Shifting Paradigms

Compassion, Culture, Empowerment, Goddess, Women

shutterstock_181963079Yes, there are many things happening in the world, climate change, the #me too movement, political crisis, economic challenges, it can all be overwhelming.  I know for me when I look out at the cultural landscape, it feels chaotic, huge and tumultuous.  A quick looks at the headlines, news hour, social media, podcast or radio show will give you plenty of content for feeling completely overcome with the immensity of problems and difficulties of living in our world today.

So, what is one to do?  Well, for me, I don’t watch the news (I don’t own a TV), I limit my exposure to the internet and social media, I don’t read the newspaper…  )Believe me if it matters someone will let me know).  I also make a point of connecting with nature everyday, Mother Nature is so nurturing, to my body and my soul.  I also recognize and maintain that connection with Spirit, connecting with conscious people and giving myself time to be the person I want to be in the world (mini retreats, healthy food and meditation time).

Why do I do this?  Because I think each of us is an agent of change in this world of chaos.  I am trying to build the world I want by focusing on the things I want:  recognizing the divinity of each person, supporting social and economic justice, living a sustainable lifestyle, driving less and turning down my thermostat because even if it doesn’t “change the world”, I’m tying to do my little part.

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”
Maya Angelou

I do think this generation, you and me are called to create new structures that will create a more just world.  One of the reasons I love the work I do with Goddess Ink is that we are trying to create a new paradigm.  One that acknowledges women in spiritual leadership, honoring the divine feminine, and women as change agents for a better world.  A paradigm that recognizes there is power and movement in the soul of today’s women.

I really don’t have any big ambitions (well, maybe to eradicate patriarchy….).  But I have many small ambitions, that I work on daily.  For example, I want a world of peace, an economically and socially just system, that recognizes our actions to seven generations, not just the next financial quarter report.  I want women to step into leadership and power positions and lead us to a new way of thinking…….one that sees the Divine in each person.  I want women to see their own Divinity.  I want a social construct that honors the feminine, collaborative thinking, and women in spiritual leadership.  Wow, what a concept! Personally, I think that’s what “feminism”, the #Me Too Movement, the Women’s March and the recognition of the Divine Feminine is all about.

I hope you’ll join me on this paradigm shifting journey.  Please come visit us at Goddess Ink.

Genevieve

Photo Credit:  Shutterstock

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Seeker, a Flower Essence Practitioner, a photographer, a socially responsible  investor, a mother, a grandmother and a devotee of God/Goddess/Divine/Spirit. You can contact her at genevieve@goddess-ink.com.

For more information and to follow Goddess Ink Blog visit www.goddess-ink.com  or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/.  Check out our newly designed store at http://store.goddess-ink.com/Also, please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

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No Hurry in the Season of Hurry Hurry

Goddess, Gratefulness, Seasonal Greetings

Nohurryplease

This is the season of hurry, hurry, hurry.  We go from this thing to that thing, to the many things that are calling for our attention.  We live in a culture that values busy.  We live in a society that give you kudos and recognition and honors busy. Many people have an urgency addition.  It makes them feel important and valuable.  But if we can understand that we have value, just because live.  Our worthiness comes from our Divine essence, not from how much we get done today.

I am a blessed woman, even when there is much to do.  When I get in a hurry, overwhelmed or too busy I try to remember sage advice from a wise teacher, “Remember, no hurry, it doesn’t help”.  I spent much of my early life running fast, creating a sense of urgency for getting it all done, trying to do everything FAST.  But I am trying to appreciate what I have now, without that sense of urgency.   I am trying to recognize that if I am clear about my intentions and focus, then I can do those things, and the rest just fades away.  Because really, there are things in my life that really don’t matter, that can take up so much time, space and life energy that are not really all that important, OR, they are not mine to worry about.

But what might happens if we allowed ourselves to slow down? What happens when we stop to listen to what’s really inside?  Often it’s uncomfortable, it feels overwhelming, or humbling, or sad.  But honoring the truth within is a powerful practice.  It also allow you time to get your bearings.  For me it’s a bit like getting a break in the middle of rafting river rapids or after being on one of those old wooden roller coaster.  My insides are so jarred I just want to stop!  When we stop then we can  recover, regroup, and recuperate.

Slowing down may take awareness, consciousness and intention, but maybe the No Hurry breath is inside you, available to you if you just slow down enough to tap into it.  Breathe, see if you can see the No Hurry sign in your soul.

There’s an old Zen saying that goes something like “Meditate for an hour every day unless you are too busy. In that case meditate for two hours.”  It’s reminder when we are too busy, the very thing we need to do is slow down.  I also love the quote “Goddess is never in a hurry, but She is always on time”.  Or a good one for me is  from Lily Tomlin “For fast acting relief, try slowing down”.

It is my hope, wish and blessing for you in this season of hurry,Meditate for an hour every day unless you are too busy. In that case meditate for two hours. that the best gift you could give yourself is to slow down.

