Hearing Grief by Xochitl Alvizo

I was writing this blog post on the same day that Rosemary Radford Ruether died, receiving the news during my writing process. The timing of that still has me feeling something I cannot yet express…

One of the most meaningful concepts I learned very early on from my education in feminist theology was “hearing to speech,” from Nelle Morton. I have written about this before, sharing that at times when I have struggled with my academic writing, I try to imagine that I am writing to my peer group, which helps open the path because not only are they a trusted circle of friends that I know loves me deeply, but they are friends who hear me into speech (and in that way, to writing, as well).

Nelle Morton coined this feminist principle of “hearing to speech.” [1] Morton’s new understanding of hearing and speaking came to her while she was with a group of women who gathered to tell their stories. As one woman shared her story – a story which at times reached points of excruciating pain – no one moved or interrupted, everyone seemed to be holding their breath. At the end, when the woman finally finished, she said, “You heard me. You heard me all the way – I have the strange feeling you heard me before I started. You heard me to my own story.”

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From the Archives: Creating Spaces for Grieving and Receiving by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

This blog was originally posted on April 26, 2020.

By now, all aspects of life have been altered or halted. The world as we know it has become radically different as we attempt to get a handle on this disease and stop the rising number of deaths each day. We are enduring trauma on a global and individual level. Trauma carries a myriad of emotions; anger and grief sometimes being the prominent two.  And with the rising uncertainty paired with the increasing amount of trauma and grief we are all experiencing, we need to find ways to talk about our feelings, share, and move forward.

As a global community, as a family, and as individuals we are impacted on all fronts. And the only way through this is that we must grieve. All people, even those that can work from home, those that continue to work ‘in’ the world, and everyone in-between. Everyone’s life has been altered in many ways and degrees. Expectations, plans, and standards of achievements have had to be put aside. We have had to adapt to a different way of life. Prom, tests, graduations, weddings, birthdays, holidays, and even funerals have had to fluctuate between being postponed, cancelled, or reworked to fulfill the lack of physical meetings. Currently over 22 million Americans had applied for unemployment benefits, countless others have seen their hours reduced, been placed on furlough, or sought employment at a company that is considered ‘essential business.’

Continue reading “From the Archives: Creating Spaces for Grieving and Receiving by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Mirroring Loss Part 2 by Elizabeth Ann Bartlett

Part 1 was posted yesterday.

As a society, we are not good at grief. Three days max, then we are expected to be back to work, keep the economy humming – shop, go to the movies and the mall, “put on a happy face.” Required to wear a cheery countenance, we deny our suffering and the suffering of others.  However, loss unacknowledged compounds its effects.  Grief will unleash itself somewhere, whether manifesting in excessive consumption – of food, alcohol, Netflix, stuff; or in unquelled anger, violence, hatred, enemy-making, and scapegoating — all of which have been erupting onto our world in devastating ways; or in the unmetabolized pain we pass on to the next generations. It is essential to our individual and collective well-being that we welcome grief, and tend it.

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Mirroring Loss, Part 1 by Elizabeth Ann Bartlett

Strains of “In the Bleak Midwinter” have been accompanying me on my wintertime walks. Yet “bleak” is the last word I would use to describe these glorious winter days. The sparkling snow, dazzling sunshine, and deep blue of the sky against white birch branches offer solace to my soul.  Still, the carol rings true, for in this midwinter, bleakness – a sense of desolation, loss, and despair — shrouds the land.  Many dear to me have suffered tragic losses – of brothers, mothers, sisters, children, friends, partners and spouses – to cancer, suicide, alcohol, a hit-and-run driver, injury from a fall, dementia, sudden death, and sheer despair. An aggrieved world spins out tendrils of affiliated losses — of community and country, safety and security, watersheds and wild places, touch and tenderness and trust; family and faith — whether in god or humanity or the future. Thousands have lost the tangibles of jobs, shelter, savings, and physical capacity, and millions more the intangibles of dreams deferred, hopes for a nation, and belief in the basic decency of our fellow humans. And then there are the ordinary, everyday losses.  As a friend recently posted, “I am grieving. I miss Sunday breakfasts at the cafe. Live music. Dinner parties. I miss seeing people smile in the grocery aisle.”[i]  We are all suffering utter and ongoing loss.


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From the Archives: Beyond Clenched Teeth: Reflections on Forgiveness by Elizabeth Cunningham

Moderator’s note: This marvelous FAR site has been running for 10 years and has had more than 3,600 posts in that time. There are so many treasures that have been posted in this decade that they tend to get lost in the archives. We are beginning this column so that we can all revisit some of these gems. Today’s blogpost was originally posted January 19, 2014. You can visit it to see the original comments here.

Elizabeth Cunningham

“I forgive you.”

These words make my teeth buzz like the sound of chalk squeaking on a blackboard. I can vividly recall my sister and myself, as children, saying these words through clenched teeth.  Not only were we Christians, we were the minister’s daughters.  We had no choice. The only other words I hated as much: “I’m sorry,” also forced through clenched teeth.

Oddly enough I cannot recall my older brother being told to ask my forgiveness when he and his friend pummeled me. That fell into the category of: “you egged them on.” My mother did used to say of my brother, mournfully and anxiously: “he doesn’t know his own strength.” Which meant: it isn’t his fault that he hurt you.  But my sister and I were supposed to be nice to each other.

