Spring Meditation

   Shedding January 2015 087
    releasing
    changing
    renewing
    growing
    healing
    springing

    Letting go
    leaving behind
    casting off
    sloughing
    opening.

    What are we leaping towards
    what wants to push up from cold ground
    what wants to open to the sun
    what is it that we need to know?

    What quiet, steady pulse beats
    below the surface
    what hope watches from the wings
    what light grows broad
    upon a patch of ground…

What expectations need we shed? What old thoughts need to leave our minds? What habitual patterns of behavior, relationship, and communication need to change?

It is easy to be centered when you sit in the woods alone. The challenge is to carry that core into the unrelenting murmur of everyday life. The challenge is to reach for that place of inner stillness, even when it feels as if chaos reigns. The challenge is to return to a place that heals your soul every single day even when the to-do list gets longer, the have-tos, the should-dos, the want-tos. Lay those things aside for a minute and step forward onto solid earth, steady stone, grassy ground. Rest for a moment in the calm stillness that sings through the air in harmony with the call of your own heart and the center of your own being. Find it here, find it now. Knowing that the potential is always within you and the place remains for you to return and return and return…

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Categories: nature, poems, prayers, seasons, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

Dissertation Research: Priestess Path

February 2015 193

My revised research shelf!

I’m getting ready to embark on my dissertation project for Ocean Seminary College. This has been a long time coming (I began my work in 2011!) and I have switched topics from the birth/motherhood related subject I originally proposed to a new project: contemporary priestessing. As part of my project, I will be doing some informal and discussion-based research with women who are currently practicing as priestesses or have done so in the past. Rather than start a completely new Facebook group for these discussions, I’m going to use the Facebook group I already have: Priestess Path. If you join this group, there is no requirement to participate in the research questions. However, I hope the questions and discussion will be interesting and that you will enjoy lending your voice to this project with me! 

Purpose of the research

To contribute a new or enhanced understanding about the theory, practice, and potential of priestess work as a contemporary vocation.

My research will examine the priestess path from a personal and experiential perspective, including examining the question of “who does she think she is” in taking up the mantle of a modern-day priestess. It will also explore female religious leadership and the potential for social change.

If you agree to be in this study, you will be asked to: respond to online survey questions, comment in response to blog posts, or participate in discussions, questions, or comments in a private Facebook group. Participation is informal and there is to expectation or requirement to respond to all questions or in all venues. Time commitment ranges from 5 minutes to multiple hours according to your personal choice, interest, and availability.

Inclusion criteria

Present or past work as a practicing priestess and a willingness to respond to questions about this work.

Your participation in this study is entirely voluntary. This means that I will respect your decision of whether or not you want to be in the study and how much or little you wish to participate.

I have begun the questions in the group and will continue to post them periodically over the next several months. I am really loving the responses I’ve had so far, but I definitely welcome further input!

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Categories: dissertation, OSC, priestess, writing | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Simple Family Equinox Ritual

I offer what I offer fire
I give what I give
I share what I share
I am who I am…

via The Warrior-Priestess

When planning a ritual involving children, I always have to remind myself to keep it short and simple! Just in time for Spring Equinox, I’d like to share the simple ritual of spring welcome that my family and I enjoyed over the weekend with a group of our friends. This ritual is designed to be done at night around a campfire and to be followed by a drum circle…

Spring Family Ritual

•    Before the ritual itself, make manifestation/intention/commitment bracelets together setting one creative goal to accomplish by July. We used Job’s Tears seeds, puka shells, and watermelon quartz strung on elastic cord.

•    Practice song, We Are Circling*, together until participants feel comfortable.

•    Go outside to fire circle

•    Group hum—this is our community’s usual means of casting a circle. We stand together in a circle and place our hands on each other’s backs. Then, we hum in unison at least three times to pull our personal vibrations and rhythms into a sense of physical and literal harmony.

•    Call and response reading (modified from one in The Pagan Family by Ceisiwr Serith). Children respond well to calling the lines back, rather than just listening to someone talk.

We are here to awaken with the spring (group repeats) b2ap3_thumbnail_11043209_1600409706837912_5690695544076436482_n.jpg
Here in front of us, the fire leaps up
Reaching from us up to the sky
Up to sun, up to the moon
The sky looking down
Looking down to where our fire is burning
Fire of the Sun
Burn in our midst (group repeats)
Fire of our Spirit
Burn in our midst (group repeats)
Fire of the Spring
Burn in our midst (group repeats)
Warm us and the world
As the season turns to spring
We awaken with the Earth! (said loudly and energetically together!)

