~ April 2008
of Spirit, Spring Equinox 2008
“When I first came
to Temple of The Goddess I had the overwhelming feeling that I had
found the correct place to be. I had wished never to leave, to have
the ritual never end.
After going a
second time I was able to pinpoint one aspect of the wonderful
feeling of acceptance and happiness that I felt. I was feeling the
unconditional love one feels for, and receives from close family
members. I felt deeply connected to people I had never spoken to.
Being able to feel so strongly for those one does not know is
beautiful. This unconditional love I felt for strangers and loose
acquaintances, if applied to everyone in the world could end all
During my second
visit, I realized that I felt as though I truly existed: all
frivolous aspects of my life that seem so very important even though
I know they are not seemed to melt away; all hatred I felt for
myself for valuing that which is unimportant and overlooking that
which desperately needs attention disappeared. All that mattered was
being with the people I was with and existing fully in this realm.
Everything in my life came to a place where I did not want it to
change. Everything was enough and as it should be. However, I was
not afraid of change. I simply was. I was gifted with pure and
subtle happiness that still allowed me to experience all else that
was around me.
The rituals have
always occurred at perfect moments in my life. Both that I have
attended counteracted heavy sorrows by helping me remember the power
of love as well as the oneness of all beings.
In a time of
question and confusion, I was given reassurance of love. In a time
of my life when nothing seemed to be real I was shown the honest
connection and trust people could share with each other. I do not
believe Temple of The Goddess has answered my questions about life,
but it has instilled hope that in the love that exists all around us
there are answers to be found.
I am constantly
confused by what kind of other realm or divine spirit I believe in.
I am beginning to question all I am told and grasp blindly for
answers. However, my faith and belief in love have been protected by
this pocket of serenity in a world of such overwhelming fear.”
How the First Earth Day Came About
by Senator Gaylord
Nelson, Founder of Earth Day
Continued . . .
After President Kennedy's tour, I still hoped for some idea that
would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six
years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to
me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of
1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called
"teach-ins," had spread to college campuses all across the nation.
Suddenly, the idea occurred to me - why not organize a huge
grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?
I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns
of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into
the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that
would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big
gamble, but worth a try.
At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in
the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots
demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to
participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to
coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters.
Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all
across the country. The American people finally had a forum to
express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers,
lakes, and air - and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For
the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings
and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate
Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New
York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on
the astonishing proliferation of environmental events:
"Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the
nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to
eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national
day of observance of environmental problems...is being planned for
next spring...when a nationwide environmental
'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson
It was obvious that we were headed for a spectacular success on
Earth Day. It was also obvious that grassroots activities had
ballooned beyond the capacity of my U.S. Senate office staff to keep
up with the telephone calls, paper work, inquiries, etc. In
mid-January, three months before Earth Day, John Gardner, Founder of
Common Cause, provided temporary space for a Washington, D.C.
headquarters. I staffed the office with college students and
selected Denis Hayes as coordinator of activities.
Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the
grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize
20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local
communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about
Earth Day. It organized itself.
Ages: 3 and up
Your kids can make
these adorable ladybugs as shelf decorations, or make a large one as
to be used on Mom's desk as a paperweight. While the average ladybug
is red, ours come in several vibrant colors. Let your kids pick
What you’ll need:
∙ Smooth, round or oval rocks, washed and dried
∙ Acrylic craft paint in colors of your choice
∙ Black acrylic craft paint
∙ 2 wiggle eyes for each ladybug
∙ Black Sharpie marker
∙ Acrylic matte sealer spray
∙ White craft glue (Tacky Glue)
How to make it:
∙ Completely wash and dry all rocks.
∙ Paint rocks in desired colors, allow to dry. Apply second and
third coats if needed. Lighter colors will require more coats than
∙ Paint head on using black acrylic craft paint. There is no
pattern needed, simply paint about ¼ of the rock black in the
∙ Use a black Sharpie to draw a straight line down the center of
the rock, starting at the center of the base of the “head”.
∙ Dip the end of a large paint brush, or the eraser of a pencil,
in black craft paint. Dot on the spots, reloading with paint after
∙ Once the paint is dry, spray the rock(s) with acrylic sealer
spray. Allow sealer to dry completely.
