The Lady of the Americas The word Lady means â€œmaker of the loaf.â€? She harks back to the times when women had developed the grain, from the humble grasses. She who has invented the bread is indeed a great Lady. Even today, most of the people eat bread as their main food supply. She is the food we eat. I fell in love with the Lady of Guadalupe just recently. I have prayed to many ancient goddesses, Demeter, Kore, Hecate, Hera, Gaia, Nike, etc. And, they were all very good to me. A spell took a couple of months to come in, but they did. When I fought back against the gang rapists in Richmond, a small town nearby, I called upon the Lady of Guadalupe, to bring down the gang rapists, the hex came in within four days! Four days! This has caught my attention. The Lady was the fastest I have ever seen. So after a short time of being very impressed, I have decided to pray to her and popularize her to Americans, as our indigenous and most powerful protector and friend.
Christianity has a huge headache with the Goddess returning. You see she is the only one who has been seen to heal the people. We know about healing springs, sacred trees, groves, caves, herbs and flowers. We know about pilgrimage places, where the Lady once again dispenses wisdom, healing, and love. There is not one place where Jesus Christ appears, and heals the folk. If you know about any such place please correct me. It’s only his mother, who is a visible divine being, with active healing places all over the planet. Each time miracles start to happen the jealous priests try to explain it as “normal” and not that the Mother of Gods is dispensing the healing, because it just kills them that it’s only the Goddess in her many, many guises who is a working divinity doing the magic for the people who worship her. Jesus Christ is dead. He has not been seen in a long, long time, and no healing springs, forests, sacred trees, testify to his activities. Even looking deeper than that, in all other male god religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Muslimism, is there any evidence that the male gods are doing healings. Zip. Nada.
This issue we feature the face of the Lady of Guadalupe, Tonantzin. Not Mary with the baby, but the Queen of the Americas. The Queen who receives annual month long celebrations from her people in Mexico, and all the other southern countries. Here in the north she is not so much visible, but now she has gotten me to popularize her great deeds, and I have rededicated myself to talk about her, show her face and her deeds as I will turn to her in matters great and small.
I am so grateful that we live here, where the spirit of the Queen is venerated in masses, pilgrimages to her shrines, and prayers of her folks make her very active as a Goddess. I am so grateful that prayers to her come in fast and strong. I hope you will place her image on your altars. Blessed be.
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Our Lady of Guadalupe, the passing of Barbara Vogel, Advertising in Goddess Flash Silvermoon emailed us the other day to let everyone know that Barbara Vogel, the illustrator of the Wise Woman Tarot, passed on after a long battle with cancer. Flash said, “For her contribution to my work and the evolution of a Goddess Centered Tarot I will be forever in gratitude for the images that were as powerful and as beautiful as the Goddess in her many guises.”
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Dianic Clergy Priestess Training Several sisters sent in their applications for Clergy training, and we wanted to let you know we have them. We’re beginning to process your applications and you will be hearing back from us shortly. Did you want to apply too? The Application for Dianic Clergy Priestess is online. More information on the Dianic Clergy program can be found towards the end of this issue of Goddess magazine.
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Bringing Tonantzin into your Life I Google searched Guadalupe and I was floored at how popular this goddess really is. Wow! I totally want that belt with the Guadalupe buckle! I began asking myself what I can do to bring Tonantzin into my life. For me, having her image around me in my daily life acts as a constant reminder of her energies. The magic happens with the Lady of Guadalupe when you bring her into your life up-front and personal. Here’s a few ideas for you:
Wear her image on your person Money magic with checks with her image on them Candle magic calling on Tonantzin’s energies Food magic through the use of a mold of her image
WOMEN’S GROUPS Z and I were chatting the other day about Women’s Groups and how the dynamics have changed over the years. So much so in fact, that today these groups are often unsuccessful at lasting for any real length of time. That’s a departure from their highly successful predecessors. Z is often asked for advice on how to create successful groups. We thought it would be nice to share some of that advice with all of you. Women need to be successful together! Women have forgotten how or gotten too busy to connect with each other spiritually. Discussing Women’s Group Dynamics seemed an appropriate follow-up topic to last month’s topic of helping sisters to release "fear" during these hard times. Women need "hope" because we are the support figures for our families. As spiritual leaders, it’s our job is to help our sisters stay in their power, and one way that happens is when women come together for a common spiritual purpose …like group workings.
Here’s what Z had to say… Group work is very, very important. I have done it for a couple of decades, and each time there was intense joy and somewhat of a mother’s sorrow involved. A group is good to go, harmonious, for about six months. Then they get strong enough to try their wings out, and the first thing that happens is they turn on the mother. The second is they split into cliques, and intrigue and veiled assaults come into play. So before all else, a study group must have a structure where the members talk about themselves, for about five minutes tops, so each could have a turn. This calms down the hungry female soul. Females have so little time for themselves, so little chance to be heard. To talk about your week, what’s going on, is the cement that holds together the sisterhoods edifice. Then the meeting part, when you share information. You can discuss books, rituals, read aloud to each other. Have everybody form an opinion, and talk about it. Always have a definite ending, when you all hold hands, may be light a candle, and breathe together. Hum. Chant. Send a kiss around. This makes it official, and a little love was shared. Never close a group!!! It has to breathe in and out. Closed groups die faster. Follow this advice and I think the group would hold up well. Good luck! Group work is Movement!
Here’s what others had to add to this topic…
Deborah Blake, author of The Goddess is in the Details, recently ordered up a batch of Holy Books for her study group. The women in her group choose a book together, they each read it and then, together they discuss it. Groups that work together with shared goals and purpose often do well together.
