The Rowdy Goddess

An Ecstatic Vision of the Goddess, dancing in harmony with the Universe.

Archive for the category “God of Wicca”

Winter’s Grip and Spring’s Embrace

Yesterday, the sun was shining very brightly here in Central New York, and it was also snowing.  I was watching the tiny flakes being driven by a fierce, frigid wind.  I smiled, or tried to, at the sun and frowned, with no effort at all, at the snow.  Today it is overcast with a cold wind and occasional snow flurries.  Even though we are now in spring, it is not apparent down here on earth.  I have whined and kvetched a great deal to anyone who will listen and there is a general crankiness wherever I go.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the stern winter Goddess, Morana and how her fierceness and unyielding coldness reflects the harshness of winters.  Her husband is the Jarilo, the God of Spring.  Jarilo is the son of the thunder God, Perun and twin brother to Morana, goddess of winter and death.
Jarilo is associated with the time of springtime to harvest. Jarilo is stolen from his father and taken to the underworld where he is adopted by his father’s enemy, Velez, god of the Underworld. In the spring, Jarilo returns to the world and his return is noticed by his sister and goddess. They court according to established rituals and are married. He is, however,unfaithful, and she slays him and he returns to the underworld. She becomes a withered and stern hag, bringing the harshness of winter to the world.  He is reborn and they are reunited for a very brief time every year.

Where she is hard, he is soft.  Where he is new and fresh, she is old,and wearisome.  Where he is vulnerable and approachable, she is unyielding and stern.  They are the bifurcation of the year and their story is played out again and again, just as the Wheel of the Year keeps on turning.

He is a reminder to us, a hope and a prayer in this interminable weather, that Spring does come and bless us with warmth, delight, and play.

The Charge of Jarilo

I call to you, Children of Winter
To remember the spring.
As you walk and work in the landscapes
Of winter and darkness,
Remember the turning of the wheel.
Know that the wheel turns and
The cycle begins again.

What happens in one cycle, we cannot have in the others
That is the strange, sad truth of joy
And the hopeful, happy truth of sorrow.
Each phase and each turning is different
With the joys and challenges of its own truth.
Remember as you dwell in the present.
Hope and warmth are on the way.
Live in coldness and seek that wisdom.
Blessed be the darkness and the cold.
Blessed Be to you. Children of Winter.

The Horned God, a Teacher for Winter

The Horned God is the evocative name a 20th century melding of several ancient images of gods such as Cernunos, Herne the Hunter, Pan, Dionysus, Janus, and Green Man.  Not much exists in writing and the oral tradition has been lost, so modern pagans worship the male energy force of winter as the Horned God.  He is the Great Father, the Lord of Winter with sovereignty of the male aspect of creation and fertility.  He has the power of creation and destruction.  He harvests the land of dead animals and cares for the land in the cold dark of winter.While the Horned God may be a modern derivation of ancient images, the ancient and powerful life (and death) force her represents remains present in our world and in our lives.

The Charge of the Horned God

Hear now the charge of the Horned God,

I who am called Lord of the Wild Hunt, Herne, Cernunnos, Pan, Janus and many other names.

Know that I am here and present in the winter of your lives,

Guiding, harvesting, and knowing you soul.

Be strong of heart and body in the cold and dark

And you will be stronger still in the light and warmth.

Be in tune with the turning of the Wheel

And live each season according to its turning.

Tune your life to the rhythms of the world

And you will know my creation, my destruction

And my love.

My touch may be cold, but it will warm you soul

With connection, power, and strength.

Be compassionate with those who are weaker

And be understanding of those you do not comprehend.

Know the mystery of contradiction

And live in the rhythm and melding of opposing forces.

Live the short days and rest peaceful in the long nights.

Be one with me and know peace.

