A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from one of my spiritual teachers, a senior disciple of Sri Swami Satchidananda, whom I had immediately recognized and accepted as my guru when I first encountered him in the Summer of 1965. I was initiated by him in 2001 and received a mantra that I repeated daily for all these years. Yet here was Sary telling me I needed to adopt a new mantra, a prayer or praise and veneration for the fierce Hindu Goddess Kali. Here is exactly who I need these days, brandishing her ten arms, beheading demons and absorbing their blood, in a sari made from the skin of a Bengal tiger. She wears a belt of skulls and manifests her fierceness with a red tongue hanging from her lips. Creator and Destroyer, she is impeccable she catches their blood so that they don’t proliferate. Precisely who I need know after my diagnosis, six months ago of glioblastoma.Continue reading “Unorthodox; Embracing Kali on the Eve of Rosh Hashanah; ‘May you be be inscribed in the Book of Life’ by Joyce Zonana”
From the Archives: A Feminist Retelling of Noah’s Ark
This was originally posted on May 4, 2018
My daughters came to me after Sunday School one day, concerned about a story they had heard in which God drowned almost everyone on Earth. So I sat down and thought about why a community might want to tell that story, and what valuable wisdom might be lifted from it for my children. Here is what I told them:
God/ess has many faces, which help us understand different things we need to know at different times. Sometimes we think of God/ess as Crone, an old, old woman crowned with silver hair as an emblem of her wisdom, who helps us learn to let go of anything that is holding back the wellness of our community and ourselves.Continue reading “From the Archives: A Feminist Retelling of Noah’s Ark”
From the Archives: And No Religion Too by Elizabeth Cunningham
This was originally posted on January 17, 2016
Religion. As a species we can’t seem to live with it or without it. There is dispute about the derivation of the word, but some scholars believe it has the same root as the word ligament, ligare, to bind or tie, to reinforce the bonds between human and divine, or perhaps the bonds between believers. The words bond and bind also have a variety of meanings and connotations. A bond can be used to tie someone up; it can be a bond of kinship, or bond given as surety.
Religion’s impulses and manifestations are just as ambiguous. Did religion arise because the world seemed so beyond human control (weather, health of crops, availability of game)? Perhaps there were gods or spirits to appeal to or propitiate? Or did it arise equally from a sense of gratitude for the earth and seas that feed us, for a sky that dazzles us, for the life that flows through us and surrounds us. Song, dance, storytelling, drama, art likely began as religious or ritual expression. No aspect of life was beyond the sacred. And so religion also went into the business of law, social control. Religion has a long, bloody, ongoing history of occasioning and/or justifying war, oppression, persecution, torture, genocide.Continue reading “From the Archives: And No Religion Too by Elizabeth Cunningham”
Lucky by John M. Erickson
This past weekend, I was asked by an individual why I decided to get my Ph.D. in American Religious History focusing on LGBTQ spirituality and sexuality. Now, I’ve been asked this before, and if you know anything about me, you know I like to shock people at times, so my usual response is: “I have always been fascinated with people tell me I was going to hell.”
It’s almost the end of Pride Month and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on where we’ve come and where we must go.
This past weekend, I was asked by an individual why I decided to get my Ph.D. in American Religious History focusing on LGBTQ spirituality and sexuality. Now, I’ve been asked this before, and if you know anything about me, you know I like to shock people at times, so my usual response is: “I have always been fascinated with people telling me I was going to hell.”Continue reading “Lucky by John M. Erickson”
Star Trek: Discovery Season Two: On Characters, Action, and Faith by Ivy Helman.
Season two of Star Trek: Discovery incorporates religion differently than season one. While there are religious overarching themes running throughout, like how actions to shape the future and faith not as convictions but as empowerment, a more fitting and interesting way of addressing religion throughout this season is to look at the individual characters and what their stories have to stay about religion.