∙ using white craft glue, attach wiggle eyes and let dry.
∙ If you are doing this in a group setting such as scouts or a
classroom, you may find it easier to prepare the rocks ahead of
time. Wash, dry and apply a coat of Liquitex Basics Gesso to each
rock. This is a craft medium (white) that works well with many
projects. It will also create a base so that less coats of color
paint will be required.
∙ Bigger rocks are easier for small hands to manipulate. They
are also heavier, so be sure that there are enough adult helpers for
a group of little ones.
∙ White and black paint can be used instead of wiggle eyes.
Simply dot on white paint, allow to dry, then use a smaller tool to
dot the black.
Continued . . .The
congregation left after refreshments and community exchanges, but
what happened to the earth with planted seeds, the precious eggs?
What becomes of the numerous anonymous prayers sent through Temple
of the Goddess website? What is the Sacred Destination of all the
personal rituals enacted at Temple of the Goddess celebrations?
Be assured that all ritual items left on the altar are treated with
privacy and utmost respect. The earth with its dream seeds is
reverently returned to Mother Earth, held in Her embrace, to
fertilize the surrounding soil and keep everyone’s wishes corporeal
while we work on them in the mundane world. Anonymous prayers left
on Kwan Yin’s prayer site are printed out and placed on Kwan Yin
altars. At the new moon, these are burned in a sacred rite, praying
that the supplicants’ needs be fulfilled if that is best for them.
What exactly happened to the intentions-in-the-eggs that were placed
in the Spring Equinox nest? The ceremony was not over for them. A
priestess brought all the eggs home, emptying the sacred notes into
a bag–taking care not to see what was written. These sacred
intentions are a contract between each individual and the Goddess,
not to be read by anyone else. They stayed in a bag until Saturday,
April 5th, the night of a new moon.
The moon, of course, signifies emotions, memories, and personality.
The new (dark) moon is a good time to put forth ambitions, desires,
and intentions. There is creativity and ultimate possibilities in
the blackness of the void. Aries, the sign that the moon was in,
expresses itself as fiery, pioneering, and competitive. Very
auspicious for our heartfelt desires. Aries is a cardinal sign,
marking the beginning of new seasons, and is a very active sign. One
interesting point about Aries is that the constellation is
considered to be a Fire Element. So, it is fitting that the sacred
slips of paper would join with Fire in order to transform.
On the night of the Aries new moon, the priestess cast a circle with
Secret Garden incense, creating sacred space. A small fire was lit
in a cast-iron cauldron using pine-cones (they embody the female
principle, since they give warmth, light, and pine nuts to feed
four-leggeds and two-leggeds alike) and small branches of avocado
limbs (they embody the male principle–by name and by shape of the
When the fire leaped up, she fed the orange flames. One by one the
slips of paper rested on the flames and were consumed. The smoke
rose, sometimes drifting north, sometimes drifting south to envelope
the priestess. As she tapped softly on a drum the messages rose in
the cool night air. After all pieces of paper were in the cauldron,
the drumming continued until the orange and yellow flames died down.
Then, to her surprise a thin, orange, six inch flame soared upward
from the middle of the cauldron. For some unknown reason, she looked
down at her feet and saw three pieces of paper. They had fallen out,
unseen, when other notes had been pulled out. These too, one at
time, dropped onto the now small flame. It greedily consumed them,
turning them to ash.
Checking the ground at her feet once again, she assured herself that
none of the carefully written intentions had escaped notice. Yes,
all had gone into the cauldron. The drum helped to quietly send the
intentions into the Universe, to the Goddess. The fire died down,
orange and yellow flames turning into lava-bright red, flashing
embers which popped, danced, magically appearing first here, then
there, forever moving before extinguishing into blackness. Staying
beside the cauldron drumming, she watched the red-gold embers
finally disappear, nothing but smoke swirling around and out of the
cast-iron cauldron. Without pre-thought, she whispered into the
midnight black air, “As we will it, so mote it be. As we will it, so
mote it be. As we will it, so mote it be.” Then, taking a deep
breath she said, “It is finished.”
