Archive: Sep 2014
On those days I feel alone my womb reminds me, in her sweet voice…
“Remember dearest woman, that you are never alone. You are part of a far reaching lineage of strong women and sisters all over the world- keepers of the blood mysteries- reminding you that birth, life, death and rebirth are your sacred rites of renewal and growth. Celebrate the beauty of your natural rhythms- ovulation and menstruation, birthing and shedding, beginnings and endings, lightness and darkness, giving and receiving. All part of your sacred unfolding: the continuous re-birthing of yourself and deepening wisdom on this journey of life.
In this age of ignorance, oppression and over-use of technology, you are a guiding light reminding us that we are not only beings of the civilised world but creatures of the wild- dancing in harmony with the patterns of nature in a sacred spiral of becoming.
When we shed our layers of armor, shame and self-doubt, a beautifully wild self emerges and its power becomes palpable. Here we can discover a deep self-love and connection to the greater whole.
Place your hands upon me and feel the energy stirring within…the heartbeat of the earth, the soothing ocean waves, the luminous moon. I am the seat of creation. I am the wild goddess within you- ready to be danced, howled, laughed, loved, silently embraced or simply dropped into. I await patiently, lovingly, for your return to me.”
So I am now going to get outside and enjoy the beautiful autumn day, follow my wildish instincts and move toward what feels good, inspiring and nourishing… and later perhaps I will howl at the new moon. You are invited to do the same 🙂 Happy Equinox and New moon!
There’s something about bellydance that draws me in and keeps me entranced, obsessed, intoxicated… like a lover who just won’t let up! I know I am not alone in this… I have seen it happen to many women. You know who you are 🙂
Maybe because unlike any other dance form, bellydance draws heavily on my passionate, sensual, sexual self. Maybe its the beautiful costumes, the glitter, the drum beat, the sultry vocals, being barefoot…or because it just feels so good.
Maybe I love belly dance because of the comraderie – While bellydance has been subjected to the same fate as most dance forms- the fourth wall- it still tries to hold onto its integrity as a community celebration. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy stage performance. But I feel bellydance is special in its accessibility and community spirit.
Maybe I love bellydance so much because it connects me to my roots.. Whether I have ‘roots’ meaning a genetic lineage to the Middle East, Egypt, or Africa I am not sure… but I have a past life memory of this, a sense of the connection to my ancient fore-mothers, strong female ancestors who moved their bodies in powerful ways- uninhibited, untamed, in celebration of life, death, and birth.
The movement of my hips, chest and belly- body parts that for so long were riddled with shame and self-consciousness, became free and filled with self-acceptance and joy. Bellydance helped me to remember that my womb and belly are the center of my life force.
Probably the main reason I love bellydance so much is because of how much it has helped me to love myself and my body.
It has become an indispensable practice of physical grounding, mental & emotional support for over 8 years.. through body-hate, eating issues, pelvic pain, pregnancy, post partum, depression, anxiety, relationships come and gone, many life transitions and changes, it has kept me sane and balanced…
I am very hard on myself. A recovering perfectionist. Its easy for me to take any physical discipline, or fun activity and make it hard. Impossible to reach standards propel me forward. I thrive on challenge but exhaust myself in criticism and obsess over details. Bellydance is a discipline and an art. It is a mind-body- soul practice. But it doesn’t have to be hard. Its takes some work, patience and love to improve and while the essence of the movements are natural, (most women already have a foundation whether they know it or not), it is a skill that takes practice. But in learning how to move my clumsy muscles and bones it has transformed and liberated me in ways nothing else has…
As I practiced my body waves I transmuted starvation and longing, and was able to welcome in nourishment and goodness
As I strengthened my ab muscles I suddenly felt strong in myself and able to say ‘no’ to people that drain my energy
As I shimmied my chest, I released the cages around my heart and allowed it to open to love again.
As I undulated my belly I became a peaceful waterfall amidst a stressful time.
As I snaked my arms around my body and in the space around me, I felt empowered to shed my skin, heal the past and renew myself.
