Calling on the Ancient Ways to Make a New Future by Caryn MacGrandle

Dawn follows the dark. Call on Elen of the Ways for the ancient pathways revealing the mysteries of the deep wild wood where your heart resides.

Well, duh. Of course.

I camped out alone on my newly bought land in North Carolina for the first time this weekend.

From Judith Shaw’s incredible Oracle of Celtic Goddess deck, the Elen of the Ways card jumped out at me as I was packing, so I took her along with me.

This was a first for me camping alone in the woods, and I’m awfully proud of myself.

I met a new neighbor who told me to carry a gun at all times.

‘Well, I don’t have one,’ I told him, ‘but I do have a stun gun, extreme pepper spray and tons of knives. So that should do,’ I said with a smile.

Continue reading “Calling on the Ancient Ways to Make a New Future by Caryn MacGrandle”

Listening to Animal Wisdom by Judith Shaw

Throughout these years that I have focused on animals and their spiritual meanings – often in ways that relate to goddesses – I’ve heard from many people about their own encounters with animals. It seemed that for me animals mainly showed up in images and words. But now different animals have been showing up in my life while out in nature. 

This past summer I was visited by Butterfly. A large Yellow Swallowtail graced my yard for several days on several occasions – a positive sign of ongoing transformation. In September a big colorful swallowtail caterpillar was chomping away at a parsley plant in my herb garden. Not long after a Black Swallowtail appeared with more Butterfly messages of joy and transformation.

Butterfly – Soul Transformation by Judith Shaw

Recently I lost that positive feeling of joy and the promise given by transformation –  feeling instead a sense of stagnation, of not having achieved my goals and wondering what I needed, to create change and revitalization. With no answer in sight, I activated my go-to cure for the blues – a bike ride in the Bosque – Albuquerque’s cottonwood forest growing along the Rio Grande.

It was a glorious autumn day in the cottonwoods – hues of green turning, turning turning into orange, yellow, gold – sun-white grass heads shimmering in the sun, framed by a deep turquoise blue sky.

Stopping by the river, Dragonfly lit on a stalk of grass, swaying over the water. It remained. I photographed it – moved in closer. It remained. Breathe… wait…. look…. It remained. Suddenly Dragonfly darted – up, down – left, right – circled round – quickly, quickly and then returned to the stalk. It remained. Same sequence repeated ending on the stalk. 

Still it remained. I spoke with Dragonfly while gazing at its huge eyes. Eyes that lead to true sight. “Dragonfly,” I said “Show me the way to a positive transformation, give me a sign. With your true sight lead me to an answer, a resolution to my dilemma.” 

I repeated these words several times as Dragonfly remained – a few times flitting about – yet always returning. Dragonfly was still perched on its stalk when I finally moved on. 

Returning to the cool shadows under the trees, I trekked along. Arriving at a spot where the trees opened up to the banks of the river was a downed tree – a good spot for a river view.

Shortly I noticed a lone bird, standing tall on a small island in the far side of the river  It stood and it stood – same position – same spot. It was tall like a crane – many are arriving now. But no, something was different – it wasn’t a crane. It was grayer with fringe-edged feathers around its neck. With the help of my phone camera I discovered it was a Great Blue Heron. I was amazed!

“Ah ha!” I thought. “So this is my sign. Blue Heron has the wisdom I need now”

Not yet having investigated Great Blue Heron I had to wait until I got home to my computer and the wealth of information on the internet. What I discovered was not what I was hoping for.

As I had been struggling with what I needed to instigate the changes wanted, all I could focus on was who to connect with, what action to take, what project to start….  But Great Blue Heron delivered a completely different message.

Blue Heron brings messages of solitude, of standing still and waiting patiently for what you need to come to you. This is how Blue Heron hunts. Blue Heron encourages calm while watching for opportunities to arrive. Blue Heron says that only after calmly waiting, will opportunity arrive – which you must catch quickly or it will disappear.

