feminist thealogy

Earth’s Mystery School

october-2016-003

“Earth is a mystery school complete with initiations and discoveries that you only experience by living with your feelings, touching the earth, and embracing the fullness of your humanity.”

–Queen Guenivere

(awakewoman)

Three recent moments come to mind…

On Samhain morning, I wake early and mist was rising out of the forest and dancing through the field and out of the trees. I have a moment of sheer awe to see it…the veil was literally thin. october-2016-024

Over the weekend, I visit the nearby river to connect in personal ceremony in appreciation before the park closes for the year and also symbolically to those at Standing Rock. This river eventually meets the Missouri. I run my hands through the water. I anoint my brow, neck, and hands. I whisper my prayers into the ripples. I sing: “I am water. I am water…I am flowing like the water, like the water I am flowing, like the water…”

I am hurrying outside to get some work done. I feel tight and hurried with the length of my to-do list and my superhuman plans for the day. The bright red flame of a bloom on my pineapple sage plant catches my eye and then…the perfection of a bright yellow butterfly alighting on one slender stamen. My breath catches and I stop in wonder. I smell the flower and it smells of pineapple, just as the leaves do. I can hardly believe this treasure and the tightness melts into nothing. The rest of the day is full of joy. october-2016-065

I am once again healed by flowers.

I create personal ritual almost every day in my tiny temple outside my house, sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate, sometimes tearful, sometimes joyful, sometimes hurried, sometimes leisurely, sometimes distracted, sometimes astonished at the wonder of it all. Last week, I smudged the temple with sage I grew in the flowerboxes by my front porch. I rang my bell 13 times. I sang “I Am Fire.” I laid out cards and tiny goddesses and created a mandala out of fallen leaves. I left an offering of flowers from the herbs and let rose petals drop from my fingers. Ritual captivates all the senses…in this sacred space, I invoke my own senses of smell, touch, sight, sound, and wonder and the result is magic.

“Through ceremony we learn how to give back. When we sing, we give energy through our voice; when we drum, we allow the earth’s heartbeat to join with our own; when we dance, we bring the energy of earth and sky together in our bodies and give it out; when we pray, we give energy through our hearts; when we look upon our relations, we give blessings through our eyes. When we put all these activities together, we have a ceremony, one of the most powerful forms of gift-giving we humans possess.”

–Sun Bear and Wabun Wind

b2ap3_thumbnail_October-2016-027.JPGHow have you experienced the power of personal ceremony recently?

(We are also offering our Liminal Space Ritual Kit free here. And, a free 2017 Calamoondala how-to class.)

Categories: blessings, ceremony, earthprayer, embodiment, feminist thealogy, Goddess, nature, practices, prayers, priestess, ritual, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Book Review: The Other Side of the River

13603729_1759471264265088_2502141005184380413_o“Braids, tapestries, and currents in the river show us the way again and again–it cannot be one clear way or another, it has got to be both ways and together.”

–Eila Carrico, The Other Side of the River

It has taken me many months to review this book and as I sit down to write about it, I find myself at a loss for words. Go. Read it. It is a powerful book.

The Other Side of the River is a lyrical personal narrative that runs in multiple streams and ripples of thought to one riverrushing river: Women’s lives matter. Women’s stories matter. Women’s bodies matter. Women’s voices matter. Women’s lives and the health of the planet are inextricably intertwined. It is gorgeous and also stunning in its complexity. As I read it, I kept thinking, “how did she do this?” How did she weave so many experiences and thoughts and insights into this one text that flows so powerfully together? In The Other Side of the River, author Eila Carrico’s personal experiences and stories of her life are interwoven with descriptions, thoughts, and experiences from the world’s waters and her travels to many different bodies of water. Eila has listened to the river, learned from the waters, and these many ripples blend together into a juicy, creative, thought-provoking, complex web of questions, thoughts, and lessons. As we journey with her from the Florida marshlands to New Orleans, to San Francisco, to Africa, to India, to London, and even some time in the Mojave Desert, we also meet many water goddesses from world culture and are treated to an evocative exploration of the Goddess, the sacred feminine, at work in women’s lives and in the world as a whole. We learn from Tara and Aphrodite and Ganga and Oshun and Cailleach and Kali, all swirling together in a labyrinthine journey of depth and profundity.

Published by Womancraft Publishing, The Other Side of the River is not only a personal memoir, but a treatise on ecofeminism, ecology, and environmentalism. I discovered ecofeminism during my doctoral studies and have often returned to a phrase womb ecology reflects world ecology, world ecology reflects womb ecology. In this book we come to see how the damming of the rivers, the polluting of the oceans, the re-routing of the streams, reflects the stifling of women’s voices, the control of women’s bodies, and the oppression of women’s lives.

