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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in red tent

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

“Drinking the water, I thought how earth and sky are generous with their gifts and how good it is to receive them. Most of us are taught, somehow, about giving and accepting human gifts, but not about opening ourselves and our bodies to welcome the sun, the land, the visions of sky and dreaming, not about standing in the rain ecstatic with what is offered.”

–Linda Hogan in Sisters of the Earth

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
“The ears of this language do not often hear the songs of the white egrets, the rain falling into stone bowls. So we make our own songs to contain these things, make ceremonies and poems, searching for a new way to speak, to say we want a new way to live in the world, to say that wilderness and water, blue herons and orange newts are invaluable not just to us, but in themselves…”
 
--Linda Hogan in  Sisters of the Earth
 
You may wish to place one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly and hum gently to center yourself in this time and in space. Call yourself in, feeling yourself present in your body, on this earth, breathing in and out, in and out.
 
This past weekend I priestessed an overnight Red Tent Retreat. As part of the retreat experience, we went on a pilgrimage through the woods to a nearby spring on my parents' property. For our Creative Spirit Circle mini ritual this week, I made an audio recording describing the experience of this pilgrimage as an everyday heroine's journey, an Inanna's descent into the underworld and her return, bearing lessons for her people. The recording is available here.
 
In the recording, I also explore the cards I chose for the week ahead and also share a poem, a quote, and some additional reflections on being an “everyday Inanna.” 
 
Our card for the week from Womanrunes, was The Circle, rune of self, beginnings, and potential. How are you tending to yourself? What is beginning for you? What potential feels like it is ready for you to tap into? This card reminds us to pay attention to the everyday miracles around us, including our own breaths. Pause and witness the miracle.
 
From the Goddess Guidance Oracle, we received Abundantia, the goddess of prosperity. This card reminds us to be open to receiving. And, she reminds us of the power of visualizing and affirming our own capacity for abundance, remembering that abundance may come in many ways including time, support, and ideas. Where have you experienced abundance lately? To what abundance are you open? What types of prosperity are you experiencing? There are many ways to prosper!
 
Take a deep breath and smile. Feel yourself expand into spacious possibility and the energy of creation. Reach down and touch the earth. Open your arms to the sky. Bring your hands back to your heart and belly, centered right here on this beautiful Earth. Feel aware of the cycle of life into which we are all woven. 
 
May you make ceremonies and poems, witness many miracles, and receive abundantly. 
 
Affirmation for the week: I welcome new beginnings and I prosper.
 
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We’ve already explored why we pass the rattle during a women’s circle, but what about how to make your own rattle…

Why use a gourd?

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Gourds are natural musical instruments that have more than 10,000 years of history, spanning multiple continents and uncountable cultures. Evidence from the Smithsonian is that gourds were the first domesticated crop ever grown in the Americas, probably cultivated by women as water containers. The origination of the gourds still grown today is in Africa, where seeds were then transported to Asia and then from Asia to the Americas by Paleoindian peoples who crossed the Bering Strait and originally colonized the Americas. I was curious to know if gourds have any specific association with ancient goddess traditions in addition to their association with modern-day women’s spirituality, but I have not been able to find specific information on the subject. However, I was inspired to read this small paragraph, suggesting that gourds represent the womb of the Earth Mother herself and that using them to create rattles, creates “intentional womb prayer vessels.”

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May the circle never be broken  hands
May the earth always be whole
May the rattle ever be shaken
May the goddess live in our souls.

Shekhinah Mountainwater, Ariadne’s Thread

Why pass the rattle at a women’s circle*?

Passing the rattle gives each woman in the circle an equal voice and an equal opportunity to be heard. The woman who has the rattle, has the “floor” and the other women in the circle give her their full attention. In spontaneous or non-organized groups of friends, we are all aware that not everyone experiences an equal opportunity to be heard. This can be due to personality type and preference as well as to simple logistics (such as presence of one’s children), but also due to people with larger voices or presences dominating the setting and the verbal landscape. In hierarchical and patriarchal settings, individual women’s voices may be actively silenced, oppressed, or dominated.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

 I believe that these circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we’re weak and sing with us when we’re strong.”

