Vila started out as a Slavic Goddess and eventually became known as a type of Slavic fairy or nymph. She is known to modern Pagans as a nature Goddess and the patron Goddess of shapeshifting. In Goddess & Heroines, Patricia Monaghan begins describing Vila as a Goddess, explaining that:
One of the most powerful eastern European [G]oddesses was called Samovila, Vila, or Judy according to the language of the people, who pictured this woodland force as a fairskinned winged woman with glistening garments and golden hair falling to her feet. She lived deep in the woods, where she guarded animals and plants as well as cleaned streams of rubble and assured sufficient rainfall.
Monaghan then shifts, describing "the Vila" and what "they" might do to those who would harm animals: Hunters were wary of beautiful, well-dressed women speaking the languages of animals, for the Vila was fiercely possessive of her wild herds. Should one be injured or-worse yet-killed, the Vila mutilated the offender or lured him into a magic circle and danced him to death. Alternatively, the Vila might bury him in rocks by starting an avalanche, or simply cause him to keel over with a heart attack.
The Vila was able to masquerade as a snake, swan, falcon, horse, or whirlwind. Cloud Vilas could transform themselvs into clouds or fog.
In the next sentence, Monaghan is back to discussing the Goddess Vila: Born on a day of soft misty rain, when the sun formed miniature rainbows on the trees, she knew all the secrets of healing and herb craft. Should a human wish to learn her skills, blood-sisterhood was forged with the Vila. The applicant appeared in the woods before sunrise on a Sunday of the full moon. Drawing a circle with a birch twig or a broom, she placed several horsehairs, a hoof, and some manure inside the circle, then stood with her right foot on the hoof calling to the Vila. Should the spirit appear and be greeted as a sister, the Vila would grant any wish.
It's appropriate for a shapshifter, don't you think? Monaghan is never really sure who she's describing.
The Vila, or Willi or Veela, are the Slavic versions of nymphs, who have power over storms, which they delight in sending down on lonely travelers. They are known to live in meadows, ponds, oceans, trees, and clouds (cf. Leimakids, Limnades, Oceanids, Dryads, Nephele). They can appear as swans, horses, wolves, or, of course, beautiful women.
The Vilia is the Celtic version of this woodland spirit. She enjoys captivating passing men with her beauty, but then abandoning them. In a love song titled Vilia, from "The Merry Widow" by Lehar and Ross, a hunter pines for Vilia, "the witch of the wood".
Named vilas in Serbian mythology are: Andresila, Andjelija, Angelina, Djurdja, Janja, Janjojka, Jelka, Jerina, Jerisavlja, Jovanka, Katarina, Kosa, Mandalina, Nadanojla and Ravijojla. Ravijojla is the most well known of them, connected to Prince Marko, while Jerisavlja is considered to be their leader.[ J.K. Rowling adopted the idea of Veela in her Harry Potter series. Wiki notes that, in Harry Potter Fleur Delacour's grandmother was a veela, making [her] at least one quarter veela. This heritage accounts for Fleur's fair hair, skin and eyes, and apparently her ability to entrance men. This could put her in danger from Voldemort and his followers, as they have a strong prejudice against "half-breeds." She is engaged to Bill Weasley, the eldest brother of Ron Weasley.
Echoing a theme that Atrios often sounds, Miniver Cheevey asserts that: "We have to start digging our way out of the suburbs right away." He's likely right. I live seven miles outside of Washington, D.C., in the suburbs of north Arlington, Virginia. It's perfect for me, but I'm a weird bird, a happily single woman who needs at least a bit of Earth upon which to garden, which I wouldn't get in the city. Faced with the choice, I'd move farther away from the city, as long as I could have internet and wifi and FedEx.
Lately, thanks to the kindness of NTodd, I've been allowed to do some blogging over at Pax Americana and it's had me thinking quite a bit about peace. When I was a young, young woman, we'd sing:
Bring me some peace when there's talk of war, When it's hard to find. Oh, bring me some peace when there's talk of war. I've got peace on my mind. Oh, peace is sweet, most any time and, yet, Bring me some peace when there's talk of war, And how easy we forget.
