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Among the Goddesses

Annie Finch

Publication Year: 2010

In two intertwined songs, a feminist epic poem and a dreamlike opera libretto, Among the Goddesses traces one woman’s harrowing mythological journey of discovery. Tutored by encounters with seven Goddesses, both frightening and nurturing, Marie/Lily is tested by loss, rape, and abortion as she finds her community and her spiritual strength. This magical book embodies the goddesses in every woman and gives voice to the power of the feminist spirituality movement.

Published by: Red Hen Press

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Title Page, Other Works by the Author, Copyright, Acknowledgments

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Dedicated to my teachers and healers, more than can be named here, with gratitude for keeping me inspired and spiralling during this book’s 17- year birth: Paula Gunn Allen, Annegret Baier, Cathleen Bailey, Jennifer Barrett, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Lisa Bowie, Glen Brand, Julian Brand, Z. Budapest, Jeanne Cameron, Janine Canan, Carol Christ, Jane Clow, Francesca de...

Contents

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pp. 7-

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Preface

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pp. 9-10

This book began in the late 1980s, as the women’s spirituality movement was shifting the foundations of my psyche and with them, my poetics. It was conceived as an epic, spiralling out from the “Isis” chant. Though I completed most of the poem before I had an abortion in 1999, abortion was the climax of the plot from the beginning, as Demeter, Kali, and Inanna provide different...

Music Manuscript Excerpt

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pp. 11-12

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Characters

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pp. 13-14

The most famous Egyptian goddess, worshipped for thousands of years all over the Meditteranean. She was the sister and wife of Osiris (the constellation now known as Orion) and the mother of the god Horus. When Osiris was torn apart by his jealous brother in her absence, Isis travelled all over Egypt to find the pieces of his body and magically reassemble them. A powerful...

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Synopsis of “Lily Among the Goddesses”

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pp. 15-20

Lily, a young woman who has been traveling alone since she left her home as a victim of incest, invokes the blessings of women’s traditions on her story. Surrounded by figures of goddesses, Lily sings about beginnings and endings with a chorus of three Kouretes (ancient priests of the Goddess). The Kouretes...

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Marie Moving, Invocation

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pp. 21-

One plume of salt-spray thrown up by a rock-face, one pebble left on the shore where it lands. There is no end if there was no beginning, so help me to tell where this ending began, gathering women who touch, who honor, who loom traditionsl...

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Lily Among the Goddesses, Prologue

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pp. 22-23

Gathering women who touch, who honor, who loom traditions through the body of earth, there is no end if there was no beginning, so help me to tell where this ending began, gathering women....

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Marie Moving, Book 1: Oregon

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p. 24-24

—Searching the shore for the way to the beach, I stumbled on Eve’s small weathered house. Out on the porch where the fog had come rolling past in the morning leaving mist on the railings, she drew charcoal patterns of spirals and bird-wings while her deep-coiled braids gleamed bright in the sun. “Good morning,”...

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Lily Among the Goddesses, Act 1

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pp. 25-36

The little house, by the shore of a large ocean. The winding road leads to the house past large, dark, rounded cliffs. Eve is sitting on the porch in one of two green wicker rockers, her bare feet up on a the railing, drawing spiral patterns on a large pad of paper. Around her against the porch railings are propped large stained glass panels made...

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Marie Moving, Book 2: Isis

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pp. 37-45

That long remembered, remembering day with Brigid, whose thick tail was dripping like a torn flag mourning down the gray shore, I hunted for Eve in that tickling water that crashed at the edges endlessly. . . . I startle, taken by fullness...

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Lily Among the Goddesses, Act II

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p. 46-46

Outside the cottage. The rain is gradually stopping. The Kouretes are chanting repeatedly: “Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali—Inanna.” The stone, on a green stage. Many small saplings appear around the stone in a sporadic rhythm...

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Marie Moving, Book 3: Astarte

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pp. 47-56

Wet with the pouring drinking of starlight, I stumbled, shocked, up the path to my own house, where I was suddenly forced to be calm by the new presence of what she had promised. It was the stone, solid, rounded, dense, warmed from within by a universe, over three feet...

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Marie Moving, Book 4: Diana

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pp. 57-61

Days and days with the ocean near me, filling up my ears and my body, with my dog’s feet padding, padding, over the roads and beaches and highways, granite, basalt, quartz and sandstone, walking, hitchhiking...

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Marie Moving, Book 5: Hecate

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pp. 62-64

When I finally got home, the house seemed emptier Without Brigid. Waves crawled more silently onto the beach, with no-one to chase them. Winter was coming, and each night the moon grew bigger and thicker, and each day the sky was grayer....

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Lily Among the Goddesses, Act III

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pp. 64-66

Demeter’s garden in Ohio: tall ripening tomatoes mixed with many herbs and flowers, near the side of a large barn. Demeter is picking peas and dropping them into a large tin mixing bowl as Kouretes chant repeatedly, to the traditional tune: “Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate...

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Marie Moving, Book 6: Demeter

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pp. 67-72

As we stood on a curb in Ohio, Brigid so glad to be with me again after two days in the luggage compartment, fresh sun shining into the bright spring, so much denser, more humid than Oregon, life seemed just starting...

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Marie Moving, Book 7: Kali

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pp. 73-76

On the shaking and rattling bus feeling nauseous, I looked for courage. The other heart had begun its beating in the rich cave, the long silence, the hoping morning that had been my womb. Through my belly ran knife-hard images to my body and to...

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Marie Moving, Book 8: Inanna

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pp. 77-83

—and gave it to me. While I held it, she rummaged, found a jar and poured something else in, mixed them, gestured me into a room, closed the door, and left me there in darkness which soon settled...

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Lily Among the Goddesses, Epilogue

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p. 84-84

Many years later. In colored light that dapples the stage like light through stained glass, Lily and a circle of other older women, a few young women, and two or three children are gathered. Lily is holding her young baby. At the back of the stage is the silhouette...

Appendix 1. An After-Abortion Ritual for Recovery and Healing

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p. 85-85

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About the Author

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pp. 86-88

Convey your messages to the baby aloud. Read letters, talk about pictures, and perform any music or dance messages. Add the four elements to the altar: Earth (perhaps a special rock or stone), air (your letters or pictures, or a feather), water (a little can be poured on the altar or left in a receptacle) and fire (a crystal is good for this). Choose a simple...


E-ISBN-13: 9781597093453
Print-ISBN-13: 9781597091619
Print-ISBN-10: 1597091618

Page Count: 88
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: First

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