Three for the Price of One: LUPEC honors the Goddess and the Marys
I'm not sure who coined the phrase "Cherchez La Femme." My guess is that it was a skeptical theologian. When you start to question the lack of women or feminine aspects in Christianity and/or other major religions you start a quest, not for something new and revolutionary, but for something ancient and lost.
For many women, that which is lost is not just cultural but personal. The religion you were raised with doesn't ring true. Or maybe parts of it do, which makes it even more confusing. Where do you, as a woman, fit in?
Cherchez La Femme, indeed.
With this in mind, the last LUPEC meeting was a celebration of the feminine aspects of spirituality. OK-it was a drinking party that ended in egg dying, but the idea was to acknowledge the fact (or, some may argue, the theory) that older, Goddess religions of other cultures still exert their influence even though they themselves were subsumed by, what are today, the major world religions. The LUPEC party for March was thus in honor of both the Great Triple Goddess and The Three Marys.
In many earlier religions, buying one Goddess got you three. These three seemingly separate figures would actually be different aspects of the same primal/higher force. The triad would consist of a Maiden figure, [all that world wide web and not ONE good link for the Maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess. Go figure…] a young, virginal woman, independent of others, strong and free; a Mother figure to encompass fertility, compassion, and sexuality; and a Crone or old woman, to embody both the wisdom of life and the inevitability of death. The divisions between these personalities could be very fluid, with a figure like the Greek Goddess Persephone being both a Maiden (young, virginal, daughter to Demeter) and a Crone (Queen of the Dead via her rape and abduction to the Realm of the Dead by Hades).
Christianity started as a heretical religion, its adherents tortured and killed for their beliefs. The tenacity of these early Christians was rewarded in the eighth century AD when Charlemagne was crowned by the pope, changing the Roman Empire into the Holy Roman Empire. Christianity went from being heresy to being a governmentally sanctioned religion. Ironically, this put the former underdogs in the overdog position and, as the Holy Roman Empire expanded, Christianity gradually overtook the older, regional religions of those countries it conquered.
The older religions, however, were not completely eradicated. Some of these older Gods and Goddesses found refuge in the new religion as saints, others became identified with biblical figures, creating a whole new set of stories around already existing figures. This situation is the basis for a modern theory that the Three Marys who went to Christ's Tomb were actually the three aspects of an earlier triple goddess.
Black Monday was the hostess for this party and her first thought was to have 3 different drinks with the name Mary. It quickly became apparent that any drink with the name Mary is a tomato juice drink. Could this be because, as a sort of apple, the tomato is a symbolic point of re-connection between Eve, the Mother of Wo/Man, and Mary the Mother of God?
Opting out of an entirely tomato-based menu, the next idea was to choose 3 drinks to mirror Maiden, Mother, and Crone. While there are many drinks named after maidens, virginal and otherwise, the Crone has not been so readily immortalized in Cocktail form. One recipe that fit the bill was Arsenic and Old Lace. This was particularly fitting as the figure of the Crone traditionally is the death figure of the Goddess triad, a good example being Atropos, the Fate who cut the thread of life that was woven by the Maiden Fate, Clotho, and measured by the Mother Fate, Lachesis. Arsenic and Old Lace, however, turned out to be the first cocktail LUPEC has had to declare extinct in Pennsylvania. One of the main ingredients is Crème de Violette, a liquor apparently not supplied in the State Stores of Pennsylvania--a classic case of environmental destruction resulting in loss of a rare species. In the end, the menu changed completely. The drinks were the Diana, the Eve, and The Godmother.
Another intersection between Easter and the Goddess is the tradition of egg dying. Eggs, for pretty obvious reasons, have been considered sacred objects in many cultures. Its probably also safe to assume that every culture has some sort of traditional egg decorating tradition (and necessary egg salad tradition) that made its way into the Christian Easter tradition. The real reason for the egg dying part of the party, however, was that a lot of the LUPEC ladies have not had the opportunity to dye eggs for a long, long time. Monday provided the dye, dippers, crayons and rubber bands. The results were exquisite and the Monday household will be eating Curried Egg Salad for weeks.
For more details about the eggs and the drinks (including recipes), check out the minutes of the party. If you want to know more about Goddess religions, check out the following websites and books:
Skeptical Feminist, Barbara G. Walker
Black Monday would like to thank longtime witchypal, Brandy for her invaluable suggestions for this party.