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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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The still centre.

Outside, in the dark, the air is finally still.  Like rich swathes of fabric, the darkness hangs around me, enfolding me, wrapping me in its exquisite embrace.  I sit, breathing in the night air, the smell of cedar and dew wet grass filling me with pure awen.  The last of the crickets are singing in the remnant of summer’s growth, owls hooting softly in the distance and underneath the beech tree near Caia’s grave I let the songs of the night wash over me in waves of indigo and black.

The quiet is shattered by the call of a stag just on the other side of the hedge. Calling to the does, he is in full rut, looking for the ladies in the shelter of the night.  He is maybe four feet away, and his bark and rumbles excite me with the power that he is emanating in following his soul’s truth.  I can hear the slight shuffle of leaves and grass beneath his hooves as he paces up the track and then back down towards the nature reserve and farmer’s fields.

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Six Family Activities for Samhain

Samhain is a big deal in our house.  Our family plans its costumes (and cosplay) sometimes years in advance.  We participate in a lot of the rituals common in the U.S. for Halloween, and we blend them with the traditional rites of Samhain.  Whether you celebrate this holiday on October 31st (fixed date), November 6th (the cross-quarter date), or somewhere in between, there are a number of ways to get your children, both wee and tall to participate.

Visit a Farm

Since many of us have no gardens or only small ones, it is important to help our children connect our food during this time of harvest with the land from which it comes.  Several farms hold special events and provide goods to families during this time of year (and some hold nearly year-round activities).  From pumpkin patches to corn mazes to herbal labyrinths, it's possible to let your children see food at the end of the growing year.  Sunflowers are drooping and have lost their petals, the largest corn has been picked, and all manner of squash have fattened and are ready for eating or carving.

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Cailleach as the Samhain Eclipse

On 23rd October we will celebrate both Lunar Samhain and a partial solar eclipse in Scorpio.  Scorpio is the zodiac sign that encapsulates some of the cailleach, or hag's, qualities.  Scorpio not only understands shadows, but often prefers shade. Scorpio has a fondness for the occult, deep psychology, sex. The eighth house in a horoscope is ruled by Scorpio, the eighth sign, and is often referred to as the house of sex, regeneration and death. Loss, grief, transformation, these are Scorpio themes.  Like the snake that swallows its tail, Scorpio knows how to shed its skin, reinvent itself and reach for infinity.  This is also the Cailleach's tale: wisdom/dementia, destruction/rebuilding, beauty/horror, gain/loss, giving/receiving. She is the polarity and the third way.


Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic winter season. After a prolonged warm and summery Equinox, the wind is blustery, stripping all the crimson Virgina creeper from our house's southwest wall.  The hag is speaking. She has arrived. We scurry to light the fire during the day to ward off the dampness; the rain hurls itself off the Atlantic. There was thunder at dawn this morning. The Cailleach has come.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    Thank you for reading. And commenting and felt no criticism implied. I just wanted to let you know where my personal spiritual jou
  • Unckle Bug
    Unckle Bug says #
    I agree. And the lessons and metaphors are drawn from specific parts of our mythology and lore. I find that a basic, common unders
  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    I have to say that I am much more in tune with the four Celtic fire festivals; they seem to define my life and wheel of the year.
  • Unckle Bug
    Unckle Bug says #
    Love this! One important thing, though... The Pagan Wheel has two seasons: Summer and Winter. The Pagan winter starts when the Hol
  • Danielle Blackwood
    Danielle Blackwood says #
    Bee, this is lovely stuff! I really appreciate what you said about not being able to do another's "reshaping". Your poem is also
What Might It Be Like To Live In A Matriarchal Society of Peace? Can You Imagine? by Carol P. Christ

 

There are many reasons for women, slaves, and the poor to rebel against domination and unjust authorities in patriarchal societies. But we should not assume that there are any reasons to rebel against domination where no domination exists or to rebel against unjust authority in societies where there are no unjust authorities.

In response to my popular series of blogs on patriarchy as a system of male dominance created at the intersection of the control of female sexuality, private property, and war (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), I was asked if there is an injustice inherent in matriarchal societies that caused men to rebel and create patriarchy.

The assumption behind this question is that if women are dominated by men in patriarchal societies, then men must have been dominated by women pre-patriarchal societies. Lurking behind the question is the further assumption that there must have been “a good reason” for the development of patriarchy. The idea that there is “no good reason” for patriarchy to exist–if “good” means fair and just–is just too painful for many of us to want to consider it.

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La Llorona

      I want to be La Llorona for Halloween, I told my grandmother after watching a Mexican movie.           

      Sacrilege, Abuela said, she is a murderess!

       At eight, I was used to my grandmother's threats when I misbehaved: La Llorona will take you away.

       The myth of La Llorona conjures up strange effects on Latinos.  Most children scream after hearing her name.  Many women cross themselves, saying "Ave Purisima," after mentioning her name.  And yet, some women—like my grandmother—smile after summoning La Llorona. The Weeping Woman did not scare me; instead, she fascinated me.  I suspected that La Llorona had a secret. Perhaps, if I dressed like her I could uncover her mystery.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lillian Comas
    Lillian Comas says #
    Thanks Jan, for reminding us of this lovely version of the Llorona's legend . Clarissa Pinkola Estes has beautifully reclaimed ma
  • Jan Johnson
    Jan Johnson says #
    In Clarissa Pinkola Estes' (Dr. E) book "Women Who Run With the Wolves", there is another version that is similar to the one will
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Comas, Thanks for sharing! Your post reminds of one of my favorite William Faulkner quotes: "The past is never dead. It's no
  • Lillian Comas
    Lillian Comas says #
    Hi Jamie: Thank you for your comment. Indeed, Faulkner was right: the past is not even past.

Pulpit Rock is the North point in my Blue Mountains Circle of Eight. A pulpit is a raised place within a church, where a speaker stands. Standing on Pulpit Rock and looking around me I see a church built not by humans but by the earth itself. We call this place the Blue Mountains but actually it’s a plateau, lifted up by volcanic activity around 170 million years ago. Pulpit Rock has nearly 360 degree views of vertical cliff, deep folded valley and curving lines of tree tops. I feel small there, but also expanded, reminded of my capacity for the appreciation of beauty and my connection to this living planet we are all a part of.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Pulpit-Rock-2.jpg

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In 2013, I engaged in a year-long Woodspriestess experiment in which I visited the same place in the woods behind my house every day for an entire year. The experience described in this post occurred eight months into my experiment...

I continue to be surprised by this same small patch armadilloof woods. Last night, if you chanced to overhear me in my sacred space, you would have heard me scream:

“Oh my GAWD!!!!! I just STEPPED ON an ARMADILLO!!!!!!”

Yes, that is correct, I stepped squarely on a genuine, real live armadillo on my way through the woods last night. I’d gotten “too busy” to visit the woods during the day and by the time I made my way down there, it was totally dark. I opted to go out without a flashlight, feeling a bit smug, if I do say so myself, that I know these woods so well and am just so connected that I don’t even need a flashlight to find my way and then…STEP…bizarre-growling-squeal-grunt-and-scuttle and me screaming the above. My first thought as I grasped what had happened was actually to try to take a picture for a blog post, but by then it was too late and only the scaly tail was dimly visible under a nearby shrub! By the time I stood on the rocks, I was laughing semi-hysterically and my heart was pounding with the adrenalin and surprise. I reflected again on how very many creatures share these woods with me and I wondered how many other woodspriestesses of various species cross these very stones each day. I think of this space as “mine,” but clearly an armadillo also finds it a useful nighttime exploration place.

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