Archive for the ‘Women’s Spirituality’ Category

A friend mentioned this singer recently and since I am enjoying it so much (apart from a few tracks), I thought I would share.


Kellianna – The Ancient Ones


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Within one of my traditions are a group of Old Ones that have agreed to work with human animals for specific purposes, as we like to say: they guard, witness, and join.  Who these Beings are is debatable and there are several juicy origin myths for them.  One story identifies them with the Nephilim of Genesis (when the sons of God mated with the daughters of men), while another story I’ve heard identifies them with the Fomoire of Irish mythology.  They are viewed as Celestial by some, Animal by others, and powerful Old Ones by all.  Certainly, they are not to be trifled with.  The saying, “when you look into the abyss the abyss looks back”, applies here.

It is often said then when one is called to this path it is the Guardians who instruct them.  This notion of Guardian as teacher, as mentor, and as protector is on my mind as regards women.  :screech: (that is the sound of the vehicle changing directions)

In women’s psychology there is a developmental stage between the ages of 42-49 when we are moving into midlife transition.  Dr. Joan Borysenko has dubbed a key component of this transition, the “birth of the Guardian”.  She is referring to the beginning stages of what sociologist Paul Ray termed the Cultural Creative.  Midlife is a time when many women who have accomplished personal healing work and have reached a level of emotional maturity enter their second pubescence full of new energy.  The midlife woman’s intuition is increasing, she tolerates less BS, keenly perceives injustice and is willing to speak truth to power, calling people and institutions to their higher and best expressions.  As she continues to develop a larger social, political, and spiritual perspective throughout her forties and fifties, she is prepared to become a visionary with the heart and GUTS to create change.

Ray identified three major worldviews within American society: Traditionalist, Modernists, and Cultural Creatives.  The emergent CC social group identifies feminine values as core, and are “seriously concerned” with psychology, spiritual life, self-actualization, self-expression; are socially concerned; advocate “women’s issues”; are strong advocates of sustainability.  Women who have moved into and through midlife transition by stepping into the Guardian role often find themselves in their fifties and sixties in the company of Cultural Creatives. 

These powerful Old Ones are mentors to young women, a strong voice for the feminine values of relationality, and are inspiring forces for change.  It is with the emergence of the CC worldview that women’s values are gradually beginning to shift the zeitgeist in the US.  Of course, there is a backlash occurring and many of those values are under heavy assault.  This is a time when we truly need our Guardians, both human and celestial, to stand, guard, and join.

It is yet another time in the history of women that we must call on our Mothers and Grandmothers, our Guardians and our Guides, our Beloved and our Mighty.  It is time for each of us to step fully into our own Power, learn our unique Voice, and Use It.  The world needs the gifts we all have to offer, the skills we have learned as witches, and those etched into our bone from before Time.  It’s past dallying…. no more talking, it’s time for action.

(she exits her soap box gracefully)





Ray, P.H. (1996). “The Rise of Integral Culture,” Noetic Sciences Review (Spring 1996): pp. 4-15.

Borysenko, J. (1996).  A Woman’s Book of Life; The Biology, Psychology, and Spirituality of the Feminine Life Cycle. New York, Riverhead Books.

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How beautiful they are…the Lordly Ones who dwell in the Hills….

I climbed Sliabh na mBan recently, home to the women of Feimheinn and the sídhe of Bodb Derg….grandfather of the Children of Lir…the white swans.  This area of Tipperary is called Magh Feimhein and the wide plain that stretches beneath the mountain is sacred.  The stories of this area all involve women or are centered around women, from otherworldly women that enchant mortals to an all female race to the summit.  I climbed the Mountain of Women to meet the land and to gather what gifts were presented.

One of my dear friends is getting married in June.  A gift I want to bestow, (as all good Faery Godmothers should have something to offer), is fertility.  I was certainly blessed with it and the land I reside on is rich with it.  As I set out on this pilgrimage, for sacred journey it was, I held my friend and her partner in my heart, and I listened… for what the land might offer.

The day was gorgeous.  This spring the Cailleach has kept a hold, either not wishing to depart or not quit finished with us.  The days have been cold and gray but the morning I left for my climb the sun shone bright; Gráinne full and strong in the sky.  Which is interesting… because one of the stories of this area tells of Gráinne winning a foot race to the summit of the mountain against women from other counties,  for the prize of Fionn as husband.  (Grainne means sun and Fionn is a nickname that means white or bright)  It definitely felt propitious and I tingled with anticipation.

The path to the summit takes you first through a thick forest of pine. It was cool and dark. My eyes spied something gleaming white in the underbrush. Bone, tossed in a pattern I couldn’t read. The first gate is often surrender. I made my offerings, thanking the land for Her gift. There were forgotten dwellings, strange stone walls, and tumbled stone in the dark. I felt immediately welcome and the place delighted me. So much so, that I was reluctant to leave it.

