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Here is the archived salon instructions page for June 2006, the fifth month:

Goddess Salon - June 2006: Elinor Gadon

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:

“My 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 social justice."

Our 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 message board
And thanks to all of you who have posted accounts of your salons. I wish I could be at them all! -- Starhawk

RECIPE:

Bauhaus Stew (Re: Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee conceived during those
years of econmic hardship in the early 1920's during the Weimar Republic in
Germany.

Peel and dice all root vegetables available--potatoes, yams, carrots, beets,
turnips, rootabaga, parsnips etc. Stew slowly in beer with abundant garlic
cloves in 300 degree oven for 4 hours. Serve with sour cream and dark bread.

QUESTIONS:

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 were sacred?

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?

RITUAL:

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 she receive?

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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