Tag Archives: Feminism

Mountain of Truth

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Monte Verita, Ascona Switzerland

I came across the most amazing piece of history the other day: the free spirits of the art community at Monte Verita in 1915. These people created an open society of artists and philosophers; people that wanted to explore the potential of the human spirit.

What strikes me are the huge similarities between this story and our current society in 2018. These people that escaped to the mountains of Switzerland were rebelling against mass consumerism, war, intolerance, and celebrity culture. They created the first alternative community, assimilating all groups of people under the banner of pacifism and free thought. Many accomplished philosophers and radicals joined them – including Hermann Hesse.

This movement is one of the catalysts for the original hippie movement in 1967. It’s not about obliterating your mind with drugs, or trying to escape reality, it’s about creating a free, human, utopian society on earth. Article below.

There’s a movie about it that came out in 2014 called “FREAK OUT!” if you’re interested in learning more about it!

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Article:  “Monte Verità: “The place where our minds can reach up to the heavens…
In the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth, the Ticino republic became a gateway to the south, and favourite destination of a group of unconventional loners who found in the region, with its southern atmosphere, fertile ground in which to sow the seeds of the utopia they were unable to cultivate in the north.
The Ticino came to represent the antithesis of the urbanised, industrialized north, a sanctuary for all kinds of idealist. From 1900 onwards Mount Monescia above Ascona, Switzerand, became a pole of attraction for those seeking an “alternative” life. These reformers who sought a third way between the capitalist and communist blocks, eventually found a home in the region of the north Italian lakes.

The founders came from all directions :
Henry Oedenkoven from Antwerp
the pianist Ida Hofmann from Montenegro
the artist Gusto
and the ex-officer Karl Gräser from Transylvania.

United by a common ideal they settled on the “Mount of Truth” as they renamed Monte Monescia. Draped in loose flowing garments and long hair, they worked in the gardens and fields, built spartan timber cabins and found relaxation in dancing and naked bathing, exposing their bodies to light, air, sun and water. Their diet excluded all animal foods and was based entirely on plants, vegetables and fruit. They worshipped nature, preaching its purity and interpreting it symbolically as the ultimate work of art: “Parsifal’s meadow”, “The rock of Valkyrie” and the “Harrassprung” were symbolic names which with time were adopted even by the local population of Ascona who had initially regarded the community with suspicion.
Their social organization was based on cooperation, and through it they strove to achieve the emancipation of women, self-criticism, and new ways of cultivating mind and spirit with the unity of body and soul.

The intensity of the single ideals fused in this community were such that word of it soon spread across the whole of Europe and overseas. Gradually over the years the community itself became a sanatorium frequented by theosophists, reformers, anarchists, communists, social democrats, psyco-analysts; followed by literary personalities, writers, poets, artists and finally emigrants of both world wars: Raphael Friedeberg, Prince Peter Kropotkin, Erich Mühsam. They declared Ascona “the Republic of the Homeless”: Otto Gross who planned a “School for the liberation of humanity”, August Bebel, Karl Kautsky, Otto Braun, even perhaps Lenin and Trotzki, Hermann Hesse, Franziska Gräfin zu Reventlow, Else Lasker-Schüler, D.H Lawrence, Rudolf von Laban, Mary Wigman, Isadora Duncan, Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Hans Richter, Marianne von Werefkin, Alexej von Jawlensky, Arthur Segal, El Lissitzky and many others.
After the departure of the founder for Brazil in 1920 there followed a brief bohemian period at the Monte Verità which lasted until the complex was purchased as a residence by the Baron von der Heydt, banker to the ex-Kaiser Willhelm II and one of the most important collectors of contemporary and non European art. The bohemian life continued in the village and in the Locarnese valleys from then on.

The Mount, now used as a Hotel and park, still maintains its almost magic power of attraction. Along with the proven magnetic anomalies of geological formations underlying Ascona, it is as if the mount preserves, hidden away out of sight, the sum of all the successful and unsuccessful attempts to breach the gap between the “I” and “we”, and the striving towards an ideal creative society, thus making the Monte Verità a special scenic and climatic micro-paradise.

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The Monte Verità is also however a well preserved testimony for the history of architecture. From Adam’s hut to the Bauhaus. The ideology of the first settlers demanded spartan chalet-like timber dwellings with plenty of light and air and few comforts. Shortly after 1900 the following buildings began to spring up: Casa Selma (now museum), […]1, Casa Andrea with its geometrical façade, the sunniest of the buildings (now converted), Casa Elena and the Casa del Tè – Tea House (now demolished) and the Casa dei Russi (hideout for Russian students after the 1905 revolution and now undergoing renovation). The Casa Centrale was built for the community and allowed for maximum natural light. Ying-Yang symbols were worked into windows and balconies. (In 1948 this building was demolished to make way for a restaurant and only the curving flight of steps remains).
Henry Oedenkoven built Casa Anatta as living quarters and reception rooms in the theosophist style with rounded corners everywhere, double timber walls, sliding doors, domed ceilings and huge windows with views of the landscape as supreme works of art, a large flat roof and sun-terrace.

