Posted on:  Dec 5, 2023 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Goddess

The Lost Daughter: A Story For Our Times

Long, long ago, in our personal story, family history and the unfolding of humanity, She was lost to us — Goddess, Great Mother — priestess, healer, wise one — the sacred feminine within.

One half of the Universe, one half of our humanity, one half of our true Self — She who is wild and untamable — She who is liquid sensuality and earthly pleasure — She who wields the powers of magic and mystery — She whose laws are love and the nurturance of all life — were despoiled and repressed, until we learned to fear and forget Her very existence, and essential place in our inner landscape and shared society.

The lost daughter transcends our personal life stories, connecting us to an older, primal wound of disconnect from the Goddess and our sacred feminine nature.

We became the lost daughters and lost sons, cutoff from the true power and presence of She as Goddess, woman and the feminine side of human nature. And we have been profoundly wounded, individually and collectively, ever since.

Yet things are shifting. Deep hungers are stirring within, arising from a sense that something essential, precious is missing from our life and world.  We are waking and finding our way home to the Goddess, our true womanhood and sacred feminine nature.

Dreaming of the Lost Daughter

When I began to write Tale of the Lost Daughter, I started from a place of emptiness, of opening to the Goddess to direct my writing and focus. I would sink into an altered state of awareness, place my fingertips on the keyboard and let the words flow onto the blank page of their own accord.

Early in this process, a dream story came to me. I was given a specific day — a very snowy, Saturday, December 21st. With this information I could pinpoint the year. At this time, I was still fast asleep in my corporate career and completely unaware of the depth of my discontent and unhappiness.

On this fateful night, surrounded by the magic of the Winter Solstice, I dreamed of finding a silvery, shining path between the worlds that led me to Hecate’s realm, the Dark Goddess who is the Mistress of the crossroads, and guardian of our human destiny. She bid me to look into Her magic cauldron where She revealed my life story, the beauty and the horror, and everything that I had forgotten and denied. From this place of greater awareness, She asked me to choose how I would live the rest of my life. And I made a vow to remember Her in my waking life and find my way home to Her sacred ways

Although I have no memory of this dream, shortly afterwards, in early February of the following year, I had a serious ski accident that changed my life forever. My skull was fractured, my face temporarily disfigured from a facial palsy, and my world so shook up that, once I recovered, I began to make dramatic changes. From that moment onward, my life was set on a new course of self-discovery and spirituality that I later came to know as the Path of She.

I was the lost daughter seeking my way home to the Goddess, my true womanhood and my own sacred feminine nature.

A Story For These Times

In the natural course of writing Tale of the Lost Daughter, this very dream found its way into the text and became the inspiration for the book’s title.  This wasn’t planning or artifice on my part, but more that this was the story that was mine to write and share, from one lost daughter to others.

Sarah, the main character, is a lost daughter who has the appearance of a perfect life, with a fantastic career and affluent lifestyle, yet, in the secret recesses of her inner world, she’s not happy or well. One evening, she has an emotional breakdown that wakes her up and sets her on a journey of discovering her feminine spirituality, magic, ritual and the Goddess.

Just as Sarah realizes in the book that she is a lost daughter of the Goddess, so too did my readers. Women from diverse backgrounds wrote to tell me that they were Sarah, that her journey spoke to their own restless hungers and need to seek out the Goddess and their inner feminine nature. The lost daughter transcends our individual stories and life circumstances, connecting women to an older, primal wound of disconnect from the Goddess and the sacred feminine roots of our womanhood.

Though it was my hands and mind that crafted Tale of the Lost Daughter, it was the Goddess Hecate who spoke through me, telling a story for these times. Her message is simple: listen to your soul’s longings that tell you that something essential is missing from your life; commit to follow where these longings lead you and you will find the precious things you have lost.

Like Sarah, if you have the courage to make these choices, change will come. The Goddess and your own soul and life story will guide your way home to the things you’ve lost and hunger for:  your wild, untamed nature; sensuality and connection to the living Earth; the powers of magic and mystery; the love and nurturance that are the essence of the Goddess and your own sacred feminine nature; and your own beauty and sacred purpose.

