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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.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_140916-December.jpg

It’s December now, mid-winter and the landscape has been stripped bare.  Standing shy and naked it’s vulnerability masking the powerful forces of Nature that lie within.
I am out collecting pine cones to help kindle my log fire and as I bend to fill my basket the heady scent of the tree reminds me of all things Yule. Winter Solstice will soon be here heralding the return of the Sun as minute by minute, each day, the Light returns and with it hope for all things.
Holly bushes bear their fruit of bright red berries and the birds are feasting well. Mistletoe hangs heavily high up in the branches of the apple trees waiting to catch a kiss and I smile at the merriment of the season to come.

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  • Lady May
    Lady May says #
    Thank you Martin, always good to get feedback really appreciate it. x
  • Martin
    Martin says #
    Beautifully put!
Winter Solstice - No Birth, No Death

With the Winter Solstice approaching, and in the cold dark months of the year, we have an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the deeper parts of our existence, those shadowy elements that seem to fade away so easily in the heat of the midday sun, those thoughts that require darkness and the teaching that it can bring.  Thoughts such as life and death, darkness and light and the cyclical nature of existence are all excellent themes to meditate on at this time of year, with a natural introspective element to this season allowing us to perhaps go further, deeper than we could or would in the warmer, more outwardly focusing half of the year.

This season, with the increasing darkness and the lack of light here in the UK brings more sharply into focus thoughts of death and dying.  It is often said in Western Paganism that the Sun God dies at Samhain and is reborn at Yule, when the days begin to lengthen and the light in our lives is increased.  However, lately my thoughts have abandoned the concept of death, as well as birth, into a more Zen-like “No Birth, No Death” frame of mind.

Having meditated on this for a couple of months now, and seeing it reflected in nature around me, as a Druid this is how I internalise the teachings.  For me, nature is the greatest teacher.  I look to no other authority other than nature. It is the core of my religion, the core of my being.  Having looked deeply into the nature of death and dying, of birth and living the concept of no death, no birth makes a lot more sense to me right now. Let me explain.

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  • Linette
    Linette says #
    A few days ago someone posted a quote on FB, the author made a statement about "when I am no longer on this earth"...and being a p
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    On Twitter, someone replied to this post with a lovely meme that said "We are nature. We are the universe manifest as human for a

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Disease As A Messenger From The Soul

There is no doubt in my mind that disease comes to us as a messenger from the soul. Like a “two by four” crashing against our thick skulls to wake us up to something about ourselves at which we refuse to look: a shadow self we’ve pushed down into the darkness of the subconscious from which it rears its ugly head in unexpected and devious ways; often undermining important relationships. And still we refuse to get quiet and look within. We instead put on a happy face and go about our lives medicating, the backacheshigh blood pressureirregular heartbeatsobesitydiabetesarthritis…and yes, even cancer…either allopathically or with our herbs and potions.

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Celtic Tree Magic- ogham lore and druid mysteries

This month has seen the culmination of many years work for me, with the release of my latest book 'Celtic Tree Magic- ogham lore and druid mysteries.' ( Published by Llewellyn worldwide).

My spiritual journey began well over 20 years ago now, with the trees. The trees were where I felt my connection to the divine, where I felt a connection to spirit the most strongly.  It's still true for me today. My magical training began with herbs and tree lore, and I quickly understood that the trees were powerful, graceful spirits, which a host of healing qualities, magical attributes as well as tales and lore that preserves the Celtic druidry and wisdom of my ancestors. In the Celtic lands, they are some of our most potent 'power plants' our most trusted spiritual allies.

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  • Tiffany Lazic
    Tiffany Lazic says #
    Hi, Danu ~ That is my next project - collecting woods to make such a set :-) It may take quite awhile to create (I'm thinking year
  • Tiffany Lazic
    Tiffany Lazic says #
    Dear Danu ~ I love working with the Ogham. I have some handmade sets. The Pracownik deck, of course - which is beautiful. And I ju
  • Danu Forest
    Danu Forest says #
    Hi Tiffany- oh yes handmade sets are the best- especially when each one is the right wood...i love going out with my son and colle

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Moon Medicine

 

I have been returning my Moon blood to the Earth for years now. This practice began as an intuitive one that was followed by learning about the cycles of the Moon and my body. Just before I began to collect my Moon blood I had been drawn to cloth Moon pads and suddenly collecting my blood and offering it back to the Earth seemed the only reasonable place to put my blood.
 
