body

Gael Song

October, 2018

The Body of the Goddess, Earth

In most druid writings, there are lots and lots of descriptions about relating to nature, how wonderfully peaceful it is, how deeply restorative. It’s one of the most fundamental, if not THE fundamental, teachings of Celtic paganism. But I don’t think I’ve ever read what I personally feel is the reason for the tapestry of wonders and extraordinary powers of nature, which is that earth is the Body of the Goddess! In the seven heavens my druid guides taught me, which make up the planes of light of the inner realms, the first heaven is earth, and it is ruled by the Goddess. She teaches us wisdom because, once upon a time, wisdom grew stale and flat. Folks forgot the laws of love and bad things began to occur all across the universe (I hear the theme from Star Wars as I write this sentence). So, humanity volunteered to come down into realms of illusion and non-love to learn the laws of love all over again through life’s hard experiences. Wisdom is a living thing, it can only be renewed by reliving it into existence, and our hard, hard task is brightening the light of wisdom throughout the cosmos. This is humanity’s main purpose, and our overlighting teacher and mistress in this process is the White Tara, the Goddess. (The seventh heaven is the Diamond Core, and it is ruled by the God, just in case anyone was wondering what He might be doing.) I always see the ivory White Tara star when I look deep into the earth with my inner vision, Her Shamballa center of light, which orchestrates all that occurs here, our wisdom lessons particularly and the forward momentum of love across the globe. This is Her world.

So, when we are out in nature, looking at the misty ocean or appreciating the loveliness of a fuchsia sunset, perhaps, it is the Goddess Who meets us in the ethers, always. Why do we feel so held and peaceful in the forest or near bodies of water especially? Because we’re being embraced there by Her restful, patient, mothering intimacy that knows all will turn out just fine in the end. Or sometimes, it’s Her longing just to hold us close in our pain, when life becomes too harsh to even contemplate happy endings. By Her silence that is as gentle as the hush of night. I believe gravity also belongs to the Goddess, Her holding force that wants to keep us as close as possible, to feel Her endless love and tenderness for each one of us, to support us from below in utter physical security and steadfastness. Stones, too, so very important to druids as well, are Tara’s bones. It is Her essence we meet underground in those ancient chambers, dolmens, and caves the wise ones of the old ways used for ceremony and initiations.

The quality that I’ve always admired most about the Goddess is how She manages to keep adoring every one of Her children, even when they have strayed deeply into darkness. This means murderers, corporate executives who are impoverishing thousands with their personal greed, rapists, and on and on. Anyone can be comforted in Her embrace, anyone at all. All nature is infused with Her energy, Her enduring patient love that waits centuries, if that’s what it takes, for us to turn and seek to touch Her face, to begin walking the path back Home. In fact, I think we are completely lost without Her, and I worry about all the people I meet who will not even consider that She exists. This is one of my primary reasons for being pagan to the core! And it is this single belief in Her that has caused me the most grief from others over the years. Keep believing in Her, please! Keep the ancient ways sacred and open to those who turn back to Her when they are ready to remember. For She will be the saving of the earth!

Not only that, but it is Her Body that sustains the horrific wounds of war, fracking, pollution, a climate out of control. This is Mother love with a capital L! She endures practically anything to see that we accomplish our task, to remain nearby, to lead and hold us as we blunder along down here. It is time to remember, to return Her divine enduring love with real CARE, gentleness, responsibility for what we each do to Her. I saw a film once in which a man in Austria planted trees and vegetables in a veritable wasteland of dirt and sand. And in seven years or so, his farm looked like paradise, luscious fruit hanging from every tree, many-hued flowers spilling over each other in all directions, peace, fertility, a world full of Her beauty and fecundity once more.

All of these qualities of Her love infuse natural spaces, especially Her restful nature that we need so much in this hurried world. So, take a moment to sit beside a tree or river today and feel Her, will you? Remember Who is truly there! She is SACRED, far more than we know. And let’s take care of Her now, picking up that trash we walk over every day, not poisoning our grass and plants and air any more, instead, nurturing and blessing Her for Mothering that’s as deep as the ocean, as wide as the sky, older than the mountains, and as tender as the petals of roses.