The Goddess is calling you home. Open your heart and your senses to Her presence. Hear Her whispers on the wind: come, I am waiting for you. It is time. You are ready. You are ripe.

You don’t need to be skilled in these matters, or even understand what these things mean to answer the call of the Goddess. It’s enough to trust your soul’s longings and begin, and the skills, knowledge and experiences you need will come to you, in the right way and at the right time. My personal journey started with a vow to reclaim the Goddess and my true feminine nature. I made this vow in a dream I didn’t even remember at the time, and wouldn’t have understood anyways, and yet my life was set on a new course.

Now, many years later, I’m lost no more. The Goddess and Her sacred feminine ways are as natural to me as breathing.  I’ve become a woman — doing the work of my soul and living nestled in the forest with my beloved family —  I could never have imagined all those years ago. And the best is yet to come; after we’ve found what we’ve lost, the real adventure begins, taking us ever deeper into the mysteries and wonders of the Goddess, our wild, powerful feminine nature, and this amazing journey called life.

I reach out to you, waking person to waking person; come, it is time. We are ready. We are ripe.

Reclaim the Goddess with Tale of the Lost Daughter.

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Artist: Heather McLean (hbomb.ca)

Posted on:  Nov 29, 2023 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Goddess

What’s In a Name: Good Girl – Feminist – Witch – Woman

Words are a fundamental part of our humanity. The physiology of our brains is designed to make sense of ourselves and our world through language. We name things with words, and then load value and meaning onto these names. Every aspect of our shared society, interpersonal relationships and inner self-talk are dictated by these word-names.

How we name ourselves and each other matters deeply. These names can either trap and diminish us, or heal and free us to become more fully, deeply our Selves.

There’s immense power in names. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the names people give to us, and the ones we give to ourselves. This naming can either narrow or expand who we are, and how we engage others and our greater environment.

Oppressors, those who conquer, dominate and control others, have used this power in names throughout history. Take away the names people give to themselves —  taint and distort them, make these names a weapon — replace them with other, socially acceptable, domesticating names — and you’ve set up a system of control that becomes a normal, entrenched part of our social fabric. And not just names are taken away, but also language, story, dance, art, and other forms of culture, self-identity and expression.

All marginalized groups — on the outside of the white, male, heteronormative, Judeo-Christian ethos that dominates our Western society — have been impacted by this system of control through names.

My Story of Names

I’m a white woman of British descent, born into a working class family of moderate means, and raised in a middle-of-the-road city in the eastern part of Canada.  My upbringing was mainstream, banal and seemingly innocuous. And this is my story of names.

If I had the conscious awareness to name myself in my youth, I would have called myself a good girl.

I was a domesticated creature — nice, sweet, pretty, and well behaved.  I did what I was supposed to do: work hard at school, follow the rules, hang out with other nice girls, date boys that my parents approved of, and keep a smile on my face, even when boys and men said and did not nice things to me.

No one in particular, and everything around me, gave me this name and the very narrow band of personhood that went with it.

In my early adult years, I named myself professional woman.

This was just another form of my good-girl domestication, set by a hyper-masculine corporate environment.

I had the right qualifications to excel: an MBA, competitive instincts and workaholic drive. The price of admission was to mask my womanhood in an androgynous wardrobe of black, gray and navy suits, to emulate the work-hard, play-hard ethos of the successful man, and to keep a smile on my face, even when men diminished and sexualized me.

Like so many women, these straitjacket names of good girl and professional woman squeezed my bigness of being into a half-life dictated by rules that I had no say in, and that were designed to keep me small, tame, fearful and disconnected from my true nature.

In my late twenties, something woke up in me and I found a new name for myself: feminist.

I rebelled. I wanted to live an authentic life, in alignment with my undomesticated womanhood and my true, deep Self, outside of the dictates of a male-dominated, woman-negating society.

With this new name came seismic shifts. I left my corporate career and returned to graduate school to become a feminist academic, studying power, change and organizational gender issues. I became educated about the deep-rooted and daily discrimination faced by women, and the negation and undervaluing of the qualities and skills we bring to society and the workplace; and I made a commitment to myself to become an agent of positive change.

