Myths and traditional tales
define us and shape our behaviour.
To change how we see ourselves, we need new versions of these myths
Daniel Cohen was born in Manchester, England, in
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
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.
interest in myths and folktales, combined with his concern for
led him to retell myths from the perspective of men's 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.
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
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).
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.
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 women's rights.
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.
was active in the pro-feminist men's 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
Much of his
thinking on feminism and on the significance of the Goddess
developed through discussions with his close friend
he is a retired mathematician, and author of several mathematics
texts, formerly a professor at Queen Mary, University of London.
All works © Daniel Cohen 2007
Images from top:
Dragon animations ©
Photograph of Daniel
seated with White Goddess book by Peter Greenhalf
© Daniel Cohen
Dragon. Artist unknown
Photograph of Daniel as The Green Man © Alex Wildwood
Photograph of Esmeralda Dragon with African Goddess ©
Ivy Lady Mask and Fox Mask © Jan Henning
Daniel's Dragon Birthday Cake ©
Z*qhygoem, photograph © Allen