Woodspriestess: Exploring the intersection between Nature, the Goddess, art, and poetry.

Listening to the woods, to the stones, to Gaia, and to women...

In the woods behind my house rest a collection of nine large flat rocks. Daily, I walk down to these “priestess rocks” for some sacred time alone to pray, meditate, consider, and be. Often, while in this space, I open my mouth and poetry comes out. I’ve come to see this experience as "theapoetics"—experiencing the Goddess through direct “revelation,” framed in language. As Stanley Hopper originally described in the 1970’s, it is possible to “…replace theology, the rationalistic interpretation of belief, with theopoetics, finding God[dess] through poetry and fiction, which neither wither before modern science nor conflict with the complexity of what we know now to be the self.” Theapoetics might also be described, “as a means of engaging language and perception in such a way that one enters into a radical relation with the divine, the other, and the creation in which all occurs.”

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Molly

Molly

I am a doctoral student in women’s spirituality at Ocean Seminary College and ordained as a Priestess with Global Goddess. My roots are in birthwork, which is intimately tied to my interest in the Goddess and in feminist thealogy. I blog at http://goddesspriestess.com, create goddess and birth art and jewelry at http://brigidsgrove.etsy.com and I am the author of Womanrunes: a guide to their use and interpretation (based on the work of Shekhinah Mountainwater).

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Book Review: Naming the Goddess

“On any spiritual path, and most especially on one that is simultaneously a path of magical practice, our real progress and growth is measurable largely in the capacity to pass the challenges that are set before us. The easy parts of the journey are not the most important.”

 

–Philip Kane (in his essay on Laverna, Naming the Goddess, p. 232)

 

Naming the Goddess, published by Moon Books, is a collaborative work bringing together essays written by over eighty scholars and practitioners of Goddess Spirituality, including contributions from Selena Fox, Kathy Jones, Caroline Wise and Rachel Patterson. A unique aspect of this book is that it is a two-part project with the first part of the book containing a series of contemplative and scholarly essays and the second part serving as a “gazetteer” of different goddesses, making it useful both as a reference book and as well as one that encourages reflective spiritual thought.

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On October 30th, I gave birth to a new baby boy. He was born at home in water, my fourth homebirth, b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_8557.JPGbut my first waterbirth (his birth story is available here). On the full moon of his one week "birthday," we took him outside for the first time in his whole life--to meet the world, to feel the fresh, cool air, to be introduced to the moon and the Earth as a member of our family. Here is an outline of the very simple ceremony of welcome we held for him. While we did this with just our other children present, it could easily be expanded to include additional guests.

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Wangari Mathaai describes a ritual of introducing a baby to the land in Unbowed.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Lovely! For you next (hee he) baby, you might add "placing the child on the earth" which is part of many earth-based traditions, o
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thanks, Carol! We did the feet to earth ritual with the baby before this one when she turned one month. For the full moon, we were

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In 2013, I engaged in a year-long Woodspriestess experiment in which I visited the same place in the woods behind my house every day for an entire year. The experience described in this post occurred eight months into my experiment...

I continue to be surprised by this same small patch armadilloof woods. Last night, if you chanced to overhear me in my sacred space, you would have heard me scream:

“Oh my GAWD!!!!! I just STEPPED ON an ARMADILLO!!!!!!”

Yes, that is correct, I stepped squarely on a genuine, real live armadillo on my way through the woods last night. I’d gotten “too busy” to visit the woods during the day and by the time I made my way down there, it was totally dark. I opted to go out without a flashlight, feeling a bit smug, if I do say so myself, that I know these woods so well and am just so connected that I don’t even need a flashlight to find my way and then…STEP…bizarre-growling-squeal-grunt-and-scuttle and me screaming the above. My first thought as I grasped what had happened was actually to try to take a picture for a blog post, but by then it was too late and only the scaly tail was dimly visible under a nearby shrub! By the time I stood on the rocks, I was laughing semi-hysterically and my heart was pounding with the adrenalin and surprise. I reflected again on how very many creatures share these woods with me and I wondered how many other woodspriestesses of various species cross these very stones each day. I think of this space as “mine,” but clearly an armadillo also finds it a useful nighttime exploration place.

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Tiny flowers of summer August 2013 016
Waving colorful flags
of the season’s surrender
against a backdrop of dry leaves

Lifting tender, hopeful
tenacious faces
parched but promising
a last hurrah
a final fling
a tiny majesty

Spots of glorious color
on dry ground

Proof of life’s own love affair with itself.

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Weed it out
cast it off
let it go.b2ap3_thumbnail_September-2014-004.JPG

Let it sink
into the body of the Earth
where it will be recycled
renewed
refreshed
reborn.

Let the seeds drift where they may
let your fear drift where it may.

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Womanrunes: The Tool. Rune of Labor. Production. Enterprise. October 2013 027

This is a rune of hard work. Satisfying labor. What are you unearthing? What are you digging up? What are you uncovering? What is causing sweat to drip from your brow, your cheeks to flush, and your heart to beat faster? This work can be dirty. It can be long, it can be hard. But, you can do it. You ARE doing it. Keep digging.

Remember too that others are doing their own hard work, unearthing their own riches, discovering their own treasures. What might you be missing in other people and how can you work side by side, turning over your deepness together?

This rune helps us recognize the ebb and flow and heave and swell of energy. Life energy. Time. Perspective. There is a time and place for production, for being focused on the doing rather than the being. There is a time for rest and a time for stillness and the key is recognizing the differences between these times and not forcing what is not ready to emerge. Then, when the energy peaks, the shovel comes out and the digging starts.

Go with it. Put your back into it, lift with your knees, bend with the wind. And, dig, sister. Dig deeply.

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Over the last month, I have been listening to a wonderful telesummit about priestesses. I am also a huge fan of the radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine. However, as I listen to both, I sometimes find myself wondering if walking a Goddess path is also viewed as synonymous with, "believe everything, question nothing." Crystal essences, gemstone healing, soul contracts, past lives, spirit guides, astrology, the many realms and dimensions of the occult, mystical, New Age and metaphysical. Is wholesale suspension of logic required to join hands with the Goddess? Is deft management of the tarot essential to the priestess path? Must I ascribe to "enlightened" tenets like, "you are not your body," "I am a spiritual being having a spiritual experience" and "we made an agreement to do this work before we showed up in this body at this time and place" in order to move forward?

I sat at my home altar this afternoon holding an amethyst in one hand and a priestess sculpture in the other feeling entirely too practical and realistic. I looked out my window at the precious trees, the scratching chickens, the drooping flowers, and the dry, dry relentless dust of summer and some answers drifted to my mind:

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  • Susan B. Chandler
    Susan B. Chandler says #
    Molly, thank you so much for putting into words something that I have felt for a long time. It requires spiritual work just to ful
  • Tiffany Lazic
    Tiffany Lazic says #
    I also agree :-) I have had many people ask me if I am "New Age" because of my love of crystals and oracles and so much that is as
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I couldn't agree more. Feminist theology and Goddess feminism began with an affirmation of the female body as the site of our spir
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    And, patriarchy is built on rejection of the female body (and, to many extents, the physical world). I had some more thoughts thi

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