With Goddess-like bodies

Full Moon at North Beach

Photo by Dennis Magati on Pexels.com

By Jeanne Arnold

We gathered for our annual August Full Moon Circle on the grassy space across from Lake Michigan’s broad and sandy beach, and each year I do the practical details that are necessary for our gathering including getting permission for a bonfire in case police drive by and question us about ours. Last year they didn’t ask about our fire but did ask us to drum quietly.

Barbara usually does the High Priestess stuff.

<<<>>> 

There was still time before the full moon in all her radiance would begin to glow across the Lake. In our circle around the fire, we saluted the Four Directions: the Earth, Air, Fire and Water and the spiritual energy within us. We sang rounds of chants with rising volume, harmony and intensity.

The Earth, the Air, the Fire, the Water.

Return, Return, Return, Return.

The Earth, the Air, the Fire, the Water.

Return, Return, Return, Return.

 Eya, Eya, Eya, Eya.

Oya, Oya, Oya, Oya.

Eya, Eya, Eya, Eya.

Oya, Oya, Oya, Oya.

Photo by Adonyi Gu00e1bor on Pexels.com

When we all sat around our fire, Barbara quoted Starhawk from her The Spiral Dance

‘‘The Goddess religion identifies sexuality as an expression of the creative life force of the universe. It is not dirty, nor is it merely normal; it is sacred, the manifestation of the Goddess. In feminist spirituality, a thing that is sacred can also be affectionate, joyful, pleasurable, passionate, funny, or purely animal. The word of the Goddess says that all acts of love and pleasure are My ritual.”

After everyone stopped cheering, Barbara said she chose to celebrate our bodies—by comparing ours with several Goddess images that she copied on a sheet of paper to pass around the circle. She asked each of us to pick the Goddess image that best matched each on their bodies. Then she read from Barbara Walker’sWoman’s Rituals.

“In a world where men have always poured their collective fantasies into the figure of God, it’s not surprising that women’s inner fantasies should sound and look much like the ancient Goddess images.”  

Laughter rose as a few identified with the 30,000-year-old chubby Goddess of Willendorf with Her shy head bowed over Her pregnant-looking belly and Her little arms and tiny legs. 

The Goddess of Willendorf painting is by Maayan Sela/WikiMedia

Others chose the Sleeping. Fat Lady of Malta with an over-all robust shape, especially around the hips. Yes, women could be chubby—even fat. 

A less weighty Goddesses like the Asian Goddess of Compassion Quan Yin or the Roman Venus, Goddess of Love. A few picked the Cretan Snake Goddess with Her perky breasts like headlights breaking through Her gorgeous costume with outstretched arms, Her hands hold a snake, the power of life in the earth. 

Kathy took a turn to speak and she read from Sacred Places of the Goddess by Karen Tate that described what each Goddess represented. When she finished, each woman volunteered to shared why she picked her Goddess. One mother said that her daughter recently saw her in the nude. The youngster had often seen her mother’s Goddess of Willendorf statue standing on the little altar in her mother’s bedroom. “My daughter said, ‘Mama! You look just like your Goddess!’”

Perhaps for the first time on this night, a woman could share how she felt about her shape and weight. It seemed as if to most, her self-esteem was affirmed—our bodies are like Goddesses. 

It was getting dark and we needed to read our closing words from Womans Rituals that Barbara edited and printed on the other side of the Goddess-images paper that she’d passed around the circle. 

Barbara: What is this night?

Women: It is the night of Lammas.

B: What is the meaning of this night?

W:  It is the feast of bread that stands for nourishment and the fruit of our labors.

B:  What do we honor this night?

W:  We honor the Earth’s harvests, our ongoing sustenance and support.

B:  After this feast of bread, what will we do?

W:  We will care for and store our harvest to preserve 

            what is necessary in our lives.

B:  How so we recognize ourselves on this night?

W:  We knead the dough. We bake good bread. We labor

            with love and gratitude for the blessings 

            we receive from Mother Earth.

B:  Who helps us?

W:  Our Goddess helps us.

B:  What is our Goddess?

W:  She is the benevolence of our mother planet, the rich gifts of her soil, 

            the nourishment of our bodies

B:  Where is our Goddess?

W:  She is in our Life’s goals to be and in our hearts 

            in all seasons of the turning year.

B:  Who is our Goddess?

W.  Behold, she is ourselves.

Standing, holding hands and speaking together around the fire’s embers . . . 

May the circle be open but unbroken.

May the peace of the Goddess go in our hearts.

Merry meet and merry part

And merry meet again.

Blessed Be!

 . . . bending over, then rising, arms in the air, to cheer, “Aaallll Right! Yeah!”

<<<>>> 

Then we feasted on the delicious offerings of food and beverages brought by our Goddess women. Barbara made Snake Bread from Barbara Walker’s recipe and explained that eating of the serpent symbolized internalizing ancient female knowledge rather than the dark side of eating the apple in Eden.

         “Sacred serpents live in the womb of Goddess Earth and know Her secrets. Realize that the claims of men’s gods are mostly empty, that the real foundation of human life is Woman. Remember your Goddess. Remember.” 

Then Barbara tore the bread to share and startled everyone by sounding  Ssssssssssssssss. And they all joined in.

Our satisfied glow of the friends continued the spiritual energy to stay around our bonfire as the August moon rose to send her rays across our blessed lake in the night sky.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

<<<<<>>>>> 

Barbara made the Snake bread from two Pillsbury Doughboy packages, green food coloring, almond fangs and M&Ms eyes. Olives are also suggested for the eyes; they don’t droop and tear while baking.

Unless others volunteered to take turns, Barbara was the primary worship leader of our Moon Group Gatherings for most full moons for 15 years, approximately 13 times a year. Our gatherings brought from four to 12 women in our home until we moved the group and once almost 40 women met at our Mother Courage building on Douglas Avenue. Our group merged with Unitarian Universalist women’s spirituaity curricula “Rise Up and Call Her Name” and “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” which are offered in organized women’s spirituality group sessions in most regions.

<<<<<>>>>> 

Graphics by Mary Nelson

Next week—What’s your pronoun?      One’s capacity for love

<<<<<>>>>> 

UNsung Women: the UN-known Herstory History

Submit written nominations about past or present women from Racine/Kenosha whose contributions to the wellbeing of our families, churches, schools, communities and beyond who have not or have been UNder acknowledged.

Four UNsung women nominees will be selected from January through May, 2022

The nominator is asked to provide:

• answers to Who, What, When, Where, How and Why details of your nominee’s herstory in a document or resume format.

• photographs, drawings, illustrations to enhance herstory;

• a reference person or documentation serving as evidence of proof.

Submit your nomination details to <mocourage@aol.com> with your name and where you may be reached.

Please do not nominate women who have already been “sung.”

<<<<<>>>>>

Loreen Greene Mohr

Sing Out about One UNsung Woman

March, 2022

Sponsored by ArtRoots, a Writer in Residence Project

January to June 2022

Submitted by Lee Ann Roberts

Loreen Greene Mohr has been keeping members of our community well informed for more than 40 years. Even those who don’t recognize her name might be familiar with Loreen’s work as the Community Coordinator/Editorial Department for The Journal Times since 1981– a job in which she gathers, organizes and edits information submitted to the newspaper by people, organizations and businesses throughout Racine County and beyond.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s