Bright blessings,

Genevieve

Photo credits:  Shutterstock.com

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Seeker, a Flower Essence Practitioner, a photographer, a socially responsible  investor, a mother, a grandmother and a devotee of God/Goddess/Divine/Spirit. You can contact her at genevieve@goddess-ink.com.

For more information and to follow Goddess Ink Blog visit www.goddess-ink.com  or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/.  Also, please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

 

In Thanksgiving for You!

Classes, Compassion, Goddess, Gratefulness, Thanksgiving
Candle

Thank you!

It’s the time of the year to remember all the people in our lives and all the blessings of the past year.  It’s also time to remember why we have this day as a national holiday at all, that is, the Native Americans were kind and compassionate enough to keep all pilgrims from starving.  In case you didn’t know, November is National Native American Heritage Month.  Something that many of us don’t know, but perhaps something we should remember!

For us here at Goddess Ink, it’s also a time to remember and thank our partners, our collaborators, our contributors, our customers, our supporters, our connections and of course you, for being part of this movement to share and offer a new way of thinking that includes honoring the feminine and recognizing the Divine Feminine as part of the new cultural norm.

We offer books, online classes and sacred tours to expand the awareness and focus the importance of recognizing the Goddess, the Female Face of the Divine.  We want to honor and promote goddess studies and topics related to feminine spirituality.  Thank you to all of you who support this work.

We wish you the blessings of love, light and joy in these days of autumn and deepening darkness.  May Goddess fill you with wisdom, grace and courage to be you, the grand and amazing gift you are to the world.

Bright Blessings for a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

Genevieve

shutterstock_508842463.jpg

Photo credits:  Shutterstock.com

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Seeker, a Flower Essence Practitioner, a photographer, a socially responsible  investor, a mother, a grandmother and a devotee of God/Goddess/Divine/Spirit. You can contact her at genevieve@goddess-ink.com.

For more information and to follow Goddess Ink Blog visit www.goddess-ink.com  or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/.  Also, please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

 

 

 

On Being a Presence (of Grace) in the World

Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Gratefulness, Intuition, Priestess

shutterstock_416982001I had a lovely chat with a dear friend recently.  She was lamenting about her work at as a catering assistant.  She longs to do meaningful and significant work in the world.  She encountered a situation during a very elaborate expensive event where the man who hired the catering company had a meltdown and was quite ugly with the waitstaff.  She was feeling powerless and very bad for her colleagues.  But what I recognized in her was her ability to stand in grace and caring during a difficult situation.  She could bring love, blessings, a gentle spirit and a calming influence to time when no one else seemed to able to garner those qualities.

I think it’s the same for all of us.  No, we usually don’t do amazing, big or monumental things in the world.  But we can do small, meaningful and loving things as part of who we are and what we do.

I love this quote by Helen Keller:

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. —-Helen Keller

We are the vessels of change in this world, and mostly in small but important ways.  For me, it’s what I call being an agent of transformation.  It’s how I try and walk in the world, it’s gives meaning to my interactions and my work.

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful pre-Thanksgiving week manifesting your Presence in the world.

Love and light,

Genevieve

Are you looking for a support on your Priestess Path?  This is a wonderful resource, full of history, personal stories and a tool kit for your path.  Stepping Into Ourselvescover_sio

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Seeker, a Flower Essence Practitioner, a photographer, a socially responsible  investor, a mother, a grandmother and a devotee of God/Goddess/Divine/Spirit. You can contact her at genevieve@goddess-ink.com.

For more information and to follow Goddess Ink Blog visit www.goddess-ink.com  or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/.  Also, please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

Dia de los Muertos :Origins and Altars By Maria Veronica Iglesias Ramos

Dia de los Muertos, Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Mesoamerican Goddesses, Mexico, ritual

dia-de-los-muertos

Origen prehispanico de la festividad

The Dia de los Muertos celebration has it origins in the Prehispanic Mexico. In that area the people used several calendars, the solar calendar with 365 days, the ritual calendar with 260 day called Tonalpohualli, they also used another types of calendars.

The Mesoamerican cosmogony is based in the philosophy of the opposites and complementary, this means that we have energies that complement each other.  In this cosmology, Dead is a counterpart of Life and vice versa, we need both in order to have harmony in the Cosmos.

Here are some examples:

MOTHER/MADRE
9
Down/Abajo
Cold/Frío
Female/Hembra
Humedity,Moistness/Humedad
Underworld/Inframundo
Dead/Muerte
Night/Noche
Ocelot/Ocelote
Oscurity/Oscuridad
FATHER/PADRE
13
Up/Arriba
Hot/Calor
Male/Macho
Drought/Sequía
Sky/Cielo
Life/Vida
Day/Día
Eagle/Águila
Light/Luz

Historically, during the harvest season, the people celebrated and shared food and the harvest of the year, with their ancestors.  They believed that their ancestors were also helping to plant and take care of the plants, so when they were collecting the fruits of the harvest it was normal to share with all those that helped with the planting and tending of the fields.  To celebrate, they created altars, with flowers, especially Cempoalxochitl, a beautiful yellow flower (marigold), they feasted on tamales, mole and turkey.