Captain Pike knows and understands religion. He also often believes. Michael is the persistent skeptic. The Red Angel plays many roles: an illogical mystery, a revelation, a savior or a intentional sign. Saru is the convert, physically transformed with a newfound confidence and power, while Hugh is the reincarnated, whose bodily existence begets loneliness and struggle. Spock is the logic wrestler, who as Pike says asks “amazing questions.” Finally, not a character per se, episode two, entitled “New Eden,” represents a typical Western understanding of organized religion, replete with sacred writings and a church.
Like season one, religion is present in the opening scene of the season, this time in the form of mythology, as Michael tells a tale of an African girl who threw embers from a fire into the air creating the Milky Way. Michael says that she left a message in the stars if one was willing and open to receiving it.
Continue reading “Star Trek: Discovery Season Two: On Characters, Action, and Faith by Ivy Helman.”
Mary’s Return by Sara Wright
Yesterday I learned (NPR) that a third of the oak trees in this country will be dead within 50 years; I also read that our sugary harbingers of spring, the Maples, are dying confirming my own observations. I try to imagine what fall will be like without fire on the mountain.
When I heard that pink dolphins, those denizens of the fresh waters of the Amazon are going extinct, I remembered their gift to me, grateful that I had been present as a receiver. On the last day of a three – year research journey (early 90’s) I was with my guide returning to a place on the river that I loved. It was absolutely calm; my guide and I drifted along a serpentine tributary curtained and dripping with scarlet passionflowers, when a circle of pink dolphins surrounded the dugout.
“I love you,” I repeated the words over and over in a trance-like state glued to the rippling brown water.
Round and round they came surfacing inches away from the side of the boat. Flippers splashing shades of pink and gray.
The Circle of Life was being inscribed in the water.
Now, many years later I am saying goodbye to an enduring friendship with a species I adored…
Around the world, and especially here in the ‘United’ (?) States the virus continues to spike and another strain has been identified, more contagious than the first. Two million people are dead…
Dancing for Forgiveness and Reconciliation – Part One By Laura Shannon
Continue reading “Dancing for Forgiveness and Reconciliation – Part One By Laura Shannon”
A Jewish Amulet against Plague by Jill Hammer
I begin with prayers and wishes for all who are suffering because of the COVID-19 epidemic: those who are ill, those who are mourning people who have died, those who face economic hardship, and all who are afraid. May we find ways to support and comfort one another.
This 19th century printed amulet against cholera, which was widely disseminated through the Jewish community at the time, was written by Moshe Teitelbaum. Part of it has become a common “house blessing” in Jewish homes Several friends, including Rabbi Jay Michaelson and Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie, posted the amulet on Facebook when the coronavirus epidemic began to take hold in the US. I immediately recognized it because I had been to Paris with my family and gone to a wonderful amulet exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Art and History, and this amulet was prominently displayed. In a time of 21st century plague, as we seek shelter, protection, and mutual care, the amulet seems newly and profoundly relevant. Continue reading “A Jewish Amulet against Plague by Jill Hammer”
When Life Hands You Lemons… by John Erickson
“When life hands you lemons, sometimes you have to make applesauce.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about something my grandmother would always tell me: “When life hands you lemons, sometimes you have to make applesauce.” I know, it sounds crazy, but life right now appears to be more on the crazy than the sane side.
We’re all in a state of uncertainty right now. The news is scary. Twitter is scary. Heck, even TikTok is losing parts of its humor. Everywhere we seem to turn, it’s more information about COVID-19, new cases, new lockdowns, and new things that we shouldn’t do for the foreseeable future. Continue reading “When Life Hands You Lemons… by John Erickson”
Let’s Try Creativity This Year by Barbara Ardinger
As usual, I’m writing my post a couple weeks before you’ll be able to read it. I bet we’re all wondering in mid-December if 2020 is really gonna happen. Will we still be living in a civilization? Will there still be wild animals (outside of zoos)? Will trees and other plants still be growing? Well, my friends, if we all woke up last Wednesday and opened our eyes and it’s all still here……hooray!
