Lavender Haze and the Struggle for Egalitarian Marriage by Liz Cooledge Jenkins

Like most Taylor Swift fans—and anyone who’s tuned into a pop station on the radio recently—I’ve been listening to (and loving) the song Lavender Haze[1] from Swift’s latest album Midnights. The chorus: “I feel the lavender haze creeping up on me / Surreal, I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say / No deal, the 1950s shit they want from me / I just wanna stay in that lavender haze.”

Swift uses the phrase “lavender haze,” as she explains in an Instagram video,[2] to refer to an intense feeling of being in love, complete with an “all-encompassing love glow.” Presumably in contrast with the “1950s shit” people want from the narrator of the song. From the other lyrics, we might assume that this “1950s shit” includes people’s constant barrage of questions about whether or when the narrator is going to become her lover’s bride—because, of course, “The only kind of girl [people] see / is a one night or a wife.” No other options.

Continue reading “Lavender Haze and the Struggle for Egalitarian Marriage by Liz Cooledge Jenkins”

Herstory Profiles: Activist Preacher Fannie Lou Hamer by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

Throughout the course of this year my monthly posts are going to spotlight extraordinary women; a FAR Herstory Journey. Our first Herstory profile will be Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977): a staunch Civil Rights, Voter Rights Singing Activist, Preacher.  

Continue reading “Herstory Profiles: Activist Preacher Fannie Lou Hamer by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Rhiannon by Diane Finkle Perazzo

This poem is dedicated with gratitude to my “Women in the Mabinogi” writing group…

Rhiannon comes to me in my dreams.
She ebbs and flows like the waxing and waning  
of the moon.

Steady hoofbeats, 
clop, clop, clop  
and then, in a rush of beating wings
she vanishes,
leaving a swirl of tiny white petals that spiral like stars.

Continue reading “Rhiannon by Diane Finkle Perazzo”

“A new heart I will give you . . .” : Part One by Beth Bartlett

February is “Heart Month.” Presumably the American Heart Association chose February as the month to raise awareness about cardiovascular health because in February we celebrate Valentine’s Day which we observe by the giving and receiving of hearts of all kinds — heart-shaped Valentines, candy, jewelry – symbolic declarations of love, of giving our hearts to one another. Hearts have long been associated with love. When bringing our emotions to the surface, we “wear our hearts on our sleeve.” When speaking our deepest feelings, we “pour our hearts out.” Feelings of tenderness “warm our heart,” and compassion “pulls at our heartstrings.” When grieving, we feel “heartache,” and loss of love renders us “heartbroken.” The French word for heart, coeur, associates hearts with courage. We “take heart;” we “lose heart;” we “hearten.” We can engage in a task “wholeheartedly,” “halfheartedly,” or our “heart’s not in it” at all. We can be “bravehearted,” “lighthearted,” “tenderhearted,” “hardhearted,” or totally “heartless.”  That’s a lot for the heart to carry.

Continue reading ““A new heart I will give you . . .” : Part One by Beth Bartlett”

Women, Blame, and Patriarchy by Mary Gelfand

Pandora by Rebecca Guay

Last May I had a vision in the shower. It wasn’t the kind of vision I like to have—where the Goddess and I dance across a meadow with flowers springing up as we pass and cool breezes bringing sweet fragrances. This was the kind of vision I’d rather not have, but probably needed to. This is from my journal.

Something happened during my shower recently that feels relevant. As I stepped into the shower, a phrase thrust itself into my mind: “I was forced to watch them die and it was all my fault.” As I ‘stood’ there with water pouring over my body and that statement vibrating in my brain, it attached itself to a scene where I was the spiritual leader of a community that came under attack. I was forced to watch the women and men who believed in what I taught as they were executed. Many of them were friends and relatives. I was restrained and couldn’t intervene to save them, or join them in execution. Having to witness this was part of my punishment. Instead I was carried to a bigger town, publicly humiliated and beaten, and then executed in some painfully unpleasant way I can’t recall–probably because I don’t want to.

Continue reading “Women, Blame, and Patriarchy by Mary Gelfand”

Woman’s Sacred Hand – and Handkerchief by Laura Shannon

Berber Hamsa. Photo: public domain.

