Monday, September 30, 2013

Follow Up on International Conference on Women and Climate Change

‘The World Will Be Saved By The Western Woman’

....The Dalai Lama, 2010


 Women Form an  Unprecedented Alliance,  Declaration and Action Agenda to Take on Climate Change and Promote Sustainability Solutions  in  New York— Unlikely partnerships, meaningful policy, reaching beyond the choir, gender equality and a commitment to bold action were all on the agenda as 100+ women from around the world gathered in New York for three days of dialogue and deliberation at the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit.   Emerging from the gathering, a burgeoning collaborative of organizations with a combined reach of 33 million women and men is now poised to become a major force in the climate and sustainability movements.

From indigenous leaders to former heads of state, from scientists to pioneers in fields of renewable energy, business and policy, the Summit was a who’s who of women leaders from the Global South and the Global North. This diverse cohort of delegates found unity around a ‘Declaration Statement for Urgent Action on Climate Change and Sustainability Solutions’ and laid the foundation for a Women’s Climate Action Agenda to be finalized in the coming weeks. The Agenda builds upon the core concepts of the Rights of Women, the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Rights of Nature, and the Rights of Future Generations, addressing issues ranging from the protection of oceans and fresh water to divestment from fossil fuels and putting a high price on carbon. See the full text of the Declaration here:

“Women have the knowledge to create the change we know the world needs. We are framing our own powerful Women’s Climate Action Agenda, working beyond the United Nations and other policy structures to reach new constituencies committed to protecting the earth and future generations,” said Osprey Orielle Lake, Co-Founder. “Women are gathering in great numbers with an unstoppable resolve, because what’s happening at the international policy level on climate change is not equivalent to the urgency we are facing,” said Sally A. Ranney, Co-Founder of the IWECI.

 “We are putting the world on notice: no more delays.  Violence against the earth and future generations is no longer tolerable: It’s time to stop the chemical warfare against nature,” Ranney said. “We represent a constituency of 33 million women and men, already mobilized and ready to take action. We vote, we march, we petition, we have purchasing power. We will be heard and we will make change, so that future generations can have a livable planet,” Ranney added. “Our Summit delegates included accomplished leaders in their fields who, though lesser known outside of their home countries, are major figures who rarely have the opportunity to converse together at this level. The result is an unprecedented collaboration, representing 33 million women and men around the world that are fiercely dedicated to a just transition to a clean energy future and to transforming how we are living with the earth and each other,” Lake added. The IWECI Summit occurred at a critical juncture in the debate over addressing climate change, with Climate Week and the United Nations General Assembly sessions in New York, and as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prepares to release its much anticipated 5th Assessment Report.

 Summit delegates committed to building momentum for substantive action on, increased funding for and the meaningful policy changes necessary to address the global climate crisis. Ranging from small regional groups to large organizations with constituencies of hundreds of thousands, the combined reach of Summit collaborators represents a substantial boost to civil society movements mobilizing around climate change with a commitment to gender equity. In addition to the Declaration, Summit delegates took their first collective action yesterday, committing to a Women’s Global Day of Action on Climate in 2014. Additionally delegates signed a letter to US President Barack Obama urging him to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline (, an appeal to United Nations and World Bank officials to reject REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), and calling on Ecuadorian leaders to protect the Yasuni National Park and uphold its Rights of Nature provisions (see Over the coming weeks Summit delegates will finalize the Women’s Climate Action Agenda and plan for collective actions in 2014.

 Our goal is to stop the escalation of climate change and environmental and community degradation, while accelerating the implementation of sustainability solutions through women’s empowerment, partnerships, hands-on trainings, advocacy campaigns, and political, economic, social and environmental action.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Richard Martini, past lives, and "Flipside"

 I've been interested in the work of Dr. Michael Newton for many years, and was pleased to learn that on Thursday, October 10 at 6:30pm  Unity of Tucson will feature Richard Martini, author of Flipside, A Tourist’s Guide on How to Navigate the Afterlife.   Richard is also an award winning film producer and director. His mystical experiences initiated a search that led him to study, and eventually make a film, about his experiences, past life regression, and the work of Dr. Michael Newton.   His documentary, also titled Flipside, is a chronicle of his investigation. 

I found his video discussion about his  journey to "Flipside: a Tourist's Guide on How to Navigate the Afterlife." (below) fascinating, very personal and genuine,  and funny as well.........there's a companion video, with Scott De Tamble doing a "between life therapy session", which is very interesting as well.  Mr. Martini's  book  contains transcripts of between life sessions, and interviews with therapists who have trained with Michael Newton, as well as therapists who never heard of Dr. Newton's work, but experienced similar results.

In the 80's I did some past life regression work, both individually and with a group that used the tapes of Robert Monroe.  I've often speculated on the experiences I had.  Perhaps what made them seem credible was the "mundane-ness" of them.  I have an excellent imagination, and consciously or unconsciously I'm capable of dreaming up scenarios even the Syfy channel would like.  But my experiences under hypnosis were very simple - among them, a lifetime as a young foot solder, somewhere in the Middle East, whose most important memory was drinking beer with an admired older Captain.  He was speared and died at about the age of 17.  Another lifetime concerned a maid/nanny, poor and treated as very expendable, in 17th Century France.  Perhaps these very humble, and rather sad, certainly powerless, lifetimes were shown to me in the course of that work because I needed to address the emotional issues involved in this lifetime, as the persona I am now.  

