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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Cosmic Wink Cards

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“The word ‘rune’ originates in words meaning ‘secret,’ but ‘rune’ has also come to mean ‘a poem, charm, or spell.’ Runar (from the Norse) means ‘a magical sign,’ and runa (from Old German) is ‘to whisper a secret.’ ‘Hidden,’ ‘magic,’ ‘whispers,’ all words long associated with Faery, the secret country. So when we talk of runes, we are speaking of objects that have multiple meanings, letters both worldly and otherworldly in origin and aspect. Their ‘secrets’ may not reside so much in hidden meanings, but in ways of seeing the world. In this sense, each single rune creates layers of phonetics, poetry, and power built up over time. Runes are intended to endure. They record things that must be remembered or heeded. Runes are letters and words that must not be lost or wasted. They embody and express essential knowledge…”

–Brian Froud, Runes of Elfland

Several years ago I had laryngitis and was completely mute. I woke up in the morning with a crystal clear vision of the earth, suspended in space, feeling awe-struck at the majesty and complexity of this planet whirling through space, part of the vast, unfathomable universe. It seemed so clear to me that I was seeing the “invisible net of incarnation” of which we are all a part, the earth held in this enormous web of the universe. Upon rising for the day, I was thinking about my ideas about divinity and reflecting on my cosmological view of the universe as the “body” of the Goddess and the idea that the very web of life itself is the Goddess. Accompanying the sense of majesty was then a profound sense of impersonality. How can I possibly connect personally with something so vast and so powerful? So, as I sat that morning at my little corner altar in the living room, I asked (silently—I had laryngitis, remember!): “what do I need to know about the personalization of the divine?” I drew a Crone Stone from my little bag by the altar…

Remember the laryngitis and then also imagine the huge smile on my face when the stone I drew was, “The Speaker,” with the questions included in the interpretation, “is your voice being heard?” and “how will you share your voice with the world?” And then the final message, “let your voice pour forth like a flowing river…” At this moment I felt I had received an answer to my wonderings—that the Goddess is both as enormous and impersonal as my vision of the web holding the earth and yet also personal enough to offer me this cosmic “wink” through my Crone Stone.

As I completed writing the Womanrunes book, the final symbol I wrote about was The Sun and Moon, the rune of laughter. “Are you afraid to 13725065_1766269856918562_4360960417635088796_olaugh?” the rune asked me and I had to confront how little time I afford myself for fun and amusement as I keep up with the demands of the day. This rune became a touchstone for me and we used it on the front cover of the book as a reminder to keep enjoyment in our work. As I continued to work with the runes, I began to realize that the Sun and Moon is my “cosmic wink” Womanrunes card. It turns up whenever I need a nudge, a reminder, a boost of encouragement, a reminder that I’m on the right track. It never fails to make me smile and I can feel it coming. As I work with other women and Womanrunes, I notice that many women receive a “cosmic wink” card of their own. It might be one that feels frustrating to see emerge, again. Or, it might be one that speaks to a private “joke” (such as my laryngitis experience). It might be one that feels initially confusing, but whose meaning and relevance becomes clear with time. It might be one that turns up at exactly the right moment. You will come to know and recognize, celebrate and love, your cosmic wink card. It is an affirmation that the divinity is personal and that you’re not alone.

Women also notice that Womanrunes have a distinct sense of humor. They like to play little jokes and they’re “cheeky,” as many women have told me. For example, when I wrote about The Veil, the rune of mystery and that which is unknown, it slipped out of my hand and fell through the cracks in the porch, thus literally becoming veiled and unseen by me.

How to identify your own cosmic wink card (in any system):

  • Is there a card that shows up for you routinely, more than the others?
  • Is there a card that often “jumps” or falls from the deck?
  • Is there a card that sometimes feels like a “chastisement” or almost a rebuke? (like, “not this again?!”)
  • Is there a card that makes you laugh as soon as you see it—like, “message received”.
  • Is there a card that you are often able to feel coming?
  • Is there a rune that shows up in your dreams or guided meditations or that you find yourself doodling or thinking about?
  • In Womanrunes, sometimes your cosmic wink card will also magically show up as part of the spelling of your own name (information on writing your name with runes is in the free introductory class and in the Womanrunes book).

“…Whatever the Runes may be—a bridge between the self and Self, a link between the Self and the Divine, an ageless navigational aid—the energy that engages them is our own, and, ultimately, the wisdom as well. Thus, as we start to make contact with our Knowing Selves, we will begin to hear messages of profound beauty and true usefulness. For like snowflakes and fingerprints, each of our oracular signatures is a one-of-a-kind aspect of Creation addressing its own.”

–Ralph Blum, The Book of Runes, p. 34-35

Do you have a “cosmic wink” card? I’d love to hear about it and how you discovered it!

New! Our Womanrunes Immersion course is now available as a self-study course with rolling enrollment instead of a scheduled, time-limited course.

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Molly has been “gathering the women” to circle, sing, celebrate, and share since 2008. She plans and facilitates women’s circles, Red Tents, seasonal retreats and rituals, Pink Tent mother-daughter circles, and family ceremonies from her tiny temple space in rural Missouri and teaches online courses in Red Tent facilitation and Practical Priestessing.

Molly is a priestess who holds MSW, M.Div, and D.Min degrees. She finished her dissertation about contemporary priestessing in the U.S. She is the author of Womanrunes, Earthprayer, and The Red Tent Resource Kit. Molly and and her husband Mark co-create Story Goddesses, original goddess sculptures, mini goddesses, pendants, and ceremony kits at Brigid’s Grove (http://brigidsgrove.com), where they also publish Womanrunes book and deck sets.

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