When women gather in the spirit of creating sisterhood, sharing, story-telling, and really supporting one another it is the purest and undiluted magick of the most concentrated kind.
Today was one of those days. It was our 2nd “Sister Circle” of the year since the several month hiatus and my mind is still swirling in the thought, memory and emotion of the moment. And even though the moment has technically ‘gone by’, I still carry it with me as I write. The intensity, the power and magick of those moments will be with me for a long time to come. Helping me, reminding me, and guiding me along this journey of growth and transformation.
We are circling every fourth Sunday of the month but this Sunday fell into the Memorial Day weekend holiday so I knew perhaps many women wouldn’t make it out. Others had personal issues they were dealing with, a few were sick (crazy stomach thing going around) and one woman came over but we were already “in temple” and didn’t hear her knocking. She was late and I thought the few that did show up were going to be it so we started on time. 😦 She left us a peacock feather as her calling card. I have it and am going to add it to the altar. She did email me though and apologized for being late so although I’m so sorry we missed her and her energy, I’m very glad that she understood that we had already begun and didn’t hear her. The plus side was she said now she knew where to come to next time. 😉
Anyway, ahhh where to begin, where to begin…….
The ladies arrived at my house before I did; I had to make a last minute ditch to the store up the street. I walked into a kitchen full of beautiful women talking and trying to figure out what they were going to do with food they had brought. I saw new face who had driven an hour away to be with us and to experience her first circle ever. I saw the familiar faces that I know and love and of course my own daughters were there. After we all chitty chatted a few moments and got things situated we went ahead on schedule and moved things right on into to the temple room in the basement where things got even more interesting.
I had already partially gotten the altar set up. I had laid out the altar and covered it with a silver/white cloth. I had laid around the altar several different other cloths and beautiful fabrics. I even implemented two of my favorite belly dance scarves; one green, for grown and pink for love and sisterhood. I placed a bowl of water and rose petals to the west; stones to the north for the earth, candle for fire to the south (typically I use an athame but for some reason I didn’t this time.) I put a beautiful soap stone “smoke bottle” which is really more like a ‘smoke pillar’ with the pentagram cut outs and star at the top as well as the fact that you have to lift the pillar part off and place the incense in the proper places on the bottom piece to be covered by the pillar so the smoke can come through the openings. So in actuality, it’s not like a bottle at all but it serves the same purpose. I also place an apple on the altar too to Honor the deep wisdom of Eve.
In the middle of the altar I laid purple altar cloths with images and statues of the Sacred Feminine, the Divine Mother, the Awakened Woman and Presence. (They are from a Windstone collection however, I have since renamed them) And a beautiful vase filled with beautiful pink roses given to us by nature and the empty vacant house/lot next door.
The women began to add their candles, their trinkets and pictures of women they intended on honoring. I started a good base but when those women added parts of themselves to that altar, it literally transformed in front of us and came alive. It was magick. We were all in awe of its intense beauty and just “ooh’d and awed” over it. None of the candles at this point were lit either and it was just astonishing.
I talked a little about the structure and how we were going to do things a little differently this time. I explained that we will begin each circle with a ‘check in’ or ‘Council’ where we pass the rattle and like the “talking stick”, who ever has the rattle has the floor. Each woman would share you story, speak her heart and whatever she wanted to share that transpired during the month since we last met. While each woman did that we would lend her our ear, our complete attention and practice deep listening. We were not to console her if she cried, or applaud her if she did something good as our goal is to just listen deeply and let her come to her own truth and stand in it. No judgment, no favoritism, no anything but deep listening. hugs and support after ward but not during.
After we had “Council” , I taught them some new chants and explained how we were going to use them in the ritual. I burned them onto a CD and since we were in the Temple Room, I put them on so we could all sing to it.
We discussed a purpose for the ritual–the theme was about honoring out foremothers and the women in our lives that have influenced us but we needed to work out the purpose together. We decided on transformation and positive change.
We used “I summon Her” for calling the elements and casting circle. “Born of Water” for raising and sending out energy; because we honored the women in our lives, our ancestors and foremothers and mothers, and because we had all decided that the purpose of this ritual was “transformation and change” this chant seemed so appropriate.
After everyone was ready, we began the chant together. We cast circle through “hand to hand” and the circle was cast. I invoked the Sacred Feminine, Goddess, Creatrix into our circle, awakening Her Divine presence from deep within ourselves and from the vast places of space and time. I lit Her candle.
