Natural health, beauty and fashion

Breadcrumbs: Walking Towards the Divine Feminine

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Last week, I listened to the messages of 150 shamans, medicine women and other keepers of our old wisdom. They had come from all over the world, and this was their last chance to share something with the gathering. One old man left us this parting gift:

“Woman is the medicine of the world. Hear me, my sisters, and gather in women’s circles. We need your power and your love.”

 

I feel an urge to share these words, and a little roadmap I’ve sketched on my own journey to becoming the medicine of the world. This path does not limit itself to our physical gender. This is about a relationship to community, self-care and connection to nature that was buried, burned and silenced for hundreds of years, and is now slowly getting back up on its feet.

To connect to this entity, the divine feminine, we need to combine a poetic heart and concrete action.
Here is a little trail of breadcrumbs from the womb to the divine. It takes us to one moon, three faces and many, many sisters.

The Moon

Modern life has come with an unchallenged dictatorship of metrical time measurements. It dissects sunsets in clear-cut seconds, and deals out jam-packed schedules. Remind yourself that this time is an invention. A woman’s womb follows no man’s watch.

A womb, like the ocean and the plants and all the creatures on the earth, follows the moon. Correspondences are slipping from our memory, and we forget that most women menstruate with new moon, and the rest on the full. This is no fisherman’s wife’s tale – though she, certainly, knew only too well the waves’ tribute to our silver satellite. Do you know that both murders and births double on a full moon? Correspondences like this get forgotten in a world where everything is reduced to a science.

A womb and its own waves create empty spaces, pockets of tiredness, potent action and hypersensitivity. They open a space to dream. We can acknowledge that these cycles are our birthright, our gift. Our heart beating as one with the seasons. We can decline to run the kind of tick-tock rat race the world defaults to, and instead learn to listen again to what the flow of feminine energy can teach us.

Three faces

Many stories paint our original Goddess with three faces, like the moon. She is medicine because she is ‘pharmakon’, the plant with the power to both cure and kill. This triple-goddess is sometimes known as the Maiden, Mother and Crone.
A quick introduction to the faces of the Goddess:

Waxing/Maiden (new moon to full)

Associations: White. Diana/Artemis, the huntress at home in the wild woods, who speaks the language of plants, animals, spirits. She is virgin in the original meaning of the world: sexually potent, and unattached to a specific partner. She belongs only to herself. She is the untamed child, the vivacious explorer, the green shoot, full of questions and potential.

Full moon/Mother

Associations: Red. Ishtar, the Mother, the Tarot’s Empress. She brings fertility and nourishment, she is the wolf-mother, educating her young first with tenderness, then with sharp teeth. She is the leader who makes the community’s dreams come true. She is the muse and the artist, ripe with experience and abundant gifts.

Waning/Crone (full moon to new)

Associations: Black. Kali, the Crone, the hurricane that sweeps everything out of our helpless hands. Her shadow side is terrifying and inescapable, the sow that eats her young. She makes us retreat into the darkness of our own selves, to face the infinite black potential of the grave. She brings the lessons of pain and loss, that will teach us respect. The Crone is also the embodiment of wisdom; she is the seed that comes after the bud (Maiden), and the bloom (Mother).

Many sisters

A 2002 study showed that bonding with other women is our natural response to stress, the key player in our happiness and our secret to outliving men. Once you remove the merely social conventions of chatting, you get ‘the circle’, an idea of sacred community that any woman can make a part of their lives.

Women’s circle

Traditionally, we gather on a full or new moon. Young women sit with grandmothers, all are invited to share stories or silence, music, games, screams… there are no rules and hierarchy in the women’s circle. You go with whatever the group needs. Know only that you will be welcomed and heard – and that the bonds forged in that space can move mountains.

Ancestor Wall

In the book Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes suggests a special gathering. You bring photos/sketches of your female lineage, and put them all up on a wall. You then tell all of their stories. History is quick to forget a woman’s hand, but we can remember our ancestors together.

Heroine’s Altar

What women have moved the world in ways you find sublime? Speak their names. Light candles in their honour. Draw their faces and ask them for guidance, or meditate on how to become as capable as they were.

Our way to the divine feminine does not lie hidden in a book (though books can certainly support you on your journey). It is a web; one we can only explore with our bodies, our sisters, lovers, ancestors, and the energy we feel every moment within ourselves. It is every time you listen to your instinct rather than your mind. Every time you look at a tree or listen to a baby’s babble rather than your phone.

Every time you look in the mirror, and fall in love.

Further Reading

Wild Power – Alexander Pope, Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer
Women Who Run With the Wolves – Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Menstruation and the Origins of Culture – Chris Knight
The Spiral Dance – Starhawk
Many Moons Handbook – Sarah Gottesdiener
Les Culottées – Pénélope Bagieu

All paintings in this post were created by the author – prints may be available upon request.

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