Where I am and what I’m doing!

August 2016 128Over the last year as more and more of my time, focus, and attention have shifted to Brigid’s Grove, my posts here at Woodspriestess have become more sporadic and it has finally become clear to me that I am “retiring” from my commitment to regularly maintaining this blog. I’ve increasingly found my voice at our Brigid’s Grove blog and that is where I am currently posting updates and sharing information. I miss the more personal flavor and personal insights and “small” moments/everyday miracles that I’ve explored here at Woodspriestess over the years, so I’m not completely retiring it, but rather acknowledging the reality that I am just not using it as a writing environment much this year. I’m also interested to note that the feeling of “completion” here and reduction of writing coincides with the completion of my dissertation. I have blogged here throughout my studies at OSC and now those studies are officially complete.

The time has come for me to lay aside this means of expression and to continue to pour my heart into what I offer through Brigid’s Grove. Feel free to join me there! In fact, I have a free Introduction to Thealogy class going on right now! And, my next section of our Goddess Magic Circle begins on September 5.

June 2016 075

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Categories: art, community, creativity, nature, priestess, seasons, self-care, spirituality, womanspirit, women, woodspriestess, writing | Leave a comment

Special Offer: Womanrunes Immersion Course

We’re having a super special summer deal on the Womanrunes Immersion class in honor of the original birthday of April 2016 053Womanrunes in a “goddess lightning-strike” of inspiration received by Shekhinah Mountainwater on summer  solstice 1987. It is half price through June 21! If you already have the book, it is an even more super deal! (Use code “previouspurchase” for the discount.) I am moving it into the Motherhouse of the Goddess class platform and this is the last time this year that I will offer it as a scheduled class–it will be transitioned to self-study/rolling enrollment after this. There is something really special about working through it as a group! However, I think that converting it into a self-study class will allow many more people to access it according to their own schedules/wishes, rather than waiting for me to offer it on specific dates.

We dig deep into the runes in this course, exploring how they work in our own lives, learning different layouts and experiencing new and full moon rituals with guidance from the cards.

“The runes have been a true immersion into a deeper sense of me. Daily the runes revealed just what I needed for support on my journey. I truly and thoroughly enjoyed this process with you and l loved sharing within this circle of amazing sisters. I have to thank them because I learned from them also. Thank you Molly for your sharing, your love and your guidance and now I’m waiting for your next class.”

–M.E.

Sign Up for Womanrunes Immersion

11986976_1661342964077919_7888471579811176826_nIf you have previously taken the course, you are welcome to join again at no cost, just let me know and I’ll add you to the Motherhouse classroom!

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Categories: books, classes, divination, practices, programs, resources, sacred pause, Womanrunes, women's circle | Leave a comment

Day 4: Summer Altars (#30daysofmidsummer)

13419258_10209831696659106_9209578587839661705_nI am the fire that burns within your soul
I am the Holy light that fills and makes you whole
I am the Flame within, that never dies
I am the sun that will ever arise.

–Lisa Thiel, Litha (Summer Solstice Song)

I’m enjoying 30 Days of Midsummer with the fabulous Joanna Powell Colbert right now. I am unlikely to manage a daily post during this journey, but I hope to create a few posts as the inspiration and time strikes.

I change my home altar + tiny temple altar spaces regularly and I also set up tiny altars wherever I go (or discover them while I’m out!) The photo to the right is of my living room altar space, freshened up for summer. The one below is my current summer altar in my tiny temple (a small building separate from my home, but only a few feet away, which I use as a dedicated personal work space as well as holding small circles/study groups):

13435563_10209831698659156_7383139005246552031_nThe other photos are all photos I took the day of this prompt, all but one before I read the prompt. After reading it, I then recognized them as summer altars in their own right.

