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.

2017: Goodbye and Thank You

Classes, Empowerment, Goddess, Seasonal Greetings

shutterstock_happynewyear 2018

Wow!! What a year!  It’s been a year of intense everything!  We have had the politics, the women’s march,  #metoo, climate change, hurricanes, Trump tweets, great inventions and awful social problems, old ones die, new are born.  It’s the cycle of life.

But it seems fitting to say thank you and good bye to 2017.

What happened for you, personally, spiritually, professionally?  What did you learn?  What changed in you?  What did you let go of?  What did you embrace?  What surprised or delighted you?  What was your biggest challenge?  What needs to be forgiven?  What are you most grateful for?  What were some of your successes?  Did you celebrate them?

I love taking time at the end of the year to ponder both how I did and look at the future with hope and honesty.  It’s not necessary an easy process, because it takes time and space in my life.  But it’s so worth the effort,  because I want to celebrate my success and honor the places there is still work to do.

Here at Goddess Ink, we have had a busy and fruitful year, due to all of you who who engage, participate and support us.  Thank you to each of you, for your Facebook likes, your comments, emails and interest.  For the teachers and students in our online classes.  For our colleagues, collaborators and for those who challenge us and make us stronger.  Thank you.

For those of you who don’t know, Goddess Ink offers books, online classes, sacred tours and author services.  It’s our mission to share the Divine Feminine, women’s spirituality and goddess studies with the world.  We recently started our daily inspiration newsletter, you can sign up here!  And we will be releasing our new Jade Oracle Deck in January, stay turned for more information!

I am grateful for 2017.  I learned a great deal about myself, where I need to let go, grow and be grateful.  To close out the year, I wrote a dear 2017 letter:

Dear 2017,

Thank you.  It’s been an amazing and blessed year.  Thank you for my life, my family, my home, my work, my sweet relationships, my health and all the ways I am blessed.

I understand I still have work to do.  There are things I need to release, including my judgments of others, my expectations of how things should be and my disappointments.  I want to be conscious of my thoughts, words and  actions.

Thank you to my partners in life and work.  Thank you to the strong, gentle, caring  people, guardians and spirits who helped guide me, heal me, support me and inspire me.  I am grateful.

Welcome 2018, let’s see what you have in store!

Sending love, light and blessings,

Genevieve

shutterstock_Winterblessings

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.

 

 

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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good News and Learning in the New Year

Classes, Compassion, Creativity, Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Learning, Priestess, ritual

shutterstock_44937577“Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be, how much you can love, what you can accomplish, and what your potential is.” — Anne Frank

The good news is that we all have the potential to do wonderful things in our life.  But  if you are like me, you don’t always have the current capacity the know how or the tools to move to the next level.  A couple of years ago I put myself on a financial literacy self learning program.  I wanted to be able to communicate and understand my finances in a way that I did not have in my younger years.  It was not easy.  I bought books, signed up for courses, got email newsletters, even put together a presentation to a group, so I could feel comfortable discussing finances.  Do have have the kind of expertise that an accountant, banker or financial planner has?  No I do not.  But I can sit in a discussion with them, and hold my own.  I consider that a success.

Now, my focus is to bring myself into a level of ease and competence in the area of spirituality and spiritual leadership.  I know I need the support of circles of women (which I fortunately have).  I know I need my own daily spiritual practice, which I do.  But I also need to to continue my learning, about spirituality, about spiritual leadership, about priestessing, about how to manifest the Divine in my life, in ritual and in my work.  One way for me is to find on-line classes that guide me.  One of my favorite resources is Kimberly Moore‘s  http://themotherhouseofthegoddess.com/motherhouse-mystery-school-online-courses/.  I have taken a number of courses, and am always pleased with the results!  Molly Remer,from http://www.brigidsgrove.com/  has a wonderful course called the Goddess Magic Circle, that I highly recommend.  Goddess Ink is offering some wonderful classes on Spiritual Leadership, including the Free Introduction to Priesting Course.  If you are ready to Take the Plunge into Priestessing  , this is an excellent course to develop your priestessing skills.  If you are a Brigit devotee,  Weaving the Protection of Bridgit by Jude Lally might be just what you need, or if you want to read and learn, check out our Brigit Anthology, Brigit Sun of Womanhood.  For those of you with a yearning for more compassion in your life, Sandy Boucher and Kim Moore’s class on Kwan Yin could be just what you need.

