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Here is the archived salon instructions page for July 2006, the sixth month:

Goddess Salon - July 2006: Ralph Metzner

July’s featured guest is Ralph Metzner, author, alchemist and mythologist extraordinaire. Appropriately, as I write this introduction, I’ve just spent the day on a long walk through the beautiful Swabische Alb in southern Germany, where my partner David and I are relaxing for a couple of days before leading a workshop together. It was Ralph’s work in The Well of Remembrance, this month’s suggested reading, that introduced me to some of the richness of the ancient Goddess traditions of the Germanic and Scandinavian peoples. Of all ancestral legacies, this one has perhaps been most suppressed, repressed, and warped into strange and sadistic forms by the Nazis. Over many years of working in Germany, I’ve learned how hard it is for German women—and men—to set aside the distortions of the Nazi era and delve for some of the underlying truths that are much, much older.

RITUAL:

Donate Pahnke, one of the women who founded Reclaiming’s German Witch Camp introduced me to the tradition of the vuelva or seeress. In ancient times, these women would wander from farm to farm. If you wanted the seeress to prophecy for your family, you’d invite her in, feed her a good dinner—a very crucial part of the ritual!—and put her to sleep in a comfortable bed. (This is a shamanic tradition that speaks to me!) In the morning, all the women of the farmstead would gather, burn sacred herbs, and sing the vuelva into trance. She would send her spirit out to the stars, and return with very practical information: “Hans should marry Hulda before the new moon” or “Plow the lower field thoroughly, early.”

So, for this week’s ritual, I leave the dinner and the burning of sacred herbs to your discretion. What I suggest is—pick a song or a chant that you know and love. Sit in a circle, comfortably, and sing. Sing until you get bored—then sing some more. You can change chants—and drumming helps. Put a few empty chairs or pillows in the center. When a person feels moved to do so, come into the center, hold a question in your mind, and ask for guidance. When you’ve had enough, step back out and hold energy for others. After everyone has had the opportunity to step in, let the circle come to silence, and thank the ancestors and the Goddess for the prophecies you’ve received. (Not everyone will necessarily come into the center—you can experience this very powerfully staying in the circle throughout.)

QUESTIONS:

1. Are levels of culture the same as levels of technology? If not, how do we define ‘culture’?

2. Lovelock and the Gaia theorists have said that the earth functions like a living organism in many ways, but they hesitate to attribute consciousness or purpose. What does Ralph say about this—and what do you think?

3. Ralph talks about the reversal of the symbolic meanings of black and white. According to Marija, in Old Europe, white was the color of death and black was the color of life. Think of some of the common usages for these terms: “black magic”, “white light”, etc. Play with reversing them—what do you notice? How does it feel? What changes?

4. Ralph speaks of animism as recognizing the spiritual intelligence in other life forms. Starhawk’s friend and colleague Matthew Fox, the theologian and maverick priest, used to say his dog was his spiritual teacher. Have you ever had the experience of receiving a teaching, a communication, a moment of deep help or comfort, from some other life

RECIPE:

I believe Ralph is coming up with his own recipe, but what I know from my sojourns in Germany is the importance of cream. Every afternoon at the
German Witchcamp they would serve coffee and cake with a huge bowl of whipped cream. So—bake or acquire your favorite cake. To whip cream, chill the cream, chill the bowl, put your mixer or whip or bring out the whisk and beat away. Add just a little sugar—two to three tablespoons per cup—to help stiffen it, dedicate the calories, the fat and the cholesterol to the Goddess, and enjoy!

PS. Besides the German Witch Camp, now called Feencamp, there’s a European Witch Camp, the Lorelei Camp, plus many others in the US and Canada. For a complete listing, see www.witchcamp.org.

-- Starhawk

RALPH'S RECIPES (note -- a couple portion amounts are missing. We'll be correcting these ASAP, but you may be able to figure it out anyway)

GRANDMA GRACE'S PEACH PIE

This pie was a childhood favorite of mine, baked often by my Grandma Grace Coleman. 

6-8 peaches, peeled and sliced into
1 large unbaked pie shell
2 round Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 cup half & half milk
3/4 c. sugar (or more, to taste)
1 tsp. vanilla

Dissolve cornstarch in milk. Add sugar and vanilla. Mix and pour over peaches. Bake at400 degrees until crust is light brown, about 12-15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 325. Cover with a large lid and cook until cream doesn’t shake, about 60-70 minutes.

CURRIED ZUCCHINI

This recipe turns ordinary zucchini into a marvelous, exotic dish. This recipe is from Isabel Allende’s Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses.

4 medium zucchinis
1 Tbsp. Oil
1 onion, grated
1 carrot, grated
2 Tbsp. grated coconut
1 tsp. curry powder
4 dates, cut in strips
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup cream

Cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise. Warm the oil and rapidly saute’ the zucchinis on both sides. Remove from the skillet. In the same oil, saute’ the onion, carrot, coconut, curry powder, and dates for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Place the zucchinis in the sauce and cook for 10 minutes more. Turn off the heat; add cream, and serve.


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