Saturday, March 12, 2022

Finding Myself by Caroline Selles

 


I open the box of puzzle pieces that are my pain.
As I sort through the jumble of jagged bleeding pieces, I notice
My illusions
My faults
My failures
My trauma.

The edges form the suit of armor so familiar, comfortable, and suffocating.
The colors are muted and faded.
The design prescribed by others
My family
My peers
My rapist
My newsfeed.

Edges no longer match.
Pieces no longer fit.
The picture on the box, so attractive and acceptable to others,
The image I am told I should want to form seems
Grotesque
Artificial
Offensive
Unacceptable to me.

One by one, I lovingly scrape off the blood and reshape the pieces.
I add vibrant colors
Of laughter
Of tears
Of dancing
Of truth.

The suit of armor is replaced by a blanket, warm, cozy, comforting and fluid.
I allow the tenderness to mold, not an image, but a feeling. A feeling
Of love
Of belonging
Of connection
Of safety.

I am finding myself, one piece at a time.

Poem and art from our upcoming anthology, Re-Membering with Goddess: Healing the Patriarchal Perpetuation of Trauma
 
Caroline Selles is a veterinarian, reiki practitioner, poet and painter. A self-taught intuitive artist, Caroline began painting as a way of healing thru decades of physical and emotional trauma and illness. What began as a meditative practice with a desire to see more diversity of form and culture in art, has become a spiritual and healing practice and the pathway to finding Goddess and reclaiming her own suppressed cultural inheritance and feminine power. Essential themes of her art and poems include reclaiming female empowerment, female divinity and diversity, integration after trauma and nature as goddess imagery. Born in Valencia, Spain, she currently resides in the United States. She can be found on social media as @thegoddesswithinart or at https://thegoddesswithinart.square.site.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Warrior in Woad Ritual Meditation – The Spirit Marking Warrior of Andraste by Joey Morris

 

Art by Kat Shaw


Hail to You
Andraste
Goddess who will not be felled
By Time or Suppression
As the Light and Dark hold their balance
We too hold our heads high
On the precipice of all our battles,
Internal and against those
Who seek to claim and destroy our Land.”


Warrior in Woad Ritual Meditation – The Spirit Marking Warrior of Andraste

After we have cast the circle, called in the trees, spoken to the Mothers of the Elements, and called out to Andraste and perhaps Boudicca also, we may wish to invoke the spirit of the Equinox through the Warrior in Woad.

This calls back to the Celtic people marking themselves with the blue ritual paint made from Woad.

To mark one's self before battle was a powerful act; you crushed herbs and dyes in a form of battle potion making, calling on the essence of these plants and the land to infuse you with their blessing, and called on the War Gods to recognise you as being ‘marked’ as theirs on the battle field, and ‘marked’ for protection and victory.

Prior to the ritual you may wish to use the following chant:


The Warrior in Woad
“I am her
And she is me
The guardian in woad
A story screams
Across the void
Marked in battle lines
I hear her scream
Guttering
The pitch black chord of night
I am her
and She is me
There is no true divide
I cross the ocean bruised
And weary
To speak at fire side
The lightning calls
As once it did
The drums of war unfold
I am Her
And She is me
The Warrior in Woad.”

Close your eyes and visualise Andraste before you, standing on the top of a grassy hill in Ancient Briton.

You can feel the wind whipping around you, cold and bracing, with Spring rain thrashing about.

You are here to scout the land, the threat of Roman invasion and those who wish to take away your inner Sovereignty.

In this space you will not fight anyone, but you watch as the light breaks through the clouds, listening for the Land Spirits and for Andraste herself to speak to you.

Messages of Rebirth, Re-emergence, and Reclaiming the self are all of pivotal importance going forward – hear the words that are only for you. How does Andraste appear to you? What does She say?

Turn to face Her, to listen, to seek to understand.

In this process of remembering, Andraste reaches out, her fingertips rich with Woad, to paint your face and body with markings that are unique to you.

Your battle paint – reminders of your inner essence and that you can do anything you set your mind to!

As the paint swirls against your skin, see it moving and glowing with an Otherworldly energy – it is more than just paint. Feel and know that you are a part of something greater; sense that you are not defeated, you will not give up on yourself, your sovereignty.

