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SageWoman Blogs

At SageWoman magazine, we believe that you are the Goddess, and we're devoted to celebrating your journey. We invite you to subscribe today and join our circle...

Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.

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One of my favorite women on the planet, a gifted priestess with whom I am blessed to share space on the regular, wrote this beautiful piece over at her blog.

"There are some of us who are the Dark Goddess and have been for quite some time. I have noted that these folks are feeling this shift the hardest. Going through the birthing pangs as Ereshkigal writhing alone and in the dark. Facing those who are saying “it’s not that bad” or “give it a chance let’s see how things go”. We know though that that only prolongs the process. It is only through BECOMING the  Dark Goddess and seeing her for who she truly is the Goddess of creation and rebirth, that we are able to live again. She is literally attempting to birth us into a new world at this time. So are you silencing her? Attempting to persuade her that her pain is not real? Or are you standing with her and seeing the truth of this moment?"

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  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah says #
    Love this post! I've been saying something similar for the last few years. A massive change is coming/has begun. And it will ge

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Ritual: The Power to Persist

If you’re a heart-led individual, you know it’s hard to be an agent of love in a world where vision is often scorned by those who prefer greed and narrow-mindedness. Sometimes, we just want to give up.

When hate tramples you, Gaia, and the lives of others—whether they are people you know or strangers—suffering can be so great that you feel too broken to keep on going. 

But love and the forces that oppose it have battled throughout all time. So we need the ability to continue fighting the good fight over the long haul. Here is a ritual that helps you persist, with the support of your Gods, ancestors, and All Your Relations.

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"There is a fire song in the depths of your soul that makes your heart sing. It doesn't matter if no one else can hear your melody, this is your song, not theirs. So move to your own beat and dance to your own drum. Follow your light and see where it leads. This is your story; this is your dream."

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Hope

Hope can be a double-edged sword. It can lift our hearts, rally us towards a cause, or it can lead us to the depths of despair when it dies. I've often wondered whether it is better to have hope or not, whether hope is a carrot dangling in front of us, or whether it is that very real need to invest our emotions into the belief that we can change our world. Back in 2012, I wrote about the Zen approach, in a piece entitled "No Hope". The words that I wrote four years ago still resonate strongly within me, even as my relationship to hope has changed.

When we are at our lowest, we might still have some hope that things will get better. This hope may be the only thing that gets us through those long, dark nights of the soul. Then again, that hope may be what is preventing us from achieving things in our own right. Hope may cause complacency. If we work without hope, without expectation, then we may be even more motivated to make a positive change in the world in our own right, for the benefit of all.

With hope comes expectation. When we have expectations, we can be thrown against the rocks of frustration, anxiety, anger and despair when those expectations are not met, when things do not go the way that we would like them to. We want people to behave the way we think they should, for the benefit of all. We want our politicians to think of the people that they represent instead of their own agendas. We want colleagues to pull their own weight, spouses and partners to be there for us, children to love us. When things don't go according to our plans, or according to our expectations, we might crash and burn. We might dive into darkness at seeing a new President-elect, we might look at the environment and realise that perhaps we have simply gone too far, and there is no remedy for what we have done. When this happens, we can lose momentum, we can get stuck. Hope might be the thing that brings us out of this stagnation, or it might leave us altogether, so that we are in an even worse state than before.

So how do we work with hope? I've found it useful in the last couple of years to work with Hope as a god. I've worked with Time in the same context, and it has been illuminating for me in so many ways. Working with the gods, we learn to create a relationship with them, one that is nurturing for all involved. There is a give and take, a sustainable and reciprocal feeling to it that means that we cannot rely on them to do everything for us, and vice versa. It is in mutual respect where we meet, where we realise that we are part of an ecosystem, and where we need to strengthen the bonds of relationship so that it functions for mutual benefit. We learn from permaculture that diversity is key, that edges are where things happen. We learn to work with both, and in doing so can make this planet a better place. If we give up Hope in this context, if we give up Hope as deity, then there will be a very real feeling of bereavement in our lives; we will be bereft. That relationship will be gone, and when it is gone then to whom do we relate?

Others would say that this might be preferable, and in giving up Hope as deity we then become more self-reliant. But self-reliance is a myth. We are all co-dependent upon everything else on this planet. We do not exist in a vacuum. We need others in order to exist, let alone thrive. We are not separate. Without the innumerable other factors in our lives, beings seen and unseen, we simply could not be. I think that this is why I believe in the gods. The gods are all about relationship, about relating to our world through a means which is personal to each and every being. This is why I'm starting to work with Hope on a new level, when it seems perhaps that all hope is lost. Otherwise, I fear I might spiral into apathy, or depression. If I work with Hope, if I talk to Her and connect those threads of sustainable relationship, then I might be inspired to solve a problem, mend something that is broken, reweave the threads of connection in the best way that I can.

Hope can be the spark of inspiration, the awen that sings to us in the dead of night when all seems lost. Hope can also be a force that keeps us from changing our lives for the better, hoping someone else, someone more powerful or intelligent will do it for us. But when we work with Hope as deity, then things begin to change. Hope will not save us from ourselves. But Hope may inspire us to do better, to be better, to be the change that we wish to see in the world.

Or so one can only Hope.

 

© Joanna van der Hoeven 2016

Joanna van der Hoeven is a Druid and author of several books, including the best-seller The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druidand her most recent release, Zen for Druids: A Further Guide to Integration, Compassion and Harmony with the Natural World. Find out more at www.joannavanderhoeven.com

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The Three-fold Nature of Tantra

Tantra, as is often said, is a difficult path.  

I liken it to being in the military, riding a frightening fun park ride, and hugging a eucalyptus-drunk koala bear all at the same time. Try as you might to practice under the auspices of Tantra and disentangle these elements, and you will fail. You will ultimately fall short of your goals and aspirations because these core qualities of what it means to practice Tantra exist in a dance much in the way the gunas—those fundamental components of prakriti, or essential nature—move in graceful combinations to give rise to the whole of what we experience as reality.

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Day After Election

Today I will not give up.

I acknowledge my terror,
but I will not give up.
I acknowledge my anger,
but I will not give up.
I acknowledge my sense of hopelessness,
but I will not give up.

I will feel my terror, anger, and hopelessness,
but I will not let them be my permanent home.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I say my prayers alone.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Thank you. Yes, I say my morning prayers alone too. And I have prayers I say later in the day with other people. Everyone is so un
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    yessss
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Aw, thanks so much, Carol!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you so much for sharing this. If I can get my printer to work I will print out a copy and add it too my cycle of morning pr
Sacred Marriage or Unholy Cover-Up? by Carol P. Christ

Many women are drawn to the image of the Sacred Marriage—perhaps especially those raised in Roman Catholic or Protestant traditions where sex is viewed as necessary for procreation but nothing more, and who learn that the naked female body as symbolized by Eve is the source of sin and evil. In this context, the positive valuing of sexuality and the female body found in symbols of the Sacred Marriage can feel and even be liberating.

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