As I tossed my hair I caught a glimpse of the spiritual nature of my sexuality.
As I framed my face, it helped me to see my face as a work of art worth framing.
As I bumped and shimmied my hips, I was shocked to discover a strong, grounded woman who kicks ass
As I whirled and twirled with my veil, I was free to be a whimsical child again who felt she could fly
As I practiced my floor-work I reclaimed the power of my primitive instincts as sensuous earth dweller, snake priestess, mermaid
As I labored through the birth of my daughter, it kept me connected to the strength in my womb and belly to give birth smoothly and powerfully
As I danced with my fellow dancers, I felt I belonged to a community, a sisterhood, even if we didn’t know each other that well
Every time I dance I discover new levels of myself and this passion propels me to continue. What is the essence of Bellydance? Why do I do it? For all the reasons above and so many more…
Even if in the mirror, to this day, I still see my elbows are too pointy, my hand placements need work, I’m poker faced, my shimmy sucks or I just can’t seem to coordinate my brain to my muscles. Its the practice of saying ‘It’s ok.’ to myself that helps me grow as a dancer. I study with teachers to master technique, but to me, what makes me a bellydancer is my ability to hold the spirit of the ancestors, the women who danced before- and heed their whisperings- “You are beautiful. You are enough. You are The Goddess.”
And that is why I bellydance. 🙂
*Seconds after posting this blog, my friend Kaleena Lawless posted this interesting article about bellydancers and body image– take a read!
We have amazing power at our disposal. But this power doesn’t come from conforming to just one part of us. Like the moon and the turning of the seasons, our feminine energy is cyclical and ever-changing. Our power stems from claiming the Goddess’ many aspects flowing through us.
Our feminine energy can be fiery and aggressive, soft and nurturing, spiritual and wise, analytical and adventurous, and so on. There are four main expressions of Feminine energy categorized as the Maiden, Mother, Enchantress and Crone. These four energies have distinct qualities and appear each in their turn, flowing from one to the next through the phases of our lives as time passes. They are also reflected in the phases of the moon, the turning seasons and during the approximate 28 days of our menstrual cycle. When we understand and harness these energies, we become empowered.
We have ALL these archetypes within each one of us, and can experience more than one at a time. But most of us have a tendency to express one archetype over another, or feel more comfortable in one aspect than another. Sometimes our current phase of life demands we express one energy more heavily.
For example between the approx age of 30-45 we are in the ‘Mother’ phase of life- and therefore busy nurturing our creative projects, business, home and/or family. If we naturally favor the Mother energy within our personality, we may feel right at home in this nurturing time of life, but there is a greater chance for imbalance. We may be more challenged when our children leave home or we enter the Crone phase of life and have to let go of our role in nurturing. If we have neglected to develop our Maiden, Enchantress or Crone energies, we may have no idea what our inner needs are, and how to express them. We may fear independence, and not have the courage or inner strength to do the things we want to do to make ourselves happy and fulfilled.
If we have overdeveloped our Maiden qualities of independence and ambition, and underdeveloped our Mother qualities, we may have a hard time feeling emotionally ‘rooted’, or close off from intimate relationships. If the Enchantress is lacking, we may feel afraid of our sexuality, creativity or change itself, and cling to familiar patterns of behavior.
This quiz will help you to identify and honor your natural strengths and identify your underdeveloped qualities, so you can strive for balance and feel the fullness of your feminine power.
- What is your age?
a) under 30
d) 61 +
- What season were you born in?
- What’s your favorite season?
- Pick the animal you resonate with most
- What is most important to you?
b) Family & Friends
- What are you most likely to do at a party?
a) Confidently meet new people
b) Help the hostess take care of guests
c) Have an interaction with someone that somehow transforms them or you
d) Sit quietly observing until someone comes to share their secrets with you
- Pick the color you resonate with most:
- What style of clothing do you feel most ‘yourself’ in?
a) Youthful/stylish/flirty or sporty- ready to go
b) Flowing, sensual, natural fabric- warm and approachable
c) Eye-catching, unique, mysterious- seductive and creative
d) Dark colors, black, comfortable – Deep and wise
- Your biggest pitfall is:
a) I get so involved with my outer life, I forget to sit still and reflect on my inner life
b) I tend to take care of others’ needs at the expense of my own
c) I can be over-dramatic and swing between extremes
d) I get so introspective and reflective that I don’t involve myself in life with others enough
- What’s your favourite time of day?