I emerged from the forest onto heath, a moonscape under the white light of the sun. The light is different here. I don’t know enough about the latitude and how that affects the refraction of light but I can see it and feel it. When the sun shines full it is a white, bleaching feeling. The land, perpetually covered in low cloud mist that sometimes appears and other times does not, is turned to haze when the temperatures rise. I have noticed that sunrise is a warm, golden hue, often clear and gorgeous. But once the sun rises above a certain angle the cloud suddenly, as if by magic, becomes visible. They were obviously there all along, the white wool clouds of Her cloak, but not until the light shines through them above a precise angle do they reveal themselves. This magic trick comes into play again when the temperatures reach 20 Celsius. It might be a blue sky day, with not a thread of Her cloak visible, then suddenly…. White Filmy Gossamer.

The ascent was hard. My breathing labored and I thought of childbirth. Up, up, up. When I thought my heart would explode I stopped, turned, and let the sun fall full on my face as I drank in the view. Stunning. Stretched out for miles were fertile fields. The image of my dear friends danced perpetually in my mind. I was climbing for myself, and I was climbing for them. I don’t know how many times I had to stop, but they were frequent. The nearer the top I got, the more frequent my breaks became. I felt as though my legs were lead. At one point I sat, dismayed and afraid I couldn’t make it. Maybe ¾ of the way up it seemed too much. Two crows flew overhead, laughing.

“Yes, I know. I’m a foolish sight, aren’t I. We silly humans have forgotten how to be two legged animals. I’m sure your ancestors saw many a person skip up this ‘hill’.”

There was a small monument along the path, written in Irish and Ogham with a delicate image carved onto the top. I paused long here, sinking down into the land.

“Who are you?”

As I began my trek again under the blazing sun I felt the sweat run down my back. I thought of my friend, and the beads of perspiration that will gather on her brow during labor. Mór Mumhan, whose valleys are so rich, whose estuaries drip with fecundity, whose round belly and breasts are nourishing, and whose vengeance is fierce against those who would harm her children. Great Munster! Full of song and the poetry of great deeds.

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

I labored up the mountain, a poppet for my friend. Life sized doll. My body laboring as her body will. I wanted to cry, “I can’t do this!”

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

And, as all long struggles eventually do…. At last, I reached the end. The summit stretched before me. Ravens soared. A cairn loomed ahead. I held my rock, for you always add a rock. It’s respectful. Beautiful nipple atop a full breast. I was a child come for succor, come to drink of the fertility of this land… Munster the Great. I sat at the base of the cairn, my head resting on a large boulder. I closed my eyes and listened to the secrets of the wind. Shadows watched and eyes were on me. I looked up to see a Raven hovering just above me. We saw each other. Then she glided back out of sight on the wind.

I spent as long as possible on the summit, drinking in the 360 views, trying to memorize the shapes of the surrounding hills, straining to hear their voices. When I finally began my descent, on the ground was an object, long, slim, and perfect to hold in my hand. I grasped it firmly, like a strong cock. It was into this I let pour all the energy and dream and thought and toil. I held it all the way down, allowing the day to drain into it.

They dance with white shapely arms,
the women of Feimhein,
Singing of the riches under the Hill
for great is the warrior who holds it.

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on my mind…

“Even in milder forms, the Christianity Europeans attempted to export to the world frowned on anything that looked to them like ’emotionalism.'” (Ehrenreich,156)

“The mature fruit of the spirit is not the subliminal uprush, the ecstatic inflow of emotion, the rhapsody, the lapse of inhibition, but RATIONAL [emphasis mine] love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness – self-control.” (Davenport, 323)

The distinction between ritual and festival “evolved as a consequence of modern religious systems’ attempts to obliterate native religions.” (Stoeltje, “Festival”, in Bauman, 262)

Bauman, Richard, ed. Folklore, Cultural Performances, and Popular Entertainments.

Davenport, Frederick Morgan. Primitive Traits in Religious Revivals, A Study in Mental and Social Evolution.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Dancing in the Streets, A History of Collective Joy.

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And all the times I was picking up potatoes, I did have conversations with them. Too, I did have thinks of all their growing days there in the ground, and all the things they did hear. Earth-voices are glad voices, and earth-songs come up from the ground through the plants; and in their flowering, and in the days before these days are come, they do tell the earth-songs to the wind … I have thinks these potatoes growing here did have knowings of star-songs.
~Opel Whiteley, 8 years of age, The Singing Creek where the Willows Grow – The Mystical Nature Diary of Opal Whiteley, Penguin, 1994.

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I grew up in a nominally christian household. My family identified as christian, though religious attendance was restricted to easter and christmas. What I remember of the small instruction I received was a focus on listening to the still, small voice…of god.