Picking wild raspberries that morning…

13450757_10209831699499177_4513543145098394439_nAdmiring the blooms on the rose bushes we planted in front of my tiny temple…

13466414_10209831700219195_6764482167757669331_nVisiting the Roubidoux Spring that afternoon with my kids (a Trail of Tears historic site)…

13445508_10209831700779209_5802312614193145539_nAt Brigid’s Grove, we are celebrating Summer with a free ritual kit for you! The kit includes:

  • Two ceremony outlines (individual and group)16 goddess mandala
  • Tutorials for two projects
  • Summer poem
  • “Blessing and Blooming” mandala activity
  • Wild berry cobbler recipe

This free ritual kit is included in the June issue of our Creative Spirit Circle Journal. (Make sure to join the circle today. It is free and full of resources!)

Glory of the Day-Star, hail!
Lifter of the Light, Burnisher of the Sky.
Gifts of love to earth are bringing,
Summer’s shimmer, dew’s delight.

Dancing be the heart within us,
Open be our souls to bliss,
Courage vanquish every shadow,
Greet Midsummer with a kiss.

— Caitlin Matthews, The Celtic Devotional

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Categories: #30daysofmidsummer, blessings, creativity, earthprayer, Flowers, Goddess, holidays, liturgy, nature, practices, ritual, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, story goddess, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Facing the moon alone…

February 2016 030When all is said and done I think every Witch should, at some time, face the moon alone, feet planted on the ground, with only his or her voice chanting in the starry night.

–Laurie Cabot, Power of the Witch

I will never forget the first time I heard someone recite the Charge of the Goddess from memory. Bare-breasted, she strode around the fire in sacred circle at a large goddess festival in Kansas, delivering the words with power, grace, and confident resonance. I thought: I will do that someday.

In February of this year, we took a family trip to Dauphin Island. While there, the afternoon of the full moon, I February 2016 148decided that the time had come. I was going to memorize the Charge of the Goddess. First, I thought I would only memorize it a piece at a time. It seemed “too big” to do in a single sitting. I had it printed out on a piece of paper that rapidly became damp with the salty sea air. I drew a labyrinth in the sand with my toes, set one of my goddess sculptures at its entrance, and drew a Womanrunes card.

One stanza at a time, slowly I began to repeat the poem* aloud:

hear ye, the words of the star goddess
the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven..
.

Over and over, I said the words, letting them twine around my tongue and in the air, experimenting with cadence and rhythm. After I could reliably repeat one section, I’d move to the next, letting it build in my memory until I could put the two together confidently and then moving to the next.

I am the beauty of the green earth
the white moon amongst the stars..

I stared into the waves, listening to them rise and fall along with my words. My three older children dug in the sand. My husband fished. My toddler toddled around and then came to sit on my lap and nursed to sleep for nap time:February 2016 073

before my face
beloved of all…

I whispered into his damp hair. I felt in an altered state of consciousness. The words began to wind their way through me, becoming a part of me, embedded in me. I danced with them as I have never danced with another piece of writing. I felt them merging with me. I sang them aloud. I stated them fast and slow and I built, adding the next line and then the next…

for behold, all acts of love and pleasure
all my rituals.

I turned over hard thealogical questions as the words spun their magic through the air. What does it really mean that “all your learning and seeking shall avail you not, lest your know the mystery.” Do I really feel the goddess within? Do I find her within myself or is she only outside and if she is only outside, does she really exist at all? Tears came to my eyes: do I even like myself?

Two hours passed. My baby awoke and returned to digging in the sand. My husband packed up his fishing gear. The sky began to darken and spit rain. I stood and danced the words into the sand with my feet.

let your divine innermost self
be enfolded
in the rapture
of the infinite

I felt rapturous. I felt triumphant. I had done it. Faster and faster my feet stamped the sand as I called the words into the waves. I spun in circles with my toddler chanting and laughing and offering my devotion before the sea, beneath the moon.

the mystery of the waters
the desire in human hearts…

February 2016 179*I used Shekhinah Mountainwater’s adaptation of the Charge, originally by Doreen Valiente, as included in the book Ariadne’s Thread.

