Daughter of Goddess
“How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you to go when your life was difficult and your felt utterly alone…a place of safety and comfort?
If a woman whom you trusted had been there to receive you…had listened silently, as you spoke your discouragement? And then she had covered you warmly as you curled up for a rest.
And, if she had gone out and returned with an armload of wood…then quietly built up the fire and sat down nearby to tend it…
How might your life be different?
~ Judith Duerk, I Sit Listening to the Wind: Woman’s Encounter Within Herself
There was a time in my life when I did not have the safety and comfort of a woman’s place. I did not know the power of a sisterhood who would witness my story in silence, that would allow me to discover my wounds, questions, my soft underbelly without reproach, advice, or well – intended suggestions to fix or make better. I had not found the circle that would take me in just as I was, not needing to shrink myself into a preconceived form or contort my spirit to fit another’s comfort zone. Nor had I found a sanctuary to reclaim my buried feminine treasures: my wild, intuitive, instinctive self; the Other self -that original, unique, sweet, innocent and radically unique me, the creative birther, the deep wise one that holds the value of the inner world as sacred….
Worse still, I lived in a world in which the Feminine was largely marginalized, minimized, found wanting in worth. Roles of mother and nurturer, taken for granted or considered insignificant, not as important as a real occupation, one that brought home cash, the ultimate yard stick of merit. For many choosing the workplace, we settle for less and are expected to do more.
The very bodies we inhabit are feared, reviled, agents of temptation, damnation. We’ve been convinced that they will never be enough or are too much. For most, they will never be found acceptable in the eye of the beholder, and sadly, especially the mirror. This was the world of woman I knew.
An encounter with Goddess called me home. She came into my life when I was early into my mothering years, the times when a mother surely needs her Mother. I found Her within a course, Cakes for the Queen of Heaven, given at a local church. In our eight weeks together, a dozen women, Cakes XI (we were the eleventh group hosted by this venue), explored a feminist theology curriculum: pre Judeo-Christian cultures that may have worshipped the feminine as divine. We learned about Goddess spirituality, explored evidence of archeological finds, discussed historical and religious figures, the Burning Times, myths, and story. We told our stories as daughters, mothers, grandmothers. We crafted an altar, burned candles, offered invocations, shaped clay in an image of the feminine. The first evening we were nourished by former participants of the experience: a home cooked candlelight dinner with flowers and china, and then with lunch the following day- a buffet of care-full-y prepared dishes, all for us, the incoming sisters. Never had I known such devotion or companionship in the feminine realm. Never had I considered the idea that Goddess was anything more than an overused pop culture phrase.
Now some thirteen years later, I continue to meet monthly with my Cakes XI sisters. We set the table with china, we light the candles, speak the invocation that was given to us all those years ago. Goddess is alive.
This initiation back to my Feminine self was where my souljourney of remembering and reclaiming began. Since then, I have made it my path to hold space for women who ache for their wholeness, to know themselves as sacred, holy, worthy, enough. Who are remembering and reclaiming.
Our time has come. Rise, daughter.
The W Word
"Witchcraft is all about living to the heights and depths of life as a way of worship."
LY DE ANGELES, Witchcraft: Theory and Practice
A few reflections on what it means to be a witch............
I can only speak to the kind of witch I am because while there may be broad generalizations about the definition of witch, each of us will have a very different day to day life and practice. I first started feeling the pull of Witch when I began a study of Goddess spirituality and learning about the Sacred Feminine. It was as I immersed myself that I discovered a more direct relationship with my own spirit and self as woman was possible. One that challenged the cultural and overwhelmingly accepted beliefs of what a woman could, should and shouldn’t be, in terms of appearance, intelligence, career or creative expression, personal and spiritual practices, how she needed to be in relationship with others and what sort of connection she had with nature and earth herself.
There was a time when woman lived a life that echoed the movements of the seasons and was inexorably linked to the phases of the moon. When she recognized her body’s need to rest more in the dark season, to dream, vision and replenish energy stores for the more active times the spring and summer would bring. She would feel her body and inspiration swell with a greater vitality and productivity with the longer days of summer and would reap the harvest of seeds planted earlier in the year. Unlike most of us today, she felt no unnatural or external drive to perform, push, achieve 24/7. Guided by an internal wisdom, she acknowledged a balance was necessary to live well, and she incorporated these impulses into daily life. She sought the full moon’s light and powers to enliven her wishes, the waning moon to release her fears and burdens and the new moon to bring fresh energy to new projects and plans. The moon was an ally, one to commune with and revere. When her moontide flowed it was not labeled, “the curse” or mere inconvenience of life’s blurred pace, but rather was considered to be a time of deeper intuition and power, a time to gather with other women to talk, counsel, create, rest and heal. She knew herself as one of earth’s creatures and part of a vast family that included all living things. She experienced an interconnectedness with and respect for Life itself. Her experiences therefore, incorporated the range of both light and shadow, mortal and eternal, ecstatic and mundane. Blessings, hard won or easily gained were to be found in each turn of the wheel.
Living in this way, many a woman came to make alliances with plants, herbs, trees, stones, sky, the elements, the creatures, and the many realms of the natural world. Some women had innate gifts that were advanced by mentors and others were trained by mothers, grand or great grandmothers. They became herb wives, midwives, spiritworkers, healers, visionaries, mystics, psychopomps who developed “the Second Sight”. In this way, they worked in concert with natural forces, understood them, bonded and befriended them. They became versed in communicating with the spirit that resides within living things and created partnerships that enriched the lives of all. Traveling beyond the veil of this world, through the thin places between the worlds of alive and “dead” was not uncommon. Wisdom from ancestors, spirit teachers even those named Gods and Goddesses was retrieved to bring guidance to communities and families. Women such as this were named wise women but they were also called shaman and Witch.
I am one of many women who feel called to this path of living and service-this is the Witch that I represent. We are part of a burgeoning community who choose to re-invent our lives and choices inspired by those who have come before us without feeling that we must duplicate or repeat the past, but instead lay our feet upon a foundation that is timeless and true.