But, it wasn’t finished. The intention notes had been sent into the
aether, but they were still here–transformed into ash–still here, in
the cauldron. She took a stick and stirred together the ash of the
pine, the ash of the avocado tree, and the ash of all the ‘desires
of bringing into the world’ writings. On Monday, the seventh of
April, the commingled ashes were buried. This day is even more
special than the night of the new moon since it is the anniversary
of the day Temple of the Goddess was recognized by the Federal
Government as a church.
She dug a hole, sprinkled in some of the solids remaining from the
fire which was used as the ‘center position’ when Temple of the
Goddess cast the circle that Spring Equinox celebration night. The
rest of the fire solids were sprinkled on top of the ash mixture.
The earth was pushed into the hole, now filled with wishes, dreams,
desires, and intentions. Patting down the earth, she spoke, “Now, it
Together, you and the Temple priestess did our best to voice in a
sacred manner, what we want to bring into the world at this time.
All those intentions were given to the Goddess with fire, smoke,
incense, and drumming. For those intentions and all dreamseeds and
prayers, it isn’t quite over yet, though. We have done our work on
the Spirit Realm, but the one element that makes magick a reality,
is working it in the real world. All of us must remember what we
want to bring into our worlds, and have a real plan about what steps
are necessary to make our wishes concrete reality.
The Mythology of Nature by Xia
Do we need nature?
That was the subject of an essay contest sponsored by Shell Oil and
The Economist magazine in August of 2003. Issues for the essay
included genetic modification, biodiversity, gene therapy, nuclear
power and renewable energy. The essays were to focus on the
difficult choices to be made in politics, economics, society, and
public policy between actions, or inactions, that seek to increase
man's control over nature and those that seek to reduce it, those
that seek to bypass nature and those that hope to work with it,
those that put a higher value on human development and those that
value the preservation or even reconstitution of nature.
Do we need nature? To Pagans, who address air, fire, water,
earth, and spirit–the essentials of life on the planet–in our
opening and closing prayers, that seems like an absurd question.
It’s like asking do we need the air we breathe, and the water we
drink? Do we really need to eat? These simple gifts of nature are
mostly taken for granted. We eat, drink, breathe without thought for
nature, the source of our life-giving essentials. This
thoughtlessness, this lack of consciousness regarding nature, bleeds
into every aspect of life on the planet.
we contemplate our role in nature and ponder the evolutionary path
before us, what are the questions we should be asking? Are the
problems, as the
essay implies, whether to bypass nature or embrace and work with it?
Are we trapped between the dualities of increasing or reducing man’s
control over nature? Are we left with the singular choice of valuing
human development or preserving nature? Is humanity condemned to the
limitations of these struggling dualities or is salvation found in
the balance of these polarities? How do we find this balance? In
the wake of potential environmental devastation in the not too
distant future, should we not first look at how we got here? How has
our society become so disconnected, so cut off from nature? What are
the attitudes that have sped us toward the increasing deterioration
of our environment? What is at the heart of our fundamental beliefs
about nature; what is the nature of Nature?
defines nature as “to give birth to, produce,”
which is implicitly female. Could this be a clue to our
disconnection with nature? When most of us think of nature, we think
of “Mother Nature,” and quite logically anthropomorphize it into a
female image. Eminent mythologist Joseph Campbell explains this
association saying, “The human woman gives birth just as the earth
gives birth to the plants. She gives nourishment, as the plants do.
. .They are related. And the personification of the energy that
gives birth to forms and nourishes forms is properly female.” Is
this association of woman and nature and the disdain toward both
intricately bound? Where does this disdain come from?
all indigenous cultures see the earth as a garden and themselves as
caretakers of the garden. However, in our western paradigm we are
kicked out of the garden. Campbell believes that nothing informs a
society more than its creation myths.
