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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in priestess
Can modern fiction be sacred literature?

I've spent a large part of the past two years writing a novel. It's not my first one, and it won't be my last one. But it's the first one that has brought up an interesting question: can modern fiction also be sacred literature?

The novel, titled The Last Priestess of Malia, is set in ancient Crete - so it's historical fiction. Here's the summary of the story:

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  • Mariah Sheehy
    Mariah Sheehy says #
    I look forward to reading it! I love well-done world-building & description- Ursula K. Le Guin & Marion Zimmer Bradley come to min
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Did you find yourself gaining new religious insights from writing this novel? (That's a phenomenon I'm familiar with.)
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    I did, and in ways that I didn't expect. Writing it was definitely a transformative experience.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember reading a magazine; Green Egg I think, in which an author wrote about how meaningful the Lord of the Rings was to her a
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    I always listen to what my beta readers say about typos and continuity errors; I'm a professional copyeditor but even I can't alwa

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Pregnant Pause after Imbolc
Imbolc has always been one of the cross quarter dates that easily falls under the radar for me, many years I don't realize that it has occured until it has passed and I often have an internal "bad Priestess" cheeky moment when this happens.
 
While the date is elusive and ephemeral for me most years, the time in between Imbolc and the Spring Equinox is not, in fact, it is the sensation of being in this liminal space between winter's end and spring's beginning that usually alerts me to the fact that I have missed the actual sacred day itself.
 
I believe that the time between Imbolc and the Spring Equinox is one of the most important phases on the Wheel of the Year for all of us as a whole. Speaking from my own experience, I have observed and sat each year with the discomfort of waiting, of containing and of consciously allowing light, life and extreme energy to grow within me until the time is ripe and ready for it's entrance into our realm, The discomfort comes from being born into a patriarchal structure that was created during the industrial revolution that has imprinted a conditioned response within me to produce and consume, so much so that the moment I feel an inner stirring my unconscious response is to farm that inner stirring out into the manifested reality, to prostitute it and bleed it dry before it has even had a chance to come to maturation and then to consume some other form of inspiration in hopes of receiving another inner stirring to farm out into the masses.  
 
Years went by where I would do this, become inspired, farm the inspiration out prematurely and then go seeking all over again, it wasn't until I began to work with the Wheel of the Year in a conscious way that I started to notice what was happening, it was then that I began to dive deeper into the practice and discomfort of waiting.
 
Imbolc is a time when the spark of life and inspiration is ignited within the cave of winter's hibernation. It is a head's up that the great rebirthing of spring is just around the corner. The purpose of this time is to both ensure that the slumber, regeneration and wisdom upgrade that has been occurring in winter's hibernation is fully completed by the time spring comes around, (any inner teachings or upgrades that have been happening need to be prepared to come to conclusion relatively soon) as well as an ignition of illumination and understanding around what it is that we are about to incarnate into in the spring. This time is akin to when we stand on the precipice of the fourth dimension with our guides and angels reviewing the blueprint we have laid out before coming back to earth, it is an exciting and exhilarating time of potential and one that is not meant to be rushed, the more time I spend allowing the potency of this time to expand and build the more powerful and free and complete my rebirths on the equinox feel.
 
Two years ago I was pregnant and due on the spring equinox, I had a completely embodied experience of living the Wheel of the Year as the time from Imbolc until my birthing was so full, ripe and tempting to want to rush along. As any woman who has been pregnant knows, those last weeks of pregnancy feel like a lifetime, the weight of the baby, the stretching of the skin, the expansion of the belly, it feels as though you've been pushed beyond the threshold of everything you once were and into a new being who ceases to be comfortable and has forgotten or perhaps given up hope that the birth will ever occur, it seems as though life will remain in this stretched to capacity and uncomfortable state forever. In a world that offers so many medical interventions it is not uncommon for a woman to be tempted to rush the end of pregnancy along with a little artificial aid to speed the process. In my case I had gestational diabetes and for better or worse I trusted the OB's suggestion that I receive a c-section two weeks before my daughter's due date (which was the spring equinox), this decision may have saved my life (the medical details are irrelevant to this article) and it landed my daughter in the NICU, the necessity and/or choice to rush her process into the world was not without consequence.
 
