Archives For Mother Grove Goddess Temple

This past Friday in Asheville, North Carolina was the second annual Blessings on the River: an Oshun Veneration & Concert. Held in concert with rites performed at Asheville’s sister city of Osogbo, Nigeria, proceeds from donations during the veneration benefited the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove. The event was sponsored by the Zamani Refuge African Culture Center, with event altars constructed by Mother Grove Goddess Temple. Valeria Osunyemi Watson-Doost from the Zamani Refuge, herself a priestess of Oshun, has posted a four-part video series from the event on Youtube.

Here are the links for part 2, part 3, and part 4. You can also watch footage from the inaugural event last year.

This looks like an excellent example of how a US-based Goddess/Pagan community can participate in an event for the benefit of indigenous pre-Christian religions in far-flung parts of the globe. Local writer Byron Ballard, a member of the Mother Grove Goddess Temple, and blogger for the Asheville Citizen-Times, noted that the event was “a terrific opportunity to connect with people in our community who practice a beautiful spirituality”. I imagine that participants in Asheville and Osogbo have both been enriched by this experience, and that practitioners of Yoruba Traditional Religion have achieved a kind of outreach and understanding rarely found in the United States.

As the modern Paganism movement become an increasingly international phenomenon, we are going to get more chances like this to interact, share, and make alliances with indigenous faiths and revived Paganisms across the globe. Outreach efforts to European indigenous faiths, African traditional religions (and African diasporic faiths), and indigenous faiths in the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East may allow advances we couldn’t achieve alone. I will be tracking this phenomenon in the months to come.

The conservative-minded Anglican site VirtueOnline has got its knickers in a twist over a recent story concerning Spring Equinox celebrations held by the Mother Grove Goddess Temple in North Carolina. Why would the heretic-hunters at VirtueOnline care about what a bunch of Pagans are doing in North Carolina? Because of where they held the ritual.

“Members of Mother Grove Goddess Temple will celebrate at 7 p.m. Saturday with A Breath of Appalachian Spring: A Ritual in Celebration of the Spring Equinox, in the parish hall of the Episcopal Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village.

Que outrage:

“All Souls’ Cathedral is supposed to be God’s House, and it is disgusting that the Chapter should allow this pagan cult to meet anywhere on the premises! But of course, like all failing Episcopal congregations, they need the money, don’t they?”

It’s true that VirtueOnline is obsessed with heretics and pagans within the global Anglican communion, but this is hardly seems like a new case of “Episcopaganism”. I doubt the parish hall is consecrated ground, and I highly doubt the local clergy participated in anything “pagan”, so no real blasphemy (from a Christian perspective) was committed, and Mother Grove Goddess Temple describes itself as interfaith (united in honoring the divine feminine), so the real problem here is that these Episcopalians dared to tolerate other faiths meeting on/renting their grounds.

So the larger question is should Christian-owned halls and buildings refuse to rent out to non-Christian faiths and events? Should Pagan/Pagan-friendly organizations even approach a Christian hall, lest they cause problems for their hosts? In some towns is it even possible to rent a hall that isn’t owned by the local church? What do you think?