Posts tagged “goddesses

Images of the Triple Goddess

Week 40 (T): triple goddess appreciation post

I was going to write about tarot for this second T post, but then I stumbled across such beautiful images of the Triple Goddess I thought I’d just share some with you. Artists listed when I know them. If you know an artist and their name isn’t listed, please let me know in the comments!

by MerlinsMoonShadow

by MerlinsMoonShadow

The Pagan Poppet (though I don't think this is the photo credit)

The Pagan Poppet (though I don’t think this is the proper credit for the photo)

couldn't find artist info on this one unfortunately

couldn’t find artist info on this one unfortunately, but wouldn’t this be a stellar tattoo?!

from the Parthenon, now in the British Museum (438-432 B.C.E.)

a lovely statue from the Parthenon, now in the British Museum (438-432 B.C.E.)

missing credit again but how lovely!

missing credit again but I adore this!


Kali, Dark Mother

Week 21 (K): Kali, the Hindu goddess of time and change

I became acquainted with Kali while walking home alone from school one night. I was terrified of how dark the street was, and the silence that seemed to follow me, and so I began to meditate on all of the strong goddesses. Kali, with her necklace of skulls and fearsome expression, was the first image that popped into my head. This is when I started to consider all that Kali had to offer. Prior to this, I had primarily been in service to Brighid (more about that here).

Contrary to appearances, Kali is loving to me. She has been called a goddess of death, though this is inaccurate: she’s actually more about change. The change of seasons, while sometimes harsh, is ultimately positive; the cycle must continue. As the goddess of time and change, she often stirs things up. Kali has been a warmth at my back, a protective presence in my life that has been very welcome. Kali is a mother goddess, which might seem strange to you if you’re not familiar. But fierce women can be mothers too. Mistress of the Hearth wrote an excellent post on misperceptions.

not the kind of mother you want to screw with

Not the kind of mother you want to screw with

Now it’s been almost ten years of worship. Kali’s picture has hung above my altar, prompting more questions from visitors than the rest of my altar put together. I affectionately refer to Kali as the black bitch goddess, because I believe that “bitch” can be an empowering title. She has taught me how love can be fierce, how sometimes something you perceive as a threat is actually working to protect you. I am grateful for her fierceness. I’ve found Brighid and Kali to be excellent complements to one another.

Further Reading

Kali: The Dark Mother


Treading a Dianic Path

Week 7 (D): Dianic witchcraft

(You know a blog post is going to be good when it starts with a disclaimer.)

I recognize that some readers may disagree. This, like all posts in this blog, are based upon my own experiences and opinions. If this does not describe your understanding of Dianic witchcraft, by all means, let’s have a conversation. Consider my openness to engage in productive dialogue as a blanket invitation for all of my blog posts. That said…

James Jordan

<begin post></nerd>

Patriarchy is something I learned about early, when my mother insisted that the majority of my books contain strong women characters. She overlooked Disney movies in deference to my enthusiasm for those technicolor cartoons so rife with problems, but the books I read were by and large about women. My mother wanted me to grow up to be a strong woman who does not tolerate gender inequality. I think she got her wish.

Z. Budapest’s book The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries was an important discovery. Along with Starhawk, I had previously read authors who were mostly Gardnerian or Alexandrian, but the idea of Goddess worship was far more appealing to me than the heteronormative male-centric stuff the other authors touted. I didn’t want to find God, I wanted to find the Goddess. I read Budapest and discovered feminist witches. She talks about the importance of women-only spaces, which is something I highly value. Reading most of her book felt like coming home.

I think I especially liked Budapest’s penchant for hexing rapists. According to her, “if you can’t hex, you can’t heal”. While the logic may be somewhat counterintuitive, I think it falls in line well with Inga Muscio calling for public shaming of rapists. (Muscio wrote another of the books that changed my life – see the Further Reading section at the bottom.) But, like almost any book, there are some problems. I’d like to illuminate what my brand of Dianic witchcraft entails, as it differs from Budapest’s version in at least one very significant way.

just trying to keep the peace amongst all these diverse chicks (ok, that was a terrible pun)

just trying to keep the peace amongst all these diverse chicks (ok, that was a terrible pun. forgive me?)

Dianic witchcraft is: women-only spaces. This world is dominated by men. Social structures, institutions, politics: all created and maintained for and largely by men. Women-only spaces should be kept sacred and available to any women who seek them. Which brings me to my next point…

Dianic witchcraft is not: transmisogyny. Transwomen should be fully welcomed into women-only spaces. Woman-centric and female-centric are not the same thing. I vehemently do not identify or support radical feminists in their “womyn born womyn” nonsense. Women are women. Female is a separate category entirely*.

