Posted in Goddess, Inspiration, Personal Story, Water elementals

Spa Day: Healing my Inner Child and Embracing my Divine Goddess Self

Yesterday was an amazing day.  I went to a spa for the first time ever.  As I entered the spa, there was a hexagonal pool bubbling like a boiling cauldron but I made my way to the jacuzzi to find a moment of peace and calm.  From there, I called in my guides, soul and soul group out loud because I had the whole place to myself.  More than anything, I was so joyous to be in water again.  Water is my element, I love being in water with a passion and the current pandemic situation has made that difficult over the past year.  Water talks to me, yes, literally.  When I’m immersed in water, whether in the shower, bath, sea or swimming pool, I can connect to its vibration, it can be emotional and it gives me many insights, sometimes we have a two-way conversation.  Yesterday, I was buoyant in mood and my inner child was coming out to play.

In the jacuzzi, whilst connecting with water’s vibration, I started a healing process to completely clear the forty-two remaining shards of my wounded inner child, bringing it all into a whole and healed energy that I placed in my heart chakra. Wow, it was wonderful and deep and no sooner was it done than my inner child came out to play. I became like a child again, playing in the water, laughing out loud, full of love, joy and fun. It was wonderful to be in such bubbly water, especially the energetic spa pool with its multiple waterfalls and powerful jets churning up the water. I realised that fate had wisely determined that I come alone, I had asked a few people but ended up without a buddy. Had I been with a friend or if another client had entered the spa during this time, I would have preserved my adult decorum and not cavorted in the water like a seven year old having the time of her life. I had not played like this or had so much fun in ages.

After an hour and a half in the spa, it was time to go for my two treatments, a back massage and facial.  Oh boy!  I entered a new world and whole different energy.  This was peace, calm, serenity.  The soft lighting, warm sensuous scents and gentle music lulled me into a deep place as the masseuse began her art.  Having never had the experience before, I had no frame of reference but I was not prepared for what unfolded.  I began to recognise and embrace my inner goddess.  All women are divine goddesses but, in that moment, I was a conscious goddess and felt honoured by the gift I was being given.  It was, more than any other word, reverent.  I felt like she was acknowledging the worthiness of my body and soul.  I was amazed that a total stranger, albeit one doing her job, was touching me with her whole self, I could sense that she put herself wholly into what she did.  She was so caring and loving and giving, I felt divine.  When she proceeded with the facial, I expected her to slap on a face mask and leave me for twenty minutes, but no.  The entire facial was akin to a Japanese tea ritual, every motion was deliberate and beautiful, every touch was caressing and ceremonial.  The mask came with a face massage, even the hot flannel was moved across my face as though it was a ritual honouring my goddess self.  I have been thinking about setting up a spiritual community and retreat centre and it occurred to me on that couch that I need to run a Divine Goddess Intensive retreat and ensure every woman has an experience like this.  In fact, I’d like to include make-up, hair and portrait photography and give every woman a photo of herself as the divine goddess she is, so she never forgets it. 

Never would I have guessed when I went off to the spa this morning with my gift voucher that I would be having such a day, healing my inner child, embracing my inner goddess and shamelessly playing in water.  Needless to say, I’m going back soon.

Photo: This experience took place at The Cliff Hotel & Spa, Cardigan. Here is the spa pool.

Posted in Goddess, Personal Story

Sheela Na Gig

Sheela Na Gig is my personal favourite image of Goddess energy, she is so powerful.  She is the Challenger Goddess, the Wise Woman, the Ego-Eater, the one from whose womb all things are born.  To me, she is a symbol for one of the ultimate, ultimate, most powerful and most ancient of all Goddess archetypes, because she is directly connected to the original Creator Deity.

As would be expected for such a significant energetic being, she can be found across cultures throughout the World.  She is Ishtar, Isis, Hathor, Asherah, Innana, Ceridwen, Hecate and many more kick-ass goddesses. 

However, the Goddess I personally connect the most with Sheela Na Gig is the all-powerful Indian Goddess, Kali.  Kali is the Hindu Goddess who removes the ego and liberates the soul from the cycle of birth and death.  Our egos are worn away by the constant challenges and life lessons she kindly puts in our path, for every adversity is an opportunity to grow in disguise.

‘Sheela’ is Irish medieval slang for ‘woman’ and ‘Gig’ for ‘vagina’ so her name is simply a colloquial description of her appearance.  She is depicted as a thin, hag-like figure with sagging breasts and protruding ribs.  She is the original pre-male Creator of Everything with a capital E.  Her womb is the void from which light and all-that-is emerges.  Her womb is the Underworld.

