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A Woman’s Place…..

September, 2018

Seemingly random, a Facebook group called “Fierce Heart” came to my attention. Knowing nothing about it, but loving the name, I went to take a peek. As a Women’s Empowerment Coach and Red Tent Priestess, I promptly joined, very much in tune with their goals.

Paraphrasing the description found at the group, Fierce Heart is all about this: A collective group of women across US using drumming/chanting/singing/noise, expressing their anger/dismay/outrage/disgust, taking power, demanding change. A way to express anger and grief.

Galvanize women and provide a way for them to channel that power and remember that they are a force of nature, something that we always, always forget.

“Bring your outrage

Bring your tenacity

Bring you despair

Bring your Fierce Heart

Bring your fists

Brings your drums

Bring your voice

Bring your Fierce Heart”

******************

I recently had the pleasure of corresponding with Rebecca Singer, one of the founders and admins of the page itself.

SM: Before we talk about Fierce Heart, please tell me a bit about yourself.

RS: I’m a shaman. My teachers were a part Irish, part Lakota woman for 13 years, then Costa Rican Shaman, and finally living with The Reindeer People in Mongolia. I’ve also had careers as an actress, teacher, and singer. I’m 68 years old, have lived in several countries, am proud mother of amazing son, and happily married for 10 years!We live near Woodstock NY with our Costa Rican dogs, cat, and rabbit. (Note from SM: Rebecca’s website is: www.shamanicenergy.com

SM: How did you come up with the idea for Fierce Heart?

RS: For several months I have been asking for guidance in coming up with a ” right action”,during meditations, for these times we are living in. I went to a recent demonstration and came home feeling very dissatisfied, like something else, something new was needed.

For about 2 years now I have felt the urgent need for women in this country to stand up, speak up, but in the some new authentic way.

When I came back from that demonstration , I had a vision of thousands of women in the streets across this country, expressing their outrage. Making sounds that would be dissonant, disturbing to hear, and that would penetrate buildings, patriarchal systems. Women are not allowed to express outrage, which is a form of love.

SM: It’s apparent that here in the US, and abroad, that women are standing up in droves – running for office, calling out sexual harassment/assault via #MeToo, and so on. Do you consider Fierce Heart to be a part of this wider women’s movement?

RS: Yes and no. Yes, in that it is on the continuum of women finding their power and voice.

No….in that it is a new form. Women have been taught for centuries to tone it down, not get Too Emotional, hysterical, too anything. Yet women feel very deeply, and there is a way in which women truly are a force of nature and most women have lost touch with their wild self. So Fierce Heart is out of the Patriarchal box. It us an invitation for women to find the roots of their true voices, through the expression of outrage at this world we live in today. It is not attached to any one political movement. It is about Waking up Women as a force.

SM: I know you have collaborators – is this something you came up with together, or was it your brainchild and you approached them about joining you?

RS: This was my idea, though I would say it was an idea that came through me. I asked Erin Kaiser what she thought about it, and Vct Pohl, and Deb Rodney….what did they think. These are women I trust, so Erin made the Facebook page, Vct Pohl came on as an administrator and came up with the name.and Deb started doing some writing about it. My other good friends came on board.

SM: How many would you say have joined the Fierce Heart Facebook group thus far?

RS: We have 800 members. How many of them are actually practicing, I don’t know. I do know that 2 of them are going to be taking this to Bulgaria and there is a women’s group in the UK and members in about 8 states in the USA. at least.

What I believe is that women have to understand that making these sounds in circles with other women is freeing, not traumatizing. Outrage about the planet is bigger than personal anger, and although the sounds make bring up personal memories, if women get together and express their outrage on behalf of animals, the earth, the air, the water……it is healing.

SM: It is my hope that this article would expand that many-fold. What is the ultimate goal of Fierce Heart?

RS: In my mind, the ultimate goal is for women to quit getting stuck in divisive issues and come together to express their outrage, which is a form of fierce love. It’s not personal angst, its way beyond that.

It’s howling for the dying polar bears, for the plastic filled oceans, for immigrants being separated from their families. Choose your interest.

I see circles of Fierce Heat Women with banners that say Fierce Heat participating in demonstrations in circles Using Sound to shift the energy. Not getting stuck in language. Sound is powerful. Sound is a game changer. I want women to find their authentic Voices, not have to sound like men to be heard. First sounds, then words. People are very results oriented, goal oriented, but change is not linear. One thing makes another possible.