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About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornAlba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment

Goddess in the Flesh

August, 2018

It is almost impossible to meet every beauty standard. It is almost impossible for the beauty, diet and medical industries to “approve” of your body, skin, hair and eyes. In a world that deliberately shifts the “should’s” and shames that attacks and blames, loving yourself is an act of rebellion.

What is reviled in one country is celebrated in another. From skinny shaming to fat-hating what stays the same is the entitlement of male-gaze, the disgust and ownership of the female form. The idea that women are objects for public consumption is at the root of both modesty and pornography.

My mum was a fat hater and a fat-shamer. So was my dad. This meant that while I was “not pretty” I had the good grace to be thin and clever. I prized this things because both came easily to me. I can’t tell if I was an exercise addict, someone who coped with anxiety through exercise, or just very active. I would roll at of bed at dawn and do 30 sit-ups, until about the age of 17. Exercise makes me feel good, helps me focus and is something I really enjoy, though I can’t do much, if any, these days. I didn’t diet, far from it I ate a huge amount, but as a dancer I knew plenty of girls who ate tissue to not be hungry. Girls who didn’t eat for half of the school week to be “thin enough” to go out on a Friday. Fat was a mystery to me. A softness I was scared of. Still find frightening on occasion.

Fat was “weakness” and was far too vulnerable to the rough grabbing hands. No I wanted to be hard, strong and never weak. Of course I hated myself plenty. My wonky nose, crocked teeth, my ginger curly hair. Once I stopped dancing I grew breasts quickly. They came as something of a shock to me. I went from a B to a D cup in a very short time and they had their perks I was sort of mystified by this fleshier body.

As I got older, and then had children my weight was the first thing my mum would comment about.

You look fat, and not the jolly kind.”

Oh you lost weight, your face looks better.”

You are thin enough now, much skinnier you’ll look ill.”

Of course my mum was a much better feminist than I was because I had “given myself over to the yoke of motherhood” instead of doing something “more important”. My feminism was “too soft” and far too feminine and far too fat for her.

I have been all different sizes, shapes and tones and while I was more desired by men when I was thinner and more toned I have rarely been happy with myself. Rarely felt self-love or safety in my skin. I fear the toxic seep of this self-loathing for my daughter. I wonder what seeds I have sown accidentally. I have been working on loving myself for years and sometimes I feel I get there.

So how do we create real change? How do we dismantle huge industries that promote self-loathing as self-care? How do we dare to be soft when it hurts so much? How do we find our strength in body, spirit and mind? I think we must make Goddess figurines. Thousands of them, millions. Ones that are like us, as we are, not as we wish to be. Some with huge voluptuous breasts or none to speak of. Some with long legs, or no legs. With curly coils, or no hair. With lines and scars. With powerful thighs and big arses. So that we know our flesh is powerful and beautiful and important. That we are worthy, fat, scarred, skinny and all. For in reclaiming our image as beautiful, as sacred art maybe we will love ourselves just a little bit more.

Sacred Art Video

February, 2018

THE RESURRECTION BONE

 

Many spiritual traditions call the human body a Temple.

It has taken me 50 years on this planet to fully comprehend the truth of this teaching! The Tzeltal Maya people take this concept a few steps further. They believe that the human bodies and the bodies of animals they hunted have a so called Resurrection Bone.

This bone is part of the pelvis and it often the last bone to survive when a body is unearthed long after burial. Tribal hunters believed that from residual essence here a person will be reborn after death.

This is why they often carved the sacrum of animals they hunted. Ritual care for this bone ensured success in the hunt and carry favour with the gods.

They also believed that the human body has loci (places) of transformative power. This means that we can access the cosmos, powerful gods, ancestors and other worlds using portals in our own body.

Watch this brand new art video, created in January 2018, to find out more about this profoundly intriguing cosmology!

