Women Moving the Edge – Day 3

Sunrise over Flemish Brabant

The sun rose redly this morning on ice in the moat and frost on the grass. Yesterday we sank through layers of archetypal woman – the fear, the pain, the anger, the joy and the power. We moved our bodies, we lay around in soft heaps of intimate communing comfort, daring to go that much further together moment by moment, driven on by our curiosity, by our determination not to be held back. Towards dinner we ended up in an excavation of our sexual power and mystery that had us screaming with laughter and weeping with fury and punching pillows in turns.

I have been impressed by all the shared patterns and archetypes that have come through, but I feel a tension between the immediacy of our bodies, with all the SUBJECTIVITY that brings, and the broader arena that women need to move out into if we are to contain and support our menfolk and work in partnership to set our world onto a sustainable path for all its children and species.

Essence of sister-heap

There have been glimpses, but we keep sinking back into the womblike depths of the domestic perspectives. Individually, these are powerful and active women. Collectively, we are still retreating into our harem and wallowing in introspection rather than using our bodies as the collective sensing organ they have the potential to be. Ria is steering us purposefully in that direction, but the field keeps collapsing.

I’m starting to discern one of the edges we are working on here. It’s coming from the stories that the women are telling. Nancy spoke of her dream of buying a bicycle that didn’t fit her and not being able to take it back. Ursula spoke of the split between her power of choice in her home life and her sense of powerlessness in her work life – and the dawning understanding of where her choice there lay. Anne-Marie talked of the choice she made to entrust her newborn baby into the frightened hands of her husband. This was the metaphor that we took to most strongly: we are the priestesses of humanity’s meanings and deep purposes, what keeps us connected to the earth and our physical reality. We cannot just wash our hands of what the men do, fold our arms, shake our heads, turn our backs and stay at home. Our habit of doing this is what has allowed the disconnect to become so strong that it will take a lot of undoing. And that, now, is our task.

Ria the uncompromising!

Sarah and Maria arrived half way through our morning and were absorbed effortlessly into our circle. There is a breathing in and out, an oscillation between seeing and sensing, between looking far outside and sinking deep inside to the enormity of knowing that is accessible to us through our bodies. Oh, how we have forgotten how to do this! Oh, how glad I am that Ria is here to remind us that we KNOW, if only we tune in to that place in us that knows. Ria is awesome. I hadn’t realised quite how thoroughly she has divested her body of the scarring and armouring that so many of us carry deep within us. She had us all sensing with our vaginas, in ways that had me cross-eyed with concentration – while for her it was now second nature. A walking advertisement for emotional body work!

Nina and Ursula evoked Kali in her many-armed form, and we also called in the thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara with the eyes in his hands to see the need in the world. There is a huge disconnect in our world, with so much action going on fed by disembodied concepts without ever any real, visceral checking into what meshes with reality, what is sustainable and what has true heart and meaning. We women have not been doing our job, insofar as we have withdrawn from the world of men into the domestic sphere.

Maria brought in Greek Delphi and the Pythian oracle. She told the story of her visit with Sarah to that place, to all the male structures and systems that had been built around… the rock where the oracle spoke (in metaphors which were more often than not misunderstood – oh how we need to learn to be explicit!) and the cave where she went to hear the answer to men’s questions.

Maria the Wise and Funny


Maria reminded us that we have not lost that which we cherish – we have hidden it! It is still there. We are waiting to bring it out again when it’s safe. And soon, soon it will be. So now is the time to relearn that which we have forgotten in these long years of retreat and withdrawal. And to incorporate and embrace the education, the models, the intellectual power that we women have also stepped into, the masculine realm of concepts and constructs. We can build bridges in a way our men can’t, because we have something they don’t: that bodily knowing, that power to grow and manifest the seeds they plant in us. It is not clear to me whether this capacity is genetic or can be cultivated. All brothers reading this – please feel free to share your perspective on this!

The many armed Buddha

We keep moving from the deep past out into the far future. We revisit our grandmothers, our mothers, the passing of the generations. That is part of the woman. In telling our stories, we are weaving a story in this gathering of where we as women need to go from here, back into the world. We returned to Delphi to hear the story of how Apollo killed the python that protected the stone from which the Oracle spoke. And the python had been male – that part of masculinity that protects and holds space for the feminine. Gradually, a clarity is emerging around the need to send the call out into the world to that masculine, that so many of us – both men and women – are hungry to hear and answer. Before the gathering even convened, we had been talking about the split that had occurred in women – between the domestic and interior and the ‘emancipated’ agentic woman. And here there came, all unexpected, into our circle, the split in the masculine. Always we see the isomorphy of this living system that we are. If the feminine is split, then so will the masculine be. It didn’t occur to us to look, but it was given to us to see.

After dinner, Maria and Sara read the tarot for our question. (That will be a separate blog entry). It was uncanny, of course, as all true magic is. It reminded me strongly that in this world of men-in-suits and machinery, magic is still real.

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About iyeshe

Woman returning to the wild. Cunning linguist, mother of twins, witch, host, harvester, spaceholder for the dawning Aquarian age, evolutionary wooden-spoon wielder, self-mitigating carbon footprint, wannabe holon in the forthcoming collective buddha...
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