“I imagine that women look outside for answers because they cannot feel the wisdom of their own bodies anymore. Years of creating an icy barrier to keep out the stares, the calls, the threat of rape and worse. Women take care of their friends and families, but they do not take care of themselves. Women have lost what sustains them, forgotten what brings them to live, pushed down their rage and denied their need for rest..

…I think of the time during and after the witch burnings in Europe as a time when once fluid women chose to turn themselves into ice for self-preservation. They decidedly slowed and suppressed their wisdom of ways sensitive to the natural landscape and began to lives much further beneath the surface of their skin. They learned to conceal, conserve and control themselves to survive.”

–Eila Carrico

I am reminded of a quote from Clarissa Pinkola-Estes: Be wild! That is how to clear the river.

It is hard for me to write as compellingly as I would like to about such a compelling book. Please read it and let its magic stream through you too.

13725062_1767014216844126_8543322208433831694_o

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

Crossposted at SageWoman and Brigid’s Grove.

Categories: books, embodiment, feminism, feminist thealogy, Goddess, resources, reviews, self-care, spirituality, women, writing | 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

Day 2: Winter Withdrawal (#30daysofyule + #30daysofdissertation)

12362679_1685790088299873_4037715236141904055_oFinally comes the time of withdrawal, the hidden time.

It is as though the world sleeps under a gray cloak. Everything is still and silent. It is as though the world sleeps under a gray veil. . .

Life has moved to the center, to its hidden darkness. Bulbs rest, roots sleep, trees go dormant. Stillness settles over the world.

— Patricia Monaghan, “Winter,” Seasons of the Witch

The sculpture above was created in black by special request for someone who is in a Cerridwen priestess program. I find her to be a powerful evocation of the mood of this time of year as well.

As I noted yesterday, the twin pulls of withdrawal and community are strong for me at this time of year. I crave silence and time alone to work and think and be. I also am filled with ideas for celebrations and events and activities with friends and families. Creating my workspace in my clubhouse-turned-goddess-temple is one step that honors both needs: time apart and away to withdraw into myself and work, while at the same time holding the potential of being a gathering space for a (small) group.

IMG_9686

Inside my tiny temple space. Ahhh! Such peaceful quiet.

Today, I left the door open so that I could hear the birds and the breeze while I typed at my little desk. I had to prepare a final exam for my class and so the bulk of my alone time was spent on that project. But, I also managed to pull in some notes from a review of the book Portrait of a Priestess by Joan Connelly (reviewed in the Journal of Law and Religion). I didn’t really enjoy her book myself, it was dry and ponderous, and it was kind of nice to read about it through someone else’s perception–I feel like I may have gotten more useful nuggets from the review than from the book itself! I noticed throughout my coursework at OSC that the classes that focus on history were the least enjoyable to me. I don’t find that I personally need historical validation to “legitimize” my own life/path. Connelly’s book focuses in exhaustive, painstaking detail on the lives of priestesses in Greece. The subtext being, to me, that if we can prove that there were priestesses in Greece who were respected and had authority, independence, and agency then this justifies the existence of present day priestesses. I don’t find the justification particularly necessary, especially since data is slim and contextual and cultural factors have such an influence. (It isn’t that it isn’t valuable or relevant or good information to have, it is just that my personal need for this information as a form of justification, validation, affirmation, or legitimization feels low and I therefore have trouble feeling passionate about it!)

From the review:

The religious activities of priestesses listed in Chapter Six, for example, are organized in the following categories: procession (167), prayer (173), libation (176), sacrifice (179), ritual feasting (190) and benefactions (192).

These are interesting and relevant, but do not dictate present-day behaviors or roles, to my mind. I need to do some work and “unpacking” of how I will weave some priestess herstory into my dissertation (I do, in fact, usually specify that my research is on contemporary priestessing in the US. However, this doesn’t mean that I want to ignore looking at the ancient thread of lineage and purpose that connects us to priestesses of other times and places…).

Have I mentioned what a big project this is? Luckily, my 30 days and fifteen minutes plans both make it feel doable again instead of impossible!

Categories: #30daysofyule, 30daysofdissertation, art, dissertation, endarkenment, feminist thealogy, priestess, seasons | Leave a comment

Priestess Semantics (#30DaysofDissertation)

IMG_9643-1I revisited one of my first posts at SageWoman yesterday as I continued to type notes from Under Her Wings.

“The journey to become a priestess…(even of the urban variety) remains a grueling task, not something capable of being conferred by a few weekend workshops or sweat lodges. The glibness with which such terms are used can be infuriating…” –Vivienne Vernon-Jones in Voices of the Goddess by Caitlin Matthews

Source: Practical Priestessing: Who Does She Think SHE is?! – PaganSquare – PaganSquare – Join the conversation!

