Yule Blessings to all the Sisters This month’s issue of Goddess magazine is full of new and exciting articles. Our sisters really went all out this month to bring us lots of folklore around the winter Goddesses. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did. So, time to pencil in a few events onto your calendars because I am traveling in 2010. I’ll be in southern California Jan. 16th at the Orange County Goddess Temple. April 23-25, I’ll be in Woodstock, New York at Susun Weed’s farm. April29-May2, I’m the keynote speaker for the Pagan Odyssey Festival in Oxford, CT. I’m hoping to be able to travel up to Canada by summertime, and then of course, our own Goddess Festival is happening September 2010. Meanwhile, I am doing my best to get my autobiography finished for you. It’s coming along. I say that every month, but it is … and I’m getting excited. Bobbie has put the Grandmother of Time audio version onto CD in MP3 format for you, just in time for Yule. It’s available in the Women’s Spirituality Forum Store.
Enjoy your Yule sisters! Be kind to each other and know love. Blessed be,
What is Z Up to Now? PantheaCon, February 12-15, 2010. PantheaCon is where Z will host the Dianic Clergy in-person training this year. And, also joining us there will be many of the sisters from the Susan B. Anthony Coven #1. We’d love for all of you to come join us! There’s going to be a lot of Dianics there! It would be wicked fun to have other Dianic covens join the fun! There’s going to be another Goddess Festival in 2010! Pencil in the magickal date and manifest attending on Sept. 9-12, 2010 at the most beautiful time of the year in Northern California. More information is coming soon … follow Z on Twitter to stay updated on all that’s going on.
Use this discount code at checkout for $25 off a tarot reading with Z: TAROT25
Befana The legend of Befana originated during the Samhain season of the year. Not Christmas and not New Year’s Eve. She was an older woman who befriended the children during the Samhain festivities and gave out sweets … much the same as sweets are given out today during this season. At some point in history, the image of the old woman and her broom were moved from the Samhain celebrations to the Yule celebrations, and then again to January in places like Italy. It doesn’t really matter much when Befana shows up because she brings treats and is always a welcomed visitor. Though the years, Befana has been both uglified and beautified. For some is an old hag and for others, she’s close to representing the Madonna with child. I see her today as Befana, the bringer of women’s mysteries and all that is sweet during the winter’s season. I honor her from the Samahin celebration through the Yule celebration and its return of the light. Befana is one of the sweetest women’s folklores that we have and you should learn more about her and honor her memory as you would your own sweet grandmother’s. Befana’s blessings up us all.
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Dianic Witches Video Contest WOW! Have a look at the videos that one sister is producing. Does this inspire you as much as it does me?!!
Or this one?! It brought Z to tears from the joy she got from it.
What’s a Dianic Witch? Women-born women-only who practice my flavor of Dianic Witchcraft, not some other tradition that calls themselves Dianic. What do I have to do? You must have a clear, concise message that speaks to the topic. This contest is completely subjective, as in Z Budapest is picking the one she likes best.
Want some tips on what Z likes? Z likes a strong message, a good solid delivery, creativity, but not over done. She likes tasteful, and not over-produced videos. Be authentic. And, Z wants to see your shining faces!
How long do I have to do it? You have until February 20th, 2010. That’s nearly four months! The winner will be announced and featured in the March issue of Goddess magazine.
Pick a book(s) by Z Budapest. Teach a core lesson or value of the Dianic Tradition. Include “www.ZBudapest.com” in your video verbally and visually. Post your video to Youtube.com and tag it “z budapest” and “dianic” … you can add more tags too as appropriate. Email the video’s link to email@example.com titled “Video Contest.”
Purpose? We want to get our own Dianics out there making videos about the Dianic Tradition. It’s important that other women hear from you personally. Our tradition is an oral tradition and it’s through word-of-mouth that other women will find it. The goal is to bring more awareness to the Dianic Tradition and to the books that teach the tradition. And, have fun doing it!
How many videos can I make? There’s no limit. We’d recommend if you want to do more than one, then do them for different books.
Want to see a great example of the type of video we’re looking for? Check out CharmingPixie Flora’s Esbat Activities video. She has a topic, she shows you the books, she tells you the value of the books in relation to the topic and she teaches you something.
How long does it have to be? The best videos will run between 3-6 minutes in length. Wanna know what you’re playing for? The winner of the Dianic Witch Video Contest will receive as first prize, a completely paid for, totally coveted, and full enrollment into the New Dianic Feminist Philosophies class in the Dianic University. That’s a $75 class and a great prize for the best of the best in this Dianic Witch Video Contest! Z is excited to see your creativity in action! So, go for it! Enjoy!
The Dianic University Online is adding new classes! If you're not studying with us, you should be. Make yourself a FREE account at the Dianic University if you haven't already done so ... do it now! Now's the time to come study with Z and her dedicated group of teachers! Tell your friends â&#x20AC;Ś Subscribe to the Goddess magazine here. This newsletter is sponsored by the Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Spirituality Forum. Please help support our efforts to help keep the Goddess Alive!
Ancestresses and Yule The wheel has turned and we find ourselves here at the Midwinter time and celebrations are beginning. The traditions commonly celebrated today at Yule/Christmas began as celebrations to the Goddess. We all come from the Goddess. The basic concept of celebrations this time of year all revolve around one thing the return of the light. In her book Grandmother of Time, Z Budapest tells the story of the Sun Goddess Lucina. Her festival focuses on rebirth and is celebrated by little girls dressing in white gowns and evergreens being used in decorations to symbolize the life that goes on despite the harshness of winter. It is this theme that is the same, the gift of life and rebirth that plays out across the world. How do we see this today in the world this celebration of rebirth? Befana is a tradition known to Italian sisters that tells of the Grandmotherly figure that leaves gifts of coal that help children survive the winter's chill. This is the beginning of the rebirth much like gestation. Our European sisters know the story of Modronacht (Mother's Night) that is the celebration of the Midwinter Festival. The Hispanic sisters know of the Feast of Tonantzin which celebrates the appearance of the Goddess to Juan Diego who tells him she loves her people and wishes her shrine rebuilt. The people honored this request and the Goddess spoke "For I am the Mother of all of you who dwell in this land". Eggnog is common today and very well represents Mother's Milk which nourishes us all. It's universal this celebration of life and light returning so letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s put a little spice into our celebration of the turning of the wheel. I challenge you this year to look at your on family's heritage and incorporate the ancient ways of celebrating into your rituals. Don't stop there, the beauty of being a Woman is that you know the value of sharing and how it brings happiness and strength to all. Incorporate traditions from cultures that are not your own. You will have fun and learn more about your sisters. In celebration of rebirth and light I am brining in the greenery. There will be Evergreen for the altar, Holly sprigs with their red berries full of life in a vase, Frankincense and Myrrh incense will waft to the heavens in honor of the Goddesses reemergence into the world. The white candles will glow and clear crystal jewelry will represent the light. I will end my celebration with a tribute to Astarte the Babylonian Goddess who represented the Morning Star of the Heavens as I place a star upon the tree. A branch of the tree can be used to create Ashes of Yule. In ancient times Women would keep fragments of the Ashes to ensure a thriving poultry flock in the coming year. The Ashes were also thought to bring protection from thunderstorms and lightening and protect animals from various
diseases. Traditionally Ashes were made by pouring libations of wine or brandy upon the log and scattering corn or bread crumbs over the flaming limb. It is these charred remains that were distributed after the log had burned for the 13 Days of Yule.
