Thursday, February 18, 2021

An Encounter with Wisdom by Patricia Lynn Reilly


Painting by Helena Nelson Reed

''Wisdom resides in the depths of us below the turbulence of our mind’s activity and the fluctuations of daily living. She pre-dates our socialization by religion, society, and family. She is available to us in the stillness. She is trustworthy and the one to whom we open in prayer/reflection/contemplation. Experiment with the following meditation to improve your conscious contact with Wisdom.

Imagine that you are sitting in a clearing within the forest of your life. You are awaiting a visitor—Deeper Wisdom. She may appear as an older teacher, grandmother, mentor, or friend or as an image of wisdom such as an ancient tree, full moon, or vast ocean.

When The Wise Old Woman arrives, dialog with her through writing or drawing. Tell her about your fears of aging, the temptation to do violence to your own body, the noisiness of your self-critical mind, the exhaustion of navigating the male gaze, the instinct to withdraw from public view because of your changed appearance. Tell her of your need for guidance, clarity, courage, or serenity.

In the stillness that follows, allow Deeper Wisdom to speak to you. If an image forms, draw it. If a message wells up from the depths of you, write it down. Do not edit the message. Simply write down whatever comes to you. Jennie envisioned a Grandmother Spirit. She shared her fears and insecurities about what lay ahead as she aged and her world shifts. Grandmother Spirit replied:

The world is hurting. Rise up and bring the gift of who you are to a hurting world. Be confident that what you have to offer matters whatever your age.''

An excerpt from Love Your Body Regardless - soon to be released by Girl God Books!

Friday, February 12, 2021

What are your Habits of Thought? by Patricia Lynn Reilly

''We have more than 30,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot of noisiness in the mind. And as many as 98% of those thoughts are exactly the same thoughts we had yesterday. These habits of thought have a powerful effect on our bodies, lives, and choices. Some habits of thought support us to love, accept, and respect ourselves. Other habits of thought—shaped by a society that prefers men—intensify our body-obsession and body-criticism, and sabotage our body, mind, and spirit health.

Throughout the day we’re reacting and responding to our own self-composed fictional story, not to the actual events happening around us. Some of us have ended relationships, quit jobs, and chosen body-altering procedures based purely on the self- critical thoughts and stories created in our noisy minds—minds that were shaped by our family interactions and by society’s socialization and expectations of females. Minds that have not yet been transformed into the present.

Dr. Caroline Leaf puts it this way, “Angry, frustrated, fearful, and self-critical thoughts are wired into the brain and change its chemistry and circuitry. Toxic thoughts cause toxic bodies, lives, and futures. Healthy thoughts cause healthy bodies, lives, and futures. 75-95% of the mental, emotional, and physical problems we experience are caused by the toxic quality of our thoughts.”

The noisiness of your mind can only be quieted, and transcended, by entering into your own unique chatter with curiosity and mindfulness. We must become aware of the content of our minds so that we can then experience the transformation of our body- critical thoughts into body-accepting ones inspired by the deep joy of being alive.'' -Patricia Lynn Reilly, excerpt from Love Your Body Regardless

Monday, January 25, 2021

Free Once Again by Patricia Lynn Reilly

The Tradition by Julie Jeffrey

 ''Women are reclaiming the divine feminine today. Surrounded by women from every age and inspired by their courage, we are committing the forbidden acts of naming and imagining the gods of our understanding as Goddess, Woman God, and God the Mother. Although we are not all devotees of the goddess, it was essential for us to extend our historical and theological vision to include the divine feminine.

Some find “her” within traditional religion in the images and stories of Eve and Mary, Sophia and Shekinah, Miriam and Esther, Naomi and Ruth, Tamar and Susanna, and of countless unnamed women. They are incorporating these women's stories into their liturgies and prayers. Others find her on the margins of patriarchal history in the images and stories of the Goddess. They’re incorporating her images into their paintings and songs, altars and prayers, and they’re weaving her ancient festivals and beliefs into their unfolding spirituality.

Inspired by a view of history that reaches beyond the beginning defined by men, women are assuming theological equality with religious traditions and reclaiming the richness of their own imaginations. We have come to believe that the theological tasks performed by men throughout the ages were not inspired by a god out there somewhere. Rather they were prompted by a very human inclination to answer existential questions and order disparate experiences into a coherent whole through religious imagination.

