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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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A Goddess in Free Fall

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(Photograph courtesy of Julia M. Hayes and No Worries Farm)

I get lost when I gaze into this picture taken on my farm in Eastern Washington one frigid winter morning. The peace that comes over me when I stare and lose myself is immeasurable. Looking at this image I'm reminded of the feeling of surrender, which depending on the situation can feel horribly vulnerable or ultimately freeing. I've reached a place in life where I'd prefer to be free than resist the flow because of an incessant need to control its outcome.

I remember reading a teaching about letting go by Anthony De Mello. The imagery used is similar to what I describe in the narrative that follows. My intention for writing the piece is to remind you that when you surrender into falling, nothing but freedom occurs.

Free Fall

In her mind, she walks along the edge of something—a tree branch, the land, the water, the world. Her mind decides this precarious rim is a cliff. She looks at her feet powdered by this dry pale crumbly precipice. The image fails to soften the intensity of her racing heart. She feels on the edge. Being here is against her will. Pausing, she stares into something, nothing, squinting to flatten the curve of the vast view. She peers down into void, her eyes wide searching for reassurance—something, anything that will support her grounded need for control.

She bows at the waist hoping the intensity of her gaze will unravel her knotted innards. As she straightens to take a deep breath, the streudel-like ground beneath her feet gives way and she falls.

She silently screams with her eyes closed as her flailing arms reach for anything protruding, while her legs run, hoping to grasp enough land to escape this descent. The rush and speed of the air is oddly both warm and frigid. In a matter of a few blinks, she sees growth emerging from the side of the cliff. Jutting stones and gnarled tree roots withered like a crone. Frantically, she reaches for a root to arrest her fall. Her security lasts a second. The arthritic earthen finger gives way and it, too, begins to fall. She reaches for a stone but it pulls away from the cliff face like a hunk of bread torn from a loaf. She can’t help herself. Reaching, grasping, pulling, yanking to stop the fall and nothing helps.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_turtlebat_land.jpgMy friend Denise Ostler, a.k.a. Merri Beacon, writes tiny stories set in Turtlebat Land that she calls Fairytale Medicine: "funny stories in an enchanted land where empowering events create feelings of peace, freedom and self-worth."

The stories are truly medicine, slipping through the fairy tale portal-template already installed in our brains to open up possibilities for long-sought healing.

All of her stories are wonderful. "From War to Peace" is a lovely dose. It's particularly timely and — guess what? — it features a big dollop of belly-centric wisdom.

The story begins as, once upon a time, a man named Ergo is chronically denying his chronic anger. Confronted by his wife, he storms out of the house, runs through the village and on and on into the forest until he has to stop and sleep.

The story continues:

Ergo awoke the next morning and started marching. When the sun was high in the sky, he walked into a little clearing where a wooden shack was built. A sign hung on the doorpost that read “HEALER”.

I bet he doesn’t get much business, thought Ergo to himself. The thought struck him as being quite funny and he laughed out loud. Pretty soon he was shrieking with laughter until he had tears in his eyes. A man came out the door of the shack and smiled at Ergo who was now rolling on the ground holding his belly. “Help me,” he gasped. “I can’t stop laughing.”

“It’s because you have so many unshed tears,” said the healer. Ergo stopped laughing abruptly and sat confused on the ground. The healer gave Ergo his hand and led him inside, placing Ergo in a big chair covered with blankets. Next to the chair was a huge glass globe sitting on a little table.

“What is that thing?” asked Ergo.

The story continues here.

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Starting the New Year with Goddess Breath

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(Photograph by Jess Asien Winter Solstice 2014 shared with permission)

The Full Moon Goddesses, a collective soul of women who gather on my farm once a month around the full moon, just finished the second year of practicing Goddess Becoming together.

I thought I would share with you our journey last year but I didn't. I couldn't. It took all year to figure out why I was with-holding. I finally realized that I was still too insecure. The first year found me waiting for the novelty to wear off. The second year made me wonder if women were willing and ready for the work I had in mind. The rituals I was writing and offering were so new and different that I didn't know how people would react to them. I needed the full year to grow some lady balls and step into my power. I'm ready now.

To say that it was an extraordinary year is a complete understatement. As I prepared for Solstice, I wanted to present a summary of the monthly work we did together. I never expected a theme to emerge.

Every gathering and ritual we participated in focused on how to better own The Mind. We worked on becoming more objective observers. We practiced vulnerability and authenticity by giving voice and acknowledging detrimental thoughts and patterns of behavior, as well as affirming all the ways we are excelling. We examined the ways we listen and the ways our minds wander. We honored the delicate balance of remaining present to someone in distress despite the pleas from the mind to flee. We enacted in ritual aspects of our thoughts that resonate with the Higher Self we are trying to remember. I didn’t expect such clarity. I don’t know what I expected, if anything, but I was inspired.

Riding the wings of such coherence made it easy to see the agenda for 2015, which is to study and celebrate the Divine Feminine Body. This work strikes me as so obvious I almost want to laugh but I don’t because the work is too important. When I think about women in our culture, I wonder how many can look at their naked bodies in the mirror and not hear a single chastising voice. How and when did the female body become such a perversion of love and hate? Is the antagonizing attitude many have about their bodies something they want to pass to their sons and daughters? I certainly don’t.

When I think about the 75+ women who gathered in my home for Solstice recently, I marvel at how varied we are. There wasn’t a single woman there who looked like anyone else. Every one uniquely beautiful, uniquely essential, and most importantly, uniquely Divine. That’s the part that gets me. The divine expression is truly infinite and I want to spend a year discussing, embracing, and elevating the holy feminine body.

So, to start off the New Year, our January gathering, just a few days ago, celebrated the first gasp that brings us into Life and the sigh upon which we go into Death.

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  • Julie Landa
    Julie Landa says #
    Beautiful!
  • Julia Hayes
    Julia Hayes says #
    Julie!! Thank you for writing! I appreciate the validation. Stay tuned for more..

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Usually when I create a new design for a pendant or figurine, I know who I’m making when I begin. Last b2ap3_thumbnail_embracepossibilitypendant.jpgspring, I created a new design who emerged as a mystery. When she was finished, I loved her. But, I didn’t know her name or what she represented. I asked on my facebook page for input and I got some suggestions…

Druid priestess. Seraphine. High Priestess. Tri-Goddess. Mother. Celtic goddess.

I took her to the woods and held her in my hand and spoke in a little sing-song of emergence…

She who unites body, mind and spirit. She who calls upon earth, sky, and river.  She who speaks to oaks and mountains. She who sings with the ocean.  She who opens arms to the sky and feels raindrops bless her brow. She who circles in the moonlight. She  who gathers with her sisters. She who hears the drumbeat of the earth. She who tunes her heartbeat to this call.  She who steps in time with the wind.

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Thresholds Crossed into 2015

The calendar New Year does not often feature in pagan festivities, yet it a liminal time; a threshold is crossed and thresholds, as we know, are thin places of transition, magic and manifestation. 

In Ireland, however, the whole period from Solstice/Yule through to Nollaig na mBan (Women's Christmas/Epiphany) has a pagan quality.  Unless you are actively associated with devout, practicing Christians, Ireland often feels to me the best place to celebrate the winter holidays.  You don't have to be celebrating with self-identified pagans or out of the broom closet witches either. It all seems to happen organically. Maybe Spirit is just pagan in the Irish air.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    The Cailleach has been throwing down lightening and thunder snow here. And it all feels just as it ought to of be as we move towar
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Your remark about the lightening and thunder and Brigid's festival makes experiential gut sense to me. Major mojo!
  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    A friend on artist retreat in Taos has commented on the weather synchronicities we have experienced over many time zones. It all f
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Have a wonderful new year! I look forward to seeing what it's going to be like for us.
Druidry, Animism and The Meaning of Life

For many people, myself included, Druidry and Animism go hand in hand. Since the Age of Enlightenment and perhaps even further back in history (perhaps with coming of Christianity) Animism has gotten the reputation of being somehow backward, a superstitious and childish view of the world wherein everything is “alive”.  This belief is completely biased in that it is totally from a human-centric point of view;  those who believe it to be silly would say that believing a stone has a soul is absolutely ridiculous.  This point of view is a projection of our human perspective,  of what is alive and what isn’t, what is ensouled and what isn’t.  It doesn’t take into consideration differences in the metaphysical.  This perspective is often derogatory of Animism, yet it fails to actually understand just what Animism actually means, and what living with an Animistic perspective can bring to human consciousness.

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  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Excellent dissertation, Joanna. I think it was Swami Kriyananda who helped me to understand Animism with his statement, "God didn'

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Oak King, Holly King

Modern Pagan traditions have the Oak and Holly kings fighting at the summer and winter solstices. It’s a good excuse to evoke some mumming drama and get some chaps to hit each other with bits of wood, and as such is not without merit. But what of the oak and the holly?

Winter is certainly holly’s season. The deciduous trees shed their leaves a month or two ago, so the dark glossy hues of the holly stand out. Red holly berries can be one of the few bright things in a winter environment, still vivid even on gloomy days, and vibrant against backdrops of snow. Holly is certainly King at this time of year, but in practice he’s probably been King since Samhain.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Chiron Cane
    Chiron Cane says #
    .:. The Oak King, the Holly King and the Unicorn: Myths and Symbolism of the Unicorn Tapestries by John Williamson Publisher
  • Chiron Cane
    Chiron Cane says #
  • Chiron Cane
    Chiron Cane says #
    .:. the theme of the Oak and the Holly - like that of the Robin and the Wren - is reflected in folksong, folk custom, traditional
  • Chiron Cane
    Chiron Cane says #
    .:. White Unicorn .:. Red Maiden https://vimeo.com/30142658 .:. A visual journey through several centuries of sacred and encod
  • Gerald  Norviel
    Gerald Norviel says #
    Very simple and intuitive...I like blending with (nature) with the sabbats it gives a deeper feeling of spiritual contact than jus

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