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SageWoman Blogs

At SageWoman magazine, we believe that you are the Goddess, and we're devoted to celebrating your journey. We invite you to subscribe today and join our circle...

Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.

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Pisces Solar Eclipse

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Solar eclipses reveal a blank slate for us to explore. Open the nooks and crannies of our inner selves, revealing our deepest wishes and darkest desires. Pisces is queen of going "far out" into the astral realms. Eclipses tend to reveal sudden imbalances and creates a hyper-awareness of the world around us. Trust your gut instinct during this time as it is flooded with insight. Pisces offers guidance and curiosity into these spiritual corners. Take note of your dreams and manifest them into reality! Swim on into the rivers of these changes!

Happy New Moon!

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“Doing shamanic work with children is magical and luminous, even miraculous…”

Imelda Almqvist

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Crone without Crown

This is the first entry in Bee Smith's new blog, "Crone in Corrogue." Entries for "Away with the Fairies" can still be found in the archives of Bee Smith's writing on PaganSquare.

It is not a flattering word – crone. But like that other ‘c’ word used pejoratively that references my lady parts, it wants reclaiming. Etymologically unflattering, it does not, as some would have it, refer to a crown. Its roots are deep in Old Northern French, carogne, translating as carrion.

Old woman – hag, putrefying flesh, cantankerous. Sounds…’Nasty!’ Cantankerous? We know what that’s like. Quarrelsome, ornery, and troublemaking. And if you trace the ancient roots of the word cantankerous we come again to Old North French (which makes one wonder what amazing, glorious old women were hatched there) contechier, which means ‘to hold fast.’

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Authoritarian Followers: What’s Feminism and Religion Got to Do with It? by Carol P. Christ

There are two types of authoritarians: those who jump out in front and say "follow me, only I can solve the problem"; the far greater number of authoritarian personalities are those who want to be told how to think, what to do, "this is daddy, I’ll take care of you." Those are the people who are the followers and while some of those would like to be leaders themselves, most of them are just happy to follow, and they don’t want to ask questions, and they want to be told what to do and how to think. And that’s a very scary lot. --John Dean

On her Saturday  program on MSNBC, Joy Reid asked former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean why those who support Trump seem so uninterested in facts that show a deeply troubled and compromised presidency. Dean’s response was that the authoritarian personality does not want to think.

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Our Whole, Holy Womanhood: A Death and Life Story

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.

Like all transformative moments, I have a choice: I can collapse into my grief and loss, bleeding myself into oblivion, and following the wisp of my child’s departed soul, or I can become something new, something that I’ve been traveling toward in my many years of collecting and mourning the death bits of my life, and gathering back the shattered fragments of my womanhood.

Naked and aching raw, I lift my blood-stained hands to the returning light, trusting that to be fully present — to feel all and resist nothing — to claim myself and my life as whole and holy — that a new dawn, a new beginning will come.

And I change. I become big enough, wild enough, wise enough, powerful enough to contain my bottomless grief and my unbounded love, not only for this child I’ll never hold in my arms, but for my own wounding and my own beauty, and all the death bits I’ve suffered to arrive awake and present for this death moment.

This story isn’t just about my whole, holy womanhood, but about yours as well.  Our world has deceived us. We aren’t weak or small.  We aren’t inferior and beholden to men and their ways of power. Our purpose isn’t to serve and please others, although nurturance, care and compassion are part of our sacred feminine nature. Instead, we’re big and powerful in our own right, with the presence and capacity to encompass the light and shadow, life and death, and beauty and wounding of our personal stories and collective humanity.

These greater capabilities of our womanhood aren’t a feminist fantasy. Our ancient feminine ancestors lived in accordance with their whole, holy nature. They were the red-cloaked ones, priestesses, leaders, healers and counselors that guided their communities through the natural cycles of birth, life, decay and death. Our very bodies have the powers to give and to take life. While our culture amplifies women’s ability to give birth, it completely ignores our innate capacity to terminate a pregnancy that isn’t viable. Miscarriage is natural; though it breaks our hearts, the babies our bodies reject were never meant to be.      

My story has a happy ending. On this Winter Solstice, despite my heartbreak and the death and despair that threatened to overtake me, I reached for life and my whole, holy womanhood, and life reached back. I changed profoundly, becoming a woman and priestess of the light and the dark, and of life and of death. This deepened my healing journey, physically and spiritually, making me strong and present in new, empowering ways. I consciously prepared my womb and my heart for new life, and a couple of years later, as the seasons turned to Spring, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.    

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I distinctly remember my first Tarot deck and the sense of anticipation, “danger,” and intrigue it held for me. I was about 13 when I got it, a gaiantarotcover-200x300 Rider-Waite in the yellow box, and I did NOT like it. I never connected with the deck, the book that I also got was way too esoteric and, frankly, boring, and I didn’t find the images compelling at all. This experience set me “off” of the tarot for a long time. I discovered other oracle systems I greatly enjoyed, such as Crone Stones, I bonded powerfully with Womanrunes and wrote a book about them, but I felt like Tarot and me were just not a match. Ah, thenThe Gaian Tarot. One afternoon in 2013, I was turning over some issues of leadership, power, group dynamics, and “warrior priestessing” and, for a reason I no longer recall, decided to do an online reading using the Gaian Soul website. Now THIS, this was a deck with which I could connect. The images. The earthy-messages, the goddess roots. I fell in love. I ordered the deck and began to regularly use the cards, enjoying many profound and illuminating experiences with them. So, when I found out a new edition was being released I was thrilled to review it!

Since I have and love the older edition of the Gaian Tarot, my first instinct when receiving the new one was to compare the two and the new edition does not disappoint. The cards are larger and thicker and edged with silver.

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Revenge of the Druids

Treat others as you would like to be treated. Such a simple phrase, yet so hard to comply with when we've been hurt or wounded in any way. Our first reaction is to hurt back, to wound in return. Yet is this how we would like to be treated? What if the person who hurt you didn't even know that they had? What if it was completely intentional? Is it then justifiable to perpetuate the cycle of hurt? How do we, as Druids, work with anger and wounding in today's society? How do we work with honour?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Intentional action, as opposed to reaction
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is so well written, Joanna. I have a similar approach to responding to personal injustice; I ask myself, "What is the right

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