As with pregnancy and with our internal birthing into a new consciousness, following Mother Nature's lead is in our highest good. I remind myself of this as I sit here, bubbling with passion and idea's sprouting up, a sense of restlessness setting in and enthused sparks igniting within my spirit that these idea's and this restlessness is a reminder to stop and to come back to my body and to rise up in consciousness, the voices that chide me for not doing something more at this time of year are down in the basement now, because I have travelled this Wheel many times, I can recognize this familiar discomfort and I can remind myself of the power in sovereignty in waiting. 
 
Imbolc is just that for me, a sacred moment of waiting, a pregnant pause, a deep breath before bursting into the bright, hot light of manifested reality, I do not need to know how this energy will form when it is birthed, nor do I need to control it's process, I need only surrender to it. Imbolc happens when the sun is in the revolutionary sign of Aquarius and ends in the mystical sign of Pisces, this is about a revolution around how I experience inspiration as well as a mystically potent opportunity to be a vessel that ushers in Heaven to Earth, the highest calling a Priestess can own.
 
So, here I sit, fountain gurgling in the background, toddler napping upstairs, nachos waiting to be warmed when I open my eating window, dreaming of the ability to consciously time travel through my life, wondering if I will ever get on stage again, hoping that age will never have the power to steal my dreams away from me and remembering, thanks to this great sacred pause, to expand my greatest desires, to go so far out in my imaginings that truly anything is possible. 
 
Because of the Wheel of the Year I am reborn annually, I am not subject to the laws of aging in the ways that the patriarchal machine would subject me, and I am not subject to the conditioning of said structure either, I am reminded of this as I sit and wait instead of rush and do.
 
May this sacred waiting bless you as deeply as it has blessed me and may we all be gifted with a healthy and fat manifestation baby on our great rebirthing this spring.
 
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace,
Candise Soaring Butterfly 
 
 

 

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Radiant Love Activations from the Lionsgate Portal

The last time that I really took note of the Lionsgate Portal was in 2015 when the gateway formed a perfect 888 in numerology, in fact, that was the first time that I had ever connected to the Lionsgate Portal. I suspect my lack of connection with this particular energetic portal is due to it's high Leo and sun frequency. I only have Leo in the 11th house of my astrological chart and other than that I have no Leo influence in my chart at all, in fact, throughout my 12 planets I have only one fire sign in total. Because of this lack of fire in my energetic make-up it has taken a good long while for the element of fire and I to develop a relationship and an even longer while for me to become comfortable in the lessons and energy of the summer season.

 

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  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    I am touched by the beauty of this
Mirror to the Sun: A Letter to the Priests and Priestesses of the World

You are not your god. You are not your goddess.

(At least, no more than anyone else.)

Yet you act for your goddess. You act for your god.

That's the paradox of priesthood.

People judge your god, your goddess, by what you say and do.

At all times, therefore, act accordingly.

You—priestess, priest—are not the Sun.

You are a mirror reflecting the Sun.

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Cosmic Activism

When I was in training to become a priestess, the priestess guiding me told me that although the world had once required us priestesses to seclude ourselves in temples, to focus solely on our devotion to the Goddess and adding that light to the world, that we had evolved into a space and time where we were called to be among the masses. No longer were we to be sequestered away from the world. This transition brought both blessings - freedom to explore many experiences in the world while maintaining one's commitment to being a priestess, and challenges - more energy and drama to sift through as we endeavoured to sustain and raise our priestess consciousness. 

 

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This past year, working full time as a priestess

Hello all!

So I had realized recently, I hadn't updated this precious space in quite a long time - nor even my own personal blogs. Where had I gone? 

Well..the story is a bit complicated. Last year, 2017, was a huge transitioning year for me. 

I moved to Japan in May 2017. And since then, it has been a lot of time of trying to settle into my new home, my new environment. Even the weather when I landed was quite different, and made me very weak comparing to coming from Canada's cold winter. I also missed, and still do miss my family a lot back in North America, which is the only downside to living here, and that also weighed heavily on me.

