is the archived salon instructions page for March 2006, the second
Salon: March - Joan Marler
Welcome to the second month of our Belili salons. They're up and
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:
Iconography and Social Structure of Old Europe: The Archaeomythological
Research of Marija Gimbutas
Beginnings of Patriarchy in Europe: Reflections on the Kurgan
Theory of Marija Gimbutas
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.
"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)."
Here are some questions Joan suggests:
1. What has impressed you most about the life and work of Marija
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
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?
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.
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
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.
Ingredients for each double crusted pie:
2 cups unbleached white flour
3/4 c. chilled, salted butter
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,
to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Pile the apple pieces onto the bottom crust and cover with a layer
Put 2/3 cup sugar (or up to 3/4 cup if the apples are still rather
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 350º for 1 hour (on the middle rack) then check periodically
to see when the crust is nicely brown. Not all ovens bake exactly
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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