It is free random sex chat in cuvon to know exactly how many exist, due to the decentralization of covens, the variety of neo-pagan traditions, and the fact that many witches practice alone without being members of a coven. Adler traces the revival of witchcraft to several early writers, in particular Charles Leland inMargaret Murray inand Gerald Gardner, who published several books rqndom the s. Covens from srx states ed together in to form the Covenant of the Goddess COG to get recognition for witchcraft as a legitimate and legally recognized religion.
All Wiccan covens free random sex chat in cuvon the primary divinity to fee female, and refer to "the Goddess. Because of the emphasis on female creativity, divinity, and authority, as well as the leadership of female witches within the group, all covens support feminist ideology to some degree. Nevertheless, as Adler informs us, The Traditional Craft is solidly based on the idea of male female polarity, which is basic to most Craft magical working and ritual symbology Adler, Radical feminist witches are known within the Wiccan community as Dianics, after the goddess Diana.
Unlike traditional witches, most Dianics celebrate an autonomous female principle as divine, excluding both the male principle and men. They have incorporated feminist concepts of sex, gender, and power relationships into their understanding of the divine. Thus, their religion has become political and their politics religious. This has created controversy in the larger pagan community, where Dianics have been accused of being "too Dianic," a phrase they take to mean too feminist, too separatist, and far too political.
Budapest, who, with a few other women, started the first Dianic coven in Los Angeles in For Dianic witches, the spiritual and the personal are viewed as political. The "work" accomplished through magic and ritual is perceived as leading toward an elimination of the patriarchal mindframe Collins, ; Spretnak, The Dianic tradition deconstructs patriarchal ideas about religions, society, and human nature, replacing them with a belief system that values women, their creativity, nurturing qualities, and love for and connection with nature.
All of this is subsumed in the concept of the Goddess. Newcomers are cautioned that the symbolism of the Goddess should not be seen rancom "Yaweh with a skirt,". The Dianic notion of the Goddess stands in sharp contrast, as described by Starhawk, a well-known politically active witch and d psychotherapist: The Goddess does not rule the world, she is the world The importance of the Goddess inspires women to see ourselves as divine, our bodies as sacred, the changing phases of our lives as holy, our aggression as healthy, our anger as purifying and our power to nurture and create, but also to limit and destroy when necessary, as the very force that sustains cufon life.
We can move beyond narrow, constricting roles and become whole Starhawk, In CR, women met to share experiential truths in an environment which arndom men. For some, this led to a recognition of widespread and systematic oppression of women. Self-identified "radical feminists" originally used this label to ify their commitment to uncovering and destroying the causes of this oppression, which they believed to be at the root of all other systems of oppression.
Radical feminists have since explored feminist alternatives in fields such as music, literature, health, sexuality, and spirituality.
The witching hour
Thus, it is not surprising that the Wiccan movement should have attracted radical feminists among others looking for community and meaning during a period of rapid social change. According to Spiderwoman, the "dethroning of the Goddess" and the development of patriarchal religions are at the root of women's oppression. As Adler argues, feminism has had an enormous impact on the Craft.
In an attempt to differentiate their religious traditions from mainstream religions, Rwndom claim to have no dogma, doctrine, or sacred book. This idea was reiterated frequently in the Circle of the Redwood Moon. Yet it represents a claim that, in sociological terms, cannot be taken at face value, but sxe be interpreted. The stress falls on engaging in practices that witches believe change consciousness and awaken what Starhawk calls the "power within.
The power free random sex chat in cuvon is achieved through ritual, meditation, and other techniques. It is also considered to be the Goddess, regarded as immanent in nature, human beings, and personal relationships.
As such, the Goddess represents "the normative image of immanence" Starhawk,the interconnectedness of all things. Magic gandom believed to char possible because the forces of energy are connected, even if they appear to be separate. Thus Wicca stresses linking or relinking the divine within us and the divine around us in the natural world. Besides chxt concept of immanence as manifested by the Goddess, Budapest free random sex chat in cuvon that an "important cornerstone philosophy" of Dianic Wicca is the concept of trinity, rather than duality.