Way back in 1998 I wrote a book called Goddess Meditations. It was the first-ever book devoted to guided meditations centered only on goddesses. No gods. No empty minds or asanas. Goddesses, some well known, others obscure, from many pantheons. One chapter in the book is “Chakra Goddesses,” in which I assigned a goddess to each of the seven major chakras. The goddess of the throat chakra—which rules clear communication, self-expression, and creativity—is Sarasvati. Here (with comments that pop out of my mind and into my fingers as I type) is part of what I wrote about communication.
Continue reading “Let’s Try Creativity This Year by Barbara Ardinger”
The Door by John Erickson
Faith is something we get from each other, and sometimes in the most magical of circumstances, faith becomes embodied by the person you love the most.
I have a Ph.D. in American Religious History but I’ve never been much of a religious person. It’s been one of the conundrums of my life but nevertheless, I found religion and its role in influencing, for good and bad, the lived experiences of the LGBTQ community something worth exploring.
I’ve been struggling with writing this post ever since I graduated and officially became “Dr. John.” In preparing for my defense, the Chair of my Dissertation Committee requested that at the start of the defense, he wanted me to introduce my project, its overall scope, and most importantly why I wrote it.
Why did I write it? How does one answer why they chose to devote 8 years of their life to a single subject in search of an original idea? While some would sit and grapple with this question, I knew what the answer was all along because it always was (and always will be) about my maternal grandmother, Gladys Hritsko.
I wanted to know what made me different. Throughout my dissertation, I interviewed people who, much like myself, grew up in similar small towns, attended the same conservative church services, and heard the same damning things that I did about my sexuality being preached from the pulpit. Many of my subjects were deeply hurt by religion and it set some of them up for years of searching and painful memories and experiences that both forced them to leave their religious and faith-based communities they grew up in or, in the worst case, being kicked out by their family as a result of their religion.
The Feast of Santo Tomas by Sara Wright
This morning I went up to the village plaza in Abiquiu to watch the dancers parade around the church with their saint who is also honored at this village festival held every year at the end of November.
This is one of the two Native American festivals that is honored each year by the genizaros who are mixed Spanish and American Indian people who embrace and practice the Catholicism that was once forced upon them.
This eclectic community is made up of descendants of Native American slaves. Those captured in warfare were brought here, converted to Catholicism, taught Spanish and held in servitude by New Mexican families. The young women and female children endured the usual atrocities perpetuated on captive females including rape at the hands of their captors. Some New Mexican male genizaros gained their freedom by serving as soldiers to defend frontier villages like Abiquiu from Indian raids. By the late 1700s, genizaros comprised one-third of the population of New Mexico. Ultimately these non – tribal peoples were assimilated into New Mexican culture.
The dances are beautiful to witness with the smallest female children dressed in predominantly white regalia some wearing a rainbow of ribbons, the young girls were dressed in red and white and had red circles of war paint inscribed on their cheeks, some of the older women also wore red, many carried turkey or eagle feathers in their hands. Most wore face paint.
Adoring God in Labor by K Kriesel
The day before the 2019 Nevertheless She Preached conference at First Baptist Church of Austin, TX my own Catholic church’s young adult ministry hosted Eucharistic Adoration. Although I’ve enjoyed Adoration dozens of times, several factors made this evening different. I was preparing for cervical surgery for one. My Hebrew Bible class at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary was grappling with Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, and the voiceless Dinah. The call to write the history of 20th century Catholic women theologians had been at my ear all day. The catalyst was when two men at the Adoration began leading a song about God the Father.
Maybe it was just the incense but I swear I saw something. An image of the baby crowning from the womb, God gasping in labor, as the Eucharist wore the gold of the monstrance as a crown before the tabernacle. God was pushing the Body of Christ into creation while I prayed for my own sick body. God was crying out with the voices of these thousands of unheard women. We were all there. I snuck out my phone and took a picture, determined to put the scene to paper.
