Listening to the woods, to the stones, to Gaia, and to women...
In the woods behind my house rest a collection of nine large flat rocks. Daily, I walk down to these “priestess rocks” for some sacred time alone to pray, meditate, consider, and be. Often, while in this space, I open my mouth and poetry comes out. I’ve come to see this experience as "theapoetics"—experiencing the Goddess through direct “revelation,” framed in language. As Stanley Hopper originally described in the 1970’s, it is possible to “…replace theology, the rationalistic interpretation of belief, with theopoetics, finding God[dess] through poetry and fiction, which neither wither before modern science nor conflict with the complexity of what we know now to be the self.” Theapoetics might also be described, “as a means of engaging language and perception in such a way that one enters into a radical relation with the divine, the other, and the creation in which all occurs.”
Giving birth to myself...
no longer bearing children
I am pregnant with myself
ripe with potential,
I incubate my dreams
and give birth to my vision...
While I wrote the above poem last year, I've been returning again and again to it this month, awakening with the lines running through my mind, hearing the words as I take a shower or travel in my car. I'm feel like I'm at the cusp of entering new space in my life cycle as a woman. I've spent ten years in intensive mothering. Now, my youngest child is three and I do not plan to have any additional children. While I'm not quite 35, I see the sparkle of the "crone" on the horizon in that eventually the mothering of these small people will not be central focus of my days, with the rest of my plans and ideas fitting into the cracks that remain. It is interesting terrain to begin to explore.
After the empowering and transformative births of my first son in 2003 (and my second in 2006), I became deeply enmeshed in birthwork—expanding my existing senses of women’s issues and social justice into birth activism and birth education. When I then trained as a Cakes for the Queen of Heaven facilitator in 2007, I discovered something every powerful in these resources. At the conclusion of the training, I had profound sense of THIS is what else there is for me! I didn't just have to work with birth, perhaps there was something more for me on this "women's mysteries" path. It was a pivotal moment. Then, in 2009, my third son died during my second trimester of pregnancy. My birth-miscarriage experience with him was a powerful and transforming experience as well and I was left with a sense of openness to change. A receptivity to larger forces and powers in the world. Indeed, it felt like a spiritual experience. After his birth and in my journey through grief, I experienced a sense of myself as inherently worthy and valuable—that I didn’t need to do anything special to be a worthwhile human being. I also had the revelation shortly after his birth that the power of women that is so present in birth, is present in women, period, all the time. I realized that this sense of “birth power” was what I also touched in the women’s spirituality movement and I found myself irresistibly drawn to more and more reading and study of feminist spirituality and Goddess thealogy. However, reading wasn’t enough. I felt the thread of the Goddess that had danced at the edges of my life for so long, had finally become a distinct and extremely important presence in my life and I felt a call to more formally dedicate myself to a Goddess path, eventually beginning a doctoral program at Ocean Seminary College in 2011 and becoming ordained as a priestess in 2012. (I also gave birth to my beautiful, healing "rainbow" daughter in 2011.)
My husband and I are hard at work on a collaborative project, Brigid's Grove, that will officially launch on February 1st. In addition to our pewter pendants and figurines (I sculpt, he molds and casts), we have also created a series of priestess initiation rings. We've also created a book of "ritual recipes" that we're offering as a free (digital) kit and I'm so excited to be sharing this to others!
Here I am
this is me
I am woman
giving birth to myself.
The priestess within
is shrugging off old ideas, old habits, and old patterns of behavior.
She’s stepping out, stepping strong, standing tall
lifting arms to the sky
drawing down the moon
visioning the future
priestessing the temple
of her own hearth and woods...
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