Energy builds in leaps and spurts. I hope Fierce Heart becomes a movement that endures, that allows women to take to the street, form circles, and make this sound that has been missing on this planet for so many generations. Because the goal is empowerment of women outside a patriarchal structure.

SM: Do you see this going beyond the November elections?

RS: I hope this goes beyond elections, but this is not up to me. We have a goal of getting as many women as possible outside Oct 21st to make sounds.

If the timing is right, this will have its own life. Women will realize this is empowering and energizing. It’s all about if women are willing and ready to wake up. I personally feel that humanity is in big need of women waking up. Big need. Women need to know they ARE a force of nature. They are powerful.

********************************

Fierce Heart is definitely a place for women to be. We need to find our hearts, our voice, our power. With these, together we can change the world.

I encourage all of you to check out the the Facebook Fierce Heart group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/221315182029680/ and see if it is good place for you, too! There are sample videos of what a Fierce Heart practice can look and sound like, as well as a downloadable poster for those who might wish to start a local group.

I, for one, am planning on starting a local Fierce Heart group here in southern Massachusetts; if you live around that area or in nearby RI and are interested, please email me at [email protected]

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

My Name is Isis

Children and the Seven Generations

July, 2018

 

Colonial states separate children from parents because they know it works. It destroys and traumatizes for generations. It’s an attack on the future as well as the present.”

-Jesse Wente

In my writing, I make it a point to stay out of commenting on political stances for many reasons. However, when policy starts to cross over into human rights violations that threaten the health of future generations, as a shamanic practitioner, spiritual warrior, and fellow human being, I am compelled to speak. And this article is the result of one of those moments. When the story broke of asylum seekers from Central, North, and South America being separated from their children at the US border, I felt it important to share what I know about child development and early childhood trauma. I also want to add from the beginning that this isn’t a solely American phenomenon but a result of patriarchal beliefs and structures that our world currently operates under. This system is hurting men, women, and children all around the world and it’s time to start questioning its modus operandi.

As an educator, I’ve dedicated my adult life to the thriving of families by supporting children and parents. This looks many different ways that go beyond academics and guiding families in setting up appropriate education models for their children. The truth is, children who are living in poverty and with a substantial amount of trauma are in survival mode: no brain can take in new information when it is in constant fight of flight. Poverty is not a crime nor a result of laziness; it comes out of oppressive policies that benefit the few and marginalize many of the most vulnerable citizens. Parents who struggle financially love their children and most are good parents despite the challenges they face. Poverty is not a reason to separate children from their parents; many social services seek to provide financial aid so parents can raise their children to adulthood. Supporting families means keeping them together, providing resources to help families to thrive, and creating policies that help parents to raise their children without so much stress on the family structure. Currently, we have a worldwide economic system that places undue stress on young families and when family systems start to collapse, parents are often blamed for their “failure.” My job is to advocate for kids and families, look for that support, and put it in place to give families some breathing room while they are doing the most important job on earth: raising healthy, resilient, compassionate, and creative citizens.

Recently, an excellent documentary series came out showing how we humans develop from our earliest years and how vital the first years of life are in creating our self-concepts, attitude toward life, creativity and flexibility of mind. In “The Beginning of Life,” experts in the fields of human developmental stages, pediatric medicine, psychology, and neuroscience come together to paint a new picture for societies that show how important it is to support families and what the effects are to society at large when we don’t provide this support (i.e. increased crime rates, higher health care costs, and higher taxes). One social worker recently told me that it is much less expensive for the government to provide groceries for a family for a few months while they get back on their feet than to pull a child from a home and put them in foster care. If you don’t care for the moral or financial arguments, the science is clear: parents and kids belong together. Many people don’t like the idea of using tax payer dollars to support families, however, when we start to separate families without providing them with the support they need first (i.e. parenting classes, financial aid, job training, good daycare, time for maternal and paternal leaves), the cost to society at large tends to be much greater for all of us. I personally want my tax dollars to be spent on investing in the wellbeing of future generations instead of on policies that focus on short term financial “gains.”

