“Though we live amid high-rise steel buildings, formica countertops, and electronic television screens, there is something in all of us, women and men alike, that makes us feel deeply connected with the past.  Perhaps the sudden dampness of a beach cave or the lines of sunlight piercing through the intricate lace patterns of the leaves in a darkened grove of tall trees will awaken from the hidden recesses of our minds the distant echos of a remote and ancient time, taking us back to the early stirrings of human life on the planet.  For people raised and programmed on the patriarchal religions of today, religions that affect us in even the most secular aspects of our society, perhaps there remains a lingering, almost innate memory of the sacred shrines and temples tended by priestesses who served the religion of the original supreme deity.  In the beginning, people prayed to the Creatress of Life, the Mistress of Heaven.  At the very dawn of religion, God was a woman. Do you remember?”

This is the first paragraph of “When God Was A Woman”.

Near the end of the seventies I was back in the broom closet after a life changing run in with the first wave of mega-church fundies in central Ohio.  I had been re-reading Frazer and turn of the century occultists and diving back into classics of Greeks and Romans.  And I knew I was missing something.  At a flea market in Marion, Ohio I saw a book sitting on the top of a stack of romance novels.  It was an American first edition of “When God Was A Woman” by Merlin Stone.  The dust cover was tattered then around the edges and the text underlined in places by the prior owner……but that book called out to me and it literally changed my life. I remembered in a flood of memories of my own life, the sacred places I had seen as a child throughout the world, the dreams of the Mother Goddess I had over and over when three and four years old.  Within a year of reading that book I had an unwanted and unexpected hysterectomy when I was supposed to be having an appendectomy.  And I had re-read many, if not most, of my collection of ancient texts, mythologies and accounts of ancient history armed now with the key to seeing the Goddess where She had been hidden before.

Everyone has a few authors who’s works significantly change their lives, for me Merlin Stone was among the most important.  The Goddess called Merlin back on the cusp of the Goddess awakening that became my life work.  Merlin, you changed my life, thank you and rest well in the arms of the Great Mother.

crossposted to


Ops Danny Boy, One Too Many “Motions to Dismiss”

It is no secret that I am associated with the Maetreum of Cybele and it’s legal case against the Town of Catskill for discrimination regarding our property tax exemption.  I have also tried hard to keep my actual name off this blog because the Town Attorney is a slimeball who has repeatedly attempted to use any and every thing I ever wrote on the internet to discredit me.  Several transvestite activists have deliberately linked my actual name to my opinion pieces to aid him in this.  Slimeballs of a feather flocking together.

Well ole Danny Vincelette filed one too many motions to dismiss and totally pissed off the Judge in the case with his clearly bullshit and illogical and downright dishonest claims.  In a seventeen page decision on his last motion and our counter motion, the Judge systematically ruled on each and every rationale to deny our exemption……and repeated over and over we were clearly discriminated against!  He did not grant our motion for summery judgment because, as he said last week in a hearing before this decision was written, he wants us to finally have our day in court.  He knows we will decimate Danny boy in court.  I believe he also wants this to finally be a decided court case establishing once and for all that religious discrimination by local governments is a no go, at least in New York.  Not to mention leave zero legitimate reason to appeal.

We have to file for our 2011 property tax exemption by Monday.  This time we can cite settled law countering all the bullshit reasons they have used in the past.  If we are denied this time, we will go both straight to the New York Attorney General’s office, where we have a religious discrimination complaint on hold, and file a Federal law suit in Federal court as well as criminal complaints with the US Attorney General’s office under three separate federal criminal laws.

They can no longer use BS zoning and building code reasons.  They can no longer claim our Phrygianum is “just a residence”  They can no longer attack our legitimacy as a religion.  The judge ruled that the Town of Catskill has stipulated we are legitimate and use our property for charitable and religious purposes as is required.  The Judge was so kind as to provide multiple legal precedences for each and every point.

Surrender now Danny boy….it’s over and if you continue, so will your career be over.  Read that decision carefully because the Judge handed us the basis of filing criminal complaints against you personally on a silver platter…and ethical bar action.  Sucks to be you and defeated by a crippled old lady and a shiny new attorney with zero prior court experience eh?