In my early thirties, as this journey of claiming my true, undomesticated womanhood deepened, I found another new name for myself: witch.

Again, this new name came with immense transformation.  I discovered the Goddess and Wicca, and with them a whole, hidden story of feminine Divinity and power, and a wild, delicious, empowering, life-centered reality that was the antithesis of my years of domestication.

My world became infinitely bigger and more nourishing. For the first time in my life, I felt whole, inside-out powerful, and my Self.

Now in my early sixties, I fully inhabit my reclaimed name: woman.

Piece by piece, I’ve been reclaiming the lost fragments of my true, untamed womanhood, until I’ve come to know and honor my Self as woman, outside of the strictures of a society that fears and distorts women and feminine-based power.

I now know that my womanhood is a complex thing, woven of many, diverse threads: feminist, witch, writer, dreamer, dancer, wild thing, mother, partner, friend, ally, and so many other things that are too big and mysterious to name.

I’m whole, sacred, a being of infinite love and resilience, honed and evolved through my personal story and shared woman history of light and shadow, beauty and wounding, and the wonders and horrors of this mundane and magical world.

This unique expression of my whole, sacred womanhood transcends biological gender, and joins me to a greater movement and kinship of feminine-identified beings who are evolving what it means to be a woman, and dismantling the word-names of a male-dominated, woman-negating, hetero-normative culture.

The outer voices have lost their control over me and there’s no squeezing me back into the half-person I’ve been. Woman I am, and woman I will be, on a journey of self-discovery and evolution that will last all the days of my life.

The Power and Shadow of Names

In my journey of names, my life and womanhood were profoundly, positively transformed when I shifted from the names of good girl, and its adult variant of professional woman, to feminist and witch. Yet I was discouraged from claiming these names for myself by well-meaning friends and family members.

In our shared culture, feminist and witch are dangerous names, weighed down by negative projections and horrific histories. Good girls — nice, sweet, pretty, and well behaved — are safe, happy, and well-adjusted.  Free-spirited, empowered women — feminist, witch, or any other name you choose to give yourself outside of the dictates of a male-centered society — are an aberration, heretical and dangerous.

Anyone can be a feminist or a witch, these names aren’t inherently gendered, but on a collective, shadow level, they’re associated with women and feminine-based power that fall under the general category of uppity women who don’t follow the strictures of nice society. Uppity women throughout history have paid a price for their independence and deviance from male-defined, cultural dictates.

This negation of uppity women has been burned into our collective psyche, literally. During the Burning Times of the 14th to the 18th century, the name of witch was demonized by the Church and used to justify the brutal rape, torture and murder of an estimated sixty to hundred thousand people, predominantly women — healers, practitioners of witchcraft, community leaders, independent women and other marginalized people caught up in the madness. Any indication of women’s spirituality, feminine-based power or an uppity nature could condemn you as a witch.

These horrific events have left a deep scar and shadow on our human psyche through our fear and distrust of women and feminine-based power.

Call yourself a feminist and you tar yourself with the societal stereotype of the feminazi: an angry, aggressive, male-hating woman battling for female supremacy.

Call yourself a witch and you conjure up the frightening specter of the wicked witch: an evil, devil-worshipper who uses their power to harm others.

These are lies and distortions that feed on our fear and distrust of women and feminine-based power. To use these names is to risk misunderstanding, discrediting, censure, and rejection. But to not use them when they speak to your soul and true Self is to remain small, silenced, powerless and domesticated.

Feminist and witch are power names that can bring balance and wholeness to our lives and world by: giving women and feminine-identified people back their self-knowing and sovereignty; honoring the beauty, power and qualities of the feminine side of our human nature; and reclaiming the Divine as Goddess.

What my story of names taught me is that there’s only one way to release the power in a name, be it feminist, witch or whatever power names we claim for ourselves and community: confront and step past the shadow in these names, and claim them as our own, not just for ourselves, but also in service of our greater society.

Your Story of Names

How we name ourselves and others matters deeply. These names can either trap and diminish us, or heal and free us to become more fully, deeply our Selves.

