Glastonbury Goddess Conference
The Goddess Conference, an introduction
The Goddess Conference is an annual gathering offering a transformational and inspiring celebration of Goddess through ceremonies, workshops, presentations and art. As a place to experience Her Healing Radiance, Her loving Presence and Her Deep Wisdom in the land, in the community and within yourself, the Goddess Conference is an inclusive and vibrant part of our indigenous spirituality.
Goddess Conference Organisers, Marion Brigantia and Katina Soetens explain what makes this event so very special and unique!
The story of the Conference
The Glastonbury Goddess Conference was initiated and created by Kathy Jones in 1996, with the help of Tina Redpath as co-organiser. Over the years it has developed and changed, but from the very start, the Goddess Conference carried the strongly held intention of making Goddess visible, and bringing Her presence as a lived experience out into the world.
To do so, it has gone through several rounds of four and nine year cycles of working with different aspects of Goddess. For the first years the Maiden-, Mother-, Crone Goddess were each celebrated in turn, in the Assembly Rooms. With the energetic centre held by Kathy Jones, Tina Redpath and Aine Carey, the early years offered the power of ceremony in which to feel and open to Goddess, as well as an opportunity to experience inspirational talks and wonderful women’s Goddess art, and to celebrate together in Her name. Informative and ground-breaking, the Glastonbury Goddess Conference has always been completely unique and life changing.
To attend the Goddess Conference every year is a pilgrimage and can have profound effects on your life. Over the years the Goddess Conference has grown from 3 to 6 days, as a full emergence experience, with Fringe event days extending the entire journey you could have, to 9 full days. As participant with friends, with your children, alone or with a partner, women and men have found their way here and are welcomed into the Goddess loving community we create. Friendships are formed and networks of connection and support created. Many have found they want to become more involved, and step up to become part of the Melisa team, or into priestess roles, musicians, artists, speakers or ceremonialists.
It has certainly shaped my spiritual journey and self-development, as I know it has done for many others. Whether you attend only once for a few days, or take the whole Conference pilgrimage every year, the magic of the Conference and the Goddess we celebrate and work with each year, will bless your life and ripple through your year in way both expected and surprising.
1999 was the year the first priestess of Avalon training started and initiated new Priestesses to help hold the Goddess Conference. Then a course of eight Saturdays throughout the solar year, it has since grown into a 3 year spiral and has initiated specific Goddess based priestess training courses in the Avalonian lineage, like that of Brighde, Rhiannon and Cerridwen.
The story of the Conference
The following years had ‘priestesses in training’ opening each Conference day in small ceremonial ways, as well as ceremonial priestesses weaving the energetic container of the Conference and it’s ceremonies. Witnessing these priestesses has always been a deeply moving experience, as well as the reclaiming of a spiritual path in action: a remembering on a cellular level of a soul-path returning.
The year 2000, appropriately honouring the Maiden Goddess and New Beginnings as the first part of a new four-year cycle, saw the Goddess Conference move to the Town Hall. Here a yearly Goddess Temple festively themed has been created every year since. This in itself is an energetic and physical experience to enter into, best described as mind blowing. The combined efforts, skill, art, beauty, devotion and vision of many people co-create a wonderful expression of the Goddesses we have celebrated throughout the years, which has seeded and inspired Goddess Conferences around the world since.
2001, the Virgin/Lover Goddess year, had for the first time in living memory, priestesses embodying Goddess in a ceremonial event that will remain in the hearts and minds of all who attended it. An unforgettable night in which Kathy Jones, Sally Pullinger and Tegwyn Hyndman powerfully embodied the Great Maiden-, Mother-, and Crone Goddess, in the venue that was to become the permanent Goddess Temple in Glastonbury.
Each year, we have woven into awareness a different form of our Beloved Lady, She who is so multi-faceted, that to think we could ever fully know or express Her, is folly.
Two cycles of four years, in which we went into deeper connection with Goddess as Maiden Lover, Mother and Crone, and one full turnaround the wheel of the nine directions, meeting the Archetypes as well as forms of Elemental Goddesses of the Avalonian Wheel.
We have celebrated Bridie with ceremony on Wearyall Hill, and Swan feathered maidens dancing in the Town Hall Temple, created the Conference sacred flame of the Goddess. Young and whole unto Herself, She shone out of the loving eyes of Her girdled healing priestess, encircling the participants: Radiant Her blessings amongst us.
We’ve build bowers on the land for the Wild Maiden Goddess. To retrieve our soul skins we go into the Earth dens to find Her embodied as the land and connect to our wild self.
