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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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All Our Ancestral Allies

It is twilight in the woods, neither dark nor bright, but that liminal time where moment by moment, vision shifts.  I am once again at California Witchcamp in the Mendocino Woodlands, surrounded by Reclaiming Witches of all genders and generations.  It is the second night of camp and we gather in a clearing to begin our evening ritual work.  I have agreed to hold the role of Anchor at this ritual.  Being Anchor means I will not participate as an individual, but instead will stand at the edge of the circle in a meditative state and deeply witness the energy patterns and flow being created and worked by the group.  I will witness and notice and see, but not move or direct or channel the energy myself.  At times, like a tent peg, I may help keep the energetic wall in which the work is being done secure, but my role is to witness and help hold stable the container for the work.

As the ritual begins, I place a thin scarf over my face, denoting my role, and I ground myself deeply into this place, this piece of Earth.  I feel my energetic roots go deep and touch the energetic roots of the Redwoods ringing the clearing.  I let my roots entwine with theirs, they have been anchoring this space for centuries, witnessing the comings and goings of generations of animals like us.  I feel the deep ancient connection with Earth and Redwoods holding me as I hold the edge of this night’s Circle which is being cast by one of the priestesses with the help of the whole group.  Connecting to Earth time, to Redwood time, helps me see a wider band of human time and space.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Wendy J. Aucoin
    Wendy J. Aucoin says #
    As I was reading your post and I got to the part about accepting ancestors who you previously viewed as negative, I felt the stran
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Dear Wendy - thank you for taking the time to share some of your story. I am glad my experience and writing was helpful for you!
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    My dear Lizann - Thank you for holding this most important and often forgotten role of Anchor and Witness. And thank you for your
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Gwion! It was quite an experience!
  • Dora Ford
    Dora Ford says #
    THANK YOU. I too have experienced ancestor healing and I welcome that energy today

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

"Just as the acorn holds limitless oaks, the Self has limitless potential. Expanding, contracting, opening, closing, leaping, pausing, watching, knowing, asking questions…" --Womanrunes, The Rune of Self

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To be a human being sitting on a rock, in the sun, feeling wind, breathing in and out, reaching. This very moment, this very experience, this very capacity to sit and see and wonder, is the soul of life.

Today is my grandma's birthday. She passed away two years ago after a short and brutal bout with aggressive pancreatic cancer. After she died, my mom and I spoke briefly about whether or not my grandma's spirit is still present with us. I’ve noticed I don’t really get the kinds of “messages” that other people seem to experience after the loss of someone important to them and my mom feels pretty certain that life is over when it is over.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Lovely, thank you for your wise words.
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thank you!

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Changes! Goddess I Am!

These past few months have been filled with changes. Changes that have occurred at all levels of my life and brought with them joy, stress, worry, sorrow and all of the things that make us uniquely and fully human.

My life is full and complicated, so change upsets the perfectly ordered and balanced energy that keeps everything moving as it should. One of my greatest joys has always been my children and I loved that they were close in age (5 under 5, at one point), and gave little thought to the idea that they would also be leaving the nest, one right after the other. My husband and I raised our children to find their own paths and follow with passion what inspired them. So, true to this course, our eldest daughter, son and newly graduated youngest daughter are all living on the West Coast. Our twins will soon follow, leaving Pa. and pursuing a medical residency for one and Vet school for the other in parts yet to be determined. Each departure has reminded me of the changeable role as Mother and the necessary release of what we have nurtured so that these beautiful creations may find their own journey of creation. 

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“Moontime opens up our intuition.
By allowing ourselves to honour this time,
we can eliminate premenstrual tendencies…
Moontime is a sacred passage leading
to a greater awareness of self.”

–Veronika Robinson, Cycle to the Moon (p. 142)
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One evening as I prepared for a Red Tent Circle, a package arrived for me from the UK. In it was the beautiful book by Veronika Robinson: Cycle to the Moon.

Cycle to the Moon is a quick read and an inspiring one. The line illustrations are beautiful and the combination of journal pages/prompts and text is nice.

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Storm of the Undine

The breeze blew down from the top of the mountain pushing its way through the heat and humidity.  It rushed through her kitchen window filling the small room with the smell of crisp cool air.  Blowing her hair back off the tackiness of her face and neck as she stood there washing dishes.  The room had a slight relief from the heaviness of the air.

She looked out the window and up thought the trees.  There she saw the storm taking shape.

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Changing The Story of Your Life

The stories we tell have power.  They teach.  They influence the opinions and behaviors of ourselves and others.  They influence how we experience our lives and the world.

Vivian Gornik wrote a great book for creative nonfiction writers called The Situation and the Story.  It’s short, entertaining, educational, and I highly recommend it.

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Weaving a Stronger Web

Taking time to become aware of the self is a large part of the modern Pagan movement.  In the last twenty years, exploring the psychological aspect in many of the traditions has been as important as the metaphysical and the spiritual work.  Many have done this, as part of a training course or in their own deep learning, but perhaps subsequently allowing it to fall by the wayside; once it’s been studied, that’s it, let’s move on.  Being aware of your emotions and behaviour is a never-ending quest in self-awareness.  In order to live as Pagans it should be a lifelong exercise, in order to ensure that we are living honourably and respectfully within nature and the natural cycle.

Indeed, it is our responsibility to be aware of what we put out into the world, emotionally and physically, as Pagans.  We know that we are a part of a greater web, therefore when one strand is tugged, all the others shiver all the way down to the core.  We need to be able to see when we have failed to act with honour, in our human relationships, in our relationships with the natural world, in our relationship with the gods and the ancestors.  And in doing so, we can work to make amends, to reweave those threads that have been pulled apart.

Sometimes the damage is so great that we need to start again, and that is perfectly acceptable.  When there is no possibility of working with another without losing that sense of honour, where there is no respect, then we can walk away calmly and begin again, focusing our energy on creating the world we wish to live in that benefits the whole.  We can still try to understand the situation, working with compassion, but we don’t have to participate in it any longer, especially when it becomes abusive.

We face many challenges in our modern world, some of which we shared with our ancestors, some not.  Alienation, isolation, war, climate change, technology: all these we have shared previously with those who have gone before. How we respond to it makes all the difference. Emma Restall Orr, on the Patheos website as part of her article on the environmental crisis and how to respond gracefully as a Pagan, states:  

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