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Posted on:  Mar 8, 2016 @ 8:00 Posted in:  Goddess
It is a common adage amongst feminist, pagan and progressive spiritual schools of thought that it is women and the feminine ethos that can save our world. The emphasis is typically on our natural inclination toward nurturance, care and compassion for others — the light and love of our womanly natures.
Yes, I believe these things to be true, in part because of our innate feminine characteristics and also because of our socialized caregiving roles. But something essential is missing from this picture — the dark side of the sacred feminine and the lost pieces of our woman’s nature and powers that connect us to the ways of the Dark Goddess.
Although I was a feminist and practicing witch for a number of years, I didn’t come into my full woman, priestess powers until I miscarried a much wanted child. It was the Winter Solstice, in the darkest hours of the night. As my womb convulsed, releasing the dead life within, I collected the tissues of my child in a one quart mason jar so my husband and I would have something to mourn and bury.
It was a turning point; in the midst of my keening grief, I remembered 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. My ancient female ancestors awoke in me that night, the red cloaked ones, priestesses, leaders, healers and counselors that guided their communities through the natural cycles of birth, life, decay and death.
That night, I became big enough, wild enough, wise enough to be fully present, to feel all and resist nothing — my bottomless grief and my unbounded love, not only for this child I would never hold in my arms, but for my own pain and my own beauty, and all the death bits I had suffered to arrive awake and present for this death moment. Naked and wide-open raw, I made a choice; I lifted my blood stained hands to the returning light and my soul to its promise of new life.
We are living, right now, in a death moment. The world as we know is crumbling under the weight of its unsustainable, destructive ways. Yes we need women, and men, drawing on the life-affirming ethos of the sacred feminine, to help vision and birth a new world into being. But before that is truly possible, we need to be sacred witnesses and midwives to the death bits that have pushed us to this edge. We need to hold and grieve what has been hurt, what has been lost and what must die for something new to be born.
Yes women can heal our world — when we become big enough, wild enough and wise enough to encompass the light and the dark of our true, stunning, whole/holy nature. Our dark feminine powers are still with us. They sleep within our womanly bodies and in our collective human dreaming, awaiting our conscious choice to reclaim them as our own.
Posted on:  May 23, 2015 @ 9:27 Posted in:  Wicca 101
In my mid-twenties, I was living a corporate, achievement-driven existence that neither fed my soul nor gave me joy. A series of synchronistic events conspired to wake me up and set me on a spiritual journey in search of the missing half of my womanhood and humanity.
My journey led me to Vipassana meditation, feminist graduate studies and new age spirituality. These were all powerful and transformative, and yet something was still missing for me: the feral, sensual, dreaming, witching, life-affirming sacred feminine.
One day it came to me: I am a pagan. This was the spiritual path that sang to my soul.
Paganism is not just about beliefs, it’s about stepping outside of the strictures of everyday reality and stepping into full-bodied experiences of the wild, magical world of what else is true and possible. After twenty-plus years of pagan explorations, these are the precious things that I’ve learned:
- Life is delicious.
Paganism is a spiritual practice that calls us to a joyful, sensual communion with nature and our bodies.
Take a walk on the wild side with your unruly, untamable pagan nature. Turn up your favorite music and dance from the inside-out. Eat a bowl of the ripest, sweetest fruit you can find. Make love to your partner as if you were made of one skin. Breathe the blue of the sky deep into your lungs. Spin yourself dizzy under the moonlight. Be radically, delectably, unapologetically alive!
Even in those bumpy times when your challenges and losses bring your down, remember that life is delicious and that there is always a brush of beauty to sweeten your sorrows.
- The Earth is alive.
Paganism is defined by its earth-centered ethos. While our collective humanity has lost sight of the ways of the green world, pagans hunger to touch and be touched by the powers and splendor of nature. And in this sensual, embodied exchange, we awaken to the living world.
Hang out in your favorite green space with your senses on high. Attune to your exchange of breath with the trees: their green breath of oxygen with your red breath of carbon dioxide. Open your flat palms toward whatever wild thing catches your fancy and sense the tingling meeting of your energies. Peer into the microcosm of a rotting log, with its teeming collective of interdependent inhabitants.