Laura: Speaking from personal experience, when women first discover the Goddess path it can be life changing and I don't believe there are enough ways for them to plug in, especially in the beginning. I think if there could be a way to sanction study groups world wide it would go a long way in promoting the growth of the Goddess community. We also have a tarot study group that meets once a month that is awesome! I asked Laura to explain more about the structure of her tarot group Here is the format for our Tarot group. I think it is important to note that the womyn in this group range from 17 years in the Dianic community to brand new. What I find amazing about it is that I learn something every month. Always something about Tarot, but also things about myself, the world and our Goddess community. We focus on world issues and our individual issues and it is a rule that we don't talk about anyone who isn't present. We have been known to go from three in the afternoon until midnight, and run through a gamut of emotions. Tarot Study Group: We meet once per month nearest to the Dark Moon as possible. First we form a circle, light a candle and hold hands. We then ask for the intervention of the Goddess, send a kiss around, take a deep breath and be seated. Each meeting consists of two elements: Tarot Theory and Divination Practice. Check In: we begin with a check-in and brief review of the outcomes and influences of the previous monthâ€™s divinations. Theory: A prepared topic will be discussed such as relating Tarot to the tree of life, or an individual card. Starting with card 0 (the Fool) and proceeding through the deck one at each meeting with each individual doing research on that card and bringing what they discover to share with the group. Public Reading: A 3-card spread will be read using the Rider-Waite deck focusing on global, political or environmental issues with each women contributing what they think. This is the reading discussed during check-in.
Personal Reading: Each womyn will pull a 3-card spread from her chosen deck focusing on a personal issue. A moment is spent individually analyzing the cards using our own reference materials. Group Discussion: Going around the circle one-by-one, we discuss in depth each womyn’s reading, comparing ideas from each personal deck and associated source materials. This can take hours, but is always our favorite part. If you have to leave early I suggest you get your reading in as close to the beginning of the discussion as possible. The next meeting is set before the first womyn has to leave..
Boudica: One of my circles is studying a book together, but we are discussing it on our ritual night and basically, that's all we do - discuss it chapter by chapter. We do one chapter a month. That seems like nothing … it’s so basic. I did for several years have a women's support group that took a different topic each month by my coming up with and asking thought provoking questions beforehand so people had a chance to mull it over, and discussing it together when we met - that was our main activity. I facilitated that for group for three years.
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Behold the the Goddess Seshat! All Hails to Thee, Seshat! Goddess of Herstory … Goddess of blessed Hemp. Ro’s ARADIA CHANT, click to listen, (Buy your own MP3 download) was channeled in HONOUR of exalting the WARRIORESS ASPECTS of WOMANKIND as called forth by those that are NOT afraid to INVOKE the RIGHTEOUS RAGE of WIMMIN.
How to balance and cleanse the charkas There are seven main chakras that are located vertically up the spine starting at the base of the spine and all the way up to the crown area (actually believed to be about 4 finger widths above the head) of the head. They are located in the center of the body and open on both the front and the backside of the body. The chakras work from the bottom up. There are also many minor chakras throughout the body, such as feet and hand chakras. The Root/Base chakra [Muludhara] is our physical identity, our connection to the earth and being grounded, and is oriented to self-preservation. It is the seat of our kundalini energy. This chakra forms our foundation and is related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane. Its color is red and its element is earth. This chakra can bring us health, prosperity, security, and dynamic presence. The dream symbols associated with this charka includes survival, grounding, stillness, elephant, and the earth. The Sacral/Spleen chakra [Swadhisthanna] is the seat of our emotional identity and sexual identity, and is oriented to self-gratification. This chakra connects us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement. Its color is orange [secondary color is black] and its element is water. If properly developed, this chakra brings us fluidity and grace, depth of feeling, sexual fulfillment, and the ability to accept change. Blockages of this chakra may manifest as emotional problems or sexual guilt. The ream symbols associated with this charka includes water, emotions, sexuality, desire, crocodile, and the moon. The Solar plexus/power chakra [Manipura] is the centre of our ego identity and our personal power, and is oriented to self-definition. This chakra rules our will and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. Its color is yellow and its element is fire. It brings energy, effectiveness, and non-dominating power to our
systems when properly developed. Blockage of this chakra may manifest as anger or a sense of victimization. The dream symbols associated with this charka includes fire, will, power, anger, joy, laughter, ram, and the sun. The Heart chakra [Anahata] corresponds to our social identity and is oriented to self-acceptance and esteem. This chakra is also related to love and integrates the opposites of the psyche: mind and body, yin and yang, personality and shadow, ego and unity. Its color is green [its secondary color is pink] and its element is air. This chakra allows us to love with depth and sincerity, to feel compassion, and to have a deep sense of peace and centeredness. Blockage of this chakra can manifest as immune system or heart problems, or a lack of compassion. The dream symbols associated with this charka include wind, love, balance, compassion, and antelope. The Throat chakra [Vishuddha] corresponds to sound, truth, and is oriented to self-expression. Since this chakra is located in the throat, it is directly connected to communication and expressing our unique 'voice'. The world is experienced symbolically through vibration in this centre. Its color is sky blue and its element is sound/vibration. This chakra feels pressure when you are not communicating your emotions properly. The dream symbols associated with this charka include ether, sound, communication, creativity, expansion, excitement, and deer. The Third eye/brow chakra [Ajna] corresponds to divine identity and is oriented to self-reflection. This chakra is where the third eye lies, which is the seat of natural clairvoyant abilities [the ability to see, both physically and intuitively] and is readily available to be developed in all people -- itâ€™s just a matter of their desire to do so. Its color is indigo and its element is light/ether if the third eye is healthy, it allows us to see clearly on both the 'small' and large/universal planes. The dream symbols associated with this charka include indigo, forehead, light, psychic abilities, imagination, dreaming, and owl. The Crown chakra [Sahasrara] corresponds to thought, universal identity, and is oriented to selfknowledge. This chakra relates to consciousness as pure awareness and is our connection to the universal source of creation and unity, oneness with all existence. Its color is violet and its element is thought/ether. This chakra brings knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss once it is developed and opened. The sensations of this chakra may be experienced as a pressure on the top of the head. The dream symbols associated with this charka include thought, spiritual connection, understanding, bliss, and the Creatrix. It is important to balance your chakras every six months or as needed. Cleansing and or Balancing your chakras are extremely important to do on a regular basis. The chakras work from the bottom up. If one chakra is out of balance, the others cannot function properly. The chakras are the essence of your body.