Dragonfly, embodiment of transformation and true sight, led me to Blue Heron who then informed me that my usual way of doing and fixing and forging ahead would not work. Blue Heron called me to stop, to remain in my solitude and to wait. Now I can only trust that with patience and quiet meditation I will be able to flow with all of the forces active at this time and the path to the realization of my goals will become clear. 

A week later, while on a bike-riding break from working on editing the stories for the Animal Wisdom deck, Coyote popped up in my path a mere 25 feet away before hightailing it across the way. I suppose I should expect the unexpected in this time of calm waiting. 

I hope you too can find meaningful messages from the animals that appear in your life – messages that help rediscover the wisdom of our ancestors and support the reemergence of the feminine principle in your life.

Judith Shaw, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has been interested in myth, culture and mystical studies all her life. Not long after graduating from SFAI, while living in Greece, Judith began exploring the Goddess in her art. She continues to be inspired by the Goddess in all of Her manifestations. Originally from New Orleans, Judith makes her home in New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment.

Judith is currently in the pre-press stage for her new oracle deck – Animal Wisdom. To learn about a soon-to-come, pre-order special, sign up to receive her newsletter on her website.

The Celtic Goddess Oracle Deck is still available. Order your deck from Judith’s website – click here. Experience the wisdom of the Celtic Goddesses!

The Norns, Spiritual Mystery and Me, Part 1 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

In 2020, I began writing my biography because some weird things were happening in my life including some which were time-bending. To help make sense of it, I wrote up “conversations” with the mythical characters of Persephone, Inanna and the Norns of the Norse. Throughout my bio, I speak to the Norns as an out loud meditation on the nature of time, fate and energy.

The three Norn sisters are Urd, Verdandi and Skuld. Their names come from Old Norse which is not a spoken language. The actual translation of their names is open to speculation. In general, here are their common meanings.

  • Urd – past
  • Verdandi – happening or present
  • Skuld – future or debt.

By mythological tradition, they show up at a child’s birth and then weave their “fateful” decisions about that child’s life into a tapestry. They are considered more powerful and fearsome than the gods because even the gods are ruled by the hands of fate (or Norns in this case). They were also treated as oracles where kings and warriors went to consult them much as was done in Delphi Greece.[1]

Continue reading “The Norns, Spiritual Mystery and Me, Part 1 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

The Legacy of Carol P. Christ: “MERMAID, GODDESS OF THE SEA”

This was originally posted on November 4, 2013

On the recent Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete, I visited the Historical Museum in Heraklion where I saw a beautiful embroidered silk panel of a mermaid identified only as having come from Koustogerako, a village in western Crete. As it is unlikely that a man in a Cretan village would have been talented in embroidery, in this case “Anonymous” most definitely “was a woman.”

In this thread painting a mermaid surrounded by fish is holding the anchor of a ship in one hand and a fish in the other. In Greece the mermaid is the protectress of sailors. In a well-known legend, a mermaid said to be the sister of Alexander the Great, emerges from the sea in front of a ship during a storm and asks: “Is Alexander the Great still living?” If the sailors answer, “Yes, he lives and reigns,” the ship is saved.

Continue reading “The Legacy of Carol P. Christ: “MERMAID, GODDESS OF THE SEA””

Let’s Watch a Silent Film by Barbara Ardinger

Let’s go back 100 years today and watch a silent movie. As you may know, most silent films had orchestral accompaniment. While you’re reading this, therefore, you can be the orchestra. Hum along as you read. Selections from Wagner (like the Ring Cycle) would probably be best unless you want to dive deep into irony, in which case you can hum selections from Gilbert and Sullivan.

The film begins. It’s a dark and stormy night. The ocean is crashing against a narrow beach overlooked by steep cliffs. There is a deep, dark forest nearby. Out of the forest comes a small figure bearing a large burden upon its back. As the figure comes forward, we see a curly-haired young girl wearing ragged clothing.