The Earth is alive. One web of life connects us all, breath to breath, and essence to essence. What your mind has forgotten, your body remembers.
- The Goddess is everywhere, in everything.
I didn’t go looking for the Goddess. I set myself on the trail of my lost humanity and womanhood, and one day there She was, everywhere and in everything.
She is the burning ember of light interwoven with matter that shines forth in all living things. She is the unending, outrageous beauty of the wild world. She is the driving force that calls us to strive and struggle, and to grow and blossom. Her cupped hands hold us in the shifting seasons of our joys and sorrows, and life and death moments.
The Goddess’s deepest presence is love, not as an emotional state, but rather as the primal desire of life to seek out, create and nurture life. Through this love, all things are made holy and infinitely worthy. We are made holy and infinitely worthy.
Lift your face toward Her living light, open your heart to Her infinite love, take in Her green-drenched beauty and feel Her holy presence in your own shining soul, and know that the Goddess is indeed everywhere and in everything.
- So without, so within.
Pagans celebrate the wheel of the year: eight sabbats that mark the turning seasons of nature and their shifting balance of darkness and death with light and life.
Our life too is a shifting balance of light and dark, joy and sorrow, and life and death moments.
Ponder the seasons of your own life: the death-like times when darkness, sorrow and loss swallowed you whole, and other times when the sun was shining bright and life was rich and full. Dig deep and notice that the good things in life hold you in your darkest moments, and that your sorrows and challenges can make your high points all the more poignant and precious.
So without, so within; like the natural world, our humanity is woven of darkness and death, and light and life. And in this poignant, powerful truth, we can find our balance and wholeness in the face of life’s shifting seasons.
- Magic is real.
Magic, in basic terms, is the ability to experience and work with the Mysteries (alternative states of being and knowing). Think of reality as a frequency dial that can tune into the astounding magical possibilities of the world around us: “normal”, everyday modes of consciousness fall within a specific frequency range; the Mysteries are engaged at different frequencies on the dial.
Pagan magic practices, such as ritual and spellcrafting, develop and deepen our abilities to turn the frequency dial and work in altered states of consciousness.
Be brave: turn that dial, step between the worlds and the Mysteries will show up, in all their wonder. Brave experience by brave experience, you can come to truly know that magic is real and a natural part of our humanity.
Don’t take my word for these things I have shared. Instead, think of paganism as an invitation into the realm of what else is true and possible. Take a little journey beyond the everyday for yourself and bring back whatever sings to your soul.
Posted on:  Jul 1, 2014 @ 9:46 Posted in:  Wicca 101
Throughout human history, major paradigm shifts have transformed the way we live and dream. Copernicus revealed that the Earth was not the center of the Universe, and the planets, including the Earth, revolved around the Sun. By extension, humanity was assigned to a more humble position, no longer at the center but just one interrelated part of the great ordering of the Cosmos. We are long overdue for another humbling paradigm shift.
In a pagan worldview, the Goddess is immanent (within each of us). Each person, each species, each embodied life form is a sacred expression of Her living presence. From the far distance of a star-studded galaxy to the up close of the wild, spinning neurons of our cellular landscape, one web, woven of filaments of love and interdependence, holds and joins us all.
Paradoxically, we humans are both profoundly significant and insignificant in a pagan worldview.
We are but one minute species amidst a Universe of creation, a tiny cell within the vast being that is God/Goddess. We are not more or less special than anything else. We are not built for supremacy or domination, but to take our destined place within the order of all things.
Yet this insignificance does not diminish our worthiness. We are made of the very stuff of Creation, of God and Goddess, and of sacred light and sacred matter. Inside each of us is a unique spark of Divinity that holds our special, one-of-a-kind place and purpose. We matter not because we are better or more than someone or something else, but because we are uniquely ourselves.
And how we live and dream matters. One web connects us all; by our beliefs, choices and actions we impact everyone and everything around us. Our imbalances and excesses, and our disrespect for the welfare of others, human and non-human, negatively affect the whole.
A pagan worldview can radically transform how we live and dream, to where we are an integral, balanced part of a vaster, profound reality that honors the Divinity, mystery and sacred purpose of all things, including ourselves. We belong. We are worthy. We are bound to and responsible for the well being of others. And we are not alone and never have been.