I have a vast collection of books on goddess spirituality and while recommending several of them I realized they could now be out of print. When I looked into what had been published recently, I discovered Goddesses for Every Day. This book is a fine way to learn about the divine feminine through time and across cultures.
Because the book offers a meditative journey through the year, the goddesses have been organized within the zodiac signs. In the Cancer section for instance, Loar has included lunar goddesses, and goddesses linked to the ocean. They are protective mothers who guard the home, keep the hearth fires burning and honor their ancestors. The wheel of the year also relates symbolically to the stages of a woman's life: Maiden, Mother and Crone,(or Elder.)
While there is only a page describing each goddess, the author says she chose goddesses which are easily accessible, so that readers can look for more information about them. The fact that Loar has condensed her descriptions to one succinct page is a feat to be congratulated. There are so many fascinating stories associated with each goddess and the culture she represents.
Each page includes a "contemplation" following the goddess description so readers can apply the wisdom to their own lives. The descriptions themselves offer a reflection of your own nature with the goddesses as guides and "way-showers" through life's passages.
I have felt a sense of hope ever since learning about earth-centered cultures where women and nature were revered. If we did it before, we can do it again. Those ancient cultures worshipped a Great Goddess, and as Loar says, "her worship involved a reciprocity with the Earth and the creatures she gives life."
The book can also be used as a divinatory tool by asking a question or setting an intention and letting the pages fall open to allow a goddess to impart her wisdom.
I saw from the list of resources in the back of the book that Loar had consulted the same authors I had, to learn more about the divine feminine: Nancy Blair, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Jalaja Bonheim, Joseph Campbell, Mary Daly, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Marija Gimbutas, Buffie Johnson, John and Caitlin Matthews, Charlene Spretnak, Diane Stein, Merlin Stone, and Barbara Walker. Those are authors you'll also want to pursue to learn more sacred stories of the goddess. A list of websites is also provided.
I learned a lot from taking courses, going on goddess pilgrimages and reading. It's actually a never-ending journey as there are many goddesses I didn't know about until reading about them in Goddesses for Every Day.
Loar has also included Joan of Arc, Mary Magdalene and Fatima, daughter of Mohammed. As she said in an interview: "The myths of many goddesses began with remarkable human women who were later deified and worshipped as divine beings. Joan of Arc and Mary Magdalene both represent archetypes of the feminine who were vilified by patriarchal power and were later vindicated and became Catholic saints . . . Fatima, Mohammed's daughter, shows how powerful and resilient feminine power is. Fatima has assumed mythical proportions in Islam in the same manner in which Mary has in Catholicism."
I have many images of goddesses on my writing table; Artemis is one of them. I'm not worshipping that statue when I gaze upon the figure; I'm getting in touch with the independence she represents, life off the beaten path and the memory of seeing the larger version of her in a museum in Selcuk not too far from the remains of her temple in Ephesus.
Julie Loar leads goddess workshops and tours throughout the world and is the author of five previous books under the name Julie Gillentine. She lives in Pagosa Springs, Colorada. Visit her website.
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