We’re delighted to have these extracts from Barbara’s Finding New Goddesses and hope to have more in coming issues, but if you can’t wait, there’s a link below so you can buy the book right away!
Goddess of Duct Tape
Here is the one, true, universal Goddess. Strong and flexible, Her Sacred Tape spools eternally in silver streams into our open hands, and She is able to fix all things (even—a true miracle—things unbroken). Because duct tape is extremely flexible and can be neatly torn in both directions, it can be used to repair any kind of pipe. It can also be used to repair flower pots, cheap luggage, plastic and Naugahyde furniture, lamps and lampshades, doumbeks, and absolutely any part of any car, foreign or domestic. People stick the covers back on paperback books with duct tape, they tape the earpieces back on their glasses, and they patch radios, TVs, clocks, toasters, and other small appliances.
All honor therefore to Fixorrhea, our best beloved multipurpose Goddess whose blessed gift to us is shiny and sticky.
People who love Fixorrhea tend to love Her unto tape-mentia. Not only do they attach duct tape to everything in sight and to things that may or may not move, but they also regularly visit their local Fixoteria, where, in addition to duct tape, they can purchase masking tape, black electrical tape, strapping tape, fabric tape in multiple colors, transparent tape, even audio cassette and VCR tape.
Fixorrhea’s worshipers—who call themselves Fixoholics and Fixaddicts—also go to regular meetings at the Fixotorium, where they sit around and smoke and eat cake and compare stories about fixes they’ve made. If it gets late enough, they may gather around the battered old piano and, in ragged harmony, sing the old Songs of Repair from the Duct Tape Songbook. All the popular old songwriters are represented in the Songbook. Rodgers & Hart: “In our duct tape greenery, where She paints the scenery.” Rodgers & Hammerstein: “The hills are alive with the shine of duct tape.” Irving Berlin: “Anything you can tape, I can tape better, I can tape anything better than you.” The Gershwins: “Embrace me, my sweet duct-tapeable you.” Simon & Garfunkel: “Hello, duct tape, my old friend,” and “Tape that bridge over troubled waters.” Sometimes they sing the old favorite country and camp songs, “Stand by Your Tape” and “King of the Tape” and “Michael, Roll That Tape Ashore” and “Amazing Tape, How Sweet the Fix.” Some nights, they stand there, arms draped over each others’ shoulders, and sing all night. “Come to me, my melancholy duct tape.” “Shine on, shine on, taped-up moon, up in the sky.” “Don’t cry for me, Fixorrhea.”
Reader, I know that you, too, use duct tape to fix any broken thing. You have perfect love and perfect trust in its holding power. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t. Whenever you need to make a repair, therefore, you can invoke Fixorrhea and cast your Sacred Duct Tape Circle around the item to be repaired.
First, using your own words, call in the elemental powers of tape. You can invoke electrical tape for Fire, masking tape for Water, transparent tape for Air, and (of course) duct tape for Earth. Be sure to praise the elemental powers of tape, telling how past repairs still hold and praying for the efficacy of all future repairs.
Then invoke Fixorrhea with the following easy-to-remember magical charm:
Hinkety, pinkety, tape to thumb,
I call Her here, She’s sure to come;
We make this fix,
We’re sure it sticks.
Hinkety, pinkety, tape to thumb.
An Antic Cronish Goddess
Sisters, do certain parts of your anatomy, that used to stand right up and salute, now ignore the flag no matter now vigorously it’s waving? Is “perky” a word whose meaning passed you by a decade ago? From behind, do you look like you’re sitting down even when you’re standing up? Does it require a crane and two body-builders to lift you out of a deep knee bend?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, relax—you’ve been visited by our beloved Auntie Gravity, a cronish goddess Who pulls our bodies ever closer to our Mother Earth even as She lifts our spirits. Like some kind of cosmic elevator operator, Auntie Gravity dares to speak out loud the proper locations of ladies lingerie, housewares, better dresses, and the tea room. Auntie Gravity wears good cotton underwear, cooks as seldom as possible, dresses in purple (and then some), and eats and drinks what she wants to eat and drink. She lives in the present moment and tells it like it really is.
“Gal,” She says, giving you Her famous Look, “where you livin’ at? The past is dead and gone. Sure, you’ve lived through quite a lot. But how good was the good ol’ days, really? How good was it, back then? Gal, you livin’ today. You deserve some respect for your long life. You got survivalocity, big-time. Don’t you forget that. An’ don’t you let no one else forget it, either.
“Your face look like a road map?” Auntie Gravity says. “Well, jus’ you remember—all them lines come from some place significant. You been places and you done stuff—you wanna trade places with some skinny, smooth-faced child who don’t know nothin’? Each one a them lines is a line in the poem of your life, and maybe yours is an epic poem. Ever thought about that? Hmmm? Not all epics gotta be about men wavin’ phallic symbols an’ conquerin’ folks. Hmmm?
“What you done in your long life?” She asks, and She pokes Her pointy finger at your heart, “what you proud of? What you ashamed of? What you learned? What you got to tell the young ‘uns? Gal, you got wisdom you don’t even remember you got. What you gotta do is, you gotta pass it around. You hear Me? Pass it around, what you know, what you’ve learned. Help bring up some little sisters in the proper fashion.
