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A Woman’s Place…..

September 1st, 2018

Seemingly random, a Facebook group called “Fierce Heart” came to my attention. Knowing nothing about it, but loving the name, I went to take a peek. As a Women’s Empowerment Coach and Red Tent Priestess, I promptly joined, very much in tune with their goals.

Paraphrasing the description found at the group, Fierce Heart is all about this: A collective group of women across US using drumming/chanting/singing/noise, expressing their anger/dismay/outrage/disgust, taking power, demanding change. A way to express anger and grief.

Galvanize women and provide a way for them to channel that power and remember that they are a force of nature, something that we always, always forget.

“Bring your outrage

Bring your tenacity

Bring you despair

Bring your Fierce Heart

Bring your fists

Brings your drums

Bring your voice

Bring your Fierce Heart”

******************

I recently had the pleasure of corresponding with Rebecca Singer, one of the founders and admins of the page itself.

SM: Before we talk about Fierce Heart, please tell me a bit about yourself.

RS: I’m a shaman. My teachers were a part Irish, part Lakota woman for 13 years, then Costa Rican Shaman, and finally living with The Reindeer People in Mongolia. I’ve also had careers as an actress, teacher, and singer. I’m 68 years old, have lived in several countries, am proud mother of amazing son, and happily married for 10 years!We live near Woodstock NY with our Costa Rican dogs, cat, and rabbit. (Note from SM: Rebecca’s website is: www.shamanicenergy.com

SM: How did you come up with the idea for Fierce Heart?

RS: For several months I have been asking for guidance in coming up with a ” right action”,during meditations, for these times we are living in. I went to a recent demonstration and came home feeling very dissatisfied, like something else, something new was needed.

For about 2 years now I have felt the urgent need for women in this country to stand up, speak up, but in the some new authentic way.

When I came back from that demonstration , I had a vision of thousands of women in the streets across this country, expressing their outrage. Making sounds that would be dissonant, disturbing to hear, and that would penetrate buildings, patriarchal systems. Women are not allowed to express outrage, which is a form of love.

SM: It’s apparent that here in the US, and abroad, that women are standing up in droves – running for office, calling out sexual harassment/assault via #MeToo, and so on. Do you consider Fierce Heart to be a part of this wider women’s movement?

RS: Yes and no. Yes, in that it is on the continuum of women finding their power and voice.

No….in that it is a new form. Women have been taught for centuries to tone it down, not get Too Emotional, hysterical, too anything. Yet women feel very deeply, and there is a way in which women truly are a force of nature and most women have lost touch with their wild self. So Fierce Heart is out of the Patriarchal box. It us an invitation for women to find the roots of their true voices, through the expression of outrage at this world we live in today. It is not attached to any one political movement. It is about Waking up Women as a force.

SM: I know you have collaborators – is this something you came up with together, or was it your brainchild and you approached them about joining you?

RS: This was my idea, though I would say it was an idea that came through me. I asked Erin Kaiser what she thought about it, and Vct Pohl, and Deb Rodney….what did they think. These are women I trust, so Erin made the Facebook page, Vct Pohl came on as an administrator and came up with the name.and Deb started doing some writing about it. My other good friends came on board.

SM: How many would you say have joined the Fierce Heart Facebook group thus far?

RS: We have 800 members. How many of them are actually practicing, I don’t know. I do know that 2 of them are going to be taking this to Bulgaria and there is a women’s group in the UK and members in about 8 states in the USA. at least.

What I believe is that women have to understand that making these sounds in circles with other women is freeing, not traumatizing. Outrage about the planet is bigger than personal anger, and although the sounds make bring up personal memories, if women get together and express their outrage on behalf of animals, the earth, the air, the water……it is healing.

SM: It is my hope that this article would expand that many-fold. What is the ultimate goal of Fierce Heart?

RS: In my mind, the ultimate goal is for women to quit getting stuck in divisive issues and come together to express their outrage, which is a form of fierce love. It’s not personal angst, its way beyond that.

It’s howling for the dying polar bears, for the plastic filled oceans, for immigrants being separated from their families. Choose your interest.

I see circles of Fierce Heat Women with banners that say Fierce Heat participating in demonstrations in circles Using Sound to shift the energy. Not getting stuck in language. Sound is powerful. Sound is a game changer. I want women to find their authentic Voices, not have to sound like men to be heard. First sounds, then words. People are very results oriented, goal oriented, but change is not linear. One thing makes another possible.

Energy builds in leaps and spurts. I hope Fierce Heart becomes a movement that endures, that allows women to take to the street, form circles, and make this sound that has been missing on this planet for so many generations. Because the goal is empowerment of women outside a patriarchal structure.

SM: Do you see this going beyond the November elections?

