Summer Reading: Dancer for the Goddess by Diana Rivers

contemplation, Dance, Empowerment, Fiction, Goddess, Priestess, ritual, Story, Vision, Women

Dancer for the GoddessThis week we have the first chapter from one of our favorite fantasy reads: Dancer for the Goddess by Diana Rivers, author of The Hadra Series.  Purchase in paperback from Goddess Ink or Kindle on Amazon.

Chapter 1: The Temple of Kernoss

By walking past the Temple at that exact moment on that particular morning,
my life was changed forever and set irrevocably on its new course. I
had been sent out on some errand or other. Later I couldn’t even remember
what it was because I never reached my intended destination. I was very
young at the time, ten perhaps, certainly no more than eleven, just barely old
enough to be out in the streets alone. My older cousin, Renairi, the one who
should have gone instead of me, was ill. I had been allowed to go in her place with the strict understanding that I was to come straight home afterward.

Of course I’d been on that street many times before with my family,
but we’d never lingered in front of the Temple of Kernoss. My mother was
so contemptuous of the Goddess and all things holy that we always passed
by quickly, often with my mother making disparaging remarks. I knew my
father had once been head gardener at the Temple, but that was long ago,
even before my parents married. Sometimes he still spoke of it with longing
and affection. My mother had no such feelings—and in our family, my
mother held the power.

Those other times, the outer courtyard had been a bustle of activity,
crowded with celebrants there for the holy days, or merchants who had
business with the Temple. Throngs of people passed in or out of the gates,
some from the city and some from the farmlands beyond. The Temple of
Kernoss was immense, almost like a town within the city of Urshameel,
with many to be fed and clothed and much sacred business being conducted
there everyday. This time, however, it was early morning. For once,
the front courtyard of the Temple was empty.

Feeling very daring and a little frightened, I stepped through the open
gates to take a quick look into this forbidden place. I had only meant to stay
for a moment or two, but I found myself lingering there, tempted by the
beauty of the flowerbeds overflowing with spring blooms. I was also tempted
by this unexpected freedom. After glancing around to make sure no one was
watching me, I craned my neck to find the source of the waterfall that started
from some high place in the polished black stones of the Temple wall. From
there I followed with my eyes as the water fell, flashing and sparkling, into
a shallow pool where gold, red and bronze fish swam in lazy circles. Past the pond the water flowed on into little streams that meandered about and
watered the gardens. Of course, I had to stop for a little while and watch the
fish. Then, humming to myself, I had to dip my fingers in the water and run
my wet fingertips lightly over the flowers.

Drawn by curiosity, fears forgotten and responsibilities as well, I began
walking further and deeper into the courtyard. At a bend in a low, curving,
brick wall, I came upon an enormous stone statue of Great Mother, The-
Mother-of-all-Things. She was surrounded by a multitude of tiny animals
and humans made of painted clay. I sucked in my breath with delight.
Wonderfully round and full of power, Her features were almost worn away
from the touch of many hands. Awed, I stopped before Her and bowed. Then,
feeling very daring but unable to resist, I scrambled up on a bench. With
tentative fingers I stroked Her face. I wanted to pluck a flower and set it on
the altar in front of Her with all the other offerings, but Temple ways were
unfamiliar to me. I was afraid I might do something forbidden.

The courtyard was paved in dark stone with an inset of lighter stones
in the shape of a spiral. Stepping with care, I followed this spiral pathway
to its center where a small, round pool reflected the sky like an unblinking
blue eye. From that center, I looked up in wonder at the pointed archway of
black polished stones leading into the inner courtyard and the Temple itself.
My eyes were instantly captured by the symbols carved around it, each one
painted in a different bright color.

Errand long forgotten, I began moving toward the archway as if in a
trance. I was reaching out my hand, intent upon touching one of those mysterious symbols, when a sudden movement caught my attention. A young woman, far back inside the archway, was bending over to fasten her sandal.

Fascinated, I stopped to watch. Just then she stood up and swung her long
dark hair back from her face with one sweep of her arm. Sighing deeply, she
took an unconsciously graceful pose and stood looking past me into the
outer courtyard as if lost in thought.

A ray of early morning light fell on her in the darkness of the archway.
It flashed on the gold links of her necklace and lit the richness of her Dancer
costume, red and purple with a blue vest and several multi-colored sashes. In one hand she held a glass tube or wand in which brilliant colors swirled and shimmered in constantly changing patterns. With the fingers of her other
hand she absently twirled some strands of her dark hair. I stood gaping at her
with my mouth open. Her beauty took my breath away—the Goddess Herself
in earthly form. Flooded with admiration, in that instant I fell in love with
my whole heart as only someone very young can fall in love. At the same
moment the Dancer glanced down and noticed this little girl, staring at her
so openly. She turned her full attention on me.

“Have you never seen a Dancer, Child?” I blushed and stammered, “Yes, often, at festival times but always Dancing, never just standing still like a real person.”

The Dancer threw back her head and laughed. “Oh, I’m real enough.
Watch…” She did some quick intricate Dance steps ending with a slight bow
in front of me. “You see, I’m very real,” she said again, reaching out and
touching me on the wrist. “I’m a Dancer for the Goddess and I’m training
right here in this Temple.”

I trembled at her touch and went on staring up at her, my eyes wide and
unblinking. Words came tumbling thoughtlessly out of my mouth: “What’s
your name? Mine is Zaia. How old were you when you started Dancing? Can
someone my age do those steps? Are they very hard to learn?” Then I glanced away, going suddenly shy and silent.

