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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Childhood Magic

 

         Winter. The name itself is magical, a word of power, strong syllables that snap like frozen twigs as we speak them. Though Yule is some days away, according to the Celtic calendar we entered the powerful season of Winter at Samhain's turning.

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Finding Blessings in the Crazy

I was invited to guest minister at the Goddess Temple of Orange County in southern California the morning of Sunday, November 23, on the theme of "Our Blessings" and on that very day, my husband, Roy, and I were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and renewing our vows before our beloved feline Mother, Sekhmet.  I thought I'd share with you the message I delivered to those gathered:

I know sometimes it doesn’t always feel like it, but we are so lucky, we have so many blessings, and none of them have to do with money, though that’s what our culture would have us believe is one of the things that count most -  but truly, does having wealth bring us love?  No, certainly not. 

Does having money help us grow as better human beings?  Not always.  Sometimes I think not having wealth is more of a blessing.  Out of necessity, we have to learn to connect and interact with each other because we depend on each other so much more. 

So I’m here today, with Thanksgiving around the corner, to suggest we each peer into the window of our life as if we were standing before a department store window.  Take stock and I bet you’ll  marvel at all there is inside the “store that is our life” because I think sometimes there is so much clutter inside we stop seeing the blessings.  And it looks different for each of us, just as every storefront we walk past in the mall has different and wonderful things within.  Our blessings are all so diverse. 

But there are blessings many of us  have in common, too.

We are so blessed to live in a blue state and not be at risk of vaginal probes, personhood amendments, and loss of control of our reproductive health.  We are so blessed to have this brick and mortar temple where we can gather to express the oldest religion on the planet - without fear.  We are so lucky to have such a brave, dedicated and talented community, like so many of you here, including Ava and the women and men who keep this temple thriving.  We are so lucky for the internet and clean water and advanced medicine.  It’s easy to forget everyone doesn’t have that.  We are blessed we aren’t forced to kill our girl children at birth because we can’t afford their dowry later in life.  We are blessed because we can vote, although too many of us don’t.  We can disobey male authority without paying a price.  But we forget so many of these things.  We’re human and we kind of take them for granted sometimes.

But as you put your nose on the glass of your own storefront - and I hope you will - to peruse all the goodness inside,  I hope you’ll also be courageous enough to lift the lid of your challenges, disappointment and pain because I’ll bet there are blessings there too.  I know Roy’s heart attack made him start to take his health more seriously.  My mother’s death helped me deepen my ability to forgive.  And sometimes it’s the bullies in life that teach us the most about who we are and what we’re made of.

And don’t overlook the little blessings that make us smile.  See the blessing in the brave little hummingbird at the bird feeder, the beautiful and perfect roses in the garden, or the smell of bacon in the morning.  Myself, I cherish that fleeting moment  between being sleep and fully awake, feeling the cool sheets in the dim light of morning.  Maybe your cat is sleeping next to you and you feel the softness of her fur as you hear the alarm go off and there’s beautiful music on the radio.  Don’t overlook either sweet  memories or your feisty friends who challenge your thinking and help you grow. 

I know I feel blessed and Roy does too, that so many of you drove all this way so early in the morning to be here today with us.  You too are our blessings and we love you.  Thank you for being in our lives. 

So this week and as often as you can, try to take inventory of your blessings like a good shopkeeper so you know the value of all the assets in the store of your life. Be sure you look in all the nooks and crannies.  We can really find the blessings in the craziest and most unexpected places as I was reminded recently.

You see this “scholar” had blown me off because he saw me as a disillusioned advocate of Marija Gimbutas theories, but we talked, and talked - and to my surprise he’s offered me a private showing of the valuable artifacts within his goddess collection.  Dare I hold out hope that crack in the door will swing wide enough for him to fully embrace Gimbutas herstory?  Who knows.  We shall see. 