Our attorney is awaiting your call to arrange the terms of your surrender.

I have tried to maintain an “arms length” between my secular writings and opinions and those of the Religion I am a major part of.  That is why my wordpress and eblogger accounts do not have my name but nicknames.  Although my secular writings do not violate the IRS standards, I have been cyber-stalked for at least four years by an Attorney named Daniel Vincelette who apparently believes that I am not entitled to free speech and operates under the delusion that the Constitution does not apply to either myself or him.

Daniel Vincelette is a religious bigot representing a Town that has an open history of bigotry towards minority religions.  He makes his living attacking religious groups and non-profits engaged in charitable works.  He is the worst sort of lawyer, the type who argues directly against the law in the apparent hope no one will check his legal citations.  He has the ethical standards of a cobra and in fighting our legally mandated property tax exemption he has singled me out as his target.  None of the other priestesses in our tradition have be subjected to his “investigations” despite that fact we all have equal standing in our tradition because we are horizontally organized.  He tracked down this blog, my other, very personal “Telling My Stories” blog and the personal webpage I have maintained as a sub-domain on our primary domain for over a decade, which I own personally and donated the space to our Religion.  He scours every word I write on the internet hoping to find anything to discredit me personally and has introduced parts of all my blogs and personal page as “evidence” on several occasions.  This has had a very chilling effect on what I write, how much of my own stories I am willing to tell because this unethical individual has made this very very personal.

He doesn’t have a case and he knows it so he has attempted to make this about me rather than the facts of the case in current litigation.  He just keeps throwing mud hoping against hope no one will notice that none of it is relevant and something might stick by way of continued character assassination.  Apparently he learned this from TGs online.  He has repeatedly attacked my clergy credentials despite having multiple copies of my certificate of recognition by the State of Ohio.  He also totally ignores the fact that under New York Law, my “credentials” are solid automatically by virtue of being the founder of our movement!  He continually questions my educational background and constantly tries to hold us to “Christian” standards in our 501(c)(3) standings knowing that we meet every standard and for a year this current case has been in litigation, he and his associates have stonewalled giving any actual reason for our continued denial of what is mandated by New York law.  But during the course of this stonewalling they have let slip the actual reasons, pure mysogyny and bigotry and have done so on the record.

All of this has a transgender element to it.

New York Tax Law, Article 4, Title 2 states the following:

§  420-a.  Nonprofit  organizations;  mandatory  class.  1.  (a)  Real
property owned by a corporation or association  organized  or conducted exclusively  for  religious, charitable, hospital, educational, or moral or mental improvement of men, women or children purposes, or for two  or more  such purposes, and used exclusively for carrying out thereupon one or more of such purposes either by the owning corporation or association or by another such corporation or association  as  hereinafter  provided shall be exempt from taxation as provided in this section.

Please note this is inclusive rather than exclusive on only one of the mandated exempt classes.  Very specifically so as in “or two or more such purposes” but Vincelette maintains that our housing women in need somehow violates the “exclusive religious use”.  For the first three years this has been the basis of his “legal opinions” which clearly show as evidence he is aware of the charitable housing use of the property for years prior to our incorporation and the signing over of the property to the Religious corporation!  Apparently he thinks no one knows he’s lying about the law or can look it up.  He is obsessed with the fact that we housed newly transitioned transsexual women in need under the apparent delusion that this is not charitable work.  He actually provided proof we were doing this charitable work from the day we first acquired the property to “prove” we are not engaged in exclusive religious activities!

In 2009 the Town changed tactics and claims, once again contrary to the law, that we failed to apply for building permits for work that did not require them and failed to apply for a “change of use”, the requirement that was not part of the building and zoning code of our Town.  This was accompanied with the statement that a 130+ plus year old building would be required to be brought up “fully to code” which, given the nature of the code and the construction of the buildings, nothing more than an open attempt to place us in a position that a sound historic building be condemned and thus denying us use and forcing us to move.  This just happens to be in direct violation of a Federal law, The Religious Land Use and Institutionalize Persons Act of 2000 which was enacted to prevent exactly this sort of abuse by municipalities of zoning codes.

