I am a priestess of change.
I seek to rebuild the ancient Rim,*
the magic circle that we have lost...
our faery ring. I envision a world
where every Being on the Rim
is Special, Important,
and necessary to the Whole...
Shekhinah Mountainwater was one of the most influential foremothers and wayshowers of the Goddess spirituality movement in the U.S. Living, writing, singing, seeking, exploring and priestessing on the planet until 2007, her life's work was in "music, magic, ritual, activism, and spiritual instruction." She wrote the passionate and potent book Ariadne's Thread in 1991 and it will be re-released in digital format this year as one part of a memorial project in her honor.
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.”
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 original goddess sculptures, pendants, and ceremony kits at Brigid’s Grove (http://brigidsgrove.com), where they also publish Womanrunes book and deck sets.
I am a priestess of change.
“As I continue writing stories about people who are transforming religion and culture through including the Divine Feminine in sacred rituals, hope stirs within me. As I hear their visions for the future of the Divine Feminine, my vision expands.”
–Jann Aldredge-Clanton, Healing, Freedom, and Transformation through the Sacred Feminine.
“…monotheists have described the divine as ‘Father’ for over 2,000 years. Even if we neutered the God, to be labeled only an ‘It,’ we would still have the masculine echo ringing in our ears for another thousand years. So maybe it would make sense to call her the Goddess for a millennium or so, if only to even things out. Then perhaps we could move on to something more gender inclusive.”
–Tim Ward, Why Would a Man Search for the Goddess
“I don’t believe the Goddess is stupid or suicidal. I believe she evolved human beings for a purpose, to be her healing hands and loving heart. We may be growing into the job.”
–Starhawk, Earth, Spirit, and Action: Letting the Wildness In
Bone wind has returned
mother of winter’s chill
sweeping through bare branches
and rattling dusty leaves.
The remnants of summer
have completely faded
and the doorway to the new year
has cracked open.
With the skeletal swirl of frost and freeze
I see the hint
of new things
waiting to burst from behind the door.
Hibernating now perhaps
hunkered down to wait it out
resting, biding time, percolating
nestled in darkness
but, oh so ready, to grow.
It is only on the surface
that the world prepares to take a long nap
underneath the crust
new ideas gestate
and time crowns anew
with the promise and potential of birth
held in cupped hands.
The flame of fresh ideas flickers
until the blaze of possibility
envelopes the cold.
In my college classes, I often tell my students that in working with people, we need to learn to think in circles, rather than in lines. Circles are strong. Circles are steady. Circles hold the space, circles make a place for others. Circles can expand or contract as needed. Circles can be permeable and yet have a strong boundary. Linked arms in a circle can keep things out and show solidarity. Linked energy in a circle can transform the ordinary into sacred space. Hands at each other’s backs, facing each other, eye level. Working together in a circle for a ritual, change is birthed, friendships are strengthened, and love is visible.
--Ritual Recipe Kit for Women’s Ceremonies digital by BrigidsGrove
Recently I have noticed a lot of offerings for sacred circles and sacred temples and councils of women that are all online or virtual. The websites advertising such programs often have beautiful photos of firesides and dancing and I find myself thinking, where is the REAL fire? If we spend all of our time at computers enjoying virtual sisterhoods and looking at pictures of fires, where are our real opportunities to dance by the fire hand in hand? This week, against all odds, I managed to have a meaningful conversation with friends at the skating rink. We talked about the difference between online and face-to-face connection and why online connections can feel “cleaner” and less messy or complicated than face-to-face. It reminds me of my experiences in creating rituals for my family. In the books it looks so easy and fun. In real life, babies have poopy diapers and my sons make fart jokes and my papers blow away and I speak in a snappy tone of voice and things take longer than I expect. It is same with women’s circles. Online, we can look at pretty pictures of flower crowns and crystal grids and flower mandalas and daydream how wonderful it would be to have a real women’s circle, but in real life people don’t always like each other, we interrupt each other, we talk too much or not enough or about the “wrong” things. As the facilitator of a ceremony in real life, portions might lag, people laugh at the wrong times, guided meditations might bring up painful experiences, people stop listening to each other, or they might forget something they were asked to bring. I might lose my place, sing off-key, or get distracted when someone is sharing something important.
One Imbolc, former pagan blogger Teo Bishop wrote about creating community poetry for use in liturgy based on the starting line, "I keep vigil to the fire in my heart." As someone who frequently experiences spontaneous poetry in the sacred spot in the woods behind my house, an experience I refer to as theapoetics, I was instantly captivated by this idea. Imbolc has a natural connection to the cycles of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding and the fire in my own heart burns brightly for these pivotal life experiences. So, I went down to the woods, opened my mouth and this is what emerged…
of the Sacred Oak.
of the Sacred Flame.
shape our lives
in the cauldron of destiny.
Ignite our creativity
forge our passions.
in the language of poetry
and hot metal.
Keeper of flame
hope and hearts.
Enliven our work
guide our steps
inspire our message.
(modified from earlier poem: Woodspriestess: Brigid)
If you pause in darkness what does your body have to tell you? What do your dreams have to tell you? What does the frozen ground have to tell you? What do the spirits of place have to tell you?
What song can only be sung by you?
What emberheart can only be ignited by your breath?
What path have your feet found?
What messages are carved in stone and etched on leaf for your eyes and in your name?
What promise are you keeping?
Time for your light to shine
from within the sheltering dark.