From the Wasteland Rises Hope by Carolyn Lee Boyd

Carolyn Lee BoydFor millennia, humans have told stories of goddesses who have decreed that, because terrible crimes have been committed against their female loved ones or those under their protection, our world would become a desolate wasteland. They withdrew their spiritual power that made life possible so that no fruits or vegetables would grow to nourish us or no sunlight would warm our bodies. Only when justice was done did these goddesses heal the wasteland so human life could continue.

In ancient Greece, the youthful daughter Persephone was kidnapped from her idyllic wildflower meadow to the Underworld by Hades. Her mother, the great Earth goddess Demeter, wandered the world in great despair seeking her daughter while the crops withered and the people starved. Only when Persephone was returned to live on the Earth was it again abundant. Amaterasu, the Shinto Sun Goddess, hid her life-giving light when she was angered by her brother’s desecration of her queendom that resulted in a friend’s death. Finally, when her brother was banished from heaven and she was lured from her cave and saw her sacredness and beauty in a mirror, the sun’s rays nourished the Earth once more. You may know of more stories from your own tradition.

Continue reading “From the Wasteland Rises Hope by Carolyn Lee Boyd”

Is God Breathing? by Karen Leslie Hernandez

Another mass shooting. Syria. #MeToo. Hunger. Animal extinction. Iraq. Climate change. Deportation. Slavery. Central African Republic. Hate crimes. Rape. Animal cruelty. Oppression. Accidental nuclear war alerts. Homeless encampments. “Illegal immigrants.” Afghanistan. More mass shootings. Sex robots. Trafficking. Russian bots. Racism. Police brutality. Myanmar. Child abuse. Prostitution. Torture. Poverty. The war in Chicago. The privatization of water. Patriarchy. Prison industry. Islamophobia. Migrants.

This is our world. And I can’t breathe.

I often wonder – is God breathing? Does God care anymore? Does She wonder why we can’t stop harming each other? Has She given up on us? I certainly wouldn’t blame her.

As I sit writing this, the world outside continues. As we awake to more news that numbs us to the every day atrocities we commit upon each other, I believe, inside each and every one of us, we are screaming. We want out. We want this to stop. We are scared. We can’t breathe.

But, we don’t know how to stop. So we keep moving. We keep going. Because that’s what humans do. We keep hoping. We wonder how much time the universe will give us. Will we get a break? Will something or someone finally stop us? Are we even deserving of the chance after chance we continually receive – to get it right?

Are we worthy of saving?

Continue reading “Is God Breathing? by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Just South of Ventura by Sara Frykenberg

For those of us living in Southern California, it has been a tense week to say the least: flames ravaging up and down the coast, homes lost, thousands displaced, freeway and school closures, smoke thick in the air, and ash raining from the sky.

And the fires are still raging. 

Whether or not one is directly impacted by the wildfires here in Ventura and Los Angeles County, you can’t walk through the grocery store, turn on the radio, or get a cup of coffee without engaging the fear and concern, or hearing about the devastation left behind. We are sharing a trauma, howbeit differently, and with different levels of need.

I have been lucky during the fires.  I live just south of Ventura. My work is on the Getty side of the 405: it was threatened, but not in flames.  I spent the week checking in with family and friends, offering my home, and breathing the toxic air. I also made dinner, picked my brother up from the airport, attended a baby shower, and graded papers. … This is a strange juxtaposition, and like many Californians, I have had a hard time processing what’s going on.

On Sunday afternoon, surrounded by the unnatural darkness of an ash filled sky while traveling down the 101 freeway, I wrote the following. This is my effort to make sense.  And I offer it to you all here, in case this helps you make sense too.  Continue reading “Just South of Ventura by Sara Frykenberg”

Faith in Action by Lisa Kloskin

Nearly a month ago, American voters showed up at the polls and delivered some big wins: the first openly transgender person was elected to a statehouse—Danica Roem in Virginia. Roem defeated an incumbent candidate who authored an anti-trans bathroom bill. Also in Virginia: the boyfriend of a reporter shot and killed on live TV, Chris Hurst, won a seat to the statehouse on a gun-control platform, defeating the three-term NRA-backed incumbent. And Hoboken, New Jersey, got its first Sikh mayor: Ravi Bhalla. These and others are encouraging signs that love and tolerance are gaining ground in the public sphere. But there’s still so much work to do. White Supremacists and Nazis still walk boldly in the streets, LGBTQIA teens still face bullying and higher rates of self-harm, women are still paid less for equal work and harassed in every arena, sea levels are rising at faster rates than we previously thought, people of color are still being killed by police, mass shootings are still a regular part of our news cycle, refugees are still waiting in camps around the world for a chance at a better, safer life.