So, we have two equally illegal reasons given for denial of exemption, both openly contrary to law.  In court last fall Vincelette’s associate handling the case at the time denied, on the record, the existence of the Town Assessor’s memo regarding the zoning issues despite it having been introduced twice into the record before that.  She then revealed the actual reason, again on the record.  Mind you, she was so sharp she did not know which county Supreme Court she was in or which Town she was representing at the opening of this hearing.

During the Dec. 2 hearing, Pulver (the Judge hearing the case)asked Smith (acting attorney for the Town of Catskill) for the precise arrears amount owed by the Maetreum, to which she responded that “the issue we are looking at isn’t so much the dollars and cents of exactly what the taxes are, which I don’t have off the top of my head, the issue is opening the floodgates. Once you relax the requirements, and if you stretch them too far, then you’re going to have just a multitude of organizations who under the spirit of the law go —”

At that moment, the official court transcript shows Smith was interrupted by Pulver, who again asked how much the amount of taxes owed was. Smith said she didn’t know and did not further qualify her statement.

The issue was “opening the floodgates”….in other words recognition of a Federally registered 501 (c)(3), New York Religious Law incorporated minority religion.  The other word for this is religious bigotry towards a non Judeo-Christian religious organization to send a message to any other minority religious group they would fight against their rights to the death if they tried to claim their rights under law.  Interestingly enough, this actually would qualify as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act.  It also violates at least three other Federal criminal laws directly.

Any doubt this is what is going on was totally erased when I had an informal discussion with the new “Code Enforcement” officer for the Town who told me, in no uncertain terms in front of two witnesses, one a reporter, that we were targeted because we didn’t “keep our heads down” as a group “that was different”.  He then went on to explain that he would find something, anything and we had “a big yellow flashing light over our property” for having the nerve to seek justice under the law.

Print this out Vincelette and place it on the record.  At this point we have an additional iron clad Federal Religious Discrimination suit against you and Catskill and we will pursue it if need be.

Vincelette’s newest strategy is to “outspend” us knowing we have limited funds because he is well aware he has no defense.  You can help us by paypaling a donation, fully tax deductible, to

In the recent past Catskill allowed a Pagan bookstore owned by a lesbian couple to be driven out by local Baptists and a minority Christian group that had owned property directly across the street from us to be driven out as well with false accusations of child labour law violations.  This spring they rolled over and allowed Wal-Mart to bully them into millions in property tax exemptions in addition to the sweetheart deal they got in the first place.  Smith spoke the truth.  This has nothing to do with the money (except to us) and everything to do with an agenda of open bigotry.

Shame on you Catskill, the rest of us should boycott everything inside your borders.  And Daniel, in the ancient world we Cybelines were known not only as physical and spiritual healers and seers but also for the ability to curse.  We are not Christians, remember?  I’ve danced with the Witch of the Catskills who protects these mountains from those like yourself….fair warning.  Look up the legend.

footnote: a little preliminary number crunching would indicate our annual exemption would average each household in Catskill about 1.36 dollars a year, the legal bill for denying us the exemption stands currently at around 4.64 dollars per average and the Wal-Mart give away raised property taxes an average of 356 dollars per year. We will gladly provide every property owner in the Town of Catskill a quality cup of coffee at our Cafe if they feel cheated.  From public figures given at Town Meetings, the entire budget for fighting challenges such as ours has been spent to defeat our exemption this year.

The Spiritual War of the Sexes

One of the lessons I learned from studying history is exactly how much of it is wrong because of cultural bias, a concept understood in cultural anthropology as ethnocentrism.  Ethnocentrism affects understanding so completely that even facts plainly staring you in the face can be ignored completely, something I’ve observed my entire life on an individual basis, that if something challenges the worldview you hold, most people are somehow capable of total blindness to that even when it’s right in front of their nose or happening right in their presence.