Categories: blessings, ceremony, chants, Goddess, invocations, liturgy, moon wisdom, nature, poems, practices, prayers, priestess, resources, ritual, sacred pause, spirituality, womanspirit, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

The Motheredness of the World

“…We were all held, touched, interrelated, in an invisible net of incarnation. I would scarcely think of it ordinarily; yet for each creature I saw, someone, a mother, had given birth….Motherhood was the gate. It was something that had always been invisible to me before, or so unvalued as to be beneath noticing: the motheredness of the world…”

–Naomi Wolf, Misconceptions

This quote from Naomi Wolf  as she reflects on an ordinary street scene and suddenly comes to understand the web May 2016 113of life and the universality of motherhood (even for squirrels!), forms a key part of my own thealogy as well as my ethics. I return to this concept of the invisible net of incarnation over and over. I am aware that some people critique mother goddess imagery as exclusive or reductionist, but I am of the opinion that Mother Goddess imagery is not specifically about women as mothers, but rather about the motheredness of the world. In this way, I do not find the image of the Mother Goddess (that web of incarnation Herself!) is exclusive, rather I find it exceedingly appropriate. It isn’t about a culturally constructed role, it is about the primal relationship. The root of life.

At Brigid’s Grove, we value, honor, and celebrate each turn on the women’s wheel of life, whether someone has children or not. There are many women’s mysteries and much goddess wisdom to explore at all ages, stages, phases, and family configurations. I find that to honor and celebrate one experience need not devalue or denigrate another’s experience, rather we hold multiple realities at one time. The journey of woman who has experienced infertility. The celebration of the woman who gives birth at home. The joy of a mother of many. The self-possession of the woman who is childless by choice. The wisdom and life experience of the sage woman crone. The priestess path as it is expressed in many forms of service, healing, wisdom, gifts, and ceremony.

I began my professional career focused on what I, as a still-teenage college student in Psychology, broadly described as “women’s issues.” This first was expressed in working in domestic violence shelters as an undergrad and then ongoing into my clinical practicum as a graduate student in social work. After I gave birth to my first son at 24, my passion shifted expressions to focus on childbearing women. After the miscarriage-birth of my third son, my passion expanded to the totality of the women’s life cycle and each person’s right to define and acknowledge the significant moments of their other lives, regardless of whether these passages, initiations, and rites are celebrated, held, or heard by the larger culture. This experience set me firmly on my priestess path. My walk through grief followed by my pregnancy with my daughter, led me to create goddess sculptures to honor experiences of all kinds–to form as sort of “3-D journal” of significant life events as well as connection to the Divine. Now, as I facilitate Red Tents and women’s rituals and work with women online in our practical priestessing and red tent courses, I am honored, humbled, and blessed to be a small part of the deep, diverse, rich, and powerful stories and paths of each of these women. There is so much goodness and courage to bear witness to in this world.

…See your worth March 2016 002
hear your value
sing your body’s power
and potency
dance your dreams
recognize within yourself
that which you do so well
so invisibly
and with such love…

(via: A Prayer for Mothers)

As I consider mothers, women, and women’s power this weekend, I have some additional resources and thoughts to share with you:

Other news:

  • The Goddess Magic Circle has begun and the experience we’ve been having so far are beautiful to witness! More than 25 women have joined the Circle from around the world and I love sharing sacred space with them. Registration remains open through the end of the month if you’d like to join us and create some powerful magic together!
  • I’m guest teaching with the beautiful Awen Clement for the Merry Moon MoonWiseWoman Circle.
  • Check out the recent Beltane issue of The Oracle from Global Goddess for many May articles and resources from goddess women across the country.

March 2016 001

Categories: family, feminist thealogy, Goddess, holidays, parenting, priestess, resources, sacred pause, spirituality, womanspirit, women | Leave a comment

Dogwood Song (#Earthprayer)

Standing on steep hillsides April 2016 016
Leaning from rocky patches of ground
Roots feeling deep in the dark
Searching for the nourishment
That is only possible in shadowed places
Raindrop blessing
Petal and leaf
Sunlight filtered through a canopy of oaks
Branches spreading graciously
A living love song
Strung through the woods like lace.

In my current Earthprayer class, I can’t stop talking about and sharing pictures of the dogwood trees, which are the current love song being sung by the Earth in my corner of the world.