•    Group sharing of intention bracelet goals

•    Sing We Are Circling

We are circling; circling together
We are singing; singing our heartsongs
This is family; this is unity
This is celebration; this is sacred

I suggest singing the song multiple times through, because the group tends to increase in enthusiasm, confidence, and skill with repetition!

(*Song from Nina Lee’s The Deep Drink CD. Listen online here.)

Last year’s ritual outline here: Family Spring Equinox Ritual Recipe | WoodsPriestess.

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Categories: community, family, friends, liturgy, ritual, spirituality | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Goddess Legs!

After posting about the “twisty legs” on some of my goddess designs, it occurred to me to explain the reasons behind the forms of my other designs! Our goddess pendants have several different leg configurations. Each type is chosen to represent a specific energy…

October 2014 054 (2)Seated Mountain Pose

Used for my mama goddess designs, this pose is a grounded, mindful, yoga pose bringing harmony, restoration, and balance. These mama goddesses are centered within themselves. They are focused, intentional, mindful, meditative, and purposeful. They are connected and in flow.

Inhale and repeat silently: “I exist in the here and now….”

Exhale and repeat silently: “The present moment is all I have to be with…”

Continue inhaling and exhaling as you silently and simply repeat: “Here and now…present moment.”

il_570xN.737953003_2586Shakti

The spiral leg form represents the energy of rising. I think of these goddesses as joyfully dancing, twirling, expressing themselves actively and energetically in the world. Indeed, the sensation of moving energy is so palpable through this design, that as a high-energy person, I have to be careful how and where I wear them, because the sense of being activated is so strong with them, that it can be too much for me! However, if you feel in need of activation and mobilization, however, then these dancing, moving, energetic goddess pendants are the designs for you! Any of my pendants with dancing legs represent Shakti rising in an energetic dance of creativity, freedom, and personal power. She is unapologetically fully inhabiting her own personal power and her being is enlivened by an exuberant flow of passionate, inspired energy.

Spin
spin with me now
until we dance shadows into art
hope into being
and pain into power…

Pewter Spiral Goddess Priestess "Initiation" Pendant, Necklace (original sculpture, hand cast, spiral)Priestess

The priestess designs are those with a “dress” bottom (instead of pointy or twisty legs!). This solid foundation represents grounding, while the uplifted arms represent connection and inspiration. These designs draw down energy from the sky and draw up strength from the earth. They represent serving as a conduit of divine energy, flow, and inspiration. Draw it up, draw it down. Let it take root in belly, bones, and blood. Let the mantle settle on your shoulders until you know without a doubt that this is who you really are.

I am committed to this path
With courage, may I walk
With patience, may I love
With strength, may I serve…

February 2015 057Goddess

The pointy legs of this design are a classic goddess form. They form a connection to ancient goddess images  as well as to modern experiences and represent a numinous, everpresent, universal Goddess energy. The holding “web” of energetic, cosmic co-creation. This form makes the as-above, so-below connection with the shape of the arms mirroring the shape of the legs.

Be still and know that I am she

She who kisses your eyelids with sunshine
Blesses your brow with raindrops
Lifts cares from your shoulders

She who rises with the sun
And who holds the night sky
She who holds you firmly
While spinning in space…

Of course, the forms may speak to you in different ways. To call you to different understandings and meanings and to signify something specific in your own life. They have room for that too! :)

Categories: art, Goddess, sculpture | Leave a comment

Misty Morning

This is your wildness IMG_3455
don’t sell it.
Raindrop on plum branch
Leaning oak
Mist rising through branches
Birdsong
Squirrel conversation
Forest song.
Life’s pulse
Weaving you into the world
Patient
Watchful
Wise.

Since welcoming a new baby into my life as well as continuing to develop several other projects (hello, dissertation!!!), I’ve found the hours in the day increasingly short and tight. This morning, I looked out the window of our workroom into the woods and saw the foggy woods and the sun shining through the misty air and I knew I had to drop everything and get to the woods. It was beautiful and even though it “slows me down” to head out there when I was so many other things I want to do and a limited time frame in which to do them (nap times are precious!), it is actually exactly what I need.

IMG_3453When we cut trees in the woods several months ago, one of my favorite rocks on the path disappeared. I knew where it was supposed to be, but surmised someone either kicked it aside or it had gotten pushed underground (or even broken) when some of the wood was dragged out. (This tree cutting, while necessary, still hurts my heart to see the destruction in my sacred little grove.) Today, after watching the fog lift, I stopped on the path and “felt” for the stone that I liked. I brushed some fallen leaves away and there she was!

