Inspiration is Always Present by Sara Wright

I walk with care
clearing paths
iced over
lead feet
a broken foot
my companion
Listen to
first spring
bird song –
and doves!

Continue reading “Inspiration is Always Present by Sara Wright”

Yes, there are Goddesses in the Bible, Part 5 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

As I wrote my last blog post, the Great Goddess of the Canaanites, Ashera was honored and worshipped (according to the bible) within and through groves of trees. Ashera and El, the “great bull god” were deeply connected. In fact, in Canaanite mythology, El and Ashera were married.

But before delving into their relationship, I would like to start in a different (but connected) direction – the lovely archetype of the morning star and the evening star. The planet Venus, named for her namesake Goddess (or vice versa), is both the planetary vision of the morning star and the evening star. Whether She be Goddess, planet or evening/morning star, when She appears in one form, She embodies them all. Continue reading “Yes, there are Goddesses in the Bible, Part 5 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

Yes, there are Goddesses in the Bible, Part 4 by Janet MaiKa’i Rudolph

This is the 4th in a series of blog posts about finding goddesses in the bible who had been hidden away through translation or denigration or other means. In my last blog post I discussed Lilith as a Great Goddess symbolized by both tree and bird. You can see it here

Today I continue with the topic of trees along with an examination of reversals and how many of beautiful, female pagan symbols were changed or removed from the texts. Perhaps the most obvious and pernicious has been that Eve “caused the fall” of humankind through a sinful act. Thus, the logic goes, it was Her action that has created the “grand curse” that we have labored under ever since. As I wrote in my last blog post, Lilith is another example, being portrayed as a demon in order to denigrate her Great Goddess roots. Lilith originally embodied both bird and tree energies. In my last blog post I showed one image of the Goddess in the tree which was a common theme in ancient Levantine cultures. The image today shows the goddess breast in the tree, which is identified as Isis suckling the future pharaoh Tutmose III. These images show the “Goddess in the Tree” as freely bestowing Her gifts and nurturing (not cursing) humankind. Continue reading “Yes, there are Goddesses in the Bible, Part 4 by Janet MaiKa’i Rudolph”

Yes There are Goddesses in the Bible, Part 3

This blog post is the 3rd in a series of looking for female deities in the bible who have been translated out of easy reach or otherwise hidden within its words. In my last blog post I discussed bird imagery and the bible. It is available here

 You can’t complete a discussion about birds without also bringing up Lilith. She appears by name only in one place in the bible; Isaiah 34:14. Isaiah uses the word liyliyth as a feature in a hellish landscape. Although it is also a name, liyliyth is treated as a common noun. The most prevalent translation is “screech owl” although others have included such names as night creature, night monster, night hag, and she-vampire. Continue reading “Yes There are Goddesses in the Bible, Part 3”

Yes, There are Goddesses in the Bible – Part 2 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

As I wrote in my last blog post, there are female deities and goddesses sprinkled all throughout the bible. They just aren’t obviously in plain sight.

One example is the Goddess and Her association with birds. Many ancient creation myths have stories about life emerging from a cosmic egg and the Goddess who carries and/or lays that primordial egg-of-life. Like the bird, women carry the eggs of life’s creation within our bodies. This has given rise to numerous cultural symbolisms that have come down to us associating the Goddess with birds. The dove is Venus’ hallmark. Mother Goose is the keeper of our cultural stories. It is the stork who brings us babies. As I will show below, divinity, or the biblical LORD is sometimes depicted as a bird, making this biblical description of god a female. Continue reading “Yes, There are Goddesses in the Bible – Part 2 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

Yes, There are Goddesses in the Bible by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

“Freud once asserted that mortals are not made to keep secrets;
what they would like to conceal oozes from all their pores.”
Psychoanalyst Theodore Reik[1]

It’s remarkable how much female imagery there is in the Bible hidden within its wording. The more I delve into its passages, the more that I have found these hidden/not so hidden sacred feminine images, even deities. I have begun a project of digging in and rooting out these little gems. When people think about the sacred feminine or female deities in the Bible the most well known is the Shekinah. The Shekinah is a lovely presence. The word means “dwelling” and usually represents “god’s divine presence” or a place where the divine resides.

