Wise Woman Ezine with Susun Weed
December 2005
Volume 5 Number 12

What's Inside Weed Wanderings this Month...

INDEX  | HEALING WISE  |  CHILDBEARING & MOTHERING  | YOUR INTUITIVE DREAMS 
WISE WOMAN WISDOM | ANTI-CANCER LIFESTYLE | THE GODDESS SPEAKS |  FEATURED LINKS

Empower Yourself...
WOMEN'S RITES
by Michelle Royce /Spiraldancer

WOMEN'S RITES
by Michelle Royce /Spiraldancer

The Centre.

"The sun is warm on my back. A gentle breeze flows past my skin. I can hear the sound of trickling water. I sit on the earth. I have never felt so grounded, so at one with the elements that are singing, resonating to the song of the Goddess within and without at the same time. I feel my spirit slowly spiral outward, dancing with, embracing and encompassing all these things."

The above entry is an extract from my journal about my first experience of ritually returning my moonflow to the earth. Just over 12 years ago, at Imbolc, the Pagan holiday which honors the Celtic Triple Goddess Brigit, I began the conscious treading of my own feminine path to personal power.

Prior to this ritual I had been a student of Wiccan and Pagan traditions and joined with others in rituals to honour nature and the unseen powers, but it still didn't quite satisfy the inner longing I had felt for many years to reconnect with something I couldn't name but only feel as a summons which echoed faintly but insistently within my soul. About 15 years ago, a time which coincided with the birth of my first daughter, I began to come across many wonderful books such as "Her Blood Is Gold" by Lara Owen, "Shakti Woman" by Vicki Noble and "A Herbal For The Childbearing Year" by Susun Weed.

Discovering the Women's Mysteries was the magical key that in time unlocked the gateway to my own path. I began to dream, almost every night about women of all races and ages who came to teach and show me their wisdom. I received many gifts from my dream teachers , beautiful dream necklaces made of crystals, garnet, turquoise and finally, gold. But even more wonderful than these were the gifts I found myself bringing back from their teachings, the Women's Rituals that eventually became the soul of my book "Moon Rites."

I began to perform the rituals I had been given and to discover other rituals just for women. Finally, at Imbolc 12 years ago, I enacted the rite that I call "Feed The Tree". (Although I know that many versions of this ritual exist and are called by other names..) It was on this day that I consciously began remembering the Goddess guided journey that lasts forever, to actually feel Her presence and understand that I had been travelling towards this moment my whole life. I was truly at my female centre, my inner temple, at the place where all that was and is and will be comes together.

For a few brief moments I began to see the whole shining tapestry of existence woven by Her hands, to experience in my blood and bone and gut that we are all connected and that for this reason there is and always will be hope for all things. It was also in this moment that I felt I had finally found the means of true spiritual expression and connection with the divine that was perfect for me. The summons had been answered.

Women's Mysteries.

Although there are many other forms of Wisdom that manifest in different ways, honouring the Women's Mysteries is a vital part of the feminine journey to harmony and power, and thus to the harmony and power of the world we want to create for our children. Women's Ritual, created specifically for, and performed exclusively by women has never been more needed in our culture than right now. We need to rediscover the aspects that influence our perceptions of ourselves and our bodies as women-the ones that deal with our souls and our emotions, our need to be creative and inspired, our need for a language to express our feminine essence and for role models, traditions, ritual and stories support it.

We need to allow ourselves to be able- and to encourage and instruct our daughters- to celebrate being female and feminine ( but not in a stereotypical sense) yet still expect to be respected and included in whatever domain we of life we aspire to. We need to look closely at ourselves and rediscover what we want, what we need, and what we are capable of giving to the world as individuals and empowered, informed women, not as honorary men.

It's a fact that we currently live in a society that was created to suit men and has been molded and influenced over several centuries by male ideas, beliefs and expectations.

There is a simple explanation for this sate of affairs. Men do not menstruate, give birth, breastfeed or experience menopause. So, as male power grew and males became more culturally dominant these powerful feminine experiences and transitions were simply ignored by those who influenced the rules and beliefs under which society evolved, gradually eroding female memories and traditions until we find ourselves where we are today, expected to live in and make choices for ourselves and our families based on a system that ignores half of our bodies, minds and spirits!

Although we may, with the best of intentions say that men and women are and should be equal in power and in what they contribute to their lives (and I agree in this context) at some point our society seems to have read the word equal as the same - in other words, if we are not identical we are somehow less than, or more than the other. Men and women are not the same.

Art by Aumrita CrystalThat's not rhetoric, it's a fact. For myself, I feel that men and women are equal in importance but different, and that in the best of all possible worlds these differences are the very things that offer us the ability to bring our diverse strengths and wisdoms together to create a whole which is much greater than the sum of it's parts.

But the aspects of being female that are still usually brushed aside and perceived as unimportant or worse in today's society, such as menstruation, giving birth, nurturing (children and anything else), performing household and community duties and menopause- the very events that are seen by society at large as keeping women 'earthbound' and thus supposedly unable to generate or participate in true intellectual or spiritual experiences are also doorways to intuitive guidance, creative surges, connection, power and spiritual insights for women that have been inaccessible to many of us for centuries due to the viewpoint of our culture.