Tuesday evening, I got my hair done and, as I often do, walked back to the office, stopping at one of my favorite D.C. restaurants, La Chaumerie, for dinner on the way. You walk into La Chaumerie and there seem to be about half-a-dozen Inside entryway/anterooms, but, finally, you step through the last door and you are no longer in Georgetown, just off of Pennsylvania Avenue. You are inside an old French farmhouse, winter or summer. If you are ever in Georgetown, you must eat at this place, not the least because their seafood is amazing. I had oysters on the half-shell, which I never eat without a salute to Venus, and softshell crabs as good as any that I've ever had. I washed it all down with a lovely, white chilled sancerre, well, ok, several glasses of a lovely, white chilled sancerre.
While I ate, I read the latest issue of Faerie Magazine. Now, how to deal with the realm of Faerie without becoming either ridiculous or banal or twee is a serious challenge for modern Pagandom and I don't pretend to have found the correct balance. I do know that it doesn't lie in purchasing tacky ceramic "sculptures" of "fairy queens", which is what a lot of modern Pagan "Faerie" seems to entail at times. Nor do I think that it rests in gothickly-pouty "faeriez" splattered across spaghetti-strap tees, as, again, much of modern Pagan "Faerie" appears to entail.
Yet, I'd be the last witch on Earth to disparage fairies. They live in my house, sometimes holding these old beams together, sometimes fucking with the intenet modem, sometimes demanding honey and v., v., v. good booze on the altar -- now! My own dear grandma showed in every line and shadow of her face that she was of the ancient Pictish (pixie) race and she could play music that indeed made you wonder for just how long you really had been underground. I've seen what they did at Findhorn. I see what they do under the oak trees and holly bushes and fig trees and grape vines in my yard. I understand that Fairies are here and that they hardly consider our good to be conversant with theirs.
Long way round of saying that this issue of Fairie Magazine, along with trying to sell lots of "fairie" tzotchkas, had an interesting article w/ Ari Berk, a poet who's also collaborated on some books w/ "fairie" artist extraordinaire Brian Froud. A poem of Berk's got me thinking -- yes, indeed, she is going to tie this all up at some point -- about the role of a sense of place in our longing for peace.
In Tintagel I, Beck writes:
The sea will swoon and rise and love the rocks to death below the walls of Tintagel.
Soon will cave and castle converge upon the strand -- a cold and churning bridal bed --
And consummate their bond in ruins of mortar and turf and shard from Antioch.
"Sense of place" is a loaded term, but one that most Pagans understand. As Beck sensed, it always involves consumation, sex, a linking of the Great Rite to the ley lines of the place and the chance to make the Sacred Marriage between the Lord and the Land. It would be, I imagine, impossible to completely unpack it for some people.
Many Pagans base their spiritual life upon a relationship with their land, and by "their" I don't mean legal ownership, so much as land with which they are familiar enough to have a relationship, land to which they've attended, listened, land that they've watched, learned, loved, to which they've paid attention. The plants that grow there, the animals who live there, the water that flows there, the winds that are wont to blow, the way that the sun hits early in the morning, in high summer, in late fall, on a cold winter's dawn when frost changes everything that it touches and everything that it touches changes. I can place every mystical moment of grace that I've ever experienced to the place where it occurred, to the plants that danced with me in that moment, to the acid content of the soil, to the leaves on the trees, to the way that my own grounding roots felt sinking into the soil, past the rocks, through the water table, beyond the deep lakes and caves, into the deep mystery of Mother Earth.
Modern Americans lack, in general, a sene of place. We are nomads, we hop planes, switch time zones, are citizens of the globe. That has tremendous positives and should make us greater lovers of peace for the entire globe. Ancient people who likely had a greater sense of place certainly waged war. And, yet. And, yet. I can't get past the idea that one is less willing to commit "shock and awe" upon another's landbase if one has a deep relationship with one's own landbase, watertable, micro-ecology. Who wants to piss off those altogether alien Fairies in that distant place, stir them up, get them looking for the cause of their displeasure? Who can't imagine how horrific it must be to see a long-tended garden or grove or field bombed beyond recognition? No one sane wants to do things like that. Goddess knows that i sometimes shudder at "who" is following us back from ancient Mesopotamia, although not at all in the way that George Bush wants me to quail.
Barring what Lovelock refers to as a "hard collapse" there's no going back. So how do we do both? How do we live as citizens of the entire globe and still engender all the good that springs from a "sense of place"? Does a relationship with the land have a relationship to a longing for peace?