Nicole Christine also addresses the fear, the chastisement, of “who does she think she is?” as she describes working with her first group of initiates:

“This is when the priestess within came to life! Many wanted me to tell them how to be a priestess. Now, through direct communion with the Goddess and the priestess within, we were, each in our own time and own way, discovering what it means to be a priestess in these times.

Facilitating, rather than directing, I was in continual awe over what was seeking expression through us.”(p. 69)

She reached a conclusion with her group: “And we concurred that to be a priestess in these times was about inner mediation between the Goddess Within and our woman self, rather than serving as an intermediary between the Divine and humankind” (p . 68). But, she also acknowledges a shared fear that I find reassuring in my own work:  “A split in consciousness regarding use of the term priestess existed in the first circle of initiates. Most fear ridicule and/or misunderstanding if they openly identified as priestesses, and also felt somehow unworthy of such identification. But when time came for their ordinations, these women radiantly reclaimed their worthiness and courageously broke ground for new priestesses” (p. 81).

I marked one more quote on the topic of self-worth, since I struggle here a lot as well: “[a priestess in the initiation process] shared her inner pilgrimage process. ‘I kept trying to be a priestess and feeling more and more worthless because I wasn’t being what I thought a priestess should be. Finally, I realized that a priestess, more than anything, needs to be honest with her feelings—that is where the power and self-worth are” (p. 96).

Switching gears, I realized that in all of my 311 pages of typing so far (plus 154 pages of research participation questions, I’ve almost totally overlooked an entire element of The Priestess (as archetype) and that is the sexual priestess. I think my knee-jerk reaction is to completely dismiss “temple prostitute” type of verbiage in literature as an artifact of patriarchal conditioning/interpretation. i.e. I don’t know that I believe that the role of ancient temple priestesses actually had anything to do with sex per se, instead I think that later historians/archaeologists have trouble understanding that female religious leadership could be in a capacity other than sexual and so they dismiss priestess evidence as “temple prostitute” (much like dismissing all sculptures as “fertility icons” instead of goddesses). But, in that rejection of what I see as the temple prostitute “myth,” I am missing out on a whole category of responses or interpretations.

Nicole Christine actually addresses this subject in some depth in Under Her Wings:

“The author [of The Sacred Prostitute] affirmed my knowing that it is the sacred prostitute/sexual priestess who actively brings goddess love into the human realm” (p. 93).

(Though, I kind of scratch my head here. I recognize that I’m probably layering on some of my own culturally ingrained judgements/stereotypes/conceptions here, but to me, I see and experience many ways of bringing goddess love into the human realm that have nothing to do with being a sacred prostitute/sexual priestess…)

Actually, as I type now, I realize I didn’t completely overlook it, because I did read Aphrodite’s Priestess by Laurelei Black. I listened to several Voices of the Sacred Feminine shows that related to “sacred courtesanship” and I participate in enough women’s empowerment focused Facebook groups to know that some women embrace themselves as “dakini” or priestesses of the sexual arts. Though, it has also only very recently caught my attention that some people, other than those patriarchally blinded archaeologist types, actually perceive Priestess as a synonym for Prostitute! I mean more that I overlooked it as a serious area for further exploration and discussion. I also just found out about this book, but I don’t know that I have time to add another book to my pile!

IMG_9220

Categories: 30daysofdissertation, dissertation, feminist thealogy, practices, priestess, quotes, readings, resources, spirituality, women, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

Day 29: Dreaming (#30DaysofHecate)

IMG_7982Tell me about a potent, numinous dream you had, that you have never forgotten. (It does not have to be a recent dream; just one that seems like it was a gift.)

In 2013, I experienced a really profound dream. I was walking down to the woods and in the sky above the priestess rocks, I saw a gigantic, beautiful, pulsating, pink, jeweled rose like flower. I was awe-struck and staring at it. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I became aware that a golden cord stretched from the center of the flower to the top of my head and I became aware that all people were connected to it by these golden cords as well. Then, in that uniquely expansive character of dreams, I somehow traveled through the center of the flower. On the other side was an immense snake of unimaginable proportion, spiraling around “the cosmic egg.” As I looked at it, I became aware that the snake was actually the whole of the universe and that along its body, in the scales, one could perceive not only each galaxy, but also a point for all times and places that ever were or will be. It is hard to describe in writing, but I still deeply remember by feelings of both awe and comprehension and this expansive awareness of reality. It was a gorgeous, trippy, and meaningful dream. I tried to draw something about it, but couldn’t do it. What I was left with is that feeling of majesty, magnitude, and incredible connection.