Unbalanced chakras can cause emotional, physical and or mental dis-ease; such as depression, headaches, upset stomachs, high blood pressure and possibly other ailments. Chakra Cleansing and Balancing: This should be done at least every six months for proper balance. It would be best if someone did this for you, but if that isn’t an option, then you can do it yourself, but it will be a bit uncomfortable. First, lay the already cleansed and consecrated crystals associated with that chakra on each chakra point. Then hang a pendulum over the Heart chakra and ask it which way it is supposed to turn. It can only be clockwise or counter-clockwise in circular motions. Once you figured out which way your chakras are supposed to turn, start from the Root chakra upwards to the Crown and hang the pendulum over them turning them in the direction your heart chakra told you to. You should hang the pendulum over each chakra before you balance them to see which chakra is out of balance and the more you balance them you’ll be able to figure out which charkas you have more difficulty with.
Crystals to be used for Charkas Cleansing and Balancing are (from the bottom up): Place a Bloodstone on the The Base/Root Chakra. Place a Orange Carnelian on the The Sacral Chakra. Place a Yellow Citrine on the Solar Plexus Chakra. Place a Rose Quartz on the Heart Charka. Place a Blue Lace Agate on the Throat Chakra. Place a Sodalite on the Third Eye/Brow Chakra. Place a Clear Quartz on the Crown Chakra.
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Making Groups Happen Successfully I normally don't start out articles talking about what I do. In fact, many women know me for quite some time before they come to realize what my job is. However, it seems information about what I do might explain how I have come to know about beginning groups. I am privileged to have been organizing in the Goddess movement since 1975. I am the Consistory Executive and co-founder of the Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess-International (RCG-I). RCG-I is the largest women's Dianic religion organization in the United States with local Circles in several areas. In addition to its presence in the USA, the Congregation has members from around the world. RCG-I is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary and its membership is nearing 3000. Consequently, over the years I have seen many groups succeed and fail. Some things make it more likely that a group will do well and that the needs of its members will be met. Many women ask for information about organizing groups. I have found that one major thing leads to the success of a group. That is planning including deciding what kind of group you what, where and when it will meet and how the group will operate. What Do you want a ritual group, a book club, a drumming circle, a social group, a meditation circle, a discussion group or a blend of several of these choices? Any answer to this question is fine. It's only important to decide before you start what type of group you want. Where Will the group meet in your home? Will the meetings rotate among member's homes? Will you be renting space? If so, will members be asked to contribute to this cost? Will you be meeting at a bookstore, coffee house, or other public venue? The answer to this question may have an impact on who is willing to participate in the group you are planning. Some women interested in joining a group may not have a home situation that would allow them to have a meeting in their home. Other women might not be able to contribute to rental and so might not choose
to participate. Meeting in a public space may have an influence on who might choose to be a part of a group. Some women are not comfortable with the possibility that they might be observed while being involved in an alternative spiritual group. When Will your group meet weekly, monthly, or only on holy days? Being able to let women know how often the group will convene will allow them to evaluate if they can make the time commitment the group will require. How How will your group make decisions? Will it operate by consensus, majority rule or will the group's decisions be made by the organizer? Do you need to write down any policies or expectations for the group? For example, what will happen if a woman arrives late? What if a woman can't come for several meetings? Are there any behaviors (for example, alcohol or drug use) that won't be acceptable for the group? There are no right answers to any of the questions above. You can decide to have any type of group you like. It is important, however, to think through what type of group will heighten your connection to spirit and bring you joy. Being clear on the direction and goals of your group from the beginning will increase your chances for success. Jade River Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess-International (www.rcgi.org)
RCG-I Presents: The 34th National Women's Music Festival July 2, 2009 â€“ July 5, 2009 Marriott Madison West Hotel & Conference Center, Middleton, Wisconsin CALL FOR WORKSHOPS AND PRESENTATIONS FOR SPIRITUALITY SERIES: Come share your knowledge and experience with other women! The NWMF Spirituality Conference is open to all women of every spiritual path. We gather to learn from one another and to celebrate the divine as it resonates with women through workshops, presentations, rituals, concerts and play. From newcomers to women with years of experience, participants come eager to learn about everything from Neolithic archaeological finds, to our spiritual histories, to the "how-to's" of contemporary worship practice. If you would like to share, teach, or present you can find a workshop application and other information on the National Women's Music Festival website.
