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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Priestessing

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Work Will Find You

"That Priestess work will find you."

So said my circle-sister when I told her that I had been asked to consult on an upcoming art installation which, based on my suggestion, will feature a labyrinth. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

It is late autumn, 2009. I am 30 years old and pregnant with my third baby. He dies during the early part of my second trimester and I give birth to him in my bathroom, on my own with only my husband as witness. The blood comes, welling up over my fingers and spilling from my body in clots the size of grapefruits. I feel myself losing consciousness and am unable to distinguish whether I am fainting or dying. As my mom drives me to the emergency room, I lie on the back seat, humming: “Woman am I. spirit am I. I am the infinite within my soul. I have no beginning and I have no end. All this I am,” so that my husband and mother will know I am still alive.

 I do not die.

This crisis in my life and the complicated and dark walk through grief is a spiritual catalyst for me. A turning point in my understanding of myself, my purpose, my identity, and my spirituality. 

It is my 31st birthday. May 3rd. My baby’s due date. I go to the labyrinth in my front yard alone and walk through my labor with him, remembering, releasing, letting go of the stored up body memory of his pregnancy. I am not pregnant with him anymore. I have given birth. This pregnancy is over. I walk the labyrinth singing and when I emerge, I make a formal pledge, a dedication of service and commitment to the Goddess. I do not yet identify myself verbally as a priestess, but this is where the vow of my heart begins.

I do not know at the time, but less than two weeks later, I discover I am in fact pregnant with my daughter, my precious treasure of a rainbow baby girl who is born into my own hands on my living room floor the next winter. As I greet her, I cry, “you’re alive! You’re alive! There’s nothing wrong with me!” and feel a wild, sweet relief and painful joy like I have never experienced before.

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  • Kristy
    Kristy says #
    3 Beautifully written and so heartfelt. Congratulations on your baby girl.
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thank you, Kristy!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Prayer for Syria

Last Sunday I was invited to lead a prayer at a benefit for Syrian refugees. It was sort of a Pagan-ish prayer, since the audience wasn't Pagan and I wanted it to be relatable. Feel free to use it for your priestessing in non-Pagan situations, or simply as a template for your own prayers for Syria.

Take a breath, close your eyes, and turn your attention to the East, place of air and sunrise, of new beginnings. Send a prayer for wisdom: the wisdom to find a lasting road to peace, the wisdom to do what needs to be done. Take a breath and send that prayer.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. West, Thank you. Syria is the the birthplace of Neoplatonist Paganism and theurgy, which may well explain why Socrates is con

May the circle never be broken  hands
May the earth always be whole
May the rattle ever be shaken
May the goddess live in our souls.

Shekhinah Mountainwater, Ariadne’s Thread

Why pass the rattle at a women’s circle*?

Passing the rattle gives each woman in the circle an equal voice and an equal opportunity to be heard. The woman who has the rattle, has the “floor” and the other women in the circle give her their full attention. In spontaneous or non-organized groups of friends, we are all aware that not everyone experiences an equal opportunity to be heard. This can be due to personality type and preference as well as to simple logistics (such as presence of one’s children), but also due to people with larger voices or presences dominating the setting and the verbal landscape. In hierarchical and patriarchal settings, individual women’s voices may be actively silenced, oppressed, or dominated.

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Goddess Spirituality Teaches Social Justice

So let us look at several brief examples of the Sacred Feminine as deity, metaphor or myth and how we’re given a template for living or advice for values we might embrace with social justice in mind.....

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Goddess is Calling - Hear Her Roar

In ever-increasing numbers women and men are seeking spirituality beyond traditional religious institutions and more and more their  new normal includes the deities, ideals and archetypes of the Sacred Feminine.  They have a desire to get beyond the patriarchal dogma that often perpetuates sexism, homophobia and the domination of Gaia and all her inhabitants, including the body of Mother Earth.  Women in particular are hearing and heeding their calling, stepping forth to take on their mantle of leadership as rabbis, ministers, priestesses, Nuns on the Bus and Womanpriests.  They are exercising their spiritual authority in circles at their kitchen tables, in their living rooms and classrooms, in brick and mortar churches and temples, in political arenas and groves.  They are flexing their spiritual wings and allowing themselves to be guided by their intuition, innate female wisdom and inner-knowing and they encourage their congregations to know and feel the essence of Goddess and understand what that new knowledge might mean for themselves personally and the world. 