I made a spiritual vow many years ago to protect children’s rights. My motto is “do no harm.” This seems impossible for us humans and yet I feel that it is a worthy vision to hold in front of me as I do this work. Many people in the world don’t realize that we have a three-decade’s old international document in place that sets out the rights of children via the United Nations called the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 3 states the focus of the document: “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” Most folks would agree that staying with his/her parents is in the best interest of the child unless the child is being neglected or abused, which is not the case here. And even though the children who are separated from their parents are being fed, clothed, and sheltered, we know from longitudinal studies of children who grew up in Romanian orphanages that providing the basic physical needs of life is not enough for children to thrive. For children to be truly healthy (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually), they need to be surrounded by safe and strong attachments to caregivers and community members who love and know them. When a child is taken away from a parent or guardian, this is a significant trauma that cannot be underestimated and often takes a lifelong toll on the child. If readers don’t know about the decades long Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES), I highly recommend watching the TED Talk at the foot of this article. Many children and adults in our “corrections” systems have high ACES scores, not surprisingly.

You might be wondering why I am so passionate about this as a Canadian citizen with no voting rights in the USA. First, I am a child of immigrants who came to Canada looking for a better life for future generations. My family and I have been able to heal from the intergenerational trauma of growing up in a dictatorial state because of the relative safety and support we’ve experienced in Canada. Second, as a shamanic practitioner, I know that what we do today affects the seven generations ahead and the seven generations behind us. We have the chance to shift what we believe about children and their value in a way that our ancestors perhaps were not able to. Respecting the work of parents and the rights of children to explore their new world in safety is actually good for all of us because those kids will be deciding policy and taking care of us when we are elders. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a traumatized, jaded, and perhaps violent person taking care of me when I am an elder. I want to be surrounded by adults who were nurtured when they were children. These adults are more likely to be compassionate, have a strong sense of human and environmental rights, carry love in their hearts, and be active in their citizenship.

I know from researching that this practice of separating children from parents has been happening in the USA and even in Canada for quite a few years now; this is a non-partisan issue. I am not an American citizen otherwise I would be writing my local political representative. I will nevertheless look for ways to make my voice heard as an international citizen. I hope you will join me as a citizen of the world in making sure we protect the most vulnerable members of our society because the truth is that we are all connected to one another. We are all relations.

NB: Further information on the research presented in this article appears in the resources section below.

 

Resources:

 

The Beginning of Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bejT24M4TQ

 

TED Talk: How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ovIJ3dsNk

 

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx

 

American Civil Liberties Union

https://www.aclu.org/

 

article: Family Separation: Trump’s Cruel Immigration Policy

https://www.indivisible.org/resource/trumps-new-cruel-immigration-policy/

 

article: Canada Aims to Avoid Detaining Migrant Children, but it Happens

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/canada-detention-children-united-states-1.4709632

 

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

A Woman’s Place…

January, 2018

As I was considering what to write for this column this month, I thought there was so much to choose from: the @MeToo phenomonen, more political attacks against reproductive freedom and women’s agency, attacks on LGBTQ, attacks on our Mother Earth, and so much more……you get the picture, I am sure. But then I came across this, and it said in a few words what I probably would have written in two pages.

This is short, sweet and simple, and yet gets the message across.

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

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Affairs of the Pagan Heart

January, 2018

Happy New Year and Happy Carmentalia!

Carmentalia is two separate feast dates honouring the Roman goddess Carmenta. It is said that she could see back in the past as well as forward into the future at the same time, and her history is rife with protests and standing ones ground. At one point the Roman Senate denied certain privileges to women during the Second Punic War but didn’t immediately reinstate those privileges once the war had ended. As a mass of people started to grow to discuss and argue about this inequality, women from all over the countryside joined in, first gathering in the Carmentis gardens at the foot of Capitoline hill. They went as far as refusing to work on their husbands’ stock, and in some extreme cases even inducing abortion as a form of protest until privileges were restored.

They saw what they had, they saw what they lost, and they could see how it would affect them in future. And they did something about it. Celebrating Carmentalia honours the early efforts of these Roman women.

Observing Carmentalia can be for our own hearts as well. What can we do to attract love to our lives? What can we do to improve our sexual relationships? How can we nurture the connections we already have? What can we learn from the goddess of fertility and prophecy who cared for all womankind to in turn care for all mankind? It’s different for everyone.

We’ve see what we have had and if we look hard enough we can see what we’ve lost, and we can therefore prepare ourselves for the future. New Year’s Eve is a time when people make resolutions for change in the coming year. We vow to do better, lose weight, save money, stop smoking, etc, because we can see what we deemed was wrong or bad or off in the past and how it can be better in future – how we can be better in future. The changing of the year allows us to start fresh on a particular day when we would physically or metaphorically be switching out the calendar for a new one. We leave the past behind and focus firmly on the future.