In my recent post ‘Forty Days After Childbirth, Mary Returns to the World,’ I wrote that ‘the woman’s power to bless and protect, as well as to create, is shown in the symbol of her hand.’ We see expressions of this power in the Orthodox Christian icon of the Three-Handed Madonna, whose third hand is over her womb, and the Hamsa, the hand-shaped talisman common to Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. Also known as the Hand of Fatima, Miriam, or Mary, the Hamsa often incorporates eye or vulva motifs, which also offer protection.

Hand, womb, and eye all signify female creative power, personified in the image of Goddess and revered in Neolithic Old Europe. This life-giving principle is expressed in many ways apart from childbearing: as Carol Christ affirms, early technologies of spinning, weaving, pottery, and agriculture, along with Neolithic religion, were most likely invented by women. 

Continue reading “Woman’s Sacred Hand – and Handkerchief by Laura Shannon”

Finding that Feeling and Standing to Heal the Earth by Caryn MacGrandle

Something happened to me while listening to a song yesterday Mycelia by Yaima Music about the Mycelium Network: the largest living organism in the world underneath our feet, connected by synapses, communicating and assisting life. I found that feeling. 

The one where you know you are on Path.

Laney Goodman who just passed, I remembered her singing and drumming.  I remembered being at ALisa Starkweather’s Daughter of the Earth events, meeting the hundreds of Priestesses that ALisa has brought together and trained over the years. Being in awe. Wishing I was a person who could do that.

I remembered that I Am.

“Starting to Hear the Earth
Standing to Heal the Earth”

Continue reading “Finding that Feeling and Standing to Heal the Earth by Caryn MacGrandle”

Is Sin An Antiquated Concept? by Rev. Dr. Karen Tate

I believe many could and would characterize abuse and exploitation as varying degrees of sin, from gossip and verbal intimidation on one end of the spectrum to murder, rape or thievery on the other. Yet, while we’ve normalized some acts that we recognize fall into the categories of abuse and exploitation, if you asked someone if society has normalized sin, I suspect most people would say “of course not.” I believe that cognitive disconnect is proof we’ve become numb and acculturated to many forms of abuse. The concept of sin, and what constitutes sin along with redemption, purification and penance are not on the minds of people today as they once were, despite the rampant abuse and exploitation, aka sin. We accept it like we’ve come to believe greed is good when it once was one of the Seven Deadly Sins. I think prosperity gospels too need to be evaluated for the anti-Jesus message these teachings perpetuate that does little to advance an evolved and compassionate humanity. 

Continue reading “Is Sin An Antiquated Concept? by Rev. Dr. Karen Tate”

My Daughter’s Religions by Sara Frykenberg

I find it interesting how certain or settled we often expect our little ones to be instead of getting curious about them or acknowledging that they are curious.

My daughter, Hazel, is six years old and will be starting first grade next week. She loves cats, swimming, her cousin, and food. Purportedly, Chinese style barbecue pork buns come first in her heart, even before mommy and daddy (though we are a close second). She also prefers to run instead of walk; and has recently declared that she is Taoist and Shinto. This determination came after some discussion which went something like this:

Sitting at the kitchen table one morning, Hazel declares “My best friend asked me if I was a Christian and I told her I was. I am a Christian.”

Mommy the agnostic is a little surprised. Daddy, the atheist, is biting back a retort—he is somewhat hostile towards Christianity. I am only hostile to abusive, hetero-Patriarchal Christianity. I say to Hazel, “Oh. That’s interesting. Do you know what that means?”

“No. What do Christians believe,” she asks.

Continue reading “My Daughter’s Religions by Sara Frykenberg”

The Legacy of Carol P. Christ: Weaving and Spinning Women: Witches and Pagans by Max Dashu A Review

Moderator’s Note: This was originally posted on September 19, 2016

Max Dashu’s  Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion 700-1000 challenges the assumption that Europe was fully Christianized within a few short centuries as traditional historians tell us. Most of us were taught not only that Europe became Christian very rapidly, but also that Europeans were more than willing to adopt a new religion that was “superior” to “paganism” in every way. Careful readers of Dashu’s important new work will be challenged to revise their views. When the full 15 volumes of the projected series are in print, historians may be forced to hang their heads in shame. This of course assumes that scholars will read Dashu’s work. More likely they will ignore or dismiss it, but sooner or later–I dare to hope–the truth will out.


