Gaia's Womb

Gaia's Womb Changes Lives

Welcome to the Sisterhood!

Imaging the Divine as intimate partners helps to balance consciousness of the sacred and heal the distortions of the current, rigid patriarchal systems in both our religions and our governments. 

On this site, you’ll find weekend experiences for women, with presenters we love, whom past attendees have suggested, and whom we hold in great regard. They have made, through one medium or another, a resonant and lasting impression, which is not an easy feat in these times in which we live.

You'll find Rites of Passage that honor the phases of womanhood, from First Blood to Croning, and that attune to the Divine Feminine as a creative source both immanent and transcendent. Gaia - She who constantly gives birth to Herself.

We present our weekends in the spirit of learning, laughter, and a longing for connection and creative thinking with other human beings. We invite you to bring your heartfelt curiosity, your skepticism, your sadness, your fears, and your joy to any one of our wonderful, interactive weekends.

We want to know you. We want to know how you move through the world.

 

 

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Over the past 20 years, the following people have presented at Gaia's Womb events:

** indicates an Ancestor; now one of our Beloved Dead.

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**Margot Adler, a frequent guest, and favorite among Gaia's Womb presenters was an author, journalist, lecturer, Wiccan priestess and New York correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR).  She was the host of "Justice Talking," and a regular voice on "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition." Margot is the author of  Heretic's Heart, a memoir of the 1960's and of Drawing Down the Moon, the classic work on contemporary Paganism. Margot was more than just a presenter, she was a friend and Tribe Sister to many of the women who attended the events and she was present at as many events as an attendee as she was as a presenter. Margot passed from this world on July 28, 2014. She will be greatly missed and is remembered with love.

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Basia Alexander teaches Cooperation with Nature™ and Tree Whispering™ classes nationally, including at the Omega Institute. She currently co-owns Plant Health Alternatives, LLC. Basia is developing methodologies that will streamline practical processes for cooperation with Nature and make them available at every level of society. In her previous business, Revitalizations, Basia lead creativity workshops, wrote inspirational and spiritual manuals, practiced healing arts and offered life coaching to revitalize the body, mind and spirit as a whole. Basia is also an author, rose gardener and desktop publisher.

Ruth Barrett is a Dianic high priestess, ritualist, educator, author, and award winning recording artist of original Goddess songs. Ruth's numerous recordings, beginning in 1980 have been among the pioneering musical works in the Goddess Spirituality Movement. Ruth began her formal Goddess studies with founding Goddess Movement muse Shekhinah Mountainwater in 1975. Since inheriting Z Budapest's Los Angeles ministry in 1980, Ruth has taught magical and ritual arts in the Dianic tradition at festivals and conferences across the United States, in Canada, and Great Britain. Ruth served the Los Angeles women's community as co-founder and as the religious director of Circle of Aradia (CoA) for two decades, creating and teaching a Dianic curriculum of classes and providing open seasonal rituals with women of her community. In 1997 Ruth was honored as recipient of the L.A.C.E. award for outstanding contributions in the area of Spirituality from the Gay and Lesbian Center in Los Angeles. In 2000, Ruth relocated to the Midwest where she founded Temple of Diana with life partner, Falcon River. Ruth is author of Women's Rites, Women's Mysteries: Intuitive Ritual Creation (Llewellyn, 2004).

Bambi Bellows is a mathematician, philosopher and metaphysician, with a love for prehistory, politics and economics.  Bam has spent nearly 40 years on a quest for Truth following a hundred different paths to the knowledge she is sharing. Co-owner of Electicity, “Chicago’s snazziest store,” and a certified geek (MS in Computer Science) Bam produces a provocative line of “Bambinars” a lecture concoction of philosophy, mathematics, mysticism, and comparative religion.

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Anne Benvenuti is a published poet, writer, and photographer, Anne Benvenuti is the author of Spirit Unleashed; Reimagining Human-Animal Relations, an intellectually and emotionally rich and complex exploration. A professor of psychology and philosophy, an integrative scholar, a licensed clinical psychologist, and a priest of the Episcopal Church, Anne’s research interests include neuroscientific models of natural spirituality and natural spirituality for social policy and human-animal relations; and clinical integration of spirituality and health. Anne is a trustee on the Council of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and co-chair of its Women’s Task Force. She also serves on the U.N. NGO Committee on Mental health.

