Reflections on the Australian Goddess Conference 2006
by Alicia Sherwood.
The altars were abundant and the magnificent and diverse artwork enlivening the walls of Tugun Community Hall voiced the very real love for Goddess. The magic was spun, and the mists parted to reveal a line of Priestesses, performing a salutation to the Great Mother, and to the women who had gathered for Her, and for their own nourishment. It had begun…
The weekend of the 6 & 7 October saw the culmination of many months hard work for the women of the Goddess Association in Australia (G.A.I.A.) and the Priestesses of the Order of the Pomegranate Grove. This was the fourth Australian Goddess Conference, which was initiated by Avril Webb of Melbourne, before G.A.I.A. officially took custodianship of this important event. Held on the Gold Coast, the theme of this year s conference was Women Remembering , and the Goddess honoured was Mnemosyne, Mother of the Nine Muses and guardian of the timeline.
The gifts of conference.
From the opening ceremony on the Friday night, the women recognised the potency of the journey they were about to undertake. Created to honour the Sacred Feminine in all Her forms, the conference was a delightful blend of education, healing, transformation and celebration and women new to the path, as well as adherents of old, came together to partake of this spiritual feast. The forum on Friday night provided perspectives of past, present and future, from three elders of the Goddess Spirituality movement in Australia. Saturday morning saw the life- changing experience of women’s intimacy and heart, a ritual of sharing which had a profound impact on all. The love. The energy. The joy. I loved the opening ceremony and the [Woman Heart] ritual in the morning. It was beautiful and really focused me for the day’. The Goddess Market provided abundant opportunity to view the creativity of women, and to purchase some take-home goodies.
The morning and afternoon concurrent workshops gave participants a wondrous array of topics from which to choose, a task noted as difficult by many! Other keynote rituals led by Jane Meredith, Shekhinah Morgan and Persia Wildwood gave women the opportunity to understand Goddess in Her aspects and Her wholeness, as well as uncover the sensual swagger of their ‘boss woman’ walk and the powerful release of the body through movement. The evening closed with a concert, which male family members were invited to, and included beautiful strains of music, mesmerising dance and the antics of Northern NSW ‘Yoni Woman’ Laura Doe, who had everyone in stitches!
Feeding the hungry heart
One of the most important functions of the Goddess Conference is to provide sacred space for women to be nurtured and perhaps seek sanctuary from the often demanding elements of life. The very practical gift of conference, however, is to provide the tools, knowledge and impetus for women to nourish their wholeness on a day-to day basis, and to achieve balance and peace. As one woman wrote ‘It felt like I was home amongst a lot of women who I didn’t know, but who spoke and felt the same language as me’. It was also felt that the encouragement of personal strength and exhortation not to play small were all important outcomes of the weekend.
In honouring our selves as women at events such as this, we honour Goddess, and all creation; men, children, animals and the dark seas, emerald peaks and hot sands of the earth body. The old face of winter and the lustiness of the burgeoning spring. For indeed, She changes everything She touches and everything She touches changes, a lesson well remembered at this year’s conference.
Please note, this article will appear in Spellcraft issue #3
Artwork created by Lena Barnard ~ All photos taken & produced by Katrin Chrysaphis