(This is the Goddess MayAnne I created from farm junk. She lives in the Sacred Garden. Photograph courtesy of No Worries Farm. All rights Reserved.)
My aunt’s impeccable scrolling penmanship screamed, Julia! Are you out of your mind? I am a bride of Christ. I am married to God. There is no way I married a woman!
Wake-Up Goddess: Seeing The Feminine Divine in You and Others
Exploring and cultivating ways in every day life to embrace, acknowledge, and be present to the Goddess Energy we all possess.
I am a full-time stay at home Goddess mother, part-time organic farmer, artist, writer, Spiritualist, Jane-of-all trades
(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.
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.
(Photograph by Jess Asien Winter Solstice 2014 shared with permission)
The Full Moon Goddesses, a collective soul of women who gather on my farm once a month around the full moon, just finished the second year of practicing Goddess Becoming together.
I thought I would share with you our journey last year but I didn't. I couldn't. It took all year to figure out why I was with-holding. I finally realized that I was still too insecure. The first year found me waiting for the novelty to wear off. The second year made me wonder if women were willing and ready for the work I had in mind. The rituals I was writing and offering were so new and different that I didn't know how people would react to them. I needed the full year to grow some lady balls and step into my power. I'm ready now.
To say that it was an extraordinary year is a complete understatement. As I prepared for Solstice, I wanted to present a summary of the monthly work we did together. I never expected a theme to emerge.
Every gathering and ritual we participated in focused on how to better own The Mind. We worked on becoming more objective observers. We practiced vulnerability and authenticity by giving voice and acknowledging detrimental thoughts and patterns of behavior, as well as affirming all the ways we are excelling. We examined the ways we listen and the ways our minds wander. We honored the delicate balance of remaining present to someone in distress despite the pleas from the mind to flee. We enacted in ritual aspects of our thoughts that resonate with the Higher Self we are trying to remember. I didn’t expect such clarity. I don’t know what I expected, if anything, but I was inspired.
Riding the wings of such coherence made it easy to see the agenda for 2015, which is to study and celebrate the Divine Feminine Body. This work strikes me as so obvious I almost want to laugh but I don’t because the work is too important. When I think about women in our culture, I wonder how many can look at their naked bodies in the mirror and not hear a single chastising voice. How and when did the female body become such a perversion of love and hate? Is the antagonizing attitude many have about their bodies something they want to pass to their sons and daughters? I certainly don’t.
When I think about the 75+ women who gathered in my home for Solstice recently, I marvel at how varied we are. There wasn’t a single woman there who looked like anyone else. Every one uniquely beautiful, uniquely essential, and most importantly, uniquely Divine. That’s the part that gets me. The divine expression is truly infinite and I want to spend a year discussing, embracing, and elevating the holy feminine body.
So, to start off the New Year, our January gathering, just a few days ago, celebrated the first gasp that brings us into Life and the sigh upon which we go into Death.
Silence is a paradox. It can be vast and liberating while equally suffocating and halting. Silence can afford growth in confidence or it can paralyze with insecurity.
I’ve written nothing for this blog since last November despite gentle nudges from several trusted people. I’ve held silence in its many forms and feel ready to let it go. Why? It is simply time.
Women have been gathering every month around the full moon at my farm for 19 months. When last I wrote, our Full Moon Goddess group wasn’t yet a year old. I look back at my silence and realize I was insecure—questioning if I was equal to the task. Wondering if what I had to share would reach receptive ears. Waiting for the novelty of the gathering to fade. It hasn’t. We’ve ballooned. Still, I’ve remained silent gaining confidence in my place as our group’s leader.
Women are excited, enthusiastic, and terrified. We gather in the Spirit of Goddess—the Feminine Divine within each of us—something I suspect many of you know and embrace while being a concept others grapple fiercely to understand. We Goddess Speak, as I like to say, which simply means that we fearlessly give voice to what inhibits our ability to connect to the Great Goddess Inner Being despite being afraid of the conditioned worries of judgment, weakness, guilt, and shame. I often make references to the Way of the Goddess, which is not the way of women. As women, we react to conditioning. As Goddesses, we work through the conditioning, breaking it apart one vulnerable piece at a time.
Over the last 19 months there are three sentiments that women have consistently shared with me. The preface is often the same—some version of, More women need this to which I always ask, What is it about this gathering that you sense women need? The responses always have to do with one of the following;
I feel safe here. I feel like I can be vulnerable and no one will judge me. I feel completely accepted.
It is humbling to acknowledge the ways women feel in their communities and in society in general. They do not feel safe. Vulnerability is still taboo. Acceptance remains elusive. Intellectually we know this. Emotionally we struggle to resolve it. Women cannot fully embrace their divinity as a result of this cognitive dissonance—the conflict of what we know but how we feel.
Gathering to practice the Way of the Goddess is the first step to unlearning the dis-ease of silence, which perpetuates the conflict between the intellectual and emotional self. Women are learning to share their thoughts out loud lessening the power of the rambling mind to manipulate, reconfigure, or allow the unhealthy ego it’s incessant vying for control. Women are learning the power of mindful presence and authentic listening, which are essential elements in creating a safe sacred space for sharing.
I am learning leadership—to stand tall in clarity even after I fumble terrifically. My greatest lesson, however, has been to foster Goddess Speak because like so many women I cannot be silent anymore.