is the archived salon instructions page for June 2006, the fifth
Salon - June 2006: Elinor
Gadon, scholar, author and teacher, is our featured
guest for June. With her work on village Goddesses in India, she
takes our quest out into a wider, multicultural world. Elinor
is currently teaching at Brandeis University, Elinor is one of
our true elders, who has always managed to root her academic work
firmly in real issues that affect our lives. Below are a few of
her own comments on her current work:
current work while multifaceted evolves out of my committment
to the empowerment of women through the recovery of the religions
of the goddess, the resacralization of women's bodies and sexuality.
I use all of the academic areas in which I have been trained --history
of art, history of relgions and cultural anthropology--as well
as my indepth cross cultural experiences--as resources. My research
and coming publication on the village goddess in Orissa was generated
as a response to Marija's archeological projects on prehistoric
goddess religion and culture--my study looks at a still living
tradition whose roots go back to the Neolithic.
In my recent talk on the village goddess at the Conference on
Indic Religions in New Dehli, I concluded with the following statement:
" In our study we have recovered a vision of the sacred held
by the indigenous peoples since prehistory. The implications that
the culture of the gramadevi and her cult present for the structure
of society and the religious conception of a faraway age are critical
for our present day understanding of humankind's engagement with
their environment as well as religion as a cultural force for
suggested reading for this month is her book, “The
Once and Future Goddess” and also a short article, “From
Blood to Fire” which you can download
here as a PDF file.
Elinor will be available to answer questions posted on our Salons
And thanks to all of you who have posted accounts of your salons.
I wish I could be at them all! -- Starhawk
Bauhaus Stew (Re: Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee conceived
years of econmic hardship in the early 1920's during the Weimar
Peel and dice all root vegetables available--potatoes, yams, carrots,
turnips, rootabaga, parsnips etc. Stew slowly in beer with abundant
cloves in 300 degree oven for 4 hours. Serve with sour cream and
What do you think is the connection between the Indian village
Goddesses Elinor describes and the Goddesses of Old Europe that
Marija discovered? Do the customs and manner of worship Elinor
finds in India shed light on how the ancient Goddesses of Europe
might have been worshipped?
Marija’s work was strictly limited to Europe’s prehistory.
That was her field and area of expertise. Yet we live in a multicultural
world. How do we respectfully learn about other cultures and traditions?
What light can multicultural inquiry shed on these subjects?
How did contemporary society become disconnected from the earth?
From a sense of being rooted in place?
What does it mean to be deeply connected to a place and community?
How does the village Goddess link people to a place?
What would it mean for us rootless, post-modern Westerners to
have such a link?
How would it change our relationship to the environment and to
environmental issues if our overriding culture believed the earth
How might it change our relationships to our bodies, and to the
social issues that women face such as battering and sexual violence,
if the female body were widely believed to be sacred?
Provide art supplies of your choosing—anything from clay
to collage materials, small boxes and paints, glue, etc. to make
shrines and sacred images.
Think about the concept of the village Goddess that Elinor describes
in her article, “From Blood to Fire.” If your town,
city, neighborhood or area had a local Goddess, what might she
look like? What would be her attributes? What offerings would
Take hands, make a circle, close your eyes, breathe deep, relax,
and let yourselves think about some of the important aspects of
your area. What makes local culture? What are the most frightening
aspects of the local climate? The potential disasters? The most
vibrant, creative aspects of your area? The most beautiful?
Name these things and just speak them aloud into the circle. (You
can drop hands and get comfortable at any point)
Sit in silence for a moment. Ask your own “Old Woman”
to speak to you, to show you her form or give you any messages
she wishes to give.
Begin to draw, paint, sculpt her. Some women may get words, poetry
or songs rather than images, so provide some writing materials.
You could put on some Indian music while this is happening—or
some local music.
When the energy starts to flag, take hands again, thank your Old
Woman, and open your circle. Your creations may be unfinished,
but show them in whatever phase they are in and share their meaning.
You might want to make your Old Woman a shrine—outdoors,
under a tree, not a roof! Bring her offerings, rub her and touch
her, talk to her, and see what happens!
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