Emerging from the Underworld: a book review by Eline Kieft

Desperately Seeking Persephone: A Shamanic Journey Through the Underworld by Janet Rudolph weaves together a healing journey from abuse and rape, a deep personal connection with the goddesses Inanna and Persephone, and the ups and downs of a long-term shamanic apprenticeship. These strands could have easily filled three separate books, but Janet masterfully crafts an integrated tapestry of personal and mythical strands. She integrates everyday life experiences, liminal space and the archetypal realms until something new emerges that is more than personal story, more than myth, and more than a description of discovering a shamanic path.

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FRAME THE CHAOS by Esther Nelson

No matter how much we may want absolute control over our own lives and destiny, most of us realize that’s just not possible. Life itself is chaotic—both on a global and individual level. War, famine, drought, earthquakes, tsunamis, pandemics, poverty, sickness, ignorance, disability, divorce, and ultimately death comes calling for everybody living on planet Earth—a planet which will no doubt  eventually die as well. 

How do we maneuver through such dire straits?  Can we make sense of and find meaning in our day-to-day chaotic existence both as members of individual families/communities and as global citizens? Perhaps so, however, it’s impossible to tackle the tumult all at once. Hence, the title of this essay—“Frame the Chaos.”

Thanks to my former colleague Dr. Cliff Edwards for this phrase, gleaned from his reading of Gilles Deleuze, French philosopher (1925-1995). “Chaos is defined not so much by its disorder as by the infinite speed with which every form taking shape in it vanishes.  It is a void that is not nothingness but a virtual, containing all possible.”

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Upon Rising: Poems Call Out by Margot Van Sluytman

Moderator’s Note: Margot reads each of her poems aloud. They can be heard through the links in the titles.

“And what then is poetry?” We ask this time and time and time again. And poetry HERself answers. SHE needs no descriptor. Mimetic sagacity spells HER clarity.
Dreams be Fed

I am a body that remembers

The joys of falling into hues of

Brilliant blues and greens.

I am a soul that trades in
Cinnamon and spices.

Elevating chance.
Caressing mystery.
I am a will that conceives fat
Ebullient Moon as
Golden Goddess. Divine.

SHE who feeds our dreams.
SHE who teaches us

To tend our fires.
©Margot Van Sluytman

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The Poiesis of Celebrating Earth’s Seasonal Moments by Glenys Livingstone

Amongst Celtic peoples, the capacity to speak poetically was a divine attribute, regarded as a transformative power of the Deity, who was named by those peoples as the Great Goddess Brigid: She was a poet, a Matron of Poetry (along with her capacities of smithcraft and healing). And at Delphi in Greece, the oracular priestesses delivered their prophecies in poetic form: Phemonoe invented the poetic meter, the hexameter. And from Sumeria, humans have the first Western written records of literature, which is poetry written by the High Priestess of Inanna, Enheduanna in approximately 2300 B.C.E.. Poetry has been recognised as a powerful modality: Barbara Mor and Monica Sjoo described “poetic thinking” as an wholistic mode, wherein “paradox and ambiguity … can be felt and synthesized. The most ancient becomes the most modern; for in the holographic universe, each ‘subjective’ part contains the ‘objective’ whole, and chronological time is just one aspect of a simultaneous universe” (The Great Cosmic Mother, 41).

Poetry could be described as an “Earth-centred language”: it has the capacity to hold multivalent aspects of reality, to open to subjective depths, to allow qualitative differences in understanding. Hence it is especially suited to expressing and bringing together a multitude of beings. Cosmologist and evolutionary philosopher Brian Swimme and the late cultural historian/geologian Thomas Berry have called for such a language – the kind of language “until now enjoyed only by our poets and mystics” that may express the “highly differentiated unit”, the organic reality such as Earth is (The Universe Story, 258-259), and such as “Gaia” was understood of old, and in recent scientific theory: that is, Earth is understood as a highly differentiated unity, which any expression must aim to emulate. Continue reading “The Poiesis of Celebrating Earth’s Seasonal Moments by Glenys Livingstone”

Autumn Equinox with the Ancestors, or after ecstasy indeed the laundry*) Eline Kieft

As I hang the laundry back home, I remember how just 24 hours earlier I arrived back on the beach after an incredible time at the ancestral burial mound where I spend the night in ceremony at the Autumn Equinox.

Ile Carn is a neolithic passage grave on a small tidal island in Finisterre, Brittany. I had visited there the summer before, and found that the other world was strongly accessible. When places become very touristy, like Stonehenge or Mont St. Michel, it sometimes appears as if the spirits retreat and the potency of the place thins. I asked them then if I could come back for ceremony, and when the answer was yes, I promised to return.

So here I was, on the Autumn Equinox, or Mabon. This is a time of balance, when the days and nights are equally long. A time in which the harvest has been gathered and we can start to prepare for a time of gestation and growing in the dark womb of winter, before the light is reborn again next year. My personal aim was three fold: I wanted to celebrate this year, especially to give thanks for my life, which had been on a precarious knife-edge earlier in May. I also wanted to ask for guidance for both my budding business and for my academic work in terms of re-discovering our own indigeneity in the west.

Continue reading “Autumn Equinox with the Ancestors, or after ecstasy indeed the laundry*) Eline Kieft”

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