Often their shared message is one of female empowerment, social justice and environmental responsibility sometimes referred to as eco-feminist spirituality.  The liturgy may contain social, cultural and political messages of liberation thealogy using Goddess mythology, archetypes and metaphors as benchmarks and templates for a more just and sustainable future.   Gone altogether or tempered is the message of the strict authoritarian Father whose mythology gives license for a male-dominated society with women in a subordinate role.  Nothing less than peace, partnership, justice, equality and care for the planet are at the heart of this Sacred Feminine wisdom.

In answer to this collective call to restore and  re-write our values and find a new spiritual path women and men are blazing a trail using their pink handled machetes to find their way.  It might manifest in progressive churches using gender neutral names for God in prayer and song.  Others include liturgy embracing the Divine Mother in equal partnership alongside the Father.  Altars might not be dominated only by male images.  Still others give themselves permission to conduct women-only services and exhibit only female images of deity at their gatherings.  Congregants worship together in circles rather than in hierarchal configurations with a male intermediary between them and deity.  In fact, these groups and gatherings might be leaderless, egalitarian or organizers might share leadership. In case it’s not obvious,  there is no one way and no absolute right way to facilitate these gatherings or to worship or interpret deity.  These are just some of the new guidelines being tried across the globe as spiritual people come forward to see what works for themselves or their communities.

Yes, there has been a plethora of academic writings restoring knowledge of Goddess and women’s history that has been swept beneath the rug.  Some, myself included, have used this knowledge to occasionally re-construct or adapt ancient rituals for a modern context.  We have gleaned inspiration from inscriptions and ancient knowledge and turned it into the seasonal ritual. Psychologists have explored the significance of Goddess archetypes. Theologians have examined why Goddess disappeared and patriarchy began to dominate.  Some statistics show that when all earth-based or goddess-oriented groups are combined, Pagan, or non-Abrahamic religions is one of the fastest growing groups in the country and books have come out in equal measure to support that growing interest.

Yes, thealogy, not theology.  The meaning of Goddess, as deity, archetype and ideal and her relationship to humanity, the planet and its species helps us find a new normal.  Going beyond the wheel of the year, examining Goddess mythology and ideals of the Sacred Feminine would reshape values, society and culture, from cradle to grave, from the boardroom to bedroom, to the voting booth.  Goddess ideals actually do provide a template for a more just and sustainable future. We can directly connect the dots between losing our Mother, the Great She, to exploitation of the planet and the oppression of our patriarchal world.  Watch this space!

May Goddess Embrace You in Her Golden Wings,

Dr. Rev. Karen Tate

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  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Great article!
  • Danu Forest
    Danu Forest says #
    wonderful stuff thanks for posting! x
  • Karen Tate
    Karen Tate says #
    Thanks Danu for your reader loyalty!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Priestessing as a Verb
I first began to utilize 'Priestessing' as a verb during my second week postpartum.
 
During that time I texted my childhood friend, Melanie, from the couch that I was unable to leave. Being stuck on the couch was a surprising situation for me to be in, for while I had planned on doing a 40 day sit in with my newborn Maiden, I hadn't planned on my carefully planned for home water birth becoming a C-section, nor for the recovery time that it would entail. Least of all was I planning on getting an infected cyst inside of my inner thigh just as I began to get the strength to be up and about for extended periods of time on my own.
 
I had envisioned the sit in being peaceful (which for the most part it was) and myself floating around on a cloud, wearing my baby, breastfeeding and napping, and, while I did nap and breastfed with her consistently I was definitely not floating nor was I wearing her. My stomach incision was too painful and at the moment that I was texting Melanie I was sitting on gauze pads sans pants or underwear oozing pus and blood onto the pad as my baby slept nestled in my arm. I was in shock from an operation that I wasn't expecting, new Motherhood hormones and that darn infected cyst. To top it all off, I  was only 8 days into my 40 day sit~in I was starting to feel stir crazy. 
 
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  • Candise
    Candise says #
    I'm so glad, thank you Molly
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Came back to re-read this today. Still love it!
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Loved this very much!
  • Candise
    Candise says #
    Thank you so much, Molly. xx

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