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A Different Kind of Thanksgiving, part 1 by Sara Wright

The night before my maternal grandmother died my mother pushed me so hard I fell to the floor and banged my head. My grandfather and I had just walked in the door after spending the day at a New York hospital where my grandmother lay there unconscious as I moistened her lips, rubbed cream on her arms, wept at the sound of her labored breathing. I felt such guilt, such helplessness… My grandfather who was behind me, shocked by my mother’s violent actions and sneering words muttered “Oh, Jane please,” without conviction. He knew his stepdaughter well. No one ever crossed her.

Stunned by the unwarranted physical attack and vicious remarks I picked myself off the floor and went into the dining room. The remains of thanksgiving dinner were still on the table. I don’t remember the conversation – just that my grandmother’s sisters were there. My grandfather and I left soon after, exhausted and depressed returning to his house three miles down the road. At 5AM the next morning the phone rang and I knew… my beloved grandmother was dead.

I was reeling – numb. My brother had killed himself the year before and now this. I remember nothing about the memorial service except that my grandmother was lying in a steel coffin. When my grandmother’s ashes arrived, I opened the door to receive them, took the box upstairs and put it in her closet…that was it. I spent the rest of the winter at my grandfather’s house feeling useless, returning home to Maine in the spring.

Continue reading “A Different Kind of Thanksgiving, part 1 by Sara Wright”

An All Hallows Story – My Father becomes a Beaver by Sara Wright


The year my father died I fell in love with beavers. All summer I watched them at dawn and dusk gnaw down the poplars, drag them to the plume, observing keenly how the trees slid so easily into the stream… as the kits grew, little furry heads accompanied their parents carrying whittled sticks in their mouths to help shore up their ever expanding lodge. I always sat quietly so some evenings around dusk the kits would swim right up to me. Occasionally one would slap a leathery flat tail before diving deep.

When the ‘call’ came on All Hallows Eve my father sounded sad and resigned. He was being operated on for colon cancer that week. The shock of finding out so suddenly choked me up with grief so intense I could barely respond. He had told no one he had cancer. We hung up. A trip to NY and to*** the hospital was distressing. I saw my dad twice. The first time he barely acknowledged me; that night he looked into my eyes and called me “his girl,” words he had never used to describe me, his daughter, during our entire life – time together. Two days later, after returning to Maine, I awakened from a dream with the words, “your father has become a beaver” just as the phone rang. My father had died minutes before.

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Sequoias by Sara Wright

 When I think about the burning trees I think about women because we are so closely related through myth and story as well as sharing DNA. What is happening to these trees once happened to us… I note that women who normally are not keyed into trees in general seem to be deeply moved by the burning of these ‘elders’. Is that because we feel the threat to the Tree of Life and all that entails manifesting as uncontrolled fire?

The Burning Times

I gaze out my window into the swamp maples that ‘normally’ would have caught fire by the end of September. Not crimson red but bittersweet orange. I note a brownish tinge on the edges of dying leaves. Some have let go, fluttering to the ground. I must find a way to emulate them. Yesterday in the woods I am straining to see brilliance that isn’t there except for an occasional flicker. I don’t realize until I get home that this lack of color is literally depressing a life force that I have identified with my entire life. Accepting these seasonal disruptions is so hard for me – so much harder than I ever imagined.

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Farewell to Carol Christ at the Kamilari tholos tomb, Crete by Laura Shannon

September 7, 2021

1. Tholos tomb of Kamilari

1. At the gate

On a hilltop between the horned peak of Mount Psiloritis and the wide blue expanse of the Libyan Sea, Ellen Boneparth, Tina Nevans and I prepare to enter the Kamilari tholos tomb. This round vaulted structure served as a communal and egalitarian burial site for thousands of years, from Neolithic through late Minoan times, and Carol brought more than 40 groups of Goddess Pilgrims here to honour those who have gone before. This is where Carol asked the three of us to perform a farewell ritual for her; she wanted no other ceremony. We each don a scarf and necklace which belonged to Carol and enter the sacred space. Kostantis stays behind to guard the gate, in case any other visitors arrive during our ritual.

2. Invocation

On this spot, hundreds of women have honoured thousands of ancestors. We ask for the benevolent presence and the blessing of all those who knew and loved Carol, living and dead. We ask permission of the spirits of the place to enter for this ceremony. We ask Carol’s own ancestors, and the Minoan ancestors of this place, to bless and welcome Carol as a beloved daughter and granddaughter of both lineages.

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My Father’s Daughter by Xochitl Alvizo

Me with my aunt, my dad’s eldest sister.

I was sometimes told I look like my grandmother on my dad’s side, and although it wasn’t meant as a compliment, I always welcomed it as such. I wanted to be like my grandma. She was a tough, no-nonsense woman who was light-hearted and spunky to the very end of her life. She had a serious expression on her face most of the time but would playfully and unexpectedly stick out her tongue at neighbor-friends when they passed by her house. She had well-developed patterns of good-natured banter with most people in her neighborhood. She was well-known and well-liked, and people also knew not to mess with her. So, if I could be thought to be anything like her, I was good with that.

