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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.

Not A Match Made In Oracle Heaven - Art Through The Eyes Of The Soul

Art through the eyes of the Soul by Cheryl Yambrach Rose – More post, less of a review

This review has been a year in the making and not because I am super lazy, but because I have been trying my hardest to like this deck of cards. Alas no matter how hard I try this deck and I just can't seem to become friends. Which is why this is going to be less of a review and more of a post about me, the deck and how we have had to go our separate ways.

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  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    I have it. I don't use it for readings. I do use it for meditation. The art is amazing.

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Time for melancholy

In theory Pagans honour the dark half of the year as well as the light, bright growing times. However, in practice we spend autumn talking about harvest, and while we do acknowledge the dead at Samhain, midwinter tends to be more about the return of the light than the deep darkness. There are many things the wheel of the year doesn’t give us much space to honour and explore. Loss, misery, nostalgia, regret, and despair don’t really find a place.

Of course it’s tempting to focus on the ‘good stuff’ in life – what seeds are you planting this spring, where’s your fertility for Beltain, what have you harvested, and lo, the sun is reborn and round we go again! However, if you don’t have a lover, and your health is poor or your plans aren’t working out, then these are tough things to celebrate and it can feel like there’s no room for your experiences amongst everyone else’s cheerful optimism. The wheel of the year encourages us to look forward in hope, not fear, and not to look back except when we can be pleased by the results.

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Lover's Gift

Lovers reach towards
One another seeking
The fires of creation’s
Sacred union

Mouth to mouth
Hand to hand

Bodies pressed tightly
In rapturous embrace.

Lovers dance held in
Passion's sweet embrace.

Each step a garden of
Spring flowers left in
Lusty foot fall's place.

Lovers yearn to see
Love reflected back
In upturned face.

Two become one
As each holds fast
To their separateness.

Lovers hold the gift
Of creation in the pure
Essence of their love.

The dance of courtship
And coyly sought mating
Awakens the fires of
Planet’s act of creation.

And in lover’s passionate
Union the greening of
The earth is begun.

All of life quickens
As HIS passion's heat
Shines down upon
HER body of fertile
Verdant grace.

The fertile womb of the Goddess is filled with the Light of quickening at this time of the year. Look around you! Life awaits the seed of potential. Life is bursting with anticipation of reaching its fullness. Delicate flowers are blooming and the growing heat of the sun stirs us to our passionate acts of creation in all of its forms. We are inspired, we are enlivened as the hand of the Maiden seeks the warm caress of her Lover's embrace. 

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The Search for Community

Recently I spoke with a dear friend of mine who has known struggles and walked through darkness more times than most.  She had sought out a group for people like her, empathic and aware, but was denied  her right to participate the moment she presented a part of herself that did not fit in with their narrow concept of enlightenment.

She brought up the subject of death and was summarily told that death wasn't something they talked about, so she left, yet continues to seek a place where she can find community and support.  A safe space, which can seem sometimes out of reach for the solo spiritualist.

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SHE titters, SHE is aMused and aMusingb2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2015-03-05-at-11.11.59-AM.png

Spring is sprung, The grass is riz
I wonder now, where Isis is.

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Breathing In Beltane's Magic

   I have been long away from the SageWoman Blogs; having started a new job in January, I am still adjusting to the change in my rhythms and tasks. After four months I still find myself floundering, not quite sure how to fit everything into the twenty-four hours we have every day, and things I find pleasure and solace in, such as all of my writing projects, have been pushed aside so I might focus on work projects and caring for my family. I realize I am not alone in this situation: parents and caregivers all over the world face this same struggle every day, and we all of us end up feeling some sort of guilt over the choices we make.

   I am not going to spend this post wondering how to balance everything, or how to avoid feeling the unwarranted yet unavoidable guilt that comes from being a working parent/caregiver. Instead, as today is Beltane eve, I am going to think about what Beltane brings to us, and the joy Beltane trails in its wake. For who doesn't love Beltane? Samhain, Beltane's sister holy day, is dark, mysterious, and magical, but Beltane is altogether different: flowery, glittery, all light and laughter. It is a sabbat of bonfires and music, dancing and faerie-lore. Today I have a rare day off (and I still will be going into work for a meeting later today) and on waking the day felt altogether different, just knowing that I (mostly) had a free day. Generally I wake up in a pleasant mood, as I truly enjoy the work I am now doing, but today I woke happy, not just in a good mood. I am still happy, despite a grumpy getting-sick five year old and the fact that twice now my computer has nearly lost the unsaved drafts of this post. (I am now saving it every two sentences, btw)

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The Solar and Lunar Goddess and God

I've discussed in past articles my colourful first years on this earth. Childhood was painful and led to painful decisions in my teen years which resulted in some dangerous and unloving relationships with boys who were so far cut off from their spirit essence that it felt demonic being around them at times. 

With an authoritarian father figure and these early romantic liaisons as my blueprint for what a 'man' was I found dating to be extremely difficult when I entered my conscious path. I strived for mindfulness, love, compassion, kindness and forgiveness in my life, I also deeply desired to be loved by an other, a male counterpart to my female self. The men that were interested in me who were living in mindful spirit filled lives were not attractive to me in the least and the men that were attractive to me weren't drawn to me anymore. I was no longer a vibrational match for abusive criminal men and wasn't yet a vibrational match for the type of man that Goddess would intend for me. Thus I spent a lot of time alone and aching for a romantic partner. Eventually I found that there are men who either think they are walking an evolved path and are delusional or are pretending to and are wolves in sheep's clothing, these men were perfect matches for me during this stage of my spiritual evolution. We thought, or at least I think we both thought, that we were being mindful while we acted out the abuse pattern, him as abuser, most of the time, and me as victim, most of the time. 
The challenge, besides the obvious, is that I truly was continuing to grow along my spiritual path and my growth eventually vibed me out of these pseudo spiritual/abusive relationships. I became a Priestess, I dedicated myself to empowering myself and other women to connect to the Goddess within, the feminine face of Source and I could no longer turn a blind eye to my attraction to destructive, sadistic males. While this steered me out of the abuse pattern with men, it left me once again lost in the dating world and brought me to the place where I had to look at my addiction to the abuse pattern as well as my misperceived notions around what it meant to be masculine.
I fell in love with the writings of David Deida, he explains that there are three levels of masculine and feminine essences. I was attracted to first level masculine (though not all first level masculine men are abusive) and was myself surrounded by a lot of men who were in their second stage masculine, I began to desire the third level masculine as a love experience. (This article is not about David Deida, so this paragraph is grossly simplifying his works, I highly suggest anyone to go out and purchase one of his books and cd's to get a full emersion into his work.) In short, the first level masculine is the old fashioned chauvinistic man of the 1950's who expects to be weighted on and cared for, the second level masculine is exploring his feminine essence and leads with his feminine, there were a lot of men who were very much primarily in what I at the time called their feminine essence in the circles I was frequenting. The third level masculine leads with his masculine self but is very much in touch with and able to access his feminine. The reverse of these three states is true for the feminine. Generally speaking men are primarily masculine and women are primarily feminine in the David Deida model. The third level masculine became my hope, a loving version of the strong, directive force that I sought out in abusive relationships. 
When I met my husband in New York he was a glorious example of somebody who led with his masculine self and was able to access his feminine through his song writing, acting and ability to empathize, cry and hold me. I was finally in love and I was finally attracted to a healthy strong man. I couldn't have been happier.
I hadn't done all of my work on my personal attraction to the abuse pattern before meeting my husband and while it seemed as though I was going to be able to skip over it one day I came face to face with the original essence of all that had attracted me to the abuse pattern and began a one year decent into deep trauma work. During this year I was confused and hurt, I mistook abuse for masculine essence and would pressure my then boyfriend (soon to be finance and then husband) to be more masculine. He would express his feelings, or be patient with me, or cook for me and I would take these loving gestures and explode that he was 'too feminine'. One day he sat me down and asked for me to clearly explain to him what I wanted, to let him know what it was that seemed to be lacking in the 'masculine' essence I wanted in our relationship. I can't remember what it is that I said, I just remember blurting it all out and watching him as he took it in, finally as I was finishing I saw his brow furrow and he shook his head sadly and responded, "Candise, I can't do that, it sounds like you're asking me to abuse you." That struck a note with me, even though I felt justified in my insanely insensitive behaviour I knew that he was right.
Thanks to deep trauma therapy, I came out the other side of that nightmarish year, I was my 'old' self again, only cleared of a lot of unconscious programming. My husband and I mended our relationship, we grew closer and rebuilt trust. However there were residual harms and the term 'masculine' and 'feminine' became triggering within our relationship.
Outside of our relationship I began to notice other area's where using the terms masculine and feminine to describe traits or behaviours wasn't working anymore. I would share with my women friends about struggles that they were going through and when I would name parts of their behaviour or tendencies as masculine they would become quiet and withdrawn. This wasn't inspiring for either of us, the word itself is in fact an adjective for being manly and regardless of how strong or efficient my girlfriend was she didn't want to be told that her strength was a part of her manly self. When I would attempt to praise the strong feminine that my husband did possess past wounds of being called feminine as though it made him womanly were present. I don't know that many men will find being told that their sensitive selves are a part of them that is womanly. 
These discussions began to expand my awareness, we qualify objects as masculine and feminine, the sun is masculine, the moon is feminine, fire is masculine, water is feminine and we attribute these states as being more active, direct and extroverted or more passive, flowing or introverted, insinuating that energy that is associated with males is active, direct and extroverted and that energy associated with females is passive, flowing and introverted. From this perspective a man can't be masculine and flowing and a woman can't be feminine and extending, the man has a feminine side that is flowing and the woman has a masculine side that is extending. While the attempt to encompass a wholeness within each one of us by finding both sexes within us may have been the impetus for naming these qualities as either masculine or feminine, they have instead defined what masculine and feminine can be and have contributed to an unconscious form of sexism. I was left with the question, where do I go from here?
A few years later and people in my Priestess circle began to discuss the Solar Feminine, they made reference to the many Solar Goddesses that were revered prior to the patriarchy as well as the Lunar Gods that were well known. I liked the idea of a Solar Goddess but didn't know how to reconcile this with the sun being attributed as a masculine essence until it finally dawned on me, I was done with the terms masculine and feminine altogether and I was adopting the terms solar and lunar. 
I like to be in my lunar essence, I feel most at peace in my lunar essence, however I often gravitate towards my solar essence as I have very strong and efficient solar abilities that were instilled in me when living under a very solar father as a child. When I do call upon or unconsciously go into my solar self my husband's lunar self is called up in response to my solar essence as an energetic adjustment to create and maintain polarity between us. Polarity is where the spice is, the fire and the passion and most romantic relationships are seeking to remain in an energetic polarity to keep that attraction alive. 
When I began to frame our essence as lunar and solar rather than feminine and masculine  I began to own my  wild, passionate fiery Goddess self and to honour the cool, receptive, magical God beside me when I was having a solar day and he was having a lunar day. If I feel like I want my husband to bring the light and the direction of the solar then I call on my lunar essence, the one that I prefer to be in and watch as he burns bright in his solar. Some days we might both be solar and some days we might both be lunar, though I find more polarity and passion when we are two halves of the one whole and so one of us usually switches our essence when we arrive home after being out in the world if we discover that we are matching the others frequency. 
Now when I talk with my girlfriends and reference her solar energy rather than calling it her 'masculine' energy she feels empowered and as though she is calling upon a sacred force, rather than being manly in some shape or form because she is choosing to extend or exert herself.
Naming solar qualities as masculine disempowers our feminine, it tells us that we can have solar qualities  as a counterpart to our feminine selves but that those qualities are 'masculine' and therefore connected to man and not to ourselves.
I do like the terms feminine and masculine, I am grateful that the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine are on the rise. I also embrace the Solar Feminine and the Lunar Feminine as well as the Lunar Masculine and the Solar Masculine. I believe that solar and lunar are ways to empower the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine. Below are a list of Solar Goddesses and Lunar God's that were once a common part of every day life, let us remember what wholeness lay beyond qualifying one essence as feminine and one as masculine: 
Aditi: is an Indian Goddess of light. She is an expression of the Divine Feminine as illumination, a Creatrix that carries the spark of life and gives birth to all that is.
Arma: is a Hittite and Luwian Moon God, his connection to the Moon gave Him the powers of a magician. The moon is a mirror and lends great energy to the magician archetype.
Amaterasu: is a Japenese Shinto Goddess of the Sun and the Heavenly realms. In Japenese myth She is the Sun Goddess and Her brother Tsukiyomi is a Moon God, in some stories it is Amaterasu's anger at Her brother for assaulting another Goddess that made Her vow to never see Her brother again and explained why the Sun and the Moon were never seen together. This is a wariorress stance, one that banishes and claims loudly that violence against women is not acceptable, Her power drives Him away and She shines brightly, free of Her brother and proud in Her position as the head of Japan's pantheon. You can see her symbol on the Japanese flag.
Nanna: is a Mesopotamian Moon God whose symbol is a bull, the crescent shape of the bull horns symbolize the Moon. This God was associated with fertility, the bull is a fertile and strong masculine totem. He was sought out in aid of divination, His connection to the Moon gave him powers of illumination in the psychic realm.
Baast: is a powerful Egyptian Sun Goddess with the head of a Lioness, she represents playfulness, magic, fertility and magical radiance. She is a fierce protectress.
Toth: is an Egyptian Moon God who aided Isis, Osiris and Nut, he has powerful magic and is connected to the power of the written word. The inspiration that the Moon stirs up gave him the power of the word and of magic.
The above Goddesses and Gods are but a few that reverse the roles that have become associated with female and male roles, even when shrouded under the term feminine and masculine. I challenge myself to begin to utilize the terms feminine and masculine as representations of the fully expressed feminine energy of Goddess and the fully expressed masculine energy of God. These have become terms that encompass all traits, solar and lunar, for me. In embracing both my solar and my lunar self I release any judgement that I and society have unconsciously bestowed upon my solar self. I don't have a 'strong' masculine that I choose to quiet when I am with my husband in order that I might wear my feminine. I have a strong bright solar light that serves me well when I am in my work and navigating the external active world. I also have a mystically magical lunar self that I love to revel in when I have somebody shining their strong solar beam in relation to me.
If I feel it, think it, express it or be it then it is feminine because I am feminine. If you feel it, think it, express it or be it and you are a woman it is feminine, even if your expression of feminine differs from mine or the social construct of feminine. If you as a man feel it, express it or be it then it is masculine because you are masculine exactly as you choose to show up. This is my freedom. This is my sovereignty. This is my truth.
When I think back to David Deida's work I believe the first level masculine and feminine are men and women that exude only solar or lunar traits. In the second level the men try on their lunar and forfeit the solar and the women try on their solar and forfeit their lunar, however in the third level both woman and man stand side by side as Priestess and Priest, conduits for both lunar and solar energy, able at will to call upon whichever energy will best suit the situation at hand.
As we continue to raise up the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine and allow them to  encompass both lunar and solar qualities we begin to reclaim our wholeness, our ability to be a reflection of the all, we connect to our Priestess or Priest self and become empowered shining, magical beings. I pray for bright Solar Goddesses and magical Lunar Gods as well as intuitive Lunar Goddesses and powerful Solar Gods to live through each and every one of us, I pray that my daughter will live in a world where the only 'feminine' aspect that she defines herself by is that which is her radiant Goddess self. And I vow to honour the lunar and solar in each and every being that I encounter regardless of their sex, this is how I invite and accept the allness of the Great Goddess within me.
Lastly I forgive myself and I forgive those that were conditioned to condition me to believe that my solar aspects were anything less than desirable or feminine qualities and I ask forgiveness of every strong and whole man that I mistook as being less than strong and capable in the face of their lunar self. May this forgiveness extend in a ripple and be a drop in the ocean of reconciliation and restoration of the Goddess and God expressions of Source on Earth.
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace,
Candise Soaring Butterfly
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  • Candise
    Candise says #
    Thank you Michele. I am so glad that there are other women and men that are finding these terms as confining as I have found them
  • Michele Murphy
    Michele Murphy says #
    I love this so much. For me the terms masculine and feminine are fraught with society's belief that feminine is lesser and weak. I

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