As part of celebrating the ancestors, the people recognized that when someone died, they could go to different places:

– The Tlalocan, was a kind of paradise where the people who died for causes related with water went. Their bodies were buried.

– The Omeyocan, the place where for the warriors who died in war as well as women who died during childbirth (cihuateteo). It was the place of Tonatiuh the Sun and Huitzilopochtli the deity of the war. Their bodies were buried.

– The Mictlan, the place of Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl the lord and the lady of the Mictlan lived. The people who died for natural causes went there, the soul took 4 years to arrive. The dogs or  Xoloixcuintles were the guides, that is why was very important that every person during their life had at least one dog who will help in the transition.

– The Chichihuacauhco, this was a place where the babies who died before eating corn went. They believed that in that place was a tree with uncountable breasts where the babies were having milk.

dia-de-los-muertos-2

Altars:  Following the arrival of the Spaniards several elements changed, the celebration was changed to the day of All the Saints. Currently the altars dedicated to the dead have some these elements:

  • A picture of the loved one
  • Water is important because the souls are thirsty after their journey to this world
  • Salt
  • Bread, pan de muerto.
  • The food that the loved ones used to eat
  • Liquors
  • cigars
  • Candles
  • Flowers, cempoalxochitl or cempasúchil
  • Sugar skulls with the name of the people who is still alive, because we never know when we are going to be gone
  • Sweet Pumpkin
  • Fruits of the season
  • Mole with turkey
  • Sometimes the music that the deceased loved is played

The Day of the Dead of Dia de los Muertos is very alive.  I feel it is very important because it offers us the opportunity to feel the presence of our loved ones who have passed.  Creating an altar for our deceased loved ones is a good reminder that we will not be here on this plane forever.  We will transcend at some point, so to do what we love to do , to love our loved ones and follow our path toward happiness and love.

I want to close with a prehispanic poem:

Does no one know where we are going?
Do we go to God’s home or
do we live only here on earth?
Ah ohuaya.

Let your hearts know,
oh princes, oh eagles and jaguars
that we will not be friends forever,
only for a moment here, then we go
to Life Giver’s home,
Ohuaya ohuaya.

vero

Maria Veronica Iglesias Ramos

I would like to invite you to join us for Dia de los Muertos in Mexico in 2018! Immerse yourself in the indigenous traditions, and find your own connection to your ancestors. “Los muerto tienen sed, los vivos culpas. The dead are thirsty, and the living are culpable.” –Ricardo Arjona. For more information on Day of the Dead please see:  our Pinterest Board .

Maria Veronica Iglesias Ramos was born in Mexico City, Mexico. She has a Bachelor´s degree in Library Sciences and a Master´s Degree in Mesoamerican Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico). She grew up in a family that always honors the Earth, the plants and all the living beings.Veronica was initiated as a sahumadora (bearer of the Sacred Sahumerio) when she was 8 years old. She studied about medicinal plants, crystal therapy and healing with gems. She also was initiated in the sacred knowledge of Mesoamerican shamanism and she became a Portadora de la Palabra, bearer of the Sacred Word. She is also a Priestess of Ix´Cheel, the Mayan Goddess of Medicine. She is currently researching gem stones and their therapeutic use, Pre-Hispanic medicine,  Feminine Shamanism in Mesoamerica, Feminine rites of passage and Goddesses from Mesoamerica.

For more information and to follow Goddess Ink Blog visit www.goddess-ink.com  or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/.  Also, please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

Photo credits: Veronica Iglesias

This blog was originally published in November 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dia de muertos:  Origins and Altars

By Veronica Iglesias Ramos

 

Origen prehispanico de la festividad

The Dia de Muetos Celebration has it origins in the Prehispanic Mexico. In that area the people used several calendars, the solar calendar with 365 days, the ritual calendar with 260 day called Tonalpohualli, they also used another types of calendars.

 

The Mesoamerican cosmogony is based in the philosophy of the opposites and complementary, this means that we have energies that complement each other.  In this cosmology, Dead is a counterpart of Life and viceverse, we need both in order to have harmony in the Cosmos.

Here are some examples:

 

 

MOTHER/MADRE
9
Down/Abajo
Cold/Frío
Female/Hembra
Humedity,Moistness/Humedad
Underworld/Inframundo
Dead/Muerte
Night/Noche
Ocelot/Ocelote
Oscurity/Oscuridad
FATHER/PADRE
13
Up/Arriba
Hot/Calor
Male/Macho
Drought/Sequía
Sky/Cielo
Life/Vida
Day/Día
Eagle/Águila
Light/Luz

 

 

 

 

Historically, during the harvest season, the people celebrated and shared food and the harvest of the year, with their ancestors.  They believed that their ancestors were also helping to plant and take care of the plants, so when they were collecting the fruits of the harvest it was normal to share with all those that helped with the planting and tending of the fields.  To celebrate, they created altars, with flowers, especially Cempoalxochitl, a beautiful yellow flower (marigold), they feasted on tamales, mole and turkey.