IMG_3461I am so enjoying the signs of spring and the warming temperatures. I registered for a neat sounding Spring Equinox online free event. I’m also looking forward to hosting a small drum circle at our house this weekend. And, don’t forget to check out all the lovely offerings in the upcoming Red Tent fundraiser auction to be held on the Spring Equinox as well: Auction Special…..see what’s on offer! – Moon Times Moon Blog.

Categories: nature, poems, sacred pause, seasons, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Shining Year Meditation & International Women’s Day

10985048_1598397140372502_1797564772323157625_nOur collaborative business planning and progress is so intimately tied to our work with Leonie Dawson’s annual workbooks, that when I saw the theme of this year’s workbook—Create Your Shining Year—the wheels starting turning about how to communicate that in a pendant format. A friend then made the suggesting of making a Shining Year pendant with a sun at her center, so I found a sun stamp and set out to create some Shining Year goddesses. I also wanted to make a connection to the sun symbols used in Womanrunes, which are about laughter, healing, and letting go—all messages I need to receive into my own life this year!

Shining Year Goddess meditation

Take a minute to put down anything else you are carrying, doing, or thinking about. Let your shoulders relax and release. Let the breath move easy down into your belly. Then smile. Smile from your roots up through your branches. Feel joy suffuse you, filling you, bathing you, and laugh. Laugh from your belly. Laugh from your heart. Laugh with the wild abandon of freedom and release.

Let go. Feel the release and freedom that comes with unclenching your life. Remember to trust yourself and what makes you smile. Are you afraid to laugh? Are you scared to let go? Do you fear the loss of control that comes with hilarity? It is time to shake that off. Don’t be afraid. Laugh, sister, laugh. It is time to have some fun!

Know that you are as free as you allow yourself to be.

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Why the twisty legs?

Recently, the same friend who suggested the sun image asked me why some of my pendant sculpts have twisty legs and I realized that sometimes the why I’m trying to communicate through my work isn’t always immediately interpretable! To me, the spiral leg form represents the energy of rising. I think of these goddesses as joyfully dancing, twirling, expressing themselves actively and energetically in the world. Indeed, the sensation of moving energy is so palpable through this design, that as a high-energy person, I have to be careful how and where I wear them, because the sense of being activated is so strong with them, that it can be too much for me! However, if you feel in need of activation and mobilization, however, then these dancing, moving, energetic goddess pendants are the designs for you! Any of my pendants with dancing legs represent Shakti rising in an energetic dance of creativity, freedom, and personal power. She is unapologetically fully inhabiting her own personal power and her being is enlivened by an exuberant flow of passionate, inspired energy.

Other new designs

As you may glimpse in the opening image, we’ve also created two new miscarriage mama goddess pendants, a new dancing moon goddess, and a mastectomy goddess pendant.

il_570xN.737956923_5iki

We’re excited to have donated several pieces of our work to a Red Tent fundraiser project in the UK. Please check out all the details about the Community Red Tent and join supporters from around the world for the online auction taking place via Facebook on the spring equinox: Community Red Tent Auction & Raffle

In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we’re also offering a 10% discount code on any of the items in our shop through March! Use SMALLBIZSATURDAY.

Categories: art, meditations, sacred pause, sculpture, womanspirit | Leave a comment

Womanrunes 101

front-coverWhat are Womanrunes and why use them?

Womanrunes are a unique and powerful divination system that use simple, woman-identified symbols to connect deeply with your own inner wisdom as well as the flow of womanspirit knowledge that surrounds you. Used as a personal oracle, they offer spiritual insight, understanding, and guidance as well as calls to action and discovery. Women who use them are amazed to discover how the symbols and interpretations reach out with exactly what you need in that moment. Women’s experiences with Womanrunes are powerful, magical, inspirational, potent, and mystical. The wisdom within them can be drawn upon again and again, often uncovering new information, understanding, and truth with each reading. They amaze me every day!

il_570xN.739519116_otniHerstory

On the Summer Solstice of 1987 after having worked with traditional runes, but sensing “something more” behind them, Shekhinah Mountainwater “fell into a state of enchantment” and in a single day created a 41 symbol woman-identified rune system to be used for divination, self-understanding, guidance, and personal growth.

