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

Molly

I am a doctoral student in women’s spirituality at Ocean Seminary College and ordained as a Priestess with Global Goddess. My roots are in birthwork, which is intimately tied to my interest in the Goddess and in feminist thealogy. I blog at http://goddesspriestess.com, create goddess and birth art and jewelry at http://brigidsgrove.etsy.com and I am the author of Womanrunes: a guide to their use and interpretation (based on the work of Shekhinah Mountainwater).

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As I mentioned in a recent post, the winter season prompts within me a desire to withdraw and reflect, mirroring the natural rhythm of the earth which so clearly says: let things go, it is time to hibernate.

This year I cocoon with my new baby. Though I have three other children, this new baby was the first b2ap3_thumbnail_December-2014-106.JPGchild whose development and arrival perfectly mirrored the wheel of the year. Conceived during the first month of the new year, taking root in the darkness of winter’s end, beginning to bud during the springtime and coming into full bloom during the summer. And, then, with the season’s spiral turn into fall, when many beautiful things are harvested, his birth: October 30, into my welcoming hands in the sunlight bright morning in my living room. Now, with the steady progress of winter, we curl together in a small, new world. We cocoon in the cave of our own home, the size of the world re-sized to the size of my bed, kitchen table, and rocking chair. This is the fourth trimester, the time in which the baby continues to develop his nervous system and continues to live within the context of the mother’s body. I am his habitat. His place. His home is in my arms.

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  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Lovely! And what an adorable face he has.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_triplegoddess.jpg

“Only in the deepest silence of night
the stars smile and whisper among themselves.”
–Rabindranath Tagore

(quoted in Dear Heart, Come Home page 52)

As I prepare our family's winter solstice ritual for this Sunday evening, I feel moved to share our family's tradition and ritual process. I'd love to hear from readers in the comments with their own family traditions! We have celebrated the winter solstice together as our primary family ritual for the last eleven years. There are several elements that remain constant from year to year and other elements that vary based on new ideas or projects that we decide to incorporate for that year.

The following is a brief explanation of three of our core traditions, which is then followed by a full ritual outline for this year's ceremony! Make sure to read through to the end of my ritual outline for links to even more posts with further ideas and information.

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Buzzard womanb2ap3_thumbnail_November-2014-305.JPG
scouring the earth.
Scavenging,
uncovering,
digging up,
clawing away.

She picks the meat
from your bones,
she drops the scales
from your eyes,
she cleans out
your shell.

Digesting
,
transforming
all that has passed away
into something new.
Clearing away the dead
making way for rebirth.

Listen to her
.
She says
waste nothing.

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Book Review: Naming the Goddess

“On any spiritual path, and most especially on one that is simultaneously a path of magical practice, our real progress and growth is measurable largely in the capacity to pass the challenges that are set before us. The easy parts of the journey are not the most important.”

–Philip Kane (in his essay on Laverna, Naming the Goddess, p. 232)

Naming the Goddess, published by Moon Books, is a collaborative work bringing together essays written by over eighty scholars and practitioners of Goddess Spirituality, including contributions from Selena Fox, Kathy Jones, Caroline Wise and Rachel Patterson. A unique aspect of this book is that it is a two-part project with the first part of the book containing a series of contemplative and scholarly essays and the second part serving as a “gazetteer” of different goddesses, making it useful both as a reference book and as well as one that encourages reflective spiritual thought.

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On October 30th, I gave birth to a new baby boy. He was born at home in water, my fourth homebirth, b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_8557.JPGbut my first waterbirth (his birth story is available here). On the full moon of his one week "birthday," we took him outside for the first time in his whole life--to meet the world, to feel the fresh, cool air, to be introduced to the moon and the Earth as a member of our family. Here is an outline of the very simple ceremony of welcome we held for him. While we did this with just our other children present, it could easily be expanded to include additional guests.

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Wangari Mathaai describes a ritual of introducing a baby to the land in Unbowed.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Lovely! For you next (hee he) baby, you might add "placing the child on the earth" which is part of many earth-based traditions, o
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thanks, Carol! We did the feet to earth ritual with the baby before this one when she turned one month. For the full moon, we were

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In 2013, I engaged in a year-long Woodspriestess experiment in which I visited the same place in the woods behind my house every day for an entire year. The experience described in this post occurred eight months into my experiment...

I continue to be surprised by this same small patch armadilloof woods. Last night, if you chanced to overhear me in my sacred space, you would have heard me scream:

“Oh my GAWD!!!!! I just STEPPED ON an ARMADILLO!!!!!!”

Yes, that is correct, I stepped squarely on a genuine, real live armadillo on my way through the woods last night. I’d gotten “too busy” to visit the woods during the day and by the time I made my way down there, it was totally dark. I opted to go out without a flashlight, feeling a bit smug, if I do say so myself, that I know these woods so well and am just so connected that I don’t even need a flashlight to find my way and then…STEP…bizarre-growling-squeal-grunt-and-scuttle and me screaming the above. My first thought as I grasped what had happened was actually to try to take a picture for a blog post, but by then it was too late and only the scaly tail was dimly visible under a nearby shrub! By the time I stood on the rocks, I was laughing semi-hysterically and my heart was pounding with the adrenalin and surprise. I reflected again on how very many creatures share these woods with me and I wondered how many other woodspriestesses of various species cross these very stones each day. I think of this space as “mine,” but clearly an armadillo also finds it a useful nighttime exploration place.

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Tiny flowers of summer August 2013 016
Waving colorful flags
of the season’s surrender
against a backdrop of dry leaves

Lifting tender, hopeful
tenacious faces
parched but promising
a last hurrah
a final fling
a tiny majesty

Spots of glorious color
on dry ground

Proof of life’s own love affair with itself.

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