 

As part of celebrating the ancestors, the people recognized that when someone died, they could go to different places:

– The Tlalocan, was a kind of paradise where the people who died for causes related with water went. Their bodies were buried.

– The Omeyocan, the place where for the warriors who died in war as well as women who died during childbirth (cihuateteo). It was the place of Tonatiuh the Sun and Huitzilopochtli the deity of the war. Their bodies were buried.

– The Mictlan, the place of Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl the lord and the lady of the Mictlan lived. The people who died for natural causes went there, the soul took 4 years to arrive. The dogs or  Xoloixcuintles were the guides, that is why was very important that every person during their life had at least one dog who will help in the transition.

– The Chichihuacauhco, this was a place where the babies who died before eating corn went. They believed that in that place was a tree with uncountable breasts where the babies were having milk.

 

After the arrival of the Spaniards several elements changed, the celebration was changed to the day of All the Saints. Currently the altars dedicated to the dead have some these elements:

  • A picture of the loved one
  • Water is important because the souls are thirsty after their journey to this world
  • Salt
  • Bread, pan de muerto.
  • The food that the loved ones used to eat
  • Liquors
  • cigars
  • Candles
  • Flowers, cempoalxochitl or cempasúchil
  • Sugar skulls with the name of the people who is still alive, because we never know when we are going to be gone
  • Sweet Pumpkin
  • Fruits of the season
  • Mole with turkey
  • Sometimes the music that the deceased loved is played

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powerful New (and Old) On Line Classes!

Brigit, Classes, Goddess, Learning, Priestess

Did you know that Goddess Ink is an online class portal!!  Find all our classes at www.goddess-ink.com.

We have some wonderful instructors that we would love for you to meet!  Kathryn Ravenwood teaches a great Introduction to the Spiritual Directions course.  Sylvia Brallier has a powerful Energy Clearing Course  We also have several courses on the Goddess Brigit, Stepping into Brigit – Goddess Activation Course with Mael Brigde  and Discovering Brigit – Goddess and Saint with Mael Brigde

 

 

Introducing Kwan Yin by Genevieve Mitchell

bodhisattva, Classes, Compassion, Goddess, Kwan Yin
IMG_1276 (2)

Kwan Yin Reclining    From Sandy Boucher Collection, photo by Genevieve Mitchell

Getting introduced and getting to know a new Goddess always feels like a big deal to me.  It’s easy to see everything, nature, birth and life as grace filled.  It’s a little more daunting to get to know a Goddess, her names, her ways, her gifts and her nuances, it’s kind of like learning about a friend and becoming best friends.   That’s how it’s been for me with Kwan Yin.  Slowly, over time, over chants, reading, learning, and sitting with Her, oh my Goddess, what a gift.

I don’t really remember when I first was introduced to Kwan Yin as a Goddess.  But my first introduction to her power, her message and her compassion was when I read Sandy Boucher’s She Appears:  Encounters with Kwan Yin.  It’s a magical book, full of powerful stories and beautiful art work that inspires and nourishes the soul.  It also introduced me to an amazing Goddess, one who is full of compassion and grace, willing to be Source and sourced as comfort, hope and caring, especially during times we find it hard to care for ourselves.

IMG_0789 (2)

Kwan Yin and She Appears, Statue from Sandy Boucher Collection, photo by Genevieve Mitchell

There are some great resources on Kwan Yin.  Here is a wonderful class on Kwan Yin by Kimberly Moore and Sandy Boucher .  Deva Premal’s Om Mani Padme Hum chant is lovely!  There are a variety of stories and myths about how Kwan Yin came to be the Goddess of Compassion.  Find some of them here at Wikipedia.org.  Goddess Ink hosts a lovely Pinterest link with images of the beautiful Kwan Yin!

May you find the compassion you need in the wonderful connection with the beautiful Goddess of Compassion: Kwan Yin.

Many Blessings,

Genevieve

Photo Credits:  Genevieve Mitchell and Pinterest

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Seeker, a Flower Essence Practitioner, a photographer, a socially responsible  investor, a mother, a grandmother and a devotee of God/Goddess/Divine/Spirit. You can contact her at genevieve@goddess-ink.com.

For more information and to follow Goddess Ink Blog visit www.goddess-ink.com  or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/.  Also, please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

 

Finding the Divine in the Daily by Genevieve Mitchell

Goddess

How do you find the Divine?  How does your life unfold in ways that allow the God/Goddess/Infinite, however you name “it”, where is that sacredness found?

I’ve been pondering this for a long while, my whole life if truth be known.  I am a seeker, a wanderer on the spiritual path, looking, tasting, reading, praying, chanting, searching…

I am also a photographer.  Not a professional mind you, only someone who loves looking through the lens of a camera and seeing and finding delight.  Over the years that delight has been in the form of photographs of my kids, of my family, of my home… It’s also been looking at the world where I live, the sky, the flowers, the buildings, the birds, the interesting combinations of color, light, texture and elements that provoke a mood, a thought or a story.

