The Rowdy Goddess

An Ecstatic Vision of the Goddess, dancing in harmony with the Universe.

Archive for the category “body”

Yoga, Equanimity, Tarot and more!

easy-pose-color-2A lot of threads came together in a lovely pattern this weekend, and I thought I’d share it with you.  Be patient, the weaving takes some storytelling.  This is one of the many things I experienced Friday through Sunday!  Before this weekend, I was spiraling into a mild sense of “lackawanna;” forgive the pun on Lackawanna, NY, and not wanting to do all the things I have or want to do.  There was nothing specific going on, no big tragedies and no big frustrations or challenges; it was all just a sense of dull, grayness.  I even skipped my two weekday yoga practices last week.

Then came the weekend.  I signed up for the Lumberjill weekend retreat and it was a big renewal.  The yoga studio where I practice, Pure and Simple Yoga teaches a variety of yoga styles including Svaroopa,  Kripalu, Kundalini, and Bowspring.  I practice Kundalini and Bowspring on a regular basis.  Peg Engasser, the Bowspring teacher is also a LumberJill, competing on the U.S. team.  She wanted to get together with her Lumberjill friends in the winter time, teach yoga, learn a few things, and have fun.  The weekend included delicious food, all the weekend yoga practices, a hike, a painting party at Uncorked Creations Cortland  It all worked and each woman had a profound, beautiful, and unique-to-her experience.

Pure and Simple Yoga has a theme for this year, 2017 is the year for experiencing Universal Love.  For the first(ish) ten weeks the studio is guiding a Ten Weeks of Yoga to Open Your Heart.  Each week, newsletter recipients receive an email with a write up, a pose, and a truly beautiful mandala incorporating it all.  Each teacher incorporates the theme into their practice as their tradition and hearts lead.   This weekend was the beginning of the sixth week and the theme is Equanimity:  Being Peace.  The write-up is beautiful so I’ve excerpted a portion below (no author given).

Equanimity is defined as a state of mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temperament.  Equanimity is not a state of indifference or not caring but instead a practice of caring about all outcomes equally without adding judgement.  Keeping an open mind and a balanced perspective allows us to feel pleasure without grasping on to it and to feel without trying to push it away.

Equanimity, then, allows us to experience all events and emotions from that state of welcoming calm.  Sounds impossible, doesn’t it.  Fortunately, none of us has to be perfect all the time, but rather to practice the emotion as best we can.  Today, for instance, I got an email from someone sharply criticizing something I did using background and data that is to put it, elegantly and appropriately mature, absolute bull ka-ka.  Instead of doing my omigods and verbal expletives, my reaction was ‘well that’s no surprise.’ and proceeded to discuss this with my colleague with a calm and matter of fact demeanor.  We are able to fashion a neutral and appropriate response.  That probably won’t stop me from satirizing my own response, but I’m not doing damage, just amusing myself.  Here again, equanimity becomes a practice and something to be aware of and welcome rather than something to strive for and achieve.

2_swords_2_pentacles-rwsThe weekend turned out to be an exploration of equanimity.  On Friday, we had a session of Tarot, with most people never having exposure.  As part of the party, I had each person draw a card and then I read them all.  As usual, I don’t remember it all, but I do remember the card I drew, the Two of Pentacles because it came up for me all weekend and into the week.  In our discussion, I pointed out that the figure in the Pentacles card on the right was in constant motion, indeed everything is in motion, and yet the figure is able to keep hold of the two objects and even weave them into a pattern.  I describe the Two of Swords to them as another card of balance where every muscle is focused on using stillness to balance the objects and even the background is still.  If there was movement, the balance may be impossible to achieve or, at the very least look very different.  The movement of the Two of Pentacles corresponds with the yoga postures of balance (especially in Bowspring) where adjustments, wobbling, weaving, and even falling are all part of the ways to greet and embrace balance.

Twos and the number twos are, to me, about the integration of what you’ve learned thus far.  You may not know everything and you may not even know what you don’t know, but what you have learned has been embraced if full and equal measure.  The lessons, be they challenging or joyful, have been integrated and understood.  There is more to come but for now, the peace of however you define where you are is in the being.  See what I did there?  I brought us back to the theme:  Equanimity:  Being Peace.