You are not alone in your birthing of a new sense of yourself.

Feel yourself grow stronger, more courageous, more connected to the Land, to the Goddess, to Yourself.

Offer your gratitude to Andraste and come back to the mundane world.

The Land remembers…

How the changing nature of Warfare has impacted the Land.

For a moment, I want you to consider what affect ancient Warfare versus modern Warfare might have on the land and the Spirits of that Land.

As I have already mentioned, modern Warfare has been moved ‘elsewhere’ by the powers that be – in what can be described as a political, social, and economic shift to benefit the powerful.

War often follows the resources, and with the current choke hold the powerful have over their own land in Europe (and the UK which is sadly no longer part of Europe), and indeed in the USA, there is little to be gained from fighting at home.

Instead, modern Warfare follows the Oil and benefits the powerful by providing an “us versus them” narrative which fuels hatred against the other.

War is as ancient as human history, as is the grasping at territory and the resources that land would provide.

To the ancient Celts, it was an intimate part of everyday life, having skirmishes with neighbouring tribes, seeking riches, land, and horses or cattle from battle.

War, such as it was, fed into their honour system, with self-worth and Sovereignty being claimed through battle.

There would be no sense to the ancient Celts in obliterating the land they wished to inhabit.

Indeed, the idea of conquering armies of ancient times salting the Earth to make it uninhabitable, which was a popular folklore motif by the Middle ages, is thought by historians to be largely fanciful.

There may have been rituals involving salt that was said to ‘curse’ the land so that the defeated could never return and grow there, but the idea of using so much salt that the Earth would be harmed beyond repair is fairly ridiculous given the precious nature of salt, the expense, as well as the logistics surrounding the amount needed to be transported to a place to kill the Earth.

The application of toxic chemicals to the Earth in modern history, however, is one of the travesties again the planet. I have said before through my work with The Morrigan, that I view Celtic battle and the life force spilt through blood on the Earth as a kind of offering to the Goddess of War. This is tied to the sacred nature of Life force within Blood.

The idea of sacrifice we have mentioned being tied to ancient mythos still survives in pagan tradition; albeit metaphorical rather than physical.

It is also usually applied to the harvest months rather than Spring, but as we know the Celtic people performed sacrifices, both animal and human, and this was directly tied to the well-being of the Land, I find it unlikely that this was not part of their spiritual path in Spring as the new seedlings sprouted.

The best archaeological data supporting Celtic human sacrifice is the body of the man placed in Lindow bog in the first or second century C.E. We actually have the body (well, most of it) so well preserved that scientists were able to analyze his stomach contents to discover his last meal (a partially scorched grain cake). Lindow man was almost certainly a ritual sacrifice; he was strangled, hit on the head, and had his throat cut, in quick order, then surrendered to the bog. This pattern fits the “three-fold” death referred to in medieval Irish tales. What’s more, the man seems to have been of high social rank, and a willing victim.” - digitalmedievalist

Once again this highlights a key lesson of War Goddesses; that there can be multiple reactions to complicated energies. War is not a pleasant business, but it condenses your life force into a single moment, bringing complete clarity – all the reasons to resist death and keep fighting.

It also shows in my mind, how the Land may have received the blood of humans as a part of the ritual aspect of Death.

Warfare, to the Celts, was a part of life, and in so dying the balance between humankind and other life (the Land, the trees, the plants, the animals, etc.) was more maintained.

Overpopulation and destruction of the Earth is a modern issue.

Ancient forms of Warfare maintained a balance which is no longer the case.

Instead, we have to alchemize our Warrior energy, and fight to protect the Land, whenever and how so ever we can.

This does not mean sacrificing a noble to the bogs anymore (tempting as that thought can be sometimes with the rich!)

It does mean fighting those in power who see the land as something to serve their ends, which, inevitably, will be the end of the human race as well.

The Earth will outlive us. We will not survive if we keep damaging the planet this way.

I do not tell people how they should act. I think it is important to raise the issue for consideration and allow a person to find their own way.

But be it changed behaviour in ourselves, charitable donation, raising awareness… whatever we do, is echoed throughout the spiritual ecosystem.