We sat at our Big River table and talked and ate and talked and ate. Two soups, even though I'd made three. We squeezed lime into both soups. Added cilantro. I sucked on lime slices. Dropped lime slices into the lentils, pulled them out, and sucked on them. Michelle had brought hummus made from sprouted garbanzos and sesame seeds. We dunked fresh greens and steamed veggies with garlic into them. We ate tofu cheesecake with a strawberry topping and/or plums Michelle had canned.
reminded me of my dinner Wednesday night.
On Wednesdays, my madcap friend R. and my v. creative friend K. and I get together for an evening of ecstatic dance and a simple, healthy dinner. Well, that's how it started out, at least. Lately, the dinners have been getting more and more elaborate. Last night, I made green smoothies. R. fixed tofu w/ a lovely sauce, some tomato, some onion. K. brought chesses studded w/ cranberries and flavored w/ vodka. And apricots. All in all, we generally wind up having my favorite meal of all: Stone Soup. On my screen porch. Seasoned with discussion and friendship.
I want a women’s revolution like a lover. I lust for it, I want so much this freedom, this end to struggle and fear and lies we all exhale, that I could die just with the passionate uttering of that desire…
Oh mother, I am tired and sick “How do you stop from going crazy?” No way, sister, no way. May we go mad together, my sisters. May our labor agony in bringing forth this revolution be the death of all pain. May we comprehend that we cannot be stopped. May I learn how to survive until my part is finished. May I realize that I am a monster. I am a monster. I am a monster. And I am proud.
Noting that "One of the guys who was in the room said 'This is her fault. She got drunk and she did this to herself.'", Echidne reports that:
"When I looked in, I saw about ten pairs of legs surrounding a girl, lying on the mattress on the floor and a guy on top of her with his pants down and his hips thrusting on top of her," recall Chief Elk. "And when I saw that I knew immediately something wasn't right. It just didn't look right." "I saw that this young girl did not want to be in there, and that's when we just went 'We're getting this girl out of there,'" says Grolle. April and Lauren -- along with a third soccer player named Lauren Breayans -- broke down the door and were shocked with what they found. "This poor girl was not moving. She had vomit dribbling down her face. We had to scoop vomit out of her mouth [and] lift her up. Her pants were completely off her body," says Chief Elk. "She had her one shoe one, her jeans were wrapped around one of her ankles and her underwear was left around her ankles. To the left of the bed there was some condom thrown on the ground." "When they lifted her head up, her eyes moved and she said 'I'm sorry,'" says Grolle.
A few of you may know that I took public exception to the billboard campaign for this film, which showed a concise narrative of the kidnapping, torture and murder of a sexy young woman. I wanted to see if the film was perhaps more substantial (especially given the fact that it was directed by “The Killing Fields” Roland Joffe) than the exploitive ad campaign had painted it. The trailer resembles nothing so much as the CNN story on Dua Khalil. Pretty much all you learn is that Elisha Cuthbert is beautiful, then kidnapped, inventively, repeatedly and horrifically tortured, and that the first thing she screams is “I’m sorry”.
Now, I find that rather interesting. Whether we're discussing a movie in which, for men's entertainment, a woman is kidnapped, inventively, repeatedly, and horrifically tortured, or whether we're discussing real life, in which, for men's entertainment, a woman is gang-raped and her mouth filled with someone else's vomit -- the first words that the woman utters to her torturers are, "I'm sorry."
And I think that tells us everything that we will ever need to know about (1) the patriarchy and (2) precisely how far we have not yet come.
Diane Sylvan does better writing about the nuts and bolts of regular Pagan spiritual practice than anyone else that I know. She has some v. important things to say about the reasons for regular spiritual practice: If there’s one thing you should know about Practice, it’s this: it is not glamorous. Practice is not big bonfires and Circles cast in flame. It’s the way you live your path day after day, sunup to sundown, and sometimes, well, it sucks. It’s grueling work that slowly chips away at your established patterns and illusions, and sometimes it’s painful, because in order to transform something you must first invoke it.
My realization has been that what you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while. Your daily work may not seem like it makes a lot of difference at the time, but it serves several vital functions: it lays the foundation for all the Big Moments to come, it brings a calm and stable center to your life, and it enables you to cope better with the third category of change when it inevitably hits you.