–SARK, Succulent Wild Woman
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Seven years ago, a small postcard at the local Unitarian Universalist church caught my eye. It was for a Cakes for the Queen of Heaven facilitator training at Eliot Chapel in St. Louis. I registered for the training and went, driving alone into an unknown neighborhood. There, I circled in ceremony and sisterhood with women I’d never met, exploring an area that was new for me, and yet that felt so right and so familiar. I’d left my two young sons home for the day with my husband and it was the first time in what felt like a long time that I’d been on my own, as a woman and not someone’s mother. At the end of the day, each of us draped in beautiful fabric and sitting in a circle around a lovely altar covered with goddess art and symbols of personal empowerment, I looked around at the circle of women and I knew: THIS is what else there is for me.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

“Moontime opens up our intuition.
By allowing ourselves to honour this time,
we can eliminate premenstrual tendencies…
Moontime is a sacred passage leading
to a greater awareness of self.”

–Veronika Robinson, Cycle to the Moon (p. 142)
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One evening as I prepared for a Red Tent Circle, a package arrived for me from the UK. In it was the beautiful book by Veronika Robinson: Cycle to the Moon.

Cycle to the Moon is a quick read and an inspiring one. The line illustrations are beautiful and the combination of journal pages/prompts and text is nice.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Moon Medicine

 

I have been returning my Moon blood to the Earth for years now. This practice began as an intuitive one that was followed by learning about the cycles of the Moon and my body. Just before I began to collect my Moon blood I had been drawn to cloth Moon pads and suddenly collecting my blood and offering it back to the Earth seemed the only reasonable place to put my blood.
 
My Priestess that mentored me, Aquarius, taught me that when creating ceremony it was often beneficial to first do the research that was needed into the subject being ritualized and then to let the intellect go and to follow the intuition, in the instance with my blood it went the other way around. I first followed my gut and then, began to research the practice of returning my blood to the Earth and the significance that it carried.
 
With the combination of listening to my gut and agreeing with what I had learnt intellectually about the sacredness of one's blood, the shame of throwing our life force into the garbage and the power in giving thanks for our ability to create life on all levels by giving our lifeblood back to the body of the Earth that gives us life, I felt pretty complete in my decision. It was in alignment with my Priestess self and that was a sound way to be. What I didn't get however was the felt sense of sacredness, connection and the deep experience that I knew was connected to my revered action, yet I held hope that one day I would, that one day it would 'click' and I would feel the profound depth of my action.
 
That day came just a few weeks ago. As I blundered through my final days leading up to my Moon time, spiritually wandering and seeking I began to bleed. I sought out my Moon blood jar and for the first time, in a very long time, became  completely present. I was present as I washed the blood from my Moon pad into the jar, I was present as I walked to the door, the walk was a procession, a sacred walk and I was aware that the vessel that I carried outside of me, in my hands had become an external womb containing my essence and the seeds of potential life within it. I have a specific place of land that I offer my blood to and this time I slowed down, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude at the opportunity that I had to not only receive the life force into me over the past moon cycle, but also for the chance to release and to let go of all that no longer served me as I bled. I felt reverence as I offered my seeds, my essence and all that I was letting go of into Mother Earth, a profound sense of relief that She can carry for me what I no longer can, that She receives it all and returns it to the life of Her very own body. I was connected to the Goddess, I was out of my head, the intellectual business of trying to conceptualize and wonder about a Goddess much too mysterious to be contained within my tiny brain was lifted and I was, once again a conscious part of Her, I was Her daughter, Her Priestess, Her devotee.
 
This past Moon time the presence, the grounding, the stillness and the ability to slow down and be with my  process finally connected me to the depths of my practice, it has inspired me to spend the break from studying and listening to the written word that I am currently taking, getting into an active practice of embodied connection to the Goddess. This is a more feminine form of spiritual practice and is allowing me to grow closer to the feminine face of Source, it is strengthening my relationship to the Goddess and removing the barriers of a questioning mind. These barriers lifting is offering me a more innocent space of knowing my Creator. Outside of the realm of the mind lies the space of knowing, a simple gut awareness of my Divine Mother being with me and caring for me.
 