Humankind's religious imagination has always given birth to goddesses and gods, and to stories that attempt to make sense of our beginnings and endings. No longer held hostage by a truncated view of history or by the dominance of the Genesis account of creation, our imaginations are once again free.''

-Patricia Lynn Reilly, A Deeper Wisdom: The 12 Steps from a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Lilith was the First, But Let Her not be the Last by Monette Chilson


Art by Arna Baartz

There is much talk these days about the rise of the feminine and how it will heal us and our world. Often, however, we picture this cataclysmic shift in humanity within the patriarchal worldview, as if the feminine way will simply be a kinder, gentler version of the masculine.

But it is not a different version of reality, it is a new one entirely. One that values differently and processes differently. A way that can be used by both men and women.

To get there, we cannot read a manual or examine a flowchart or analyze the data or even find the “best” woman to lead us there.

Because, my friends, the best woman for the job is you. And me. And every single one of us.

We are not building a hierarchy to take us there, we are joining hands to form a circle which expands each time a woman awakens to the call within her.

As I write this introduction Kamala Harris is being sworn in as the first female Vice President of the United States. She is leading us in the expansion of our circle at this crucial moment in history. As her mother told her when she was a child, “You may be the first, Kamala, but make sure you are not the last.” In other words, keep growing the circle of female leaders who are writing a different storyline for women by the way they live their lives.

This book will point you to your circle and provide the resources you’ll need to birth many new storylines alongside them. You may already have a group of women in mind to join you in this work. Or maybe not. Maybe the work is calling to you and the right companions will appear.

Either way, buckle up because we are going to turn ancient myths about femininity and what it means to be a woman on their head! Not with logic, reason and factual “proof”, but with stories that have been hidden from us even as their echoes coursed through our veins.

At long last, we will reconcile our inner knowing with the narrative that mirrors it rather than denying and subverting it.

We will fully embody our sacred feminine nature through the power of storytelling, specifically through the story of the world’s first woman as conceptualized by Western civilizations. 

Our compass for this journey is not historical data. Nor is it archaeological artifacts. Not even newly discovered scrolls with words that confirm our knowing.

Our compass is an artistic compilation of women’s encounters with Lilith. Some are grounded in research; some in lived experience; some in poetry; and others painted and sung. All were birthed by trusting the inner voice we’ve been conditioned to ignore.

The voice that knows something is right for her or wrong for her. The voice that leads you along a path that is yours alone to walk.

Lilith may have been the first woman to subvert the expectations of her, but let us not let her be the last.

Stay tuned for our Lilith Circle Guide, an extension of Original Resistance anthology - coming soon! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Spirit-filled One by Patricia Lynn Reilly

Art by Christa Forrest


''Eventually the girl-child will turn away from the Spirit-filled One. Her original spirituality will become confined within the acceptable lines of religion. She will be taught the right way to imagine and name god. “He” will be mediated to her through words, images, stories, and myths shaped, written, and spoken by men. She will adopt the god she is given. It is too dangerous to rebel. If she dares to venture out of the lines by communing with the spirit of a tree, the mysterious night sky, or her grandma, she will be labeled heretic, backslide, or witch. She is told:

Prideful One, your grandma is not god; neither is your favorite star or rock.

God has only one name and face. You shall have no gods before him. God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He is found in the church, heavens, and holy book, not in you. God is the god of the fathers and sons; the daughters have no say in the matter. As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be.

The Spirit-Filled One falls asleep. Occasionally she awakens to remind the girl-child-turned-woman of what she once knew. These periodic reminders are painful. The woman fills her life with distractions so she will not hear the quiet inner voice, calling her to return home. Years later, new teachers enter the woman's life—a therapist, a self-help group, a support circle, a beloved friend, or perhaps this book. They remind her of what she once knew:

Spirit-filled One, your grandma is god and so are your favorite star and rock.

God has many names and many faces. God is Mother, Daughter, and Wise Old Crone. She is found in your mothers, in your daughters, and in you. She is Mother of all Living and blessed are her daughters. You are girl-woman made in her image. The spirit of the universe pulsates through you.''