She lived in Mexico and my family in the United States. In Mexico, even as a younger kid, we were allowed to move around town on the bus if my older cousin was with us. We always landed and stayed with my mom’s side of the family and usually only went to visit my dad’s side for an afternoon or two during the course of our time in Guadalajara, where my parents were from. I couldn’t wait to surprise visit my dad’s side of the family – my grandma, aunt, and grandpa who all lived together. We never announced our visit in advance; so it was fun for me to get to walk into the patio of their apartment complex and find my grandma, as usual, standing in the doorway of her front door, smoking. She was a businesswoman, always running a small business, selling basic grocery items from home, so her door was always open. And she was almost always right there, standing just outside her door, a serious expression on her face, and a smoke in hand.

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Moving towards the Dark… “Elder”berry Musings…by Sara Wright

“I wake up under a tropical dome that has been with us most of August. The thick air feels like it is smothering me, and with emphysema that may not be my imagination. I can no longer walk or hike in this weather. Migraines and other peculiar headaches come and go – dizziness too – the former probably due to changes in pressure; As yet I have no diagnosis for the latter. I am feeling old because I am getting old. I move into my 77th year trying to adjust to increasing physical limitations.”

On the first harvest moon that occurs in August, (according to ancient teaching by Northern Indigenous peoples) I harvested elderberries under a burning sun, sloshing through mud, thorny bushes and cattails to reach the clusters of ruby beads that would soon become a tincture that I knew would help me resist colds flu and perhaps also the Covid variants. The world health organization in Europe is presently researching elderberry because studies have indicated that it apparently block viruses from entering cells (it does with H1N1 virus), but I have been using this remedy for years and know that it mitigates the effects of colds and prevents flu, at least for me. While removing the berries from their tree – like stems my fingers were stained the most beautiful purple, reminding me of a story I had written when I turned 70 about becoming an old woman… In this tale, I imagined that an Elderberry woman came to guide me into the future.

Continue reading “Moving towards the Dark… “Elder”berry Musings…by Sara Wright”

Who is the Goddess? by Sara Wright

I have been re-reading Rebirth of the Goddess reflecting upon my own journey over these past 40 years, remembering how her image appeared to me as a bird goddess the day I first worked with river clay… When I discovered that some of the images I sculpted of bird goddesses mirrored those in Marijia Gimbutas’s The Language of the Goddess I entered an unknown realm. All I understood at the time was that I was being called by some unknown force. I had no idea that this power existed not only without, but within, and that someday I would be able to name both Nature and my Body as the source of that power. And come to understand that they are One.

Continue reading “Who is the Goddess? by Sara Wright”

Midsummer Births a Goddess: In Honor of Carol Christ by Sara Wright

This year, more than ever before, I note a very subtle shift that is occurring as we approach the middle of July. Lots of humidity – and I confess – I love the sweet summer scent as long as it isn’t hot. The days are losing a minute or two of light. Instead of slamming out of bed in the pre-dawn hour I find myself sleeping until 6AM and my dogs want to sleep in until 9 on gray foggy mornings like today. The birds are quieter, their songs less intense although my feeder is visited by hoards of youngsters, many of which are still being fed by their parents.

The Wood thrush has moved deeper into the forest, so it is the Mourning doves who begin my day with song. Most of all, I notice the richness, the vibrancy of deep summer green. Even though my flower garden is on fire with primary colors, I can’t seem to soak in enough greening to satisfy my hungry heart..

Subtle changes like this probably go unnoticed by most but for me they are signs of the goddess coming into her own…I am curious if anyone else senses this shift of energy.


I wrote the prose and poem this morning July 14th for Carol’s blog not knowing at that time that this most compassionate woman, feminist scholar, mentor, friend had died shortly after midnight. When I saw the notice on the Internet I was stunned. It seemed so impersonal to receive such heartbreaking news in this manner. When I came back to read this piece I realized that indeed, Midsummer had given birth to a Goddess and her name was Carol Christ. 

Continue reading “Midsummer Births a Goddess: In Honor of Carol Christ by Sara Wright”

In Memoriam: A Collective Tribute to Carol Patrice Christ 1945-2021

Our sister friend, Laura Shannon, emailed us early in the morning to share the news that “Carol passed peacefully in her sleep last night at 12.11 am on July 14th. Alexis (Masters) was with her.” Carol died in the company of friends.

The community of Feminism and Religion (FAR) grieves the death of Carol P. Christ.

Our sister friend, Laura Shannon, emailed us early in the morning to share the news that “Carol passed peacefully in her sleep last night at 12.11 am on July 14th. Alexis (Masters) was with her.” Carol died in the company of friends.

Her writings here on FAR have been a gift to countless many of us for years. She recently emailed me to let me know that she would need to step back from writing her weekly FAR post for the foreseeable future, and, that if she could pull it off, she would send in her swan song soon. That moment didn’t come and that’s ok. There is no finale for a person such as Carol. We are changed and blessed because of her presence in our lives. Her legacy will be long and enduring.

I invite you all who would like to share a short tribute in honor of Carol Christ to send it here to FAR so it can be published as part of this post. This will serve as a running tribute that we can keep adding to. It will be a space to share, to grieve, and to celebrate her life. Send in your reflections to feminismandreligionblog@gmail.com. You may also share in comments below as well.

No single one of us can capture all that Carol has meant to us and to the world –– it is only right to hear from the many voices as we celebrate this most brilliant friend and teacher of ours.

“In Goddess religion death is not feared, but is understood to be a part of life, followed by birth and renewal.”  — Carol P. Christ 

Carol married intellect with heart centering –– she had a formidable intellect but always spoke from her heart.

