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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in priestess

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
A Cosmic Wink


"I have found being a priestess is not static. My priestessing has changed, and continues to transform over time. I am a priestess once by her call. I am a priestess once for experience. I am a priestess once by recognition...No one need be alone...I have cut a path through uncharted territory. I hope that now, when others hear her call, there will be a path to follow."

--Jade River, Three Times a Priestess in Stepping Into Ourselves by Goddess Ink

Last week a good friend who is also a long-time member of my women's circle, brought me a surprise gift. My friend is not particularly demonstrative, so I was deeply touched by her offering. Shown in the picture above, it is a "riverkeeper" sculpture from Bell Pine Art Farm.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Do Women's Circles Actually Matter?

“We need rituals of memory…because a political movement, the public policy and tactics of our movement, does not come from our ideas, but from the bloody and joyful substance of our lives. We need to be conscious about what our lives have been, to grieve and to honor our strength, in order to break out of the past into the future.” –Minnie Bruce Pratt

Last year, I was feeling depressed and discouraged after reading some really horrifying articles about incredible, unimaginable violence and brutality against women in Papua New Guinea who are accused of being witches as well as a book about human trafficking around the world (I wrote about this book in a post for Pagan Families). Then, I finished listening to David Hillman on Voices of the Sacred Feminine, in which he issued 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 rather than spending energy on having rituals to improve one’s love life (for example), modern witches should be taking to the streets and bringing 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 one of our last women’s circle gathering…does it 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’ve successfully created a women’s subculture for myself and those around me that comes from an ecofeminist worldview. However, is that actually creating change? Or, is that just operating within the confines of a damaging, restrictive, and oppressive social and political structure? Last time I facilitated a Cakes for the Queen of Heaven series, I made a mistake when I was talking and said, “in the land that I come from…” rather than saying, “in my perspective” or “in my worldview.” This is now a joke amongst my circle of friends, we will say, “in my land…that isn’t what happens,” or “let me tell you what it is like in my land.” I have to feel like that DOES make a difference. If we can share “our land” with others, isn’t change possible? Doesn’t “our land” have inherent value that is worth promoting, protecting, and populating?

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Lovely, sensitive, well thought out. As David Hyde Pierce remarked about the current level of funding for Alzheimer's research, "

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Transitioning into the Mother Weaver

As a child I experienced everything around me with awe and wonder. Receiving magic was natural and seamless. The path of the Priestess helped me to keep this channel open, and as a Maiden Priestess I revelled in my role as Receiver of Magic. In ceremony and ritual I was taken away on the wings of the energy, the music, and the Spirit helpers that joined us. During retreats I was guided through meditations that opened my crown chakra, I would soak in sacred waters, and spend hours practicing yoga. I could walk the Earth, still and contemplative, or run wildly with the wind rushing through my hair. I was an adult, yet I was still a Maiden, my life was still my own. Just when, where and how I served the Divine and her children was still my prerogative.

Pregnancy was the beginning of my transition from Maiden to Mother. I knew that I was walking through the fires of my rite of passage when I was in it, but I could not have anticipated what it would mean for me as a Priestess. I was prepared to lose my freedom in exchange for devoted service to the nurturing of my daughter Gracious and her soul's descent into the flesh. It was the dimming of the magic and the loss of space and time to consciously receive it that I wasn't prepared for. The elation of new motherhood was tempered by surprising feelings of grief. In prayer I realized that the tension of transition had brought a feeling of loss for the former phase of my life. I was grieving because I was becoming ready to embrace a new phase.

With each passing moment I could see the Maiden I once was reflected in my daughter. I watched my daughter’s eyes as they scanned the room in wonder, in awe of the twinkling lights adorning our bookshelf, smiling at the ceramic butterflies fastened to the wall above her as she breastfed. I would remember how it felt to sit in front of Christmas lights as a child. I would have moments of clarity where I could recall staring deeply into a flower or a ladybug . As a child I could feel the essence of the life that flowed through these beautiful creatures and creations. My daughter's birth highlighted how much I missed that innocent state of wonder. This longing was all part of my gradual release of the past, and as I accepted that, I became conscious of a new role I was growing into, that of the Mother Priestess. My transition had taken me from me from Maiden to Mother, from the Receiver of Magic to the Weaver of Magic.

...
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  • Candise
    Candise says #
    thank you sister xc
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    beautiful

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Thinking in Circles

circle round
circle round and celebrate
circle round and sing
circle round and share stories
circle round and reach out a hand
circle
no beginning
no end…

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Sometimes, as a public Druid, I get frustrated. Because over and over again, I seem to be saying the same thing. 'What's a Druid?' 'What do Druids do?' and so on, and so forth. I suspect we all get this at some point or another, if we're 'out of the broom closet' in any way. We just smile and get on with it as part of life.

