Sunday, October 16, 2011

Elizabeth Cunningham and the Red-Robed Priestess

Tomorrow night I have the great honor of interviewing Elizabeth Cunningham, one of the most fearless and authentic writers alive today. Cunningham is the author of the famed Maeve Chronicles, as well as many individual books, such as The Wild Mother; The Return of the Goddess, a Divine Comedy; How to Spin Gold, a Woman’s Tale; Small Bird, and Wild Mercy. She is the direct descendant of nine generations of Episcopal priests, and she grew up hearing rich liturgical and biblical language, which, among other literary and personal influences, strongly informs her writing. The novel Red-Robed Priestess, the fourth of The Maeve Chronicles will be released in mid-November, and tomorrow night, Cunningham will read a preview from this much anticipated book.

The interview will take place at Tiferet Talk at 7 pm EST, tomorrow night, 11/17/11.

Cunningham has stated that both The Maeve Chronicles and her interfaith ministry express her profound desire to reconcile her Christian roots with her call to explore the divine feminine. For more information about Elizabeth Cunningham, please visit:

Click here to see the Publishers Weekly review of the forthcoming Red-Robed Priestess.

Below see an excerpt from Magdalen Rising : The Beginning by Elizabeth Cunningham, published 2007 by Monkfish Book Publishing. Copyright © 2007 Elizabeth Cunningham
Chapter One

The Birth of Brightness

You have all heard of his birth in Bethlehem in a stable -- though his mother told me it was really a cave, and she's vague about the location. You know the story of the attendant animals, the bedazzled shepherds, and the Magi who followed the long-tailed star. But did you know that the star had a twin? The sister star chose a tiny island in a northern sea. Its long tail lashed cold waters. Far from that holy birth in the hills, brightness rose from beneath the wave.

That was me.

I had a full head of red hair exclaimed upon, as I crowned, by the seven midwives, my foster mothers all. I had no need of awe-struck shepherds. My mothers kept sheep and pigs and goats besides. And listen, even though it's midnight, the mourning doves lift their heads to make soft, wondering noises, almost obscured by the raucous chorus of ravens in the wood and the cry of seabirds from their nests in the cliffs. And yes, if you pay attention, you can hear the walrus and seals barking for joy on the rocks. Wild horses answer, and a she-bear roused from sleep adds low, grumbling praise. Now if you look very carefully at the island's heart between mountain breasts, you can glimpse a moonlit flash of gold as the salmon of wisdom leaps from its pool.

And what need had I of visiting wise men when I was already surrounded by the Warrior Witches of Tir na mBan, the Land of Women? Ah, see that name stirs some forgotten memory. Just as everyone is a little bit Irish, who has not dreamed of the Shining Isles always to the West? The Summer Land. The Apple Isle. The Isle of Women. The Land of Youth. The Isles of the Blest. Dangerous, paradisiacal places where a hero could be made or undone. The greatest heroes -- Cuchulain and Fionn MacCumhail -- received their training in the arts of war and the mysteries of love at the hands of women who dwelled in island strongholds of ancient, female power.

At least, that's how it was in what my mothers called "the good old days," lamenting the lack of heroes in these slack modern times. Maybe it was the times. Though none of us knew it then, that pivotal moment, when he and I were born, was the meeting place of history and myth, of time and time out of time.

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