Seasonal Salon

Wisdom from the Well

"I am a woman who honors the Goddess and practices woman-focused spirituality."  

 

What does this statement mean to you? This is the first sentence of RCG-I's Ordination Affirmation, which is the promise spoken when a woman is ordained as a priestess of the Congregation.  I recently asked the women of the Priestess Assembly to reflect on what this affirmation means to them.  Here are answers from three of them; other responses will follow in future issues, as we invite priestesses to share their wisdom from the well.

 

Sid Reger: 

One thing I love about the WTI education program is the way it approaches Goddesses.  For each cycle, a woman must become acquainted with ten goddesses of her own choosing.  The goal is not just to be able to write down or tell the myth and attributes of each one.  We are asked to find ways to describe her story and qualities in a way meaningful to us (some women have used poetry, art, song or photography to describe their goddesses).  And then we are invited to meditate on--and with--her until we can draw her into our Selves and call forth her essence whenever we need her gifts.

Once an author who heard about this activity said, "Why would I need to study goddesses?  I wrote a book about a hundred goddesses!" I thought she was missing the point completely.  This activity is not about collecting facts. It's about opening our minds and hearts to a deep relationship with each goddess we select.  Through our learning and meditations, we develop skills to tap into ancient wisdom that lives in powerful sacred stories.

This is one important way that we as priestesses drink from her Well.  And it is for me the primary source of my work with this wonderful Congregation of goddess women.  In RCG-I we don't have "high priestesses."  We don't set ourselves apart from other women.  The whole purpose of ordaining is to serve, not to achieve or be recognized for an achievement.  And that service is ever-changing, based on what women need in the moment.

In this time, in this country, in this world, we goddess women must stick together more than ever.  Though we continue to grow our circle, there are still not very many of us compared to other spiritual paths. We struggle to function in a culture that either ignores us or is actively hostile to our innermost concerns.  Who else but a priestess with deep grounding in goddess spirituality can hear and understand other daughters of the Goddess?  As a priestess, this is both my job and my privilege: to connect with women in their heartfelt love of the Goddess.

 

Louie Laskowski :

"I am a woman who honors the Goddess and practices woman-focused spirituality."  

That, I am.

I am Hers in heart and health, body, and mind, soul, and spirit, in life, in death, and in life again.I see the Goddess as the universe, as the earth, and as nature that is within all organisms.

From my ordination vows:  I take thee, Goddess, to be my strength, to be my guide for love and expansion. You are the altar within me. You hold my prayers in safe-keeping. In Your name as Triple Goddess: Maiden Child, Queen Mother, and Holy Crone, I awaken to be awakened, as You will it so.

I believe the Sacred is the Goddess and She rises within the earth and women. Feminism and woman-focused spirituality is a manifestation of this rising. Feminist spirituality helped me be more compassionate to my human flaws, and this allowed me to be more forgiving of others and more understanding of humanity.  I have learned that we are bonded more through our imperfections than our perfections. This idea is a kinder way of thinking.

In service to the Goddess, I identified myself as a Reverend Artist. I teach art as a spiritual path. Twice a month, women are invited to my art studio to craft and network with each other. I have been doing this for three years.

To me, female divinity matters. Goddess matters. Images are essential to our human psyche. Women need the Goddess. We need to see ourselves in Her image, divine and sacred. I believe that a female-gendered god is culturally necessary to end patriarchy and its abusive male god. Until women know they are in the image of the Sacred, we will continue to suffer damage inflicted by patriarchy, by men and by ourselves.

 

Barbara Cigainero:

 Since my ordination, just a few years ago, I have re-located from an urban environment to a rural environment on the Big Island of Hawaii, Puna district.  Initially, the Goddess would make her presence known through the beauty of her abundant and colorful flora.   Her majesty is like a beautiful caress and is acknowledged readily by women and men in this part of Her creation.  

Being in such close proximity to the equator, each day seems similar to the one past with little distinction.  The solstices and equinoxes may be acknowledged, but there is less of a sense of a turning of the wheel; more distinction is made regarding whether we are in the rainy season or can expect more sun.

 This is a land that is still being created and is keenly attuned to the elements.  The earth’s beauty may have drawn us to this place; she is lush with vegetation and flowers in every color and hue.  Her fruit is abundant and trees heavy with her bounty drop excess to the ground in reach of anyone who needs a taste.  Sometimes the ground beneath your feet may tremble or shake and you can feel Her stir as she reminds you that her creative energy is still alive.

Her seas surround us and move with power and majesty.  The rain is in partnership with the land and tends a lush tropical rain forest.  We learn how to farm the rain and to capture it in ways that allow us to safely satisfy our daily need of water.  We are, therefore, dependent upon the rain and we count any days in which it may be absent.  On an island you can point in any direction and that is the way to the sea.  She has fully embraced us and her swells undulate like a beating heart.

Her air moves in currents that we have named Trade Winds and we welcome them like kisses from a loving mother.  If we are close to the ocean’s edge, there is a cleansing that inhabits each breeze and Her movement is welcomed and renewing.  When She is still we wait for Her and miss Her like a child waiting for their mother’s return.  She always returns and we greet her with a heart full of welcome as she moves across our skins with love.

The fire of the sun blesses all of the other elements and nourishes the vegetation.  But the sun seems aloof in comparison to the magma that she spews from the earth’s core.  She births lava once it flows above ground reminding us of Her power.  On this island, she flows where she will flow; all belongs to Her and is subject to Her claiming.  She is not through building Her land as She will remind you if you happen to be in Her path.  She moves slowly to allow time for the surrender of any materials in her path but safe escape for those who can release their attachments.  Tutu Pele was here before any of us and will not be interrupted because of what we may have put in her path.

She is alive and acknowledged on this island.  The love and understanding that is shared amongst her people is a deeply felt spirituality.  It has been given the name of Aloha.  We are all in the same canoe and must live in harmony with each other.  So mote it be.

 

 

 

Sid Reger is a studio artist, educator, and independent scholar whose passions are mythology and prehistoric art. She’s an ordained priestess of RCG-I who teaches online and in person for the Athena Online program and the Mid-Atlantic WTI group. She tends her dog, two cats, and her mycelium in western PA.

 

 

 

Category: Summer Solstice 2018