Activists and advocates have been working for justice in these and other areas for decades. In the last year, spurred on by events like the Women’s March, a growing group of would-be activists has emerged. These allies are a welcome addition to the justice movement, but many worry they won’t do or say the right things, and want to have their perspectives deepened on important issues. They need guides and resources to give them the knowledge, tools, and confidence to make a real impact.

Continue reading “Faith in Action by Lisa Kloskin”

Gratitude – A Salve to Heal Our Wounds by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoTomorrow being Thanksgiving in the United States offers an opportunity to reflect on gratitude. With so much anger bubbling up on all fronts is it possible that gratitude could be the salve to heal our wounds?

Continue reading “Gratitude – A Salve to Heal Our Wounds by Judith Shaw”

The Dandelion Insurrection: A Must-Read for These Times by Kate Brunner

dandelioninsurrectionI don’t know about you, but I am fried. These last two years proved personally & professionally exhausting. And yet, another year looms ahead unavoidably — another incredibly demanding year which will require more than I can fathom I actually have to give at this moment. So, during these strange, liminal, hazy, waning days between my culture’s frenetic celebrations of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I decided I could not digest one more morsel of non-fiction. Not one more triple vetted, actually fact-checked, or at least mostly properly journalistic news article. Not one more diligently researched treatise on the world’s sorry state of affairs. Not one more book-length analysis of humanity’s determined spiral into self-destruction.

Instead, I set out a stack of backlogged novels I’d told myself I’d get around to later when things calmed down and decided that even if things were far from calm, humanity’s creativity was what I desperately needed a large dose of this week. I boiled the kettle, brewed a strong cup of tea, and in working my way through that stack of novels, I found and joined The Dandelion Insurrection. Continue reading “The Dandelion Insurrection: A Must-Read for These Times by Kate Brunner”

Save Your Own Arse by Kate Brunner

Photo by Cameron Strandberg (Wikimedia Commons)

Huge swaths of forest are burning. Over the past few years, it seems like summer and autumn bring devastating fires to some region of the United States. This year it is the Great Smokey Mountains and Tennessee, in particular, who are experiencing hell on earth. (Kansas experienced its largest, most destructive fire season this year, as well.) Last year, it was California. The year before that, Washington state. The year before that…. Well, you catch my drift.

In 2011, I was living in Houston during the Bastrop County fire that consumed over 34,000 acres and more than 1,500 homes. Driving out towards the Hill Country after the highways were reopened was heartbreaking — nothing but charred tree trunks and ash covered hillsides for miles.

That same year, Texas experienced its worst single year drought ever and the hottest summer of any US state on record. Three individual fires were stoked by strong winds moving across Texas as a result of Tropical Storm Lee. It was a textbook demonstration of the perfectly catastrophic cocktail of climate change factors that are producing increasingly severe fire seasons across the country. Extreme summer heat, dire drought conditions, brittle forests, strong storms. And everything goes up in smoke. Continue reading “Save Your Own Arse by Kate Brunner”

The Reason for Hope Is the Creative Process of Life by Carol P. Christ

carol p. christ photo michael bakasIn these these days when many of us are gripped by paralyzing despair as we come to terms with the election as President of a racist, sexist bigot who has created a climate of fear and promises to undo much of the progressive legislation of the past fifty years, I find it appropriate to reiterate an insight that has sustained me through many years of sadness and disappointment about the state of our world.

“Hope is not to be found in optimism so much as in a primal understanding of what matters most.” In other words, the reason for hope is not to be found in the knowledge or rational calculation that our efforts will succeed in saving life on earth but rather in the conviction or inner knowing that it is right to try. Continue reading “The Reason for Hope Is the Creative Process of Life by Carol P. Christ”

Killing Us Slowly by Judith Shaw

Judith Shaw photoKilling us slowly with your rules.
Killing us slowly with your technology.
Killing us slowly with your bureaucracy.
Killing us slowly…….

