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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Thealogy of the Ordinary

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:

 

My thealogy is the earthy, the mundane, the practical, and the miraculously ordinary obvious.

I am of this earth
for this earth
and by this earth.

You are not your body? Yes, I am. Captivated by planetary reality. Enthralled by the magic of gravity, the alchemy of salt and of raindrop, the oracle of leaf shadow on rock.

My body is enough. The breath in my lungs a prayer, the touch of my fingertips on stone a holy moment. The fire of life in my eyes an every day and yet wholly incredible gift.

The power of the pen in my fingers to write,
of my mind to create,
of my heart to pump blood,
and my hand to draw back from the sharpness of flame.

This is LIFE. This is holiness. This is sacred reality. It is not necessary to seek answers from far-off, mystical contracts of the soul. We need to only open our eyes. Inhale. Exhale. Laugh. Hug. This is a wonderful moment. This is my religion. This is living prayer. This is life in the hand of the Goddess.

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Disclaimers: Yes, I am actually currently finishing a book related to runes and divination. And, yes, I have had many personal experiences that could be deemed mystical. And, yes, I am a priestess who sits at my altar holding amethysts and who was "called" to this work in a way I cannot explain using traditional logic. I'm also a Taurus.

This post is in not meant to criticize those who are more in touch with the metaphysical than I am or who include New Age concepts in their thealogies, practices, or passions, but to poke into what rests at the core of my own thealogy and spiritual experience.

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I am a doctoral student in women’s spirituality at Ocean Seminary College and ordained as a Priestess with Global Goddess. My roots are in birthwork, which is intimately tied to my interest in the Goddess and in feminist thealogy. I blog at http://goddesspriestess.com, create goddess and birth art and jewelry at http://brigidsgrove.etsy.com and I am the author of Womanrunes: a guide to their use and interpretation (based on the work of Shekhinah Mountainwater).

Comments

  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ Monday, 28 July 2014

    I couldn't agree more. Feminist theology and Goddess feminism began with an affirmation of the female body as the site of our spirituality as women. I don't think this was what the male alchemical tradition was about. Siggghhh. There are many reasons not to accept our embodiment and finitude, including death and disappointment. But there are so many to rejoice in the flourishing of life.

  • Molly
    Molly Monday, 28 July 2014

    And, patriarchy is built on rejection of the female body (and, to many extents, the physical world).

    I had some more thoughts this morning, primarily based around not wanting to come across like I reject all that is metaphysical or esoteric in favor of "logic and reality" (people can get just as dogmatically obsessive about NOT seeing all that is unseen!), but rather that there is enough real, earthly magic right in front of me every day that it is enough to boggle my mind.

    There is also a broad swath of the invisible, unknown, and mysterious running like a current around and through all the realities and visibilities of everyday life---enough that I remain open to metaphysical possibilities and can include the change of continuity of consciousness after death, the presence, guidance and possibility of unseen elements at work in the physical world (guides, ancestors, spirits, deities). If the earth can turn water and sunlight into wine every day, I will not rule out the possibility of wild, magical, unseen being either! ;) For me, the Goddess herself is that web of life. She is the weaving itself and flows, dancing lightly, through every fiber of being.

    For me, magic and mystery is right in front of my eyes and in my lungs as well as in my dreams and in the poetry that comes unbidden to my lips when I sit in the woods alone...

    Alone? Or, embedded directly within the Goddess-force herself...

  • Tiffany Lazic
    Tiffany Lazic Monday, 28 July 2014

    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 associated with the New Age movement. I always answer "I consider myself "Old Age". :D It has felt to me that there is a wonderful dialogue that is deepening between the 2 paths.

  • Susan B. Chandler
    Susan B. Chandler Thursday, 31 July 2014

    Molly, thank you so much for putting into words something that I have felt for a long time. It requires spiritual work just to fully see that which is physical and I am not so sure that we can fully appreciate the unseen until we fully appreciate the seen.

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