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.”
A Cosmic Wink
"I have found being a priestess is not static. My priestessing has changed, and continues to transform over time. I am a priestess once by her call. I am a priestess once for experience. I am a priestess once by recognition...No one need be alone...I have cut a path through uncharted territory. I hope that now, when others hear her call, there will be a path to follow."
--Jade River, Three Times a Priestess in Stepping Into Ourselves by Goddess Ink
Last week a good friend who is also a long-time member of my women's circle, brought me a surprise gift. My friend is not particularly demonstrative, so I was deeply touched by her offering. Shown in the picture above, it is a "riverkeeper" sculpture from Bell Pine Art Farm.
With purest intention,
When she gave it to me, she said, "this made me think of you. You are a powerful witch. You gather the women and welcome them into your home."
While I don't think of myself as a witch and find the best personal match in the word priestess, this sculpture carried an additional reminder to me as her open mouth and sense of swirling voice brought back the memory of one of my most potent spiritual experiences. Several years ago I had laryngitis and was completely mute. I woke up in the morning with a crystal clear vision of the earth, suspended in space, and feeling awe-struck at the majesty and complexity of this planet whirling through space, part of the vast, unfathomable universe. It seemed so clear to me that I was seeing the “invisible net of incarnation” of which we are all a part, the earth held in this enormous web of the universe. Upon rising for the day, I was thinking about my ideas about divinity and reflecting on my cosmological view of the universe as the “body” of the Goddess and the idea that the very web of life itself is the Goddess. Accompanying the sense of majesty was then a profound sense of impersonality. So, as I sat at my little corner altar in the living room, I asked (silently—I had laryngitis, remember!): “what do I need to know about the personalization of the divine?” I drew a Crone Stone from my little bag by the altar...
Remember the laryngitis and then also imagine the huge smile on my face when the stone I drew was, “The Speaker,” with the questions included in the interpretation, “is your voice being heard?” and “how will you share your voice with the world?” And then the final message, “let your voice pour forth like a flowing river…” At this moment I felt I had received an answer to my wonderings—that the Universe/Goddess is both as enormous and impersonal as my vision of the web holding the earth and yet also personal enough to offer me this cosmic "wink" through my Crone Stone.
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