Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Road to the Goddess by Lisa Artis

When I think about what led me onto the path of the Goddess from Christianity, I know that it is the life changes I’ve experienced that made me want to dig deeper. I have always had an affinity for things that are mystical and I remember following the moon wherever she appeared as a child. Maybe these were the stepping stones that would lead me to my new path later in life. I do remember also being extremely drawn to nature as well, I would play outside for hours, skipping stones in creeks, walking nature trails in the woods and actually needing to find solace in such places as a child. I never felt lonely or afraid; just at peace with Mother Earth.

I really hadn’t identified with a religion until I became a teenager. There wasn’t much emphasis on it in my home until my mother began to follow Christianity indefinitely. It was then that my first real connection with a religion started due to her influence. Things slowly but surely began to change in my life; the type of music I listened to, what shows to watch and even how to carry myself was imprinted on my young, impressionable mind. While this wasn’t an extremely detrimental change; it did affect my thinking. I was always screening things to make sure they were “appropriate”. As a former Christian, I felt that there was a preordained way of living for me and that if I didn’t follow it completely then I risked “disappointment and failure” in God’s eyes. Also, aside from some of the more “positive” women role models in the Bible, most women were shunned as temptresses, provocative, and troublesome. The only seemingly positive woman was Mary; the mother of Jesus. So, that in and of itself had subconsciously filled my young mind with subliminal messages about what it is to be a woman and my deepest feelings about it. 

I spent my teenage years and into my early twenties seeking God through Christianity, if I moved to a new town, I felt the need to find a “church home,” for it was imperative towards my growth. But, there was something so intense, fierce and passionate inside of me that yearned for an outlet. I needed to be able to identify with the sheer mysteriousness and utter beauty of being a woman and my spirituality. I began to question the things I had been taught, wondering why everything was “outside” of me; God was up there and I was down here, yet, He was the way the truth and the light or at least, supposed to be. It is not uncommon for major events in our lives to catapult us into a new state of being and this is what happened later in my life. In 2009 I lost my son through stillbirth…I could not even begin to grasp what was occurring right before my eyes and my heart felt pain that I had never known before. I remember being drawn to metaphysical studies, yoga, and meditation and collecting stones for healing different chakras. I was drawn to all or most things shunned in the Christian community but I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t announce these things to others; I just felt the changes, especially as I searched earnestly for answers. I desperately needed to begin connecting the dots in my world. 

I have felt the rawness of my emotions peak to levels that have shocked even me…but knowing that it was okay to feel this was healing for me. I became more in tuned with the life cycles of mother earth, the moon and how her influence enhanced my passions and creativity. I became much more receptive to this aspect of my life. But I also was less and less understood by others. When it was quite evident that Christianity was no longer at the forefront of my spiritual walk, I was told that I was “lost, spiritually dead, a New Age thinker” and much more. But I had never felt so much clarity and depth before and I had to make peace with my own journey; realizing that not everyone would understand my choices. And I was okay with that.

For the first time in my life, I felt like the sky was the limit. I take everything that I have experienced as a lesson, a journey to bring me to the next level. I don’t feel lost at all, I feel authentic and at peace with an insatiable yearning to learn even more. I mother my daughters in a way that celebrates their femininity and validates them. I teach them that they don’t have to agree with how another person thinks or feels but that they should respect it. I take them to the ocean when the moon is full and we all stand together with our hands linked as we look upward into the vastness of the sky. We will celebrate their first menarche together with affirmations, laughter, wisdom and love. I will teach them of how intuitive we can be during our cycles as women and how we should listen to our spirit. I encourage them and myself not to ever silence our voices if something does not feel right. This is why I embrace the Goddess because she is Life to me. Receptivity and passiveness can be beautiful attributes to a woman’s character, but only when she can balance it with the power she already has. Too often in the name of religion we have been silenced, hushed and made to feel subservient as women, even cursed. Our secrets, mysteries and deeply ingrained ways of life were all categorized as “witchcraft”. We have always had an affinity for these things though, they are within us! 

The connection I have to the Goddess has influenced the way I live and think in so many ways. I feel validated and more in tune with the world around me and not so cautious of how I express myself. In many cultures, there are years of historical evidence of how the Goddess was revered for her powerful abilities. Women came together in circles, chanting and singing; all in celebration of the Divine Feminine. Menstruation, birth and even death were cyclical and intuitive times that always called for gathering together to share wisdom. I truly resonate with these truths, feeling them all the way down to my core. Embracing the Divine Feminine has connected me to women from all walks of life, filling my heart with an even stronger bond of sisterhood. My life has only become more enriched, balanced, purposeful and beautiful for I see everything with new eyes.

By Lisa Artis, a selection from the upcoming Girl God Anthology: Jesus, Muhammad and the Goddess.

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