“There is no such thing as a bad blessing,” Mama Donna tell us, “no rules . . . no recipes, no prescriptions, no instruction manuals,” no “one-size-fits-all” House Blessing. Yet it’s not so much “anything goes” as “everything matters”: “The only thing you can do wrong in a ritual is to not pay attention to your true intentions.”
Donna Henes, familiarly known as “Mama Donna,” is a national treasure. From her “House of Many Altars” in what she mischievously calls “Exotic Brooklyn,” she serves as an exuberant, irrepressible urban shaman: holding outdoor public rituals at each solstice and equinox for over forty years; blessing and leading New York City’s annual Halloween Parade; creating meaningful, personalized ceremonies for funerals, weddings, new babies, new homes, and new businesses. In 2009, the governor of New York State called on her to bless the fleet during the quadricentennial celebration of Henry Hudson’s voyage to the New World. She is the author of five books, including The Queen of Myself and Celestially Auspicious Occasions, and publishes a monthly e-newsletter, The Queen’s Chronicles, that offers “meaning, moxie, and magic for midlife women.”
In her most recent book, Bless This House: Creating Sacred Space Where You Live, Work & Travel (Ixia Press, 2018), Mama Donna generously shares her house-blessing “secrets”—revealing that they are not secrets after all. Demystifying the blessing process, the book details everything you need to know to “claim and consecrate” your own house with “authority and aplomb.” Continue reading “Bless This House: Creating Sacred Space Where You Live, Work & Travel by Mama Donna Henes – A Book Review by Joyce Zonana”
I am mad. So very mad. No, that doesn’t begin to describe it. I am pissed. I am angry. I am irate. I am incensed. I am outraged. I am enraged. I am livid. I am GODDESS DAMN FURIOUS.
“All men are created equal,” states the Declaration of Independence. From the very beginning, women were denied equality in this country. It has taken over two centuries for women to win the right to vote, to have alleged protection under the law, to earn as much as 68 and 77 cents on the dollar (depending on our skin color) that men are paid, and to gain control over our own bodies and destinies.
And now, nearly 250 years later, we are seeing our rights, our freedoms, our health care being stripped away, one by one, by mean spirited, misogynistic, right wing religious uber-conservatives. In 2015 there is still no Equal Rights Amendment. Women are still not equal under the law. Continue reading “I am mad by Mama Donna Henes”
In 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”
Her roots reach to the very center of the Earth where they wind around the sacred wells, the deep source of wisdom…
Possessing the potent powers of fertility, growth, resilience and longevity, the tree is widely seen as the progenitor of the world. Family Tree. The Tree of Life. The tree goddess was seen as a sylph, an airy tree spirit who resides among the green leaves, sustaining and nurturing the vegetative forces. She is the symbol of the flow of life, a Mother Goddess who is Herself the Tree of Life.
The Maasai people claim their descent from an original parent tree. For the Slavs, the world tree is the symbol of all relationship, and as such, is held as the central philosophical image in that culture. The Maya of Central America understand themselves to be part of a great celestial ceiba tree. This silk-cotton tree, which stands for all life is the pole at the center of the Earth and serves to hold up the heavens. The Koran refers to the cosmos as a tree. Continue reading “Lady of the Trees by Mama Donna Henes”
The Queen paradigm promotes a new understanding of what it might mean to be a middle-aged woman today who accepts complete responsibility for and to her self, and it celebrates the physical, emotional, and spiritual rewards of doing so.
Although I have been passionately devoted to the Many Splendored Goddess in Her complex multiplicity for more than thirty years now, I am not a believer in the Triple Goddess paradigm. It has never resonated with me because it belies what I believe to be the true nature of nature. The Triple Goddess in Her tripartite phases is widely understood to represent the complete cyclical wholeness of life. She who is Three is likened to the moon, the tides and the seasons, whose mutability She mirrors. And therein, lies the rub.
I am sorry, but forty years of researching, teaching, and writing about Celestially Auspicious Occasions — the cycles of the cosmos and the earthly seasons, and the multi-cultural ritual expressions that they inspire — I can state unequivocally that the moon has four quarters, not three, and that there are, as well, four seasons in the year. Continue reading “The Full Spirited Four-Fold Goddess: The Maiden, the Mother, The Queen and the Crone by Mama Donna Henes”