I think the longing and intensity in my questions must have touched
her heart. It was certainly not my manners. “My name is Kendrin,” she said
with a smile. “I started when I was nine. Come, I’ll show you where the
girls your age practice. Melanthia is the Dance Mistress and she’s very strict
so we have to be quiet and not let anyone see us there.” Kendrin slipped her
wand into her sash. Then she reached out her hand and I took it without
thought or question.

Together, hand in hand, we made our way through the Temple. To my
young eyes it was a place of wonders, a vast jumble of vivid impressions. I could see now that the Temple was not just one massive black-stone building, as it appeared to be from the street but many interconnected buildings of different shapes and sizes. Kendrin led me through courtyards, gardens, archways, halls.

I could hear bells and chimes in the distance and, from another place, the swell of music. Peacocks and other brightly colored birds strolled about like walking jewels. There was a constant flow of people moving purposefully, as if to some important task. They nodded to Kendrin and looked curiously at me, but no one blocked our way or stopped us to question my presence.
Off to the side I saw a long processional walkway. It was made of colorfully
patterned tiles and lined on both sides by a row of carved columns.
Beyond that loomed a huge ceremonial chamber hung with bright tapestries.
Soon we turned from the main way and entered a series of twisting narrow
passageways. “This is a way that few outsiders ever see,” Kendrin told me.

We passed shops where weavers, carvers or potters were bent over their work. From around a corner came a loud rush of sound, much clanging and bustling and the clamor of raised voices. In passing I caught a glimpse through a wide doorway of a huge, steamy kitchen.

Soon we were out again, hurrying past terraced kitchen gardens. Chickens and geese were running loose. There were pens of sheep and pigs. What I remember best were the flowering fruit trees growing flat against red brick walls in the shape of giant harps. Next we came to an especially beautiful flower garden. Because of my father I knew much about gardens. I was tempted to linger at this one, but Kendrin urged me on, saying: “They’ve
already started. You’ll miss it all if you wait. The young ones are going to do
The Dance for First Harvest here in the Temple Dance Court. It’s for this they
practice. You must get your parents to bring you at mid-summer.”

I nodded, but even as I did a shiver went through me. My parents in the
Temple? Not much hope of that! I pictured my mother’s face contorted in
anger and saw my father cringing at her bitter words. Then, with a will, I shut
out all thoughts of my parents, shut out everything but what was happening
right at that moment. I knew there might be trouble later but I told myself
that no matter what happened after, this would be worth it.

At some point the way grew narrow and Kendrin stepped in front of
me. It was then I noticed the woven knot of thick silken cord she wore in her
hair. Intricately shaped and bright red in color, it was nestled at the back of
her head in a cluster of small tight braids. I was just going to ask her about it
when her hand went up to touch it. As if she had read my mind, she turned
back and answered my unasked question: “That is my Dancer’s Knot. We
wear it any time we’re not sleeping. It is one sure way to recognize a Dancer
no matter what else she may be wearing. We earn it when we graduate from
Novice to Apprentice.”

With an odd little tremor, I touched the back of my own head as if I felt
a weight there. My mother had always kept my hair cut short. She said it
was too unruly and she didn’t want the bother of untangling it. Looking at
Kendrin’s fall of long shiny black hair, I vowed to let mine grow. Of course
it would not be quite the same since mine had red mixed in with the dark.
Besides, it was wild and curly instead of straight.

Finally we came to a large Dance Court, a circle of short, well-tended,
bright green grass. The Dance Court itself was sunken, with a few tiers of
seats rising around it. At the very center it was open to the sky and surrounded y two sets of wooden pillars that supported the curved roof, each
pillar carved with a representation of the Goddess. Three musicians were
seated on a low stone bench at the edge of the court. Twenty or more girls of
near my age were Dancing, while a stern-looking Dance Mistress put them
through an intricate set of steps, using a wand like Kendrin’s for emphasis.
“It’s so big,” I whispered to Kendrin, gazing in awe at the court.

“This is just the practice court. The formal one is much larger,” she
answered. Then she released my hand and whispered in my ear: “We can only go a little closer, just by that pillar there. Then we must stand very still.”

I did as I was told and watched in silence as the other girls moved through their steps under Melanthia’s direction. She was indeed an imposing-
looking figure, tall and spare with a lean, well-muscled body. Her silver
hair, pulled back tight, was in stark contrast to her dark skin. I found myself
listening so intently to her words that my ears ached with them. Soon I could
feel the music moving in my body. Though I was standing still, the Dance
began flowing through me like an irresistible force, pulling and pulling at my
core. I could do those steps; I knew I could. It was as if I already knew them,
as if I had Danced them in my sleep.

Suddenly, with no thought and no intention on my part, I found myself
walking or rather floating down to the Dance Court. I suppose Kendrin had
been absorbed watching the Dance. Too late she must have realized that her
charge had slipped away. To call me back or try to grab me would only have
caused more disruption. I slipped in to join the others. Moving like someone
in a dream, I began doing the steps as if my body had suddenly been freed to be itself. Some of the others girls saw me and hesitated with a look of shock on their faces.

“Please continue,” Melanthia said sternly. “This class is not yet finished.”
Then she walked over until she was standing directly in front of me.
I was concentrating so intently on following the steps of the other girls that
I was hardly aware of her presence until she tapped me sharply with her
Dancewand and asked in a loud voice: “Who are you, Child, and what made
you think to intrude this way? Has no one taught you any manners?” The
voice was severe, but there was an appraising look on her face. Most of the
other girls moved away quickly, all except one whose name I later learned
was Thesali. This Thesali looked to be a year or so older than I was. She
stepped up right next to me as if to offer protection.