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Jennifer Berezan: Jennifer’s lifelong interest in ancient sacred music, healing, and Goddess Spirituality has come to the forefront of her work. She presented a workshop entitled "The Ecstasy of Sound," which incorporated song and chanting, with a presentation about the Hypogeum, a 6,000 year old temple on the island of Malta, where her latest CD, Returning was recorded. Returning is an extraordinary and beautiful long playing healing chant to the Mother Of Us All. Jennifer can be reached at www.edgeofwonder.com.

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Kathleen Bohn, OP: Sister Kathleen Bohn is a Racine Dominican, spiritual guide, a weaver, and a staff member of the Racine Dominican, Retreat Department. She is the Associate Director of the Retreat Program at Siena Center, has a Masters of Arts degree in counseling, with additional certified work in Jungian psychology and a background in theology. Kathleen has studied under international expert and author on labyrinths, Lauren Artress, and is a certified labyrinth facilitator.

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Helen Bond: one of the original Founders of Gaia's Womb, is a performer, percussionist, educator and storyteller. She is the founder and owner of Medusa's Musical Mysteries, and co-founder of the Performance Ensemble Diamana Diya, and the Benkadi Project. Helen travels to Guinea, West Africa (since 2001) where she lives among the Malinke people. While there, she studies under world-renowned musicians and grand masters of the djembe drum and its orchestra (bass drums-dununs). Helen spends her time learning traditional music, dance, songs and local culture of Guinea. Helen has enjoyed the benefits of music since her childhood. In turn, she now brings the joy of drumming into your life through her workshops. Her teaching style allows even the novice to experience the joyful feel of community drumming. Helen teaches traditional Malinke rhythms from West Africa as well as non-traditional original compositions. She can be reached at www.medusadrums.com

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Sylvia Brallier: Author, Artist, Activist, Musician, Dancer, Director and more, Sylvia has been involved in the healing, service, and performance arts for decades. She manages her own considerable physical and medical challenges, and counsels, teaches and offers guidance across a wide spectrum of genres. Her effervescent, and enthusiastically positive spirit is equally matched by her brilliant mind, and intuitive ability to connect with students for the best possible results.

Angie Buchanan: Angie is one of the founders and the Executive Director of Gaia's Womb. She has been producing women's interfaith spirituality retreats for over 20 years. She is a Minister with Earth Traditions Church.  Angie has been involved with and has consulted with a number of organizations that encourage interfaith dialog and promote unity in diversity, including, the Lady Liberty League, for which she served as the Public Relations Director for 10 years, Women For International Peace & Arbitration, the Our Freedom Coalition, and the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions. In 2002 she was the first Pagan to be elected to the Board of Trustees of The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions and has held an active emeritus position since 2010.  Angie taught "Introduction to Interfaith" at Cherry Hill Seminary for four years. She is currently the spiritual advisor for Pagan students at the University of Chicago, and a Certified Death Midwife, and Instructor. She holds an honorary appointment in the Martin Luther King Jr. International College of Ministry and Laity at Morehouse College. She travels extensively, speaking to groups about the importance of Pagan participation in interfaith forums. She is an activist for the protection of the separation of church and state, and the safeguarding of the First Amendment. In 2006, her work was integral in obtaining the pentacle symbol for use on the headstones and markers of Pagan veterans. Angie is available for speaking engagements offering workshops and retreats on a wide variety of topics. She can be reached at angie@gaiaswomb.com.

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Phyllis Curott is an attorney and the author of Book of Shadows and Witch Crafting. She was named one of the Ten Gutsiest Women of the Year by Jane magazine in 1999 and was a finalist for the Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award in 2000. A Priestess for more than twenty years and founder of the Temple of Ara, she has been widely profiled in the media, lectures frequently around the globe and is widely respected for her work promoting civil liberties and religious freedom. She comes to us from New York City.

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Max Dashu, an independent scholar, founded the Suppressed Histories Archives in 1970. Since then, she has photographed over 14,000 slides and created ninety slideshows on international women's history. Her suppressed histories archives aims to uncover the realities of women's lives, internationally and across time, asking questions about patriarchy and slavery, conquest and aboriginality. About mother-right, goddess veneration, animist spirituality and shamanic arts -- and the historical chemistry of their repression. Even more important, their role in resisting oppression.

