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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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“Only in the deepest silence of night
the stars smile and whisper among themselves.”
–Rabindranath Tagore

(quoted in Dear Heart, Come Home page 52)

As I prepare our family's winter solstice ritual for this Sunday evening, I feel moved to share our family's tradition and ritual process. I'd love to hear from readers in the comments with their own family traditions! We have celebrated the winter solstice together as our primary family ritual for the last eleven years. There are several elements that remain constant from year to year and other elements that vary based on new ideas or projects that we decide to incorporate for that year.

The following is a brief explanation of three of our core traditions, which is then followed by a full ritual outline for this year's ceremony! Make sure to read through to the end of my ritual outline for links to even more posts with further ideas and information.

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Moon Medicine

 

I have been returning my Moon blood to the Earth for years now. This practice began as an intuitive one that was followed by learning about the cycles of the Moon and my body. Just before I began to collect my Moon blood I had been drawn to cloth Moon pads and suddenly collecting my blood and offering it back to the Earth seemed the only reasonable place to put my blood.
 
My Priestess that mentored me, Aquarius, taught me that when creating ceremony it was often beneficial to first do the research that was needed into the subject being ritualized and then to let the intellect go and to follow the intuition, in the instance with my blood it went the other way around. I first followed my gut and then, began to research the practice of returning my blood to the Earth and the significance that it carried.
 
With the combination of listening to my gut and agreeing with what I had learnt intellectually about the sacredness of one's blood, the shame of throwing our life force into the garbage and the power in giving thanks for our ability to create life on all levels by giving our lifeblood back to the body of the Earth that gives us life, I felt pretty complete in my decision. It was in alignment with my Priestess self and that was a sound way to be. What I didn't get however was the felt sense of sacredness, connection and the deep experience that I knew was connected to my revered action, yet I held hope that one day I would, that one day it would 'click' and I would feel the profound depth of my action.
 
That day came just a few weeks ago. As I blundered through my final days leading up to my Moon time, spiritually wandering and seeking I began to bleed. I sought out my Moon blood jar and for the first time, in a very long time, became  completely present. I was present as I washed the blood from my Moon pad into the jar, I was present as I walked to the door, the walk was a procession, a sacred walk and I was aware that the vessel that I carried outside of me, in my hands had become an external womb containing my essence and the seeds of potential life within it. I have a specific place of land that I offer my blood to and this time I slowed down, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude at the opportunity that I had to not only receive the life force into me over the past moon cycle, but also for the chance to release and to let go of all that no longer served me as I bled. I felt reverence as I offered my seeds, my essence and all that I was letting go of into Mother Earth, a profound sense of relief that She can carry for me what I no longer can, that She receives it all and returns it to the life of Her very own body. I was connected to the Goddess, I was out of my head, the intellectual business of trying to conceptualize and wonder about a Goddess much too mysterious to be contained within my tiny brain was lifted and I was, once again a conscious part of Her, I was Her daughter, Her Priestess, Her devotee.
 
This past Moon time the presence, the grounding, the stillness and the ability to slow down and be with my  process finally connected me to the depths of my practice, it has inspired me to spend the break from studying and listening to the written word that I am currently taking, getting into an active practice of embodied connection to the Goddess. This is a more feminine form of spiritual practice and is allowing me to grow closer to the feminine face of Source, it is strengthening my relationship to the Goddess and removing the barriers of a questioning mind. These barriers lifting is offering me a more innocent space of knowing my Creator. Outside of the realm of the mind lies the space of knowing, a simple gut awareness of my Divine Mother being with me and caring for me.
 
Collecting and offering my blood back to the Mother is my favoured way of doing this. The main benefits that I have received from this practice over the years are as follows:
 
  • An empowered relationship to my Moon flow. Every time that I lovingly collect my Moon flow and choose not to toss it into the garbage can, I am treating myself and my womanly flow with reverence and gratitude. The patriarchal shaming of my woman's blood is erased as I care for it in a sacred and holy way.
 
  • Time to reflect upon what it is that I am releasing each month, what I became conscious of over the past Moon cycle and what I am flowing rid of, this conscious awareness strengthens my ability to release and cleanse myself.
 
  • An example for my daughter, a living example. As she observes me over the years to come, her first impressions of a woman and her Moon time will be a magical, mysterious and joyful one.
 
  • An example for my Beloved husband, his relationship to the Moon and to the power that a woman holds within herself and within her Moon flow has increased exponentially as he has witnessed my flowing with the cycles of the Moon and observed the ritualized way that I have cared for my Moon blood.
 
