2018 ASWM Conference and Call for Proposals

“Scholarly Speculations:  Animal, Earth, Person, Story”

ASWM Conference March 16-17 2018  Las Vegas NV


We have finalized the dates for the conference (our original dates) and we will soon announce our location in Las Vegas.  Our main theme will be explorations of animal and earth mysteries, with an emphasis on Native American and indigenous scholarship.  This year our program will include a poster session for research in progress, in addition to our panels, workshops, and plenary sessions.

See the Call for Proposals, ASWM 2018 CFP-3, for additional information about topics.  The submission deadline is October 15, 2017.

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2018 Conference in Las Vegas NV

MARCH 16-17, 2018

Las Vegas NV

Location TBA


Save the dates!  At last we will hold our conference in a place that has both a contemporary goddess temple and a rich heritage of Native American and women’s spirituality.  Fortuna is smiling on us this year.  Our program will be enriched by a grant  to fund presentations by Native American and indigenous scholars.  Watch for newsletters and website updates as this exciting program evolves.


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About Our First Publication: Myths Shattered and Restored”

ASWM Anthology

The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM) is  delighted to announce the publication of the first of our conference and symposia Proceedings anthology, Myths Shattered and Restored.   This anthology, edited by Marion Dumont and Gayatri Devi, features essays in archaeomythology, place-based wisdom of indigenous peoples, feminist and goddess-centered reworkings of western myths, the Dianic tradition, essays on cross-cultural investigations into goddess myths, and collective goddess deities, to list a few of the themes and topics explored in this collection.  As the Introduction says,

Today’s history becomes tomorrow’s myths. This exceptional collection of essays is a valued contribution toward contemporary feminist and womanist efforts to re-cover the herstory of mythology and to ensure that today’s herstory is not forsaken in tomorrow’s myths. The writings presented in this volume serve to strengthen and support the circle of women and men who share a scholarly passion for sacred myths about women.

Authors include Mara Lynn Keller, Joan Cichon, Arieahn Matamonasa-Bennett, Alexandra Cichon, Mary Beth Moser, Denise Saint Arnault, April Heaslip, Alexis Martin Faaberg, Natasha Redina, Savithri Shanker de Tourreil, Gayatri Devi, and Dawn Work-Makinne.

Purchase Myths Shattered and Restored at  Amazon or Goddess Ink

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Outreach Grant for Native American and Indigenous Presenters

We are pleased to announce that ASWM has received a special outreach grant for our 2018 conference. This will fund presentations and participation by Native American and indigenous scholars and researchers. Proposals will be read by an outside panel of scholars, and applicants may be asked to provide certification of their tribal membership. ASWM will consider successful grant projects and articles for inclusion in our forthcoming Proceedings series.

Our external grants committee invites Native American and indigenous scholars, researchers, artists, and activists to submit critical, creative, and practitioner proposals on topics that address the identity and empowerment of Native American and indigenous women, girls, families, and the environment through women-centered mythologies, earth centered mythologies, story-telling, healing practices, inter-generational exchanges, and traditional knowledge and practices.  We encourage work whose objective is to empower both women and the earth to alleviate violence and suffering in both women and the environment. We invite proposals that demonstrate the application of traditional knowledge and wisdom practices in rectifying social justice issues pertaining to women and the environment.

Grant funded presenters will present their work at the 2018 biennial conference. The final paper or presentation form of approved grant projects should adhere to a 20 minute conference presentation format.

2017 External Grant Call for Proposals

ASWM External Grants Proposal Submission form


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Reflections: Karadarshanam


By Gayatri Devi


At the first ASWM conference in 2010, my aunt Savithri and I led the ritual called Karadarshanam (“kara” in Sanskrit means “hand,” and “darsanam” means “looking, seeing, witnessing”) as part of the opening ceremonies for our conference. Hindus believe that our hand is an important organ of apperception and action.

Ancestral Midwives by Lauren Raine-2

“A Shrine for the Ancestral Midwives” by Lauren Raine

Practicing Hindus would tell you that when you first awake in the morning, you must not jump out of bed, or start thinking about work or your list of things to do or money or debts or anything of the kind.

When you break the fast called sleep, when you have allowed all of your sensory organs to fall into a state of rest, and you wake up, it is a state change. Hindus would tell you that you should initiate this state change each morning by bringing your hands together and feeling your hands mindfully, perhaps by folding them in supplication or prayer and silently meditate on the following mantra.

