Never doubt the power of small humble things, like seeds. The heart and soul of creation, the fertility gifts of Gaia that are tenderly nurtured by the plant-spirits, seeds carry the ultimate promise of rebirth and regeneration, the growth of the springtime blossom and the tiny sprout that are the "green fuse" in wild nature. As small and unadorned as they seem, seeds hold the essence of the eternal spiral of life and represent spiritual renewal to the human soul. Recently an Anishnaabe friend brought back a gift for me from the Caribbean, beautiful seeds indigenous to the region strung on simple, yet meaningful necklaces. She could not have known (except with the intuition of an earth-connected wisewoman) that these seeds would have such compelling meaning for me. Many years ago when my beloved grandmother's estate went up for auction I rescued items that were important to me, giving up many other objects in the mercantile process. Much later I realized that the unassuming and simple little things she collected, like her apple seed necklaces, were now lost forever. I regretted not having known the true value of the small things that had touched my heart. But in one of life's surprising and serendipitous moments, the longing I had carried all those years dissolved when my friend placed the humble seed necklaces from Mexico into my hands. Chi Meegwetch for turning the sacred wheel of destiny, for allowing the circle to come around again, for bringing closure and a healing balm to my heart. This gift is a reaffirmation of the potent seeds of love that are Mother Earth's gifts, and the gifts of our Mothers and Grandmothers to us all.
An Ojibway friend gave me these modest and decorative bead bracelets at the solstice with a humorous request to "Buy back the island of Manhattan on behalf of the original inhabitants of Turtle Island". How incredibly funny and dreadfully sad at the same time! Can we even imagine how beautiful and pristine the eastern seaboard was at the time of European contact? With our modern attitude of ennui can we even begin to understand how the original inhabitants of North America were embedded in the sacredness of the natural world, and how they respected the demarcated niche that humanity held in that ecosystem? Yes, the Eurocentric conquerors used beads as part of their trade offerings to secure access and title to lands. But what would pretty trinkets have meant to people that held the entire magnificent luminous world in their hearts and minds? To peoples who are in and of the land, not above it or separate from it, the idea of land ownership is inconceivable and obscene. How they must have tolerated these crazy white men, not believing for a moment that their world was in jeopardy! Now a couple of centuries have passed, Manhattan's skyscrapers and concrete jungles blot out the natural landscape, and if there is one thing we know for sure (the gift of indoor plumbing none-withstanding) it is that the "civilized world" of the arrogant and destructive Settler Society is not the correct way to be living on Turtle Island. To earth-based traditions it is self-evident that we are inseparably linked to nature. We ARE nature, and the time has come for all people to remember who we are, where we belong and what is Sacred. We need to love the land, and to give thanks for the gifts of the Earth. The recovery of the indigenous soul in all of us should come first, as it is the thread of our humanness woven inextricably into the world. Then, let us recover Manhattan, with green spaces, permaculture, bicycles, natural power, green technology, heirloom seeds and community gardens and whatever else it takes. And oh yes - nice joke, big sister, and Meegwetch for the baubles!
The Divine Feminine Fire:
Creativity and Your Yearning to Express Your Self
By Teri Degler
Dreamriver Press, 2009
“The feminine fire is a primordial, elemental force that is powerful
beyond our wildest imaginings. It is, in fact, power itself.”
Teri Degler's brilliant work of scholarship and wisdom connects mythology to our spiritual and creative journey and the awakening of the Divine Feminine. By decoding texts from religious and mystical traditions and delving into the mysteries of kundalini energy, Teri has been able to identify the Divine Feminine Fire as a source of empowerment already embodied within us. This cosmic force, also known as Shakti, Shekinah or Sophia, is not just the voice of the feminine, or the divine within, or of our higher self, but it is the force itself. Teri helps us to understand this force, how it exists within, how it manifests, and how it propels our spiritual journey and boosts our empowerment and self-expression. We know this power as the yearning we feel to help others, to heal, to grow spiritually, to express our creativity and to transform our self and the world. Often we suppress the yearning to create in favor or more socially acceptable activities. Teri counteracts this with the life stories of both historic and contemporary women, and gives us teachings on how to "fire-up" our creativity and birth our own passions, desires, projects and visions.
Examining the Divine Feminine Fire at work in the fascinating lives of Mahadevi Akka, a 12th century Hindu saint and Mechthild of Magdeburg, a 13th century Christian mystic, reveals surprising similarities to the spiritual experiences of women today. The kundalini-shakti experience of Mahadevi teaches us to become comfortable with our wilder, more powerful emotions, and the holy spirit experience of Mechthild teaches us to go with the flow, to accept and embrace the life-long process of transformation. Covered with greater detail in her earlier book "The Fiery Muse", Teri describes how the works of Hildegard of Bingen parallel the universal life force (the Divine Feminine "Shakti" principle), triggering a transformation of consciousness that led to Hildegard's mystical experiences and divinely-inspired creativity.
