feminine

Gael Song

August, 2018

Lughnasa


Lughnasa is my very favorite spirit time of year. The solstice/equinox and cross-quarter days mark the cosmic openings of the eight basic aspects of spirit in all things, shifts that are quite powerful. If you are into feeling energy or spirit, these can easily be felt. The masculine openings occur at sunrise, the feminine at sunset on the eve of each holy day. Early in each year, at Imbolc, this spirit opening feels like a baby, a little Girl. Then comes the Boy of the Vernal Equinox, the Virgin Girl and Boy of Bealtaine and Midsummer, the mother and father of Lughnasa and the Autumnal Equinox, the Grandmother at Samhein, until finally, the Grandfather opens on Midwinter. And all these cosmic aspects of spirit are quite different, with very varied directives in life, plus they open the six-week phase of growth for that inner aspect of the self until the next solstice/equinox portal for everyone. All of us, men and women alike, the cosmos and the earth, too, have these eight parts of our spirits, for this sacred structure interfaces all things. We are not so different after all.

So, on the evening before Aug. 5th, the cosmic Mother spirit opens; within each person, across the globe, and in all the planes of existence. And it is a dramatic change from the world server, strong-willed, action oriented Virgin Male of the preceding six weeks. Everything suddenly slows down. There is a nurturing, comforting presence billowing through the wind and clouds. I often feel the impulse to lie down and rest on the earth’s body, a mother herself. This is Lughnasa. Divine Mother can be particularly felt in the first fruits of the harvest. For this holy day also marks the opening of the action ethers within, which means manifestation into the physical, the specialty of the harvest father, Lugh, for whom even this feminine festival is named. This cosmic mother loves to nourish all her children with foods that delight, manifesting the tastiest blueberries or corn or cucumbers from her soil. The fruits of all the inner work of the previous nine moons of walking one’s path begin to appear at this time as well (the Apple moon is the tenth of the druid year), not just the outer harvest of grains and fruits, for the cosmic Mother wants to manifest all our dreams as well! (Though I have the distinct feeling that foods and recipes that simply cannot be resisted might be her personal favorite.) In my meditations into past lives as a Celt in Scotland over 2,000 years ago, I recalled large tribal celebrations at Lughnasa in honor of the earth mother, with extravagant expressions of gratitude for all the natural resources the earth mother had provided over the passing year, each tribe trying to outdo the others. I saw all priestesses who were mothers circled inside the groves in my visions, too, priestesses in divination meditations, calling out anything they saw that might lay ahead for the tribes, blessings and challenges both. And there were always swans on the lochs, too, the mother totem.

But more than this, Lughnasa falls during the Apple Moon, moon of the Goddess, the White Tara, July 27th-Aug. 19th. And when I do my own Lughnasa ceremony at my altar, calling in my druid guides to facilitate the opening of the mother part of my spirit, I always feel the gentle Presence of the White Tara come in around me as well. “Let Me come very close”,” She says, “I miss you so much, child of My Heart!” And I can sense spirit arms around my shoulders or a gentle head laid, very lightly, on my own with that strong eternal Mother Love pouring into me. And I remember the same thing happening in those ancient lifetimes, too, a personal encounter with the Goddess around the time of Lughnasa in those great tribal crowds, a sweet message of mother love to each and every person there. For myself, I need a space of silence for this intimate interface, not the loud, talking on and on, ceremonies that many prefer. And it’s when I fall asleep later that evening when I often feel Her most closely, spirit fingertips brushing across my temples. Oh, She can become very insistent about learning distressing wisdom lesson of the mother aspect at times across the next six weeks, I’ll grant you that, but not on this one holy day. It brings mother comfort and sweet abiding love, stronger in ways than any other. And then on Aug. 8th, three days past Lughnasa, there is always another personal Goddess message, but this time not a visitation, no, a physical gift of some sort that signifies what else will soon be manifesting during the harvest season. Lughnasa, mother comfort, peace, sweet rest, delicious things to eat, and the hint of fulfillment soon to come. No wonder I love it more than all the rest!

