Seasonal Reflections

Burning Down the House #Metoo

November 29, 2017

Tags: #Metoo, Winter Solstice, Persephone, Women's Lives Matter, Book of Shadows

The power of any spirituality is the possibility of insight and transformation that it offers. I never found that in the religions of transcendence. I find it in the Earth herself. And that is what informs my spiritual journey. Nature offers the wisdom that inspires and transforms me. It is visible, accessible, and embodied for all to behold and take nourishment. I bring myself into harmony with the deep rhythm of the Earth’s seasonal cycle, and as the Earth changes, so do I.

The Winter Solstice helps us to focus ourselves, our lives, our soul work on the irrepressible power of a tiny spark of light nurtured within the darkness. We’re reminded that at the darkest moments of our lives, when we can’t see an inch in front of our noses let alone have a clear vision of what comes next, when our lives seem empty, joyless and lifeless, we are about to be reborn.

As much as we treasure the light, the embodied spirituality of the Earth also offers us a very different understanding of darkness. It is the nurturing womb of the Great Mother, not empty but full of incipient potential, making the great magic hidden from view, shaping the yet unseen into a new life that will emerge.

Something new is emerging, at least here in America. Thousands of women are coming forward to share their stories of sexual abuse and assault suffered at the hands of men with power over them. Some stories seem like trivialities we have all learned to live with – a careless grope, a lewd remark. Many others are revelations of the most grotesque and brutal abuses of male privilege and power.

Women have always been told to wait because some other cause, abuse, or suffering is more important. But finally, women’s lives matter. Each story a woman shares is a small spark of light and together, women are illuminating the world. What the world is forced to look at is the truth that we have lived with for thousands of years - that we were abducted and darkness enveloped us.

Thousands of years ago, the ground opened and Persephone was abducted by Hades into the Underworld. Demeter demanded her daughter’s return and cursed the Earth so that nothing would grow until Persephone was liberated. This is the season of that abduction, when life disappears and the cold comes and darkness envelopes us. This is the season we have lived with, that women have lived with for thousands of years.

Each era has an archetypal expression, a spiritual motif that becomes the culture’s discernment of a sacred revelation. The myths we have grown up with have all been male – Moses, Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha. It has been thousands of years since the great myth of the soul’s journey has had feminine form. It has been thousands of years since the Divine Feminine was abducted. Without Her, half of everything is missing.

The story of Persephone is the great story of our era. This is the moment of her emergence from the Underworld, the moment when she carries new life into the world and the world, with her, is reborn. Together, women – supported by the men who love and respect them – are emerging.

Life is returning, the Divine Feminine is returning. And with the returning half of everything, men will also be freed from patriarchy’s underworld and restored to the fullness of their being. There is hope for the rebirth of our beloved Mother Earth who has been stripped of life.

I know this story because I lived it and I wrote about it. Many of us lived it. As the light pours forth. I see this is the moment when history changes. Not all at once, not everywhere, but it has begun. I see the season of new life and rebirth.

With love and blessings,

Phyllis Curott
Winter Solstice 2017
New York

#Metoo
#PersephoneRising


Me and Bill O'Reilly

April 20, 2017

Tags: Bill O'Reilly, Phyllis Curott, FoxNews, sexual predators, Wicca, Paganism

I'm not surprised that Fox has finally booted O'Reilly. When my first memoir, Book of Shadows, which dealt with the contrast between discovering the magic of the Goddess and the day to day reality of sexual harassment as a young lawyer, was released in '98, I was interviewed on O'Reilly's show. How ironic. I've always been proud that I'd been able to win him over. I knew that fighting wouldn't work, so before my segment I asked the make-up artist for advice. She chuckled and told me that he liked "pretty women" and that if I "flirted with him" I'd be fine. I didn't flirt, but when the hardball questions came at me, I did use humor and charm and the interview went well. "Soft overcame hard" but when the segment was over, I got to leave. The second time I went on his show for my next book, WitchCrafting, O'Reilly respectfully introduced me as his "Wiccan friend" and we talked about the rights of Pagans in the military and women as Priestesses. I've never liked his politics and find his sexual predation pathetic and disgusting, but I appreciated the opportunity to stand up for what I believed in and I'd do it again, no matter how challenging or creepy my opponent might be. In the toxic patriarchy created by Roger Ailes at FoxNews, O'Reilly could abuse the enormous power that he had by abusing women. And so Bill and I won't be having any more conversations about Pagans, or the egregious role of religion in demeaning and thwarting the rights of women, or how sexuality can be sacred rather than exploitive when we reconnect to the divinity of the natural world and heal how unnatural we've become. But I will have those conversations with whoever takes his place. In the end, the arc of history, media, culture and religion all bend towards justice.

