It happens every year, this draw to nestle inside of myself. As the days grow shorter and the Winter Solstice draws near, I feel very much a kinship with the plants who subside into the Earth to await the return of light and warmth. A necessary quiet time.

In light of this…because of this? I find that days are spent more quietly. Fewer words. Fewer dramatic thoughts. Much less need to check in with social media, or other people, or anything really that offers more information than my own internal world.

This is a good time of year for deep self-work. It’s a good time for self-reflection. For healing.

Yes, it’s also the time of year when there’s a party every weekend and gift shopping is very much a real and powerful part of my to-do list, however, those things are peripheral to what is real for me.

How do you feel at this time of year, as the Earth slips into winter and longer darkness and the sweet soft womblike space? Do you feel enlivened by parties and holidays? Do you feel more quiet and desirous of the silence? Are you breathing fire and awaiting Spring?

However this time of year affects you, may you have a million blessings, warmth, love, kindness, a full belly and a full heart.

~Be~

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Today I have to create a Christmas list so my children and husband can buy me things.
I’ve been thinking for days.
Here are things I want: Minimalism, in my own form of that. To paint more.
To have a bathroom in my Temple and all of the boxes of things that need sorting through to be gone.
I want land in the mountains and a good accountant and a camper and more time alone with my husband and less shit to deal with. 
I want to be physically healthy. Vibrantly so!
I want peace. And equality. And to really, deeply get all of the underlying shades of racism and white supremacy culture–so the world can be a better place, and inside myself, so that I can be a better human being.
I want men to see their privilege and to stop bullying, yelling, raping, talking over, killing…I want to feel peace in my heart.
I want for my family to act like a family, rather than a bunch of money hungry barracudas circling my father.
I want for my sister to be here with her awful, runny, Christmas turkey gravy, and my mom with her secret bourbon and inability to remember Proper Nouns. Which is stupid and gross, when you think about it really, but I miss them.
And I want to be a good person, which I so often fail at and to have a peaceful heart without the wounds that so often overflow onto other people.
I want a President who has grace, class, and kindness.
I want to be loved for who I am in every minute of my existence, even when…especially when…I’m crying and bubbling snot or throwing my arms around in a passion of frustration.
I want Payday to live forever and just one more long trail ride with him. In the mountains. In the fall.
I want my kids happy, healthy, and stable. And, hallelujah, they are. Mostly.
I want my Dad’s feet to stop hurting and for his knee to work properly.
I want the kids at the border back with their families, the oil spill in South Dakota gone, the people of the caravan to come to safety and succor, the people of Yemen to be fed, the women in the Middle East to be safe, and for every, single slave in the World to be freed to live a decent, normal life. I want all of the kids who are hurting so badly to have a place to turn for solace and someone to help them get through.
This is going to be a difficult list to reduce to ‘wool socks and a novel’.

If you follow BePriestess on Instagram you may already have read this. Sometimes I share things on this blog because they are important to me personally. A sort of record of my life. Maybe someday they will be important for my children, too.

After bleeding almost ceaselessly for 20 months, I think my body has completed that cycle. 🌹❤️🌹♥️🌹❤️🌹♥️
There was much to heal and clear. Much to listen to, honor, and understand. The blood flowed so copiously for so long that there was no detectable iron in my blood. I used incontinence pads to catch the flow, sometimes more than a cup a day. Sometimes more than a cup in few hours. Like a fire hose, the blood pulsed out of my body in shocking gouts. 🌋🌋🌋🌋🌋
The doctors wanted hysterectomy or ablation. They wanted me on harsh supplements. I allowed them to give me drugs that made me ill and I lost my left ovary and fallopian tube before saying: No More!
No more drugs that poison my body and cause abnormal growths on my organs.
I do my best to honor this body. My needs. To allow my womb to clear the lifetime of trauma from molestation, rape, abortion, miscarriage, and pain. I honor my womb. For 20 months I had the time and awareness to intentionally and ritually consume my blood at the New Moon. To bleed into the Earth, to paint my body with symbols written with blood, to collect it and pour it out to nourish the plants, the land, the sacred connection to this Earth. 🌳🌱🌲🌿
The final phase seems to have been a flushing. A few days when clear fluid rushed from my womb.
On the day of completion I receiveda healing from @genevievemarierose and participated in a Peruvian womb healing ceremony. I knew that these things bracketed a full move into holding my wise blood within.
I honor my body for allowing this process and this ceremony that lasted for so long.
#wombwisdom #wombhealing#wombmysteries #menstruation#menopause #priestess #priestesses#priestesslineage #priestessingtheplanet#bloodmysteries #ipp #imm #bepriestess#beilluminated #illuminatedpriestesspath#illuminatedmagdalenemysteries#honoringcycles #redtent

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To the soul-spirit of Mary Magdalene,
We are here. We have arrived. It has been 2000 years.
Now is the time.
We thank you. We honor you. The sacredness of the feminine is arising and being witnessed.

