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.”
Thinking in Circles
circle round and celebrate
circle round and sing
circle round and share stories
circle round and reach out a hand
In working with people, we often need to learn to think in circles, rather than in lines. Circles are strong. Circles are steady. Circles hold the space, circles make a place for others. Circles can expand or contract as needed. Circles can be permeable and yet have a strong boundary. Linked arms in a circle can keep things out and show solidarity. Linked energy in a circle can transform the ordinary into sacred space. Hands at each other’s backs, facing each other, eye level. Working together in a circle for a ritual, change is birthed, friendships are strengthened, and love is visible.
Rituals are very important in acknowledging life passages—they say: we care, we notice, we honor, we celebrate. They mark transitions, celebrate accomplishments, and acknowledge losses. They provide a container for emotions, the opportunity to strengthen relationships and share experiences. They add meaning, value, and purpose to the events of our unique lives. They communicate love and appreciation.
Elizabeth Gilbert explains that:
We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn't have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet…
(Eat, Pray, Love)
Leading effective rituals involves awareness and management of the energetic “balance” and mood of a group and creating an effective container for change-work or self-discovery. Ritual facilitation also requires organization, planning, motivation, and self-confidence. It can be difficult, frustrating, overwhelming, and discouraging. It can also be exhilarating, rich, connected, and powerful.
In the woods, I offer a prayer for our circle, learning, changing, and growing together:
May our circle be strong
may our circle be harmonious
may our circle be steady
and may our circle grow and change
please guide me as I priestess this circle today
please help me to see, hear, and honor those within the circle
help me to act with love in my heart, hands, and mind
help me to guard the energy of this space
help me to facilitate sacred connection
let us all act as sisters
as companions and friends
hold the space
hold each other…
This post is partially excerpted from my newly birthed Ritual Recipe Kit, available for free download from http://brigidsgrove.com.
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