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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!

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

Under Her Wings (#30daysofdissertation)

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“If there is one chant in the universe it is to create.”

–Chris Griscolm quoted in Christine, p. 25

Typing notes from Nicole Christine’s book Under Her Wings: The Making of a Magdalene was my 30 Days of Dissertation work today. Mark made this special clear Embrace Possibilities goddess for me as a reminder and encourager.

Christine touches on the “everyday priestess” topic of Day 1:

Priestess to the World. Now I understand that to be a priestess in these times was to uphold the sacred in daily life…in the world…with everyone, everywhere. The times of priestessing behind temple walls were past. The living Earth is the temple and everywhere is holy ground. (p. 31)

She also makes note of what I was just talking about yesterday (“feeling it” alone rather than in group contexts), while writing about attending a workshop by Riane Eisler:

“But my real priestessing took place apart from the conference structure. Each night, I climbed a back stairway to the hotel rooftop where, amidst treetops and beneath the stars, I invoked the Goddess and did the Dance of Creation that I had learned at the Earth Song Human Rainbow Celebration. The dance had become an integral part of my spiritual practice. As I prayerfully did the movements, I felt my mind, boy, and spirit unifying with all of creation and I knew I could energetically do more to close the gap when I focused inward than when I engaged in externally focused activities” (p. 55).

And, I appreciated her observations here:

“Journaling, alone or with others, was my most consistent means of accessing the vast pool of eternal wisdom. But, alone in Nature, where woman knows herself best, I attuned to subtler and subtler frequencies. I heard the Voice of the Goddess in the wind. Felt the Presence of the Grandmothers in the rocks. Touched the Mystery of Mother Earth in her rivers and streams. And, on moonlit nights, I knew the wonder of being woman with the rhythms of the Universe in her body…I took daily delight in being made in the Image and Likeness of the re-emerging Goddess” (p. 66).

My little one woke up from his nap almost immediately after falling asleep, so this was all the progress I made today (I did finish my FAR post this morning based on my earlier, “all we need to make magic,” post. It will be published on Wednesday).

Categories: 30daysofdissertation, dissertation, Goddess, practices, priestess, quotes, resources, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Ritual energy (#30daysofdissertation)

November 2015 059“Personally, what I have noticed most often about the level of energy in the many rituals I have experienced has far more to do with my mood and personal energy level in solitary rites, and the personalities and personal connections of the people involved in the group rites I’ve experienced than with any external factor, from clothing or lack thereof, to male-female alternation around the circle, to tradition or jewelry or hairstyle, or whatever. Are the people happy to be there? Do they genuinely like each other? Do they believe in the work they’re doing? These are the things I’ve noticing affecting magic’s potency for me.” (Thuri Calafia, Dedicant, p. 159)

I didn’t feel like I had a lot of generative, creative energy for dissertation work today, so I decided to spend my fifteen minutes finishing typing up some quotes from the book Dedicant, by Thuri Calafia. It was a smart way to spend my time, made me think of a new question to pose in my Priestess Path study group, and “decluttered” my research desk by moving the book from the stack on the desk to back on the bookshelf!

This quote caught my eye because I’ve written before that I find it easier to have spiritual experiences on my own rather than in a group, even though I deeply value and enjoy working with groups. Working with groups of people has a lot of power by their own right, but for divine connection, give me solitude in the woods!

That reflection brought me to a quote I’d used in a past blog post:

Ritual Priestessing is not for the faint of heart. If you fear chaos, the unexpected, or the unforeseen, choose another vocation. A ritual facilitator regularly finds herself in challenging situations that are not at all what she originally planned. In order to facilitate others, you first need to know how to be a good participant. I don’t believe that it is possible for a woman to priestess/facilitate a ritual effectively until she first knows how to truly participate in one…

Source: Dance in a circle of women… | WoodsPriestess

And, considering the why of doing this 30 Days project now. Why expect this daily dissertation work during the holiday season, when business is booming, my kids need me, etc.? Can’t I just wait to work on the dissertation until January? Well…first of all, I said I’d do it this year and I feel like I’d like to honor myself by giving it the best effort I can during what is left of the year!  Second though, I realized with the “fifteen minutes” tip from my friend that I routinely spend way more than fifteen minutes scrolling through my instagram or facebook feeds, so it really isn’t too much to expect of myself to redirect that energy into #30daysofdissertation. So, appropriately, this afternoon I also typed this quote I’d marked down months ago from Dedicant: As it is with our gardens, so it is with life. We sometimes can have too many choices, too many things that pull us in too many directions. There comes a time when we must decide what we will keep putting our energy into, and what we will let go of, even if only for a while…Be gentle with yourself, as you need to nurture your own growth…” (Calafia, p. 202-203)

I don’t know that I’ll actually make a companion blog post each day, but so far I am enjoying the accountability factor in doing so.