***

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

MagickalArts

June, 2018

 

Sleeping With the Goddess: Embracing the Sacred Feminine

I twist and turn as the Fates

Spin the multicolored threads

That are the web of life.

Strength and beauty grace my path

And Mother’s gaze softens

As she looks upon my weaving.

I awaken joyous and bursting

With life and renewed spirit

Youth my ally and wisdom

Just from hand’s reach

Not ready for the taking

I sigh into the pain as

New life issues forth

I am caretaker and guardian

Of this sacred living gift.

I close my eyes and slumber finds me

Her beating heart echoes through me

Arms cradling Her child of making

Welcoming me home into her

Womb of creation.

We, as pagans celebrate the duality and polarity of all manner of things as we perform our workings of magick, make offerings to the Deities and weave the rich tapestry of our magickal and mundane lives. Contained within these polarities are the concepts of the masculine and the feminine that transcend gender and sexual dynamics. These are the outpourings of the solar and the lunar, strength and emotion, force and form. Each dynamic is needed as the informed companion of the other and each must work in collaborative effort to form the whole. They are the mainstay of our paths and the underpinnings of the universal laws we follow as we move forward in our evolution as spiritual beings.

Historically, as we have moved through the ages the shift of focus from that of a matriarchal society to one of masculine dominance has shaped the ways we interact and respond to the energies of the Goddess. Out of necessity for survival, the honoring of the Sacred Feminine was for the most part hidden and cloaked by the stereotypes of what woman should be and what roles they played both spiritually and mundanely. Now, we see a newly developed understanding and reaffirmation of who and what the Goddess is in relation to who and what women (and men) are. We honor the reverence that was held for woman and the life giving properties contained within her womb, her hands and her heart. We celebrate the Divine expressed in the female form and call to the archetypal energy of the Goddess to manifest in our actions and our will. We acknowledge her presence as the flowing and changeable tides of our emotions and our intuitive nature. And, we cower in fear when she wields the blade of the warrior and calls into accountability those who exert their will and ego in unjust actions put upon those who cannot defend themselves.

She holds the mystery of our destiny in her breath of life and the many forms she takes are the foundations upon which we learn, thrive and grow. She is the most intimate of our companions; being ever within and around as our relationship with her endures the test of time, faith and imposed suppression. We need never look far to see the power of her radiant energy and for many the first understanding we have the Goddess is held in the beauty of the Moon.

Lady Moon

We hold dearly and heed the call of the Lady Moon as she moves through her cycle of New, Full and Dark. The phases of the moon and the ebb and flow of her tides are the experiences of return and release that we engage in at each interval of our own cycles of newness, full expression and waning light. It is her hand that we cling to as we begin the descent in the shadows of our being. And, it is her light that illuminates those things within ourselves that need refining and polishing by the gentle flowing waters that mold and sculpt.

We follow her cycle through the night sky and know of the potential held in the newness of Maiden Moon, but do not always fill ourselves with the enthusiasm and joy of that growing energy. The Maiden acknowledges that everything and anything is possible and change is not to be feared, but simply the taking of another road. In the simplicity of re-engaging the wonder of seeing with fresh eyes and new perspectives our workings grow and seek out what will encourage and support their maturation. The Full Moon brings to us the product of what has been nurtured and tenderly crafted. The wonderlust of youth now stabilized and foundations anchored more fully. Ownership and pride in what has been brought forward fills us and we stand in the fullness of her light as creator and that which has been created. The darkness hides her beaming face as the Moon wanes and the yearning to once again see the brilliance of her light growing and guiding the way for productive passage wells up deep inside. We look up at blackened sky and see the future that soon will be as the Goddess as Moon reveals herself in her many and eternal phases.

The Creatrix

We call to the Goddess as the Creatrix and experience the sacred act of union that is her creative outpouring. We raise our voices in joy at the birthing of new life and its manifestation from the dark waters of her womb. Her union is the quickening and enlivening of what makes us most truly human and opens the paths to compassion and the expression of all encompassing love. We seek her as the Divine guardian of what we bring to birth in our lives and ask her intervention when that product is less than viable and seems all but lost to manifest form.