I remember only one "regressive" experience I thought was inexplicable.  I seemed to be a kind of primitive tribal shaman, who lived in a hut with a lot herbs and stones.  I was old, and my sex didn't seem to have any meaning, I  couldn't discern if I was a man or a woman.  We were visited by a tall woman who was dressed in black, and she was paler than we were.  I was in awe of her.  She was a teacher of some kind, and essentially she showed me that pretty much everything I believed was not true, was naive.   One thing she demonstrated was to take a very large crystal, and dematerialize it, as well as herself - and then reappear in a flash of brilliant light!  

Perhaps the most surprising part of this "regression" was at the end of the session.  I was in a room with a lot of other people, and the woman I revered so much was lying on a bed.  She was dying, and I could hear her thoughts...........which were about regret that her work was not yet finished.  But I myself, along with the others present, were no longer physical, so "I", the person attending this gathering around this dying woman,  must have been dead myself.  Strange experience...............

I'm looking forward to hearing him speak.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

(Black) Butterflies revisited.........

who is arguing with the storm
passing over oxen in a field
not me just a butterfly

whose eyes blind my shabby self

"Old Pajamas", 2010

"The Ancient Greek word for “butterfly” is “psuché/psyché”(ψυχή, 1st.declension) which is used in the meaning of ‘butterfly’/ ‘moth’ by Aristotle and Theophrastus, though its usual meanings are :
breath, spirit, life, soul, departed spirit, ghost, living being, person.  In Ancient Greece the butterfly was a symbol of the soul, because it changes from caterpillar to a beautiful winged creature. Plus it has a shape of a double ax which was an Minoan symbol of the Great Goddess. Greek paintings often showed a small butterfly - "soul" - flying free from the mouth of the dead."

Lately I've been thinking about butterflies again (maybe because I've been painting them), and felt like re-examining this post from 2010.  Butterflies are a universal symbol of transformation.  BTW, Antero Alli has recently finished a new film, THE BOOK OF JANE, which will be premiered in the Bay Area of California this coming month.  As with all his previous films, I'm sure it will be beautiful, fascinating,  and well worth seeing.
I think this is going to be a wandering/wondering post, because what I'm trying to approach with my capture net of words is the magical butterfly, a black one at that, a creature that clearly exists on such an elusive multitude of dimensions and metaphors........that it's impossible to consider her mysterious flight without a "holographic" approach. Butterfly is a creature that flies right into the Dreamtime as she so chooses. So, I'll begin by slipping, momentarily and gratefully, back into mythic time and mythic place, the life-renewing, fluid land of the Fey, the imaginal** (!!!).......for any hour I can spare.

I recently had energy work with a healer. With eyes closed, lying on a table, she did something similar to Reiki, running energy, helping me to connect with different areas of the "subtle body" that are blocked. Within this holistic approach, mind is viewed as being not only in the cranium. We perceive through at least 7 or more different "brains" - energy centers, symbolized by the Chakras, which represent different ways of receiving, experiencing, perceiving, responding to, and expressing consciousness. For example, the Base Chakra, identified with the color Red, is about physicality, the interface with nature and the planet; the Heart Chakra, Green, is associated with the ability to love and experience com-passion; the "Third Eye" Chakra, violet, is associated with psychic perception and visioning.

In energy medicine, practitioners help patients achieve integration between the chakras, the different "brains". Much of the work is surprisingly psychological, and is often concerned with helping clients to identify emotional "blockages", accessing, while in an altered state, old traumas, environmental issues, or erroneous belief systems that have caused an individual to close the heart or the doors of perception.

I had a vivid vision throughout this energy work of butterfly wings (not butterflies, just wings)...........folding, unfolding, before my closed eyes. I cannot help but feel that this was a kind of Grace, the wings offered were, perhaps, mine.

The butterfly has much significance to me, as personal archetype, and a sometimes visitor from the angelic realms, fulfilling the angelic role of messenger. Of course, I'm not alone in this. I've spoken with many people over the years who have had mystical Butterfly stories, among them my friend Fahrusha (her name, in Arabic, actually means Butterfly), who recounts an amazing synchronicity with a black butterfly in her blog.

Out of curiousity, I looked up "Black Butterfly" on recently, and was stunned to find there were 27 books with that title. I think a black butterfly is about the transformation that happens when the Shadow, in Jungian terms, is also given wings, transmuted.

I have met many people who have told me about butterflies appearing in connection with the loss of a loved one, or at times of personal despair. I list below a site that is devoted exclusively to "miraculous butterfly experiences". **To me, and I'm no psyche-ologist .....but to me, butterflies wonderfully participate in the interface between dream and waking life, flickering on the wings of synchronicity with their multi-dimensional messages, disappearing into the field of dreams just as mysteriously. A "Butterfly Experience" can be utterly intimate in the meanings they bear, and equally, universal and impersonal. For me, dealing as I have been for years now with therapy, and caretaking my mother and brother.........there is great personal meaning in my vision, meaning that has to do with karma, long patterns of family dysfunction, the work of emotional and psychic transformation.

Perhaps the most dramatic "butterfly experience" I had occured 10 years ago. Since this experience had to do with both dream and synchronicity, I don't know if I can tell it very cohesively, but I'll try.

It began with a disturbing dream. I dreamed I was on a ship, and on the deck many people sat in deck chairs, all of them playing with masks, taking them on and off. I seemed, in the dream, to be two people at once. I knew that there was, down in the lower decks of the boat, a demon. One of the women that I was was a kind of priestess or missionary - she was about to descend into the depths of the boat, where the demon below would torture and kill her. She thought that if she did so, offering herself as sacrificial victim, she could save the people above.