Now to turn my attention back to my Feminism and Religion blog post!

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Categories: 30daysofdissertation, books, community, dissertation, Goddess, introversion, practices, priestess, quotes, resources, spirituality, woodspriestess, writing | Leave a comment

Free Calamoondala Class with Womanrunes Book Purchase

November 2015 131A combination of annual oracle and circular moon calendar, I invented the Calamoondala as a way of communicating about and experiencing the year as a nonlinear, gently rolling process of discovery. A Calamoondala is a full-moon calendar and annual oracle in a mandala form.

If you’re looking for new way of visioning your year, the Calamoondala is for you! This guided ecourse takes you through a step-by-step process of creating your own unique, powerful Calamoondala for 2016. Only simple supplies are needed, but the wisdom will last all year. If you have purchased the Womanrunes book and card set in the past or have taken one of our online courses, this course is a free gift for you! If you purchased the book via Etsy, we have your order record and the only thing you need to do is tell me you’d like to be added to the course. If you purchased the book on Amazon or through some other means, simply forward me your receipt and I will enroll you in the course. If you don’t have the Womanrunes book yet, you can get your copy here! The class opens on November 21 and remains open through January. You have access to everything immediately and can work through it as your own time allows.

A Calamoondala is a circular, patterned calendar that tracks the full moons over the course of a year using a mandala-type design. Itcalamoondalaclass can also include an annual oracle or incorporate intention-setting for the year. I often encourage people to think in circles rather than in lines and with a Calamoondala we clearly see the year as a cycle, a circle, another turn around the sun, rather than as a series of linear boxes as a graph, implying a distinct beginning and ending.

Listen to your body as she is tugged to dance in the light of the moon.

In this class you will:

  • Learn how to draw your own unique Calamoondala
  • Incorporate an annual oracle reading into your Calamoondala using Womanrunes
  • Receive printable templates to use for yourself or with others
  • Share tips on creating Calamoondalas with a group of friends

Womanrunes book is not required, you can use an oracle system of your choice with your Calamoondala. The class without the book purchase is $15 and you may register for it on Mystery School of the Goddess.

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Categories: books, classes, divination, moon wisdom, practices, resources, Womanrunes | 3 Comments

Holiday Goddess Gift Guide!

12227585_766001513546455_4673790834489820094_nAlong with 35 other goddess/women-honoring small business, Brigid’s Grove joined Motherhouse of the Goddess’s most fabulous Holiday Goddess Gift Guide. Download your pdf catalog browsing book of goddess-goodness here: Holiday Goddess Gift Guide | The Motherhouse of the Goddess

We are also participating in a fun pay-in-forward giveaway on Instagram this week via Mother From the Heart.

 

Categories: holidays, resources, seasons, womanspirit | Leave a comment

New Class! Womanrunes Immersion e-course

cropSeptember 2015 016I’m thrilled to offer a second section of our Womanrunes Immersion e-course. The first offering this summer was a powerful experience for the women around the world who journeyed together through an intensive study of all 41 runes. We shared so much together in a lively Facebook group and I was surprised, pleased, and humbled by how much I personally learned, grew, and benefited as a result of working with this group of women!

Here’s what some of them had to say:

“…I am so glad I decided to take the Womanrunes course. The timing was perfect…As I consider a new symbol from the deck each day and ponder the writing prompt and the photo/art prompt, I am forced to confront who I really am right now, what I really want right now, and what I really need right now. It’s been a fascinating journey and while I’m still confused about where exactly I’m going, I’m much more certain about the path I need to be on. The more I write, the more I need to write.

Anyway…I really couldn’t possibly recommend it highly enough. It has been a life-altering experience for me…”

–E.R.

“This quick moving 41 day Immersion opens not only the symbols of the Runes but your connection to them. Daily activities bring with it a new awareness of yourself and your relationship to your many aspects. Kick your intuition in gear, follow your heart as I did. You won’t be disappointed. I have grown, opened and enjoyed the process of sharing in our sacred group.”