The Quickener

We rise with her to greet the morning’s light shone brightly from her solar consort and retire with her into the labyrinth of our dreams and intuitive sight as we slay the serpent of chaos and illusion. We move through our daily activities ever mindful of our impact on the world around us as the energy of her intent places each foot in front of the other imbued with her grace. It is the radiant Goddess who stands at the prow of the Solar Barque in her aspect as Hathor and acts as catalytic opener to RA. Without her feminine polarity weaving its magick of enlivening and protection the Sun’s daily journey would fall into chaos and the cycle of Dawn to Dusk would be a hollow shell of the power that is held because of her presence.

The Serpent of Wisdom

She is the serpent of wisdom and the revealer of the truths of our existence and divine nature. She is Sophia, the gnostic Goddess of Wisdom who holds the key to the deep gnosis of regeneration and empowerment. The Goddess weaves her circuit of energetic outpouring to be received by that of the strengthened container that is the God. In the Eastern practices of raising Kundalini it is the energetic nature of the feminine (or lunar) and the masculine (or solar) that rises as the twin serpents coil in ascent; opening, informing and enlivening each of the vortices of the chakras. These twin serpents, however, begin their journey as one, the perfect union of the sacred feminine and the masculine each dependent upon the other, yet singular in expression.

Healer and Place of Return

We surrender to the Goddess in request for healing and it is to her dark waters of birth that we return when life’s end has come to claim us. Our prayers are lifted to her Divine awareness and we call out to her to heal and transform all manner of ailment and discord. Her greatest transformative and healing power comes not as we desire, but in the grace of her wisdom as she sees what we truly need. We ask that she take us quietly into her embrace and ease the suffering of those in pain. She stands with us in the darkness of our own inner landscape and breathes her light into those parts of our being that fear the scrutiny of her gaze; opening, removing and cauterizing the wounds.

SHE is All and SHE is Nothing

The paradox of her energy is that She is the essence of everything and She is also the nothing that is the great void of all beginnings and endings. It is her energy that quickens the emptiness of non-existence and her form that becomes the container that receives its potent flow that will ensure that life will issue forth. She is humanity in manifest form and we are She in our true forms as bodies of light and spirit.

These are but some of the gifts of the Goddess and her hand is present in all the workings of our life cycles. And, it is this balancing point of nurture and intuition, strength and form that the mysteries of life and death itself are held. When we call upon the Goddess we are issuing a call to that part of ourselves that is creativity, catalytic exchange and the quickening waters held within her womb of transformation. We are offering up the deep wisdom of our being to be held in the embrace of her light and then to be transformed as the union with her polarity of the masculine takes hold.

Her power is held within all of us, regardless of gender. For, we are born of woman and it is in the throes of that pain that the true nature of sacrifice and purpose are taken up so that the beauty that is the soul of man may be expressed in our life’s work. We stand in her strength, walk in her beauty and sleep in her embrace at every turn of our existence and it is to her that we return as the darkness of death takes hold and breath is issued in its finality.

Cover : Caitlin Fennelly, MFA

www.caitlinfennelly.com,

or on

Facebook as Caitlin Fennelly Studio

article excerpted from my book:

Sleeping with the Goddess: Nights of Devotions

Available here:

www.robinfennelly.com/books

or on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the spheres

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen, Volume One

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

The Holy Grail

May, 2018

What is the Grail to you?!

The Grail stands as a beacon of hope and wholeness in the midst of the Wasteland created by modern Western materialism.  The potency of this symbol beckoning us back to living in harmony with both ourselves and the land around us is a myth very much of our time.  It speaks directly to wholeness and connection and reminds us that to bring the Wasteland back to fertility and lush abundance we must return to the Source that nourishes it.

Our modern Society and education systems gives us few really useful tools to take with us on the great journey of Life.  We need knowledge and understandings that we can directly apply to the challenges and traumas we face, that enable us to emerge empowered and strong, not weak and victimised. The Lost Wisdom of the Grail telesummit brings together a wide variety of Wisdom Keepers who are working to help humanity overcome the challenges it currently faces and envision a future where all are valued and flourish.