Startled, I looked up at Melanthia then quickly glanced away again,
blushing deeply. At that moment I was aware of everyone’s eyes on me. My
tongue glued itself to the roof of my mouth and my stomach curled into a
knot. I was frozen in place, unable to move or speak.

“Answer me!” Melanthia snapped. “I am not used to my students keeping
me waiting in this way.”

“Zaia, of the House of Anzor,” I mumbled, glancing down at the floor.
Then I took a deep breath and with a burst of courage looked up into that
stern visage. “I didn’t mean to cause trouble, but I couldn’t help myself.
Something came over me. The music called me.”

At the mention of my name a strange expression passed over Melanthia’s
face and she muttered, as if to herself, “The House of Anzor? Goddess, how is that possible?” Then to me she said in a gentler tone: “The Dance called you, Zaia, that is what drew you here. Never forget that.”

Kendrin had come forward and was looking back and forth between us,
flushed and confused, twisting her hands in distress. “It was all my fault. She
asked if girls her age could Dance. She seemed so eager I thought to show
her. I imagined we could stand quietly behind a pillar and not be noticed. I
had no idea she would…”

Melanthia put a hand on the girl’s arm. “It’s alright, Kendrin. You did
well to bring her here. The Goddess moves Her will through us in mysterious
ways. This was meant to happen—but don’t think to ever do it again.” After
that Melanthia signaled, by a nod of her head, that I was to continue Dancing
with the other girls. I shivered with excitement, very conscious of her shrewd,
appraising eyes watching my every step.

Fortunately for me it was my father who came to look for me—or, more
likely, he was the one who was sent. If my mother had come she would probably have made a dreadful scene. Likely she would have thought there was some intentional insult there, that her daughter had been lured on purpose by the Temple. Even my father sounded unusually gruff. “What are you thinking of, Zaia? The whole house is in an uproar. You were supposed to come right home. Everyone is out looking for you. If a little boy playing ball
by the garden wall hadn’t seen you go through the gates I would never have
known you were here.” He looked distraught and his hands were shaking.
“Melanthia, my apologies,” he said with a quick bow. “What a strange way for
us to meet again.”

“Do not be too harsh with her, Tomaire. I think she is drawn to movement
the same way you are drawn to making things grow and with the same
passion. She’s a born Dancer. You must send her to the Temple soon for
training. I see the hand of the Goddess in this, that Zaia came to us here in
spite of all the…” Then she stopped in confusion and they both looked at each other strangely, almost as if they each wanted to reach out and touch, though neither moved to do so.

“Please Father, please. You must let me come.” I reached up and tugged
on his arm.

“Later,” he said almost harshly. “We will speak of this later, Zaia. Now we
must go home quickly. Everyone is worried about you.” Turning to the Dance
Mistress he made a slight bow again. “Melanthia, please forgive this intrusion. I’m sure the child meant no harm. She’s young and impulsive. It was a mistake to let her out on her own this way.”

Melanthia shook her head. “It was no mistake Tomaire, it was meant to
happen. Remember what I said. Bring her here for training. Such a talent
should not be wasted. There are not that many natural Dancers in the world.”
Impulsively, I reached out and touched the older girl’s hand. “Thank you,
Kendrin. I’m sorry for the trouble I caused you. I didn’t mean you any harm.”

Then, gathering my courage, I said to Melanthia: “I’d like to come back to the
Temple and Dance. I’d like that more than anything in the world.”
She shook her head again. “Be very sure. Don’t think it will be easy, Child. It
will be very hard, I promise you. It will take everything you have, mind and body and soul. Look deep into your heart before you make that choice. Goddess bless you. Now go home quickly. You have frightened your people.”
“Yes, quickly, the whole house is in turmoil,” my father said urgently as
he took my hand and hurried me out of the circle. I gazed back filled with
longing, stumbled and would have fallen if my father had not grabbed my
arm. “Look where you’re going, Zaia,” he said gruffly. “You’ve already caused
more than enough trouble.” But as soon as we were out in the gardens his
whole manner softened. “So, Melanthia thinks you have a natural talent for
the Dance. She’s not known for being generous with her praise, in fact quite
the opposite.”

“Can I do it, Father? Can I come here to Dance?”

“Not now. We’ll talk later.” As he said that, he seemed more shaken than
angry. Then he turned to look at the gardens and his manner changed again, a smile spreading across his face, a smile that had some sadness in it. “Did you ever see such beautiful flowers? It’s a joy just to stand here among them.”

“Father, did you plant these gardens?”

“I designed most of them. I even planted some with my own hands. I’m
glad to see them still thriving. These trees were no more than little dry twigs
and look at them now, spreading out over our heads and giving shade.”

There was such a tone of longing in his voice it made my heart ache.
“Did you plant this garden?” I asked, eagerly drawing him over to my
favorite part of the gardens that Kendrin had just rushed me through, a place
with several fountains and many little stone-paved paths that wound through
the shrubs and flowers.

“Everything. From the very beginning. I still have the drawings for it
rolled up somewhere.”

And so, instead of rushing home, we wandered through the gardens on
our way out of the Temple, with me asking endless questions about everything that grew there and my father answering patiently. At that moment I was trying not to think about home and what waited for me there. It was well
worth it, I told myself again, No matter what happens, it was well worth it.
Finally, we reached the street. On sudden impulse I grabbed my father’s
arm, wanting to stop him. “Do I have to go back? Why can’t I just stay here
and learn to Dance? They want me. You heard Melanthia. I want to be just
like Kendrin. I don’t want to go into the family business. I have no head for it.