Could it be that
simple and that profound? Are we creating a world based on the
Biblical condemnation of nature, condemning woman for Eve’s role in
the fall, and for man’s expulsion from the garden? Genesis states
that God is separate from nature and that nature is condemned by
God. One of the primary edicts of Biblical mythology is to subdue
the earth and to rule over it. The difference between these two
disparate ways of perceiving nature is that the earth-oriented
mythology seeks to be in accord with nature and the paradigm of
Genesis is to dominate and subjugate nature, which exists to serve
us. While many of us don’t read the Bible or believe in the Bible as
an ultimate truth, it still holds sway over us subconsciously as the
primary creation myth in our society.
western creation myth is startling compared with more worldwide
creation mythologies based on a female deity who connects all of
life rather than separating and disparaging life. In The Myth of
the Goddess, Anne Baring and Jules Cashford explain, "The Mother
Goddess, wherever she is found, is an image that inspires and
focuses a perception of the universe as an organic, alive and sacred
whole, in which humanity, the Earth and all life on Earth
participate as ‘her children'. Everything is woven together in one
cosmic web, where all orders of manifest and unmanifest life are
related, because all share in the sanctity of the original source.”
cosmology that espouses that all life is connected, like the strands
of a web, has been validated by the emergence of the "new sciences"
which supports this vision of life as a sacred whole in which all
life participates in mutual relationship, and where all participants
are dynamically alive. Cashford and Baring go on to say, "beginning
Einstein, physicists were claiming that in subatomic physics the
universe could be understood only as a unity."
By creating this picture of unity, we understand that each of us is
a strand on the great web of life and that everything that we think,
say, and do vibrates along the web affecting strands far, far away,
much like James Gleick’s "the Butterfly Effect, the notion
that a butterfly stirring the air today in Peking can transform
storm systems next month in New York."
many people, the goddess is now expressed not necessarily as
inherently female, but as what that feminine expression embodies:
the concept of life as a whole, intricately woven together in sacred
unity. We were not kicked out of the garden; rather, we were
given the charge to be caretakers of this amazing place we call
Garden of Eden creation mythology is singular in its portrayal of
woman as sinner and perpetrator of humankind’s downfall. As Campbell
explains, “The idea in the biblical tradition of the Fall is that
nature as we know it is corrupt, sex in itself is corrupt, and the
female as the epitome of sex is a corrupter.”
What are the roots of this Hebrew myth that carries such disdain
towards nature and the female? Campbell continues, “There is
actually a historical explanation based on the coming of the Hebrews
into Canaan and their subjugation of the people of Canaan. The
principal divinity of the people of Canaan was the Goddess . . .
there is a historical rejection of the Mother Goddess implied in the
story of the Garden of Eden”
by the male-god-oriented Hebrews.
once-supreme Mother-creator lost more and more of her place in our
lives. As the people who worshiped her were conquered and forced to
adopt, or adapt to, the religious beliefs of their conquerors, the
"Mother Goddess, became almost exclusively associated with ‘Nature'
as the chaotic force to be mastered, and the God took the role of
conquering or ordering nature from his counterpole of ‘Spirit'."
This split in consciousness, which contains the mythological roots
of Christianity, Judaism and Islam–the three major patriarchal
religions of the world today–can be traced to a popular Babylonian
epic known throughout the ancient world, Ca. 2000 B. C. E., as the
Enuma Elish. This story recounts the defeat of the original
mother goddess, Tiamat, by her great-great-great-grandson, Marduk.
Tiamat, the Babylonian creation goddess, was seen as the primordial
ocean womb whose fertile depths birthed every living thing,
including a younger generation of gods which then sought to
overthrow the older generation. In this epic, Tiamat is portrayed as
a great serpent or dragon, both of which are ancient associations of
the feminine. After the conquest and murder of Tiamat, the
life-giving, nature deity who created him, Marduk then uses her body
to form creation. The text says:
“He split her like a shellfish into two parts:
Half of her he set up and ceiled it as sky . . .
He heaped up a mountain over Tiamat’s head,
pierced her eyes to form the sources of the Tigris and
and heaped similar mountains over her dugs,
which he pierced to make the rivers
from the eastern mountains that flow into the Tigris.
Her tail he bent up into the sky to make the Milky Way,
and her crotch he used to support the sky.”
original myth which portrayed the Mother Goddess birthing everything
from herself, and therefore, part of, and one with all of creation,
is now transposed into a myth which suggests that “the lord”
makes creation, and from her body no less. For the first time,
as Cashford and Baring point out, “the god becomes the maker
of heaven and earth whereas the goddess was heaven and earth.