Blessed be


Felon Friends and Pen Pals: How it all happened

It started with a naive assumption and a good heart. We were in a pagan group together and we wanted to connect with other pagans. So we listed our names and addresses in a directory of pagan groups. This was back in the day before the ubiquity of the internet, so–hooray!– we made connections when letters started arriving.
Here’s the kicker. The letters were from inmates seeking connection with other pagans. I laughingly called my fellow witch and said thank you for the new friends, calling them “felon friends.” The name stuck as we referred to the burgeoning prison correspondence as “the felon friends.” There weren’t many and the few inmates had intriguing stories and seemed very sincere. We sent them our newsletter and wrote personal letters.
About that time, I started offering correspondence courses. As a matter of fact, three of the four books I’ve written and published started out as correspondence courses. You guessed it! A good proportion of the subscribers were incarcerated pagans. As I drifted away from my former group, the felon friends continued to write to both of us, or at least to me. Inmates would pass my name on to others and my correspondence grew. It was very absorbing work and I learned a lot about how to deal with inmates. There are few resources for pagans working with inmates and sometimes the advice came from the inmates themselves. Many of them became very protective of me, giving me advice about how to tell the sincere seekers from the manipulators and the fakes.
Most of the faithful writers were eager for correspondence courses. I did a Tarot course using Learning the Tarot, and I did a “God of the Month,” using my then unpublished book, The Wild God. So one day I realized I needed to ‘get real’ about this ministry and act like it was a ministry. I organized myself and took my in person beginning Wicca class which I call The Initiation of Athena and divided up into chapters, wrote questions, and designed a course ending with a dedication. I figured it would take a year and a day. what I didn’t figure was the different mail restrictions in different prisons and different states. What I didn’t figure is the enormous time it took to review and comment on the questions, to answer letters, keep good records, to make the copies and to get to the post office.
At one point, I formed it as a coven, The Coven of the Barbed Pentacle. We had a newsletter and when someone finished the course, there was a self-dedication ritual and I made up a certificate. The first person to finish was very dedicated and it took almost exactly two years. It was a happy and proud moment for us both.
One of the inmates gave my name to a newsletter that went out to incarcerated pagans across the country. I had 100 people, mostly men, in 21 states. To run a correspondence service of this size took most of the weekend and evenings during the week. It took a good investment of money (for postage and copying) and time. Most inmates are destitute but a few would send money or stamps when they could. One of the newsletter issues was financed 100% by inmate donations. A proud moment.
I would get phone calls and sometimes inmates would pass my name on to their chaplains or others so I would get calls from chaplains asking for advice on how to accomodate those observing pagan and Wiccan religions.
I was a priestess to inmates for more than five years with little help from others (more on that later). It took a lot of time, effort, and expense. It was the focus of my spiritual work, my spiritual practice, and my understanding of service to the gods. It can be and was for me, a burn-out situation. Inmates are demanding, their stories are sad, and sometimes their manipulation is evident but sometimes not. If I skipped a weekend or missed a night of writing letters, I got behind. Their letters reflected anger, disappointment, dismay, and concern.
I was getting burnt out. I was getting further and further behind. In some ways, I set myself up for failure. The process I developed was very individual and based on a personal response so there was no way to make this a ‘factory’ approach. One day a letter from an inmate — for whom I’d gone the extra mile — arrived that was a screaming accusation about how I took his money and gave him nothing in return (I used the money for the newsletter) and that I was another in a long line of betrayers of his trust.
That was the last letter I read from an inmate, with one exception. Months went by, then a year. I don’t throw the letters out. I keep them thinking one day, I will write a letter of apology and maybe refer them elsewhere. I didn’t end my services to them with honor and I still feel remorse and guilt over that.
Meanwhile, I was getting phone calls from the Department of Corrections, asking for information on accomodating pagan inmates observences of their religion. Ocassionally they would want someone to come into the prisons and lead groups. Amazingly, I had been able to find people. It’s a rare and wonderful person who has the right kind of skills to do that. Kudos to all prison chaplains, pagans or otherwise!
As a result of some of my consulting, I was named in a law suit last year; the defendant inmate claiming that I along with the prison chaplain and warden were violating his right to observe his . Luckily for me, the Department of Corrections added me to their consultancy list so I was represented by the state attorney general and didn’t have to retain my own lawyers. I just filed documents, answered questions, reviewed documents. Eventually, the case against me was dropped.
Yesterday, a letter arrived at my work, marked “legal materials.” It was from an inmate demanding I provide an affadavit for his lawsuit against the Department of Corrections. The letter questioned my credentials and abilities. But more upsetting was that this inmate had my work address because the DOC had sent him a copy of the fax cover sheet. My feelings on this are still rather raw. My sense of privacy is violated and my ability to keep this work separate from my work is also destroyed. Luckily, the people who opened the mail and saw the letter are confidential and trustworthy.
And so it will go on. In the next post, I will write some reflections on the process, the call to service, and what I learned from the felon friends.
Best wishes and be good, or at least stay out of jail. It is not a nice place.

The Wild God: A Worth Consort for the Rowdy Goddess


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. It’s been busy. The coolest thing. My new book came out in June from Spilled Candy. The Wild God is off and running. I got an unexpected bouquet when Murv Sellars recommended the book as a “must have” to someone inquiring about a book on men and the craft. [2013 note, the book is currently out of print]
This was a wonderful book to write and hard to get published. Books on men in the Craft don’t sell, according to the publishers. At least don’t sell fast enough or hard enough for the big publishers to invest in it. It takes small publishers committed to serving the community. Such is Lorna Tedder and her staff at Spilled Candy. Many thanks to them.
If you are woman and you wish to find a God who loves you and serves you, He’s here. If you are a man and you wish to find a positive, authentic way to look at the sacred masculine. He’s here.
It’s a wild ride and time for the Wild God and the Rowdy Goddess to play.
May your journey bring you joy!