My Priestess that mentored me, Aquarius, taught me that when creating ceremony it was often beneficial to first do the research that was needed into the subject being ritualized and then to let the intellect go and to follow the intuition, in the instance with my blood it went the other way around. I first followed my gut and then, began to research the practice of returning my blood to the Earth and the significance that it carried.
 
With the combination of listening to my gut and agreeing with what I had learnt intellectually about the sacredness of one's blood, the shame of throwing our life force into the garbage and the power in giving thanks for our ability to create life on all levels by giving our lifeblood back to the body of the Earth that gives us life, I felt pretty complete in my decision. It was in alignment with my Priestess self and that was a sound way to be. What I didn't get however was the felt sense of sacredness, connection and the deep experience that I knew was connected to my revered action, yet I held hope that one day I would, that one day it would 'click' and I would feel the profound depth of my action.
 
That day came just a few weeks ago. As I blundered through my final days leading up to my Moon time, spiritually wandering and seeking I began to bleed. I sought out my Moon blood jar and for the first time, in a very long time, became  completely present. I was present as I washed the blood from my Moon pad into the jar, I was present as I walked to the door, the walk was a procession, a sacred walk and I was aware that the vessel that I carried outside of me, in my hands had become an external womb containing my essence and the seeds of potential life within it. I have a specific place of land that I offer my blood to and this time I slowed down, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude at the opportunity that I had to not only receive the life force into me over the past moon cycle, but also for the chance to release and to let go of all that no longer served me as I bled. I felt reverence as I offered my seeds, my essence and all that I was letting go of into Mother Earth, a profound sense of relief that She can carry for me what I no longer can, that She receives it all and returns it to the life of Her very own body. I was connected to the Goddess, I was out of my head, the intellectual business of trying to conceptualize and wonder about a Goddess much too mysterious to be contained within my tiny brain was lifted and I was, once again a conscious part of Her, I was Her daughter, Her Priestess, Her devotee.
 
This past Moon time the presence, the grounding, the stillness and the ability to slow down and be with my  process finally connected me to the depths of my practice, it has inspired me to spend the break from studying and listening to the written word that I am currently taking, getting into an active practice of embodied connection to the Goddess. This is a more feminine form of spiritual practice and is allowing me to grow closer to the feminine face of Source, it is strengthening my relationship to the Goddess and removing the barriers of a questioning mind. These barriers lifting is offering me a more innocent space of knowing my Creator. Outside of the realm of the mind lies the space of knowing, a simple gut awareness of my Divine Mother being with me and caring for me.
 
Collecting and offering my blood back to the Mother is my favoured way of doing this. The main benefits that I have received from this practice over the years are as follows:
 
  • An empowered relationship to my Moon flow. Every time that I lovingly collect my Moon flow and choose not to toss it into the garbage can, I am treating myself and my womanly flow with reverence and gratitude. The patriarchal shaming of my woman's blood is erased as I care for it in a sacred and holy way.
 
  • Time to reflect upon what it is that I am releasing each month, what I became conscious of over the past Moon cycle and what I am flowing rid of, this conscious awareness strengthens my ability to release and cleanse myself.
 
  • An example for my daughter, a living example. As she observes me over the years to come, her first impressions of a woman and her Moon time will be a magical, mysterious and joyful one.
 
  • An example for my Beloved husband, his relationship to the Moon and to the power that a woman holds within herself and within her Moon flow has increased exponentially as he has witnessed my flowing with the cycles of the Moon and observed the ritualized way that I have cared for my Moon blood.
 
  • A connection to my ancestors, to the Priestesses that have Priestessed before me, to the women that gathered in Red Tents to bleed into the Earth, to the Moon flow that has flowed through all women throughout time, I feel them close as I deepen my relationship to my Moon time. 
 
I began the process of collecting my blood organically and independently, it was after I began my practice that I met my Priestess that mentored me, that I connected to my Goddess group and began to learn about the phases of the Moon. My ritual around my Moon time has evolved over the years and I encourage every woman who feels called to deepen her relationship to her Moon time to also begin to collect her blood and to handle it in a reverent way in whatever way she feels called to. Listen to your gut, follow what feels right for you and listen to that. 
 
