lady Liberty), November 19 (Thoreau), November 11 (effects of January 2017 Women’s March), November 8 (Russia and US election).

Shakti Warrior: This blog’s December 8 guest post by Susan Morgaine, “Beloved Goddess Isis,” focuses on the need to reclaim Isis from the current use as an acronym with political implications.

Annelinde’s World: Annelinde Metzner’s December 1 post, a poem titled, “Passage,” focuses on a town in South Africa, the history of the slave trade, and the Goddess Yemaya. The poem is taken from Metzner’s 2012 chapbook, “The Most Huge Yes.”

The Goddess House: Frances Billinghurst’s December 17 post, “Yemaya Blessings of the Waters 2018,” announces the change of date for the annual honoring of this African Goddess in sacred space in Adelaide, Australia.

Association for the Study of Women &Mythology: In its November 30 post, ASWM announces “Registration is Open for 2018 Conference” which takes place in March. Earlybird registration closes February 2. The November 18 post announces a keynote presentation by Dr. Gala Argent, “Horses as Heros.”

PaGaian Cosmology: In her Dec.24 post, “Everyday Acts – The Bread of Life,” Glenys D. Livingstone discusses some aspects of the current Summer Solstice ceremony in Australia. On December 14, she posted a longer piece on both the summer and winter solstices, titled “Solstice Moment 2017 C. E.” On November 20, she posted “A Cosmic Walk: Celebrating Origins,” an abbreviated version of a ceremony at the Moon Court, Blue Mountains, Australia.
My Village Witch: On November 28, Byron Ballard of the Mother Grove Goddess Temple in Asheville NC, posted “A Ceremonial Circle Cast for the Winter Solstice,” which also includes a circle release. On December 5, in a post titled, “A Find Amongst the Documents,” she posted a poem titled “Seasoning” that she wrote several years ago and found while working on this year’s Solstice ritual.

Starhawk’s Blog: Starhawk's December 20 post about the Winter Solstice, "What Must We Lose to the Night?" contains "A Ritual for Release and Birthing." 

Because of the large number and variety of bloggers and posts on these blogs, we are now suggesting that you visit them and select the posts that interest you most.

Pagan Square: This blog of many mostly-Pagan paths is sponsored by BBI Media and includes SageWoman blog posts.

The Wild Hunt: Pagan, news-oriented blog that has grown from single blogger to many bloggers.

The Motherhouse of the Goddess: Blog affiliated with Motherhouse Podcasts and Mystery School.

Feminism and Religion: Many bloggers from many different religions and paths.


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Passing of Flash Silvermoon

updated 12/28/17
Flash Silvermoon (aka Deborah Kotler) died of renal failure December 15 at the age of 67 at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital where she was a patient. Well known in the wider Goddess community, she was a musician, Tarot reader, psychic, astrologer, author of The Wise Woman 's Tarot book and creator deck of the same name. Also an animal communicator, she appeared on a weekly podcast, "What the Animals Tell Me." You can find more about these on For a longer obituary with photos, see the Gainesville Times .

May Flash Silvermoon rest in the arms of the Goddess and be renewed.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Goddess Pages Format Changes

The Goddess Pages format has changed, Geraldine Charles, editor of the online magazine originating in the UK, has announced. The timing of the publication has also changed:
there is no exact date for a new issue. Similar to a blog, articles, poems, and reviews are published when they are ready and/or when the editor feels they are appropriate. As of this writing, articles include:"The Oracle of Delphi" by Louise Sommer," and the editorial introduction by Geraldine Charles, "She Changes Everything She Touches." Poems include: Calling on Persephone" by Penn Kemp and "The Three Comadres" by Susa Silvermarie. Reviews include: The World Is Your Oracle by Nancy Vedder-Shults, Soul & Shadow: Birthing Motherworld by Kathy Jones, and Healing Through the Goddess by Lynne Sedgmore, illustrated by Susie Jones. 