- How do you usually deal with a conflict with a friend?
a) Use logic to argue my point and try to come to a logical agreement
b) I hate conflict. I sometimes forgo my desires in order to be agreeable and preserve the relationship.
c) I get very emotional, and often say things I regret. I see it as a test of this person’s friendship and/or cut ties with them.
d) I look at the big picture as to whether it is worth arguing about. I let go of anything or anyone that is not worth it and feel maintain peace within myself.
12. Which element do you resonate with most?
Your answers for ‘a’ are Maiden, ‘b’ is Mother, ‘c’ is Enchantress and ‘d’ is Crone. Please add them up and see what your dominant and least dominant archetype(s) are.
*To delve more deeply into understanding these 4 main Goddess archetypes, and how to live in harmony with the moon and your menstrual cycle, please sign up for my Moon Goddess Wisdom Workshop!
a) The Maiden:
Your youthful exuberance and zest for life are inspiring and productive. You aren’t afraid to go after what you want and get things done. Analytical, adventurous, confident and energetic, you are capable of standing up for yourself, meeting new people, initiating projects and taking up a challenge. You cherish your freedom and independence, and your ambition is strong. The Maiden corresponds with springtime and the energy of new beginnings. Use this phase of life (youth) and your cycle to initiate new projects, go on an adventure, try something new, embark on a new health routine, get out with friends and meet new people, organize your life to meet new goals, do physical activities or anything requiring courage, energy, logic, or emotional detachment. If this archetype is dominant in your personality, you may have a hard time with intimate relationships, be insensitive to others’ feelings and lack a fulfilling inner life. Take time out from the bustle to reflect, imagine, and feel the depths of your heart and soul. Practice compassion and empathy. Remember there is a need for darkness to balance the light. If this archetype is lacking, try to find things that inspire you, spend more time with young people and remember that the spirit of adventure and innocence can give you fresh perspective. Find a cause to fight for. Be more independent. Stand up for what you believe in. Dare to take action on your dreams! The Maiden phase of the menstrual cycle is approx day 7-14. (Right after your bleeding has ended). The Maiden’s gifts will be at your disposal during this time. Where does this archetype find expression in your life?
b) The Mother:
You are sensitive, nurturing, empathic and giving. You are tuned into your environment and family, friends and loved ones are of utmost importance to you. You need to take care of something (a pet, plants, or person) to feel complete. The Mother is also a very creative, fertile and productive archetype. She nurtures and maintains her creations- whether it be her children, business, creative project or home. She gives birth to her passions and sustains life. You enjoy life’s sensual pleasures, and sharing your bounty with the world around you. The Mother phase corresponds to the full moon, ovulation, and summertime. It is a time for connecting with the community, sharing your abilities, nurturing a cause or project and building relationships. Did you leave on bad terms with someone? Use the ovulation phase of your cycle to re-connect and smooth things over. You are attractive and approachable now and can use this to heal rifts. If this archetype is dominant in your personality, you may find you live for your relationships and cannot detach to tune into your own needs and wants. You may find it difficult to stand up for yourself or have the courage to ‘be different’ and go your own way. You may resist cutting ties from unhealthy people or situations that drain your energy. You may become a ‘smother mother’ and damage the lives of those you care so much about by not letting them be free. If you are lacking in the Mother energy, find something that you care about and wish to nurture. Reflect on your relationship with your own mother, and heal those wounds. Practice listening from your heart and empathizing with others’ feelings. Share your abundance with others. See the child in someone. The Mother phase of life is approx age 30-45, and corresponds to approx day 14-21 of your cycle. How does this archetype express itself in your life?
