Let’s Celebrate a God and a Goddess for February by Barbara Ardinger

Back around the turn of the century when I was writing Pagan Every Day, I did a lot of research. I had to. I had to write something for every day of the year, including leap year day and a second January 1, i.e., a year and a day. I used real books. I stacked them around the chair in front of my computer. I had to step over books. Step around books. Wind my way past books to other books that had somehow landed across the room. Just like nearly everybody else who writes for Feminism and Religion, I wrote and thought and deleted and wrote some more. (Y’all know how that goes.) We writers have always had interesting adventures with traditional publishers. That’s one reason self-publishing is so popular today: we can maintain more control over our work. Twenty years ago, when I modestly (hah!) submitted my year and a day of essays, the publisher said, “Oh, you wrote too much. We only want 300 words per day.” They hadn’t mentioned that before. So I began editing. I threw away nearly all my nifty daily epigraphs and edited every day down to (cross my heart) 301 words.

Who did I find for early February? A Greek god who had secrets. A Roman goddess who is special to me to this day.


Continue reading “Let’s Celebrate a God and a Goddess for February by Barbara Ardinger”

How the Dark Fairy Carabosse Found the Light by Barbara Ardinger

Barbara ArdingerThe dark fairy Carabosse was in a snit. “Here I am,” she fumed, “the smartest, most literate, least mischievous fairy in any world, and no one will listen to me. I’m the best of all possible fairies in the best of all possible worlds. And do I receive my due respect? Why am I not Goddess of the Sun?”

“Hush, dear,” said Carabosse’s amanuensis. “There’s already a sun god. There can’t ever be a sun goddess. The sun shoots out masculine energy—that’s what the mortals say. The moon absorbs and reflects the masculine energy. The moon is the feminine planet.”

“Well, I’m tired of reflecting men’s power. I’m also tired of being ruled by the phases of the moon. I demand to be a sun goddess so I can rule the moon! Grimmella, what’s the moon phase today?”

Grimmella looked at her handy pocket calculator. “It’s eleven percent waning, Almost dark. Which might explain your mood.” As Carabosse sniffed and glared at her, she added, “You can’t be a sun goddess. It’s just not done!”

“Oh, Grimmella,” the dark fairy exclaimed, “don’t be so old-fashioned! Wake up! We’re done with all that reflected light business. I want to be the source of light. Besides, it’s a new century! Even for the mortals. And I’ve done so much for them—for us fairies, too—that I deserve a reward. I deserve to the Goddess of the Sun.” When Grimmella laid her pen down and frowned, the dark fairy went on with her rant. “Do you know who that hubristic Apollo really is?” Continue reading “How the Dark Fairy Carabosse Found the Light by Barbara Ardinger”

Let’s Celebrate the Holiday Shopping Season by Barbara Ardinger

We’ve recently celebrated Thanksgiving, when I hope that, like me, you gave thanks to the deity of your choice for the wise and thoughty blogs we’ve been reading on this site. Now we’re well into the holiday season, which seems (at least in the malls) to start earlier every year. No matter what you call the December holiday, its origin lies in the winter solstice, which is the tipping point of the year’s dark season. The solar gods—Adonis, Amon-Ra, Apollo, Attis, Baal, Horus, Jesus the Christ, Lugh, Marduk, Mithra, Shamash, Sol Invictus, and the rest—are born or reborn now. These are the gods who live for a season or a year in great honor, after which they’re sacrificed, spend a season underground, and are then reborn. This happens every year at the winter solstice. (Just so you know: if Jesus was a real man, he was probably born in the spring or fall between 7 and 4 B.C.E. In 354 C.E., Bishop Liberius of Rome moved his official birth date to December 25 to match the birth date of the popular Roman god Mithra.)