Sheela Na Gig appeared in Britain and Ireland as stone carvings, predominantly on churches, during medieval times.  Stone masons were amongst the most travelled, learned and respected people of the time, their skills being highly prized and sought after.  The resulting power and influence of the Master masons led to the Masonic movement. 

In medieval times, stone masons travelled across Europe to the Middle East and beyond, wherever great cathedrals and other magnificent buildings were being erected, they went. They saw and heard so much more than most other folk and were surely fascinated with and influenced by the stone carvings they visited in countries such as Persia and India. When I think of the remarkable similarities between Kali and Sheela Na Gig, I find it easy to imagine that the masons who first carved Sheela in Britain had known the stories and symbolism of Ishtar and Kali and others and seen their representations in distant lands.

Imagine a travelling mason coming across this on his travels

Imagine the pleasure of returning to one’s homeland with a new symbolic image and seeing the motif adopted by fellow masons.  Quite possibly, many images, maybe even the Green Man, came about through this means.  The Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, dated 1446, is richly carved by some of the most proficient masons of the time and depicts plants and animals that could never have been known by masons who did not travel far and wide. 

Sheela Na Gig is represented as skeletal, either with sagging breasts or without them altogether. Clearly, Sheela is not a rounded, fecund earth mother Goddess-figure symbolising fertility. Additionally, a number of medieval Sheelas are carved with a protruding tongue, just like Kali. The tongue is said by some to symbolise a cannibalistic bent, but from a spiritual perspective this implies that the Sheela/Kali Goddess-archetype does not eat people but their egos, in other words, she challenges us to break down our egos and helps us develop our spiritual energies further and further as we strive towards our highest potential.

Sheela Na Gig, Cavan, Ireland

Sheela’s dramatic presentation of her vagina as if it is a huge gaping cave makes her womb suggestive of the caves and chambered cairns used by Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic shamans for altered state journeys and communication with the spirits, ancestors and the Goddess.  Such cavernous places are connected to the womb of the Creator Goddess, the void from which all life flows.  By opening her labia she is inviting us into the void, the place of mystery where, if we dare go, our sense of self is broken down and destroyed so that we ‘die’ and can be re-born anew.  Here is the ego-eating theme but the genitals become the mouth; mouth of the cave, doorway and devouring orifice.  The idea of female genitals as a mouth is well documented and prevalent, especially in Eastern symbolism. Ceridwen’s cauldron carries the same symbolic message, it is a large cave-like bowl that contains wisdom and inspiration.

The prevalence of entering deep dark places to attain wisdom and inspiration is cross-cultural.  In Delphi, (the word ‘Delphi’ is from the root word for ‘womb’), the oracle’s sanctuary was originally a site sacred to Goddess Gaea.  The oracle/priestess sat on a three-legged seat over a great chasm stretching deep into the earth.  The oracle’s wisdom and insights thus came to her and were uttered.  Ceridwen’s cauldron makes a very good symbol for the relationship between the Goddess, the Underworld and the acquiring of wisdom and inspiration.  Sheela’s vagina is doing the same job.  By pulling open her labia with her direct, challenging stare and wry smile she is saying “Come inside, if you dare!” 

From 11th Century church, Kilpeck, Hereford, UK

Here is a doorway through which Sheela Na Gig is inviting us to symbolically enter, so that we can, as it says above the temple doorway at Delphi, “Know Thyself” by entering the darkest, deepest recesses of the void to face our fears, face our Self.

So, how do we work with this Divine Challenger?  It is a very brave soul who goes looking for her!  But sometimes, she comes looking for us. My own relationship with her started when rather strange and challenging changes occurred in my body.  I did not realise straight away but soon it was clear, I had hit the menopause, or more precisely, the peri-menopause.  All of a sudden, Sheela Na Gig, her energies and insights, seemed to be the most pertinent of Goddess energies for me to work with.  

The menopause, after all, is a natural bodily process and not the physical illness it can feel like.  The body is going through a transition which causes all sorts of strange sensations and symptomology.  And it can occur, as it did for me, just at a time when everything seems more stable and ‘sorted’ than ever before in our lives.  We are feeling good about ourselves, we have got our life in a good place, all is going rather well, and then “Bam!” there we are struggling with all manner of difficulties affecting our health alongside our usual daily demands such as work, family, responsibilities and commitments.