The other "me" was a cynical observer who thought she was a ridiculous martyr, and knew everyone, especially her, was doomed. I woke up as the "martyr self" began her descent.

Without going into the many circumstantial and psychological meanings of this dream, I'll skip ahead in real time. About 6 months after having this dream, I actually found myself, with a lot of actors, and a few masks, on an old decommissioned ocean liner (the "art ship"), which was anchored in the industrial harbor of Oakland. I was acting in a movie, and the writer and director of the film, Antero Alli, had decided to do his filming in the very bottom of this 5 level boat; the old, cold, dark, dank, cargo bay.

Descending into the bottom of the boat brought my dream back vividly, and every superstitious notion of prophetic dreams I ever had came right to the fore. I didn't like it there! Between shoots, the cast hung out in what must have once been the crew's cafeteria - located in a middle deck, it had round portholes, all of which were closed because it was a cold day in March. As we waited, the Director offered everyone a card from his own fascinating deck of oracular cards (with his artist wife, Sylvie Alli), and there was lively interest as each person contemplated his or her card.

I took a card from Antero with trepidation, and sure enough, damn if it wasn't the "DEATH" card.

Not five minutes later, as I stood with the card of doom in hand, a small orange butterfly landed on my shoulder.

There was absolutely no explanation for how that butterfly could have gotten into that closed room. I had lots of witnesses - and after the miracle revealed itself, several of them helped to catch the butterfly and get it upstairs where it could be released.

As a kind of synchronistic post-script, in 2005 I was back in the Bay Area for a two-person show (with Rye Hudak) at Turn of the Century Gallery, in Berkeley. I was surprised that, of all the works in the show, the gallery owner chose to put on the card announcing the show the one above, "The Butterfly Woman". When I came to hang the show, I went to nearby Cafe Trieste for a cup of coffee. Two stacks of cards were on the table there, side by side.

One was the card for my show with the image above. The flyer next to it was an announcement of the premiere of a new movie by Antero Alli called "The Greater Circulation" (a gorgeous film inspired by the life of poet Rainier Maria Rilke). The image on his announcement was a face encased in a skull - a Death's Head.

***"The caterpillar spins or weaves the cocoon, and in that cocoon, what the caterpillar is creating is his own tomb. We don’t know if he knows that or not. And he crawls into it, and his body liquefies. Complete disintegration of caterpillar. But in that caterpillar soup are these cells that have been in the caterpillar’s body all along, called imaginal cells. Isn’t that a fabulous word? Imaginal cells. It’s called imaginal by botanists because the adult form of that creature, the butterfly, is called imago. So these are imaginal cells, but to me those cells are ‘imagining’ flight. And these imaginal cells know how to take the soup and reconfigure that into a butterfly, an adult. I believe nature has designed us humans to go through a similar experience."

Imagine your Imago - Liberating the Imaginal Cells of the Human Psyche

 Bill Plotkin


** The Butterfly Website - miraculous stories
Alan Moore and the Butterfly Gardeners Asso.



The black butterflies of night
Clipped for sleep to nightshade and widowgrief,
Or in shaking luminous flight
On paired and silver wings, are rare,
And rarely seen by human sight.

Yet, they are there, surfacing
Out of range of neons and streetlights,
Preferring underleaf
And the dark offshores of air
To man and moth-maddening glare of things.
Tonight, As crisis after crisis
Cracks our skies like lightning,
I think of death,
Of different ways of dying,
And of Egypt and the myth
That once held black butterflies
Sacred to Isis.

They lived forever in flight
In her private groves, compelled like
Flickering minutes
Never to touch leaf nor stone,
Never to rest, except upon her nakedness
When she turned to love.
And here is death to be envied;
To be crushed to a personal breast
Between goddess
And whatever bird, beast, lover
Fell to her lips.
We are something else. . .

Myth and love will miss us
When the night is suddenly turned on,
Turned blank white,
And the black butterflies
Appear against that vellum sky
As far, flitting, burnt-out stars.

Frank Polite

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mabon - the Fall Equinox

I am a lover of the steady Earth
and of Her waters

"Let the light be brilliant" She says,  

"for those who will cherish color."

From "Verses at Powis" by Robin Williamson

Mabon is traditionally the 2nd Harvest Festival of three (Lammas in August, and Samhain in October being the other two) and falls on the day  of the autumnal Equinox.   A time to give thanks for the bounty of the harvest,  to give thanks and celebrate all that nourishes us. The Day of Balance,  a time to consider what we have harvested this year, to give thanks for all of that harvest, the bright Blessings and the dark Blessings from which we learned wisdom, patience, or compassion. On this auspicious day of Balance, when day and night are the same duration, may we experience the grace of Balance within our lives, and in the greater life of our common humanity.  

Apple trees in Avalon, the "Isle of Apples" (the Chalice Well garden) 2011

When I lived in the country in New York, I remember a Mabon with hot cider and new apples, and honey mead that was opened for the occasion.  

I also remember an Equinox when I lived in New York City in the late 80's, and was invited to be part of  a performance organized at a small theatre in the East Village.   She asked me to do some kind of ritual for the  occasion. I couldn't think of anything,  and felt quite intimidated with the prospect of creating a ritual for an audience of New York sophisticates. 

I was visiting a friend upstate at the time, and I  happened to be standing near an apple tree by the road.  I can still see the green grass under the tree, and a brilliant  circle of ripe, freshly fallen red apples,  lying in the grass around the tree.  I picked up all the good ones, and took them back to the City with me.  