Though our differences are many our shared experiences always revolve around the turning of the wheel. Thank the Great Mother for the Blessings she has gifted you with and look forward also with thanks for the Blessings she will be sending during the New Year. By gathering in celebration we continue the ritual our Mothers have celebrated for generations before us. A great way to honor the new beginnings to in begin an Ancesstress Altar. Gather photos of your Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, and other Women who have influenced you in a positive way and display these alongside pictures of your Daughters and Sons the next Generations to walk in the path of the Goddess. Decorate with sprigs of Evergreen to represent the life that continues. Add some Holly with the red berries to symbolize the life's blood through which all things continue. Scatter crystals around to reflect and represent the coming light that comes from your white candles to honor the Goddess. As the seasons change you can simply change the accessories to keep your altar in time with the turning of the wheel. May the light of the Goddess shine upon you as you grow in the coming year. If you want to read more about the many ways to celebrate the turning of the wheel and ways our Foremothers honored the Goddess go to the Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Spirituality Forumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Store where you can purchase a copy of Grandmother of Time new in audio and her other books as well.
Santa Claus and the Goddess A dubious connection, you say, between Jolly Old Saint Nick and the Goddess? Not so fast. Although the Catholic Church would like us to believe that the generous old man in the red and white suit descended directly from someone dubbed Saint Nicholas, ostensibly a former bishop in the area of the Netherlands, who especially had the interests of children at heart, the traditions, the colors, all the contemporary associations we have with Santa Claus have pagan origins. The personage of Santa Claus as we know him today is really a veritable mish-mash of entities gleaned from Far Northern Shamanism (Lapland, Siberia, Scandinavia), the shaman priests of Pan/Herne, and the Goddess stories of Northern Europe all the way to Italy, the Mediterranean and even Egypt. Comparisons and synchronicities abound. Beginning in the Far North, the word â&#x20AC;&#x153;shamanâ&#x20AC;? is Siberian. From Lapland to Siberia, there were commonalities with the shamans of the villages or tribes. Their traditional garb was a red robe trimmed in white, with bells sewed on to announce their presence to the spirit world and to frighten unfriendly spirits. They carried bags of magical tools and tricks - like Santaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pack of magic toys. People lived in huts crafted from wood and skins to repel the winter winds. These abodes had a chimney hole at the top to let out the smoke from the hearth fire, and a center pole as support structure. In the depths of winter, the shaman would shimmie up the pole to catch messages from the spirit upper world and bring them back down for the people. The smoke hole was considered the exit place of the shaman to the spirit world. There are theories about the reasons for the red and white robe of the shaman. One is that red was the color of fire, the magical element that brought with it warmth and light to the cold northern lands with the long harsh winters. Some even think that the creation of fire was the sole ability of the shaman, who did not share that with the rest of the people. The knowledge of the kindling of fire was a gift to the shaman from the spirits of the land and the gods. Another is that red is the color of blood and that is what links all of life, the blood that courses through all, and the womb bloodshed when there is a birth. Still another theory is that the red and white are the colors of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom, which grows under evergreen trees and was a sacred hallucinogenic element of religious ceremonies and celebrations. The shaman as local herbalist and healer would have been the gatherer and keeper of those sacred mushrooms. To distribute them at the Winter Solstice, she/he would have had to climb down the chimney pole from the top of the dwelling, having climbed up on the snow surrounding it to reach the top of the hut.
The early European cultures worshiped the god Pan, also called Herne. The shamans of these cultures costumed themselves to remind their worshippers of the aspects of the god: capes made from skins of fur, horns or antlers. He was joyful and mischievous at once, always the benevolent spirit of Nature, just as Santa is today, giving love and joy to all, but withholding presents from “bad“ children. The Northern ancient peoples all believed in the concept of The World Tree: the Tree of Life that never dies but from whose branches and roots come all creatures. The North Star was also called the Pole Star and was recognized to be the central point of the sky around which all the constellations revolved. They believed it was directly above the World Tree, which was the Central Axis of the Universe. The top of the World Tree in fact touched the North Star and the spirit of the shaman would journey to the realm of the gods by climbing the Tree. It is easy to see how this could be connected to the placing of the shiny star at the top of the tree at Yule. And to the idea that Santa lives at the North Pole - originally the star, not the top of the world. There are several figures, both male and female, who can be further associated with Santa. Odin, the chief Norse god depicted as having a flowing white beard, had a white stallion with eight legs on which he flew across the sky on Winter Solstice with presents for good children and punishments for bad. The Norse god Thor rode in a chariot, was quite jovial and was associated with the hearth fire - and all fire. The fireplace of a home was sacred to him. Santa’s journey magically transversing the whole earth in one night can be linked to Osiris. The ancient Egyptians saw the constellation we know as the Big Dipper as Osiris in his chariot, which circled around the North Star in a 24 hour period. Freyja also drove a chariot mostly by cats, but sometimes drawn by white stags. She was the bestower of mercy and sustenance to the people in the dark of winter (among many other attributes). The Northern European Goddess Holda (Hulda or Holle) is a Triple Goddess who as Maiden appears as beautiful and stately, flowing blonde hair shimmering and shining like the light of the sun, with a white, or red and white, goosedown cape. She flies through the night sky on the night of December 24th bringing gifts and joy. Her name means, “kind”, “merciful” or “gracious one”. It was She who determined who was “naughty or nice”. She rewarded the industrious and kind with good health and good fortune, and punished the lazy and selfish. An old Germanic tradition that survives is the laying out of an offering of a bowl of milk and food for Holda by the hearth fire on the eve of Her festival day, December 25th. The custom evolved to the setting of a place for Mother Holda at the table the meal before the family went to Christmas Mass, leaving her a bowl of milk when the family left the house, then carrying it outside to pour on the ground or leave for the animals after the family returned. This custom seems very close to the leaving of cookies and milk for Santa by the fire.
Holda is the Queen of Winter in Her Crone aspect. The snow flies as She shakes out Her cape or Her down comforter. Goddess of Prosperity and Generosity, gold coins drop from Her cape when She unfurls it. Holda traveled in the winds with the souls of the dead, mostly children and babies. She could be heard howling with grief as she bore the babiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; souls tenderly to Heaven.
Holda is connected to the 12 days of Christmas because Her festival day beginning on the evening of the 24th of December began a 12 day party that lasted to January 6th, the Festival day of Her sister Goddess Perchta, the winter hag Goddess. The Catholic Church assimilated both these post Solstice festivals in northern Europe as Christmas ending in Epiphany (commemorating the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus - bringing gifts). In Her Mother aspect, Holda appears as the body of the World Tree - front half woman, back half tree - who gave birth to humankind. The name Holda, or Holle, is also associated with the holly plant or tree, a staple of Yule decoration and a plant of magical protection. In Italy, La Befana is the old woman who brings gifts to all good children. Her origins, of course, predate Christianity. And in Sicily, an old woman named Strina brings gifts at Winter Solstice, a tradition continued from ancient Roman times celebrating Soltis Invicta (“the invincible sun“). Clearly, this “right jolly old elf” we have come to love as Santa Claus has as many origins in Goddess as anything or anyone else. “The origins of Santa Claus should remind us that we are intrinsically part of the cold wind whistling past our windows as we huddle before a fire waiting for the invincible Sun to return. We have localized the invincible power of Nature, the Goddess, which resides in each and every one of us to one person born 2000 years ago. But the Goddess is here within us as at the same time She shelters us.” - Dr. Richard Sandore (emphasis mine)
To the Tune of "God Rest you Merry Gentlemen" Goddess bless you dancing Sisters all, Let nothing you dismay! For Light and Sun return both now Upon this Solstice Day, To save us all from dark and death. Renew our hopes, we pray. Oh tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy! Oh tidings of comfort and joy! This night is the longest one but nothing need we fear. For Goddess always loves us, She wipes away our tears. Her loving voice within our hearts, Her arms a strong embrace. Wi-ith greens and bright holly we-e bless and protect, With greens and bright holly we protect. Now to the Goddess sing your praise All you within this place. With perfect Love and perfect Trust Each other now embrace! This sacred time of Yule comes To turn our hearts to face The Light, and the coming Rebirth, Coming Rebirth Oh, the Light and the coming Rebirth!
