Women Exposed 2011 wedding

April 30, 2011

Filiz and Hannah had a brief but lovely wedding in their stunning red gowns last night, then handed out apples to the crowd from a big brown basket. Here’s a great post-wedding photo by Linda Hanek.

Hannah Edgerton, Cairril Adaire, Filiz Cicek by Linda Hanek at Women Exposed 2011

The Charge of the Goddess

April 28, 2011

On Friday night I will be priestessing at the 2011 Women Exposed show. Filiz asked me to officiate at a fake wedding of her and Hannah. She wanted me to say a few words, too, about the power of women.

There are a million prayers I can think of that would be suitable, not to mention original works I could draft. But when it came down to it, I went with a classic: The Charge of the Goddess.

(This is not to be confused with The Charge of the Light Brigade. That’s something else. ;-))

I took the version from my Book of Shadows. I wrote it nearly 20 years ago for my initiation. It’s an amalgamation of the classic Gardnerian Charge and excerpts from the Principia Discordia, a feminist speech, Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Age, and my own thoughts. I think there might be a bit of Buckland in there, too. I am using an edited version for Friday that is shorter and more universal in theme.

Filiz declared it “beautiful” so I shall do my best with it on Friday night. Here ’tis:

PREFACE (while ringing bell):

All within! All within! Sit now, children, in the lap of the Goddess, and hear her words which resonate through the ages.


I am the Goddess. I am called by many names throughout the ages. I wake and sleep, wake and sleep, yet always I return. I look upon you in your world of wars and greed, your “shoulds” and “musts.” You have built for yourselves psychic suits of armor; clad in them, your vision is restricted, your movements clumsy and painful, your skin bruised, and your spirit broiled in the Sun.

Yet within this madness you still call my name, and I, as always, come back from the Dreamtime and the twilight of your consciousness. I am the Goddess. I am alive—and I tell you that you are free. Dance, then, make music and make love–all in celebration of me. For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit, the joy throughout the Earth, and my law is Love unto all beings.

Forever in balance, I call to you as you call to me. I who am the beauty of the green Earth and the white Moon amongst the stars, the mystery of the waters, the desire of the hearts of all, call unto your soul: Arise and come to me, for I am the soul of Nature who gives life to the universe.

From me all things proceed, within my arms all things endure, and unto me all things return. Before my face, your innermost self shall be enfolded in the rapture of the Infinite.

Keep pure, then, your greatest ideal–strive ever towards it. Let naught stop you nor turn you aside, for mine is the secret door which opens upon the garden of youth, and mine is the cauldron of Cerridwen which holds the waters of rebirth.

Know that all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, and mirth and reverence within you.

And you who seek to find me, know that your seeking and yearning shall avail you not, unless you know the mystery: If that which you seek you find not within you, you will never find it without you; for behold! I have been with you from the beginning and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

Latvian dainas

April 17, 2011

I am going to be doing sumkinda priestessing at the upcoming Women Exposed show on the 29th.

As part of my prep, I’m researching prayers and such that might be useful. And I come back, as I always do, to my little book of Latvian dainas. When I worked at Feminist Teacher magazine in the ’90s, this book came in as part of a request for a review. I immediately snagged it and got permission to keep it. Dearest Goddess: Translations from Latvian Folk Poetry, written/translated by Eso Benjamin.

Because Latvia wasn’t Christianized until the 14th (15th?) century, many Pagan traditions survive. Dainas are little prayers–almost conversations–that Latvian women have with their Dearest Goddess. And yes, it’s primarily women who wrote and maintain these prayers. There are over a million on record.

Dearest Goddess is the Sun, shining on the Baltic sea. This is contrary to contemporary Pagan views of the Sun as masculine and the Moon as feminine. I like to see both as manifestations of the Goddess, giving us a more holistic view of what constitutes femininity (I’m not worried about the guys–they can figure out their own system ;-)). The Dearest Goddess is known as Laima in Latvia, though I’ve also seen references to Laima as the daughter of the Sun. Those Pagans, always fluid! What is certain is that Latvian women in traditional dress as referred to as daughters of the Sun.

The dainas are very short but deal with everyday concerns. I love how they are so intimate and picky and bossy and joyful. They reflect the full range of life without limit. They are eminently practical. Here is a selection (with major props to Eso for bringing this heritage to light in the Western world).


I  have looked for her
here, there, everywhere,
but my Dearest Goddess
is playing games
with me:

She will not tell me
where I can find her.
She’s making me spin
in my chair.


You go first, Dearest Goddess.
I’ll follow in your footsteps.
Don’t let me step
into evil days.


I’m out of songs,
Dearest Goddess.
What shall I do?

I know.
Let me find an old bachelor.
Let me ride him
to find a new song.


Dance, Marsha, dance.
Take no worry.
Your Dearest Goddess guards you.
Your Dearest Goddess sits
in a silver boat
and wears a golden crown.


This mill is too much;
the wheel is too heavy.
Dearest Goddess,
it’s been a hard life.
I no longer wish
to keep walking in circles.


Some people are saying
that my Dearest Goddess
has died by drowning.
Well, I just saw her
walking over the waters
sowing handfuls of
gold and silver.


Give, Dearest Goddess,
what’s to be given.
I’ll take
what’s to be taken
with both hands,
without hesitation.


Be my helpmate,
Dearest Goddess.
Let the roses I plant tonight
bloom into a rose garden by morning.


Though we are not sisters,
we call ourselves sisters.
It makes some people mad.
It makes the Dearest Goddess glad.


My throat is like a trumpet–
I can compete even with brass.
My voice is like gold
and flows even through hard rock.


My mother raised me
in a nightingale’s nest.
I grew up to sing
with a nightingale’s tongue,
to hear my songs
roll the echo from the mountain
down through the valley.


Unhappy people
will not get me down.
As soon as I can get away,
I’ll sing and dance again.

But do you know
what will stop a song?
A slap in the face,
a fist in the back.
Else, I will sing
even through tears.


My mother died singing,
and so did my father.
So will I.
And after I die,
I will go on singing
with my sister
from the top of our graves.


When I sing I sing happily;
when I cry I shed a river of tears.
I learnt my song
from the Dearest Goddess;
I learnt my tears
from being an orphan.


What’s wrong with my man?
He’s out barking with the dogs.
I’m smarter.
I walk singing.


The Unwelcome Goddess
gave me a present of fancy shoes for a party.

If you’ll be my chaperone Dearest Goddess,
I’ll be happy to dance barefoot.


The Dearest Goddess
gave me a thousand songs
at the tip of every wheel spoke.
Whenever I’m sad,
all I need to do is turn the wheel,
and song flows.


The leaves of the linden do not quake,
her daughters do not hate.
Dearest Goddess,
all the world weeps
if we don’t speak peace.


We are three sisters
with six ripe teats.
Dearest Goddess,
we’ve come to complain:
Where are the boys?


The wolf bragged
and the bear bragged
that they are strong.

Dearest Goddess,
I left them behind.
On my journey
I need only your company.


You will never find me
among the chaff.
The Dearest Goddess leads me;
my Dearest Goddess
will lift me up
to the mountain top.


There are many, many more I can post but this should give you a flavor. Buy Benjamin’s book; it’s a treasure! Blessed Be, Dearest Goddess!