When I gave my short performance, I took out that basket of apples, and said something to the effect that "This is Gaia, ever generous, ever giving us what we need."  And then I invited those present to come and take the apples.  I was amazed to see that the audience took every one of them and ate them right there!

As I sit writing, the sun rises over the Catalina mountains that surround Tucson, where I live now.  Many years and miles away from that theatre in Manhattan.  I look up to  orange, magenta, violet, mauve, and a continually changing pale, cerulean sky, the canvas for this magnificent painting the sky makes, created anew twice daily.  I'm grateful indeed for this moment of Beauty, and grateful for the stories of my life.  Especially, today, those that are about Mabons.  

This is one of my favorite songs, Robin Williamson's love song to Mother Earth.  Seems a good time to share it again............  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

John Steele, Kali Yuga, and Temporal Density

"Kali is the Goddess of the dissolution of time and structures.  She clears the way for those impediments of evolution that have arisen.  The Tibetan translation for "Kali Yuga" means literally the  "dregs of time", the bottom of the barrel of time.  Time has acquired such "temporal density" that it can actually be felt in the body.  And the definition of "Temporal Density" is that we have too many units of events in each day to fully or effectively assimilate them.........Another aspect of Kali Yuga   which is related to temporal density is that there is seasonal disequilibrium.  The climate and the seasons go out of whack."

John Steele

I've been wanting to post this talk by John Steele for a while now.  I met John Steele in 1989, at the Symposium on Art and the Invisible Reality at Rutgers University, sponsored by Dr. Rafael Montanez Ortiz.  I wish there was another such conference!  I presented a performance piece called "When the Word for World Was Mother", and not too long after John kindly sent me his amazing book Earthmind: Communicating with the Living World of Gaia, in collaboration with  Paul Devereux and David Kubrin.  It remains a very important book for me. 

John J. Steele is an aromatic consultant, archaeologist, author and visionary.  His work, whether with aromas or philosophy, engages questions about the nature of memory, time, consciousness and being. He has worked with Terence McKenna and Paul Devereux (The Dragon Project).   Steele  explores Vedic culture, Kali Yuga,  geomancy and what he calls "geomantic amnesia", geobiology, time out of balance, shamanism, the effects of geological formations on human consciousness, cross state retention, and the importance of sacred sites and spaces. EARTHMIND explores ways of interfacing with the earth for planetary healing. And Planetary Healing is also our healing.

 In this collection of audio recordings and seminars, John Steele gives an overview of how geomantic traditions have influenced human awareness, psychology and ways of life. He explains how sacred geometry can grant us access to "Present Time", the great and infinite place where silent knowledge flows into our consciousness unrestricted by the objects that surround us, and in many ways, "own us".

"The memorial capacity is the key to the strength of a computer, and our computers are valued by their increasing capacity to store memory.  There is an emphasis upon the acquisition of memory that can be stuffed into a computer..........What happens after a while is that the system becomes constipated by too much hoarding of memory.  This hoarding of memory (in human terms)  sets up a kind of psychological density, and as the system becomes clogged it becomes brittle.  That is to say it cannot react quickly to crisis situations because it is overloaded with information."

"The density of objects in the environment creates a corresponding density of memory necessary to record objects, and this density of memory creates temporial density.  Temporal density is a function of memorial density and memorial density is a function of object density.  You will notice that those cultures that have the fewest objects live in the dream time.  You look at the Australian aborigines with their minimal object array and you see that they live in a completely different time frame. The Bushmen the same.  As temporal density occurs it sets up this extended unconscious array of time - time is generated."

As I listened to the above, I thought of an article Geomancer Sig Lonegren wrote a year or so ago, in which he commented that he believed the great Megalithic structure of Stonehenge was a "last attempt" to retain right brain, or "dreamtime" consciousness, as human culture began to change during the Neolithic.  In a sense, he was saying that a greater contact with "the collective mind of Gaia" was gradually being lost.  Perhaps it is now time to regain that contact, in a new way.

I feel John Steele, and his colleagues, are so important in understanding our place on the planet, and as always, I'm saddened that they are so little known.

(I saw that the original utube interview I posted here has been removed from Utube.  I found something similar, and post below.)


‘Earthmind: Communicating with the living world of Gaia’ by Paul Devereux with John Steele and David Kubrin 

 "The authors make much of the effect on mind of the electromagnetic properties of the Earth and its rocks. They believe that communication with the Earthmind or anima mundi can best be achieved at sacred sites, facilitated by the crystal structures within the dolmens there. However, the authors believe there are hopeful signs of a revival of belief in paganism and in Earth’s spirituality, which would contribute to lessening our desecration of our planetary home. The key to such a consciousness revolution rests, in the opinion of the authors, with acceptance of the existence of a universal field of consciousness and our spiritual integration with it – what Peter Russell (The Awakening Earth)" described as the Gaiafield and which Devereux calls Earthmind.

for a great review:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

International Women's Earth and Climate Initiative

International Women's Earth and Climate Initiative 

The International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations A project of Women's Earth and Climate Caucus and its partner eraGlobal Alliance 

Global participation in the Women's Earth and Climate Summit:

Join us September 20th-23rd! Participate in the Summit from your home, office, university or community.

Learn more about the IWECI Summit Live Stream and Vision Hubs »




IWECI engages women grassroots activists, Indigenous and business leaders, policy makers and culture-shapers in collaboration. Our goal is to stop the escalation of climate change and environmental and community degradation, while accelerating the implementation of sustainability solutions through women’s empowerment, partnerships, hands-on trainings, advocacy campaigns, and political, economic, social and environmental action.