The year we celebrated the Great Mother Goddess Ker and Her abundant blessings, we enacted, as an entire Goddess Conference, in sacred drama, the creation myth of Avalon.
We have called into being a MotherWorld concept and witnessed people stepping out of the illusion of patriarchies’ entrapments, taking down the great fear cage of our own making, around priestess ceremonialists holding the sacred source of She.
MAWA we have sung Your sacred chants into the lands and into our bones, to set free the places held in the ash lands of desolation. Ochre and charcoal covered priestesses danced around the cauldron of transformation as Crone Goddesses, and Beauty walked amongst us as a Blessing.
We have spun the mother line back into the Now, from the time of great forgetting, and we’ve woven the Death Road and walked with the Crone of Death into the other-world, to be loved back by Her ancient presence into choosing rebirth and living fully.
We honoured Goddess as the Grand Mothers in Her animal wisdom tribes, sang their memories into our bodies and danced with the Morgens as they flew in all their magnificence amongst us, whispering in tongues, messengers and oracle, in the night lit gardens of the Chalice Well.
We fire-walked in ceremony; three huge fires in the sacred land, with drumming priestesses to take our fear and transform it into courage: for we can do anything, be anything, blessed by the power of the Goddess of Fire.
Emerging from the warm waters of the sacred White Spring in a soft sound scape, magic flowing over us, we have poured Her sweet medicine of Love, mixed from the waters of the world, into the river Brue. Singing songs of belonging and healing, we journeyed on the barge to the mythical realm of the Water Goddess Conference.
We’ve created a Paradise Garden Temple, to honour Eartha, Great Earth Goddess in all Her forms. Unstoppable, She moved amongst us; steady as rock and strong as forests. She entered our bodies and held us close, always.
Enchanted by the toning with, and to, the stars of Stella Nolava, who, starlight clad, spun mystery from the far-out reaches of the universe into the heart centre of our lives.
We held a yonic temple space where dancing, bare breasted, red priestesses and men who serve the Goddess of Love, offer trays of liquid blessings. Freedom surges, ecstatically, liberating our conditioning. Lover Goddess, delicious as Maeve’s mead, delighting our bodies and Rhiannon’s gifts pour in: ‘we feel you Lady, we adore You Goddess’.
We made a Love tunnel as women, to honour all the Goddess loving men in Her name, and sang their praises… and we are changed, we are healed, we are radiant with the empowerment of Her love.
At the end of this nine-year cycle, we celebrated the Lady of Avalon by travelling to the sacred Isle through the magical mist. To retrieve the soul treasures left in the land by our priestess-ancestor-selves. A delicious Conference in which we spent much of our time out in the beauty of Her nature, purple clad priestesses guide the way deep into Her mysteries.
We sing to Her, for Her: ‘ Goddess She has blessed us, blessed us with Her power, blessed us with Her presence, blessed us with Her love’…
The lineage of the Goddess Conference
People come and go over the years, and as we welcome new Conference priestesses and participants, we honour Conference Elders and all who have contributed over the years, as well as priestess sisters on whose shoulders we get the stand. For She changes everything She touches, and so also the Goddess Conference.
2016 was the last year where Kathy Jones was the organiser and ceremonial vision holder, as she handed this sacred task on to Marion van Eupen and myself.
It has so far been a great joy, privilege and honour, to take up the beacon of responsibility and envisioning for the Goddess Conference. It has required us to step into the lineage handed down from Avalon, and the new heritage that the Goddess Conference carries forward into the future.
We went from the centre out to the edge in 2017, celebrating the Goddesses of the World from far and wide here in Glastonbury, bringing Her home to the Great World Goddess Temple. Singing Her praises, Her adorations, as the many aspects of Her colours and expressions in the widest form. We were so delighted to have created a program, which saw, for the first time, priestess sisters join us from Africa, as well as India, North and South America, Australia, and most of Europe.
2018 was the start of a new five-year cycle of the Goddess Conference focus, which will bring She who has 1 million names out into the world as Moon-Maiden, Sun-Lover, Earth-Mother, Star-Queen and Other World-Crone Goddess. To celebrate and honour Her, to meet with like minded Goddess-loving people, in inspiring presentations, ceremonies, workshops and processions, as well as to joyously inform and educate about Goddess spirituality in the world.
