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.”
Kissing the Earth
"Human beings are ritual-making creatures. We might not build them consciously, but form them we will. We honor the goddess most effectively when we create rituals that express the best of ourselves and our intentions toward the earth, our mother."
--Patricia Monaghan, The Goddess Companion
I've recently finished teaching our spring Earthprayer class. One of the things that is so wonderful for me about sharing this Earthprayer practice is doing it too. Daily, I made contact with my special spots in nature. I worked with each of the prompts and I saw them expressed in such bright, beautiful, and magical ways right in front of me. I almost feel like someone else set up the class and I just took it. In the last days of the class, we explored a prompt using one of my favorite quotes from Rumi:
“Let the beauty we love
Be what we do
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the Earth.”
On the day of the "kissing the earth" prompt, my husband and I went for a very long and spontaneous ramble through the woods. As we scrambled along the uneven terrain, slipping, laughing, and looking, I felt exhilarated by the simple thrill of exploring the world right there in front of me. It was so exciting. We found tiny flowers, I knelt by the roots of fallen trees, we admired moss on stones, we found another gigantic black snake napping in the sun. Each moment felt like an opportunity to "kiss the earth." I sang Reclaiming's song-version of the Rumi quote over and over and as I knelt in each spot to see what it had to show me and to kiss my fingers and press them to the earth, I found so many moments were opportunities to "kiss the earth." I also saw the kissing going on around me...the sun filtering through branches, the fiddlehead ferns kneeling to kiss the earth, the roots wound through rocks, the bloom pushing up between leaves, the water seeping out of the ground and flowing down the hill, the redbud blossoms opening to the sun, the moss covering stones, the fallen trees stretched along the slope.
What is one way in which you kiss the earth?
“And that is just the point…how the world, moist and beautiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response. That’s the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. 'Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?'"
I read this Mary Oliver quote in one of Kimberly Moore's classes and it really caught me. In addition to encouraging you to kiss the earth during your days, I'd like to hold a little space for you all to simply drop in to this very moment. To breathe. To feel. To connect. And, to "make a comment," as invited by the world around you. Please feel free to share this moment, thought, photo, or reflection below.
Over the weekend, we went through a long walk across the river and through the woods to the big spring and then back along the creek and the rocky cliff side back to the creek bottom where we found morel mushrooms. As we stood looking at the spring and its gorgeous blue water, I was thinking of how distinctly you can feel the spirit of certain places. And, I was thinking of the countless generations and eons it has witnessed, continuing simply to create and to flow, as we pass by in a blink.
One of the interesting things about finding morels is how you have to tune in and kind of "listen" for them, so to speak, or you'll walk right by them. We found 42 on our weekend walk and then 58 on a subsequent walk the same week. I noticed that as soon as I started thinking about anything else (and stopped tuning in), I'd stop finding them. Once I settled into my body and the moment and really looked at the world again, there they would be. What other bits of everyday magic do we walk right by in our daily lives?
“I think this is how we're supposed to be in the world ... present and in awe.”
--Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Our next adventure is the spring section of the Goddess Magic Circle. This intimate, small, personal circle is a unique, co-creative, journey through everyday magic, women's spirituality, and the power of personal ceremony.
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