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SageWoman Blogs


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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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Sacrifices are made every day.  Some are greater than others.  Some are just things that are put off until a time when they can be brought back out and looked at again.  Some are given up together.  These sacrifices bring on change.  Sometimes we see them as just sacrifices, but if you look deeper, they may be signs of a change in your life, a change in the way you eat, a change in what you have learned, or even a change in how you react throughout your day.

They say that we are in a constant state of learning, a constant state of sacrifice, and a constant state of change.  I believe this is true.  I know when I am preparing for one of my belly dance classes, I may decide to teach the students a new move.  Even if I have performed this move many times in the past, I will research and study to make sure that I am teaching how to do the movements as accurately and physically proper as I can.  When I personally do the movements within a dance, I am not thinking about how to explain them to someone else.  During this time, I may learn something new about the movement that I never knew before.  Or I may learn that I have changed the proper way to perform this movement and have gotten lazy with my movements and find that in my laziness and may be hurting my body by not performing the movement correctly.  I try to remind myself that I need to be open and accepting and willing to give up the bad habit.  Ultimately, this excites me and encourages me to continue on. 

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Winter

(Art by Barbara Bargiggia)

Ah, January. In like a lion roaring exciting resolutions and plans, out like a tired bear hibernating in a Winter cave. New or continued schedules after the holiday break quickly become rote trudging performed in the icy cold of the bleakest part of Winter. Short days don’t seem to hold enough of the activities we wanted, and we find ourselves playing catch-up with little energy input from Sun or Earth’s abundance. Plans for early bed and early rising fall to the freeze-out of not being able to stop finishing tasks until after bedtime. Or to a seized-up will. Emotions expand and freeze, slicing with icy edges the hearts of these organic creatures trudging through the dark, cold, short days. It’s enough to make you want to hole up and wait it out. Let Spring bring the fuel and the will to rise again.

Until the crocuses or groundhogs peek out and whisper of Spring’s coming, it seems a natural time to pause and rest, perhaps do inner-work in the quiet space of our own heads and hearts. Light a fire in the hearth and stir pots, stare into the fire, find underworld songs rolling around your tongue, and find tangles in your forgotten hair.

But the time does come to fetch more firewood, or you’ll freeze. The stirred pots eventually give forth sustenance and medicine and more will need to be added or you won’t eat tomorrow. There’s life in there, and it demands to live. It has slowed, but it will move… even in the cold, even in the dark, even before any message from Green Spring arrives to promise quickening. This isn’t death, it’s just a pale rehearsal. With a glowing ember inside.

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Hope for the new year

2014 saw a lot of loss with the passing of friends and family. My uncle died in his home, a film maker friend took his own life and a musician friend suffered from a cold for days and ultimately died, I haven't heard the cause yet, but wonder if it might have been pneumonia.  Our jobs as massage therapists haven't panned out as well as we'd hoped, the spa we both worked at closed it's doors and the part time work at the University Wellness Center is hit and miss on clientele keeping their appointments. And in late Spring I developed an allergic reaction to my blood pressure medication that sent me to the hospital and sent me into a mild anaphylactic shock. From that experience I now get allergic reactions to a variety of unknown things, including some ingredient(s) found in the massage lotion we used at the spa which closed.

On the positive side of 2014, Dean and I got married in May. We had a pirate-gypsy themed wedding that pretty much was a large party for all the family and guest. Just what we wanted it to be.b2ap3_thumbnail_Dean-and-Janice-pirate-wedding-Janice-signs.jpg The remainder of 2014 was a financial struggle for us as jobs in Springfield for LMT's (licensed massage therapists) are few, the market is glutted due to a massage school being here in town. Jobs, in fact, are still an endangered species here in town as large chain grocery stores have recently closed their doors, fast food restaurants and factories had all shut down suddenly.

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How Do You Pronounce That? A Look at Mantra

Mantra (mantram in the singular) are an important part of spiritual practice in many religious traditions. They are a core component of individual sadhana (discipline) and of the work done together in community, serving on multiple levels to effectuate transformation. Individuals, for example, may perform japa, the recitation of a particular mantram on a mala (rosary), to meditate and gain access to places of deeper insight. Spiritual practitioners working together may use mantra during puja (worship) to evoke the divine essence.