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Buzz Coil: September-October 2017

Here are some recent posts from blogs on our blogroll (please note, we don't knowingly list posts in Buzz Coil that have been published previously by the blogger elsewhere or on the same blog):

Women & Mythology: ASWM’s Oct. 14 post announces the deadline of Nov. 15, 2017 for the 2018 Sarasvati Book Award for non-fiction books published during 2015-2017. The post includes a link to the submission form.

Fellowship of Isis Central: An Oct. 17 post, “Message from Isis Oasis—Northern California Wild Fire,” by deTraci Regula, director of Isis Sanctuary, begins with these words:
We are blessed. Fires in the area surrounding us are contained. Thankfully the Advisory Evacuation notice was lifted. All of our animals have been safely returned. Isis Oasis is currently hosting evacuees.”
The post goes on to report on the effect of the fires, including Isis Oasis’ November plans.

Annelinde’s World: Annelinde Metzner’s Oct. 4 post is a poem, “Release,” about the hope that Goddess brings in time of violence. Her Sept 1 posted poem, “Sycamore,” begins:

“Delicious! the astringent scent
of wet leaves, wet humus
     on the forest trail
     in this rainy, dark and brooding August weather.
It is late summer, and our Mother
     warns, “Change is coming!”

Starhawk’s Blog:  Starhawk’s Oct. 11 post, “Lessons from the Fire,” includes material from a fire protection ritual, “honors fire for the great teacher she is,” and discusses 5lessons we all need to navigate a world where climate change has intensified the dryness and the winds.” Her October 2 post is “A Statement from Starhawk on the Las Vegas Tragedy.”

PaGaian Cosmology: In her Oct. 7 post, “Triple Goddess Breath Meditation,” Glenys Livingstone shares a meditation that has been her “daily practice for nearly 20 years. In her Sept 25 post, “Persephone’s Return or Departure?” Livingstone discusses this question in relation to her own life. With pics of her younger self.

HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate’s Sept. 21 post, “This is a Prayer for Mabon. This is a Prayer for Resistance,” begins:

This is a prayer for the Witches’ Thanksgiving. This is a prayer for Resistance.
This is a prayer for mead and cider, for cornbread and collards. This is a prayer for Resistance.”

Her series, “The Magical Battle for America,” continues, each with a meditation/working. In reverse chronological order (as the blog rolls) the recent posts and their topics include: 10/22, receiving messages from your ancestors; 10/5, the U.S. Senate and Trump’s roles in the health care battle; 10/8, libraries and librarians; 10/1, an incident involving Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe; 9/24, the Underground Railroad during U.S. slavery; 9/17, the influence of Dion Fortune on the series, with meditation including “Lady Liberty”; 9/10, the buffalo and “The Resistence”; 9/1 the approaching cooler and colder weather of autumn and winter.

Brandy Williams, Author: Brandy Williams’ Oct. 18 post is a brief “Prayer to Hecate.” Her Oct. 16 post, is a brief “Prayer to Pomona, Goddess of the Orchard.”

Because of the large number and variety of bloggers and posts on these blogs, we are now suggesting that you visit them and select the posts that interest you most.

The Motherhouse of the Goddess: Blog affiliated with Motherhouse Podcasts and Mystery School.

Feminism and Religion: Many bloggers from many different religions and paths.

Pagan Square: This blog of many mostly-Pagan paths is sponsored by BBI Media and includes SageWoman blog posts

The Wild Hunt: Pagan, news-oriented blog that has grown from single blogger to many bloggers.


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Review: Susan Hawthorne's Novel, Dark Matters

Dark Matters, a novel, by Susan Hawthorne, Spinifex Press 2017, trade paperback, 192 pages. Also available as an e-book.

Susan Hawthorne’s stunning novel, Dark Matters, is both a work of art and an exploration of important social issues. The title has a number of meanings that become clear as you read the book. These include the “darkness” of Kate’s story and the dark matter of the universe.