Carmentalia was celebrated on two nights, January 11 and January 15, with a feast and celebration for achieving one’s goals. Two weeks into the New Year we can already see if our New Year’s Resolutions had an impact or if they were just words left spoken.

Start by burning some bay leaves as incense and offer popana cakes (a type of bureka) and milk and think on the following Carmentalia prayer:

With pious rite I call out, I summon, I entice with songs that You come forth, Carmenta,

And look favorably upon the matrons of our families.

In You, dearest Mother, in Your hands we place our safekeeping.

In offering to You this cake of cheese I pray good prayers

in order that, pleased with this offering of popana,

May You be favorable towards our children and to us,

Towards our homes and our households.

May Carmenta be favourable to you, your hearts, and your homes. And may you have a bright and blessed New Year!

***

About the Author:

Rev. Rachel U Young is a pagan based in Toronto, Canada. She is a licenced Wedding Officiant and under the name NamasteFreund she makes handfasting cords and other ceremonial accessories. She is also the Chair of Toronto Pagan Pride Day.

A Woman’s Place…

September, 2017

(Menstrual Night. Original art by Emily Balivet, may be found on her etsy site EmilyBalivet.)


Welcome to “A Woman’s Place……”, Pagan Pages’ new feminist column.

As some may have noticed, with the election to the US presidency of a man who is a racist, misogynist, homophobic, narcissistic bully, incidents of racism, anti-semitism, homophopia and misogyny are rising at a massive rate, all of which are distressing and disturbing. This column will address each of these issues, as feminism, for many of us, goes beyond just equal rights for women, but equal rights and social justice for all.

Recently, while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came upon this article – America 2017: Georgia Woman Fired for Menstruating on the Job

With this, we harken back to biblical times, when women were unclean and had to be kept separate from the rest of their tribe.

With this, we harken back to the days when women would hide their moon-time supplies in a closet so that the children, and yes, their husbands would not see them and remind them that our bodies do something *dirty* every month.

With this, we, each of us, remember that day when we were still young (or older, it doesn’t matter) that we were caught unprepared and were laughed at, or worse yet, called disgusting names such as “pig” and hear “ugh, what the hell is that?” What woman has not been there at some point in her life.

It is a simple fact that all women get their periods, and that most of us, at one time or another, will have an accident.

This does not mean, as this article states that, (she failed to)…..”practice high standards of personal hygiene and maintain a clean, neat appearance while on duty”. This comment by her employer intimates that because this woman had her period, she was not clean (read: unclean).

The slippery slope that women have been on these past few years has just gotten more slippery. We are close to losing bodily autonomy. We can now lose our jobs for healthy bodily functions. There is at least one state out there that has voted for us to not have jobs or homes if we take birth control or have had an abortion. See: Missouri Votes to Let Employers Fire People Who Use Birth Control

Women need to fight back, just as this GA woman who was fired from her job is fighting back. She is not fighting back just for herself, she is fighting back for all of us. We should all stand with her because if we do not, who will stand up for us when the time comes? It will come, this is the direction we are being led by the patriarchal culture that we live in.

Yes, I know, there are women who see this and say, “well, she is dirty if she cannot keep that from happening”. I have seen the comments. Many feminists think of women such as this as traitors, and male-identified. This may be so, maybe not, I have no idea. What I do know is that as women, we need to stand together and support and encourage each other, not judge each other and drag each other down.

As women, have you heard of The Red Tent Movement? It is for reasons such as this, that this movement exists. Women need to connect to other women. We need to remember that our bodies, our blood is sacred. It is powerful; it is magickal. Our blood is keyed to the phases of the moon – how cool is that? Women need to educate themselves, start to see and believe in the sacredness of who they are, find the Goddess within and without. See: Red Tent Temple Movement 

So, please be aware, look around and wake up to the things that are happening around you, especially now while we are in the power of a man and the majority of a political party that would seem to hate women, and want them to be put back in the place they once occupied.

Have you watched or read The Handmaid’s Tale? Our bodies are being policed more and more, and this is no longer fiction.

Oh, the name of this column, “A Woman’s Place……”? In case you didn’t know where that place was, I will give you a hint — it’s everywhere.

*Disclaimer: The opinions reflected here belong to the author and in no way reflect the opinion of Pagan Pages or any of their other columnists.

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, WriterTeacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess, as well as Mago Publications She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Womens Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through Imagine A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

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