When women connect with their earth-based spiritual history, they begin to claim and create a life of sovereignty. We all have the power within us, lineages of potency connected to source-wisdom, the beings and creatures of the elements, plants, place.
The above illustration is inspired by Max Dashú's book Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion. Her focus is on a time in history where we have written record (the very definition of historical religion is biased/based on written record) but before the terrors of witch trials and burnings wiped clean the remnants of folk spirituality. She uses etymology to trace the origins of feminine power through language where threads remain, and vast resources to document the biases in archaeology and mythology that obscure a clear view of spiritual leadership and power in the history of women.
Why does this matter? In the context of cultural investigation and vast spiritual appropriation, women of all lineages must begin to re-root the threads of earth based spiritualities in order to decolonize our bodies and brains from dualistic systems of oppression.
In Dashu's chapter "Names of the Witch," she indicates that etymologically language is full of positive names for women's spiritual power and authority:
Knower, Wisewoman, Prophetess, Diviner, Enchantress, Healer, Old Woman, Doer-Maker, Shapeshifter, Fateful Woman, Ancestor and Spirit, Magic Maker (Dashú 92-97).
These are titles we have a mandate to claim, words we must investigate and inhabit, cultivating our autonomy, crafting our spirituality through personal practice and direct relationship with the land where we live, creating community with art, words and gathering to celebrate cycles.
If you are already doing this work, know that you are in excellent company.
If you are ready to do this work, know that you are in excellent company.
If you are afraid to do this work, know that you are in excellent company.
According to one model, each of us has in our lineage around six billion ancestors...and that's just from the past 12,000 years.
All of those lives existed to create your life. And the ancestors live on, quite literally, in and through us, shaping both our DNA and our descendants. Working with the ancestors, learning their stories and myths, their practices and foods, their songs and crafts is an incredible healing.
When we honor our ancestors, ask questions of our lineage (like if each of us has six billion ancestors how can we all not be somehow related?), work with our own innate knowing, we can begin to to open to spiritual information...right where we are.
One of the ways we can tap into this inner knowing is through work with natural divination, that is, oracle work rooted in self-care, self-love, ancestral awareness and place-based spirituality. This spring I finally received the information I needed to complete the Moon Divas Oracle--updating the cards and crafting the text into an interactive workbook. I was stuck for a couple of reasons:
One, I learned more about spiritual appropriation and had to do some significant work to bring both the Moon Divas Guidebook and the Oracle Deck into alignment. You can see some of this aimed integrity in the new edition of The Moon Divas Guidebook that came out last fall.
Two, I had a typed draft of the text for the Moon Divas Oracle but the spirits (ancestors, land wights, deities) kept saying the book needed to be handmade. I have limited energy due to what I now know is an autoimmune issue, and the idea of handwriting another book entirely felt overwhelming. The Guidebook took me a year and a half to make, writing every day for four hours, and another year to scan, edit and publish. The birth metaphor of creative projects is apt!
But somewhere in what has been the most challenging season of my life health wise, I woke from a dream where I learned that the book needed to be hand MADE, not handwritten. The result is a hybrid: handwriting, illustration and collage of typed text...like a zine for my 1990's soul.
And if you would be willing in any way to help support the birth of this project, I would welcome the nourishment. I'm full term now, and will need a midwifery super-team.
To support the Moon Divas Oracle and be first in the know for the release, follow my Instagram (@veledavesta), and comment on a MDO post letting me know you want to help. I'll send you a direct message with more details in the next moon cycle. You can also email me: email@example.com.
From the Beltane edition of Myth and Moon: