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

Molly has been “gathering the women” to circle, sing, celebrate, and share since 2008. She plans and facilitates women’s circles, Red Tents, seasonal retreats and rituals, Pink Tent mother-daughter circles, and family ceremonies from her tiny temple space in rural Missouri and teaches online courses in Red Tent facilitation and Practical Priestessing.

Molly is a priestess who holds MSW, M.Div, and D.Min degrees. She finished her dissertation about contemporary priestessing in the U.S. She is the author of Womanrunes, Earthprayer, and The Red Tent Resource Kit. Molly and and her husband Mark co-create Story Goddesses, original goddess sculptures, mini goddesses, pendants, and ceremony kits at Brigid’s Grove (http://brigidsgrove.com), where they also publish Womanrunes book and deck sets.

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“…I believe that ‘slowness’ is a power that we can and must bring to our magic because the modern need for speed has invaded this practice too. A while back, I picked up a book [of swift spells]. I was struck by the word associations – to be modern is to be speedy, swift and efficient. I am very keen to represent a counter idea – of slow magic: easeful rituals, gentle enchantment and leisurely spells, as well as magic to be found within the process of slowing down and being still. Not as a ‘better’ option, but merely a different one, something that maybe we can embrace, so that we can have options to take things slowly when the mood takes us, or seek it out in our practice. This is the heart of yin magic.”

—Sarah Robinson, Yin Magic

Are you afraid of being still? This is the question that kept arising for me as I made my way slowly through Yin Magic, by Sarah Robinson and published by Womancraft Publishing. Sometimes the most meaningful books are those that take me the longest to read. Yin Magic is a companion book to Yoga for Witches (previously reviewed here), but it also beautifully stands alone. In the book, Sarah invites you to, “dare to inquire: what could stillness look like for me? What does stillness from the busyness of my life look like?”

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In the early hours of night-morning,
I am summoned
by the eclipsing moon, b2ap3_thumbnail_black-and-white-twinkle-goddess.jpg
waking suddenly
with a sense of delight bubbling
behind my breastbone.
My heart is beating fast
and a sense of wild, anticipatory glee
fizzes in my bones.
My feet are cold on
fine sparkles of frost
as I gaze upward,
hand against my heart
at the crescent of full moon.
I hear a noise behind me
and turn to see
the white flashes of two deer
in the woods.
They move only a few feet away
and then stand there,
dark and silent watching me.
I kiss my hand
and lift it to the moon three times.
Orion is leaning on the rooftop
and the sky is alive with stars.
I am a priestess on a spinning Earth
in the temple of night,
my body an altar beneath
a shadowed moon.
My breaths are an offering,
my heartbeat a song of praise,
in this,
a rite of resetting.
I return to my bed
and lie there
for a long time,
eyes bright,
listening to star song,
kept awake by poems.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Where does poetry end and storytelling begin? Wherever that may be, Molly, you've made the fleeting lasting, in a beauty way. Tha
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Good question! My poems do tell stories and I actually often find that I can either strip an essay back to a poem OR I can extend
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Molly, Seemingly randomly, I recently woke up at 4:30AM (where I live) to see the eclipse at near-totality. I took it as a sign
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    That is so neat! Thanks for telling me about it!

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The mulberries are now bare
while the oaks are still cloaked
in shades of yellow, orange, b2ap3_thumbnail_ooak-muse-in-the-pine-trees.jpg
and brown,
maples and dogwoods
still clad in scraps of red.
Puffs of woodsmoke
catch the morning light
and hang like mist
in the cedars,
my breath too,
a fine cloud
trailing away into the trees.
There is something in the air
that speaks of satisfaction,
of change,
of cycles complete and renewing.
There is an invitation
to pause and witness
and to mindfully choose
next steps and new directions.
Our lives can hold
what we want them to hold.
Be present,
stay open,
attend to what is.
Be in the world,
in your life.
Return to center
again and again.

