The Seering Power of the Feminine
by Kathleen Smith
Woman as Seer and Intuitive Counselor has been a tradition throughout history. From earliest recorded information, including the Oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece to the stories of persecution in medieval Europe and the witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts in 17th Century America, women have been revered and reviled for their uncanny abilities to predict the future and their empathic healing techniques that often come naturally to the feminine psyche.
Women’s connection to the Goddess has been observed in the Goddesses many forms and attributes among the cultures of the world. From the fierce Kali of the Hindu faith of India, to the Buddhist deity of Kuan Yin, the ultimate Goddess of Compassion, to the powerful sorceress Rhiannon of Celtic tradition and the Wise Crone Hecate of pre-Greek lineage, the inherited power of women is expressed in her archetype the Goddess, in her many guises.
Kuan Yin, the Buddhist Goddess of Compassion of China, whose name means, “she who hears the weeping world”, is said to have gained enlightenment as had the Buddha. Because of her kind heart and compassionate nature, she vowed to stay on earth until the last soul will be enlightened. She is said to hear the prayers of anyone who sincerely asks for her help with an open heart. She is closely linked to the Virgin Mary of Christianity and Isis of ancient Egypt.
The Goddess Kali of India is a Hindu mother Goddess, also the symbol of destruction and the tearing down of old outmoded ways and behaviors. She is often feared by those who do not understand her. One of her many faces are that of a fierce blood red-eyed woman with a protruding tongue and four arms. She holds a bloody sword that she uses to fearlessly cut away illusions and negativity. In contradiction, with one of her other hands she bestows blessings, gifts, and favors. She holds the severed head of her consort the male God, Shiva, when in a sexual frenzy crushed and beheaded her lover in a ritual dance of death. Kali represents the female warrior aspects of the mother and lover. She is as fierce as any male warrior but as loving and fair as the ideal image of motherhood. She is a powerful symbol for the injustices bestowed upon women throughout history.
Rhiannon of Wales is the Celtic Goddess of the moon. The name Rhiannon means “Great Queen”, as she is the Goddess of many important functions. She is the muse of artists, poets and musicians and the patron of royalty. With the help of her white horse she carries the souls of those who have died to the other side, helping them with the transition. Rhiannon is a powerful shape-shifting Goddess, one who changes from human to animal form. She assists with inspiration of any kind and is considered a great Sorceress. She is often depicted as a beautiful woman with long flowing hair and luxurious robes. Rhiannon represents the feminine principles of sexuality and intuition and the inherent right of every woman to view herself as the Queen of her inner and outer domain.
The Goddess Hecate is the representation of the Crone, The Wise Woman whose powers increase with age. She is said to be a pre-Greek Goddess of birth, fertility, magic, wealth, education, ceremonies of all kind and the Underworld. She is worshipped often as a crossroads, often in a location where three roads cross, symbolizing the three sided aspects of the feminine principle throughout life. The Goddess Persephone represents the young maiden aspect, The Goddess Demeter as the mother, and the Goddess Hecate as the aging and wise Crone. The legend abounds in Britain that Hecate walks about on nights when the moon is dark attended by a three headed hound. Offerings were and are still let for her at crossroads. Hecate is archetype of woman at the mature height of her wisdom and abilities.
I am particularly attracted to the Goddess Hecate as I age as a woman. I find myself in a society that worships youth as standard for beauty and power. Woman often find themselves at a loss for identity when they begin to notice the world around them responding differently to them as they grow older. Many women fall into the trap of depression or anger when this occurs. The idea of women as useless once the glow of youth fades is widespread and can be seen in media, careers, families and our intimate relationships with others in our lives. The news is rampant with stories of husbands leaving their middle-aged wives for younger woman. Despairing statistics are recorded in women’s magazines and newspapers of how little our chances are of finding a mate after the ripe old age of forty. This same standard does not hold true for middle-aged men in our society as they age. Women have special challenges to contend with. Many women find themselves alone after the children have grown or their marriages have ended and wonder how they can find their own value when the world around them seems to reflect the belief that with each passing year her value as a woman decreases.
The good news is that there is another way. The ancient tradition of woman as Seer, and Oracle is still alive and well today. After the responsibilities of youth and early adulthood is out of the way, women can look forward to a time spent in reflection on their own unique gifts and talents that were often suppressed due to the inherent care giving nature of the feminine upon her family and loved ones. She can then turn that nurturing ability towards herself and open to an inner and outer world of her Goddess given rights of feminine intuition, wisdom, healing, and connection to the cyclical patterns of the Earth and her own body. In turn women can become powerful in their ability to reflect that nature back on to those deserving of her guidance. It is here that she reclaims the power of the Witch, the Wise One, and the Seer. It is only here at the essence of her feminine mystique that she becomes one with the Goddess.
By Kathleen Smith
19 Highview Drive
Selden, N.Y. 11784
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Partner Earth: A Spiritual Ecology
by Pam Montgomery
Partner Earth provides a wide range of practical exercises, based on traditional wisdom, visualizations, and the author's experience as an herbalist, that enable one to create sacred space, find plant and animal allies, and embrace the spirit in all life that can help heal the rift between individuals and their environment.
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