 

Categories: #30daysofHecate, divination, dreams, endarkenment, feminist thealogy, Flowers, Goddess, nature, night, sacred pause, spirituality, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Day 25: the palm of my hand (#30daysofHecate)

Echoes of MesopotamiaIMG_9352
small figures from ancient places
ancient times
and ancient faces
ancient words
and ancient wisdom
still flowing in my veins…

I occasionally get requests to make bigger goddesses–people wanting figures that are large altar pieces 12-18 inches tall or taller. The goddesses I make are all about three inches tall and there’s a reason for that: they fit in the palm of my hand. When I create them, I feel as if I’m part of an unbroken lineage stretching back 30,000 years to the person who carved the Goddess of Willendorf. I feel connected to the priestesses of the Mesopotamian temples who sculpted hundreds upon hundreds of tiny clay goddesses. Someone commented on my sculptures once saying, “echoes of Mesopotamia.” And, I said, “exactly.” I feel the connection between the clay in my hand and the clay in their hands, running through the ripples and eddies of time.

I’ve been inspired recently to re-read Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance, finding new bits of wisdom from it that speak to something different in me than they did the first time I read it. She writes of the attempts to discredit Goddess religion by invalidating the historical narratives or archaeological evidence: “The idea seems to be that if they can disprove our origin story, they can invalidate our spirituality…Is Buddhism invalid if we cannot find archaeological evidence of Buddha’s existence? Are Christ’s teachings unimportant if we cannot find his birth certificate or death warrant?…the truth of our experience is valid whether it has roots thousands of years old or thirty minutes old…a mythic truth whose proof is shown not through references and footnotes but in the way it engages strong emotions, mobilizes deep life energies, and gives us a sense of history, purpose, and place in the world. What gives the Goddess tradition validity is how it works for us now, in the moment, not whether or not someone else worshipped this particular image in the past” (p. 4).

The ancestry of my goddess sculptures is not the energy that raised temples and built monuments (or walls), it is the energy that carried a baby on one hip and a basket of supplies on the other and needed a goddess just the right size to tuck down the front of a shirt.

People might also look for altar pieces that stay in one place, but I create sacred art that goes wherever you do. It makes my day when I see a photo from a customer of their goddesses living life with them, rather than dusty on a shelf, and I keep envisioning a collaborative photo book of these sculptures as they travel the world. In the last month, we’ve shipped goddesses to France, Sweden, Portugal, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and Canada. An archaeologist of the future may wonder why people in so many different geographic regions have little goddesses in the same style—perhaps this is evidence of widespread Goddess worship, they will say.

Sometimes I describe my life in the woods as being held in the hand of the goddess. And, I make goddesses that I hold in my hand. Am I in the palm of her hand or is she in the palm of mine? The answer is both.

October 2015 034

One of my all-time favorite fan photos–a rainy day traveling goddess picture, taken by my friend/SIL (this one is only an inch tall, but look how she calls in the waters of the world!)

Related past posts:

Echoes of Mesopotamia by Molly Meade

Amazon.com: Earthprayer, Birthprayer, Lifeprayer, Womanprayer

Thursday Thealogy: Matriarchal Myth or a New Story? | WoodsPriestess

Thursday Thealogy: Goddess as Symbol, Statement, and Experience | WoodsPriestess

Goddess Body, World Body | WoodsPriestess

Categories: #30daysofHecate, ancestors, art, feminist thealogy, Goddess, priestess, sculpture, spirituality, womanspirit | Leave a comment

Spring Flowers

Tiny flowers
Spring’s resurrection
No bloodshed required.

Categories: feminist thealogy, nature, poems, seasons, spirituality, theapoetics | 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 with 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 (website)

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.

IMG_2963

Categories: feminist thealogy, Goddess, priestess, quotes, spirituality, thealogy, Thursday Thealogy, womanspirit | 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 | 2 Comments

Top Ten Books of 2014

I keep track of the books I read each year using Goodreads and in 2014 I read 100 books. In the past, I’ve done blog posts with all 100 books listed. That is cumbersome and not very interesting to the reader and simply too long! So, this year I’m offering a list of my top 10 reads in 2014. I’m running short on time lately and normally I would want to link all of these books to the right pages on Amazon and include cover photos, etc., but I’m just going to let go of doing that.