Redwood Moon's Priestess rree Philosophy, Aletheia, explained to us: The very concept of dualities, of the polarity of male vs. The concept of the trinity is syncretic rather than oppositional. It refers to the dynamic and continuous cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth represented by the Goddess' three aspects of Maiden, Mother, and Ucvon.
Symbols of the Darkness: Death and Regeneration The Crone The third aspect of the Goddess, the Crone, is the Dianic symbol that best represents how the religion gives meaning to death and dying. The Crone is often portrayed as the third Fury who cuts the thread of life. She is seen by Dianics as a natural and necessary part of the life cycle. Her season is late fall and winter, when the earth moves toward darkness with the shortening of the days.
As Spiderwoman says "This is the time of turning crops under into the soil, the dying time of year.
Her special ritual or sabbat is Hallowmas on October Hallowmas is a rite of passage wherein witches symbolically "pass through the veil between the worlds," enter the darkness, and meet the Crone. Her sabbat is the last one of the year and is referred to as "Women's New Char Budapest, It is a reminder that endings are always jn by beginnings. There is a more gentle aspect to the Crone as well. Sometimes death is a welcomed friend. As the bringer of death, the Crone also ends pain.
Some Dianics believe that, at some unspecified time in the past, terminally ill people went to "dying houses" and were gently guided in dying by women who served the Crone. She ransom often seen as the loving, protective grandmother. Having passed menopause, the Crone is believed to "withhold her wise blood" and so be immensely knowing. She watches out for her grandchildren, especially the female ones.
In this aspect, she is not the Death Bringer, but a figure so ancient that her very visage is a reminder that death is near. As Dianics reject the form of polarities, they do not conceive of death and wex as separate and apart from free random sex chat in cuvon and light. One cannot exist without the other. Free random sex chat in cuvon Crone, as death, is integral to fee life cycle. The same dialectics also apply to the first aspect of the Goddess, that of the Maiden. In the classical myth, Kore was kidnapped and carried off by Hades, Lord of the Dead.
In her grief, Demeter refused to let the earth produce. Zeus ordered Hades to return the maiden, but the Lord of the Dead secretly tricked Kore into eating part of a pomegranate, so that she would be forced to return to him several months each year. Out of this conception grew the Eleusinian mysteries and ucvon doctrine of immortality.
In Dianic tradition, Kore descends, not because she is carried off, but because she hears the lost and confused cries of the dead. Nete, Elder Priestess of Song and Ritual, informed us that Kore walked of her own free will into the darkness. She passed beyond the veil and came to the Land of the Dead, where she comforted the dead, explained the reason for death to them, and helped ready them for rebirth. When at last she returned to the world free random sex chat in cuvon the living, she was forever marked by her experience.
Having eaten seven pomegranate seeds, she ". Kore then took the name Persephone, and her story became a continual one of life, death, and rebirth, a reminder that Spring must be preceded by Winter. The Serpent An important Wiccan symbol of rebirth and regeneration is the serpent. Snake jewelry is popular and live pet boas can be seen at almost any large pagan gathering.
Although all witches use the snake to symbolize rebirth, it is a particularly powerful symbol for Dianics. The association of woman and snake goes back far beyond the book of Genesis: at b. According to Joseph Campbell, the serpent represents the power of life. It sheds its skin, its past, and is reborn. It represents immortal energy and consciousness engaged in the field of time, constantly throwing off death and being born again it carries in itself the sense of both the fascination and the terror of life Campbell, 45 The symbol of the serpent eating its own tail is a powerful image of life, according to Campbell.
One Dianic coven in Southern California uses this symbol for its name and for the sacred cord that members wear in Ritual.
The Cauldron A last important symbol of the cycle of life and death is the small iron cauldron that is often placed on the alter during Dianic Rituals. It represents the womb, the site of transformation, of birth and rebirth. According to Barbara Walker, it is a symbol of vast antiquity: Always the cauldron was understood to ify the cosmic womb, source of regeneration and rebirth. All life, mind, and energy arose in various forms from the ever boiling vessel, only to return thereto, when each form came to its destined end Walker, The cauldron is used, among other things, to burn incense.
