by Michelle Royce /Spiraldancer
"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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Order Moon Rites in our Bookshop
Read an article by Michelle Royce
- reclaiming your feminine power