“Naming The Goddess”

Naming the Goddess

I recently read a book entitled, “Naming the Goddess” by Trevor Greenfield of Moon Books. It is a collection of essays written by various worshipers of the Goddess, followed by a description of more than 70 Goddesses from around the world.

Part 1 contains 13 essays by people who openly discuss their own personal experiences working with the Goddess.  Readers learn a great deal about how the Goddess culture defines much of society today. For instance, did you know the Statue of Liberty was fashioned after the Roman deity to freedom?

Other subjects include:

  • Ancient Goddesses in a Modern World
  • Goddess Culture and the Empowerment of Gay Women and Men
  • The Role of Goddess in Accepting our Self and our Life-Stage
  • The Goddess as a Role Model for Women in Politics
  • Reclaiming Sophia and the Saints from the Judeo-Christian Tradition

Part 2 contains the description of 72 Goddess listed in alphabetical order. Numerous contributors share the history and energy of their chosen Goddess, from a variety of pantheons.

I found the personal accounts of these people very interesting. Many had personal experiences with the energy of their patron deity. Some felt called by a long extinct and antiquated divine presence. Many felt it their mission to raise awareness of a regional Goddess who had been nearly forgotten.

I think this book would do well in anyone’s collection as a reference manual for Goddesses and their places in our lives. It is not a complete reference manual, however. For instance, the African pantheon did not seem addressed (outside of Egypt), and I was personally disappointed to find Lilith lacking in the list (my own Goddess of choice).

I enjoyed the book, nonetheless, and would recommend it as a good primer to Goddess worship in general.

 

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Religion vs. Spirituality

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Spirituality is an ever-evolving thing. Over the last year and a half, I moved across country, broke my leg, and struggled to secure a new career. As things have settled down into a routine, I have noticed spirituality is lacking from my life due to the many distractions. I am not, in any way, hungering for the kind of spirituality I was brought up with. I wouldn’t call that tyrannical paradigm spirituality. Religion and spirituality are often two diametrically opposed entities. Spirituality can be felt anywhere, by anyone, and it is transformative. Religion is abiding by rules set by someone else and judging anyone who doesn’t abide by the same rules. It is destructive to individuality and authenticity.

I prefer being responsible for my own spirituality, as defined by me. I am minister and laity all in one. My church is mother nature, or my very own house. I can practice my faith in the nude, if I so choose (and I often do). Such practice helps me rid myself of the shame heaped upon me as a child of Christianity. Religion teaches that we are all one step away from damnation because of our sinful flesh and never-ending streams of temptation. When people spend their lives obsessing over sexuality and fleshly desires it is no wonder it becomes the first thing they turn to when their resistance is low. The forbidden fruit is always the most appealing. If we as a society were taught to love our bodies despite their imperfections and desires we wouldn’t wallow in perceived weakness. We would be strong, capable of making wise choices.

What happens, though, if we realize we are strong and worthwhile? What happens if we grasp the fact that we are spiritual beings apart from churches and organizations? What if we comprehend that salvation doesn’t rest within a certain denomination? Then the churches would empty. People would find happiness without the spiritual leaders. The financial backing these churches need would crumble. Civilization would finally rid themselves of a weight that has been holding evolution back for thousands of years. The next millennia would be a time of unprecedented scientific and societal advancement. And it would all be because we have finally cast off the detritus that has kept us in the Dark Ages.

I have reached the sweet spot where I rarely think of Jehovah’s Witnesses, or talk of them. Such is the benefit of moving 3000 miles away from anyone I knew attached to that religion. I live in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania now and I haven’t even laid my eyes on a JW, let alone had them knock on my door in almost a year. I am reviving this blog because I feel the need to make spirituality a part of my life again. Ultimately, I do believe we are spiritual beings (something the JW’s teach quite regularly to prove the existence of God). Not everyone finds spiritual fulfillment within the walls of a church, however. I think it can be found wherever someone finds fulfillment, happiness, and gratitude. This can be found in a career, on a hike, or within the pages of a book; and it neither confirms nor denies the existence of God.

I have not found the form of spirituality that brings me great contentment. I’m not even sure if I ever will. As I said at the beginning of this post, spirituality evolves over time. But I do feel like I am in a better position to fill the holes left after departing Christianity.

I have also recently agreed to read and review books on alternative spirituality published by Moon Books. So when you see book reviews pop up, that is why. Feel free to read them, or not.

Thank you for going with me on this journey, and please share in it if you so choose. Cheers!

“Witchcraft Today–60 Years On”

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Witchcraft Today–60 Years On is an anthology of written work gathered from various expert sources. Pagans, Wiccans, Fae, Druids, male and female all contribute information regarding their path, beliefs, and journeys. The reader is given a nicely rounded-out account of how witchcraft has developed in the 60 years since Gerald Gardner’s seminal work.

The first chapter gives us a succinct look into Gardner’s Witchcraft Today (1954)and its development. Following are chapters on  Alexandrian Witchcraft, Seax, Eclectic, Dianic, Hedge, and Egyptian traditions. There’s even a chapter on the future of Witchcraft as an ever-growing entity. What may sound like a boring subject is made fascinating by the personal, heartfelt accounts of each of the contributors. Their devotion is inspiring, and their knowledge and intelligence captivating!

The final part of the book is devoted to personal accounts of various adherents who were forced to take a circuitous path to their calling in the Craft. The stories of those who began in controlling Christian religions resonated with me the most.  As a child, I remember feeling intrigued by talk of Witchcraft and the occult, even though I was taught to fear it. I was fascinated to learn of others who felt the same pull between 10-14 years of age, but were more courageous than I. Some of them followed their heart at an early age–I waited another 20+ years before I had the courage to do so.

Recently, I have allowed my Craft to wane since I moved across country and most of my supplies are still in storage. Reading this book has fired my enthusiasm to get back to something that brought me so much comfort and empowerment as I recovered from my Patriarchal roots. The chapter on Hekatean Witchcraft showed me where my next path lay. When I first started studying Witchcraft in 2011, I was drawn to Hecate. I was born in the dark of the moon and it is my favorite time of the month. Samhain is my favorite holiday and Autumn my favorite season. I am fascinated with the world of the dead and beyond. I was informed only older women can be devotees of Hecate, so I chose someone else, but it never felt right. Now I realize I can embrace the patron who feels right to me and I am excited to do so!

This book is for anyone who is curious about Witchcraft and its various paths. It is faith inspiring to read of how others live in accord with the earth and its spirit. And it can fire up anyone whose interest has waned or wandered.

Witchcraft Today–60 Years On is available as an e-book or paperback for a very affordable price. (In fact, it is the first e-book I have read entirely on my Nook, something I have been viciously opposed to till now.) It is brand new from Moon Books and edited by Trevor Greenfield. You can find it through the publisher’s website or  Amazon.