I know this is a response to Christians drafting laws restricting women's bodily rights, but I think it works well here too

I know this graphic was meant to be a response to Christians drafting laws restricting women’s bodily rights, but I think it works rather well in this context too

While Goddess worship is important to my beliefs, this does mean that I am a raging, man-hating, underarm-hair-growing, lesbian, ugly feminist. Not to malign folks with a propensity for lush underarm hair, only that it’s not a choice that suits me. I am a lesbian, but it is not as a result of my interest in the Goddess (the latter predates the former). I am a feminist, but that is because I believe that patriarchy must fall in favor of a more equality-based society. I rage because I see too much inequality in the world and because I refuse to keep quiet about it. I will not support the status quo. Goddess worship blends nicely with most of these things.

The idea that a Goddess, any Goddess, would exclude someone based on their determined sex at birth is abhorrent. I do not want to worship a Goddess who is as bigoted as some humans. To me, the Goddess is an ideal to which I aspire. And that ideal is to welcome all women with open arms.

Josephine Wall

Josephine Wall

* For those who are confused at this point, here’s a quick explanation. Sex refers to someone’s genitalia and chromosomal makeup, while gender refers to the socially prescribed and accepted appearances & roles that are typically expected to correspond with one’s sex. That is, as a woman, one is expected to have been born with a vagina. This is a problematic view as it leaves transgender folks completely out of the picture. While I am a cisgender woman, I aspire to be a trans ally. If you are mad about the term “cisgender”, please click here.

Further Reading

Budapest, Zsuzsanna Emese. 2003. The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries

Dianic Wicca (Z. Budapest’s Women’s Spiritual Community)

The Dianic Wiccan Tradition (while this is another link that supports transmisogyny, please note that I do not condone or agree with those opinions, but that I do think this link is a valuable resource in understanding Dianic witchcraft)

Feminist Disney

In Response to the “Lilith Rite” at PantheaCon (more on Z. Budapest and her transmisogyny)

Muscio, Inga. 2002. Cunt: A Declaration of Independence

Sociological (my pinboard on all things sociological – good to sift through if you still have questions about gender, inequality, & patriarchy)


Steal, Appropriate, or Borrow?

Week 6 (C): cultural appropriation

How do we, as eclectic pagans, borrow from and interact respectfully with cultures not our own?

More specifically, how do I, as a white western woman, worship Kali without offending Hindus?

Cultural appropriation is when a dominant group adapts element(s) of a minority culture without understanding the context from which said element(s) come from. This largely pertains to cultures that are still living (e.g. the Navajo tribe is still alive and well, whereas ancient Egyptian culture is not). The act of cultural appropriation is often considered offensive, particularly when people choose to use elements that are sacred within the original culture. An example would be hipsters wearing Native American war bonnets. But what about goddesses?

kalilotus

I felt called into Kali’s service a little over six years ago. I believe that my goddesses chose me, rather than the other way around. So how does one practice mindfulness in their spirituality? I do not worship other Hindu deities, nor do I identify as Hindu. But I also feel that I have made a serious effort to understand the context from which Kali comes. At all times, I try to be as respectful as I can be of her origins. But is that enough? I remain unsure, but not unsure enough to feel that my connection to Kali has been altered. It just means I’m less likely to talk about it as openly as other aspects of my beliefs.

My only hesitation with the idea of cultural appropriation is that cultures do change. Every culture borrows elements from other cultures (see my other post on religious remix culture in the further reading section). There is the question of an imbalance of power with the issue of cultural appropriation, because the ones doing the appropriating generally have more power than the group they’re borrowing from. But cultures build upon one another, and the idea of rigidly keeping cultures intact in their original forms is repugnant to me. It seems essentialist and overly simplistic. On the other hand, I strongly support protecting native cultures from forced assimilation (e.g. what happened to Native Americans in the U.S. from the 18th century through the early twentieth).

Obviously people of color differ in their feelings about appropriation. Some aren’t bothered, others are. My inclination is to say that as a white person, it’s not my place to decide when cultural appropriation is acceptable. But on the flip side, I feel that I have been called to Kali’s service. This post is not about answers, mostly because I don’t feel like I have them. I do have plenty of questions though.

Thalia Took

Thalia Took’s interpretation of Kali

Further Reading

A is for Appropriation, or How to be a Modern Pagan Without Being a Dick to Living Cultures

Cultural Survival Vs. Forced Assimilation: The Renewed War on Diversity

Devi as Goddess Kali

Discussing cultural appropriation on the SolitaryWiccans LJ community (an oldie but a goodie)

Kali (Rukmini Bhayah-Nair)

Poems About Kali (a selection)

Religious Remix Culture (my earlier writing on the topic, with links to more resources)

Thalia Took’s take on Kali