Mamapriestess?

She who changes IMG_7770
She who expands and contracts
She who stretches her limits
She who digs deep
She who triumphs and fails
Every day
Sometimes both within a single hour
She who tends her own hearth
She who comforts and connects and enfolds
She who opens wide…

(via my past post: Goddess Mother)

I recently finished reading Under Her Wings: The Making of a Magdalene, by Nicole Christine. A theme running through the book was the concept of “As Above, So Below and As Within, So Without.” I read this book as part of my research for my dissertation about contemporary priestessing. I posed two questions based on this book in my dissertation research study group, but I’d like to invite other responses and experiences as well.

I want to hear from the Mamapriestesses, from the Hearth Priestesses! Where are the other practicing priestesses b2ap3_thumbnail_11209411_1658113891067493_624517776654095662_n.jpgwith children at home? I noticed in Christine’s book that the bulk of her work took place after her children were grown and, to my mind, she also had to distance or separate from her children and her relationships in order to fully embrace her priestess self. How do you balance this? How does it work for you? Parenting, for me, can simultaneously feel as if it is stifling my full expression and yet perhaps as if it holds the greatest lessons and teachers

I notice that many women seem to come to priestess work when the intensive stage of motherhood has passed, or they do not have children. Is there a reason why temple priestesses were “virgins” and village wise women were crones? Where does the Mamapriestess fit?

So, if you have children, I’d love to hear from you about this! If you do not have children by choice, how does that play into your spiritual work? If you do not have children and that is not by choice, how does that play into your spiritual work?

As I read Christine’s book and witnessed her intensive self-exploration, discovery, and personal ceremony and journeys, I realized that in many ways personal exploration feels like a luxury I don’t have at this point in my parenting life (as an example: for an entire month I’ve been dreaming what feel like really powerful and almost revelatory dreams, but I have a night-nursing 11 month old and after multiple night wakings with him, the dreams slip into nothingness and I’m left with a sense of “forgetting” something that is trying to communicate with me or share wisdom).

How do you balance your inner journey with your outer process? Christine references having to step aside and be somewhat aloof or unavailable to let inner processes and understandings develop, since our inner journeys may become significantly bogged down by interpersonal relationships, dramas, venting, chatting, and so forth. Or, as I tend to joke, during a full moon ritual as my two pre-teen sons make fart jokes or the baby has a poopy diaper. For me, this distance for inner process exploration isn’t possible in the immersive stage of life as a mother. And, yet, I also know in my bones that I’m not meant to give it up. How does the As Within and the So Without work together for you?

Several years ago, I was sitting at the table sculpting clay for a new design and my then six-year-old son worked at the table too, finally presenting me with a special gift of his own design:

February 2013 051“This is the Goddess of Everything,” he told me. “See that pink jewel in her belly, that is the WHOLE UNIVERSE, Mom!!”

Categories: dissertation, family, Goddess, OSC, parenting, priestess, self-care, women, woodspriestess, writing | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Mamapriestess?

  1. Thanks for this post and the food for thought that it’s given me. Love the term “Hearth Priestess!” What you’ve said about there being a change in the shape of spiritual practice amidst parenthood really resonated with me. It’s been one of the struggles of my transition from Maiden to Mother, that sense of losing my Self – and things that made that Self. How to celebrate a Sabbat with various peoples’ needs to meet, and laundry everywhere? How to meditate, do any divination or do yoga with the constantly-nursing baby who cries if put down? How to do any of it when I’m just so tired? These have been among my Mama tantrums!
    However, I also believe that my transition from Maiden to Mother – and from employed professional to full-time homemaker-mama – has brought new understanding, priorities and dimensions to my spirituality. Much is centred around my home and garden. Domestic tasks themselves bring a connection with the seasons and elements – whether the laundry dries on the line by the end of the day, whether there are berries in our garden to eat, or flowers from the garden to put on our nature table. Indeed our nature table (and the collecting of things for it) is central to the way I think about the changes going on in nature. I love watching how my son engages with this and with the outdoors, and answering the questions he asks about the world often takes me into new-ish realms of story and metaphor. Our walks in the woods are slower and shorter – and with more stops for sticks to be picked up or trees climbed. Yet those stops allow me to look around and notice detail I perhaps missed before.
    Parenthood has also introduced me to Steiner-Waldorf philosophy and I’ve found a lot in its value of rhythm, simplicity and use of natural materials that resonates with me personally as well as benefitting our family life. I guess parenthood has brought my practice to be a bit more earth-focussed than the more lunar focus that it did pre-motherhood – perhaps also because at that time of my life I was doing a lot of emotional healing. Yet, since being a mother, I’ve learned and thought about menstruation and my body in different ways, connected to my mum and grandmothers differently and felt a spiritual need for regularly being around other women that I didn’t recognise before. I certainly feel that, just as nature has seasons and phases, my life (and what it needs in it) does too. Now that my son is not a constantly-nursing babe, there are days when he and my husband go off on a trip together and I sometimes really “go within”. It takes me time to switch off – I don’t manage to go so “within” when they just go to the park for an hour.
    I’m not sure how much this answers the questions you put out in your interesting post; I’m still asking myself similar questions. I think, whereas in my early days of parenting, I was screaming “where the **** will I EVER fit or even exist again?!”, I feel now that my Self does fit – but with a different shape and different dance. That motherhood itself is spiritual work. The shape of my practice and my life will soon undoubtedly change again when we welcome our second child! This time I know that, even if there’s a phase when it’s rare just to have a bath by myself, it will just be a phase – and to really gratefully drink in the peace, warmth and nurture of that bath! Blessings for your own journey in Mamapriestesshood, Mo 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your response, Mo! I really value it…and, I feel myself in it too.

      I’m thinking of running with the Hearth Priestess concept and seeing how that “integrated” perspective might expand my boundaries and enhance my attitude. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Telling About It: Mamapriestess Pendant - Brigid's Grove

  3. Pingback: Everyday Priestess (#30daysofdissertation) | WoodsPriestess

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