The Goddess of the Americas Tonantzin is the Earth Mother, the Universal Mother, to the Aztecs. She is Beloved. She is the Mother of Gods and the Mother of the Aztec people, and All People. She is called:
Goddess of Sustenance
Bringer of Maize
Bringer of the Corn
Woman of Precious Stone
Tonantzin shares characteristics, and is sometimes referred to interchangeably, with two other MesoAmerican Goddesses, Coatlique and Cihuacoatl. She is The All. She is Everything. She is sacred to, and represents, mothers, fertility in all beings and in the Earth. She is associated with the Moon as well as the Sun, as Mother of both. The number 7 is sacred to Her. Poinsettias are Her sacred flower and they grow sometimes to a height of ten feet in the winter on Her holy hill, Tepeyac. In Spanish poinsettias are sometimes called, “Flor de la Noche Buena”, Flower of the Good Night. Prickly pear cactus fruit, called tunas, is sacred to Her. These fruits are juicy, filled with seeds and the pulp is red, representing the Womb, the Blood of Women, and the Sweetness of Life. Tomatoes are also sacred fruit to Tonantzin, as is corn/maize. The colors sacred to her - red, white and green - became the colors of the Mexican flag. In the late 1400’s the Spaniards arrived at Tenochtitlan (the site of modern Mexico City), the incredible, great city of the Aztecs, buildings covered in gold. They were speechless at how a people they considered to be “heathen” could build such a wonder. The Aztecs, on the other hand, were amazed at
these beings of light skin and round eyes, wearing helmets with plumes, metal armor and riding horses none of which had they ever seen. It did not take the Spaniards long to realize they had the upper hand, when at first the Aztec ruler thought they might be the fulfillment of the prophecy of the return of their God, Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent). Then, the civilities over, the Spaniards started their intent of conquering these peoples - for their gold, which the Aztecs did not even value. With battle, enslavement, disease running rampant to which the people of this newly discovered continent had no immunity, superiority of weaponry, the Spanish soon took over these mighty people. Their population went from 25 million to 1 million within the first hundred years of Spanish rule. The Spaniards defeated the Aztecs militarily and then went about attempting the destruction of their minds and hearts, their culture and religion. They tried every way known to them to “Christianize” the remainder of the Aztecs. But the native peoples were just not very interested in adopting the religion of their conquerors. The people mourned the destruction of the temples of Tonantzin/Coatlique by the Spaniards. They had a complex coherent, symbolic system for making sense of the their lives and the universe, which the Spaniards destroyed. There were some converts, but the Church was not pleased with the progress of turning the population Christian after so long an occupation. In 1521, a winter appearance of the Goddess to a native Nahuatl man, Juan Diego, changed that, and the future of the Native People. It was on this pivot point that the entire country moved toward a massive conversion to Christianity. I believe it was the Goddess Tonantzin protecting her people from further horrors at the hands of these conquistadores. The story of Juan Diego is that he was a commoner who was on his way to the mission school for catechism class in the middle of winter. On his way, he went across the hill called Temayac (the hill sacred to Tonantzin). He looked up toward the summit of the hill and saw there a beautiful lady, glowing like the sun. She addressed him kindly and affectionately, as if he was her child and told him She was the Mother of God. She asked him to take a message to the bishop that She wanted a church built for Her on this hill. He protested that he was nobody special and likely the bishop would not pay any attention. But She again instructed him to do so, and so he went on his way to the local bishop who refused to see him. Once more, on his way to catechism school, he again went by Tepeyac and the Lady appeared to him. She stood and gazed at him. She was dark of skin like him and was wearing the native costume with a pregnancy belt to indicate she was with child. She again asked him to take Her message to the bishop to build a church there in Her honor. She spoke so kindly to him. She did not sit, as a noble would, while Juan Diego stood - she stood as well! So he again went to the bishop and this time was able to speak with him. The bishop, seeing a peasant Indian before him, was skeptical of his story and asked that Juan Diego bring him some proof that he had indeed spoken to Mary, Mother of God. So after a while due to tending to the illness of his uncle, Juan Diego walks the hill of Tepeyac and sees the Blessed Virgin Mary a third time. He tells Her of the bishop’s request and also of his uncle’s illness. She is full of compassion. She tells Juan Diego that she will heal his uncle and also give him something to take the bishop, She shows him roses blooming on the hill - roses blooming in the dead of winter! He plucks some of the
roses and folds them up in his tilma (cloak), thanks the Mother, and goes straight to the bishop. After the bishop receives him, he tells of seeing Mary this third time and that She had given him proof of Her meeting - look, roses in the dead of winter. Juan Diego unfolds his tilma and as the roses fall out, he and the bishop are astonished to see the image of the Virgin is on the inside of the cloak. It is the beautiful Lady Herself, clothed in the sun and the stars, standing on the moon, pregnant, full of compassion and love.
This image and this visitation became known as the Virgin of Guadalupe. It is thought for two reasons that this name became attached to this incident: in Nahuatl, the native language, Juan Diego called her Coatlaxopeah (pronounced guat-sa-loo-peh). The Spaniards would have known of the Black Madonna of Guadalupe, Spain. Since the skin of both that figure and the image on the cloak were dark, and the name the Nahuatl called her sounded so similar to the place name Guadalupe in Spain, the new image on the tilma began to be referred to as The Virgin of Guadalupe. However, the native people continued to refer to her as Tonantzin. And later, Tonantzin Guadalupe. The people everywhere responded so strongly to this image and Juan Diegoâ€™s story that Christianity then spread throughout the land. Tonantzin/Coatlique represents the importance of transformation as She resides on the threshold of change, She is also Guadalupe, since all things must change or die to be reborn. It is through the Little
Mother, La Morena (the Dark One) that Mexico was reborn out of the death the Spaniards brought. She is the primordial darkness of the womb, chthonic, female wisdom and infinity. Yet, the Catholics changed Her from the Goddess who stares straight ahead with wide open eyes, to the Maiden-Mother who looks demurely downward. Or perhaps, She is just looking lovingly at us all as Her dear children? The Aztec people understood the symbolism in the image: the green-blue color of her mantle was the special color reserved in their art for The Divine Couple, Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine, that comprised The Supreme Diety. A solar type of cross called nahui-ollin, symbolizing the Cosmos, and abundance, was inscribed beneath the image’s sash. She was covered in stars, glowing with the rays of the Sun and standing on the Moon to show that She surpassed both, She was the Mother of both - as was Tonantzin/Coatlique the Mother of the Sun and the Moon.
