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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Fall Equinox Ritual for Families, Groups, or Individuals

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

August 2015 106Supplies

  • Items from nature for a collaborative nature mandala: leaves, stones, acorns, seeds, twigs, feathers, and other items from nature (mindfully collected and ideally found on ground). If a group ritual, ask each person to bring a quantity of something to add to the mandala. If it is a family ritual, go out together before moonrise to collect your items. Note: Depending on size, composition, energy, and patience of the group, you may wish to create the mandala together first before beginning the rest of the ritual and then gather around it for the rest of the ritual itself.
  • Paper leaves (can be simply cut out ovals using scrap paper) or dry, fallen leaves + markers to write on them.
  • Optional: drums, rattles, or bells
  • Optional: a candles for each participant (place around outer edge of nature mandala)

Before the ritual: ask each person to respond to the prompt: “my bounty is” and collate the responses into a collaborative bounty poem. If you are working alone, respond to this prompt on your own and form a poem for yourself (example poem)

 

1. Body Invocation (inspired by one in Gathering for Goddess by Melusine Mihaltses):

  • South:
    I welcome Fire with my body. (We welcome Fire with our bodies [group repeats])
    Rub your hands together, feel the heat you generate. Now place your hands upon your chest. Feel the heat upon your heart.
    August 2015 145Fire lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Fire.
    Welcome Fire!

  • West:
    I welcome Water with my body. (We welcome Water with our bodies [group repeats])
    Lick your lips, wet them with your tongue.
    Water lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Water.
    Welcome Water!

  • North:
    I welcome Earth with my body. (We welcome Earth with our bodies [group repeats])
    Give yourself (or the person next to you) a hug or place your hands upon your thighs and then your upper arms. Feel the solidness of your body.
    Earth lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Earth.
    Welcome Earth!

  • East:
    I welcome Air with my own breath. (We welcome Air with our bodies [group repeats])
    Inhale and exhale. Breathe audibly in a deep sigh.
    Air lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Air
    Welcome Air!

Optional variation: sing or listen to Circle Casting Song as the invocation.

2. All sing (and dance and drum!): August 2015 119

Dance in a Circle of Moonlight
Make a web of my life
Hold me as I spiral and spin
Make a web of my life

(modified from Marie Summerwood’s chant, Dance in a Circle of Women)

3. Mindfully create your beautiful nature mandala—depending on size, composition, energy, and patience of the group, you may wish to create the mandala together first before beginning the rest of the ritual and then gather around it for the rest of the ritual itself.

4. Gratitude and abundance leaves (pre-written on if working with children or for faster-paced ritual). Reflect on the bounty of the year and write down things you are grateful for on leaves (dry, fallen leaves or on paper leaves). Read aloud (size permitting—multiple people can speak at same time) and then scatter the leaves around in the nature mandala.

5. Read your collaborative bounty poem: “my bounty is…”

6. Sing: Autumn is Here (modified from Gathered Here in Unitarian Universalist hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition)

Gathered here in the mystery of the hour
Gathered here in one strong body
Gathered here in the struggle and the power
Autumn is here
Autumn is here

(repeat several times)

7. Finish with more drumming and dancing. We usually join hands and end with the prayer: “May Goddess bless and keep us. May wisdom dwell within us. May we create peace."

August 2015 131--

An easily printable version of this ritual recipe is included as the freebie with the fall issue of our newsletter. Sign up available via Brigid's Grove.

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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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