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We gathered roses b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3316.jpg
and bright zinnias
to crown their heads with flowers,
these shining daughters
who we've cradled and fed
and loved with everything
we have
and everything we are.
We knelt before them and sang,
our hands gently washing the feet
that we once carried inside our own bodies
and that now follow
their own paths.
For a moment,
time folded
and we could see them
as babies in our arms,
curly hair and round faces,
at the same time seeing
the girls in front of us,
flowers in their hair,
bright eyed and smiling,
and so too
we see women of the future,
tall and strong boned
kneeling at the feet
of their own girls
as the song goes on and on.
We tried to tell them
what we want them to know,
what we want them to carry
with them as they go on their ways:
You are loved.
We are here.
You are loved.
You are strong.
You are magical.
We treasure who you are.
This love that carried them
forth into the very world
they walk on.
We hope it is enough
to embrace them for a lifetime,
and so we kneel and sing
and anoint and adorn
and hold their hands in ours.
We are here.
You are not alone.
You are wise in the ways.
You belong.
We are not sure if tears can say
what we mean to say,
but they fall anyway
as we try our best to weave
our words and wishes
and songs and stories,
with strength and confidence
into a cloak of power
that will encircle them with magic,
no matter no matter
how far away
from us they journey.

b2ap3_thumbnail_CA9C5883-DDBD-4087-9BCF-E2CE1DFA6E62.JPG

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Here we are at the edge of fall, b2ap3_thumbnail_fall-persephone-mandala.jpg
looking at the world and at our lives.
May learn from Squirrel
and gather up our resources
to store for future days.
May we learn from Persimmon
and allow ourselves
to ripen patiently
until we recognize
the perfect time to let go,
savoring the sweetness
and delicacy of our own best timing.
May we learn from Oak
knowing we belong to a
great, grand cycle
of generativity and renewal,
drawing up strength
from the earth beneath us,
stretching our roots deep,
and exhaling as we allow
the unneeded to fall lightly away.
May we pause at the turning point,
this hinge of change and choice,
to savor the good work
of this year,
to celebrate
what we have learned and made,
to honor what we've loved
and labored over.
May we open our arms in gratitude
and then wrap them
around ourselves
with compassion.
May we turn our faces to the sun,
feel the wind curl around us,
lay our hands on our hearts
and feel the connection
we always carry within.
May we set our feet to the spiral,
as the deep and powerful mystery
of being continues to unfurl.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Molly, That was great! It's nicely written, and at the same it challenges the reader to contemplate and be better.
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thank you for reading and commenting!

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Book Review: We'Moon Datebook 2022!

By Molly Remer

I read my first book about Goddess herstory in 2001. I bought my first copy of the We’Moon datebook two years later, my first infant son slung across my chest in a baby sling. I picked this colorful, woman-honoring, b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5113.JPGgoddess-worshipping, spiral-bound form out of the stacks of lesbian, feminist, witch, and anarchist literature piled in untidy heaps on a table in the small radical bookstore located below street level in the liberal college town where I’d attended graduate school. I felt as if I was doing something risky, forbidden, possibly even dangerous and I still remember how to felt to carry my datebook up to the dim counter to make my purchase, the smell of patchouli drifting in the air as I ascended the stairs back to street level, now with both hidden knowledge and a baby carried in my arms. Perhaps it was my upbringing within the subculture of religious fundamentalism—not my own family, we were agnostic—but the culture of my peers, which had taught me that to name the body as sacred, to explore one’s own wisdom and self-authority, to partake in magic, to embody and envision the divine as feminine, are all dangerous acts. In some way, somehow, I absorbed that these are the realms that are restricted and denied and with that datebook in my hands, I was daring to break beyond those rules and taste the unknown, the mysterious, the magical, the powerful. There was something here for me. Something that would last forever.

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In the evening we prepare for a very simple family Lammas ritual. I don’t feel inspired to do anything elaborate, so we cut our loaf of special bread,  prepared earlier by my sister-in-law and delivered warm. We add blackberry jelly to our slices and leave one slice for our offering.  We step out together onto the deck and set the bread, a candle, and a garnet-colored meditation goddess onto the center of the deck. We speak aloud of our gratitude for the changes, blessings, and creations of the last few weeks and of the months since Imbolc. Then, we each tear off a piece of bread from the extra piece and speak aloud what we will be sacrificing, what we are willing to change in the new season. a pattern emerges from our words, that of a family-wide wish for a better and healthier schedule, earlier dinner-times and bed-times, more opportunities to play together.
b2ap3_thumbnail_persephone-mandala.jpg

We join hands and close our micro-ritual with our favorite blessing:

"May goddess bless and keep us, may wisdom dwell within us, may we create peace."
—Carol P. Christ

I feel warm and satisfied with this tiny ritual, this simple observance of the season, this connection between the elements to those I love best.

Image and words from my new book, Walking with Persephone: a journey of midlife descent and renewal forthcoming from Womancraft Publishing (now available for pre-order with bonuses!) This book is a walk through the changing cycles of the year and nature with me as I learn to let my steps be guided by Persephone. 

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