Intertitle: O me, O my. I seem to be carrying the burdens of the world upon my back. I am so weary!

Continue reading “Let’s Watch a Silent Film by Barbara Ardinger”

Hawk – A Soaring Visionary by Judith Shaw

Hawk, beautiful and deadly, soars high in the air –  circling and circling –  its piercing eyes focused below. Spotting Hawk, one is amazed by its elegance and power while feeling a strange and ancient connection to this magnificent bird. Yet it strikes fear in the hearts of small animals.  

Continue reading “Hawk – A Soaring Visionary by Judith Shaw”

Behold! The Treasures of Eden by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

The place and purpose of the Garden of Eden is a topic of endless fascination and interpretation. This blogpost looks at two biblical passages and the word eden itself to see what we can learn about its meanings. At its most basic, Eden is a garden of treasure and delight.

As I’ve written before, the written form of Ancient Hebrew words comes from the hieroglyphic tradition of Egypt. The pictures of the letters form a picture puzzle or rebus. The word roots are generally two or three letters. I use script called Semitic Early for my baseline of study.

Continue reading “Behold! The Treasures of Eden by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

Elephant – Earth’s Gentle Giant by Judith Shaw

Elephants amble along through forest and savannah in unity with each other, generally causing no harm. They have long symbolized intelligence, power, wisdom and loyalty. 

Continue reading “Elephant – Earth’s Gentle Giant by Judith Shaw”

Spider Wisdom – Creation and Destruction Part 2 by Judith Shaw

In addition to being viewed as a Creator Goddess and a Destiny Weaver, Spider is associated with many other aspects of life. Some of these aspects fall into what we would consider the light – the good – and others are dark dangers – the dark side of life. 

Spider Wisdom by Judith Shaw

Patience, Resourcefulness/Protection, Good Fortune
Though spiders have eight eyes they have very poor eyesight. Instead they have infinite patience, waiting quietly in their webs for prey.

Spider is credited with inspiring King Robert the Bruce of Scotland with its patience. A 14th century legend tells of a time when Bruce had suffered various military defeats against the English. While hiding in a cave he observed a spider trying and failing repeatedly to climb its silken thread. But it persevered and eventually reached its web. Bruce was inspired. He decided to persevere in his efforts, came out of hiding, and eventually won Scotland’s independence from England. 

Spiders are important to our gardens. They eat more insects than both birds and bats.

Long ago people used spider webs to stop bleeding. Now science has discovered that spider webs contain Vitamin K – a coagulant which stops bleeding. 

The Torah recounts a story of how Spider protected David, before he become King of Israel. As King Saul’s soldiers pursued him, David hid in a cave. A spider built a huge web across the cave entrance. The soldiers saw the cave but did not investigate, thinking that no one would crawl through a spider web to gain entrance. 

Similarly a story from Islamic tradition depicts Mohammad hiding in a cave from pursuing soldiers. Here also a spider spun a web across the opening, protecting Mohammad.  

A Hopi legend about Spider Grandmother tells how she protected a village by spinning a magical web over the whole village, which when doused with water gave protection from being burned down by its enemies.

Spider Woman of Dine (Navajo) mythology helps and protects her people. She helped them to destroy the monsters that roamed the land as they emerged from the third world into this world. She chose the top of Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly – the Dine ancestral home – as her home. Children were warned that misbehaving would make Spider Woman angry. She would cast her web like a net, as some spiders do, to catch the naughty child, bring him up to her home and devour him. It was said that the top of Spider rock is white because of the bleached bones of those naughty children. 

By RyderAce – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Celts saw spider as a helper and believed that killing one would bring bad luck.

Spider appears frequently in Chinese legends as lucky beings, bringing happiness and wealth. Spider charms are worn for good luck.

