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Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.
Normally as we approach Imbolc I am thinking ahead to growth and rebirth: setting goals, planning gardens, asking how I can change and improve aspects of myself or my life. Not this year. With two people in my house fighting strep throat, one recovering from a stomach virus, and another knocked flat by an upper respiratory infection, the last thing on my mind is growth. I'm thinking cleansing. Physical and spiritual. I want to disinfect my kitchen and dispose of emotional clutter. This Imbolc my focus is cleansing intentions and processes, cleansing space, spirit, and body. It is needed.
I think for many of us cleansing is an unacknowledged part of the Imbolc season. How many of us do a big 'spring cleaning' every March or so? I generally do mine around Imbolc. I'm on my couch today trying to figure out how to facilitate this. (I'm one of the strep throat people.) The first step is not to worry about it. I will get to it when I get to it. Mental stress (especially about something so mundane) leads to bodily stress, which leads to sickness. In order for one to be physically well, one must be mentally well also. This can be a tall order. You have work. You have families. You have stress. Like myself, you may have mental illness. Studies have shown again and again the correlation between depression and illness. What are we to do?...
No matter how carefully developed they are, theories of female power in pre-patriarchal societies are dismissed in academic circles as “romantic fantasies” of a “golden age” based in “emotional longings” with “no basis in fact.” I was reminded of this while reviewing three books about the Goddess last week.
In one of the books, the co-authors, who define themselves as feminists, summarily dismiss theories about the origins of Goddess worship in pre-patriarchal prehistory. In another, the author traces the origin of certain Goddess stories and symbols found in recent folklore back to the beginnings of agriculture. Inexplicably, she stops there, not even mentioning the theory that women invented agriculture. Considering that possibility might have suggested that the symbols and stories the she was investigating were developed by women as part of rituals connected to the agricultural cycle. To ask these questions would have raised a further one: the question of female power in prehistory. And this it seems is a question that cannot be asked. This question was addressed in the third (very scholarly) book, which I fear will simply be ignored.
I live in a landscape of liminal spaces. This past Samhain I have been hovering, neither truly in this world nor out of it. Partly this has to do with pondering mortality and how we may live out our last days. I am not dying (well, not that I know of at any rate), but there are others close who have been taken to that edge physically, mentally and spiritually. 2015 was a challenging and exhausting year, with many highs and some gutting lows for me and those close to me. I have had to pause, hibernate and dip into the no-words place before I could break surface.
Winter has a stillness that I truly value. I am grateful for the ice that hems us in. I am grateful for the wood that snaps in our log burner and the candle that glows with my many special intentions. I sit and knit little squares that will eventually become a blanket for a refugee or migrant and I am grateful for the meditative space between the click of the needle and the flick of the loop....
Well, the hedge has gotten rather tangled over the winter! I've been tending to sick pets, and to my own fledglings who are in a period of rapid growth, and swirling in the whirlwind of the winter holidays, the publishing of “A Beautiful Resistance”, and a disorienting, odd ebb tide of my creativity. I've been absorbing life and experience, lately, rather than generating ideas. It seems like a natural part of the inner seasons. I think it attends busy times with a lot of external work to do. Have you noticed such a season-change in your own inner-life? Are you usually overflowing with creativity, but sometimes find yourself just... being present, with nothing to say? Do you sometimes find yourself in a mode of being a reading needle, rather than a writing needle, on your track of the akashic records? ;)...
Pushing out of your comfort zones, getting out of your depth, might just be the best thing for you to evolve creatively, mentally, physically and more. This is the time of year when New Year's resolutions are put to the test, and they either triumph or fail spectacularly over the next few weeks. Many, many people no longer even bother, but I say what the hell, go for it, at least try. Trying to change one's own behaviour is singularly the most difficult thing a person can try to do, as we human beings are such habitual creatures and are able to use our reasoning minds to justify just about any decision we make. We are masters of delusion and illusion, but we are also able to break through those barriers to create wonderful masterpieces of artwork, of living life well, perpetuating creativity to its full potential.
When I'm working and I'm feeling safe, comfortable, secure, then for the most part I am not doing my best work. Only when I'm trying something new, or pushing myself to explore something deeper, not running over the same material again and again does something remarkable happen. That something is either a wonderful achievement or a brilliant failure, but either way it wasn't boring. When I wrote my first book and had it published (a medieval fantasy called Falconwing, now out of print but may be coming back in the near future) I simply gave it my all. I had been working on it since I was fifteen years old, and it was only published in my 30's. I then tried my hand at non-fiction with Zen Druidry, and then began a triplet of introductory books for the Moon Books Pagan Portals Series, with The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid still an Amazon No.1 Bestseller in the category of Druidism well after a year from its release date in 2014.
I enjoyed dance, and one day thought I'd give belly dancing a go. I had a talent for it, and after five years decided to try my hand at teaching it and coming up with my own dance company. I didn't know anything about having a business, but I gave it a go with all that I had. It turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done, and I have met some of the most wonderful people who have become lifelong friends.
Money and Hierarchy in Today's Paganism
Warning: I am standing on a soapbox.
Recently, someone with whom I'd been conversing on Google+ for a few weeks was surprised to realize I was an author and she owned one of my books.
It might seem odd that her surprise surprised me. I asked why she was surprised. I don't know if my question seemed ingenuous and pretentious. She kindly responded that she does not run into authors. Ah, of course! I understand.
The thing is: I get out of touch with stupid consensus realities, so forgot it is unusual for a best selling author to be available, acting just like a community member. That's why I didn't initially understand her surprise.
But as long as big name Pagan authors are hard to be in contact with, they help create a class system in our community.