In the 21st Century, 500 years later, 12 million people a year go through the Basilica built for the Virgin of Guadalupe at the foot of the sacred hill Temeyac, view the miraculous image, and they still whisper, “Tonantzin Guadalupe, hear my prayer!” Her festival day is the 12th of December. Very close to the Solstice, and the rebirth of the Light. In fact, two researchers in Mexico, in a paper published in 1983, wrote of their determination that the stars on the mantle of the Virgin are actually in a pattern that illustrates the night sky at the Winter Solstice.
The Virgin of Guadalupe has, through the ages, been a banner in time of war, and on every conceivable article made of cloth of any kind, as well as leather, wood and plastic. She is the symbol of the oppressed and those who struggle against the establishment. She is the ever venerated and worshipped Mother of all the peoples of Mexico and the southwestern United States. She represents their major political and religious aspirations. Latina feminists have reclaimed her as a symbol of self-determination and revolution rather than the passive maiden that the Christian Mary implies. Lately, Z. Budapest, in respect for the heritage of a woman who had been brutally raped and beaten, honored La Virgen de Guadalupe and invoked Her for the public hexing ritual of the rapists. A mere three days later, the rapists were caught, one giving up the others. The Goddess brings justice for Her daughter. In 1556, there was published a poem, Nican Mopoha, in the native language, Nahuatl, in which Our Lady speaks, and as She does, she melds herself into both the Virgin Mary and the Goddess Tonantzin: I am the Ever-Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of Great Truth Mother of the Life-Giver Mother of the Creator of Humanity Mother of the Lord of the Near and Together Mother of the Lord of Heaven and Earth (She uses names of both the Christian God and the Supreme Nahuatl God.) I am your kind Mother, and Mother of all nations on this Earth who would love Me. And here She leaves a Blessing for all Her children who may be in distress which blooms fresh this spring and every season: Have you forgotten? I am you Mother. You are not alone. You are under my protection. Anything you need, Ask Me. Do not worry about anything. Am I not here I who am your Mother? Have you forgotten? I love you, And you are under My protection.
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RECOVERING & RECLAIMING: When Women Heal, the Earth Heals Many years ago I had profound mystical experience that revealed my oneness with the Goddess. It was destiny really, because my greatest desire at the time was to be free from all seemingly hopeless states of mind or body and this epiphany changed my life in ways I never dreamed possible. At the time I was in my third year of recovery and began developing an insatiable urge to connect with Nature. So I found a lovely rural preserve near home and started spending time there, walking trails on the creek's edge and connecting with earth, sky, sun, wind, trees and wildlife. It was a delight that always nurtured my soul. On this particular spring morning in 1985, I strolled in my usual laxi-dazzical fashion along my favorite dirt path near the duck ponds, basking in whimsical enchantment and offering prayers of gratitude to Mother Nature for the beauty surrounding me, when I was abruptly stopped in my tracks by the sound of a feminine voice whispering through my consciousness! She told me I was made in "her image and likeness"... then, in a suspended moment of time, a powerful electromagnetic force rushed through me, sweeping away all former ideologies and filling with a permeating essence of self-love and sacredness never before experienced! My soul and sanity seemed restored in a matter of minutes, and I was stunned, but as if waking from a dream I knew exactly who She was. This powerful experience was so sudden and unexpected that it prompted me to seek immediate refuge under my favorite willow tree by the creek. I sat on the cool moss and wept, blubbering apologies to my Ancient Mother for somehow forgetting her in a maze of hypnosis that seemed to be just wearing off. I realized I had always been one with her, like her, separated only by illusions of the mind! I felt like Sleeping Beauty or Rip Van Winkle waking from a spell of slumbering exile, somewhat embarrassed that I had fallen prey to such a thing, but this reconnection with the Goddess assuaged any lingering guilt, for as her symphonic sounds and
haunting laughter echoed magically through my natural surroundings... I was deeply reassured that the joke was on me! My weeping continued all afternoon but the cleansing brought healing, relief and release from years of self-bondage and while listening to the flowing creek a tremendous sense of clarity came over me. I knew at that moment why I became so dysfunctional and why I was in recovery. It was clear I'd become a victim of Patriarchy, captive in its oppressive grip since birth along with many others. It was also clear that under this insidious influence I unconsciously gave my power away, and by doing so developed a distortion of thinking and deterioration of the soul that led in time to codependency, self-loathing, neurotic behaviors, compulsive disorders and serious addictions which made my life unmanageable. "How could I have been so blind?" I cried. "How could I have done this to myself?" Yes, it now made perfect sense! My years of shame, suffering and deterioration came from a disconnection with my feminine spirit and obvious estrangement from the Goddess. I had been duped! I had surrendered my uniqueness to Patriarchy along with the unconscious humanity that served it... and now, with blindfold removed and the missing link back in place, I knew with absolute certainty that I was a visible spirit, divine in essence, fashioned with the magical elements of Mother Nature, in her image, in her likeness, and one with it all. Yes, the joke really was on me! On this incredible day my journey of recovery and reclaiming began. My long lost connection with the Divine Feminine was restored and I knew She would not fade from my memory again! When I got up to go home, I vowed to keep Her in my heart and serve Her in any way I could, for I knew I'd have to share this incredible experience with others at some point. I just didnยนt know exactly how or when, because I never heard anyone in my recovery program speak of Her. So, I kept silent about it for awhile and prayed for guidance. The guidance came. I soon met a pagan in my home group who encouraged me to read about the Old pre-Christian Religions and thatยนs when I discovered the Dianic Traditions of my European ancestors. I then began practicing as a solitary, integrating Women's Spirituality into my recovery and learning everything I could get my hands on about it. Eventually I started passing along this knowledge to the women I sponsored and in no time we were coming together for Study Circles, Moon Circles, Pass the Rattle Circles and Sabbats. Hence, The Sacred Circle was born and remained through the years, providing a safe sanctuary for sisters embracing the Goddess in recovery. Today, the healing continues and we carry a message of hope and inspiration to others by sharing online, studying together, attending rituals or local circles and coming together for larger gatherings or
