Sacred Cells: Embodying the Feminine Divine

Every cell in our beautiful and amazing bodies contains the whirling wisdom of the universe. This is the journey of one witch remembering that, and celebrating the Feminine Divine in beings of all genders.

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Lizann Bassham

Lizann Bassham

Lizann Bassham is both an active Reclaiming Witch and an Ordained Christian Minister in the United Church of Christ. She serves as Campus Pastor at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley working with a multi-faith student community. She is a columnist for SageWoman magazine, and a curriculum writer and workshop and retreat leader for several Christian denominations and organizations, as well as being a novelist and musician. Once, quite by accident, she won a salsa dance contest in East L.A

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What Poison Oak Teaches

It is cool this late June morning in the California Redwoods.  The path leading out of camp is lined with thigh high ferns and low patches of sorrel and wild ginger.  There are over a dozen of us, witches of all genders and generations, walking single file looking up the tall Redwood trunks through the green canopy of their branches, still wet with fog.  We stop periodically while our teachers speak of each plant and tree, and what these Greenbloods have to teach us.  Our teachers invite us to see and smell, and with permission from the plant itself, touch and taste.  I particularly love the taste of the tiny bit of Redwood I put in my mouth - it is sour and astringent on my tongue, then floods me with a deep sense of rootedness, vast amounts of time and history, and a promise of connection to what has come before, including  the possibility of deeply witnessing the lives of my own ancestors.

 

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  • Steve Archibald
    Steve Archibald says #
    Lizann -- Love the messages, the beautiful writing, the clear images. Thank you.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Steve!
  • Elizabeth Creely
    Elizabeth Creely says #
    Beautiful Lizann! Poison Oak has its purposes, indeed.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you Elizabeth!

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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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  • 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

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Blessed Dark and Glorious Light

In my Reclaiming Witch Tradition we have just marked the Solstice, Summer in the Northern Hemisphere where I live, and the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. It is now the time when the North turns back toward the sacred dark, and the South toward the sacred light. This cycle in the Earth's annual journey around the Sun gives each hemisphere an opportunity to revel in long days and short nights - a chance to play in the Sun, and see clearly what world work needs to be done by the bright light of day. It gives each hemisphere an opportunity to reflect in long nights and short days - a chance to slow down and "cozy in" and mend and repair and heal. 

Last December shortly after the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, I came across a poem by one of my favorite Reclaiming Witch poets/writers, Gerri Ravyn Stanfield, called “bold dark hymn” that made me begin to rethink my own use of the language of “light” and “dark.”  It made me begin to examine my own use of image and metaphor through the perspective of what has been going on in my country, The USA, as we continue to struggle with the legacy of slavery and the continued violence of racism.  This link will take you to the poem on her blog http://www.gerriravynstanfield.com/a-bold-dark-hymn/  

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is very timely, Lizann. How safe we've been all our lives, just by being born White! Whenever we ask for morphine in an ER t
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Hi Ted - Yes, the disparity in treatment is crazy - may those of us who now have the privilege, leverage that privilege toward cha

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Christ in the Cauldron

Inside the circle of empty chairs I began to set up my altars on the floor.  I have been invited to speak with The Sonoma County Pagan Network on how I live as both a Witch (very active in the Reclaiming Tradition) and a Christian (ordained as a minister and serving within the United Church of Christ). 

In the East/Air, I lay a white cloth and on it an Icon of Sophia/Wisdom, who in the Judeo/Christian mythology was there “...before the beginning of the Earth...”  Next to the Icon of Sophia I lay books full of wisdom that I have found fill my lungs with sacred breath and free my breathing of oppressive dogma.  I lay books full of words that entered my mind and helped my thoughts and intellect fly and wonder, piqued my curiosity and spun webs of connections.  I lay books like Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Parker’s “Proverbs of Ashes” which gave me permission to remain Christian even though I do not subscribe to substitutionary atonement theology, and Cynthia Bourgeault’s “The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three” which helped me see the Christian Trinity as a fluid and dynamic dance of all genders and forms. 

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    The best I've been able to do is an article "Messianic Expectations in the Eastern Religions" on the www.bibleguidance.co.za websi
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Anthony.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I read a book called "The Samurai from Outer Space" about anime and it mentioned a shrine in Japan where Jesus is married to Otohi
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Your welcome Anthony - let me know if you come up with more on that shrine….
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    That sounds amazingly beautiful. I really wish I could have been there in person, but thank you for sharing it here!

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Dune Blessing

I am simply reaching for a book when the jet comes screaming over head flying no more than 150 feet off the ground.  I hear the roar and suddenly the sound waves become so solid they rattle the pot on the burner, the dishes on the shelf, the clothes on the hangers in the closet, the frame and canvass of my pop top camper van, the bones inside the flesh of my body, dropping me to my knees my forehead pressed into the seat cushion.  Throughout the day there are several more fly overs, slightly higher and less cellularly disruptive, but enough to send my dog into shakes each and every time.

 

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Wow, thanks! Yay! Somehow the rest of my previous comment didn't get posted. Here it is: I used to live in San Francisco, and st
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Francesca - Blessings on your journey of deep connection with the Spirits of the Land there in PA. I look forward to reading about
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    I enjoy reading people's experience. They usually mean more to me than someone's abstract ideas.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Francesca! I feel the same which is why I enjoy your writing as well!
  • Elizabeth Creely
    Elizabeth Creely says #
    Love this! And I love that you found a relationship between where you were (Death Valley) and the City. I've never been to Death V

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Sacred Markings

There is a bejeweled Moon on my right hand, and a glorious Sun on my left.  The lawsone molecules of the henna paste that formed the images are bound to the proteins in the cells of my epidermis.  The Moon and Sun will stay there until that layer of skin sloughs off, replaced by a new layer of cells.

 

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Rising From the Ashes

The official letter states:  “On October 26th, 1907 Mrs. Smith, suffering from a cancer of the throat, died in Hahnemann Hospital.”  Mrs. Smith was my great-grandmother, Josephine Romero Lindsey Smith.  Over the past two months as I have been digging and researching and listening, she has been rising in my DNA and consciousness from the deep ashes of time, and the wild tragedy that was the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.

 

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