The only thing better than education is more education.
Progress to Freedom (1942) by Agnes E. Benedict, American educator,1889-1950

shutterstock_131078678

On a personal note, I have my learning year mapped out.  I have some personal growth courses, Kimberly Moore’s A Year of Sacred Living, some business courses and two photography courses….my learning year is full.  I hope you will join me in learning and expanding your world!

Blessings,

Genevieve

 

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Seeker, a photo artist, 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:  Shutterstock

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.

Mid Winter and Solstice

Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Priestess, ritual, Solstice

shutterstock_242072233I want to start out this post with the phrase “the mid-winter of my discontent.” But I do not want to let the beautiful darkness and stillness of the Winter Solstice devolve, filling the cave of my mind with fears, worries, anxiety and nightmare scenarios, driving out all possibility.
The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and it literally stills, rising and setting at its southernmost position on the horizon the few days before and after Mid-winter.
It is in the stillness of this time of year that I find solace. When I am lucky enough to be surrounded by snow, it seems as if the earth is silent – slumbering and dreaming. It is a time I love to be in bed early and gaze out the window at the velvet darkness, the bright stars and moon punctuating the sky.
I usually look forward to this time of year, to the stillness, the silence, the time to incubate and dream. But, as I said at the beginning of this post, I keep fending off the specters of political futures. It seems I am either lost in Shakespeare or Dickens.
But at this moment, here on the precipice of the solstice and on the edge of stillness, held and embraced in the gentle darkness, I open to the long night. I open petal by petal, a night-blooming flower, and trust in the deepest beauty that I know imbues this world. I trust in the love that lives deep in the molten core of our Mother. I simply must.
Deepest Blessings of the Season to you. — Anne
Note on Dates: Astrologically, Mid-Winter may be calculated as the date the Sun is at 0 degree Capricorn. Winter Solstice (Latin: “sun ceases”) is known as Midwinter or Yule (from the Germanic and possibly Norse)

Award winning writer Anne Key is the author of two memoirs. The first, Desert Priestess: a memoir, relates the three years she spent as Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, located in Nevada. Her second, Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: A Memoir of Life under the Albuquerque Sun, recounts her time in Albuquerque performing under the stage name Annie O’Roar. She is co-founder of Goddess Ink

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: Shutterstock

The Writing of Dancer for the Goddess by Diana Rivers

Dance, Divine, Empowerment, Fiction, Goddess

dancer-for-the-goddessEditors Note:  Diana Rivers authored Dancer for the Goddess, recently released by Goddess Ink Publishing.  Diana shares how she conceived and wrote the book.

“In this wonderful novel, Zaia, a beautiful young temple dancer, came to me in a Breathwork session many years ago. I had no plans to write such a book until, at the end of the session, behind my closed eyelids, I saw this Dancer standing in the archway of a Temple in her magnificent Dance garb. She seemed to beckon me into that Temple and that world. Quickly acquiring a name, a family, a story, she lured me into her life and into the world of the Goddess.

In spite of her mother’s strong objections, as a young girl Zaia goes to the Temple to learn sacred Dance. She becomes one of the Temple’s best Dancers and takes a pledge to go on the road for five years, walking from place to place, Dancing in villages too small to have a temple and a Dance troupe of their own.

I have enjoyed the journey that Zaia has taken me on; and it feels as if she took me rather than the other way around. Once her training is over and she starts her travels, each chapter is a new place, a new Dance, and a new adventure. The people in the little towns and villages where she Dances welcome her joyously. While she is Dancing for them she is a living embodiment of the Goddess in their midst.

But not everyone she encounters in her travels is so pleased with her. Men from the patriarchal cultures to the north see a woman traveling alone as a challenge to everything they believe, and they confront her on the road. She is witness to the very beginning of the invasions from the north, invasions that will eventually shatter her world as well as shape ours – and that will force her to find new ways to survive.

This is not an academic treatise on certain Goddesses from certain areas. Rather it is as if you have been snatched out of your own time and plunged back into the Goddess world – full of beauty, surprises, and dangers – with Zaia as your guide.”

diana-rivers   Author Diana Rivers is a Lambda Literary Awards finalist and a winner of the Golden Crown Literary Award for Speculative Fiction.  Diana is also author of the seven novel Hadra Series.  You can read about Diana in this entry from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.

You can find Dancer for the Goddess at Goddess Ink or on Amazon.  When you read it, please share your review with us and with Amazon; we thank you so much.

Goddess Ink provides books, classes and sacred tours to honor the Divinity within you.  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 used with permission:  Book Cover Art work by Cedar Kindy, photo: Diana Rivers.