–K.W.

“The Womanrunes Immersion course has enabled me to look at both the Runes and myself from a different perspective. The insight and guidance Molly provides throughout the course allowed me to find my own deeper, personal meaning in each Rune. Whether you are new to working with the Runes or if you are a seasoned practitioner, this course is a worthwhile investment.”

–B.P.

“I am actually still processing the runes. There was so much new information ,remembering old information, and connecting these powerful messages throughout situations in my life…it has affected me deeply, meaningfully, and I am looking forward to all the ways that they will continue to inspire me in my life.”

–G.D.

“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.11986976_1661342964077919_7888471579811176826_n

The next 41 Day e-Course Experience begins in late fall.

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

Day 11: Soulful Shopping (#30DaysofHarvest)

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 You are part of the cycle of giving and receiving. You happily exchange your hard-earned cash for goods that will enrich your body and spirit. You present your own gift to the community — the work of your hands and heart — and are pleased to find it so well-received. Your generosity and support of others circles back to you, and increases your own prosperity and health.

– JPC, The Gaian Tarot

I haven’t had as much time as I hoped to write substantive posts in response to the 30 Days of Harvest. We’ve just gotten the first copies of my new book in and so it seemed fitting to have a photo of it in response to “soulful shopping” for today. 😉  Last night, I participated in a really fun call with Kimberly Moore of MotherHouse of the Goddess for Goddess Alive radio. The night before, I was the guest on a virtual Red Tent for mentors with Journey of Young Women. I love collaborating with other people like this. It is so incredible! We’ve got several exciting collaborations in the works too—bulk quantities of our goddess sculptures heading out to other countries and to enrich other women’s projects.

Speaking of soulful shopping, MotherHouse has a very magical etsy shop!

Here are some resources for this weekend’s full moon and lunar eclipse also…

Aspects/qualities of this particular moon:

My own recent Autumn Bounty ritual was actually originally written to take place during the full moon, so you may wish to draw inspiration and ideas from it: Autumn Bounty Ritual Recipe (Fall Equinox Ceremony for Families) – Brigid’s Grove

And, my more simple, basic full moon ritual is easily adaptable to any full moon ceremony: Creative Ceremony Academy: Simple Family Full Moon Ritual – Brigid’s Grove

This beautiful reflection on a full moon ceremony was written by a priestess friend of mine and it might offer you inspiration as well: Full Moon Rising | Kim Macy

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Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, collaboration, moon wisdom, nature, resources, ritual, sacred pause | Leave a comment

Divination Practicum Course Announcement!

September 2015 0099I’m excited to announce my newest online class!

Listening to the Deep Self, a six-week divination practicum for women begins online on October 27.

This course is designed to help you flex your intuitive and oracular muscles. It will help you become confident in drawing upon your own wisdom and what you have to teach and source from this wisdom

In this practicum you will learn:

  • How to work intensively with Womanrunes
  • How to make, cast, and interpret Goddess Runes
  • How to use women’s divination resources as guidance for other women
  • How to use a pendulum for yourself and with others
  • How to create personal oracle cards
  • How to create a trinket oracle
  • How to lead a Womanrunes divination workshop for other women

You will gain:

  • Practical experience in giving readings for others
  • Confidence in the resources of your own intuition and the womanspirit guidance surrounding you
  • An opportunity to create income for yourself using your gifts, skills, and resources
  • The ability to speak in the language of the runes
  • The ability to reliably and regularly connect to womanspirit wisdom, the Goddess, the Earth, your spiritual guides, and your own deep self
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Womanrunes in use in the Red Tent in Pembrokeshire

Your Practicum Kit Includes*:

  • Free shipping!
  • Womanrunes book and cards
  • Professionally printed practicum workbook
  • Goddess pendulum
  • Trinket oracle starter kit
  • Gemstone heart palm stone (we will intuitively choose the stone for you)
  • Amethyst gemstone point
  • Amethyst bracelet
  • Purple cloth upon which to do readings smallMay 2015 057
  • Purple bag to store your resources
  • Certificate of completion in Readings for Womanspirit
  • Complete workshop outline and handouts for you to lead a Womanrunes class with other women at festivals, circles, conferences, or events (plus an opportunity to purchase books wholesale to have available to sell to others!)
  • Live interaction, support, and feedback via a private Facebook group
  • Optional add-on: goddess pendant or inner wisdom goddess sculpture

(*contents subject to slight changes depending on availability)

Early bird registration pricing ends September 25th! Register via our Brigid’s Grove website.