Wisdom, Interconnection, Transformation
A Hopi legend tells of Spider Woman helping Tiyo on his journey to the underworld. He begins with a visit to Spider Woman who gives him a serum to subdue his enemies. Then she accompanies him to the ‘Far-Far-Below River’ to offer advice during his trials. With her help Tiyo completes his journey successfully and returns to his people with greater wisdom and knowledge.

Egyptian Creator/Spider Goddess, Neith, often depicted veiled, wove this veil at creation to hide herself from humanity. As humans are not capable of understanding the fullness of divine mysteries the veil offers folds and strands that are thinner, allowing humans a glimpse at divine source and higher understanding. 

African and some Native American stories portray Spider as a trickster god whose tales are part of a rich storytelling tradition which convey wisdom and moral lessons. 

Spider symbolizes Maya (illusion) in Hindu Mythology. Vedic philosophy characterizes Spider as the weaver of the veil of illusion, hiding the ultimate truth of reality. In addition, Indra’s net, envisioned like a spiderweb with jewels at each vertex, illustrate the belief that all things are connected.

Though spiderwebs are stronger than steel, by weight they don’t usually last very long. Sometimes spiders destroy their own webs. Spider, with it eight (infinity symbol) legs and eyes symbolizes the infinite cycles of transformation as Spider continually creates, destroys  and creates again, reflecting the essence of our natural world and its infinite cycles of birth, death and rebirth.

Dark Dangers – cunning, deception, intrigue, death
Only a small number of spider species are dangerous to humans with venom that can cause localized pain to a person. Further, there are only about 25 spider species with venom that can cause serious illness in humans. And yet arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is one of the most common fears worldwide.

Many folktales and myths warn of the dangers associated with Spider. 

Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom and Handicraft was a skilled weaver. Arachne, a mortal and gifted weaver, got carried away with her talents and boasted that her work was better than that of Athena. Athena was furious and a contest was arranged between the two. Not only was Arachne’s weaving beautiful it also depicted the gods in a bad way.  Athena destroyed Arachne’s work in a rage. 

Arachne, ashamed to see what her arrogance had wrought, hung herself. Athena took pity on her – turning the rope into a web and Arachne into a spider. Through her death and transformation, Arachne was able to weave her beautiful tapestries for eternity. 

Japanese mythology tells of the Spider Princess, Jorōgumo, who transformed into a beautiful woman and entraped men with her deception.

To Christians Spider symbolizes the Devil as the Devil prepares its trap for human souls like the spider prepares its web for prey.

When a spider is finished with its web many species roll it up and consume it. 

In ancient Indian tradition Brahma, the creator of all things, was seen as a spider weaving the web that is our universe. Sacred text says that one day she will devour the web – our universe – and then weave another.

Spider calls you to transform – to imagine your world anew. A time of creativity is at hand – a time of magic – a time to manifest your true destiny. Spider reminds you that with patience you can best reach your goal. 

At the same time Spider calls you to recognize the dark side of life – the ways in which you or others might be deceptive, or engaged in intrigue. 

Spider reminds you of the eternal cycles of life, death and rebirth. 

Spider awakens your memory of the interconnection of all life, allowing you to integrate problem areas into a more wholistic perspective on life and reminding you of the system of interdependency in which we live.

Sources: Ancient Origins, Cultural Depictions of Spiders, Britanicca, UniGuide

Judith’s deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is available now. You can order your deck from Judith’s website – click here. Experience the wisdom of the Celtic Goddesses!

Judith Shaw, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has been interested in myth, culture and mystical studies all her life. Not long after graduating from SFAI, while living in Greece, Judith began exploring the Goddess in her art. She continues to be inspired by the Goddess in all of Her manifestations. She is now working on her next deck of oracle cards – Animal Wisdom. Originally from New Orleans, Judith makes her home in New Mexico where she paints as much as time allows and sells real estate part-time. Give yourself the gift of one of Judith’s prints or paintings, priced from $25 – $3000.