The Sacred Dance of Feminine and Masculine

The Sacred Dance of Feminine and Masculine

“When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity she finally began to enjoy being a woman.” — Betty Friedan

At work earlier this week, we had a women’s luncheon in honor of Women’s History Month. On the table were rectangles of colored paper with different quotes about women or about living as a woman. This one really struck me because I have always struggled with the concepts of femininity. What do they mean to me, and how can I live up to them? Do I want to live up to them?

When I was younger and a Christian, the concept of femininity was harder to deal with because it involved being submissive and obedient, often to people for whom I had little or no respect; it was expected because they were men. The group was organized around the polarities of masculine and feminine–the “guys” were in separate teams from the “gals.” At one point, the guy’s teams let it be known that they’d like the gals to dress more feminine. Since we were in college in the heyday of the jeans and tshirt era, I could only assume that meant dresses and make-up. Actually that was what it was. Clearly, being smart and witty and devoted to Spirit were not particularly feminine ideals!

Fast forward many years, and here I am in the pagan and Goddess community where feminine and masculine are considered sacred and mirrored in our lives and the world around us. Everytime anyone described the qualities of the Sacred Feminine, they tended to center on the same sort of characteristics and sometimes echoing the qualities of a Christian “gal,” awakening more doubts for me. Everytime I thought of a characteristic of the Sacred Feminine, I could think of a man who demonstrated these as well or better than any woman I knew. And vice versa for Sacred Masculine.
The last thing I wanted to do was have a list of essential qualities for the Sacred Feminine and another opposite list of essential qualities for the Sacred Masculine. Eek. No one can measure up to that kind of essentialism. Not even the Goddess or the God.

I read somewhere, and I can’t remember where [darn it] that when we conceptualize the Sacred as Feminine and Masculine and we assign qualities to it, we need to think of those qualities in the broadest and most expansive ways. That to say that the feminine energy is negative and masculine energy is positive is to describe the energetic flow of power and it is in no way analogous to our lives in our societes. In this case, the Sacred Feminine and Masculine are not comparable to the lives we lived situated in place and time. To understand these sacred energies, we must move out or our lives and move into the energetic flow of the Universe. When we do, we gain a new understanding. We learn to reframe our old understanding of how the world works. So the idea that negative is bad no longer makes sense, and we learn that negative and positive are just kinds of energy. Like a battery. Both are needed to power the Universe.

That helped me to realize that I was bound by my own experiences of place and time, and to understand who and what the Sacred is, I need to move out of that into the ecstatic Universe. And like so many things, it is so difficult to articulate. It is because we are describing feelings and experiences. The Sacred, both feminine and masculine, must be experienced in our souls as well as in our bodies. We can wrap our minds around it, but we may not be able to describe it in a way that will be understandable to someone else. Even if we can, their experiences may lead them in another dance towards a different understanding. And then we all meld together in the Sacred, dancing in the light and the dark. Ecstatic, rowdy, and joyful!!

“Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.”
–Fatih Whittlesey.

Learning about the Goddess and the God

Learning About the Goddess & the God

Because of my academic background, I believe it is important to be grounded in scholarship but not be bound up in it. It’s a balance between what others can teach you and your own internal wisdom; sometimes called UPG, or “unverified personal gnosis.” Equally as valid and sometimes even more so as we learn to dance with the Old Ones.

Think about how you were in junior high. And then think about how you are now. Certainly you retain some of that essence but you have grown and become something different, haven’t you? Thank heavens I have!! So has the Goddess. She does not remain static as the deity of yesteryear. She moves through the heavens and dances with the stars, ever becoming.

This is something I wrote five years ago in Womonspeak, “What I believe…is that many of the goddess stories have been mis-tod and that we can retrieve her stories by asking Her what they are. Embedded in the HIStory stories are the real woman-centered stories of heart and soul….and I call upon her courage, wisdom and dark mystery. You won’t find the real [goddess] in Ovid or Bulfinch but you find her in your heart and soul. I believe that Perfection lies in process and we are evolving as is the Goddess. So the Goddess become what she becomes and the whole process is Perfection. The song, “I am a child of the Universe, being born every moment” has deep meaning if we believe that “I am goddess.” It means that the Goddess is not bound by the patriarchal writings of the past but is being born each moment.”

Just as we are not bound by our own past. We create and re-create ourselves whenever we stand true to our own ecstatic and wild nature.

So when I’m called by a Goddess or a God. I do the research. I am a librarian by nature as well as by training! And then I meditate, journey, pray and walk with this Goddess. I draw Her down and feel her wisdom.
Then I write or embroider or find a way to express the wonder that I’ve discovered.

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