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Categories: classes, embodiment, practices, resources, Womanrunes, womanspirit, women, women's circle, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Ritual Recipe: Fall Equinox Gratitude Ceremony

cropped-august-2015-106.jpgSupplies

  • Items from nature for a collaborative nature mandala: leaves, stones, acorns, seeds, twigs, feathers, and other items from nature (mindfully collected and ideally found on ground). If a group ritual, ask each person to bring a quantity of something to add to the mandala. If it is a family ritual, go out together before moonrise to collect your items. Note: Depending on size, composition, energy, and patience of the group, you may wish to create the mandala together first before beginning the rest of the ritual and then gather around it for the rest of the ritual itself.
  • Paper leaves (can be simply cut out ovals using scrap paper) or dry, fallen leaves + markers to write on them.
  • Optional: drums, rattles, or bells
  • Optional: a candles for each participant (place around outer edge of nature mandala)

Before the ritual: ask each person to respond to the prompt: “my bounty is” and collate the responses into a collaborative bounty poem. If you are working alone, respond to this prompt on your own and form a poem for yourself (example poem)

1. Body Invocation (inspired by one in Gathering for Goddess by Melusine Mihaltses):

  • South:
    I welcome Fire with my body. (We welcome Fire with our bodies [group repeats])
    Rub your hands together, feel the heat you generate. Now place your hands upon your chest. Feel the heat upon your heart.
    Fire lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Fire. August 2015 145
    Welcome Fire!
  • West:
    I welcome Water with my body. (We welcome Water with our bodies [group repeats])
    Lick your lips, wet them with your tongue.
    Water lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Water.
    Welcome Water!
  • North:
    I welcome Earth with my body. (We welcome Earth with our bodies [group repeats])
    Give yourself (or the person next to you) a hug or place your hands upon your thighs and then your upper arms. Feel the solidness of your body.
    Earth lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Earth.
    Welcome Earth!
  • East:
    I welcome Air with my own breath. (We welcome Air with our bodies [group repeats])
    Inhale and exhale. Breathe audibly in a deep sigh.
    Air lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Air
    Welcome Air!

Optional variation: sing or listen to Circle Casting Song as the invocation.

2. All sing (and dance and drum!): August 2015 119

Dance in a Circle of Moonlight
Make a web of my life
Hold me as I spiral and spin
Make a web of my life

(modified from Marie Summerwood’s chant, Dance in a Circle of Women)

3. Mindfully create your beautiful nature mandala—depending on size, composition, energy, and patience of the group, you may wish to create the mandala together first before beginning the rest of the ritual and then gather around it for the rest of the ritual itself.

4. Gratitude and abundance leaves (pre-written on if working with children or for faster-paced ritual). Reflect on theAugust 2015 131 bounty of the year and write down things you are grateful for on leaves (dry, fallen leaves or on paper leaves). Read aloud (size permitting—multiple people can speak at same time) and then scatter the leaves around in the nature mandala.

5. Read your collaborative bounty poem: “my bounty is…”

6. Sing: Autumn is Here (modified from Gathered Here in Unitarian Universalist hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition)

Gathered here in the mystery of the hour
Gathered here in one strong body
Gathered here in the struggle and the power
Autumn is here
Autumn is here

(repeat several times)

7. Finish with more drumming and dancing. We usually join hands and end with the prayer: “May Goddess bless and keep us. May wisdom dwell within us. May we create peace.”

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An easily printable version of this ritual recipe is included as the freebie with the fall issue of our newsletter. Sign up available via Brigid’s Grove.

Categories: family, holidays, liturgy, nature, practices, priestess, resources, ritual, seasons, spirituality, woodspriestess | 4 Comments

Woodspace

Woodspace July 2015 005
soul unbound
mind unhurried
emotions settled
mood soothed
life paused
senses sharpened
awareness heightened.

Solitude soaks in
like a mantle of truth.

and yet
all around me
are life
companions
creatures
trees
plants
all that
which is seen and unseen
watching, waiting, living,
growing, learning, knowing,
spinning
the world into being.

Body relaxes
I am whole
Complete unto myself
I know who I am
I am real
I am at peace
I rest in authenticity
And appreciate my own company.

I read several articles this week that I identified with. One was about how walking in nature changes the brain (for the better!)

