Sacred Cells: Embodying the Feminine Divine

Every cell in our beautiful and amazing bodies contains the whirling wisdom of the universe. This is the journey of one witch remembering that, and celebrating the Feminine Divine in beings of all genders.

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Lizann Bassham

Lizann Bassham

Lizann Bassham is both an active Reclaiming Witch and an Ordained Christian Minister in the United Church of Christ. She serves as Campus Pastor at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley working with a multi-faith student community. She is a columnist for SageWoman magazine, and a curriculum writer and workshop and retreat leader for several Christian denominations and organizations, as well as being a novelist and musician. Once, quite by accident, she won a salsa dance contest in East L.A

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Blessed Dark and Glorious Light

In my Reclaiming Witch Tradition we have just marked the Solstice, Summer in the Northern Hemisphere where I live, and the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. It is now the time when the North turns back toward the sacred dark, and the South toward the sacred light. This cycle in the Earth's annual journey around the Sun gives each hemisphere an opportunity to revel in long days and short nights - a chance to play in the Sun, and see clearly what world work needs to be done by the bright light of day. It gives each hemisphere an opportunity to reflect in long nights and short days - a chance to slow down and "cozy in" and mend and repair and heal. 

Last December shortly after the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, I came across a poem by one of my favorite Reclaiming Witch poets/writers, Gerri Ravyn Stanfield, called “bold dark hymn” that made me begin to rethink my own use of the language of “light” and “dark.”  It made me begin to examine my own use of image and metaphor through the perspective of what has been going on in my country, The USA, as we continue to struggle with the legacy of slavery and the continued violence of racism.  This link will take you to the poem on her blog http://www.gerriravynstanfield.com/a-bold-dark-hymn/  

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is very timely, Lizann. How safe we've been all our lives, just by being born White! Whenever we ask for morphine in an ER t

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Christ in the Cauldron

Inside the circle of empty chairs I began to set up my altars on the floor.  I have been invited to speak with The Sonoma County Pagan Network on how I live as both a Witch (very active in the Reclaiming Tradition) and a Christian (ordained as a minister and serving within the United Church of Christ). 

In the East/Air, I lay a white cloth and on it an Icon of Sophia/Wisdom, who in the Judeo/Christian mythology was there “...before the beginning of the Earth...”  Next to the Icon of Sophia I lay books full of wisdom that I have found fill my lungs with sacred breath and free my breathing of oppressive dogma.  I lay books full of words that entered my mind and helped my thoughts and intellect fly and wonder, piqued my curiosity and spun webs of connections.  I lay books like Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Parker’s “Proverbs of Ashes” which gave me permission to remain Christian even though I do not subscribe to substitutionary atonement theology, and Cynthia Bourgeault’s “The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three” which helped me see the Christian Trinity as a fluid and dynamic dance of all genders and forms. 

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    The best I've been able to do is an article "Messianic Expectations in the Eastern Religions" on the www.bibleguidance.co.za websi
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Anthony.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I read a book called "The Samurai from Outer Space" about anime and it mentioned a shrine in Japan where Jesus is married to Otohi
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Your welcome Anthony - let me know if you come up with more on that shrine….
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    That sounds amazingly beautiful. I really wish I could have been there in person, but thank you for sharing it here!

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Dune Blessing

I am simply reaching for a book when the jet comes screaming over head flying no more than 150 feet off the ground.  I hear the roar and suddenly the sound waves become so solid they rattle the pot on the burner, the dishes on the shelf, the clothes on the hangers in the closet, the frame and canvass of my pop top camper van, the bones inside the flesh of my body, dropping me to my knees my forehead pressed into the seat cushion.  Throughout the day there are several more fly overs, slightly higher and less cellularly disruptive, but enough to send my dog into shakes each and every time.

 

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Wow, thanks! Yay! Somehow the rest of my previous comment didn't get posted. Here it is: I used to live in San Francisco, and st
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Francesca - Blessings on your journey of deep connection with the Spirits of the Land there in PA. I look forward to reading about
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    I enjoy reading people's experience. They usually mean more to me than someone's abstract ideas.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Francesca! I feel the same which is why I enjoy your writing as well!
  • Elizabeth Creely
    Elizabeth Creely says #
    Love this! And I love that you found a relationship between where you were (Death Valley) and the City. I've never been to Death V

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Sacred Markings

There is a bejeweled Moon on my right hand, and a glorious Sun on my left.  The lawsone molecules of the henna paste that formed the images are bound to the proteins in the cells of my epidermis.  The Moon and Sun will stay there until that layer of skin sloughs off, replaced by a new layer of cells.

 

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Rising From the Ashes

The official letter states:  “On October 26th, 1907 Mrs. Smith, suffering from a cancer of the throat, died in Hahnemann Hospital.”  Mrs. Smith was my great-grandmother, Josephine Romero Lindsey Smith.  Over the past two months as I have been digging and researching and listening, she has been rising in my DNA and consciousness from the deep ashes of time, and the wild tragedy that was the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.

 

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What's Remembered, Lives

“There are things,” my Grandma Winnie would say, “better left forgotten.”  That was always her response to questions about her life.  So, for many years all I really knew about her was what we lived together in the tiny mountain community of French Gulch.  When she died in the early 1990’s in her early 90s, my father and I cleaned out the shack where she had lived with my Grandpa Russell.  I came away with a bit more information about who she was from my father’s stories of her.  We sorted through a box of photos, and my dad did his best to identify the images as I wrote on the backs.  Then he showed me a letter, typed in 1911 in San Francisco.  The letterhead was from The California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.  “There are things,” I heard my Grandma Winnie say in my head, “better left forgotten.”

 

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    What a beautiful way to express it: "What's remembered, lives." Or to quote Theodore Roethke, one of my favorite poets, "What fall
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Ted. Yes, I have a feeling there is a whole book floating around in the ether waiting to be born out of this process.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I too have been journeying with my ancestors in recent weeks. It is amazing how it feels like I (like you) am being transformed fr
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Carol, it's good to know we have companions on this journey of healing for the past. Blessings on your Annie, Anna, Irene,

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Baby

There is only this moment of pure joy as I sit on the floor, my whole body attentive to this baby, this tiny embodied being as they reach for each object on my bookshelf.  Each object is felt with tiny fingers, held in tiny hands, tasted with a tiny tongue and mouth.  Each object is full of new texture and contour.  Each object is a delight of learning for this new embodied being.  This baby has recently begun crawling, employing the new skill of coordinating among body parts.  Something catches their eye and the new muscles in legs, and arms, and torso begin to work together to move their whole self to what has attracted their attention.  We both crawl to a new place to sit again as, with newly dextrous fingers, they pick up a new object.  The object is light weight but awkward in size and these tiny hands drop it on the floor.  The sound of this new object hitting the floor brings a beam of ecstasy to their tiny face and they reach to pick it up and drop it again and again, enraptured by the ability to create sound.

 

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you, Lizann, and all blessings of the season. "All work for justice and healing begins with learning to crawl." That is beau
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Ted. Blessings to you as well!

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