Seasonal Salon

Wisdom from the Well: Our Priestesses Speak, Part 2

"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 two of them; more responses will follow in future issues, as we invite priestesses to share their wisdom from the well.

MG (Mary Gaul):
I have been a Goddess womon the majority of my adult years. I found my way to Her in the way back time when we Second Wave Feminists were working to pass the ERA. I am so grateful.

When I began the Cella program in 1998, I was neutral about seeking ordination. I was very focused on my pathwork & weekend experiences. I needed all 4 years of cycle 1 & 2 to get clear, grounded and open to feel a calling to commit my life in service to Her. This is what being ordained means to me. I serve Her & the RCGI community and am accountable to both. I have experienced an enormous deepening of my spirituality & relationship with Goddess since I was ordained in ’05. This relationship is integrated into every aspect of my life and the majority of my dear friends are all Goddess womyn too.

I have a blessed life. In these present times, I am more active in my conversations with Her and have more experiences of Her presence in my life as She is so present in our world. I look for and listen to Her communications daily. This ability has grown much stronger since ordination because I made that commitment to Her and She guides & informs my life, my perspective of the world and my decisions. My life has been deeply enriched because I honor Goddess & practice womon focused spirituality.

Roisin Caroll:
To honor the Goddess is to honor everything in the world that embodies Her.  Plants for instance--they bring shade, and beauty, and give us life and nurture us, and yet many people take them for granted and forget how important they are.  To honor Goddess, I focus on those things that don't seem to matter to other people these days in mainstream society:  the land, the plants, the animals.

That's what led me to go up north into the hard country up toward the border, to drive up an old logging road into Canada.  There were no highways, no little towns, no stores, and I had to buy my gasoline from the logging stations along the way.  But I was with Her, driving on Her, surrounded by Her, seeing all of Her land and animals.  We all live on the Goddess Herself.  She is not just one single deity to me. And she doesn't look like me--I'm just one of Her creations. Everything on earth is the Goddess.

This is a very old way of thinking that I learned from my non-Christian, pre-Christian family. We hold to old beliefs and so we're lots of steps behind modern ways to think.  Those ancient ideas are so important to me. I refuse to change with the times!  I'm stubborn in my beliefs in Her and how best to serve Her.  My family taught me about intuition, and herb lore, and how to live well on Her land.  They held to those truths through countless generations of migration and change.  My family tree tells me that they arrived from Ireland as indentured servants.  My intuition tells me that they escaped that fate, and fled into wild lands to start their lives over, based on their ancient knowledge.

When I was growing up my family bred and trained Clydesdales and Belgians, beautiful intelligent horses that were bred over centuries to work beside humans in a cooperative way. I knew firsthand how smart and gentle they could be, and how they bonded completely with the humans when their training was respectful and loving--the old ways of knowing how to interact with other creatures.

My special area of service is herb lore, based on that old belief in Mother Earth and treating Her with respect wherever I go.  I share my knowledge and try to educate people when I can. I am adamant about not poisoning the earth or the water, and I try to teach about better ways to work with the land.  Where I live now, there are some flower boxes that were planted but haven't been tended since then.  I water and weed them, because they too deserve respect.  It's a simple way I can serve Her.

If I can give an example of the most protective mother/goddess I know of, it would be the sow.  She's tender with her piglets and can be gentle but--don't get between them!  Pigs are considered lowly creatures but they are so smart and determined and they were once symbols of powerful goddesses.  Being a priestess is also about service that is both nurturing and fierce. We have to be able to do both things.  I nurture the women in my circle, but I'm also ready to tell them the truth even when it is uncomfortable for everybody.  

When women ask my advice I encourage them to take time and focus on what's important before they make decisions.  I tell them, "Mother Earth doesn't make a flower grow overnight. Slow down, and give Her time to work with you."  As a priestess, I also know there are times I have to sit back and let other women lead.  I love the women in my community and I want them to succeed.  I want  the Congregation to last long after we are gone.  Women, especially young women, need RCG-I now and they will need it more in tough times ahead.  So I have to let them take over when they want to, in ritual and planning. 

That is the way I want to use ancient knowledge of Mother Earth-- Being stubborn about believing in the Goddess, telling the truth, and nurturing the next generation with respect.  

Category: Fall Equinox 2018