He looked away and shook his head. “You can’t always do what you want
in this world, Zaia. There are other people involved. You mother would never
allow it. You know how she feels about the Temple.”

“Please, Father!”

“No more! Not another word! Come with me right now, Daughter! Right now! We have tarried here long enough. You have worried everyone with your thoughtlessness. Now we must hurry.” With that he took hold of my arm and rushed me down the street. Before we went around the corner I turned back for one last glance at the Temple gates. Kendrin was standing there watching us. She raised her hand in a farewell gesture and then disappeared inside.
Once home it was even worse than I had imagined. My mother’s relief at
seeing me safe quickly turned to anger and then rage when she realized the
extent of my betrayal. “The Temple of all places!” she shouted. “You know
how I feel about the Temple! You see what comes of all your stories about the Temple gardens, Tomaire? Or have you been secretly influencing her behind my back?” She was pacing up and down, spewing out furious words and then stopping suddenly to glare at my father or me, first one and then the other.

“All our neighbors have been out looking for you, you little monster! And
there you were lolling around the Temple, making fools of us all. You have no
heart and care for no one but yourself.” Quickly, she resumed her pacing, as if all that anger could not be contained in a still body. Then she whirled on my
father again, shouting, “Do those witches have nothing better to do than lure
our children in off the street? I’ll bet Melanthia was behind all this. She can’t
have you so she wants my child, my eldest daughter at that, the one who is
destined to take my place in the family business.”

With the courage of desperation I burst out, “But Mother, I’m no good
at it. I have no head for numbers. Let Yanin take my place. I yield it to her
willingly. She can be the eldest daughter. All I want is to go to the Temple and
Dance. Melanthia says I’m a born Dancer.”

That, of course, was the wrong thing to say. My mother whirled on me
with her hand raised. She was so angry she would have struck me if my
father had not stepped between us. “Thea, think what you’re doing. She’s
only a child.”

My mother lowered her hand and said with barely suppressed fury,
“Never! I will never give my consent. Put such ideas out of your head right
now, Zaia! You will take your place in this family as you are supposed to.
Melanthia cannot have you. I won’t allow it. Now go to your room and shut
the door. You can spend the day there thinking on all the trouble you’ve
caused with your selfishness. As for you, Tomaire, you have undermined me
in this family and made a fool of me in the Temple world. You know I won’t
forget it—and I will never forgive you.”

I crossed the garden court with a heavy heart, tears filling my eyes so
that all the flowers ran together in a blur of colors. As I was about to close
the door to my room I heard my father say, “Thea, I want you to know there
was no intention to hurt you in this. She’s only a child. The sight of a young
Dancer standing in the archway caught her fancy, nothing more. Pay it no
mind. She’ll forget this notion soon enough.”

But he was wrong. I didn’t forget. I could think of nothing else. And now,
of course, I was not sent on any more errands. In truth I was seldom allowed
out, even with the family. And, if I did go with them, it was never by way
of the Temple. My mother barely spoke to me and then only in the coldest
tones; my father seemed awkward and embarrassed around me; and my
little sister, Yanin, mocked me with sly looks and cruel words. I was a virtual
prisoner in my own home, expected to study diligently to make up for my
betrayal. But I had a hard time studying. Where before the work had bored
me, now I loathed it. It seemed like part of the punishment.

All I could think of was the Temple: the beauty of the courtyards, Kendrin standing in the archway caught by that ray of sunlight, the Dance Court, the other girls my age being allowed to Dance, and Melanthia saying that I, Zaia, was a born Dancer. Even when I tried, the numbers swam before my eyes and sometimes in my tears. Then I would lay my head down on the table and let the visions come and of course there would be more trouble. My only comfort and my only confidant at that time was my cousin Renairi, the only person I could talk to. Though my mother had warned her to keep away from me, she managed to find ways to sneak into my room. Or we would meet in secret in the far corner of the garden under a tree whose drooping branches hid us from sight. There I would pour out my heart—all my grief and longing and my anger at the unfairness of things.

Whenever my father came to encourage me in my work, I would beg him
to intercede for me. Then he would shake his head and look sad. “You know
your mother will never agree. She has already told you so. Now you must
accept that in your heart and make the best of it. There is a long-standing
feud between your mother’s family and the Temple. Thea is a proud woman.
If nothing else, her pride would not allow it.”

All that trouble with the Temple had happened so long ago it seemed like a myth to me. It was well before I was born, when my mother was a very young woman or perhaps still a girl. Her parents, who were also merchants, had had some dealings with the Temple. They felt they had been treated unfairly cheated actually. When they went to the Temple for redress of grievances, they found themselves met with arrogance and contempt, or at least that was how they perceived it. Anyhow, in their eyes, the matter was never made right. That was the story I was told, the source of all that anger.

Now, these many years later, those involved were likely all dead, my grandparents as well as the High Priestess and others at the Temple, but because of what had happened back in that misty past, I was not allowed to go there and Dance. I raged against the injustice of it and often cried myself to sleep.

Finally, in tears, I begged, “Please, Father, ask her again for me.” I knew
my father loved me, but he was under my mother’s power. He had come into
the marriage as a poor man and he was never allowed to forget it.
“Are you very sure, Zaia? Your mother is a strong-willed woman. She
does not forgive those who go against her. You may make an irreparable
separation with this insistence.”

