A View from the Chute by Charlene Spretnak

Charlene SpretnakRecently I was hurled across the existential divide that separates the millions of people around the world who have experienced a life-threatening extreme weather event from those who have not. In December 2017 unseasonal Santa Ana winds roared off a California desert across two drought-parched counties, not for the usual 48 hours but for more than a week, blowing a brush fire across 440 square miles. It was named the Thomas fire, the largest in California history.

The two mountain ranges forming the walls of the Ojai Valley were incinerated as the town on the valley floor was evacuated but, in the end, was saved. A month later 23 people were killed in nearby Montecito by mudslides that brought boulders and debris crashing down from the burned out mountainside after only one hour of an unusually intense rainstorm. The ground shook as a thunderous roar arose. The impact of the fast-moving debris flow obliterated many houses, splintering them instantly and sweeping the remains into the growing torrent that ran to the sea.   Continue reading “A View from the Chute by Charlene Spretnak”

An Archaic Trinity of Goddesses? Not Necessarily. by Barbara Ardinger

Barbara ArdingerIn her comment following my last post which was about mythology, my friend, Carol Christ, expands on my paragraph about how the so-called “ancient triple goddess” was really invented in 1948 by Robert Graves in his book, The White Goddess. (Thanks, Carol.)

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Goddess movement was just getting up on its feet and our ovular books were being published, the idea arose that if “they” have a holy trinity, “we” have one, too. And ours is older and holier. We see it in the three phases of the moon, new (Virgin), full (Mother), and dark (Crone). Here’s a tiny sample of these books that changed the lives of so many women and men:

  • Woman’s Mysteries Ancient and Modern by M. Esther Harding (1971, but first published in 1933)
  • The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (1974) by Marija Gimbutas
  • When God Was a Woman (1976) by Merlin Stone
  • Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths (1978) by Charlene Spretnak
  • The first edition of The Spiral Dance (1979) by Starhawk
  • The Chalice and the Blade (1987) by Riane Eisler
  • Laughter of Aphrodite (1987) by Carol P. Christ
  • The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries (1989) by Z. Budapest
  • The Reflowering of the Goddess (1990) by Gloria Feman Orenstein
  • Whence the Goddesses: A Source Book (1990) by Miriam Robbins Dexter

Triple goddess? ’Tain’t so. Our beloved triple goddess is one of our foundational myths. It’s nice and it’s perhaps inspiring, but it’s only a myth. Anyone who looks at a calendar or almanac—or up into the sky every night for a month—can easily see that the moon doesn’t have three phases. It has four: waxing, full, waning, and dark. And since the late 20th century, women have lived long enough to go through more than three stages of life. Continue reading “An Archaic Trinity of Goddesses? Not Necessarily. by Barbara Ardinger”

Persephone by Barbara Ardinger

Here we are, creeping up on the vernal equinox (March 21), which astronomers and weathermen on TV tell us is the start of spring. I see Imbolc (as described by Deanne Quarrie) as the true beginning of spring, however. It’s when we see the first little crocuses popping up through the snow…..oh, yeah…..well, maybe not this year, when more than half the U.S. is buried under mountains of snow. Let’s just agree that in ordinary years crocuses pop up and bloom and trees start showing us their tiny green leaves in February. The equinox is really the turning point of spring, the hinge of time when the rising energy tips over into falling energy that is flowing toward summertime, which will arrive at Beltane (May 1 or 2).

Demeter and Persephone

We’re probably all familiar with the story of Persephone, who under her childhood name, Kore, was out picking flowers in the meadow one day when her Uncle Hades roared up out of the earth in his mighty chariot and kidnapped her. This led her mother, Demeter, the grain goddess, to search for her and finally go on strike and let the world turn back into winter. This went on until Aunt Hecate told Demeter where her daughter was. When Persephone, now queen of the underworld, came back up with her mother—voilà! It was springtime. That’s how the vegetation myth goes. Continue reading “Persephone by Barbara Ardinger”


Charlene Spretnak is one of the Founding Mothers of the Women’s Spirituality movement. She is the author of eight books, including most recently Relational Reality. She is a professor in the Women’s Spirituality graduate program in the Philosophy and Religion Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies. For further information about her books, see www.CharleneSpretnak.com. 

