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My name is Medusa

Once at a Goddess Conference where we were both presenting, I told Glenys Livingstone that I had “an academic crush” on her. Pagaian Cosmology had arrived in my hands at the perfect time. After years of journeying the Wheel of the Seasons from a mostly-modern Dianic/Wiccan perspective, this book took my understanding to a whole new level. Part spiritual guide, part scientific cosmology manual, part poetry inspiration, and part mythological journey – it had everything that brought me joy in spiritual exploration. Glenys’ work has been deeply inspirational for me in the way I relate to and dance with the seasons ever since.

So, when I found out that Glenys had written a picture storybook for children, about one of my favourite Cosmic Women of the past, and publishing with Girl God Books, I had to get my hands on My Name is Medusa.

Strangely, although I know Glenys and her writing style, I was imagining a “Once upon a time” sort of story about Medusa. That’s what story books are right? Of course though, as can only be expected when viewed alongside her other works, Glenys explores the realms of Medusa’s essence with soft strokes. It is a gentle story that draws the reader within.

With simple words, appropriate for any child, My Name is Medusa is an easy discussion of our innate self. It’s an invitation to re-member exactly who we are, by Being exactly as we are. I really really love this book. There is an underlying depth to this story… a shamanic medicine… a dark secret tangled through bright imagery… a breath of wisdom in each page… a way of placing the reader within the part of the self that we call ‘home’.

The illustrations from Arna Baartz are not the illustrations I would have imagined for this book. And still, they are the perfect images, themselves a journey of high and low, back and forth, pulling the reader into a safe and comforting space. In a book of prose, Glenys’ and Arna’s work comes together to create a new type of poetry, where the reader is directed gently along, akin to the walking of a labyrinth. As the seeker walks, the reader reads, each turn of a page is a turn in the labyrinth, drawing us all the way in to our very own centre. And the centre is a special place indeed.

My ten year old daughter also read My name is Medusa and wrote her own review below.

Here is my Q&A book review on My Name is Medusa

Q. Who are the main characters?
A. Medusa

Q. Did you like the book?
A. Yes.

Q. What was good about it?
A. It shows that Medusa isn’t bad, even though Greek myths tell us otherwise.

Q. What was good about it?
A. The pictures and the story line.

Q. What was not good about it?
A. Everything was good. There wasn’t anything that was bad about it.

This book isn’t about Medusa turning people into stone. It is about how people are scared of Medusa because she likes things that are scary to them like snakes and the dark.

By Kiah

Get your own copy of My name is Medusa here

Love you.

Hollie B. - Institute for Self Crafting


Reasons to Red Tent

As a service to the forward momentum of the Red Tent Movement in Australia and the world, I’m always looking for ways to express just what the circle “is.” Explaining what we “do” will never explain the feeling. Describing the “type” of women who attend will never describe the essence. (And by the way, all types of women attend a Red Tent!)

It’s the kind of thing that needs to be prefaced with a “You just have to try it!”, but then it seems a bit secretive or empty…. I’d rather run a full page advert than keep the magick of Red Tent a secret!

For the sake of simplicity, here is a list of seven reasons why I Red Tent. Perhaps it will help fill understanding of the many needs that are meant in a simple Circle. When Women meet, we are not only giving a gift to ourselves. We are doing work that affects all the people we meet from that moment onward. It’s what my friend thea Gaia calls “the spot-fire”.

Our little circles, our discussions, our sharing and creations are like little spot-fires, igniting and sparking the hearts of the women who are present. With enough energy to fuel it (ie. enough continued sharing and connection between authentic women), a spot-fire will take off on it’s own accord (ie. the Red Tent Movement). Many spot-fires will eventually join together, burning bright as a bush-fire. That’s what happens when we come together. It’s what happened for the Suffragettes. It’s what happened in the 60s. It’s what happened in the 80s in the church in Australia. It’s what happens every time a Red Tent is held.

Red Tent women are each facilitators of something very special. Whether it’s the woman who called the circle, or a first time attendee, we are all adding to the energy that will create a bush-fire of women’s healing that our entire planet needs.

Here are the seven reasons why I Red Tent.

  1. In gratitude to the women who have come before, who created these spaces before, and who inspire me every day (more on this next week!)
  2. I crave “Real People” who are willing to be authentic – however that looks : and I find those willing people in the Red Tent.
  3. We live the cycles together in our relationships – the births, deaths, and all the living in between
  4. It is a vessel to hold stories that may not have a space to be shared elsewhere
  5. The layers of inspiration drawn from the women in the Red Tent is ever unfolding
  6. Red Tent fosters compassion and care in communities
  7. I have made amazing life-long friends, who I may never have met otherwise

Why do you Red Tent? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Love you.

Hollie B. - Institute for Self Crafting


March Moon Letter

I hope the beginning of your March has allowed you to make choices that bring you joy. If not, maybe it’s time to ask “What else is possible?”

I have had an eventful time falling into Autumn, and questions like the one above have made all the difference. That, and designing each day with my Planner; adding questions and affirmations, and scheduling a gentle flow from one task to another. I can surely say that this has been the most productive month I’ve had in a long time, and we are only half way through!

I’m noticing the old parts of me turn from green, to yellow, to brown and letting go of judgement and conclusion is an ongoing process. Attachment falls away like leaves in an Autumn forest, and I’m excited about journeying into the unseen labyrinth of a new winter. We received an offer on our property Freyja’s Rest in less than a week of listing. We prepare for a move to land that is harmony for my heart, at the edge of the Budawangs, to live in a bus by the creek…

All this falling away has given me space to see how to move the Institute forward. Retreat facilitation has come to the end of its season. I’m drawn back to presentation work (check out this conference I’ll be presenting at in 2017), and my one-on-one sessions are currently booked weeks in advance.

The Piscean New Moon just passed has brought faith in community like never before. At the Red Tents I hold in our small town, I’m witnessing connections of women, both young and mature, that are so much more. We are creating real networks that have nothing to do with the past. Women supporting each other right now, simply because they can. Such a blessing this is!

I look forward to the Virgo Full Moon with the awareness that rhythm is in action, and everything is perfect.

The Institute newsletter is also in a shifting phase, and will now be delivered once per month, near the Full Moon. This will be the larger communication, including information about the energies and events / sessions that are coming up.

For people who appreciate having more regular communications that share tools and tips for living the life of your dreams, you can now sign up for “Best Week so far” mail. If you want to know what works for me, and how I create a magickal life everyday, click the link.

Much gratitude for reading all the way through! Have an awweeesssooomme month!

Maia Nie Heya,

Love you.

Hollie B. - Institute for Self Crafting