lifestyle coach

We are the Fire

photo cred: source unknown (let me know if you know and I'll cite) 

photo cred: source unknown (let me know if you know and I'll cite) 

As of the writing of this blog post, I am currently in the midst of a divine feminine pilgrimage around the south of France. I am visiting three relatively well-known sites that all have ties to pre-Christianity and post Christianity feminine significance.  

1. Sainte Baume: The Grotto (cave) of Mary Magdelene. According to legend Mary Magdelene came to what is now Southern France on a ship with no sails and ended up living in this cave for 30 years, until her death. This cave supposedly holds her "relics" aka bones. Close to this site is the Cave of Eggs. An ancient place associated with the Goddess and a place where pre-Christian pagans came to ask for assistance on matters of fertility.

the grotto of Mary Magdelene in St. Baume, France

the grotto of Mary Magdelene in St. Baume, France

2. Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer. Saint Sarah, the Black Madonna. There is a "black Madonna" statue in the crypts of the church in the small town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer, France that was discovered in the 1500s. There are a few black Madonna statues scattered throughout Europe. They are on the whole very old and very rare. Mostly shrouded in mystery as far as origins and explanations. For instance,  "Why are they black?" is a common question, but no clear answer. This particular one is the patron saint of the Romani people and is kept on display for visitors.  

Saint Sarah in Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer 

Saint Sarah in Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer 

3. Le Puy en velay. Another ancient black madonna statue, this one called, "The Black Virgin," is housed in the cathedral in Le Puy. The first record of the Black Virgin is 1294, and we know that She was very old even then. Again, mystery pervades. 

The Black Virgin at Le Puy en velay, France 

The Black Virgin at Le Puy en velay, France 

 

So the question that you may be asking yourself in one way or another is, "Why the pilgrimage, Clara?" 

Well... 

I am on this pilgrimage because as I travel this path towards more and more and greater and greater self acceptance and self love, I'm becoming more and more aware of how my power has been hidden, shamed, and disguised as something else. 

I am every day waking up to the fact that there has been an attempt to downgrade and shrink what it means to be a woman. The constant messages (media, gender roles, politics, etc) we are conditioned with do this.

For example:

  • To be a woman worthy of love or sexual attention, we need to be a certain size, shape or weight.
  • To be a "good" woman we should be calm and collected and self sacrificing
  • We should be sexy but not too sexy. 
  •  We should be be skinny, but, wait.. oh now we should be "strong" (aka musclely and lean)

And on and on. Until we're a culture full of women trying to "get their body back" and "lean out" and "fit into my skinny jeans." 

The sheer amount of time, thought energy and real energy spent by women (and men I am sure, it is spilling over) worrying about how they look, comparing themselves to others, and biting their nails over what they are eating and how they are exercising, is mind boggling. 

And I'll let you in on a little secret I've only just discovered... there's no point to any of those self-negating thoughts, the idea that we need to "punish" ourselves with food restriction or exercise, or the idea that you need to "control" yourself in any way. You don't have to do any of it. It's not helping. 

You need only love yourself and the magic starts to happen. When you commit to loving yourself no matter what, you start to want to move your body in a way that energizes you. You want to eat food that makes your body feel good. You want to set healthy boundaries and make life choices that respect your beautiful body. 

When you start to turn it all around. When you start to spend time loving yourself and thinking good thoughts about your body and all it does for you, something huge starts to happen.

You take back your autonomy and sovereignty as a woman.

You start to see that no one gets to determine your worthiness, but you. You start to see that you were never broken and you'll never be broken. You start to connect with the love that is a well spring of your heart, which comes from the inside, not the outside. And you start to wonder, as I have, what in the hell is going on that so many women feel so enslaved by external beauty standards and external worthiness ideals. 

The never ending external environmental cues we get about how we should look, act, feel, and be are powerful, no doubt, and it takes practice, commitment, and sisterhood to see through them, but self love starts to cut through the bullshit and we begin to see. 

So, that's why I'm on this pilgrimage.. to discover what has been buried in me and outside of me. To remind myself of a time and place where women were revered, and bring that time and place to the now. To familiarize myself with a divinity that includes feminine bodies and their numinous functions. To unearth the Truth that is rising in me and rising in the world. (If you're reading this, I know you can feel it too.)

The Truth is that women are sacred. That we are autonomous. That we are powerful creators and our worthiness is not given, but claimed. It's been here all along, we've just been asleep. 

This divine feminine pilgrimage is part of a waking up process that started for me when I first decided to eat in a way that served me, by listening to my body, and has snow balled into a revolutionary realization that I can say, feel, act, and BE whatever the hell I want to, because I AM. 