In 2012, I was reading a back issue of SageWoman magazine from 1988 and stumbled across an article about Womanrunes. I instantly fell in love them. They issued a powerful call to me. I scoured the internet for more information, where I eventually found a handout and pronunciation guide on an old website. I purchased Shekhinah’s classic book of women’s spirituality, Ariadne’s Thread, and began making Womanrunes sets at women’s spirituality retreats with my friends. After working with the symbols for some time, I began to sense more detailed interpretations for them. I began randomly choosing one each day, going to a sacred place in the woods with it and discovering what it had to tell me. Over the course of 18 months, this powerful practice developed in a complete guidebook to interpreting and using Womanrunes.

il_570xN.739519120_2cycHow to Use

The simplest and most common use for Womanrunes is to draw a card daily or when you feel an intuitive need for guidance. Draw the card and feel into it. What is it sharing with you? Read the companion interpretation and let it soak in. Many women are amazed by how these symbols speak to something deep within them. You may have the experience of feeling heard and answered when you choose a card and read its interpretation. Womanrunes provide a pathway to your own “truth-sense.” They open you up to your own internal guidance or to messages and inspiration from the Goddess, the Earth, or your spiritual guides.

smAugust 2014 055Some introductory layouts are included in the free download “Womanrunes Starter Kit” available via e-newsletter subscription at Brigid’s Grove (see sign-up box on right hand side). Womanrunes may also be used to do guidance readings for friends or clients. Messages from Womanrunes are not prescriptive or directive, instead they serve as a rich conduit to exactly what you need to hear and receive in that moment.

Many women have found that Womanrunes make an excellent addition to their Red Tent work. For Red Tent Circles with others, the Womanrunes book and cards can be available in a divination, guidance, or inspiration corner. Create a quiet, nurturing nook in your Red Tent space where the women can sit with the cards, drop into their own heartspace, and receive the message they need.

January 2015 001

Womanrunes in use in the Red Tent, in Lawrence, KS

There are many additional uses for Womanrunes, including creating bindrunes, runewriting, runespells. Many women also find them satisfying to draw or carve onto art, calendars, sculptures and more. Used in this way, the Womanrunes can attract their messages deeply into your life or can serve as potent declarations of intention.

Why Such Simple Images?

Many divination and oracle systems include beautiful artwork on the cards. Womanrunes are simple symbols and are, in fact, a type of symbol “writing” that speaks to a deep part of the soul. The clean focus and simplicity of the Womanrunes symbols evoke rich messages and soul guidance in their own special way that differs from the image-rich paintings of other systems. They are also very easy to use directly yourself—including them in your own art, drawing or etching them onto objects, and thereby writing them into your consciousness in a living manner. Used as a dynamic, hands-on, participatory system, Womanrunes become part of your own language of the Divine, the Goddess, your inner wisdom, and womanspirit truths.

What People Are Saying…

“I have never had a deck be so right from the first draw – in tune and intuitive. Molly’s insight and interpretations only add to the experience. Using my Womanrunes deck makes me excited for my daily centering.”

–B

“Great item for gatherings of women!”

–B.F.

“This set is great, high quality and user friendly.”

–E.R.

“Powerful, beautiful, inspiring! I am so looking forward to diving deeper into this, but am already seeing benefits from the wisdom in these pages, and I appreciate everything about this set.”

–S.B.

“Wonderful deck and guidebook, and so easy to use but with great depth. Thank you kindly for manifesting this vision into reality!”

–H.V.

“The cards & books are high quality & the descriptions are very easy to understand while leaving room for your intuition. I also appreciated the tree pendant gift – total & very pleasant surprise!”

–A.A.

“Excellent product! This deck and guide book are fantastic.”

–S.C.

“Beautiful and insightful. Enjoying adding them to my morning practice!”

–L.B.

How to Buy

The book alone is available via Amazon, Amazon UK, CreateSpace, and Etsy. A set including both the book and box of professionally printed Womanrunes cards is available directly from us via our etsy shop and via Amazon.

Book Description front-cover

Womanrunes: A guide to their use and interpretation

From the system by Shekhinah Mountainwater

In 1987, women’s spirituality foremother and wayshower, Shekhinah Mountainwater, experienced a “goddess-lightning” strike of inspiration and created a set of 41 woman-identified rune symbols for divination and personal growth. Twenty-five years later, I discovered Womanrunes and created an expanded means of interpreting, using, and exploring these powerful, magical symbols.Discover and explore…

*the herstory and development of Womanrunes
*how to interpret Womanrunes
*how to make your own Womanrunes
*how to lay out and read Womanrunes

Legacy

Our Womanrunes book was produced in cooperation with Shekhinah Mountainwater’s estate, ShekhinahWorks. Many memorial projects are in the works currently, including the digital publication of Shekhinah’s amazing book, Aridane’s Thread. You can keep up with all the projects and memories via the following sites:

Facebook

Shekhinah Mountainwater Memorial Fund

YouTube

Website (with a planned expansion to http://www.ShekhinahMountainwater.com)

Shekhinah Mountainwater

 

 

Categories: books, divination, feminist thealogy, Goddess, readings, resources, reviews, Womanrunes, womanspirit, women, women's circle, writing | 3 Comments

Thursday Thealogy: Interconnectivity, Witches, and Fear

il_570xN.575164324_dpckI had two more quotes that I wanted to share from the new Voices of the Sacred Feminine anthology by Karen Tate. They didn’t fit into my review of the book, so they’re getting their own post!