But the volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health, according to their scores on the questionnaire. They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk.

They also had less blood flow to the subgenual prefrontal cortex. That portion of their brains were quieter.

These results “strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments” could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Mr. Bratman said.

via How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain – The New York Times.

The other was a thoughtful, critical analysis of the “shadow” side of the mainstream “green” movement:

These days, in the ‘new green economy’, trees are seen simply as things that make the air better for people to breathe. This new, modern functionality stems from the next generation of green propaganda, which strives to homogenise everything into one giant communist planetary pie chart. Small ecosystems like a forest or river no longer matter in this grand global picture. It sounds almost acceptable now to hear someone say something like ‘But after they clear-cut the old growth forest, they replant way more trees than were there before, so they improve the climate, now it’s even better than it was!’ Marketing air as a commodity from trees created things like carbon credits and off-setts.

via Our Footprints on the Earth | The Dark Mountain Project.

Reading this article as well as getting ready for our Red Tent Circle this Friday, brought me to revisit an article I’d saved several months ago about creating a Black Tent temple as a space for endarkenment: The Black Tent Temple: A Space for Incubation and Endarkenment | The Black Stone Hermitage.

I also enjoyed browsing through the blog posts of a woman who writes about her life living and farming in an Irish cottage: Bealtaine Cottage | 11 years of Permaculture in and around a small Irish cottage, 3 acres and 1 woman…creating Eden!.

I haven’t been making many blog posts here lately myself because I’ve been working on my newest program: Listening to the Deep Self: Divination Practicum for Women. I’ve also been keeping up my writing with my other blog and my business site. My most recent Feminism and Religion post came out today, I submitted an essay to a new book about the placenta from Demeter Press, I’m working on multiple essays for The Oracle and for Motherhouse of the Goddess, and I’m continuing to collect data for my dissertation project. I also finished the content for a new book about ceremony that will hopefully be published in September. And, yes, I do actually get eight hours of sleep each night. 😉

Thank goodness for the woods!

 

Categories: nature, resources, woodspriestess, writing | 9 Comments

Blue Moon

11754674_1017047968347472_5569625733581356394_oSince July 31 is a Blue Moon, we decided to have fun with a special discount code offer. This is our best discount ever–it will only happen once in a blue moon! 😉

Also, remember to sign up for the Brigid’s Grove Newsletter for resources, monthly freebies, + art and workshop announcements!

 

Categories: resources | Leave a comment

Red Tent Initiation Program Launch

11692528_1643738219171727_6214351850615964803_nFollowing the spiral path of maiden, mother, and crone…

Do you want to take a journey into a deeper understanding of yourself? Do you wish to unlock insight and understanding? Do you want to reach out to other women in sisterhood and co-create a powerful circle experience?

This new online program is both a powerful, personal experience AND a training in facilitating transformative women’s circles. You will listen to your deep self, access your inner wisdom and prepare to step into circle as guardian and guide for other women who are hungering for depth, connection, restoration, and renewal in today’s busy world.

This intensive course is limited to 15 women, to allow for deep connection and dedicated attention.

August 29-October 12, 2015

Your online experience includes…

  • Asix week immersive journey over the course of the spiral path
    • Knowing Self (Maiden Unit)
    • Might of Creation (Mother Unit)
    • Gathering the Women (Crone Unit)
  • Each unit includes a ceremony, meditations, discussion questions, journaling exercises, projects, and prompts designed to take you deep into the Red Tent process.
  • Live interaction, support, feedback, and conversation via a private Facebook group

With your registration, you will also receive an incredible resource package valued at more than $100 including:

  • 58 page manual: Restoring Women to Ceremony, The Red Tent Resource Kit, written exclusively for our Red Tent redtentkitKit and Initiation Program. In this collection of essays and ritual resources, you will find a complete Red Tent “recipe,” circle leadership basics, moontime musings, and readings, quotes, and poems to help you facilitate a rich, inviting, welcoming, creative space for the women of your community.
  • Womanrunes Book and Card set: used throughout the program for personal guidance and self-development. And, perfect for ongoing use in an inspiration and renewal corner at your Red Tent Circle.
  • Red Tent Goddess Sculpture: symbolic of self-care and of both receiving and giving.
  • Carnelian Pendulum
  • Moontime pendant with silver-tone, solid crescent moon charm
  • Red altar cloth
  • Red organza bag to store your resources
  • Altar Candle
  • Head wreath kit and tutorial
  • Special Red Tent Circle Leader initiation gift (to be opened only upon program completion!)
  • Red silken cord
  • Moon or spiral goddess pendant

After your process is complete you will also receive:

  • Certificate of Completion
  • Ritual Recipe Kit e-book
  • Circle-ready digital files of the rich meditations and insightful readings used in the program
  • Ongoing support and guidance through continued participation in our private Facebook group

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For inspiration on your own path, feel free to listen our local Red Tent Circle singing the beautiful chant Dance in a Circle of Women during our May Circle

Register via our website or check out via Etsy here.