Taos bouquet

Taos Bouquet

Recently I have decided to challenge myself to take a photo daily, one that I call, Finding the Divine in the Daily.  It’s a challenge for me.  I love taking photos, but finding something that is considered photo worthy, during my day…..well, that is an entirely different game.  It makes me look at my world, and identify, name, and honor the sacredness of my daily life.  It’s finding the magic in the everydayness of yesterday and today.

I’ve been shooting pictures since I was a teenager.  Now at 60, I’m finding reasons to shoot photos that don’t include family or posing or “for the record”, I’m looking for the sacred.

I must admit, I am not really sure what I will do with all these photos, but I love the that I spend at least part of my daily life, seeking the sacred in the daily.

IMG_2257

Bosque del Apache, NM

Photo Credits:  All photos by Genevieve Mitchell

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Seeker, a Flower Essence Practitioner, a photographer, a socially responsible  investor, a mother, a grandmother and a devotee of God/Goddess/Divine/Spirit. You can contact her at genevieve@goddess-ink.com.

For more information and to follow Goddess Ink Blog visit www.goddess-ink.com  or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/.  Also, please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

Your Intuition Isn’t Broken by Maura McCarley Torkildson

Classes, contemplation, Creativity, Goddess, Intuition, Learning
forest fairy shaman with panflute and crystal, detailed colorful illustration

forest fairy shaman with panflute and crystal, detailed colorful illustration.

When the conversation about intuition comes up, do you find yourself comparing your intuition to other people and come up feeling less than?  I know how disappointing that can be. Let me say first, comparison is rarely helpful. Let me also say, there is also nothing wrong with your intuition. It is not broken. It may be that you have not yet discovered your potential.

There are a number of reasons why your intuition may not be working for you. I want to encourage you to consider the following common issues before you give up on it or determine you are lacking in this area.

You Don’t Understand Your Clair Ability 

You haven’t discovered your intuitive modality. I call these The Clairs – like clairvoyance for instance. Did you know there was more than one?  I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t. For some reason our culture has latched onto clairvoyance (visions) as the psychic skill. Second in line of course is clairaudience (hearing voices). All the others get left in the dust. I happen to be primarily clairsentient (I feel other’s feelings) and claircognizant (knowing). There is also clairgustance(smell). I’ve even coined the term clair-creativity in my upcoming book on intuition, because the first intuitive skills I recognized showed up in my art work.

Your Intuition doesn’t Meet Your Expectations

Your intuition doesn’t look like you expect it to. We all get ideas about intuitive powers from TV and the movies. The problem is that movies tend to over -dramatize – you know, the psychic character gets completely taken over by her vision or it shows up like a technicolor screen across the sky. Well, yes, they have to portray inner visions creatively, it is art after all and special effects make a movie fun to watch. However, this can be misleading, and even though we know its fiction, we still believe it on some level. The truth is it often takes getting quiet to receive messages and we have to understand how they are coming in. That can be difficult when the mental hamster wheel is on overdrive.  And if we are expecting things to show up one way, we often disregard the way they do show up.

It Could Be Your Ego Attachments

I am going to be frank here. Your ego may be in the way. I’ve seen this one occur with a lot of people, myself included. I would say this was my primary block until I worked through it and it can still catch me off guard. When the ego really wants something, it will find ways to confirm what it wants, including using intuition. Then, when things don’t turn out as expected, we learn to distrust our “intuition” (which it wasn’t in the first place). In order intuition to be effective, discernment is a must. If you haven’t done your psychological and emotional work, it makes interpreting your intuition very difficult. We can let fear and ego spin us into denial and the real messages just don’t get through.

You Just Don’t Believe It’s Real

You may believe your intuition is “just” your imagination. Do you have weird visions pop up, or your inner voices come up with something totally out of context? We all have been influenced by culture to believe that whatever is going on inside us isn’t quite real because it can’t be proven. It takes a bit of skill to be able to distinguish between making something out of our inner experience (ego) and allowing the observer self to be aware without judgment, but this skill can be developed. Your Innerverse  IS real. It may not be as verifiable as what you can corroborate with others, but that does not make it less that real. Think about it this way, do you experience an inner world? If you experience it, it exists. It may not be tangible, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist. For myself, if my inner experience is meaningful to me (like feeling the presence of my deceased father), that is what matters. I don’t need to prove everything in court.

Ultimately trust is the key to a strong intuition. Like any relationship, trust takes time and experience to grow. Learning to know and trust your inner guidance is a journey, not a destination. On this journey it is also important to realize you will never be 100% accurate in your interpretation. Let go that expectation, no one is ever that accurate, even the best. The following are keys to building relationships, including your relationship with your intuition. Trust grows in relationships when commitment is present and curiosity leads. Commitment  is the will to stick with it even when the going is tough. Commitment cultivates resilience and confidence.  Curiosity is the opposite of judgment. It creates safe ground to explore, to learn and to deepen. It allows you to see what is there and find joy in the unfolding mystery.

