Thursday, March 30, 2006
I love rivers. Actually I love all bodies of water, but rivers are very special. The Severn and the Susquehanna are all rivers in the journeys of my life. Following them, crossing them and diving into them. Taking the waters and moving with them and finding wisdom and peace as I interact with them.
I'm just back from Aksasha Con sponsored by The Dreaming Goddess in Poughkeepsie, NY [www.dreaminggoddess.com], a wonderful conference that shifted time and transformed me. I'll talk about that over the next couple of weeks, and drop some names, a fun thing to do. More importantly, I'll talk about how the magic of that gathering created an alchemy and fired transformation. But first I want to talk about the Akasha Con opening ritual in 2004 and my connection to the Hudson River. Flow with me as I tell the story.
Several years ago I was with a man who was damaged and our relationship, which included a lengthy attempt by me to end it, was difficult, stormy, and painful. He died very suddenly, a young and fit man. Long story that included my dance with Sekhmet if you see an earlier blog entry. When he was alive he was difficult and so was his death.
I met his parents for the first time after his death when I went to their place near the Hudson River, about 3.5 hours from where I live. I went alone even though they told me I could bring a friend because, as I said, I was in the relationship alone. Unsupported by my friends, the relationship was a lonely one because even he wasn't in it. So I met his parents and it was clear that their disappointment and grief over their son extended to me. They were a family that prized fitness and my tall, round body was a disappointment. I had none of the grace or athleticism they expected their son to be in love with, another reason to be disappointed in him. That coupled with their bewilderment over losing a second child-- a difficult one-- at an early age made for a very strange and awkward visit.
They took me out in their boat. We motored into the Hudson River where the water was deep and gently flowing. Alone, I jumped into the water, feeling the shock of the mildly cold water take my breath away. I couldn't hear them and for some reason, my inner critical voice was silenced in the presence of this large, primal river. The river held me and rocked me and I moved slowly through the water feeling the vastness of the Universe envelope my body and rush over my skin. It was comforting, sensual and calming. I realized then and there that the Universe was too large and too vast for my resentments and sense of betrayal. I deserved to feel that way and I felt that my feelings were acknowledged and honored, but I also knew that clinging to them was petty and not right for someone who wanted to dance in the ecstacy of the Universe.
So there in the middle of the river, surrounded by banks of lush old trees, I asked the Universe to help me. I gave over me feelings and asked for peace. Then I could hear the harmony singing in the quiet river. I recognized that they were doing the best they could as they struggled and so was I. I understood forgiveness and I asked the River to help me find forgiveness in me for him. The River and the Universe answered my prayer over the next long months.
That was in 1998 and in 2004, I went back to that area. Poughkeepsie is only 11 miles away. The opening ritual was fabulous and was aimed at honoring their River, the Hudson. So I was able to stand at the altar and express my silent, vast gratitude for the River. The Deep River flows inside me as I sing its song as best I can. For that understanding and magic, I thank the Ancient Ones Above and of the Waters for their wisdom and live.
May you find your own deep power.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Q: Why don't Baptists make love standing up?
A: It could lead to dancing.
I love this joke. Not only because I used to be Baptist but also because it illustrates in a very funny way how our inhibitions and self-defined restrictions can keep us from experiencing the ecstatic life, the world of the Rowdy Goddess.
I have had my struggles with dancing. I used to not like to dance; and I think I picked up on some non-verbal messages from my family in childhood. My mother once told me that one of the few regrets she has is that she never learned to dance. I think I picked up on that along with the messages that I was clumsy, had two left feet. When I was in junior high, I shot up from five foot nothing to five foot seven and something. Growing into that body took a long time. My gawky stage lasted for decades. That, coupled with the fact I've always been chubby-pleasingly-plump-you-have-such-a-pretty-face-fattie-round bodied woman made the thought of dancing an embarrasing prospect. "Fat chicks don't dance," is one of the message one of my friends told me she got.
At the same time, I could feel the rhythms in my body and my feet itched to dance. I love to watch dancing of all kinds. Movie musicals like Singin' In the Rain and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers always made me want to dance and sing for joy. "What a glorious feeling, I'm happy again!"
I couldn't bring myself to dance because I was very aware that those around me made comments and jokes about others.
Then things changed. I got dogs and we used to dance together when no one was looking. I saw a belly dancing troup in Ithaca and was enchanted. Beautiful women of all sizes, shapes, and ethnicity danced in this troupe. They had glittering costumes and flowing veils. It was beautiful. I signed up for a class. And didn't go.
A year later I signed up for a class and went. The teacher is wonderful; www.moonlightdancer.com The first thing she said was that every woman's body is made for this kind of dance--the better term for it is Middle Eastern Dance--and every woman's body looks beautiful. As soon as we started to move, I started to smile and couldn't stop. It was like I had done this before or in many other lifetimes.
I don't think I'm really good at it and I don't care! I just feel the music and move with it. Not only that, the people in my life who were voicing criticisms are no longer in my life and I realized that released some chains, so now I move unfettered. And of course Mouse likes to dance and is good at it. He encouraged me to dance around the fire at gatherings and to dance at weddings. We have fun.
Moving our bodies in ritual or after an intense meditation allows us to shake out the things we no longer and need and provide an active place for the new. So be careful if you begin this, it could lead to dancing.
Embedded in that joke is a fear of letting go and a fear of the ecstatic dance. When we are in Union with our Gods and in the flow of the Universal energy we are ecstatic. It will lead to dancing.
May you dance your beauty and your truth!
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
It's the first full day of spring and my sinuses are killing me...I'm sure that's more information than you need to know. I'm hoping that the throbbing inside the caverns of my head are an echo of the throbbing growing energy of the earth coming alive.
It's still winter here in rural New York. It hasn't been a bad winter, but it has seemed very long. We've had some unseasonably warm days and now it's cold, typical of January. Since we got through and survived January, why are we experiencing that weather?
And yet, we feel the stirring of the earth; She is awake, eyes open and arms stretching out. Yawning, She is getting ready to burst into the world with grace and beauty. I can feel it. It's not just the pain in my head. It's also the feeling I have, to get moving. To be creative again, and to discover that color and beauty haven't left my life at all. It's been here all along and now I see it with a fresh eye and new appreciation. It's a call and I'm ready to answer!
Hear now the words of the Rowdy Goddess
I who am called Baubo, Lillith, Flora, Aphrodite, Iambe, Jill, Eve, Innana, Ishtar, Medusa, Athena, Ariadne, Mary, and many other names.
I am the laughter of your soul, beginning deep in the belly and coming loudly from your mouth.
I am the song of your life, sung boldly and proud.
I am the dance of your heart and the passion of your body, willing and free.
I am every breath you take and every sound you make.
My voice is heard in a giggle, in a soft laugh, a lovely song,
a guffaw, a keening cry and a bawdy ballad.
I am ecstasy and delight.
Lift your skirts and dance with me for I am the passion that moves you through the world.
Lift your voice and sing with me for I am the excitement of life lived out loud.
Lift your hearts and love with me
for I am the hope that is born everlasting.
Let my worship be in your voice and in your body,
for behold all acts of exuberance and creativity are done in reverence to me.
Let there be enthusiasm and joy, passion and love,
fearlessness and foolishness, exuberance and mirth,
grief and healing, and laughter and bliss.
Swirl and dance, sing out,
I am the Rowdy Goddess.
I am the Rowdy Goddess,
I am the Rowdy Goddess.
© 2005 Gail Wood
Friday, March 17, 2006
at least that's the way it was for me
We moved around a lot when I was a kid, staying an average of two years in one place sometimes much shorter. For a shy girl, it was hard to make and sustain friendships. One of the consistencies in my life was Girl Scouts. Everywhere we lived there was a Girl Scout troop I could join and the basic program was the same, so in a familiar setting I could find new friends and explore interesting things. I went camping in winter and summer, I learned to lead other girls and to organize a project and carry it to fruition, and I learned to embroider and sew as an expressive art as well as something utilitarian. I learned to be myself and to have fun with that.