 

Categories: community, Goddess, priestess, programs, red tent, resources, retreat, ritual, sacred pause, spirituality, womanspirit, women, women's circle | Leave a comment

Wisdom from Moon Time for Red Tents

May 2015 047“At her first bleeding a woman meets her power.
During her bleeding years she practices it.
At menopause she becomes it.”

(Traditional Native American saying)

One of my favorite books to have available on the resource table of our local Red Tent Circle is Moon Time, by Lucy moontime2Pearce. I reviewed it in this post, but didn’t have room for all the juicy quotes I wanted to share! One of the ideas I include in my own Red Tent Resource Kit book is to use womanspirit wisdom quotes to stimulate a discussion in the circle. Here are some quotes from Moon Time that would make great launching points for a sharing circle at the Red Tent:

“It is my guess that no one ever initiated you into the path of womanhood. Instead, just like me, you were left to find out by yourself. Little by little you pieced a working understanding of your body and soul together. But still you have gaps.”

Questions for circle: Were you initiated into the “path of womanhood”? What gaps do you feel?

“You yearn for a greater knowledge of your woman’s body, a comprehensive understanding of who you are, why you are that way. Perhaps you have searched long and hard, seeking advice from your mother, sister, aunts and friends, tired of suffering and struggling alone. You may have visited doctors, healers or therapists, but still you feel at sea and your woman’s body is a mystery to you. Or maybe you have never given your cycles a second thought … until now.”

Questions for circle: What do you feel like you need to know about your body? What mysteries are you uncovering?

“Through knowledge we gain power over our lives. With options we have possibility. With acceptance we find a new freedom.

Menstruation matters.”

Question for circle: How does menstruation matter?

Additional information about why menstruation matters on a physical, emotional, and relational level:

We start bleeding earlier today than ever before, with girls’ first periods occurring at 12.8 years old now, compared with 14.5 years at the beginning of the last century. Coupled with lower breastfeeding rates, better nutrition and fewer pregnancies, women now menstruate more in their adult lives than at any time in our history.

From the age of 12 to 51, unless you are pregnant or on the pill, every single day of your life as a woman is situated somewhere on the menstrual cycle. Whether ovulating or bleeding, struggling with PMS or conception, our bodies, our energy levels, our sense of self, even our abilities are constantly shifting each and every day. And yet nobody talks about it…

via Moon Time: Harness the ever-changing energy of your menstrual cycle

As I noted in my review, one of the things this book was helpful for to me personally, was in acknowledging myself as a cyclical being and that these influences are physical and real: IMG_5194-0

Each month our bodies go through a series of changes, many of which we may be unconscious of. These include: shifts in levels of hormones, vitamins and minerals, vaginal temperature and secretions, the structure of the womb lining and cervix, body weight, water retention, heart rate, breast size and texture, attention span, pain
threshold . . .

The changes are biological. Measurable. They are most definitely not ‘all in your head’ as many would have us believe. This is why it is so crucial to honour these changes by adapting our lives to them as much as possible.

We cannot just will these changes not to happen as they are an integral part of our fertility.

From there, another relevant quote:

“There is little understanding and allowance for the realities of being a cycling woman—let alone celebration.”

Questions for circle: What allowances do you make for yourself as a cycling woman? Are you able to celebrate the experience?