  1. Women Who Run with the Wolves–this one took me almost all year to read and was really a treasure once I let myself sink into it.
  2. Women, Writing and Soul-Making–this was the text we used in my Women Engaged in Sacred Writing class at OSC. It is a very good book and I quoted it in this post: The Women’s Hearth | WoodsPriestess
  3. Daring Greatly–I checked this out on audio from the library and really enjoyed it. It is about vulnerability and was very powerful in many ways. (Side note: I am over the moon about how very much fun it is to be able to “read” and do something else at the same time. It is like a miracle. I wish I would have gotten a library card for this purpose a very long time ago!)
  4. Lean Inanother library audio book read, this book by Sheryl Sandberg is about women and work. Very good!
  5. The Leader Within and Ritual Facilitation–both of these books are by Shauna Aura Knight whose blog I love reading and always learn from.
  6. Stepping into Ourselves—I absolutely loved this anthology of writings by priestesses (I also love Anne Key’s memoir, Desert Priestess). I recently had the opportunity to beta test the first of a series of priestessing classes based on this book as well. Top notch resource!
  7. Rituals of Celebration—an impressive exploration of the art of ritual. I wrote a little about this book in this post: Offering… | WoodsPriestess.
  8. Keep Simple Ceremonies–this book was recommended to be by one of my blog readers and I just adore it. This was my second reading of the book.
  9. To Make and Make Again—required reading for my ritual theory class at OSC, this book was difficult to get into, but then included all kinds of interesting gems about the power, purpose, and value of gathering together in sacred circle.
  10. Candlemas: Feast of Flames—I’d actually almost forgotten about this one since I read it almost an entire year ago! But, it was an excellent resource specifically for Imbolc and celebrating Brigid. I’m going back into this book now to get ready for our Brigid’s Grove anniversary celebration and family Imbolc ritual.

I would recommend all of these books as excellent priestess resources!

IMG_9858

Categories: books, feminist thealogy, liturgy, priestess, resources, reviews, ritual, women's circle | 2 Comments

Book Review: Naming the Goddess

namingthegoddess

“On any spiritual path, and most especially on one that is simultaneously a path of magical practice, our real progress and growth is measurable largely in the capacity to pass the challenges that are set before us. The easy parts of the journey are not the most important.”

–Philip Kane (in his essay on Laverna, Naming the Goddess, p. 232)

Naming the Goddess, published by Moon Books, is a collaborative work bringing together essays written by over eighty scholars and practitioners of Goddess Spirituality, including contributions from Selena Fox, Kathy Jones, Caroline Wise and Rachel Patterson. A unique aspect of this book is that it is a two-part project with the first part of the book containing a series of contemplative and scholarly essays and the second part serving as a “gazetteer” of different goddesses, making it useful both as a reference book and as well as one that encourages reflective spiritual thought.

The perspectives and thealogies explored in the first section are pleasantly diverse and engaging. I do wish this section was longer, because I felt like it was still getting going when the focus then shifted to the second, larger section of the book.

I confess I didn’t expect to particularly enjoy the gazetteer portion because I have a variety of goddess “dictionary” type books already and I expected much of the second part of the book to be a repeat of information I already have. However, the approach in Naming the Goddess was decidedly different. First, because many of the seventy goddesses included were uncommon deities with whom I was not familiar. Second, because the entries were written with a personal flair, often by women or men who directly work with the goddesses profiled, rather than solely being a generic overview of the mythology or cultural lore associated with the goddess. Having so many voices represented in one book also means that I found a number of other books to add to my wish list as well as diverse authors and bloggers to follow online!

Another enjoyable element of this volume of essays was the “bite-sized” nature of each piece. Most of the essays are 2-5 pages long, meaning the book can readily be digested in a stop-and-start manner that is very compatible with a busy life that includes four small children!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

November 2014 136

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

Ocean Seminary College

“The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. Sit. Feast on your life.” –Derek Walcott

(quoted in The Mother’s Wisdom Deck)

“Human connections are deeply nurtured in the field of shared story.” –Jean Houston

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m working on the Thealogy/Goddess Studies D.Min at Ocean Seminary College and took a little pitstop for an M.Div, completed in July. I get occasional questions on my Facebook page or via email about how I feel about the program and I’ve been promising for a long time that I would write a blog post about it. In general, I love it! You do have to be extremely self-motivated to succeed with the programs though. There is not a lot of feedback and can be long delays in communication. So, lots of self-discipline, self-motivation, and self-starting is very key to actually making progress. Luckily, I’ve always been very self-motivated, so the self-organized structure works for me.

After finishing the M.Div, I am slowly picking back up my D.Min work too and expect to finish my dissertation next year. I very much enjoy my work with OSC and have grown exponentially personally, professionally, and thealogically as a direct result of diving into the work there and really doing it, but there are two things to go into the experience with—be prepared to be VERY self-directed and self-motivated and be prepared to be patient. The staff is small and somewhat overtaxed and so it can take a LONG time to get any feedback or response on your classwork. I learned to just move forward at my own pace and appreciate the feedback when it came. And, no one will hold your hand or push you to get started and to do the work, that drive and motivation has to come from within and is self-directed. The classes themselves are extraordinarily well-organized and comprehensive and my mind boggles at all the work that went into creating and planning them. But again, though, your progress through them is going to have to come from within!