festivals. I feel blessed to be a part of the Susan B. Anthony Coven and greater Dianic Community because we are all working together to return the Goddess to her rightful place. I believe when the Women Heal the Earth will Heal, and that happens when we honor our own mysteries and create sacred spaces to come together for support. I only recently began studying in the DU and developing friendships with Z, Bobbie and my SBA sisters, but Z. Budapest has always inspired me through the years with her books and films. I canâ€™t tell you exactly how many times I watched GATHERING THE GODDESSES but I know it's at least a hundred. When I started this path I didn't have a computer. I invited interested women to my home to watch films on Women's Spirituality and have discussions afterward. I remember Z saying in her film that "when women come together we bring the Goddess back together again and knowledge comes from Gatherings, Gatherings, Gatherings." So I started gathering women together because I needed personal contact and it's never stopped. (Now I listen to Z's voice over her DU podcast and it feels like she's sitting right here beside me! Technology. What a blessing!) I began holding Circles in 1987 and still hold Study Circle every Tuesday night in my local community. We start by casting a circle then passing a basket of goddess oracle cards around the circle. Once cards are chosen, we pass the rattle so every women can briefly check in and share about what her card means to her. After check in we watch a video or bring up various topics pertaining to Women's Spirituality. Then we open the circle for discussion. Sometimes we learn a song or ritual technique to apply to our spiritual practice. Last week we learned the Self Blessing song and watched a film about Marija Gimbutas. The week before we read and discussed the Politics of Women's Religion from the Holy Book. Various films or books expose women to different teachers or perspectives and Goddess Oracles are a fun way to educate as well as clarify intuition. That's what study circles are about for me. Raising consciousness, sharing our experience and reclaiming the ancient wisdom that resides within each of us. When it's time to end Circle we stand, hold hands, send rainbow energy around the Earth and close circle with a prayer or affirmation. It takes a solid commitment to keep a circle going and there's many challenges along the way. If you have a serious desire, light a candle and state your intention so the Goddess can bring like-minded women to you. You can do footwork like posting flyers in a book store or sending email announcements to friends, but if this is truly what you want you'll attract others to you. You don't have to start with a lot of women. Three committed sisters can be enough, then others will follow. Attraction rather than Promotion works well here but remember, I said committed sisters... and not all women are committed or dependable for that matter. Some show and some flake. I've heard hundreds of excuses through the years but the simple truth is that Circle isn't a priority for some women. I made a promise to myself years ago that I'd continue holding circle if women continued showing up. If or when they stop coming, I'll know it's time to do something else. That's another thing. I still study myself because there's always
more to learn and self-discovery is endless. I also recommend the DU because it's a fun way to study and has plenty of interaction.
Successful Circles have structure. If Circle is scheduled from 6-9 pm, we open doors at 5:45 so everyone can get settled. At 6 we pass around the donation jar and signup sheet. Then we cast circle, check in, then focus on the agenda for the evening, taking a 10 minute break around 7:30. It's also important to start and end on time so women can schedule their lives accordingly, but it works the other way too. Women need to be on time and stay until the end so group energy can flow in the best way possible without interruption. We don't let women enter after circle is cast, so they need to be on time or not come at all. We sometimes hang a sign on the door turning latecomers away to avoid being disrupted. It works too. It's also important to collect donations to help cover expenses or materials used in Circle... sage, tea, candles, handouts, films, toilet paper or other necessities, depending on what type of a circle it is. Expenses become obvious as you go and they should be shared by everyone. (And by the way... if your intention for holding circle is to make money, forget it. Find something else to do.) You may need to experiment to see what works best but experience will prove to be the greatest teacher. Don't be afraid to try new things. We do. In regards to sharing... some of our discussions are free flowing but in most there is no cross talk, meaning the sister holding the rattle speaks freely without interruption. We also limit individual sharing when the group is large and take more time when small. There's nothing worse than women talking at the same time. It's also rude to have side conversations when a women is sharing because we all need to be heard and we can all improve on the art of listening. That's how we identify with one another and learn compassion. We also share our own experience in the circle, rather than opinions. Opinions are boring. They're like butt holes... everyone has one and we all think the others stink! So follow your instincts and see what happens. Covens donâ€™t come together overnight. It takes a process of time and committed like-minded women. This has been my experience.
Every Circle develops its own Spirit. Ours has grown and matured over the last 22 years, but it hasn't been easy. Many original members are still with us but many have come and gone. I've gotten discouraged many times but we somehow drummed up the courage and had the devotion to work together through some pretty serious issues that strengthened us in the long run. I can tell you stories that'll curl your hair, but I'll save them for another time. There is one thing, however, that keeps me coming back to Circle over and over... and that's the joy and rapture I feel when basking in the presence of sisters that love the Goddesses. As far as I'm concerned, we need more circles because we need more healing... and the more the merrier! Every year around this time, when the great wheel turns to the East and waxing solar light ushers in another Spring season, I reminisce about the day the Goddess spoke to me and give thanks for the incredible life I live today because of it. In Dianic Traditions of the Triple Goddess, Spring corresponds to the time of the Maiden or returning Daughter. Like Persephone returning to Demeter after her trip to the underworld, we too are returning home to the Goddess after a long plunge into the darkness of Patriarchy, emerging as grateful daughters indeed. So as melting snow turns to a rivers flow and Earth grows green and rich again... let's fill another blank page in herstory as we celebrate the Maiden of Spring... whether she's evoked as an innocent child playing near a rippling stream or a strong voluptuous beauty dancing barefoot under the bright full moon. Make no mistake, She is the eternal dreamer within us all... the Amazon, the wild huntress, protector of the innocent, seething with rapture, strong and willful, wild and free, fresh and spontaneous, whole unto herself with endless possibilities! Let's also remember: When the Women Heal, the Earth Heals! Blessed Be.
