From Tricia's desk…
Last week Kathy Jones visited us here at Gaia’s Garden. Kathy is the originator of the Goddess Temple in Glastonbury, UK and the convener of the annual Glastonbury Goddess Conference. I have been to Glastonbury, a number of times over the years, and have been amazed by the ways in which the Goddess has been returned to Avalon. Each visit to that magical town has demonstrated the increasing influence of the Goddess through the Goddess Temple and Hall and the proliferation of Goddess artifacts and images in all of the shops. Most of this growth is due to the dedication and commitment of Kathy and her expanding group of priestess of Avalon.
The re-emergence of the Goddess in Avalon is inspirational, as is the deep research that has been done to identify the many manifestations of the Goddess in Britain; and I have wondered what it would take to create that energy here in Australia. What would it take to create the type of community that feels like a home for the Goddess; that honours the Divine Feminine?
Of course there are many differences between Glastonbury and any of the towns and cities in Australia, not the least of which is the ancient traditions and mythology that exists in Britain. There is a larger and more compact population with easy travel arrangements between the various centres, so that people can congregate with relative ease, and there is a town steeped in a history and tradition that includes Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene, the sacred wells, and ‘The Mists of Avalon’. Glastonbury attracts people from all over the world; many of whom are seeking for a spiritual path. It is a special place.
It would be easy to say that these are the ideal circumstances to work with, to bring the Goddess back into the world, and that we don’t have any of those here in Australia and this may well be true.
What we do have however, is an ancient and sacred land that we have yet to know. Another friend visited me the day after Kathy left on the next stage of her journey to Australia. Shirely also lives in the UK and loves Goddess however she spent over thirty years living in Australia, mainly in Darwin immediately after Cyclone Tracy.
In conversation she mentioned that her experience of living in Australia is that most of us live disconnected lives, distanced from the earth. We seem to want to dominate and control the land as though we were overwhelmed with fear of its strength and strangeness. We don’t sit comfortably with the land. This is in stark contrast with the connection of the Indigenous peoples who are ‘owned’ by the land.
The challenge for us as Goddess people is to find our connection to the earth in the places where we live and in ways that are very different in each country and location. Deep listening to the music and harmonies, deep watching for the colours, images and pictures as they emerge and deep feeling for the movement of the flora and fauna are just the beginning.
The Indigenous people of this land have centuries of connection through the Dreaming which tells the stories of the interconnections and wholeness of all of life here. Is that Dreaming something that we foreigners will learn over time? There are now Indigenous women and men who are generously sharing their learning and traditions; those who are willing to open their hearts and teach us the ancient ways.
It will also be important to open our hearts to the spirit of this land and to identify the sacred places as we new comers feel and come to know them. The practice of pilgrimage might have a new meaning if we journey to places we identify as sacred without knowing what we will find there. It would mean the reversal of the usual concept of the pilgrim who goes to somewhere that is already known as holy or sacred because of events that have occurred there over, sometimes, centuries.
In this case we would be with the land in those sacred places, open to the Goddess speaking to and through us in the stillness. There are a number of sites which people identify as sacred; places which they may never have been to which hold a sense of energy and power that can be felt as holy. Some of these places have become part of our national identity such as Uluru, Flinders Ranges, the Olgas, Franklin River, the ancient forests in the south west. Others are not so well know and include Mt Warning, The Grampians, parts of the Blue Mountains, the lakes in Mt Gambier, the Glasshouse Mountains, the Beach of Tears.
Each of these locations has much to teach us. So what if groups of us were to travel to these place and communicate with the local people. What if we were to allow the spirits of those places to come to and through us? What if small groups of Goddess loving people, were to sit with the original people of that place (if they will join us to hear the storie and music and see the art which emerges as we wait on the Mother. What would we learn from this experience? It would certainly be a new way of learning.
In the northern hemisphere the Goddess as Mother was strongly connected to the seasons and cycles of the land and of the way the land changed during the year. We have imposed that cycle of sewing, caring for and harvesting on a land that has a different cycles; cycles which we need to learn, to sing, to speak and to dance.
While we can admire the work that has been done in the northern hemisphere in bringing back the ancient Goddesses to those lands. This can not be our path. Of course we can bring the Goddesses from our ancient heritage to Australia however they are not native to this land and while they have a place, the more powerful approach would be to allow the Goddess to speak to us from the heart of this ancient country.