Your spirit has been with us along the way,
holding the space of love, integrity, and non-judgment
as we, humanity, found our way back to the love.

I believe we are finding our way back to that
in spite of so many straining in the directions
of fear, hatred, and separation.

Your Priestesses have arrived.
We are gathering in circle.
We are wearing your sacred red robes.
We are weaving our energies across and through the dimensions,
holding you, and your sacred work, our sacred work,
the work of compassion, love, and energetic alignment
in the light of our intention. We are healing the hearts
of this planet, one at the time.

We are intiating ourselves into the rights of Heiros-Gamos,
merging the Divine Feminine with the Divine Masculine
within ourselves.

We anoint ourselves and our beloveds with the sacred oils
of Spikenard, Frankincense, and Sandalwood.

We adorn our altars and our crowns
with the Red Rose of the Magdalene.

We name ourselves: Mari; Mary; Magdalene;
Magdalen; Magdalena; Mariam, and we call you in
as we create Sacred Space.Image result for red rose magdalene

As within, so without.
As above, so below.

This is the timing of your return and we are honored
to be present as this, as your teachings, become manifest
upon this Earth.
Finally.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Blessed Be

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Even though I am a professional…well, it’s possible that it is because I am a professional, I have been incredibly lax about clearing my home this year. Usually I clear on the New Moon, every month, and our space stays quite clear and the resonance is lovely. Right now though, our house is funky. Energetically, it’s funky. So today I’m clearing.

Clearing a space is so much more than wafting smoke around and, while much of it is intuitive, much of it is also detail-focused, information-based, and the result of years of study and training. These pieces–the study, information, and attention to a variety of details– are critical to having a really clear space.

All too often people talk to me about how they clear their own spaces and then go on to reveal that it isn’t working. That nothing they do seems to shift the energy in the spaces they are working on or in. That they know they’re ‘doing it right’ and yet cannot understand why what they need to shift hasn’t shifted.

I never really know what to say in these situations. If they wanted my help they would ask. Right?

All by way of saying: I cleared my house today. It was a pain because I haven’t cleared our home in so long. But it is done and the place feels so much spiffier, so much lighter. It’s amazing what a clearing can do!

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If you’re interested in having your space cleared, please contact me. I do remote clearings on a donation basis and will come to you for a set fee.

For now I’m off to relax in a salty bath and to enjoy our amazing, harmonious home.

 

 

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My daughter, Shamanic Priestess Singing Rain. Ironically one of the first images found when I googled ‘Priestess in Person’.

Over the past few years I’ve often been urged to offer the Illuminated Priestess Path as an online circle. Certainly it would make the work more accessible to more women. Certainly it would make me more money. Bt a computer is not a human being, even if we are connected via Zoom.

There is simply no way to replicate the connection and interaction that happens when a group of women gather together in one room and join, heart-to-heart, in siStarhood. Truly, this joining is what creates the magic and healing in a Priestess circle.

Eye contact. Vocal tone. A hand to hold. Actual people to whom you are committed for a specific length of time as you hold their needs, healing, and intentions along with your own. There is a level of integrity and commitment demanded by in-person work that I’ve yet to see replicated in an online community. Priestess work is hard. Dealing with your wounding, dealing with you shit, is *hard* and yet women show up to do it. Even when they dread it. Even when they are terrified. Even when they just really would rather watch TV and drink a Sloe Gin Fizz.

Online courses are all about *me*. Not me/me but the proverbial me, the one who doesn’t have to take others into consideration. At all.

In-person courses place us into a space where our energies are fully knit together and one part of the circle missing leaves an evident and obvious hold in the energetic container. No one wants to be the hole. No one wants to be looking at the hold where a missing siStar should be. This creates a safer container, this commitment to not only your work and your process, but also to the work and process of your siStars.

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Another piece here is all about me, the actual me who is writing this blog post. I love connecting face-to-face and heart-to-heart with women. I can hear and honor your words and your story and your work when we are physically together in a way that is simply not as visceral or potent when filtered through a screen.

