Medicine Woman: The Gaian Path 1.2
By Kiva Rose
Being medicine women means giving ourselves the love we deserve, and taking the time to be excitable little girls again. The medicine woman practices playing on her front lawn or in the river. She learns to love herself enough to create and meet challenges for herself, fiercely and tenderly insisting upon constant growth. She learns to surrender herself to her heart, her senses and the magic of the world around her. She finds ways to act upon the world as a willing participant, student, teacher, mentor, healer and inspiriteur.
As an activist or conservationist, tree planter or war resistor, caring gardener, parent, daughter or ever-loving mate. As a conjurer of fine and healthy foods that make every eater raise their voice in praise. As one who sings to children, or protects a sacred canyon with her very life.
The Medicine Woman is waiting for the dark-haired woman when she comes walking back up the long hill to the lodge. She is tired, her long hair is tangled and her face is still streaked with tears and dirt. The Medicine Woman welcomes her with a clay bowl of nettle soup and the warmth of crackling wood stove. She listens intently as the woman cries gently as she tells the story of her quest.
Participating in transformative experiences can help us immensely in our journey to be as open and awake as possible. This can be through a four day solitary vision quest, a medicine sweat or the intense communion at a gathering of fellow wild women. Through such experiences we learn to be fully present, to take in every sensation as the wind touches our faces or water stroke our skin. We come to fully experience every emotion and to know how to express and understand them.
Nights alone under a tree above a river can be dramatic and even pivotal, returning to our original form before the fear and the pretense and walls that followed. But every day should be seen and committed to as if it were our quest as well, the quest to each moment completely inhabit our animal bodies and goddess souls, to make every moment decisive, taste every morsel, touch and help all we’re able. The medicine woman’s life is a quest to fullest live, and best give.
As a result of our sensitivity and commitment we may sometimes feel lonely, but we are never alone. We are part of an ancient lineage of medicine women dating back to the caves of the Pleistocene and stretching on into the distant future. And we are called now to come together. We are the webweavers, alchemists and nest builders, drawing together to circle, feast and dance, teaching each other new stories and new ways of wild being. We are looking for each other everywhere, in the wild wood and in urban drumming circles, in our mountain dreams and childhood poems. Blood calls to blood... and so we know each other, hearing in the wind our sister’s voices.
The Medicine Woman weaves a crown of aster, daisy and mallow flowers. She sits on a tall rock and listens to the distant singing of women growing nearer. They are walking through the cooling river, intertwining an old song with a new song. The Medicine Woman smiles and waits, weaving yet another crown to add to the heap. The song is getting louder, echoing softly from sun-heated canyon walls.
A Medicine Woman is a priestess to herself, the land and her sisters, an open conduit able to both take in the power of the land and also to give back to the source with ritual and care, moon blood and activist fervor. Ours is a lifelong commitment to joy, gratitude, openness and wholeness. To walking in beauty, and at last savoring contentment.
There is a hunger in even the most tentative of us, a hunger for magic, for wholeness and vision that cries out for expression. We may feel that we are not strong enough, not wise enough, not yet ready. Yet we are all intuitive enough, sensitive enough, feeling enough to practice this Medicine, this necessary work... now. We know these are not simply esoteric teachings but the practical, spiritual and magical knowledge for every day of our lives. We recognize that our connection to land and Spirit affects our relationships, how we raise our children and how much or how often we follow our hearts.
The path of the Medicine Woman is a lifelong one, the wildest path back, the spiral that leads always home, to self, Spirit and this beautiful Earth. This is the way to opening ourselves completely, seeing ourselves fully... finally being able to see the world as the magical, inspirited place it truly is. Then giving back our song, our service, our dance.
Between the hill and the river a small group of women are gathering. Some of them are gathering wood for a fire, others beginning preparations for a feast of wild foods.
Later will come the dancing, evoking animal fierceness and childish delight with our primal human bodies. The women wear feathers, bits of fur and splintered bones. Barefoot and breathing they move to the beat, melding with the choreography of river and wind. This will be the beginning of a long night of storytelling, rowdy laughter and hard-earned tears, vulnerable sharing and bawdy boasts.
The Medicine Woman will climb down a primitive stone staircase to join them, smiling broadly at the beauty of wild women in their element. She will adorn each campfire illuminated priestess with a celebratory crown of flowers. The night will grow quieter, the moon will rise and the dance will begin again.
Kiva Rose is an author, poet, herbalist, student of the Wise Woman Tradition and codirector of Animá Botanical & Women's Sanctuary. She writes the Wild Maiden column for SageWoman magazine, and her work appears in numerous regional publications and literary journals. Kiva’s home is an enchanted river canyon in the Gila wildlands where she co-hosts women for Gaian teachings, wilderness quests, internships, retreats, the annual Plant Spirit Medicine Gathering (May 12-14) and Wild Women’s Gathering (June 17-21): www.animacenter.org, PO Box 820, Reserve, NM 87830.
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