Often this still, small voice was suppose to warn me of some sin I was about to commit, or how to say no to sin. Either way, the still, small voice was associated with guilt and shame.

It took me years to break free from this interior shame and hear the voice as my OWN. To free Her from the internal prison placed upon her by dominant culture, which in the west is shaped by a christian world view where the idea of sin plays a significant role. Now that I know the sound of my own intuitive voice, and realize just how weakened she was by the decades of shame and guilt, I strengthen her with nourishment; with Mana.

There are many ways to feed the souls with Mana, one of those avenues is to Listen, even in small things. If I am about to walk out the door and suddenly I have a feeling to reach for my umbrella, even though outside it may be bright and sunny, I reach for it. If I am leaving for a presentation or workshop and suddenly have the feeling to grab a pencil first, even if I take notes on my laptop, I stuff a pencil in my purse. Almost every time I pay attention to this feeling I discover that the item was needed, if not by me by someone else, or that the street I didn’t take ended up being flooded, etc.

After all, we know that young children left without emotional or physical interaction will wither and die.  So imagine the state of our malnourished intuitive Self after struggling to grow in our restrictive cultural landscape?  What ways do you feed your soul?

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Soul Rythm

She prowls

stealthy under a full moon fog blanket.

Drawn out-of-doors by the unseen whispering, the unheard glowing. Like daylight, it is. No one on the lane: no cars, no sound…but for cows, the wind caressing tree, and her breath.


Flowing in and out, in and out, steady like a heart rhythm drum around the fire.


Hair streaming, feet bare, arms waving, she turns herself round and round dancing to the beat of the drum rhythm. Wild. Isn’t that what her Momma said?

“Wild Heathen child who won’t put no shoes on.”

Barefoot running in the night of the soul under the brightness of my Self. Listening. In and out, in and out.

Steady. Like the day I was born.

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Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself

by Patricia Lynn Reilly


Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is woman.

A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.

Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.


Imagine a woman who has acknowledged the past’s influence on the present.

A woman who has walked through her past.

Who has healed into the present.


Imagine a woman in love with her own body.

A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.

Who celebrates her body’s rhythms and cylces as an exquisite resource.


Imagine a woman who embraces her sexulaity as her own.

A woman who delights in pleasuring herself.

Who experiences her erotic sensations without shame or guilt.


Imagine a woman who honors the body of the Goddess in her changing body.

A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.

Who refuses to use her precious life-energy disguising the changes in her body and life.


Imagine a woman who has access to the full range of human emotions.

A woman who expresses her feelings clearly and directly.

Who allows them to pass through her as gracefully as a breath.


Imagine a woman who tells the truth.

A woman who trusts her experience of the world and expresses it.

Who refuses to defer to the thoughts, perceptions, and responses of others.


Imagine a woman who follows her creative impulses.

A woman who produces original creations.

Who refuses to color inside someone else’s lines.


Imagine a woman who names her own gods.

A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.

Who designs a personal spirituality to inform her daily life.


Imagine a woman who refuses to surrender to gods, gurus, and higher powers.

A woman who has descended into her own inner life.

Who asserts her will in harmony with its impulses and instincts.


Imagine a woman who is interested in her own life.

A woman who embraces her life as teacher, healer, and challenge.

Who is grateful for the ordinary moments of beauty and grace.


Imagine a woman who authors her own life.

A woman who trusts her inner sense of what is right for her.

Who refuses to twist her life out of shape to meet the expectations of others.


Imagine a woman who participates in her own life.

A woman who meets each challenge with creativity.

Who takes action on her own behalf with clarity and strength.


Imagine a woman who has crafted a fully formed solitude.

A woman who is available to herself.

Who chooses friends and lovers with the capacity to respect her solitude.


Imagine a woman who refuses to diminish her life so others will feel better.

A woman who brings the fullness of her years, experience and wisdom into each relationship.

Who expects others to be challenged and blessed by her presence in their lives.


Imagine a woman who assumes equality in her relationships.

A woman who no longer believes she is inferior to men and in need of their salvation.

Who has taken her rightful place beside men in the human community.


Imagine a woman who refuses to use her precious life-energy managing crisis and conflict.

A woman whose relationships deepen in satisfaction and contentment without depleting her.

Who chooses friends and lovers with the necessary skills to navigate through the challenges of life.


Imagine a woman who values the women in her life.

A woman who sits in circles of women.

Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.


Imagine a woman who has relinquished the desire for intellectual safety and approval.

A woman who makes a powerful statement with every word she speaks, every action she takes.

Who asserts herself the right to reorder the world.


Imagine a woman who has grown in knowledge and love of herself.

A woman who has vowed faithfulness to her own life and capacities.

Who remains loyal to herself.  Regardless.

Imagine yourself as this woman.


from the book Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself:  Embracing Your Wisdom and Wholeness, Conari Press, copyright 1999.

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