Continue reading “Killing Us Slowly by Judith Shaw”

Syringa vulgaris, Gerard, & Me by Kate Brunner

katebrunnerA vast array of massive issues are affecting the Land today. Rampant pesticide use, trademarked GMO seed, fracking, mining, illegal dumping, indigenous sovereignty, water rights, accelerating extinction rates, municipal waste management, clear cutting, increasingly extreme weather patterns, and on and on. Every one of them, big issues affecting our world. The arguments raging around these issues overwhelm & confuse me. (Why, for example, were some of my former Texas neighbors actually opposed to recycling?) Grappling with these questions, I sometimes find myself with an enraged mind, not to mention an aching heart, as I struggle to understand how we got here & why we aren’t doing more to address these and other grave environmental challenges that are, day-by-day, becoming increasingly necessary to confront.

Entire rivers run orange, mountains have their tops blown off, gaping holes in the seabed gush millions of gallons of crude into the world’s waters, acres of forest burn, & cities drown. We are entering the 6th mass extinction, but the first one we’ve played an active role in triggering. Two months ago, I listened to a top field ecologist cite statistics from NASA climatologists that predict at the current extinction rate, only 50% of all animal species will survive into the next century.

I wonder when humankind will remember that we ARE, in fact, one of those animal species. NASA just gave my great grandchildren a 1 in 2 shot of surviving the 21st century.

Living through my ordinary days with all of that kicking around in my head & heart can honestly be a challenge sometimes. It is my ecofeminism and my earth-rooted paganism that sees me through this crises of faith in my species.

Right now, I am just beginning to enter into sacred relationship with a new-to-me patch of Land. After nine years of dwelling in mostly subtropical climates in central Queensland & Gulf coast Texas, I recently relocated to southwest Colorado. I am getting reacquainted with a Land that moves through much more distinct seasonal changes than the Land of my most recent experiences. Instead of just summer and not-quite-summer, I moved in to a true spring for the first time in quite a while.

Settling into our new home over the last few months included a good bit of time in our new gardens; weeding, composting, mulching, learning about the community irrigation system, pruning, transplanting, and of course, identifying the assorted flora & fauna making appearances all around us. It turns out, this has been a heck of a year for lilacs & garter snakes. They’ve both made exceptional showings around here throughout this spring & early summer; fat, lush, numerous, & bringing their lessons into my life full force with the power of nature’s own magic. Continue reading “Syringa vulgaris, Gerard, & Me by Kate Brunner”

What Dorothee Soelle Taught Me about Creativity by Elise M. Edwards

Elise EdwardsI’m currently developing a book that considers how theological and ethical considerations in architectural design can define good architecture.  My book discusses five virtues related to the architectural design process that promote human participation in bringing out God’s intention of flourishing for humanity and creation.  Those five virtues (or values) are: empathy, creativity, discernment, beauty, and sustainability.  In the book, I’ll explain how these virtues orient design tasks to the social and ethical aims of architecture.

In this virtual space, I want to have a discussion about what these virtues mean from a feminist standpoint.  In my writing, I draw from theological ethics, architectural theory, and feminist theory to emphasize community discernment and participation.  It’s fitting, then, to claim opportunities in my work to acknowledge the feminists who have influenced me while also opening up the dialogue to the feminists in this community who continue to inspire and guide me to do my best work. Continue reading “What Dorothee Soelle Taught Me about Creativity by Elise M. Edwards”

Spring in the Era of Pesticides, Global Climate Change, and War by Carol P. Christ

Carol in Crete croppedThis was not a normal winter. It rained and rained and rained. It was grey, grey, grey. Gale force winds blew in from the ocean, not once but many times. Several of my shutters were shattered. An olive tree fell in my garden. I pruned the dead leaves from its branches and had it hauled away. I am still in the process of pulling out a large number of plants that did not survive an unusual number of very cold days.

The soil is so saturated that streams are running where they have never been seen before, the land gives way, and boulders come crashing down the mountainsides. I have decided to remove all of my traditional shutters rather than repair them–as it is becoming clear that no shutters will survive the winds that will blow over our island in the coming years.

They say that we used to have strong gale winds of about 50 miles per hour once a year. Now we have hurricane force winds of 70 miles per hour several times each winter. I once read that Lesbos has the largest number of sunny days of all the Greek islands. We often sit out of doors wearing light jackets in the middle of winter. This year we did not.

My response to the long winter that has only just begun to give way was to stay inside. Though I said I was mildly depressed, I think deep down I was sad and angry.