“I’m very sure. It’s all I want in my life.”

“But you’re so young. You can’t know all the consequences. How do you
really know if…?”

I grabbed his hand. “Please do this for me. I know what will happen if I
stay here much longer. I’ll die!”

He must have gathered his courage to ask because an hour or so later my
mother stormed into my room. “So now you have taken to threatening your
father with your own death. What kind of heartlessness is that? You know the
man loves you and you abuse his love that way. Unnatural child! Understand,
Zaia, I will never give my consent. Never! Get that into your head!” Then
she left, slamming the door behind her so hard things fell off the shelves
and crashed to the floor. I was in despair. Later my cousin Renairi found me
asleep at the desk in a puddle of tears. She shook me awake. When I finally
raised my face it was all crisscrossed with a design of wet ink marks. She
showed me in the mirror before gently washing them away.

I had not planned it as an act of resistance or a last resort. It was simply
what happened. I lost my appetite and stopped eating. I stopped studying. I
no longer cared what was happening around me. My father’s pleading and
my mother’s threats could not reach me. My cousin’s worry had no effect.
My aunt tried to scold me back to life and got no response. Nothing seemed
to touch me. I had disappeared inside myself into a semi-dream state where
I wandered freely in the Temple gardens, which seemed far more real to me
than the rooms of my family home. Night and day began to blend together. I
was sunk so deep into my stupor that I was hardly aware of anything until a
loud shouting argument broke out. My aunt, alerted by my cousin, had come
to confront my mother. “You will let your daughter die in your house just to
satisfy your cursed pride, and then what will people say? Where will your
pride be then, Thea? Have you thought of that? Let her go! She’s not yours to hold. She has her own life. Let her go quickly before it’s too late.”

My mother shouted back, “You always thought you could tell me what to
do, Veraine, but this is my family and none of your business.” “She is my business! She’s my niece and my Goddess-child, the one I’m honor bound to guide and watch over and keep safe. I have no choice but to intervene. You’re killing her with your stubbornness.”

“No! She’s killing herself with her own stubbornness.”

“What does it matter, Thea? It will all come to the same thing very soon
and then it will be too late!”

I felt myself slipping into a sort of dark pool and didn’t hear any more
until suddenly my mother and aunt and father all burst into my room. “Get
up, Girl and get yourself dressed,” my aunt Veraine said urgently. “You’re
going to the Temple to learn the Dance. Anyone who wants something so
much they are willing to die for it should have it.”

I saw the look of implacable hatred on my mother’s face. “You will go to
the Temple to live there like one of the country girls. I won’t have you in my
house anymore. The Temple can have you and good riddance. I won’t pay
them a single coin for your keep there. You are not my daughter anymore.
Your sister Yanin will take your place in this house.” I could see my sister and
cousin crowding in the doorway, their eyes big and round. My father reached
out his hands for me. “It has been decided, Zaia. Come, it is time to go.” My
heart was pounding wildly in my chest. I took his hands, struggled to my feet
and instantly fainted dead away into total darkness.

I remembered nothing of my trip to the Temple. When I came to myself
again I was lying on a bed. I was in a little white room I had never seen
before, with colorful hangings on the wall and a blue vase of bright flowers at
the window. Kendrin was sitting next to the bed, leaning over me. In back of
her I saw Thesali, the girl who had stepped up next to me in the Dance Court.

Her eyes were wide and she was looking anxiously over Kendrin’s shoulder.
Kendrin was smiling down at me. “If you are going to Dance, Zaia, first you
must eat,” she said firmly. Then she held out a bowl of food to me. And that is how I came to the Temple of Kernoss to be a Dancer.

Want to read more? Purchase in paperback from Goddess Ink or Kindle on Amazon.

Author Diana Rivers is a Lambda Literary Awards finalist and a winner of the Golden Crown Literary Award for Speculative Fiction. Find something inspiring to read this summer–see all of our books in our store.

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Inner Journey in Steps

Compassion, contemplation, Empowerment, Goddess, Nature
labrynith

Labyrinth Land, Belen New Mexico photo by Genevieve Mitchell

When you think of inner work or the journey inward, what does that mean to you? How do you develop yourself, your thinking, your actions?  What was your first memory of going within and listening to your soul?   What are the emotions and experiences that have influenced you to bring you to doing the inner work that’s required for going deep to connect with the Divine.  What are your beliefs about being a spiritual person?  How does that affect  how and what you do, think, say and how you take action?

Lately I’ve been thinking about this deeply.  There are so many things calling for our attention: personally, professionally, spiritually as well as the community, world and social media events that vie for our attention.  A good friend of mine calls this “craziness”, it’s the overwhelm and intensity of all that is happening in daily life.  This includes the tragedies, climate change, environmental devastation, over population, the nightly news, personal sorrows, health issues, and all the social media….oh my Goddess, it takes a toll!

So how do we bear the the enormity of our current world situation?  How do we create the peace we seek even when it includes challenging situations, conflicts and the nitty gritty of daily living?

Personally I think that silence, breathing and nature give us answers and nourishment that the world doesn’t always honor.  Taking the time, honoring the questions and allowing the conflict, the grief, the overwhelm to just be, without trying to change it.

Step 1 Silence

In a world that is so noisy, silence offers profound space for inner space.   I call this my womb or cocoon time.  For me, it’s a chance to go with in and be held by the Great Mother, in her dark, safe, nourishing womb.  I also call this my cocoon time, where I am separated from the outside world, and my imaginal cells are creating a new, stronger, more beautiful me (butterfly), capable of flying and seeing the world with a different perspective.

