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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_Long_House_Iroquois_Allen.jpgSince the Little Ice Age thousands of years ago, the Indigenous nations east of the Mississippi River traditionally spent the Winter time telling stories, feasting, gambling, and generally making merry until the work of spring arrived--and along with their contemporary lifestyles, they still do! With the cold, wet winters of the American northeast, it is no surprise that, like people today, Native nations in pre-colonial times stayed indoors and were focused on keeping warm, eating well, and having fun. And that they did! Think three month party! When you live within a social structure where there is no working class or elite class, this type of life is possible. Everyone pulls together to live well.

In the Eastern Woodlands nations, winter is the time of Woman. To these nations, the cosmos are understood to be twinned and gendered, for example, Mother Earth/Father Sky. Hence, Winter is the time of Woman; Summer is the time of Man. In their cultural cosmology, winter is the most "woman" time of the year (turtles, resting, storytelling, lawmaking, grassroots politics) as summer is the most "man" time of year (eagles, traveling, international diplomacy, sporting events). This is called a world or galaxy based on the premise of Gender Complementarity or sacred, balanced halves. Yes, it is a highly-evolved, long-practiced social structure that is egalitarian. Two-Spirited people (2LGBTQ) fall within the continuum between the woman/man poles: these folks were not socially excluded or diminished before the European immigrants arrived. See my previous blog on Same-Sex Marriage for more information about this.

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Entering the New Year with Hunger

What aches within you to know the Divine
What fills your table of spiritual sustenance
To what ends will you go to sit at the table
Of your Divine Nature?

Does this hunger awaken you from the comfort of your slumber
Calling you to sit naked and vulnerable in the solitude of Sacred Space
And surrender in opening to the pervasive silence of Spirit?

Do you feel sorrow at the grains of wisdom spilled out
From bowls upturned in seeker's frantic search?

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Bonnie Blackwell
(Fort Bragg, CA) I channel art and poetry. I live two lives: one, at my home by the sea in northern Calif, and the other, in Zurich, Switzerland.  Anyone interested in my work can contact me at artbblackwell@gmail.com

Autumn Skye Morrison
(Powell River, BC) In creating art I find my stillness and rhythm, my teacher and passion. Each painting offers a reflection of the light and shadow of our humanity, our sublime geometry, and our timeless divinity. May we celebrate this fantastic adventure, inspire, and be inspired. autumnskyemorrison.com

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Time out of Time

As this year ends I have been learning about the time referred to as "time out of time" that exists between the winter solstice or yule and the day we celebrate as New Year's Eve. These days that have felt like a state of limbo for me in the past, are in actuality rooted in ancient belief's as being magical, powerful, spiritually potent days of floating between this realm and the higher realms.

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Candise
    Candise says #
    Thank you Michele, I totally agree, I am surprised at how fresh and new it actually feels!
  • Michele Murphy
    Michele Murphy says #
    Thank you for this article. I totally resonate with the time out of time energy at this time. As we move into the new year, every

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Thanks for the Song

It is the last week of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  There is something about this particular week that has always felt like time out of time to me or a conflation of all time.  I have in past years made a practice of diving into the flow of my own time stream.  I try to notice what little pieces of me I may have unintentionally left behind without tending and healing; notice what unhealthy patterns I am perpetuating in my life and the wider world that need to be addressed; notice what I can let go of with gratitude and compassion; notice what needs to be invited into my life. It is a magical working that collapses past and present and reminds me of my life's vast web of relationships.  This year I find myself keeping company with memories of old lovers and even some people who pulled me toward parts of myself better examined through the projection of a wild crush.

 

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A few days ago I received a message out of the blue on Facebook:

Thank you for your accepting my friend request. I am fighting to find my way out of depression during a life transition as I move into retirement from my years of work as an educator. I look forward to your book this spring. I have long called myself a Goddess feminist having struggled with patriarchal Christianity since my youth, but have felt abandoned by the Goddess for many years now. I'm not sure how I found you today. I stumbled onto a blog from you on your book while googling something else. Your words gave me a spark of hope. Laurel

In my blog I said that when I began to write A Serpentine Path, I felt abandoned by the Goddess. I wrote back, hoping that sharing what I had learned on my journey would be helpful.

The short answer is that the Goddess has never abandoned any of us. However, She does not have the power to make everything turn out as it could be or should be or we wish it would be. Hers is the power to inspire but not to control. If you have been unhappy, She is with you, She understands your pain, and She will be with you as you seek to find your way. I hope this doesn't sound too preachy. It is from the heart of my experience. Take care of yourself.

I immediately received an answer back.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you Carol - clearly and beautifully written. Omnipotence is such a toxic theological trap.