IWECI was created to accelerate a holistic Global Women’s Earth & Climate Action Movement. Our five-point plan for the first two years’ of action in 2013 and 2014 includes:
  1. Online Action ; Networking Platform (launching on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2013) - to spark project collaborations, sustainability business opportunities, and campaigns designed to advance long-term cross-cultural, cross-sector, cross-generational and cross-socioeconomic networking and mobilization.
  2. International Day of Action - creating a global photo mosaic of women promoting the slogan “Women for Earth and Future Generations”.
  3. The International Women's Earth and Climate Summit (20-23 September 2013, New York) - an unprecedented gathering of women leaders dedicated to addressing solutions for climate change and environmental degradation.
  4. Solution Spotlight, Projects and Action Campaigns - promoting best-practice solutions, on the ground sustainable projects , business and trainings that deliver benefits to both women, communities and the environment, and engaging in action campaigns focused on the most pressing issues.
  5. North American Regional Gathering - To engage women in the United States to mobilize together in support of concerted climate change solutions for the US.


Our basic relationship with the natural world has been distorted. Humanity is systematically destroying our home and undermining the ecosystems of our Earth. We are in need of a paradigm shift.

Global climate change is no longer a distant warning but is rapidly approaching a tipping point of no return. Scientists warn that the opportunity to prevent the worst impacts of climate change will be “lost forever” unless the global community changes course by 2017. This means we have four years to cap global emissions in order to reverse the current trajectory and change the deadly course we are on presently.

It is internationally recognized that women are critical to implementing climate change and sustainability solutions, yet there is currently not enough prominent mechanisms to wield a united effort into a defined movement. IWECI is engaging women's organizations worldwide, inside and outside the environmental arena, to join together and create a groundbreaking movement.

Icon by Betsy Porter

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Signs Out Of Time: Marija Gimbutas Documentary


I often try to explain to others what is the focus of the Goddess events I attend, what, in other words, do I believe.  That question is not easily answered.......when I listen to people like Vicki Noble, Joan Marler, Mirrium Dexter, Starhawk, or Kathy Jones speak, it comes together in a great visionary whole, a hopeful paradigm shift that never fails to inspire, provoke, and challenge the long standing assumptions, so deeply embedded, within our culture.    So I take the liberty of sharing here the first two parts to SIGNS OUT OF TIME,  a 2004 documentary by Donna Read and Starhawk, narrated by Olympia Dukakis, based on the work and life of  archeologist Marija Gimbutas, who found that Europe's prehistoric origins lay in a cooperative, peaceful, Paleolithic and Neolithic culture whose universal prime deity was a Mother Goddess. Her theories challenge conventional archaeology, history, spirituality, theology, and religious studies, while inspiring artists, feminists, environmentalists, permaculturists,  and activists to explore a revolutionary paradigm of  peace upon Mother Earth.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Motherworld - A Vision from Avalon

Banners by Lydia Ruhle

The Vision of the Motherworld

by Kathy Jones 

Motherworld is where mothers and the values of mothering - love, care and support for each other, and for our Mother Earth and all Her creatures - are placed in the centre of our lives, rather than being left out on the periphery. 

The Motherworld is a vision of a society in which creative and life-affirming values, actions, insights and awareness are honoured and encouraged in women, men and children. It is the society that is grounded in the fact that we all live upon our Mother Earth. She is the source and foundation of all that we are and all that we have. We need to take care of Her, of each other and of all life.

The primary values for the new Motherworld are:

Honouring Mother Earth as a living being. 
Love for each other, kindness, support, respect, care, and compassion. honouring all forms of mothering, honouring fathers, and the celebration and nurture of children and young people. Protecting and taking care of the earth, water, fire, air and space in Her world.

Suggested values for the new Motherworld include:

Honesty, personal integrity, authenticity, relationship, diversity, choice, discernment, inclusion, trust, beauty, emotional expression, listening, clear boundaries, reflection, soul development, empowerment, shadow-healing, the pursuit of wisdom, the encouragement of self-responsibility, self-worth, self-respect, self-confidence, self-discipline and self-reflection, prayer, ceremony, service, connection, partnership, generosity, sharing wealth, gifting, receiving, humour, creativity, education for all, non-violent methods of resolving conflict, honouring and protecting Mother Nature and all living beings, ethical production of goods and services, the protection of the vulnerable, and valuing the Wisdom of the Elders and of the Ancestors.

The Motherworld is the society where the patriarchal structures and values of dominance, ‘power-over’ control and coercion, greed, excessive profit, destructive competition, violence, rape, war, slavery, suffering, hunger, poverty, and the pollution of Mother Earth and Her atmosphere, are recognized as shadow expressions of humanity which need to be challenged, deconstructed, transformed and healed. In the Motherworld, healing practices are encouraged and made readily available to all.

In the Motherworld it is recognized that all human beings, women and men, carry wounds from our patriarchal conditioning – emotional and mental patterns which may be activated as we try to change our world. In the Goddess community we are particularly aware of our shadow material, which includes envy, jealousy, judgment, competitiveness, collusion, resentment, undermining, back-biting, blaming, naming and shaming, projection of negative emotions, such as anger, shame and rage, fear, loneliness, lack of self-love, lack of self-esteem and lack of self-confidence, all of which are the result of individual cultural and karmic life experiences.