I rarely comment on covers, but I can’t help commenting on this cover’s outstanding use of color, font, and balance of graphic elements. On the front cover, designer Deb Snibson places, on a black background, the author’s name flush right in white at the top, followed by the book title, flush left, in larger pinkish red type with the subtitle (“a novel”) below it flush right in white. Beneath this is a side-bled image by Susan Bellamy of mitochondrial (maternally inherited) DNA in black, gray, and white except for two small spots of the same pinkish red of the title inside two of the DNA circles. Flush right beneath the image is name of the press (gray on a black background). The book’s spine is a strong pink with the title in white and author’s name and press logo in black. The back cover’s top half has a black background containing a book description in white type except for the first letter, “I” in the same pinkish red as the title on front. The bottom half is set on the pinkish red background, which has a smaller picture of the DNA image along with a credit in black type. (The small type above the author's name and below the publisher's name was placed by, from which this picture is used with permission.)

The novel, which takes place in Australia (where the author lives), South America, and Europe, has 3 first-person narrators. The first one we meet is Mercedes, (nicknamed “Merci,” which I took to possibly have the double meaning of the French “thank you” and the English “mercy.”) She is Kate’s lover. The second is Desi, Kate’s niece, who is struggling to make sense of Kate’s fragmented writings found after her death. The third narrator we meet is Kate herself, as she tries to endure capture, imprisonment, rape and other torture. Kate’s is the central story. Mercedes’ and Kate’s chapters are not titled with their names. Desi’s chapters bear her name as title. Some of Kate’s fragments/chapters have the day of captivity on which they were written titling the first fragment of that day, apparently placed by Kate. Desi mentions that there aren’t fragments for every day. For example, Kate’s narrative goes from “Day 1” of captivity to “Day 2,” and then skips to “Day 5.” The fragments contain descriptions of how Kate was mistreated, poems, Kate’s memories of her past (including her relationship with Mercedes and her wondering if Mercedes is still alive), and mythology including Goddess and animal references. Among the animal mentions are those that could be seen as allusions to at least 2 of Hawthorne’s 8 poetry books, Cow and Lupa and Lamb. Among  the female divinities and mythological women mentioned are Persephone, Demeter, Hecate, Athena, Psyche, Styx, Kali, Isis, Inanna, Europa, Mary, Cassandra, Kyane, Mnemosyne and her daughters, the Muses (9 according to Kate’s writings; 10, according to Desi, who, agreeing with Plato, adds “Psappa” [aka Sappho] to the list). In addition to mythological and historical allusions, there are references to current people, places, and organizations including spiritual feminist authors; Suzanne Bellamy, creator of the front cover image of this book; Niki de Sainte Phalle (“Sainte” in this name is usually spelled “Saint” in English—the final “e” used in this book renders the spelling French feminine) and her Tarot Garden in Tuscany; and a manual for torture, for which Desi guesses “the CIA” as one of 3 organizations that might be its publisher.

The book has no “running heads,” which are present in most books at the top of every page except the first page of chapters. They usually bear the book author’s name or chapter names on the page on one side and the book’s title on the page on the other side. The lack of running heads in this book reinforces the feeling (at least for me) of free-floating space, or unspoken material, or the similarity of characters, that also comes from the lack of chapter headings for some of the material.

The novel moves in time back and forth from before to after Kate’s death. In the first chapter, Mercedes (whom Desi describes in a later chapter as having come from South America to Australia with her family in the 1970s), receives the news from a family member, José, that, “They’ve released Kate.” We don’t know, at this point, from what she has been released. When José urges Mercedes to contact Kate, she responds that “It’s too soon.” We don’t know exactly who José is until later chapters. I believe that this initial murkiness is intentional on Hawthorne’s part, establishing a need for clarity—including clarity of identity— important thematically in the novel. The second chapter, written by Desi, takes place some years after Kate’s death. She tells about trying to make sense of the fragments that her aunt Kate left.  Desi tells us that that Kate, as well as her great aunt and possibly other ancestors, were lesbians. She writes: “That’s the thing about lesbians, it’s a kind of detective story that unwinds in scraps but half of the pages are shredded and the rest are so destroyed as to be unreadable. What we have left are fragments.” Among Desi’s other revelations are that Kate “sometimes used her birth name Ekaterina when she wanted to be noticed.” In the third chapter, Kate gives more background on her family. This is followed by the first fragment written by Kate in captivity and titled “Day 1.” Later in the book (Day 13), Kate tells how both her birth name and “Kate” are related to Hekate.