Changes in the weather are normal and natural phenomena. But it is becoming increasingly evident that the changes we now experiencing are not. Climate experts tell us that because of the carbon we have released into the atmosphere of our planet, we will experience more and more extreme weather conditions.

I have noticed a decline in bees and butterflies in my garden in recent years. So far this spring there are almost none. This is not the result of global climate change, but of our failure to heed the warnings of Rachel Carson to stop poisoning the environment with pesticides.

house martin in flightThe house martins have returned. I hear their liquid chatter as they fly above me. Freesias and irises are about to come into bloom. Pale pink, almost white petaled flowers are opening on the quince tree. Red leaves are budding on the pomegranate trees. The Judas tree burst into deep pink blossom overnight. Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. This year is no exception.

Spring has also brought an increase in the arrival of refugees fleeing war in Syria and Afghanistan to our island. People discuss what will happen to them, but no one is talking about ending war.

Although spring is coming, it is hard for me to rejoice today. Human beings seem to be hell bent on destroying life. Right now I am holding back tears and screams because I fear that if I let them out, they will not stop.

Postscript: I will find the strength to rejoice in the regeneration of life and to redouble my commitment to save what can be saved–because we must.

Carol leads the life-transforming Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete (facebook and twitter)–space available on the spring and fall 2015 tours.  Carol’s books include She Who Changes and and Rebirth of the Goddess; with Judith Plaskow, the widely-used anthologies Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions; and forthcoming next year, Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology. Photo of Carol by Maureen Murdock.

Mountain Mother, I Hear You Calling by Carol P. Christ

carol christThe mountaintop shrines of Mount Juctas in Archanes, Crete are situated on twin peaks, which may have symbolized breasts. Ancient shrines on the northern peak date from 2200 BCE until at least the end of the Ariadnian (Minoan) period in 1450 BCE. A crevice in the rock was filled with offerings of pottery, clay images of women and men in ritual dress, diseased bodies and body parts, sheep and cattle, and other objects. Excavations to a depth of 13 meters did not reach the bottom layers. Many offerings had been burned, suggesting that the objects were first thrown into fire and then dropped into the crevice. People who climbed the mountain for the festivals would have spilled over both peaks and there may have been shrines as well as fires on both of them.

Goddess Pilgrim on Mount Juctas
Goddess Pilgrim on Mount Juctas

With lack of imagination, archaeologists often write that worship in mountaintop shrines in Crete began when the king ascended the mountain to survey his realm. This ignores the fact that people are like goats and will climb anything if they can. Bones provide evidence of domesticated sheep, goats, and cattle in Crete long before there were kings. Surely shepherds climbed Mount Juctas before any kings did.

The idea that mountains are for kings also ignores the fact that there are no kings in Crete today, no realms to be surveyed, and yet the people of Archanes still ascend the mountain for the summer festival known as the Transfiguration of Christ on August 5th and 6th. A church called Afendis Christos or Christ the Lord on the southern peak of Juctas is the destination of current pilgrims. Today the uneven dirt road recently cut into the mountain is clogged with cars (only) during the festival. Continue reading “Mountain Mother, I Hear You Calling by Carol P. Christ”


carol christOn Sunday May 18 the first round of Municipal and Regional Elections were held in Greece, and I ran for office again. A month or so before the 2010 Regional Elections were held in under a newly reorganized electoral system, my friend Michael Bakas sent me an email saying simply: “You are running with the Green Wind in the upcoming elections.”  Michael asked me to run because we had worked together to save the wetlands in Lesbos and he had supported me as I wrote an official Complaint to the European Commission documenting the failures of national and local authorities to uphold European laws.

I did not know what I was supposed to do as a candidate on a Greek parliamentary-system list, but in the end I passed out flyers in my village and the adjoining one. My name was mentioned in a newspaper article because I was foreign-born. To everyone’s surprise, I came in 3rd of 18 candidates for the Green Wind in Lesbos, and we elected our first councilor in the regional government. After the election Michael told me that we were going together to Chios to meet with candidates to celebrate our victory. There I met an amazing group of green activists and despite being a “foreigner” was warmly received.

In 2012, I ran again in the national elections, that time passing out flyers in more than 20 villages and towns.  As I have been pretty busy campaigning, I thought I would share translations of 2 statements from me that were posted in Greek on the blog and facebook page of the Green Wind. Continue reading “WHY I AM RUNNING WITH THE GREEN PARTY IN ANOTHER ELECTION IN GREECE by Carol P. Christ”

Why I Need the Goddess by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoI have been drawn to the Goddess for a variety of reasons.  Initially, as a young woman, She spoke to me of my own power, self-worth, self-determination and my/every woman’s inherent beauty. She lent Her hand to my emerging sense of independence from male domination.