Leonora Carrington’s THE HEARING TRUMPET – Book Review by Sally Abbott

Sally Abbott

Long a fan of Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, I was initially hesitant when the New York Review of Books reissued her 1974 novel, The Hearing Trumpet.  I didn’t know what to expect when this extraordinary painter picked up a pen.

To my delight and surprise, Carrington shows the same artistry and whimsy in her writing that she does in her painting.  She also reveals herself to be an astute feminist and aficionado of the Goddess, well-versed in arcane lore, with which she accents her fantastical world.  The Hearing Trumpet is full of British humor and eccentricity, set in a finely spun, other-worldly landscape.

The World of the Maya

Her heroine Marian Leatherby is a 92-year-old, who lacks teeth, is hard of hearing, and sports a beard–a whimsical, endearing character who loves cats.  She has been given a hearing trumpet by her great friend Carmella, and thereby learns that her son and his wife plan to send her away to an old folks’ home run by a Dr. Gambit and the Well of Light Brotherhood.

Continue reading “Leonora Carrington’s THE HEARING TRUMPET – Book Review by Sally Abbott”

Rabbit, The Feminine, and The Moon by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoRabbit plays in tall grasses, dances in the moonlight, nibbles on nature’s greens, then freezes if danger is sensed. With a thump as a warning, rabbit hops away in a flash, disappearing down its rabbit hole.

Continue reading “Rabbit, The Feminine, and The Moon by Judith Shaw”

Delilah Reclaimed by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

*This post includes a call for stories at the end.

In my previous blogpost, I wrote about the Biblical tale of Samson and Delilah and why it was likely written in a manner to hide older pagan mythos. You can read it here: Delilah Lost. I promised to share my own myth about the story and tell it as best as I can.  Here it is:

Samson was known as one of the strongest forces in the galaxy, a shining light in the sky. Humans would one day recognize his rays of light as his hair. In the infinity of time, his attention was drawn to movement in the star system known as Sorek. Looking more closely, he saw a woman dancing in dazzling motion while draped in star dust and star light. He could hear the slight tinkle of bells as she shimmered. It was as if the heavens themselves were shouting ha-la-hu-ya at her beauty. She noticed his gaze and winked back at him, tempting him with her swirls and her sparkling eyes. He was enthralled. Continue reading “Delilah Reclaimed by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

Dancing for Forgiveness and Reconciliation – Part Two By Laura Shannon

In Part One of this article, I described dancing Jewish, Romani, and Armenian dances for forgiveness and reconciliation with groups in Germany and all over the world. I also offered danced rituals of remembrance at former concentration camps and other places scarred by the atrocities of war.
I went to camps including Dachau and Auschwitz, to genocide memorials and sites of massacre throughout Eastern Europe, in Australia, and the Americas. At first, my prayers were private: I brought flowers, lit candles, danced my grief, and spent time in meditation. I tried to visualise the prisoners in those places, sending them my deep sorrow and regret back through time. I wanted to let them know that they are remembered and mourned by people from their future. My prayers contained a fervent apology as well as a soul commitment to do my part in this lifetime to overcome prejudice and stand for peace.
In time I invited others to dance with me for healing and peace. We danced at former camps in Germany, including Bad Gandersheim, a subcamp of Buchenwald, and on many occasions in Steyerberg, a former prison camp and forced-labour munitions factory which is now the site of an intentional community called Lebensgarten (‘Garden of Life’), a centre for permaculture, non-violent communication, and other ecologically and spiritually oriented ways of living.