April 2016 019We discovered one tree with pink tinged flowers for the first time near my tiny temple and then another in the woods by the driveway. I love how this same patch of land can continue to surprise me day after day, as long as I pay attention. I also love that the “grand show” goes on without me in countless ways, whether I notice it or not.

April 2016 008

 

Categories: art, birth, blessings, earthprayer, Flowers, nature, poems, sacred pause, seasons, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Day 30: A Springtime Woman (#30daysofspring)

12973526_1727730594105822_4384843242005172628_oListen.
I tend the mothers.
I tell of the magic found
In baby’s laughter
The power of blood
The quiet wisdom
Of rising again
Small footprints imprinted on my heart
Guide my way…

Thirty Days of Persephone’s Return has now ended and it was a great experience for me overall. It involved an interesting juxtaposition of feelings and experiences as I’ve alternated between feeling renewed and disheartened, energetic and depleted, as we’ve moved through this course. I feel like I recommitted to myself and my spiritual practices in several ways thanks to my participation here.

Based on quotes I’d read in previous 30 Days classes from Seasons of the Witch by Patricia Monaghan, I bought a used copy and was struck by this quote about spring and our relationship to it as women:

But when growth begins, things break. Shells and bud casings, those intact perfections, fall away. What is revealed is unprotected tenderness. It is no illusion, this fragility. A fierce storm can shred the new leaf, a cat consume the tiny bird, a hapless word pierce the young woman’s heart.

To the beholder, there is only beauty: the frail green hue that rivals all of autumn’s glory, the soft maiden gaze with its vulnerable longing. Springtime empowers its witnesses. And the woman gazing back may feel, indeed, the riveting power of her growth and potential. Or she may feel only the pain of new skin against cold wind, of exposed flesh against cruel stares.

There are times the hatchling yearns for the shell, the woman for her girlhood. There are times the new body seems alien and ill-formed, the new skills awkward and mistaken, the new knowledge not power but frailty. Growth may be exhilarating, but it is never easy.

And it is costly. Just as the bulb devours itself in order to burst above the soil, just as the hatchling digests its egg’s world, the woman tears springtime out of herself. She has little time for generosity, for she is focused on herself, on her deepest movements, her pain, her hopefulness. She is all stunned inwardness.

She is one, alone, unique. She is pierced with wonder at her existence.

Patricia Monaghan, Seasons of the Witch

Then, I was getting ready for Red Tent tonight and I drew a Womanrunes‬ card to set the tone. The Tool dropped out of the deck first, which felt a little disappointing…the Rune of Labor…but then I picked another and got The Flying Woman, Rune of Transformation and reflected that transforming, becoming, unfolding, uncovering, can be quite hard work. And, the work of priestessing, which is what I’m pouring my heart into exploring with my current group of Practical Priestessing students, while transformative and liberating and powerful, is also quite a lot of hard work! So, they’re perfect cards after all…

12967552_1727775457434669_8245909996900399614_o

 

Categories: #30daysofspring, quotes, readings, red tent, resources, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 29: Flowers appearing on the earth (#30daysofspring)

Listen 12983343_1727956937416521_4785497175588520928_o
I dance within the web of life
I will tell you of the Wild
Of land, sea, and sky
The magic of the everyday
I speak of ancient oaks
Sacred groves
And an endless current of mystery.

Oh my heart! Our lilac by the garage is beautiful this year. It has had a hard life and usually ends up losing most flowers to frost before blooming. But, this year!

12931105_10209282533250364_682342399724750129_nThe dogwoods are also in full bloom. I love them too.

The free Earthprayer class begins tomorrow! http://eepurl.com/bEvrVv

Categories: #30daysofspring, theapoetics | 1 Comment

Day 26: A Spring Self Blessing

May you know the tenacity of serviceberry April 2016 027
The grace of dogwood
The heart of plum
And the ferocity of raspberry.

May you have the wisdom to know
When to flow like the river
When to stand like the mountain
May you dance with the rain
Allow your thunder to be heard
Smile with the radiance of the sun
And may you know you walk in the hand of the goddess…

I was entranced by this early-morning tulip today. Grown from a random bag of bulbs from an Earth Day event at the university several years ago, I love its sunset colors.