I should point out that Girl Scouting is not assciated with the Boy Scouts of America. They are two completely different and separate entities that do not share ideals, money, or philosophy. Girl Scouting celebrates diversity and individuality and does not discriminate. Enough said there.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
A recent archeaological dig has revealed new statues of the lionness goddess Sekhmet. The article in the Middle East Times http://www.metimes.com/articles/normal.php?StoryID=20060313-050457-4001r gives a very brief overview of the discovery and who Sekhmet was . The tone of the article indicates a little dismay that a destructive goddess of war would also be a healing goddess--even to healing the very wounds that she might well cause. I think this discovery just rocks [pun intended]. You can't keep a good goddess buried forever!
Sekhmet has been an important goddess in my life, showing up in my meditations and journeys. I first experienced the power of her rampaging spirit during the summer I was writing the Leo chapter of my book Rituals of the Dark Moon. The (younger) man I with whom I was having a stormy and difficult relationship died suddenly and dramatically. This set into motion an enormous amount of changes in my life and I did feel that Sekhmet had rampaged through my life, leaving a lot of destruction. From that rubble of grief, anger, mourning, and relief I was able to rebuild my life and become stronger and more magical. I danced with Sekhmet and the very wounds that she caused she healed through her Mystery and Magic.
Mouse's father died less than a month into our relationship. We got the news when we were taking a weekend workshop featuring the spiritual-alchemist-singer-drummer Mz Imani. It was in a very intimate setting. As Mouse and I set off to the viewing and family gathering, she hugged me and looked at me quizzically and asked, "Why do I feel Sekhmet so powerfully in you?"
"Oh," I replied, almost casually, "She's my death goddess." It was at that moment that I realized that when I dance with death, Sekhmet is the one who dances with me. I often speak with her voice, love with her ferocity, and grieve with her mystical power. Funerals, comforting those who mourn and talking about loss, She is the one who comes and enters me.
When you walk the path of the Rowdy Goddess, you do not need to fear these strong goddesses with a checkered past. She is THERE with her power and passion to live with you, mourn with you, rampage with you and to celebrate your magic and hers!
Blessings, bright and Dark. May you unearth new strength every day.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Tea, Hot Water and the Rowdy Goddess!
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
As soon as I hit the 50 birthday mark, people kept asking me when I was going to have a croning. I wasn't ready for it. My body wasn't signaling the end of a cycle at that time, if you know what I mean, though things were obviously slowing down.
I'm not against being a Crone. There are some really cool old broads who are not only admirable but also inspire awe with their creativity, vision, and ability to speak their minds. It's just in the narrow triple thinking of M-M-C, this seems to signal the end; part of the downward slope to the old folks home. I'm not done yet. I've got things to do and more to explore.
It's been pointed out to me that Crone is the initiation point, the threshold over which we step onto a new path and a new way of thinking, living and being. I'm feeling better about it and I may do the Crone ritual thing at some point. As long as it signals and symbolizes stepping over the threshold into diverse roles, aspects, and explorations. If it's "crone till I'm prone," then forget about it.
The Jubilee Years
One of the ways I prefer to think about is that this "F" decade of the fifties is a jubilee. A celebration of magic, accomplishment and "more-riches-to-come." The Jubilee is 50th year/anniversary celebration rooted in ancient traditions of Judaism--the Sabbath and the sabbatical. All rooted in the number seven.
The Jubilee year is at the end of the seventh of seven year cycles (7X7=49). Seven being the magical number of spiritual work and wisdom. The Sabbath, seventh day, was a day of reflection, retooling and quiet interaction with the Divine. The seventh year was a time of sabbatical, another time of refreshment and reaquaintance with our Divine partner. This is the root of the modern academic practice of sabbatical leaves; a time to move out of the hurly burly of everyday teaching and committees and to peacefully delve in to the refreshing stream of scholarship. In ancient times, the Jubilee was marked with great celebrations; debts were forgiven and slaves were freed. It was and is a time of fresh starts and celebration of accomplishments.