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About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit – Where Meets Shamanism will be published in the Autumn of 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist 

(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Imelda is a presenter on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86

And she presented on the Shamanism Global Summit with The Shift Network in both 2016 and 2017

http://shamanismsummit.com/program/132

The Naked Goddess

October, 2017

The Naked Goddess

 

(Last month’s cover of PaganPageOrg, Goddess by Angie Yelton At FalconFire Ceramics Studio)

 

The censoring of female Goddess bodies is apparently not a new thing. While Greek and Roman Gods had their genitals lovingly crafted, in all shapes, ages and sizes, there is no hint of a cleft on the white marble. It symbolises the Greek, then later Roman idea that women must (especially in public) be silent. While this silence of your vulvic voice is not new, taboo is always, always drawn from something powerful and sacred. At least to James Frazier.

 


Greece bronze-age culture seems to be the turning point from the Minoan, Egyptian and other Goddess cultures. Before that Goddess were made in their multitude. Yet the context is differs. The observer is trying to express something, and while some are nude and some are not they lack the objectifying gaze. When you look at a Greek Goddess statue they are posed not to be observed, but objectified. There is a pornography, almost predatory quality to how these women are designed to be viewed. In stark contrast the snake grasping Goddess or priestess from the Minoan culture whom is bare breasted gazes out defiant, triumphant even. This is the context. The difference between observing, bearing witness to the power of the female form and leering at it.

 


This “pornifcation” of the body, of nakedness, especially female nakedness is even more apparent in the modern internet age. It comes from those whom are in power or powerful positions within Instagram and Facebook judging images and only being able to view images of female bodies through this lens. Nakedness is not inherently sexual. Those observing seem to lack the ability to tell the difference between images observing female stories and bodies (even Goddesses) and the objectifying frame of pornography.

 


Pornography does not have to be nude to be pornography. It is designed to arouse and stimulate a sexual response. In fact near nakedness, or its illusion is a key trait in some pornography. It is more titillating to almost see something than to see it. So much of our media is at least tinted with this toxic view point. Again context is key.

 


Much of this stems from tech industries really struggling with these concepts and a failure to see something fundamental. Something so simple and true it seems obvious: women are people.

 


This idea that women are not cattle to be bought and sold is still radical in some places. Yet in the West we like to think we are enlightened while simultaneously eroding their humanity. You can be strong, independent and fierce, as long as you attractive. In cool, absolutely. Were they gorgeous?

 

Without a doubt. Was it the point? Not in the slightest. They were (ironically) more like those Minoan figures, breasts bared holding the snakes aloft.
The female nipple, her menses, Divine Goddess nude or otherwise are part of our story, our lives and in erasing them is part of the problem. We must mould our digital Goddesses as they were once made out of clay. With hips and breasts, in all shapes, ages and colours, with scars and lions. We must not let them silencer words “be what you like, so long as titillates me to watch you do it”.

 

 

(Goddess of Willendorf)

 

This is why Wonder Woman was such a revelation to me. That gaze was absent. It was the observer, not the objectifier who held the camera, told the story. It didn’t care how “pretty” the Amazons were while they were running screaming into battle. Was it e us, because they know the vulva speaks.

MagickalArts

July, 2015

Our Sacred Vessel

We often hear the adage that “we are Spiritual Beings having a Physical experience”. Spiritual, implying non-corporeal and rarified energy and physical being that state of manifest densest layer of existence.

The mysteries of the Sacred Vessel are those things crafted and etched in the time of our own making. The intricate weaving and painting that defines this vessel as our own; unique and rare in all of its states of being. This vessel has moved through time and seen the rise and fall of our basest and highest nature. It has changed its alchemical form and weathered the extremes of expansion and contraction, remaining pliable and resilient at its core throughout. And so like the archeologist, with a steady hand to extrude the artifact, a gentle sweeping away of what has covered and preserved and the final revealing of delicate shape and form the mysteries are brought to light.

We speak of the Great Work, and it is my belief that a foundational component of that work is to excavate and find that form of ourselves that is the vehicle and container for Spirit as it descends into matter. The Great Work of a lifetime involves looking closely at what impact we have on ourselves, others and the world in which we live. Each layer we reveal and each mystery we integrate and use as our own brings us closer to that state of being that is filled with Deity, Spirit and the limitless. The Mystery is held within the fibers of our being and coming to a state of awareness of the multilayered tapestry that comprises all of our lifetimes of yearning for oneness and return to our true Divine nature is the first weaving of the many panels that form its mantle.