Bearing in mind what I said about thinking globally in part 1, let’s look at fetal development among mammals.  Nature’s default is female meaning absent those factors needed to shift natal development to male, all mammals will develop into females in form regardless of genetics.  I believe that is also true of human spiritual understanding and the human default understanding of spirituality is the concept of the Divine Feminine principles.  It took a cataclysmic event to androgenize human civilizations throughout Europe and the Middle East, one every historian knows about but most universally ignore in importance.  And yet the evidence of this stares every ancient historian in the face!

Everything anywhere near the Mediterranean changed in the course of two days, everything.  It was the almost total destruction of the Minoan civilization by the explosion of Thera, the centre of that civilization.   The Minoans were the last true expression of the Goddess Consciousness, the apex of ancient civilization, the “rulers” of the ancient world, not by military might but by economic cooperation.  The explosion of Thera, one if not the most powerful volcanic eruptions in all recorded human history literally wiped everything in the eastern Mediterranean coasts off the face of the earth with the resulting tsunami in two days.  The volcanic ashes covered the Middle East all the way to the Indus valley and changed the weather throughout the region for years.  If you are a historian how can you ignore this in understanding the complete changes in the nature of civilizations that “just happened to occur” at this precise moment in time?

In Egypt this is the exact moment of the Exodus and when an Asian population, the Hyksos, Semitic people from Palestine, seized power in northern Egypt (the Delta), with capital in Avaris, and introduces the horse-driven chariot.

This is the exact moment that the Mycenaean Greeks invaded Crete (where the last remainders of the Minoan civilization was still intact (that part high enough to escape the tsunami) and feasting of the scraps of them suddenly went from barbarian tribes to a civilization that became the Greek one of classical times.  This is the time when civilized people suddenly changed from a Global Goddess Consciousness, true monotheism, to the concept of an anthropomorphic and fairly nasty Poppa God sitting on a cloud in judgment of all humanity by rules no one could understand.  The world shifted overnight to patriarchy, literally overnight.  The entire concept of civilization was androgenized…and never again was characterized by peaceful trade as the primary lubricant of societies.

But Global Goddess Consciousness is nature’s default and thus cannot be erased completely.

So what exactly do I mean by Global Goddess Consciousness?  It survived in Asia as the concept that the Divine is within all.  It survived for a time in the Mystery Schools of the classical period.  It survived for a time in Phrgyia where the last of the Minoans made their way to the inlet, in the lee of a large island that shielded them from the tsunami, facing Mount Ida and brought the Goddess full circle back to the very home She came from originally and then to Rome.  It teaches you that you are part of the Divine, a scrap of the hologram that contains the whole and you only need to acknowledge that, embrace that to be connected to the Divine whole.  That is the polar opposite of the teachings of Poppa God religions where you are sinful, always in danger of pissing him off and require a priest to intervene for you on behalf of the Divine of which you are not a part.

The story of Adam and Eve lays it all out for you.

First we have the expression of male jealousy of the female creative element in Yahweh “creating” Adam and then taking part of Adam’s side to make Eve.  He makes a present of a naked Adam and Eve of Eden with the stipulation that they never eat from the tree of knowledge (stay stupid) and the tree of life (never connect with their own Divine nature)or he will kill them deader than a doorknob.  The serpent, an ancient symbol associated with Goddess Consciousness, tells Eve, the woman in the story, Yahweh is lying through his teeth and wants to keep them from their Divine nature and stupid.  It’s all right there laid out clearly.  Even the fruit of the tree of knowlege is consider by most the apple, which when cut open reveals a pentagram, yet another symbol of the Goddess.

Thera exploded and gave rise to the Illiterati that makes a virtue of being stupid to enslave you by insisting you need others to know, give you knowledge and keep you disconnected from your own Divine nature.

New York law:
§ 165.35 Fortune telling.
A  person is guilty of fortune telling when, for a fee compensation
which he directly or indirectly  solicits  or  receives,  he  claims or pretends  to  tell  fortunes,  or  holds  himself  out as being able, by claimed or pretended use of occult powers, to answer questions  or  give advice  on  personal  matters  or  to exorcise, influence or affect evil spirits or curses; except that this section does not apply to  a  person who  engages  in  the  aforedescribed  conduct  as  part  of  a  show or exhibition solely for the purpose of entertainment or amusement.
Fortune telling is a class B misdemeanor.