It is the vibration of sound in each case that forges a link between this world and the unseen realm. Mantra in this way can aid the seeker in harnessing the potency of one of the underlying truths of Tantra. The metaphysics state that a connection exists between the reality we experience through our bodies and the ripples left in space-time by the Divine moving into and out of the cycle of life on Earth. It offers that this provides a glimpse at (and potential access to) the unfathomable Goddess. With just the smallest fraction of this power—Shakti—in our midst, we may be able to overcome the burden of our karmas and become whole.

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In Shadows

Though we've moved beyond the longest night, the winter prevails upon us a time for darkness and reflection.

Since mid-November, when the air filled with the scent of wood smoke and the days were growing ever shorter, the darkness has been heavy on me.  I worked hard to celebrate the light's return at Solstice and made many children smile from homemade gifts and books, which was delightful for me

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A Goddess in Free Fall

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0418.jpg
(Photograph courtesy of Julia M. Hayes and No Worries Farm)

I get lost when I gaze into this picture taken on my farm in Eastern Washington one frigid winter morning. The peace that comes over me when I stare and lose myself is immeasurable. Looking at this image I'm reminded of the feeling of surrender, which depending on the situation can feel horribly vulnerable or ultimately freeing. I've reached a place in life where I'd prefer to be free than resist the flow because of an incessant need to control its outcome.

I remember reading a teaching about letting go by Anthony De Mello. The imagery used is similar to what I describe in the narrative that follows. My intention for writing the piece is to remind you that when you surrender into falling, nothing but freedom occurs.

Free Fall

In her mind, she walks along the edge of something—a tree branch, the land, the water, the world. Her mind decides this precarious rim is a cliff. She looks at her feet powdered by this dry pale crumbly precipice. The image fails to soften the intensity of her racing heart. She feels on the edge. Being here is against her will. Pausing, she stares into something, nothing, squinting to flatten the curve of the vast view. She peers down into void, her eyes wide searching for reassurance—something, anything that will support her grounded need for control.

She bows at the waist hoping the intensity of her gaze will unravel her knotted innards. As she straightens to take a deep breath, the streudel-like ground beneath her feet gives way and she falls.

She silently screams with her eyes closed as her flailing arms reach for anything protruding, while her legs run, hoping to grasp enough land to escape this descent. The rush and speed of the air is oddly both warm and frigid. In a matter of a few blinks, she sees growth emerging from the side of the cliff. Jutting stones and gnarled tree roots withered like a crone. Frantically, she reaches for a root to arrest her fall. Her security lasts a second. The arthritic earthen finger gives way and it, too, begins to fall. She reaches for a stone but it pulls away from the cliff face like a hunk of bread torn from a loaf. She can’t help herself. Reaching, grasping, pulling, yanking to stop the fall and nothing helps.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_turtlebat_land.jpgMy friend Denise Ostler, a.k.a. Merri Beacon, writes tiny stories set in Turtlebat Land that she calls Fairytale Medicine: "funny stories in an enchanted land where empowering events create feelings of peace, freedom and self-worth."

The stories are truly medicine, slipping through the fairy tale portal-template already installed in our brains to open up possibilities for long-sought healing.

All of her stories are wonderful. "From War to Peace" is a lovely dose. It's particularly timely and — guess what? — it features a big dollop of belly-centric wisdom.

The story begins as, once upon a time, a man named Ergo is chronically denying his chronic anger. Confronted by his wife, he storms out of the house, runs through the village and on and on into the forest until he has to stop and sleep.

The story continues:

Ergo awoke the next morning and started marching. When the sun was high in the sky, he walked into a little clearing where a wooden shack was built. A sign hung on the doorpost that read “HEALER”.

I bet he doesn’t get much business, thought Ergo to himself. The thought struck him as being quite funny and he laughed out loud. Pretty soon he was shrieking with laughter until he had tears in his eyes. A man came out the door of the shack and smiled at Ergo who was now rolling on the ground holding his belly. “Help me,” he gasped. “I can’t stop laughing.”

“It’s because you have so many unshed tears,” said the healer. Ergo stopped laughing abruptly and sat confused on the ground. The healer gave Ergo his hand and led him inside, placing Ergo in a big chair covered with blankets. Next to the chair was a huge glass globe sitting on a little table.

“What is that thing?” asked Ergo.

The story continues here.

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