I Am the Fire

I am the flame that burns brighter as the night gets darker

The breath in my lungs is the wind that ignites me 

It blows out the old & takes in the new 

I am the water of my blood, flowing and adaptable, 

Waiting to transform whatever I get, into what I need

The Earth of my body being my chosen anchor

The roots running deep so that I may Rise up 

Nothing could knock me down 

I am the destroyer

I tear down delusion 

I Burn up all that doesn't serve

Only so that some new, more loving seed can be planted 

And grow, stronger & more assured 

I am the nurturer 

Straight out of creation 

Shaping form so that light may be experienced 

So that Love may be poured somewhere it has not been known before

You could not hold me down 

You could not stifle me 

You could not control me 

For I am you

I am in the wildness in Her eyes 

I am in the howl at the Moon 

I am Human & Goddess

Future & Past & Present 

You could not throw me into the Fire

for I am the Flame 

Sacred Rituals

What is a sacred ritual?

These two words might conjure up images of naked women dancing around a bomb fire, or pagan sacrifices, or maybe even a taking communion at a church. Or, like me, you could have flashbacks of Buffy the Vampire Slayer reading out of some ancient book and casting spells. It could also illicit an eye-roll or two. I'm OK with that. I get it. 

If you would, please, suspend these preconceived notions about what a sacred ritual looks like or is for the duration of the time it takes to read this.

What if sacred rituals were just little actions we partook in that reminded us that there are circumstances in this world that are mysterious and out-of-of-our-control-in-a-good-way? 

We typically want everything in our life to have some semblance of control. We like comfort, consistency, and safety. This makes sense! We should want to have shelter, food, and the guarantee that our life isn't in danger. 

However, when we cling to this idea of needing-to-know too desperately, we are completely thrown off when things (inevitably) show us that we don't always have control. 

Typically, when we do realize we're not in control our mind immediately goes to the worst possible scenario.  As Gabby Bernstein explains in her book "The Universe Has Your Back" we live our lives like we're the girl in the horror movie just about to have something awful jump out in front of her. We're throwing popcorn at the screen and saying "DON'T DO IT!! YOU'RE GONNA GET HURT!!!".

The funny thing is, unlike the predictable horror movie, there normally isn't a bad guy around the corner. We're typically totally OK, and even when we're not, we typically figure it out. But we put a lot of unnecessary stress on ourselves by constantly being in the scene. 

What if the unknown or the mysterious didn't send us into a horror movie but gave us a sense of awe and wonder? 

What if instead of using our imaginations to create awful scenarios, we create beautiful ones?

Is it really that much crazier to think that taking the time to give a little offering of prayer and love to the universe could positively affect the outcome of a difficult situation, than (one of my recurring horror scenes) to feel like you're DEFINITELY going to die while you're driving in a snowstorm? We always seem to believe in the bad projections of the future and scoff at the possibility that there could be wondrous outcomes. 

Here in Bali, each day people put these little offerings (called on their doorsteps and around their home and light incense. They take the time and put the effort into creating these beautiful little offerings. These offerings are a repeated act of faith by Balinese Hindus and can be infused with intentions, prayers, or just simply put out to ask for good fortune. 

Balianese offering

Can you imagine if every person spent the time and effort of putting together a beautiful little offering and lit some incense every morning?

And so I've been thinking about this question. About the role of sacred rituals and how I might be able to create them in my life in the modern world. My feeling is that if we made time for something that felt like a sacred ritual in our lives we would feel more connected to the magic in our souls and ultimately more joyful. We would direct more of our abundant imaginative energy towards the positive instead of reliving our horror movie scene over and over. 

These sacred rituals are less about what we do, but more about how we do it. Whatever you do, do it with reverence and appreciation of something larger than just our daily routine, you can literally infuse anything with sacredness if you see it from a larger point of view. 

We are multi-dimensional beings and acknowledging our sacredness could connect us more to the aspects of ourselves that get pushed aside in our daily grind, and turn us on to the positive possibilities that come from releasing control with love instead of fear. 

So light some incense tonight. Say some prayers. Have a hot bath and honor your sacred body.

Do something that feels like it has magic in it and let me know how you feel after.... ✨💫

If you're interested in partaking in a sacred ritual but have no idea where to start I have recorded one of mine. Watch it here. Use this ritual for planting new 'seeds' in your life. A perfect time to practice this is on the night of the new moon, but it can be practiced at any time you feel you need to get back to neutral and imagine new and postive outcomes.