Let Us Now Practice Her Presence by Barbara Ardinger

I’m giving you a twofer this month: a poem and a ritual. I’m writing this a few days after the latest mass shooting in Texas by a crazy white man and a few days before the next debate by Democratic candidates. But you know what? I’m getting real tired of politics and…well, what’s going on around us. Tweets. Bullets. Fires. I’m a liberal, but I’m deciding that there must be a better definition of “conservative,” one that has nothing to do with politics. The OED defines “conservation” as “the action of conserving; preservation from destructive influences, decay, or waste.” Further down: “conservative: a preserving agent or principle.”

Back in the late 80s and into the 90s, I taught a class I called Practicing the Presence of the Goddess, which evolved into a ritual circle. As far as I know, most of the women in the class are still spiritual feminists (though the term hadn’t been invented then), a couple have died (cancer is an awful thing), and one is fading into dementia (but she still remembers our class). Among other assignments, I asked them to read Carol Christ’s splendid book Laughter of Aphrodite (1987), and once we went as a group to hear Marija Gimbutas speak on her newest book The Civilization of the Goddess (1991).

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