In view of learning of Carol’s death I find these words from Janet’s post today inspiring:

“Who is she that shines through like the morning star,
beautiful as the moon,
radiant as the sun
awe-inspiring as a cascade of starlight?”

Why, Carol Christ, of course.

I am heartbroken – I will miss her so much.

–– Sara Wright

Remembering Carol Christ

On a personal level, Carol’s words were essential on my journey away from god by way of the Goddess. Her courage required me to dig deep to embrace my own version of the “hubris” exhibited by male “god makers” and “system builders.” Carol’s quote below inspired many us to take on the two-fold task of unearthing the patriarchal symbol system woven into the fabric of our socialization and of replacing it with words of truth, communities of support, ceremonies of meaning, and images of the goddess, all inspired by stories of the very beginning when the divine was imagined as female.

The reason for the continuing effects of religious symbols is that the mind is uncomfortable with a vacuum. Symbol systems cannot simply be rejected, they must be replaced. Where there is no replacement, the mind will revert to familiar structures at times of crisis, bafflement, or defeat. (Carol Christ, Womanspirit Rising)

–– Patricia Lynn Reilly, Author of A God Who Looks Like Me

Carol was a wonderful friend and colleague. She loved to read my work in progress (brilliantly, often several times in a row before she wrote back to me) and I hers.

Her essay on patriarchy was the best I have ever read. I asked her to contribute it to the anthology, Foremothers of the Women’s Spirituality Movement: Elders and Visionaries. The day after she sent it to me, I found that the essays fir the book had to be personal. I felt terrible. I emailed her to tell her, and she said it wasn’t a problem. The next day she had a new, wonderful, perfect essay for me.

Although I knew she didn’t have many months to live, I am still stunned by this loss.

–– Miriam Robbins Dexter

Carol was and will remain one of the foremothers and most brilliant voices of the Women’s Spirituality movement.  At the conference on “The Great Goddess Re-Emerging” at the University of California at Santa Cruz in the spring of 1978, Carol delivered the keynote address, “Why Women Need the Goddess: Phenomenological, Psychological, and Political Reflections.” Christ proposed four compelling reasons why women might turn to the Goddess: the affirmation and legitimation of female power as beneficent; affirmation of the female body and its life cycles; affirmation of women’s will; and affirmation of women’s bonds with one another and their positive female heritage (Christ 1979). 

In her most recent article, for the Encyclopedia of Women in World Religion: Faith and Culture, Christ wrote about the Goddess religion and culture of her beloved island of Crete, and the roles women played in that “egalitarian matriarchal” civilization. Her eloquent words speak not only to the Goddess religion of ancient Crete, but also to the spirituality and ethical values she also cherished, which are much needed in our own culture today.

As discerners and guardians of the mysteries, women created rituals to celebrate the Source of Life and to pass the secrets of agriculture, pottery, and weaving down through the generations. The major rituals of the agricultural cycle involved blessing the seeds before planting, offering the first fruits of the harvest to the Goddess, and sharing the bounty of the harvest in communal feasts. These rituals establish that life is a gift of the Goddess and institute gift-giving as a cultural practice. As women controlled the secrets of agriculture, it makes sense that land was held by maternal clans, that kinship and inheritance passed through the maternal line, and that governance and decision-making for the group were in the hands of the elders of the maternal clan. In this context, the intelligence, love, and generosity of mothers and clan mothers would have been understood to reflect the intelligence, love, and generosity of the Goddess.*

*Carol P. Christ, “Crete, Religion and Culture” Encyclopedia of Women in World Religions: Faith and Culture across History [2 volumes] edited by Susan de-Gaia  | Nov 16, 2018   ABC-Clio Santa Barbara 2019.

–– Ellen Boneparth and Mara Keller

Honor, blessing, and gratitude to you for your life, Carol. You told us many times you did not fear death. You did not speculate on what comes after. Whatever goddess is, surely you reman in her embrace.

–– Elizabeth

Inna-Lillahi-Wa-Inna-Ilaihi Rajiun

A wise woman committed to the spiritual freedom of women and a teacher of life and struggle has set out to meet the infinite. I thank life for giving me the joy of walking part of the way in this world, in the company and wisdom of women like her.

Thanks for everything my dear Carol.
For the ideas and enthusiasm with which you always supported my work.
For creating community and safe spaces
For lovingly and intensely vindicating the transcendence of the humanity of women

Blessed journey our woman, teacher and guide. May the divine that you found in all women receive you today in her loving arms.

Tupananchiskama (Until our paths meet again)

–– Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente


That was Karolina’s last message to me, on June 18th, 2021. I like to think it was also her last message to the universe, as she climbed back into the lap of the Goddess early on the morning of July 14th. 

I’d sent her a selfie of me with a new haircut, a few inches shorter, as she’d suggested some time earlier. “Yessssss” was her immediate, characteristic reply. Two days later I forwarded an even better photo. It was surprising not to hear back from her, and I should have been concerned. Instead, I let two weeks go by before reaching out again. And then it was too late. 

“Yessssss” was Karolina’s full-hearted response to life, and part of how she nurtured her friends and acquaintances. I will carry that “yessssss” with me till the end of my days, always grateful to have known and been nurtured so generously, so unfailingly by her. Her soft voice, her gentle laugh, her quiet glamor, her deep engagement with all the details of life … I could talk with her about my cats, my husband, my writing, my childhood, my haircut. Nothing was too small or too large, nothing too complex or too simple. 