Teri finds that three manifestations of the Divine Feminine from different spiritual traditions - Shakti, Shekinah and Sophia - share many of the same characteristics. They represent the embodiment of the sacred within, manifest as divine light, are seen as the universal life force, and are a source of transformation and creative inspiration in our lives. Inspired creativity is part of Shakti Awakening - a path that combines both spirituality and creativity. Teri has found that the source for spiritual experience and creative energy is exactly the same, and moves us in the same transformational direction. Creative blocks and the critical inner voice can be overcome, and our work is to allow ourselves to hear the call of the creative spirit, recognize the urge or profound need to create, and give this feeling its full expression. The energy of life and creation is impossible to control, yet it pulses through each one of us and has a role to play in our daily lives.
Women have always had access to the Divine Feminine within, but Teri gives us the actual steps we can take to recognize this energy, make it real, and discover how the embodied Divine Feminine can become an ever-expanding source of creativity. The first step is to recognize Her in your life by becoming familiar with the sacred stories of Shakti, Shekinah and Sophia; the second is to learn to listen to Her when she is calling you; the third is learning to hold Her great power in your body, to simply be with Her; and the fourth step is to express Her, the creativity of your soul, and allow Her to flow outward from the heart of your being. With these four steps we can integrate the Divine Feminine into our lives, connect with Her through creative expression of all types, and "radiant with joy and enthusiasm", dedicate ourselves to manifesting Divine Feminine Spirit in the world!
"It is time! Our most crucial job right now is to embody the Divine Feminine."
Way back in December of 1987, I wrote a poem entitled Women Are the Only Hope in a meditative moment. Little did I know that the title would be the wording and precursor to a concept that would later appear in the collective consciousness, and expressed by (among others) Mendelson Joe!
Women Are the Only Hope
Watching as darkness falls,
the perfect moment
when shadows shift in the sky,
brief lights backdrop the landscape,
quickly fading to black,
I wonder about the rift between men
and the dimensions within women.
Time and again I’ve thought
of a tree standing tall,
supporting the sky
in complete control of a quiet life,
and in synergy with the environment.
Unlike man, even at his best.
In this world of acceleration,
who rises from the shadows?
Women are the only hope.
Pegi Eyers, 1987
Raconteur, railer, multimedia artist and musician Mendelson Joe believes that activism and speaking out can make a difference, and that women are the only hope for the future. This excerpt from his book Alien is an extraordinary passage, eloquent in its plea for the empowerment of all women. If you are not familiar with his work see www.karenrobinsongallery.com
Women Are the Only Hope by Mendelson Joe
"The world is in such a mess now. There will never be leadership from men, because there are too few men who think like David Suzuki. So we’re fucked. The only hope is women - I really believe it. By using technology to communicate with one another, women can start to change the world. They should make use of everything that connects people – the internet, telephones, television, writing, singing. Women have to somehow unite and take control of the world. And the only way they can do it is by withholding sex from men. That’s the only way you can control men, to not allow them access to you unless they behave right. These are not original thoughts. If women were to band together and control men in this way, it would be at the risk of their own well-being, because the men would go around raping everybody. So women not only have to becomes strong, they have to be protective of each other and they have to be aggressive. Well, that’s an awful lot to ask overnight. But it’s gotta happen soon. Mothers are less likely to build bombs and drop them. Women are less liable to want their children to go to war. Women are less likely to knowingly pollute where they know their children are going to be living."
Alien: The Strange Life and Times of Mendelson Joe © Mendelson Joe 2000
This strikes me as a powerful wake-up call for the coming together of women in sisterhood and support. Since the revival of the play Lysistrata in which the women of classical Athens withhold sex to end the Peloponnesian War, there have been instances of women "saying no" to deal with corruption in the oligarchy or to establish peace. Not that this would be likely to occur on a large scale (?) but we can imagine what might happen if the wives of world leaders decided to give it a try! The reality is that the unity of women can make a huge difference. We need to reject the competitiveness and mistrust of each other that has been instilled in us by the patriarchy to keep us disconnected from each other, and from our personal and shared power. We must have our voices heard as a collective. As with women everywhere, I have gained an extraordinary amount of awareness and empowerment since I wrote this poem in 1987. Change seems to come slowly, but the Great Turning is happening today.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Jean Shinoda Bolen has been urging us on to the tipping point with her work >Gather the Women, Save the World< She is a leader for today’s time of transition, and advocates setting up women’s circles and grassroots groups at the community level.
>Women Are Our Only Hope< by Anthony DiGiorgio
>Societies of Peace: Matriarchies Past, Present and Future< edited by Heide Goettner-Abendroth