Suppressed Histories Archives: http://www.suppressedhistories.net
Art by Max Dashu: http://www.maxdashu.net

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Brooke Medicine-Eagle: an American native Earthkeeper, Earth wisdom teacher, visionary, sacred ecologist, songwriter, harmonist and catalyst for healing, whose dedication is to bring forward the ancient truths concerning how to live a fully human life in sustaining harmony with All Our Relations as we approach the crossroads into the Golden Age. Based at Earth Heart Sanctuary, her beauty way awakens physical and spiritual health through private sessions and retreats, offers Native American music and chants, promotes ritual honoring of Earth cycles, shares women's mystery teachings, and creates a sustainable, holy path for two-leggeds to walk. She is the author of Buffalo Woman Comes Singing, and The Last Ghost Dance. Brooke can be reached at www.medicineeagle.com.

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Selena Fox: is a Wiccan priestess, shamanic counselor, and clinical psychotherapist. For more than thirty years, she has been facilitating rituals and workshops throughout the US and other countries. She is author of Goddess Communion Rituals, When Goddess is God, and other works, and is executive director of Circle Sanctuary, an international Wiccan church, Pagan resource center, and Nature preserve in southwestern Wisconsin. Selena can be reached at: www.circlesanctuary.org

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Dana Gass/Kamala: of Kamala Perfumes attended Harvard University and graduated Cum Laude with a degree in East Asian Studies. She began to experiment with aromatherapy and herbalism during her senior year at Harvard. After graduation, Dana taught English at the Tang Shan Institute of Technology in China and then traveled in India and Thailand, where she furthered her knowledge of medicinal plants and their uses. Now with 18+ years of experience and a profound knowledge of essential oils and herbs, Dana is a sought-after speaker. She has given presentations to the University of Illinois faculty, Unilever (maker of mass-produced hygiene products), countless metaphysical shops and private groups. Dana can be reached at: www.kamala.com.

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Jean Haner is the author of "The Wisdom of Your Face," and teaches and consults internationally about powerful techniques to "read" people’s inner natures. With her 25-year background in ancient Chinese principles of balance and health, Jean places an emphasis on compassionate and affirming ways for people to live in alignment with their own true selves. She is well known as a warm and inspirational teacher, providing grounded, practical information that can be put to immediate use in your life.

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Michaela Hasko has been a member of the Gaia’s Womb Tribe since 2004 and has been involved in the Pagan Community as teacher and healer for over 25 years. She studied meditation under Thich Nhat Hanh, and has been certified by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She has also received certification from the Institute for the Advancement of Human Behavior’s Mindfullness-Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine. Michaela holds meditation services weekly at her home in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, The only child of immigrants, she speaks fluent German and currently spends her free time pursuing her Eastern European ancestral roots through research and travel. She feels it is now a great privilege to share her experiences and her joy of practice, by teaching.

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Jerrie Hildebrandt: is a current member of the board of trustees of the First Universalist Society of Salem, MA. She owns a graphic design and production company, has sung with the ritual choir group Mother Tongue, and illustrated the children's book "Walking With Mother Earth" by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen. Jerrie's ministry focus has been on interfaith dialogs that enrich communities and honor the dignity of all.

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Ubaka Hill: is a nationally recognized performing artist, recording artist, teacher of hand drumming, inspirational speaker and visionary. Among other places, her work has recently been presented at the Chicago Historical Society, The Omega Institute and the New York Open Center. She comes to us from the Catskill Mountains, in New York.

 

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Judika Illes: is a spell collector, fortune teller, psychic practitioner and spirit worker, certified aromatherapy consultant, writer and teacher. Her spiritual vision incorporates the application of Earth's ancient magical and therapeutic traditions for the fulfillment of modern needs and desires. She is the author of The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells and The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft. Judika can be reached at www.judikailles.com.