“Intelligent embodied love” is how Karolina described the ground of being, and intelligent embodied love was what she herself embodied and radiated, even as she suffered through her cancer and its treatment.  For this past year, she devoted herself to making her new home as beautiful as possible. The last room she finished was the “guest room study,” and how I would have liked to have joined her there. Instead I will simply carry her “yessssss” in my heart.

Rabena yer’hamou Que Dieu la berce dans sa matrice – “May she be cradled in the womb of the Goddess.” Blessed be.

–– Joyce Zonana

Carol was my second cousin.  In 2016, we spent about 10 days in France and Germany tracking down places where our ancestors lived.  Like her Feminism and Religion research and writings she was a meticulous in her ancestry research and fearless about meeting strangers and asking questions.  One of the places where are relatives came from was Saarland St Nikolaus-Rosbruk.  We were having lunch by the river when she saw this tree that she wanted to embrace.  Here is a picture of her by the tree.  I love her expression.

Best to all,
Bill Christ

I’ve been so honored to blog with Carol here at FAR over the last seven or so years and doubly honored that she wrote an endorsement for my new book just last month.

Carol was a tremendous role model and influence for me and she will be deeply missed. She impacted so many lives with her work and her depth of purpose and strength of character were so palaple, even across many miles. When I first read “Why Women Need the Goddess” it touched a chord within me that continues to reverberate through this day. Her work and writing shaped my own thealogy profoundly. In her honor, I chose one of her books off my shelf—She Who Changes—and randomly opened to a page, which, fittingly, was about how death is a part of life:

“For process philosophy, the whole universe is alive and changing, continually co-creating new possibilities of life. Every living individual is born, grows, and then dies. The world is a web of changing individuals interacting with, affecting, and changing each other. The body is the locus of changing life. Not to be embodied, not to change, is not to be alive…”
–Carol P. Christ. (She Who Changes: Re-imagining the Divine in the World, p. 45)

I read this quote aloud during a small women’s circle the same day Carol died, a circle that, in some way, may not have existed without the gift of her presence in this world.

–– Molly Remer

Remembering Carol P. Christ

I am so grateful and glad that a circle of Carol’s friends and colleagues champion her accomplishments and celebrate her life.

I might be her oldest friend in this group, definitely more a personal friend than a professional colleague.  We were in the same freshman dormitory on the same dorm corridor that was made into a social group at Stanford.  Both of us felt a bit out of place, she—at the time–a political conservative from Orange County California, and I one of 17 Asians in a class of 1,200 from the small town of Gilroy, California.

Never her academic peer, we still spent time together studying, finding our way, and hanging on to our independent thinking.  And we stayed in touch when we both relocated to the East Coast, she to Yale and I to New York City.  I have attached a photo of Carol at her wedding in 1979 when she was living in northern California.  Much later I met her family when her mother died and I knew of the family static that she worked to understand and make peace with.  We stayed in touch through all these decades.  I visited twice in Lesbos with my mother, sister and best friend, and she visited here in Oakland.  

I saw Carol not through her scholarly achievements but from what I saw as her kind of priestess bearing. Always her forthright sense of what would make the world a better place, calling out the wrongs but being understanding, always with her oar in the water.  I also saw her as a warm friend who could laugh about the foibles, not worry about binging on good television, enjoy a good meal with friends, and tend to her garden and pets.

Carol should not have suffered the pain of conflicts, even if those experiences sharpened her mind. She should not have suffered from debilitating illness. . .and she died too young.  She told me once that she stayed in Greece because it was the most beautiful place she had ever been.  Though I never liked having good friends so far away, it seemed that gave her joy and solace.  

We will miss her.

–– Gail Kong

I was profoundly influenced by the keynote address Carol gave in 1978 at the Great Goddess Re-Emerging Conference in Santa Cruz, CA. I was one of the 500 women listening to her words “Why Women Need the Goddess”.  The impact of her observation about the power of symbol systems on each of us individually and the influence symbol systems have on all of us collectively, helped guide my own life.

We met in the fall of 2017 when I was one of ten women on the Goddess Pilgrimage. Carol described herself as a “feminist and ecofeminist writer, activist, and educator”. Please view this eighteen minute video of Carol speaking at the Harvard Divinity School where she spoke about her life. This was the 2014 Religion and the Feminist Movement Conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwYygffNCAg.

I’m always moved by women speaking on their own behalf about their lives with no intermediary to interpret their life from afar. You will certainly gain a sense of who Carol was in her world.

My lesbian partner, Jeanne Neath, and I had reservations to join the 2021 Pilgrimage. To ease my grief at Carol’s death, I’ve gathered ten more candid photos of Karolina on some of the earlier Pilgrimages. You can see those photos on my blog http://paulamariedaughter.com/.  Carol put incredible energy into each day of those two weeks she escorted us around the various sites that linked us to the ancestors.

Carol dared to examine the deeply embedded beliefs of our patriarchal institutions including academia and religion. She invented a new life for herself. She ‘shed the skin’ of an academic. Karolina was determined to reach other women like herself willing to look beyond the familiar goddesses of the patriarchy to discover the much more ancient Earth Goddess of our Neolithic and Paleolithic ancestors.