Imagine this: we are at an Introductory weekend gathering, in one case this is happening online, and in the other it is happening in person. Jo is talking about her menarche, how when she was 11 and had her first period, her mother gave her a box of Ob tampons and some Midol and sent her off to figure it out on her own. She couldn’t get the tampon in, it hurt, her hands were covered in blood, finally she gave up and found a few washcloths and used those as pads, washing and drying them in secret, folding them into her underwear, smuggling them out of school in her backpack, until, about a year later her mother found out and punished her for ruining the cloths by bleeding on them.

Online we could read this story and feel deep compassion for Jo and how that mother wounding around her menarche might have hurt her. In person? We are viscerally connected to Jo. We are all held in a space where our heart cords are reaching out to her, even while we hold the amazing space of non-judgment, love, and all without touching her or shutting her down in any way. We are all there, fully present, completely bonded with Jo and her story. A lot can be replicated online and there can be amazing power and truth that comes through, but for me? Working in person is it. Working in person creates something real and beautiful and irreplaceable.

The women in my circles understand this. I’m sure they feel it too, whether they’ve put words to it or not. The sense of  being held completely, in real time, by real women, is amazing and gorgeous and necessary to our reclamation of the Divine Feminine. We are women. We are the living embodiment of Gaia, of Mother Earth. We work most effectively when the minerals of our bones and the blood and water of our emotional bodies are in proximity with one another.

This is what I love. This is what I feel grateful for every day. Women in connection, in proximity, in circle.

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I am not your reflection
here to orbit, to reflect light,
a chunk of stone hurled
into the ether and caught
like a milkweed puff
in a spider’s web of stars.

You are not a shining sun
heavenly bright star
mesmerizing blinding compelling
feeding fire to the worlds
orbiting you like hungry fish.

No. You are not a sun, golden
gorgeous nourishment of warmth
and blaze. And I?
I am not a moon, passive
unable to shine on my own.

Bettina C Essert
May 2018
Copyright

Wild Roses

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There was a stand of wild roses
thriving by the edge
of the marsh, entwined with greenbrier
and periwinkle someone had planted somewhere, years ago.
Growing in the mulberry’s shade,
just a step away from the bull rushes and brackish mud.

Parts of my life are caught
in the thorns of those wild roses.
The drops of blood
pricked from my small fingers
as I pulled blooms for my mother
who soon enough left for a new life, husband, kids
as the petals fells one by one
drying on the kitchen counter,
tiny, desiccated curls crumbling,
then swept away by the indifferent
housekeeper’s hand.
The one time I dug three of the canes,
planted them in compost filled pots,
tended them for three years before
leaving town for ten days in August.
My husband forgot to water them. They dried up,
died of thirst. I am still bereft.

One Spring morning, several years ago,
I looked out across the pecan orchards,
toward the edge of the marsh where the rushes
met the roses among the holly and sassafras saplings,
and there was nothing, or nearly nothing there.
Father had hired a man to clean things up,
to tidy the ragged mess of life growing there.
The shoreline, rolling down into the marsh
had been chopped and cut and carted off for burning.
The wild roses were gone.

I’ve waited years now
going each Spring to look
for one tiny leaf to poke her
soft head through. As if
the resurrection of these roses
were a direct indicator
of the resurrection of all
that is feminine and wild and Divine.
So I wait, expectant, kneeling, with my arms stretched before me,
my palms face down and hot,
the soft animal of my body praying, praying, praying,
praying those wild roses back into existance
back into thriving and thorny bloom.

Be, December, 2017

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Recently someone wondered aloud why it was so important to clear the name of Mary Magdalene, why it is so important that the word ‘prostitute’ be removed from her reputation. The short answer is, I think, that it is important because there is no evidence of it being true. Saying that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute because the Bible says she was a ‘sinner’, is like saying your Uncle Henry is Ronald McDonald because Henry once grilled some hamburgers. It just doesn’t make sense.

marymagdalene

Mary Magdalene, Mary of Magdala, known alternately as the Black Madonna, dusky and dark-skinned, and also said to have been a small woman with strawberry blonde hair, continues to be an enigma, as well as a source of healing for women after thousands of years of trauma suffered at the hands of Christianity and the Catholic Church.

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She is known as the Bride of Christ and as a temptress and whore. She was at the foot of the cross with the women of Jesus’ family as he suffered and died. She was the first to see his resurrected form, the first person he spoke to after he left the tomb. And still, for two thousand years she has been named in way that is untrue, ‘whore’ rather than ‘bride’.