My friend StoneLightWeaver and I had a Dragon Jubilee party for our 50th birthday. We were born in the Year of the Water Dragon, a potent symbol for both of us. I've been called "The Dragon Lady" by the students I've supervised. But it's really about the jewelry I wear--it's all about the jewelry!!
The Geezer Dance
And then there's the point of view of my partner, Mouse. In the four years that I've known him, he's talked about being old, growing old and aging. At first, I responded with platitudes like 'you're only as old as you act,' and 'you're not growing old, you're getting better." One time he looked me straight in the eye and said, "Gail, if you tell them you're old, they carry stuff for you!" So I dropped that line of talk, it wasn't doing any good.
Of course all of this is all in great good humor. Mouse has a theory of the cycles of Sacred Masculine. Mostly pagans use "youth-lover-sage" or some variation of that. Mouse's cycle of the Sage is this: Geezer, Codger, and Drooler. We haven't figured out where old coot fits in, but it does somewhere. "Don't fear the Geezer."
He loves to dance. And he does a wonderful Geezer dance. Because at this age, who cares what we look like, we just enjoy the dance.
Dance on and enjoy every step. Whirl and twirl in the ecstasy of the Rowdy Goddess and Her consort The Geezer!
Monday, March 13, 2006
Or as I'm starting to call it-- The Many Ways of Lunacy
My friend, AmeyaSpirit, at www.spiritunityministry.com, offers more wisdom on the nine phases of the moon. She expands the Witch's Pyramid and keys it to the phases of the moon; and then links the phases of the moon to a concrete planning process. It's a way to deepen understanding and also a way to acheive your goals, spiritual or otherwise.
This is one of the many Ways of Lunacy!
- New Moon is To Hope. This is the birth and infancy stage and is a time for the internal formation of your planning. The beginning of lunation.
- Crescent Moon is To Touch. This is childhood and a time for putting your plan into action, including learning what you need to learn.
- First Quarter Moon is To Imagine. This is puberty, or crisis in action [you have got to chuckle at that!] and overcoming inertia.
- Waxing Gibbous is To Know. This is young adulthood, and a time to exand your activities and awareness and for overcoming obstacles.
- Full Moon is To Will. This is mothering/fathering/caregiving and a time of fulfillment with the promise of more success and more failures.
- Waning Gibbous/Disseminating Moon is To Share. This is a time of guidance and supervision. Finding strength in social interaction and growing and feeling the need for significance.
- Third Quarter Moon is To Dare. This is a time of maturing and integrating the past; it is a time of crisis of signifigance. "Did I make a difference."
- Waning Crescent/Balsamic Moon is To Believe. This is a time of eldering; the time of harvest and possibilities.
- Dark Moon is To Keep Silent. This is the end of life and the acknowledgment of the continuing cycle. It is a time of assessment, the look backward and inward.
Last week I talked about the nine phases of the Goddess, keying them to the nine phases of the Moon. I mentioned that it worked for me, but it didn't work for one of my friends. I suspect that these things are very individual and we each need to find ways to relating to the Goddess that resonate with our own personal truth. Pick a little from here and pick a little from there.
Last year, I was researching a project that I call Tarot by Moonlight and I came across this very cool article in Llewellyn's 1996 Moon Sign Book And Lunar Planning Guide. In it I found an article by Karin E. Weiss entitled "The Goddess Circle: A Lunar Portrait of Feminine Spirituality (pp 244-255)." In this article, Weiss presents the eight phases of the moon (my view of nine phases is not traditional, eight phases is the traditional view) in three aspects. She also keys these aspects to the pagan Wheel of the Year, giving a model with a lot of symmetry. I like a lot of symmetry!
Within each of the phases, she points out that there are three faces of the feminine. She bases her ideas on astrology combined with [archetypal] psychology. I'll try to summarize in a way that is coherent. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section and I'll give you my thoughts....
