Photo Credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash
I was born into a world that didn’t teach me what it means to be a woman in accordance with my true, sacred feminine nature and power. Instead, it made me see my womanhood as weak, small and inferior, meant to serve and please others. It taught me that power was an outside force, defined and imposed by others, that belonged to the realm of men.
Though I started my adult life on the wrong track, seeking my place and power in a masculine-defined world as an educated, career-focused business woman, my deeper Self had another plan that set me on the path of reclaiming the lost fragments of my whole, holy womanhood.
I did feminist graduate studies, ran my own gender-equity consulting business, read countless books on women’s ways and Goddess theology, spent countless hours in therapy and personal development, moved away from the city to a small, rugged island to reconnect with Nature, practiced magic, went to witchcamp, and became a priestess, dreamer and daughter of the Goddess.
Still something essential was missing, connected to the dark, death powers of my sacred feminine nature. This is the story of when this precious fragment returned to me.
It’s the early hours on the day of the Winter Solstice. I jolt awake with the word “miscarriage” screaming in my brain. I dash to the bathroom to find blood coming from me that isn’t supposed to be there at week eleven in my pregnancy. My partner soothes me, and calms me down enough to take me to the hospital. Later that morning, an ultrasound confirms that our baby has died — a child we had consciously conceived and desperately wanted.
Our midwife gives us a choice: to stay in the hospital for a procedure or to let things run their course at home. I’ve been down this road before, having miscarried five years earlier. No one had told me then that thirty percent of first-time pregnancies end in miscarriage, nor prepared and coached me for this eventuality. We had gone the hospital route, and the experience had been disorienting and disempowering. This time would be differently; I would tend my own miscarriage.
In the darkest hours of the night, in the turning before the new dawn, my womb begins to convulse, releasing the dead life within. For hours, with each release, I collect the tissues of our child in a one-quart mason jar, not knowing which would have been his perfect face, his beating heart, his tiny body, his reaching hands, and his sweet toes. There are no eyes for me to close, or lips for me to kiss goodbye. This indistinguishable flesh, mixed with my life-giving blood, is all my partner and I have to mourn and bury.
In the midst of my keening grief, I remember myself — witch, priestess, wise woman — Holy Whore, Holy Reaper — midwife to both life and death moments with the powers of creation and destruction within my living womb.
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These are powerful times that call for powerful presence. The world as we know it appears to be coming apart at the seams, in both immensely positive and terrifyingly negative ways. And we must find our place and power, our love and goodness, in the midst of this river of change that carries us forward to a brighter or desolate future. The Goddess speaks to this transformative moment, calling us to collect and weave the silver threads of Her love and life-centered ways into a tapestry of love that offers a new vision for our lives and shared human society.
I feel the import of this moment, like all of Creation is holding its breath, waiting to see what we humans will choose at this colossal tipping point. I’ve visited this tipping point many, many times with the Goddess and always She returns to the same message: you already have what you need to heal your soul and this world; it’s inside of you, my greatest gift to you, and your most sacred birthright — love.
By this the Goddess doesn’t mean our human, emotional kind of love, but the love that infuses all living things in the unfolding Cosmos, that drives life to create and nurture new life, and to honor and embrace the brilliant manner in which every life form, and every one of us, holds a unique, essential piece of the shining, living, breathing whole.
I feel the Goddess in my fingertips as I write this post. I feel Her in my heart and in my solar plexus.
“Find these threads in your own life. Gather them to you as the precious gifts that they are. Weave them into a new vision, a tapestry of love that centers your everyday existence, and your choices and actions in the goodness and beauty that you are, and the goodness and beauty of your Earth home. And then live your tapestry of love, with all your heart and all your will, knowing that this, and only this, will bring the depth of change that’s needed to turn the tides into a brighter future in these perilous, exhilarating times.”
Long ago, we worshipped the Great Goddess, the Creatrix and the Dark One, the giver and the taker of the breath and sustenance of our mortal existence. Her ever-present love and life-giving ways, like shining silver threads, wove the tapestry of our human society, threads that were passed down from the Great Mother, to the priestesses and women leaders, and to the daughters who were to inherit the red cloak of feminine power.
So it was, for generation after generation, the silver threads of the Mother’s ways continued, shining and undiminished.
Yet nothing lasts forever and the seasons of humanity turn. As the sun overtakes the moon in the shifting of night into day, so the rule of men and their patriarchal Gods eclipsed the leadership of woman and the Great Goddess. Dominion and death overruled creation and the nurturance of life, and the silver threads of the Mother became tarnished and frayed.
Still, within this newer, distorted weaving, the silver threads remained visible for those with eyes to see and a heart to receive.
With each successive generation and in patriarchy’s quest for absolute rule and absolute suppression of the Mother’s ways, Her silver threads faded farther and farther from our human awareness. Fear and disdain replaced love and reverence.
There were no priestesses, no women leaders, and no daughters to pass on our sacred feminine lineage. Only the bravest of our ancestors, the witches and the healers and the wise women, dared to remember and speak of the remnants of the Mother’s silver threads, woven into the Old Religion of the Great Goddess. Then they too became a part of our disappearing herstory, tortured and murdered during the horrors of the Burning Times for the taint of association with She who must be purged from Her stubborn roots in the human psyche.
Yet nothing lasts forever and the seasons of humanity turn. The sun shares the sky with the moon, just as God shares this world with the Goddess, and a male ethos with that of the sacred feminine. One may eclipse the other for a time, but what was lost will be refound and balance will return.