First, about interconnectivity and the Goddess from professor Andrew Gurevich’s essay, “Gaian Interconnectivity and the Future of Public Myth”

…new findings in neuropsychology, evolutionary biology, hemispheric science and consciousness studies are revealing that the ‘Goddess’ can be understood as an ancient, neuro-spiritual ‘technology.’ The personification of the synergistic union of the brain’s creative and critical faculties, she emerges when we put our logic in service of our intuition. This research suggests that the Goddess represents the reunification of the sensibilities; the visceral, interconnected, energetic web that is the source of thought itself. Our wisdom body, manifest.

I used the web as part of my case for the ontological existence of the Goddess in one of my first Feminism and Religion posts:

Everything is interconnected in a great and ever-changing dance of life. Not as ‘all one,’ but as all interconnected and relating to one another, in an ever-present ground of relationship and relatedness…I imagine the divine as omnipresent (rather than omnipotent).” The Divine is located around and through each living thing as well as the great web of incarnation that holds the whole…

via Who is She? The Existence of an Ontological Goddess

The second is a no-nonsense quote from Starhawk about the power of the word “witch” in her essay “Earth, Spirit, and Action: Letting the Wildness In”

“The word ‘Witch’ has power. If we don’t examine it and counter its negative associations, if we don’t go through that process with it, then it’s like a stick to beat you with.”

This connects to a recent article about young women and women’s spirituality in which we find this wonderful gem:

“the task of reclaiming the witch is a fundamentally poetic one.” –Sady Doyle

In her article, Doyle also quotes Starhawk:

“I think that part of the power of the word is that it refers to a kind of power that is not legitimized by the authorities,” Starhawk says. “Even though not all witches are women, and a lot of men are witches, it seems to connote women’s power in particular. And that’s very scary in a patriarchal world – the kind of power that’s not just coming from the hierarchical structure, but some kind of inner power. And to use it to serve the ends that women have always stood for, like nurturing and caring for the next generation – that, I think, is a wonderfully dangerous prospect.”

via Season of the witch: why young women are flocking to the ancient craft | World news | The Guardian.

I touched on this subject in two past posts. One about fear in which I quoted Chrysalis Woman:

“Immense can be our Fear surrounding ‘coming out’ with our beliefs, our passions, and our ancient wisdom whether to our families or friendships let alone the community at large. Afraid we can be of ‘speaking out’ on behalf of the Feminine…

via Fear | WoodsPriestess.

And the second based on some work from my Stigmatization of the Witch class at OSC:

…when political and religious tides were turning in the ancient world, those who wanted to dominate and control didn’t go for the leaders of countries, for political heads of states, or for those in powerful jobs, they went for the priestesses. They went for women who held the cultural stories and ritual language of the people. They went for the healers and nurturers and those who took care of others. They destroyed temples and sacred images and books. They almost succeeded in total eradication of the role of priestess from the world and worked really hard to take midwives and wisewomen out completely as well…

via Women’s Voices |WoodsPriestess.

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Categories: feminist thealogy, Goddess, priestess, quotes, spirituality, thealogy, Thursday Thealogy, womanspirit | Leave a comment

Day 31: Reflections on 30 Days of Brigid

IMG_2966Today, the snow has finally been melting. I walked out at sunset and took a quick picture thinking about how I will miss taking and sharing a daily picture now that 30 Days of Brigid is over. The most powerful part of this experience was the practice. It felt like showing up for myself. It became a discipline. There was no requirement to write a blog post every day, but I made a commitment to doing so and I did it. 30 posts in 30 days! None of my posts were particularly stunning, though I liked my Hands post a lot and fell in love with the snowflakes from “lovely desire,” but it was powerful to commit to doing something and then doing it! I wanted to work through the course with my husband, but while I read a lot of the daily prompts out loud to him, we didn’t sync up and take the daily “sacred pause” together that I had envisioned. It became kind of my thing, rather than a shared experience. I read the daily emails first thing each morning and often reflected on the content for the remainder of the day.