Far from being respected for possessing these gifts and encouraged to develop them, women spent many years being punished and denigrated, taught to look on themselves and their particular kind of wisdom as evil and unclean. Meanwhile, as the world has moved further and further away from the basic concepts of respect, love and sacredness within all things, we find ourselves in the 21st century, viewing natural cycles that include old age, death and the natural world with suspicion, fear and hostility.

However, times are changing. Many women are beginning to explore and reclaim the Women's Mysteries and Women's Ritual as part of their spiritual expression and many men are discovering and appreciating the lessons offered by this feminine cyclic wisdom along with and in addition to their other paths. The world is awakening to the realisation that the kind of spirituality we often experience through connection with our hearts, our blood, our wombs, our bodies, our families, our homes- and from there our communities and our planet is a blessing. As women we are the keepers of a wisdom that restores balance and has the potential to bring about a rebirth of compassion and a grounded, practical recognition of the cyclic nature of life and the sacred within all things at a personal level out of the mechanistic, isolated, linear viewpoint of our immediate cultural past.

The women's mysteries are not only to do with fertility and birth. They also teach the lessons of blood, pain, loss, the shadow, decay and death, which are also a part of life on earth. Recognising that as women we actually live through a microcosm of the Wheel of the Year mystery each and every lunar cycle and therefore experience it's wisdom at a cellular level in our very bodies is a priceless gift. But it's been difficult to access this wisdom when most of us have been only barely conscious of it's presence for so long.

Priestess of Your Own Temple

Much of my work has to do with reclaiming the Women's Mysteries, of Menarche, Menstruation, Motherhood and Menopause and creating ritual to awaken and connect with the feminine divine. This work partly involves informing women as to the importance of acknowledging these transitional moments. Many of the Women's Mysteries have traditional times when they are celebrated, for example, Imbolc (August1st or 2nd in the Southern Hemisphere- February in the Northern) is one of these occasions, in this case for those who have become Maidens to gather together and celebrate, but the longer I work with this energy, the more the Goddess helps me to see that we are all in truth the priestesses of our own temples at all times if we so choose. For example, menstruation is looked on as a monthly event which lasts a few days, affects our bodies and which ceases at menopause.

In actual fact, menstruation is only one part of an ongoing cyclic experience which affects not only our bodies, but our minds, our emotions, our spirits and even our dreams, and menopause is not the end of this cyclic experience but only another transition in it's expression. One of the gifts we receive from our female bodies is that of remaining close to the earth. Bleeding, giving birth, creating nourishment and caring for our young are extremely earthy and grounding experiences. No matter how far removed our daily lives are from the cycles of nature and no matter how we have been brought up, most of us still experience at least some of these events at some time and thus remain close to our core, even if many of us are not consciously aware of it. Another gift is the silence and stillness of the earth element.

Learning how to connect with this energy brings rest and restoration to our busy lives. We often forget to take time for such moments, but as women who acknowledge our power, we have within our own bodies a reminder that occurs monthly to bring this basic need to our attention. If we see ourselves as priestesses in this context, suddenly we have spiritual riches and abundance, the infinite blessings of the Goddess all around and within us.

Vistas of possibility suddenly appear. We can change the world, simply by changing our perceptions of ourselves and making choices appropriately.

Being 'earthbound' and 'grounded' become cause for celebration, balances the tendency of western society programming to live in the intellect only and in many ways frees us from the stereotypes of "good woman" "bad woman" that have for so long been associated with female bodies, sexuality and spiritual expressions.

We are all creative beings, not only in the sense of bearing children if that is our choice and our destiny but also in the sense of creating our own lives on a daily basis. What I suggest is that we all possess the ability to be women of power within our sphere of influence, wherever it may be. If we recognise this and consciously choose to accept the lessons our bodies offer us, our female power is always there, a part of our being.

By Michelle Royce/Spiraldancer



Michelle Royce is the author of Moon Rites - a feminine path to personal power

Moon Rites a feminine path to personal power is designed to be used as a tool to enhance your self-knowledge, acceptance, and personal power. It is divided into three sections. The following is a rundown on what's in it and how you can use it.

With Moon Rites you will:
Rediscover connections between your body & soul
Unleash your inner power, intuitive ability, creative drive
Reclaim the wisdom and magic of the lunar cycle
Renew your female body, mind and spirit
Empower yourself to make positive life choices.
Price: $19.50

Order Moon Rites in our Bookshop

Read an article by Michelle Royce ~ Moonwatching - reclaiming your feminine power


A women's spirituality classic is now back in print!

The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries
by Z Budapest
376 Pages


The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries is essential for Pagans, feminists, and women seeking to learn more about the spiritual path as it relates to the feminine and the Goddess aspects of witchcraft and Wicca.

Read more about Z Budapest

 

Retails for $19.95

order this New Release in our Bookshop

 

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INDEX | HEALING WISE | CHILDBEARING & MOTHERING | YOUR INTUITIVE DREAMS
WISE WOMAN WISDOM | ANTI-CANCER LIFESTYLE | THE GODDESS SPEAKS | FEATURED LINKS