These are the classes I completed as my Ministerial/M.Div courses and D.Min foundation work:

02.01.004 Stigmatization of the Witch in History Spring 2012

This class was emotionally difficult due to the intense violence experienced by women during the “witchcraze” years, but amazing in terms of what I learned and the connections I made. As I’ve referenced in prior posts, I really made the sociological connection between current political climates and past events and they are not as far away from each other as we may like to believe.

02.02.001 Goddess Traditions in Contemp. Society I Fall 2011
02.02.002 Goddess Traditions in Contemp. Society II Spring 2012

These classes were both helpful in refining my personal thealogy, developing a framework for my beliefs, and in providing me with material that later became blog posts or essays for other publications!

02.02.003 Historical Roots of Goddess Worship Fall 2012

In this course, I realized that Goddess herstory is simply not my area of interest. I don’t need to be convinced of the role and presence of goddesses throughout human history and so I had to really kind of force myself through this class which felt repetitive after all the reading and writing I’ve already done on this subject.

02.02.004 Introduction to Thealogy Spring 2012

This class was a tremendous academic challenge that really pushed me to grow, expand, and refine my own thealogy and my own conceptual understanding of this field. It was hard, mentally exhausting work. This class took me a year to finish and it twisted my brain in many ways and really made me dig more deeply.

02.02.005 Matriarchal Myth I Spring 2013
02.02.006 Matriarchal Myth II Fall 2013
02.02.007 Matriarchal Myth III Winter 2014

See my notes on Goddess History above. These classes got repetitive and I felt like, I got this already. I kept returning to the same themes, topics, quotes, and references because I really have already built my “case” and understanding in this area. However, the final class in which we had to read and respond to several books that attempt to debunk or challenge goddess-centered narratives was very valuable at, again, pushing the boundaries of my own understanding and my ability to articulate it and make a case for my own understanding or interpretation.

02.02.012 Birth, Death, Regeneration Fall 2012

This was a fun and experiential class, exploring the classic Maiden, Mother, Crone archetypes in one’s own life. I did some art projects for this one.

02.02.015 Thealogy & Deasophy Spring 2013

Ouch! Another major brain stretcher. I feel really good about my work in these classes, but they were hard work.

02.02.013 Goddess Wheel of the Year Spring 2012

Another fun and experiential class.  It is a very personal class about your own experiences and creating ritual and ceremony within your own life and kind of dancing with the Goddess throughout the year.

02.01.005 Sacred Groves: Covens & Npg Groups Spring 2012
02.01.006 Ethics & Professional Practice Summer 2012

Closely related, these two classes were really important in forming a clear vision for organizing, facilitating, and maintaining a spiritual group as well as practicing in a professional manner. July 2014 048

02.01.007 Ritual & Liturgy Summer 2012

Very enjoyable and practical class in creating meaningful rituals for specific occasions. I did a lot of work in this class that I went on to use for other purposes.

02.01.017 The Role of the Priest/Priestess Winter 2013

While there was some overlap here with the other professional practice courses I already mentioned, this was a personally very valuable class that really encouraged me to dig into the heart of priestess work and my own relationship to it. Lots of deep stuff as well as fears and insecurities came up for me in this class. I explored themes related to this class in a series several posts about practical priestessing on my SageWoman blog.

03.01.033 Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life Summer 2013

This course was a required year-long course. I found it helpful, relevant, and valuable, though perhaps I need to revisit it on an annual basis to get it to soak in completely!

04.01.001 Ecology & the Sacred Fall 2011

This course was my first course and I loved it. It was the first time I’ve spent any time with formal ecological concepts and I really loved digging into something that was a new subject for me, but that could be easily and intimately tied to my own spiritual understanding. It was in this course that I joked about writing a Thealogy of Chickens and it was in this course that the seeds of my Woodspriestess experiment, as well as identity as such, were planted.

E: 04.04.002 Ecofeminism I Spring 2013

This class was an elective and I really loved it.The connection between the exploitation of the earth and the exploitation of women comes into sharp focus as well as the connections between the human body and the world body. It helped inform the later class in breastfeeding and ecofeminism that I taught for an independent study student at another college.

Doctoral classes completed:

02.02.016 Goddess Ritual Theory Winter 2014

I really enjoyed this class. The orientation was theoretical and conceptual rather than practical—as in we were writing about and exploring the whys of ritual, rather than creating rituals.