The problem is that the Shekinah as a feminine essence of the divine is never stated explicitly, it is an interpretation of how the word is used.  I love the concept of the Shekinah but as an essence that upholds the entire weight of the feminine divine in the bible, I find it unsatisfying by itself. Luckily for me, Goddess Shekinah has lots of company. Sometimes they are indeed hiding in plain sight. Sometimes they hide in the translations. The passage I am presenting today has some of both going on. The following is the King James Version of Genesis 49:25. Jacob has been giving blessings to each of his sons and this is part of the blessing he gives to Joseph: Continue reading “Yes, There are Goddesses in the Bible by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

An Outrageously Strange, Bizarrely Weird, Completely True Tale by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

The word apocalypse keeps coming up when I talk to friends about how our present times feel. We’ve all noted how cracks in our society are tearing open and fault-lines are rising to the surface. It is disorienting yet also potentially transforming. I realized I’ve felt this way before:

In January 1997, I became an apprentice to a husband and wife shaman team. They ran an old-style mystery school with regular weekend workshops in Maine and a 4-day in the summer. In August 1997, we met on forested private property that was far from any “civilization.”

Regular weekend meetings began after dinner which gave our small NYC area contingent plenty of time for a leisurely drive up the coast. In August, our teachers wanted us to arrive earlier. We arranged to take the Long Island Sound ferry to Connecticut to avoid the time-consuming drive around the city. About ½ way through our 1 ½ hour ferry ride, a shocking event happened. An elderly woman sitting near us dropped like a rock to the ground. Her daughter began screaming. No one could rouse her. The ferry returned to NY where an emergency crew tried and failed to revive her. She had literally died at our feet. By this time, I was not only thoroughly rattled, I was also deep into contemplating issues of life and death. Because of our delayed arrival in Conn, we began hitting evening rush hour along the major cities of our route. We did not arrive in Maine until well after dark. Continue reading “An Outrageously Strange, Bizarrely Weird, Completely True Tale by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

The Sacred HU by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name.
Psalm 30:4 (New Living Translation)

Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.
2 Sam 22:50

Let them praise the name of the LORD: for this name alone is excellent.
Psalm 148:13

The wording of these passages is very odd. After all, why is God’s name always being praised? It’s like saying to someone, “you must be a wonderful person because you have a lovely name,” or “the LORD must be great because ‘he’ {sigh} has such a great name.” Actually though, as I began to go deeper into my own personal practices of spirit work and chanting, I found that there is a profound truth to this use of praise. Most, if not all, of the ancient names of deities are made up of power syllables. By this I mean certain sounds that have a vibrational essence which not only resonate within our bodies but connect us with all the vibrations that surround us. Sounds made by these syllables are a bridge between worlds created by our breath.

Mystically speaking we could say that the breath of creation and our own breath interfuse. We can experience this through the vibration of power syllables. The most common syllables in the west are familiar ones – AL LA HA AH YA LO WAH and the mighty HU. Think of all the names of divinity that can be created by experimenting with these syllables. Continue reading “The Sacred HU by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

Reflection for the End of the Year by Sara Frykenberg

At my school, a religious institution, we start every faculty meeting with a reflection, meant to inspire us, make us think, help us to connect, etc.  I am admittedly, sometimes very uncomfortable with these reflections. I don’t always like corporate ‘prayer’ because of my  past experiences in an abusive faith. They make me uncomfortable, defensive; even though I understand the value of collective ritual. Challenging me to face these feelings, my department chair asked me to give a reflection for our faculty assembly. So I did so by sharing the way I know how to share (in a collective way) best: in a blog. And here I present these reflections, my blog, with all of you as well. My thoughts about taking the year apart, and putting ourselves back together again at the end of the year:

(Reflection has been edited slightly in terms of length and clarification for presentation to this online audience.)