BP Oil Spill and Lessons Learned, or not...

February 14, 2017

Tags: Love, environmental disaster, BP Oil Spill, Mother Nature, spiritual wisdom

This is a letter I wrote in 2010 about the BP oil spill. Maybe we all need reminding, given what is happening in the halls of power now:

"We want Mother Nature to bless us," George Schoegil, Mayor of Gulfport, Louisiana said to MSNBC reporter Chuck Todd during an interview yesterday, right before he assured the American public that BP had "done a remarkable job under the circumstances…"

Remarkable? Not the first word that comes to my mind. Murderous better describes BP's behavior—from the very beginning when they misrepresented their capacity to either prevent or clean up a spill, to their orders to continue drilling despite reports of dangerous problems, to the non-stop spraying of toxic dispersants into the oil that is gushing from the wound they tore into the Gulf's seabed.

Hours after the interview, it wasn't the word remarkable that haunted me. It was Mayor Schoegil's request for Mother Nature's blessing. Mother Nature has already blessed us, Mayor Schoegil. Every moment we're alive is because of her blessings. We wouldn't last more than minutes without the oxygen her plants create. We couldn't survive more than a few days without the water or a few weeks without the food she blesses us with. All of which are intimately dependent upon the health and well being of the Gulf of Mexico and the rest of our battered and exploited planet.

And yet Mr. Schoegil has the audacity to ask for more—to ask that Mother Nature spare his town an inundation of tar balls and death—as he simultaneously praises the murderer of the source of the blessings he asks for. But who can blame him? He's hardly unique. He's the product of his moment in history, his culture, class, religion, his commonly held point of view. He's entitled, or so he thinks, to all those blessings and the damage be damned. We all know the mantra: No risk, no reward.

But what Mr. Schoegil and we and BP and our government have so callously been willing to risk is more than we can afford to lose. And the reward is meaningless. In a very real sense, as a culture, we've already lost our souls. We've sold them for cheap fuel and fast cars, overheated houses and overcooled offices, for comforts and convenience and the newest toy technology--and the exploitation of "resources"—can provide. Like the hole in the floor of the Gulf, we've opened up holes in our hearts, and no junk shot—filled with all the stuff and nonsense of our consumer culture—is going to fill either one.

And now it's life itself that's at risk. Eight weeks ago eleven men died and today an entire ecosystem is dying because of corporate negligence and greed and a culture that permits it. Somehow that has to change. Probably just like you, I've spent the last eight weeks in pain, grief, rage, frustration and physical sickness, feeling helpless and desperately needing to do something, anything, to help. Every day I have a desire to jump on a fossil fuel burning, planet polluting airplane and go the Gulf to volunteer, to clean beaches, wetlands, pelicans, turtles, dolphins, all the creatures who are dying. But with BP and the government controlling the clean up, or should I say cover-up, it's not clear how much help I would actually be. So I've asked myself what I can do right here right now. Of course it always comes back to our own energy consumption – I've run around the house trying to figure out what else I can turn off, taking the bicycle instead of the car to run the daily errands, donating to environmental groups and asking questions I want answers to:

How could this happen in the first place? Why was BP allowed to drill when they didn't have a way to prevent or clean up a spill? Why isn't more being done now? Where are all the clean-up crews? Why aren't there more booms? More skimmers? Why aren't there more reporters showing us the effects of the worst environmental disaster in our country's history? Why is the EPA allowing BP to pour more than a million gallons of toxic dispersant into the Gulf? Why haven't BP executives been arrested?

I may not get answers to those questions, but I can answer one: What can I do? The answer came loud and clear: Work on the next book. After several years of contemplation and gestation, it's theme is the spiritual wisdom of Mother Nature, the wisdom we've lost that can heal the hole in our hearts and the rupture in our relationship with the grace that blesses every living thing. It is my small way of expressing gratitude for the blessings Mother Nature has showered upon us. So, let me end by asking you the same question: What can you do? I'm looking forward to your answers, and I suspect, so is Mother Nature.

Love and blessings,

Phyllis



Light in the Time of Darkness

November 22, 2016

Tags: Winter Solstice 2016

I am an enemy of the way the things are. Combative and startling language in this season of peace, light and love, I know. But despite daily proclamation from one spiritual front or another, even “Paganism,” I can’t subscribe to the notion that all is as it was meant to be.

Just look (more…)

Selected Works

Memoir
"A modern-day Persephone myth full of magic and mystery,{it} transcends the bounds of its genre."
--Deepak Chopra
The spellbinding sequel to Book of Shadows - the story of a love spell that worked.
Nonfiction
"...a treasure trove of foundational information that will be cherished by readers..."

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