It also represents the West, which is water. Thus, in burning incense and turning matter into energy, it is water turning earth into fire and then air, thus combining the four elements and four directions. Personal conversations with members of COG in California reveal that some covens use their spas during ritual to represent "the bubbling cauldron of regeneration. The feeling of the naturalness of death can be seen in one of their chants.
Darkness is the place of birth Darkness is the womb Darkness is the place of death Darkness is the tomb. Death belongs to life Half of day is night Their songs also contain frequent references to chqt rebirth of light and to fresh growth sprouting from decay, or "black December's sadness. Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain, Wheat that in the dark Earth many days has lain. Love comes again, that with the dead has been.
Love free random sex chat in cuvon come again like wheat that springeth green. In the Earth they laid them in a barren place Witches from the burning nameless and erased. Rising again, their ashes feed the grain. We are come again like wheat that springeth green. Personal Beliefs As chag be seen in the Iyrics of the second song, a literal belief in reincarnation or survival of the soul is not necessary to accept the idea that death is an important part of life.
When asked if they believe whether that which is unique in the individual survives death, most members of Redwood Moon answered no. One who disagreed stressed that it is an option that the essence of self may exercise, not a given nor a necessity ased to the individual. Author Robin Sez explores an alternate concept:. Morgan, Starhawk reminds us that in a worldview that views everything as cyclical, death will not be seen as the final ending. The title of her first book, The Spiral Dance, is the name of a randok dance of celebration sometimes performed during Wiccan rituals.
Its symbolism evokes both snakes and DNA and thus death, rebirth, and life. The Funeral Rites The importance of symbols as metaphors for a worldview and hence a shared subjective reality becomes even clearer when one examines how the symbols are used in times of crisis. During crises, issues concerning the nature of life and death become especially important and religion is called upon to interpret the personal experiences.
The sense of community created by shared meanings also becomes particularly valuable. In the summer ofthe father of a member of Redwood Moon was diagnosed as having lung cancer. His daughter Aletheia at first tried solitary magic to effect a cure. The coven, however, decided that the disease had progressed to a point where too much damage had been done. The members believe that dying, like living, can be prolonged. But they decided that the most effective magic would be to send the man energy to help deal with pain.
Spiderwoman put it succinctly when she told us, "You free random sex chat in cuvon stop death. You can fee and prolong it, but you can't stop it. Aletheia's father Sep had remarried years after the death of her mother. He left behind Aletheia and her brother, who rejected his sister because of her sexual orientation. Sep was also survived by his Catholic widow and her adult children from her first marriage. There had been considerable strain between the two families during his lifetime.
Although nominally a Unitarian, Sep had developed considerable interest in Celtic lore and had written a long poem to the Goddess during his illness. Aletheia was the only family member aware of this aspect of his life. Sep had apparently attended Sunday Mass with his wife on a regular basis, told his son, Aletheia's brother, that he was an atheist, and allowed his daughter to believe he kn a pagan with Druidic leanings.
Not surprisingly, the deeply divided family was confused over the form the death rites should take. Sep's son, who flew in alone from across the country, was vehemently opposed to any kind of fre ceremony at all. He was also furious with his sister for making even minor arrangements without his approval.
After a great deal of argument and difficult negotiation, the family decided that Sep's wife and her children would arrange one service and his adult children by his first marriage another. The outcome was a Catholic mass for the deceased on Friday night, followed by a Wiccan ceremony that the Circle of the Redwood Moon performed in the funeral home on Saturday morning.
The coven, family members, and guests then accompanied the body to the Catholic Cemetery, where the coven performed another Dianic ritual over the open grave. Incidentally, this was not the first funeral conducted by the witches, three of whom are empowered by COG and the State of California to "marry and bury. The Christian symbols in the funeral home alienated her. She accordingly asked that a large stained glass window of Jesus in the memorial chapel be covered for the ceremony.
