If you breathe deeply
You can smell the
Damp soil holding
The seeds of new life.
If you breathe deeply
The subtle fragrance
And the promise of
Fills the senses.
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What are we leaping towards
what wants to push up from cold ground
what wants to open to the sun
what is it that we need to know?
What quiet, steady pulse beats
below the surface
what hope watches from the wings
what light grows broad
upon a patch of ground...
While we haven't had the hard winter that Boston and much of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States has had, it has still been a rough season here in Texas. Late February snow and ice, followed by a series of overcast days, have kept me in my home and away from so many of my favorite early spring activities. I am grateful for the much-needed water that will (hopefully) help alleviate the long drought we've been suffering here in the Lone Star state. And yet when the weather turns dark and moody and cold and wet, I find myself often turning inward. This inward state is not self-reflective or introspective as it might otherwise be. No, my winter "turning inward" is often a function of depression -- what I call my Black Dog -- and is as hard to shake as the Texas gumbo mud on my shoes. This winter has been one of re-evaluation, principally of the career which has been the center of my life for more than a decade. I am finding less and less joy and more and more frustration in the classroom, and becoming increasingly frustrated with the exploitative nature of part-time faculty life. And yet the idea of changing my path is fraught with emotional landmines -- a sense of having given up, of having failed, of being adrift and not knowing what to do or where to turn next. In many ways this is my relationship with the Element of Water -- it is so easy for me to give into the darker side of my emotions, to pain, to self-pity, and to fear. Perhaps because I have always lived in land-locked places, the idea of open water terrifies me. And the sense I've had of being adrift upon a vast sea has, of late, been really stoking my fears.
And so this week, Yemanja (otherwise known as Yemaya), the Holy Queen Sea of the Yoruba pantheon, has come to remind me that when we fight the current, we drown. But when we can surrender to the flow, we float....
I offer what I offer
I give what I give
I share what I share
I am who I am…
When planning a ritual involving children, I always have to remind myself to keep it short and simple! Just in time for Spring Equinox, I'd like to share the simple ritual of spring welcome that my family and I enjoyed over the weekend with a group of our friends. This ritual is designed to be done at night around a campfire and to be followed by a drum circle...
That's the question people often ask me as I'm praising women's bellies as sacred, not shameful. Praising our body's center as home to the soul-power kin to the magnificent Source Energy creating, sustaining, and renewing the world.
What about men? Don't they have soul-power too?
The chapter's major point: As a man enters into his own wholeness, integrating feminine and masculine polarities,
he begins to perceive a woman as a person, informed by her own purpose. His need to control her diminishes. He becomes more capable of entering into a relationship of mutual respect.
As men increasingly live and breathe from center, they prepare themselves to enter into the egalitarian relationships many women desire, and which we deserve. Truly loving relationships can develop as the partners each live from their inner source of being and support each other in returning to their core wisdom, again and again. In this way the relationship takes its strength from the shared center that emerges in the partners' midst.
As men and women support each other in coming home to ourselves, we can engender a more peaceful, just, and sustainable way of being human together on this planet.
Loving relationships? There's a story, origin said to be circa 1450, that — by my lights — holds the key to loving relationships between women and men.
I came across this story as I was preparing The Woman's Belly Book and its companion, the Rite For Reconsecrating Our Womanhood. As part of my research, I delved into Maureen Murdock's book, The Heroine's Journey.
Murdock tells the story of Lady Ragnell and Sir Gawain. The story is part and parcel of Arthurian legend; it relates to other tales of transformation as well.
You can read the original in Middle English here and adaptations into modern English here and here. In brief, the story demonstrates just what restores women's beauty and balance: Men perceiving women as persons, informed by our own purpose. Men recognizing, respecting, and supporting our autonomy, our sovereignty.
Respecting our sovereignty? A man by the name of Padma Aon Prakasha copied the text of my "What About Men?" chapter into his own book — without ever asking my permission. In his "note to the reader" he asserts his entitlement to appropriate others' words. That's either amusing or appalling, or maybe both.
But here's something much more interesting, and a thrill: My friend Denise Ostler (a.k.a. Merri Beacon) has of her own accord, without any previous inkling of Lady Ragnell's story, written her own and up-to-date version as part of her Fairytale Medicine series.
Her Goals & Dreams tale begins
Once upon a time, in a tiny kingdom, there dwelt a sweet princess who cared for injured animals. She created a special place in the royal stables where she could tend to her patients. She loved her work, but alas, it was time for her to marry.
The king narrowed her suitors down to three eligible princes. Each prince was invited to dine at the castle and give a speech about why he would be the best match for the princess. On the first night, a very handsome and confident prince stood to address the royal assembly....
The story continues here. Enjoy!