It doesn’t matter how many trance journeys and Drawing Downs you undergo—if you don’t back it up with daily meditation and devotional ritual, none of that ecstatic energy is going to stay with you. Your practice opens you up to a greater influx of Divine energy, and it allows negativity to flow out of you more easily instead of clogging up your life.
That’s how the Pagan Community ends up with such a large percentage of people who claim to have been Pagan for twenty years yet can’t hold down jobs or relationships, are constantly drowning in drama, and have the aura of adolescent chipmunks on acid. You can’t just show up eight times a year and expect your life to come effortlessly into rhythm with the Dance; you have to commit to more than getting laid and drinking mead.
A house with no foundation will blow over in the first stiff wind.
Everyone, regardless of how long they’ve been practicing, has times when they’d rather sleep in. Everyone has fallow periods when the idea of meditating is about as appealing as a lobotomy performed with a rusty nail. It’s always hard. It doesn’t matter who you are. But the fact that it’s hard means it’s working.
Why? Because you can’t change what isn’t there. If there is no resistance, there’s no need for transformation. Resistance becomes the raw material for creating something powerful and purposeful. The energy we spend fighting ourselves is powerful energy indeed, and our job is to alter the course of that energy, diverting it from self-sabotage to self-actualization.
But sometimes an old pattern rears it's head and takes over temporarily, even though we fight it. And watch ourselves fight it. And sometimes watch ourselves lose the fight. Sometimes we get overtired - or have a blood sugar crash, or an extra glass of wine - and our equilibrium is off. Sometimes we are just cranky.
We may not be able to control our behavior in those moments in the ways we wish to. But the good thing? We can know it is not our whole life. We can know that this particular situation will pass and tomorrow will be another day. We can know that emotions rise and fall and that annoyance or insecurity or whatever will once again give way to breath and stillness. To a strong will and an open heart. We don't have to hold on to the injury and build a new scar. We don't even have to make a temporary event into an injury in the first place.
This is what spiritual practice brings us. Not always being centered, but a way to return to center quickly: whether in minutes, or a day or two, rather than months or years. Hopefully it also helps us to not calcify around more flotsam than our beings already have stiffened around. We can continue to learn how to live cleanly and clearly and with a full range of motion.
It isn't easy, or fun, or glamorous. All that it is is necessary.
If you're not sure how to start, start like this. Every day, sit quietly in the same place. Light some incense or some sage or a candle. Ground (see Starhawk's Spiral Dance). Do the Ha Prayer (see Coyle's Evolutionary Witchcraft). Pick a Tarot card or a rune and see what you think it means. Write it down in your journal. Record your dreams. Blow out the candle. Live your life as if what had just happened mattered. That's "all" that there is to it. But if you are anything like me, mastering that is the work of many lifetimes.
Josh Wheadon's recent post asking, "What's wrong with women?" has gotten quite a bit of well-deserved attention across the blogsphere. Reflecting upon a recently-recorded stoning to death of a young woman for being suspected of allowing a "wrong" man access to her vagina, or, at least her heart, Wheadon wrote:
Last month seventeen year old Dua Khalil was pulled into a crowd of young men, some of them (the instigators) family, who then kicked and stoned her to death. This is an example of the breath-taking oxymoron “honor killing”, in which a family member (almost always female) is murdered for some religious or ethical transgression. Dua Khalil, who was of the Yazidi faith, had been seen in the company of a Sunni Muslim, and possibly suspected of having married him or converted. That she was torturously murdered for this is not, in fact, a particularly uncommon story. But now you can watch the action up close on CNN. Because as the girl was on the ground trying to get up, her face nothing but red, the few in the group of more than twenty men who were not busy kicking her and hurling stones at her were filming the event with their camera-phones.
There were security officers standing outside the area doing nothing, but the footage of the murder was taken – by more than one phone – from the front row. Which means whoever shot it did so not to record the horror of the event, but to commemorate it. To share it. Because it was cool. . . . I like to think that in America this would be considered unbearably appalling, that Kitty Genovese is still remembered, that we are more evolved. But coincidentally, right before I stumbled on this vid I watched the trailer for “Captivity”.