RS: I hope this goes beyond elections, but this is not up to me. We have a goal of getting as many women as possible outside Oct 21st to make sounds.

If the timing is right, this will have its own life. Women will realize this is empowering and energizing. It’s all about if women are willing and ready to wake up. I personally feel that humanity is in big need of women waking up. Big need. Women need to know they ARE a force of nature. They are powerful.

********************************

Fierce Heart is definitely a place for women to be. We need to find our hearts, our voice, our power. With these, together we can change the world.

I encourage all of you to check out the the Facebook Fierce Heart group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/221315182029680/ and see if it is good place for you, too! There are sample videos of what a Fierce Heart practice can look and sound like, as well as a downloadable poster for those who might wish to start a local group.

I, for one, am planning on starting a local Fierce Heart group here in southern Massachusetts; if you live around that area or in nearby RI and are interested, please email me at [email protected]

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

My Name is Isis

As I was considering what to write for this column this month, I thought there was so much to choose from: the @MeToo phenomonen, more political attacks against reproductive freedom and women’s agency, attacks on LGBTQ, attacks on our Mother Earth, and so much more……you get the picture, I am sure. But then I came across this, and it said in a few words what I probably would have written in two pages.

This is short, sweet and simple, and yet gets the message across.

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

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(Menstrual Night. Original art by Emily Balivet, may be found on her etsy site EmilyBalivet.)


Welcome to “A Woman’s Place……”, Pagan Pages’ new feminist column.

As some may have noticed, with the election to the US presidency of a man who is a racist, misogynist, homophobic, narcissistic bully, incidents of racism, anti-semitism, homophopia and misogyny are rising at a massive rate, all of which are distressing and disturbing. This column will address each of these issues, as feminism, for many of us, goes beyond just equal rights for women, but equal rights and social justice for all.

Recently, while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came upon this article – America 2017: Georgia Woman Fired for Menstruating on the Job

With this, we harken back to biblical times, when women were unclean and had to be kept separate from the rest of their tribe.

With this, we harken back to the days when women would hide their moon-time supplies in a closet so that the children, and yes, their husbands would not see them and remind them that our bodies do something *dirty* every month.

With this, we, each of us, remember that day when we were still young (or older, it doesn’t matter) that we were caught unprepared and were laughed at, or worse yet, called disgusting names such as “pig” and hear “ugh, what the hell is that?” What woman has not been there at some point in her life.

It is a simple fact that all women get their periods, and that most of us, at one time or another, will have an accident.

This does not mean, as this article states that, (she failed to)…..”practice high standards of personal hygiene and maintain a clean, neat appearance while on duty”. This comment by her employer intimates that because this woman had her period, she was not clean (read: unclean).

The slippery slope that women have been on these past few years has just gotten more slippery. We are close to losing bodily autonomy. We can now lose our jobs for healthy bodily functions. There is at least one state out there that has voted for us to not have jobs or homes if we take birth control or have had an abortion. See: Missouri Votes to Let Employers Fire People Who Use Birth Control

Women need to fight back, just as this GA woman who was fired from her job is fighting back. She is not fighting back just for herself, she is fighting back for all of us. We should all stand with her because if we do not, who will stand up for us when the time comes? It will come, this is the direction we are being led by the patriarchal culture that we live in.

Yes, I know, there are women who see this and say, “well, she is dirty if she cannot keep that from happening”. I have seen the comments. Many feminists think of women such as this as traitors, and male-identified. This may be so, maybe not, I have no idea. What I do know is that as women, we need to stand together and support and encourage each other, not judge each other and drag each other down.

As women, have you heard of The Red Tent Movement? It is for reasons such as this, that this movement exists. Women need to connect to other women. We need to remember that our bodies, our blood is sacred. It is powerful; it is magickal. Our blood is keyed to the phases of the moon – how cool is that? Women need to educate themselves, start to see and believe in the sacredness of who they are, find the Goddess within and without. See: Red Tent Temple Movement 

So, please be aware, look around and wake up to the things that are happening around you, especially now while we are in the power of a man and the majority of a political party that would seem to hate women, and want them to be put back in the place they once occupied.

Have you watched or read The Handmaid’s Tale? Our bodies are being policed more and more, and this is no longer fiction.

Oh, the name of this column, “A Woman’s Place……”? In case you didn’t know where that place was, I will give you a hint — it’s everywhere.

*Disclaimer: The opinions reflected here belong to the author and in no way reflect the opinion of Pagan Pages or any of their other columnists.