The Land Spirits know how we are behaving, and they remember.


Joey Morris is a Celtic Creatrix and UK-based daughter of The Morrigan. She is an author, creatrix CEO of Starry Eyed Supplies, and co-owner of the What the Flux podcast.

Within the spiritual landscape, her soul mission is to deepen the understanding of our interconnectedness by honouring the sacred and exploring the masks of the self through channelling relationships to the Divine through written work, poetry, videos, products, and services.


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Reclamation of the Broken Spirit by Joey Morris

 

Art by Arna Baartz

We remember.

The lost ones, the broken ones, the hurting.

We remember the moments where we stared vacantly out into the world, feeling disconnected from it.

Our illusions shattered, the promises of a fair, safe, world dissolving at our feet.

For myself, it was a moment in the back of a car, being driven away at 3am, watching the street light blur into one another in a seemingly endless parade, each light stretching thin and eventually disappearing, a weird recollection through hazy vision.

The distinct memory of dirt on the glass, and feeling like it ought to be raining.

The rain was conspicuous by its absence.

And telling myself that life would never be the same again.

It leaves a mark somewhere, those kinds of memories, that if we are not careful, we can slip back into the state of disconnection, feeling present only in body to the world around us.

The world can be a hostile place, with an aggressive stance on conformity played in front of our eyes on a seemingly endless loop, whilst we are taught to always be ashamed.

The reclamation of self begins as we start to reject conformity; the authentic self is seeking the courage to let the world see who we are without concealment of all the idiosyncrasies peculiar to our unique blend of human.

It is the acceptance of the broken self that lends itself to reigniting the fires within ourselves.

We know what it is to feel the icy grip of despair, a cruelty that goes beyond the painful into the realm of self-abandonment; we have lost touch with the world around us for moments, leaving us an observer to the patterns of it; we study and examine from a peculiar vantage point.

It is in nature that I am reminded I can be moved by what this world has to offer.

When the atmosphere cracks in thunder and destructive elements grip the sky in a ballet of force so beyond us, or the rain rolls down a leaf in softly spoken prayer, running its length before slowly descending to the dirt beneath.

Everything seems to shift in these moments, time takes on a personality of its own, slowing everything down or racing it forward, as the crows cry out or the soul feels lifted into an endless night of stars.

Was the Witch always within me? For to see the world through 'other' eyes is surely connected to that title, for all the good that titles do.

I think perhaps it was, as I stumbled through forests as a child telling stories of ancient lands and magical spirits that others could not see.

So how does one hold onto a spark of something wondrous when all else has been forcibly removed from you, when hopelessness and violence and abuse cling to your memories like dried on gory splatter?

I tell the monsters that they do not own me.

They cannot have me; I am still here.

I will mark the world in every way I can—with honour, with truth, with beauty.

In the retelling of stories both horrifying and true, refusing to be ashamed or allow others to be so conditioned, help them to refuse to be the same as one another, to discard the notion that there is a safety in those numbers, when instead, it is handing over the power to another to dictate who you are – instead of being who you want to be, who you are shaping yourself into, honouring the magickal spark within you that cannot be silenced.

I will not be the same again.

I will be more. I will stand, time and time again, between those who seek to abuse others, and rouse the war cry of the unprotected. I will remind them they do not need to apologize for how they survived, nor be taunted by a system which shuns them or encourages their silence.

I will not be the same again.

I will embody the witch. I will reclaim my wild heritage on this earth, connected to the rolling thunderstorm and the lightning that crashes, bathe myself in the vast unconquered depths of the ocean and speak to the trees to hear their voices. I will remember the forgotten dead and the disregarded spirits to harness a live wire of power and magick.

And in the face of all who mock me, I will grin with fox fangs and raven eyes in the knowing that they cannot shame me.

I will not be the same again.

I know emptiness, and so I value connection. I know lies, and so I honour truth. I know bleakness and so I liberate my senses into a system of spiritual seeking. I know hatred and so I will pour out love from my heart. I know shame, and so I reclaim my sexuality.

I stand for the broken. I stand for the lost. I stand for the hurting.

You will not have us. We will be here.


An excerpt from In Defiance of Oppression -The Legacy of Boudicca.