Some Tips for Your Journey

If you approach intuition with a fixed mindset (some people are gifted, others are not) you aren’t likely to give yourself a chance to evolve. This is the fallacy of how psychic skills are portrayed in popular culture – some few special people are gifted and others are not. What this myth obscures is the reality that the masters were validated for their skill at some point and worked hard at perfecting them. In my journey, it was only when I risked being wrong and communicated my hunches that I received the validation I needed to hone my skills and begin to trust my intuition.

There is nothing like the need to be right to get in the way. Performance anxiety blocks your intuitive flow. When you need to be right, you will constantly second guess yourself. You allow fear to be the driving factor. Letting go the need to be right opens the channels. Intuition is the gift of your Divine roots (what I call the Inner Tree). It is about connecting to Source. The need to be right is the province of your ego. When a hunch doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean your intuition is broken. It just means you are still learning how to connect. You do have it within your capacity to do that. Lighten up, let go and play with it.

Take up an awareness practice. Tune into your body. Your body is a magical vehicle for acute awareness, but only if we use it.  How often do you pause and really feel your body? Do you notice the entire surface of your feet on the ground? Have you explored the exquisite sensitivity of your fingertips? Do you ever tune into the energetic field around your heart? Do this without expectation. Do it daily, whenever you can remember. Just notice what is present. You will be amazed.

Most importantly, start by dropping the story that yours is broken. That story isn’t serving you. When I let go that same story and began cultivating my inner world, I learned to trust myself, my unique gifts and I continue to grow and expand my intuitive repertoire and use it regularly in service to my clients. I know it is possible for you too if you desire and that is why I support women to trust their inner resources.

Want to learn to trust your intuition? Check out my Inner Tree Courses on www.mysteryschoolofthegoddess.com

Maura McCarley Torkildson is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, Author and Priestess of Silence (Sige). She received her MA in Women’s Spirituality from New College of California January 2000.

Her first book The Curious Magic of Buckeye Groves was published in 2014 and her second book The Inner Tree will be available in 2017. After receiving her MA, Maura studied with the Mystic Peter Kingsley for 5 years and then went on to get her coaching certification. She opened her coaching practice in 2014.

She is a life long devotee and student of the Divine Feminine and dreams of empowering all women to trust themselves and their inner wisdom to bring the world back into balance again.

You can find her at Maura Torkildson Coaching.

Goddess Ink is your source for inspiration for the Divine Feminine. Find books, classes and sacred tours to feed your soul.  For more information and to follow Goddess Ink Blog visit www.goddess-ink.com  or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/.  Also, please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

Brighid, Keening and a Time of Crisis by Jude Lally

Brigit, Divine, Goddess, Imbolc, Loss and Grief

brighid-imbolc-altarImbolc

It is currently Imbolc, we are still in winter with snow often arriving in early March. Imbolc is a time when we can feel fragile and full of unease. Maybe part of that unease comes from a past down worry of ancestors knitted into our bones about food supplies running out and hungry mouths to feed. Maybe another part of that unease is that many who are ill can’t say yes to another year of living and choose instead to make their journey over into the next life.

In my tradition of experiencing the Wheel of the Year  is as a women’s psychology – other interpretations are still there – but as a woman I see the Wheel reflect all the phases in a women’s life. In my tradition we note our feelings at this time and no matter where we experience them throughout the year we refer to them as “Imbolcy”. With our current political climate and state of the world we might be travelling around the Wheel this year with Imbolcy feelings of unease and uncertainty.

Brighid comes back into the world at Imbolc, a holy day full of  rich traditions such as making Brighid’s wheels, making a bed for Brighid, laying out cloth and items for her to bless, making Brideog dolls and some make their vows and state their dedications for the year. Then there are those who, due to age or illness (and a thousand other reasons), cannot say yes to another year of living.

Imbolc Vows

In the days of keening, laments would be heard all year where people gathered to mourn loved ones. While many take their vows at this time of year and say yes to Brighid and yes to another year of living, there are those whose time isn’t to say yes as they have begun their journey onto the next world.

My grandmother was one of those who couldn’t say yes to another year of living at Imbolc and so took that journey with Brighid who birthed her into her next life. As with tradition, there was a wake with her body returned to the house in the coffin while neighbours came to visit. Keening was long gone by this time and the song for those days was the clinking of teacups on saucers and the rattling of rosary beads. I was a little taken aback when neighbours came over and lovingly touched her face and stroked her hair, for I had never seen a dead body before and my Grandmother looked different due to the makeup the Mortuary staff had used. The wake is an old tradition where the body is kept at home for three days after death – so that the person can adjust to being dead and know it’s time for them to leave this realm of the living and move on to what awaits them.

What is Keening

Anne Schilling who has studied keening for many years defines keening the verb, ‘to keen’, as the act of wailing and lamenting and yet it can also be described as a noun ‘the keen’, meaning the text or the song used when lamenting. Traditional keening is a ritualistic practice of vocally mourning the dead. While there are schools of thought exploring both theories, (Schilling, 2013) suggests that both are correct due to the evolution and the variations of keening over the years.