Now this is pretty darn clearly aimed directly at Pagan practices and the most common result is that anyone telling fortunes or lifting curses for another as a Pagan is forced to a prior denouncement of their own belief system (notice of for entertainment or amusement).  What is interesting is that fringe Christians do the same all the time without this requirement although a strict reading of the law would require them to do so.

Think about it.  Every time some Christian bible thumper yammers on about this or that being punishment from God or makes a prediction of end times, tribulation or rapture they are in fact engaging in fortune telling for money, they always ask for money.  Anytime a revival preacher “drives out a demon”, does a faith healing or claims to have a direct line to God’s will, they are claiming occult powers.  Any time a fundie preacher gives advice supposedly from their direct line to God, they are in violation of this law.  To say otherwise is to establish them as legitimate and Pagans as illegitimate.  And that is a direct violation of the “establishment of religion” clause of the Constitution.

Pagans, I urge you to stop using the disclaimer and dare arrest under this law then challenge it on Constitutional grounds.  It violates freedom of religion as well.  It is far past time we let ourselves have our religious rights violated with unequal enforcement of law.  We need to stand up and demand equal treatment if we are ever to receive it.

Lesbians and Gays, every time a Christian fundie makes a statement claiming to know the mind of God regarding same sex marriage, anything negative about homosexuality, they are in violation of this law.  Almost all states have a similar law on the books, I urge you to look up the exact language in your state and apply this by filing criminal complaints under your state version of fortune telling laws against any Christian claiming these “occult” powers.  Do this each and every time you see these statements, demand prosecution under the law and we can eventually break these hatemongers once and for all.

Karma’s a bitch and the principle involved here is the best way to oppose a bad law is to enforce it equally.

Mary Daly passed away some time yesterday.  To many she is best known as the lover and mentor of Janice Raymond but among Pagans she is remembered for her ground breaking work in the formation of the Dianic Pagan traditions.   Her 1973 work,  “Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation” was a seminal work in spiritually oriented feminism.

Mary Daly’s last book  “Amazon Grace” marked a departure from her former, often somewhat over the top,  radical feminist philosophy to embrace the model of the second wave European schools that emerged first in Spain and then later in France embracing the “esprit feminique” –the feminine spirit that embraces rather than reject those unique attributes of women as not weakness but indeed our strengths.  This is the essence of  “Wholistic Feminism”.

Rest in peace Mary, may the Goddess’ arms enfold and keep you.

“The Goddess Movement would not be the same without her. Contemporary Paganism would not be the same without the Goddess Movement. The radical essentialism of thinkers like Daly was a challenge to the pole that said “only men can communicate with the divine”. That pillar that she went up against? Mostly it has changed, leaving behind laughable relics, some of whom unfortunately still hold a measure of power. Yes, inequality still exists and yes, I am still a feminist, but things have gotten better. Much, much better. I don’t know if Mary Daly was able to see the battles she actually won.”T. Thorn Coyle

postscript...Do You Renounce Daly and All Her Works?
As a Pagan feminist theologian, the debt I owe Mary Daly is huge. As a feminist woman, that debt is also huge. As one with an intersexed/transsexed history I cannot and will not join the hate fest against her because my own experiences as a feminist woman taught me she wasn’t completely wrong. Please allow me to explain.

Almost none of the transwomen trashing Daly even knew who she was prior to her death, I can practically guarantee most of them never read any of her books. No, if they know her name it is because she was Janice Raymond’s mentor and among transwomen, Raymond is Satan. Now most of them never actually read Transsexual Empire either, it is an article of trans-faith one must hate Raymond with the irony being I’d never met a feminist who even knew who Raymond was until some transwoman told them about her.