Many of us now acknowledge Carol/Karolina as a beloved ancestor.

Blessed Be, Paula Mariedaughter

One of Carol Christ’s books early on, in 1980, that impressed me deeply was Diving Deep and Surfacing – Women Writers on Spiritual Quest, published by Beacon Press. It helped me rediscover my spiritual path. I actually incorporated the phrase “diving deep and surfacing” in a process of self-understanding and awareness. — feeling grateful.

~Bob Fisher, Co-producer, Rise Up & Call Her Name: A Woman-honoring Journey into Global Earth-based Spiritualities

When I first learnt how patriarchy plotted and schemed to write the Goddess out of existence and by extension, the history of all women; not stopping at the written word, using violence and the threat of violence too; I was furious. This was the first time I experienced rage. Not fully knowing our history means we exist in a world of numb. To discover is to feel. To feel is to be alive. This is why Carol’s work is so important – because it links women to their collective past and to their collective future. The anger has subsided and now I ride a wave of certainty, connected to an international movement of powerful women. Understanding our story is empowering. Empowerment is Carol’s legacy.” – Claire Dorey

I met Karolina in 2018, when I was in Lesvos working as a volunteer with refugee organisations, so ours was a very short friendship by comparison with most of her other friends. We kept in touch when I went back to Sydney, and then picked up again where we had left off when I returned to Lesvos in early 2020 for another few months of volunteer work, before the Covid pandemic intervened. After that we kept in touch via Skype. 

I was a bit younger than Karolina, but we shared the same feminist background and had a broadly similar outlook on life. In the short time that we spent together we shared a lot of long lunches with copious amounts of red wine. It was great for me, because Karolina could order meals in Greek, so we always ate interesting local food. She loved to dance, so if there was music she would be on the dance floor!
Karolina knew a lot about Greek Orthodoxy and local customs. I spent a memorable “Clean Monday” with her in 2018, when she donned a tutu as part of a dance troupe, and then danced the afternoon away in Maria’s Taverna… (Clean Monday is the start of the 40 days of Lent in the Greek Orthodox Church).

Even though we didn’t know each other for very long, I think that we both valued our friendship, perhaps for different reasons. From my perspective, I loved staying in Karolina’s beautiful old house in Molyvos at weekends, bird watching in the salt marshes at Kalloni, and going to out-of-the-way places to eat. As well as intellectual stimulation she also provided some relief from the intensity of my refugee work, which was very welcome!

I thought it was incredibly brave of Karolina to leave Lesvos and move to Crete, and I’m glad that she got to enjoy her new apartment in Heraklion, however briefly. I would love to have visited her there, but Covid and her illness meant that was not to be. I will miss her. 

Cheers, Lindsey Paget-Cooke

Fourth of July: A Time to Mourn by Sara Wright

I awakened to dove gray skies and the sweet scent of falling rain. Soaking in the greening of a fully leafed out forest and the stillness of early dawn felt like a gift because these quiet moments are precious and precarious on the weekend Americans celebrate ‘Independence Day’.

As a person with mixed heritage (Passamaquoddy) I am not one of those people. Indigenous peoples of the Americas have nothing to embrace on this weekend. We are still invisible; we are still discriminated against. We are still outsiders.

Along with the emphasis on Black Lives Matter I often wonder why Red people are not included in the current cultural outrage. These are the people who were deliberately poisoned with smallpox, and also murdered and herded onto reservations by the colonists who took over this once wild and untrammeled country, systematically destroying its beauty by slaughtering the trees and animals that once grew into stately giants or roamed free. Why would Indigenous peoples or any other minority celebrate an Independence Day that occurred at their expense?

Continue reading “Fourth of July: A Time to Mourn by Sara Wright”

One-In-A-Million by Marcia Mount Shoop

Today I am fully vaccinated. It’s been two weeks since I got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The day after I got the vaccine was the day the New York Times headline read, “Johnson & Johnson Vaccinations Paused After Rare Clotting Cases Emerge.” People told me not to worry, “it happens to only one in a million people.”  

That “one-in-a-million” argument isn’t what calmed me down. The “one-in-a-million” odds had already struck once in our household over the pandemic when my husband was diagnosed with a rare kind of cancer. A one-in-a-million kind of cancer. And to top it off, it was his second cancer diagnosis during the pandemic. He turned 51 years old this past August and has spent most of the pandemic either waiting for treatment, receiving treatment, or in recovery from treatment. A lot of the year he has been and continues to be in considerable pain and discomfort. 

Continue reading “One-In-A-Million by Marcia Mount Shoop”

Good(?) Grief by Esther Nelson

The current pandemic has kicked our collective butt by putting a huge dent in our ability to maintain relationships so necessary for keeping our social gears greased and running smoothly.  Grabbing coffee with a friend or meeting up for lunch in order to “catch up” with one another are activities that in times past we took for granted.  Meetings nowadays (both work related and social) are done primarily via Zoom.  Even a doctor’s visit can be accomplished electronically—a mode that, in my opinion, leaves much to be desired.