SILENT NIGHT, SACRED NIGHT (Tune of Silent Night, Holy Night) Silent night, sacred night All is Dark, All is Bright 'Round our Virgin, Mother and Crone. Light is born from Her dark womb. Light again returns, The Sun again returns. Silent night, sacred night Sun of Knowledge, Sun of Might! Heavenly beams from Her bright brow, with the dawn the Wheel turns anew. Her Love of Earth rebirths the Light, Lo-ove now births the Light.
THE HOLLY AND THE IVY Oh, the Holly and the Ivy, When they are both full grown, Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the Crown! Oh, the rising of the Sun, and the running of the Hart, the ringing of the merry bells to bring a brand new start. Oh, the Holly bears a berry as red as Goddess' blood, the blood that flows through rock and stream, through beast and flow'r and wood. Oh the rising of the Sun and the weaving of the Web, this night that is the darkest long Will not make our hearts to dread.
Oh, the Holly bears a berry as white as Mother's milk. Her breast to which we gather close is as soft as the silk.
With the rising of the Sun now the darkness it grows gray, With the rays of this newborn Sun We see a golden day!
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Plans are now underway for the 2010 Goddess Festival. Pencil it onto your calendar now and start planning!
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Solstice Cakes Topping ¾ cup Butter (softened) ¾ cup Brown Sugar (packed) 2 Can’s of Pineapple rounds (enough rounds to make 24 cakes) Filling ½ Tub of Cream Cheese ¼ Cup Mandarin Orange (drained) Cake 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix (The ingredients to make the box mix- each one is different) High Pulp Orange Juice (enough to replace the liquid for the box mix)
YouTube Video at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuPWPIYowiM
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cupcake tins and set aside. Mix together brown sugar and butter until thoroughly mixed. Place a spoonful of topping into tins, dividing evenly among the cupcake tins. Drain pineapple rounds and place one slice in each cup. If the slice is too big, tear off of a piece of the round and use in another cup. Keep going until all the cups are full. Set aside. Put cream cheese into a small bowl stir up the cream cheese until smooth. In a blender or food processor blend the mandarin oranges until just broken up. (a few seconds will do) Stir in the oranges to the cream cheese. Empty contents of Yellow cake mix into bowl, combine the ingredients called for on the box EXCEPT for the liquid. Replace the liquid (water) portion with high pulp orange juice. Mix as directed on the box. Fill the cups with cake batter until 他 full. You may have extra batter, if you do; you can make a mini cake. Take the filling and spoon a small amount into the center of each cake. Place tins in the center of the oven and bake for 20 - 25 min. Once finished take tins out and place on cooling rack for three to five min. While cakes are cooling, take a knife and cut around each cake to ensure they will slide out later. After you loosen the edges take a cookie sheet, place on top of cupcake tins and invert. Leave until completely cooled. The cakes should slide out of the tin and on to the sheet. Enjoy!
New Years / Solstice Spell Bags The Winter Solstice is a time of new beginnings and a fresh start. After the dark and waning period of the year, the Sun now starts to wax and become stronger. What things did we accomplish over the last year? What did we set into motion and what manifested? This is the perfect time to think about what we want to have manifest for the next year in our lives. With your reflections and intentions in set; a fun way to ring in the New Year on Solstice morning is with the help of an Air spell in the form of a New Years Spell bag. Things you will need: Various colors of paper lunch bags Decorations for the outside Intentions to infuse in the creation of the bag that you want to carry over all year round Create the bag, fill with intention and your spell with a whisper, blow up and pop at the Sunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first light rays of the year. Festive Blessings YouTube Video at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDukZc78_m4
Making Maracas It seems everywhere we turn this time of year and everywhere we go, someone is celebrating and having some type of holiday party. This is the time of year when the Goddess labors all night long on Solstice eve and finally gives birth to the Sun God at the break of dawn. Every birth deserves a festive celebration and joyous merriment. What would a party and celebration be without Maracaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s? To liven
up your Solstice celebration, make these fun and easy (and green) maraca’s to help ring in the new year and the birth of the Sun God. Items you will need: Two toilet paper rolls or one paper towel roll cut in two Two light bulbs (not halogen) Glue Water News paper strips Tissue (to stuff the handle with) Paint
Cut newspaper strips into manageable pieces (around 2 x 6 inches long) Then mix glue and water to a consistency of 2 parts glue to 1 part water. Take the light bulb and place into the paper tube, hold in place with your holding hand pointer finger. With your free hand, stuff the other end of the paper tube with tissue until it’s full. Dip the newspaper strips into the glue mixture and start to paper mache the light bulb and tube until you have covered it completely. Set on rack until dry. Repeat paper mache process three to four times. Once you have three or four coats of paper on the maraca, carefully tap the light bulb end on a hard surface until light bulb breaks, this will be the “shaker” side of your maraca. (if you tap too hard, you may break or crack the paper mache layers) Once you have cracked the bulb, now it’s time to paint and decorate your maraca. YouTube Video at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECnYUtKaTvo
Simple Alchemy: The Magic of a Winter Bath It was cold when I woke up this morning. While I heard the sun came out and warmed the earth, by the time I am leaving work it is again cold. And dark. I cannot yet bear the thought of cooking dinner or doing any of the things that need to be done. I need help, I need healing. I need it now. I walk in the door to my home. In moments, my dog follows me to the bedroom where I grab my favorite crystals, a candle and a stick of incense. I enter my bathroom. The ceremony begins. I light the candle, honoring fire. I light the incense, welcoming air. I turn on the faucet for the bath and talk to water. I gently set my crystals in the tub and earth is called. Next, I dump 2 cups of Epsom salt and a few drops of lavender in the quickly filling tub. I pause, take a breath and undress. The second my body touches the hot water I feel relief. Soon I am covered in the gifts of the elements. As I sink in, I surrender and allow the Goddess to join me in my winter bath. Bathing has been a powerful ritual for thousands of years. The Greeks did it, the Koreans do it and Z Budapest strongly recommends it every day of the week in her book Goddess in the Bedroom. Maybe it is because it brings us back to the warmth and safety of the womb, maybe it is because we have so much fire and air blowing around, we need water to ground us. I am not exactly sure why, but I know nothing heals like a hot bath. Especially on a winterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s day; I like the idea that Samhain (Oct 31st) is the end of the year and Yule (Dec 21st) is the beginning. That means I have almost two months of "timeless time." Perfect for floating around in the bathtub! It can really be hard to handle the daily tasks in winter. It always made so much sense that animals hibernate and our ancestors stocked up so all they had to do was stay warm and dry. However, in the 21st century, you will find very few folks who are allowed to "hibernate" and even fewer landlords and bill collectors that give you the winter off from paying them. Small wonder we get so sick in the cold season!
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Taking a "ceremonial" bath is a perfect way to honor the winter season, nurture your body and connect to spirit. For me, it is the simple rituals that make life worth living and the bath is my favorite. Again, if you haven't already, check out Z's book Goddess in the Bedroom. She gives some wonderful bath ideas. Here are some of my favorite ways to create bathtub magic. ~ Create sacred space: call in the elements! You have water, light a candle for fire, some incense for air and I love using my crystals or stone for Earth. No one ever told me to bathe with my crystals, but one day I had them sitting on the side and I realized maybe they would enjoy a hot bath. Now it is not the same without them. Lying in the tub, with a crystal in each hand, maybe one on my heart or belly is pure healing and magic in itself (note- some crystals, like Selenite, dissolve in water!) ~ Alchemy: Our ancestors were forever trying to mix this and that to make something happen. Modern witches are also pretty adept at concocting special recipes. The bath is like a big cauldron! My stand-by favorite is Epsom salt. You can by it ANYWHERE, it is super cheap and not only does it increase the warmth of the bath, but it increase detoxification, helps soothe muscles and even the men-folk don't object to it because it is colorless and odorless.
