What if women had never lost their place of power? How would the world have evolved without the past 5000 years of patriarchy?
In a way, that’s what I envision when I look for the connection to Goddess consciousness lost in the mists of time. We only have faint echoes of what it might have looked like when the world was matrifocal and Goddess was revered. She who gives and holds all to Her bosom in life and in death. I imagine a prolonged time where we lived in equality, harmony and balance from all the archeological, ethnographic, linguistic, mythological, cultural studies that have been done by pioneering women on the time of Goddess. The time when we lived as part of Nature, in sync with the rhythm of Life pulsating through the land.
Some of these practices have come through to the modern day, though they may be very faint echoes of what had been. There are healing wells all over Ireland and the UK where St. Brigid is still invoked. Goddess Brigid is a very ancient Goddess with connections to water, fire and serpents. Fire rituals of Beltane were still held over Ireland and Scotland until about a century ago, acknowledging our intimate connection with the well-being of the land.
Whenever I have the great good fortune of standing in a stone circle from Neolithic times, I can feel the energy vibrating through the land and through the stones. Many are aligned to certain times of the year when the ley lines are activated by Earth’s relationship to the Sun and Moon and perhaps to certain constellations.
We live in an immense network of energies. As part of Nature, our task, as a species, might be to align and amplify these energies that are ignited on Earth. Were we a part of the energy grid keepers as are elephants and whales currently, in ancient times? However, with the arrival of patriarchy and a shift towards personal accumulation of power and resources, our creative and engineering talents have been used more for personal gain rather than that of the entire web of life. It’s terribly sad and upsetting…..AND it’s time to start reviving our connection with All.
At this time of Beltane, we celebrate the arrival of Summer. The flowers are starting to bloom. My lilac trees are in full bloom right now even as the tulips are shedding their petals. Up where I am, hawthorn bushes have yet to come into flower. In warmer climes such as UK with the Gulf Stream, hawthorn bushes and trees will be coming into flower, their white and pink petals said to smell like the sexual fluids of a woman’s yoni. There is a sense of renewal of life as butterflies chase each other, the birds breed and people start to bare more of their skins with warmer weather. Sensuality is in the very air that caresses our skin.
This is the season, ruled by the Goddess Lover, Queen of the May, we connect in with our Sensuality, Sexuality and Sovereignty. Rhiannon, the Great Queen, riding out of the Hollow Hill on Her magical White Mare of the Sea, beckons us to catch up to Her. She is ever so steady in Her gait, yet try as we might, we somehow cannot close the distance.
That is what it feels like when I reach towards my Sensuality, Sexuality, Sovereignty. I know what they are. I have experienced ecstasy. I have made wild love. I have felt my own power and place in the Universe. And yet. I know I contain myself so that my energy does not become “too much” for this patriarchal world. As long as I feel that I need to do the “right thing” whatever that might be; as long as I question my own experiences and wonder whether I was fully engaged; as long as I live in a certain fear of what are important to me stolen, taken away, dismissed…I am still running after the Goddess. Thinking it is ME that catches up to HER.
In actuality, Rhiannon stops when the one chasing Her pleads with Her to stop for “the one She loves best”. Like the Great Cosmic Mother and Lover She is, She awaits the moment when we are also ready to receive Her. The great surrender. She waits until we are ready to call it out.
Surrender was a very difficult concept for me growing up. As a girl, I was expected to surrender graciously to the wills of Men. Become an “intelligent, sweet, caring and marriageable girl” so I could end up with a “good man” who would take care of me. Then I was supposed to produce children for said “good man” and his family, all for social stability and the good of a patriarchal culture. I was opinionated and a fighter and that did not go over very well. I baulked at Sensuality being weaponized to “entrap” men to do our bidding or used by men to claim and take what was not theirs to take. Sex was a whole other realm of confusion. Making love felt good, but there was a whole other layer of guilt and dissonance that disabled me from knowing that my body actually belonged to me, not to my lover.
There is so much shame and anger around sensuality and sexuality for many women. For much of my life I lived in dire dread of rape. That used to enrage me. And the reality is that I was date raped a number of times because I didn’t know I was even allowed to say NO to my lover, to my boyfriend, to my husband until much later.
It is confusing to say the least to know how to relate sexually to another human when we barely know how to relate to ourselves. During our teenage years when the hormones start going, there is very little nurturing and initiation into this new relationship with our bodies, our desires, ourselves. We all start running after the Goddess wondering why we cannot reach Her.
We yearn so much to be met. To be seen. To be heard. To be appreciated as we are. That hunger is not properly addressed in our modern societies. Instead, we are fed romantic drama and kept small. We end up thinking that this great hunger is not met because there is something wrong with us or wrong with the partner.
This is Soul hunger. It is met when the Goddess stops and waits for us to catch up. It is when our own soul is finally hailed down by our conscious selves. We need to see who we are. Fully. With the eyes of Goddess, with the eyes of our own souls.
That is the surrender. In that surrender, all our senses open and soften to receive. In that moment, I can sense the possibility of another kind of world than the patriarchal one I have lived in. In that world of open respect and firm yet fluid boundaries, where we are in circle and not in the pyramid power structure, where you are received and seen and heard, not for the title you hold or for the badge of acceptance from the ruling elite you have, but for being you and being present in the web of life. Where abundance and success is not simply measured in financial terms but by how a community can thrive in health and joy. It is what Kathy Jones, Priestess of Avalon, calls Mother World: a world based on the values of caring, mutual support, kindness and respect for each other.
Sovereignty comes out of all this. When our sexual energy is celebrated within ourselves, connecting us to Goddess and our sensuality opens up a further expansion in our consciousness and appreciation of Life, we can start to become aware of where our true power lies. What it means to be sovereign of our own Land; i.e. our own lives just as much as the land that we steward. What it means to look after the Land with all of our resources, respect, love, curiosity, kindness, communication, humility and service. We come into our own Power not to have dominion over others but to co-create this amazing beauty that is Life. For all.
In this way, there is hope, within me, that a path can be crafted forward that will meander through the vast forests and valleys, along clean rivers and oceans of this amazing planet. A path of participation and fellowship in the Web of Life. Perhaps a path that will enable us to re-engage as grid keepers again, maintaining the health of our Mother Earth in concert with all other Beings.