In each of these years we will create the Great Goddess Temple: of Moon, Sun, Stars, Earth and Other-World, here in Avalon, and we will celebrate an archetype of the Great Goddess, who has been held in the memory of this sacred land and in Goddess loving people around the world. Ceremonialists of the Goddess Conference are writing new Goddess myths, to honour these Conference Goddesses, so that She may guide us into the future and Her names once more are spoken. So that She may illuminate our hearts and minds and manifest through all our creativity and devotion.
This year, the second of this five-year cycle, we will walk with Sun Lover Goddess as our Beloved. She is inviting us to step up and into what our relationship to Her and with Her may mean, as Fierce Love and Presence in the world.
The Conference community
Part of our Goddess Conference community has grown up in, and with, the Conference, and certainly we have all grown through Her, these 23 years. We aim to work in circles, many of which overlap, to create the underlying form that supports us all to have this amazing gathering, and hold Goddess as our centre at all times.
It is our intention and honour to create this space, this magical portal into the lived experience of a Goddess Centred world, where all people who love or seek Her, are equally valued and welcomed and all life is acknowledged as sacred.
We are grateful to all the many people who contribute and help create the Goddess Conference each year, as the best and most fabulous Goddess celebration and experience it can be.
This highlight of our year, in which we get to build, inhabit, celebrate and lovingly serve in Her Great Temple.
This life changing pilgrimage into the mysteries, where She brings us Her playful, deeply transformative, insightful, healing, inspirational Presence of Her many forms, of Her constant love and of Her ever-changing creativity.
We look forward to welcoming you in the Goddess Conference in Glastonbury for our annual Goddess celebration
Blessings from Avalon
Katinka Soetens and Marion van Eupen
Katinka Soetens is a Ceremonialist of the Goddess and co-organiser of The Goddess Conference in Glastonbury, Priestess of Avalon and a Sacred Sexual Priestess of Rhiannon. She works internationally, teaching empowerment through Goddess ceremonies, trainings and workshops to honour the spiral of life grounded in the indigenous spirituality of Avalon and the European lands.
Katinka first attended the Goddess Conference in 1999, and has been a part of this wonderful yearly event ever since, first as participant, then as priestess and finally as ceremonialist from 2005.
It is her great privilege and delight to have been given the responsibility and joy of visioning and organizing the Goddess Conference since 2016, together with her friend and sister priestess Marion van Eupen.
In addition to the Goddess Conference, Katinka runs the Sacred Sexual Priestess of Rhiannon training for the Magdalene Mystery School in the UK and in other European countries. She also teaches a yearlong men’s soul quest journey: Path of the Lover – Brotherhood of Rhiannon.
Director and creator of Her Path of Love Ltd.
As Priestess, she facilitates healing of the wounding between the masculine and feminine through embodying Goddess in workshops, trainings and individual and couple sessions. Working with movement, shadow hunting, touch, breath, sound, intimacy, embodiment and meditation and writes a regular newsletter. Particularly interested in the sacredness of love, the wisdom of the body and the healing power of initiation, forgiveness and opening the heart.
Katinka facilitates sacred intimacy as a Priestess and sexual healer, and delights in being Goddess Conference co-organizer with Marion. Her website is www.herpathoflove.com and www.magdalenmysteryschool.com
I am Marion van Eupen, mostly known by my priestess name:
I am a Priestess of Brighde-Brigantia, Avalon, Goddess and all of Her Nature. In 2009 I finally moved from The Netherlands to Glastonbury, where
I now live with my partner and work as full-time Priestess.
In the Netherlands, I use to train priestesses through the Dutch Goddess Temple and co-organised the Dutch Goddess Conferences.
In Avalon/Glastonbury I serve Goddess through what I tend to call: ‘Priestessing for You!’ – as my work is all about being in service to Goddess as well to the people who come here and to me to connect with the Land and Goddess.
To be a full-time priestess means holding many strands of priestessing, such as the Teacher of the Brighde-Brigantia Trainings (in Avalon and online), Workshop Facilitator, Ceremonial Priestess, Healer, Sacred Tour and Walks Guide, Temple Priestess, Interpersonal Mediator, Priestess Drummer and author.
In 2017 we were offered the honour by Kathy Jones to take over the organisation and holding of The Goddess Conference, which takes place around Lammas (1st August) every year in Glastonbury. Organising such a beautiful, global Goddess event, together with my priestess sister Katinka Soetens, is a true joy!
Through my love and devotion for and service to Goddess, it is my intention and wish to bring Her Love and Light, Wisdom, Healing and Abundance into the world and into people’s lives.
I will therefore be looking forward to ‘Priestessing for You!