But I do worry. Is this because nobody's listening? Am I actually trying to con people into following this mad 'cult' of modern Paganism? And of most concern, am I on the take?

I'm not - but it's easy to see why people would think that.

Spirituality is a deeply personal, heartfelt thing - a state of being, mind, emotion... so much contained in a such a complex state that it's virtually impossible to put into words. Especially, I might add, when someone asks me suddenly to explain my Druidry in two minutes or less.

b2ap3_thumbnail_ADT-Cover_20140130-164522_1.jpg

(Yes, this is me - in the woods near my home)

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  • Nimue Brown
    Nimue Brown says #
    There is a world of difference between standing up and saying 'this is what I do' and saying 'this is what you should do'. So many

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Giving birth to myself...

Soft belly
no longer bearing children
I am pregnant with myself
ripe with potential,
possibility, power
I incubate my dreams
and give birth to my vision...

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Pristine Priestess

You have a pristine forest inside of you. A sacred sanctuary. That is where your inner priestess lives. On an ego level, you are all sorts of things, like mother, daughter, artist, scientist, sportswoman, politician, lover, ... And, there is something else, of a very different order. Something that goes before everything else. Something that is more deeply rooted in your core, or even, that is the roots from which everything else sprouts. In you is a pristine forest. She is alive, Everytime you allow yourself to really sink into her, you die to all those other you's. You become one with the forest. You enter a primitive state. You connect to the primal forces inside of you. Sometimes still, sometimes fiery, sometimes howling, sometimes flowing.  Like the primal forces of the elements. Your life energy will start to flow again. You connect to a deep knowing, a primal knowing on who you are and what your life is about. You become pristine. From there, you can rise up again, rebirthing yourself. Rejuvenated, re-energized, re-created. This journey to your Sacred Space inside, is the journey of the Priestess. You can make it in seconds, minutes, hours, days, a lifetime. It is the natural cycle of women, our innate way to keep sane in an insane world.

When I started this blog, a few months ago, I challenged myself to make it a Sacred Space. A pristine place to re-create yourself. I feel in the above words I did just that. Please let me know if it had that effect on you?!

For actually, I find it quite hard to create a Sacred Space here. I find myself going off in interesting insights and experiences. In my rituals people celebrate me for the sacred space I hold. So what makes it so much harder to access it here?, I asked myself. What comes up is: my own pictures. My mind tells me that a blog should be interesting, fast, giving new insights. Aha. Witnessing my mind twist, I could start again.

Indeed, this blog started very differently. With my journey with the word 'priestess'. I always love that word, and years ago chose it very consciously above the word 'witch'. It still feels good. Recently I started wondering about the etymology of the word. The online etymology dictionary says: 

...
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Practical Priestessing: Who Does She Think SHE is?!

 “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

“The Goddess is not only for the temple, she must be carried out into the world to wherever she is needed…” –Vivianne Crowley (in Voices of the Goddess edited by Caitlin Matthews)

I recently finished writing a paper for my The Role of the Priestess course at Ocean Seminary College. This course explores the three roles of a priestess in depth: counselor (mentor), ritualist, and teacher. The first paper was designed to explore the role of priestess as counselor and I found it very difficult to write. After some reflection, I realized the difficulty was due to three personal reasons: doubt that I “deserve” to call myself a priestess, doubt about my own ability to fulfill the counselor part of the role, and fear of not being “good enough” or “perfect” enough to fulfill this piece of the priestess role. I am fairly comfortable with the roles of ritualist-ceremonialist and of teacher and I also feel good about how well I already fulfill those roles. The Counselor though. She’s scary. Am I good enough? Can I really do this? Who do I think I am?

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  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Another powerful Priestess post Molly. A lot of great quotes to ponder ingest and digest. Reading this makes me even more excited
  • Shari Wright
    Shari Wright says #
    Thank you for putting this so eloquently. I have always felt was a strong Ritualist/ Ceremonialist and Teacher. Those are the ro
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you. Good things to remember.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Anima_short_story1.pngAt a time that was not now and a place that was not here, a woman, Anima, was blessed with a perfect life. She had never been sick, never suffered from hunger or lack of love. She went about her days without any worries or concerns. One day she came upon a young woman hurt and bleeding. The young woman told her tale of suffering at the hands of uncaring people and how she had been left to die. Anima took the young woman home, cared for her and slowly her wounds began to heal.

There came a time when Anima arrived home and found the young woman about to jump into a deep well. Anima pulled her friend from the edge, saving her. She felt frustrated for the first time in her life. She did not know how to help her friend. So Anima took the young woman to the local temple. There she asked the Priestess to help heal her friend of the wounds Anima could not see. The Priestess explained that Anima could leave the young woman at the temple to be cared for. However, if Anima wanted to learn how to heal her friend, she could undergo the temple’s initiation. Anima cared deeply for her friend and consented to the initiation.

On the night of the dark moon, Anima descended into the caves under the temple. There she was undressed, bathed in the waters of the cave and told to follow the stream. As she descended, the Priestesses slapped her face. Shaking and nude Anima was asked if she consented to continue the initiation. Anima consented. She continued through the caves with only the stream to guide her and its water to drink. As she went further, the Priestesses would appear in the darkness to disrupt her sleep or to beat her. After every disruption or beating they asked Anima if she consented to continue. Anima consented.

Finally the hunger, the aching muscles, the lack of sleep, and the fear of the next beating overwhelmed her. Anima came upon a deep pit in the caves and stood at the edge. She did not know how much longer the initiation would be. The stream seemed to continue on without end. She took a deep breath. As she stared into the darkness she saw light to her left. Anima headed towards the light climbing up to reach it. The rocks were sharp and slippery. Bloody, wet and exhausted she emerged from the caves.

The Priestesses stood around her in the light of the full moon. They beckoned her to bathe in the sea. Anima consented. Her wounds stung and she tasted her tears. The Priestesses welcomed her out of the sea with bread and honey. Anima was marked in the middle of her breasts, on her forehead and at the bottom of her back with the sign of Priestess. She traveled back to the temple and found her friend. Anima heard her story, understood her pain and supported her healing. Soon the young woman’s wounds, both seen and unseen, were healed. From then on Anima traveled throughout the lands listening and supporting women in their healing. Her life as Healer and Priestess began.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Practical Priestessing

Hope before her
love behind her
empowerment around her
she is strong
she knows her own power
she is blessed...

Goddess grant me the courage, surrender, trust, and wisdom to do what needs to be done today. Let me serve my circle as priestess with great care, great attention, great trust, and great honor. Let me breathe deep and draw up what I need, let me open my arms and gather to me that which surrounds me. May I embody the gifts of the Goddess and share them with my circle sisters. Thank you. Blessed be.

On an email list I belong to, the question was recently posed as to why we need priestesses anyway. The concern was posed that the term is hierarchical and separates rather than unifies. As someone who identifies deeply as a priestess, this question soaked into my consciousness, demanding an answer, a reconciliation, a deeper understanding of what I understand my own role to be.

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  • Anne Forbes
    Anne Forbes says #
    This is a very thoughtful post. Like Paola, I think that many of us could put another title that we carry into this post and learn
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you for writing this Molly! As I read your post, I found myself replacing Priestess with "Holistic Health Coach" and taking
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    I'm so glad! Thanks for commenting!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Do you remember when you first stepped onto the Pagan path? Perhaps more years ago than you care to recall, perhaps only recently. But no doubt books and websites were raided for information, ideas, ways to practice, paths to investigate. We truly are blessed with a wealth of information these days, after all.

My quest began before the Internet. My recollection is of picking up 'A Witch's Bible' - that lovely, slightly scary-looking black tome, scavenged easily enough from the shelves of Borders bookstore - and seeing the pictures inside. The photographs from the 1970s of Janet Farrar, beautiful and resplendent in ritual, performing the symbolic Great Rite proudly and publicly. And, of course, very very naked.

Then came that word: 'Priestess'. Not just in Wicca, but everywhere I looked, the goal of all Pagans appeared to be the Priesthood. You were still just learning until you had finally achieved the right to that title. This was just around the time when folks were starting to self-initiate, so the controversy was relatively new.

b2ap3_thumbnail_high-priestess.jpg

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  • Lauren DeVoe
    Lauren DeVoe says #
    I'm curious about the books and articles that you've come across. I would love to read some of them for myself, suggestions? Thank

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It's been a while, but I'm back again, lovely readers! I'm currently hard at work on my second book (amongst other projects, as you'll see below), but I will certainly continue to post here as and when I can. Comments and topic requests always welcome.


At this time of year, it's easy to understand why our ancestors (both actual and spiritual), those wise women and cunning men, were considered remote, unusual, untouchable, even fearsome.

As Autumn moves into Winter here in the UK, we feel our natural, animal pull to dig in, hibernate, take time within the darkness to assess the previous year and anticipate the time to come - but I doubt any busy society has ever really allowed that to happen, except when they have no choice. Stoke up the fire, head to the pub or communal house, light and laughter against the outside world.