While I agree that sex workers should suffer no shame, no ostracization, no criminal prosecution for their work, we live in a world where these things do happen. Even in countries where sex work is legal, sex workers, especially and mostly women, suffer all sorts of social stigma as a result of their professions. The same thing was true when Mary Magdalene walked the Earth in human form. ‘Whore’, was the most filthy, most vile thing a woman could be called because this woman might be wielding her sexual power and benefitting from it, rather than surrendering it to male dominated social and religious structures.

The point in labeling the Magdalene with the title of ‘Whore,’ was to shame, disempower and discredit the Feminine aspect of God. Denying the Feminine aspect of God, in fact, so that men could claim a right to more power by virtue of an untrue story about God’s views on women. They then selected a series of strictly vetted stories about Jesus that did not tell the whole truth. This truth being that Jesus loved women, that he honored them, that he saw women as whole and equal and not as less-than.

Mary Magdalene was the First Apostle. She was primary among the thirteen who followed Jesus Christ. And, she was a woman.

Early on, The Church decided that women were not holy. This is the root of the reason why Mary Magdalene was named ‘whore’ without any evidence that it was true. If they admitted that she was the first among the Apostles, that she was the Beloved of the Christ, how then could they deny the holiness of the female, of Sacred Union and of sexuality itself? Mary Magdalene was symbolic of all wome, in the same way she is symbolic to many of us now. If she were openly spoken of as The Beloved, as Jesus’ Sacred Partner in ministry, they would have to admit that women are not less than men. For a variety of reasons accepting women as equal did not fit the prospectus of the rising Church.

The naming of Mary Magdalene as prostitute is a symbol of the unholiness directed at all women, not because prostitution is unholy, but because it is judged as such by the men who make the rules. It is a way to disempower women by turning our sexual power into a thing to be feared, shunned, sought out in secret.  No matter what your personal thoughts on prostitution, the world was and still is a place where that profession is judged to be dirty, desperate and foul. As is sexual union itself. As are women, seen to be the daughters of Eve.

So in this time when Western women are working so diligently to reclaim the Feminine Face of God, to bring the Goddess back into the World in an accessible, identifiable way, we are Resurrecting Mary Magdalene and all that she truly represents: the clarity of pure love; union with the Divine Masculine; sacred sexuality as a path to goddess/god; the Female Face of God. She was a woman willing to kneel at the feet of her masculine counterpart, to bathe his feet with her tears, to anoint him with her sacred oils, and to dry his feet with her long, soft hair. She knew the value of ritual, of honoring, of surrender and she knew also how to carry the strength of a woman into a world that would disown and forget her for two thousand years, until the time came for her own Resurrection.

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We did not fall with the Temple. We rose.
We are the Rainbow Roses and in this naming
we honor not only the Magdalene, not only
the Holy Mother, but ourselves as Priestesses
who aRose when the Temple fell.

Singed hems, heart broken, yes, we were wounded
as human hearts are when things fall down.

The dust blinded us. Obscured our clarity,
we surrendered ourselves completely, dumbly,
to the animal stupor of belonging. We were led
by the nose rings of our small selves into the ring
where the spears struck and the crowds jeered
and we bled, stupidly, into the dirt, not realizing
we were bleeding away our power.

But now as we bleed into the Earth, it is our
moon blood we release, offer as a sacrament,
this is the blood of a Magdalene, offered to nourish
the body of Gaia Sophia. This is an honoring, offered
with the clarity of vision that can only come
after you’ve seen everything fall to the ground,
crawled through the rubble with your bleeding
clawing fingers, knees ground on stone, hair
knotted, clotted with the spittle of those whose only offering
is hatred, and the cobwebs you should have cleared
long ago.

We crawled and finally, we were able to rise,
to stand, wobbly legged, and thin as asps, blinking
at the light penetrating the dust. We saw one another then,
standing so close we could have embraced, had only known
there was someone there to hold us, someone there
to hold onto. And so, finally, we did. We gathered into
a small, tight ring, holding one another up, lifting those
who were still on all fours, stunned from the destruction.

We came together, and the Temple aRose with us, within us,
complete. The sacred space defined by light.
We Rose. We held. We healed. We learned to allow
our thorns to do their work, our blossoms theirs.
We are the High Priestesses, code bearers, scribes,
born of destruction, rising into the Light.

~Be~

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