In the Motherworld, one of our first works is to love and support each other in taking responsibility for our repressed and often hostile emotions. These shadows undermine all our best endeavours to change the way we act in our personal and social relationships, in our lives as Goddess-loving people living in a patriarchal world, as Her priestesses and priests, as Her melissae, and in our personal commitments to Goddess. They often prevent us from experiencing true empowerment. Amongst many of us we already have developed skills and techniques of emotional expression, such as really listening to each other and offering reflection and support so that we may heal these wounds. This personal healing work needs to – and can - accelerate at this time with the help of the Motherworld community, which can help hold us in compassionate safety as we work to heal our wounds.

Although the name ‘Motherworld’ comes from Barbara Walker’s novel about an ancient fictional matriarchal society, this is not a return to such a society. It is a forward movement to a new kind of mother-centred community, where all are valued, supported and appreciated, and where we can experiment together with new ideas and forms. ‘Motherworld’ evokes a loving world where we are held safely in the Great Mother’s embrace.

Kathy Jones is the Founder of the Glastonbury Goddess Temple, and the annual Glastonbury Goddess Conference.  It was inspiring indeed to hear her talk this past weekend.  For more information about Kathy and the Temple, visit:  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Vicki Noble at the Conference

  Back from the Goddess Spirit Rising Conference in Los Angeles, inspired, and with so much to think about.  I was able to find a speech, from the 2009 Motherworld Conference in Toronto,  very similar to the speech Vicki Noble gave this weekend  on UTube, and take the liberty of sharing it here. Listening once more to Vicki,  Mirrium Dexter and Joan Marler, all former students and colleagues of Marija Gimbutas and teachers at the Institute of Archaeomythology, I was renewed in my understanding of the importance of the radical paradigm shift their work represents.  I was especially fascinated with the way Vicki wove the work of Dr. Shelly E. Taylor into her talk.  Dr. Taylor wrote   The Tending Instinct:  Women, Men and the Biology of Our Relationships  which skillfully re-examines the biological basis of human relational identity:
For generations, scientists have taught us about the fight or flight response to stress. But is this instinct universal? Renowned psychologist Shelley E. Taylor points out that fight or flight may only be part of the story. Humans - particularly females - are hardwired to respond to stress differently. As Taylor deftly notes in this eye opening work, the tend-and-befriend response is among the most vital ingredients of human social life.
Drawing from biology, evolutionary psychology, physiology, and neuroscience, Taylor examines the biological imperative that drives women to seek each others company, and to tend to the young and inform, bestowing great benefits to the group, but often at great cost to themselves. This tending process begins virtually at the moment of conception, and crafts the biology of offspring through genes that rely on caregiving for their expression.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shaman Masks, the Songhai, and Yemeya

As I prepare to go to the Goddess Rising Conference  it occurred to me that it will be occuring at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, in Malibu.  And I remembered that just a few weeks ago I was making offerings at the lip of the Atlantic Ocean, and the Hudson River, because an Ifa priestess, Joy Wedmedyk,  told me to do so this summer.  In order to honor Yemeya,  who she called "The Mother of the World".

There is a poetry in this, a "Conversation" , and I felt like exploring it a bit more here. 
In July I visited a friend who has been a medium since childhood, and has also pursued shamanic and Spiritualist training.  Spending time with her has, truly, taught me so very much. Wendy has been both clairvoyant and clairaudient since childhood, and has worked with spiritual mentors since childhood that she speaks of with intimacy.  In the course of my visit with her, I had a "visitation".   I have been thinking about it  ever since.  

We were sitting at the table drinking coffee on a sunny morning,  and Wendy paused and said "Excuse me, but someone is here".  Her eyes had misted and tears ran down her face, which she said happens when there is powerful energy present, usually the presence of a spirit with a message.   She said that a very tall, thin, black man wearing a very flat disc like mask patterned in  black with a white band across the eye holes and a red spot on the forehead was standing right behind me.  She said she saw him  put his hands on my shoulders. He told her he was something that sounded to her  like "samarai", and that he wanted me to help in some way.  

When I asked (the energy in the room had become intense, and I felt quite vulnerable) what I could do to help,  he told her that I would help to "revive Yemeja".   I, of course, neither saw nor heard any of this.   Wendy said she also perceived a  number of people with him, she felt they were his tribe, and she saw them by the ocean.  They were showing her images of the ocean, and how they made offerings  with baskets of fruit, flowers, and small shells.  Tears were running down her face (Wendy says that when the energy is very intense this happens) and she said that he was thanking me. 

Then they were gone.   I thanked him and said that I would do what I could to the best of my abilities.  I do not know what that is though, except to keep doing what I have been doing, which is to tell the stories of the Goddess with Her many faces through my masks and through my writing.

Songhai women 
After the Visitor left, the energy in the room returned to normal breakfast, Wendy's tears ceased, we made some more coffee, and talked about it.  We couldn't figure out what the "samurai" thing was about, and so we looked up "African samurai", etc.  Here is where it becomes extraordinary:  there is a people, once an ancient nation, the Songhai Empire,  that extended into Burkina Faso, Mali  and parts of Western Africa, including some lands to the west that met the ocean.  

They would most certainly have had contact with the Yoruba people of Western Africa and  with Yoruban religion.   These people have a rich history, and cultural heritage,  among which are also arts and traditional elaborate masks, decorated with patterns in black, white and red, that are associated with shamanic, ancestral, animal spirit  and ritual practices.  The masks are called "plank masks" because of their flatness (I assume), and the people are called the Songhai.  Something neither of us knew anything about until we   learned about it on Google.

Plank mask from Burkina Faso
I've been thinking about this astonishing visitation ever since.  I reflected that Yemaja, Mother Ocean, originates among the Yoruba religions of  Western Africa.  Yemeja became especially  important in the Americas as the slaves were brought to the Caribbean and to South America, where  admixtures of the Yoruba religion and Catholicism became Santeria and other admixtures. Yemeya was especially  honored because She  carried the souls of their homeland in her waters.