(Photo - 'Autumn in the New Forest', from Glastonbury Goddess Temple)

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Look, we all know that in most Western countries, Christianity is the major religion. This means that for many people in Western countries, 'religion' is synonymous with 'Christianity'. I suspect that in the modern Pagan movement, a lot of anger towards Christianity comes from this blatant disregard of two thirds of the world's religious people. In general, I can deal with the dominant Christian worldview. I may not like it, but I respect it. In my day-to-day dealings with those of the Christian faith, I can usually find the things we have in common within our religions and we make it work. This, however, does not mean that Christianity is the same as Hellenismos, and that a Christian chaplain--by origin a word applied to a representative of the Christian faith, now applied to men and women of other religions or philosophical traditions--could accurately guide me if I should ever end up in a hospital, the military or a prison.

While I'm usually very positive about Canada, I am not so positive today. CBC reports that the federal government is cancelling the contracts of non-Christian chaplains at federal prisons across the country. This doesn't mean just the 'fringe' faiths like Buddhism and Sikh--the Wiccan chaplain that got hired, got fired right away back in September--but also Judaism, Islam and the First Nation spiritualities. Why? Because Public Safety Minister Vic Toews isn't convinced part-time chaplains from other religions are an appropriate use of taxpayer money.

I would love to go caveman batshit over this, but Hellenismos has this thing about ethics and eloquent speech, so I'm going to try and actually formulate my opinion instead of reducing my power of speech to a Lolcat.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I think I mentioned before that priesthood in ancient Hellas was a lot different from priesthood as we understand it now. In the modern (Pagan) interpretation, priests serve a mostly spiritual role; they serve the religious community as a vessel for or to a God or Goddess. The primary tasks of a modern day priest(ess) seem to be to serve the community, to spread the gospel of the God(ess) in question and to offer access to the God(dess) in question.

In ancient Hellas, the role of priest(ess) was a largely temporary, governmental, function. The profession of priest could be bought, and usually only lasted a few years at best. Minding a temple was almost exactly like minding a house; clean-up, clean-up, clean-up. In fact, religious celebrations weren't led by the priest(ess), but by the magistrate or other high ranking government official. The sole task of the priest(ess) was the animal sacrifice, but that was vitally important.

During most festivals, an animal was sacrificed. It was the job of the priest(ess) to pick out the animal, lead it to the altar and bless the animal. Especially the latter was a job only a priest(ess) could perform, because they were especially well versed in liturgy, and because a failure to preform the exact rites would result in a failure of the sacrifice.
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A cross-post this week, if I may - between here at my first blog 'home', and the wonderfully eclectic 'Witches & Pagans' site (because if you can't 'moonlight' as a Pagan, then who can?).

I am very aware that I haven't written anything at either location for a couple of weeks. I could give excuses - ultimately, the days have flown past and life has been more important. I'm sure we all know how that goes. Instead, take a wander with me, if you will.

Regular readers know that one of my favourite places for inspiration is as I walk the dog across the hilltop where I live. This evening I wandered the streets, looking out at the fierce clouds parting after an intense rain and thunder-storm just a few hours ago, the remnants of a rainbow, and the slightly 'stunned' feeling of a normal, modern, country village after a violent and unavoidable incident of Nature. The grass is rich and green, the snails appear to have made a small bypass across the path outside one particular row of houses, and the occasional early bat is swooping overhead.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Click for full description.
©1990 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc

Today we're going to explore the abundance of symbols within the enigmatic High Priestess Tarot card from the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition.

 

Click for full description.Number 2 – Balance; Yin/Yang; Opposites Unified (Taoism); "Good Things Comes in Pairs" (Chinese philosophy); Diversity (Pythagoras); Potential for Disorder/Evil (Pythagoras); Balance; Duality; Opposition

 

Click for full description.Black and White Pillars – As the number 2, black and white signifies duality—yin/yang, dark/light, feminine/masculine, severity/mercy, passive/aggressive, esoteric/exoteric, heart/mind, intuition/logic and so on. Toggling back and forth, they are "either/or". However, the central veil featuring pomegranates and the date palm tree connects the two pillars—suggesting integration and the union of opposites. The two pillars, when joined by the veil, signify "both".

 

B and J – In I Kings 7 (Old Testament), the author offers a detailed description of Solomon's temple, including the pillars that marked the entrance. Verse 21 states: "Then he set up the pillars by the vestibule of the temple; he set up the pillar on the right and called its name Jachin, and he set up the pillar on the left and called its name Boaz." (NKJV) In Hebrew, Jachin means "He Shall Establish", while Boaz means "In It Is Strength".

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  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Just saw your post, Lisa! Fascinating insight. Thank you for mentioning this and posting the link!
  • Lisa Allen
    Lisa Allen says #
    Excellent blog post Janet! May I also mention that the Golden Crescent may also refer to the Crescent of Venus (aka the Horns of
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    You got it, Jeff!

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