I won’t pretend I always managed my own changes serenely, those who know me know otherwise.  But who knows how tough it could have been without my spiritual filter to help me process and focus it? One of my early actions was to get a tattoo, seen above.  My first and only (so far), it is of Kali Na Gig, my version of Sheela Na Gig that incorporates Kali’s characteristics.  She is the Goddess that presented for me personally at that time.  I saw the tattoo as a distinct marking of the transformative process I was going through, a way of embracing her intrusion into my life. 

Working with Kali Na Gig helped me to embrace the positive elements of the process of change, for, despite the chaos and difficult symptoms, I also had very lucid moments of ‘awakeness’ when I was more in touch with my inner knowing than ever before.  Although I could become depressed or anxious, I could also feel as awake, alive and empowered as never before.  What a roller-coaster it was! These days, for the most part that time is passed,   

In the periphery of my inner vision I see her there with me from time to time, smiling her wry smile, staring straight into my soul with her warm but testing eyes.  Actually, it’s not as scary as it sounds, more reassuring.  I trust her not to give me more than I can take, even though she takes me right to the edge and sometimes even dangles me over it, shaking me to the bones at the same time!

She reminds me that nothing is forever, it will change, I will change.  She teaches me to see and live that another way; “I WILL change!” That is, I use my will to make things change.   

So, how do we work with Sheela or Kali Na Gig?  Well, it seems all we need do is welcome her, embrace her and the rest just happens.

Posted in Celtic festival, Full Moon, Goddess, Uncategorized

The Special Moons Of October

If, like me, you’re a moon lover, you are in for a treat this month of October.  It’s one of those rare months when there are two full moons.

Tonight, Thursday 1st October is the first, it’s the unique Harvest Moon, the name given to the full moon nearest to Mabon or Autumn Equinox.  Then, on 31st October, we get a second full moon called the Hunter’s Moon.  This is also a blue moon, being the second full moon in the same month.  That this takes place on the night of Halloween, or more precisely the Celtic festival of Samhain, (pronounced ‘sow-en’ as in the female pig with ‘en’ on the end) is extra special.

The Harvest moon and Hunter’s moon are the two moons of the year that usually rise closer to sunset, meaning we get more moonlight and that’s why farmers and hunters use these nights to get their work done.

There is a dark or hidden face of the Goddess that sits on the Wheel of the Year. This face can present itself at any point of the year as it appears with the blue moon.  Usually, there are twelve moons within a solar year but since the sun and moon’s cycles do not coincide, sometimes there’s an extra moon in the year.  This occurs because a calendar month is longer than a lunar cycle, so if a full moon takes place very early in the month there can be a second full moon at the end of the same month.  The thirteenth full moon of the year, the second within the same month, is associated with the dark or hidden face of the Goddess.

At the time of the blue moon, we can really connect to our own hidden, dark or shadow self.  It is a mistake to associate this with negativity, we are all part of the world of duality, we do well to embrace both the dark and light from which we are made, the yin and yang, for without one, the other does not exist.  Embracing this part of ourselves and working with the Goddess in this mysterious and deep aspect is extremely valuable.  This is clearing work and we all have unneeded energies to clear. It can be difficult as, in her hidden face, she is likely to bring challenges, but hugely rewarding in the longer term.

Personally, I associate the hidden face of the Goddess at the blue moon with the divine feminine energy of Sheela Na Gig, she definitely has the Crone energy about her and I will write more about that in my next post.  However, depending upon which quarter of the year the extra moon falls, she can be Maiden, Bride, Mother or Crone and also bring qualities that are passive, teacher or challenger energy.  Whichever she is, she comes to reveal aspects of ourselves that we may consciously or unconsciously be trying to hide.

This October 31st, she is appearing in the season of the Crone, the Wise Woman Elder archetype of the Goddess energy, and at Samhain, no less!  This is kick-ass timing and we are the ones getting our ass kicked. What an incredible synchronicity and I am so excited!  Samhain is the festival of the ancestors, the time we especially acknowledge our lineage and all the wisdom and learning that has gone before us and been handed down. The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest on this night.  We are our ancestors, this is especially true if you consider past lives, we lived as them, in all probability.  And when you factor in the eternal ‘now’, because when you take the illusion of time away it’s all happening now, you could say we are living all those lives, past and future, right now, all at the same. I don’t know how that works either, but I do believe it.