While here in Japan, I began to work full time as a priestess at the Konkokyo Shrine of Yokosuka, and assist with monthly ceremonies as well as private ones, in which there were many.
In addition, since Yokosuka is a naval base town, despite not knowing Japanese entirely fluently yet, I still was blessed to be busy with both translation work and also interacting with the local American community here. It was and is really great, and I love it here, but before I realized it, my time was getting busier and busier! I hardly had time to go online at all; only to check a few emails and messages, or answer direct questions.

The Fall itself felt like a blur, and in November, late Fall season, we held our Grand Ceremony, which is one of the two biggest ceremonies of the year. (The other is in May, or late Spring). After that, Winter came and New Years season came around, the busiest season of the year for shrines since everyone comes to pray for a happy and safe New Year, and in addition for the Year-End purification ceremonies, and Mochitsuki (mochi making event) in January.

And now..that brings us to here! And things have finally come to a settle I think. At least, I'm managing things a lot better and understand the work flow of the shrine here, and the general schedule. As well as being used to the home here, and the local city is familiarized to me as well. 

So, while I do have some long-term work I need to do, such as continuing to answer emails and questions, shrine work, which includes a website and print materials I need to make for this year and will take some time, and in addition of course the ceremonies - and studying more Japanese - between all these things, I also want to make a commitment to post more articles regularly! 

So thank you all and to those who have been patient with me! I deeply appreciate it.

Since 2015, I've been in a kind of nonstop busy mode. Priestess training was back in 2015, 2016 had a lot of travel to Japan, and now 2017 just flew by doing work here - 2018 I'm hoping is a lot more stable year where I can be settled into a good work flow schedule smoothly.

And I hope by 2019, I'll have a better handle on everything to do some hobbies I want to pursue, such as dollmaking, and doing more art and creative writing. But I want to get important things done first, or I can't enjoy other hobbies personally!

In any case, I know this update isn't entirely educational or Shinto related...but I think sharing some insight just into what I learned working as a priestess full time is like, I'll share here a bit! Hopefully you'll find it interesting at least. After this, I do plan to go back to usual educational articles, so please look forward to them!

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A photo of when I danced kibimai, a type of ancient kagura (sacred dance) I offered to Kamisama in the Konkokyo Shrine of Toronto, April 2017, before I left for Japan




Before I moved to Yokosuka, I did priestess work in Toronto. However, since it's in Toronto and Canadian culture is much different than Japan, services were only held every other Sunday, since it was the day of the week most had off in Canada, and other days people would be working and unable to visit. We also had to schedule around the western holidays like Easter, Christmas, and so on which also made having more regular ceremonies a bit difficult. In contrast, in Japan, we go by Japanese holidays which match up with the traditional rituals and ceremonies in the shrine, so it's much easier for the people to come more often.

So in other words...while I worked in Toronto - it was quite easier workload in comparison. I had the whole week, sometimes two free weeks, and then just had the one day I had to do priestess work. Of course it was a little sad for me, but it was also why I had a lot more free time to do blogging, or even other part-time work. 

I got an idea of what it was like to work as a full fledged priestess from the monthly ceremonies in Toronto - I helped a little with offerings, preparing tamagushi, and practicing ritual. I also did these intensely during priestess training, so things were as usual and not too unfamiliar. It was a lot like refining the skills. My teacher in Toronto is still the best teacher I have, and I respect him greatly now. I feel very blessed I got to train and learn under him.

However, since moving to Japan here and working more regularly in priestess work - I realized especially what my teacher meant when he said I still had a lot to learn! The workload is completely different in Japan, and since the shrine here is 120 years old, there were a lot of older knowledge of our shrine tradition I learned as well, and my mind and knowledge expanded so much more. 

The house and living area is right next to the shrine itself, so in addition I work essentially every day shrine keeping. It's a whole different experience. Whereas before in Toronto I could relax fully at home and not be concerned about visitors, just caretake my own kamidana - here I need to be sure to wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed (no pajamas!), open the shrine, and then watch for shrine visitors (sanpaisha) if they come and to greet them. Of course; I can afford now to have lazy days and sleep in, since 3 other priests and priestess work here (My partner and his parents) and I am not the Head Priest, but Associate Priestess, so my responsibilities are a lot lighter.

