Woodspriestess: Exploring the intersection between Nature, the Goddess, art, and poetry.

Listening to the woods, to the stones, to Gaia, and to women...

In the woods behind my house rest a collection of nine large flat rocks. Daily, I walk down to these “priestess rocks” for some sacred time alone to pray, meditate, consider, and be. Often, while in this space, I open my mouth and poetry comes out. I’ve come to see this experience as "theapoetics"—experiencing the Goddess through direct “revelation,” framed in language. As Stanley Hopper originally described in the 1970’s, it is possible to “…replace theology, the rationalistic interpretation of belief, with theopoetics, finding God[dess] through poetry and fiction, which neither wither before modern science nor conflict with the complexity of what we know now to be the self.” Theapoetics might also be described, “as a means of engaging language and perception in such a way that one enters into a radical relation with the divine, the other, and the creation in which all occurs.”

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Molly has been “gathering the women” to circle, sing, celebrate, and share since 2008. She plans and facilitates women’s circles, seasonal retreats and rituals, mother-daughter circles, family ceremonies, and red tent circles in rural Missouri. She is an ordained priestess who holds MSW and M.Div degrees and she is currently writing her dissertation about contemporary priestessing in the U.S. Molly’s roots are in birth work and in domestic violence activism.

Molly is author of Womanrunes: a guide to their use and interpretation (based on the work of Shekhinah Mountainwater) as well as The Red Tent Resource Kit. She writes about thealogy, nature, practical priestessing, and the goddess at her http://goddesspriestess.com. Molly and and her husband Mark co-create original birth art jewelry, figurines, and goddess pendants at Brigid’s Grove (http://brigidsgrove.com).

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If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

A recent prompt from Joanna Powell Colbert's 30 Days of Hecate class urged us to look into the palms of our hands and consider our ancestors. Having already given a lot of thought to my more recent ancestors in this course, I felt my attention turn instead to the unnamed thousands of time and space who brought me to this place...

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The wheel turns. Our youngest son turned one yesterday. His pregnancy and birth was so closely aligned with the wheel of the year and my pregnancy with him was an incredibly generative time for our business (I wrote and published the Womanrunes book as well as sculpted more than twenty of our sculpture and pendant designs while pregnant with him). I can hardly believe he is one now! Instead of leaping right into my to-do list when he was napping, I sat with my cards and my Divination Practicum workbook. I’m really enjoying the many ways the course I am currently teaching dovetails with the prompts in the 30 Days of Hecate course I am currently taking. Yesterday's assignment was to do a tarot reading using Joanna’s “Elder of Fire” layout. I did it with the Gaian Tarot combined with Womanrunes. I  felt like doing this layout was exactly what I needed. I’ve been feeling scattered, drained, touched out, and stressed lately. My kids are all sick and we’ve been what feels like nonstop busy and I’ve been craving down time, solitude, and space to think. My list is a mile long, but I made space for this work first instead of saving it for the oft-elusive “later.” This Elder of Fire layout feels like a really, really powerful layout to do at this time of year and I encourage you to try it yourself this weekend! I was also very interested to see that the rune of the day for me was The Cauldron and then The Cauldron was also the first card for my Elder spread. That is very Hecate-riffic.

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She who changes b2ap3_thumbnail_11209411_1658113891067493_624517776654095662_n.jpg
She who expands and contracts
She who stretches her limits
She who digs deep
She who triumphs and fails
Every day
Sometimes both within a single hour
She who tends her own hearth
She who comforts and connects and enfolds
She who opens wide…

(via past post: Goddess Mother)

I recently finished reading Under Her Wings: The Making of a Magdalene, by Nicole Christine. A theme running through the book was the concept of “As Above, So Below and As Within, So Without.” I read this book as part of my research for my dissertation about contemporary priestessing. I posed two questions based on this book in my dissertation research study group, but I’d like to invite other responses and experiences as well.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    My son just turned 17, and frankly, the most contemplative and spiritually-rich years of my life has been during my time as a Mom.
  • Laraine
    Laraine says #
    Molly, This post really spoke to me! My daughter is about to turn one in a few weeks. I have been mediating a lot on this very qu
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thank you SO much for your reply, Laraine! It is gorgeous and it meant a lot to me to read your response!
  • Sylvie Kaos
    Sylvie Kaos says #
    I have three children - 8, 13, and 14, with varying high needs from anxiety disorder, OCD, through to Aspergers Syndrome. As a div
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Absolutely agree that it is a lived path! Thank you for your comment!

Blessing from the Harvest Queen


May the sunset cloak of shorter days enfold you
May you dance with the patterns of crimson and gold leaves
May you sing with owl and coyote in crisp moonlight
May you savor the orangeness of pumpkin and yam
and feel the sweetness of honey on your tongue.
May you listen to the dreams of seed corn
May elderberry strengthen you with stored sunshine
May persimmon grant you a fleeting hello
May the poignant flare of an October rose
kiss you with hope.
May your rooms be wreathed with smiles.
And, may you remember the grace and wisdom
found in both gathering and releasing.

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Nine fruits and nine flavors to preserve my soul
in peace this day...

— Caitlín Matthews

I'm enjoying Joanna Powell Colbert's 30 Days of Harvest ecourse. This week, one of the photo prompts was about savoring autumn fruits. While thoughts of apples were also on my mind, I took the prompt metaphorically and went for  a walk with my baby to identify nine “flavors” of autumn in my own back yard.

Persimmon for patience,
raspberry for reflection,
dogwood for dreams,
rose for enchantment,
aster for starshine,
polk for color,
oak for mystery,
and cucumber for salad.

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August 2015 106Supplies

  • Items from nature for a collaborative nature mandala: leaves, stones, acorns, seeds, twigs, feathers, and other items from nature (mindfully collected and ideally found on ground). If a group ritual, ask each person to bring a quantity of something to add to the mandala. If it is a family ritual, go out together before moonrise to collect your items. Note: Depending on size, composition, energy, and patience of the group, you may wish to create the mandala together first before beginning the rest of the ritual and then gather around it for the rest of the ritual itself.
  • Paper leaves (can be simply cut out ovals using scrap paper) or dry, fallen leaves + markers to write on them.
  • Optional: drums, rattles, or bells
  • Optional: a candles for each participant (place around outer edge of nature mandala)

Before the ritual: ask each person to respond to the prompt: “my bounty is” and collate the responses into a collaborative bounty poem. If you are working alone, respond to this prompt on your own and form a poem for yourself (example poem)

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...My bounty is in conversation August 2015 106
circling the veranda in
steady, strong loops
of raw possibility
hope and wonder.

My bounty is in moments of despair and hopelessness
that break like waves on the shore
and make way for sunrise.

My bounty moves quickly
fluttering like a butterfly
and traversing continents of desire
before alighting on a thistle
and beautiful.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Candise
    Candise says #
    this is just lovely, it is my morning inspiration. Thank you.
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thank you!

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