Besides feeing socially deprived over the past year, I’ve experienced a number of other losses.  I’ll mention a few of them, but am not prepared to write about the ones that sting the most. I gave up my house in Richmond, Virginia, and moved to a high-rise condominium just down the road.  I’ve yet to make it “home.”  Halfway through the Spring semester, all classes at the university where I taught went online. The Fall semester followed suit, delivering classes (mainly) online.  I didn’t want to box myself in on a screen.  I find classroom interaction meaningful in a way that I cannot replicate on Zoom.  I gave up teaching.  In August, I drove to Las Cruces, New Mexico, and have been here ever since except for a brief visit in September to New Jersey for my brother’s funeral—another loss. Continue reading “Good(?) Grief by Esther Nelson”

A Christmas Lament by Karen Leslie Hernandez

T’was the night before Christmas
And all through the Country
A message was Ringing
Yet no one Care nigh.
The plague has beguiled Us.
The craze has embodied Us.
The holidays are here!
We must not adhere!
Science is fake.
Science speaks nonsense.
Science fences.

T’was the night before Christmas
And all through the world
Weeping surrounds us
As souls tumble in furl.
Souls Who chose not to listen.
Souls who listened
But those around them
Did not.
Souls who scream for something different
For relief
That comes only with death
For many, such breadth. Continue reading “A Christmas Lament by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

The Legacy of Wisdom by Karen Leslie Hernandez

My Aunt Sophie passed into another realm last week. Not from COVID, but, from a life well-lived.

At 98, she lived a remarkable life. She wasn’t famous, nor did she ever strive to be, but what she was, was what love should be, can be, and is.

In her 98 years she played trumpet in the high school marching band, she had a mean left hook, and she was a Rosie the Riveter, where she actually worked as a welder on ships being built for WWII in Richmond, CA. More, she was a devoted wife, she was a sister and caretaker, she was an incredible grandmother, and, she was a mother. Not just to her seven children, but to her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, neighborhood kids, and to my sister and me, her nieces. Continue reading “The Legacy of Wisdom by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Crow and the Pornographic Gaze by Sara Wright

Once she believed that
it was her fault
they came on to her,
that she owed them
They owned her?
Secretly the
girl was pleased
because any kind of attention
was better than none,
or being so “different” –
stitched into an Indian skin.

She was a pretty shell,
an abandoned spiral
worn down by waves –
assaulted from within
by the pornographic gaze.
How she hated being young.

Continue reading “Crow and the Pornographic Gaze by Sara Wright”

Mourning with the Goddesses, Now More than Ever by Carolyn Lee Boyd


Carolyn Lee Boyd

We may all remember 2020 as the year when we could no longer look away from death. Our western culture has hidden death away in hospitals and funeral homes for generations. However, in these past months we have all been inundated with daily images of COVID-19 patients dying alone in ICUs, terrified people and wildlife consumed by flames or flood, televised funerals of victims of racial violence, children starving due to droughts, the loss of icons of courage and compassion like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elijah Cummings, and John Lewis, and so much more.  Even as we seem to be surrounded by death, we risk being inured to its tragedy by the sheer numbers of dead from these and other causes.

How we survive this time as individuals and a society may depend in part on how we are able to answer the question “Were we able to mourn each life lost – human or non-human — as a sacred being, unique and irreplaceable? Did we ignore the suffering of others or did we find deeper compassion?” 

Continue reading “Mourning with the Goddesses, Now More than Ever by Carolyn Lee Boyd”

May Her Memory Be A Revolution by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

On the eve of the Jewish Sabbath and the start of Rosh Hashanah, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg breathed her last breath. She was 87. She fought so hard for so long. She is an American patriot, hero, champion for women’s rights, and for many she was the stalwart bastion of justice and ‘liberal’ rulings. She was a Supreme Court Justice for 27 years. Her life has been put into books, a movie, and the most notorious memes around. She became known for elaborate collars over her Justice robes. We mourn the lost of her, we celebrate her memory, and we must pull up our boots and continue the fight.

Continue reading “May Her Memory Be A Revolution by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Loss of Good Friend and Elder Claire French by Glenys Livingstone

image of author - Glenys Livingstone
Dr. Claire French was born in 1924, Claire Anna Maria Margaretha Wieser, “in the backwoods of Bavaria” as she has described, where “pagan beliefs and superstitions were rife” and “so was Communism amongst the factory workers who lived in her neighbourhood.” She described her mother as “a staunch Lutheran”, her father as “a freethinking artist from the Tyrolean mountains”, and her paternal grandmothers and aunts as “bigotted Catholics”. She has said that she received some of all these ideologies right from her earliest childhood, and that “to this were added the experience of fascist and national socialist authoritarianism during her school years.” In early years she was educated by nuns in Italy. For high school her education was in Germany, where the teachers were partly nazi and partly anti-nazi. She has described her education as “pluralistic in the extreme”.

During the war she was conscripted to the German paramilitary organisation for women working for Tyrolean mountain farmers and later in the military hospital. That year of paramilitary service was conditional for enrolment of women at any German University: educated women were seen as dangerous … the authorities wanted “incubators”, as Claire named it. After the war she studied modern languages and politics at the University of Austria, and in 1945 she was conscipted as interpreter to the military government first by the American and then the French Army Forces. She has said: “In 1951 she finally had enough of Europe and embarked for Australia, where she worked as a housemaid, grape picker, and interpreter and finally as a secretary at Melbourne University. There she started her studies from scratch again as a part time student, graduating in 1956. In that year (an Olympic year she noted), she married Jack French, with whom she had a daughter and two sons. Continue reading “Loss of Good Friend and Elder Claire French by Glenys Livingstone”

What’s Changed? by Elise M. Edwards

An image of Elise Edwards smiling outdoorsFriends, it has been a few months since I’ve posted in this community.  I’m amazed at how much our world has changed since then.  Here in the northern hemisphere, spring came and went.  It felt like a tide of turmoil rolled in, leaving debris all along the shore and now we are trying to clean it up while keeping our eyes on the sea for more dangerous waves that are coming.