And, then just a few hours later, my precious tulip looked like this!

12968102_1726225294256352_2757301418834431404_o

(Tulips are extra special everyday magic to me because they usually don’t make it this far with the chickens and the kids.)

Categories: #30daysofspring, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 24: Planting Seeds (#30daysofspring)

12931205_10209251327430238_5463045808457409004_nMy “planted seeds” were our new Story Goddesses out in the wild violets and sunshine.

Yesterday, we went for a walk before dinner and admired my favorite dogwood tree that is getting ready to bloom. It is perfectly shaped like an ornamental tree, but it is wild. That’s my favorite kind of everyday magic.

12439344_10209251326510215_5725357212143025081_nNext free ecourse begins April 10th: Earthprayer.

Categories: #30daysofspring, art, creativity, Flowers, nature, practices, sacred pause, sculpture, seasons, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 23: “Awakening.” (#30daysofspring)

Listen.12801588_10209231288729283_4121319403236202860_n
I tell of prayers strung through oak leaves
Deep wells
Emerald fields
Hot coals
I know the courage it takes
To tend the flame
Of ancient mystery.

The lilac by the garage is huge this year and blanketed with buds. I am looking forward to seeing it!

Free Earthprayer class begins April 10th.

Categories: #30daysofspring, art, blessings, creativity, Flowers, Goddess, nature, poems, practices, prayers, readings, sacred pause, sculpture, seasons, self-care, spirituality, story goddess, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 25: Green and Growing Things (#30daysofspring)

12920257_10209251348790772_8067589649019212716_nI couldn’t resist taking this picture with my husband in the background working on the tractor while I flit about propping goddesses in apple trees.

And, a collage of more growing things I took photos of today: magnolia, apple blossoms, radishes, and babies smelling flowers.

12923388_10209251349230783_6558438855981838360_nJust a reminder that my next free ecourse is coming right up on April 10th: Earthprayer.

Categories: #30daysofspring | Leave a comment

Day 22: Listen (#30daysofspring)

Listen. 12920302_10209212164211182_2613850870376989936_n
I tell of violets.
And raindrops
And forest song.

 

These lines above were the last lines I wrote when I created my full, magical name as part of our study group using Shekhinah Mountainwater’s Ariadne’s Thread book.

Wild violets are one of the basic miracles of spring to me every year. I love them. They make me ecstatic. They carpet the ground by the woodpile.

My upcoming free Earthprayer class begins on April 10. Feel free to join!

Categories: #30daysofspring, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Day 16: Prayer (#30daysofspring)

I roam 12901399_1722523711293177_6840123945282848509_o
sacred ground
my body is my altar
my temple.

I cast a circle
with my breath
I touch the earth
with my fingers
I answer
to the fire of my spirit…

I wrote this poem several years ago and it was then published in The Girl God’s Mother Earth book as well as my own Earthprayer book. I thought of it when I read the prompts for today and I offer in my photo my own woodsprayer of wild plum blossoms.

I am also pleased to offer a free Earthprayer mini class for you beginning in April. Register via this link.

Two related past posts:

Categories: #30daysofspring, blessings, embodiment, Flowers, poems, prayers, resources, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 13: Daffodil (#30daysofspring)

“I am whole unto myself March 2016 001
I am the bright maiden
Strong, invincible, and free
I am the dark maiden
Cloaked in veils and mystery
I am the pulse of the sun
And the pull of the moon
Flowing from one to the other
In perfect harmony
Where I walk
None can hinder me
I am maiden
Forever young and free.”

Shekhinah Mountainwater, Ariadne’s Thread

The prompt for today was actually to write a silly poem, but instead this poem from our study group yesterday kept floating back to me. I saw “daffodil” was the photo prompt and when I went out to my tiny temple to work, there was a daffodil right inside the front door–it had fallen out of the flower crown worn by one of my circle sisters the day before. So, even though it was a little wilted, I thought it was very fitting for today, shown here with both the bright maiden and the dark maiden at this balanced time of the season…

Categories: #30daysofspring, art, nature, poems, practices, priestess, readings, sculpture, spirituality | 3 Comments

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