As a glimpse into my personal experience and as an offering to take anything that resonates with you, I have listed below a few ways that you can begin this process if you are looking for a place to start as well as an outline about how this practice might look. For those of you who already work with your Moon blood in a conscious way, please add any tips or rituals that you use below, I'd love to have some new inspiration!
 
  • This month send a prayer to the Goddess, ask for her to inspire you towards a beautiful, antique or powerful feeling container that will become your Moon blood womb.
 
  • When you have found your Moon container perform a ritual to sanctify it, set intention, say prayers over it, bless it with lavender or sweet grass and ask that the ancestors guide you in your journey with your Moon blood.
 
  • If you haven't already, look into purchasing some cloth Moon pads, making some, buying a Diva cup or a sponge tampon and cease to buy plastic, chemically laden disposable products. Whether a pad, cup or tampon you can easily collect your Moon blood during your next flow with one of these products.
 
  • Begin a Moon journal, the week before your Moon time begin to journal about everything that is irritating you, all that is frustrating, overwhelming and taxing to you. When your blood begins to flow, review what it is that you have written and release the energetic cause of your upsets with your monthly flow.
 
  • When you change your pad, cup or tampon rinse the blood into the womb container that you have chosen.
 
  • Once you have collected your blood, choose a ceremonial piece of clothing, a shawl, amulet or tunic and adorn yourself with it as you consciously and silently walk outdoors with your womb container and Moon blood (preferably barefoot).
 
  • When you step out onto the Earth pick a sacred spot that will be the place of receiving, say a prayer of thanks at this spot. Thank the Divine Mother for the blood that courses through you, for your ability to receive the Life Force, thank Her for receiving all that you no longer need and for purifying you through Her cycles.
 
  • Pour out your blood. Stand in silence. Be still. Be emptied.
 
  • Once you have released your blood return in the same fashion that you journeyed, place your womb container in it's sacred space and prepare to repeat this ritual each time that you change your pad, cup or tampon.
 
  • When your Moon time has ceased pour a little water into your womb container and keep it in the place that you have selected ready to receive all of you during your next Moon cycle.
 
As we women honour our Moon time and reclaim the power and beauty in our blood we rise up together, as sisters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers fully in our feminine power. When we offer what we shed back to the Great Mother our relationship to the Goddess strengthens as does the awareness of Her presence in our daily lives and the lives of those around us.
 
May our Moon times be held sacred and treated reverently from this day forward, may we embrace our cycles and may we become a spark of the Goddess as we honour and love our Moon times and may this practice bring us into alignment with the Divine Mother.
 
 
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace,
Candise Soaring Butterfly
 
 
 
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Book Review: Naming the Goddess

“On any spiritual path, and most especially on one that is simultaneously a path of magical practice, our real progress and growth is measurable largely in the capacity to pass the challenges that are set before us. The easy parts of the journey are not the most important.”

–Philip Kane (in his essay on Laverna, Naming the Goddess, p. 232)

Naming the Goddess, published by Moon Books, is a collaborative work bringing together essays written by over eighty scholars and practitioners of Goddess Spirituality, including contributions from Selena Fox, Kathy Jones, Caroline Wise and Rachel Patterson. A unique aspect of this book is that it is a two-part project with the first part of the book containing a series of contemplative and scholarly essays and the second part serving as a “gazetteer” of different goddesses, making it useful both as a reference book and as well as one that encourages reflective spiritual thought.

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Keepers of the Flame © Denise Kester 2011

Dream: ...I am in a crowd of people, and I hear a telephone ringing. Someone answers the phone and hands it to me and says, “It’s for you.” I say “hello,” and the person on the other end is a woman, and she says, “I am calling from the Hopi Nation. The ember is in the canoe. The time is now.”

The canoe carries precious cargo through flood-high waters in a desert land. The time is upon us and we are in this boat together, grateful that we are not alone.

The keepers are guided by helpers who send signals ahead.
They know the way by how it feels in their bodies.
It is a feeling of resonance that they follow.
The keepers are the guardians of the precious ember.

The ember will spark the imagination, allowing the slow burn of ideas to ignite and become clear harbingers of creative solutions for a troubled land.

...
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