- New Moon (time between Yule & Imbolc) is Mother-Containment-Nurturance
- Crescent Moon (time between Imbolc & Ostara) is Maiden-Assertion-Innocence
- First Quarter Moon (time between Ostara & Beltane) is Wildwoman-Action-Freedom
- Gibbous Moon (time between Beltane & Litha) is Muse-Expression-Creativity
- Full Moon (time between Litha & Lammas) is Lover-Fulfillment-Romance
- Disseminating Moon (time between Lammas & Mabon) is Companion-Synthesis-Mutuality
- Last Quarter Moon (time between Mabon & Samhain) is Warrior-Reaction-Passion
- Balsamic Moon (time between Samhain and Yule) is Wise-Woman-Release-Mystery
Within each of those archetypes are more ways of looking at the Goddess, and below you'll find a summary of Weiss' concept of these archetypes along with the three manifestations of it.
Mother teaches us about our connections to mother earth while at the same time clarifies our knowledge of our own bodies, its rhythms and cycles. The Mother teaches the elemental power of fertility, pregnancy and birth, as well as the acts of conception, creation, and the sustenance of life. In her we find: Mother Earth, Divine Mother & Child, Grandmother Her holy day is Yule, a time of rebirth and renewal.
Maiden teaches us about emergence and initiation--they mysteries of puberty. She brings together innocence, curiosity, and playfulness as we discover our sexuality. This is the time of "coming out" and asserting our own individual personalities. In her we find: Good Girl, Orphan, Naughty Girl Her holy day is Imbolc a time of initiation and introduction
Wildwoman teaches us about raw, uninhibited power, wild sexual energy and using our passionate and erotic power. She shows us freedom and the unrepressed joy of living fully without artifice or restraint. In her we find: Maenad, Dame Nature, Whore Her Holy day is Ostara, a time of return and rejuvenation
Muse teaches us about giving voice to our own inner vision. She calls us to be true to our imagination and develop as we are called, not as others expect or tell us to. We master our won self-expression without censorship, including our own inner critic. In her we find: The Clown, The Star, The Siren Her holy day is Beltane a time of blossoming and exclaiming the beauty of life.
Lover teaches us about the richness of love, sexuality, and attraction in all its manifestation including lust, erotic, sexual, affection, romance, attachment, and love. She embodies magnetism, beauty, and desire. In her we find: Vamp, Sweetheart, Beauty Queen Her holy day is Litha, a time of high romance
Companion teaches us of relationships, focusing on others along with support, trust, and equality. The support of others' identities can be a thorny issue of balance and sharing. In her we find: Sister, Mate, Handmaiden Her Holy Day is Lammas, a time of abundance and thanksgiving
Warrior teaches us about strategy, defense and self-authority. She shows us how to protect and to stand up for ourselves and what is right. She establishes boundaries and masters responsibilities. It is a time of passion, creative power, and courage. In her we find: Rebel, Huntress, Heroine Her holy day is Mabon, a time of dedication and liberation
Wise-Woman teaches us about the mysteries of live and of womanhood. She brings to light our erotic power and reveals the power of the Dark within us. She shows us how to transcend our limitations and move into sacred ecstasy. In her we find: Witch/Shaman, Priestess, Mystic Her holy day is Samhain, a time of casting out, letting go and healing
This vision further enriches our ways of looking at the Goddess, the Sacred Feminine and our own inner nature. Many, many facets reflecting the beauty of our own truth.
Of course there is a richness and diversity within the Triple Goddess aspects of Maiden, Mother, and Crone; especially if you move beyond some generic aspects of each of these archetypes. In my meditative work with these aspects of the Goddess, I've learned that my understanding is very personal. I key it to the moon cycles and to the seasons.