In Dreams by Natalie Weaver
I am grateful for dreams. I don’t know what they are, of course, in any absolute sort of way. Defining dreaming is as elusive as dreams themselves. Moreover, I find that understanding dreaming is complicated by the vastly variegated quality one finds in hearing people speak of their experiences of dreaming. Some say things such as “I can never remember a dream,” while others say they only remember bad dreams. Some place no stock in dreams at all, while for others they are the numinous truth realms beneath all waking phenomena. I have spoken with hard-science minded colleagues as well as artists about dreams, who regardless of professional vocation can be utterly untouched by their nighttime journeying. On just a few occasions have I ever heard people speak of their dreams as definitively shaping their lives in the way that my dreams, or more precisely, in the way that the faculty of dreaming, has impacted my life.
On Ki Teitzei: Rules and the Importance of Religion by Ivy Helman
The Torah parshah Ki Teitzei, Deutornomy 21:10 to 25:19, contains 74 of the 613 commandments/mitzvot found in the Torah. These mitzvot cover a wide range of topics and concerns. For example, there are mitzvot about how to sow and harvest your fields and others about aiding those in need, including animals. Some of the mitzvot describe how and why divorces can be decreed, to whom can one charge interest, and the punishments for various crimes. There is a mitzvah concerning the requirement to erect a fence on one’s roof to prevent people from falling off, one about not wearing clothes of the opposite gender, one about returning and/or caring for lost property and another detailing from what type of material one’s clothes can be made.
The parshah is literally one mitzvah/commandment/rule after another. Some of the mitzvot seem logical and good for the community. For example, help an animal whose been given a load too heavy for it to carry. Hold onto someone’s property if you find it, so you can give it to them the next time you see them. Build a fence on your roof so that no one falls off. Continue reading “On Ki Teitzei: Rules and the Importance of Religion by Ivy Helman”
“If All Knowledge Must be Reinterpreted, Why Not Religion?” Says Islamic Feminist
Vanessa Rivera de La Fuente is Muslim, feminist, and a human rights activist
Photo: Personal archive
Background: Journal O ‘Globo, one of the most important newspapers in Brazil, belonging to the transnational media group of the same name, published this interview with Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente on Islamic Feminism. Given its relevance to the discussion on the subject, it was translated by prominent Islamic feminist and scholar Keci Ali to share it with English-speaking readers.
The Muslim women’s movement has different agendas in accordance with the reality of each country. In Latin America, the Muslim Vanessa Rivera fights against prejudice about Islam.
by Isabela Aleixo*
Vanessa Rivera de La Fuente is Chilean and Muslim. Besides being an academic researcher, she’s also an Islamic feminist engaged with questions of gender, human rights, and social development. Vanessa has wide experience in social projects in Latin American countries.
In an interview with CELINA, she discusses the prejudices that Muslim women face in Latin America, explains the movement’s demands, destroys stereotypes, and declares: “I’m a woman and I demand to be treated as a person.”
Do you consider yourself an Islamic feminist? Why?
I consider myself a feminist woman, who lives feminism in all the distinct facets of her life: I’m Muslim; I’m a single mother; I’m a professional woman, an academic; and I’m a women’s rights activist. I’m feminist with all my life experiences. I think being a woman in male-dominated society is itself a political fact, so everything that I am as a woman can be resignified by feminism, including being Muslim. Islam is integrated into my life and my political struggle, which is intersectional. It’s based on the radical idea that all women are people and we deserve equal rights and a world free of violence.
Continue reading ““If All Knowledge Must be Reinterpreted, Why Not Religion?” Says Islamic Feminist”
Happy Birthday Isis: Isis Isis…Ra! Ra! Ra! by Karen Tate
I wanted to pull myself away from the ugliness out there and take time to honor the Egyptian Goddess, Isis, as Her birthday is recognized to be in the latter part of July. My husband, Roy, and I formed the Isis Ancient Cultures Society and the Iseum of Isis Navigatum, in Los Angeles, sometime ago and for more than a decade, in Her name, we sponsored Moon Circles to promote diversity, Salons to teach, and we put out a quarterly newsletter when you still had to fold and mail them – remember that? But the premier events every year were the Isis Birthday Tea and the Isis Navigatum or Festival of Isis, every March. Our aim was to reconstruct Isis rituals in a modern context and make them relevant for today.