History has been written by the victors—in the case of Europe by elite Christian men. These men may have wanted to believe that their views were widely held, but Dashu suggests that they were not. Combing artistic and archaeological records, Dashu finds (to give one example) that images of Mother Earth nursing a snake are far from uncommon and can even be found as illustrations in Christian documents and on Christian monuments. Clerics rage against people—particularly women–who continue to visit holy wells and sacred trees and to practice divination and healing rituals invoking pagan powers. To paraphrase Shakespeare: “Methinks the cleric doth protest too much.” Were these things not happening and happening often, there would have been no need to condemn them.  Using these clues, Dashu provides intriguing new readings of the Poetic Edda and Norse sagas.

Continue reading “The Legacy of Carol P. Christ: Weaving and Spinning Women: Witches and Pagans by Max Dashu A Review”

Why It Matters That Simone Biles Won Times Athlete of the Year Award by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

I remember my first feeling’s of disappointment when Simone Biles pulled out of so many events at the 2021 Olympics. But then I quickly realized that here I was falling for the patriarchal lines that are so much a part of our reality that they become unconscious. Simone Biles taught me. Winning isn’t about slaying your foes (although someone who watches politics here in the US would think so). When Biles withdrew, there were many angry tweets and letters that she wasn’t living up to her promises. Let’s review that. She has been called the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) of her sport. She is the most decorated gymnast in history. She is only 24. What promise has she broken? To whom? And who are we (meaning the public) to even determine what her promise is?

Continue reading “Why It Matters That Simone Biles Won Times Athlete of the Year Award by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

Writing Women Back into Jewish History: Interview with Michelle Cameron by Mary Sharratt




My friend Michelle Cameron’s powerful new novel, Beyond the Ghetto Gates, is a deep dive into women’s history that I thoroughly enjoyed.

This is a passionately compelling saga of an ancient way of life on the threshold of radical change. Young Mirelle longs to dedicate her life to running her aging father’s workshop, but her rabbi forbids her on account of her sex. Chafing against the constraints of both her gender and the suffocating strictures of the Ancona Ghetto, Mirelle sees no way forward but dutiful arranged marriage. Yet Napoleon’s armies, sweeping across Europe, threaten to change her way of life forever.
I learned so much from reading Michelle’s novel and from my conversation with her below. I hope my readers are likewise compelled! Reading is our great solace in this time of lockdown.


Mary Sharratt:  Michelle, tell us about your new novel, Beyond the Ghetto Gates.

Michelle Cameron: Beyond the Ghetto Gates is a historical novel set during Napoleon Bonaparte’s Italian campaign (1796-97). When French troops occupy the port city of Ancona, freeing the city’s Jews from their repressive ghetto, two very different cultures collide. Mirelle, a young Jewish maiden, must choose between her duty – an arranged marriage to a wealthy Jewish merchant – and her love for a dashing French Catholic soldier. In the meantime, Francesca, a devout Catholic, must decide if she will honor her marriage vows to an abusive and murderous husband. Beyond the Ghetto Gates depicts how the Jews and Catholics of Ancona wrestle with ancient traditions, prejudices, and the challenges of a rapidly changing world.


MS.: How does your faith inspire your fiction?

MC: People often ask if I’m religious, because my historical novels focus on Jewish characters, issues of antisemitism, and the deep conflict between religious tradition and assimilation. I believe it’s precisely because I am a non-observant Jew with deep roots in my ancestral traditions and culture that I can wrestle with these issues in ways that a more religious writer could not. I’ve felt the attraction of being part of “the norm,” much as my characters do, that tug-of-war between religious identity versus being accepted in a secularized society, which is a constant theme in my fiction.


MS: What is the most surprising fact you’ve gleaned from your research into women in Jewish history?

MC: That Jewish women could divorce if their husbands fail in their marital duties. These are spelled out in the marriage contracts (ketubot) that Mirelle’s father creates:

Be my wife according to the law of Moses and Israel. I will work, honor, feed, and support you in the custom of Jewish men, who work, honor, feed, and support their wives faithfully. I will give you the settlement of ______ as well as your food, clothing, necessities of life, and conjugal needs, according to the universal custom.

