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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Simple Spring Equinox Ritual for Families and Small Groups

I offer what I offer fire
I give what I give
I share what I share
I am who I am…

via The Warrior-Priestess

When planning a ritual involving children, I always have to remind myself to keep it short and simple! Just in time for Spring Equinox, I’d like to share the simple ritual of spring welcome that is perfect for family or a small group of friends. This ritual is designed to be done at night around a campfire and to be followed by a drum circle, but can easily be adapted to day time (perhaps with a fresh flower mandala to gather around instead of a fire). It can take place anytime between March 21 and May 1 and still feel seasonally appropriate.

 

Spring Family Ritual

•   Optional: Before the ritual itself, make manifestation/intention/commitment bracelets together setting one creative goal to accomplish by July. March 2016 024We used Job’s Tears seeds, puka shells, and watermelon quartz strung on elastic cord. If you don’t have the supplies to make bracelets, ask each person to think of or write down one creative goal to accomplish by July.

•    Practice song, Gathered Here*, together until participants feel comfortable.

•    Go outside to fire circle

•    Group hum—this is our community’s usual means of casting a circle. We stand together in a circle and place our hands on each other’s backs. Then, we hum in unison at least three times to pull our personal vibrations and rhythms into a sense of physical and literal harmony.

•    Call and response reading (modified from one in The Pagan Family by Ceisiwr Serith). Children respond well to calling the lines back, rather than just listening to someone talk.

We are here to awaken with the spring (group repeats)
Here in front of us, the fire leaps upb2ap3_thumbnail_11043209_1600409706837912_5690695544076436482_n.jpg
Reaching from us up to the sky
Up to sun, up to the moon
The sky looking down
Looking down to where our fire is burning
Fire of the Sun
Burn in our midst (group repeats)
Fire of our Spirit
Burn in our midst (group repeats)
Fire of the Spring
Burn in our midst (group repeats)
Warm us and the world
As the season turns to spring
We awaken with the Earth! (said loudly and energetically together!)

•    Group sharing of creative goals 

•    Sing Gathered Here*

Gathered here hands
in the mystery of the hour
gathered here
in one strong body
gathered here
in the struggle and the power
spring time is here
spring time is here.

I suggest singing the song multiple times through, because the group tends to increase in enthusiasm, confidence, and skill with repetition!

*I have adapted this song from one in the UU Hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition. A recording of the original is here, but I recommend speeding the tempo up significantly for energy/enthusiasm/mood purposes. We also end with raised notes on the final two lines, rather than dropping the octave as the original seems to do. A tutorial version that includes a circle dance is here. I’m going to see if I can talk my family into dancing it this year (again, a little faster though)! Another good song choice which can be substituted is: We are Circling from Nina Lee’s Deep Drink CD. Listen online here.

March 2016 019

More resources for circling, ceremony, and song here:

Come Join the Circle! - 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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