– Saira Salmon, https://www.sairasalmon.com/

Recently I received an invitation to be one of the speakers on a Telesummit in May 2018, titled The Lost Wisdom of the Grail, (https://www.sairasalmon.com/grail/) hosted by Saira Salmon. She has organised this summit from a strong personal connection to the Grail teachings and Grail mythology.

Saira’s question to me was: “How and where does the concept of the Grail appear in your shamanic work and classes?” This was a very exciting question to engage with!  My immediate response was to request a dream on this subject from my spirit team.


The dream that came was about “the wounded masculine” – linking it to the hurian tale of The Fisher King. In the dream I had to make my way to this wounded male figure (first I could not even see if it was a toddler or grown man). When I got there I realized that he was my father/son/husband/male friends all in one. The dream was asking me to reflect on where I need to heal my inner masculine (born a woman) to arrive at a healthier relationship of masculine and feminine in our world. (The external world is always an expression of our internal world!)

Over the centuries many scholars and mystics have arrived at different definitions of what the Holy Grail is or was. For me personally the crucial question is: what is the Holy Grail to you?!


For me, first and last, the Grail is a CRUCIBLE – a sacred container of transformation and transmutation – the big question is: are we willing to make ourselves a crucible (sacred chalice or Holy Grail)?!

For much of 2016 and 2017 I was working intensely with a mysterious figure who called herself The Poison Mother.  She came to me in Sweden and became one of my key allies over time. I made an art video about our work together by the same name:

The Poison Mother


As our work unfolded she told me that was familiar with her under a different name:  Norse goddess Sigyn (wife of the trickster god Loki). Her big question to me (to all of us!) is: am I willing to make myself a crucible for transmutation in the world? This means rather than avoiding “toxic situations” actually choosing to be there and using myself as a chalice (or Holy Grail) to be an agent of change in service to our collective consciousness evolving.


In ancient Sumeria this sacred marriage (or Hieros Gamos) was the central idea at the heart of their religion.  I just finished an art video exploring this mystery today:

The Sacred Marriage in The Great Below


Another Grail in Norse cosmology is the cup that the Valkyrie holds out to the warrior in the moment of death. She is also known as the “The Maiden with the Mead” and she is a supernatural being (a goddess!) and Mistress of Initiation. (I invite you to check out the work of author Maria Kvilhaug (http://freya.theladyofthelabyrinth.com/?page_id=35) who wrote a PhD dissertation on this subject!) This cup is said to hold the mead and her offering accompanies a sacred marriage between the Maiden and the “Hero” of the tale. He faces fierce trials and a descent into the Realm of the Dead to earn this privilege.

It is my belief that profound mystery rites of initiation involving women and feminine power are found at the very heart of Norse cosmology (more commonly perceived as quite a male-god dominated tradition!) The same thing is true for many other cosmologies that map an Other World. The details might be culture-specific but the concept and mystery teachings are very similar.

My personal intention is to call together groups of powerful talented people and harness the group power to retrieve those ancient mysteries and initiations! – If that works speaks to you – please check out my 2-year Seiðmaðr & Seiðkona 2-year program in Sweden (starting Summer 2019):

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=224450


For the Celtic peoples this ritual was about the sacred marriage of the king to the goddess of the land (Sovereignty). Without this marriage the land becomes a barren waste land (and look at what we are doing to the Earth and her creatures – we need to revive this mystery teaching!
This is the core of the shamanic teaching I am doing – putting ancient mystery teachings back into practice in the modern world with modern groups of people working in spirit-led ways, using the process of direct revelation).

When we lose these wisdom traditions our inner world becomes barren. Our external world becomes a wasteland, dominated by conflict, pollution and a lack of respect for all sentient beings. This way of being in the world brings dis-ease and disharmony with the great Web of Life (or Web of Wyrd in Norse cosmology).