We put on the Isis Tea in prestigious locations like aboard the Queen Mary and the Isis Navigatum in various public locations including The Japanese Gardens, in the San Fernando Valley, and on the beach on Point Dume, in Malibu, California. So detailed were our events, sometimes the public joined us thinking we were a movie crew and our organization was written about by a anthropologist/folklorist citing the detail and depth of the material culture of contemporary Isian devotees.
Continue reading “Happy Birthday Isis: Isis Isis…Ra! Ra! Ra! by Karen Tate”
To Find My Soul by Katie M. Deaver
Breathe in… 2…3…4… breathe out… 2…3…4…
Pay attention to your footfalls, make sure you are landing correctly, breathe and count…
Breathe in deep… fill your lungs… and breathe out the stress and the heaviness.
Over the last few weeks I have been trying to get back into running. A few years ago I discovered that I loved running. I loved being alone with my thoughts, focusing only on how my feet hit the ground and continuing to breathe as I ran far more consecutive miles than I ever would have imagined possible. I even ran a half marathon, which I never would have believed I would be capable of… but, somehow, I was… and actually it wasn’t too bad, I looked forward to doing it again and even started to day dream of the possibility of one day running a full marathon.
In the typical day to day busy-ness of life I hadn’t been able to run much last fall and then this winter I took a bad fall on the ice that left me barely able to hobble along at a walk let alone run any distance. After many months of physical therapy and (mostly) sticking to my stretching and strengthening routine, I finally decided I was brave enough (and trusted my knee enough) to try and get back into my running groove.
We Won’t Go Back by John Erickson
Bottom line: abortion is healthcare. Nearly a fourth of women in America will have an abortion by age 45. Every day, people across the United States make deeply personal decisions about their pregnancies. Those decisions deserve respect.
Someone once asked me: John, why are you a feminist? It is always a jarring question because I believe all people should be feminists and we should all fight for gender equality no matter what. I’ve been drawn to Martin Niemöller’s prolific quote:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Right now, it seems like a full on frontal assault against all of us. No matter what community you’re in, you can draw back to an instance of discrimination you’ve faced both pre-2016 as well as after the election of President Trump. Continue reading “We Won’t Go Back by John Erickson”
Re-Imaging Three Marys by Janet Sunderland
The recent #metoo movement, along with young women entering Congress, has pointed to an important question. Why, in this 21st Century, are these achievements remarkable? Why has it taken so long for women to be recognized as capable for these positions? One possible reason is the Christian mythology around women. However, to recreate the way women are viewed, we must re-imagine the women who have been standard-bearers for two thousand years.
Continue reading “Re-Imaging Three Marys by Janet Sunderland”
The Gift by Sara Wright
We drifted through
each twig, flower, and tree
has her own story to tell…
Such a joyful way
to spend a
Being with him
extends sharp claws
is an antidote to suffering.
“This is my church”
not for the first time.
He and I are almost
always in agreement
when it comes
If I Don’t Care, Then, Who Will? by Karen Leslie Hernandez
What are we going to do with this world that’s on fire right now?
I continually ask myself what my role is on this beautiful blue planet – what am I supposed to really do? What am I going to do? What have I done?
I never wallow in my past, but, gosh-darnit, I’m a survivor. Things I suffered in my early years, intermingled with what happened to me in the many years since, have, at times, won. They’ve drowned me, torn me, thrown me, and found me in the fetal position. Yet, here I am. A high school drop-out getting my Doctor of Ministry. A survivor of abuse standing strong as a Certified Domestic Violence Advocate. A suicide attempt survivor with an incredible zest for life. I share all this not to brag, but, to remind myself mostly – I am still here. By God’s grace, I am still standing.
Without boring you with too many details, this last year was probably one of the most difficult I have encountered. Ever. Yet, hello! I am here to continue my rage against the machine – remaining at peace with my mouthy, rebellious, sassy self. And, yes, mindful of all that was, is, and will be.