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls. — Mother Teresa

Step 2 Nature

We are part of nature, human organisms who function with polarities, needing light and dark, awake time and dream time, breathing in and breathing out, always seeking balance.  I also know that spending time in nature: a walk along the river, hiking the mountain, listening to a birdsong or watching the snow fall are all ways to step out of the intensity of our daily life.   I love finding the Divine in the daily, and most often that is in nature.  Nature, the great healer!

Step 3 Breathing Deep

There is something so profound about paying attention to your breath.  Of course all meditation starts with paying attention to your breath.  What if your life were a continual meditation?  What if you could come back to your breath and remember the power of deep breathing.  You can live with out water for a days, with out food for even longer, but you can only live a few minutes with out breathing.  Honor that space, open up to exploring the gifts of deep breathing.  This is from Wikipedia:

 Pneuma (πνεῦμα) is an ancient Greek word for “breath“, and in a religious context for “spirit” or “soul“.[1][2] It has various technical meanings for medical writers and philosophers of classical antiquity, particularly in regard to physiology, and is also used in Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible and in the Greek New Testament. In classical philosophy, it is distinguishable from psyche (ψυχή), which originally meant “breath of life”, but is regularly translated as “spirit” or most often “soul“.[3]

See, breath is life, spirit and soul!!

I fear our modern world does not honor our need for stillness in the midst of non stop busyness.  Can we learn to be still enough to embrace the inner self and all it contains?  The inner self is calling for balance.  Can we practice a wholeness that allows for silence, nature and breath?  My hope is yes.

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, visit our website and circle with us on Facebook and Instagram. Check out our newly designed store and please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.  If you would like a weekday dose of daily inspiration sign up for our Daily Inspiration newsletter.

Keeping the Vision

Classes, contemplation, Goddess, Priestess

pexels-photo-235615.jpeg

When I think of vision, I think clarity and focus.  These are qualities that I very much want in my life, and for my work. They also provide guidance, emphasis and motivation for what I do in life.  Here is the Merriam Webster definition of Vision:

“1a : the act or power of seeing : sight
b : the special sense by which the qualities of an object (such as color, luminosity, shape, and size) constituting its appearance are perceived through a process in which light rays entering the eye are transformed by the retina into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve
 
2a : something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy; especially : a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation
b : a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination
c : a manifestation to the senses of something immaterial
3a : the act or power of imagination
(1) : mode of seeing or conceiving 

(2) : unusual discernment or foresight a person of vision

c : direct mystical awareness of the supernatural usually in visible form
4a something seen
b a lovely or charming sight”

I really like the thought that my vision can provide me with “unusual discernment or foresight”.  I would love to be thought of as a “person of vision”!

I recently came to realize that my “vision” was clouded by details that really didn’t serve the bigger picture of my life that I am called to lead.  Family details, home details, business details and other peoples projects were leading my list, while my vision, my bigger picture, my best self, was mired in those details.

I recently took a few days off, to regroup, to spend time in retreat, self care and silence.  It was great!  AND, the best part, was getting my VISION back.  I have clarity and focus for where I want to spend my time, my energy and my money.

Of course I will continue to connect with my family, tend to my house, work on my business, my projects and in my community. But there is a lovely clarity that I am doing it remembering my vision, using my voice and arranging my life my way, not based on others expectations or plans.

I also made a re-commitment to my work to honor the Divine Feminine and women’s spirituality.  I am charting my new path to the Sacred as I spend time with my Priestessing, with my meditation practices, ritual and connecting with individuals that support me in my path.

Here at Goddess Ink we provide booksonline classes and sacred tours focusing on the Divine Feminine, women’s spirituality and goddess studies.  We have a daily inspiration that we send out Monday through Friday.  You can sign up here.  We also have a new oracle deck called The Jade Oracle, a beautiful 52 card deck of MesoAmerican deities and symbols.  We will also be at the Association of Women and Mythology conference in Las Vegas, Nevada next month.

Let me know if there are other resources you might need your path to the Sacred.

Begin with your “solitude”
Remember you are
intricately interwoven, circuitry connected, lines open
at all times….
You are simply a star, radiating light and warmth,
Like the Sun
—-From Garden-ing by Andrea Goodman in Stepping into Ourselves:  An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses; edited by Anne Key and Candace Kant

May your vision be clear and powerful

May your attention be focused

May the ways of the Goddess guide you on your path

Genevieve

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.

Mid-Winter Renewal

contemplation, Goddess, Priestess, Seasonal Greetings, Solstice

Tomorrow is Mid-Winter, the mid-point of this season of darkness, where we experience more night and less day, more stars and less sun. As the temperatures drop here in Albuquerque, I crawl under the wool blanket and the down comforter, snuggle them up to my chin, and settle in with a book (I’m in the midst of the Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemison) and more often than not, a bit of peaty scotch.

I move between hibernation and avoidance. Hibernation seems a time to rest, renew, and dream life into the seeds that will be planted in spring. Avoidance, well, that is binge-watching The Crown to avoid the daily barrage of news updates that flash across my phone screen.

There is only have one winter per year, and spring is just around the corner. I do not want to mindlessly waste the time of solstice; rather, I want to mindfully use these quiet moments to reflect and renew, recharge and replenish.

Take some time for yourself for renewal; dream life into the seeds that you will plant this spring. The world needs each of us to be our fullest selves.