My next favorite thing is adding essential oils. Again, you can get really nice oils from 5$ up pretty easily. Each one has its own properties and you can choose based on what you need. Due to the increase in illness this year, I recently started adding oils from the "thieves" recipe to my bath. There is a previous article in Goddess that explains Thieves oil in depth, but basically, it is an old recipe that was used by grave robbers during the plague to protect them from illness. I don't know if that is true, but it smells great and I feel wonderful after soaking in it. (The thieves blend is Rosemary, Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon and Eucalyptus.) Essential oils are really strong, so put in a couple drops to start and add more if necessary. Of course, nothing beats a bubble bath! Even Mr. Bubble can bring the relief on a cold night. There are many other bath salts, bath bombs, bath colors to pick from so have fun finding what calls to you. That is one of the best parts of alchemy- exploring different combination's to find what fits. ~ Taking my time: The nice thing about bathing is you can do a quick pick-me-up or allow yourself to luxuriate. I recommend at least once a week (Friday is always good) to spend at least a half an hour in your bath ceremony. Lock the door, create your space, and go deep. I have put myself into ecstasy in the bath. Sometimes I just soak and watch my breath, sometimes I pray, sing, chant, cry, moan, whatever comes up. I really like to do my women's self-blessing in the tub (see Z's awesome book The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries.) Like any ceremony, this is an opportunity to connect with the Goddess, a chance to let go, transform, heal and receive inner guidance. By the way, there is something particularly powerful about taking a healing bath in the morning or afternoon, as well as the evening. It feels very decadent, creating ceremony and soaking in the middle of the day, and the Goddess likes it when we pamper ourselves in her name! Waiting for the sun to return can feel like eternity. Especially when you still have to work, cook, clean, provide and do all the things we do. Honor yourself, the winter and our Goddess by setting aside time for a sacred bath. Who knows, you may find you start to look forward to the cold, dark days so you can experience the healing magic of a winter's bath.
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As Within, So Without: Honoring the seasons no matter where you live! By Bekah Finch Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fall in Los Angeles. I only know that because it rained for two days. The weather says it will be sunny and eighty degrees again by Friday. How is a girl supposed to honor autumn in that? I understand from my studies of the cycles and my experience in solstice/equinox rituals that fall and winter are times to move within. The world goes into a deep trance of rebirth and it is a powerful opportunity to dream, meditate, heal, release, and hibernate. Fall is certainly about reckoning, releasing, reflecting and finding that deep gratitude for another year on this Goddess planet. So when you live somewhere where the seasonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shift but a little, and there is still plenty to do outdoors, how can we best use this time? I have lived all over the world, in many places and climates. What was so interesting about moving to Los Angeles was that the lack of drastic seasonal changes made me feel even more strongly about honoring the shifts! I began to create workshops and rituals around each change and became passionate about getting as many women as possible to notice the subtleties and the honor the cyclical nature of both ourselves and Mama Earth. The effects are astounding. The women who participate in these simple rituals and celebrations have had profound healing and growth. Each season offers us a unique gift. When we ebb and flow with the Goddess we truly get to experience her magic. We feel the creativity, stirring, excitement and blossoming of the spring, the heat, passion and fun of the summer. We get to let go of what no longer serves us and give thanks in the fall and we rest, relax, surrender and renew in the winter. All of this comes by tuning into to our beautiful planet. We just have to take the time to tune in. So those of you who lives in places where you have to move indoors, maybe you are having an easier time retreating to your books, your journals, your altars and your dreaming. Those of us who still are in tank tops and occasionally putting on the fan, we have to create our own experience with winter. The first and most simple step is just going outside every day and doing a walking meditation. I hike with my dog nearly every day and it is truly a ritual. I never bring my phone or music; I let nature talk to me. I clear my head and pay attention to the trees, the flower, than animals that come around. A small practice like this allows you to notice the changes, because they really are there, no matter where you are. In Los Angeles, the snakes stop coming out at the end of September. There are plants that change colors. The flowers die. The birds change.
Even if you live in downtown, just consciously take time every day to go outside and notice. I also like to make an altar to honor the season I am in. I always do a craft like that at my seasonal workshops. We create something that embodies the spirit of the season and what we want to learn from this time of year. What reminds you of fall? What brings you to that place of reflection and gratitude? Maybe buying a simple hand mirror and taping a leaf to it. Then every day, say a prayer or cast a spell in front of this creation, thanking the Goddess for her cycles and asking to learn from her and this season. We also have to make the decision on an inner level that we will allow ourselves to move with the seasons. I see so many people in this city who don’t ever slow down or give themselves permission to let go. You are truly fighting the tide when you go against the Goddess’s flow and it makes life that much harder. Take a hot bath, maybe light some candles that remind you of fall or winter and add essential oils that smell of the season. Again, say your prayer or affirmation to the Goddess of the season and consciously give yourself permission to do what that time dictates. Then hold yourself to it! Maybe make a weekly ritual out of this. Cooking seasonally is another powerful, simple tool. I recommend going to the farmer’s market every week; this supports local farmers and tunes you in. We are too used to eating whatever we want, whenever we want, which further disconnects us from the natural flow. Not that I don’t love being able to have what I am craving at any given time, but eating seasonal fruits and veggies is wonderful for our bodies and our spirits. There really are so many ways to tune into the seasons, wherever you may be. It starts though, with a conscious decision to honor the wheel of the year. Then we take actions to support that decision; whether it is taking a daily walk, making a seasonal altar or craft, going to the farmer’s market or creating your own ritual to bring you to that sacred space. As women, as witches, following the wheel is an ancient, serious practice. Give yourself this gift, no matter what the weather is, allow yourself to cycle with our great mother and experience all the gifts the cycle of life brings.
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Perchta - Ancient Europe’s Great Winter Hag Deep within the heart of Pre-Christian, Indo-Germanic Paganism lurk mysterious tales associated with the winter months of the Year. These tales disclose Humanity’s relationship to the Elemental Forces of Darkness and Danger reigning supreme within the Domain of Wintertide. Heathen customs of the Alpine Regions greeted the Darkness of this time with ritual practices intended to appease the Shadows haunting the hearts of a Society familiar with the ravages of Cold and Hunger characterizing the Snowy depths of the Waning Year. These were the “Ember Days”, as they came to be known in later times, and were characterized by periods of fasting and feasting between the days of December 25th and January 6th. Paganism knew its touch earlier as the Winter Solstice Darkest Night of the Pagan Year with observances that began around the 20th of December. The Spirit of this Time was fraught with the essence of the Unknown, its Spirits of Evil, and was presided over by the Death Aspect of the Goddess - aspects that asserted their Power as Entities and were experienced through the body, mind, and Spirit of early human memory. Cocooned within the depths of this Icy Darkness, Humanity felt its place acutely within the cosmic scheme of things through the senses of its mortal coil; howling winds of Eventide evoked the cries of disembodied spirits of the Night seeking refuge with the Living. With the comforting abundance of the Waxing Year’s warmth now behind them, the icy touch of the Deathtide asserted its power of Repose upon Humanity. This was the time of incubation and hibernation, of crackling fires easing the sting of the merciless North Wind whistling through the ice-bound Realms of the Season.
