Friday, June 08, 2007

Living the Sacred Feminine life

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I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s self is.

—Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"

Our birth is but a sleeping and a forgetting;
The soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar; Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God who is our home;

— William Wordsworth, "Intimations of Immortality"

I am a woman; born of woman, nurtured by many women, and allowed to grow strong and proud with my feet free to roam the earthy loam of Mother Earth’s sweet soil. I wake to the sound of feminine voices in a house bustling with early morning activity as three daughters scramble to be first in the shower in bathrooms where toilet paper is always running low. I am inseparable from the women who bore me, loved me, nurtured me, and from those who suckled me, love me, and accept my nurturing. I am part of the sacred feminine.

The sacred feminine is not one unified set of beliefs; it is neither a dogma nor a creed to be followed blindly; rather, it is a path, a progression, a cycle of birth, growth, and re-birth. It is living and loving. The sacred feminine is a way of living that calls for us to claim our birthright as sisters, as travelers of life’s passageways, as negotiators of peace, harmony, stability, light and love. The light is within us but it must not be kept there; it must be embraced and shared, given freely to those we encounter.

Embracing the sacred feminine is a way of living life that calls on me to assert my identity in terms of who I am in this place and time, remembering that I am but one of many. Embracing the sacred feminine means that I lay total claim to being a woman, being female, being earthy, and it means that I accept all that it means to be uniquely woman. I am a daughter, a sister, a lover, and a mother. I love the way my body looks, even in this, my 47th year, even including wrinkles, grey, and the effects of gravity that are the gifts of time. I love the way my body smells, the way it smells when I step clean from the shower, the way it smells when I have worked in the garden or walked five miles, the way it smells before/during/after sex. All of those smells are of Mother Earth, of the sacred feminine within me and around me. I live my life fully, seizing the opportunity afforded with each new possibility. I grasp life with both fists and suck the last drop from the great breast of the eternal mother.

Living life centered in the sacred feminine means accepting responsibility. The goddesses present us with options and opportunities. As adults, we make a choice, make a decision, and then accept full responsibility for those choices. I am an adult survivor of childhood abuse, and I allowed that situation over which I had no control as a child to control my early choices. As a result, I found myself in an abusive marriage that was repeating the cycle of abuse. Once I learned to claim the sacred feminine that was within me, I knew to turn away from those unhealthy choices and make wiser decisions.

Whitman’s line that “nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s self is” speaks to the sacred feminine, the empowerment to claim the self that embraces all things, including lives and souls that have gone before us or approach us in the present, “trailing clouds of glory” to us in this place and time. We are all a part of God, or the Goddess, and she is within us all. We feel it and recognize it in the awareness of those old souls we meet, whose recognition thrills us and lets us learn from our spiritual elders.

Embracing the sacred feminine is not an act of exclusivity that denies men. Men, too, are born of women. The act of sexual intercourse, often described by some feminists as perpetual rape, is really an act of union with the Mother, a way of sharing the sacred feminine. Men and women join together in a celebration of the life force that unites us all; the coupling celebrates the fecundity of the world. Within the sacred feminine, sex is a celebration, a joyful, raucous act that is mutually liberating and not an act of domination of one gender over another.

To live a life within the sacred feminine is, for me, a way of walking in a sacred manner in each day. It means that you share your light, and you touch with love and generosity. You welcome others into your world with an open heart. The sacred feminine has no border patrol to keep immigrants away. The sacred feminine acts as White Calf Woman taught the People to act: to care for the young, to care for the land, to protect the future.

Living the sacred feminine life feels good. It feels healthy and happy and wholesome. Living this life is a life that is open, and accepting and not one that is full of fear and shame. It is always a recollection that we come from and return to “God who is our home” and that we are always and ever at home.

— Chandra

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