Farewell Dark Queen

Anita Pallenberg passed away today at 73 years old. What an incredible woman. She was Keith Richards’ first wife and was the muse of The Rolling Stones at their birth in the 1960’s. She was one of those rare women with intelligence, beauty, magnetism and an adventurous spirit. She was completely her own person and fearlessly walked her path. The perfect example of a woman living her life to the fullest.

I greatly admired her as a teenager and read about her all the time. I never wanted to be like the movie stars of the late 70’s – I wanted to be like Anita: independent, confident and exotic. She was the heart and spirit of The Rolling Stones – the REAL badass.

From Vogue magazine:

Anita Pallenberg Passes Away at Age 73

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Photo: Getty Images

Anita Pallenberg, the model, actress, perennial style icon, perpetual fashion reference, and perhaps rock and roll’s most famous muse passed away today, at age 73. The news was made public on Instagram this afternoon by Stella Schnabel. “I have never met a woman quite like you Anita,” she wrote. “I don’t think there is anybody in this universe like you. No one has ever understood me so well. You showed about life and myself and how to grow and become and exist with it all. I was a little girl thinking I was big but I became a woman through knowing you. The secret lyrical you. My best friend. The greatest woman I have ever known. Thank you for the most important lessons – because they are ever changing and definitive. Like you. We are all singing for you, how you liked it. Go in peace my Roman mother, you will always be in my heart.”

Pallenberg, who Marianne Faithfull once called “the most incredible woman I’d met in my life” as well as “dazzling, beautiful, hypnotic and unsettling” was famously charming— John Phillips once described her as possessing “an unmistakable electrical charge,” though she described herself as “a vagabond. An adventurer… not a person with one specific talent. I wish I was.” She spent the 1960s as an in-demand model and an actress, appearing in films like Barbarella, Performance, and Candy, with Marlon Brando. German-Italian, Pallenberg had social ties that stretched from the Dolce Vita set in Rome to Andy Warhol’s factory, and rose to international fame as part of the impossibly glamorous ultra-bohemian traveling troupe of ur-rock royalty. She certainly left a lasting impression on Keith Richards, who recalled that “she knew everything and she could say it in five languages. She scared the pants off me!” They would later have three children together.

Pallenberg first entered the Rolling Stones’ orbit as Brian Jones’ girlfriend before later taking up with Richards (as well as Mick Jagger, this being the 1970s). “How Anita came to be with Brian is really the story of how the Stones became the Stones,” Faithfull wrote in her 1994 autobiography, Faithfull, “She almost single-handedly engineered a cultural revolution in London by bringing together the Stones and the jeunesse dorée…The Stones came away with a patina of aristocratic decadence that served as a perfect counterfoil to the raw roots blues of their music. This…transformed the Stones from pop stars into cultural icons.” She also had an unmistakable affect on the way that rock and roll looked: in his 2010 autobiography Life, Richards recounts that his way of getting dressed during that era was to slip into Pallenberg’s pants. Her allure, however, far transcended her wardrobe: “Other women evaporated next to her. She spoke in a baffling dada hipsterese. An outlandish Italo-Germanic-Cockney slang that mangled her syntax into surreal fragments….It was all part of her sinister appeal,” wrote Faithfull. All this enticed Keith, who wrote in Life, “I like a high-spirited woman. And with Anita, you knew you were taking on a Valkyrie—she who decides who dies in battle.” Their tumultuous relationship (marked by their shared struggles with substance abuse) would eventually come to an end in the early 1980s.

In 1994, Anita earned a fashion degree at Central Saint Martins and briefly worked with Vivienne Westwood, though she eventually left the industry behind, calling it “too nasty, too rip-off, too hard.” She scorned suggestions of a tell-all style biography, telling The Guardian in 2008 that “publishers want to hear only about the Stones and more dirt on Mick Jagger and I’m just not interested….I had several publishers and they were all the same. They all wanted salacious.” Ultimately, it seems, she was never interested in being anything but herself. “I am ready to die,” she told Alain Elkann in August 2016, “I have done so much here. My Mum died at 94. I don’t want to lose my independence. Now I am over 70 and to be honest I did not think I would live over 40.”

She is survived by her children, Marlon and Angela, and her grandchildren.

http://vmagazine.com/article/anita-pallenberg-the-woman-who-out-keithed-keith/

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/anita-pallenberg-rip/

http://pleasekillme.com/anita-pallenberg-dead/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-4601788/Anita-Pallenberg-passes-away-aged-73.html

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/anita-pallenberg-dead-performance-actress-keith-richards-paramour-was-73-1013316

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/anita-pallenberg-rolling-stones-muse-was-queen-of-underground-w488024

Lilith in Scorpio

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“SUPER apt for Lilith in Scorpio opposite Witch Queen Hecate in Taurus.”