Shortly after leaving my friend's house, I went to the Starwood Festival, where I ran into Joy Wedmedyk.   I've known Joy for years, having met her at workshops she leads at Brushwood and elsewhere.  Joy studied with Malidoma Some in this country and also in Burkina Faso in Africa.  Since then she has also become an  initiated Priestess of Ifa,

Joy is  dedicated to Yemaya,  and when I saw her at the Festival to attend a workshop she was giving there, she opened her work with us with a prayer to Yemeya:  and she called Her  "The Mother of the World".   The Goddess.  At that moment, I think I understood the meaning of the mask shaman's message!  

Joy told me that I needed to go to the ocean, and make offerings to Yemaya.  This I will do  when I find myself on the Pacific Ocean for the Goddess Conference  I will be attending in, of all places, Malibu, in a week.  "Reviving Yemaya", from Joy's perspective,  is reviving reverence for  Our Mother, the divine Feminine,  our living Earth and Her Waters. 

 I looked on Google for flat disc masks such as a tribal shaman might wear, and found that there are indeed many such among the peoples of Mali and Burkina Faso. I did discover as well that there is an extensive group of people, in these lands as well,  with a long cultural history,  called the "Songhai", which sounds quite similar to "Samarai", and some of their domain touched the western ocean on Africa's shores.  I learned about the  Bwa masks of Burkina Faso when I Googled "Songhai shamans".

"Bwa masks are believed to possess special powers which are controlled by those who wear them.

These masks are plank shaped with a circular face at one end and a crescent moon at the other. Their wearer looks through a hole in the mouth...........The plank section is decorated with geometric patterns which are an essential design element in many African masks and carvings.

Geometric patterns create an external rhythm which echoes the internal spiritual energy of the artwork.

It can also be used as a coded language where the design communicates secret knowledge to those in the know. The designs on this Bwa Mask, which is used to celebrate boys' initiation to adulthood, represent information about myths and morality that the boys must learn before they can be accepted into adult society."

New Film on UFO Phenomena

Thanks to the MacGregor's Synchro Secrets Blog for heads up on this film, which was released on September 1.  The film is about the coverup of UFO's and all phenomena related.  I've attended the UFO Conference in Roswell several years, and heard some of these people speak including long-time researcher Stan Friedman, and share an interest in this subject.  I'll look forward to seeing the film, and once again I'm grateful that, to the best of my knowledge, no alien has found me interesting in anyway.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Endarkenment: Black Tara, Kali

"Kali" (2013)

I've been working on a Kali/Black Tara mask, and reference a wise article about the Dark Goddess, "Endarkenment", that I have been wanting to share for quite a while.  I take the liberty of re-printing here a wonderfully insightful  article by Theologian Molly Remer,  from the   Feminism and Religion website.

Black Tara is the ferocious, evil destroying aspect of Tara, and in many Tibetan Buddhist paintings it is easy to see the symbolic overlay of  Hindu Kali.  Kali's name derives from "Kala", which means Time. In the Mahanirvana-tantra, Kali is one of the epithets for the primordial sakti":
"At the dissolution of things, it is Kala [Time] Who will devour all, and by reason of this He is called Mahakala [an epithet of Lord Shiva], and since Thou devourest Mahakala Himself, it is Thou who art the Supreme Primordial Kalika. Because Thou devourest Kala, Thou art Kali, the original form of all things, and because Thou art the Origin of and devourest all things Thou art called the Adya [primordial Kali]. Resuming after Dissolution Thine own form, dark and formless, Thou alone remainest as One ineffable and inconceivable. Though having a form, yet art Thou formless; though Thyself without beginning, multiform by the power of Maya, Thou art the Beginning of all, Creatrix, Protectress, and Destructress that Thou art"**

It is from this dark space that we emerge—whether from our own mothers or from the more mysterious cosmic “sea” of soul—and it is to darkness that we return when we close our eyes for the final time.

I find that within Goddess circles the idea of “the dark” remains commonly associated with that which is evil, negative, bad, or unpleasant. The Dark Mother, while acknowledged and accepted, is often at the same time equated with death, destruction, challenge, trials, and obstacles. While I recognize that the concept of a dark, demonic, and destructive mother might too have a place in goddess traditions (as with Kali or Durga), I also think this is unnecessarily limiting and that the idea of the “Dark” in general is in need of re-visioning. It is not just with regard to the role or place of death within the wheel of life or the Goddess archetype that Goddess as Dark Mother and destroyer can be honored or recognized, but the Dark as a place of healing and rest can also be explored.

In her article “Revisioning the Female Demon” (1998), Elinor Gadon explains that there is a tendency in the contemporary Goddess movement to “ignore her dark side” and she remarks that, “in the fullness of her being she is both creative and destructive…The women’s spirituality movement needs a more inclusive mirror in which to recognize and recover elemental female powers that have been split between the peaceful, good nurturer and the evil, warlike destroyer” (p. 2).