The shocker here is “and conjugal needs.” Once, when speaking about my previous novel, The Fruit of Her Hands, I was questioned on the pleasure that Shira’s rabbi husband gave her in bed. There’s a common misconception that intercourse is a duty whose sole purpose is procreation. Luckily for me, the group included the rabbi’s wife, who explained that men are actually taught in the Talmud how to satisfy their wives sexually.

But since observant women are discouraged from studying Talmud, men who aren’t adequate to the task aren’t always condemned for their failures. But the fact remains that men are supposed to make the act pleasurable for both parties – and that they can be divorced if they don’t do so.

MS: How do you hope your work might inspire your readers to gain new insights about history and faith?

MC: I hope that, by learning about the cultural underpinnings and the historical struggles of my Jewish characters, my novels might promote greater understanding between all faiths.

MS: What is the one question you never get asked in interviews, but wish you did?

MC: Did you always want to write Jewish historical fiction?

In fact, I did not. My first book, In the Shadow of the Globe, a verse novel about William Shakespeare’s life and loves, was actually the type of book I thought I’d be writing. But then I discovered that I could trace my roots back to my 13th Century rabbi ancestor – Meir of Rothenberg – and realized his life story was the stuff of a novel. Writing that book set me on this path. It helps that I had a much more thorough grounding in Jewish history than most, because I lived in Israel during my high school years.


MS: What are you working on now? Will you continue to explore themes of women and Jewish history?

MC: I’m working on the second book in the series – which takes Napoleon and his troops on a bizarre expedition to Egypt and Israel. Many of the same characters from Beyond the Ghetto Gates will be part of this novel. So yes, I’ll be continuing to explore these themes.


MS: How would you like readers to connect with you?

MC: Via my website. This includes my various social media links, as well as a contact page, allowing readers to write me directly.



Author, Michelle Cameron


Mary Sharratt is on a mission to write women back into history. Her most recent novel Ecstasy is about the composer Alma Schindler Mahler. If you enjoyed this article, sign up for Mary’s newsletter or visit her website.


Embracing Darkness: All Hallows Eve in Old Lancashire


Come Halloween, the popular imagination turns to witches. Especially in Pendle Witch Country, the rugged Pennine landscape surrounding Pendle Hill, once home to twelve individuals arrested for witchcraft in 1612. The most notorious was Elizabeth Southerns, alias Old Demdike, cunning woman of long-standing repute and the heroine of my novel Daughters of the Witching Hill.

How did these historical cunning folk celebrate All Hallows Eve?

All Hallows has its roots in the ancient feast of Samhain, which marked the end of the pastoral year and was considered particularly numinous, a time when the faery folk and the spirits of the dead roved abroad. Many of these beliefs were preserved in the Christian feast of All Hallows, which had developed into a spectacular affair by the late Middle Ages, with church bells ringing all night to comfort the souls thought to be in purgatory. Did this custom have its origin in much older rites of ancestor veneration? This threshold feast opening the season of cold and darkness allowed people to confront their deepest fears—that of death and what lay beyond. And their deepest longings—reunion with their cherished departed.

Continue reading “Embracing Darkness: All Hallows Eve in Old Lancashire”

Missing from History: Women Composers by Mary Sharratt


Clara Schumann


To a large extent, women have been written out of history. Any surviving record of female accomplishment is often trivialized or dismissed. This seems especially true in the male-dominated world of classical music. When asked to name a single female composer, many people draw a blank. This isn’t because they’re ignorant, but because women’s music has been buried and neglected for far too long. Even pioneering women composers themselves lived and worked in ignorance of their foremothers.

Clara Wieck Schumann, wife of Robert Schumann, composed her first piano concerto at the age of fourteen and wrote a significant body of work in her early life. Mother of eight children and family breadwinner, she became the foremost concert pianist of 19th century Europe. In her sixty-one-year performance career, she interpreted the work of contemporary composers such as Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. Yet when it came to establishing herself as a composer in her own right, she was crippled with self-doubt. “I once believed that I had creative talent, but I have given up this idea,” she wrote in her diary in 1839. “A woman must not wish to compose—there never was one able to do it.” She was only twenty when she wrote these words that condemned her music to obscurity. Continue reading “Missing from History: Women Composers by Mary Sharratt”

Three More Herstorical Divas to Die For by Mary Sharratt

Last month I blogged about Three Herstorical Divas to Die For. But since herstory is teeming with heroines whose praise needs to be sung and whose legacies deserve to be remembered, I now present three more Herstorical Divas to inspire us.