Faculty Assembly Reflection: Sara Frykenberg, April 2018 Continue reading “Reflection for the End of the Year by Sara Frykenberg”

When Disappointment Stings by Katey Zeh

shane-colella-37-unsplash (1)

Disappointment seemed like the theme of 2017–and not just because of the results of the U.S. Presidential election. It was more personal than that. At least that was how it felt. Over and over again I got this close to an opportunity before it was awarded to someone else. It happened so much that it almost become comical. Almost.

“Always a finalist, never an offer.” It’s a painful, soul-crushing position to find yourself in, but one that’s inevitable if we are ever to go after anything in life: a new job, a new relationship, a new faith community. There’s always the possibility that disappointment awaits us.

I have trouble managing my expectations. If I’ve mustered up the courage to try for something, I’ve surely convinced myself that I might actually achieve it. And if it’s in the realm of possibility, then I’ve certainly gone down the path of imagining it working out the way I’d hoped. Then it begins to feel inevitable that things will go my way. Continue reading “When Disappointment Stings by Katey Zeh”

Kintsugi for the Soul – Part II – by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente


Continued from Part 1.

How do you start to put the pieces together? For me, it was imperative to keep a space to express emotions without self-censorship or self-prejudice, to identify exactly what was hurting me. It was not the What, but the How. A split is always sad, but part of life. I could have been the “ungrateful” partner.

What aches …

Well, just to mention some, it was not the obstacles of a relationship between two people used to singleness, with different cultural backgrounds and family styles, but the neglecting, insults, and public belittling, leading to my progressive invisibility and objectification in the daily life. It was not his one night stand a few years ago with an Islamic feminist I know. Every adult has a sexual past, that is not a problem, but discovering that past was quite current (thanks Whatssap) is the problem. Someone decided I was not smart enough to understand it, so triangulation and lies were employed, with the consequent mind games, an emotional roller coaster that included gaslighting and violation of trust.

Continue reading “Kintsugi for the Soul – Part II – by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente”

Kintsugi for the Soul – Part I – by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente


Kintsugi is a Japanese art technique that consists of repairing broken porcelain or pottery with resin varnish dusted or mixed with gold, silver or platinum powder. It is the art of fixing what has been broken with a precious metal that gives a greater value than that which the piece originally had. Kintsugi makes objects become a testimony of a particular journey.

In September 2015, in Cape Town, my fiance and I went to have lunch and listen to a concert at the Waterfront. Walking through the artisan market, we were struck by a stand where simple mugs of clay and pottery were displayed. Each one of them had been made by a woman survivor of some type of violence or trauma, which put her name and the imprint of her hands. Mugs had no handle, the way to take it was to put your hands in the hands of the woman. So, she connected with you and became part of your daily journey. Moved by the deep transcendence of the initiative, we got a pair. Mine was made by Heather, 54 years old. Continue reading “Kintsugi for the Soul – Part I – by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente”

Self-Care is a Feminist Issue: Holy Women Icons Project’s 7-Day Online Self-Care Retreat by Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber

Several years ago, I was pastor of a welcoming and affirming church. As a queer clergywoman, I thought that such a place would be the perfect place to flourish and thrive as a pastor. And yet, because of heterosexist and sexist microaggressions, I found myself anxious, depressed, and in need of physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual care.

After a three-day retreat filled with self-care and soul-nourishment at a non-profit retreat center that catered to activists and artists , I felt as though a tremendous weight was lifted off my shoulders, that I could focus and find clarity in my vocation. Pausing to care for myself gave me the courage to leave my toxic job and live more fully into my calling. This experience taught me the vital importance of self-care.