In my book Rituals of the Dark Moon, I talk about working specifically with the Dark Moon in the signs of the Zodiac and with the Maiden, Mother, and Crone aspects of the Goddess. In doing so, I discovered that, for instance, the Maiden aspect works within an astrological sign, she takes on those characteristics. So there is an Earth Maiden, Air Maiden, Water Maiden, and Fire Maiden. Likewise there is and Earth Mother, Air Mother, Water Mother and Fire Mother, as well as an Earth Crone, Air Crone, Water Crone, and Fire Crone. Then on the 13th month it all weaves together with the Witch.
Looking at the Maiden, Mother, and Crone aspects in this way brings us to the nuances of the Goddess. We see the subtle as well as the obvious. We can dive deep into these aspects and find a very personal interaction with the Goddess. We find out who she is in the infinite variety of She.
The Dark Moon is the perfect time for these kinds of meditations on the Goddess and her stories. The Dark Moon calls us to spiral inward into ourselves. As we do, we find that infinity exists within us, and the inside of us is as vast and eternal as the heavens. The Dark calls us to be honest and to bravely face/confront anything found there. When we do, we find richness and radiance. The anticipation and fear is the worst thing and when we work through that inner fretting and into acceptance, we find treasures. The facets of our internal jewels shine brightly, enhanced by the Dark not supressed by it.
May your brightness always shine wherever you are!
Friday, March 10, 2006
- Maiden corresponds to the New Moon. The light is reborn and shines as a tiny sliver, just as the Maiden is new and eagerly embarking on new ideas or a new life. This is a youthful, hopeful and joyous time.
- Amazon corresponds with the Crescent Moon. The light sharpens and becomes more distinct. This is a time for pursuing passions and fighting the good fight. Confidence and strength are all part of this time.
- Lover corresponds wit the First Quarter Moon. Half light and half dark. Fully sexual and living without the burdens of responsibility or worry. She looks to others not for completion but for partnership. She is in tune with herself and wants to harmonize with others. She is full of romance, love, lust, and sex.
- Priestess corresponds with the Gibbous Moon. Waxing and nearly full. She is journeying with Spirit and integrating mind and body with emotions and spirtual life. She knows that there are many things hidden and sacred. She is an initiate in the mysteries of the mon and of sacred womanhood.
- Mother corresponds with the Full Moon. The moon is all light and fully luminous. Fertile, nurtuing and shining without shadow. Optimism and a vision of hope throughout the world. Fullness. Happiness. Productivity. Fertility.
- Teacher corresponds with the Disseminating Moon. This is the first phase of waning where the dark begins to overtake the light. Knowing and communicating. Lessons have been learned, and it's time to pass wisdom on to others. This is a time of acknowledging the dualities of life as part of the song of life. Grief, sorrow, joy, love, life, light, death and dark begin to move together in life.
- Elder corresponds with the last quarter moon. The moon wanes to half dark and half light, and we all know that the darkness is coming, inexorably. She knows of disappointments and lies, but she also knows of hopes, birth and truth. She reaches out to others, to share her experiences.
- Crone corresponds with the balsamic phase. The moon is three quarters dark. The Crone knows power. She knows how to use it, badly and for good. Her choices define her, sadden her, uplift her, and enlighten her. She is fully in her power.
- Witch corresponds with the dark moon. These are three days when the moon is no longer visible to the earthbound. It is a time of radiance and reflection. In my book, I called this phase the Weaver, because of the ability to bring things together in beautiful patterns. The Witch is equally if not more fitting because of the magic and mystery involved in bringing all the extraneous and diverse pieces into the pattern. The Witch brings together everything that the Maiden, Amazon, Lover, and Priestess knows and combines it with the experiences of the Mother, Teacher and Elder. She takes the power of the Crone and transforms this into a magical understanding of the mysteries of All-That-Is. The moon in all her phases is found here. The seasons pool their energy here. It is alchemical, radiant and fabulous!
The waxing phases of the moon teach us of exploration and activity. Through growth and change we learn and gain understanding. Waxing phases teach us that life is good and we can handle it with hope and happiness. After the full moon, it all begins to change and as we experience these changes, we learn that what we fear isn't all that bad. Even the hardest lessons teach us of our toughness and ability to survive and thrive. In our sense of knowing we become aware of the songs of the Universe and how to sing all the harmonies.