But I realized very seriously that if I was alone, I'd have to be much more serious about it, and be sure to get proper rest and a good schedule. We are open every day of the year, from 8am to 8pm, so I learned quickly the importance of having a very good schedule and managing everything - from personal hygiene, to chores around the house, to making meals, and managing the shrine and shrine work. It was so much more than I expected! 

As well, I gained a deeper respect for those who manage shrines alone. We don't get a salary or anything from a head shrine, so we are self-sustaining - and that means as well learning how to do accounting and managing money, and budgeting properly for things like offerings or ritual tools, to not overspend or even underspend too (buying the right amount and variety for Kamisama is also a factor for important ceremonies). 

In addition, at our shrine in particular, we also have a large garden, - which grows sakaki branches for tamagushi, vegetables such as cucumbers, and many, many oranges and persimmons - which is beautiful and I realized the bounty of nature, but as well, it's also another task to manage to caretake of the trees and plants, and trim and harvest accordingly. 

In making offerings, I also learned how to treat each food item carefully. We should try to place them the way they grow in nature, the proper way to cut and wash them, and the proper way to stack them with stability. Food offerings are still one of the hardest areas to master!

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A mixed fruits and vegetables offerings I did for the mitama no kami, or ancestral divine spirits, about a week ago. I learned afterwards I should have spread the eggplants more, and cut the top of the leeks cleaner, to improve and perfect the form.


Despite all of this hard work, I really, really enjoy it, and love to learn all the new things I am! And very happy to do things with care and sincerity towards kami-sama. I was actually moved to tears at one point, to see how deeply everything is carefully made, cleaned, arranged, organized, and run in the shrine for kami-sama, mitama no kami, and the people who visit the shrine and who are parishioners of the shrine. I understood a strong sense of community and sincerity, and I was and am very grateful to learn as well.

As in, it's not just the form or method how to do things as a priestess, but what's very important moreso is the heart, spirit, and sincerity behind it. I feel like I really learned that this year, and I think I will begin to understand it even more the longer I work here. 

I learned being a priestess wasn't just ritual work or making offerings - but it was so much more. It wasalso making offerings with care and consideration, even right down to details like how to wash and clean and cut them (even using a special, kami-sama offering-only knife).

It was learning how to do many different things, such as gardening, harvesting, accounting, budgeting, learning how to cook with the offerings we eat after so nothing goes to waste, learning how to make sacred items properly, learning different types of ceremonies, even my work in coding, graphic design and social media was and is needed to work on having and updating information online - it ends up being a kind of jack of all trades job. That is, this is all behind the scenes to the very important spiritual work which is our main focus.

In the end, all of it is done for the community and kami-sama, which makes me so happy. I feel so glad and grateful to be able to serve the community and kami-sama - that we are a shrine where not only people can come together and rest and have a connection with kami-sama, but also for our shrine tradition in particular, to come and talk about any problem or issue on their mind (a rite called toritsugi mediation). Organizing and running the shrine well contributes to everything to go harmoniously, and it's amazing to me how it all comes together.

This year, I want to start doing the old, ancient prayers at sunrise - such as Ooharae no Kotoba, and Amatsu Norito, as our shrine tradition used to do 100 years ago. I want to make our shrine shine even brighter and have more spiritual strength by returning and nurturing to the roots. Thankfully, it seems kami-sama also agrees, as the past year we have had a lot of things from the past return - including a very old Tenchi Kakitsuke, or Divine Reminder from the Universe, made by a shrine parishioner from a long time ago!

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The old Tenchi Kakitsuke. The meaning of the black background and white kanji, is that "even in the darkness, the reminder from the universe will shine through". It has such a strong spiritual power I feel!


So, those are the things I learned deeply especially this year about priestess work. For anyone who is considering to become a Shinto priest, or especially a Shinto priest in the Konkokyo tradition, there is so much to think about and manage...but I think in the end, it's very much worth it.

To see the smiling faces of everyone and their bright spirits - and to feel the power of kami-sama and the gentle power from the shrine and nature around us, I think it is all worth it, and any kind of physical and/or spiritual work that has to be done daily I'm so grateful to do every day!

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  • Mivi
    Mivi says #
    I'm so proud of you. I always love hearing about how your training is going. I cannot be as rigorous in studies since I don't liv

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Thanks Be to the Blood

I love my moon time, I love everything about it. 

 

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