Goddess Worship

Nearly 20 local women plan to open an Ashland Goddess Temple dedicated to the "sacred feminine" in a dome at Jackson Wellsprings north of town.

The temple, founded by Graell Corsini and 18 others, will open under a full moon on the spring equinox, the women say.

It will enshrine the great goddess mother of ancient times, working in equal partnership with the "sacred masculine" God to "celebrate the divinity in everything," Corsini said.

The women say the goddess path honors and supports all faiths, includes both genders and provides a space for ceremonies of the solstice and equinox, weddings, births, dance, music, meditation, counseling, classes in sacred subjects and alternative healing using reiki, cranial-sacral therapy and other modalities.

The group, which on Thursday held its first ceremony — sage smudging and anointing with water from the sacred site of Glastonbury, England — plans a fundraiser at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, to pay for the $3,000 wool liner of the large dome. The fundraiser will be in the Jackson Wellsprings community room at 2253 Highway 99 N. and will feature music, dance, performances and handmade gifts. Admission is $5 and "festive dress" is welcome.

The temple joins an existing mikvah (immersion) pool, spring of "mother water," and Tree of Life Garden, laid out in the pattern of the Jewish Tree of Life, representing the sacred energy centers of the human body.

A megalithic circle will be built on-site next year by Circles for Peace of Burlington, Vt., said Avalonia Moonstone, who worked with the organization in Vermont and now lives in Ashland. The circles are up to 40 feet wide and 20 feet high and made with stones that weigh up to 20 tons, she adds.

The dome, donated by Asha Deliverance of Pacific Domes, is covered with oriental rugs and has an altar of candles and sacred objects.

The temple will be staffed at all times by a "melissa" (Greek for honeybee), who will assist visitors in the various healing, learning or creative practices and work in service of the "queen bee," a nickname for goddess, said Corsini.

In the long term, the group hopes to erect a permanent structure using sacred geometry and a builder from India, she says.

"We're extremely supportive of self-empowerment," Corsini says. "We hold the space to guide and facilitate for people as they come into their personal power, with the love, trust and freedom to birth their authentic selves."

Corsini founded AvaSha Goddess Temple in Mount Shasta and came with two of its priestesses to found the Ashland temple. For the Ashland site, she says she "received a vision" from the Celtic goddess Bridgit to draw together 19 trained priestesses, the same as the number at Avalon, a mythical sacred isle associated with Glastonbury and Arthurian legend.

The spirituality of the divine feminine is not a separate religion, said priestess Jumana King-Harris, but "a unifying force present in all things and all traditions. The feminine is always changing so it meets people where they are, with sensitivity and love."

Teja Shakara, one of the 19 priestesses, says, "It's beyond faith. You don't need faith. You receive nurturing sacred energies."

The temple seeks "balancing" of divine masculine and feminine, will use both men and women in ceremonies and "build a bridge" between the male and female spiritual path, said Shakara.

The temple, said priestess Violet Moonrain McBride, "represents the great healing of the earth. We've gone through a long period of the goddess, then that was erased and forgotten, and we're completing a long period of honoring the divine masculine and now grounding the divine in the feminine receptive on earth and in that receptive place in each of us."

For more information on the Ashland Goddess Temple, e-mail King-Harris at jfallenstar@gmail.com, Moonstone at avaloniamoonstone@gmail.com or Shankara at teja@yogini-bliss.com. (Correction: King-Harris' e-mail address has been corrected in this story.)

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

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