I’d love to play you some keening tracks to illustrate what keening is but none exist, plus keening is traditionally done in the presence of a dead body. By the time we had tools to record, Keening was already seen as a backwards Pagan tradition and, women couldn’t be persuaded to give an example of a keening song, as to do it outside of it’s proper ritual before a body laid out was a great superstition (McCoy 2009).

The keen itself drew upon traditional motifs, themes and vocalisations with a characteristic falling inflection of the voice with a three part structure comprised of a salutation, verse and then the cry. Some of those inflections you would recognise from modern singers such as Sinéad O’Connor or Dolores O’Riordan. Yet the keening couldn’t break out too early or the ‘devil’s dogs’ were alerted and the soul could lose it’s way (McCoy 2009).

Keening was always a woman’s tradition and the role of keening, like today’s funeral, was to take our grief through ritual and a rite of passage of sorts allowing us to go on with our lives even though we still held our personal grief.

The roots of keening lie within the Pagan tradition and the purpose of the keen is as (Collins 2014) explains to traversing the parallel worlds of this world and the next and as the keener used her voice guided the dead person’s soul from this world to that of the spirits and so the sound of the keen connects this world and the next.  It is the very essence of a female shamanic tradition which Collins explains: “It is possible to suggest that keening women entered  state of liminality through use of what ordinarily would be publicly unacceptable words, sounds – such as howling, screeching and wailing – appearance and dramatic actions, occupying a peripheral position, a state of betwixt and between, inhabiting both this world and the next. This was very different to women’s regular behaviour presented in public which did not allow women the opportunity to behave, dress, act out or publically criticize their world. Bean chaointe* gave the impression of being out of this world, and through inclusion of the congregation during the third part of the keen, constructed a space in which change would happen. Between worlds, outside of custom, convention or the law, and neither of this world nor the next, the bean chaointe, bringing the community from actions of their keen were the means through which transformation occured, bringing the community from a state of intense grief and disharmony to a post-liminal state, a place of acceptance and stability.” (Collins 2014, pg. 3)

*Bean chaointe – keening woman

Brighid

It is the Goddess Brighid who brought keening to the world. In the Battle of Moytura, Brighid appears as the wife of Bres of the Formarians, the mythical Irish invaders and enemies of the people of the Goddess Danu. The position Brighid plays as married to a Formarian see’s her acting as an intermediary between the two opposing sides who are fighting for control over Ireland. Her son, Ruadan, was given help by the people of the Goddess Danu, his maternal kin, who taught him how to make weapons. Yet he acts on behalf of his paternal side, the Formarians and wounds the sacred Smith (blacksmith) of the People of the Goddess Danu. He only wounds the smith who has enough strength left to retaliate and kills Ruadan. Brighid then begins to mourn her son and it is said that through her grief was the first time crying or wailing were ever heard in Ireland (Condren 1989, pg. 61).

The Disappearance of Keening

In the mid-nineteenth century, in post famine Ireland and with the emergence of a new middle class, keening became an embarrassment in a society that was modelling itself on Victorian values and beliefs. The Catholic Church viewed keening as barbaric and uncivilised and went out of their way to banish the practise. They viewed the keening woman as taking on the role of the priest and viewed it as a Pagan practise as it contained no reference to Christ and the Christian afterlife (Collins 2014).

As a woman, artist and priestess, my mind paints a picture of the woman keener as stepping into the role of the death priestess, a tradition of Brighid as the midwife of birth and death, accompanying the soul onto the otherworld. For me, this is a tradition which taps into the lineage of my foremothers, a shamanic tradition of women’s mysteries which can be traced going back to the Paleolithic.

The American Wake

An Irish storyteller describes that when people left for America they were grieved for, a term called “cumha” which he describes as a grieving for the living (Porter, 2013). For those taking that journey out of desperation, choice or by force of law, it’s not hard to imagine the grief for those leaving didn’t even know that they would survive the journey, they didn’t know if they would ever be able to return and i they did return it is highly likely that many friends and their parents would be dead.

My Own Keening

I have lived in the Appalachians for seven years. I return home as much as I can and regularly keep in touch with family. Social media has allowed me to keep in touch with family I wouldn’t normally be able to have conversations with. I often think of the ancestors of the people in this area and can feel that sadness that they must have lived the rest of their life with – not getting back home to familiar land. As much as I get to go home and, plan to move back at some point, sometimes a particular cold temperature or a strong enough wind suddenly transports me home and I’m surprised not to see a wide mountain view when I open my eyes. The positioning of a hill on the horizon here in Western North Carolina see’s my mind superimposing a familiar scene from home on top of that scene. While it’s not something I talk about I wonder if others longing for home did the same thing?