My Reflection I heard Her voice in springtime's breeze near quiet ponds in wooded trees she beckoned me... "come look to see, reflections of my soul in thee!" I gazed in the water & saw her daughter a flowered maiden of beauty rare and she was me, when young & free as sunbeams danced upon my hair... In waters maze, I saw her change to a mother filled with life & power, Her arms embraced a lovers face and children born of wild desire...
Then shifting like a sunset sky came a silver witch with laughing eyes, a crone of vision, steeped in wisdom, speaking truths of endless time... With joy I wept as musings came and ancient echoes spoke my name for I was blessed in sacred space awakening to loves' embrace... In Natures glass t'was plain to see a changing woman I would be that grace and beauty did reside to weave my life of shifting tides... At last I felt my Spirit rise to dance beneath the moon lit skies for as the mountain and the sea She is the Goddess, mirrored as me!
The Blessed Virgin Mary What greater praise can I give you than to call you green? Green, rooted in light, shining like the sun that pours riches on the wheeling earth; Incomprehensible green, divinely mysterious green, comforting arms of Divine green protecting us in their powerful circle. And yet, Lady, you are more than the noblest green, for now you glow red as the breaking dawn, you shine white as the incandescent sun. Splendid virgin, none of our physical senses can explain or comprehend you. By Christian poet Hildegarde of Bingin, Item de Virginibus The Blessed Virgin Mary isn’t necessarily considered a Goddess in mainstream belief systems. In Christianity she is known as the virgin mother of Jesus, the son of god and the savior to Christians. Many Pagans believe that she belongs in the category of culture and Goddess that were stolen or forced upon us by the Christians during the middle ages. Her image and herstory can be traced back to European paganism and she is Epona, Freya, Hertha, Mokosh, Mary, Madonna, Queen of Heaven. Christianity is only 2000 years old, but the people of this earth are much older than that. We have been worshipping the Great Mother in many ways by many different names since the beginning of human’s time on earth. We pagans believe that She is a Goddess. This verse by Hidegarde speaks of the divine Mother as the great ancient Goddess of the grain and sky. These words remind us that it doesn’t matter what religion you are or what your belief system is, we can find inspiration and strength in the feminine divine power in the natural world. Even today, many Catholics and Christians think it is idolatrous to worship Mary or to even pray to Mary. When I was a young girl, I attended Catholic church and I loved going to mass. There were candles, incense, songs, prayers, and the beautiful statues of Mary. She stood on the moon in her beautiful blue robes with her serene smile. I even had my own set of rosary beads, given to me by my grandmother who fearlessly worshipped Mary and prayed solely to Her. This was a big deal in those days; it was the 1960’s when the Pope was telling us all we were sinners from birth. Catholics were not allowed to practice birth control or divorce. If they did it was a mortal sin so said the church. I watched my grandmother pray her rosary many times, very patiently, over and over. She sat quietly in the dark of the living room in her favorite chair. Her hands nimbly fingered the beads. When she was done she had such peace and calm about her. Her faced glowed with the beauty of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She would tell me that she felt Mary’s arms around her like a warm hug and she could see a dove as well when she
prayed to Mary. I just knew that Mary had heard her prayers and most certainly would hear mine. My grandmother always told me for women it was more special and sacred to pray to the Mother. Such wise advice from a woman born in the 1920’s. Try as the Catholic Church might, it couldn’t stop the spread of Mary devotees, Marianists. The Blessed Virgin Mary still remains a threat to patriarchy and patriarchal belief systems as many churches are dedicated to Her and Her followers. Now, as a grown woman of the 21st century, I still worship the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Goddess that she is. It is a great source of comfort to know that I’m always in the hands of the Divine Mother. She serenely and peacefully listens to my prayers and my magic workings. I belonged to a Dianic Priestess Goddess group a few years ago and we had quarterly retreats. In the beautiful mountains of Massachusetts at a sacred retreat house called Angel’s Rest, we spent one day making our own Goddess rosary prayer beads. We each commented how peaceful and meaningful it was to just be in sacred space together. We felt like nuns or sisters at an ancient temple of the Goddess as we exchanged beads with each other and made rosaries from the shared beads of our sisterhood. We sat in the sunshine, in a circle on mats on the floor. Each woman brought enough beads for herself and 1 special bead that we all felt that we wanted to share with each other for our Goddess rosary. That weekend was one of the most powerful times in my life as a Priestess of the Goddess. Unfortunately, I lost those beads but I hold such a dear place for them in my heart. I was lucky enough last year to be a part of a women’s circle and our first official meeting together was a craft night when we made Goddess rosaries together and shared prayers to the Goddess to use when we used our beads. I still have those beads and when not in use, they are on my altar in a place of honor. They came with me last September to Santa Cruz to the redwood forest where I was blessed and honored to become a member of the SBA Coven #1 at Z’s Goddess festival. I held them tightly and carried them everywhere with me. As a person who loves saying my prayers and loves the feeling of holding the beads, I encourage you to find a way to make your own Goddess Rosary and pray it with yourself and your sisters.
