Offering to Brigid

Blessed Imbolc! My annual offering to Brigid comes with much excitement, as new poems by Sappho have just recently been found. Brigid, for those who are unaware, is a Goddess not only connected to poets, but also to survival:

There is perhaps no goddess more appropriate to invoke when survival – whether physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual – is an issue. For while many goddesses have survived the destruction of their culture by cloaking themselves in new names and new legends, we know of none who have lived so long in disguise as Brigid. It is 1600[+] years since her worship was surppressed in her homeland, yet her wells are still visited and her name kept alive by devotees who still honour her feminine essence, even when they no longer define her as goddess. (Patricia Monaghan, The Goddess Path, p. 174)

For those of us who are struggling, for those who cannot be heard, for those who despair that our work will be lost forever, Sappho speaks to us from the Archaic Past*. Her words of Elemental Sisterhood*, translated to English by Anne Carson, resonate then, now, and in the time yet to come. Blessed Be!

someone will remember us

I say

even in another time


* These ideas, and many others, can be found in the work of Mary Daly.

Feminist Foremother: Ada Lovelace

“The Origins of Lovelace” –

If you’re reading this, thank Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer.

As a feminist fore-mother, she’s an inspiration to many women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. So much so that there’s a whole site dedicated to telling these women’s stories – Finding Ada – especially on Ada Lovelace Day (aka today).

As a self-professed geeker girl, and someone who can’t go more than 2 minutes without checking Twitter, I also owe so much to Ada and every other women working in these fields. (Awesome woman like Tara Brown, my best friend of 25+ years, who teaches at Red River Community College and get rave reviews from her students. There’s a good chance Tara’s going to kill me for posting this, but what are BFFs for if not to brag incessantly about each other?)

So join me in raising a (virtual) glass to Tara, Ada and every other woman in the STEM fields, and may you have a Happy Ada Lovelace Day wherever you are!


Searching old journals for a book quote, finding passages that still speak to me after so many years. This one is from August 10, 1997.

The Chariot, Motherpeace Tarot Deck

Why do we forget? Why do we allow the patriarchy and its minions to run us down, make us feel this way? Why do women not use the strength we have – the strength we draw on to face a friend’s cancer, or a difficult child, or a divorce, or a spouse’s death? Why not unleash our creativity – the creativity to write a book, or teach drama, or mold pottery, or paint pictures? Why don’t we use our power? What is standing in our way? Why don’t we Re-Member that we can do it, just as so many women have before?

Why I Keep Working for Change

Today was the National Day for Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and, as every year, I gathered with others to “mourn first, then work for change.”

Tonight I lit the purple candles (made by volunteers from the Women’s Resource Centre) on my alter, honouring those who have lost their lives to violence and sending energy to those who continue to work for change. After a day of questioning whether we were having an impact, I felt at peace.

And then I turned on the internet…

Jim Hillyer: MP Celebrates Gun Registry Vote with Finger Guns

31 Days to a Brand New Blog: Day 2

(or “why I do what I do”)

I’ve spent the last day tinkering behind the scenes and don’t think I’m any closer to fixing the communication gap between Telus, GoDaddy and Blogger – so I’ll ignore that and get on to the next assignment, “Write a Purpose Statement for Your Blog.”

Why do you blog?

I started blogging on January 8, 2006, with a little post about the projects I was working on. I’d been online since 1994 working on projects with nonprofits, especially those working on women’s issues, and decided that it was time to jump on this blogging craze. Soon I blogged because there was so much happening that needed to be shared, connected and commented on. And then – well, then real life really got in the way, in big painful ways, and I blogged less and less. As I posted yesterday, it’s been over a year since I last wrote something here. And no, life hasn’t gotten less busy, but I think I’m ready to face the pain again.
What do you want to blog about?
My second blog post jumped right into my three favourite topics (according to my tags list): politics (38 posts), witch(craft) (26 posts) and feminism (24 posts, with an additional 13 labelled ecofeminism). The personal is political, especially to a radical feminist witch like me, and it’s what I do best. Blogging about things can also help me re-centre, re-claim lost ground and re-inspire me as I work through the next stages of the game plan.
What do you want to be known for through your blog?
I want people to read my posts and think “Yes, that makes total sense.” I want to draw attention to the disconnects in the world between what we think and what is being done in our names. I want to prove that not all the radicals have gone away, that not all the feminists have put away their protest signs, and that not all the witches are afraid of the fire. 

Poetry for Brigid

It’s that time again! Here’s my entry for the Fourth Annual Brigad in the Blogosphere Poetry Slam. Happy Imbolc!


Beatrice Cenci was a young Italian noblewoman executed in 1599 (with her stepmother and elder brother) by the Pope because she was involved in the murder of her father, who had imprisoned and abused them.

Alimitra David wrote a poem, Beatrice of the Cenci, that takes place on the eve of the execution. In it, Beatrice calls out to her mother (who died shortly after her birth). As it is a long poem, I am only sharing the first and last stanzas. The entire poem can be found in Impulse to Fly (1998).


I don’t ask
that you
come to me here
to hold me and
cry as Lucretia and I
have done for
years I
don’t ask you to
come and be as
we are a

voice against his
will like my
smallest finger
against the
stone gate of
the courtyard

Mother I don’t
pray you back to
this place only
sing to me
from wherever you are

oh sing to me Mother
I will climb your voice
hand over hand
high over these
robed men who
curse me

sing tonight
for tomorrow they
will cut me loose
at last to fly from this
motherless place
this place of
fathers and
fathers and
more fathers


Mother do you
love me do
you love me
broken as I am
do you love my
feet my hands
my face do you
love me when I
hear you and

do you love me
when I can’t
listen when I
blind and deaf
in water with
no current was

it your voice in
my dream was it
mine calling names I
don’t remember when

this night will
become morning
I have heard
rumors of
morning of
sunrise and
figs ripening

Mother I call
to you not to
come to me here
only sing for me
wherever you are

Visioning and Re-Visioning

Ms. Magazine has a list of quotes from prominent women, Vision for Change, about what they would like to see happen under an Obama administration. My favourite?

LET THE SURVIVORS LEAD. The violence-against women movement has to, once again, become a movement and not just a network of social-service providers. Violence will only end when survivors are seen as potential organizers on their own behalf, rather than simply clients of social workers, lawyers, judges or medical personnel. —ANDREA SMITH, PROFESSOR OF AMERICAN CULTURE AND WOMEN’S STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN; COFOUNDER, INCITE! WOMEN OF COLOR AGAINST VIOLENCE

There is so much change that needs to happen within the VAW movement. We need to reclaim the feminist analysis and address the root causes and systems that create, sustain and encourage violence against women!