The issues we now face began before March, but for many of us, that was when the COVID-19 pandemic began to alter our patterns of daily existence. In-person instruction at my university and most schools was suspended and spring semester courses shifted online.  In March and April, we quarantined, self-isolated, and sheltered in place.  While a gradual re-opening of businesses and services has occurred in the months since then, I don’t know anyone who has resumed daily life as it was before. The virus continues to spread and the death toll rises.

Continue reading “What’s Changed? by Elise M. Edwards”

I Don’t Mean to Brag, But I Cry a Lot by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

It’s true. I don’t mean to make you jealous, but lately, I have at least one long session of really great crying most days. What I call the “lovely cry,” where my face gets all red and swollen and puffy, my nose runs, I drool, and I make all kinds of noises. I’m so proud of my crying, so proud of myself whenever I manage to accomplish a really good cry, and so relieved. I get a bit worried if a few days go by and I haven’t had a proper cry. I try to remind myself how important it is, and give myself time and space for a healthy crying session.

Again, not to blow my own horn, but it has taken some work—decades of practice and effort—to get good at frequent, healthy crying. Mostly, it takes two things: 1) the courage to feel your feelings, and 2) the strength to reject our culture’s toxic sexism.

I’m sorry I can’t provide you with a well researched summary of how our culture decided that tears are shameful, weak, and feminine. It’s been a damned hard time lately, trying to recover from long-term Covid. I could also go on about my past traumas, deaths I am grieving, and fears from this pandemic and the climate apocalypse, etc. I’m sure you could, too. Plenty to cry about! Continue reading “I Don’t Mean to Brag, But I Cry a Lot by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Lessons From Birch & Mother Earth—Grace, Resilience, and Rebirth by Mary Gelfand

When I moved to Maine from New Orleans 15 years ago, I was delighted to discover how many birch trees were on the property where I lived with my new partner.  Previously I had had little contact with these beautiful white trees, other than in pictures and stories.  The name always evoked images of birch bark canoes and messages to fate scrawled with bits of burnt wood.

Face to face, birch trees were as marvelous as I had imagined.  I loved their shape against the blue sky, their beautiful white bark, the graceful way they swayed in the wind, the delicate tracery of their branches in mid-winter.  Once I even saw a pair of mating dragon flies clinging to a branch, using their delicate wings to maintain harmony with the movement of the gentle breeze. Continue reading “Lessons From Birch & Mother Earth—Grace, Resilience, and Rebirth by Mary Gelfand”

Creating Spaces for Grieving and Receiving by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

By now, all aspects of life have been altered or halted. The world as we know it has become radically different as we attempt to get a handle on this disease and stop the rising number of deaths each day. We are enduring trauma on a global and individual level. Trauma carries a myriad of emotions; anger and grief sometimes being the prominent two.  And with the rising uncertainty paired with the increasing amount of trauma and grief we are all experiencing, we need to find ways to talk about our feelings, share, and move forward.

Continue reading “Creating Spaces for Grieving and Receiving by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

The Practice of Bearing Witness by Stephanie Arel

She looked away and stared out the window, trying to hold back the tears in her eyes. “The tents,” she said and shook her head looking down at the ground. The tears were coming, but softly. I asked her what the tents represent. She shrugged her shoulders and said into the camera phone: “The bodies I guess. They don’t have enough room for the bodies.”

In this time of the coronavirus, as in Italy and Spain, New York City has room neither in the hospitals nor the morgue for the bodies that are dying. Up from 25 a week, to 24 a day, bodies are being buried on Hart Island, or City Cemetery, where the unclaimed and unidentified have been interred for decades. Others are waiting in refrigerated trucks for friends and family members to collect them. This New Yorker along with thousands of others have seen the stark reality, one that left even Trump sick at heart.

We are witnessing a global pandemic. Evidence of the ravages of the coronavirus lies all around us. The response to the virus has made physiological, economic, and psychological impacts on our lives. We have changed our working styles, dealt with lowered income, or lost our jobs. Staying secluded at home, we have taken on new roles for which we were not prepared; many of us have become sick, and some have died. We are together witnessing a major world disaster.

What does it mean to be a witness? What will it mean to carry that witnessing forward to future generations to mark this historic event so that when something like it happens again, future generations will have the tools they need to respond more quickly, adapt more easily, recover more rapidly? For this generation, just as those who researched and learned from the Spanish Flu, we bear witness. Continue reading “The Practice of Bearing Witness by Stephanie Arel”

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”

A Daughter’s Lament by Karen Leslie Hernandez

I still cannot speak.
To the depth of the pain.
The sting.
The knowing
My heart
Will never be.
Or Feel.
The same.

More than
A year
And I still can barely utter
To anyone.
What was said.

You’re a young little bitch.
Life altering.

It’s just a word.
In so many
To motivate.

Continue reading “A Daughter’s Lament by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

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