Opinion: Goddess in Times of Horror

“My spirituality has always been linked to my feminism. Feminism is about challenging unequal power structures. So, it also means challenging inequalities in race, class, sexual preference. What we need to be doing is not just changing who holds power, but changing the way we conceive of power.” – Starhawk
I first became a Pagan because it promised me enchantment, wonder, a break from the dull Midwestern monotheist underpinning of where I grew up.

The Law of Mother Earth and other Pagan News of Note

Top Story: The Guardian reports that Bolivia, one of the countries hardest hit by global climate change, is planning to pass a law that would enshrine a list of rights held by nature. Called “The Law of Mother Earth” (la Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra), it seeks to establish “a new relationship between man and nature” according to Vice-President Alvaro García Linera. The country, which has been pilloried by the US and Britain in the UN climate talks for demanding steep carbon emission cuts, will establish 11 new rights for nature. They include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered. Controversially, it will also enshrine the right of nature “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities”.

Quick Note: Hail Mary

If the power of divinity was to be measured in the number of adherents, in the number of times they are invoked, in the number of images, statues, and icons depicting them, then Mary would be the most powerful of goddesses. The Christian Theotokos (“the one who gives birth to God”) has become ubiquitous, ecumenical, and multi-religious; an object of veneration for staunchly conservative Catholics,  jaded post-modernists, indigenous peoples in Mexico, and Vodouisants alike. In her new book “Full of Grace: Encountering Mary in Faith, Art, and Life” author Judith Dupre takes us on a journey through the art, history, and traditions that surround Mary, dedicating an early chapter to the connections between Mary and pre-Christian pagan goddesses. “While Mary’s role in salvation can be detected in writings before the Council of Ephesus, the title Theotokos is from Isis, who had been called both the “Mother of the God” and the “Great Virgin.” Isis’s popularity, in fact, peaked in the eastern Mediterranean just as Christianity began to spread.

A Chat With Some Guy Named Dan Brown

I’m sure you haven’t heard, but there is a new book coming out tomorrow by author Dan Brown entitled “The Lost Symbol”. Brown’s last book, “The Da Vinci Code”, sold, like, a gazillion copies, made various Catholics and conservative Christians pop a gasket, and spawned a mega-grossing movie (not to mention a successful prequel/sequel) starring Tom Hanks. In anticipation of this assured best-seller James Kaplan from Parade Magazine sits down with Brown to talk about his work, whether he believes in the conspiracy theories he writes about, and why he was inspired to write about the divine feminine. “Part of it was my mom–she is strong in her convictions and yet absolutely open to embracing a change in them. Part of it was falling in love and also looking at other religions, especially older ones, paganism, the Mother Earth concept.

Quick Note: Exploring the Divine Feminine in Missouri

The Columbia Daily Tribune covers a just-opened University of Missouri’s Museum of Art and Archeology exhibit entitled “The Sacred Feminine: Prehistory to Post-Modernity”. The show not only looks at art that reflects women’s role in religion, but curator Benton Kidd has also organized a national symposium centered on themes from the exhibition. “To fully explore both tensions and universalities, Kidd has collaborated with other parts of the university to move observers past a simply visceral, visual experience and stimulate community conversation. The most ambitious and prominent of these efforts will come at a national symposium on Oct. 16 and 17.