Tonight I honour my European ancestry, and the female lineage from which I am descended. I honour the disir, all the women, past and present, and am thankful for their presence in my life.
This is a reblog from my post on SageWoman’s channel at Witches and Pagans…
Within Paganism, there appear to be an equal number of women and men in leadership roles. One of the most popular Druids today is Emma Restall Orr, one of the most popular Wiccans is Starhawk. Heathenry has Galina Grasskova and Diana L Paxon. There are countless others in all pagan paths and traditions that stand alongside the men in equal roles of leadership, teaching and more.
We know historically that there were female Druids, often termed as Druidesses. The Greeks and Romans were fascinated by Celtic society, so very different to their own when it came to power women held in their everyday lives. Yet we have snippets; tantalising few extracts from those who decided to include women in their accounts of Celtic society, whether they were from Greece, Rome or followers of subsequent Christian faiths.
Druidry may have suffered more than most when it comes to an overtly and also subverting taint of patriarchy over equality. This has much to do with the 18th and 19th century Revivalists, who were operating out of a culture and society in Western Europe that held women back from all kinds of authority positions. All the artwork we see from this period show older, mostly bearded men in togas occasionally swanning about collecting mistletoe or performing ritual sacrifice. Women are noticeably absent from these paintings and drawings. In the writing that we have, taken from other patriarchal cultures such as Rome and the latter Christian faith, the absence of women is again noted. We have to look deep within the stories to find out what the real role of women was in a particular myth, for example…
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Re-blogged from my channel at SageWoman:
Riding the tides of perimenopause, I find that my sense of self, ideas and concepts that I held about myself are shifting like pebbles on a shingle beach, never in the same place twice, forming new solid banks and spits jutting out into the vastness of the ocean. I live right on the coast of the North Sea, and am finding inspiration and a sense of kinship with the ocean that I have never felt before.
Swells and surges of emotion run through me as hormones find their way to the balance point in the dance of change and impermanence. My body is changing, the elasticity in my skin fading, laughter lines showing, cellulite appearing in new places. The curves in my body are becoming softer, gently changing over time. My breasts sometimes ache as my body tries to find a new way of being. Periods are nearer to each other, sometimes only two weeks apart, sometimes light, other times so heavy I cannot leave the house. Sometimes I feel like I did in my teenage years, without the skin breakouts!
It’s not only my body changing – emotions run deeper than ever before. Awareness of the emotions keeps them in check, allowing myself to truly feel them without too much attachment. They are sometimes like a knife, cutting through the dross to reveal the jewel beneath; instinct and empathy allowing me to connect with the world on a much deeper level than previously imagined.
My attachments to my body are also becoming less and less. I am ever thankful for this healthy body, that can dance and run and sing with abandon. Thoughts about how others relate to me are changing as my body changes. I notice people interacting with me differently – or is it that I am the one who is different? In our dance troupe, when we are performing, I notice that the attention is gently shifting away from myself to younger ladies in the troupe. I smile to myself as I notice this, seeing how this makes me feel. There is a tinge of sadness, as I release the undercurrents of vanity, as well as the newer notes of joy in not being wrapped up in the notions of youth that our culture is so focused upon. My heart goes out to the beautiful young dancers in our troupe, who have to deal with the extra attention. My soul connects with the beautiful older women in our troupe, whose sense of self pervades a solidity that wholly and utterly inspires me. I am seeing beauty where I never saw beauty before – it is truly remarkable.
I don’t crave attention in the same way as I used to. What others think matters a lot less than before. What does matter is how my life is lived, inspired by the world around me and walked on a path of honour and integrity. I see this reflected in the older women in my life, how comfortable they now appear. I wouldn’t want to be young again – in looks or age. I am at home in my body. Some women are blessed with this from an earlier age, others like me perhaps find it during the hormonal shift. What is important is that we find that stillness within, like a pool of water that becomes clear when all our doubts and worries about our self finally settle, allowing us to mirror the wonder of the heavens.
One beauty is not better or worth more than any other form of beauty – all forms of beauty are simply that- beautiful. Our soul takes form in our bodies, an impermanent expression of our being. Learning to love the impermanence allows us to see the beauty in all stages of life and death, growth and decay. It can allow us to be comfortable with who we are, no matter our age, what condition our bodies are in, what life throws at us.
This latest journey has just begun, and I have to say, I am loving the steps along the way. I breathe with mindfulness and take each step with love and joy even as I feel sadness and release. Life is precious, and impermanent, and in our awareness of impermanence lies our ability to truly live.