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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Wild Snail Festivals

“It’s a wild snail festival out here!”

—Tanner (age 3) 

We recently got home from a family mini vacation to Table Rock Lake, about three hours b2ap3_thumbnail_30420049_2074497082762503_7495032563414501479_o.jpgaway from home. 

At its best, working and schooling from home with our family of six feels like a beautifully seamless integration of work and life—there is no need to compartmentalize or draw distinctions between “life” and “work,” because it is ALL just life and living. At its worst, it feels like the work bleeds into everything else in an all-consuming way and the to-do list just never ends and something or someone is always getting overlooked or shortchanged. We find that it is helpful for us all to sometimes just all step away and be somewhere else, while the to-do list stays at home! We try to take at least five family adventures/trips a year (some of them small and some more involved). This trip was one of the small ones and it was wonderful.  

One morning, I went out for a walk with our youngest son, Tanner, to collect supplies for a goddess grid. As we came up the steps near our room, we discovered that there were many different sizes of snails crawling along the rain-dampened stone steps. Tanner exclaimed: "it's a wild snail festival out here!" and squatted down to admire the snails. I crouched and admired with him, watching them slowly investigate the goddess figurine I'd set on the steps and reflected that if we hadn't made the time to squat down, to get to a snail's eye level, we would never have seen them. I loved it. I loved the rhythm of the "wild snail festival." I loved Tanner's choice of wording and how incongruous and charming it is to think of "snail" and "festival" or "snail" and "wild" in the same context and it felt like this charming moment, time out of time, just partying with the wild snails. (He meant wild in the sense of "crazy party" rather than "opposite of domestic.") 

We found snail shells later and collected them for our mandala, examining each one, upon which he would announce: "Nobody's in this one!" or, "oops! Somebody still in this one!" We set up our goddess grid on the balcony and when returning to it a little while later, I noticed an "error" in my snail shell pattern from the center...as my eyes slid over the altar cloth I saw the culprit. Part of our mandala had made a break for it and was sliding away across the cloth to the edge of the table. One of our "empty" shells was still inhabited! (We took it back to the rocks and set it free.)              

 May we always  
have time to take part  
in wild snail festivals.  
 

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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 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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