Desi gives a clear description/definition of “torture” within Kate’s fragments of Day 32. Desi writes: “Torture is a distortion. The torturer is not after the truth. Not even after information. The torturer wants to break the person….When it comes to women, the torturer wants to inflict shame on her. To do this he will reduce her to sex, by which he means her genitals. When they torture a man, the most effective method of shame is to reduce him to the female  sex….”And several paragraphs later: “Torture is like rape. If you don’t resist, where is there stature as a torturer?”

Yes, this novel is both art and an exploration of important social issues. Most readers will consider the book literary fiction. It also has elements of the mystery genre. And for some readers, it will be a novel of the “horror” genre. Though Hawthorne avoids overtly graphic descriptions, if you are concerned about “triggers,” tread carefully. Expertly structured and beautifully written, Dark Matters is about dreadful, challenging subjects. And though its story is about terror, it is also a story about family, women’s heroism, and love.

In addition to her 8 poetry books, Susan Hawthorne  is author of 2 previous novels, 3 books of non-fiction, and an editor of 10 anthologies. Her work has been translated into 6 languages. Among the awards she has received are the 2017 Penguin Random House Best Achievement in Writing (part of the Inspire Awards) for increasing awareness about epilepsy and the politics of disability, the 2015 George Robertson Award for services to the publishing industry, and the 1996 Hall of Fame Award (part of The Rainbow Awards) for her contribution to the gay and lesbian community.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Review: Medusa Anthology

Re-visioning Medusa: from Monster to Divine Wisdom, a girl god anthology; Glenys Livingstone, Ph.D, Trista Hendren, Pat Daly, editors; preface by Joan Marler; cover art by Arna Baartz; CreateSpace 2017, trade paperback 6” x 9”, 266 pages; also available as an e-book.

If you’ve ever wondered about the mythical persona known as Medusa, this is the book for you. Re-visioning Medusa covers a lot of ground and includes a number of different points of view and interpretations. It is excellently edited to alternate among essays, art, and poetry. Included among the many points of information, for instance, we learn that the animals associated with Medusa and her iconography include snakes, birds, horses, lions, and boars. 

In her Preface, Joan Marler, known for her association with Marija Gimbutas and for founding the Institute of Archaeomythology, explains that this volume contains work by people from “Australia, North America, Europe, Israel and Turkey.” With brief summaries of some of the essays in this book, Marler discusses the history of Medusa mythology in many different cultures, including Southeastern European, Greek, the Balkans, and Renaissance (Christian) Italy, as she writes: “Renaissance artists, inspired by Greek mythological themes, frighteningly realistic portrayals of decapitated women with snakes for hair….emblematic of the Inquisitional murders taking place in Europe during that time…. Later, during the 18th-19th centuries, Romantic artists, poets, and Decadents recast Medusa as a beautiful victim, not a monster….” She goes on to explain the influence of Freudian psychology in the 20th century and urges us to be present in the “here and now,” as we “listen the ancient wisdom that is our True Inheritance.”

An introductory note by Editor Trista Hendren, explains why the editors of Revisioning Medusa decided to allow the authors from diverse countries and institutions to use the spelling, punctuation, and other style features that they were used to rather than standardizing such style items in the entire book, as is customary. I think it was a wise, innovative decision to allow this diversity and adds color to the book. In keeping with this style freedom, I am not including degrees (such as Ph.D. and Rev.) with the contributors’ names, although they are included in the book.