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, WriterTeacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess, as well as Mago Publications She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Womens Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through Imagine A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

For Amazon Information Click on Image

 

 

 

The Naked Goddess

 

(Last month’s cover of PaganPageOrg, Goddess by Angie Yelton At FalconFire Ceramics Studio)

 

The censoring of female Goddess bodies is apparently not a new thing. While Greek and Roman Gods had their genitals lovingly crafted, in all shapes, ages and sizes, there is no hint of a cleft on the white marble. It symbolises the Greek, then later Roman idea that women must (especially in public) be silent. While this silence of your vulvic voice is not new, taboo is always, always drawn from something powerful and sacred. At least to James Frazier.

 


Greece bronze-age culture seems to be the turning point from the Minoan, Egyptian and other Goddess cultures. Before that Goddess were made in their multitude. Yet the context is differs. The observer is trying to express something, and while some are nude and some are not they lack the objectifying gaze. When you look at a Greek Goddess statue they are posed not to be observed, but objectified. There is a pornography, almost predatory quality to how these women are designed to be viewed. In stark contrast the snake grasping Goddess or priestess from the Minoan culture whom is bare breasted gazes out defiant, triumphant even. This is the context. The difference between observing, bearing witness to the power of the female form and leering at it.

 


This “pornifcation” of the body, of nakedness, especially female nakedness is even more apparent in the modern internet age. It comes from those whom are in power or powerful positions within Instagram and Facebook judging images and only being able to view images of female bodies through this lens. Nakedness is not inherently sexual. Those observing seem to lack the ability to tell the difference between images observing female stories and bodies (even Goddesses) and the objectifying frame of pornography.

 


Pornography does not have to be nude to be pornography. It is designed to arouse and stimulate a sexual response. In fact near nakedness, or its illusion is a key trait in some pornography. It is more titillating to almost see something than to see it. So much of our media is at least tinted with this toxic view point. Again context is key.

 


Much of this stems from tech industries really struggling with these concepts and a failure to see something fundamental. Something so simple and true it seems obvious: women are people.

 


This idea that women are not cattle to be bought and sold is still radical in some places. Yet in the West we like to think we are enlightened while simultaneously eroding their humanity. You can be strong, independent and fierce, as long as you attractive. In cool, absolutely. Were they gorgeous?

 

Without a doubt. Was it the point? Not in the slightest. They were (ironically) more like those Minoan figures, breasts bared holding the snakes aloft.
The female nipple, her menses, Divine Goddess nude or otherwise are part of our story, our lives and in erasing them is part of the problem. We must mould our digital Goddesses as they were once made out of clay. With hips and breasts, in all shapes, ages and colours, with scars and lions. We must not let them silencer words “be what you like, so long as titillates me to watch you do it”.

 

 

(Goddess of Willendorf)

 

This is why Wonder Woman was such a revelation to me. That gaze was absent. It was the observer, not the objectifier who held the camera, told the story. It didn’t care how “pretty” the Amazons were while they were running screaming into battle. Was it e us, because they know the vulva speaks.

I’m part of a lot of spiritual groups and on one of them someone posted this.

Well I had a lot to say, because I feel like that gender (which is more complicated than a binary) is absolutely important to talk about. I am never comfortable when someone says we should talk about something. Silence has a very specific power.

My main issue with this is one group or part of the gender spectrum have had the power, privilege and control of everything, including spirituality for thousands of years. We cannot “white wash” this out of spirituality. When you fail to acknowledge this privilege, the differences, difficulties and discrimination that happens, you add to it. There are more than two genders. Yet pretending gender doesn’t have a bias, that wider societies and cultures doesn’t hugely favour one over everything else is wrong. You are ignoring the problem. I liken this to when privileged white people (like me) say “I don’t see colour”. It effectively erases the thing about a person or group you have and historically have issues with. It is literally removing the part of a person or groups identity. It also allows passive discrimination, bias and abuse to occur.

Spirituality can never be divorced from society. The body politic, if you will. That is why privilege always comes in. We cannot ignore the bias towards certain groups or genders. Ignoring what is happen in a larger cultural context doesn’t make it more spiritual. Spiritual is an expression of the sacred authenticity of people. It always has a cultural context. In real life terms this means folks whom are non-binary, trans, LGBTQ+ or female are going to suffer more discrimination, abuse than those not. From harassment to income, to insurance and medical care, one group significantly is more secure, more safe, and better off.

This has an effect. From spiritual courses requiring money and travel to not having a bathroom you can use, it will have an impact. This totally removes the right of those suffering to say anything if there “is no gender”. It robs them of their identity and silences them to the difficulties and joys about their lives that make them unique.

We, spiritual and pagan people should care and recognize gender, in all its diversity. We should care because we should be advocating, creating spaces and being aware that being different is beautiful and a strength.

Spirituality is not passive or weak. Kindness and inclusivity is a strength, it is courageous.

I don’t know, what I don’t know. However I am open to listening. Listening to trans, non-binary and gender fluid people as well as the scores of women around me.