Joey Morris is a Celtic Creatrix and UK-based daughter of The Morrigan. She is an author, creatrix CEO of Starry Eyed Supplies, and co-owner of the What the Flux podcast.

To become a tempered blade of The Morrigan, one must be baptized in blood and fire. These struggles within my lifetime have led me to become a voice for the voiceless, to reach out to the broken, and to poke the shadows in others so that they might begin to heal.

.Such a path is dangerous. But so are we. This is the birth of a wild witch who sees with their 'other eyes' and treads the path of edges, sharp and unusual, but filled with adventure, magick of the liminal and the in-between spaces.”  – Joey Morris

Within the spiritual landscape, her soul mission is to deepen the understanding of our interconnectedness by honouring the sacred and exploring the masks of the self through channelling relationships to the Divine through written work, poetry, videos, products, and services. 


Monday, February 28, 2022

The Importance of SHEroes by Trista Hendren

 

Art by Andrea Redmond

It is difficult for me to imagine how different my life would have been had I been taught any sort of HERstory growing up. It was not until I started Women's Studies in 1994 that I began to see all that had been hidden from me—and finally got a glimpse of all the power I had yet to reclaim.

As a Christian teenager, the legend of Boudicca would have given me an entirely opposite view of what was possible for women than what I had been led to believe through reading the Bible and attending church.

Mona Eltahawy captured my approach to raising my daughter in Headscarves and Hymens.

“What if instead of breaking their wildness like a rancher tames a bronco, we taught girls the importance and power of being dangerous?

I want to bottle-feed rage to every baby girl so that it fortifies her bones and muscles. I want her to flex, and feel the power growing inside her as she herself grows from a child into a young woman.”1

In addition to physical strength and emotional intelligence, our daughters also must learn HERstory.

I realized early on that my daughter was not going to learn much about this at school (despite my requests!), so I took it upon myself to seek out books and learning opportunities to teach her.

Some of my favorite memories with Helani were reading the entire female section of the Who Was series2 for children. She brought some of her favorites with her to Norway, even though we only had 4 suitcases between us when we moved here.

Unfortunately, they do not offer a book on Boudicca—which is not surprising. Even the limited HERstory children are taught is usually the same handful of (mostly relatively tame) women. In her biography of Boudicca, Vanessa Collingridge wrote:

There are not many female heroes in our history books and even fewer were known for having the same untamed thatch of red hair that cursed my childhood. I was too much of a tomboy to be drawn to stories of damsels in distress or cloistered princesses yet here was a queen who fought for her people on muddy and bloody battlefields; a perfect role-model for an ungainly ginger child. Boudica – or Boadicea as she was to us then – became my personal mascot, someone who I could look up to with a quiet sense of communion. The girls could have their blonde-haired Barbies; I would have my kick-ass carrot-top Queen.”3

I believe all girls should grow up knowing about this kick ass Queen. For those of us who did not, this anthology will serve as a starting point. Joey Morris has also written a children's book about her that we will publish shortly.4

Mainstreaming women's history is long-overdue. Gerda Lerner wrote, “Women’s history is the primary tool for women’s emancipation.”5 When women learn their rich HERstory, there is a significant shift that ripples through their entire way of be-ing.

Every woman I know who took Women’s Studies in college talks about how their whole world sort of opened up with their first class. Why do we deprive our girls of this experience throughout most of their education? Is it possible more children would love going to school if it related back to them directly?

How can they have heroes that don’t reflect who they are?

Our heroes are important: They guide us to where we can go (if we dare) and save us from our own limiting beliefs about ourselves. How do we guide our children to find role models who will empower them?

The importance of giving our daughters and granddaughters a woman-affirming education cannot be overstated. I have a lot of grief centered around having to spend most of my life working to re-program and heal myself. It has been a devotion of mine for far too long. I wanted to give my daughter a different foundation—and I have, to the extent I can. That said, even in so-called 'progressive' Norway, my daughter has only had one-day of women's history.

Yesterday, my daughter lamented that she could never share anything I taught her at school if she wanted to get good grades. She said that the teachers only wanted her to parrot back what they taught—which of course, is all male-centric.

