About mrsbongle

I hate writing about myself! I'm a historian and a priestess of the Goddess Temple in Glastonbury, Gemini, writer, book lover, married to a lovely husband and I have a cat called Merlin. I now live in Glastonbury

What are the ancient roots of Goddess culture in which our modern Goddess spirituality is based?

 

 

            I see the ancient roots of Goddess culture as being based in the Neolithic times.  Obviously this was a time before microscope and knowledge of things such as sperm cells and so men of that time saw women getting pregnant and had no idea how this was happening and the part that they played in the process so they saw it as something magical.  This led Neolithic men to perceive women as sacred.  Women were life-bringers; men could death but only women could create life.  Also, I believe, that is was women who invented farming and the raising of crops because in most indigenous tribes that exist nowadays it is the men who hunt but the women who forage for berries and roots and grains.  With the women’s knowledge of grains they could easily have figured out how to harvest the seeds and plant them.  Therefore, I believe that women helped early civilizations to prosper and grow and may have prevented starvation.

            When I did my degree in history I studied the history of the Native Americans and they were a people who held women to be sacred so much so that George Armstrong Custer once escaped encirclement by Native American warriors by holding their women captive for he knew the warriors would never endanger their women. 

            In the nineteenth century there was a commonly held belief that early societies were barbaric and with the arrival of Christianity they became civilized.  Obviously I don’t agree with that and most historians would take a dim view of that theory now.  I think that Neolithic society was very complex and civilized.  I believe they had writing and education and temples for Goddess worship.  Their raising of crops and living close to the land would have kept them in touch with the seasons and the many faces of Goddess at different times of the year.

            I also see the roots of Goddess culture in the lives of elephants because they are an entirely matriarchal society.  The oldest female elephant is the matriarch of the tribe and the others follow her lead.  The male elephants have to stay away; they only come around the main herd for breeding purposes and then they get kicked out again.  The only males in the main herd are the little babies still being cared for by their mothers.  Sometimes I can’t help thinking (particularly when Gary is getting on my nerves!) that this would be a great way for us to organise our own society.

            Gary and I went on holiday to Athens in February and I went to the Acropolis and other sacred sites.  In the museums there were lots of statues of Athena and Demeter and Persephone and Aphrodite.  I see these Goddesses as all being different faces of the Mother Goddess of the World.  We also took a day trip to Delphi which was a beautiful place.  The scenery alone was incredible.  It was one of those places that had an aura about it of other-worldliness.  I found it interesting that even in an extremely patriarchal society like Ancient Greece the visionaries and scryers were all women.  This speaks to me of the idea that only women were/are sacred enough vessels to embody a deity.  Of course, the priests interpreted what the Pythoness said but the fact that this sacred task was reserved for women says to me that this was a vestige of Goddess worship which the men did not feel confident enough to throw out.

            With other religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam I think they are quite scholarly religions based around books and thoughts but I see Goddess worship as being more natural and more in tune with nature.  Again, the idea that as civilisation progresses things move away from nature and in to the realms of thought has influenced society a lot in the past but now I think that people are realising that in many ways nature is smarter and wiser than people and that is one of the things that is drawing people back to Goddess.

            I also believe that feminism has lead many people back to Goddess because feminism questions old patriarchal beliefs including religious belief and why does God have to be an old man with a beard anyway?  Give him a sack and he could pass for Santa.  The deities people believe in are linked to their views about power and control and when society was defined by patriarchal beliefs then all deities had to be male.  But as we now, it is nonsense that only men are or can be spiritual beings.  Now more and more women are taking control of their own lives the Goddess is returning.  In Neolithic times I believe women were more powerful than they are now and that society then was a lot fairer.  As a historian I do not believe in the concept of ‘the good old days’ and we have to be careful about mythologizing the past but in a society where men and women were equals and Goddess worshipping people it’s hard not to wish that society was like that now.

            But if you look carefully you can see the roots of Goddess culture all over the world.  It is quite obvious in Greece with museums full of statues of Goddesses but in places like New Grange in Ireland it is also evident with people who have eyes to see it.  The cave is shaped like a womb.  My mother is Irish and when I was little she used to tell me stories of fairies and heroes and giants that were part of the Irish mythology.  I abandoned that sort of thing when I got older because it felt silly to still believe in fairies but now I see it was part of my heritage as a Goddess loving woman.  The ancient songs and stories often speak of Goddess even if She has been disguised because most of the stories were written down by monks.  I feel like Goddess exists just below the surface of real life.  In the past I think She was much closer to people’s day to day existence.  She may have been pushed back but She has never gone away. 

            And the roots of Goddess culture exist in the land itself; in the way it has been shaped and formed with standing stones amongst other things.  And in the names that places have been given such as Bride’s mound which they tell us is named after a saint but we know it is Goddess.

            I remember just after I signed up to do spiral one that I had a row with my sister, who is a church going Christian, because she was unhappy about the choice I had made and she warned that the Goddess Temple in Glastonbury was probably a cult that was after my money but what offended me most of all was when she said “You know that your religion was just made up in the nineteenth century.”  My sister and I are both historians and I knew what she was referring to.  Of course, she meant Gerald Gardner and the Golden Dawn and Dion Fortune and Crowley and all of that, which was early twentieth century, not the nineteenth as she had said.  But I thought she was ignoring the century’s old tradition of the wise woman and healer who lived in the village that treated everybody’s wounds and doled out sensible advice to all who needed it.  It wasn’t until the seventeenth/eighteenth century that doctors became all male and patriarchy took over the healing arts.  And I knew that the Goddess tradition was much older than she (my sister) knew.  I had studied it; she hadn’t.  It wasn’t just what she said but the dismissive tone she had used that really annoyed me and I didn’t speak to her or phone her for about three weeks until she apologised.

            But in conclusion I would say that I see the ancient roots of the Goddess culture in the miracle of birth, the magic of the wise woman and healer, the elderly matriarch who gives out the best advice speaking exactly the right words at exactly the right time.  I see Goddess in what I call ordinary magic where you drive into the car park just as a space becomes available or you walk up to the checkout just as they open another till right in front of you; things that seem so ordinary most people take them for granted.  This is the sort of magic that priestesses have been doing since the dawn of time.  The serendipities of life, the coincidences where everything falls into place at exactly the right moment.  This is divine feminine magic and it always will be.

 

 

The Boy on the Beach

Drowned boy

The Boy on the Beach

He lies like a beached seal, washed up like human driftwood on the unforgiving sand.

He came from a war; fleeing towards peace, chasing freedom, safety and security.

His parents wanted all the things we have

Like a decent education for the children and a job that pays more than a pittance.

But most of all they wanted their children to be safe.

The boy thought he was going to a better place.

How right he was.

 

What has turned the Mediterranean into a graveyard?

A place where the unwanted die as the uncaring look on.

Right wingers beat the nationalist drum and raise panic in their wake.

The threatened become the threat as they mill around trying to reach safety.

When did fleeing persecution become a crime?

 

A policeman carries the boy’s body away

To a peace that he never knew in life.

 

Practising Gratitude – The Get Happy Quick Solution

The Little Book of Happiness 2

We all want to be happy and yet some of use find it incredibly difficult to be just that.  I’m not talking about the occasional moment of happiness but a life where we are happy a lot more often than we aren’t.  We imagine that only the rich and famous or maybe the Dalai Lama can achieve such an exalted state but really anyone can do it.

Happiness is much easier to achieve when you practise gratitude every day.  Just find five things a day that you are grateful for.  Unless you’re doing solitary confinement in Alcatraz I think most of us can find five things to be grateful for.  They can be big things like booking a holiday or small things like having hot buttered toast; there are no limits on what you choose because its your list and no-one else can say whether its right or wrong.

So go ahead and start your list and be happy!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B013LUOABA?keywords=The%20Little%20Book%20of%20Happiness%20by%20Janet%20Parfitt&qid=1439133187&ref_=sr_1_1&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

 

A Viking Saga!

Office chair

If you looking for big bearded warriors in longships then look away now because this is not that kind of Viking saga. Sorry to disappoint you but this one is a lot more pedestrian than that. My husband has an old wobbly chair upstairs so I decided to buy him a new office chair for Christmas. I contacted Viking, the office supplies company, and ordered a nice new chair for Gary. It arrived in a big box and everything looked fine.

I didn’t put it together until boxing day but I managed to assemble it very easily. Then Gary tried it out but when he sat on it, it sank. I tried it out as well and the same thing happened. Whenever anyone sat on it the seat sank until you were only about a foot off the ground. The chair was obviously faulty. Fortunately there was a free phone number so Gary rang them up.

They admitted straightaway that the original chair was faulty so they ordered another chair for Gary and a box would be sent for us to put the faulty chair in and then they would come and take it away or at least that’s what they said. So the next day they delivered the other chair and a great big box for Gary and I to put the faulty chair in so the courier would come and take it away the next day, which was a Friday. Now our house is very small and this great big box took up practically the entire hallway so Gary and I could not get in or out of the front door and we had to struggle round the wretched thing to get upstairs.

So Friday came and went and needless to say no-one came to pick up the faulty chair. Gary rang them on Saturday morning and they promised faithfully to pick up the chair on Monday morning. Gary had an important doctor’s appointment on Monday morning so he explained we’d be out but Gary said we’d leave the box outside and the guy on the phone said that would be fine.

Monday came and went and still no-one came to pick up the box. It rained heavily while we were at the doctor’s and the box had now pretty much disintegrated. So Gary and I have wrapped a bin bag around the faulty chair and it now sits forlornly in the hallway still awaiting collection. It is half past three on Tuesday as I type this and guess what, still no collection.

Worse is that, this morning Viking sent me a letter billing me for the second chair and moaning that I haven’t paid for it. Gary phoned them up again and he cancelled the second chair and they are supposed to be calling to pick that one up as well. They also said they’d credit my account so I wouldn’t have to pay for either chair. Gary and I have both decided to go over Staples at Bristol and buy a new chair for him there and we have also decided to never buy anything from Viking ever again!

Blood Addiction and the Image of a Vampire.

Blood Addiction

When I wrote my novel Blood Addiction, you could say that I wrote it in reaction to the novel Twilight.  I confess I haven’t actually read Twilight because I’m the sort of person who doesn’t like to read what everyone else is reading but I would need to live in a cave not to have heard about it!

Actually the thing that annoyed me most about Twilight was the idea of Vampires that don’t kill people!  I mean; what is the point of that?  Its like rock stars who don’t take drugs and bang the groupies.  Isn’t that the point of being a rock star?  And isn’t the killing part the point of vampires?  The idea of a vampire that doesn’t kill disgusts me!  If you don’t want any killing in your book then write about little fluffy bunnies; not vampires!

So when I wrote Blood Addiction I was determined to make my vampires monsters.  Even Vladimir, the anti-hero of the whole thing, kills a teenage girl in the first chapter.  And Lord Ruthven, who’s the villain of the piece, even kills two young children.  So if this is the sort of thing you don’t like, here’s a heads-up.  Don’t read Blood Addiction.  But if you like your vampires to be proper killing machines, then its possible that Blood Addiction might just be the book for you!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Addiction-Janet-Parfitt-ebook/dp/B004SC19SI/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1410882331&sr=8-4&keywords=blood+addiction

An American doctor experiences an NHS emergency room

A very interesting American perception of the NHS.

Dr. Jen Gunter

You know it’s going to be one of those days when one of the first tweets on vacation inquires about the closest hospital.

IMG_8896Victor, one of my 11-year-olds, had something in his eye courtesy of a big gust of wind outside of Westminster Abby. He was complaining enough to let me flip his eyelid and irrigate his eye on the square in front of Big Ben. (I’m sure several people thought I was torturing him).  Despite an extensive search and rinse mission no object or relief was to be found. I fretted about going to the hospital. It wasn’t the prospect of navigating a slightly foreign ER, but simply the prospect of the wait. While I am a staunch supporter of the British NHS in the back of my mind I envisioned a paralyzingly full emergency room and an agonizing 18 hour wait only to find he had nothing in his…

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ROW80 Check – In 09/07/2014

Do not annoy the writer

Okay, I admit it; I’ve been in the doldrums for a while. I haven’t written a word in ages because first I told myself I was going away to Ireland and I’d start again when I got back. Then I told myself that I’d start at the beginning of July, but I missed that date. I realise that I was just making excuses so yesterday I bit the bullet and just wrote another chapter of my work in progress. I must say that I felt a lot better for doing it. Yesterday I also managed to sort out the favourites on my computer, which was a job I’d been meaning to do for ages and kept putting off. I practised my guitar, figured out how to listen to an audio book on my Kindle Fire and did 750 words.

Today I chopped all the weeds back in our front garden, wrote another chapter of my work in progress, practised my guitar and had another guitar lesson, did this blog post and plan to do another 750 words later. So after a long pause it’s back to full speed ahead!