Deepest Blessings of the Season to you. — Anne

Spring Equinox 2017: Ready, set, grow!

contemplation, Goddess, Gratefulness, Seasonal Greetings, spring equinox

Spring Equinox 2017

Today is the Spring Equinox, when the northern and southern hemispheres are bathed in equal light. It is a day to search for balance within and without. Spring is the transition from the dark womb of winter to the brilliance of summer, and we are at the moment when all the underground growth breaks surface.

I’ve had a bit of a dark womb winter this year, and I feel like a part of myself was either hibernating or hiding. There have been times I have wanted to come out of the cave, to pull back the heavy blankets, but I just wasn’t ready.

But now, I’m ready. The sunflower seed bursting from its shell:

For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.  Cynthia Occelli

This is where I am today, just beginning to break open through the seed. Its carcass is still on my leaves.

Take a moment today and consider where you are. Let growth take its natural course. Breathe into the beauty, vigor, and newness that is Spring.

Blessed be – Anne

PS: This sunflower seed was planted at the full moon during a wonderful and powerful ritual. I’m ready to shake myself awake!

More about Spring Equinox: Spring Equinox is often called Ostara, or Eostre, named for a goddess of Germanic origin who is the namesake of Easter. For the Northern Hemisphere, Spring Equinox is Mid-Spring, signaling the height of the season, occurring at 1° Aries in Tropical system. History and ritual ideas: http://www.schooloftheseasons.com/spring.html .

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.

On Being A Creation Woman by Kimberly Moore and Genevieve Mitchell

contemplation, Creativity, Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Gratefulness, Priestess, ritual

creation-woman-womanroots-kimberly-f-moore-shakti-womyn-ysl

What does it mean to be a Creation Woman?  What does it mean to take my creativity, open it up to Divine inspiration, stir in some excitement and adventure….and head in to 2017?  Where can I find my creativity?  When I find it…then what?   I’m pleased, puzzled, grateful and baffled by the opportunities I have to be creative and impactful.  I also pray that I make wise choices.

It’s the last week of 2016….what a year, personally, professionally, politically and providentially.  As as Creation Women, women and men with the power to create the world in which we want to live, it’s time to honor that creative capacity.  Creativity is the powerful flow from the universe, it’s the energetic force infusing our lives.  This creative flow, comes from Source, and manifests as Divinity in all manner of our creations.  Our own creative potential is evidence to me that God/Goddess/Source exist…because we manifest that creativity in the mystery of living and in the creation of art, music, dance, ideas….the building of amazing building, the collaborative efforts to solve world problems, the creation of new technology….

Creativity is everywhere!  Let us celebrate it, honor it, and use it, to create a world where there is respect and honor for the Earth, humanity and all our relations to the seventh generations. So how can we use ourselves as Temples of Creativity?  Kimberly Moore from MotherHouse of the Goddess and Mystery School of the Goddess, shares some profound and very timely observations.   Thank you Kimberly!

 

“Breathe Me, Woman, into your head, your thoughts, your intentions.

Breathe Me, as I breathe you into Creation.

Breathe Me deep, Woman, into your womb, your throne. Lay me bare on

your heart, your altar. 

Let us embrace as Sisters on our thrones of Creation.

Give Me your seeds and let us laugh over them, pour tears into them, hold silence unto them.

Let us set them gently onto our thrones, adorn them, infuse them.

Let us clasp our hands on our bellies and feel them growing, kicking, burgeoning.

And when the time is ripe and our thrones are bursting,

Let us crouch and moan and rock.

Let us birth these seeds grown strong with intention, with our beauty, with our secret Selves.

Give me your Creation – I am your Midwife.  I am your throne.  I am the receiving Earth.

Breathe Me, Woman.  Breathe Us into Creation.

Creation Woman calls upon us to claim our thrones. Unite with our divine soul seeds, to unveil our life mission, fight for our heart’s desire, to “bleed” with purpose. She is not to be ignored and if done, can result in pathologies such as depression, anxiety, and even more serious illnesses. 

This month, part of your sacred living work is to work on your Temple, your throne. Notice where it needs work. Adorn it. Breathe into it daily, mindfully, powerfully. In this, you are creating your reality, making healthy and vibrant the place that allows you to CREATE. “

~ Kimberly Moore

Kimberly F. Moore is a Creative Catalyst and Mentor for Women; Shakti-Powered Entrepreneur; Goddess Priestess; Blissful Revolutionary; Hungry Goddess (food writer); Writer; and Photographer. She offers coaching and online courses to promote the Everyday Sacred in women’s lives for personally and professionally.

Kimberly is offering her Year of Sacred Living http://mysteryschoolofthegoddess.net/2016/10/17/a-year-of-sacred-living-with-kimberly-f-moore-open/ where she shares a year of Living Deeply with the Sacred.  The poem above is from her course.

She is the Founder of the MotherHouse of the Goddess and Mystery School of the Goddess. Kimberly has been a Goddess Priestess for more than 20 yearsHer areas of research, practice, and teaching are focused on Goddess Spirituality, Comparative Mythology, Archetypal Psychology, and Ritual Practice. She has a special connection to the Goddesses from the Greek, Hindu and Yoruban traditions, but has worked with many other Goddesses through the years.  She is also an Aborisha in the Lukumi tradition and a Daughter of Oshun. Kimberly lives in Delaware with her son, two kitties, surrounded by Goddess altars everywhere.

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.

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 Credits:  Top Photo by Kimberly Moore, bottom photo by Shutterstock.