I’m going to leave my coverage of the many essays in this book until after I list the poets and artists, and approach the essays in what I hope is an innovative way.

Contributing poets (in order of appearance of their first poem in this anthology) are Barbara Ardinger, Susan Hawthorne, Janet Guastavino, Angela Kunschmann, Penny-Anne Beaudoin, Kerryn Coombs-Valeontis, and Elizabeth Oakes.

In order of appearance of initial art contribution, contributors of art showing various interpretations of Medusa (in black & white—both original and photos of art or sculpture) include: Glenys Livingstone, Cristina Biaggi, Miriam Robbins Dexter (within essay), Sudie Rakusin, Jeanne K. Raines, Lizzie Yee, Caroline Alkonost, Diane Goldie (with descriptive text), Kaalii Cargill (within essay), Luisah Teish (with descriptive text), Alyscia Cunningham, Jack K. Jeansonne (with descriptive text by Marija Krstic), Susan Hawthorne, Arna Baartz, Nuit Moore (with descriptive text and poem), Glenys Livingstone (artist unknown), Kerry Coombs-Valeontis, Marie Summerwood, Meg Dreyer, Pegi Eyers (with descriptive text).

Some of the essays are scholarly, some are more personal in tone, and others have still other stylistic approaches. To demonstrate the views and styles of the many essayists, I will briefly comment upon the essay and quote a short passage from each.

Writing from her personal experience over the years, Glenys Livingstone, in her essay, “Mother Medusa: Regenerative One,” writes of wearing a headpiece that was “characteristic of the ancient primordial Medusa, though I did not know it….Only gradually have I come to identify Her snake coils and bird wings, as an ancient combination representative of Medusa….I realize now that I had been invoking Medusa; calling Her into my being, embodying Her in Seasonal ceremony, embedding Her in regenerative creativity in my life.”

In her essay, “Medusa: Ferocious and Beautiful, Petrifying and Healing: Through the Words of the Ancients,” Miriam Robbins Dexter, one of Livingstone’s sources, presents scholarly material to show that “Medusa is a compilation of Neolithic European, Semitic, and Indo-European mythology and iconography.” She explores the meanings of Medusa’s name as well as her various myths, which she has translated from Greek and Latin texts. She points out the differences in the way Medusa is understood over the centuries, writing, “Whereas the Neolithic Goddess is a powerful arbiter of birth, death, and rebirth, she has been transformed in Greek from a Goddess of the life continuum to this a dead head.”

Jane Meredith’s long, personally-focused essay, “Calling Medusa In,” concludes with an invocation, I excerpt and quote here in part: “Oh, Medusa, I’m calling you in….I invoke you into my own life and the lives of my friends, I invoke you into the houses and families of childhoods everywhere….Bring your qualities Medusa….It is time serpents were released and wildness broke the stone face of what is acceptable and we saw behind the masks….”

In the shortest essay in the book, “To Stand Witness,” Teri Uktena writes that although the Medusa myth has always been a favorite of hers, she was “bothered by the myth from the very beginning because it made no sense.” She goes on to explain why she felt this way and ultimately links it to real life instances in which women have been sexually abused.

In her essay, “Medusa: The Invitation,” Maureen Owen writes, “The story of Medusa is fundamentally the story of the domination of the patriarchal invaders of mainland Greece over the early goddess culture of North Africa….When I hear this story, I hear Medusa’s invitation, urging me to look deeper….” Owen continues by delving into the roles of serpents, and Medusa as high priestess, Goddess, and Queen, and Crone, depending on the time and culture.

In “Till We Have Bodies, “ Kaali Cargill, discusses Medusa mythology as part of her “love affair with myth.” She writes, “She [Medusa] has been known as the Destroyer aspect of the Triple Goddess called Neith in Egypt, Ath-eena or Athene in North Africa. It is through Medusa that mythology offers a hint of what once may have been possible for women in terms of birth control.”

In her essay, “Medusa, Athena, Sophia: the Fierceness of Wisdom Justice,” Bonnie Odione writes: “we cannot look at her face directly, as the patriarchs could not view Yahweh’s.” In exploring Medusa’s relationship to Wisdom goddess(es), she suggests, “a rapid transit from Greek mythology to pre-common era Jewish Alexandria….The Wisdom (Hebrew: Hockmah) tradition that was present throughout the Hebrew Scriptures is Grecianized (Greek: Sophia…) to better reflect Alexandrian culture….” She continues by discussing a quote from the Book of Wisdom, used at Donald Trump’s inauguration.

In her essay, “Medusa, My Mother and Me,” Barbara C. Daughter explores her relationship with her mother and her own self-image in light of various images of Medusa. She writes of conflating Medusa with “a small statue Arthur Evans is said to have unearthed at Knossos Greece: the Minoan Snake Goddess….Who were these snake-wielding women and what could they reveal to me?”

Marie Summerwood begins her essay, “Medusa Goddess: Up Close and Personal,” with a memory from her priestess initiation of “the first time I knowingly met the presence of Medusa….” She had called in other goddesses, including Isis, Quan Yin, Mary, Aphrodite. She had not planned to invoke Medusa, but “the moment when I had planned to speak the name of the next goddess, my hands clenched and unclenched and I found myself fiercely whispering – over and over – the name of Medusa.” She goes on to describe the work she has done through Medusa, and ends with a chant with notated music.

In her essay, “Medusa’s Hall of Mirrors,” Leslene della-Madre writes that as a result of her work with women’s mysteries, “I have felt that helping women to reclaim Medusa by symbolically reattaching her head through ritual is deeply empowering.” She goes on to discuss the ritual for such a working, as well as her research to try to find out why “the origins of myths from cultures around the world that seem to bear similar resemblances, even though contact amongst people living far apart most likely did not occur.” Her explorations take her to what to some may be a startling—and to me fascinating, and innovative— conclusion involving the possible change of “planetary configurations in our solar system.”

In “Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times, “ C. Loran Hills reflects on the effects of various versions of the Medusa myth. In some versions, she notes, “Wild women are condemned as corrupt, depraved, and wicked….unruly, ungovernable, visionary, savage, and ferocious….Strong-willed women are demonized in the patriarchal system and socialized to behave.” To counter this, she urges us to nurture each other and educate ourselves. She also comments that women’s aging is “viewed as repugnant”and “treated like a disease…” and discusses the history of the word, “hag.”

Marguerite Rigoglioso’s essay tells us “How You Can Reattach Medusa’s Head,” with instructions based on a ritual she first performed with a group in 2012 and which has been performed by a number of groups since. Of the ritual’s significance, she writes: “With the enactment of this reparatory ritual, we set in motion the re-memberment of this ancestor, and thus the reversal of her story. With that, we set into motion the reversal of all women’s disempowerment.”

“Medusa: Wisdom of the Crone Moon,” by Theresa Curtis is a dramatic (some may feel at times melodramatic) narrative. At the beginning of this essay Curtis writes, “her tale is long and rich, and constantly growing deeper – it can never truly be known…. For me, She reeks of endless mystery of the secrets beyond the dark moon.” Curtis then goes on to write of Sigmund Freud’s referral to Medusa as “Vagina dentata…exhibiting panic and horror…in the face of her power…. he was never able to complete his treatise on Her.” Curtis then recommends how women can “reflect on Medusa without statuing to stone” through an initiation that involves setting intention, an induction that involves becoming Medusa, and awareness.

Gillian M.E.(dusa) Alban begins her essay, ”Medusa’s Stunning Powers Reflected in Literature,” with this sentence: “The monstrously divine Medusa is emblematic of women’s struggles to rise above oppressions with her serpentine power and invincible gaze.” After reviewing Medusa mythology, among those whose work she delves into are Frieda Kahlo, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Robert Graves, Jean Paul Sartre, Margaret Atwood, Sue Monk Kidd, and Angela Carter.