Maybe part of this superimposing of familiar places isn’t just your own longing for home but in the words of John O’Donohoe:  “Perhaps your place loves having you there. It misses you when you are away and in its secret way rejoices when you return. Could it be possible that a landscape might have a deep friendship with you? That it could sense your presence and feel the care you extend towards it? Perhaps your favorite place feels proud of you.” (O’Donohoe 2003, pg.24).

I find that song and these rituals of missing a place a keening of sorts, there is no death but a constant melody of grief or longing. It is an emotion that can always be heard within the melodies of much Celtic music.  I hear the same longing between the words of stories, from women who attend workshops and yearn for a time they’ve never lived and a place they’ve never visited.

Keening Ceremonies Today

In her study of keening, Michelle Collins attended several modern keening events. She notes that the contemporary keen is now found outside of the traditional funeral setting. Keening ceremonies are infrequent events where groups come together and keen. At such ceremonies, participants are not keening any one individual’s death as each person keens their own personal grief.

My Keening Invitation

While I have always been interested in keening since an Irish cousin told me there were keening women in the family, it has only become real since a friend – who has described her death as ‘a body which is deathing and a soul ready to be born into her new role in the next world’ – invited me to facilitate a keening ceremony at her wake. As she works through the last things she wishes to do in this world, she is breaking apart our society’s taboo about dying! We have sung together with our tribe, explored communicating from the otherside, explored ancient Old Europe rituals of death and made Goddess figurines in the pottery studio. She has talked to children about her process of dying, painted murals and held our hands in this process.

Keening in a Time of Crisis

Brighid created keening and we live in an age which desperately needs to engage with our grief. We are on a threshold between what is and the new world which we are creating. That new world is being built by millions of grassroots programs which are already flourishing. Keening is still a healthy ritual to mourn our dead and, mourn all our personal griefs and, it can invite us to move through our grief and allow us to put our full focus on the work we do now. It can be the catalyst to move us out of a shocked and stunned apathy.

It was the Wise Woman throughout countless generations who was called in a time of crisis. Today we find ourselves in the middle of a crisis which can affect every living system on the planet. Both the Wise Woman and keening come out of an ancient female tradition that is much needed in today’s world.

Right now on this planet women all over the world are holding a collective grief for what is happening. As a woman I can only reflect on my own personal experience through the unique ways women relate to the world. Brighid gave us keening and I use keening as a way for groups of women to unleash, to vocalise and to embody their grief with purpose. The purpose is not to stay with the grief, but to move beyond it into asking for wisdom in what needs to be done and stating what each individual commits to doing. Joanna Macy (Macy and Brown 2014) offers a powerful example within her program of “The Work that Reconnects”. All of this work invites us to dig down to the roots and be nourished by an ancient spirituality, which has fed countless generations of women and holds the torch for remembering we did once live in balance and partnership with each other and honored life in all forms and the mother of all.

Resources

Collins, Michelle. 2014. ‘Divine Madness’ and Collective Grief: Ritualized Sounds and the Potential for Transformation.

(Accessed online: http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/probing-the-boundaries/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/collinstsb4paper.pdf)

Condren, M. 1989. The Serpent and the Goddess. Women, Religion, and Power in Celtic Ireland. Harper and Row, USA.

McCoy, Narelle, Phyllis. 2009. Madwoman, Banshee, Shaman: Gender, changing performance contexts and the Irish wake ritual. Contained in: Mackinlay, E. and Bartleet, B. and Barney, K, (Eds), Musical Islands, Place and Research. Cambridge Scholars Press, UK. Pgs. 207-220.

Macy, J. and Brown, M. 2014. Coming Back to Life. New Society Publishers, Canada.

O’Donohoe, John. 2003. Divine Beauty: the Invisible Embrace. Bantam Books, London.

Porter, G. 2013. Grief for the Living: Appropriating the Irish lament for songs of emigration and exile. Humanities Research. Vol XIV. No. 2. Pgs. 15-25.

Schilling, Anne. The Search for Irish Keening in the 21st Century. Voice and Speech Review. Pgs 148-154. (Published online 2013 – accessed 02/01/2017: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23268263.2011.10739534?journalCode=rvsr20).

 Join Jude on her Ancient Mothers of Scotland Retreat which will explore keening in feeling our rage and grief for all that is happening in the world within the balanced framework of Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects. Full details at www.judelally.com

Jude Lally is an artist, writer and ritualist. Her work focuses on the wise women ways, of women’s mysteries and employing shamanic tools to heal the damaging split modernity has created between nature and ourselves which only exists in our mind.

Originally from Scotland Jude is currently residing in Asheville, NC where she runs her Celtic Soul School as well as offering a series of workshops, online courses and retreats to Scotland. For online courses, workshops and to activate your free membership in her Celtic Soul School visit http://www.celticsoulcraft.com or find her on Facebook. Additionally, Jude teaches Weaving the Protection of Brighid- A Goddess Activation Course .

Goddess Ink is your source for inspiration for the Divine Feminine. Find books, classes and sacred tours to feed your soul.  For more information and to follow Goddess Ink Blog visit www.goddess-ink.com  or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/.  Also, please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

Photo credit:  Jude Lally