Anyway, my closing thoughts on the ecourse in general are these…

30 Days of Brigid absolutely delivered on the promise of a sacred pause for each day with art, readings, blessings, meditations and inspiring prompts. The course was well-organized and thematically consistent as well as beautifully gentle in tone and thought-provoking in question. I got out of it what I was willing to put in and it was an investment in myself and my spirituality. It created a container for me that was very valuable, both for personal reflection, spiritual development, and for a daily writing practice. I loved challenging myself to really respond to the message of each day and enjoyed how I spent the day looking for the right moment to capture the spirit of that day’s theme. Great fun, great practice, great connection! Also, the personal interaction with Joanna Colbert via Instagram and Facebook was fun. I love her Gaian Tarot so much and I love how the Internet “smallens” the world and allows direct interactions with artists and authors I admire. At the beginning of the year when I did my annual oracle using the Gaian Tarot I had no idea the gifted woman behind it would be commenting on pictures of my cute baby on Instagram just a few weeks later. :)

If I was doing it again, I’d stretch myself to dig even deeper and to do art journaling for each prompt as well as move it up in my daily priority list so I could share it with my husband the way I originally planned. 

If you missed 30 Days of Brigid (or even if you didn’t!) you can move into 30 Days of Welcoming Spring and working with Persephone with Joanna’s next ecourse offering:

It’s for those who want to align themselves with the rhythms of nature as we leap into the time of greening and blossoming, and dance with the Maidens of Spring. By the end of the 30 days, you’ll be reconnected to your own creative core, with a daily practice in place for taking in beauty and responding to it in your journal or with your camera or paintbrush. Best of all, you will have taken a divine pause each day to mindfully experience the shift in the seasons as Persephone emerges from the Underworld, and Winter gives way to Spring. 

via 30 Days of Welcoming Spring ~ A Daily Sacred Pause of Creative Inspiration.

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Categories: #30daysofBrigid, Goddess, sacred pause, spirituality, woodspriestess, writing | 1 Comment

Book Review: Voices of the Sacred Feminine

“As I continue writing stories about people who are transforming religion and culture through including the Divine Feminine in sacred rituals, hope stirs within me. As I hear their visions for the future of the Divine Feminine, my vision expands.”

–Jann Aldredge-Clanton, Healing, Freedom, and Transformation through the Sacred Feminine.

“…monotheists have described the divine as ‘Father’ for over 2,000 years. Even if we neutered the God, to be labeled only an ‘It,’ we would still have the masculine echo ringing in our ears for another thousand years. So maybe it would make sense to call her the Goddess for a millennium or so, if only to even things out. Then perhaps we could move on to something more gender inclusive.”

–Tim Ward, Why Would a Man Search for the Goddess

“I don’t believe the Goddess is stupid or suicidal. I believe she evolved human beings for a purpose, to be her healing hands and loving heart. We may be growing into the job.”

–Starhawk, Earth, Spirit, and Action: Letting the Wildness In

91DmgTw498LKaren Tate is masterful at weaving together a diverse tapestry of voices on her weekly radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from her new anthology by the same name, but Voices of the Sacred Feminine, the book, is a gorgeous tapestry as well. I was concerned it would consist only of interview style transcripts, and there are a couple of those (still interesting!), but most of the book consists of unique essays written by past guests on Karen’s show. The end result is essentially a textbook of feminist spirituality. As I read, I could easily imagine using this book as the foundation for a class on contemporary goddess spirituality.

Split into four broad thematic sections and one additional short memorial section, the book contains 41 essays from many leaders in their fields and produces a beautiful chorus of voices lifted together in celebration, information, and support of ecofeminism, the Goddess, and sacred feminine liberation thealogy. Addressing themes of sacred activism, sacred values, ritual and healing, and the Goddess as deity, archetype, and ideal, we hear from influential foremothers like Barbara Walker and Starhawk, scholars like Noam Chomsky and Riane Eisler, feminist thealogians like Charlene Spretnak and Shirley Ranck, practicing priestesses and clergy like Candace Kant, Patrick McCollum, Donna Henes, and Selena Fox. A number of the essays are by men, reminding us that Goddess has a significant place in the lives of many people and is not limited in gender-specific ways.

Karen’s gift in her radio program is in bringing people together to share their voices and her new book draws on this same strength. In a world that can sometimes feel fragmented, violent, apathetic, and distressing, the voices lifted in this book combine to offer an optimistic, hopeful, collaborative prayer for a just, care-based, earth-centered, cooperative way of living together.

