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Here is the archived salon instructions page for March 2006, the second month:

Goddess Salon: March - Joan Marler

Welcome to the second month of our Belili salons. They're up and running. Our message board is up, and we're slowly starting to get questions and discussion going. We've also added a flyer about the salons, in PDF format. You're welcome to download it and help us spread the word.

This month our featured guest is Joan Marler, Marija's close friend, biographer, and editor of The Language of the Goddess. Her interview is available in our "Behind the Screen" series. She has sent along some articles for reading, which we have now posted on the website:

1) The Iconography and Social Structure of Old Europe: The Archaeomythological Research of Marija Gimbutas

2) The Beginnings of Patriarchy in Europe: Reflections on the Kurgan Theory of Marija Gimbutas

3) Warfare in the European Neolithic: Truth or Fiction?

She also suggests Marija Gimbutas' The Language of the Goddess. We've been hearing that many of you want to go deeper into her work and theories, and there's nothing like her own work for doing so! (And I have to admit that I use it all the time as a source of ideas for art projects.) It appears to be out of print as a new book, but the indie Powell's Books has used copies of the hardback (and Belili gets a commission from Powells for each sale). Also, there are lots of paperbacks and hardbacks starting at $12.00 available through independent sellers by searching for it through www.amazon.com.

Joan writes:
"In terms of current work, I'm putting lots of effort into the Institute of Archaeomythology, which is intended to encourage scholars from a wide rangeof disciplines to develop an archaeomythological approach to scholarship. The Institute sponsors international conferences, symposia, lecture series and study tours on archaeomythological themes and is preparing to become a publisher. In May 2-13, 2006, for example, the Institute is sponsoring an ethnographic tour of Bulgaria focusing on the ancient ritual dance. (Archaeomythology is an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship formulated by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas which acknowledges the multidimensional fabric of human cultures by placing special scholarly emphasis on the beliefs, rituals, folklore, symbolism, social structure, and systems of communication of prehistoric societies. See www.archaeomythology.org for more information)."

Discussion Questions:
Here are some questions Joan suggests:

1. What has impressed you most about the life and work of Marija Gimbutas?
2. In your view, what was her most significant contribution as a woman of science?
3. Marija referred to the female imagery of Old Europe as "goddesses." Do you agree with her terminology? If so, what is the meaning of "Goddess" in this context? If not, how would you refer to the thousands of female sculptures found in villages throughout Old Europe? What role might they have played in Neolithic life?

And, after viewing her interview again, here's a few that occurred to me:

1. Can science ever really be objective? Is that really a goal, and if so, how do we know whether or not a given scientist is?

2. When I was a graduate student in feminist psychology, we often said that feminist science admits that objectivity is always elusive. Instead of pretending to be objective, we were taught to state our biases openly, so that readers could judge for themselves how they might have influenced our work.

What do you think Marija's biases were? Do you think they helped her see more clearly (for example, the living traditions of sacred earth she knew from her childhood), or got in the way?

3. What are some of your own biases? How do they affect the way you take in and interpret information?

4. In "Signs Out of Time", Colin Renfrew takes Marija to task for thinking that 'everything is the Goddess.' Is that sloppy methodology, or sound thealogy?

Questions on Language of the Goddess:

1. Marija saw a language in the symbols of Neolithic art. What do you think of her interpretations?
2. In the book, she actually presents a developed theology of the Goddess, in her three aspects as the Bird/Snake/Spring Goddess, Mountain Mother, and Death/Regeneratrix. Leaving aside the questions of archaeological accuracy, what do you think of this as religious symbology? Is it similar or different from your own?

Suggested Ritual:

Joan is a wonderful dancer. The folk dances of Europe are one way that the ancient traditions were carried on. I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of the women musicians who will be with Joan on the trip in May to Bulgaria. Jana Niernberger joined us for our Winter Solstice celebration in Sebastopol, along with Ken, our webmaster, who is also a wonderful musician and his son, Gaelen, who plays the Bulgarian gaida, the ancient bagpipe made from a goatskin. The wild wailing of the gaida and the ancient beat of the drum added a powerful, tribal feel to the ritual.

In Joan's honor, let's have a dance! You could get some Lithuanian music, like that of Stella Mara, (www.stellamara.com) who did the music for "Signs Out of Time". Or you could put on the Bulgarian Women's Choir, Kitka, or really anything you like, and just dance! Or try it this way:

Put the music on. Stand quietly with your eyes closed. Take some deep breaths, breathing into your belly.

Imagine for a moment that one of the ancient priestess dancers of Old Europe is an ancestress of yours. She has heard this music, listened to these instruments. Let her face take form in your imagination. Speak to her. Invite her in.