In the 1990s a broad coalition of Christian organizations and development NGOs mounted a successful international campaign known as Jubilee 2000, which pushed for a just resolution to a moral issue: the crushing interest payments on “Third World” development loans that had been forced on those countries in ways that had enriched the Northern banks and drained the South for decades. The campaign resulted in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, which provides systematic debt relief for the poorest countries as well as new safeguards to assure that aid money is actually spent on the alleviation of poverty, and also the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), which offers 100% cancellation of multilateral debts owed by HIPC countries to the World Bank, IMF, and African Development Bank. Continue reading “RESTORE THE REVENUE STREAMS! By Charlene Spretnak”

Charlene Spretnak’s “Relational Reality”: An Illuminating Read By Gina Messina-Dysert

I have long been interested in the work of women’s spirituality movement’s founding mother Charlene Spretnak; thus when her newest book, Relational Reality: New Discoveries of Interrelatedness that are Transforming the Modern World, was released I was anxious to read it.  To no surprise, I found it a brilliant, stimulating, and vital work.

In Relational Reality, Spretnak explains that we have “missed the way the world works” as a result of our cultural tendencies.  “The failure to notice that reality is inherently dynamic and interrelated at all levels – including substance and functioning – has caused a vast range of suffering” (1). Spretnak offers “snapshots” of the various crises we face within education and parenting, health and healthcare, community design and architecture, and the economy with purpose;  to name the suffering and hardship endured within the world and demonstrate that these crises are the result of anti-relational thinking.  She states these problems cannot be corrected until they are acknowledged; “Only then can we grasp the significance of the relational breakthroughs and solutions that are emerging” (20). Continue reading “Charlene Spretnak’s “Relational Reality”: An Illuminating Read By Gina Messina-Dysert”

Field-Dependent or Field-Astute? By Charlene Spretnak

Charlene Spretnak is one of the Founding Mothers of the Women’s Spirituality movement. She is the author of eight books, including most recently Relational Reality. She is a professor in the Women’s Spirituality graduate program in the Philosophy and Religion Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies. For further information about her books, see www.CharleneSpretnak.com. 

Field-Dependent or Field-Astute?

While listening to an NPR station a few months ago, I heard a man – apparently a marketing whiz – say, “Teenage girls are a field-dependent market for us.” Hmmmm. There it is again, the long arm of Herman Witkin’s influence decades after his famous experiment in the psychology of visual perception in 1954, which found that male subjects tend strongly to focus on a foreground figure, while female subjects tend strongly to perceive figure and ground as a gestalt, or holistic totality. (These results have been replicated thousands of times since then, including cross-culturally.) However, following the experimental findings themselves, then came the patriarchal spin. Witkin assigned the positive, admirable label “field-independent” to men and the less admirable “field-dependent” to women. He and other psychologists extrapolated from his findings that women’s cognitive style is “conforming,” “child-like,” and “global,” being similar, as Witkin added in 1962, to the [supposedly] undifferentiated thought processes found in “primitive” cultures. He added that women’s “field-dependence” renders us unable to maintain a “sense of separate identity,” unlike “field-independent males,” whose cognitive style was seen as “analytical” and “self-reliant.” In more recent decades female psychologists have suggested that women’s cognitive style might well be re-labeled “field-sensitive.” But is that really sufficient? After all, it carries the connotation of women’s being supposedly “over-sensitive.”

Why does this matter now? Because the ground is shifting fast under the old view of reality as an aggregate of discrete entities (foreground figures, as Witkin would say), which may or may not relate to one another.  On the contrary, numerous discoveries in recent years indicate that the entire physical world, including humans, is far more dynamically interrelated – in both structure and functioning – than had been imagined (except by indigenous cultures and Eastern philosophy). Even as someone who’s been tracking the Relational Shift for decades, I was amazed by many of the recent discoveries – as well as the fact that this shift is now decidedly mainstream. Continue reading “Field-Dependent or Field-Astute? By Charlene Spretnak”

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