I am always sensitive to animal omens and synchronicity. As I am putting the final touches on my words, I saw a red cardinal sitting up so high in my pines. He is singing and appears alone, but I hear the other cardinals singing too, although they are out of sight. In Ted Andrews’ book, Animal-Speak, The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small he says this about red cardinals, “the cardinal has a loud and clear whistle. Whistles are reminders to pay close attention to what is blowing on the winds. The female also joins in the whistling which is unusual among birds. This reflects that we should be listening to the inner voice (the feminine) more closely for our health and well being. These birds are also named for the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, with their bright red robes. If it is your totem, it may reflect past-life connections with the church, or even reviving religious beliefs, regardless of denomination. Cardinals brighten the environment. They catch the eye and add color to our lives. When they appear as a totem, they do so to remind us to be like them. Add color to your life, and remember that everything you do is of importance”. I couldn’t agree more. Listen to the call of the cardinal. What is blowing on the wind is the return of the Mother to Her rightful place. Listen for the voice of the feminine divine. Even the female cardinals are singing about Her. She is calling us now; we must just tip our heads to the winds and listen for our calls. She is calling me as a Priestess to continue to help bring back Her ancient ways. She is also calling me to find new ways to be in sacred sisterhood and gather women together. I will answer Her call. Won’t you join me? I want as many women as possible to hear Her and awaken to Her as She is returning to us in this springtime.
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Seize the Day As a new blanket of snow covers the land on which I live, I find myself vacillating between being thankful for the quite that surrounds me as it always does when there is new snow, and eager for the return of spring. I know with spring comes all of the work and effort I pour into this sacred land every year. I was eagerly awaiting connection with the green Goddess within the land and within myself when it dawned on me, why not connect with her now? It isnâ€™t as if she disappears during the winter months, or dies and is rebirthed. No, she is just in a different form, lying in wait beneath the earth. I like to think of it as a time to recharge the batteries before she gets busy with the task of growing. As with many things in my life, I look at the mundane, the everyday tasks and occurrences for their deeper meaning, or lesson. There is so much to be learned and gleaned from a single grain of sand. It is all about the lessons for me. Have I taken the time to recharge my batteries this winter? Have I taken the time to reflect inward and prepare myself for new growth? One of my favorite times of the year is when the Lilacs bloom, their heavenly fragrance fills my home and I make a point to share them with my friends and family. However, if we do not have a cold enough winter, they will not bloom and share their wonderful fragrance with us. I was thinking on this. Have I allowed myself a deep enough slumber this winter to be prepared and healthy enough for bloom this spring? Am I in tune with the cycles of the mother? Why is this an important lesson for me? Instead of pining for the warm earth beneath my toes and moonlight gardening I am so fond of, I am learning to take a step back and be focused on the now. Forward thinking and planning is good but when we spend time too much in the future, we forget it is the present that creates it. How does your garden grow? With the work, and love you plant into it now. The lesson is to balance the future planning with the work of today. You cannot grow a garden well if you do not plan, but planning for the future is only the first of many steps. It is in the day to day that our dreams becoming reality. I have been spending a lot of time meditating as of late. Meditating is not something that has been easy for me in the past. My mind seems to run a hundred miles an hour, as well as my life. I want my life to slow down and be in rhythm with the land around me. I want to be more in tune with the natural rhythms of the mother. I encourage you to take 15 minutes a day to still the mind, and focus on the breathing. Each time your mind wanders, bring it back to your breathe. I have found this simple practice has increased my psychic awareness and abilities, which was a side benefit I was not anticipating. Just this simple practice has created room and the silence needed to be more in tune with the energies of the divine.
Living in the wilds of Montana, is a lesson in cycles, rhythms, seasons and slow change. I believe my higher soul chose this area for this reason. This is the season of my life for inward growth. I encourage you to take a look around you. Where do you live? Is it in a city, suburb, country setting. What lessons can you learn from your surroundings, the natural rhythms of your area? What lies beneath the hub-bub and chaos of traffic, people coming and going? What lessons are there in the silence of the mind, deep in the heart of the earth? Even if much of the earth around you is buried in concrete, there are always parks, and bits of land that are not for you to explore and connect with. Take a walk upon the cold earth, buy a pot and some soil and plant a few seeds. Connect with the energies of awakening. Spring is nearly upon us. Seize the day, this day, for within the awakening earth lies the lessons of winter that will prepare your heart and mind for the coming growth.
Check out Zâ€™s Witchy Tarot Class.
UPCOMING LIVE EVENTS
The Goddess Temple of Orange County Events at The Goddess Temple of Orange County are designed for women - Sunday services
The 34th National Women's Music Festival July 2, 2009 – July 5, 2009 (Z Budapest will be there!) Marriott Madison West Hotel & Conference Center, Middleton, Wisconsin
The Sacred Circle ~ Recovering & Reclaiming Ancient Ways to Heal our Lives Events in The Sacred Circle are for members only, unless otherwise stated. Call JoAnna 775-882-1599 for membership inquiries. SOUTH BAY AREA April 11... FULL MOON in San Jose May 1-2-3... BELTANE GATHERING in Boulder Creek May 23... NEW MOON in Morgan Hill
NORTHERN NEVADA March 7 - FULL MOON at JoAnna's in Carson City April 12 - EASTER FULL MOON at Moundhouse May 23 - NEW MOON in Washoe Valley
CAYA Coven Circles – Amazon Sabbats, Grove of Artemis Visit their website at cayacoven.org for more information.
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€™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€™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
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.
This newsletter is sponsored by the Womenâ€™s Spirituality Forum. Please help support our efforts to help keep the Goddess Alive!
Published on Mar 29, 2009
Published on Mar 29, 2009
Goddess Magazine from Z Budapest and the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One celebrating Women's Spirituality, Dianic Wicca, the Goddess Movem...