Reposting rom Mystic Medusa

“Although shedding is difficult for all of us, for a woman to shed what has falsely hidden her more authentic experience is a great liberation. The freedom felt after the loss of persona is spiritually nourishing, and the creativity released from within can be enormous, allowing her to create herself in a more ‘true’ form. This is the process I am calling female shamanism—an ongoing shedding of false selves in favor of the active development of more authentic forms of expression.”

“The snake is the ancient totem of women all over the world and speaks to the lunar nature of feminine biological evolution. A woman’s natural timing is cyclical, circular, spiral, nonlinear, and nonrational. Women need to replace their crystalized identities, as these shatter or dissolve through the shamanic process, with a deliberately fluid ego-identity. If a woman can begin to appreciate and cultivate the value of an identity that is always changing, continually in flux, never completely solid, she begins to align with what shamans and Buddhists describe as ‘reality.’ Those with the sight to see into the world of energy, see that everything is made of energy, and energy is always in motion. The rest of the world is practicing to become able to accept and tolerate 15541435_1189272157787618_3331473082345808686_nthis vision of reality, which is in conflict with the one we were originally taught to believe.”

~ Vicki Noble from Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World – The New Female Shamanism

Reclaiming The Radical Legacy of The Witch

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Article by 

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about witches. Not just because top ten lists of hot tv witches and sexy Halloween selfies currently swamp my social media feeds, but because my tables and shelves are currently so laden with herbs, plants, berries, phials and bottles that if an inquisitor of old were to enter, I’d find myself quickly tied to the stake. And while this worry seems remote, it’s a plain fact that women in third world countries are still hunted down, tortured and set aflame for the crime of witchcraft.

Sure, the witch is emerging from the world of taboo and shadows onto the world stage. Sure, she’s being touted as a feminist icon  – a “powerful feminine model free from male influence or ownership”. But I’m not so sure. Because how can it be that the witch, once associated with everything transgressive and beyond the realm of normative society, is now so trendy and positively mainstream?  Is it really a feminist step forward that W magazine declared Fall 2016, the season of the witch, replete with pouting models in gothic dresses, chains and black lace underwear?

And while many believe the witch of the middle ages was a spectre created by the church, I believe she was real. Yes, many put to death were just ordinary women who practiced folk magic, herbalism and midwifery, but many were powerful spiritual leaders of the indigenous, animist faith traditions of the old world – and their magic was earned through a lifetime of spiritual discipline spent in communion with nature.

And I worry her make-over into nubile fashion siren not only obscures this history, but her true relevance as a role model to us today. One that if resurrected, would be just as subversive and dangerous to the powers that be. 

Today the witches tall black hat and burbling cauldron have become icons of Halloween kitsch, but they were once hallowed items of the holy women and priestesses, the healers and herbalists, the oracles and diviners of old Europe. Their conical hats and cauldrons date back to the 2nd Millennium BCE and were connected to the female shamans of the Indo-European peoples.

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Tarim Mummies, 1800 BCE

 

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Scythian Princess and her cauldron, 4th to 5th century BCE

 

Their cauldrons (as well as crystal balls and magical wands) were still being used thousands of years later by the “witte wieven” or wise women, the sibyls, seers, and female druids of Celtic, Anglo Saxon, and Norse traditions of the middle ages.

According to Max Dashu, author Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion,  these “dream-readers, sooth-sayers, and herb-chanters, fire-gazers in Switzerland, or water-gazers in France and Spain”, practiced “all the elements of shamanism: chants, prophecy, healing, weather-making powers, and shapeshifting”. Legends tell of their sacred cauldrons in which “they simmered mysterious herbs to produce a drink of immortality and resurrection.”

These women were the guardians of the earth, the protectors of the sacred groves, lakes and springs, from which they derived their magical power. And until the middle ages they were highly respected, sought out and consulted for healing and divination by common folk, nobility and clergy alike.

But according to Barbara G. Walker , it was during the 14th century that the Catholic Church, during its relentless expansion and appropriation of sacred land, began to distinguish between witchcraft, perpetrated by women, and sorcery, a legitimate pursuit of men.

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While books on sorcery were condoned well into the enlightenment, female witches in contrast were said to “magically injure crops, domestic animals, and people, and in general “outrage the Divine Majesty”. And thus their religious practices (as described by Dashu) of “sitting-out” on the land “gazing, listening, gathering wisdom” were extinguished by a priesthood that sought to bring nature, magic, women (not to mention their land and property) under male control.

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These women did not go easily, or take usurpation of their holy sites and old ways lightly – it took the Church hundreds of years to hunt them down. And so it seems likely, at least to me,  that the stereotype of vengeful witch, casting curses and blighting crop, was real, at least for the church. She must have been the original eco-feminist, fighting the patriarchy with one of most powerful tools at her disposal, magic. And the Church took it pretty seriously indeed.”

Read More here: https://gathervictoria.com/2016/10/23/reclaiming-the-radical-legacy-of-the-witch/