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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The River of Life

What if you were to sit b2ap3_thumbnail_36752977_2120823658129845_8131110730486251520_o.jpg
by the river of your own life
observing the current
watching the flow,
sensing the depth,
feeling the rhythm,
and not needing
to tell about it,
but instead taking
a long, replenishing
drink.

I’m getting ready to take some time off from classwork and public content generation and planning a bit of a social media hiatus as well as to focus on my piling up book projects. And, our annual Cauldron Month is rapidly approaching. One of my own guideposts of life is Mary Oliver’s Instructions for Living a Life:

“pay attention,
be astonished,
tell about it.”

So, it was a surprise to me one recent July morning to consider what it might look like for me NOT to “tell about it.” I find that writing and processing my life in writing is one of the ways in which I best understand myself and the world…I love stories and the power of stories and I’ve written a lot about the value of seeing one’s own life through a mythopoetic, storied lens. But, what impact does it have to live my life packaged for “consumption,” so to to speak? I will definitely be doing more thinking about this! I made a small bonus recording for our patrons on Patreon about taking a “peace retreat.” During this time in the cauldron, I have my Facebook account shut off and I don’t do much new online content generation.

“Over 70 percent of the world is covered by ocean, and, according to NOAA,  ‘Most of the ocean is unexplored—about 95 percent of this underwater  realm is unseen by human eyes.’ At best, we live in a tiny known corner  of a grand mystery…Because as sure as the sea is a metaphor for all  the possibilities in the world, so is it a symbol of seven billion unique souls. Few of us have explored 95 percent of our own depths…”

–—Lea Mathieu (in Oregon Humanities, 2016)

I’ve found myself missing the ocean this month and the sense of space around my heart, my mind, and the landscape, in which to explore. As I referenced in the audio, I have reached a point in the year that I recognize as a pattern—I feel  sped up and overwhelmed by projects/commitments. The past two years,  after running on this kind of pace I have then gotten really sick in July. This year, I am committed to being alert to, and changing, this pattern.  I am contemplating what it means to hold my own center and how I want to feel. I am desiring a  sustainable pace for the summer that honors my need to create, my need for stillness, my need to nurture my family, and my wish to be available to, open to, and “in the way of” the many moments of wonder, magic, and beauty that are waiting for me to pay attention to them.

“Wonder connects with the unseen forces that create and guide our lives. It is the door to the beyond that we need to return to here. We can’t afford to get into the position of wondering where our wonder went.”

–Anne Wilson Schaef, Meditations for Living in Balance

This year, I have made much more regular time for the renewal, magic, and power of regular contact with nature. We go to the river at least once a week. I go to the woods every single day. I take breaks during the work day to stand outside barefoot and lift my arms to the sky and feel the firm earth beneath my feet as the breeze ruffles through my hair. We often go swimming with the kids and my parents in the late afternoon.

Last month, I had an experience coming face-to-face with a coyote in the woods during one of my morning visits. We were both sitting on rocks, looking at the horizon, and smelling the air. It was a neat timeless moment of interspecies shared experiencing. I wrote the following poem about it:

I became aware
that I was not alone in the woods.

Sitting on the rocks, I looked through
the leaves to come eye to eye
with a coyote, sitting in a direct line 

across from me,
apparently also enjoying
the cool morning air
and heavy greenness of the trees.
We exchanged glances
we sniffed the air.
We sat still and looked.
After what felt like a timeless
experience of companionable stillness,
an interspecies appreciation of the
same terrain
we both got up
and went our own ways.

May we always remember
to share vision
with eyes of the wild.

When I reviewed Nicki Scully’s book about Sekhmet last year, I marked this powerful quote to share:

“It’s about opening yourself to magic and surrendering yourself to the ancient, magical powers–the basic natural laws of the universe–and letting them work within and through you. Although it requires your full attention, life continues, and you quickly learn to live in multiple dimensions simultaneously.”

–Nicki Scully

 May you be sustained by the magic weaving its way around you and within you.

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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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