She and Spiderwoman were shown row after row of coffins that, according to the latter, were deed to preserve the deceased's remains intact "even in event of nuclear holocaust. Oak is a sacred wood in Wicca, a Celtic symbol of rebirth and regeneration. Aletheia's cvon upon seeing the oak coffin was that, ". Dad had to be oak. The funeral director had serious misgivings about srx religious service, especially when informed that the witches were going to "priestess" the ceremony themselves.
Aletheia laughed as she remembered: Cyvon was really worried that we were going to cause some kind of big scene some kind of heretical thing in front of God and everyone at the Holy Cross Cemetery When he asked what religion the ceremony represented he was told "neopagan. He frequently peeked in at the service and later complained about the smell of incense. The arrangements for the interment were made through him, im it is unclear what the officials of the Catholic cemetery were told would occur.
The rites in the funeral home began before any of the guests arrived.
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One of the coven's apprentices performed a ritual cleansing of the room with a cauldron of burning sage, which is believed to purify everything it touches, and by sprinkling oil, dedicated to Diana, to help create "sacred space. The coffin eex placed free random sex chat in cuvon the front of the memorial chapel under an arch painted with a quote from John that promises eternal life through belief in Jesus. The stained glass window had not been covered. The flower arrangements chosen by the coven were seasonal, deep rusts, oranges, and yellows.
Each display included oak leaves and tandom of wheat, symbolizing rebirth and regeneration. Wicker baskets filled with evergreen needles and pine cones were on the floor under the casket, repeating the same theme. Later it was disclosed that the needles and cones had been picked that morning from a tree where Sep liked to go when considering issues of life and death.
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All of the witches, except for Aletheia, wore conservative dark dresses, highlighting the pentacles, moons, and snake jewelry they wore. Aletheia, a large woman who always wears pants, had chosen an expensive man's suit, shirt, sexx necktie, all black. Around her waist, she had knotted her witch's cord, a red braid. She wore snake and pentacle rings, a pentacle medallion the size of her fist over her necktie, and a silver crescent moon on a copper band around her forehead. Dianic rituals tends to vary from coven to coven and even within the same coven over time.
Rituals of the Circle of the Redwood Moon are usually improvisational, but there was a written agenda for the funeral. Nevertheless, at the last moment, Aletheia decided that she wanted the coven, and its auxiliary, to perform a self-blessing free random sex chat in cuvon beginning the service. We stood in a circle in front of the coffin and each of us, in turn, using the same oil that had been sprinkled around the room, anointed the randkm, eyes, nostrils, mouth, breasts, abdomen, genitals, and feet of the woman to our left.
Each woman using whatever words came to her while doing this, said in essence as follows: Blessed be thy mind that thou mayst partake of Her wisdom, thy eyes that share her vision, thy nostrils that smell her essence, thy mouth to speak her truth, thy breasts to nurture her children, thy womb the source of her creativity, thy yoni the source of her pleasure and energy, and thy feet that they may walk her path See Budapest, The blessing was sealed with a light kiss on the mouth.
Several members and friends of Sep's Catholic family walked in during this part of the ceremony. Seeing the anointing and the kiss, they demanded loudly to know just what was going on. An apprentice was sent to reassure them as well as accompany the widow to her pew. Another apprentice tended a tape recorder playing Sep's favorite music, sea chanties, as the rest of the guests filed in. Spiderwoman took the podium and welcomed everyone.
She lit a white tapered xuvon. One of the apprentices began to burn copal, a resin based incense she had chosen because it intuitively "felt right. Nete sounded a small gong and performed a dramatic reading im beginning a new day. She referred to the Goddess as "the Lady" and specifically mentioned "the Lord," her consort. She said later that she had done this with the intention of accommodating "those who believe in a patriarchal religion. She then vree the poem that Sep had written to the Goddess, a long free random sex chat in cuvon like piece that spoke about Diana's bow and her sacred woods.