How can it be, that in 2022, my daughter has no chance academically to learn the exact things that have been foundational in my healing? Why are we still depriving girls and young women of this wisdom?

Children need to learn about people that they can identify with for guidance and strength. Abby Wambach wrote that, “Women have had to find themselves within content presented from the male perspective forever. It's essential to flip this and allow men the opportunity to find themselves within content presented from a woman's perspective.”6

If you have boys in your life, they need to learn from this perspective as well.

Given the fact that most of us are not taught anything other than white male history in school, it is important that we take up the task of educating ourselves—and our daughters, sons, and grandchildren. As Assata Shakur wrote, “No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.”7

Girls and boys must begin to learn HERstory.

It is time to teach our children about Boudicca!

An excerpt from In Defiance of Oppression -The Lecacy of Boudicca.

Trista Hendren founded Girl God Books in 2011 to support a necessary unraveling of the patriarchal world view of divinity. Her first book—The Girl God, a children's picture book—was a response to her own daughter's inability to see herself reflected in God. Since then, she has published more than 40 books by a dozen women from across the globe with help from her husband, Anders; mother, Pat; and son, Joey.

References:

1 Eltahawy, Mona. Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. HarperCollins Publishers, 2015.

2 When we worked through these around 2012-2013, there were significantly more men than women represented. I wrote to the publisher about this at the time and never received a response. As of 9/1/21, by my count, fewer than one-quarter of the books are about women (47 of the 204 titles). https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/series/DWY/who-was

3 Collingridge, Vanessa. Boudica: A Groundbreaking Biography of the True Warrior Queen, Ebury, 2006.

4 Morris, Joey. My Name is Boudica. Girl God Books, 2022.

5 Lerner, Gerda. The Creation of Patriarchy. Oxford University Press; Reprint edition, 1987.

6 Wambach, Abby. Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game. Celadon Books, 2019.

7 Shakur, Assata. Assata: An Autobiography. Lawrence Hill Books; 1st edition, 2001.


Thursday, January 27, 2022

Call for completion of an online research questionnaire: Embodied Education

 

Front Cover Art by Andrew Swiatkowski


A call for participants willing to complete an anonymous online questionnaire written by wife-and-husband team Kay Turner and Dan Aldred for an upcoming Girl God publication Embodied Education.

We invite willing participants to share their experiences of schooling, learning and the education from the perspective of student or teacher as part of the research for this book.

The book may explore the following topics in relation to education, schooling and learning.

  • The absence of the body and the feminine
  • Balancing masculine and feminine energies
  • Mind and body
  • Body and learning
  • Solutions for integrating embodiment
  • Creativity
  • Curriculum
  • Systems, policies and procedures
  • Pedagogy
  • Patriarchy in education
  • Power
  • Leadership
  • Student perspectives
  • Teacher perspectives
  • Visions for change

Written and Edited by Kay Turner (co-author Dan Aldred)
Art by Andrew Swiatkowski

Scheduled publication: Summer Solstice, June 2023

Questionnaire Guidelines:
Questionnaires are anonymous and can be completed via this Google Forms link: 
www.docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScaVlkPd3Q5DrTy8VbVqubAYIFkoJCSl2KVDLIlhd9JdziFaQ/viewform

Data collected will form the research for the book and shares will remain anonymous within the text.

Deadline for questionnaire completion is Sun 27th Feb 2022.

Please note that we cannot accommodate any late submissions or corrections.


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Neurodivergent Goddess - Words and art by Kat Shaw

 


