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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in sacred feminine
Sacred Feminine or Goddess Feminism?

In recent years “the Sacred Feminine” has become interchangeable with (for some) and preferable to (for others) “Goddess” and “Goddess feminism.” The terms Goddess and feminism, it is sometimes argued, raise hackles: Is Goddess to replace God? And if so why? Does feminism imply an aggressive stance? And if so, against whom or what?

In contrast, the term “sacred feminine” (with or without caps) feels warm and fuzzy, implying love, care, and concern without invoking the G word or even the M(other) word--about which some people have mixed feelings. Advocates of the sacred feminine stand against no one, for men have their “sacred feminine” sides, while women have their “sacred masculine” sides as well.

Nothing lost, and much to be gained. Right? Wrong.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa: Sacred Masculine?
Perseus with the Head of Medusa: Sacred Masculine and Sacred Feminine?

When Goddess feminism emerged onto the scene, it had a political edge. It was about women affirming, as Meg Christian crooned in “Ode to a Gym Teacher,” that “being female means you still can be strong.” Goddess feminism arose in clear opposition to patriarchy and patriarchal religions. It was born of an explicit critique of societies organized around male domination, violence, and war; and of the male God or Gods of patriarchal religions as justifying domination, violence, and war. In this context, “the sacred masculine” was not understood to be a neutral or positive concept. To the contrary, the male Gods of patriarchy were understood to be at the center of symbol systems that justify domination.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Carol, thanks for encouraging the idea that making readers comfortable is not necessarily the honorable thing for a wordsmith to d
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Thanks Lisa.
  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn says #
    Thanks again for your elucidation, Carol. In the past, I've titled my workshops "Embodying the Goddess" and "The Goddess In Our Mi
  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn says #
    And for a stirring performance of the song, see https://youtu.be/MQrC2pEalJ8
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you, Lisa. I'm glad that young people are still singing it, in all the languages of the world. And thank you, John.
Food for the Soul: Three Goddess Anthologies

With the holidays coming in just a few weeks, I bet you're thinking of the presents you'd like to buy--whether for loves ones or for yourself. For me there's no gift better than a good book. Books are food for the soul, precious companions on our life journeys. Honoring the magical number three, as well as the multitude of voices that speak about the Sacred Feminine, allow me to share with you my three favorite anthologies:

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_rise-to-standing.jpgI'm clearing out the clutter in my studio when a scrap of paper pops up with a poem I must have written years ago.

Reading the piece, which sports the title "Forgiveness," I wonder: What does belly wisdom have to do with that?

The Woman's Belly Book: Finding Your True Center for More Energy, Confidence, and Pleasure includes two poems, but this isn't one of them.

Searching my computer for a file that might contain the poem, thinking I could copy and paste the words here for you rather than type them out again, I find files labelled Forgiveness.0, Forgiveness.1, and Forgiveness.2.

Turns out, back in 1995 — twenty years ago — I guided people through a Ritual of Forgiveness in a workshop that was (if I remember correctly) part of a Sufi conference on healing.

The ritual involves moving through the Honoring Your Belly sequence of power-centering gestures — twice, in fact, each time with a different narration.

Apparently I wrote the two narrations for this Ritual of Forgiveness sometime after writing the ones that inform the Rite for Reconsecrating Our Womanhood and the Rite for Invoking the Sacred Feminine. The Reconsecrations voice a sequence of affirmations tracing the heroine's journey; the Invocations present a series of body prayers addressing the Feminine Divine. In each case, the words imbue the 23 gestures they accompany with personal meaning.

Likewise, in the first round of this Ritual of Forgiveness the 23 movement and breathing exercises enact "Decomposing the Old, Conceiving the New." The same gestures, in the second round, animate "Gestating and Generating the New."

Both rounds involve drawing out images emerging from the body's center: first, what we're willing to release; then, what we welcome to take its place.

Twenty years ago, I discovered that energizing the belly and activating its wisdom with movement and breath could contribute mightily to the process of forgiveness. I believe I'm ripe for exploring that connection again.

How are you with forgiveness — needing to forgive, resisting forgiveness, knowing how to forgive — in your life?

Here's the poem that sparked a twenty-year retrospective that, for me, is oh-so-timely today. I hope it's a pleasure for you.


Forgiveness

pulls you out of the muck with a pop
sets you on your feet here
where the ground is sturdy
and the footing's firm
turns you around to face the
dawn-rising horizon
brushes you down, proclaims you
good as new
sends you on your way
with a scarlet smudge on your sacrum
and a turkey sandwich on rye
and a note safely pinned to your lapel:
moving forward

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From Gaia and Dionysus to Jesus and Mary Magdalene

"How would you like to be interviewed for a book that questions the historical existence of Jesus?" asked Minas, a journalist, editor, and old-time friend of mine. "I'd love it if you would like to point out the similarities between Jesus and Dionysus." It was an offer I couldn't resist. The interview turned out to me more than 5000 words long, opening a host of fascinating topics. It is included in the book Jesus Mythicism: An Introduction, whose English translation recently came out. It is written by Minas Papageorgiou and also includes interviews by well-known scholars, such as Maria Dzielska, Payam Nabarz, and Joseph Atwill.