02.02.017 Adv Thealogical Praxis I Spring 2014
02.02.018 Adv Thealogical Praxis II Spring 2014

Brain. Stretched. It is both funny and fitting that the classes that were the most intense and difficult to slog through were those with titles close to “Thealogy,” the very subject of my degree. These classes helped inform my M.Div thesis project and dissertation, however.

02.01.008 Crisis of Faith & Inspiration Winter 2014

This course uses a very helpful, highly recommended book by Judy Harrow called Spiritual Mentoring. This was another one of the practical, helpful, nuts-and-bolts of direct practice types of courses that are so important to have along with the academic, theoretical coursework. Ritual Recipe Kit for Women's Ceremonies (digital kit, mother blessings, maiden ceremony, menarche, crone, sagewoman)

02.01.014 Crafting Rites for Npg Clergy Spring 2014

This class I “tested out of” in a sense, by submitting my work for my Ritual Recipe Kit. Good stuff here!

Classes remaining to complete D.Min:

02.01.009 Empowering Members
02.02.019 High Priestess
02.01.015 Death & Dying

02.02.020 Goddess Priestess Practicum (10 Credits)—requiring a 40 hour priestess internship, this is almost complete as I just need to finish getting reviews/evaluations from women’s group members.

02.02.022 Goddess Thealogy Dissertation (20 Credits)—working on it! I have a 300+ page word document of possible content, but need to focus and center in on this now that my thesis and M.Div are complete.

Currently registered for elective courses:

02.02.009 Goddess Mothers: Shekhinah Mountainwater

Couldn’t resist this one after all my Womanrunes work!

01.02.001 Shamanism, Creativity, & the Arts I

Mask-making! How could I refuse?! This class is an experiential course in which you explore many concepts through art as well as through a culminating final project. I was packed with ideas for this class when I enrolled in it, but I became so focused on my required coursework (and other projects) as well that I let this course become inactive and will have to resume it later.

I’d like to close this post with two excerpts from my original application to OSC in 2011. It has been a wonderful, deep, complex journey so far and I look forward to continuing my work…

Who/what inspires you? June 2014 045

I long to speak out the intense inspiration that comes to me from the lives of strong women.” –Ruth Benedict

I believe that these circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we’re weak and sing with us when we’re strong.” –SARK, Succulent Wild Woman

I am most inspired by the everyday women surrounding me in this world. Brave, strong, vibrant, wild, intelligent, complicated women. Women who are also sometimes frightened, depressed, discouraged, hurt, angry, petty, or jealous. Real, multifaceted, dynamic women. Women who keep putting one foot in the front of the other and continue picking themselves back up again when the need arises.

I am also inspired by women from the past who worked for social justice and women’s rights—women who lived consciously and deliberately and with devoted intention to making the world a better place. Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton. Women who have studied and written about feminist spirituality—such as Carol Christ, Hallie Ingleheart, Patricia Mongahan, and Barbara Ardinger–are also a source of inspiration. As a mother, I find additional inspiration in the self-care encouraging writings of Jennifer Louden and Renée Trudeau.

My children have provided a powerful source of inspiration and motivation. I wish to model for them a life lived as a complete, fully developed human being. After birthing three sons, I gave birth to a daughter in January, 2011. I always envisioned having daughters and felt well-prepared to raise a “kick-ass” girl. Having sons first presented me with a different type of inspiration (and, to me, a deeper challenge)—to raise healthy men. Men who treat women well and who are balanced, confident, loving, compassionate people. I came to think of myself as a mother of sons exclusively and was very surprised to actually have a girl as my last child [updated note: not really my last child as I am now pregnant again!]. When I found out she was a girl, my sense of “like carries like/like creates like” was very potent and my current need to participate in the creation of a world in which she can bloom to her fullest is very strong.

My own inner fire inspires me—my drive to make a difference and to live well and wisely my one wild and precious life. Good conversations, time alone with my journal, time alone outdoors sitting on a big rock, and simple time in the shower provides additional fuel for this inner fire…

Reasons for applying to your specific program of study and how this fits into your personal and spiritual goals for yourself.

I have been “dancing” with Goddess ideas and imagery for about seven years now and I feel deeply called to pursue my study on a more committed level. To me, this program with Ocean Seminary College represents an integration of something I feel with my mind, heart, and spirit. My whole being. In women’s spirituality, I glimpse the multifaceted totality of women’s lives and I long to reach out and serve the whole woman. I wish to extend my range of passion to include the full woman’s life cycle, rather than focus on the maternal aspect of the wheel of life as I have done for some time. I want to create rituals that nourish, to plan ceremonies that honor, to facilitate workshops that uncover, to write articles that inform, and to teach classes that inspire the women in my personal life, my community, and the world. I am currently the vice-president of my Unitarian Universalist church and I facilitate women’s spirituality classes and retreats. In these capacities, I plan programs, give presentations, and facilitate ceremonies (including the occasional wedding). I feel I have already contributed a lot to my community based on my own self-study and exploration and now I feel ready to take that further—to go beyond what I’ve been able to learn, discover, and share under my own power, by studying with a formal program.