Amidst this swirling energy of the Human Condition dancing with the Forces of Nature arose the stories of the Great Winter Hag, encoded within the Customs connected to the Winter Solstice. The reach of these traditions stretched deeply into the Roots of Pagan history due to the fact that Ancient Customs of the Rural Alpine regions thrived within remote valleys inaccessible to the influence of the Christian church. Austria, Switzerland, Bavaria, and Slovenia are but a few of the many places that gave birth to stories revolving around the Crone Aspect of “The Brilliant One”, She who is the Great Blaze, the Flame; Berchta, or Perchta: Great Wintery Hag who is the Fire of the Darkest Night of the Year. Perchta appears when the Earth is at Her turning point between the Old and New Year to come. As the embodiment of the Threshold itself, Perchta is both the Terrifying Hag of the Dying Year, and the Enchanting Ice Maiden of the Promised New Year. Frau Perchta is the Southern counterpart to the Goddess Holle and is known as the Great White-Robed One, German Bohemia’s Guardian of Wild Animals, and of the Great Wild Hunt. A menacing entourage known as “The Perchten” accompanies Her - yet another mesmerizing chapter of Her Mystery - who serve a great role in Perchta’s Rites, as we will observe. Ultimately, the thing that remains clear within Perchta’s Archetype is the fact that Her epithets and Rites remain vast and diverse in character and preserve the memory of a time when human Reverence for the Primordial Forces of Nature was unquestioned and known intimately. The mystery of Perchta’s Essence manifests itself in very enigmatic ways for She can appear as both female and male as She chooses to appear before Humanity. She is “Shape-shifter,” possessing one goose or swan foot, betraying Her status as the Crone Goddess capable of transforming into animal form. Frau Perchta as Task-Mistress oversaw the Realms of weaving and spinning within the lives of young
girls, ensuring that the required amount of flax and wool were spun to quota before the year’s end. Frau Perchta was understood to be the Great Grandmother Protectress of the People. She is the Wise Crone bestowing Her Blessings upon those who observed Integrity and Benevolence in word and deed throughout the Year.
During the Depth of Darkness heralded by Winter Nights, Great Perchta was known to traverse the land in search of those beings that solicited Her Generosity for their kind ways or to administer Her Wrath upon those whose Life choices merited Her punishments. Hers was the Role of “the Restorer” - the Keeper of Balance. Her fearsome presence of Hagdom, together with the fierce presence of Her “SchiachPerchten” (Her ugly and sinister male-aspect counterparts) kept the nefarious energies of the season at bay. The SchiachPerchten performed the Rite of fumigating peoples’ homes and livestock with Auspicious dried plants and woods during the Winter Solstice - a Rite carried forth during the “Raunächte” (Smoke Nights) which was intended to drive cursed energies back into the Abyss. Their fearsome, hairy presence, bedecked with long teeth and multiple horns, was meant to give life to the horrific aspects lurking within Humanity’s Deep Imagination that could be summoned in order to whip demonic Spirits into Submission in the Outer World. Theirs was the purpose of “exorcising” the haunted Soul of Humanity. Their role was cathartic in nature. The Schiach Perchten rang huge bells strapped upon their waists, the clanging, discordant sound ringing into the Night, in order to scare evil away whilst awakening the Spirits of the coming New Year. In the meantime, the shiny boot upon the windowsill awaiting Perchta’s Blessings received sweets and silver coins for the favourable behaviour of its owner. Conversely, a willow twig, or a tree root, or straw and gravel, or a lump of coal greeted the owner of the boot who was not the paragon of human goodness that year. Perchta was known as “the Belly Slitter” to those who felt the sting of Her Vengeance as inspired by their ill-favoured deeds, or when Ritual gifts of fish and gruel were not offered to Her effectively on Her feast day of January 6th.
One custom invoked to avert the Wrath of the Belly Slitter was to consume oliebollen (ball-shaped, fried pastries with raisins) so that the slick grease of this sweet dessert thwarted the blade of the Crone! Hers are the Ways of Mercy and Severity. As the star of the coming New Year ascended in the distance, the hearts of Humanity burned brightly for the promise foreshadowed therein. In Her Maiden Aspect as the Flame Bearer, Frau Perchta is Reborn as a Youthful Ice Maiden, ushering the Fresh New Year into being through Blessings and Light. Hers is the promise of Illumination that brings comfort to even the Darkest of Long, Winter Nights.
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Birthing the Light of Yule As we enter a time rebirth and renewal, we open our hearts to the magic of love and generosity this season brings. We also find ourselves dropping petty grievances, bridging barriers or creating deeper bonds of understanding with those that share this precious Earth with us. Yule is a time to rejoice because it brings hope and promise for the future. Even in the midst of lingering cold and darkness, the waxing light of the sun at Solstice will brighten each passing day of winter, bringing warmth, radiance, fertility and new growth in the Spring. Yule is a time of celebration because it marks the return of solar light which redeems us from a world of darkness. In ancient traditions it symbolizes the birth of a savior born to a virgin mother, but we all know the deeper significance of this story, for we are all born of woman and we are all saviors of the world, for Yule not only brings promised sustenance but the dream that every child born will bring light, hope and promise to our future. Although pagan traditions vary from culture to culture, Yule marks a new cycle of life. If we compare the sacred wheel to our life cycles, Halloween marks death and the gateway to immortality, while Yule mirrors rebirth and the gateway to mortal life.... so the journey from Halloween to Yule is a time of transition, a bridge from one world to the next, when we enter the world of the Dark Goddess to prepare for another round. From the Holy Days from Samhain to Winter Solstice we move through the Dreamtime. Nights are long. Shadows cloak the Earth. We begin unwinding, reflecting, releasing as we descend into the shadows, into mothers dark tomb-womb to prepare for rebirth. It is a magical time... when hope abounds and spirits reign because the ancestral spirits of Halloween always follow us into the Yule Season! Remember the spirit of Old Saint Nick or Father Christmas? How about the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future in the famous tale of Scrooge ? How about the Fairy Queen who takes us on her sled to magical realms or tales of Frau Holle or Befana, benevolent givers at Yule? And let's not forget the Sun Goddesses... Lucifera, Lucina, Amaterasu, Hestia, Brigid, Isis, Bast and many others who bring light, warmth and magic to this dreary world. I love the Yule season. I think everybody does. We come together telling familiar stories or singing Carols. Even the heaviest hearts come alive at this time... from glowing faces of children anticipating a
visit from Santa to folks sitting around warm fires sipping egg nog. We help the needy. We share gifts with those we love. We hang wreaths and mistletoe on doorways. Smells of burning wood or decorated pine trees fill the air. Streets are lined with colorful lights and snow glistens in the moonlight. It is truly a magical time. It's unfortunate that Yule has become so commercialized. Seems many have lost the deeper meaning of this sabbat, but we don't have to let it hinder our hearts and spirits. Yule means recognizing our divinity and sharing with those less fortunate, bonding with those we love. It shouldn't be a time of stress because most of our pocket books don't support the deep overwhelming generosity we feel in our hearts anyway. I'm thankful that I learned to keep it simple at Yule. I refuse to get caught up in the madness even though I have done so admittedly in the past, but the regret of seeing my credit card bills in January brought me to my senses and taught me valuable lessons I haven't yet forgotten.