A few of you may know that I took public exception to the billboard campaign for this film, which showed a concise narrative of the kidnapping, torture[,] and murder of a sexy young woman. I wanted to see if the film was perhaps more substantial (especially given the fact that it was directed by “The Killing Fields” Roland Joffe) than the exploitive ad campaign had painted it. The trailer resembles nothing so much as the CNN story on Dua Khalil. Pretty much all you learn is that Elisha Cuthbert is beautiful, then kidnapped, inventively, repeatedly and horrifically tortured, and that the first thing she screams is “I’m sorry”.
What is wrong with women?
I mean wrong. Physically. Spiritually. Something unnatural, something destructive, something that needs to be corrected.
How did more than half the people in the world come out incorrectly? I have spent a good part of my life trying to do that math, and I’m no closer to a viable equation. And I have yet to find a culture that doesn’t buy into it. Women’s inferiority –- in fact, their malevolence -- is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere they’re sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished. (Objectification: another tangential rant avoided.) And the logical extension of this line of thinking is that women are, at the very least, expendable.
I try to think how we got here. The theory I developed in college (shared by many I’m sure) is one I have yet to beat: Womb Envy.
Ever since I read it, I've felt something tugging at my consciousness, telling me that Wheadon's post reminded me of somthing, although I couldn't remember what. Then, I thought that I remembered what it reminded me of, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Then, yesterday, sitting and knitting and listening to the blessed rain, "Eureka!" I ran and grabbed one of the seminal books of my life: The Politics of Women's Spirituality, edited by Charlene Spretnak. There, sure enough, was the essay, "Metaphysical Feminism" by, whom else?,Robin Morgan. It's a bit long (the laughter of the Goddess at me for chastizing Robin Artisson for his over-long posts), but you should bear with me and read the whole thing:
"The sea organisms crawled up onto the land to commit ecstatic suicide, to escape triumphantly from existing, to return to infinite pure energy, motionless.
But life forced itself to flow through even the gasps they drank in what they assumed was death: air. Despite themselves, they became air-breathing organisms. Every step taken toward nonexisting brings us closer toward existing.
It is the fault of something female.
Nature, we have heard, abhors a vacuum. Speaking then through male anguish at his own womb envy, nature discovered existential despair. But male anguish expressed this despair as misogny. What else to feel when faced with this female endless birthing, this repeated insistence on life and life-giving and life-re-creation? What is this maddening tendency to bear and bear and bear, as if each woman were somehow somewhere in herself singing 'I never met a universe I didn't like'?
He only wants her to understand his wretchednes. He persecutes her to make her understand why death is the answer, he tortures her to raise her consciousness to the suicidal, to make her as truly aware as he is. She won't despair. She won't die. She creates agriculture, domesticates animals. Culture is born.
He appropriates her gods, her whole cosmic space, to the merciless, negative, bleak, terror-filed void in which he is trapped. She curses his gods -- but does not die. She calls to him. She sees his beauty writhing, contorted in pain. He sobs with longing to share what she is, sees, owns, the whole Earth as female, the solar system female, the universe female, all that he smells and touches and which holds him and bore him and will outlive him -- female, eternally rutting and conceiving and laughing and producing.
For what? What is there to celebrate here, in this dimension? Is there no way to kill her out of this gross procreation? Can none of his entropy conquer her energy? If he cannot stop her, can he at least successfully pretend that he insists [that] she do precisely what she is doing? Can he tell himself [that] he demands [that] she conceive? Rape is born, his own parthogenetic child. Laws are written controlling her body's freedom. She creates pottery, baskets, songs. She investigates the power of herbs. Art and science are born.
Is there no way to stop her? Is there no way to evade this inexhaustible deathless pursuing consciousness? He devises nirvanas of escape. Oriental philosophies which pretend she is illusion. Occidental philosophies which pretend she is existentially meaningless. And all the while she smiles and conceives. Children. Grapefruits. The thimble. Barnacles. The printing press. City squirrels.
He is more and more trapped into his system. He invents new and efficient ways of murdering what she produces -- wars, chemicals, political systems which destroy her creations or treat them as products. He is consumed with self-loathing for having become the weapon of himself and never the victim in his global attempt to commit suicide. She weeps for him and gives birth to a new star, hoping its nova will divert him from his misery.
He invents names for her creatures, deliberately mixed around. He calls the human ones insects, vermin, pigs, cows. Then he kills them and their animal namesakes, too. He forgets what and who and why he is killing. He knows only where he came from -- that womb of Earth, and where he is going -- that same insatiable womb with its infinite capacity for orgasm and for creation as it sucks him in and spews him out and laughs lovingly at him as if he were her plaything.