Imagine that she lives in your body for just a short time. Feel her begin to move your arms, your legs, your torso. You know how to do the sacred dance. Let your mind rest, and let your body move to the music. You are the dancing priestess, honoring the rhythms of life.

Open your eyes. Admire the dance of the others in your circle. Dance together.

When the music stops, close your eyes again. Thank your ancestress, and say goodbye. Feel her step our of your body. Open your eyes, say your own name, and take a step forward, to consciously step back into your present self.

Recipe from Joan --
Apple Berry Pie:

This method of making apple berry pie was passed down from my grandmother Grace to my mother Grace Elizabeth, to me (Joan) then to my daughter Grace Sorrel (with generational variations).

Making pies in our house is a seasonal adventure. From my childhood on the Mendocino coast, pie-time was heralded by the ripening of the apples in the old orchard and the parallel ripening of the Himalayan blackberries that grew wild on the edges of the redwood forest. Thoughts of apple-berry pies bring up recollections of hours spent in the branches of the old trees, reaching higher and higher for the sweetest apples at the top - risking life and limb for the intoxicating taste of vintage varieties whose names had long been forgotten; and long afternoons with stained fingers learning to navigate through dangerous briars to collect the delectable rewards of berries whose sweetness remains indescribable. Berries for eating fresh are best perfectly ripe, but for pies, those with tart red sections are also just fine. The ripest berries are usually eaten on the job!

In the house, the berries have to be handled carefully, and right away. It’s best for the berries not to wash them, but to make sure that the spiders and other critters who often come along do not make it into the pies, I sometimes fill the berry container with water then gently lift handfuls of berries out (with spread fingers) to drain in a sieve. It’s important not to allow them to remain in the water more than a few moments. (All the wet spiders are put outside.)

The apples are washed and peeled and (now I will tell a family secret): the peels are put in a pan barely covered with water, covered, and put on low heat to simmer. (Only organic apples should be used in this way.) The peels concentrate not only nutrients and flavor but natural pectin. More about this later.

The peeled apples are cut into sections and cored. Apples that have fallen to the ground are often the sweetest and bad places and wormy sections are simply cut. The discards go into the compost.

Here in Sebastopol, I prefer the early Gravenstein apples for pies. They cook down so easily that they must not be cut too small or they will easily become sauce. Now that the apples and berries are prepared, set them aside until the crust is ready to go.

Pastry crust:

Ingredients for each double crusted pie:
2 cups unbleached white flour
3/4 c. chilled, salted butter
ice water

For best results, make small batches of crust (enough for one pie at a time).

Sift the flour into a big bowl, then cut the butter into the flour with a pastry knife until the butter is well cut in.

Over the sink (to make less mess) sprinkle small amounts of ice water into the mixture while you scrape the bottom of the bowl and sprinkle the mixture over itself again and again. The point is to mix in the sprinkles of water throughout without compressing the mixture. Check the mixture from time to time by gently squeezing a bit of the developing dough. It’s ready when it holds together under your fingers. Make sure to stop before the dough becomes sticky (or the crust will be tough).

Divide the dough into two parts. I like to spread out a pastry cloth, dust it with flour and place a mound of dough in the center. Always be sure not to handle it too much. Cover the remaining dough so it won’t dry out.

Sprinkle the mound of dough with flour and roll it from the center out in all directions until it’s just the right thickness. Fold in half then place in the pie pan and open out. Press into place and trim around the edges with room to spare.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the pie is ready to bake, reduce heat
to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Pile the apple pieces onto the bottom crust and cover with a layer of berries.
Put 2/3 cup sugar (or up to 3/4 cup if the apples are still rather tart) in
a large measuring cup.

Mix in well 2 1/2 T. corn starch.

Squeeze the goodies from the simmered peals (I use a potato masher) and mix enough in to the sugar to moisten the mixture well without making it too wet. Pour over the fruit.

Roll out the top crust, fold it in half (cut several small diagonal slits in the folded crust), place on the pie and unfold; then trim the edges all around with about up to an inch extra room. Fold the top edge of the pastry over and tuck under the bottom crust (to make
a seal to keep the juices in) then flute the edges to make a decorative barrier to catch the juices that will drizzle in sweet little puddles inside the edges. My mother smoothes milk over the top crust to help it brown and dusts it with sugar. This is optional. Bake at 350 for 1 hour (on the middle rack) then check periodically to see when the crust is nicely brown. Not all ovens bake exactly the same.

Remove and place on a rack to cool. Can be eaten warm with vanilla ice cream but unless it’s allowed to cool the filling will be runny. Enjoy!

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