As we ponder the magnificence of this season, sisters, let's acknowledge not only every child born on earth but our capacity to bring hope, promise, light and feminine power to our planet... for we are the divine Madonnas that bring life to the world, made in the image of the Goddess herself... and we must protect what we have. Let's not give in to petty differences or insane commercialism. Let's stay focused even in these times of perceived political upheaval, for we are the saviors we've been waiting for and we bring light to a dark world. Always have. Patriarchy has failed the needs of humanity. It is destroying life on our precious planet and we should all be completely outraged by it! If we aren't we are dead asleep! Even if a fraction of the predicted earth changes manifested in our lifetime, our job is still difficult at best because there are many sleeping people in the world. Nevertheless, it's time to get serious, it really is, and we can do it by working
together in our covens, circles, groves, workplaces, families, support groups, programs and everywhere else there is a need. Patriarchy has been dominant long enough. Even the men in my life agree that necessary changes won't come until we replace all ruling bodies with goddess women, so let's get busy. We cannot effect a change if we keep distracting ourselves with needless diversions which keep us asleep. We are strong, survivors of the most hideous conditions, so it is time to stop being victims, turn away from petty obsessions and birth a new world, one that will bring hope and light to future generations! Let's send uplifting energy to all mothers and their children this Yule season, especially those that suffer from hunger and strife. Let's take moments of silence to remember the homeless, the suffering, the diseased, the dying; those in fear of abuse; that feel hopeless or threatened by the needless greed and corruption of patriarchal structures that keep us powerless. controlled, fearful, oppressed. Let us also remember our blessings this season. The warmth of our homes, the love of friends and family, simple comforts of food, drink or running water; the powerful sisterhood we share. Let us rejoice this season with gratitude, for we are blessed in numerous ways and peace always begins with us. It is time to rebirth a new world, to light a flame in the darknees, and as children of the Goddess we are capable of doing it. Our collective energy is already creating a new Thealogy; already switching from god to goddess; already uncovering our lost past; already creating rituals and singing songs in her honor. We are creating diverse lifestyles; creating sacred circles and groves of feminine beauty and power; reclaiming her ancient ways and healing our lives. We are turning the tides of Patriarchy and we must continue doing it, for peace on the Earth truly begins with us. Let's remember: When the Women Heal, the Earth Heals! Blessed Be.
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Dancing 'round the Yule Tree We're dreaming new realities, Bridging all communities To benefit humanity... Touching, changing, earth to sky Healing wounds of days gone by We bind our spirits, hearts & hands Declaring peace on every land... By the power of wind and fire With deep intent and true desire We cast our prayers by land & sea And as we will, so mote it be
Yule The flowers and herbs to use for Yule are Bayberry, Blessed Thistle, Evergreen, Frankincense, Mistletoe, Oak, Pine, Sage, Cedar, Moss, Ginger, Holly, Ivy, Juniper, Myrrh, Pinecones, Rosemary, Chamomile, Cinnamon, and Yarrow. The types of incense and oils to use are Pine, Cedar, Bayberry, Cinnamon, Ginger, Rosemary, Frankincense, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Wintergreen, and Saffron. Some color suggestions to use during Yule are white, yellow, red, green, gold, silver, and orange. Gemstones to consider at this Sabbat are ruby, catâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eye, diamond, emerald, and bloodstone. Food to use in the correspondence of Yule is nuts, pears, cookies, fruitcake, apples, pork, and roasted turkey. Beverages to drink during Yule are eggnog, ginger tea, mulled wine, and hibiscus tea. A Goddess to work with is Lucina she is the Roman Goddess of lunar mysteries. Decorations and tools for Yule are Bayberry candles, evergreens, holly, mistletoe, poinsettia, mistletoe, lights, gifts, Yule log, Yule tree, spinning wheels, wreaths, bells, mother and child images. The rituals and spellwork to focus in on during this time is for personal renewal, peace for the world, and for honoring family and friends. The element and gender to remember are Earth and the Goddess. The threshold is for Yule is morning or dawn.
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Blessings Sisters in Goddess! Wow, November just flew by. I hope you’re enjoying the Yule issue of Goddess magazine. The Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One members really went all out this month to bring you information and folklore that isn’t much talked about in our culture anymore. They spent all month researching and writing and I’d like to thank them for all their efforts. This past month, I added a huge amount of herstorical audio to the classes in the Dianic University dating all the way back to the inception of the Dianic tradition. These are recordings now available anywhere else. Many of them were added to the new Dianic Feminist Philosophies class; that fulfills the first requirement of the Dianic Priestess Clergy training, but any sister is welcome to take the class too. It’s a powerhouse class and talks to the foundations of our Dianic Tradition. It’s amazing to listen to voices from the past and hear the intensity and wisdoms. Strong feminist voices. It’s an education in and of itself just listening to these audio recordings. Hey, hey musicians! Goddess Festival 2010 is underway and this year’s venue promises lots of musical fun. If you’re interested in auditioning and learning more about it, visit the Z Budapest Goddess Festival page today! Grandmother, mothers and daughters! Goddess Festival 2010 is a fabulous event for you to share together! Every time mothers and daughters dance and sing under the stars and honor the Goddess in each other, we see the woman-bond strengthened and female relationships celebrated. Bring your daughter to Goddess Festival 2010. Get more information now! Just wondering, why aren’t you more active in the Dianic tradition? We have a lot of women who read this Goddess magazine every month, and it would awesome to have more of you join in with us at the Susan B. Anthony Coven #1. A membership into the world’s most famous all-women’s coven makes for a nice Yule gift to yourself. Give it some thought and come join the fun. Did you catch the ad that Z put up this month? There’s a discount code for $25 off a Tarot Reading with her. That makes a very nice Yule gift for yourself or someone that you love.
Sorry, but the book review contest is suspended for now because I haven’t been able to confirm things with Llewellyn for this month’s drawing. So, until I hear back from them we’ll just have to hold up on the contest for now. Hey, does everyone know that Z Budapest turns 70 years old this coming January 30 th? Mark your calendars because that’s a very big birthday to remember. Z Budapest will be at the Wise Woman Center at Susun Weed’s Woodstock farm in New York this coming April 23-25, 2010. More information to be announced, but you can contact Susun for more information at susunweed.com.
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Goddess Book Review By Suzie Reid Book Review for Summoning the Fates Zsuzsanna Budapest has done so much for not only women, but for the Goddess Movement as well. I take every opportunity to read everything that she has ever written so that I may grow, as I have learned so much from her works and Summoning the Fates is no exception. This book has taught me so much about the Fates and how to work with them; and definitely a work to keep on the shelf and read over and over again. Each chapter starts with a Latvian Women’s Folk Poem and a personal experience; it is like looking into her soul and seeing what she was and what she had to overcome for not only women as a whole, but in order to grow herself. She was arrested for doing public tarot readings and because of that, a law was changed and we can now do readings for others. In fact, she has paved the way for a lot of the freedoms we have to worship the Goddess today. To help us understand the astrological aspect of fates in our lives, Z. Budapest has included sections on when the “fates are very present.” These dates help us in addressing our needs in our soul’s progress in the pattern of our life story. (pg 12) The fates are divided into three destinies, which are known as Urdh (first destiny birth through 21 years), Verdandi (second destiny 28 ½ - 58 years), and Skuld (third destiny 60-88 years). Interwoven throughout the book are Hungarian fairy tales that help in explaining the mysteries of the fates. This book has opened my eyes to the Mysteries of the Fates and I found that reading the book through once just whetted my appetite for more. For a book of this nature, I read through once, to get the feel of the book, mark sections that speak to me, and then I go back and read for a deeper understanding. I always find goodies that I missed on the first go-around, or possibly a message I need at the time. I would recommend that all women read this book to find out where they are on the fate cycle and what can be done to experience a more fulfilling life. This book has really changed the way I look at the past, present and future of my life and I feel it would do the same for others.