Only when he has totally forgotten who he is and why he hates her so, only when she herself has almost forgotten herself, only when his pain has at last infected her so that she has almost begun to to listen, almost understand his message of nonexistence, his longing for peace and death and the silence of a collapsed nonwomb whose energy and matter are once and for all time separated -- only then does she slowly rouse herself to remind him.
That time is now."
Wheadon's a smart guy. I wonder if he ever read any Robin Morgan?
Deborah Oak says what I think many of us, women of "a certain age" are thinking and feeling these days:
My son is safely sleeping now, and this weekend he was as sweet as a fifteen year old can be. Besides the difficulty of his age, he's dealing with his father and young stepmother having just had a new baby. He’s a great kid, brought up in a remarkable community of activists and those who work for peace. Friends constantly reassure me that he won’t end up being a soldier, that I won’t lose him to war. Since his very age, since fifteen, I’ve done what I can to put an end to war. Perhaps I started out protesting to bug my parents, but they too in the end turned against the Vietnam war. I’ve marched, blockaded weapons, been to jail, signed countless petitions, wrote politicians, prayed, and done spell after spell to bring peace. And here we are, mired in a war as atrocious as that war of my childhood. In that war, it took us knowing that no son was immune to turn it around. My stomach lurches at this thought.
I’m sad that Cindy Sheehan feels so let down. But, damn, I understand it. What will it take for us to turn things around? How many sons and daughters have to die?
What mistake did we make at the end of the Viet Nam war that allowed it to be so quickly repeated? How should we have driven home the point that we thought had been indelibly etched upon our nation's soul? Somehow, after the Civil War, America figured out that it shouldn't repeat that mistake. What is it that needed to happen after Viet Nam that didn't happen? Should America have held war crime trials? How did a bunch of ugly rich white boys who neither fought in Viet Nam or in the streets to end the Viet Nam war wind up in power and so stupid as to do this all over again? How did America let that happen? I ask these questions because I have a Grandson. In the blink of an eye, he'll be a young man, fodder, in the eyes of the corporatists and the Christianists, for another immoral foreign war. I'd like to know what we failed to do at the end of Viet Nam so that we could be sure not to fail this time. I'd like to know so that there won't be a war for his mother to worry about. I'd very much like to know.
Study Ranking States' CO2 Emissions Shows Coal's Heavy Impact
A study analyzing the comparative CO2 emissions levels of all 50 states found that the use of coal-based plants dramatically influenced the ranking of individual states, the Associated Press reported.
The newswire's study found that Texas produced more emissions than both California and Pennsylvania, while Wyoming ranked highest in per capita emissions, but its Idaho neighbor ranked last in per capita emissions thanks to its reliance on hydropower. Gov. Dave Freudenthal, D-Wyo., contended that the top ranking was primarily "a consequence of energy that is developed to feed the rest of the national economy." Frank Maisano, spokesman for the Bracewell Giuliani law firm, added that "these net exporters of energy are always going to produce more carbon dioxide."
DOE Assistant Secretary Alexander Karsner was quoted as saying: "If the atmosphere could talk, it wouldn't say, 'Kudos to California, not so good to Wyoming.' It would say, 'Stop sending me emissions.'" Associated Press via SFGate.com , June 2.
Digby's spot on, as usual, but as an aside to her overall point, I found this bit of information creating a definite WTF moment for me:
Notably, just one-quarter of adults possess an active faith, meaning they engage in all three of these activities (pray, attend church, and read the Bible in a typical week).
WTF? I mean, seriously, WTF?
At the very least, two out of these three activities (attending church and reading the Bible) simply aren't part of my religion. Some Wiccans will argue that spellwork is a form of prayer, and I suppose that I'd be willing to call it a form of co-active prayer. But, seriously, WTF? If you to to the Synagogue, pray, and read the Torah you don't have "an active faith"? If you go to the mosque, pray, and read the Qu'aran you don't have "an active faith"? WTF? Even the use of the word "faith" betrays how thoroughly xianized this study is. Wiccans, for example, don't say that they have 'faith" -- that's an Abrahamic concept. I don't have faith in the Goddess, I know the Goddess, I embody the Goddess. Faith is no part at all of my religion.
It all just reminds me of how far we still have to go.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."