Sandra Kynes is an explorer of Celtic history, myth and magic, a writer, yoga instructor, Reiki practitioner, and a member of the Bards, Ovates and Druids. Her inquisitiveness has led her to investigate the roots of her beliefs and to integrate her spiritual path with everyday life. She likes developing creative ways to explore the world, which serves as the basis for her books. Originally from New York City, she has lived in Europe, England, and now resides in coastal New England.  Her website can be found at: www.kynes.ne

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Colleen Koziara: has been a Witch forever, but formally since 1985. She grew up in Northern Wisconsin, and studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. She works in a wide variety of mediums and has illustrated more than 20 books. Additional projects for her include portraiture, murals, commissioned pieces, body & face painting (from simple to magnificent), and tattoo design (no tattooing, just the designs!), and more recently, corporate identity work, computer graphics, and web design. Colleen has written a children's book, Thirteen Silver Moons, which was published in December 2003. Colleen teaches and presents workshops on topics ranging from Craft training, sub-elemental pathworking, and incense making, to art and meditative dance/movement. You may contact Colleen via email at MysticalWillow@comcast.net.

Ellen Lorenzi-Prince: Ellen is an artist, poet, mythographer, and spiritual adventuress. Her 30-year journey has led her into deep explorations of image and meaning through travels in Italy, Greece, England, and Egypt, reading tarot cards for English and non-English speakers along the way. She presents her inventive, experiential, and engaging approach to the goddesses, tarot, and creativity, in workshops throughout the United States. She is the creatrix of the Tarot of the Crone, the Minoan Tarot and the Dark Goddess Tarot. 

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Tessa Lynch: a Pagan Priestess since 1989, Tessa's focus has been to create communities of Goddess-loving women and men, each of whom have developed a personal connection to the Immanent Divine and an understanding of the context in which spiritual communities evolve and work to improve our world. "The Mundane" and "The Magical" are equally emphasized and developed. Weaving together a love of theatre, history, and literature, and drawing on her experience with dance, voice, event management, and professional presentation, Tessa is known for perfecting the art of ritual theatre and using it as a medium to project participants into a place of transformation. Tessa has traveled extensively in England, Scotland, and Wales, visiting and researching sacred sites and incorporating their mythos into her ritual practice. 

Jessica Macbeth is an accomplished metaphysical teacher and the author of the acclaimed, international best-selling book and card set, Brian Froud’s The Faeries’ Oracle praised as “the best modern oracle deck ever produced.” She is also the author of the books, Moon Over Water and Sun Over Mountain, two guides to meditation, imagery and self-discovery. She lives Port Townsend, WA.

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Dr. Barbara McGraw: is an author and speaker on the role of religious pluralism in American public life. A member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court, she is also an affiliate of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University. She is the author of "Rediscovering America's Sacred Ground: Public Religion and Pursuit of the Good in a Pluralistic America" (SUNY Press, 2003); co-editor (with Jo Renee Formicola) of "Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America's Sacred Ground" (2005), which is based on her work; and co-author (with Robert S. Ellwood) of "Many Peoples, Many Faiths: Women and Men in the World Religions" (several editions), one of the most used world religions texts in the U.S. She holds a J.D. and Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics, both from the University of Southern California.

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**Patricia Monaghan: One of the leaders of the contemporary earth spirituality movement, Patricia Monaghan spent more than 20 years researching and writing about alternative visions of the earth. The worldwide vision of the earth as feminine-as a goddess, called Gaia by the Greeks-led her to recognize the connection between ecological damage and the oppression of the feminine in western society. Much of her work has explored the question of the role of the feminine power in our world, in an inclusive and multicultural way. An avid traveler, Patricia researched earth spirituality and goddess worship on three continents. She traveled widely in Europe, especially in Ireland; held dual US/Irish citizenship and edited two anthologies of contemporary Irish-American writing. In addition to her exacting research, Patricia was an award-winning poet whose work has been set to music and is performed around the world. She authored several books, two of the most recent being, Wild Girls, and The Red Haired Girl From the Bog. She was an acclaimed lecturer and appeared at hundreds of universities, festivals, bookstores and community centers around the United States and Europe. Patricia lived in Chicago. She was a member of the Resident Faculty at DePaul University's school for New Learning, where she taught science and literature. She retired with her husband Michael in Black Earth, WI. She passed from this life on November 11, 2012.

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**Shekhinah Mountainwater was a foremother of the womanspirit movement, author of Ariadne's Thread and Shekhinah's Tarot. Music was the foundation of her practise, and some of her earliest influences came from the magic faery ballads imported to the states from Celtic lands. Shekhinah has written hundreds of songs, and dozens of Goddess chants. "The chants always come to me by surprize...straight from the Goddess" she says. "Ever since I awakened to Her, she continues to send them to me. I am always amazed when it happens, and even more astonished when the chant travels and I hear my sisters singing them...!" Shekhinah passed from this world on August 14, 2007. She is loved and missed, and will be remembered through her songs and chants. 

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Sharynne MacLeod NicMhacha: is a Canadian writer, teacher, and musician of Scottish, Irish and British ancestry. A descendant of Clan MacLeod, long recorded in oral tradition to have connections with and blood of the Sidhe, she has a keen interest in Arthurian legends, Scottish Witchcraft, and Irish and Welsh wisdom texts. She has studied Old Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Celtic Mythology through Harvard University and has presented work through the Ford Foundations Celtic Lecture Series, The Harvard Study Group on Ancient Magic and Religion, the University of Massachusetts, the Omega Institute and the University of Edinburgh. She is a member of the Celtic band The Moors, and author of the book Queen of the Night. She resides in New England.

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Vicki Noble: is a feminist shaman healer and wisdom teacher, co-creator of Motherpeace tarot and the author of half a dozen books, including Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World and (forthcoming) The Double Goddess: Women Sharing Power. For twenty-five years Vicki has researched ancient women's history, with a focus on the continuous lineage of female shamanism and female-centered tantric practices across Afro-Eurasia via the Silk Road. Vicki lives in the forest near Santa Cruz, California, where she works privately with mostly women students and clients.

Anastacia J. Nutt: is a Working Priestess in the Western Esoteric Tradition. Her service life began in 1997 at The StarHouse trans-denominational temple in Boulder, Colorado. In this capacity she co-founded several spiritual educations programs including, The Path of the Ceremonial Arts for Women, now entering its fifteenth year. In 2004-2008, she co-facilitated the international Palestine/Israeli/American Women if Vision Program. Currently, Anastacia works alongside her beloved partner and fellow Western Esotericist, R. J. Stewart. Together they travel and teach in the USA, Canada, Israel, Great Britain and Europe, furthering the Inner Temple Traditions/Inner Convocation, Faery and UnderWorld work developed by R.J. Stewart.     www.rjstewart.net

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Diana Paxson is a writer, primarily of fantasy and historical fiction novels, short stories and non-fiction about Pagan and Heathen religion and practice. In addition to her multiple novels and collaborations, she has written over seventy short stories. Her best-known works are the Westria novels and books in the Avalon series, which she took over from Marion Zimmer Bradley. A leader in the Pagan and Heathen revivals, Paxson is the founder of the Fellowship of the Spiral Path and served as First Officer of the Covenant of the Goddess. She has been Steerswoman of the Troth and a member of its Board of Directors, and currently edits its journal, Idunna. She also composes and plays music for the harp. She currently lives at her home, Greyhaven, in Berkeley, California.

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Laura Perry, N.D.: Laura combines health and spirituality through her work as a naturopath, shaman, Reiki master and Wiccan priestess.A regionally-known natural health expert, her articles about herbal medicine and natural health are regularly published in a variety of magazines and newsletters. Laura is the author ofThe Wiccan Wellness Book, Natural Healthcare for Mind, Body and Spirit, also Ancient Spellcraft: From the Hymns of the Hittites to the Carvings of the Celts andMagickal Pleasures. She lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area with her husband and daughter. You can find Laura online at www.lauraperry.com.