Also born and reborn at the winter solstice is the light itself, the solar light and the temple light, too. We can think of the reborn light as literal light—a lamp in a temple that burns for eight days when it has fuel for only one—or metaphorical light, that is, learning, wisdom, and generosity. Hanukkah (which usually comes in December but which coincided with Thanksgiving this year) embraces both literal and metaphorical light. Continue reading “Let’s Celebrate the Holiday Shopping Season by Barbara Ardinger”

She Who Has Faith in the Unknown by Jassy Watson

Jassy_Agora1-150x150I am sharing the following story, that with a few recent alterations, I wrote as a university paper last year in a course on Ancient Religions. It is significant for me presently because it is a year almost to the day that I embarked on Carol Christ’s Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete. Seeds of transformation were planted on Greece, therefore naturally I have been reflecting and reminiscing not only on my Odyssey, but also on the full circle I have come since.

Today, from my hometown of Delphi, I will make pilgrimage to the Temple of Apollo. I will make this journey alone for I seek answers to questions of a personal nature. I have waited patiently through the cold and barren days of winter, even coming summer and autumn past, failing to see the Pythia with each visit, for during these times of uncertainty the Temple has been busy with representatives from many cities. All recognise the importance of Apollo as a mediator of disputes and a champion of law and stability. Everyday concerns like mine are least important compared to those matters of war and men. I come however, not seeking answers from Apollo, but rather from our great mother Gaia, for all know that it is she who has resided here since the beginning. I feel it in my heart that I will be heard today, for spring has arrived, and concerns over battle have been put aside for the festival ‘Theophania’, a celebration of Apollo’s return. The countryside is bursting with new life, the sky is clear and the womb of the great mother is abundant; I sense blessings for a brighter future. Continue reading “She Who Has Faith in the Unknown by Jassy Watson”

Happy Birthday, Solar Gods By Barbara Ardinger

Throughout history and all around the world, people have celebrated midwinter and the rebirth of the sun. My favorite night of the solstice-Hanukah-Christmas season is December 24, Modranicht. If we have Mother’s Day in the springtime, it seems only fair that we should celebrate Mother’s Night in the winter. We get the term Mothers’ Night from the English monk, Bede, who said that the Angles began their year on the night of December 24–25.

The winter solstice this year falls on December 21, though it can also occur on December 22 and December 23. The word “solstice” means “sun stand still.” No, it’s not Joshua’s long day again. On the solstice, the sun rises from the same point on the horizon for a couple days (this is the standing still), is at its lowest point in the sky at noon, and (in the Northern Hemisphere) is at its southernmost point. It’s the longest night of the year, and when the sun is reborn, it moves across the sky for six months to the summer solstice, where it’s at its northernmost point.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Solar Gods By Barbara Ardinger”

The Feast Day of St. Brigid by Carol P. Christ

May we remember Brigid on her day in the fullness of her connection to bountiful and life-giving earth by setting a bowl of milk on an altar or special place in the garden on her holy day.  Who knows, a snake just might come to drink from it.

The Christian Feast Day of St. Brigid of Kildare, one of the two patron saints of Ireland, is held on February 1, the pre-Christian holiday known as Imbloc.  It is well known that St. Brigid has the same name as a pre-Christian Goddess of Ireland, variously known as Brighid (pronounced “Breed”), Brigid, Brigit, Bride, or Bridie.  The name Brigid is from the Celtic “Brig” meaning “High One” or “Exalted One.”  Brigid like other Irish Goddesses was originally associated with a Mountain Mother, protectress of the people who lived within sight of her and of the flocks nurtured on her slopes.

Imbloc marked the day that cows and ewes give birth and begin to produce milk.  It was also said to be the day when hibernating snakes (like groundhogs) first come out of their holes.  In northern countries, Imbloc signals the beginning of the ending of winter.  The days have begun to lengthen perceptibly after the winter solstice when the sun stands still and it seems that winter will never end.  At Imbloc spring is not yet in full blossom.  But if hibernating snakes come out of their holes, it is a sure sign that the processes of transformation will continue and warmer days will not be far off.  As Marija Gimbutas says, “The awakening of the snakes meant the awakening of all of nature, the beginning of the life of the new year.”   Continue reading “The Feast Day of St. Brigid by Carol P. Christ”

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