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Here is the archived salon instructions page for September 2006, the seventh month:

Goddess Salon - September 2006: Vicki Noble

Hi Salon Women,

I’m writing from Diana’s Grove, beautiful Goddess land in central Missouri, where I’m teaching an Earth Activist Training in permaculture design and earth-based spirituality. Just the other day, we built a beautiful shrine here to Artemis, maiden huntress of the moon, out of cob—a mixture of clay, sand and straw, and rocks. More than twenty of us worked on it—our group consists of women and men both, the women from their twenties up through our fifties, the men all in their twenties and thirties. It was a really beautiful process that put me deeply in touch with our ancestors, those ancient people who used the same material to build shrines, homes, bread ovens, Goddess images, and temples. Our shrine is small, built on two huge rocks (that’s why the Goddess, in her infinite wisdom, made young men!) with an opening for a statue and horns. Maybe I’ll get a picture of it up on this website before long. Making the shrine, I felt like my hands were literally being moved and guided by the ancestors, and I felt such a deep sense of joy and pride. So that’s my excuse for being late in getting this packet out to you.

We’re thrilled to have Vicki Noble as our guest for this month. Most of you probably know her as one of the two creatrixes of the Motherpeace Tarot. Over the years, she has continued to produce important works of Goddess scholarship, as well as teaching, priestessing, healing, and guiding women shamans in their growth and development. Vicki was a close personal friend of Marija’s, and gave her much support and healing toward the end of her life. Her interview is, as always, available from our order page.

QUESTIONS that occurred to me from her interview were:

Is there a difference between synthesis and intuition?

Vicki says that women in the Goddess movement ‘appropriated’ Marija’s research and used it as reinforcement for our theories and as a rich resource for our own art. How have women in the Goddess movement used Marija’s scholarship?

Is scholarship ever objective? Is objectivity desirable?

Is there a kind of scholarship that might take place outside the academy, drawing on experience rather than conventional research? How can we compare that with conventional scholarship?

The suggested reading is her book The Double Goddess, with other supplementary materials attached and on our website.

Vicki writes:

I would really like for people to read The Double Goddess: Women Sharing Power, and then talk to me (and each other) about it! It has so many interesting and relevant subjects, from the evolutionary importance of the menstrual cycle to the links between Maenads (Greek "wild women") and Yoginis (Indian priestesses) historically across the Silk Road. I have documented the existence of an unbroken lineage of shaman women across the world and down through time, even though to read the contemporary literature, you'd think there was no such thing. I suggest we think about: what is explicitly female about female shamanism? Why is the blood cycle the foundation of female shamanism around the world? Why has female shamanism been obscured and relegated to the background in the last century, when before that, it was visible everywhere? What does female shamanism have to do with ancient women's connection to communal funerary practices, and why did Yoginis and Dakinis meditate in cemeteries up to very recent times?

I have written a short summary of my groundbreaking work in female shamanism over a period of thirty years. I will attach it so that you can put it up for people to read and download if they wish.

Supplentary reading might include The Tending Instinct by Dr. Shelley Taylor, the scientist who proved that women have a completely different response to stress than men--putting the universalism of the "fight or flight" response to bed for good. Women reach out and collaborate with other women ("befriend") and gather the children ("tend"), leading the scientists to conclude that women "tend and befriend," and that women "really need women friends." Well, yes--but the documentation that she presents in this book actually makes it quite clear that women really need to govern the planet.

I don't know if I have a favorite recipe right now. I used to be a very competent Indian cook, preparing food and grinding spices, sometimes for days in preparation for a dinner party. Now I am more likely to throw an organic chicken (marinated) in a pot with leeks, portabello mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes; put it in the oven at 400 degrees; and one hour later, I have a yummy dinner to share with my son Aaron Eagle (age 21) & his girlfriend, Leah.

We could also talk about Motherpeace--how it started, how it has developed over thirty years, and the books I've written to accompany it. (Three of them: Motherpeace: A Way to the Goddess; The Motherpeace Tarot Playbook; and Rituals & Practices with Motherpeace Cards (2003, Inner Traditions). I run private tutorials to certify women from all over the country who want to read the Motherpeace cards professionally as part of how they make a living. I just had a lovely woman here from Florida for five days, learning the cards and doing Dakini practices. It used to be that women wanted to come to workshops or meet in groups, but these days I find that my students are interested in one-to-one contact and instruction.

I also teach and advise students in the Women's Spirituality Program at New College of California in San Francisco, a masters degree program for women from all over the country (all over the world). It's a weekend program, so women commute one or two weekends a month in order to get their degree. The program specializes in transformation and creative expression as an outcome of engaging with the curriculum and encountering like-minded women from all over. I teach Female Shamanism and Archaeomythology to students from their twenties to their seventies.

I am interested and happy to discuss any or all of these things in the salons during the month of September. Thanks for including me! Let me know if you need anything else from me.

Blessings, Vicki
A SUGGESTED RITUAL -- Celebrating Women’s Friendship:

Ask each woman to bring some color Xeroxes of photos of one or two of their special women friends—a current friend, a childhood friend, an older woman who has been a mentor or the best friend who helps you through hard times. Create sacred space, go around the circle and give each woman time to speak her appreciation and gratitude for her friendships, or to tell a special story or anecdote about her friend. Have a big piece of posterboard ready, with scissors, glue sticks and other materials for collage—old magazines or calendars to cut up. Draw a simple outline of a Goddess figure on the posterboard, (possibly one of the Double Goddesses from Vicki’s book) then paste on pictures of women friends and other images to make a shrine to women’s friendship.

A new thread will be up on our message board for this month, and we encourage you to try it out! That’s where the online discussions will take place. Vicki is up for them, an the message board is really, really easy to use. Just click on the Salons Message Board link.

Blessings! Starhawk

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