Sixteen members of the Women of Westminster from the Westminster Unitarian Church of East Greenwich, RI recently held our 15th Annual Retreat. We are doing the sessions for “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” during our regular weekly meetings so we were inspired to have a Goddess theme for our retreat.
For an individual activity, women chose a goddess card from The Goddess Tarot deck by Kris Waldherr, read the meaning of the card, and then read about the goddess in The Book of Goddesses by Kris Waldherr.
For a two-hour group session we used Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women over Fifty by Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD. We focused on Part 1 of the book “Her Name Is Wisdom”. We divided into four groups for Hestia, Hecate, Sophia , and Metis. Each group had access to the meditation on page 70 of the book and a summary of some of the information about the goddess. After 30 minutes to prepare each group presented to the rest of us a role-play or guided meditation exploring the Wisdom offered by their goddess.
We had a lovely ritual with a chakra blessing using a goddess for each area. And of course we sang our favorite goddess songs, including, “Opening Up” found in Circle of Song by Kate Marks, and “Sacred Pleasure” from the CD Goddess Chant: Sacred Pleasure by Shawna Carol.
We had two hands-on activities for the weekend. One was decorating goddess coloring book pages from wheel of the year. [no longer available but try these: https://www.pinterest.com/juttab/wheel-of-the-year/ or http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/bookmusings/on-coloring-books.html]
The women loved the simple line drawings and glued on colored paper, fabric and ribbon scraps, etc. to decorate them.
The second project was to create goddess sculptures using Crayola Model Magic. This medium is great fun to work with. It is not sticky or messy and does not smell. One to two ounces per person is plenty to make a six-inch long goddess (see photo). Small items (1-2 oz.) held their shape well. Larger upright items (4-8 oz.) had a tendency to sink a bit with gravity as they dried. It is sturdy enough to take home right after making it and air-dries in 24 hours. You can draw on it with markers or paint it.
Model Magic is available in craft stores such as A.C.Moore and Michael’s. The most economical way to purchase it for a large group is the 2-pound tubs (white or natural are good choices). However our group of 16 women enjoyed having the different colors available in the variety half-ounce craft packages. We used 28 half-ounce packages (two boxes with 14 each of different colors) and one two-pound tub. (We used the craft store 50% off coupons to reduce the price!)
Our group has done the Cakes curriculum several times over the years and we feel truly blessed to have entered into the world of the goddess.
Gretchen said: Hi, Kate! Would you be willing to lead a tour or two during General Assembly week? UUW&R would sponsor something like this. Give me a holler!
You asked on the Cakes for the Queen of Heaven blog about what goddesses I used for the chakras.
I used an article The Chakra Oracle by Anita Revel that I found on the internet. She has changed her website and I can’t find that article. However she has a similar one at http://igoddess.com/the-7-keys-to-living-a-goddess-life/ Most of the goddesses are the same in the current article.
Red – Kali
Orange – Hathor (current article has Ishtar)
Yellow – Pele
Green – Kuan Yin
Light Blue – Athena (current article has Rhiannon)
Indigo – Isis
Purple – Nuit
Do you live near a museum that has images of goddesses?
I just visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art and they had lovely images of Durga and Kuan Yin and probably others but I didn’t have time to look.
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) museum, the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art all have goddess images that I have enjoyed finding. The Brooklyn Museum of Art now houses Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party which is a whole large installation celebrating women.
If you know of a museum with good goddesses in it I would love to hear about it.
If you come to the General Assembly in Providence in June 2014, I’d be glad to show you the goddesses at the RISD Museum.
Kate Gillis, Providence, RI
Rachel said: Hi! I’m wondering if you could share what goddesses you used for each chakra? Thanks!
Flora said: Great ideas for celebrating the goddess through integrating art, music, creation of sculpture and pictures: thanks for sharing this with all of us.
Nancy said: Great posting! Thank you for sharing! I love the photos of goddesses! Blessed Be!