Over the years my experience of Goddess deepened.  At times I feel Her as manifest in me and as a symbol of my own power.  At other times She is who I pray to for both personal and community help.

Continue reading “Why I Need the Goddess by Judith Shaw”

Can We Honor Inanna and Her Gifts? by Judith Shaw

Judith Shaw photoSpring has arrived and my garden begins to emerge once more.  The world greens and blooms all around, reminding me that Mother Earth remains constant in Her desire to bless us with Her bountiful abundance. I am also reminded of Inanna and Her love for humanity.

Inanna, Goddess of Heaven and Earth, a Sumerian Goddess who encompasses all aspects of life, was greatly revered by the  people of Uruk as she brought them the gifts of civilization.

Inanna painting by judith shaw
Inanna in Her Boat of Heaven, pastel and beeswax on paper

This part of her story begins when she visits her father, Enki, God of Wisdom.   As they share drinks and a meal, Inanna proceeds to drink Enki under the table.  Once he’s well into His cups He gives Her the sacred me, the gifts of civilization.   Inanna rejoices as she claims these gifts for Her people, gifts such as:
kingship, the divine queen priestess,
the art of the hero, the art of treachery,
the rejoicing of the heart, the art of lovemaking,
the craft of the builder, the perceptive ear,
fear, dismay,
the kindling of fire, the making of decisions.

Continue reading “Can We Honor Inanna and Her Gifts? by Judith Shaw”

For the Love of Gaia by Jassy Watson

For the Love of Gaia Jassy WatsonOn January 26, 2013 a rare, devastating tornado hit our community in Queensland, Australia, a coastal town on this sub-tropical coast. My family experienced nature’s elemental force firsthand and hopefully will never again. The tornado viciously shattered houses, peeled away roofs, uplifted cars and trees, and took down power lines, tearing apart everything in its path. With absolutely no warning, literally out of the blue, it formed over the churning sea, rapidly intensifying before striking land, awakening the vulnerability and fragility of all life in its midst.

When it struck, our four kids and I were waiting in our car while my husband ducked into a mate’s house to borrow a tool. We heard the sound of a roaring jet plane overhead, as my husband came running, screaming at us to get out of the car. Turning to my left, in a vision imprinted forever, a spiral of debris flew toward us. Scrambling, we got the kids out of their harnesses and safely indoors. I lagged behind, taking care of the children first, and fell out of the side door of the van with the wind’s impact. As I got up to run, a large piece of roofing tin flew straight for my head. I dove, seeking safety under the front of our running car. My life flashed before my eyes. All of us in a state of shock, the tornado was gone as quickly as it had come, we were unscathed except for a few minor cuts and bruises. It was only a few moments before the immediate danger passed. We ventured outside to inspect the damage, destruction surrounded us. Continue reading “For the Love of Gaia by Jassy Watson”

IN THE NEWS: Global Climate Change by Carol P. Christ

Climate change is in the news again due to the devasting storm known as Hurricane Sandy.  Scientists, activists, journalists, and politicians are telling us that Sandy is not just another “unpredictable event” brought to us by “Mother Nature.”  Will we listen this time?

Hurricane Sandy is a human-made and entirely predictable and sure to be repeated environmental consequence of the use of fossil fuels, especially oil and coal. Burning fossil fuels puts carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This raises the global temperature in the air, land, and sea. Melting of polar ice caps is a result of the rise in global temperatures. This will cause a 3 foot or more rise in the seas, leading to the permanent flooding of the seacoasts and sea coast constructions, including homes, restaurants and shops, office buildings, and harbors and ports.

The warming of the seas is also producing extreme weather conditions, including high winds and hurricanes, along with colder winters and hotter summers.  Extreme weather conditions will lead to regular storm-related flooding of rivers and sea coasts, erosion of hills and mountains in winter, followed by catastrophic fires in summer.  Prolonged droughts and unseasonal rains will devastate farms and food production. Wildlife habitats will be destroyed. Places where people live will become too hot, too cold, too wet, and generally unfriendly to life.

Continue reading “IN THE NEWS: Global Climate Change by Carol P. Christ”

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