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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Mamapriestess?

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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.

I want to hear from the Mamapriestesses, from the Hearth Priestesses! Where are the other practicing priestesses with children at home? I noticed in Christine's book that the bulk of her work took place after her children were grown and, to my mind, she also had to distance or separate from her children and her relationships in order to fully embrace her priestess self. How do you balance this? How does it work for you? Parenting, for me, can simultaneously feel as if it is stifling my full expression and yet perhaps as if it holds the greatest lessons and teachers

I notice that many women seem to come to priestess work when the intensive stage of motherhood has passed, or they do not have children. Is there a reason why temple priestesses were "virgins" and village wise women were crones? Where does the Mamapriestess fit?

So, if you have children, I'd love to hear from you about this! If you do not have children by choice, how does that play into your spiritual work? If you do not have children and that is not by choice, how does that play into your spiritual work?

As I read Christine's book and witnessed her intensive self-exploration, discovery, and personal ceremony and journeys, I realized that in many ways personal exploration feels like a luxury I don't have at this point in my parenting life (as an example: for an entire month I've been dreaming what feel like really powerful and almost revelatory dreams, but I have a night-nursing 11 month old and after multiple night wakings with him, the dreams slip into nothingness and I'm left with a sense of "forgetting" something that is trying to communicate with me or share wisdom).

How do you balance your inner journey with your outer process? Christine references having to step aside and be somewhat aloof or unavailable to let inner processes and understandings develop, since our inner journeys may become significantly bogged down by interpersonal relationships, dramas, venting, chatting, and so forth. Or, as I tend to joke, during a full moon ritual as my two pre-teen sons make fart jokes or the baby has a poopy diaper. For me, this distance for inner process exploration isn’t possible in the immersive stage of life as a mother. And, yet, I also know in my bones that I’m not meant to give it up. How does the As Within and the So Without work together for you?

Several years ago, I was sitting at the table sculpting clay for a new design and my then six year old son worked at the table too, finally presenting me with a special gift of his own design:

b2ap3_thumbnail_smallZsculpture.jpg

“This is the Goddess of Everything,” he told me. “See that pink jewel in her belly, that is the WHOLE UNIVERSE, Mom!!”

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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, 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 original goddess sculptures, pendants, and ceremony kits at Brigid’s Grove (http://brigidsgrove.com), where they also publish Womanrunes book and deck sets.

Comments

  • Sylvie Kaos
    Sylvie Kaos Monday, 19 October 2015

    I have three children - 8, 13, and 14, with varying high needs from anxiety disorder, OCD, through to Aspergers Syndrome. As a divorced Mother, this does narrow my ability to focus on my Spiritual journey. But I work as a tarot reader, I give my time in support of women and mothers, and as a family we follow and celebrate the Seasonal wheel. We are active in Green and Social Politics. And I attend a Pagan meetup.
    All these things are Spiritual for us. It is a lived path, with little time for pomp and circumstance.

  • Molly
    Molly Tuesday, 20 October 2015

    Absolutely agree that it is a lived path! Thank you for your comment!

  • Sylvie Kaos
    Sylvie Kaos Tuesday, 20 October 2015

    I've been thinking some more about this (thanks to you!), and about the spiral path...
    If the first half of the spiral is the outward movement, wherein the first half of life we move out into the world, gathering people and things,
    and the second half of life is the inward spiral, where we introvert more and work on our spiritual and innner work,
    surely as mothers we are right at the apex?
    At the point of the turn where our spirituality is manifested in the physical?
    We are here to experience Earth and tangible things in a spiritual and meaningful way. The necessary distraction from the inward journey IS spiritual. This is the path of the Goddess.
    Obviously there are variables, as each journey is different. Some with children, some without. And for myself, as an older mother entering my Cronedom on a physical level, but still parenting on a physical and emotional level, I feel strongly the call on an intellectual and spiritual level to be working on the inward spiral.
    But this is my own path. This is my journey as this unit of being.

  • Laraine
    Laraine Monday, 19 October 2015

    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 question. Where is the balance between Motherhood and feeling/experiencing my connection with the Goddess? It is challenging enough to be a Wife, Worker, Homeowner, Friend, Sister, Daughter, (etc) and Mother. Adding personal self reflection and seeking further spiritual enlightenment and connection to the Divine at times seams simply impossible if not impractical.

    However, I miss it! I miss feeling as though the Goddess and I are dancing. Like together we are co-creating the world around me. I miss seeing signs of her love for me abound and KNOWING that magic is afoot.

    I miss it so much that I sought the advice if a tarot reader recently. I told her that I feel dispassionate. That I miss feeling the Goddesses presents in my life and that I want to reconnect. She gave me some really good advice which honestly has helped!

    She said "Remember you are raising the next generation of Priestess and that is important and hard work! Remember that the Goddess is there in your daughters smile and the Goddess is watching you through her eyes. She is always present and you can feel her in your life always. She needs you now to focus on raising her Priestess.That is how you serve her now." She also advised me to start planning my garden for the spring.

    After speaking with her I remembered something my friend and mentor in The Craft once told me. She taught me that "it's called a craft because you have to work at it". It's a practice, its something that you do. This means I have to make time to do it! I have to be seek Her to find Her. But when I do She is always there.

    So I've been planning my year and my garden. I've been reflecting on this last year and preparing a Samhain ritual. I've realized that I've learned more in this year about womanhood, motherhood, family, love and myself then any prior year if my life. That IS the Goddess working in my life! I may have been so deep in it that I lost the forest for the trees but a little self reflection helped me to realize that I still am in Consent Contact with Her. She still teaches me and helps me though each lesson. It's just these are no longer the lessons of The Maiden, these are the lessons of The Mother and these lessons are learned by living not by thinking. In this way, every mother is a Priestess.

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this with you! I hope you find it as helpful as I found your article.

  • Molly
    Molly Tuesday, 20 October 2015

    Thank you SO much for your reply, Laraine! It is gorgeous and it meant a lot to me to read your response!

  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer Sunday, 25 October 2015

    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. Even moreso than when I was training as a Christian minister (4-year college, Theology)...and when I became an ordained minister, then subsequent co-pastor of a church. The baby and toddler years--not as easy, granted. But, fortunately, I have a supportive husband who realizes the importance of women (me)--and creatives--to have a "room of one's own". If I hadn't had my husband, though, I'm not sure my personal tale would have been the same...or as rewarding. :)

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