I was recently interviewed for a Huffington Post article on Samhain, asking how I celebrated this holy time. Here's what I told the reporter, Laurie Lovecraft, for her article, Samhain: West Coast Style, sharing what a group of people in the West Coast community do during this often misunderstood sacred time. Perhaps you'll put in the comments below how you practice Samhain.....
At Samhain I check in with myself and see how I feel -- if I 'm feeling celebratory or want to participate within the community I'll attend a public Samhain ritual. But if I'm seeking guidance or feeling like going within, I'll steer toward a more private ritual, alone or with my closest friends. My mother passed away a year ago and my sister very recently. No doubt they will be in my thoughts.
The past two weeks have been full of movement and change, not to mention the perils (and blessings) of Mercury Retrograde. One of the major gifts of a Mercury Retrograde is the ability to finally put to rest things that have been unfinished, and this has been happening for me on a major scale. I have had the chance to really look at past patterns and lay them to rest, to pick up neglected projects and work on them, to revisit things I had laid aside. I led my first public women's Full Moon circle in over a decade, and remembered how much I love creating ritual space and sharing it with other women. I did a major cleaning of my living space, and am engaged in energetic decluttering even now, creating a space that will nurture me and my loved ones. I began teaching my first online class at Mystery School of the Goddess, and am plunging excitedly into developing more courses. And, just as Mercury came out of Retrograde, I was offered an amazing full time job -- after nearly a decade of poorly paid contingent faculty work. It's been a time of immense growth.
I am excited to have Diana, Roman Goddess of the Hunt and of the Moon, along with me during this exciting, energetic time:
It is a new year, and it’s time for this woman to focus on her quest of connecting with womanspirit, and to focus on this blog as the home base for the exploration of the feminine mysteries and sisterhood.
This year I will be attending the monthly Women’s Sacred Circle at my local Unitarian Universalist congregation, I’ll be making new friends and hopefully forming a coterie of women, and I’ll be starting a spiritual practice that will delve into the feminine mysteries to blend them with my animistic and solitary journey. I might even pray. :) I’m hoping music will have a part, too. In 2014 I am emerging from the wild hedge to dance in the circle of women.
I keep finding myself imagining Artemis emerging from the woods… not lonely since she lives with the animals and plants and moon and earth, but curious about the gathering women, and sensing a sisterhood she belongs to… and taking her place among them, contributing to their presence and magic, and helping to ground it in the earth and lift it toward the stars. Grow…
Do you ever long for an ancient temple to visit or wish that there was a centuries old place full of a rich history of the feminine Divine to tap into? I don't always, but sometimes I do. I love Gaia and do feel that for the most part my worship and meditation is wherever I am; this is especially true for me when I am outdoors. While there are places I could go, temples to visit, and other gatherings, they are not always accessible.
That's when I turn to museums and art galleries to seek out a human expression of the goddess. A few years ago this was limited to the small college art gallery in the tiny town I lived in. This past year I have been fortunate enough to live near a major art museum with a classical collection. Now, I am in the process of moving again, and I don't know what I will find in my new town. So, to tide me over, I took one last trip this year to one of my favorite places, the St. Louis Art Museum.
I want to share some of my favorite images of Goddesses with you, which you can view if you ever find yourself at SLAM.
We look to the past to inform the present and to help define ourselves in relationship to those who have gone before us. For women that type of reflection can be clouded by the assumptions made by researchers operating in patriarchal environments. The role of women throughout history was often over-looked or even misinterpreted. This can still happen today, as we all have internal biases inherited from what our cultures teach us. When we think of women in the distant past, what picture forms in our minds? How does that shape how we feel about ourselves as women today?
In reality, the story of women is far richer, varied, and dynamic than we are taught in our schools and in our popular history. Like the Goddesses we read about, or worship, or simply respect, we have played an active part in all facets of human culture. The amazing legacy of women is one that archaeology and history is constantly uncovering.
Spring should be a time of flights of fancy. Keep with the vibe of the season and hold a light and high-spirited dinner party for six to eight of your closest. Invite people to wear "welcome spring" accessories– whatever that may mean to them. This could range from a flower demurely tucked behind one's ear to a full on toga. Nudge people not to be bashful with this. If you want to keep things carefree, why not create less work for yourself playing host or hostess? Nothing says less work like a potluck, fey folk. I for one start to crave healthier eating at this time of year like nobody's business. Make it a salad dish to pass theme. Assign some greens, some pastas, and fruits for dessert so that you don't wind up with too much of the same kind. You can provide this naughty and nice low-cal deviled eggs recipe for an appetizer:
Have you ever wondered who the high priestess of Artemis was? it was Atalanta; a virgin huntress who could outrun just about everyone she met and protected the MEN she was with! According to Theoi.com, Atalanta was also a cross-dresser and her story carries overtones of transgendered and homosexual identity.