I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I’m sure many times over–”When women gather in the bonds of spirit and creating sisterhood, it is truly magic.”
Our last sister circle, or “Circle of Sisters” as the women have taken to calling it was on June 27th, just one day after my 4oth birthday. We gathered here at the temple home-base. When I say “temple home-base” let me elaborate a little bit. First of all, I am the mother-priestess of Sister Spirit Sanctuary and therefore having given birth to this circle for women, I tend to work from home a lot, usually in my personal sanctuary.
This is the matrix of where it all happens, where most of my ideas, dreams and activities take place outside as well as inside the realm of Sister Spirit Sanctuary. It is a room that is my own personal sanctuary in my basement with securely hung canvas walls as well as canvas covered ceiling (both just waiting for some creativity to be added), purple walls, two couches–one of which I just finally took the feet off so it sits rather low. Perhaps time for another couch. Donations anyone?
On coming down the stairs to the temple, one is greeted by the statue of Kwan-Yin. There is a basket on one side of her and “worry stones” on the other. On entering and greeting Kwan-Yin, one may take a stone, contemplate and put all their worries into it and then place it in the basket for releasing later. I like to do it often. Sometimes I even light incense as well.
After making your way into the temple, you can see that I have altars set up, book shelves that have become altar spaces and all other kinds of things that a sister-witch-priestess would need for her ritual creation, spell casting and just simply being. It’s not the most extravagant of places but it is my own. I couldn’t think of a better use of this large basement space than creating a temple for myself and I do not mind sharing this space with women. If we are not creating temple outside due to weather or privacy, I lovingly share my sacred space with sisters and other women. One day, however, I hope to have a place of our own that will be specifically for the purpose of serving women and our needs, both spiritual and mundane. See previous blog “Holding the Vision”
However, for now we make do just nicely. So on to our experience of the day. In the end of June, just days after the summer solstice, it’s not surprising we had the heat wave we did. It was a very hot, humid and muggy day. It’s not the heat itself that makes the weather unbearable, it is the humidity. I will take the dry heat of Arizona and Colorado any day over the heavy humidity we tend to get here in Ohio. It’s so heavy sometimes you simply can’t breathe or stand to do anything! Ugh!
Just shortly before the women arrived, I had taken a quick second shower to remove the stickiness the humidity had gifted me with. I went downstairs into temple space with wet hair and all and applied my mascara. Although the basement is a tolerable or comfortable cool temperature, my amazing daughter set up the fan for us anyway. It just made it that much more comfortable. I heard voices upstairs and I wondered why no one came down. Apparently they were waiting for me not sure whether to come on down or not.
Note to the women: If you come to my house for temple and I am already down there, feel free to come on down after you get yourself set up and situated with food, shoes and purses upstairs!
I invited them to come on down stairs and get comfy in our circle. It was good to see familiar faces now becoming regulars and some new faces as well as ones I hadn’t seen in long time! All beautiful smiling faces lending their wonderful feminine energy to our circle. I asked if everyone had everything they needed and if they remembered to bring their personal effect for the altar. When everyone was situated and ready, I handed them altar cloths and items and to all create the altar together. Again and again it’s amazing to see women being careful not to crowd the other woman’s space out while she’s trying to find her own.
When I see this, I wish over and over that we as women might try harder to take this same behavior and apply it into the mundane world with one another instead of getting caught up competition and over-stepping into one another’s sacred boundaries of home and family, relationship, work and business and otherwise. Let’s discard that shroud of patriarchy! Oh if only it were just that easy!
So we have created this beautiful altar, all of us adding something to it of our own and so we look at it for a moment or two pleased with ourselves and our creation. Because this circle was about sacred words of power, and we were going to make meditation bracelets, I place the cauldron on the altar. I ask that all the women place their beads into the altar so that we can bless and charge them with out intentions. After we fill the cauldron, I ask that we all place our hand over the cauldron and I say a blessing and ask that each woman add a word to it and they do. Beads are now blessed and charged with love and power.
After beads are blessed we begin our council. This is where we pass the rattle and where all women speak their own truth and we practice deep listening. Not giving positive or negative feed backs with smiles or anything else, just letting the women come into their own feelings and experience what needs to be experienced, spoken what needs to be spoken and shared what needs to be shared. I usually start off the circle as women are still getting comfortable with how things work (this was, after all our third circle for this year) and I took the rattle and talked about things I felt I needed to. Because I totally felt in a safe space, surrounded by women really listening to me it was much easier for me to for me to hear myself as well. I was speaking for myself, not trying to say anything that I thought others wanted to hear, should hear liked or did not like. I felt able to speak my own truth in that space we created. I learned more about myself as I spoke too because I think in those few moments I held the rattle, Goddess conscious opened up even more inside myself and took me further in. It was a wonderful experience for me of totally being in the moment of myself and these amazing women and spirit. When I had nothing more to share, I passed the rattle and each woman in turn spoke her truth. Even the first timers who felt a little unsure of everything or if there was something specific they were supposed to say was able to get out a few sentences for sharing. All in all when the rattle came back to me I believe that each woman shared what she needed to that day. It’s so good to feel like you can speak your truth among women who listen! No airs, no need to impress just truth!
