Her Sacred Roar: Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth
With the world in crisis, with women disempowered and disenfranchised around the globe, including here in the United States, it is more vital than ever to find our own "sacred roar" and rebirth Her onto the world stage as deity, archetype and ideal. With our pink-handled machetes we blaze a trail forward toward a new normal!
Looking Deeper Into Forming a Goddess Circle
Did you know.....when people gather together those in charge might be making a very deliberate decision about whether chairs in the room are set up in a circle or theater-style and that decision might go beyond the practical matter of whether the chairs are mobile and how many people can be seated comfortably within the space? The configuration has a very different psychological impact on those gathered and it can tell you a lot about the people organizing the gathering. Think back to your classrooms, church, or group meetings. Notice how when you’re in a theater-style configuration participants are doing a lot of receiving and not too much sharing or having much interaction. The people or persons at the front of the room, perhaps at the podium, are sending a signal they are in authority and might even have power over you. On the other hand, when you’re in a circle, the person who brought you together might be more of a facilitator than an authoritarian figure hoping to retain control or power over you and in the circle usually those gathered are listening to each other and the facilitator and probably sharing their ideas or concerns. That is very important to know, in life, as well as why when we form Goddess groups, they’re 99.9% of the time arranged in actual or metaphoric circles.
Goddess circles have become very popular in recent years from Rent Tent gatherings to book clubs and ritual circles. On the lips and minds of those women and men gathered is learning and sharing about a topic often swept beneath the sands of time within our patriarchal culture – the feminine face of God, or Goddess. I was actually thirty years old before I discovered Goddess as deity, archetype and ideal and I was amazed to discover a feminine face of god was worshiped by people more than 40,000 years ago, long before a male god ever entered the minds of humanity. That knowledge is becoming more mainstream every day and with it social, political, and religious change. Once people discover a feminine face of God they understand it was not only men who were created in the image of Divinity – women were too, and the female sex was never intended to be subservient, second class, or exploited in the workplace, making less than men for the same job! And getting back to the idea of circles, the nature of Goddess groups are very different in that their circles are intended to promote and suggest a better way to organize, gather or live is with a model of shared leadership, or an egalitarian structure, rather than one person or representative at the front of the room with absolute authority over everyone else.
As women and men discover Goddess in these circles they begin to learn about the many faces of the Sacred Feminine across continents and cultures. They learn how we’ve become disconnected from Mother Nature, at our peril, and there was a time in history when there was significant women’s leadership in the world rather than the sexism women suffer today in patriarchy, or a society ruled by men.
There is much to discover once one becomes acquainted with the herstory of Goddess, but for today let’s talk about forming Goddess circles. Let’s consider the who, what, when, where and how to make that happen.
Who might want to form Goddess circles? Anyone and everyone. Women and men. Children and adults. People interested in history/herstory, spirituality, psychology, honoring Nature, archaeology, sociology, art, ritual, self help, mythology, empowering themselves, or filling in the gaps where organized education left off or perhaps intentionally left out.
What do people do in Goddess circles? Let your imagination be your guide. People discuss spirituality, books, religion, women’s issues, politics, understanding the role of patriarchy in society, or have seasonal celebrations – just to name a few ideas. They come together and do ritual that helps them empower themselves and create a new or deeper connection with the Sacred Feminine.
When do people usually gather in Goddess circles? That’s flexible too. Sometimes it might be on the new moon to full moon if they’d like to manifest things in their life, or on the waning moon if they want to rid themselves of something that no longer serves them. It might be on a Goddess holiday, like Beltane, Candlemas, Winter Solstice or a feast day of a particular Goddess. Goddess circles come together at the discretion of those who participate based on their needs and intentions.
Where are Goddess circles held? Anywhere from your living room or within a grove or garden to a church, synagogue or rented space. The location depends on the nature or intention of the gathering and how many people are coming.
How does one form a Goddess circle? There are many ways to bring like-minded people together considering the reach of social media today. Once we had to rely on posting flyers in book shops but today, organize or join a Meet-Up group online, check out Facebook and Twitter. Your local church or library may have a Goddess group. Ask around. Start one yourself!
If you’re the facilitator of the Goddess circle, the next most important thing is to determine the intention of the circle for each gathering. Let’s say for the purpose of this article, you want to do a very simple Goddess ritual. You would decide which Goddess you might feel an affinity for or feel drawn to. Learn what you can about Her and let your intuition and life experience help you plan what you’d like to do during the ritual, which is a form of prayer. Often rituals act as ways to create a deeper relationship with Goddess, but also serve to empower or aid participants in working through issues. You might create an altar with a statue or picture of your favorite Goddess and invite Her into your circle as you lite a candle dedicated to her. If you’re working with the beloved Egyptian Goddess Isis, you might call Her in by saying, “Great Goddess Isis, You of 10,000 Names, we ask that you be with us in this sacred space and bestow upon us your blessings. Hear our prayers as we do this ritual in your honor and work toward manifesting prosperity and love in our lives.”
Rituals can be much more elaborate or very simple. For instance, the group I founded years ago, The Isis Ancient Cultures Society, re-created ancient rituals in a contemporary context and for Spring we re-enacted the Ploephesia or Isidis Navigium, a ritual of Isis from ancient times used by people asking Isis’ blessings for the upcoming sailing season which was important for trade and delivering grain from Egypt to Italy so the people there would have food. As contemporary devotees, we used this opportunity to ask Isis to bless our journey in the coming year, asking Her for our safe and prosperous journey in the coming months. In ancient times the clergy and devoted alike came from miles around, loaded a boat with their offerings and launched the boat upon the waves, releasing it to Isis. We certainly could not do that, but we did create boats of colored ice and each participant during the ritual launched their ice boat on the waves of the Pacific Ocean after first breathing their prayer into it with the hope Isis would hear their petition.
There are many ways to make altars and open and close your circles. You can have singing and dancing and feasting. You might do healing prayers for someone in your circle asking for support. There are many books written on the subject of creating ritual and Goddess circles, including one of my books, Walking An Ancient Path; Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth. Sometimes circles are just for women, or they might be of mixed gender. Your intention is what’s most important. I’d encourage you not to get stuck on the accoutrement of the ritual. Goddess circles can be as simple as those gathered breathing together and focusing on an agreed upon outcome like peace. For more information about creating Goddess circles, feel free to visit my website, www.karentate.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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