I am aware that the patriarchal hangovers and wider social norms creep into our lives often without us seeing them. There is a darker more insidious message in this short post though. Setting up the Christian dichotomy of “spirit as good and body is bad” that has been used to torture and abuse millions for thousands of years. This body verses spirit things exactly plays to these problems with body politics and gender issues. It robs people of their loving divine connection to their bodies and lives. It villainises healthy sexual desire, normal bodily function, and the power of the physical world. It divorces and stigmatizes the powerful animal instincts that dwell within.

The “animal” within is not a malign influence that must be erased or destroyed or caged. Doing so removes a deep and divine force within. If it is respected and held in balance it is wise. If it is repressed or caged it reacts like any caged wild animal would. Of course if it runs riot we become less, diminishing any part of the whole makes us less. We are instinct and intellect. We are our desires and our ability to wait or let them go. We can dwell within desire, be it sexual, hunger or rage, acknowledge them and not act. Yet unless you learn to respect and listen this animal side will act out. Repressing parts of ourselves (usually out of shame) is deeply damaging and not spiritual.

It might look like it from the outside. It might look saint-like and perfect but it just isn’t authentic to a whole person. Now some folks are wolf-spirited, some are more like deer, or lions or elephants. It is not my place to tell anyone what their inner animal must be. Or their gender. Or sexuality.

Yet I will honour them. I will make space, and listen, most of all listen. I will acknowledge my position of relative privilege as a white bi-sexual female that people are more understanding or accepting of me in certain places than people whom are differently gendered. I will speak up and stand up to the injustices and intolerance. I will bridge my ignorance with kindness and recognition.

 

 

LILITH

(Painting by John Collier – Source: Wikipedia)

When my children were small, I was good friends with a woman whose birth family practiced Orthodox Judaism. We had known each other many years, our children were close and we had each been to many family gatherings. One summer, we were attending a pool party at her house and her parents were in attendance. I went to say hello to her father and then asked him about Lilith, as the first wife of Adam. His response was to look at me, say nothing, then turn to walk away. He never really spoke to me much afterward.

THAT is the power of Lilith.

Who was the powerful woman? Was she a demon? Was she a woman that refused to be subservient to a man? Did she leave Eden on her own? Was she kicked out?

Her origins seems to be rooted in Babylonian demonology. In Sumerian, her name comes for “lilitu”, which means “female demon” or “wind spirit”.

In the Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh, the hero (Gilgamesh) goes to help the Goddess Inanna, who was being beset by demons, one of which was Lilith. This part of the tale was added some 600 years after the original.

(Source: YouTube)

In Jewish tradition, Lilith is a dark demon, but others see her as a dark Goddess, but either way, she is ancient and powerful. In the Talmud, she was described as being sexually wanton and the stealer of men’s sperm from which she gave birth to demons. The Talmud, the book of civil and ceremonial law, states, “It is forbidden for a man to sleep alone in a house, lest Lilith get hold of him”.

It is in the Genesis Rabba, religious texts with rabbinical interpretations of Genesis, that we first hear of Lilith as the first woman, created at the same time as Adam.

Adam demanded that she life beneath him and she refused. Adam wanted her to be subservient to him and she refused. She stated, “We are equal because we are both created from the earth.”

(Photo Source: The Lilith Library)

This myth was added to book “The Alphabet of Ben Sira”, which added that Lilith then fled into the desert. Adam complains to God that the woman that was given to him has left. Three angels are sent after her. The angels tell her that she must return but she refuses and says, strangely, that she knows that she was made to harm children, but that if she sees the names of these angels on amulets, then that child will be saved.

Some would say that when she refused to lie beneath Adam, that she was turned into a demon, a succubus, and banished from Eden. For some, she became a sacred whore, beautiful, dangerous, who would seduce men and kill them.

Eve was then created from Adam’s rib, making her made from him, submissive to him and would lie beneath him.

She has been an influence in literary characters, such as in “The Coming of Lilith” by Judith Plaskow, among many other stories, novels and poems. It is said that C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia”, that the White Witch was influenced by Lilith. There is the Lilith Faire, which raises money for battered women’s shelters and breast cancer awareness.

Girl God Publications has the “My Name is……” series, written for children, where Goddesses who have been demonized, have their stories told in a positive, affirmative manner. The third in this series is “My Name is Lilith“, by Monette Chilson, which I highly recommend.

(Photo: Amazon)

Lilith has become an icon for feminists who see her refusal to lie beneath Adam as a call to freedom, a rallying cry to break away from the bonds of

patriarchy.

She can be looked to for inspiration in being and accepting who we are – strong, empowered, independent women, making our own choices and living the lives we choose.

Blessings!

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

My Name is Isis: The Egyptian Goddess

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