Continue reading “Dancing for Forgiveness and Reconciliation – Part Two By Laura Shannon”

Dancing for Forgiveness and Reconciliation – Part One By Laura Shannon

Armenian Candle Dance with Laura Shannon, Findhorn 2015 (photo: Hugo Klip)

When I first began researching traditional circle dances in the mid-1980s, I was amazed to find that the peoples who have suffered the worst of human experience – oppression, exile, genocide, war – also produce the most vibrant and joyful music and dance. Armenian, Jewish, Kurdish, and Romani (Gypsy) dances, in particular, were passionate affirmations of life, despite the horrors these peoples have gone through in their history. The dances seemed to hold clues to the mystery of moving on with life after trauma.
This was something I was desperate to learn how to do. Barely 20 at the time, I was struggling to keep my dignity and optimism while growing up female in a woman-hating world. The trauma of a violent rape on my 18th birthday had robbed me of my joy for life – but I could experience joy again in those dances.
Early on in my research and teaching, therefore, alongside the women’s dances which were always my main interest, I began to focus on the traditional dances of persecuted peoples, which I called Dances of Exile and Homecoming. These songs and dances seemed to have an inherently therapeutic potential, profoundly moving for people from any background and any culture.

Continue reading “Dancing for Forgiveness and Reconciliation – Part One By Laura Shannon”

Cat – Mysterious and Magical by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoCat moves elegantly through our lives with grace, independence and an unquenchable self-assurance. “My dog believes its human; my cat believes its god” is a saying reflected by the beliefs of our ancestors. Since Neolithic days cats have been associated with goddesses.

Cats, domesticated members and the smallest of the family Felidae in the Carnivora order, are a study in balance – between quiet calm and powerful action, independence and connection, the seen and unseen.

Continue reading “Cat – Mysterious and Magical by Judith Shaw”

Salmon of Wisdom by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoSalmon, ancient symbol of wisdom and transformation, has been venerated by humankind since our pre-historic days.There exists one cave painting of a life-sized salmon – most likely part of a more complex composition – in the l’Abri de Poisson cave in the Dordogne, France, dated to 23,000 B.C.E.

Continue reading “Salmon of Wisdom by Judith Shaw”

Butterfly – Soul Transformation by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoI offer this look at the life and stories of Butterfly as a healing salve for our very troubled world. In this time of great, world-wide transformation, as we grapple with the many, many racial, social, economic and environmental injustices currently tearing the fabric of society apart, may the lessons that Butterfly brings help us on our path to love.

Continue reading “Butterfly – Soul Transformation by Judith Shaw”

Dolphin – Friendly Guide, Ambassador of Peace and Play by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoAnyone who has seen dolphins frolicking in the sea, understands the allure of these mysterious creatures who live in the water and yet are not fish. Highly intelligent and communicative, Dolphin inspires a sense of joy in our hearts. Often seen leaping and swimming beside boats, stories of rescue and friendship abound. Continue reading “Dolphin – Friendly Guide, Ambassador of Peace and Play by Judith Shaw”

Hobbled by Joyce Zonana

My hobbling has made me aware, in a new way, of my vulnerability. When I walk down the street, I notice that very few people actually seem to notice my constraint. And this makes me feel even more vulnerable. I’ve been afraid to take the subway, afraid to be in crowds, uncomfortable even when I am alone at home. I worry about another break, a fall, a misstep—banging into something, or having something drop on my foot.

And I think, with deeper compassion, about my friends and acquaintances—and all the people I don’t know—who bravely endure even greater, often invisible, challenges.

jz-headshotJust a few months ago, not long after turning seventy, I was diagnosed with mild osteoporosis. I had thought that all my yoga, my occasional forays to the gym, my daily walking, my frequently consumed leafy greens and yogurt , my calcium supplements would protect me. I had thought I was different from most other women my age, that I could avoid taking the medication that I knew was sometimes problematic. But the bone density scan revealed what I had feared, and because both of my parents declined and died shortly after hip fractures, because I had once broken an ankle, I decided to accept my doctor’s sober recommendation:  that I begin a weekly dose of alendronate. It would be the first chronic medication I would ever be prescribed.