What Now? Reflections on Moving Forward by Sidni Lamb and Genevieve Mitchell

Compassion, contemplation, Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Learning, Loss and Grief, ritual

2014-1-tamaya-big-sky“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” –Julian of Norwich

In the bigger spiritual picture, “all shall be well” and we are indeed, okay.  The Divine, however we define It, Her or Him, is SO much bigger than us, our community, our nation or our earth.  The Divine is unknowable to us…., knowing that, yes, we are okay.

So, why don’t we feel okay?  Many of us have feelings of pain, distress, heartache, sadness, fear and shock about recent political events in the nation.  There’s grief and a sense of loss that makes us feel wounded and anguished, for our nation and for ourselves.  Both during and as a result of the election, it has become painfully obvious that many of us have not felt heard or acknowledged.  So, how do we move on in this very challenging climate?

What now?

  • Deepen Your Spiritual Practice– Take time to find the core of your spiritual practice.  It could be meditation, ritual, praying, chanting, sitting in circle, celebrating in community. Find and attend to something that connects you to the Divine, to your sacred center.
  • Be In Nature–  The Japanese call it forest bathing.  Connect with the natural world, a tree, a park, go to the mountains, watch a rainstorm, be with the larger, deeper force of nature, the spirit of our holy Mother Earth.
    • “You should sit in nature 20 minutes a day, unless you are too busy, then you should sit for an hour”– Old Zen Saying
  • Connect to Kindness– Offer or exchange a smile, offer a small act of kindness, ask or give a hug, call a friend.  This is our opportunity to be of service to a world in need of kindness and compassion.
  • Feel Your Emotions–  Be aware of what you are feeling, allow those feelings, honor them, exactly as they show up.  In the same way, allow others to be where they are with their feelings, even if you don’t agree with them. Everyone processes in a different way.
  • Practice Good Self Care– It is time to take very good care of yourself.  Eat well, get plenty of rest, care for your physical and emotional needs. When we have filled ourselves, when we are compassionate and caring of ourselves, we can respond more compassionately to others.
  • Take a News or  Social Media Retreat–  Turn off the news, turn off the radio, take a vacation from Facebook.  Allow time for silence.  Give time to others face to face, instead of digitally.  Allow yourself rest from the outside media influences, allow yourself time to heal.
  • Find Something To Do Right Now–  For some, it will be to write letters, sign petitions, participate in protests.  For others, sitting still, helps us with our creative juices and finding direction for the “what now”.

Taking a purposeful pause to deepen our practice, take care of ourselves and to be kind allows us to get grounded for the hard work ahead.

Sidni Lamb is the founder, visionary and motor behind Mindful New Mexico and the New Mexico Leaders in Mindfulness Conferences.

Sidni’s work and passion focuses on connecting people to their communities and building bridges for collaborative relationships across all sectors and disciplines through mindfulness-based capacity building training, curating conversations for meaningful connections and teaching peace studies courses.

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Network Weaver, 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.

Photo Credit: “New Mexico Sky” Genevieve Mitchell

We are the Image of the Divine by Genevieve Mitchell

Compassion, contemplation, Divine, Goddess, Priestess, ritual

shutterstock_84743155We as women are images of the Divine.  We, young, middle aged, old, of all colors, shapes, sizes, inclinations and temperaments.   When you look in the mirror, I hope you see that you are a manifestation of Goddess, of Light, of Divinity.  Notice the faces in your circles, in your home, at work.  What if we could each see the divinity within each of those faces?  I love the word “Namaste”- loosely translated from Sanskrit to mean “the spirit in me honors the spirit in you”.

How can we honor that spirit in each other?  Take a deep breath, and ask, when do I image the Divine, when do I look like the Goddess?

….When I offer support and compassion to someone who is lonely, needing support or has suffered a sorrow.

….When I spend time in nature and honor “all my relations”, the plants, the flowers, the trees, the birds, the fish, the insects, the animals, the earth, the water, the air and the sun.

….When I choose to do what is right and holy, not necessarily what is easy or acceptable.

….When I work for environmental sustainability or social justice, when I do my part to make the world a better place for my children’s children’s children.

…..When I  look in the mirror and see myself as a manifestation of the Divine.

In these challenging times, I honor you, in your role as priestess, as prophet, as teacher, as leader.  I also honor your role as servant, helper, pray-er, as community member.  I also honor you as one who is weary, sorrowful, scorned, or unrecognized for the gift that you are.  I honor you as a manifestation of Divine Light in the world.

“May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Goddess bless you, and bless you kindly.”

Scottish Blessing (adapted)

Namaste, Genevieve

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Network Weaver, 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.

Photo Credits:  Stock Photos

 

Memorial Day Reflections on Grief

Compassion, contemplation, Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Loss and Grief, Memorial Day, Priestess

Today is Memorial Day, a day we pay tribute to the fallen soldiers, our veterans, and those who served our country and died in war.  (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day).

Today, I want to honor those who have passed.  I also want to honor those who grieve.  I want to honor those who have lost someone to war, who had to go on living after that loss.  For mothers and fathers, who sent their daughters and sons to the military, and lost them to war.  For kids who grew up without a parent, because of war.  For sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends and neighbors, who have grieved because of war. I also pray that the Infinite Source of Light and Wisdom will surround us as we grieve our loss.

Blessings- I send you each a flower with Blessing and Light, to honor your loss and to honor your grief on this Memorial Day 2016.

pink and green

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Network Weaver, 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.

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Photo Credits:  All photos by Genevieve Mitchell.