The Urban Dictionary defines a diva as a woman who exudes great style and confidence and expresses her unique personality without letting others define who she should be. In my mind, a diva is a woman who stands in her sovereignty and blazes a trail for other women. We all need to claim our inner diva to truly dance in our power.

Continue reading “Three More Herstorical Divas to Die For by Mary Sharratt”

Thus Saith Eve BOOK REVIEW by Katie M. Deaver

“I am the Queen of Sheba and I am not impressed.”  This is the first line of one of the monologues from chris wind’s book Thus Saith Eve.  This book features 18 stories of biblical women, and a 19th, Lilith, from Jewish mythology.  Each monologue offers a new interpretation and gives a voice to the women that we think we know.

In this book the voices and personalities of women such as Noah’s wife, Mary of Bethany, Zipporah, and Vashti are reimagined in an exciting and empowering way.  Each of the stories also features an appendix where the reader can learn more about the biblical or mythological context of the woman who is telling her story.

As in her other works, wind uses historical people, events, and understandings to build a truly wonderful source of feminist fiction.  In addition to being an extremely enjoyable and thought provoking read, the monologues can also be used for audition and performance pieces.  On her website wind explains that two of the monologues, “I am Eve” and “I am Mary” can be performed with specific musical selections in the background.  You can find those selections linked to her website above.


Continue reading “Thus Saith Eve BOOK REVIEW by Katie M. Deaver”

If this be Madness … by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente


Shamima Shaikh (1960 – 1998) was South Africa’s best-known Muslim women’s rights activist. She was also a brave anti-Apartheid activist, notable Islamic feminist, community worker, journalist and devoted mother who died, 37 years old, from breast cancer. After the Holy month of Ramadan in 2016, I spoke with Islamic Feminist Shehnaz Haqqani about the new-to-me figure of Shamima. I was very excited to know about her and inspired by her fierce and at the same time compassionate moral courage. That year I wrote some pieces about her.

I asked, 18 months ago, Na’eem Jeenah, who was married to late Shamima, if there was a book about her where I could amplify my knowledge about her activism. He said, so far, there wasn´t. Later, I commented to my friend and Chilean feminist comrade, Rocio A., that the idea of an anthology book for Shamima Shaikh had arisen in me.

You must be mad, completely mad, you know? – she said

I am a feminist claiming that we women are people in a patriarchal world – I replied – of course I am mad. Continue reading “If this be Madness … by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente”

Weaving and Spinning Women: Witches and Pagans by Max Dashu: Reviewed by Carol P. Christ

carol p. christ photo michael bakasMax Dashu’s  Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion 700-1000 challenges the assumption that Europe was fully Christianized within a few short centuries as traditional historians tell us. Most of us were taught not only that Europe became Christian very rapidly, but also that Europeans were more than willing to adopt a new religion that was “superior” to “paganism” in every way. Careful readers of Dashu’s important new work will be challenged to revise their views. When the full 15 volumes of the projected series are in print, historians may be forced to hang their heads in shame. This of course assumes that scholars will read Dashu’s work. More likely they will ignore or dismiss it, but sooner or later–I dare to hope–the truth will out. Continue reading “Weaving and Spinning Women: Witches and Pagans by Max Dashu: Reviewed by Carol P. Christ”

Book Review by Mary Sharratt: ESTHER by Rebecca Kanner



We have been lost to each other for so long. My name means nothing to you. My memory is dust. This is not your fault or mine. The chain connecting mother to daughter was broken and the word passed into the keeping of men, who had no way of knowing. That is why I became a footnote, my story a brief detour between the well-known history of my father and the celebrated chronicle of my brother.

-Anita Diamant, The Red Tent

To a large extent, women have been written out of history. Their lives and deeds have become lost to us. To uncover the buried histories of women, we must act as detectives, studying the clues left from ages lost.

At its best, historical fiction can write women back into history and challenge our misconceptions about women in the past. Anita Diamant’s novel, The Red Tent, became such an iconic classic because she turned our stereotyped image of women in the Old Testament on its head by allowing the biblical Dinah to tell her own story in her own voice. Continue reading “Book Review by Mary Sharratt: ESTHER by Rebecca Kanner”

Painting Herstory: Our Lady of Silver Lake by Angela Yarber

angelaIt has become my new routine during the first phase of my queer little family’s year-long journey. After completing my chores, I run along the trails surrounding Silver Lake and once I’m thoroughly drenched in sweat, I grab a book and push our enormous 15-foot canoe into the frigid waters of the little lake we’re calling home for three months. With a smile that has yet to wipe off my face, I paddle fiercely. I’m typically the only person on the lake.

It’s a steep mile hike from the trailhead, and we’re the only ones “living” here for the summer, so my giant green canoe ripples the silvery waters in solitude. Once I find the right spot, I stuff my life vest behind my head and cozy down into the belly of the canoe, book in hand, goofy grin still spread across my flushed face. In the warmth of the sun, I read. In the belly of the canoe, I drift into the history of the lake, the unwritten annals lapping alongside my rocking boat, the portions on record filling the book in my sun-warmed hands.

The author who wrote the history of Silver Lake, William Powers, hiked up with several autographed copies in his rucksack several days after our arrival. He’s a nice man who wrote a nice book. There’s nothing like reading about the history of a place while in the place. Hear me say this clearly: there’s nothing wrong with the nice book this nice man wrote. The stories of Frank Chandler feeling a call from God to build a place for religious camp meetings along Silver Lake’s shores are fascinating, an interesting part of the history of camp meetings that filled the Awakenings throughout the United States. But as I read about Frank Chandler and the various men who the logged roads hikers now hike and built the buildings that haven’t existed for years due to fire, I couldn’t help but notice who was missing. Continue reading “Painting Herstory: Our Lady of Silver Lake by Angela Yarber”

My Tribute to Joy and Vera by Esther Nelson


My daughter Joy, in so many ways, is like my mother Vera–competent, feisty, determined, smart, no-nonsense, generous, gracious, and loving.  Many of her mannerisms mimic Vera’s as well, yet Joy barely knew my mother.  She died soon after Joy’s fifth birthday.  Unlike both my mother and me, though, Joy came into the world wired with a feminist vision.  Comfortable in her own skin from the “get-go,” she did not shrink from asserting her right (quietly–she’s an introvert) to participate in whatever caught her fancy “out there.”  She always had a strong sense of autonomy and resists, along with other feminists, when men (or to be more accurate–the patriarchal social system that informs us) attempt to shape public policy based on (primarily) men’s experiences and political agendas.

It took some time for me to understand the structured (and toxic) nature of gender inequality within our society, and even more time to learn to “speak that truth to power.”  During Joy’s formative years, I tried my best to instill into her what I had been taught–women were created primarily to be “help-meets” for their husbands and by extension, men.  Joy never bought into that “truth.”  I could tell by the way she lived.  For example, Joy liked to cook.  When she prepared a dish, she balked if (when) family members just helped themselves to the fruits of her labor.  She insisted they first ask to partake of the food she prepared.  She would not be taken for granted. Continue reading “My Tribute to Joy and Vera by Esther Nelson”

The Goddess of Willendorf and Does My Uterus Make Me Look Fat? by Molly

editMollyNov 083

 “Loving, knowing, and respecting our bodies is a powerful and invincible act of rebellion in this society.”
~ Inga Muscio

I do not remember the first time I ever saw her, but I do know that I have loved the Goddess of Willendorf sculpture for many years. When someone uses the phrase, “Great Goddess” or “Great Mother,” she’s the figure I see. To me, she honors the female form. I love her full-figure and the fact that she is not “perfect” or beautiful. I love that she is not pregnant* and what I like best is that she is complete unto herself. She is a complete form, not just a headless pregnant belly. She represents a deep, ancient power to me.

In a past post for FAR, I wrote:

I have a strong emotional connection to ancient Paleolithic and Neolithic goddess sculptures. I do not find that I feel as personally connected to later goddess imagery, but very ancient figures call to something deep and powerful within me. I have a sculpture of the Goddess of Willendorf at a central point on my altar. Sometimes I hold her and wonder and muse about who carved the original. I almost feel a thread that reaches out and continues to connect us to that nearly lost past—all the culture and society and how very much we don’t know about early human history. There is such a solid power to these early figures and to me they speak of the numinous, non-personified, Great Goddess weaving her way throughout time and space.

via Echoes of Mesopotamia by Molly Meade |.

Continue reading “The Goddess of Willendorf and Does My Uterus Make Me Look Fat? by Molly”

Writing: Changing the World and Ourselves. By Ivy Helman

I still remember the first tim20140903_180423e I read Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology. It awoke something within me. Her use of language, the power of her writing and the ease with which she created new words taught me so much about the world around me and about the way the language, and subsequently its use in writing, shapes lives, choices, abilities and destinies. She also taught me about myself.

I was hooked, but not just on Mary Daly. Shortly after I finished her book, I moved onto other feminists writing about religion like Katie Cannon, Judith Plaskow, Alice Walker, Carol Christ, Rita Gross, Gloria Anzaldua, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Margaret Farley and Starhawk to name just a few. All of them, in fact every feminist I’ve ever read, has shown me the way in which words have power and how words speak truth to power. Ever since, I’ve wanted to be the kind of writer whose words carry a power that not only affects people but also inspires a more just, more equal, more compassionate and more humane world. In other words, I wanted to be a writer activist.

Yet, I’ve always carried around with me a sneaky suspicion that people don’t consider writers true activists. If you aren’t holding a sign, screaming or participating in some sort of public demonstration or civil disobedience, then you have no right to call yourself an activist. Is that really true? Continue reading “Writing: Changing the World and Ourselves. By Ivy Helman”

Inner and Outer Darkness in the Skoteino Cave by Coleen Clare

Coleen ClaireLast fall I undertook the Ariadne Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete and saw many wonders. Foremost for me was our descent into the Skoteino Cave, following in the footsteps of ancient Cretans who understood the cave to be the Source of Life, the womb of the Goddess, and a place of transformation. I ventured down tentatively taking very wary steps, protecting my two new hip replacements, determined to join our sacred ritual in the cave with my sisters. My hips called a stop to my descent half-way down. I perched perilously on a small rock ledge and there I confronted inner and outer darkness. It was indeed a profound transformation. Continue reading “Inner and Outer Darkness in the Skoteino Cave by Coleen Clare”

Every Woman has a Story by Gina Messina-Dysert

Gina Messina-Dysert profileRecently, Carol Christ wrote about her experience of being interviewed for the Women’s Living History project at Claremont Graduate University.  It is a project I have co-founded and am continuing to develop; I am grateful that Carol and others have offered their “herstories” to be archived.  While I am not a historian, I do have a strong interest in women’s stories and with important reason…if we do not tell our stories, who will?

I first became interested in oral history during my doctoral program when I took a course with Claudia Bushman focused on women’s autobiography.  It was a difficult time; my mother had passed away unexpectedly and I was consumed with grief.  Because her death was premature – she was only 56 years old – I hadn’t prepared to lose her. I thought I had years to figure out all the things I would want to remember and pass on about my mom.  Yet, she was gone and I could no longer ask her the many things I wanted to know, needed to know about her.  Parts of her story would be lost forever and I did not know how to cope with that.  Continue reading “Every Woman has a Story by Gina Messina-Dysert”


The first “Olympics” were races of girls of various age-groups around a 500 foot stadium in ancient Olympia. The races of girls were held every four years on the new moon of the month of Parthenios (September/October). They were dedicated to Hera Parthenos who renewed her virginity in the river Parthenias. The winners of the races wore olive crowns and feasted on the flesh of Hera’s sacred cow.

These “Olympics” for Hera and for girls came before the more celebrated Olympics for men that were dedicated to Olympian Zeus. The temple of Hera at Olympia is older than the temple for Zeus and the girls’ Olympics were tied to the more ancient lunar calendar.

What did the girls’ Olympics celebrate? Continue reading “WHEN THE OLYMPICS CELEBRATED THE STRENGTH OF GIRLS AND THE RENEWAL OF LIFE by Carol P. Christ”

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