Just a little more to add to this post:  I couldn’t participate in all the events and at first I was a little resentful of what pulled me away but I felt better about doing it than not doing it.  The Kripalu yoga practice on Saturday morning was a release of some sort, all the angst and bitchiness of the weeks before released.  I’m not even sure what it all was but I thanked it for teaching me and let it go.  Then the Kundalini practice on Sunday morning filled me the peace of balance.

May you find the peace and equanimity in being present to it all.

In Praise of Creepy Crawlies

I have been complaining interminably about the cold, bleak weather of winter.  Just for today, I decided to turn my thoughts in the direction of spring.  It is only a couple of weeks away and I think this year, it’s more eagerly anticipated than ever.  March full moon, in some of the indigenous traditions of the Americas, is called, “Earthworm Moon.”  I think that’s pretty cool so I pulled some of the things I’ve written about earthworms to share.  Another version of this blog post appeared in Pagan Pages.earthworm

The March moon is called Full Worm Moon in some Native American lore, according to The Farmers’ Almanac.  It was so named because the warming weather and the warmer rains caused the worms to rise to the top of the soil, where they sometimes drowned.  For my college roommate, walking across campus after a rain caused a lot of screaming terror because she hated that particular sign of spring, wriggling or dead worms on the sidewalks.  For someone raised with a multitude of male relatives, this behavior was almost incomprehensible.  I learned early not to be repulsed by insects, worms, and other creepy animals, living or dead, that might been left out for an unsuspecting girl, tossed down her shirt, or held out for her inspection.

As a young person who was a little weird and then as a pagan, I learned to have a fondness and even a love for creatures with bad reputations or a less than normal appearance.  Bats, spiders, snakes, vultures and more are interesting.  Later, I learned they were sacred to various deities as guardians of the darkness, of death, and of those borderlands most preferred not to travel.  I look at it this way, life brings us to the edge of those borderlands and sometimes pushes us in.  If we already know and understand its creatures, we then have allies and friends as we move into uncharted territories.

So what of the lowly earthworm?  Without earthworms, we would not have the fertile soil we need to plant our crops.  Even their tiny feces, called casts, provide an abundance of fertilizer to nurture seeds.  The worm crawls through the soil like tiny plows, bringing more air and nutrients to the soil.  The earthworm is essential to an abundant and productive ground.  They consume the organic matter from the fields and the resulting residue is an indication of high quality, fertile soil.

It takes some doing to regard the earthworm as a friend an ally.  The can teach us a lot, as a totem and spirit guide.  They teach us to seek moisture, to balance our lives with an appropriate amount of water; water that symbol of emotions and matters of the soul.  The worm teaches us to look to inward to tend the soil of our heart and to grow a strong, healthy soul.

The earthworm also teaches us of our bodies and helps us understand our ability to stay strong in our bodies.  The flexibility of the worm body teaches us to move in and out of barriers, to be flexible and go around things when it does not serve us to break them down, and to work persistently to knock down barriers when it serves us to do so.

The earthworm is a sure sign that spring is on its way.  In March, in the cold regions of the central New York, it’s hard to believe that spring will come.  We are still shivering in below freezing temperature and looking to the skies for snow.  And yet deep within the awakening earth, the earthworms are working their magic and will soon rise to the top to create the new and ever-renewing fertility of the earth, of springtime.

To move in harmony with this creepy crawly, settle yourself comfortably for the following meditation:

Take a long cleansing breath, filling yourself with breath from the tip of your toes, to the tip of your fingers to the top of your head.  Exhale and let go of cares and concerns.  Take a second long deep breath and close your eyes, letting go of inhibitions. Continue to breathe deeply and connect with Mother Earth as she begins to awaken from her slumbers.

As you breathe deeply, you find yourself standing in the middle of a field in the early morning in that betwixt and between time of night and day.  The memory of the full moon’s rays is in your being and sunlight is only just beginning to peep out at you.  The field has been farmed in the past and it seems very familiar to you.  As you walk along, you recognize various things that you see, reveling in the familiarity of it.  You have been here before, in your dreams, in your journeys and perhaps in your life.

