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Dark Maiden Writings
is a spirit photo,
taken not long ago
The image reveals
and the ecstatic state
Photographer Peter Hughes
Welcome to Shekhinah's Story Cave.
Here is where you can read her present
lifetime biography, learn about her
training in the magical arts,
get to know a little about her friends and family.
This is me at the Women of the 14th Moon Gathering in the mountains near where I
live. I was there to participate in Maiden,
Mother, and Crone ceremonies,
and even though I was still having my moonflow now and then, the women there
insisted on Croning me!
I was in my early 50s in this photo.
The following year Sumasihl, the
organizer of these circles, demoted me back to
Mother because I was still
having an occasional moonflow... LOL!
(well, not really demoted- just
kidding!) Then the
following year I got Croned all over again. Meanwhile
I'd been getting Croned several other times in several other circles.
excited about reclaiming the Crone Goddess and this aspect
of Woman, that they
want to have Cronings at every possible opportunity. :0)
What's a Crone, and what's Croning? you may be wondering... come to
the Thealagie cave and find out. <g> Anyway... here's
(photo above by Angie Miranda)
I am a muse-ical mystical magical
woman who loves the Goddess and women,
a foremother of the Womanspirit movement,
a teacher of Women's Mysteries,
and a priestess of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love.
All the things I do- rituals,
thealagie, classes, Tarot, writing, poetry,
keeping, inner politics... stem from the musical
ecstasies that are the soul of
I consciously received the Goddess
in the mid-1960s to early '70s, when my
children were dancing to my songs.
We were experiencing ecstatic trance
states evoked by the music and movement of
our bodies and spirits. I had
been exploring many spiritual pathways in
those years, from Hinduism to Occultism
to Christianity, to innumerable esoterica, and 'round again.
My parents raised me in their
Marxist/Atheist frame, and while this gave me
the vantage point of
socio-political dissent, it offered no explanation for the
I'd had from a very young age. It did, however, give me
a clean slate with
none of the psychic rapes many of my sisters have had to
deal with in their
conventional religious backgrounds. My Jewish roots,
Celtic affinities, red-diaper-baby beginnings, and feminist spiritual
choices have all played a part in my thealagical synthesis.
Hinduism gave me mantra,
reincarnation, karma, and the realization that
Self/God is All... things for
which we in the States had little language
back then. Buddhism gave me
meditation. The Builders of the Adytum
(a mystery school in Pasadena CA)
gave me many of the principles illustrated
in Tarot and Hermetic Kaballah; the
power of symbols, "as above, so below."
Jungianism gave me archetypes, the
anima and the animus, synchronicity,
and the collective unconscious. Christianity gave me the seasonal cycles
exemplified by the dying-and-reviving saviour, which I would later come to
understand as the female rites of passage of Inanna/Persephone, and Women's
Blood Mysteries. I
passed through many doors in my spiritual questing, and
important behind each. But always there
was something missing-
affirmation of myself as woman.
Finally I arrived at the Goddess
Gate, recognizing Her as a very old friend,
and have never parted from Her
Subud in particular was to be a
significant step on my path. This is a
world-wide non-denominational practise born out of Tibet, with a strong
influence from Islam. It
involves a meditation called the "latihan," and an
initiation called "opening."
I was instructed to surrender to the latihan,
and told that this was "God
entering me." I didn't know then to call it a
trance, but I loved the
blissful peace of the latihan. Eventually its energy
came into my music, and I was flying out on song and sound. Since many
of my compositions are
mythic, droning, and modal, they make a likely
vehicle for this marriage.
Audiences, if they were open to it,
would sometimes join me in this delight.
The practise was so beautiful and
profound for me, and I devoted my life to it.
Soon my children asked to
dance with me, and the miracle deepened as
we created and performed together.
Not that it was a "performance;"
more like a sharing, a ritual.
We were sometimes compared to Isadora
Duncan and her schools of dancing
children. We named our family troupe The
Sybil after the oracular women
of ancient Delphi, who sat upon a tripod over a
gaping hole in the earth
and breathed the trance-inducing gases that emanated
Priestesses (later priests) would interpret their babblings in
answer to the
questions of seekers.
"...poetry is the babbling of our
tongues," my son Frey would explain in our
introduction, "beauty the fume that intoxicates..."
We had no idea that we were invoking
the Goddess until we met a very
special woman. Sara was a closet poet and
a retired school teacher who
had literally lost her voice. When she saw us
"performing" at the
Troubador down in Los Angeles, she said in her whispery
"You're the hope of the world!"
What on earth did she mean, I
"Read The White Goddess by
Robert Graves," she
kept insisting, whenever I
asked, in her unforgettable croaking scratchy voice.