Now was there ever any justification for the positions that Daly and Raymond held? Many years ago I used to argue with rad-fems on that and then a funny thing happened. Over and over I was personally exposed to exactly those same behaviours both complained about… those who claimed some sort of “sisterhood” with me by virtue of my having been surgically assigned male at birth (I was born intersexed) and transitioning as an adult. With one major difference to most of them beyond the intersexed thing, I had always been a lifelong feminist, always been aware of my own femaleness and hyper-aware of male privilege.

I watched feminist after feminist do a mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa on trans people when I was beginning to experience something I had to coin a word for, neo-gynophobia, in the various “trans communities”. It’s out there in plain view but any mention is immediately shouted down as transphobia. Now that’s rich. My need to make my body match my soul/central nervous system/whatever was downplayed and even insulted and the rationale to do so was exactly the same as Raymond expressed! My, and other’s like me, post corrected bodies were insulted as faux vaginas, inverted penises, mutilated crotches and we were told we would never ever ever be “real” woman. Not by rad-fems, by transgender identified people! My participation in NOW was criticized by trans women because I did so as a woman without modifiers!

And talk about hatred? I’ve been subjected to hate crimes, death threats, open attempts to destroy every aspect of my life, even turned in to Homeland Security as a terrorist and outed so I would lose my job. By evil rad-fems? By the Christo-fascist right?…….no, by transpeople because I named and talked about neo-gynophobia. I know first hand the hatred Julie Bindle has experienced.

So will I repudiate all that I gained from Mary Daly’s life work because she had issues with trans women? Not on your life. In this respect she was wrong in many ways but also she was no worse than many that now demand her life be judged on this aspect.

The violence done on the self esteem of women by the patriarchy is almost so universal it is often hard to grasp it’s full extent.  It spreads from economics to political organizational to religion and philosophy…and the underpinnings of all of those and more.

As long as feminist women use “oppression heiarchies” as the model to understanding all this, we lose.  As in total thermonuclear war, the answer is quite simple, the only way to win is not to play.  Personally I feel it is no accident that history is barely taught today in our schools and ancient history, when covered, rewritten completely to serve the political agendas of the patriarchy.

The logic of men is domination, the logic of women is cooperation.  This basic principle is clear throughout human history.  In political terms male logic yields monarchies, theocracies, dog eat dog captialism.  Female logic give us “socialized medicine”, the concept of the commons for communal raising and sharing of food resources, the idea that many hands make lighter labour.  In theological terms male logic give us gods sitting in judgement and handing out vengence and punishment while female logic gives us universal divinity, Gaia, understanding of the interdependence of all life, ecology.  Male logic gives us subdue the earth, rape it’s resources for our own immediate gain while women’s logic gives us the sense that we have an obligation to future generations and finite resources need to be preserved.

You can find male logic in a lot of women and female logic in a lot of men.  The difference is in style and gross numbers.

To me, a wholistic feminism is one that rejects the entire patriarchal model for Goddess Consciousness which has been slowly reawakening for the past hundred plus years in waves. Socialism, the Suffragettes, the rise in Pagan religious models over Abrahamic ones, socialized medicine, social security, Medicare, foodstamps and Welfare, worker’s comp, green movement, ecology…..these are all reflections of a Goddess awareness, a spirit of charity and cooperation as opposed to the sink or swim, you got what you deserved, no illegal aliens, social darwinism.

It’s feminism on a total global basis.  Can you be against socialized medicine and be a feminist?  How can you embrace a religious model that promotes your own original sin for being born without a penis and be a feminist?  How can you embrace politics that reject common humanity and the obligations not to mention promote the continued raping of the planet to the point it is in peril and still be a feminist?

Wholistic feminism transcends race, social status, physical bodies.  It is an entire way of being and make no mistake, the patriarchy knows this even if we are slow to understand it ourselves.  Think about it.  Those “matriarchies” of the ancient world weren’t, they were equalitarian.  It’s no accident that liberalism is called “effete”.

The women’s studies programs can take us only so far.  The “schools” of feminism are being used to divide us.  It is time to take a wholistic viewpoint, a global one of our feminism.  It’s not part of our lives, it is our lives and that of our children and partners as well.

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