The concept of ‘making’ is radically different from ‘being’, in the
sense that what is made is not necessarily of the same substance as
its maker, and may be conceived as inferior to him; while what
emerges from the mother is necessarily part of her and she of it.”
the acceptance and perpetuation of this 4000-year-old myth, a new
order of creation is initiated whereby the feminine, symbolized as
the goddess, from this time forward becomes synonymous with the
realm of nature as something wild, dark, mysterious, chaotic, and
dangerous. Marduk then represents the new “spiritual” order of male
deities whose religious imperative is to conquer and order nature,
thus creating a split which is still impacting society today.
creation mythology places strong emphasis on the opposition between
spirit and nature, implying explicitly that nature is not alive and
contains no spirit, and left us with a heritage of thinking in
duality and oppositions. Since our myths implicitly govern our
culture, it is no coincidence that our western paradigm, with the
looming chasm of the lost feminine, has desacralized Nature.
Reclaiming and restoring the feminine is crucial to the survival of
the human race and the planet. As Cashford and Baring emphasize, the
feminine principal, as an aspect of human consciousness, must be
retrieved, integrated and brought back into full complementary
balance with the masculine principle if we are ever to achieve a
harmonious balance between these two basic and essential ways of
In 1912, Abdul Baha said, “The world of humanity is possessed of two
wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not
equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly.” Today the wisdom of
these words ring with an even deeper profundity.
find ourselves at a pivotal point in cultural evolution. How do we
weave together the disparate parts of our dualistic natures? Have we
learned yet that strength is not equated with conquest and
domination? Can we heal the gap that separates the polarities we
find ourselves divided into? How do we integrate the necessary
qualities of strength and nurturing, logic and intuition, mind and
matter, nature and human development? Can we discover a new
evolutionary path? How do we find the balance in nature that is
needed at this critical moment in history? Can we make of this earth
the garden it once was?
Hodgson Burnett's book, The Secret Garden is a brilliant tale
depicting the deep healing that can take place with the retrieval of
the lost feminine.
the story's vibrant heroine, confesses early on, "I've stolen a
garden . . . It isn't mine. It isn't anybody's. Nobody wants it,
nobody cares for it, nobody ever goes into it."
Much like the feminine in our society which no one seems to want or
care for, Mary's garden has been abandoned and neglected. Jungian
psychologist Dr. Gloria Avrech says of this classic story written
just after the turn of the century, "The problem it depicts seems to
relate to the absence, neglect, and disdain of the Feminine, Great
Mother, and matriarchal consciousness in the psyche and in our
forced to go outside, begins to explore the grounds around the manor
she has been brought to, and encounters a robin. Avrech explains,
"the robin . . . leads our young, wounded healer and future shaman
to an enclosed garden behind a locked door. On an inner level, the
wounded feminine ego, represented by Mary, can be seen as beginning
to connect to nature and her instincts, which connecting
process can bring about a restored connection to the Self."
Mary goes on to bring the same kind of wholeness to her cousin Colin
and his father, Lord Craven, through restoration of the lost
enclosed secret garden is a strong, archetypal image found in
countless legends, folklore, and myths. According to Avrech, "a
dormant garden can be a beautiful image for the potential
life-giving, protective, containing, nurturing qualities of the
positive aspects of the Great Mother archetype."
most fairy tales and fables, this story, too, has a happy ending.
Comforting the crying Mary, Lord Craven declares, "You brought us
back to life, Mary. You did something I thought no one could do."
The lost feminine now restored, the garden is, once again, open,
alive and awake. Mary poignantly sums up her journey with, "If
you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden."
© 2000, Xia
. David B. Guralnik, Editor in Chief,
Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition
(New York and Cleveland: The World Publishing Company,
2. Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, The Myth of the
Goddess, (London, New York: Viking, 1991), p.Xi.
Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick.
"Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in
Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?" Edward N. Lorenz address
at the annual meeting of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science in Washington, 29 December 1979.
Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers
(New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Auckland: Doubleday,
Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, The Myth of the Goddess,
(London, New York: Viking, 1991), p.Xii.
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, (Boston:
David R. Godine, Publisher, 1987), p.80.
12. Gloria Avrech, PhD, The Secret Garden,
(Psychological Perspectives, C.G. Jung Institute of Los
Angeles – Based On Film).
Agnieszka Holland (Director), The Secret Garden, (An
American Zoetrope Production, Warner Brothers Release,