Another question Saira put to me was: what is the Grail in terms of spiritual work with young people? In this context for me The Holy Grail is the safe sacred space – container – for young people to develop their own spiritual toolkit in partnership with their spirit allies. In our culture we make sure that children are looked after in the physical/social/emotional realm but often we leave them rudderless when it comes to the spiritual dimension. I obviously wrote a whole book about this (Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life) but to sum it up in just a few words… our children and young people need:

  • A viable spiritual toolkit to help them navigate the challenges life throws at them

  • Safe sacred space with kindred spirits – if their innate psychic /healing/shamanic abilities are to be nurtured

  • Rites of Passage offered by the Elders of our Communities – safe experiences of initiation and stepping through developmental portals in order to become fully-fledged adults who do not fear death.

Therefore The Grail is directly linked to a rich inner life, to sacred space held by elders and wisdom keepers, to a sacred marriage within ourselves but also between the archetypal figures of King and Sovereignty (Goddess of the Land)!


Are you willing to be a crucible for change and transmutation in our world?!

If this material speaks to you: please make sure to register for the Grail Summit and tune in. Expert speakers from all over the world will share their unique take on this material! And this summit is FREE!!

***

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 December 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)

Tarot Deck Review: The Goddess Tarot Deck by Kris Waldherr

December, 2017

The Goddess Tarot Deck created and Illustrated by Kris Waldherr

Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT; the deck is printed in Italy. Inside the softly-colored box are the 78-card deck, a 3 ¼ x 4 ½ inch “Little White Book” containing an introduction by the author, card meanings, and a description of the Celtic Cross spread, a 207 page 4 ½ by 7 inch softcover companion book, and a 20 inch by 17 inch template or layout sheet for a Celtic Cross spread, showing card positioning and position meanings.

The theme of this deck as indicated by its title, The Goddess Tarot, is the Divine Feminine, and Ms. Waldherr is certainly qualified to create this deck. She is the author of The Book of Goddesses, and its companion book, Embracing the Goddess Within: A Creative Guide for Women, which together offer a rich and textured portrait of the Divine Feminine. Some of the art from these books is also found in this deck. The Goddess Tarot highlights the Divine Feminine, and the language, symbols and mysticism associated with Goddesses throughout the world. Each of the 22 Major Arcana cards features a feminine archetype personified by a Goddess, and many of the card names have been changed to more accurately reflect the combination of the traditional meaning of the card and the myth of the Goddess representing the card. For example, Tara is featured on the 0 card named “Beginnings,” with Isis on the number I card named “Magic,” Sarasvati on the number II card called “Wisdom,” and similarly all the way through to the number XXI card with the traditional name of “The World’ and the corresponding Goddess of Gaia. Merely working with the images and card descriptions of the Major Arcana alone would offer a broad taste of personality traits and myths associated with many Goddesses honored within various cultures, religions and spiritual practices.

But if you are interested in the Divine Feminine, you don’t want to ignore the Minor Arcana. Each of the suits presented, the traditional Cups, Staves, Swords and Pentacles, illuminates the wisdom of a specific Goddess and a myth or story associated with that Goddess. The Cups tell of Venus and the emotional satisfaction associated with both the Goddess and the suit. Staves offer the talent and initiative of Freyja, Swords the understanding of Isis, and Pentacles tell of the beauty and wealth of Lakshmi. Each numbered card has an image based on the Rider-Waite deck but adjusted to fit the story or myth being told by the suit. The Court Cards, also each with an image, are ranked King, Queen, Prince, and Princess.

The cards themselves are 3 3/8 by 4 ¾, large enough so the images can be seen but not so large that shuffling is a challenge. Like the companion book, the card stock is sturdy enough to encourage regular use. The finish is glossy, which should make the cards nicely slippery but to my surprise, I found the cards in my deck tend to stick together, making shuffling a bit difficult. The images themselves are beautiful. The coloring is pastel, but while soft and dreamlike images are created by the palate used in this deck, there is also a vibrancy that is alluring. The figures are detailed, and are costumed appropriately according to their individual stories. The backgrounds behind the figures are beautifully colored, as are the frames around the images. The back of the cards contain a simple image of royal blue and gold.