Categories: books, feminist thealogy, Goddess, readings, resources, reviews, spirituality, thealogy | 1 Comment

Day 30: Spring (#30DaysofBrigid)

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Brigid, I accept your flame.
Flame of creativity, poetry, hope, and healing.
Flame of understanding.

I accept your gifts
committing to their expression.
aligning with the workings of word, art, and deed.
Open to that which comes
responsive to that which surrounds me.
Enlivened by the dancing flame
of passionate creation.

Open hands, heart, and mind.
To give and to receive.
To express, to feel, to wonder, to know.
To discover
to uncover
to embrace
to fulfill
to unleash.

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, poems, sacred pause, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 29: Paying Attention (#30DaysofBrigid)

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One of my favorite verses in my life as a mother, writer, artist and as a conscious observer of the rhythms and flow of life comes from this poem by Mary Oliver:

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

I consider this one of my life mottoes and in fact got it stamped on a pendant with my children’s names on it. It also forms the foundation of what I do with my sculptures and jewelry. Coincidentally, early last week I added it to the section of our website where we describe our pendants and why we create them:

These pendants are born from paying attention, being astonished, and telling about it. We hope they remind you of your own astonishment and help you tell about it!

via Pewter Pendants – Brigid’s Grove.

So, it was lovely to see it then pop up for 30 Days of Brigid today,

I also used in on my birth blog, explaining why I blog in the first place:

To me, it sums up the reason why I continue to write this blog. I have so many things going on in my life and I often wonder why I bother to continue writing blog posts. Does it matter at all? Aren’t I just adding to the general cacophony of voices and wild, information overloaded chaos of the internet (and even of the birth activist sphere in general). I feel almost compelled to do so though. And, really, the reason why is to tell about it. There is a lot to be astonished by in one’s everyday life. While I can get distracted and frantic and lose my present moment orientation, I do pay attention a lot. To a lot of things. A friend told me at my blessingway that I live my life with more intention than most people she knows. I considered that to be a great compliment—and, I also think I live my life with a lot of attention. Sometimes that attention may seem like excessive navel-gazing and very often it is excessively self-critical (and, isn’t that being self-centered, she says critically and self-evaluatively?), but I feel like I am a generally observant person, paying attention to my place in the world and the manner in which I walk through my day. And, the paying attention is intimately involved with then wanting to tell about it—here, on my blog :)

Additionally, it forms part of my theory of theapoetics, a model I coined to describe the spontaneous poetry I compose in the woods and which was the former name of this blog:

If we really stopped to think about this—to sense how we are carried by the great wind, I think the whole world would change, how people relate to each other and to the environment would be transformed. Stop, look, listen, breathe, and feel how we spin. Together.

via Theapoetics | WoodsPriestess which later evolved into my first post on Feminism and Religion: Theapoetics

Ironically, today I was so busy working I didn’t spend much time paying attention OR telling about it. With the snow, followed by ice and cold temperatures, I haven’t gone anywhere for eleven days and counting! I’ve actually enjoyed this period of “cave time”—it fact, in many ways, it has felt like exactly what I needed. We’ve made fun foods (as well as used up some of the many items languishing in our freezers), caught up on some projects and household tasks, played games, made art, played music, written, and read books. Today, however, I had a lot of work to do on my current classes (one of which I am not enjoying), it took me lots longer than I hoped, the baby napped extremely poorly, and I felt “fuzzy” and almost resentful of having to get back to “real life.” I slipped out to the mailbox in the afternoon, crunching and sliding on the ice. I paid attention to the patterns the grass stems made coming out of the icy field and the crunching sound of my boots. Ahead, in the cold air, I saw our old kite, remnant of a summer’s afternoon past, bright against the cold sky, spread out and fluttering again from the tree in which it was stranded, too high to retrieve. There! That’s my picture for today! Only, as I broke through the icy ground in the field to get close enough to snap the pic, my cell phone’s battery died. I waited in the house for a while then and then went to the woods with my drum. I didn’t see anything there of particular interest to tell about either and kept thinking of that kite. The sun was starting to set and I knew the kite would be a good picture with the sunset backdrop. I left the woods and slogged back up the driveway and crunched across the field to the kite, raised the camera, trying to get some of the sunset in the background and the screen went dark. iPhones shut themselves off in freezing temperatures…Alas! As I trudged back to the house trying not to slip and fall, I thought of how ironic it was that in trying to “tell about” that dang kite, I’d likely missed paying attention to so many other possible things! Way to miss the point today, Molly! ;)

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, writing | 5 Comments

Day 28: Threshold (#30DaysofBrigid)

“Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in the small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and simple; to feel in the rush of passing the stillness of the eternal.”