c) The Enchantress
You are aware of the undercurrents of life and can read between the lines of what people say and do. Sensitive and emotional, you react to your environment strongly and are not afraid to express what you really feel even if it will make you unpopular. You dance on the dynamic play between light and dark, and thrive on change and transformation. Creative and expressive, you require outlets for your bursts of creative energy, and need time alone to process your experience and care for your inner needs. Like the snake, you continuously shed your skin and are aware of the potency of sexual energy for personal growth and change. The Enchantress corresponds to the fall season, a time of transition and letting go of anything we no longer need to take with us into the winter. Her wisdom is in understanding that clearing, cleansing and change are necessary to align her outer life with the needs of her inner life, for the good of her soul and emotional balance. The Enchantress phase of life corresponds to the ‘Mid life crisis’, and menopause (anytime around age 45-60) a time of evaluating if the life we have built is in line with our authentic self, and we make the necessary, often difficult adjustments. It also corresponds to the PMS phase of our menstrual cycle where we have the opportunity to do the same. It requires patience with ourselves and time alone to get in touch with our inner needs. The pitfalls of an over-developed Enchantress personality is over-reacting, cutting ties with people unnecessarily and changing things just for the sake of it or out of frustration. You may swing between emotional extremes and have a difficult time maintaining harmonious relationships. Discernment, patience and self-care can help the process of change. Having safe outlets for your powerful feelings is a must. If you are lacking in this archetype, experiment with reflecting on your life and what it is that is no longer working for you that you wish to change. Deep clean a messy area of your home. Take up a creative hobby. Explore your sexual desires. The Enchantress corresponds to day 21-28 of your cycle. Do you experience PMS symptoms? How does this archetype express itself in your life?
d) The Crone:
The Crone’s signature is wisdom. You are introspective, reflective, very ‘yin’, and spiritually attuned. As a Crone you have much faith and awareness of the big picture, so can easily assess what is essential and what is not. You trust your experience and have gleaned the pearls of wisdom in your lessons, mistakes and choices. Taking pleasure in the ‘little things’, and simple pleasure of life, you appreciate the value of being alive and feel grateful. Like the owl, you notice and observe your environment with keen awareness, stillness, and patience, and carry an aura of inner peace and depth. You thrive at nighttime, when everything is quiet, and enjoy the darkness. Others often come to you with their problems seeking advice and counsel. You can be a bit of a homebody and enjoy spending time alone, sometimes finding it hard to get out and socialise. Psychically sensitive, you feel connected to the ancient ones, ancestors and unseen spirits. Oftentimes the pull of the Spirit world makes you forget to keep your mind on the present mundane matters of the world. However you are also able to be spiritually grounded, in touch with the divine flowing through the physical plane. You have prophetic and intuitive gifts. A woman with dominant Crone personality may isolate herself too much, or become disconnected from reality. She may rely on her own experience too much rather than having a balanced view that can only be gleaned from connection with others and the outside world. She may have a tendency to get stuck in her ways, and need to branch out of her comfort zone and engage with the moving flow of the times through social interaction and adventure. Spend more time with youth, boldly venture out to a social gathering and meet new people, get excited about something and plan a course of action. If the Crone is an underdeveloped archetype for you, set aside more quiet alone time. Sit in nature and allow your energy to slow down and harmonise with the earth. Reflect on your spiritual beliefs and cultivate a daily practice for inner peace. The Crone corresponds to our Bleeding time- Approx. Days 1-7 in our cycle. This is the time for ‘Being’ rather than ‘Doing’. Reflect on your life and notice what’s most important to you. Slow down, dream, rest, renew. Out of the stillness and darkness of the Crone, we are renewed and re-birthed into the Maiden phase of light. How does this archetype manifest in your life?
May you be blessed with the balanced power of the Goddess in all her faces!
To delve more deeply into understanding these 4 main Goddess archetypes and tips for living in harmony with the moon and your menstrual cycle, please read Miranda Gray’s book ‘Red Moon’ or ‘The Optimised Woman’. Or join me for my Moon Goddess Wisdom Workshop!