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Judy Piazza is a nationally recognized multi-instrumentalist, educator, performer, recording artist, and music therapist. She has performed with and been deeply inspired by Glen Velez, Ubaka Hill, and Russill Paul, as well as with many other leading musicians. Judy continues to delve deeply into the nature and use of sound and rhythm among first peoples, the power of pulse through hand drums and percussion, as well as the sonic possibilities and healing aspects of voice, rhythm, and tonal qualities. She travels extensively in her studies Earth Rhythm & Songs school assemblies, and interactive performances for all ages to nurture community as well as to communicate gentle yet powerful messages regarding relationships to our self, each other, and to our Earth. You can find out more at her website, www.resonanceandrhythms.com

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Joanna Powell Colbert has been called one of “the most accomplished and well-loved artists in the Goddess-spirit community” by Amber Lotus Publishers. After nine years of intense work, her Gaian Tarot deck and book will be published by Llewellyn Worldwide in September 2011, with a limited collector's edition to precede it in Spring 2010. This project combines Joanna's love of symbolic, archetypal art with the mysteries of the natural world. Joanna has taught workshops on Goddess spirituality and the Tarot since the early 90's. She lives in the woods outside Bellingham , Washington where daily encounters with Mama Gaia continue to inspire and inform her work. She can be reached at: www.GaianTarot.com.

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Wendy Rule: Australian musician Wendy Rule weaves together music, mythology and ritual in both her live performances, and her extensive catalogue of recordings. Over the past two decades, Wendy has released 10 studio albums and numerous side projects, and has toured the USA, Australia, Europe and the UK extensively as both a performer and an inspirational Magical Life Coach and workshop presenter. Honouring her Pagan spiritual path, Wendy also facilitates the online mystery school "Living a Life of Magic".

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Victoria Slind-Flor dances with the Goddess in Oakland, California. There she writes stories about technology and intellectual-property law in her mundane life, and the rest of the time, makes art, ritual, and encourages her garden to grow. She was, for a number of years, the art priestess for a women's circle in the Bay Area, and has taught ritual and art-making workshops for small circles and at large Pagan gatherings such as Pantheacon. Her personal dedication is to the three sun goddesses from the various Northern traditions, Freya, Beive and Saule. Her life experiences that led her to the Goddess include 12 years spent in an all-girls convent school, riding a float and flinging beads at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, clapping her hands to summon Amaterasu at the sacred shrine in Ise Japan, maintaining sanity while mothering four kids under the age of five, priestessing her husband's death from AIDS, breeding and showing Old English Sheepdogs, and tracing with her own fingers the petroglyphs her Saami ancestors carved into the rocks at Alta, Finnmark, in Norway. Victoria teaches media relations at Cherry Hill Pagan Seminary. And the first goddess she ever met was her own grandmother.

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Jacki Smith: Jacki's earthy, practical approach to magic takes the spooky out, and adds the flavor of humor and lightheartedness. Author of, DIY Akashic Wisdom, Access the Library of Your Soul, (Co-authored with her sister, business partner, and wonder twin, Patty Shaw) Jacki brings to us a new tool with which to view our inner landscapes. Jacki has been making magic through her company, Coventry Creations since 1992. You may be familiar with, "Jacki's Blessed Herbal Candles" and the many other magical candle and oil lines she carries. Her best-selling book, Coventry Magic With Candles, Oils and Herbs, published in 2011, illustrates her eclectic and empowered magical style. www.DIYkashicwisdom.com

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Jenny Stopa M.A.: Jenny has studied dance throughout her life and sees Middle Eastern dance as a healing art form. She teaches dance and movement throughout the Chicago area. Jenny has trained in authentic movement, breath work, and body centered psychotherapy. Her love of dance comes forth and movement becomes sacred through her gentle and joyful guidance. She teaches “Transformation Belly Dance focusing on self-expression, light choreography, and fun.” Call her at 847-707-0181 or email for more information at Jennystopa@hotmail.com.

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Charlene Suggs: We are excited to introduce Charlene to the women of Gaia’s Womb. Charlene comes to us from Ohio where she is the founding president of the land-based community Wisteria, a 620-acre intentional community venture dedicated to sustainable stewardship of land and creating healthy lifestyles, and home of PSG, Pagan Spirit Gathering, an annual week long festival sponsored by Circle Sanctuary. Charlene will be presenting a workshop titled Last Rites & Rights. Join us as we undertake a frank and lively discussion on death, natural processes and current death care practices. We can enrich ourselves (and our finances!) by educating ourselves about our legal/consumer rights and the workings of the funeral industry. What are alternatives to expensive cookie-cutter funerals, embalming, and crowded cemeteries? What do we really feel about death, the inevitable topic? How can death be beautiful? Is death the end of desire?