To the Goddess who is impulsive, restless and spontaneous.
To the Goddess who has an abundance of energy that cannot be controlled.
To the Goddess who is curious, asking never-ending questions, inventive, creative, fast-paced.
To the Goddess who has spent her whole life learning to compensate for her quirks.
To the Goddess who has learnt to suppress her natural instincts to conform.
To the Goddess who compulsively checks and organises to the extreme to avoid making mistakes.
To the Goddess who lives in fear of not living up to the expectations of others.
To the Goddess who berates herself every day for being different.
To the Goddess who never feels she does enough.
To the Goddess who tries desperately to keep her focus on conversations so as not to appear distracted or rude.
To the Goddess with social anxiety who tries desperately to learn how to fit in to society.
To the Goddess who constantly wonders what she will mess up next.
To the Goddess who dissociates when she becomes overwhelmed.
To the Goddess who cannot be still for a prolonged period.
To the Goddess who hyper focusses and forgets there is a world outside the task in hand.
To the Goddess with the constantly racing mind.
To the Goddess who doesn’t fit in.
To the goddess who is distraught at the realisation that there will never be enough time in the world to complete every idea in their head.
To the Goddess whose life is built upon a web of coping mechanisms.
To the Goddess who over plans constantly to feel safe.
To the Goddess who feels like she is constantly letting people down.
To the Goddess who is burnt out trying to blend into what she believes she should be.
To the Goddess who has never found her place on the earth.
To the Goddess who feels so intensely that every emotion is all-consuming.
To the Goddess who feels numb because she has too many emotions that she cannot process.
To the Goddess who has shut down.
To the Goddess who doesn’t feel safe with themselves.
To the Goddess who strives connection and company but struggles with social interaction.
To the Goddess who cries silently to themselves.
To the Goddess who doesn’t understand why she is rejected.
To the Goddess who lacks self esteem and never feels enough.
But also feels she is too much.
To the Goddess who over works constantly because she doesn’t feel worthy just being herself.
To the goddess who is called prolific, when really she would love to stop but cannot.
To the Goddess who has to constantly justify her worth.
To the Goddess whose leg never stops tapping.
To the Goddess who is exhausted when she wakes up.
To the Goddess whose best friend is insomnia.
To the Goddess who cannot turn off that 1 line of a song going over and over and over and over.
To the Goddess who is compulsive.
To the Goddess who is obsessive.
To the Goddess who feels unsafe because the routine has changed at the last minute.
To the Goddess who always feels on the outside.
To the Goddess who cannot focus.
To the Goddess who cannot regulate their emotional responses and then berates herself for acting up.
To the Goddess who is constantly tired.
To the Goddess is always on red alert.
To the Goddess who beats herself up.
To the Goddess who does not stop. Ever.
To the Goddess who wants to be held.
To the Goddess who wants to be seen.
I see you.
I am you.
I love you.
And I hold you in my arms to breathe.
You are not alone.
Come back into your body because you are magnificent.
Exactly as you are.


From Rainbow Goddess: Celebrating Neurodiversity - Scheduled for 2022.

Call for Submissions can be found here.

Creativity, Aliveness and Embodied Education by Kay Turner

 

Art by Arna Baartz

Creativity 🌟 Soul embodiment 🌟 Self-expression 🌟 Lifeforce 🌟 Aliveness 🌟

I used to think and believe I wasn't creative, having failed to flourish at school in subjects labelled 'creative' such as art, drama, textiles. These subjects were 'prescribed', straight jacketed and bound by curriculum rules like all the others of course. What was 'defined' as creativity in school was narrow and restrictive. There were rules, expectations and criteria to meet in order to achieve. ALL subjects existed in an educational system which extinguished any originality and authentic creative spark. They still do now.

Creativity is:

✨ the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc

✨ originality, progressiveness, or imagination

(www.dictionary.com)

It doesn't just mean we are gifted artists, poets, clothes designers (although this may be how we embody it). To be creative means we are progressive, think and live outside if the box, don't 'conform' to norms, don't settle into the expected, won't 'be told', continually receive, express and seek meaning.

It means we choose to embody Soul - our unique Light and express Self - our fullest authenticity. It means we choose Life and energetically express what aliveness wants to animate through us.

Having reclaimed my inexhaustible creative flow I am now curious about how we can educate and learn in a way which nurtures and cultivates creativity in our society.

Insanity is trying to solve issues, problems and challenges with the same mind, methods, thoughts which caused them. Our education system as it exists isn't working. Are our children really thriving and well? Are we?

This year I am delighted that I am authoring a Girl God book, Embodied Education, with my co-author husband, Dan Aldred, which will address some of these issues, alongside the absence and impact of and solution for embodiment in education. We want to hear about your experiences and your voice as part of the research process and will be putting out a call for shares soon.

Kay Turner
Education. Evolution. Embodiment.
www.anotherlogonthefire.com