So think about that next week when Uncle George who parrots Fox News is talking crazy round the Thanksgiving dinner table.  As he goes on and on setting your hair on fire next week, making you choke on the green bean casserole,  maybe he’s helping you grow patience and tolerance.  Who knows, you might even find a kernel of truth in all the crazy that can lead you toward bridging the gap.  We can really find blessings in the craziest and most unexpected places sometimes

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  • Linette
    Linette says #
    Well, this one hit me on the head with a hammer! Duh... Reason being that my boyfriend is the manager of a store and "inventory"

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Spring-altar-Goddess-Spiral-2014-a.jpg

Seeds are magical.

For Ostara we planted five seeds.
The soil that held them was mixed with ashes.
Ashes that had once been paper,
that had once held our Imbolc intentions,
and that now nourished the soil.
Our seeds, so small in the dark soil.
Tiny seeds of possibility-- asleep.  
We set them in the sun with water and our blessings.

I planted seeds as a child.
I plant seeds as an adult,
experiencing the anticipation and wonder anew.
I ran to peer at the soil every day,
hoping for growth and new beginnings.
The adult kept the excitement away.
The adult made plans if the seeds did not grow.
The child stayed hopeful and rejoiced when seedlings emerged.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Ostara-seedlings-Goddess-Spiral.jpg

Seedlings are magical.

Our “babies”, our seedlings.
Tiny and delicate,
they persevere every day.
All five have grown.
All five lean towards the sun.
Some are stronger than others.
Some fall with the water.
They won’t all grow into tomato plants.
They won’t all gift us fruit.
Until then, they are tiny little possibilities.
They are tiny little hopes-- awake.

Life is magical.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Ostara-Seedling-5-Goddess-Spiral-Paola-Suarez.jpg

 Hear me reading this poem at "I planted seeds" by Paola Suarez, a reading.

 

 

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  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you Courtney for your feedback! It was very powerful to feel the energy of Imbolc combining to give birth to Ostara life.
  • Courtney Weber
    Courtney Weber says #
    I love this--planting seeds mixed with the ashes at Imbolc! Beautiful!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Hope Springs Anew

    

 

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    In my first ritual group we embraced the pagan themes of Christian culture. And we enjoyed becoming like children again, coloring

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Winds of Change

 

“Blow, wind, oh, blow with all your might!

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Sweat-Lodge-Paola-Suarez-Goddess-Spiral.jpg

Ten years ago I had the courage to attend my first Womongathering. Womongathering was a four day women’s spirituality festival in the woods of Pennsylvania. I had been reading about it since 2001 when I found the Womongathering newsletter at a local pagan store. It was a dark time in my life. I had nightmares almost every day, suffered from panic attacks and saw my therapist at least once a week. Some times I saw her more often, especially if I had a mental breakdown that week.  Mental breakdowns consisted of me crying hysterically, afraid to leave my room, and could be brought on by almost anything. I desperately needed to go somewhere safe. I needed to find the strength to continue. I remember my now ex-husband dropping me off at the gate. I was terrified making my way into the festival without him. I was so afraid to be alone back then. All the women at the festival were so friendly, but I was too scared to notice.

 

I spent my first night at Womongathering curled up in my blankets, clinging to my teddy and crying. Here I was, twenty-five years old with my teddy bear as a lifeline. No one could have guessed that the bulky book bag I took with me everywhere wasn’t full of books-- it held my teddy bear. I was doing a lot of inner child work and dealing with the memories coming up because of it. So with my therapist’s approval I was at Womongathering looking for something to switch on inside me. I hoped that an event full of women honoring Goddess energy would give me the change I was looking for.

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  • Ashling Kelly
    Ashling Kelly says #
    My first Womongathering was in '97 (and wrote about it for Sagewoman in '99), and while it sounds like a cliche, it changed my lif
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    What issue of Sagewoman was your article in Ashling? I have an issue with an article about Womongathering from 1999 but it's writt
  • Khrys Exposito
    Khrys Exposito says #
    I love the artwork! As an attendee of the Womongathering festival that Paolo spoke of attending, the drawing drew such wonderful f
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you for sharing Khrys! It's so amazing to have the community of womyn that we have at our beloved festival. I also feel so b
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Lovely! I'm heading to the Gaea Goddess Gathering in Kansas in just two weeks! Maybe someday we will meet each other at a Goddess

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