Collecting and offering my blood back to the Mother is my favoured way of doing this. The main benefits that I have received from this practice over the years are as follows:
 
  • An empowered relationship to my Moon flow. Every time that I lovingly collect my Moon flow and choose not to toss it into the garbage can, I am treating myself and my womanly flow with reverence and gratitude. The patriarchal shaming of my woman's blood is erased as I care for it in a sacred and holy way.
 
  • Time to reflect upon what it is that I am releasing each month, what I became conscious of over the past Moon cycle and what I am flowing rid of, this conscious awareness strengthens my ability to release and cleanse myself.
 
  • An example for my daughter, a living example. As she observes me over the years to come, her first impressions of a woman and her Moon time will be a magical, mysterious and joyful one.
 
  • An example for my Beloved husband, his relationship to the Moon and to the power that a woman holds within herself and within her Moon flow has increased exponentially as he has witnessed my flowing with the cycles of the Moon and observed the ritualized way that I have cared for my Moon blood.
 
  • A connection to my ancestors, to the Priestesses that have Priestessed before me, to the women that gathered in Red Tents to bleed into the Earth, to the Moon flow that has flowed through all women throughout time, I feel them close as I deepen my relationship to my Moon time. 
 
I began the process of collecting my blood organically and independently, it was after I began my practice that I met my Priestess that mentored me, that I connected to my Goddess group and began to learn about the phases of the Moon. My ritual around my Moon time has evolved over the years and I encourage every woman who feels called to deepen her relationship to her Moon time to also begin to collect her blood and to handle it in a reverent way in whatever way she feels called to. Listen to your gut, follow what feels right for you and listen to that. 
 
As a glimpse into my personal experience and as an offering to take anything that resonates with you, I have listed below a few ways that you can begin this process if you are looking for a place to start as well as an outline about how this practice might look. For those of you who already work with your Moon blood in a conscious way, please add any tips or rituals that you use below, I'd love to have some new inspiration!
 
  • This month send a prayer to the Goddess, ask for her to inspire you towards a beautiful, antique or powerful feeling container that will become your Moon blood womb.
 
  • When you have found your Moon container perform a ritual to sanctify it, set intention, say prayers over it, bless it with lavender or sweet grass and ask that the ancestors guide you in your journey with your Moon blood.
 
  • If you haven't already, look into purchasing some cloth Moon pads, making some, buying a Diva cup or a sponge tampon and cease to buy plastic, chemically laden disposable products. Whether a pad, cup or tampon you can easily collect your Moon blood during your next flow with one of these products.
 
  • Begin a Moon journal, the week before your Moon time begin to journal about everything that is irritating you, all that is frustrating, overwhelming and taxing to you. When your blood begins to flow, review what it is that you have written and release the energetic cause of your upsets with your monthly flow.
 
  • When you change your pad, cup or tampon rinse the blood into the womb container that you have chosen.
 
  • Once you have collected your blood, choose a ceremonial piece of clothing, a shawl, amulet or tunic and adorn yourself with it as you consciously and silently walk outdoors with your womb container and Moon blood (preferably barefoot).
 
  • When you step out onto the Earth pick a sacred spot that will be the place of receiving, say a prayer of thanks at this spot. Thank the Divine Mother for the blood that courses through you, for your ability to receive the Life Force, thank Her for receiving all that you no longer need and for purifying you through Her cycles.
 
  • Pour out your blood. Stand in silence. Be still. Be emptied.
 
  • Once you have released your blood return in the same fashion that you journeyed, place your womb container in it's sacred space and prepare to repeat this ritual each time that you change your pad, cup or tampon.
 
  • When your Moon time has ceased pour a little water into your womb container and keep it in the place that you have selected ready to receive all of you during your next Moon cycle.
 
As we women honour our Moon time and reclaim the power and beauty in our blood we rise up together, as sisters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers fully in our feminine power. When we offer what we shed back to the Great Mother our relationship to the Goddess strengthens as does the awareness of Her presence in our daily lives and the lives of those around us.
 
May our Moon times be held sacred and treated reverently from this day forward, may we embrace our cycles and may we become a spark of the Goddess as we honour and love our Moon times and may this practice bring us into alignment with the Divine Mother.
 
 
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace,
Candise Soaring Butterfly
 
 
 
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