But right before I actually began taking my weekly pill, I noticed a strange new pain across the instep of my left foot. For the first few days I ignored it; I felt it only when I walked, and I assumed it was a strained muscle or tendon. The pain increased; when, after ten days, it persisted even when I was not walking, I decided to see a podiatrist.

Continue reading “Hobbled by Joyce Zonana”

Embracing the Darkness by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoFor most of my life I dreaded both the approach of winter and winter itself. Having grown up in the semi-tropics of New Orleans I had little tolerance for the cold. Living further north as an adult, the shortening days seemed to contradict the joy I found during the blooming of spring and the abundance of summer. Though I certainly appreciated the crisp, clear, golden days of fall they also caused feelings of trepidation as the days continued to shorten.

Continue reading “Embracing the Darkness by Judith Shaw”

Turtle – Slow and Steady Wins the Race by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoTurtle moves slowly through the world carrying its home on its back and has done so for over 200 million years, offering us its special wisdom – all you are and all you need is inside of you.

Continue reading “Turtle – Slow and Steady Wins the Race by Judith Shaw”

Lion – Guide to the Power that Resides Within, by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoLion, ancient symbol of strength and courage, is found in cave art from our early days. From the Egyptians to the Medieval Christians, lion could represent danger and chaos or protection and triumph over chaos. But through it all lion’s traits of strength and courage – power and vitality –  remain at the core.

Continue reading “Lion – Guide to the Power that Resides Within, by Judith Shaw”

Generosity and Community: the Alternative Worldview of Women’s Ritual Dance, Part 1 by Laura Shannon

My life’s work with traditional women’s circle dances of Eastern Europe and the Near East has been a natural interweaving of feminism, activism and Goddess spirituality. In more than thirty years of experience, my students and I have gained valuable insight into their potential as tools for healing and transformation.

These simple and ancient dances connect us with women’s ritual practices from the past which are rooted in a Goddess-reverent paradigm honouring the earth, the body and the female face of the divine. In the present day, the practice of mindfully dancing traditional circle dances which embody this worldview can help us imagine and create a more equitable society in the future.

Continue reading “Generosity and Community: the Alternative Worldview of Women’s Ritual Dance, Part 1 by Laura Shannon”

Swan – Guide to Love and Spiritual Evolution by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoSwan glides gracefully across the mirror-like surface of the lake, stirring sensibilities of purity, loyalty and love in our hearts. Her long, curved, delicate neck reflects in the water as gentle ripples spread out behind her. Swan evokes feelings of peace and can signify self-transformation, intuition, sensitivity, and the soul.

Continue reading “Swan – Guide to Love and Spiritual Evolution by Judith Shaw”

Toil and Trouble (Part 4) by Barbara Ardinger

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

When the Amazons land in the capital city, they find themselves standing on the wide lawn in front of the Golden Tower in which El Presidente lives and rules. And look—El Presidente is still talking. Not having noticed the disappearance of twenty-seven princess, he’s still strutting, still emphatically gesturing, still addressing the fifty-four handsome, charming princes, who make up what he considers to be his people. (His fan club?)

Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, adjusts her armor and walks across the sidewalk into the empty street. Her warriors follow her. “Now what?” she asks the air around her.

They hear a voice. “Greetings, Sisters! And be welcome! We haven’t met in many years. I’m glad to see you again.” Hippolyta looks a bit confused. “Don’t you remember Brunhilda?” the voice asks. Continue reading “Toil and Trouble (Part 4) by Barbara Ardinger”

Fox Wisdom – Cunning, Camouflage and Persistence by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoFox, as a member of the Canidae family, is related to wolves, jackals and dogs. But unlike these animals who hunt in packs, fox hunts alone.

Fox is intelligent, clever and cunning. While it is persistent, fox is gentler and less aggressive than wolf. Fox is associated with feminine magic, offering the power of the feminine to both men and women.