I'm delighted to share a part of my interview with you, with permission from the book's author.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_womb_wisdom.pngBefore I tell you about a great short film, "Belly Button," let me remind you that my free Womb Wisdom conversation, Connecting with the Sacred Feminine, goes online on Wednesday, April 22.

If you haven't already done so, register for Womb Wisdom at nourishthefeminine.com by Tuesday, April 21 so you receive the email with the link to the conversation. 

Remember, once you register for this free event, you're on your way to receiving two gifts I'm offering, each complementing The Woman's Belly Book: a $5 discount on the Honoring Your Belly instructional DVD and a 20% discount on the full-color illustrated paperback, Rite for Invoking the Sacred Feminine.

Now, to the movies:

Early on in my career as Belly Queen — championing women's bellies as sacred, not shameful — a friend showed me a poem she had written. The piece included the words: "first scar, mother scar."

b2ap3_thumbnail_mary-crossroads0.pngDavid Hewitt's gem of a 10-minute film, "Belly Button," offers its own take on that theme. The cast includes Sharon Small and Don Gilet, two of my favorite British actors.

Hewitt describes the story this way: "Six strangers are drawn together at one moment in time, but with different dreams."

b2ap3_thumbnail_mary-crossroads3.png

Myself, I see the sacred feminine at the crossroads. What's the story you see?

 

 
Click on the images above or here to see the film on YouTube.
 
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b2ap3_thumbnail_Tree_Of_Life0-1.jpgWhat and where is the Sacred Feminine?

How do we connect with Her?

Why is it important that we connect with Her?

These and other questions are the subject of my recent conversation with Barbara Hanneloré, author of The Moon and You - A Woman's Guide to an Easier Monthly Cycle. You can listen in to our conversation, part of the Womb Wisdom telesummit Barbara is organizing, beginning April 22.

The free Womb Wisdom telesummit brings together 12 women, sharing their expertise on subjects ranging from Fertility Awareness and Pelvic Floor Health to Mandala Meditations and Creativity.

Once you register for this free event, you're on your way to receiving gifts from each of the presenters. I’m offering two gifts, each complementing The Woman's Belly Book: a $5 discount on the Honoring Your Belly instructional DVD and a 20% discount on the full-color illustrated paperback, Rite for Invoking the Sacred Feminine.

b2ap3_thumbnail_womb_wisdom.pngHere's the theme of my conversation with Barbara regarding the what, where, how, and why of connecting with the Sacred Feminine: She is in our midst.

 

The Goddess In Our Midst

The Great Goddess —
      call her as you will:
      Mary, Isis, Kali, Tara,
      Demeter, Eve, Asherah — 
is here among us.

She is tangible, personal, present, earthy, real.

While some gods may be abstract, remote, out of reach,
She is here among us, in substance.

She is in our midst, embodied.
In the matter of our bodies, she is in our midst:

She lives within the center of our bodies
in that place we call the belly.

Our culture shuns the Sacred Feminine
and likewise shames woman's belly.

The devastating consequences of
denying the Sacred Feminine play out

communally —
       in violence, injustice,
       poverty, disease,
       environmental despoilation

and personally —
       in addiction, illness,
       lack of purpose,
       dissatisfaction, discontent.

Whatever we think will save us or heal us
from this devastation,
in essence
what we're seeking is
    reconnection with the Sacred Feminine.

We're craving a way
to reclaim the Sacred Feminine in our lives,

a way to move into
    intimate experience
    and personal knowledge of Her
            as our center of being.

We can reclaim the Sacred Feminine in our lives
by honoring the place where She dwells within us:

our bellies.

We can reconnect with Her
by making pilgrimage
to the temple wherein She dwells,

deepening our awareness
into our bellies with movement, breath, kind regard.

Honoring and energizing our bellies,
we come to know, to be with,

the goddess in our midst.

 

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What is Soul Retrieval?

One of the secrets of horse whispering is to widen your focus: to be on the horizon as you are also with the horse standing in front of you. Why? Because that is what horses do all the time. This gives horses that mystical presence that we like to cuddle up against, groom, or ride. 

Horses never left their soul. Soul Retrieval is about finding this back in your life.

I needed in my life to research into what it means to be a woman. I went right back to the roots of our culture, and found a field of wisdom and love. The Sacred Feminine. It was more than intellectual research, it was a true journey of initiation. And I initiated many others. I have come to understand my soul is my personal connection to this field, but it IS also the field...it's like a drop which contains the whole ocean. 

 

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