Notes from May Teleconference with Cynthia Tootle: “Greeting the Goddess”
WATER thanks the Rev. Cynthia Tootle for her time and talent, her wonderful book Dialogue with the Goddess, and for her ministry. What follow are notes of the teleconference including the discussion that ensued after Cynthia read from her book which can be ordered in paperback and Kindle editions from Amazon.
Cynthia is a practitioner of Goddess spirituality, a unique and helpful approach. She began by saying that she had not expected to write a book. But on finding that so much information on the goddess was anthropological, she decided to write a prayer book that reflects her spirituality. An early book that shaped her thinking was Merlin Stone’s When God was a Woman (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1978).
She read the following prayers from her book:
“Mother Goddess Invocation” (p. 7)
- Many Goddesses are mothers
“Crone Invocation” (p. 21)
- These three aspects come up in Welsh and other goddess
“Diana” (p. 42 )
- “We greet you with joy”
- Crones are defined women whose womanhood as useless, but recapturing that by relating to the divine as crone is wonderful experience
- Studying Goddess let go of what men of science think;
- Political statement to capitalize Goddess and leave god in small letters“Willendorf Goddess” (p. 32)
- To write such prayers need to know how Goddess is perceived in her world
“Spring Full Moon Prayer” (p. 9)
- How would God the mother want us to stand in relation to the Goddess? Some not very well behaved Goddesses like Pele are of interest.
“Tonacacihautl” (p. 64)
- For a friend who died young
“Goodnight, Sarasvarti!” (p. 82)
- Everyday prayers
“The Winter Solstice” (p. 88)
- “Mary, Tara, Kali”
1. A caller referred to a time when Cynthia prepared contemplative prayer at WATER and an invited each person to choose one Goddess and pray with her. She asked how Cynthia become so familiar with so many expressions of the divine Goddess
Cynthia replied that she simply began goddess circles and then looked at how people who worship her worship particular goddesses. She puts herself in a state of openness to Goddess and the divine responds. If you want to know her, ask her. Find her color, picture, prayer. One need not know everything to be able to worship the Goddess. For example, a Japanese Goddess is funny. Is it important to take the divine seriously?
2. Another caller said she loved listening and feeling the presence of everyone participating. She starts her day with Goddess and mentioned service.
Cynthia replied that Christian minsters talk about one’s whole life being given to service. She questions that from a goddess perspective. On the contrary, sacrifice is not something the goddess looks for. She asks us to be more at ease, to do what is easiest as in serve as it is easiest for me. Nurture yourself first; take care of yourself. “I am not here to make your life better.” She described the remarkable switch that it is to work on things that flow easily as opposed to always having to force issues as she did in her professional life for years. Consider the wonderful Kali who puts people off because she is scary. Men worship her beauty; she is Goddess.
3. A WATER colleague asked about sources for Goddess.
Cynthia observed that what is written is often by someone who is trying to debunk Goddess. Dualities are limited: Light is good; what is bad about cave/womb/darkness? They are places of safety, an open door to the Goddess and hearing her. “It is not the source of the information that is important. What is important is the critical look at the what is being said.”
Children’s books about the Goddess:
- Root, Phyllis, and Helen Oxenbury. Big Momma Makes the World. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2002.
- Jackson, Ellen. Earth Mother. New York: Walker, 2005.