It is a beautiful mantra. The essence of the mantra is this: within your hand resides the three divine goddesses – Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth), Saraswati (the goddess of Learning), and Gauri (the mother goddess or Devi, also known as Sakti (energy), Siva’s consort.  When you meditate on your hand, you invoke the blessings of all three goddesses to bless everything you do for the rest of the day.

In western metaphysics too, there is a similar link between hands and divinity. Remember Michaelangelo’s great painting of God and Adam? In the iconographic systems of many religions, supplicating hands differentiate the spiritual being from non-spiritual beings.

Here is the full mantra, first in Sanskrit, then a linear translation in English, followed by a sense paraphrase translation in English.

Karagre vasate Lakshmi
Kara madhye Saraswati
Kara moole stithe Gauri
Prabhate Karadarshanam


Karagre – at the tip of your fingers   vasate – resides   Lakshmi – the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity
Kara madhye — in the center of your palm  Saraswati – the Hindu goddess of learning
Kara moole – at the base of your palm (wrist really)   stithe – dwells  Gauri —the Hindu mother goddess or Devi, the root source of all divine energy and power (Sakti)
Prabhate  — at the break of dawn  Kara – palm/ hand     darshanam – contemplate, look, study


Now the sense paraphrase-


On the tips of your fingers, Lakshmi

In the center of your palm, Saraswati

At your wrist, Gauri

Pray to your hand in the morning.

The divine energy of Gauri or Devi flows outwards from your wrist to your palm and to the tips of your fingers.

When you write, when you cook, when you eat, when you type, when you garden, when you clean, when you lift something, when you play something, when you build something, when you treat something, when you operate on someone, when you touch something, when you drive, when you sow, when you reap, your hand is your primary interface with the world.

By meditating on your hand, and by asking the mother goddess and her incarnations to bless your hand, you are asking for divine guidance throughout the day for your actions.  You don’t have to go to a temple or a church or a synagogue or a mosque. You can pray to your own hand mindfully.

And–here is one more reason never to raise your hand in anger.

Gayatri Devi is a board member of the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology.  She is Associate Professor of English at Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania, where she teaches literature, linguistics and women’s studies courses. Her book Humor in Middle Eastern Cinema (Wayne State University Press 2014) examines modalities of humor in select films from the Middle East and the Middle Eastern diaspora. Her articles and book chapters on South Asian and Middle Eastern literatures and films have been published in select scholarly anthologies and in journals including World Literature Today, North Dakota Quarterly, The Guardian, Ms. Magazine, and South Asian Review.

Artwork:  “A Shrine for the Ancestral Midwives,” ceramic sculpture by Lauren Raine  “The hands in this ceramic piece were taken from a cast I made of a midwife, who was preparing to retire after a long career of bringing babies into the world.  This is the gesture she took, which she told me was the actual gesture, or “mudra”, of midwives.  Inspired by this I made this Shrine, dedicated to the countless nameless ancestral midwives who have brought us into this world since the beginnings of humanity. ” 

See Lauren’s work at Rainewalker Studio

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Journal seeking Book Review Editor

The International Feminist Journal of Politics is looking for a new Book Review Editor to serve for a four-year period 2018-2021. The International Feminist Journal of Politics aims to foster debate and dialogue at the intersection of international and global politics, feminist and queer theory, and gender studies within an expanding global critical community of scholars and activists. Central to that mission is its rich and diverse book review section.



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International Transpersonal Conference in Prague

ITC poster

“Beyond Materialism–Towards Wholeness”

September 28-October 1, 2017

We at ASWM just got word about this conference that may be of interest to our members.  The date for proposal submissions is May 15.  The link to submit is below.

The mission of the conference is to present an exclusive series of lectures, panel discussions and experiential workshops delivered by legendary founders of transpersonal psychology and key figures of the current transpersonal movement, as well as by young and progressive adepts. Our aim is to facilitate a major gathering of scholars, researchers, practitioners, supporters and all other kinds of people interested in transpersonal movement and new paradigm sciences.

The Conference will consist of 7 tracks in 4 full days. Lectures, panel discussions, experiential workshops and many more led by legendary founders of transpersonal psychology and key figures of current transpersonal movement, as well as by young and progressive adepts.

For more information:  http://www.itcprague2017.org

They ask you to submit through this call for abstracts online form.