–Abraham Joshua Heschel

Today’s lesson was about thresholds. Whether literal and metaphorical, these are the magical, liminal spaces between worlds. Today we had a (mostly) screen-off day and focused our energy on cleaning up some clutter hot-spots and miscellaneous “to do” areas around the house (like pictures waiting to be framed and hung up). It felt really cleansing and the house feels brightened up with prayer flags hanging, rather than lying bundled in a pile! Then, this evening we stood in our front doorway and read the blessing that was included in today’s meditation. We noticed that not only were we standing in the actual doorway–the threshold between the inside and the outside, but we were also “between” both light and dark, warm and cold.

While going through piles of papers today, I found the quote above and the quote below (another “threshold!”) saved in my notes. Both felt appropriate for today, especially the one below, where it served as the inspiration for my picture.

My hand is on our front door.

My hand is on our front door.

I have arrived.
I am home.
In the here.
In the now.
I am solid.
I am free.
In the ultimate
I dwell.

–Thich Nhat Hanh

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, blessings, family, quotes, sacred pause | 1 Comment

Day 27: Milk (#30DaysofBrigid)

IMG_2908Magic mama. She who transforms body and blood into milk. Into life. Into the heartsong of another. Maternal sacrament. Shared freely. Flowing sweetly. Uniting. This thoroughly embodied stuff of motherhood. This physical commitment. This body-based vow to our young. She holds her baby. And she holds the world.

Mammal mama. Liquid love. Cellular vow. Unbreakable, biological web of life and loving.

She’s just feeding her baby. Is she? Or is she healing the planet at the very same time?

Milky smile, fluttering eyes, smooth cheeks, soft hair. Snuggle up, dear one. Draw close. Nestle feet to thighs, head to elbow. And know that you are encircled by something so powerful that it has carried the entire human race across continents and through time for thousands upon thousands of years on its river of milky, white devotion.

via Nursing Mama, Magic Mama | Talk Birth.

This 30 Days practice keeps me on my toes! If I had known that today’s theme was milk, I would have used yesterday’s picture for today! Instead, I’m re-visiting this reading that I wrote at my other blog about my breastfeeding goddess sculptures.

I am also completely, 100% in love with my baby’s tiny tuft of “long” hair that is puffing up on the back of his head today. I feel a pang for his little duck fluff “messy hair” of the newborn days that is already gone and I tried really hard to take a good picture of his current “messy hair” so I remember. I feel this intense and primal urge to try to capture and preserve this time with him, but I know from my other kids that these moments pass by and become old memories, particularly because the current version of each child is right here in front of me, a baby no more. Their babyselves are faded, though my body carries the memories of each of them…

IMG_2909

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, art, blessings, parenting | Leave a comment

Day 26: Shield (#30DaysofBrigid)

IMG_2855What does a sleeping nursling have to do with a shield? Well, I’m his. When I read the prompt for today, I was thinking literally, like a sword and shield. However, when I sat down to nurse my baby for his nap, I looked down at his face and realized that I am his shield. Not only is my milk his shield against infection, and so forth, but my actual self is his shield—the lens and medium through which his world is interpreted, felt, and experienced. One of my favorite things about having a baby is how they look right into my eyes to assess a situation. Let’s say a loud noise happens: The baby’s eyes come to mine to see how to gauge, interpret, and react to the situation. If I am happy and calm and smile reassuringly, the baby is no longer alarmed by the noise and resumes kicking and looking around. If I was to express horror and shock at the noise, the baby would cry and be distressed. Not only do I hold him and feed him and get him when he needs me, I show him with my eyes and face what the world is like—safe or scary, comforting or isolating. While he will go on to forget what this intense mother-baby symbiosis feels like, it will still be there at some level, forming his basis for understanding the world around him. And, I will never forget what it is was like to have his eyes meet mine in this way. His shield.

The journal prompt was about experiencing the protection and companionship of Brigid. While I do not usually encounter Brigid in a literal way, one day last year when I was in the woods, I did a recording that felt too personal to share here. In it, I noted that Brigid is not a goddess that you meet while meditating in the forest, she is in the sweat on your face and the heat of metal. She is the goddess who says, roll up your sleeves and get to work.

This morning though, I awoke from a dream about Brigid in which she said, “don’t worry about me, nurse the baby.” I’m not sure what that means exactly, but reading the lesson for today, I thought of a past dream I’d blogged about:

IMG_2857

 

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, Goddess, parenting, sacred pause, thealogy | 1 Comment

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