from an account Monica wrote about of her journey to
the Czech Goddess Festival from 29
April to 2nd May 2004.
Sjoo dancing for the first time in a year!
fact this was the first ever non-academic festival of the Goddess to take
place in an Eastern European country, and as such exciting and important. My
friend Hana Evans, a young Czech woman living in the UK, took the initiative
and did a large part of the organizing for it through friends, both in her
homeland and in Britain, through internet etc...
first met Hana years ago while I was doing a slideshow in Cornwall and she was
then involved in tantric teachings and practices. She spoke of how she would
like to bring me to the Czech lands to exhibit my paintings there and take me
to some extremely ancient paleolithic sites. We couldn't however see any way
of bringing this about but now, years later, it happened.
the meantime Hana has done the Priestess of Avalon training in Glastonbury,
lead by Kathy Jones who together with Tyna Redpath organizes the Goddess
Conference there. Several people involved in Glastonbury Goddess temple and
the Priestess training, such as Hazel Loveridge and Brian Charles - a male
priest serving the Goddess, came to the Festival to give Hana support and to
pass on Goddess lore and ritual. This has also been my role and the reason why
Hana wanted me there. She had also contacted Z. Budapest who was at the time
in Hungary having hip replacements but she was post-operative and unable to
travel. A lot of what we had to offer is fairly new in Eastern Europe, as it
is in Russia, but people want to know.
friend Anna Willoughby, from our Women's spirituality and politics group in
Bristol, decided to come with me to help and support me. Anna's 18 months old
baby Elfed travelled on her back as he was still breastfeeding.
flew from Bristol to Prague on the 27th of April. As I am more or less
wheelchair bound now because of secondary cancer in my spine and bones, I
needed help. I was also pretty exhausted after having had a major
retrospective exhibition in Bath and then a joint exhibition with Margarita
Izotova and Susan Morland in Bristol, a continuation of our show "Windows
to other worlds". On top of it all I had broken a bone in my wrist and
the plaster was taken off the day before leaving Bristol!
were met at the airport in Prague by Silvie and taken to visit the National
historical museum (Narodni muzeum). There is a magnificent display of
prehistoric artifacts there, including Goddess statuettes from the Paleolithic
as well as the Neolithic. Beautiful pots made by women formed with nipples
and/or eyes of the Goddess.
were then driven 80 km north of Prague to the Bohemian village Skalka u Doks
where the Goddess Festival was to be held in an old farm building with
converted barns. This belongs to Helena Unmani and her partner. She is
together with Hana the main visionary behind the Festival. Helena is setting
up a centre here for alternative courses and personal development workshops.
The Goddess Festival is planned to be a yearly event and Helena does some
teaching herself and so she has invested in a stage as well as a large
marquee. She has come to the Goddess as a devotee of Osho (Rajneesh) and
through tantric teachings popular in the Czech Republic. In fact some of the
participants at the Festival, both women and men, came via these routes as
well as what can be called New Age therapies.
felt strange to me and Anna are from the women only Dianic craft scene. We are
also anarcha-feminists and political activists on Earth's behalf. Tantra, which
originated in an ancient Goddess centred matrifocal India of the Indus valley
culture, created by dark African descended people, has over time became to a
degree corrupted by men seeking to enhance their own pleasure. However this
may be... John Hawken, Hana's former partner, has been teaching tantric and
shamanic paths over the years in the Czech Republic and a number of his
followers took part in this Festival.
was an exhibition in the great meditation hall in the barn of 20 of my smaller
images, carried here on the plane, as well as 20 of Lydia Ruyle's beautifull
banners. Not so long ago these images of mine were shown first at the next to
last International Goddess Conference in California and then in St.
Petersburg. Exciting and wonderful.
want to thank Helena Unmani here for her genuine kindness, great generosity
and hospitality and willingness to take a gamble.
first day after we arrived and before the Festival started, I found myself
painting Goddess images on a large cloth to be hung at the gate of the
farmhouse. During a whole year of illness and low energies I had felt no
inclination to do any creative work except for some writing, so this felt like
a miracle and significant. I also helped Hana drawing images on large bones of
a wild boar to be used in her opening ritual the next day. We were spending
most time outside in the fine weather surrounded by the beautiful land and its
breast shaped mountains
called the opening ritual "La Loba - Awakening of the wild woman"
and in it she transformed into the Bone Mother. (Considering I have a bone
cancer this is quite uncanny for me). She was amazing and coming into her
powers as a priestess of the Goddess. She had been nervous and even fearful
bringing this Festival to her homeland as no one knew how it would be received,
who and how many would turn up for it, and even what would happen, also on a
magical level, as a result of it.
here to visit Hana's website