Womanist Audre Lorde once proclaimed, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Because caring for the self violates the patriarchal norms that traditionally dictate that you should be the one caring for everyone else. Yes, everyone needs to pause to care for the self. But oppressed minorities have a particular need for self-care, not simply as a way of refreshing oneself in order to do the work of justice, but as a vital part of the work of social justice. Because caring for yourself in a society—and a church—that wishes for you to do otherwise is an act of political warfare. When feminists care for themselves, it is a radical act of soul redemption, spirit rejuvenation, and a political and spiritual act of acknowledging your holy and innate self-worth. In case anyone has told you that you are not worthy, let me reassure you. You are worthy. And you deserve to care for yourself.

Continue reading “Self-Care is a Feminist Issue: Holy Women Icons Project’s 7-Day Online Self-Care Retreat by Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber”

Feminism and Buddhism: constructive wave interference by Oxana Poberejnaia

oxanaAlthough it can be said that the Buddhist teaching can benefit all, including feminists, it can also be argued that Feminism has a lot to teach Buddhist practitioners. Rita M. Gross made this point brilliantly in her “Buddhism After Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism.”

While Buddhism generally encourages investigation, it is still easy for a Buddhist practitioner to become complacent. This complacency can be caused by the feeling of safety that your particular school of Buddhism provides. How your mind works, how the world works are all explained, all is well, just keep practising in the assigned paradigm, there is no need for thinking outside the box.

However, Buddhists often forget that it is exactly outside the box where the Buddha has been pointing with his every teaching, ever since he got liberated. When a Buddhist practitioner is stuck, the vigour of Feminism can provide inspiration. Feminists simply never stopped, do not intend to stop now.

Continue reading “Feminism and Buddhism: constructive wave interference by Oxana Poberejnaia”

Exhaustion and Inspiration by Ivy Helman

Wading in the waters of Prince Edward Island.

Change takes time.  If society takes years to change, religious institutions seem to take decades, maybe centuries.  That ubiquitous intersection of religion and feminism seems neck high in mud and muck.  Some religious institutions claim divine inspiration for keeping their chins down, jaws clenched and footings strongly moored in damaging sexist ideologies.  This is wrong.  But I’m tired.  I feel as if the feminist movement is draining too much out of me for not enough change.

Perhaps an example will clarify.  This Tuesday I taught the first session of a six-week long summer course entitled, “Theology through Women’s Eyes.”  An odd title that could mean many things, right?  It does not even imply a feminist approach to religion and the college’s course description did not either.  I learned from my department’s chair that the last professor to have taught the class shied away from the course having any specific reference to feminism as she was a practicing Catholic theologian and she worried about the effects of that association for her professional career at Catholic universities.

Are you kidding? We are stuck there?  Still?  I personally know a great number of Catholics in academia and outside of it who wear their feminism proudly like Margaret Farley, Lisa Sowle Cahill, and Rosemary Radford Ruether to name just a few.  Obviously, not everyone does.  Yet, when religious institutions threaten to and actually excommunicate those who dissent from their teachings, I can see genuine issues with being an “out,” so to speak, feminist.  At the same time, I’ve always thought that the minute someone censures me I’m finally doing something right.  I’m being heard by my intended audience.  Thank G-d, right?  Those are the people who need to listen anyway.  That is my measure of success. Continue reading “Exhaustion and Inspiration by Ivy Helman”

Songs for the Soul by Elise M. Edwards

Elise EdwardsDuring the Christian season of Lent, many Christians focus on spiritual practices or disciplines that bring them closer to God. This year, I did not really engage in this type of reflection until the end of Lent. I have been wrapping up my first year teaching college students full-time, I’ve been focused on several writing projects, and I’ve been traveling. I did not intentionally think about spiritual practices until I participated in a silent retreat before Holy Week and traveled first to spend the holiday with my family and then again to mourn and remember the life of my aunt.  I reflected on them when I most needed them.

Continue reading “Songs for the Soul by Elise M. Edwards”

%d bloggers like this: