dess Newsletter

ISSUE 13-01

January 2013

Briana Murray

Adele Shakal 

Jeanne Leiter 

Charles Elliott

Joanne Elliott 


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Director's Message
Imbolc-Return of the Light
Spotlight: New Director of Religious Services
Save the Date: 2013 Ritual Sabbats
Circle of Life-Ananda & Donar Wedding
Center for Awakening Consciousness
Pasadena Interfaith Peace Walk
Year of the Snake
Animal Tales
Rise of the Guardians-Movie Review
Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
Director's Message  


Rev. Xia headshot With each turn of the Wheel of the Year, we open ourselves to the inherent lessons offered by the cycles of nature; the changing seasons representing a psychological "map of consciousness" facilitating human growth. Myth and ritual contain the framework for growth and personal transformation, rites of passage, healing, empowerment, and manifestation.


In 2012 we embraced Change as our yearly theme. As Pagans, our teachings are found in nature, the seasons, cycles, and the cosmos . . . all of which are in a constant state of flux. In nature we find the reflection/lessons for how to grow, live consciously, and create the life we deserve. To that end we don't need to emphasize the need, or desire, for change. It is a given. We understand the clarion call of life for change, transformation, shape-shifting. That's the journey we shared ritually and mythically in 2012 . . . lessons on how change comes, how we can approach and embrace change . . . even consciously choosing what changes we want to make . . . the ways that change can be approached, embraced, and integrated into our lives.


That critical year of change prepared us for the NEW DIRECTIONS coming in 2013. Hopefully, we have prepared ourselves, individually, and as a community, and done both the inner work as well as the outer work in preparing the foundation for new possibilities and new growth in the months ahead. 


As the Founder and Director of Temple of the Goddess, I can personally testify to the changes of 2012. While writing our Autumn myth of Ganesha, I was cracked open in unexpected ways. Since then the changes of 2012 have been morphing into NEW DIRECTIONS for me and the temple. It is now time to grow our beloved temple to the next evolution of its own life cycle, as nonprofits must do, or inevitably, deteriorate. The vision has always been to create a nonprofit Pagan church that will be here for many, many generations to come.


After months of prayer, visioning, and looking to a future of NEW DIRECTIONS, it is time for me to step away somewhat from the Los Angeles temple activities and begin work on growing the organization on a larger scale with much more interfaith work and other temple programs, such as our affiliate program, GAIA-the school and credentialing arm of the temple, a prison ministry, as well as Nine Muses Arts. In order to do these additional programs I need to pass on a few of the many proverbial hats I've been wearing this past decade to some of the strong leadership pillars of the temple. More . . . 

Temple of the Goddess Announcements 


MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! - Goddess Choir: If you'd like to be a part of the ever-growing Temple of the Goddess Choir, please contact us at choir@templeofthegoddess.org

NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTIONS: Please send any related essays, articles, interviews, and poetry for temple newsletter to newsletter@TempleoftheGoddess.org.
COMMUNITY EVENTS: Additional information about Community Events is available at the Temple of the Goddess website. If you would like to post an event with Temple of the Goddess, please let us know by submitting the date and pertinent information to: events@TempleoftheGoddess.org.

Keep up to date with what's happening at the Temple. Get to know us better while you enjoy daily words of inspiration, interesting and helpful articles as well as the latest Pagan news. All you have to do is "Like" us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter under @TO_Goddess. See you there!
 Crossroads of Consciousness

There's a great wave rising
I feel it climbing
up my back, through my spine
exploding the once
closed doors of my heart

I'm preparing to take flight.
The winds are adrifting
shifting my sight
I see through old eye
these new times.

by Lena Moon 2004
Reprinted We'Moon 2011
Imbolc or Candlemas - Candlemas is the feast of returning light, a festival of purification and dedication.  It is the day on which winter turns upward to the spring. Imbolc is the celebration of life as the Earth thaws and prepares for spring. Winter and death are cleansed away, and as the days lengthen, hope grows for the warmth of new life. Candlemas is nurtured beginnings, a sweeping away of the past and an affirmation of things to come.  

In 2013 Imbolc occurs on February 3rd at 7:57AM Pacific time. Imbolc is a time of new beginnings, of new growth. At Imbolc we honor creativity, inspiration, and dedication to our life's path. As the days grow long, it is a season of hope for the life that awaits us in spring. It is a time to seek divination for guidance of the new directions you are embarking on in 2013.

In preparation for the new beginnings ahead, we first get rid of the old. We search our consciousness for remnants of the past, our unresolved fears, the nagging voices of doubt-we clear away the old to make room for new projects, new work, new relationships. It is time to make a fresh start, embrace possibilities, and trust in the mystery of the unknown.

Take time in the days ahead to go within and clear the detritus that blocks your path; then turn your heart and soul to the new path that lies ahead for you. Light a candle in celebration of your life and rededicate yourself to your life's purpose.
Spotlight On New Director of Religious Services: Rev. Kamala

Ritual, Myth, and Community

by Kamala  


But once this subject catches you, there is such a feeling, from one or another of these traditions, of a deep, rich, life-vivifying sort that you don't want to give it up.

                                                                                    --Joseph Campbell, p. 4, The Power of Myth


This current new direction of my spiritual life actually began when I was 8 years old. I joined the local Presbyterian Church because it was the closest church to my home. I had attended some services at various churches and temples during sleep-overs with my friends, and I loved the theatricality and spectacle of their rituals. On Christmas and Easter, I relished going with my friends' families to their pageants and holiday Kamala clergy headshot productions, and I missed this in my everyday life, so asked my parents if we could join a church. This was a surprise to them, because they were both atheists who had each given up on religion in disgust, having found the pretense, irrationality, and bigotry of the evangelical communities in which they had grown up, more than they could stomach. But they were progressive parents who honored their kids' feelings and needs, and so each Sunday, despite their better judgment, they dropped me off, sometimes with my brother and sister, at the little church just a couple of blocks from our elementary school.


My parents would come to the church events I participated in. They watched us singing in the Easter Sunrise Service at the Hollywood Bowl and in the chorus during the Christmas pageant reenactment of Joseph and Mary's search for a safe haven to birth their son, a story that always brought me to tears. To their credit, my parents, despite their disdain for the institution, never showed any contempt, or indicated that there was anything silly or wrong with my going to church. I reveled in these holiday rituals, and the seasons came alive for me. Joining with my new found community in their Sunday school rituals each week gave me a sense of belonging and hinted to me of the power and wonder of the presence of the Numinous and Divine.  Continued . . . 

SAVE THE DATE: 2013 Temple of the Goddess Ritual Sabbats  
"The seasons and all their changes are in me." -Henry David Thoreau

Our multi-cultural Earth celebrations are open to families and community. Our Sabbats are multi-media ritual theater combining mythology, music, visual art, dance, liturgy, spoken word, and participatory theater which fuses drum and dance with personal enactment to re-connect us to the seasons and the Earth.

Animal Tales Logo
Spring Equinox, March 23
Summer Solstice, June 29
Autumn Equinox, September 21
Hallows Eve, November 2

All Rituals are scheduled at the Church of Truth in Pasadena. Click here for more information
and to download an event flyer.

A Center for Awakening Consciousness
690 E. Orange Grove Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91104

Website: www.TempleoftheGoddess.org 

We hope you will join the temple, in community, to honor the seasons, the Earth, and our own personal growth for our 2013 Ritual Sabbats.

Artwork from Ritual Path DVD by artist John Banks of Artek Images and music by Fritz Heede.  Available from Temple of the Goddess Music & Media Store.
Circle of Life
As the Wheel of Life spins, the seasons bear witness to the covenant of the Goddess, Her promise of life and the never-ending cycle of birth, death, and renewal. To each of us in times of both joy and sorrow She sweetly whispers, "Be not afraid of my cycles and embrace the changing nature of all things, the permanence within the impermanence. The seasons bear witness to this promise I manifested for you. For surely, the darkness and death of winter is followed by the light and renewal of spring."

Ananda & Donar Wedding Cheryl Caddick and Patrick Cleary Wedding
by Jeanne (Pythia) Leiter

December 21 marked the 2012 Winter Solstice . . . It will also be known as the date of the Caddick - Cleary wedding. They chose to 'go into the dark' bonded together. They chose this time of the year in order to gather and protect the various parts of their lives, blending them in order to better meet the coming Spring. Both are part of the Temple family. Cheryl Caddick is a priestess in the Temple and known as 'Ananda'. She has many roles in the Temple: music director, singer/actor in Mythic Players, Ritual Planning Committee member, and Director of Clergy Services. Patrick Cleary, known in the Temple as 'Donar' also wears several hats here. He is the main component in the Temple band, playing several instruments and lending his voice to the choir. He also writes environmental articles for Between the Columns, keeping readers informed about many current problems with Mother Earth that don't get into common media.

The setting was the Women's Twentieth Century Club in Los Angeles, California. I've been there before-very plain, but friends of the couple made the space magical. Everything was blue and white, even those invited to witness the celebration, having been suggested to, "wear your favorite shade of blue."
The wedding space was in the center of grouped chairs placed in each of the four directions facing the center. Small altars were placed in the four directions around the mid ritual space. When I entered, I was assigned to the West and given a homemade emblem of Water to pin on my blouse. Others were seated in the East, Air; South, Fire; or North, Earth and given an emblem appropriate to their direction.More . . .

Photo by Maureen Blaine
CofT front A Center for Awakening Consciousness: Church of Truth

At this time of NEW DIRECTIONS for us all, Temple of the Goddess is excited to announce that we will be holding our ritual Sabbats in a new location in Pasadena. We are happy to be sharing space with the Church of Truth located at the Center for Awakening Consciousness, 690 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91104.

About the Center: "This church teaches that there is a power within us greater than anything that can happen to us, and that by understanding and by application of the laws of this power, we can be established in health, harmony and abundance."

Beginning with Spring Equinox, our services will be relocating to this lovely, warm space and the very welcoming new friends we've found there. In addition to our ritual Sabbats, we plan to hold our monthly moon rituals and classes at the center.

Our monthly classes and moon circles were suspended when we lost the space at Sutton Studios. Once again, our great thanks to the Suttons for the kind, gracious donation of space for so many years. They helped us grow and we are forever grateful for their generosity and support in the early years of the temple's formation.

Please join us for Spring Equinox, the first of our 2013 rituals on March 23rd. Following our "Year of Change in 2012" our theme for 2013 is NEW DIRECTIONS.


Temple of the Goddess is proud to be a part of this special Interfaith community event. Congregations of all faiths are joining together in a city-wide interfaith effort to provide shoes for the needy. The month-long shoe drive begins February 1st and culminates in an Interfaith Peace Walk on March 3, 2013. Participants in the Interfaith Peace Walk will walk a mile and converge at 2:00 PM at the Pasadena Memorial Park on Sunday, March 3, 2013, for an inspirational closing ceremony of music and prayer.

Representing Pasadena's rich diversity of religious traditions, prayers for peace will be spoken by members of diverse faiths, demonstrating a shared commitment to work and live in peace for the common good. Music will be provided by local performers from diverse spiritual traditions.

Please click here to go to our Pasadena Interfaith Peace Walk page and Like us. Look for an additional mailer with more specifics for the shoe drop off and participation in the closing ceremonies.

Temple of the Goddess wishes to acknowledge, honor, and welcome those who have joined, tithed, or donated to the temple this month. You keep the temple doors open for all of us.

ritual path imageRealm of Air     
Briana Murray & Nona Sivley

Realm of Fire
Ruth Ann Anderson
Pat Lentz

Realm of Water  
Nancy Ann Jones
Realm of Spirit 
J. Clark

Click here for information on becoming a member of TOG. Temple of the Goddess has a variety of ways that you can participate fiscally in our vision. To learn more about making a tax-deductible donation to the temple, go to Gifting Opportunities.
Artwork from Ritual Path DVD by artist John Banks of Artek Images and music by Fritz Heede.  Available from Temple of the Goddess Music & Media Store.
2013 Year of the Water Snake
February 10, 2013 through January 30, 2014

Following and completing 2012's unpredictable yang Dragon year, 2013's sensual yin Snake year will complete the life palace of spirituality.The Water Snake year brings with it, cosmic awareness, sage spirituality, and integration with your Source, Maker or Spirit.

The Snake feels and senses its way through life and represents spiritual rebirth, elusiveness and exploration of life's mysteries.

In the Chinese astrological system, the large 60 year cycles (which contain the smaller 12 year cycles) are profoundly important. Although each animal sign repeats every 12 years, the specific combination of animal and element occur only once every 60 years. Not since 1953 have we had the alignment of Water (stem) & Snake (branch) year.

The ending or culminating months of deep and covert Water Snake years is the winter, the period of dormancy and quiet gestation. The Water Snake rules ponds and stagnant pools, peat and bamboo. Water of the marshes Water of winter nights, calm and deep water to be feared and respected.

Still water sheltering underwater secrets asleep in its depths; sinking and muddy. Profit from this year to restore your energies and regain your inner balance. Avoid overwork or any excesses which will follow with depression. Maintain your equilibrium and do not waste your energy. Don't go too far too quickly. This years Water element will be socially beneficial, calming and conducive to meditation and interpersonal contact.

The nature of the deeply feeling Snake year is "gradual and gathered strength," bringing a more moderate than radical year. During Snake years, our concerns turn toward inner-growth, spirituality and discovering the reasons behind things.

Sensual Snakes are sensitive to changes in weather, dislike the cold, and accordingly during Snake years warmer climates are preferred. A creative, artistic year, filled with pleasure, enlightenment and beauty. Music, dance, art galleries and museums thrive. 2013 brings a slower paced, quiet, behind-the-scenes lifestyle.

A deep-thinking, philosophical year, where intuition and all things middle-of-the-road reign supreme. Beware the green eyes of jealousy in 2013, as Snakes are also quite possessive of that which they call their own. Carnal passions and deliciously scandalous romances abound. Continued . . . 

Year of the Snake 2013 from ChineseAstrology.com

You are sitting around a fire after a hard day of work. The air cools and the sun sets, the frogs and crickets begin singing as the sky darkens. Suddenly the person you have been eagerly awaiting leaps to the center of the circle. You have heard the story a hundred times, but the antics of the animals and the wisdom in the story never fail to give you pleasure. As she weaves her tale, the knowledge that every thing is alive, carrying its own power and wisdom, soothes your soul.

Let us join together, in this virtual circle, and share these Animal Tales. Let us once again feel how the stories connect us to the natural world and remind us that we are all part of a vast Circle of Life. Listen now as the Shaman whispers tales of animal power and wisdom in your ear.  


Tonight as we move into a new year, it is a Native American legend, "Wolf and Boy." For some the Big Bad Wolf is the relentless hunter that will swallow us whole, but wolf is the spirit that runs wild through the winter forest, howling at the moon following its own inner guide, and finding a new direction. As you listen to the story imagine your own journey through the dark forest to find your own inner howling and longing.



A Native American Legend  


Once upon a time, there was a wolf, and this wolf was all alone. All of the other wolves had been caught or killed or driven off. But this last wolf, he stayed. And he did all of the usual wolfish things. He lived in a cave high up in the hills. He raided the occasional flock for a stray sheep.


He also would appear from time to time late in the evening on a trail from the fields running down to the village to frighten some milk maid or herds boy coming home a little too late from the watch. And this gave rise to the stories of great, gnarled, bloody teeth and wet, long, lolling tongue and fiery, red, hungry eyes . . . the wolf had quite a reputation in the village.


But that was not the worst of it. The most horrible thing of all, the thing that froze the souls of the old men, and caused the red faces of the young people to blanch, and the heads of the children to go deep under bed covers at night was what the wolf would do from time to time, in the cold crackling air of the frosty silver moon, high on the stark peak of the stony mountain near the village. He would sit up there and howl, howl with the sound of a thousand midnights down in a murky bog. Those who heard it swore it was a sound that only a beast could make whose soul was tortured and lost forever. And it chilled to the marrow everyone who heard it . . . everyone, that is, except one person.


For living in the village was a boy who had lived there all of his life. And yet no one really knew this boy. I mean, he spoke to folks, and they spoke to him. But no one really understood him or cared to. Even his parents were at a loss to understand his ways and his thoughts. So they mostly humored him. And the boy would lie awake in his bed at night wondering about his life and why he felt so lost among the villagers. And sometimes he would cry or sometimes he would be angry. But when he heard the call of the wolf on the mountain, right away he knew that here was a voice the like of which he'd not heard before. Here was a voice that spoke to him of feelings no one else knew that he had. And lying there and listening with every fiber of his body, he knew he had to seek out this wolf and know from it why it cried in the night. Oh, he'd heard the stories of the teeth, the tongue, the eyes so red and burning, but nothing would do except that he had to know that wolf for himself. Continued . . . 


Story retrieved from WolfCountry.net
rise of the guardians Rise of the Guardians
Movie Review by Jeanne (Pythia) Leiter

I give kudos to Hollywood. This is the second animated feature that I felt the need to review. The first was Brave. That review can be read in Between the Columns, November 2012 in case you missed it the first time around.

This movie, Rise of the Guardians, is another wonderful story. The movie is based on William Joyce's series of books, The Guardians of Childhood. Joyce also wrote the movie story which led to David Lindsay-Abaire's screenplay. The Guardians are iconic characters who 'guard' human attributes, such as a very Russian Santa Claus (beautifully voiced by Alec Baldwin) guarding Wonder.

The main plot suggests that when children stop believing in our childhood mythical characters: Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, E. Aster Bunnymund, the Sandman, and Jack Frost, then these characters grow weaker. If ALL children stop believing, will they disappear forever?

There is, of course, a villain. Pitch spreads fear and nightmares among the children and they begin to disbelieve. The children then make fun of Jamie, the one boy left who hangs on to his belief in these characters.

We see the story unfold through Jack Frost's eyes. We see him coming awake in a lake beneath a thick coating of ice, a piercing shaft of moonlight opening his eyes. He is a trickster, forever frosting a nose or causing a boy and his sled to dangerously careen through town. He jumps from chimney to chimney, trying to satiate his desire for chaos. He has no conscience, since as far as humans are concerned, he doesn't exist-therefore he's invisible. Also, he's invisible to himself, since he has no knowledge, no memory of his past life. His life began for him, as well as us, in that frozen lake.  More . . .
Pew Forumn Logo
January 16, 2013

Millennials Far Less Aware of Historic Ruling

Pew Forum abortion article chart As the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision approaches, the public remains opposed to completely overturning the historic ruling on abortion. More than six-in-ten (63%) say they would not like to see the court completely overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman's constitutional right to abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Only about three-in-ten (29%) would like to see the ruling overturned. These opinions are little changed from surveys conducted 10 and 20 years ago.


Decades after the Supreme Court rendered its decision, on Jan. 22, 1973, most Americans (62%) know that Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion rather than school desegregation or some other issue. But the rest either guess incorrectly (17%) or do not know what the case was about (20%). And there are substantial age differences in awareness: Among those ages 50 to 64, 74% know that Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion, the highest percentage of any age group. Among those younger than 30, just 44% know this.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults, finds that abortion is viewed as a less important issue than in the past. Currently, 53% say abortion "is not that important compared to other issues," up from 48% in 2009 and 32% in 2006. The percentage viewing abortion as a "critical issue facing the country" fell from 28% in 2006 to 15% in 2009 and now stands at 18%. More . . .   

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