What is needed is greater awareness of the power and shadow in names, and a conscious commitment to heal, claim and evolve the names and language that shape our personal life and collective society.

You can start by exploring your own name story and those that apply to the groups you’re part of. Consider the defining features of your humanity, for example: your biological gender and gender identity, skin color, sexual orientation, ethnic and cultural heritage, religion or spiritual practice, socio-economic status, and the history of your people.

What names have been used to domesticate and marginalize you and the groups you’re part of? What names have empowered you and helped you grow and evolve?  What names do you choose for yourself? What are the shadow and power in these names?  How can you heal and reclaim these names? How can you support others, especially marginalized groups, in healing and evolving our collective names and language?

Your journey of names is a lifetime in the making. The more consciousness you bring to this journey, the more you can find and claim the names that capture your true, deep Self, and heal the shadow in the names that can set you and others free. And perhaps someday, names will be used to connect us to ourselves and each other in power and beauty, and in the making of a better, kinder, saner world of acceptance, love and justice for all.

Artwork by Nick Gentry

Posted on:  Nov 27, 2023 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Featured, Path Basics

Meet Me in the Good

I don’t care that your politics, religion or spirituality differ from mine, or about any of the myriad of particulars that mark us as dissimilar. I honor that how you walk this Earth is your personal business. But I do care, from the depth of my soul, about creating a better, more loving and sustainable world together.

So let’s step to one side of the conflict and camps of difference, and meet in the good.

Meet me in the good inside and all around us, just waiting for us to turn our faces back to a love- and life-centered ethos. Meet me in the good and together we can create our lives and this world anew.

Meet me in the inside-out living of our best qualities and nature.

Meet me in embracing the beauty and power of our differences.

Meet me in acts of kindness and goodwill toward our fellow human beings.

Meet me in resisting the tyranny and abuse of others wherever it shows up in our lives.

Meet me in falling deeply in love with the Earth, and in protecting Her fragile, essential systems.

Meet me in the smell of fresh baked bread, the laughter of children, the kiss of wind and sunshine on exposed skin, the sweet bite of a crisp apple, and the brilliant orange-pink light of a new dawn.

Meet me in the good inside and all around us, just waiting for us to turn our faces back to a love- and life-centered ethos.

Meet me in the good and together we can create our lives and this world anew.

Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.

Path of She on YouTube

Artist: Sergey Shenderovsky

Posted on:  Nov 18, 2023 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Featured, Pagan Dreamer

Pagan Dreamer: Masters of Our Truth

The Dream

There are three characters in this dream. The first one is me. I see myself in an empty, white space. A document appears before me that is “the Truth.” This Truth is immensely powerful; it rules everything in my life, both my inner world and relationship with myself, and my interface with others and my outer environment.

We’re the masters of our own Truth. This Truth holds our contract of how to live our life. It can limit or expand us, imprison or set us free. The choice is ours.

The second character is the Editor. I can’t see this character, but they make changes to the Truth document. In bright yellow, the Editor highlights the distortions and lies that have been inserted into the Truth document. There’s only one Truth; it can’t be changed or replaced. But it can be messed with

In their actions, the Editor makes visible the third character: a shadow force I will name the Oppressor. The Oppressor wants to control and manipulate my existence. They can only do this by slipping lies and distortions into the Truth that directs my life.

Dream Teaching

I’ve long understood the message in this dream. There’s no escaping the fact that our human lives are ruled by what we hold as true and real: the Truth document in the dream. This Truth holds our contract of how to live our life. It can limit or expand us, imprison or set us free. And the choice is ours.

But we’ve forgotten that we’re the masters of our own Truth, and that we ultimately choose what to believe in, and hold as real and true.

Whoever controls our Truth, controls us. Oppressors throughout history have understood this, and used their many powers to impose their version of the truth to control society and the lives of others. Nowadays we’re bombarded with constant outer noise, coming at us from the media, school, work, social groups, our family and the people who share our lives. And we distort our own Truth to help us cope with our painful, wounding life experiences.