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Angi Sullins has been called The Muse, and if you’ve ever dropped by her website for a cup-of-delight, you’ll know why. She's the founder and creative fire behind Duirwaigh Gallery – an inspired art agency dedicated to myth and folklore based in Atlanta, Georgia. After almost a decade of helping visionary artists find their niche, Angi now devotes her time to writing and performing. Her first memoir "Duirwaighs and Dreamfields: A True Fairy Tale" (spring 2009) chronicles one woman's transformational journey through the darkness of paralysis, financial ruin, rape and betrayal to the light of wholeness and hope. Her inspirational articles and essays can be found on Message from the Muse ( www.MessagefromtheMuse.com) -- an online portal of inspiration. Angi and her husband, Silas Toball, founded Duirwaigh Studios based in Taos, New Mexico. Together they create inspirational music, books, films and greeting cards and are the creative team behind "A Knock at the Door" – the little film that continues to make a big splash on the internet, having been seen by over three million viewers since 2004.

Karen Tate is an ordained minister, independent scholar of the Sacred Feminine, and graduate of The Women's Theological Institute, specializing in Goddess and Women's Spirituality. She is the founder of The Isis Ancient Cultures Society, an educational, art and cultural organization. She hosts a weekly radio program, "Voices of the Sacred Feminine" and is the author of "Walking an Ancient Path" and "Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations." Karen can be reached at:http://www.karentate.com

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Julie Woods is a singer/songwriter, visual artist, trainer, philanthropist, and Urban Shaman. Because of those facets, her joyous, elemental presence infuses bliss back into the process of empowerment every day, in every way. Her fiery passion surges through every moment in her presence. Whether live or recorded, her dedication to empowerment weaves wisdom and fun into her workshops, events, performances, coaching sessions, and projects. At the same time, Woods' uplifting, authentic energy is a Calling to consistently reach out to those in need. Julie is the founder of: Fans with Cans Food Abundance Network ( www.FansWithCans.org), and The PoundCake Diet ( PoundCakeDiet.com). She can be reached at: UrbanBlissShaman@gmail.com

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Vic Wright: a mystic and teacher of the ancient ways. Many of you know her through her work with the Stone People, or as “The Rock Lady.” Vic has been a student and teacher of the Craft, metaphysics, palmistry and graphology for most of her life. One of her greatest joys comes from teaching people how to grow through observation, self exploration and discovery. Vic can be reached at Rainbowdragonenterprises@yahoo.com

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Nora Cedarwind Young is a Certified Death Midwife, Green Burial Educator, and Hospice Chaplain in Washington State . She educates others about the healing value of home funerals, green burial and family directed choice at end-of-life. Nora has been featured in many books and articles about end-of-life, the green burial movement, and end-of-life planning and paperwork. Her article “End-of-life Preferences for Wiccans, Pagans and Nature Spirituality Practitioners” appeared in the "Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing." She is most happy teaching three or four day intensives for small groups that bring the traditions home to communities who wish to care for their beloved dead. She can be reached at: www.thresholdsoflife.org

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For a period of three years, Gaia's Womb offered events that included men. We were honored to have had these men join us as presenters at those events

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Andras Corban Arthen: founder and director of the EarthSpirit Community, was adopted into the traditional practices of a Scottish family of witches in 1969. Andras was chosen to represent the Pagan traditions at the United Nations Interfaith Conference in 1991, and was one of the presenters at the Parliament of the World's Religions held in Chicago in 1993. He has been featured in the books Witches and Witchcraft (Time-LifeBooks), Fire in the Head, Never Again the Burning Times, Being a Pagan, A Community of Witches, and The New Pagans, and in the award-winning television program Smithsonian World. He lives with his extended family in Glenwood, a 135-acre Pagan conference center and nature preserve in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts. Andras is a folk musician, storyteller and poet. With Deirdre Pulgram Arthen, he has released We Believe, an album of bardic songs, and he is currently working on a recording of magical tales. He also performs with MotherTongue, EarthSpirit's internationally acclaimed ritual performance group.