-Patricia Lynn Reilly, A Deeper Wisdom: The 12 Steps from a Woman's Perspective

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Creating MY Willendorf by Arlene Bailey

Art by Jakki Moore

If I look at the artifact named Willendorf purely from an anthropological perspective, I have a lot of curiosity around the many references to mother, goddess, comfort, love and acceptance. I wonder why, as modern women, we project these particular attributes onto a Paleolithic (or even earlier) artifact when in reality we have no idea who this figure represented or what she meant to the people of her time. 

So what is it about her that elicits our need to afford a clay figure from thousands of years ago, all these different attributes that may or may not be true?

Is it because as modern day women we crave a symbol, some proof, that at one point in human evolution women were seen as sacred and mattered enough for someone to hand carve an image of the women of that day?

Is it because we desperately want a voluptuous symbol of the great mother whose lap and breasts are sufficient to hold and sustain us... to love and comfort us?

Perhaps it is because as modern women, we have grown exasperated and weary of the male ideal of how a woman should look and Willendorf gives us both memories and hope of another way. Perhaps we need to know that at one point in the male dominated narrative of humans, nubile was not seen as the desired way of being—but rather She of succulent breasts, round belly and full thighs. Perhaps we need to know that woman in her fullness of all things was not only wanted but desired and honored.

Carving this figure from limestone with the tools of the time would have been a timely undertaking, requiring great skill, so are we reaching back through ancestral hands and minds to be able to touch and hold the thoughts and ideas, ways and rituals of an older way?

Do we need to hold an ancient idea of woman as sacrosanct to make sense of the ideas around women in our time?

I have no answers for the truth of the why is lost to time. All I have are my own ideas, but they are not answers from a scholarly perspective, only those of a woman of today. For me, this hand-carved vessel which holds the memories of a different time—this image of woman in her sacred fullness of body—is a representation of a culture deeply respectful of women and one that afforded them a high level of sacredness sufficient to be immortalized in stone. Further, there had to have been an appreciation of the earth and her gifts of dirt, clay, stone, bones from animals, etc., as those items would have been needed in order to allow the creation of such a piece.

So many conversations we could have, so many ideas and theories to debate and question—and, in the end, so many unknowns when all is said and done.

Perhaps it is only how she makes each of us feel that truly matters... only our personal naming and honoring of her that is important... only that our awareness encompass the knowing that even today Willendorf’s legacy of a body Round and Full, Sacred and Beautiful calls to us from a timeline reaching back to 30,000 BCE.

Is it really that simple?

For me, yes.

For even though scholars will tell us Willendorf was this or that, but not this or that and others will have their own opinions, it is up to each of us to go within and gather our own sacred materials to hand carve the Willendorf that fits our hearts, minds and sacred intuitive knowing.

We must each create our own Willendorf.

-Arlene Bailey, ©2020 from the upcoming anthology, Willendorf's Legacy: The Sacred Body

Monday, January 18, 2021

She is Full of Herself by Patricia Lynn Reilly


Photo by Bryan Sokol

''In the very beginning of her life, the girl-child has direct access to the spirit of life. It is as near to her as the breath that fills her. And it connects her to everything. She is not alone. Her spirit is one with the spirit of her beloved grandmother, her favorite rock, tree, and star. She develops her own methods for contacting the spirit in all things.

She climbs a tree and sits in its branches, listening. She loves the woods and listens there too. She has a special friend—a rock. She gives it a name and eats her lunch with it whenever she can. She keeps the window open next to her bed even on the coldest of nights. She loves the fresh air on her face. She pulls the covers tight around her chin and listens to the mysterious night sky.

She believes that her grandmother is present even though everyone else says she is dead. Each night, she drapes the curtain over her shoulders for privacy, looks out the window near her bed, listens for Grandma and then says silent prayers to her.

Her imagination is free for a time. She does not need priest or teacher to describe god to her. Spirit erupts spontaneously in colorful and unique expressions. God is Grandma, the twinkling evening star, the gentle breeze that washes across her face, the peaceful quiet darkness after everyone has fallen asleep, and all the colors of the rainbow. And because she is a girl, her experience and expression of spirit is uniquely feminine. The spirit of the universe pulsates through her. She is full of herself.''

-Patricia Lynn Reilly, A Deeper Wisdom: The 12 Steps from a Woman's Perspective