Our little family moved north,
following the fairs and our Muse, settling in
the coastal rain forested
mountains. It was then that I found a used copy of
The White Goddess
in a second hand bookshop. On the cover was an
ancient Greek seal, showing
the Triple Goddess handing the Eye of Poetic
Inspiration to a young male
Graves taught me that all poetry,
all theatre, began as invocation of
the Goddess. In our openness and
innocence we had stumbled upon a
spiritual practise that had once been the
sacred rites of thousands.
I had always sensed a loving Source;
had called Her "God" simply by
default. Upon receiving the revelation of
this book, it was a small
matter to add "dess" to Her sacred Name. I took
vows to serve Her forever.
Soon after that women began coming
to me, asking for teachings.
I hadn't much formal education except for
theatre training at the
High School of Performing Arts, and a year and a half of
college as a
drama major- plus extensive input from my amazing self-taught and
brilliant mom. I didn't
think of myself as a teacher, but I was
like crazy, and women
wanted to be a part of the beauty
I was delighted to
We were living in a yurt in the
woods, while the women's movement
was burgeoning around the world. (A yurt
is a small wooden
tipi-like house, originating in Tibet.) On full moon
nights we would
offer concerts there,
and people would either squeeze into our
space, or actually watch us through the windows! Sisters would
up the mountain on Monday
nights, and since our space was
round, we of course
sat in circle. I called our groups the Moonday
Circles, and our home the Moonhut. Later I
found out that this name
too was ancient; moonhuts were the menstrual
huts where women
used to go when their bloods came, for ritual,
Back in L.A. I had participated in
so I knew to use their techniques in
facilitation. We would
"pass the rattle;" actually a Native American
tradition, and take
turns speaking our truth and listening well. I saw how
process could heal us in so many ways, and how it could heal the
The Moonhut was located in a Tibetan
Buddhist community in the
woods. Everyone around there was chanting OM in
their circles, so
thought it appropriate to chant its opposite; MA,
calling in the Goddess. Ma, the universal Mother cry, is now chanted
by Goddess-lovers around the planet.
I had learned at the Builders of the
Adytum about visualizing the
rainbow colors in alignment with the seven primary
chakras. As I
my studies, I found the witches' Cone of
This, combined with the rainbow, the chakras, seven ascending notes
of MA, our visioning, sounding, and breathing synchronized,
became the now
widely used Rainbow Cone Meditation. (See the
back of Cycle 1 in my book
Ariadne's Thread.) The
Cone of Power
is a psychic vortex of energy
which swirls around the circle
to a peak above its center. The
Cone is usually used as a projector
of intention and vision, for the purpose of
casting spells with real results.
Most of the Moonday circles would
convene for nine months or moons.
Among our varied projects was the Pact;
our collective statement of
ethics, which we would compose and then sign in
blood, at midnight,
on Hallowe'en. As far as I know, I was the first
facilitator of Goddess
circles to emphasize the development of ethics for our
movement. (See the Pact to Build the Temple of Trust in the back
In these circles we went to the same
liminal spaces as the Sybil; a soaring,
ecstatic high. We were possessed by the
Goddess, in love with each
other, flying in
the magic. Practical activists
may think this
practice of no use in undoing
real oppression, but they may not
realize it is the basis of all shamanistic
powers of magical
the unification of our spirits for the building of
Such years those were, as the
Goddess drew me through one initiation
after another. I knew She was going
to sweep the planet, but there was
much I didn't know. She sent
me a woman lover, and so the
expanded and deepened, as I saw the
sisterhood, spirituality, politics, and sexuality. Our
intense and soulful. That same magic appeared in lovemaking
I had found in ritual and
music. This too was a Goddess channel
it was only a matter of time
before I dedicated myself to Aphrodite,
love, beauty, passion, and poetry. Inevitably I have had to
face Her dark
side as well; the pain and
death and rebirth of love, the
wrench the soul, yet
bring so much healing and
empowerment, the need to be
fierce and to risk
much for one's Muse.
few years ago I consecrated
myself as a warrior to
the Dark Goddess,
chose my magical weapon, and made my
shield. For me, Aphrodite and
the Dark Goddess (the Faery Queen) are two
aspects of the
same Archetypal Being. (You can see my shield on the altar
The Goddess sent me many lessons
about gender, about feminism,
about patriarchy, about circle energy and
sisterhood, about herstory
and history, mythology and thealagie. Yet
through all my development
as bard, author, thealagian, priestess, and activist
I have always sought
to maintain those
early muse-ical ecstasies in my circles;
to find the
language and thealagie
that would get their importance across our
gaps of estrangement and unknowing. Years later I was to publish my
Ariadne's Thread (1991),
now considered a classic in the movement,
I am a pioneer on many fronts and so
have not always been warmly
in all Goddess venues. Having been
raised in poverty with
influence, I bring a vision of classlessness to
My theatrical and ecstatic beginnings take
My openness to a kind of tribal intimacy
a special way of connecting deeply in circles of every size. My
permeates everything I do, which
makes my offerings unique. My
non-linear thealagie and politics compel me
to introduce new ways of
understanding archetypes, gender, and circle work. My lesbianism and
devotion to women is sometimes challenging to male-centered or
groups. I am not a separatist, but some groups assume
that "I hate men,"
and withdraw. (See more on my position on this
THEALAGIE cave.) That I ask for monetary
support for my work
has been controversial too. (See
HABONDIA'S GROVE) My self-taught,
non-academic approach is sometimes unacceptable in
more conventional scholarly style. My identity as
has lost me many supporters in those parts of society where the "w" word
Feminists don't always support me
because some think a spiritual,
inward emphasis is ungrounded or impractical;
that it fails to address
the realities of poverty, pollution, rape, and other
grim works of the
patriarch. My message
to them is:
The archetypes rule our fate.
What manifests begins in the dreamtime,
in our concepts of reality.
Yes, of course, the outrages must be
addressed and dealt with in the "real"
world. But sisters, beloveds,
please consider this- we will only
make lasting change when we
change the thoughtforms and inner grids that bring
our reality into
being. Many have seen the truth of our situation on this
have analyzed it well and struggled valiantly to Name it aloud and
it in direct action. But few have presented alternative inner
address our reality at its source. This is a major aspect
of my work, and
the work of others who deserve your attention and support.
the teachings of Native American and Bardic wisdom:
there is much
in magical song.
My priestess sisters don't always
welcome me because some perceive
me as a threat to their toehold of success.
The capitalist competitive
system we all
must somehow survive forces us apart
and onto pedestals.
My message to
There will always be a scarcity of
recognition and support until we
the staircases and pedestals of
patriarchy. In the circle of
priestesses there is room and time for each
to be recognized, to share
her light and give of her
gifts to the community.
In the circle everyone
has her turn and the talking rattle is available to all.
There is no
competition if we give this support to
one another, appreciate one
another's gifts, exclude none. (Including ourselves.) We are the
vanguard of the movement, and the models for those
who come after.
one priestess out and you are playing His game, perpetuating
There will be no dismantling of patriarchy without
solidarity among sisters,
especially among sister-priestesses who are
accessing deep powers and are role models in our community.
Many times I have received the
message that I am "different" and don't
"fit in." It breaks my heart for
my only wish is to mend the broken circle
one with our lost Goddess
tribe. Standards of convention:
imperatives to be rich, fast, thin,
perfectly coifed and clipped (including
our gardens!) and stay "in our place,"
are merely the tools of oppression.
I know the Goddess
brought me in as a
wild woman for a purpose. My
life is a struggle, but She
gets me through,
and I have seen my influence
take hold despite the
resistance. And still
those limerant states embrace
me when the Muse is
aroused and the song is full.
Now at age 66 I live in a small
coastal town, in a garage and
have made womblike and sacred, with
Most of it I reserve as a temple for
circles of women,
circles of women and
men, (and sometimes children if they're
as well as my own solitary practises. I offer ceremony, tarot
consultations and music in this magic space... as well as schmoozing
with friends and loved ones. I also offer tarot readings by phone and online.
TAROT cave.) I teach a correspondence course based
the Thread, and have a few cyber students one-on-one, as well as my
online classes in the
Moonspell Study Circle. When I can
the funds and gather the energy, I offer public rituals, workshops,
some for women, some for mixed groups of "every gentle
building this website too, as you can probably tell...
am invited to travel and do presentations around the
planet. (Watch the
CURRENT EVENTS cave for more
on live appearances.) I'm writing several books, and
of my tarot book and deck is my current goal.
My two children, Angel (now
forty-something) and Frey (now also
forty-something) have grown and flown, and have
children of their own.
My grandsons Max and Janiko live in Europe, so I
don't get to see them much.
My grand daughter Jesse is in the Southwestern
U.S., so I do get to see her occasionally.
Here is a picture of
my fabulous gorgeous daughter Angel
Angel is a gifted writer and
She is currently working at a community
college and raising the
graduated from Arizona State U.
Summa Cum Laude!
is Angel's Graduation Picture. :0)
This is Frey, my incredible
Frey lives in Belgium where he teaches dance
at his own school, Turning Point. He has developed a dance methodology
called Axis Syllabus. Students come to study with
him from all around Mother Earth. Frey
tours as well, teaching and performing in
of Frey by Lois Greenfield
has a professional website at:
Come visit and find out all about
work, philosophy of dance, performance
and teaching schedules.
Watch the CURRENT EVENTS
announcements about events with Frey
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