Dawn Glinkski’s “Making Amends with Medusa” focuses on the fixed star, Algol, at 26 degrees of Taurus, which is known as the “demon star” or “Medusa’s head.” This position is of particular interest to me because I have a stellium (several planets) at or near this position. Among the famous people Dawn discusses whose planets are conjunct or near Algol, is Bob Dylan, whose birthday is the same as mine (yes, date and year)—our charts are close in time (taking into consideration time zone difference), differing most in location. Glinkski points out that Dylan has Uranus conjunct (in same degree as) Algol (as do I) and sees this related to his being involved in the civil rights movement (as was I) and rebelling “against the establishment though his music.” (as I have through my writing?) She writes that 3 words she associates with Algol are “protection, preservation, and prevention.” Though this information was unknown to me at the time (about 3 decades ago), I selected a statue of Medusa to place in my office at work for just such purposes. And that is also why I named this blog after Her. Among other people Glinski discusses who have birth charts with relationships to Algol are Oliver Cromwell, John F. Kennedy, and Donald Trump. Glinkski interprets the placement in their charts and also suggests ways to interpret this placement if it appears in your birth chart.

In “Re-visioning Medusa: A Personal Odyssey” Sara Wright tells how, when she was a child, for her a painting conflated her mother with Medusa. She writes, “This image of my mother with her long, curly hair, seemed quite frightening to me. It was as if this painting held a key – but to what?” Continuing, she writes, “as an adolescent, I started to call myself Medusa….self-loathing became the mask I wore. I hated my body.” The essay ultimately tells how, as an adult, she came terms with the fear of her mother by finding out more about Medusa. Near the end of the essay. She ties her “odyssey” in with a current political situation.

Laura Shannon, in her essay “Medusa and Athena: Ancient Allies in Healing Women’s Trauma,” sees these goddesses as helping women, mostly in similar ways, despite their differences in mythology. She cites a number of other authors who have written on the topic of these goddesses and trauma (such as PTSD) including Patricia Monaghan, Sigmund Freud, Joseph Campbell, Carol P. Christ, Marija Gimbutas, Miriam Robbins Dexter, Anne Baring, and Annis Pratt. She sees both Athena and Medusa as protectors and writes: “By placing Medusa’s head in her heart, Athena gives Medusa a post-traumatic sanctuary in a safe and strong body, and Medusa gives Athena a part of her protective powers.” Shannon goes on to discuss the role of circle dancing, both in ancient Athens and in current Greece and the Balkans (and, I would add, in other countries such as the U.S., where I have participated in such dances).She feels these dances help women heal from trauma as well as “affirm and transmit pre-patriarchal values.”

Trista Hendren is another one of the authors who, as she puts it in“Re-stor(y)ing Sanity,”the book’s last essay, was, as a child “terrified of Medusa.” In exploring the reasons why— both as a child and growing into adulthood— she delves into the writings of Margaret Atwood, Mary Oliver, Toni Morrison (particularly Sula), bell hooks, Jane Caputi, Hélène Cixous, Monica Sjöö, Barbara Mor, Andrea Dworkin, Audre Lorde, Mary Daly, and Starhawk. One of the conclusions Hendren reaches is: “Our patriarchal brainwashing thoroughly rinsed out the richness of our being— even the biological realities of our bodies. Everything is supposed to be bleached. Our body hair removed. Our faces, masked. Our glorious womanly smells, perfumed over. Our menses, hidden or erased completely….”

An exceptional anthology, Re-visioning Medusa will be valued not only by people who have studied and worked with Medusa for some time, but also those who haven’t yet wondered about Her. A complete list of the Table of Contents, including title of contribution and contributor’s name, can be found by clicking on the “Look Inside” feature on the book’s page on

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