Today marks the beginning of a 30 day experiment in daily writings/photos about my sacred space in the woods. I made a New Year’s resolution of sorts to visit the same spot every day for a year and to take at least one photo and to explore through that process my relationship to the environment around me and its seasonal evolution.
First a picture…
It started snowing again today and one of our cats, Big Mama, followed me down to the priestess rocks. I noticed her delicate little footprints in the snow on top of one of the rocks. Another thing I noticed and have remarked on before to my husband, is how there is a little trail of naturally occurring “stepping stones” that make a path through the woods to the rocks. When we first moved here, one of the things I wrote on my to-do list was, “make a sacred spot in the woods” and I imagined putting stepping stones down to said place. Well, come to find out, no “making” of a sacred space necessary…it was already there…AND, no need to put down my own stepping stones either. They, too, were already there. Metaphor for life? Or, just life.
Some posts may be very brief, or photo-only, but I’m actually kicking off my experiment with some heavy thinking today…
I’ve been feeling depressed and discouraged lately after reading some really horrifying articles about incredible, unimaginable violence and brutality against women in Paupa New Guinea who are accused of being witches as well as a book about human trafficking around the world (I wrote about this in a post for Pagan Families last week). Then, I finished listening to David Hillman on Voices of the Sacred Feminine recently, in which he issues a strong call to action to the pagan community and to “witches” in the U.S. to do something about this violence, essentially stating that it is “your fault” and that instead of wasting energy on having rituals to improve one’s love life (for example), modern witches should be taking to the streets and bringing these abusers to justice. And, he asserts, the fact that they don’t, shows that they don’t really “believe”—believe in their own powers or in their own Goddess(es). This brought me back to a conversation I had with a friend before our last women’s circle gathering…does this really matter that we do this or is it a self-indulgence? We concluded that it does matter. That actively creating the kind of woman-affirming world we want to live in is a worthy, and even holy, task. I don’t have time to fully go into it all right now, but I also think the legacy of the sixteenth century “witchcraze” is powerful and the attitudes that drove it are alive and well in the world today. There is a lot of fear still bound up in that word and perhaps that is why people fail to respond to Hillman’s challenge to take to the streets.
I asked the woods today and they responded…
What can I do to save the world?
Saving the world is a Christ complex
an illusion of superiority
a delusion of grandeur.
Or is it?
Is it instead
of what it is like to care?
Raise sons and daughters
who love themselves
and each other
and the earth
Say no to violence
Say no to microaggressions
and to micro-spending decisions that support oppression
Say yes to micro-acts on the side of love
Say yes to not giving up on macro vision
and big picture thinking
Always be willing to dig deep
to think hard
to feel strongly
hold your babies
hold your friends
refuse to give up
when defeated, rally once more.
Persist in a vision of the way things could be
and take action
to bring that vision into reality.
Speak your truth
tell your story
stand up for the silenced
speak for the voiceless
believe that hope still has a place
hold the vision
hold each other.
When I came back inside, I added another Kiva loan to the three I already have going. I chose a women’s cooperative in Pakistan with a craft business. I paid for the loan using my profits from selling my own goddess art. I also signed up to sponsor a woman in the Congo via Woman to Woman International. Maybe this isn’t “enough,” but it is something. I work hard to support women in my own community in a variety of ways. I write all over the place…maybe that isn’t “real” help, or maybe it is, but I can’t stop doing it.
I share your feelings and thoughts. And actions, for that matter. I also listened to that very episode of the Voices of the Sacred Feminine – which I listen regularly and which gives me great strength – and I agree with Dr David Hillman in that we have to take action. However, as you say, the action must come from the heart and we must be true to ourselves. So, for you and me the action is practising our spirituality, sharing our art and supporting women who need help. I wrote to Karen Tate (and she said she’d pass my message to Dr Hillman) saying that for many women the action is the work is actually, for the moment, asserting themselves and finding their own feet after millenia of violence, abuse and ridicule that women and the religion of Goddess have suffered. This is also a valid action: to nurture oneself.