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dove-2015Every year, it seems, I'm bewildered by all the fuss about Christmas. And every year I eventually rediscover, or revive, a meaning for the season.

This year, as in other years, it's happened a day or two before December 25, and now I'm scrambling to join the Christmas cheer. This is the story...

I'd recently finished reading Margaret Starbird's Magdalene's Lost Legacy: Symbolic Numbers and the Sacred Union in Christianity. Another of her books about Mary Magdalene, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail, was a major inspiration when I was writing The Woman's Belly Book, so intrigue led me to read more of her work.

In Magdalene's Lost Legacy, Starbird presents the system of number-coding called gematria, how it figured in the writings of early Christians, and what it means for understanding Mary Magdalene and the return of the Sacred Feminine to Western culture.

These subjects are, of course, intricate and deep. Here's how I've rolled them into this year's Christmas card — and how they've spiralled into the Source Energy, the pro-creative power, dwelling within our body's center:

What's gematria? The way I'm understanding it, gematria is an ancient practice that links mind to spirit by relating letters to the vast significance of number.

Greek and Hebrew alphabets imbue each letter with a numerical value. Summing the numbers assigned to each of the letters in a word reveals another number, another dimension of meaning, another connection to human experience. The Greek word for “dove” is peristera, written περιστερα, with these numerical values:

peristera

These Greek letters spelling “dove” add to 801. The number 800 corresponds to the Greek omega (Ω); the number one corresponds to alpha (α). With gematria of 801, the dove is the “Alpha and Omega,” the unity of beginning and end. Reaching from first to last, it is completion, fulfillment.

What's more, the sum of the numerals comprising 801 is 9, a trinity of threes, the epitome of three. Three carries the significance of the circle, the unconditional acceptance that encompasses both this and that. Three enfolds dualities into one wholeness: the Sacred Marriage yields the Divine Child.

For the early Greeks, the dove signalled the presence of Aphrodite, embodiment of love and beauty — she who brings life, death, and peace to the world. Early Christians understood the dove to signify Sophia, Holy Wisdom; they later adopted the dove as sign of the Holy Spirit.

The gematria of “Holy Spirit” (το αγιον πνευμα) is 1080. That same number, its numerals adding to nine, is the measure of the moon‘s radius in miles. Given numbers one, eight, and nine, gematria links Holy Spirit with moon, goddess, Sophia, the feminine — and with the dove.

In this light, the dove (801) coming to rest upon Jesus’ shoulder at his baptism in the River Jordan heralds the descent of the Holy Spirit (1080) — Sophia — into his nature. Indeed, early Gnostic Christians understood Sophia to be incarnate in the dove sparking Mary’s pro-creative power to birth Jesus as the child of Holy Wisdom.

Pro-creative power, yes.

That's what more or less fits into a Christmas greeting. For the illustration, I filled the dove with a pattern of Chinese spirals and sent her flying over a shrine in which doves perch atop three pillars. This miniature clay shrine, found in Knossos, Crete, dates to 2000 years before the birth of Jesus.

What about those pillars?

As the Rite for Reconsecrating Our Womanhood was developing, I called number 13 in this sequence of belly-energizing exercises "Stretch Up/Press Down," describing its way of tracing a vertical axis.

As I did with each of the 23 moves in the sequence, I paired this gesture with an ancient artifact conveying a sense of the Sacred Feminine. In this case, I paired the move with an image of pillar, recalling Sophia's "pillars of wisdom":

Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars...
— Proverbs 9:1

I made a clay replica of the three-pillar shrine presented in Elinor Gadon's The Once and Future Goddess. (For more detail, see the color photograph of the original, displayed at Greece's Heraklion Archaeological Museum, here.) I also sketched the shrine as a line drawing.  


 Gadon fig 66Clay replica informed by photo in Elinor Gadon's The Once and Future Goddess

 

Incorporating that sketch, the Rite for Reconsecrating Our Womanhood shows Stretch Up/Press Down as a gesture of affirmation: As we let go of preconceptions and expectations, we can attune more nearly to our inner wisdom, to Sophia:

text-line drawing


Still, pillars are powerful phallic emblems, and doves perched upon pillars show us something about the Sacred Marriage. 

Indeed, there's a lot of Sacred Marriage going on this season:

The shaft of light at the dawn of winter solstice penetrating deep into the dark of Neolithic earthworks such as the tomb at Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland. The Hebrew Shekinha — the word's Semitic root refers to birds nesting — partnering Yahweh. The virgin Mary partnering Deus. The prelude to Mary Magdalene, understood by early Gnostic Christians as an incarnation of Sophia, partnering Jesus.

Maybe next year I'll be writing a post titled "Sex and the Santa Claus."

 
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