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Welcome to my blog

2010 is the year this dream has finally become a reality and the Goddess Study Centre website goes online thanks to website designer, Steve Furley.

This is my year – the Year of the Tigress – a year of optimism and activity. A year to make new friends and meet more people of like mind - coming together to expand and celebrate the joyful reality of women’s culture, identity, and values as well as the amazing experience of working with Nature and with Ancestral Wisdom.

I speak as an artist who comes from a church family background, and who explored Christianity but found it lacked something – which I much later realised was equality. After leaving the church at 16, I began a lifelong study of visual symbolism, and an exploration of some of the world’s faiths – Kabbalah, Taoism, Native American Spirituality – finally coming to rest in my own Native British Spiritual Tradition.

I have studied men’s culture for 30 years and women’s culture for 24 years. In 1985, after the break up of an important relationship I found myself in a pit of despair. I later read from Native American Elders that the bottom of the pit is a place of power. And so it was. What came to me was The Goddess, Feminism, and Women Artists. This set me on my road, and I have never looked back.

Hera’s Bath in Spring to cleanse Herself of Winter. Argos.

I have taught about The Goddess since 1987, and co-ordinated many events. This has had a profound impact on women – who have been socialised as unclean, second class citizens by the patriarchal religions. I now realise that these religions have been invented by the ‘jealous men’ (not all men are in this category) to subordinate women to the status of second class citizens. Shame is internalised every month at menstruation. Yet I have come to realise that these religions are built on profound womb envy. My MA thesis (1992) was about ‘Blood and Power’ (see the now Sheffield Hallam University Library).

Also in 1987 I also ran a small group with Phil Hine, then Editor of Pagan News, on Human Perception. There were many things I wanted to explore, and Phil was my safety net. As it happened, these experiences became the bridge over which I travelled to experiential work. After this I created my own rituals and meditations in Nature, and worked with the Wheel of the Year, grounding my experiences in a series of masks and mandalas which were finally exhibited at the London Ecology Centre in 1990. This exhibition – ‘Listen To The Earth : You And The Mother Are One’ – has just come back to me from it’s recent long term exhibition at the New Infirmary at Leeds.

Sheila Broun with Beltane mask.

Fortunately I found no books as I worked with Nature over the following three years. Also at this time I was studying Lee Family Style T’ai Chi, where we were encouraged not to try to work things out mentally, but to focus on where we felt the experience in our bodies. I grounded my experiences in Nature in a series of masks, one for each of the Festivals, and Elemental mandalas.

As I made the masks I came to realise that each of the Eight Festivals is a plateau of power. I experienced about a three week rise in energy to the Festival – which seemed to last for about three days – and then about a three week descent of power – at which point there was weather turbulence, after which I found myself in a completely different quality of energy.

It is for this reason that I now mark the halfway point between Festivals in my diary, and begin to turn my attention towards the next Festival from this date. Thus I have marked my change point on 11th January 2010 to begin to pay attention to the energy which peaks at Imbolc – and will finally change again on 25th February. Look out for weather turbulence – it is not always exactly at the date. It is quite good to keep a diary.

You may also be interested in the following set of definitions which I have written about the Wheel of the Year. I find it such an amazing way to mark time. We have all been socialised to think of time as linear – with it’s notions of progress – rather than cyclic. Living in cycles, and cycles within cycles, evokes memory and comparisons which are insightful and creative.