Musings of Yule This is the time of year when the world is gearing up for Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and many other festivals of light. Songs and billboards exhort us to “banish the darkness” and to “welcome the light.” In the Northern Hemisphere, days become shorter until Winter Solstice, which is the longest night of the year. It is followed by three days that seem to stand still. No wonder when it became obvious that days were lengthening again, the Ancients celebrated the “birth of the Sun” – Lucina, the Sun Goddess, giving birth to the Sun. This annual rebirth is played out over and over in ancient theology and mythology, with a child, male or female, symbolizing the newborn light. There are countless such stories, all of them predating the Christ story. In fact, not a single element of the Christ story is original, every part of it is found repeatedly in the older stories. It’s coincidental, by the way, that in the English language, “sun” and “son” are homonyms (words that sound the same). To my knowledge, the only other language where this occurs is German, with Sohn (son) and Sonne (sun). The Dutch language comes close with zoon (son) and zon (sun) as does Afrikaans with seun (son) and son (sun). The other night, while I couldn’t sleep, I started thinking about the idea of “banishing the darkness” and my mind wandered over possible meanings. The word “darkness” as it is commonly used, conjured all kinds of negative associations: evil, ignorance, apathy and inertia, guilt, and the unknown. So to banish my own situational darkness, I turned on the night light and reached for the notepad and pen which are always handy next to my bed for such occasions. After writing down “light” and “darkness,” other similar opposites came to mind: good / evil; up / down; exterior / interior; high / low; white / black; male / female; and many more and then realized I had a nice set of dualistic concepts. At first blush, these appear to be two sides of a coin, opposites that cannot exist without each other. It’s very important to note that all of these dualistic worldview values are hierarchical – one is better and therefore more valued than the other. Such metaphors are most often unexamined and carry strong moral values.
These words, these ideas, are loaded with metaphysical implications. The concepts they represent are so internalized that we seldom notice they’re there, let alone challenge them. We’re simply unaware of their impact on our thinking. And so we view the world with “either/or” glasses, remaining for the most part blind to other possibilities. The Yule season is a good time to examine the concept of light and darkness. The words, “light” and “dark” or “darkness” immediately produce images of “white” and “black.” We all know that in between black and white are innumerable shades of grey and a spectacular spectrum of colours. This is probably the only dualistic concept we understand at a gut level and are willing to commonly challenge in our daily lives, to a small extent. And yet, and yet… have many of us ever considered that equating darkness with evil, and goodness with light is a racist concept at best and devastatingly evil at worst? When we equate light with all that is good and positive, the flip side of this coin naturally becomes darkness and all that is bad and negative. White is good, black is bad does not allow for other possibilities. All of us know instinctively, having experienced it in our lives, that white or light doesn’t necessarily signify goodness. Some of the deadliest poisons are white. Even the worst racist amongst us can think of examples where darkness is goodness, be it only chocolate. And so a chink appears in dualism’s uncompromising armour – nothing in life is ever as simple as “either/or.” Light and darkness are part of the same whole – not in opposition to each other. In nature, both are necessary for survival. Darkness, night time, winter, the dark soil of decay and renewal – all are essential so nature can rest before the next cycle of life is sparked anew. In the same manner, our human bodies need their dark time to sleep, ponder, reflect, and assimilate knowledge and experience, to spark creativity and imbue us with renewed life. When we equate darkness with what is “bad” and “evil,” we then fear it. We fear what we cannot easily see, we fear what we don’t understand. Thus fear, which is born of ignorance, grows and breeds injustice, discrimination, violence and even untimely death. Fear, unchecked, can easily give birth to evil.
Darkness, in and of itself, is not evil. We all know evil exists, in many forms, and some of these forms are “disguised as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). It’s not my intention to define and discuss what constitutes evil at this time, though I’ll be happy to take up the challenge in another article. What I’m saying is that we need to re-examine our use of language to define what is good and what is not. When we find ourselves using a dualistic concept, we could ask ourselves what moral values are hiding within, is the hierarchy of values truly appropriate, what other concepts are possible if we take a more holistic approach. Let’s consider… how would the organs, vessels and cells of your body fare, let alone survive, if you were to constantly shine a harsh light within? And if darkness was conquered, where would seeds germinate? How could we view the stars? The idea of “conquering the darkness” is a frightening one when we look at the concept holistically, causing divisions and skewing our perception of the world, fragmenting it, making it difficult if not impossible to see the world as a whole. By all means, let’s conquer ignorance and fear, let’s conquer prejudice and hatred, and let’s conquer violence and evil. And most importantly, let’s use words to clearly mean what we say, ensuring they convey our real, deeply thought-out ideas and moral judgements. And let’s embrace the darkness!
I will descend to the depths of darkness Where my spirit longs to roam To rest, to mediate, to commune with Her And having returned, renewed, I will give birth to the clear vision Full-grown – my role in gathering the womyn Into a Sisterhood as diverse as the multitudes And united in bonds of peace and love.
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The darkness embraces everything, It lets me imagine a great presence stirring beside me. I believe in the night. -Rainer Maria Rilke in Book of Hours Here we are in the darkest time of the year where there are few hours of sunlight for us to enjoy ourselves. The energy is at it is at its lowest point and nature takes time to relax. It is traditionally a time of rest and recuperation, internal reflection of the passing year. Unfortunately, the darkness is looked at something to fear, something negative and evil and so therefore we want to avoid it. Even our own darkness or “shadow selves” have negative connotations though our own inner darkness shouldn’t be feared or rejected. Since the autumnal equinox, I’ve been reading the postings on social networks and the bazillion articles that start creeping up around this time. The theme is always the same, “How to Combat the Darkness.” I find this idea of “combating darkness” fascinating. It caused me to wonder “Why are we so afraid of the dark?” And in regard to depression, “Could this Seasonal Affective Disorder be related to disconnection from the earth and her cycles and therefore disconnect from our own selves?” “Are we so unfamiliar with the cycles of our own bodies that we mistake the natural turning inward as depression?” I am not a medical doctor and I don’t pretend to know a great deal about “Season Affective Disorder.” However, as a Witch, I am more inclined to think that, because we have become accustomed to favoring the light over the dark, we have to struggle a bit when the dark of the year comes. We find ourselves swimming upstream instead of “with the flow”. Because of this, we become a bit more moody than usual. Perhaps for those of us who are otherwise of normal mental health, we end up “depressed” instead of benefiting from this low- level energy that darkness has to offer. I also know that darkness is not evil. The darkness, whether within the self or in the earth holds much healing power in which to draw from. This power can support our growth on many levels of being if only we allow ourselves to give into it. Darkness is Healing
Where would we be without the darkness? Where would we be without sleep? When we sleep our brains processes slow down, is restored and repaired. We restore our energy during sleep as well as detoxification of stress amassed through the waking day. While there is much healing taking place in the quiet darkness, if we allow it, it is also a most creative time of year. This is a time of dreaming, and planning for the future. Even while the Earth appears to rest, She too is busy being creative. She never stops. In the middle of her deep, dark womb are the seeds for the New Year. Before too long, new sap will be flowing through the trees; buds will burst through later showing us their beautiful blossoms, greenery and precious flora. But for the time being, we are immersed in darkness. We might think about ways in which we can benefit from this darkness. If we take time to honor the seasonal changes of the Earth, it allows us to notice and honor our own internal rhythms change too. Once we are able to do this, we find there is much to gain from this creative and dark energy.
In aligning ourselves with the energy of Earth, we can learn to take this 'dark time' to let our creative energies take a new direction or perhaps find a direction in which to go but at a much slower pace. We can give ourselves support to the parts of our being that need solace and patience. We need to give ourselves permission to set aside some time to rest and relax and allow ourselves to recharge just as nature is doing at this time. During this holiday season itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy to get caught up expending our energies into the searching for the prettiest holiday dĂŠcor and wrapping the prettiest gifts and while we can get really creative with that, I tend to believe that there is so much more that we can do with this dark time.
