Posts tagged ‘women’

August 27, 2011

Building Community

Although many people who find themselves on an earthy path seem to work alone, perhaps because they don’t know anyone else (like me, when I started) or by choice, I think there is a particular strength in working in community.

Not only is there a combined energy in working together, there is also an element of recognition — I see you, I witness your work, I acknowledge your humanity and ability. We, as social beings, have many rituals that require a community. Weddings. Funerals. We have a need to be seen and understood, to know we are real and we make sense. Setting aside the intentional rituals that can be a part of someone’s practice, we all seem to lay patterns, enjoy being known by others.

At the moment, in India, I am lingering in H.H. the Dalai Lama’s home in exile. His presence draws foreign travellers from around the world; there are also many classes here, from yoga to music. Remarkably, I mostly meet other women travelling alone, and often run into people I know. The shopkeepers recognize me, I have familiar faces wherever I walk, and I am beginning some incredible friendships. And I’ve only been here about a week.

By stepping away from my life in Chicago, by coming to this radically different country, I am reminded again of the power of recognition. I am known here, I belong (in a simple way). Eventually, I will move on, continuing this journey through new places and communities. But it is worth building a small life here, because it brings renewal. There’s something powerful in community, especially those formed by women (sorry, fellas). There’s something deep there, some potential that can bring great healing and support.

Remembering how lost I felt in my early years of modern witchcraft, how disconnected, strengthens my belief that even if we enjoy the benefits of practicing alone, positive community involvement is somehow essential to our wellness.

August 21, 2011

Manifesting the Maiden

The Maiden manifestation of the Goddess is the reason that I am half-soaked, sitting in a café with Tibetan monks up in the mountains of India.

She is also the reason there has been such a gap in posts.

About ten days ago, I boarded the largest plane I have ever seen in my life and flew thousands of miles to New Delhi, beginning a physical journey across India, Thailand, and New Zealand. Alone, I navigated the chaos and disrepair of the capital city, and, after a perfunctory visit to the Taj Mahal, made my way up into the Himalayas, to McLeodganj, home away from home of the Dalai Lama. This is a journey of education through direct contact; and a pilgrimage that will take me throughout the subcontinent, to many expressions of the Goddess.

The Maiden, in many forms, embodies personal strength and adventure. She is the huntress Diana, the expression of life, Persephone. Understanding the symbolism of such goddesses reveals the moments in our lives when we risk our comfort, open ourselves to mistakes, and step out into the world. Peeling away our known world, whether that means opening ourselves to new relationships, a challenging new job, or deeper spiritual development, we can experience sides of ourselves that were previously hidden. Although I am of classical Maiden age, restricting interpretation to the numbers we collect as we move through our lives limits the potential that the Maiden can offer. We can move through the forms of Maiden, Mother, or Crone until we die; they are paths to understanding and engagement.

Perhaps I took an extreme route to comprehending the Maiden and all she represents. I’ve given away half of my things, stored the rest of them at my father’s house, and peeled away my responsibilities – communally as well as lifestyle-wise. I have launched myself into a physical unknown, chaotic India, so that I may better examine what it means to be human, a woman, a being. I am not completely alone, I have made new friends and made connections, but the Maiden is not necessarily isolated — it is that responsibilities and decisions are limited to yourself.

For me, this Maiden journey cannot last forever. It is a time for training, spiritually and intellectually, so that when I embody the Mother and the Crone, I will be prepared.

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