In my own life, I’ve had to reframe my understanding of the impact of the monthly moontime experience by looking April 2015 103at it through the lens of healthy postpartum care following birth—it is crucial that we care for our bodies with love, attention, respect, and time. Our local Red Tent Circle definitely doesn’t focus exclusively on menstruation or on currently menstruating women (all phases of a woman’s lifecycle and her many diverse experiences and feelings are “held” in that circle)–in fact menstruation sometimes barely comes up as a topic—however, one of the core purposes of our circling is in celebration. We gather together each month to celebrate being women in this time and in this place, together. I started out my work with women focused on birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum. While those are formative and central and important life experiences, it became very important to me to broaden my scope to include the totality of women’s lives, not just pregnant women. I want to honor and celebrate our whole lives, not just pregnancy and birth. Having a mother blessing ceremony during pregnancy is beautiful and important and special, but I feel like that care, attention, value, and ceremony can be brought into the rest of our non-pregnant lives The_Red_Tent_Resourc_Cover_for_Kindlethrough gathering together in a Red Tent Circle. This is one reason why I’m so excited to offer an online Red Tent Initiation Program this summer. This program is designed to be both a powerful, personal experience AND a training in facilitating transformative women’s circles.

Back to Moon Time quotes!

“There is no shame in tears. There is a need for anger. Blood will flow. Speak your truth. Follow your intuition. Nurture your body. But above all … Let yourself rest.”

Questions for circle: Do you allow yourself anger and tears? Do you feel shame? How do you speak your truth? How do you give yourself time to rest?

To be clear, I wouldn’t use all these quotes at one Red Tent Circle! I would use them individually at different gatherings. This one blog post has enough potential circle discussion prompts to last for more than six months of Circles! 🙂 This month I also bought a bundle of copies of Moon Time to have available for women at our local Red Tent.

More good discussion quotes here: Talk Books: Cycle to the Moon | Talk Birth.

And, there are others in my Red Tent Resource Kit.

Please consider joining us this summer for the Red Tent Initiation Program!

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Categories: books, community, friends, moontime, priestess, quotes, readings, red tent, resources, retreat, ritual, self-care, womanspirit, women, women's circle | Leave a comment

I brake for flowers

I stopped on the side of our gravel road last week to take pictures of one of my all-time favorite wildflowers. I’ve tried to transplant them to my own house, but they prefer growing in their own way on their own terms (don’t we all!), so I appreciate them from the road!

I also brake for moonrise. The full, strawberry moon was so phenomenal on my drive home last night that I stopped three times to try to take a picture of it. Unfortunately, this meme is so true with regard to my moon-photography skills…

what-i-see-what-my-camera-seesIt was absolutely huge and pink and amazing. All my pictures turned out to be tiny blurs. By the time I got home, interestingly, the moon hadn’t yet risen over the trees at my own house and was not pink at all. I’m not sure why it was so dramatically different just 40 miles away!

On the way, I had to restrain my urge to brake for flowers, because I wanted to make sure I got to the first night of my new class with lots of time to spare. However, I longed to pull over for the gorgeous field of coneflowers, black eyed Susans, and something fabulously blue and spiky that I saw on my drive!

After my daily blogging with 30 Days of May, I’ve taken a break from writing posts here and have been completely absorbed by the preparation of my upcoming Womanrunes Immersion ecourse. I am so thrilled to be doing this! I haven’t finished taking all the pictures I plan to take yet, but all is going well.

I’m getting ready for our annual summer ritual. It is for families, rather than for women, which I find makes the planning more of a challenge! I have been re-reading some of my past blog posts about summer rituals and enjoyed re-reading this past “ritual recipe.” It has a variety of reflections at the end, including this one about group size:

…Small IS good—I already know from my years as a breastfeeding support group leader that I’m a sucker for bigger-is-better thinking (I tell my own students: don’t let your self-esteem depend on the size of your group!!!!!). When the group is small or RSVPs are minimal, it starts to feel like a personal “failing” or failure to me somehow. However, the reality is that there is a quality of interaction in a small group that is not really possible in a larger group. At this retreat there were seven women. While there was an eighth friend I really wished would come and who we missed a lot, the size felt pretty perfect. I reflected that while some part of me envisions some kind of mythically marvelous “large” group, ten is probably the max that would fit comfortably in our space as well as still having each woman be able participate fully. Twelve would probably be all right and maybe we could handle fifteen. I also need to remember not to devalue the presence of the women who DO come. They matter and they care and by lamenting I want more, it can make them feel like they’re not ‘enough.’

via Ritual Recipe: Women’s Summer Retreat | WoodsPriestess.

I was very interested to read this evocative description of the “Goddess Wave” as shared by the Shekhinah Mountainwater Memorial Fund:

“It’s lonely in the tip, and it takes courage to stay there. But every part of the Goddess Wave is valid in its own way, and there is no value judgement here. It just helps to know which part of the wave you are in and whether or not you want to be anchored there…”

Goddess Wave | Shekhinah Mountainwater Memorial Fund.

