List of Contents
(Stories, Poems, Articles, Reviews)
The Labyrinth of the Heart
Myths and traditional tales
define us and shape our behaviour.
In searching for a spiritual outlook in mid-life, he discovered paganism and the Goddess movement. These provided a focus for him. For over twenty years, until it ceased publication at the end of 2003, he co-edited Wood and Water, a British pagan magazine that was Goddess-centred and feminist-influenced. This Web site contains most of his articles and reviews that were published in Wood and Water and elsewhere, and a selection of his stories.
His interest in myths and folktales, combined with his concern for feminist issues, led him to retell myths from the perspective of menís relationship to the Goddess, bringing the insights of feminist spirituality and the goddess movement to the re-creation of traditional myths and folktales but with male heroes whose actions do not follow the stereotypical pattern. His stories provide new images of the hero: images that are transformative for both men and women and for all of our relationships to each other and to the natural world. Women and men have found that these stories nourish and strengthen everyone seeking equality and the end of gender prejudices. They show that men can be friends and allies to women in this task.
In endeavouring to answer the challenge of feminism, men frequently deny their strengths and talents, because they are aware of how these have often been used abusively in the past. Many men are seeking non-oppressive ways of behaving, of employing talents and strengths to heal and not to harm. This is the major task for twenty-first century men, and his stories are designed to support men in this vital work and to offer women the assurance that this is possible.
The stories presented here are selected from a collection of over twenty-five, entitled The Labyrinth of the Heart.
Daniel's story, Taste and See, a retelling of the Garden of Eden myth, was published in a volume of feminist biblical studies by various authors, Patriarchs Prophets and Other Villains, edited by Lisa Isherwood (Equinox Publishing 2007) http://www.equinoxpub.com/books/showbook.asp?bkid=202 and his account of the Hebrew goddess Asherah appeared in the three-volume collection Goddesses in World Culture, edited by Patricia Monaghan (Praeger 2010).
Daniel had strong influences, both of mythology and of feminism, in his family background. His social awareness, as well as his love of literature and ability to write, derives from both of his parents.
Though his mother Amy Herbert was just ten years too young to be a suffragette, the movement was much discussed in his family. As a child in the Second World War, he was aware of many women, including his mother, employed in senior posts, and this too contributed to his consciousness of issues of justice and womenís rights.
In early childhood, his father used to tell him myths and folktales: both the Greek and Norse myths were known to him by the age of ten. His strong interest in them stayed with him. The Latin and Greek he learnt at school and the Celtic myths (Welsh and Irish) he discovered as an adult helped inform his deeper understanding of the stories. In recent years, he has attended many workshops and gatherings devoted to storytelling, and told stories at them.
He was active in the pro-feminist menís movement in Great Britain from its start in the early 1970s, and has also participated in conferences of the related American movement. Both one of his retold myths and an article on the relationship between spirituality and politics appeared in Changing Men, the magazine of the latter movement.
Much of his thinking on feminism and on the significance of the Goddess developed through discussions with his close friend Asphodel Long.
Professionally he is a retired mathematician, and author of several mathematics texts, formerly a professor at Queen Mary, University of London.
WOOD AND WATER
Wood and Water was founded by Hilary Llewellyn-Williams and Tony Padfield in 1979. Its particular concern was with sacred wells and groves (hence the title), but there was always a strong sub-theme of Goddess-centred and feminist spirituality.
In 1981, after ten issues, Hilary and Tony felt that they could no longer continue producing the magazine. It had developed a devoted readership by then, who wanted it to continue, and a small collective was formed to continue publication. Two of the members soon moved to another town, and the magazine continued under the editorship of myself and Jan Henning. We continued publication, for over eighty issues, until the end of 2003, when shortage of contributions and a reduction in the number of subscribers made us decide to stop.
The emphasis of the magazine changed when we became editors. Although we still had an interest in sacred wells, our main commitment was to Goddess spirituality, and the masthead carried the description A Goddess-centred feminist-influenced pagan magazine.
There were other British magazines devoted to Goddess spirituality and womenís spirituality, notably From the Flames, Arachne and Panakeia, but they were not as long-lasting as Wood and Water.
We published articles by people committed to the Goddess movement, such as Asphodel Long, Monica Sjoo, and Jill Smith, as well as many others. We had some excellent poets writing for us, and made a point of long and detailed book reviews.
All works © Daniel Cohen 2007
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