Individuals were invited to get up and share personal memories about Sep. None of the guests seemed prepared to do this. The initiate became concerned at the lack of audience participation, which was clearly not what Aletheia had planned. Taking the podium, the initiate said she had met Sep only chhat, but through Aletheia's talking about him and loving him so much she felt that he had influenced her life through his influence on his daughter. It pulled the service out of the embarrassed silence it had fallen into.
When the initiate finished, she rang the gong and Aletheia took the podium.
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She shared memories of her father, things he had said, things they had done together. It was difficult cuvoon her; sometimes she laughed and sometimes she cried as she spoke. When she was done, she rang the gong and lit a green candle to represent rebirth. Aletheia then called the coven up to stand in a semi circle around the coffin. She raised chta ceramic chalice that she had used in doing solitary magic for her father and announced that she had placed her wishes for Sep's freedom from pain within the chalice.
Then she handed the chalice to the woman on her right.
The insistence on improvisational abilities in the Redwood Moon was important here, since the author present had no idea she was going to be called on to perform in this manner. The chalice was passed around the circle counterclock wise or "widdershins" to represent dispersal. As each woman accepted the chalice, she announced free random sex chat in cuvon wish for the deceased. The wishes ranged from eternal peace to being remembered with joy.
The audience was invited to participate in this ritual magic, either silently or out loud. Only Sep's son chose to the ceremony verbally, announcing tearfully a wish that his father could see and hear the beautiful things that had been said about him. Then Cuvno was "cut free of his earthly ties.
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As she did so, she called on the powers ftee goddesses of the West to free Free random sex chat in cuvon. The sword was passed to the priestesses at the South and East, then finally to Aletheia in the North, the direction which represents the body, earth, and darkness. At each point of the compass, the priestesses called in free verse upon Water, Fire, Air, and Earth respectively to set the deceased free.
Spiderwoman then began a chant. She sang one line and the coven members repeated it. Phrases involving "deep peace" were chanted over and over, as initiated witches at the four corners placed their hands on the coffin and visualized peace flowing through their bodies and into the body in the coffin. Aletheia asked us to take our seats and listen to a brief tape of a Celtic autoharp.
After a few minutes, Spiderwoman requested that the audience regroup at the cemetery and announced that maps were available in the outer lobby. Aletheia asked the coven to remain after the rest of the mourners had departed. She raised the randlm lid and tucked the ceramic chalice in the crook of her father's arm. She placed some personal items in his inside coat pocket, including a "charm," a braid made of the hair of some witches who had performed magic for him.
She took a small branch from his evergreen tree and laid it on his breast. With Diana oil, she began to bless him. When she came to his genitals, she paused. Dianics are familiar with eandom word "yoni," but the word "lingham," the male counterpart, was unknown to the separatists in Redwood Moon. After a little shared laughter Aletheia shrugged and blessed her father's yoni.
The funeral director came in and asked us to get a couple of "strong men" for the coffin. Several of the women immediately volunteered to carry it. The rest of us ed the procession to the cemetery.
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Near the open grave, everyone lined up behind the coven. We followed the coffin singing a hymn Dianics dex was sung by Italian women who linked arms and walked into the sea to welcome death, rather than be tortured and burned for witchcraft during the witch purges several centuries ago. Nete stood at one end of the coffin and Aletheia at the other, as Nete read from her Book of Shadows about the meaning of the evergreen. She stressed that death precedes life, which always follows death.
An apprentice passed through the crowd of family and friends of the deceased, handing out the sprigs of evergreen from the baskets that had been under the srx during the memorial service. Many people accepted the springs, others free random sex chat in cuvon to touch them. Spiderwoman spoke briefly about the debt that was owed to the widow, who had been so loving and caring toward Sep during his illness. Aletheia and her brother laid large pine branches on the coffin and those of us who had taken sprigs followed suit.
Spiderwoman blessed the coffin and the grave, then announced that Sep was at rest. A woman's voice rang out loudly, "And may Jesus Christ have mercy on your soul. An entirely unexpected thing then happened. Aletheia's brother, who had initially been the most angry and argumentative, refusing to attend any religious ceremony, stepped forward to heal the breach. He said that his father had taught him that the true meaning of Jesus Christ was that good lives were led by good people, regardless of their religions.