Continue reading “If I Don’t Care, Then, Who Will? by Karen Leslie Hernandez”
The Finish Line by John Erickson
I see it…do you?
It’s just within reach and I’m almost there…the proverbial finish line to my Ph.D.
That’s right folks, I’m graduating.
To say that this has been an easy journey, one that many of you have read about and witnessed, would be an understatement. For many of us, that finish line is far away or getting there seems more like a hope and dream rather than a reality. Whether or not it is because of economic hardships, life in general, or the regular types of “isms” that so many of us face while trying to better ourselves via academic enrichment, the struggle is real. Continue reading “The Finish Line by John Erickson”
Dear Mary by Sara Wright
This piece was written in response to Gina Messina’s recent Feminism and Religion piece “Who is God?”
When I responded to a post on feminism and religion this morning I wrote that you were my first goddess. As a child I knew little beyond that you were the “Mother of God,” and I found your presence immensely comforting, even seeking you out in secret, entering your rose garden in a local monastery. I needed you so.
Early in adolescence I learned that your life was one of purity, sacrifice, and loss. Your purity left me bereft. How could a young Victorian girl be “good enough” to serve such a figure? I was fierce and passionate – a thorny red rose – with an empty hole in my heart.
Sadly, I released you and chose your sister the whore, the Black Goddess in disguise… but I didn’t know that then; I only knew that the “black” woman succumbed to her flesh as I did, covered herself in shame…What lies Patriarchy tells…
Eve is the Hero of the Garden of Eden, Part 2 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph
The serpent in the Bible is treated as Eve’s partner in crime, a malevolent seducer who is responsible for humankind’s expulsion from paradise. But did you know there are serpents who figure positively in the Bible? There are serpent priests, a feathered serpent and a healing serpent. Check out this passage:
Be ye therefore wise as serpents
Levites were serpent priests as evidenced by the etymology of their name. The root word levi is seen in the name of the creature “leviathan,” the giant serpent. This is reminiscent of the Pythia, the oracle from Delphi whose title is derived from the root word python.
The feathered serpent referenced in Isaiah 30:6 is a seraph, usually translated as a “fiery flying serpent.”
Continue reading “Eve is the Hero of the Garden of Eden, Part 2 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”
Eulogy for My Father by Natalie Weaver
Fourteen years ago, I was pregnant with William Valentine. I had no idea what to expect. I knew only that I was in a body, and it was pregnant. Things happened to me, to my body, that seemed extrinsic to my person, so much so that for most of those forty weeks, I felt as though the doctor’s office was having the baby, and I was a mere observer. But, when the time came to deliver the baby, I realized it was my body that was trying to make passage for another’s. The particularities of myself and the baby’s self seemed to fade away into something more vital and primordial in the process of the transmission of life. After a safe delivery, I felt a deep and curious gratitude that was beyond the gratitude I had for my child or for our health. This strange gratitude was born of the passage I had been so fortunate to experience, that is, this novel yet ancient, essential yet unparalleled dimension of human being-ness. I had given live birth, and I was grateful to know what that was like. In that experience, I was more connected to my human brothers and sisters than I had ever been before, including to this new baby, who I knew in my deepest self was more fundamentally a brother human than even he was my own child. I knew that in this transmission, I had helped a fellow traveler, and that transmitting life was simple even while it was giant in scope. The experience was and would always be about walking with each other, from the cradle to the grave, in our vulnerability, in our fragility, in our humility, and in that walk, to find our strength, our dignity, and our luminescence, as persons, as creatures that think and speak and love. To have been a party to another’s coming to be, this was an occasion of the greatest gratitude I had known.
In accompanying my father in this final stage of his life during these challenging and difficult months as he journeyed toward his death, I felt that same vital and primordial passage of being that I had in giving birth. While it was not my body that this time labored and worked, I was party to his experience. I witnessed his courage and another kind of transmission of life. For, I saw a man go from self-concern to other-concern; from hope of getting well to hope to of making things better for others; I witnessed a man move from verbal complaint to silent focus; and I heard his relocation of worry for himself to concern for me because he knew I was hurting as I was watching him, mostly powerless to do anything but sit next to him. I saw a man graduate from a regular man to an elder and then to naked spirt in God’s care, and I was honored to be one of his midwives on that journey. In his final hours, he became full of grace, and he fulfilled the trajectory of becoming the father and man he always intended to be. It was an honor to behold, and I am grateful.