(I also appreciate the mention in the post of the Womanrunes course)

Check out the information about this neat online course too: The Fivefold Goddess: A Web-Based Course and Initiation Cycle into a New Vision of the Divine Feminine.

So many neat projects!

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Categories: nature, resources, seasons | Leave a comment

Red Tent Wisdom

“Moontime opens up our intuition.
By allowing ourselves to honour this time,
we can eliminate premenstrual tendencies…
Moontime is a sacred passage leading
to a greater awareness of self.”

–Veronika Robinson, Cycle to the Moon (p. 142)

In April, on the evening of our local Red Tent Circle, a package arrived for me from the UK. In it was the beautiful book by Veronika Robinson, Cycle to the Moon, that I won in the Red Tent fundraising auction for Moontimes. March 2015 183

Cycle to the Moon is a quick read and an inspiring one. The line illustrations are beautiful and the combination of journal pages/prompts and text is nice. I marked some good quotes to share. The first, was about womancraft, something I touched on in my new Red Tent Resource Kit book. In that book, I shared the story of how, at a meeting for breastfeeding women, I suggested having a women’s circle and calling it “Mothercraft.” Another woman at the meeting said it sounded interesting, but, “if it was called that, I’d never go.” All I could surmise is that it was because the word sounded too much like “witchcraft.”

“The early Christian Church considered the blood of menstruation to be ‘wasted babies,’ hence the mass killing of witches for ‘killing babies…women were burnt for knowing their woman-craft. That is to say, they understood their dreams, used herbs, and celebrated the process of menstruation. Witch means woman. Their craft, woman-craft, was, quite simply, understanding the mysteries of life” (p. 19).

Cycle to the Moon also suggests a neat idea of creating a “Red Box” for a pre-teen daughter. Either together with yourc2m3D daughter or on your own for a surprise, collect special items in a box to be given to her upon menarche. It can have jewelry, garnet gemstones, books, cloth pads, tea, and so forth. She makes the potent observations that how we welcome young girls into womanhood, sets the stage for how they will view themselves and their life cycles and transitions for a lifetime:

“As we hold the hands of our young sisters when they cross the menstrual threshold, we would be wise to remember that their experience of this cycle will affect them throughout their childbearing years and into menopause. There’s a red thread which weaves through these major themes of our life. Every moment is connected. Whatever we have learned and integrated benefits not only us, but the culture” (p. 41).

Robinson also writes about the idea how you treat yourself during menstruation as a “mirror of your life”:

“The simple truth is that menstruation is a mirror of your life. If you’re not honouring your body through healthy food choices; ample hydration; rest; playtime; calmly managing stressful events; positive thoughts; creativity and sleep; then it will show up in your menstrual cycle…your hormones will come to call; and they will demand that you rest. You might try and quiet them down with headache tablets or something pharmaceutical for cramps, but they will keep talking to you (even if it takes twenty years), until you get the message. If you don’t honour your body during the menstrual years, you are highly likely to suffer when you reach menopause…

What we do in our own local Red Tent Circle varies each month, but we start with introductions using our maternal May 2015 047line and a red thread to represent our connection to the women who came before us and who will go after us, we sing, we have a sharing circle where we “pass the rattle” and talk about our lives and have what we say witnessed and held in safe space. We do a guided meditation and journaling and then a project. In April we had a salt bowl ceremony and then did footbaths and in May we made moon necklaces. We close with a poetry reading and a song. There is tea and a “reflection” table with guidance cards, art supplies, and books to look at. At our May Circle, I shared these two quotes:

“The revolution must have dancing; women know this. The music will light our hearts with fire,
The stories will bathe our dreams in honey and fill our bellies with stars…”

–Nina Simons in We’Moon 2012

“A woman’s best medicine is quite simply herself, the powerful resources of her own deep consciousness, giving her deep awareness of her own physiology as it changes from day to day.”

–Veronica Butler and Melanie Brown

I asked the women to share their revolutions and their medicine. As they spoke, I realized that my “revolution” and my “medicine” were in the planning and facilitation of these Circles, as well as in the online Red Tent Initiation Program I will be offering this summer. I’m so glad I decided to go this direction this year.

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Categories: books, community, moontime, resources, reviews, ritual, womanspirit, women, women's circle | Leave a comment

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