After council, we were ready for the heart of everything. We smudged, cleansed and created our sacred space by inviting the elements into and around our center. We invited ourselves to be open to Spirit from within as well as without. Because this was a circle about mantra’s and positive affirmations, we didn’t do any other chants and so forth that I might normally encourage women to do. Instead I talked a bit about mantras and we did them. We talked about what mantra was, what its purpose is and how it can help us manifest change in our lives. We also explored briefly different types of mantra, from chanting, writing and breathing and thinking mantra, even whispering mantra and how to use the power of mantra to focus the attention, to awaken the unconscious activating the inner forces of deep transformation. Although I talked about Tibetan mantra I didn’t focus much on that as much as using positive affirmation as mantra. We did do the “Om” mantra, as well as Om mani padme hum and the Green Tara mantra, which seemed to be the favorite.
We didn’t get through the entire mala or the 108 repetitions but we did manage to do 27 repetitions of the chants. And it was good!
Then we turned our focus to using positive affirmations as mantra. Sure, some say it might not have the same vibration quality as the Sanskrit mantra with the power of sound, however, I think positive affirmations said, written, thought, chanted, or whispered over and over has the incredible power of opening up centers of our inner Self for transformation and change on many levels. For some women, it’s a powerful and if not extremely difficult and even almost an impossible thing to manage to say something positive about themselves. Some women have been so abused, hurt and their self-esteem is so incredibly low that even saying “I am a beautiful person” is a struggle because they don’t believe it. Sanskrit would be so much easier as even though they may read a positive meaning and translation of what they are saying, it is still foreign to them and can easily be passed off as gibberish whereas actually speaking and affirming aloud something positive about one self in a language they understand challenges them to dare to speak highly of themselves. Now the fun part, creating the positive affirmation!
Each woman was given a pen and note card to write down the affirmations. As I spoke about the power of them and how to create them in the present tense, and offered a few of my own to them to write down. Then I invited each woman, as we went around the circle, to say something positive about herself. I could see tears’ welling up in some eyes as they struggled with the words to say just one nice thing about themselves but by Mother Goddess they did it and wow, what magic it was! What a bit of a break thru for some women. I encouraged them to write down their own affirmations and to say them often! Some might say “Oh so no big deal” but then they perhaps are the lucky ones with healthy self-esteem and so this for them might come natural. For many women, as I previously stated, this is an enormous step in the right direction for awakening to their own divinity, inner beauty and empowerment! We went circle ’round several times with this exercise until we were feeling pretty good. Because it’s such a powerful tool and technique for initiating positive transformation, it was important to explore this topic is sacred space and I am sure we will explore it again.
My body is the temple of the Goddess. I am perfect. I am divine.
One bead, pretty bead, sparkly bead, skinny bead, round bead…oh so many beads!
The cauldron was filled with so many different beads. All shapes and sizes, colors and styles. Just like the women of this earth. All beautiful! They each brought their special charm/s to add to their bracelet. I had provided the hemp thread however, it was a little thicker than some of the beads so some of the pretty beads we didn’t use this time, however we have other plans for those! (And I got the perfect thread for anything else we might create with smaller beads) The night before I took some beautiful rose quarts beads and cleansed them in salt water, smudged them with sage and then let them sit all night under the light of a super charged full moon. (There was also a lunar eclipse too.) I wanted each woman to have two of them for their bracelet as a reminder of our connection to one another and our circle experience. In the end, some really creative and beautiful meditation bracelets were created.
All the chitter chatter going on, the women creating a buzz just adding to the energy of the circle really made for a wonderful time. When we were all finished, we admired one another’s bracelets. Then we brainstormed ideas for future circles as well as other crafty ideas to do with beads later on. We talked about little donations of items to the circle to for future use. Since we use a bindi on our forehead every circle (to help open up that third chakra) the women also decided to leave their body stickers and bindi’s here to for other women who come who might not have them. Amazing what women come up with left their own creativity and their ideas are honored.
Then we opened up circle. We laughed, we giggled, and we talked. We went upstairs to feast on fruit and veggies and pasta salad! It was good. I am looking forward to the next Sister-Circle where we will be using clay and creating sacred vessels/blessing/offering bowls for our altar. July 25th from 4pm-6pm
Despite the heat, it was a wonderful circle!
We came, We chanted and We received.