Pretty cool, huh! I tied it all up in a nice neat little package. It works. I related this to a friend of mine and it didn't work for her at all. So there's more. And what about the eclipses? What about Void of Course? That's why this is Part One!
Have a good one and stay tuned for more.............
Thursday, March 09, 2006
"When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity she finally began to enjoy being a woman." -- Betty Friedan
At work earlier this week, we had a women's luncheon in honor of Women's History Month. On the table were rectangles of colored paper with different quotes about women or about living as a woman. This one really struck me because I have always struggled with the concepts of femininity. What do they mean to me, and how can I live up to them? Do I want to live up to them?
When I was younger and a Christian, the concept of femininity was harder to deal with because it involved being submissive and obedient, often to people for whom I had little or no respect; it was expected because they were men. The group was organized around the polarities of masculine and feminine--the "guys" were in separate teams from the "gals." At one point, the guy's teams let it be known that they'd like the gals to dress more feminine. Since we were in college in the heyday of the jeans and tshirt era, I could only assume that meant dresses and make-up. Actually that was what it was. Clearly, being smart and witty and devoted to Spirit were not particularly feminine ideals!
Fast forward many years, and here I am in the pagan and Goddess community where feminine and masculine are considered sacred and mirrored in our lives and the world around us. Everytime anyone described the qualities of the Sacred Feminine, they tended to center on the same sort of characteristics and sometimes echoing the qualities of a Christian "gal," awakening more doubts for me. Everytime I thought of a characteristic of the Sacred Feminine, I could think of a man who demonstrated these as well or better than any woman I knew. And vice versa for Sacred Masculine.
The last thing I wanted to do was have a list of essential qualities for the Sacred Feminine and another opposite list of essential qualities for the Sacred Masculine. Eek. No one can measure up to that kind of essentialism. Not even the Goddess or the God.
I read somewhere, and I can't remember where [darn it] that when we conceptualize the Sacred as Feminine and Masculine and we assign qualities to it, we need to think of those qualities in the broadest and most expansive ways. That to say that the feminine energy is negative and masculine energy is positive is to describe the energetic flow of power and it is in no way analogous to our lives in our societes. In this case, the Sacred Feminine and Masculine are not comparable to the lives we lived situated in place and time. To understand these sacred energies, we must move out or our lives and move into the energetic flow of the Universe. When we do, we gain a new understanding. We learn to reframe our old understanding of how the world works. So the idea that negative is bad no longer makes sense, and we learn that negative and positive are just kinds of energy. Like a battery. Both are needed to power the Universe.
That helped me to realize that I was bound by my own experiences of place and time, and to understand who and what the Sacred is, I need to move out of that into the ecstatic Universe. And like so many things, it is so difficult to articulate. It is because we are describing feelings and experiences. The Sacred, both feminine and masculine, must be experienced in our souls as well as in our bodies. We can wrap our minds around it, but we may not be able to describe it in a way that will be understandable to someone else. Even if we can, their experiences may lead them in another dance towards a different understanding. And then we all meld together in the Sacred, dancing in the light and the dark. Ecstatic, rowdy, and joyful!!
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Because of my academic background, I believe it is important to be grounded in scholarship but not be bound up in it. It's a balance between what others can teach you and your own internal wisdom; sometimes called UPG, or "unverified personal gnosis." Equally as valid and sometimes even more so as we learn to dance with the Old Ones.
Think about how you were in junior high. And then think about how you are now. Certainly you retain some of that essence but you have grown and become something different, haven't you? Thank heavens I have!! So has the Goddess. She does not remain static as the deity of yesteryear. She moves through the heavens and dances with the stars, ever becoming.
