This weekend, my circle of amazing women met, as is our wont, for our once-a-year, day-long retreat. We're an odd bunch of Pagans, more likely to appear in Jimmy Choo shoes, Hermes scarves, antique kimonoes, and suits than in bad-art-bespeckled t shirts showing wolf packs and caftans. More likely to talk about our work on national cases, the cover article in Bloomberg news, and housing values than the latest DC witch war.
I love these women.
One thing that we do each year at our annual retreat is to select a Goddess upon whom we will focus for the coming year. It's a bit of art, a bit of science, a bit of left-brain logic, a bit of divination, a bit of serendipity. This circle of women has been doing magic in DC, in the shadow of the Capitol, a stone's throw from the Supreme Court, the White House, the Executive Office Building, Eastern Market for just a few months shy of a decade. We are urban witches, we do political magic, we create community in the absolute shadow of power.
One thing that struck me this weekend was just how much variety from which we have to choose, how many, many Goddesses there are, what a huge gift it is, especially as a woman in this culture, to have MULTIPLE examples of female empowerment from which to choose. We discussed, and this is a short list, so those of you who were there should feel free to add: Hecate, Aphrodite, Bast, Oshun, Columbia, an African Goddess who gave birth riding on an elephant, a northern Goddess who rode a swan, The Mother, Shakti, Innana, Lillith, and Minerva.
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 . . . ."