In the distance you see a woman standing in the field, looking down at the ground.  As you get closer, she looks up at you and grins.  She points to the ground and you see a mass of earth worms squirming on the ground.  The two of you watch as they dig in and out of the ground.

She looks at you and says, “Do you know why this was so familiar to you?  It’s because this earth is your body.  These worms tell us the story of you as you live in your body.  She then tells you of the things you need to know about your body and your life.  She picks up an earthworm and holds it gently in her hand before letting it go back into the earth; she whispers one word that means something to you about your body.  Remember, she says, this word and the wisdom of the earthworm for your health and physical well being.

She looks at you and says, “The earthworm speaks to you of your heart and what you need for understanding your emotions and the matters of your heart.  Watch.”  As you watch, words form in your head as the earthworms give you the wisdom you need to grow a fertile and productive emotional life.  Your heart opens to receive this wisdom.

A third and last time, she looks at you and says, “The earthworm speaks of your soul and what you need for your spiritual path.”  In your sou you form a knowing of what needs to be understood or done.  You hold this knowledge as she speaks of your soul as revealed by the worms working the ground.

Finally she looks at you and you understand the things you have felt, known and heard in this field.  Some of the things are a welcome surprise and still others have the sting of truth.  At the end, she hugs you and says “And most of all, you are a loveable and loving.”  She places her hand over your heart and you feel healing energy move through your body like the earthworm moving through the soil.  You thank her and she says goodbye.  She disappears. With a long deep breath, you are back in the here and now.  With a second deep breath, you open your eyes. With a third deep breath, you reconnect with your centeredness and reconnect with Mother Earth.

As you return to your everyday place and time, record your journey in your journal or find some other way to record the wisdom you have learned.  Make a promise to yourself to work this wisdom into your life.

May your life be blessed with vision to see the beauty in everything, including the creepy crawlies!

 

Leave it for the Goblins

Goblins from Labyrinth movie

Goblins from Labyrinth movie

This is the season.  The season to be scary, the season to be spooky, the season to be silly and the season to be aware of the worlds of magic.  Today is Halloween and in the Pagan traditions, Samhain.  My tradition, RavenMyst, celebrates Samhain on the cross-quarter day — the exact middle day between the Fall Equinox and the WInter Solstice.  It is a time of divination, magic, and the Ancestors.  I’m going to save my reflections on those things for next week, though, as Christopher Penszak, Orion Foxwood, and others remind us, “Ancestors, not just for Samhain!”   Samhain is a wonderful holiday, one of my favorites; and it is both secular and spiritual.  It is the third of the harvest festivals in the Wheel of the Year.  The first, Lammas on August 1st, celebrates the first fruits of the harvest and the abundance of grain and wine.  The second, Mabon, brings us to a time of thanks and gratitude for the gifts of nature and our hard work.  The third, Samhain, is the final harvest.  We have taken all that we can from our fields and lands.  The rest we leave to rot and mingle with the earth as fertilizer.  What is left, has no use and cannot serve us.  My High Priestess told me once that in some folk traditions, anything left in the fields on Halloween night are picked over by goblins.  After that, it’s bad luck to take, eat, or store anything handled by the goblins.  What is picked over by the goblins should stay with the goblins.  That story has given me a vivid image to carry forward in my meditations and magic.   Goblins figure wildly in our imaginations as horrible, ugly creatures that do nothing good and always have ill intentions towards humans and other beings of flesh and blood.  They figure in our nightmares, our lore, and our scary stories.  Much has been written about goblins  but no one has been able to reframe goblins into anything other than meanness, greed, stupidity, and anything else that we associate with ugliness and fear.   I have often said to myself and to others that there are certain lessons we seem not to learn.  The lessons present themselves over and over in different iterations, different permutations, and way but at the root it is the same problem.  These I call our “life lessons.”  It will be something we were put in this lifetime to learn about and we mark progress all the time but, perhaps, we never leave it behind.  It could be food, weight, money, anger, addiction, pain, sorrow, drama or any number of things.  Over time, you are different and you grow, but somehow this issue presents itself over and over.  “I thought I had dealt with my __________ ,” I have said and have heard others say.  Yes, you have and you’ve done well, but there is more to learn.  I do hate that but it is still true.   For the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling with my weight again and been discouraged because I’ve made such progress since last March.  But I’ve backslid and gained a few of the hard-won pounds I lost.  I seem not to be able to resist food especially sweets.  It occurred to me that I need to heal my relationship to food.  Too often I use it when I am worried, bored, angry with myself, or some other issue.  I’m not sure how to heal it but I’ve already started.  One of the healing witches in my coven keeps a candle burning for the coven members to use and I’ve been accessing that energy.  The other thing I’m going to do tonight is leave it for the goblins.