The Sacred Vessel includes many aspects of our being. It is the physical container that holds our physiological components. It is the spiritual vessel that is comprised of subtle bodies, consciousness, meridians, chakras and all things that relate to our Spiritual nature. It is the Temple that we offer up devotion from and receive the blessings and downpour of the Divine into.

I spent over half of my life as a dancer; either in preparation for a career or dancing professionally. The lessons and discipline learned from those experiences have proven invaluable in my spiritual workings. The ability to be acutely and consciously aware of your physical state as it moves through space and in response to the energetic vibration caused by music are skills worth developing. You do not have to train professionally to be a dancer. We are all dancers in our own way. Even those who would consider themselves clumsy and unable to move in a rhythmic fashion, have a rhythm of their own and are still moving and pushing through and around space and energetic webbing in their own style. The key point here is “awareness” not the actual picture that is being created as we move:

Awareness of ourselves in physical and energetic space.?Awareness of the impact we make on that space.?Awareness of how to shift, expand and contract within that space.?Awareness and acknowledgment through our actions that we are the Sacred Vessel that holds life, inspiration, the ability to manifest and create and the inherent power of Will that is our birthright.

Finding the Pagan Way

June, 2015

Many people start their exploration of the various neopagan beliefs by looking online or reading books. This may well open up our minds to new ideas and outlooks, but I would advise visiting some Mind, Body and Spirit events to get to know people in the various pagan movements

One of the things I have come to love most about the Pagan movement, is the sense of community

that exists, despite a huge divergence in beliefs and cultures. In the last five years I have met and befriended many amazing and wonderful people. Tina and I have been to many events. Sometimes as participants and sometimes as visitors. The atmosphere is usually amazing, and we have had free readings and advice from so many people in so many different places, that it is impossible to claim that these people are money orientated in any real sense. Some of the larger events may seem more commercial because of the financial pressure of high fees for the use of the larger venues,, and the resultant higher stall fees. I would recommend finding local events at smaller venues to really get a taste of the variety and integrity of those who follow the various pagan paths. I have mentioned Cabourne Parva in the past. I have been to many of the larger events there, but the lovely Kirke family, who run the events, often donate the use of their facilities to smaller groups who could not afford to pay a commercial fee for the use of the venue. Because there are no pagan churches as such, these many events are an important way for pagans to share their knowledge and and get together to celebrate nature.

I have a story to tell about one such event, which starts about three years ago. It was my second time to attend the Lin Dhu Festival at Cabourne Parva. The opening ceremony was conducted by a local druid, and a lovely gentleman, called Kevin Guy,- who was aided by a local pagan group called Abus Coritani. Tina and I were there as stall holders, and we did tarot and Spirit readings. Mainly, we chilled out and enjoyed the marvellous atmosphere.

There was live music all weekend, and I even got to do a couple of songs on stage myself,-due to a cancellation. Tina performed her first ever public demonstration and astounded me by manifesting her guide, Nicholas Black Elk. Just to show the diversity amongst pagans, Tina also lead an Angel meditation. One lady, kept the many children entertained making wands and it was a delight to see them running around in a safe friendly environment, despite an attendance of around five hundred people. It was there that I was introduced to the idea of being a member of the “Unsupportable Supposition”, by a friend, Ian. I have found it to be a very useful term for dealing with people who need labels. Some of us congregated around the fire-pit and drummed all night and I met many people who were to become friends.

It was there that I met a lovely lady, now sadly passed over, by the name of Anna Salter. She had a stall nearby and was doing “mini-readings” for charity. At the time, I was writing a book about the Faeries, and she told me of her plans for an event which was to be called “Spirit of the Marsh”.

She was looking for story-tellers, and I found myself agreeing to do a story-telling session, although I did not actually have anything suitable at that time. She assured me that I would do fine! And I walked away, bemused at my agreement, but determined to write some short tales to use by the following year. The winter passed and I had all but forgotten my promise, though I had written some short stories.

I learned the sad news that Anna had passed, but two lovely ladies, Julie Sheppard and Sarah Goodley, had decided to continue with Spirit of the Marsh in her memory.