Everywhere, all around and within you, there are forces trying to tell you who you are, how to feel about yourself and others, what is real and true, and how to live your life. These powerful, persistent forces worm their way into your Truth, adding layers of meaning and distortions that have a huge impact on your everyday existence, and mostly not for the good.

This dream cuts to the chase of what it looks like to claim your Truth and your freedom to live on your own terms. Wake up. Make an ally of the Editor and their yellow highlighter. Pay close attention to the truths and beliefs that direct your life. Which feel good and true to you? Which serve your best interests and most beautiful human instincts? Which arise from love and make you feel cherished and empowered? And which do not.

Whatever feels untrue, unloving and disempowering to you, banish it from your Truth, and take away its power to control you. You get to choose the Truth you live by. This power belongs to you, and always has. Claim it. Revel in it. Be ruthless in your pursuit of Truth. This is the way you set yourself free, and live from your best, most beautiful Self outward.

Lesson in Pagan Dreaming

Dreams arise from the realm of Truth. When we slip into sleep, we enter a different reality, deep, ancient, wide, wild, that doesn’t care about our modern human world and concerns. It isn’t touched by the lies and distortions that mess up our waking understanding of Truth.

Sometimes this dream reality offers up a precious revelation, like this dream, that simply, powerfully reveals what it means to be human, and gifts us with a lesson to guide our deepest healing and transformation.

This dream is a reminder that we are the masters of our Truth. It invites and challenges us to wake up our inner Editor, and cut away the lies and distortions that mess with our head and our lives.

The empowered response to a dream like this is to simply say yes to its invitation and challenge, even if you don’t understand how to go about making these personal changes. Don’t worry, with your yes, your dreams will continue to guide and deepen your spiritual work of claiming your Truth. Because this type of dream is not only a revelation, but also a promise of more gifts and lessons to come.

Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.

Artwork by Georg Janny

Posted on:  Nov 10, 2023 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Everyday Magic, Featured, Path Basics

The Imperative of Choice: Choosing Between the Beauty and Beast of Humanity

The media feeds us an ongoing narrative of the horrors of humanity: war, political corruption, environmental devastation, mass shootings, to name but a few. Yet our lives are also touched by acts of philanthropy, creative expression and everyday goodness by the bright-souled, golden-hearted people in our midst. Between these polarities, we are left disoriented, torn between repulsion and reverence for these base aspects of our human nature.

Open your consciousness wide to encompass the totality of our human nature. We are beauty and beast. Then choose which of these polarities will rule your life.

Who are we as a species? Are we beauty or are we beast? Does fear or love drive us? What rules our world and our lives – an ethos of domination and destruction, or of nurturance and creation? And what do we make with our pain? Beauty and goodness, or more horror and pain?

I want to reach out and touch your heart. To feel your warm flesh and pulse under my palm. I want to tell you everything is going to be okay. That we can figure this out, we can find our way through the madness and destruction that dominate the headlines, and align ourselves with those that come into this world to spread goodness and beauty.

But I can’t. Because we live in a turning moment, a time of choice between all that we are and all that we can be.

Instead I have to tell you to open your arms and your consciousness wide to encompass the totality of our humanity, both the light and the shadow, and the beauty and the beast.

Individually and collectively, we need to stop being afraid, stop judging and stop insulating ourselves from the raw truths of our joy and our pain. And hardest of all, we need to accept that the horrors the media feeds us and the beauty that touches our everyday lives are both expressions of our inner humanity.

In this acceptance, you can come to understand that you are not separate from the beastly and the beauty out there in the greater world. Your life story is woven from the best and worst of your personal history and makeup. And you, like every one of us, were born into and entrained within a collective ethos that produces terrorists, mass murders, poets and philanthropists.

When you see and name the best and worst in yourself and others, with clarity and compassion, you are given the blessing of conscious choice.

What do you do with your personal pain? What do you do with your gifts and opportunities? Do you make more sorrow and pain for yourself and others? Or do you allow life to teach you, and help you blossom and grow into your true, big, shining self.

It all comes down to the imperative of choice making. In the face of the suffering and joy, and light and shadow of your life story, what do you choose?

Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.

Artist: Karina Pavlova