Personally, this is my most creative time of the year. I rest, I reflect on the passing year and take the blessings and lessons and think about the future. I listen to what my body tells me, when I am sleepy I take more frequent naps.. When I’m hungry I eat. I contemplate on what the Winter Solstice will mean for me. I honor those quiet and sacred places within myself. And I allow myself to tap into those places of creativity. I find that dark time, without the rushed feeling of spring and summer time give me time to go deep within my own mind and connect with that Intelligent Goddess Mind inside of myself. I am able to let that wonderful energy of the Goddess flow through me and it's reflected in my writings and creations whether they are rituals that I create, essays I write, poetry, song, chant or even paintings or sculptures I make. In the darkness, I am my most creative self and the channels of connection tend to be more open for me. In my 'going into myself', aligning myself with the energy of Earth Mama, I acknowledge that I am but a seedling planted in darkness of the earth. I give myself permission to rest, to dream, to think and to not think at all. In this time of darkness, I play, I dance, and I make a million plans knowing that, in the cool darkness where dreams are made, there is nothing but endless pool of possibilities. By daring to go deep within ourselves, into that part of our Goddess mind we are able to find and utilize that 'spark' of inertia for change. Use these darkest months to explore the limitless areas of our inner world and understand that our lives are not set in stone. Our lives are, however, made up of experiences; liquid, wave like infinite number of experiences that change every time we make a choice or none at all. The Sun will return to us in a few weeks come Winter Solstice but we will still be in darkness for a few more months. Use this darkness to dream, to plan, and let your creative self flow! Step outside yourself and do something different that you wouldn’t normally do. At the holiday parties, dance when you feel like sitting, sing when you want to express yourself even if you sing out of tune. Goddess loves your intention. Take a class, write poetry or paint and see what comes about. Open yourself up to the Muses and inspiration will flow right through you. You will ‘give birth’ to a “new you,” a part of yourself that you never knew existed. In the womb of darkness, creation is waiting to burst forth.
This magazine is sponsored by the Women’s Spirituality Forum. Please help support our efforts to help keep the Goddess Alive!
UPCOMING DIANIC EVENTS Pagan Examiner – Read the articles written by Bobbie and myself. Z’s Calendar of Events – Want to know where I am appearing? Goddess Festival 2010 – You think the last was good? Goddess is Alive! Pantheacon 2009 – A very large number of Dianics are attending this year. Join us!
Z Budapest will be at the Wise Woman Center at Susun Weed’s Woodstock farm in New York this coming April 23-25, 2010. More information to be announced, but you can contact Susun for more information at susunweed.com. Z Budapest will be the keynote speaker at the Pagan Odyssey this coming Beltaine, April 29-May 2, 2010 in Oxford, CT. More information to be announced, but you can contact paganodyssey.com for details.
The Goddess Temple of Orange County Events at The Goddess Temple of Orange County are designed for women - Sunday services
Z is at the OC Goddess Temple Jan. 16, 2010
The Dianic University for Women in Goddess Study the Dianic Tradition with Z Budapest, the woman who rebirthed it into modern culture. Classes at the Dianic University are designed for women only.
The Sacred Circle ~ Recovering & Reclaiming Ancient Ways to Heal Events in The Sacred Circle are for members only, unless otherwise stated. Call JoAnna 775-882-1599 for membership inquiries.
Temple of Diana - a religious and educational organization in Wisconsin that provides services to nurture the spiritual needs of women though healing, empowerment, and celebration.
Please help support our efforts to help keep the Goddess Alive!
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Dianic Wiccan Clergy Priestess Overview It is the goal of the Women’s Spirituality Forum to provide our members with herstorical and philosophical foundations of the Dianic Tradition; including ritual and spiritual practices from which to provide Clergy Priestess services to the public. Dianic Tradition is an ancient Goddess and woman-centered, Earth-based, feminist denomination of Wiccan religion. We are a teaching tradition. In the Dianic Tradition, clergy are required to complete course work that enriches their understanding of the sacred feminine Craft through cognitive and practical hands-on experiences to use in their roles as clergy priestesses to the Goddess and Her women.
What is Dianic Clergy? Clergy is a Greek word meaning “heritage” and from its origins, developed into a name for the persons who kept records and practices of the heritage. In the Dianic Tradition, we refer to the Clergy Priestesses as the active keepers and practitioners of our traditions, records and practices. These are Goddess priestess women who provide spiritual support to women (and their families) worldwide; and support women’s rights as feminists.
Ordained Dianic Clergy is not the same as an Ordained Daughter of Z Budapest. Ordained Daughter is an honorary title for exemplary community service gifted by Z Budapest directly. It has no legal ties to the Women’s Spirituality Forum.
What can I do with this? Ordained Dianic Clergy can perform public rituals, including marriage rites, under the legal auspicious of the Women’s Spirituality Forum non-profit status. The Women’s Spirituality Forum, Inc. is a 501 ( c ) (3) tax-exempt religious, educational, and charitable organization. Income you earn as Dianic Clergy and keep is not tax deductible. Income you donate to the Women’s Spirituality Forum, Inc. is tax deductible. The same is true for portions of the income donated to the Women’s Spirituality Forum, Inc., but only the amount of the donated portion would be tax deductible.
What is expected from students enrolled in this program? The Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Spirituality Movement, which reclaimed the Dianic Tradition, was based on two principles of action; movement happens through the written word and through the physical doing. We will require both from you. Expect to produce high quality materials that you will use in your Clergy Priestess practice. We expect you complete your training in a reasonable amount of time. You may not complete this training in any less than a year and a day, and not more than three years and three days. We have made concessions for lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s complications during your period of training by allowing you longer than a year and a day to finish, but also realize that this is a very serious and intensive program for only the most dedicated of Goddess Women. Live In-person trainings are required. Online classes in the Dianic Wicca University are required. More on requirements and fees. Ordination as a Dianic Clergy Priestess is required before you will receive any acknowledgement of successful completion. This ordination must be inperson at an event of our choosing. You will be required to complete an academic body of work using a variety of mediums (written, video, audio, etc.). You will attend in-person events where you will be required to perform leadership skills and be observed. If you meet all these requirements satisfactorily, you will receive ordination as a Clergy Priestess and an official certificate. Who should apply? Women-born-women who live their lives as females, and are seeking to enrich their lives and the lives of others by becoming knowledgeable about and intending to become practicing clergy of the Dianic (Feminist) tradition of Wicca, an Earthbased theology, as founded by Zsuzsanna Budapest.
Statement of Dianic Wiccan Faith As a Goddess and woman-centered, Earth-based, feminist clergy, you must support, defend and be prepared to propagate the basic principles of Dianic Wicca as follows: 1. Maintain a living practice the Manifesto of the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One. 2. Practice the Dianic Wiccan Rede code of ethics that honors the Earth and Her creatures, "And it harm none, do what thou wilt." 3. Honor a feminine aspect of deity.
Ethics of the Dianic Wiccan Faith
Manifesto of the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One (Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries p.1-2)
Dangers of Magic (Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries p.10)
Only the Women’s Spirituality Forum can ordain clergy under the auspices of their non-profit status. While other non-profits might have their own clergy, their credentials are not substitutions for the training and credential of the Women’s Spirituality Forum.
The Application for Dianic Clergy Priestess is online
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Goddess Resource Links Z Budapest Website Dianic Wicca University Online Dianic Nation Women's Events Z's Blog Z's Events Schedule Z's MySpace Calendar Z's University Calendar Z's Books Summoning the Fates Holy Book of Women's Mysteries Celestial Wisdom Grandmother of Time Grandmother Moon Goddess in the Office Goddess in the Bedroom Holy Book Herstory Have you ever wondered the who, what, where and when's of the creation of the Holy Book of Women's Mysteries? We've put together a web page that highlights the answers to these questions.
Please share the Goddess with your friends. Have you done your self-blessing today? We do self-blessing every day. In fact, it's the first thing I do every morning when I rise as I'm preparing to get dressed. It's good mental health. Do your self-blessings and life will be sweeter. The SelfBlessing is on page 120 of the Holy Book of Women's Mysteries.
The Dianic University Online is adding new classes! If you're not studying with us, you should be. Make yourself a FREE account at the Dianic University if you haven't already done so ... do it now! Now's the time to come study with Z and her dedicated group of teachers!