If you are a “Tarot purist,” this might not be the deck for you. Despite being Rider-Waite based, the Goddess Tarot uses non-traditional names and images on the Major Arcana cards, and incorporates a story into the images of each suit of the Minor Arcana cards. Overall, most of the images are of women, with very few male images within the deck.

But if you are a Tarot enthusiast, either woman or man, who is interested in deepening your knowledge of the Divine Feminine, the Goddesses of different cultures, feminism, and world culture, or if you enjoy exploring Goddess/Divine Feminine imagery of all kinds, this deck will be a good fit. The beautiful imagery and compelling myths combine and lace seamlessly with the meanings and correspondences already in place within a Tarot deck in order to offer a rich and textured portrait of the Divine Feminine. The use of Goddess archetypes within the images and stories of the Major Arcana presents a whole new set of Goddess-specific correspondences to be used in a reading, adding depth and texture to the messages of the cards.

 

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot reader and teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journey To Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

 

For Amazon information, click image below.

A Moment for Meditation

October, 2015

The 4th Chakra

As I mentioned in the previous columns, when doing any chakra work, it is imperative to keep yourself grounded. While you can use any grounding exercise that you prefer, I have always used this one in my chakra classes:

**Stand up, grip toes to the ground, long deep breathing, visualize your roots going deep into Mother Earth, keeping you grounded and centered. Inhale and bring the earth energy up to the base of your spine; exhale and let the energy return to the Earth. With each inhale, receive healing energy from the Earth; with each exhale, release all negativity. This will not hurt Mother Earth, as long as it is done for healing and revitalization. Activate your feelings of consciousness and open yourself up to the limitless possibilities surrounding you.** *From my 7-Week Chakra Course*

chakra1(photo credit: yogaandlove.com)

The Fourth Chakra is also called the Heart Chakra. It’s name in Sanskrit is Anahata, which means *unhurt or unstuck(. It is located right at your heart. This chakra helps you to tune into your own rhythm. It merges and balances your mind, body and spirit and helps to open your consciousness.

The color of this chakra is green; it’s element is Air and it is considered a “feminine” chakra.

The Fourth Chakra aids in your ability to act with compassion, devotion and love. The love you give and receive will be unconditional. You will act with acceptance and understanding. You will find a balance within yourself.

When this chakra is balanced and functioning properly, you will feel a sense of compassion for others. You will be caring, accepting and calm. Your inner balance and serenity will be obvious to those around you. You will adopt an “attitude of gratitude” and be able to move in harmony and unity with those around you, who may comment that you have a glow about you.

Conversely, if this chakra is unbalanced, you will be unable to form attachments and will have difficulty in all relationships. You may feel sad, lonely and resentful; you may feel alienated from those around you. You will have no belief in love and will find it hard to receive love, as you are unable to give it freely.

One of the first and easiest things you can do to open the Heart chakra, is to straighten your posture and get those shoulders back. We spend so much time hunched over our screens with our heads forward, shoulders slumped and our chest collapsed. Bring that head up, straighten your spine and gently move your chest forward and open that heart center – take several deep breaths. Try to do this a few times a day and notice the change!

chakra2

A wonderful exercise to open the heart chakra is to sit comfortably, cross-legged on the floor or in a straight chair, with a straight spine. Stretch your arms out in front of you with your palms together.

(photo credit: theyogalunchbox.co.nz)

chakra3

As you inhale, stretch those arms open to your sides, parallel to the floor. Feel the stretch, expanding your lungs with the breath, opening up the heart center.

(photo credit: awaken.com)

As you exhale, bring your arms back to the front, bringing the palms back together. Do this for at least three minutes.

You can also do the following “Gratitude Breath Exercise”:

Inhale through the nose

Exhale completely through the mouth

Inhale deeply and smoothly through the mouth

Exhale completely through the nose.

