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Welcome! The Women and Religion Movement is alive and well in the 21st Century. A grassroots project started by lay leaders in the 1970s as an effort to promote examination of religious roots of sexism and patriarchy within the UUA and beyond, UU Women and Religion officially began as a task force following the unanimously-passed WOMEN AND RELIGION RESOLUTION at the 1977 UUA General Assembly. Although the Task Force was eventually sunsetted, the movement still exists in UU Districts that hold Women & Religion programs and woman-focused gatherings. It exists at General Assembly, where UUW&R has an annual gathering and a booth in the display area. And it lives in the hearts and lives of women and men who have been touched by the many changes inspired by this movement.

"We do not want a piece of the pie. It is still a patriarchal pie. We want to change the recipe!" -- Rosemary Matson

Layne RedmondOn March 12, 2011, The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology presented the first Brigit Award for Excellence in the Arts to Layne Redmond at their East Coast Symposium. The goal of the organization is to promote scholarship and arts dealing with aspects of sacred female myths and archetypes.

Layne Redmond is an internationally recognized percussionist known for performances, teaching, and scholarship of the frame drum. As Andy Doerschuk says of her work  (Drum! Magazine, Feb. 2000):

"From ancient times and distant civilizations, drumming and chanting have been bundled together as one of the single-most potent ways to reach spiritual transcendence. Few Westerners have studied and refined these practices with the fervor shown by Layne Redmond's work as a performer, ritualist and historian.

In the 1980's, while working with percussionist Glen Velez and conducting research on the history and playing styles of the frame drum (a small hand-held drum of which the tambourine is one notable example), Layne Redmond began to notice that virtually all ancient Mediterranean and middle eastern images featuring this drum showed the player as a woman in a ritual setting. This discovery led to her lifelong work of sharing this knowledge and reviving the practice of goddess priestessing with frame drum. For fifteen years, she researched the history of this drum in religious and healing rites in the ancient Mediterranean world.

One fruit of Layne's work, When the Drummers Were Women, a Spiritual History of Rhythm, was published by Random House in 1997 to great acclaim. This book, a masterful example of independent scholarship, continues to inspire both scholars and musicians.  This book details a lost history of a time when women were the primary percussionists in the ancient world and also explains why they are not today.

Layne assembled, taught, and led The Mob of Angels, a group of women who conducted deeply moving public ritual performances throughout the 1990s and New York City and beyond.  She has numerous exceptional recordings to her credit.  Invoking Aphrodite features the poetic works of Sappho, the Pythia Priestesses of Delphi, and the Epitaph of Seikilos (the oldest notated musical composition found to date).  Layne has taught at venues from colleges to retreat centers to gatherings of professional percussionists.

In recent years, she made pilgrimage to Cyprus, where her workshops and retreats have resulted in Cyprian women's reviving the worship of great goddess Aphrodite via rituals with frame drum.

Layne has also researched and revived the "sacred path of the bee," the tools of the ancient bee priestesses, and has released Hymns from the Hive, a CD celebrating this path.  Her presentation at the ASWM symposium focused on the importance of symbolism of the bee, the hive/ompahlos, and healing in ancient Mediterranean art.

Most recently, she has released a 6-DVD Frame Drum Intensive Training Program. More information about Layne Redmond can be found on her website, through many youtube clips, and on her Facebook page.  More information about ASWM can be found at www.womenandmyth.org.


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