“An’ you jus’ start thinkin’ of them lines,” She says, “as your Auntie Gravity’s rainbows, an’ remember all the colors of what you done in your life. An’ where’s that ol’ somewhere over the rainbow? In a land full of midgets, that’s where, mental midgets that don’t know what you know. Buncha mental midgets don’t know who you are. Believe you Me, you don’t even wanna go there.
“An’ don’t you dare say hot flashes, either,” Auntie Gravity says. “Those’r power surges! As the cat told the cockroach, toujours gai, toujours gai, there’s a dance in the old dame yet. Don’t you forget that. So maybe you don’t dance so fast anymore. So what? Now your dance got the power. Maybe your monthly blood’s done dried up, but, Gal, you still got the juice. Got it mor’n ever before, got it straighter, got it deeper, got it stronger, got it higher.
“Hey, Gal,” She says, “you hungry? None a them diets for me! Ol’ gals need their nourishment, preferably chocolate nourishment. You know there’s more of gravy than the grave about Me, don’t you? So let’s just stir the pot an’ see what we stir up in the world. Double bubbles, maybe, an’ toil an’ trouble an’ mischief an’ reality. Seriosity an’ humorocity—heck, let’s have four, five, or a dozen humors. So what’s cookin’, hmmm? Here, have a bite while we’re waitin’ to see what’s got stirred up this time.
“Gal,” She says after awhile, “This here visit’s ‘bout over now. I got things to do an’ places to go yet. So lemme tell you one last thing: gravity’s the universal force that pulls everyone together. Remember that. An’ you take good care of yourself, you hear?”
And She is gone.
But She’ll be back.
Goddess of the Glue Gun
Gluinhilda gallops across the ravages of art and craft projects astride her great golden stallion, Triggar, accompanied by her great grey wolf, Burninfingar, and her great-winged vulture, Fixinevermor. Her mission is to rescue the haggard heroes and heras of the decoration wars and carry their shattered souls up to the ever-fertile fields of the Frigenartenfolk, which are perfumed by myrrh and civet and where the air is filled with the sweet sounds of art songs.
Hear now the legend of Gluinhilda, eldest daughter of the One-Eyed Draftsman, He Who hung upon the Tree of Art for nine days and nine nights so that He might learn to see The Straight And True.
Gluinhilda was ever the best beloved daughter of the One-Eyed Draftsman, but it happened that one dark and stormy night She came upon a mosaicist whose tesserae were out of control. His pieces simply would not let themselves be arranged. “Sir Mosaicist,” Gluinhilda whispered into his ear, “allow Me to help thee to arrange thy pattern. Use My glue to affix thy pattern.”
“Humbly I do thank thee,” the artist replied, “but I am bound to the service of the One-Eyed One and forbidden to accept artistic advice from any other. It is He alone Who provides the glue that I require.”
Now Gluinhilda was a proud and cruel maiden, and, angered at this impertinent reply, She stamped Her heel in the midst of the tesserae and crushed the pieces to powder. When the mosaicist fell upon his face in despair, She picked him up, slung him across the saddle of Her great golden stallion, Triggar, and hauled him up to the fields of the Frigenartenfolk. When the mosaicist awakened, he would speak to no one but only betook himself to a lonely ash, where he gnashed his teeth and called out to his god.
After the One-Eyed One had listened to His disciple’s complaint, He appeared before His daughter. “Daughter,” the One-Eyed One thundered, “thou hast done wrong in stealing my artist. Thou hast sinned in offering him thy glue What hast thou to say in reply?”
“I heard the prayer of one in need of better glue,” whispered the goddess, “and I came to succor him.”
“Thou art indeed My favorite daughter, but still I curse thee with the curse of impermanence,” said the One-Eyed One. “Thou shalt fall into sleep and awaken only when thou art found by an artist who fears no technique.” And He raised a ring of magic fire and music around His daughter to protect Her from second-rate artists and large tenors waving swords.
And it came to pass that Gluinhilda lay within that ring of magic fire for one hundred years, and during all that time the glue guns were impotent and the people turned to the use of glue sticks and mucilage. As it was eventually foretold (to make a long story shorter), in the hundredth year, came Sigfreedrifta, the hero, and Sigfreedrifta was unafraid of any technique. When he saw the maiden within the ring of magic fire and heard the magic fire music, he awakened Her and asked Her to teach him all Her wisdom.
She opened Her eyes and found him fair of countenance, and at last She spoke. “When My Great Glue Gun has affixed one thing to another thing, neither thy brute strength nor thy Xacto blade can rend them asunder again. Not all thy charms nor any of thy regret can change what has been Glued. For what I set in place is eternal. Thou canst not change thy mind when thou workst with My tools.”
And Gluinhilda began to sink down once again into Her lasting sleep and the hero readied himself to set forth once more into the world. “Wait!” She whispered, “Thou art brave. Here is My Sacred Glue Gun. Take it with thee into the world and teach its use to all who are in need.” And She fell back within the ring of magic fire and slept again. Sigfreedrifta bowed in the four directions, holstered the Sacred Glue Gun at his side, and, riding through the world, proclaimed the secret uses of hot glue to all who would listen. His epic words were set down and came to be called the Adhesive Edda, and this is the holy teaching with which we scholars of glue are familiar to this day. And when we have any project or any decoration, we take great care for we still remember the holy words of Gluinhilda and know that what is once affixed cannot be split asunder.