I then deterred from the original ritual I had planned on –sorta. I ended up, while getting ready for the circle coming across one of my favorite books “Imagine a Woman in Love with herself” by Patricia Lynn Reilly and when I picked it up I dropped it and this time it landed on it’s open pages. It landed on page 177
“Imagine a Woman who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in a circle of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.”
I knew this must be read and discussed a bit in circle. So that’s what I did. I read the majority of the chapter, reflected and then we moved on. We repeated this as mantra, breathing in and breathing out the words.
Then we moved on to the ritual of honoring the women in our lives.
I began with ” I am Aura, daughter of Eva, granddaughter of Maude, great-grand-daughter of Laura and I am here today to honor these women.” I told a story of them and remembered to honor another influential woman in my life. Billie Jo Pyle of blessed memory. I lit my candle and passed the matches on. Then each woman shared their memories and stories. Tears flowed at times heavily but they were cleansing, healing and powerful tears of love. I didn’t have any kleenex (bad priestess! bad!) so paper towels were used. Thankfully, no one minded.
By the time everyone was done, stories told and tears shed the altar was heavy with the voices of the women who laid a piece of their heart out there, who shared pieces of themselves that some had said they hadn’t recognized before or acknowledged. I think it just made that altar that much more beautiful.
We then raised up the energy with ” Born of water”; we began with the CD but then my daughter Amaris turned it off during the 2nd go around so that it was our voices going and so that we could continue until the power was fully raised and released when we needed it to be and not when the CD ended. We rode the wave of energy for quite a few moments and just as it peaked to the highest point, I grabbed someone’s hand and everyone grabbed the others woman’s hand at the right time we all through our hands up and released it. Then we stood there for a moment with our hands held high. I then asked “Is it just me or does everyone else feel tingly?”
Everyone felt it. I had goosebumps and was tingly all over. One woman said that she grabbed the woman’s hand next her and her hand was HOT! It was some seriously concentrated energy raised in there!! Then we began to breath, to ground and center. We sat back down and then we sang, “Behold! There is magick all around us” to really bring us into the awareness of the magick we had all created and are part of on the every day basis whether we are creating or not. I could feel the essence of pure undiluted feminine energy of myself, of the women, of the Universe just coursing through me. I thought I seriously might come out of my skin.
Incredible. After we took in that for a few moments we did the Self-Blessing. I had created a blessing oil earlier in the day that I had already prayed over and blessed and I passed that around with the mirror. So this time instead of doing it together, each woman did herself. The mirror and the oil was passed to her so she may look into the mirror and bless herself. This is something I like to do at every circle, however, Z suggests that we do this often, at least once a week and naked before a mirror. I offer them Z’s sound advice as well. But I also think it’s powerful for them to do in the circle of women as well. Maybe for some, this will be the only time they will do it but at least they do it in that sacred space.
Touch the forehead and say “Bless me Mother, For I am your child.”
Touch the eyes and say “Bless my eyes to see your ways.”
Touch the nose and say “Bless my nose to smell your essence.”
Touch the lips and say “Bless my lips to speak of you.”
Touch the breast and say “Bless my breasts formed in strength and beauty.”
Touch the belly and say “Bless my belly with pleasure and life.”
(you could also touch your yoni and say the same)
Touch the feet and say “Bless my feet so that I may walk in your path.”
Touch the forehead once more and say ” Bless me mother, for I am your child.”
Z likes to sing it and she does so beautifully. But if you want to just really concentrate and focus on what your doing, just speak it, feel it and be there with it.
Afterward, we then did the cakes and ale, gave thanks and opened circle. Again we stood in awe of the amazing altar and then one of the women, named Angie had her camera with her so she took some wonderful pictures. I took one pic with my phone but when I saw how beautiful her pictures came out, I decided I’d let her take the pictures and just post them when she shared them with me later.
After we were done admiring our beautiful altar we went upstairs to feast. I hoped on FB to announce to world (the facebook world anyway) how amazing the circle was today. And to email the woman who came to temple but was not received because we didn’t hear her.
We sat here and enjoyed one anothers company until 9pm. The circle was technically over at 6 but 3 hours later we were all bouncing off of one another’s energy and company while enjoying good food. Fruits, pasta salad, Greek goodness and pie. Well, I did have a piece of apple pie.
Yes indeed, today was an amazing gathering of women. I look forward to many, many more.