(You can use the mantra “Sat Nam”, mentally vibrating “Sat” on the

inhale and “Nam” on the exhale. Sat Nam = Truth is My Identity

(The above heart chakra exercise and gratitude breath exercise from 3HO/Kundalini Yoga)

Additonally, for this chakra, you can do the following breath visualization meditation:

**Sit in easy pose (or comfortably in a straight chair, feet on floor). Close your eyes. With long deep breathing, bring calm to your heart center. Do this for several minutes. Visualize the verdant green of Spring, when everything is healthy, new and reborn. Let this green radiance enter through your heart center. Feel yourself being reborn and full of vibrant energy. Breathe all of this into your heart center, letting it nourish and cleanse you. Release any emotional pain as you let yourself feel as new and clean as the earth after a spring rain. (*From my 7-Week Chakra Course*)

After the meditation, lie down on the floor and relax for at least five minutes or alternately, sit quietly with a relaxed breath. Stretch your arms up toward to ceiling several times before moving.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ShaktiWarriorSpirit@gmail.com

Until next month, when we continue with the Fifth Chakra, I wish you peace, joy and happiness.

Rebel Rede

August, 2011

Goddess Hostility

&

The Threat of Female Spirituality

For those of you who may or may not know I grew up in a religiously abusive and patriarchal household. This is one of the main reasons why as an adult I was so drawn to Wicca, Paganism, and Goddess spirituality. I hated growing up in an environment where I was told I could not be a spiritual leader because I was born a woman. An environment where I was told that my deity, angels, demons, devil, prophets, pastors, disciples of Jesus etc. all were male and male only. I did not enjoy being told I was a second class citizen and that my only purpose in life was to submit to God and to my future husband (and of course have lots of babies). I felt so much anger growing up because I grew so tired of always being told my “female-ness” was a sin. It is hard for many women to relate to their religion or spiritual practice when everything in those systems is male dominated.

As history has shown us, my personal experiences growing up are not uncommon. Women and female spirituality have been under attack for thousands of years. Growing up in a strict fundamentalist Christian home I was not new to the idea that women should be kept down. In the Christian community I grew up in, God was never to be thought of as a female and women were never to lead spiritual activities over men. What has surprised me recently though is receiving this same female-based hostility from my fellow Pagans. It saddens me to see the gender wars of the patriarchal religions seeping into our Pagan religions and spiritual practices.

I completely understand the need for us to be careful of reverse sexism. The goal of the Goddess movement should not be for women to take over and to dominate men. People should be equal, no matter their gender. Just because people are equal though, does not mean they are the same. Men and women are different-equal, but different. Part of the purpose of the Goddess Spirituality movement is to celebrate these differences and to empower men and women to be proud of their differences. Women have been taught for so long that certain parts of us or the things we do are bad, ugly, wrong, or a sin. Teaching women to embrace their female qualities is an important part of fighting back against patriarchal culture. There is nothing wrong with women finding empowerment and purpose through a female based spiritual practice. It doesn’t mean they are men and God haters, it just means they are more comfortable connecting to a spiritual practice that is reflective of their gender.

I have always pushed for both single gender and co-ed Pagan events in my personal practice. I don’t want to completely exclude myself from men or male deities in my personal practice, but there are also times when I want to be with just women and the Goddess. All of the Goddess-Female Only groups I have ever worked with have always supported a fellow God-Male Only group and have made sure to have joint co-ed events whenever possible. So what is the issue with this set-up? I have no idea! Yet somehow year after year I get approached by Pagan men who aggressively and angrily tell me that I am being a supremacist by not allowing men into my women only rituals. They tell me that I can’t be a true priestess or have a complete ritual without the male counter-parts being involved. Obviously I do not agree with their sentiment and I find their aggressive behavior inappropriate, more importantly though, I find their behavior saddening. Why are so many men disconnected from the Goddess? What is the real reason behind their aggression towards female spirituality? Why are they so hostile to the Goddess and her priestesses? Where and when did this disconnect happen?

I think these are important questions and ones we should be addressing in the Pagan community. I have always loved the openness and non-structure of Pagan beliefs and practices. I hate when I see dogmatic rules creeping into our community. My personal beliefs and practices are just that, they are personal, they are my beliefs alone. It is my choice whether I want to work with Gods and Goddesses, Goddesses only, have co-ed rituals, or have female only rituals. Why is my personal choice so threatening to other Pagans and when will the hostility towards the Goddess and female spirituality end?