“Traditionally female archetypes get power from other people. Think about things like the mother, the queen, the daughter — these are all lovely archetypes for women, and yet they’re deriving their power from their relation to other people, whereas the witch, she has power unto herself. She perhaps draws power from something greater than herself or from nature, but it’s really coming from within herself. It’s not because it’s in relation to someone else. She’s self-defining in the same way women are defining themselves today.”
In the new book The Goddess in America, Kate Brunner’s essay A Dream of the Wise Woman’s Comeback: Priestessing for Goddess in Today’s America, she writes evocatively of the Wise Woman as Healer, Protector, Advocate, Ritualist, and Conduit of Community.
Describing Wise Woman as Ritualist, Brunner writes:
“She was lighting candles. Women stepped out of the mists around me, creating a circle that enveloped us into its perimeter. She smiled. And ushered us all into sacred space.
More and more, American women crave ritual not tied to specific spiritual traditions in their lives. Mother-baby blessings are increasingly replacing baby showers as the pre-birth ritual of choice. Death doulas and soul midwives are stepping into ritual roles of service created by the burgeoning home death movement. The labyrinth has made a huge comeback.
All acts of love are Her rituals.
To facilitate a mother-baby blessing, to lead a candlelit community labyrinth walk, to create entirely new ways to mark the dying of friends or family—these are acts of Goddess-centered love. These are not high magicks with pageantry, doctrinally-requisite tools, specific intricate invocations. This is the territory of the everyday ritualist. We are all capable of doing this work as long as we move from the Goddess-blessed love we know resides within us.
Imagine what it would look like if you:
- Facilitated a mother-baby blessing for the next willing friend of family member expecting a wee one?
- Issued an open invitation for your community to attend a simple moonlit labyrinth walk?
- Created a brand new, low magic ritual to mark an occasion for a loved one?
- Saw yourself as Goddess’ priestess in your community at-large?
Think about what little, everyday rituals are important to you. Think about how you might offer those beautiful ritual moments in a way that might make them important to others in your community, too.
I just finished reading Burning Woman by Lucy Pearce. She writes powerfully of anger, and shame, and social fear of the witch, and of reclaiming the Goddess, both within and without. She quotes Rebecca Solnit, who said:
Some women get erased a little at a time, some all at once. Some reappear. Every woman who appears wrestles with the forces that would have her disappear. She struggles with the forces that would tell her story for her, or write her out of the story […] The ability to tell your own story, in words or images, is already a victory, already a revolt.
Lucy Pearce also writes about the power of ceremony: “The weaving of a ceremony holds power in itself. There is a natural building of energy and anticipation through all the preparations and these should be done in the spirit of the ceremony, not with stress or hurridness. Preparing the space is a way of preparing ourselves: each action we take is meaningful and ceremonial, adding energetic charge to the space and to our understanding of the ceremony. The process is the purpose.”
As the summer section of the Goddess Magic Circle draws to a close and I am planning the fall section as well as the Practical Priestessing and Red Tent courses, I also have returned several times to a quote from Elizabeth Davis in her book, A Woman’s Wheel of Life:
“Women who regularly participate in circle are best at articulating its benefits. [One woman] said that what she loved most about her circle was how everyone went deep, and that this had changed her life because she now brought that depth into her relationships…” –Elizabeth Davis
In August, during our Cauldron Month, I am priestessing a family summer solstice ritual, a Red Tent Circle, a Maiden ceremony, and a small study group. I love this work. The weaving of ceremony. The calling of the circle. Bearing witness to self-discovery and connection. There is nothing like it.
“Let nothing stand between you and your overflowing banquet,
your inner abundance of Being.
Give guilt no place at the table of your Self.
You are all yours.
Every last morsel.”
–Bethany Webster, in Burning Woman
If you’d like to explore more of the messy, beautiful real-life work of practical priestessing with me, I invite you to join me in our Practical Priestessing or Red Tent Initiation courses.
Membership in our Creative Spirit Circle is FREE and packed with beautiful, bountiful resources, including a free Womanrunes e-course, Womanspirit Wisdom mini-course, weekly virtual circles in our Facebook group, Red Tent resources, blessing posters and mandalas, access to Divine Imperfections sculptures at 50% off, and your monthly Creative Spirit Circle Journal filled with resources such as ceremony outlines, book recommendations, articles, sneak peeks, and special freebies.