  • A connection to my ancestors, to the Priestesses that have Priestessed before me, to the women that gathered in Red Tents to bleed into the Earth, to the Moon flow that has flowed through all women throughout time, I feel them close as I deepen my relationship to my Moon time. 
 
I began the process of collecting my blood organically and independently, it was after I began my practice that I met my Priestess that mentored me, that I connected to my Goddess group and began to learn about the phases of the Moon. My ritual around my Moon time has evolved over the years and I encourage every woman who feels called to deepen her relationship to her Moon time to also begin to collect her blood and to handle it in a reverent way in whatever way she feels called to. Listen to your gut, follow what feels right for you and listen to that. 
 
As a glimpse into my personal experience and as an offering to take anything that resonates with you, I have listed below a few ways that you can begin this process if you are looking for a place to start as well as an outline about how this practice might look. For those of you who already work with your Moon blood in a conscious way, please add any tips or rituals that you use below, I'd love to have some new inspiration!
 
  • This month send a prayer to the Goddess, ask for her to inspire you towards a beautiful, antique or powerful feeling container that will become your Moon blood womb.
 
  • When you have found your Moon container perform a ritual to sanctify it, set intention, say prayers over it, bless it with lavender or sweet grass and ask that the ancestors guide you in your journey with your Moon blood.
 
  • If you haven't already, look into purchasing some cloth Moon pads, making some, buying a Diva cup or a sponge tampon and cease to buy plastic, chemically laden disposable products. Whether a pad, cup or tampon you can easily collect your Moon blood during your next flow with one of these products.
 
  • Begin a Moon journal, the week before your Moon time begin to journal about everything that is irritating you, all that is frustrating, overwhelming and taxing to you. When your blood begins to flow, review what it is that you have written and release the energetic cause of your upsets with your monthly flow.
 
  • When you change your pad, cup or tampon rinse the blood into the womb container that you have chosen.
 
  • Once you have collected your blood, choose a ceremonial piece of clothing, a shawl, amulet or tunic and adorn yourself with it as you consciously and silently walk outdoors with your womb container and Moon blood (preferably barefoot).
 
  • When you step out onto the Earth pick a sacred spot that will be the place of receiving, say a prayer of thanks at this spot. Thank the Divine Mother for the blood that courses through you, for your ability to receive the Life Force, thank Her for receiving all that you no longer need and for purifying you through Her cycles.
 
  • Pour out your blood. Stand in silence. Be still. Be emptied.
 
  • Once you have released your blood return in the same fashion that you journeyed, place your womb container in it's sacred space and prepare to repeat this ritual each time that you change your pad, cup or tampon.
 
  • When your Moon time has ceased pour a little water into your womb container and keep it in the place that you have selected ready to receive all of you during your next Moon cycle.
 
As we women honour our Moon time and reclaim the power and beauty in our blood we rise up together, as sisters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers fully in our feminine power. When we offer what we shed back to the Great Mother our relationship to the Goddess strengthens as does the awareness of Her presence in our daily lives and the lives of those around us.
 
May our Moon times be held sacred and treated reverently from this day forward, may we embrace our cycles and may we become a spark of the Goddess as we honour and love our Moon times and may this practice bring us into alignment with the Divine Mother.
 
 
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace,
Candise Soaring Butterfly
 
 
 
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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Over the last month, I have been listening to a wonderful telesummit about priestesses. I am also a huge fan of the radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine. However, as I listen to both, I sometimes find myself wondering if walking a Goddess path is also viewed as synonymous with, "believe everything, question nothing." Crystal essences, gemstone healing, soul contracts, past lives, spirit guides, astrology, the many realms and dimensions of the occult, mystical, New Age and metaphysical. Is wholesale suspension of logic required to join hands with the Goddess? Is deft management of the tarot essential to the priestess path? Must I ascribe to "enlightened" tenets like, "you are not your body," "I am a spiritual being having a spiritual experience" and "we made an agreement to do this work before we showed up in this body at this time and place" in order to move forward?

I sat at my home altar this afternoon holding an amethyst in one hand and a priestess sculpture in the other feeling entirely too practical and realistic. I looked out my window at the precious trees, the scratching chickens, the drooping flowers, and the dry, dry relentless dust of summer and some answers drifted to my mind:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Susan B. Chandler
    Susan B. Chandler says #
    Molly, thank you so much for putting into words something that I have felt for a long time. It requires spiritual work just to ful
  • Tiffany Lazic
    Tiffany Lazic says #
    I also agree :-) I have had many people ask me if I am "New Age" because of my love of crystals and oracles and so much that is as
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I couldn't agree more. Feminist theology and Goddess feminism began with an affirmation of the female body as the site of our spir
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    And, patriarchy is built on rejection of the female body (and, to many extents, the physical world). I had some more thoughts thi