They contacted me, and I readily agreed to keep faith with my commitment. It was a bitter-sweet weekend. There was a beautiful ritual by a Wiccan priestess and priest and Anna’s ashes were scattered. The weather was lovely. Although the event was not well attended,- it was nevertheless a perfect weekend in many ways. Financial success is seldom at the top of the list of requirements for events like this, although often the proceeds are earmarked for various charities, and failure to meet costs would, in time, have a serious impact on the whole pagan movement.

I have to move forward in time to this years event of the Spirit of the Marsh,- renamed as the Beltane Camp and Gathering. The event was well organised and advertised in advance and we all looked forward to a great weekend. Tina and I went as Spirit of the Drum. We gave drumming workshops and shamanic healing with the drum. I again did a story-telling session, although not originally booked to do one. As we drove our van into the field I was surprised to see a huge circus tent in the centre of the camping area. Tina recognised it immediately as one of the huge tents used at Cabourne Parva. I wondered why it was there, as there were three hospitality tents set up in the entertainments area near the stalls. Also there was another tent in the area near the entrance for workshops. We set up in a really sheltered area and went off to enjoy the opening ritual by Pan’s Grove and the rest of the evening. Despite the unsettled weather, we enjoyed the weekend, but, almost total, disaster struck in the early hours of Sunday morning. A bad storm struck and ripped the entertainment tents from their moorings. Tina and I slept through the commotion, because we were asleep in our van at the far side of the camping field. One of the hospitality tents was totally destroyed and the furnishings and electrical equipment were exposed to the torrential rain as a handful of volunteers rushed to move everything into the circus tent.

Tina and I awoke to find that everything had been moved to the circus tent donated by the lovely people from Cabourne Parva. People had set up, as best as was possible, to continue with the days advertised events. One lovely lady had set up two camping stoves and was handing out mugs of tea and coffee. The atmosphere was warm and friendly as everyone adapted to the circumstances and did their best to support Sarah and Julie in keeping the event on track. The bar, which was an inflatable, building was moved into the large circus tent, and the day began with a display of morris dancing inside the huge tent. The day went well, with many events going to plan despite the lack of electricity and sound equipment. That evening, all of the musical performers carried on with great professionalism, using acoustic equipment and candle light. I spoke to Gary, the stage manager , who confirmed that the tent had been donated by Jayne and Peter Kirke. He told me that Jayne had insisted on them having the tent, “just in case”. He had been slightly reluctant to accept, due to the size of the tent and the skilled manpower needed to erect it, but Jayne had insisted.

Along with a group of entertainers called the Misfits, Jayne, Peter and their sons had delivered and erected the tent at their own expense.

This generosity has a much deeper significance than one might first realise. It was based on a premonition by Jayne that the weather would be much worse than expected, and that the tent would be very much needed.

To put this into perspective,- It needed about ten skilled people to erect the tent safely. It had to be delivered and erected,- then dismantled and collected. That is a lot of confidence in one ladies intuition. The size of the gift is truly admirable, but on a smaller scale I have seen hundreds of examples of similar behaviour over the past five years. I have witnessed many situations where another’s needs and well-being were seen as much more important than either profit or convenience.

In this new community in which I have found myself, which I call “Pagan” but which is really comprised of a much wider circle of beliefs and spirituality, I have found a group of people who are truly seeking to make the world a better place, in whatever small way that they can.

campsite

 

 

The Spirit of the Marsh

The Spirit of the Marsh was gentle,
like the soft white, wispy clouds that scudded by on clear blue skies.
The spirit of the Marsh was warm and welcome
as the smiling sun, that greeted us each morning as we rose with bleary eyes.

The Spirit of the marsh,- A timeless weekend spent adrift,
For many of us,- such a perfect and a timely gift.
A gentle spirit touched our hearts and minds,
As we all shared the dream she left behind.

The Spirit of the Marsh lives on,
As we remember those who loved us and have gone ahead.
A weekend spent away from worldly cares,
A time to drift away and dream beneath the stars.

For Anna Salter

Patrick W Kavanagh.
04/05/2014