Posted in ancestors, elemental kingdom, healing

Wandering Womb

Did you know that in the ancient world there was this idea that the womb could wander around inside a woman’s body?

The thought was, it was a being inside our being, a living thing, some called it an animal, some a beast.

Further, they believed it was sensitive to odours and would move towards pleasant smells and away from unpleasant ones. Thus, they treated a displaced womb by wafting scents over the body.

They postulated that a misplaced womb was the cause of hysteria.

Incredible, hey? There’s nothing like that in the body, is there? Well, actually there is a living being inside our bodies, and not only women. It’s not one that exists at the physical level. As you may know, energy manifests at various frequencies and as it becomes denser, it manifests at the noetic level, that’s the world of ideas, and then denser still at the emotional level and finally, densest of all, the physical.

There’s a great deal that exists on Earth at an emotional level but not physical, and yet has consciousness. Of course, the disbelievers will want material proof and that’s a problem, but many people have their own proof, called personal experience.

I’m referring to spirits, such as those our ancestors have experienced for tens of thousands of years. Our own departed loved ones. Mythical creatures such as unicorns and dragons. Angels and beings from the stars. And plant, tree, landscape and elemental beings.

And it’s of these last that I refer with regards the wandering womb. You see, every human, animal and living creature on Earth, not just plants and trees, has an elemental being attached to them from their birth to death.

This being has a job, the same, no matter what it’s attached to. It’s to support that entity in growing, living and expressing it’s divine blueprint.

Can you imagine what a difficult job elementals have with us humans? We, the ones with the free will to go our own way? We are least likely of all to live with a pure intention to express the divine on Earth, that is our blueprint. If we did, our bodies would be flexible, healthy, full of vitality and of the ideal proportions and weight.

Unfortunately, we abuse our bodies dreadfully, and our poor old elemental is overwhelmed by our behaviours that make its job untenable. The same is true of our mental and emotional selves, indeed, every expression of our being is tested to the limit. And then there’s our lifecycle and ways of living. No longer being conscious of our place within the web of life, no longer honouring the Earth and all our animal sisters and brothers, or the plants and trees, or the soil. No longer honouring ourselves or each other. We go through some vital transitions such as adolescence, life partnership, becoming a parent, menopause, retirement and death. In the past, there were rituals which informed and supported our elemental, allowing us to transition smoothly, but nowadays we mostly ignore these events.

What do you think all this misalignment with the emotional consciousness that guides all our systems might create? Yes, hysteria. In other words, a whole heap of common and severe mental health conditions. Not to mention physical conditions. So, maybe the ancient Greeks did have an inkling about what was going on.

If you could talk to your elemental, which you can, what would you say?

If you could hear your elemental, which you can by opening your channel and accepting what comes to you, what do you think it would say to you?

When I did this, the first thing I said was, “I’m so sorry.”

[Image: ‘Ordering the internal body: A thirteenth century uterus diagram in Bodleian, MS Ashmole 399’ courtesy of Thinking3D]

Posted in Celtic festival, Goddess, Mother Earth, mythology, nature

The Goddess and The Wheel

The Goddess is complex and has many faces.  The ones most talked about are Maiden, Mother and Crone.  Personally, I see the Goddess in the turning of the Wheel of the Year and assign three moons to each Goddess aspect on the cycle, making four.  Maiden, Mother, Crone and one more.  I call this fourth face Bride, sometimes, she is the Sorceress.  The energy feels like this:

The first face is the Maiden, the story of divine feminine starts with her. 
She is Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. 
She’s a Winter’s landscape, like the land beneath snow.
She is waiting to grow into her power.
The acorn waits in the dark earth for the Spring sun to kiss it awake.
The acorn grows into the oak just as the Maiden grows into Bride, Mother and Crone.
Her womb is waiting to bleed.
The Maiden sits in the season of Winter on the Wheel of the Year, for she is first.
 And the Celtic New Year begins at Samhain, last day of October.
Winter precedes all other seasons, just as the dark void gave birth to light.
Everything starts in the dark, as the baby is born from the dark womb.
The elemental energy of the Maiden is Air, for hers is the first breath.  
She is assigned the moons of November, December and January.

We are now at Imbolc, last day of January. 
The season when light returns and the earth wakes from slumber.
Powerful season of Fire and renewal.  
The sun has kissed the Maiden and she has woken up.
Everything is stirring in nature, in her season.
The birds and beasts are mating and trees and plants are thrusting out their leaves.
Here sits the Bride, assigned three moons of February, March and April. 
She is the May Queen whose potent, fiery blood brings transformation at Beltane.
Just as Spring transforms the land.
She is red and white, purity and blood, for her womb is fertile and not yet pierced.
She is the Enchantress.

The Goddess energy passes on at Beltane.
When the womb of the May Queen is pricked.
Life is growing within her dark womb.
The season of the Great Mother Goddess is here.
Divine Mother rules the moons of May, June and July. 
She reigns through Summer, season of abundance and blessings. 
She is the cornucopia of plenty. 
She births the land as the magical child, the seed of humanity.  
She reigns until July’s end, whence comes the festival of Lughnasadh.
Festival of the Child of Light, which is us, dear listener.
For we, and all beings upon the Earth are her children.
The earth is rich with flowers, corn and fruit during the season of the Great Mother.
The element of Earth is her gift to us.

At August’s start, power passes to the Crone.
Wise Woman, she is Elder. 
She, who is Keeper of the Wheel of the Year.
Turner of the wheel.
She oversees the process of change.
She sits at the spinning wheel with the silver thread in her fingers. 
Her element is Water, for water is a record keeper, as is the Crone. 
To her are assigned three moons of August, September and October. 
Her womb is not barren, it is the void.
Cave of inconceivable power.
It is the gaping gash of Sheela Na Gig.
She beckons us to enter.
To go inside ourselves and know who we are.
She sits in the season of the ancestors.
At Samhain, the ancestors are honoured. 
And the Crone passes her power back to the Maiden.
The wheel begins again, not a circle but a spiral.  

For this reason, as a woman in her Crone stage, it is mine to gift my power to the Maiden, imparting wisdom and teaching skills to one who is starting on the same journey I have travelled.  Already, the honour and opportunity has befallen me, more than once, in teaching my shamanic craft.  I hope that all women in their crone-years, the years we call peri-menopause, menopause and beyond, will gift some of their power to the Maiden, for she is a Bride-, a Mother-, a Crone-in-becoming. 

We Crones are the ones who have travelled the full stretch of the road and passed through all four stations.  We are in our full power.  And if we don’t value that, if we don’t honour ourselves for all we are, who will? 

The Wheel of the Year

    

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.