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My Journey to the Goddess Deities
 "Yeah, I'd break bread and wine. If there was a church I could receive in." Sometimes Bono just totally gets me. I love ceremony and I love truth and happily, I can find both almost anywhere. What I can't find almost anywhere, however, is a sense of complete belonging. In most religious houses I can't shake the sense that I'm not truly welcome there. This isn't to say that I'm not welcomed on the surface, I don't go into religious houses with a great big pentacle around my neck or a vile of Moon blood to offer the Virgin Mary, they aren't aware that I'm a Goddess loving Priestess upon my entrance, but there is the sense that if they truly knew how I worshipped they'd probably rather that I just turn away and find the nearest crop to worship in and be done with my heathen soul. Oh they've tried to 'save' me, but apparently the 'spirit of witchcraft and lust' just wouldn't budge.
 
I'm fine with this sense of not belonging in the religious houses for the most part now. Yet when my call to become a Priestess first beckoned me, it was the pain of being rejected by the religious folks, the so-called faith filled ones that came up to be healed. Because while I don't fit into any of the major religions, despite my great thirst for a devoted and surrendered life, I also didn't feel I truly fit into any pagan, wiccan, Goddess or any other ancient or alternative circle either. I was a bit of a spiritual misfit, an orphan of sorts with no home that I could find on Earth.
 
Where my lack of belief in a Devil, a male God living on a cloud and my refusal to conform to the idea that I as a women am to play a supporting, subordinate role in this drama of life counts me out of the religious world, I feared that my lack of a belief in many deities or the necessity rather then the desire to worship in a circle or a prescribed fashion,  along with my personal choice not to try to manifest or use magic to make a situation unfold in my desired direction counted me out of all other potential spiritual circles. This made the first half of my spiritual journey a solo one, I just didn't care to explain my renegade brand of beliefs to anyone anymore after the run ins that I had found in the fellowship of the churches. I had been disillusioned to find that nobody was actually interested in hearing why I didn't believe in a Devil, rather they were waiting for me to finish speaking so that I could be corrected and saved. This rang true for the many names but same Source conversation, or the pointing out of Bible verses where Jesus urges His followers not to proselyte, or discussing the misogynistic writings and practices of Paul, deemed St. Paul, none of these were discussions to be had, they were misbeliefs to be corrected and if not corrected then I was a lost soul to be prayed for and turned away from. I wasn't about to face another rejection from a group of spiritually practicing women and men if I could avoid it.
 
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Candise
    Candise says #
    What beautifully, raw feedback Jason. Thank you for relating and sharing your similar jaunt aping this rainbow path Home. Many
  • Jason Leslie Rogers
    Jason Leslie Rogers says #
    Candise, Thank you for taking the time to write this. It spoke to and encouraged me. I can particularly relate (right now, at le

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Book Review: Goddess Calling

“Any woman who has birthed or raised a child, had a book published, started an organization, manifested a temple – they all know the strength, courage and determination women possess…”

–Karen Tate, Goddess Calling

I've been a huge fan of Karen Tate's radio show Voices of the Sacred Feminine for several years. The voice of Karen and her versatile, diverse, talented, inspirational guests keep me company every week on my commute to teach at a military base.

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Shamanic Astrology ~ The Life Changer

Many moons ago, (or Fifteen years ago, )as a Maiden, wild and lost, I went on a first date with someone with a real gem, this date opened the door to heartaches too deep for me to reminisce at this juncture, however, I did take one thing from this first date that stuck with me for the rest of my life. . My painful memories are tempered by the fact that along with a broken heart, this manboy gave me a beautiful gift. He ignited the interest in what was to become one of my greatest loves, Astrology.

When we first met, he asked me what my sign was, and informed me that we were perfectly compatible. Bemused, I told him that I had no idea what any of this meant. He was astonished, since apparently "all Scorpios are into astrology." Really? I hadn't known. Later that week I picked up an astrology book, to see what it was that I was 'supposed' to be drawn to, and there it was, love at first read.

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A Cosmic Wink


"I have found being a priestess is not static. My priestessing has changed, and continues to transform over time. I am a priestess once by her call. I am a priestess once for experience. I am a priestess once by recognition...No one need be alone...I have cut a path through uncharted territory. I hope that now, when others hear her call, there will be a path to follow."

--Jade River, Three Times a Priestess in Stepping Into Ourselves by Goddess Ink

Last week a good friend who is also a long-time member of my women's circle, brought me a surprise gift. My friend is not particularly demonstrative, so I was deeply touched by her offering. Shown in the picture above, it is a "riverkeeper" sculpture from Bell Pine Art Farm.

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