A Review of Decembers Past before We Move into the New Year by Marie Cartier
Last month I looked back over six years of postings I have done for FAR. In November, I noticed that I usually during that month tend to review the year and find something to be grateful for.
I decided this month to follow that up by looking back at the posts I have done for the past six years at this time of year, right before the wheel turns into the New Year. I have the privilege of writing for FAR usually right after Thanksgiving and right after Christmas and before New Year’s. I tend to think of this time as a time of looking forward, and Thanksgiving as a time of looking back.
Continue reading “A Review of Decembers Past before We Move into the New Year by Marie Cartier”
What’s Your Choice? by Karen Leslie Hernandez
Many times choices are difficult. Some of the time choices are easy.
I have had a rough year. Probably one of the most difficult yet in my adult life.
I began this year with an offer of a job, where I would have used every bit of my knowledge and education, which included a move to Dallas. That job, due to fear and discrimination, ended as quickly as it started. Now, 12 months later, I am job secure and I still live where I began 2018.
Aside from job security, I have been dealing with a serious incident of verbal abuse, from someone in my family, who should never do to anyone, what they did to me. It has been devastating, debilitating, and incredibly difficult, to say the least.
I have also been thinking about my choices of men. That seems to always be disastrous for me. I do not choose wisely. And I am uncertain as to why.
Last, I have been thinking about my choices of whom to include in my life as friends, and whom I must not include. This particular choice is not easy.
The fact is, I have a choice. We have a choice. Always.
Continue reading “What’s Your Choice? by Karen Leslie Hernandez”
Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Barbara Ardinger
Even though Jesus was born during the reign of Augustus, first Roman emperor, the empire didn’t celebrate that birth until three centuries later when his birth date was moved to mid-winter to match the birth date of the sun god Mithra. The Romans already had a long tradition of celebrating the winter solstice. This celebration was called the Saturnalia. Here are three days in December, taken from my daybook, Pagan Every Day. (When I wrote this book in 2003, I wrote longer days. The publisher demanded that I reduce every day to 300 words. I edited them all down to 301 words.)
December 17: Saturnalia begins
Saturn, who was conflated with the Greek Titan, Cronus, was an ancient Latin agricultural god whose name may derive from satur, “stuffed,” or sator, “a sower”; in either case he stands for abundance. He was a working god who oversaw viniculture and farming, the king of Italy during the golden age. When Jupiter conquered him, he hid himself (latuit) in the region that came to be called Latium. The Romans said Saturn’s body lay beneath the Capitol in Rome. Because his reign brought prosperity to the city, the state treasury and the standards of the Roman legions were kept in his temple when the army was at home. Saturn’s statue was bound in woolen strips to keep him from leaving Rome.
Continue reading “Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Barbara Ardinger”
Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith and for Freedom BOOK REVIEW by Katie M. Deaver
In the book, Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith and for Freedom, editor Karen L. Garst puts together the voices of women from a variety of backgrounds in an effort to present a case against faith.
While the introduction to the full volume suggests that women ought to turn away from all forms of religion the majority of the individual pieces that the book features focus on the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The included pieces are written from a variety of disciplines and viewpoints, some feature historical facts and timelines, while others are the raw and difficult personal stories of women struggling to leave the religions they were raised within.
Most of the articles dig into many of the traditional critiques of religion. For example that the Abrahamic faiths are inherently patriarchal, and cannot be redeemed for women. Others take these traditional arguments against religion a step further and argue that in addition to religion being a tool for female subjugation, religion has in fact inhibited Western progression and is a key reason why the United States has not yet had a female president, and why women continue to have to fight for their bodily and human rights.
Continue reading “Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith and for Freedom BOOK REVIEW by Katie M. Deaver”