coffinBy coincidence [NOT], one of the many talented and creative members of my work staff gave me this paper coffin she made using her Cricut.  I am going to take that add some food (a sort of libation coffin) that represent those foods which do not serve me well including sugar, fat, and etc, and leave it outside for the goblins.  As I prepare it, I will say this little charm:

  • If the use mean, cruel, or rude,
  • Goblins take this bit of food.
  • If I eat to soothe my mood,
  • Goblins take this bit of food.
  • If this is a harmful brew,
  • Goblins take this bit of food.
  • Take it, take it, take it.

As Dorothy Morrison has said many times, the Gods like to be amused so little bits of poetry, and little charms will amuse them and move them to assist us in our magic.  It amuses me too.  She also says that when we do magic, we must also do the things that reinforce the charm.  So on I go to heal my relationship with food.

And finally on this wonderful Halloween Day, I want to leave you with a poem from my childhood.  We lived in Indianapolis, Indiana when I was a small child.  I spent my kindergarten days there and our teacher read a poem by James Whitcomb Riley, the poet laureate of Indiana.  My paternal grandfather was a Hoosier and was very excited about the things we learned about his home state.  This poem, Little Orphant Annie, has stuck with me these many years and I try to read it every Halloween.  So enjoy and may you avoid the goblins of your life!

Little Orphant Annie

by James Whitcomb Riley
Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
             Ef you
                Don't
                   Watch
                      Out!

Onc't they was a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
So when he went to bed at night, away up stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wasn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found was thist his pants an' roundabout--
An' the Gobble-uns'll git you
             Ef you
                Don't
                   Watch
                      Out!

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever'one, an' all her blood an' kin;
An' onc't, when they was "company," an' ole folks was there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They was two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns'll git you
             Ef you
                Don't
                   Watch
                      Out!

An' little Orphant Annie says when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parents, an' yer teachers fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns'll git you
             Ef you
                Don't
                   Watch
                      Out!
 
 

Imagine Your Life Into Be-ing

Thursday is the start of Womongathering, a wonderful womon’s spirituality retreat. For four days, we gather to learn, to contemplate and to celebrate. It’s where the Rowdy Goddesses hang out to laugh, cry and eat chocolate. This year’s theme is Air and the Maiden goddess.
Air has many associations including intellect, imagination and intuition. Clarity through the mind (intellect), magical thought (imagination) and connected thought (intuition).
I learned a lot about the power of the mind and intuition at Akasha Con in March. One of the speakers, Priscilla Keresey gave two wonderful workshops on creating your life and living out your intentions.
In the first workshop she began by talking about the triplicity of the mind–conscious, subconcious, and unconcious–and how the three areas work together. The conscious mind is the place of rationalization, will-power, short-term memory, analysis, and focus. The subconscious is the home of our valies, beliefs, body functions, and long-term memory. The subconscious records everything that ever happened to us, without the filters of rationalization, focus or analysis. The unconscious our connection to the Source, and where we know the words of the gospel that say, “all this you can do and more.” Imagination!
Manifesting your imagination or desired life is based on the law of attraction, a physical law of the Universe that says, “Like calls to like.” What you put out there will come to you. Your thoughts, beliefs, words and action create vibrations within you. As you vibrate with this energy, similar energy is called to attention and comes to you. Feelings are how we create this vibration and they don’t think with the conscious mind, they are creatures of the subconscious. Once you are happy, then you will get what you want!
We are our own worst enemies. She said for many who want to lose weight and no matter how hard they try, it’s because emotionally they are convinced they are fat. If you tell yourself that you are beautiful and maintain the thoughts and language that reinforce that feeling, then you will get what you want.
Priscilla focused on money as examples. She said that if you are in a bad mood paying your bills, the Universe is unlikely to send you anything good. Always be positive and happy when you pay your bills. And then be grateful.
I touched on this when I talked about luck. Say it and forget it. For instance, if you want the money to go to a class. Say to the Universe, I wish for the money to go the ‘whatever it is.’ Then don’t doubt, let it go and let it be. Act as if it has already happened. Don’t think, “when I lose weight I’ll be beautiful;” think, “I am beatiful.” It will happen.
When it does happen, be grateful.Thank the Universe and the powers you believe in. In short, these are the steps to manifesting your imagination:

  • State your desire in positive, present tense way
  • Act as if it has already happened [don’t worry it like a dog with a bone]
  • Thank the Universe

I found this very life-changing. I realized that even though I know all of that stuff, I don’t KNOW it deep down in my blood and my bones. I make self-depricating remarkes about my thunder things (NO MORE) and I’d tell myself in the mirror that I was ugly and fat (NO MORE). I vowed then that I would no longer lend my power and my energy to negative talk about my body. I have maintained that since then. I lost five pounds in May. Whoo hoo. Thank you Universe.

When I returned, I started doing my daily (or almost) altar devotions in a new way. I’d end it with affirmations about my health and body, and whatever else is necessary. I do my altar devotions in the morning while I’m getting dressed. I use no tools just me, the elements and the Lord and the Lady. Priscilla pointed out that the perfect time to send our affirmations out into the Universe are the times just before we go to sleep and right after we wake up. We are closest to the state of unconscious then and our mind has yet to build up the barriers between each section and the Source. We are in a trance, and its time to step into the Cosmic Dance and wish.

It Could Lead to Dancing

It Could Lead to Dancing!
Q: Why don’t Baptists make love standing up?
A: It could lead to dancing.

I love this joke. Not only because I used to be Baptist but also because it illustrates in a very funny way how our inhibitions and self-defined restrictions can keep us from experiencing the ecstatic life, the world of the Rowdy Goddess.
I have had my struggles with dancing. I used to not like to dance; and I think I picked up on some non-verbal messages from my family in childhood. My mother once told me that one of the few regrets she has is that she never learned to dance. I think I picked up on that along with the messages that I was clumsy, had two left feet. When I was in junior high, I shot up from five foot nothing to five foot seven and something. Growing into that body took a long time. My gawky stage lasted for decades. That, coupled with the fact I’ve always been chubby-pleasingly-plump-you-have-such-a-pretty-face-fattie-round bodied woman made the thought of dancing an embarrasing prospect. “Fat chicks don’t dance,” is one of the message one of my friends told me she got.
At the same time, I could feel the rhythms in my body and my feet itched to dance. I love to watch dancing of all kinds. Movie musicals like Singin’ In the Rain and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers always made me want to dance and sing for joy. “What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again!”
I couldn’t bring myself to dance because I was very aware that those around me made comments and jokes about others.
Then things changed. I got dogs and we used to dance together when no one was looking. I saw a belly dancing troup in Ithaca and was enchanted. Beautiful women of all sizes, shapes, and ethnicity danced in this troupe. They had glittering costumes and flowing veils. It was beautiful. I signed up for a class. And didn’t go.
A year later I signed up for a class and went. The teacher is wonderful; www.moonlightdancer.com The first thing she said was that every woman’s body is made for this kind of dance–the better term for it is Middle Eastern Dance–and every woman’s body looks beautiful. As soon as we started to move, I started to smile and couldn’t stop. It was like I had done this before or in many other lifetimes.
I don’t think I’m really good at it and I don’t care! I just feel the music and move with it. Not only that, the people in my life who were voicing criticisms are no longer in my life and I realized that released some chains, so now I move unfettered. And of course Mouse likes to dance and is good at it. He encouraged me to dance around the fire at gatherings and to dance at weddings. We have fun.
Moving our bodies in ritual or after an intense meditation allows us to shake out the things we no longer and need and provide an active place for the new. So be careful if you begin this, it could lead to dancing.
Embedded in that joke is a fear of letting go and a fear of the ecstatic dance. When we are in Union with our Gods and in the flow of the Universal energy we are ecstatic. It will lead to dancing.

May you dance your beauty and your truth!

Post Navigation