In the book Fire of the Goddess by Katalin Koda, in the chapter Reclaiming the Dark Mother the author says:
The feminine qualities of darkness, moistness, birth, and blood symbolize the dark mother and our inner Initiate. We have been taught to deny these parts of ourselves and bodies; honoring the sacred feminine invites you to reclaim these as not only part of who you are, but a powerful aspect of your life. When we face our shadow, we are initiated into our deepest powers. We may be afraid of these parts; these howling, undernourished, repressed, and rage-filled aspects of ourselves that demand to be heard, but which we cannot bear to face.
But what if the Dark side of the Goddess is not an evil, raging, and destructive side? In fact, what if the Goddess Herself is found in the dark? Judith Laura writing about dark matter in the cosmos writes, “might we call this ‘unseen force’ Goddess? Dark matter could be identified with the womb of the Mother, continually gestating particles, suns, galaxies, which flow from her in a continual stream…Dark matter might also be represented as the Crone aspect of the Goddess—dark and powerful” (Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century, p. 181).

Part of thealogy’s task has been to re-evaluate the concept of darkness.  Jacqueline daCosta notes, “This darkness…equates with the darkness of innate, instinctive knowing, where we are within the womb of the Goddess” (p. 115). DaCosta’s observation is consistent with my own experiences and observations of the world. In darkness, things germinate and grow. The dark is a calm, holding, safe, welcoming place—we come from darkness and that is where we return. The womb is a place in which I’ve nurtured and grown my children and it is dark and safe in my experience of it. In fact, isn’t darkness the womb of all creation? It is from this dark space that we emerge—whether from our own mothers or from the more mysterious cosmic “sea” of soul—and it is to darkness that we return when we close our eyes for the final time.

Darkness holds our DNA. Our link to the past and the future. At the birth of the universe, some part of us was there, in that explosion from darkness. In the book Meditation Secrets for Women, Camille Maurine writes about the idea of descent and “going down” into one’s own dark places:  “There are times in a woman’s life when the call downward is a transformative journey, a summons to the depths of the soul. People tend to think of spirituality as rising upward into the sky. In the traditional (male) teachings, enlightenment is often described as a flight from the lower centers of the body, the instinctive and sexual places, to the upper centers in the head and then out. By contrast, a woman’s spiritual quest at some point leads to a soulful sinking down into herself. Everyone fears this descent, this sinking down. Yet sinking down connects us with the earth, with our personal ground, with our foundation. There is a secret in ‘endarkenment.’” [p. 210, emphasis mine]

The Dark Goddess need not automatically associate or translate into “bad” or “suffering” or “negative” or “shadow side.” I think of the darkness as a cocoon. I think of the womb. I think of germination. I think of a place to rest, to wait, to be still, and to transform. Emergence. Deepness. Rich earthiness.

I love the notion of endarkenment and that the downward call, the downward journey, like Inanna’s descent, is a hera’s journey of transformation, courage, and potency. In the same book, Maurine describes the soul in very different terms than in classic Christian conceptions:

“The realm of the soul is not light and airy, but more like mud: messy, wet, and fertile. Soul processes go on down there with the moss and worms, down there with the decaying leaves, down there where death turns into life. Deepening into soul requires the courage to go underground, to stretch our roots into the dark, to writhe and curl and meander through rick, moist soil. In this darkness we find wisdom, not through the glaring beam of will, but by following a wild, blind yet unfailing instinct that senses the essence in things, that finds nourishment to suck back into growth. Rare is the man who can take it. That’s why male spirituality is so often about getting out of the mess, about transcending the passions and bloody processes of life. Who can blame them, really? It takes a woman’s body and strength of spirit for this journey.” (p. 211)

My experiences with pregnancy loss have played a profound role in the development of, articulation of, and engagement with my spirituality. One of my favorite songs to listen to after my miscarriage experiences had a refrain of, “it is dark, dark, dark inside.” While previously not connecting to “darkness” as a place of growth or healing, during these experiences I learned, viscerally, that it is in the darkness that new things take root and grow. I also created a series of black and white mandala drawings during the year following my miscarriages and the subsequent year of conceiving, gestating, and birthing my new daughter.

Gloria Orenstein refers to endarkenment as, “a bonding with the Earth and the invisible that will reestablish our sense of interconnectedness with all things, phenomenal and spiritual, that make up the totality of our life in our cosmos. The ecofeminist arts do not maintain that analytical, rational knowledge is superior to other forms of knowing. They honor Gaia’s Earth intelligence and the stored memories of her plants, rocks, soil, and creatures. Through nonverbal communion with the energies of sacred sites in nature, ecofeminist artists obtain important knowledge about the spirit of the land, which they can then honor through creative rituals and environmental pieces” (Reweaving the World, p. 280). This speaks to me because of my theapoetical experiences of the presence of the Goddess in my own sacred spot in the woods behind my house, where I go to the “priestess rocks” to pray, reflect, meditate, do ritual, think, and converse with the spirits of that place.

I attended a presentation about birth stories at a conference in 2011 during which the speaker, Pam England, used Inanna’s descent as a metaphor to explain some concepts. She said that the place “where you were the most wounded—the place where the meat was chewed off your bones, becomes the seat of your most powerful medicine and the place where you can reach someone where no one else can.” This is what I feel like the Dark Goddess also offers. She is present when the meat is chewed off. She is there in the healing of the wounds and knowing Her, walking with Her, facing Her, leads to powerful medicine.
For each of us as women, there is a deep place within, where hidden and growing our true spirit rises…Within these deep places, each one holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling. The woman’s place of power within each of us…it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep.

–Audre Lorde
 Molly Remer is a certified birth educator, writer, and activist who lives with her husband and children in central Missouri. She is a breastfeeding counselor, a professor of human services, and doctoral student in women’s spirituality at Ocean Seminary College. This summer she was ordained as a Priestess with Global Goddess. Molly blogs about birth, motherhood, and women’s issues at and about thealogy and the Goddess at,1.0&hei=262&cvt=jpeg