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Jim Bertolacini has been an admirer of the Green Man for many years. In 2001, his desire to reverence the Green Man, lead to his creation of leafed masks and other Green Man artwork. Due to the overwhelmingly positive reaction, Jim has undertaken a fledgling enterprise, Man O'Green - Green Man Creations, to make his handiwork available to others. Jim's masks are increasingly adorning faces and walls everywhere and have been used in a number of public rituals and performances. Jim can be reached at ManOGreen@Hotmail.com.

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breeze: A student of comparative religions (thru emersion), breeze has been a Wiccan priest since 1987, facilitating private and public rituals and rites of passage for covens and public Pagan festivals/gatherings for over 20 years. He is also one of the founders of the Columbian Wicca Tradition in the Pacific Northwest. Formally educated as an electrical engineer, he has presented lectures and workshops on magical technologies. He spends his volunteer time mentoring youth and new students of the Craft, creating and facilitating children's workshops, and facilitating drum circles he has organized in various cities. He can be reached at breeze@columbianwicca.org.

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Matthew Ellenwood has been involved with the Pagan community since childhood and has been an active member of several international organizations including ADF, Keltria, The Order of the White Stag, The Golden Dawn and the O.T.O. Primarily focusing upon outreach as a teacher and priest, he has sought to balance the cerebral and symbolic ritualistic ideals of the Western Esoteric Tradition with practical, ecstatic practices rooted in the body, primal emotions and the Land itself. Drawing on his skills as a performer he uses humor, storytelling, music, stage magic, and years of personal practice and research to create transformative, 'hands-on' experiences within the context of rituals and workshops. In Chicago, Matthew maintains an accomplished private voice studio, serves as the assistant conductor and vocal coach for the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus and is a free-lance music director. Matthew is one of the founders of Brotherhood of the Phoenix (www.brotherhoodofthephoenix.org) a neo-Pagan order for gay, bisexual and transgender men who love men and serves as the senior mentor for its training program. He can be reached at MathiasAmatheon@aol.com.

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Reena Tyler and Nataraj Hauser: have offered workshops that explore creative passion through dance. This has included discussions of how to keep the spirit of rhythm and dance in the forefront of one's daily life, and contact improvisational dance, free from the anxiety of accompanying music and rhythm, and any concern about 'knowing the steps'. Techniques offered include those by urban shaman Gabrielle Roth, exploring intuitive movement with five core rhythm patterns: Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness.

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John Matthews is one of the foremost authorities on mythology and folk-lore. His 72 books range from the worlds of Celtic and Arthurian legend to collections of stories, essays and fiction. His work within the field of mythic traditions reflects a first hand experience of native shamanism and druidism. He has given highly acclaimed workshops in Britain, Central Europe and across both North and South America. His primary concern is with the interpretation of myth as the key that will open the door to the Otherworld. http://www.hallowquest.org.uk/

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Drake Spaeth: Drake Spaeth, PsyD is a Clinical Psychologist, and a faculty member of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He is the author of several entries in the Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion (Springer , 2010), as well as contributing a chapter (Psycho-spiritual roots of adolescent violence; The importance of rites of passage) in the book, Transforming Corrections; Humanistic Approaches to Corrections and Offender Treatment. ( Carolina Academic Press, 2009)
Dr. Spaeth has been a presenter at the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions events in Barcelona, 2004, Melbourne , 2009 and Salt Lake City 2015 He regularly presents papers on spirituality and psychology at conferences including the annual meetings of the Midwest American Academy of Religion, and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
His interests include the relationship between spirituality and psychology, ecopsychology, Humanistic-Existential psychology, transpersonal psychology, Jungian psychology, shamanism, Celtic mysticism, and the Western Mystery Tradition. He holds ministerial credentials with both Earth Traditions Church. (www.EarthTraditions.org) He can be reached at Pixieledprof@gmail.com

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Oberon Zell-Ravenheart co-founded the Church of All Worlds in 1962. First to apply the terms "Pagan" and "Neo-Pagan" to the newly emerging Nature Religions of the 1960s, and through his publication of the Green Egg (1968-1975; 1988-96), Oberon was instrumental in the coalescence of the Neo-Pagan movement. In 1970, Oberon formulated and published the theology of deep ecology which has become known as The Gaia Thesis. Oberon is the primary sculptor of the Mythic Images Collection, producing museum-quality replicas and beautiful original altar figurines of Gods, Goddesses, and mythological creatures.