I have both a scholar’s heart and a heart for service and at the root, this is what makes me feel like I am a good match for Ocean Seminary College’s program in Goddess Thealogy. I wish to live so that my life becomes a living, embodied prayer for social change and to do work that is both spiritually-based and woman affirming…

July 2014 097

 

Categories: feminist thealogy, Goddess, liturgy, OSC, resources, reviews, ritual, spirituality, thealogy, thesis, writing | 4 Comments

Fear

“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 July 2014 018community at large. Afraid we can be of ‘speaking out’ on behalf of the Feminine.

For in doing so we may experience rejection, ridicule, abandonment… all experiences masking an even greater fear… that of ancient memories of persecution, torture and death…”

Chrysalis Woman Circle Leader Manual

Perhaps the above sounds a little dramatic and perhaps it is a feature of the region in which I live, but I do think there is a lot of truth here to the buried fear/memory or worry of being put to death for speaking up for women, for priestessing, even for self-empowerment. When I read the book Witchcraze for my Persecution of the Witch class at Ocean Seminary College, I was disturbed and frightened to see how very clearly the sociological connections could be made between the witchcraze of the Middle Ages and attitudes, more subtle and framed in different language, that still exist today.

In a post I wrote based on my final essay for this class, I wrote:

In her book, Witchcraze, Anne Barstow concludes with the following sobering statement:  “This book has been an effort to remember the names of those who died across Europe. So far, few have said, ‘Yes, these things really happened.’ And no one has yet said, ‘They will never dare to happen again.’” (p. 167).

My first response upon reading this statement was, I’ll say it! They will never dare happen again! But, then I more somberly thought about the things I currently see in society that to me still carry living threads of the witchcraze legacy and I realized that I truly think that globally as well as in the U.S. we teeter on the edge of having history repeat itself. When I read about the histrionics of the extremely conservative and fundamentalist movements in the U.S. and their increasing and frightening political influence, it is not so farfetched to me…Some of the things conservative religious movements promote and advocate are very scary. And, they are increasingly gaining political influence in subtle but powerful ways. While I don’t think we would literally experience a resurgence of the “burning times,” I think the type of misogyny that produced them remains alive and well.

via Never Again? | WoodsPriestess.

I written before about a related experience:

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…

via Woodspriestess: Saving the World? | WoodsPriestess.

And, that post was later modified and transformed into a more detailed post at Feminism and Religion: Do Women’s Circles Actually Matter?

As I re-visited this topic following our most recent Rise Up class in which we talked about why a goddess-honoring culture does not automatically translate to being a woman-honoring culture (even though it seems like they would be logically connected). We talked about standing up, speaking out, about activating the goddess within, and about the idea that showing up and doing it matters. We talked about how creating alternative images and ideas and sharing them—not in a conflictual or challenging or “you’re wrong” oppositional way, but in terms of sharing and showing up with our own symbols and art and ideas. I thought about the fear that is associated for many women in doing this kind of work. I also thought about just how big it is and how far and deep it goes and I remembered the idea of “small stone activism.” I suspect perhaps many women end up withholding their own “small stones” of empowerment and activism because they don’t seem big enough or profound enough to actually change the world…

While reading the book The Mother Trip by Ariel Gore, I came across this quote from civil rights activist Alice Walker: “It has become a common feeling, I believe, as we have watched our heroes failing over the years, that our own small stone of activism, which might not seem to measure up to the rugged boulders of heroism we have so admired, is a paltry offering toward the building of an edifice of hope. Many who believe this choose to withhold their offerings out of shame. This is the tragedy of our world.” Ariel adds her own thoughts to this: “Remember: as women, as mothers, we cannot not work. Put aside your ideas that your work should be something different or grander than it is. In each area of your life—in work, art, child-rearing, gardening, friendships, politics, love, and spirituality—do what you can do. That’s enough. Your small stone is enough…”

via Small Stone Birth Activism | Talk Birth.

July 2014 049

Speak your truth
tell your story
stand up for the silenced
speak for the voiceless
believe that hope still has a place

Hold steady
hold strong
hold the vision
hold each other…

 

Categories: community, feminist thealogy, priestess, spirituality, women's circle | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.