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Pendle Hill evaluation 2017



CONFERENCE TITLE:___________________________________________________________

NAME (optional):________________________________________________________________

DATES: ________________________   MEETING SPACE:_____________ BEDROOM #______


As a participant, my overall experience/impression of the Customer Service at Pendle Hill was: (please circle one number, with 1 being very poor and 10 being amazing)


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Please explain ________________________________________________________________



 Please evaluate the level and quality of support you received from Pendle Hill.

    (Use the reverse side to continue your responses if necessary).

  1. Arrival

        Were you warmly greeted and given adequate information at the Pendle Hill orientation?


Was the Pendle Hill orientation presented clearly? _______________________________


         Was your personal room clean, orderly, and welcoming? __________________________


         Did you get clear answers to your questions? ___________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________2. Support

        Requests handled courteously and expeditiously? ________________________________


        Were your facilities kept clean and tidy? ________________________________________


        Comments on the meeting space, dining room, common areas and other Pendle Hill facilities?




Continued on the other side.

Comments on your bedroom and bath. ________________________________________


        Comments on the teas, refreshments, snacks, if applicable.________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________

Comments on the food preparation and service__________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Were you given adequate departure support from Pendle Hill?  _____________________________________________________________


  1.  Things that Pendle Hill could have done better to facilitate your participation in your conference?


  1.  Other comments. ___________________________________________________________



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2017 Symposium Abstracts & Schedule

Abstracts 2017 symposium

2017 Schedule for Website


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Dr. Peggy Sanday To Explore Concept of “Matrixial” Cultures

“The Matrixial Foundation of Maternal Cultural Meanings in Myth and Ritual”

Keynote Presentation, ASWM 2017 Symposium


Minangkabau Women, via Indonesian Tourism Forum

Minangkabau Women, by Indonesian Tourism Forum

“In my long term study of and stay with the matrilineal Minangkabau of West Sumatra, Indonesia—off and on between the years l981 and 2007—I found that women have a social value and structural importance in the historical continuity of  their culture that is observable today in their individual autonomy and collective identity. The same is true of adult men, who reside with their wives while carrying out life-long social responsibilities to their maternal family.  This matrilineal society tends toward gender equality rather than gender (including male) dominance.

“The question I raise in this presentation is: What encourages the relative stability of this and other matrilineal egalitarian socio-cultural systems?  

Mosuo Women, via Chinancient

Mosuo Women, via Chinancient

“I address this question by reference to the symbolic similarities in the origin stories of selected matrilineal societies including the Minangkabau and the matrilineal Mosuo of China, whom I visited briefly at the end of 2016. In doing so I introduce a new term–“Matrixial”–that was coined by the Israeli scholar/artist Bracha Ettinger.

“This term challenges Freud’s concept of ” the “phallic” as a universal phase in psycho-social development.  (If this were the case, all societies should be male dominant, but as I have shown elsewhere they are not.) Ettinger’s concept helps us to appreciate the tremendous variation in human socio-cultural systems along with environment, history, food source and other factors, which have a profound impact on the organization of societies and on cross-cultural understandings.”

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Lisa Levart Presents “Art, Activism, and the Goddess”

Lisa Levart by_Myles_Aronowitz

Lisa Levart, by Myles Aronowitz

My own creative activism stands on shoulders of the feminist artists of the 1970’s.  Even after more than a decade of creating art that celebrates the divine feminine, it is my unshakable conviction that without imagery and words that reflect our female experience of the Divine, contemporary women will never see themselves for all their diversity, complexity and most powerful selves.

Lisa Levart is an award winning photographer and contributor to the Huffington Post, where she explores art, the divine feminine, women’s empowerment, and justice. Since 2001, Lisa has traveled across America creating portraits of women who are part of the rapidly growing Earth-centered spirituality movement, casting real women leaders as goddesses and heroines.

Brooke Medicine Eagle Photo by Lisa Levart

Brooke Medicine Eagle by Lisa Levart

Her book “Goddess on Earth, Portraits of the Divine Feminine” won the GOLD Nautilus Book Award in 2012. Goddess on Earth is also a traveling, multi-media installation that has been seen in a variety of venues across America. Lisa’s photographs have appeared in Fast Company, New York Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Time Magazine, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Her passion includes photographing and supporting Maloto; a non- profit organization in Africa that helps feed and educate the women and children in northern Malawi.

Lisa’s special presentation for ASWM’s 2017 Symposium is “Art, Activism and the Goddess Movement.” Lisa will discuss and show the work of several feminist artists who have used Goddess imagery as an affirmation of female power and independence.

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