Mama Donna Henes (“Mythology, the Matriarchy, and Me” & workshop: “The Story of Us”)
Mama Donna is a ritualist and award-winning writer whose work focuses on healing self, society, and planet. She designs and leads multi-cultural, non-denominational celebrations, using ancient, traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies.
She maintains a ceremonial center, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, New York, Mama Donna’s Tea Garden and Healing Haven, where she works with individuals and groups to create personalized rituals for all of life’s transitions. Her story is included in the new book, Foremothers of Women’s Spirituality, whose authors will be featured at the conference.
“2015 was an especially, devastatingly, brutal year for so many people everywhere. The patriarchal powers-that-be have created a complete mess. Clearly, it is up to us women to roll up our sleeves and get busy putting life back together again. It might be too late, already, but I fervently believe that if there is any hope at all for healing this planet and all who live upon it, that hope is us. What in the world are we waiting for?
“I hereby call on women everywhere to take a stand and use our vast stores of wisdom, experience, creativity, and chutzpah do something positive, each in our own unique and inimitable way, toward creating a better world for us all. If not us, who? If not now, when?”
Mama Donna will give a workshop and present on the Friday night author panel for the book release for Foremothers of the Women’s Spirituality Movement: Elders and Visionaries.
Demetra George (“Dark Moon Life Traditions”)
“Since ancient times the Moon has been worshipped as the Queen of the Night. Dating to at least 35,000 years ago, artifacts from the upper Paleolithic era (sequences of notches carved into bone, stone, and ivory) are thought to be the earliest lunar phase calendars. By gazing at the Moon and tracking her phases, early peoples regulated their lives according to lunar rhythms. They watched the Moon change place, color, shape, and disappear and reappear each month.”
Demetra George, M.A., looks to classical antiquity for inspiration in her pioneering work in mythic archetypal astrology, ancient Hellenistic techniques and history, and translations from Greek of primary source astrological texts. She is the author of Astrology For Yourself, Asteroid Goddesses, Mysteries of the Dark Moon, Finding Our Way Through the Dark, and Astrology and the Authentic Self. She lives in Oregon, lectures internationally, and leads pilgrimages to the sacred sites in Greece, Italy, Egypt, and India. She offers personal astrological consultations and mentors individual students in all levels of astrological education.
Demetra will be joining her panel (Lunar Knowing: The Cyclic, Dark, and Regenerative Moon Nurturing Wisdom, Culture, and Research) by Skype from Oregon.
Judith Laura (“Gender Equity in Kabbalah?” )
Judith, author of three Goddess books, has been active in feminist spirituality since the 1970s. She is Jewish by birth, and Unitarian Universalist and Goddessian by choice.
Her first Goddess writings, “Women’s Celebrations,” first published in 1978 in the journal Womanspirit, became part of her first Goddess book, She Lives! The Return of Our Great Mother: Myths, Rituals, Music & Meditations (1989). The second enlarged edition of her second book, Goddess Spirituality for the 21stCentury: from Kabbalah to Quantum Physics, won the comparative religion category of USA Best Book Awards 2009.
In her Conference presentation she’ll discuss this book’s analyses of Jewish Kabbalah and Hermetic Qabalah and her more gender-equitable revisioning of their Tree of Life.
Her most recent book, Goddess Matters: the Mystical, Practical, & Controversial, received finalist awards in two categories from the International Book Awards 2012.
She blogs as Medusa on Medusa Coils and is founder of the Asherah yahoogroup.
Of her work she says: “When I first started writing Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century, I thought that Kabbalah would be only a small part of the book. Both Tarot, which often uses qabalistic correspondences, and my introduction to Jewish Kabbalah in a DC-area feminist spirituality group played parts in developing my interest in exploring the Tree of Life which is central to kabbalistic forms. But I feel the most important role was played by a divine emanation on the Tree called, in Hebrew, Hokmah. In English, this is Wisdom, and in Greek, Sophia. I believe this spiritual form, which I consider a Goddess, led me to discover that the Tree was not as gender-equitable as many assume and to the re-visioning I did.”
Judith will join her panel, Male-Female Relationships in Hebrew Texts: Three Feminist Analyses, via Skype.