Friday, August 05, 2011

Glastonbury Goddess Conference 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hidden Temple of the Goddess

On Monday my daughter and granddaughter took us to Greenlands Farm near Carnforth in north west Lancashire so that Eleanor (22 months) could get some first hand experience of the farm animals and pets. Like many small farms they have diversified to help make ends meet and apart from the animals there is a delightful cafe and a "village" of small shops. We also discovered the studio of a local sculptor and ceramic artist, Wyn Abbot. It was immediately obvious that Wyn has a living interest in ancient Goddess cultures and her little studio is something of a treasure of Goddess art.

I was very taken with this "Hidden Temple of the Goddess" and after a little plotting with my daughter about my upcoming birthday it was purchased and now has pride of place at home. The photo cannot quite show just what an obvious work of love this piece is. It certainly passed from heart to heart.

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Monday, October 04, 2010

Goddess Temple Budapest

Thankfully there are now a number of Goddess Temples across Europe, the Americas and Australia. After a very busy few months it was a joy to visit the city of Budapest, meet wonderful friends and visit the Goddess Temple in the heart of Pest. The Temple is spacious, beautiful and filled with Her presence. The seed sown at the Temple's opening in Autumn 2006 had clearly taken root and grown strong. A peaceful sacred space where it is easy to be touched by Her love. The Mother Goddess image from the one-time Hungarian region of Transylvania is especially evocative.

In August I visited the exhibition of Goddess's from Old Europe at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Many of those images were lovingly crafted in the Danube valley five and a half thousand years ago. Such archetypes never go away and now once again the Danube has a Temple.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Discovering Bantock

One of life's many pleasures is undoubtedly the enjoyment of good music. During my life I have attended numerous concerts and festivals and spent many hours listening to BBC Radio 3 and ClassicFM. After a while it is easy to think I am familiar with most composers and their works. But occasionally there is the discovery of some new gem. I well remember hearing "The Imagined Sound of Sun on Stone" by the little known Scottish Composer, Sally Beamish at the Orkney Festival in 1999. A wondrous tone poem describing the neolithic solstice sun rising over the Ring of Brodgar at Stenness.

By a little serendipity I have recently discovered the works of a British composer whose very existence had remained completely unkown to me. Granville Bantock was born in London in 1868 and seems to have been a man after my own heart. There are photographs of him dressed in bardic robes and he was fascinated in ancient cultures. He loved the Hebrides and he loved exploring sacred sites and his Celtic past. He named his house, "Tir-nan-Og." Two of his symphonies are entitled "Hebridean" (1915) and "Celtic" (1940). Much of his music has a decidedly pagan association.

So this weekend I bought three Hyperion CDs (what would we do without the discography of Hyperion). Bantock's wonderful choral setting for Contralto and Orchestra of the extant lesbian poems of Sappho translated by his partner, Helena. His Symphony in praise of Aprhrodite in Cyprus and his Pagan Symphony (1928). Once I began to listen I was hooked and wondered why his music has been so neglected since his death in 1946.

George Bernard Shaw was apparently asked to write a tribute to Bantock and replied, "Never mind tributes - play his music." As I close this post Sappho's 'Hymn to Aphrodite' translated and set to music by the Bantock's is indeed playing.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

The wonder of life

Here in Brighid's Isles we have got rather used to dull, wet, mild winters. This winter has been rather different as we are now in the third week of settled, bright, cold weather with the occasional heavy snowfall. On the moor where I live the landscape has been covered in snow for some time now and as I look out of the window the sun is just setting over a beautiful scene of snow with naked trees and birds silhouetted against a clear sky. After a day of unbroken sunshine the outside thermometer climbed to -2C after having fallen to a low of -7C overnight. The recent blue moon was magnificent against the cold winter night sky. I hear snatches of conversation amongst the young rejoicing that they have had the first white Christmas of their lives.

I find it truly magical that if I carefully brush aside the snow I can find snowdrops pushing their way through Mother Earth searching for the light that will give them the energy to grow, flower and reproduce. Carefully brushing the snow back I leave them protected under Mother's own duvet; aware that these special flowers are the true heralds of spring. Sacred to Brighid, determiners of Imbolc I wait expectantly for the first tiny white flower to raise its head to the sun.

Meanwhile the clear cold sky is now shot through with red and the landscape takes on the twin colours of fertility. New life will soon spring forth, new possibility, new beginnings. The wonder of it all.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The strange invention of boredom

In the general open house of the holiday season I was visited by a dear friend and her daughter. As always our home had numerous books scattered around. Looking at them the daughter said, "You know, I have never read a book except when told to do so at school." Then her mother said, "Neither have I". I am now going to misquote something I half caught on the TV recently making it my own. "Humans are amazingly inventive. In a world full of magic, mystery and wonder they managed to invent boredom."

Goddess has given us so much, the gift of life itself, an appreciation of beauty, music and dance, love and friendship. But above all a world shot through with beauty, magic, mystery and wonder. The world is so full of these things that you could contemplate a single flower for months and be no where near understanding its beauty. In such a world it should be impossible to be bored. There is just so much mystery and beauty and if the natural occurrence of these things is not enough then so much of them have been distilled into books just waiting to be opened and read. We are human precisely because we tell stories and in telling stories touch the divine.

At the end of the year I give thanks for the delights of life, love, friends, family and work. May 2010 be open to beauty, magic, mystery and wonder.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Solstice blessings

On a dark, black night,
Love lights a lamp.
You can’t hear the voice
of the One whose love
carries your heart away.
Forests, marshes,
the deep tanglewood
where one fears wild beasts
with every breath:
those whose love is perfect
will cross wastelands, seas,
the dark forests of the heart.

Bo, this is so beautiful