This is something I wrote five years ago in Womonspeak, "What I believe...is that many of the goddess stories have been mis-tod and that we can retrieve her stories by asking Her what they are. Embedded in the HIStory stories are the real woman-centered stories of heart and soul....and I call upon her courage, wisdom and dark mystery. You won't find the real [goddess] in Ovid or Bulfinch but you find her in your heart and soul. I believe that Perfection lies in process and we are evolving as is the Goddess. So the Goddess become what she becomes and the whole process is Perfection. The song, "I am a child of the Universe, being born every moment" has deep meaning if we believe that "I am goddess." It means that the Goddess is not bound by the patriarchal writings of the past but is being born each moment."
Just as we are not bound by our own past. We create and re-create ourselves whenever we stand true to our own ecstatic and wild nature.
So when I'm called by a Goddess or a God. I do the research. I am a librarian by nature as well as by training! And then I meditate, journey, pray and walk with this Goddess. I draw Her down and feel her wisdom.
Then I write or embroider or find a way to express the wonder that I've discovered.
Monday, March 06, 2006
It took a long time to become a Rowdy Goddess. It all began, like most stories, when I was a girl. My grandparents had a collie mix dog named Rowdy. He was cool. I'd sit on the porch steps and call, "Here, Rowdy, Rowdy, Rowdy," and he come running! My mother told me that one time he disappeared for several weeks. Everyone assumed that he had been stolen and then he found his way home. He showed up all raggedy and a little worse for the wear, but home he came!
During my childhood and teenage years--my whole life, really--there have been times when I have felt so connected to the Universe, to something magical and pleasurable. I was sure that magic was out there and I was being called to be a part of it. I recognized the call of Spirit, the call of what I now know to be the call of the Goddess and the God.
When I was in college, I became a member of a fundamental Christian group. I was with them for four years or so. It was not a pleasant experience since my feminist nature kept getting the best of me. "Have you really read this stuff," I asked after reading some of the Old Testament. They started calling me the "Rowdy Girl." It was not a compliment. My exuberance kept bubbling over and the jokes and comments were taken amiss.
A little over ten years ago, I started attending (and later teaching there) a wonderful women's spirituality retreat called Womongathering--www.womongathering.com. It is a fabulous gathering; it is where I met my dear friend Joyce there. We always asked for drum tolerant tents, but somehow our laughter and chatter always bothered someone. We would get shushed.
As a librarian, I know all about shushing. I deplore shushing. After awhile, RoseLee joined us followed by Sharon, Susan and Kim. Our laughter and delight in one another always bubbled over! Shushed again. Oy vey! I then told them my Rowdy Girl story. And since we were Goddess Wimmin, we should consider ourselves Rowdy Goddesses. They liked that idea a lot.
The next year, as I was walking to the assigned cabin, a woman stopped me and said, "I think you are in the noisy cabin." There was a HUGE, wonderful lot of noise, laughter and talk coming from our usual cabin! Whoo hoo. Maire, Erin, and Diana were there. Everything changed after that.
The people who assigned the cabins have never put anyone next to us after that. We have grown in numbers every year after that; and we use those four days to catch up, take stock, cry, scream, get mad, laugh and retool ourselves. Even though we only see each other once or twice a year, we are dear friends. Like that Rowdy dog of my childhood, we are sometimes a little raggedy and worse for wear, but home we come to each other. As close as any coven or family can ever be. We are the Rowdy Goddesses.
Anyone, woman or man, can be a Rowdy Goddess by truly being true. True to self, true to emotions, true to mind and true to spirit. It is that easy and that difficult.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
In becoming un-ruly, you suddenly discover your own unfettered power to be who you are--filled with lightness and darkness as you please. You can sing and dance as you please, and be powerful and delightful. You can move and shake the world, and you can travel between the worlds and beyond.That makes rowdiness and ecstatic experience.
Ecstasy is when we are so filled with spirit, that we cannont be held back. We can dance and play across all the worlds--the rules mean we choose based on our own discernment and ethics. We move out of ourselves to become more ourselves. We become Goddess. Or as my niece put it when she was a baby, "we get down with our bad selves."