Continue reading “Fox Wisdom – Cunning, Camouflage and Persistence by Judith Shaw”

Toil and Trouble (Part 3) by Barbara Ardinger

Continued from Part 2

The magical school bus, carrying twenty-seven young women, drives across two or three states almost as quickly as the magic carpet flew a few days ago. The bus seems to fly, guided by Bunbury and Icarus as GPS and guards and Kahlil riding on the bus driver’s shoulder (well, not always; the driver keeps shrugging the heavy raven off, so Kahlil finally perches on the back of the first seat) and giving directions. (How the GPS ravens communicate with him is not to be disclosed.)

“So whaddaya think the magic’s for?” Kahlil asks the driver. “We’re guardin’ these here girls. Takin’ ’em somewheres safe.”

All the driver can do is keep driving. When the bus and its precious passengers arrive at the witch’s farm and the girls descend, everyone can see that the finery they’d been wearing to sit in El Presidente’s audience is no longer fine. Their silks and satins have turned into ragged T-shirts and crepe paper. Their priceless jewelry is now colored plastic straws strung together with string. Their exquisite hairdos are now lank and limp. And soon there are loud cries from the witch and her friends—these girls have black eyes and bruises all over their bodies. Some of them are missing chunks of hair or their front teeth. They are all barefoot, and their feet are filthy. And these twenty-seven former princesses—were they ever genuine princesses?—are scared. Continue reading “Toil and Trouble (Part 3) by Barbara Ardinger”

Toil and Trouble (Part 2) by Barbara Ardinger

Continued from Part 1.

“Mirror, mirror, on the table,
Show us all that you are able…”

The witch and her ad hoc coven and the ravens are leaning forward to see and hear more clearly what the mirror is showing them. The scarecrow wearing the human mask and his Gollumesque advisor are suddenly standing in a formal garden and addressing an audience that consists of a dozen rows of handsome but uncharming and self-important princes and (possibly) some princesses.

“Those girls are all captives,” Ella says. “Like I was until I started thinking for myself.” She gasps. “Oh, look—my sisters Annette and Darlene are there, too. When did they surrender?” As she begins weeping (she can’t help it), Mrs. Bezukhov pulls her into her arms. “Look, my Pierre is there, too,” she whispers. “He was always so kind, so smart…he spent his days helping other people. How could he stand among those, those—I don’t know what to call them.” Continue reading “Toil and Trouble (Part 2) by Barbara Ardinger”

Toil and Trouble (Part 1) by Barbara Ardinger

…and Ella can’t remember the last real meal she had. After supper with the refugees in the witch’s house, she and the witch put their heads together to begin making significant plans. She’s also been meeting all the refugees who now live on the witch’s farm. She knows first-hand why these people fled the capital and the other cities. “Oh, lordy, yes,” she says. “I used to know all the important people. My dear sisters and I went to all the big events, ate the finest cuisine—” suddenly remembering where she is, she looks down at the table “—oh, dear, but I don’t mean to criticize your cuisine.”

The ravens, all perched on the backs of chairs look straight at her. “Good food, this,” says Kahlil, “except these girls don’t serve eyeballs.” “Stop that,” Domina whispers (if ravens can be said to whisper). “Don’t be so picky. Everybody here gets enough to eat.”

Ella, who is more used to cats and dogs and the occasional parakeet than to ravens, blinks and continues. “I wish I knew where my sisters are now. Thanks to our ‘relationships’ with the princes, we were High Society and—”

Continue reading “Toil and Trouble (Part 1) by Barbara Ardinger”

Horse – Symbol of Power and Freedom by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoThe horse was first depicted in art about 32,000 years ago on the cave walls of southern France and northern Spain. Though  archeologists disagree as to whether the paintings are realistic depictions or symbolic markings, many concur that they are both. Perhaps our ancestors applied a numinous meaning to the horses and the symbols painted on those ancient cave walls.

Continue reading “Horse – Symbol of Power and Freedom by Judith Shaw”

%d bloggers like this: