Column: A Wall of Stone

Sheri Barker builds a stone wall at the Bear Path Cottage, and finds herself communing with the spirits of her land and with the poetry of Robert Frost.

Review: three Pagan poets for National Poetry Month

If, as is proclaimed in the Charge of the Goddess, “all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals,” then the pleasure of poetry is among those rituals, too. April is National Poetry Month in the United States. Here’s a look at the works of three female poets: a Wiccan priestess, a pioneer in the modern women’s/goddess spirituality movement, and a priestess in the Welsh Bardic Tradition. The Charge of the Goddess: the Poetry of Doreen Valiente
Doreen Valiente Foundation in association with the Centre for Pagan Studies, expanded edition 2014, 142 p.

Ironically, the Charge of the Goddess included is this collection by the acclaimed “mother of modern witchcraft” is not her rhyming, poetic rendition but rather her far more famous prose version. The late John Belham-Payne, a friend and “working magical partner” of Valiente’s, shepherded her poetry into publication following her death in 1999, thus fulfilling a deathbed request by the Wiccan priestess who had been initiated into Gerald Gardner’s coven by the man himself in 1953.

Poet Fleassy Malay’s ‘Witches’ poem inspires women

In the past they burned us,
because they thought we were witches. Just because we knew what to do with herbs outside of the kitchen. Because we knew how to dance, seduce, pray. Because we moved with the cycles of the moon. That’s the beginning of poet Fleassy Malay’s Witches, which has been shared and appreciated widely within Pagan circles.

Quick Notes: Pagan Councils, Fundamentalism Clarifications, and The Green Man

Just a few quick notes to start off your Monday. A History of Pagan Councils in the United States: In my recent examination of the Pagan label, I pointed to Chas Clifton’s “Her Hidden Children” while examining how “Pagan” became the default term for our interconnected movement. In that process I also mentioned the early Pagan councils of the 1960s and 1970s, which were largely failures, but did lay ground for future cooperation and the creation of a “Pagan community.” For more depth on the topic of early Pagan councils and similar initiatives, I would point you to Aidan Kelly’s blog at Patheos which has been running a series on those early councils, and how they eventually led to the creation of the Covenant of the Goddess (COG). “The attempt to create an umbrella, church-like organization for Pagans was begun by Michael Kinghorn in Los Angeles in 1967.