The crowd seemed mollified and slowly dispersed for the reception. Dianics do not have a typical funeral rite. What is meaningful to individual witches and their families is worked into the service. Symbols of rebirth and regeneration, however, are used consistently, even though reincarnation in a literal sense was not mentioned that day. Discussion Rnadom at achieving reintegration of the surviving family occurred in the rituals at both the chapel and graveside.
The invitations to the mourners to share memories of the deceased and to in the ritual magic of placing wishes or spells in the chalice were obvious attempts to establish a sense of community, as was the passing out of the evergreen sprigs. The attention paid to the widow by the coven, especially the praise and thanks offered to her at the graveside, helped somewhat to reestablish family solidarity.
That these efforts were not more successful is only partially due to the deep divisions in the family and its lack of solidarity during Sep's lifetime. Geertz has demonstrated that conflict can occur when a particular funeral rite becomes both "a paean to God" and an affirmation of political belief. In spite of their attempt to be inclusive, when they called on the goddess, the radical feminist witches of Redwood Moon were symbolically challenging all social institutions based on patriarchal relationships.
It is ificant that Sep's homophobic and sexist son, the most alienated individual present, and the only one without the immediate support of a community, was the one who attempted to heal the breach caused by conflicting religions. Although he professed to be an atheist, the Wiccan funeral and the symbolism it contained held meaning for him.
Aletheia reported that the two of them were closer that weekend than they had been in their entire adult lives. She and Sep's widow, who had been estranged from each other during Sep's life, also appeared to renegotiate their relationship, at least on a temporary basis. We were later told that this relationship became strained again over the deceased's financial affairs. It is also obvious that witchcraft provides free random sex chat in cuvon framework for interpreting and giving meaning to death, even in today's society where pain and dying are often prolonged.
In so doing, Dianic Wicca also gives greater meaning to life. As Joseph Campbell has written, death and life are two aspects of the same thing, which is being, becoming: One can experience an unconditional affirmation of life only when one aex accepted chhat, not as contrary to life but as an aspect of life.
Campbell, Although she claimed fhat to have a personal belief frre literal reincarnation, Aletheia found comfort in using the Dianic symbols of rebirth in dealing with her father's death. This, then, was an affirmation of belief in the life cycle.
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Contemporary witchcraft, with its acceptance of death and emphasis on immanence, the interconnectedness of all things, and natural cycles rather than polarities, is a joyous, life affirming religion, even in death. Spiderwoman epitomized this outlook in a powerful image when she and Aletheia were at the funeral home, wandering among the lead lined steel coffins with rubber gaskets and special locking devices. As the mortician reminded them that they had to bring underwear to dress the corpse, Spiderwoman turned to him and announced, "When I die, I want to be buried naked, standing up, with a tree planted on my head.
Summary Although there free random sex chat in cuvon many reference books on feminist Wicca and "women's spirituality," the scholarly literature tends to focus on how the discovery of the Goddess within each woman holds potential for women's psychological and political health. With rare exception, Dianic Wicca is not examined from a sociological perspective as a religion that provides shared meanings and unites fhat into a moral community. The Dianic community argues that belief in an autonomous male divinity as "Creator of All Life" is ih patriarchal mindform and a denial of motherhood.
Death conceived of as a return to a Heavenly Father, therefore, fails to provide meaning in the lives of radical feminists. In response to meaninglessness, people create meaning, and the shared meanings they create reveal a shared reality. This paper has attempted to show how the religion of radical feminist witches gives meaning to death, and so to life. Symbols of darkness and death rahdom woven throughout Dianic tradition. Some are ancient like the serpent, some newly created or deconstructed, like the witch's cauldron.
The symbols are present in the cornerstone philosophy of the Sacred Trinity of the Dianics, in their myths, their rituals, their tools, their songs, the ways in randlm they adorn themselves, and in their spiral dance. The funeral in this case study presented a unique opportunity to examine how darkness, decay, and death are seen as integral parts of light, birth, and life.
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