Read Part One here.
My way of honoring this Goddess is to be with Her. I feel Her as my hands when touch Her soil, when I sit on Her body, or when I am walking with Her trees. I see Her in the birds flying overhead and in the small feather left for me on the ground. I think I am closest to Her when I am by the sea. That may be because the ocean is the source of life, but I believe it is because I truly feel Her might and healing power as I stand in Her waves. I view the mountains with awe, knowing that She is there. I see the rivers as Her blood flowing, just as our own blood flows through us carrying life force throughout our bodies. The air we breathe and share with all is given to us by the plants and the trees in their process of photosynthesis, everything carefully crafted in our co-existence.
All these outdoor glimpses of Her are seen only on occasion. I am, for the most part, now an indoor person, due to physical limitations. I am, however, a woman whose memories, imagination and mind are strong. I can, at will, bring these images of Her to myself in my mind’s eye and into my body not only from my memories, but from those things I collect when I can be outside in nature. I have shells, sand and salt for the sea. I have rocks of all sizes, shapes and types. I have feathers and fur.
For all the myriad goddesses who represent the many facets of who I am, I can place a statue on my altar or call Her to me in my Sacred Dance. This dance is the spiritual practice of ecstatic dance. As in my creation myth above (see Part One), “She arose from the Great Void, the source of all potential, giving Birth to Herself, before anything else had ever been born. She separated the sky and the water, and She danced. In the ecstasy of Her Dance did She conceive of all there is,” my practice of ecstatic dance is part of my own creative process. When I wish to “know” a goddess, after studying what is written about her, I call her into my dance. In this way we are intimately connected, not to ever be separate again. Because she becomes a part of me in the Dance I come to know her in ways, perhaps no one has read about. I do not claim this difference to others to dispute any myths about her because I know that this is how She wishes me to see her, not others. My rational mind knows that I am seeing an aspect of myself not seen before. It is one in which I will, in calling upon this goddess, find the strength, knowledge and ability to do what is placed before me.
I also learned, through experience, that through the Dance, I am at my creative best. Many of my poems and much of my writing has been done at the close of the Dance. I learned this for the first time when I danced with Eurynome and this poem came straight out of the Dance.
from space I arose
awake in the great nothing
that is all potential.
the great swirling field
the empty void of space ~
all that can be
all that is ….
my joy, so complete,
be-ing overcome with delight.
my body moved
in ecstatic pleasure
ripples of laughter
bubbling forth, I am
lost in my intensity …
I dance forth creation
dividing earth and sky
dancing on the waves,
birthing the north wind
creating in my joy.
lost in my dance
I am all that is.
It is interesting to me to see when I look around my house, that those goddesses that I have “embodied,” are not present in the statues on my many altars. Those sit with the shells, rocks and feathers that I use when I need to use my imagination to bring Her to me.
My spiritual “gnosis” includes a belief in my ability to manifest what I need. This manifesting process I call “magic.” Some spell it “magick” but I seem to stick with the original. For me it begins with thought and a personal assurance and belief in my abilities. I add symbols to stimulate my senses. I might use incense to trigger my sense of smell and I choose that incense for its spiritual properties or values as related to my work. I might play music to stimulate my sense of hearing and it will serve to awaken the energy in my body with rhythm. I choose visual symbols associated with the work I will be doing. I might even have something to eat handy to stimulate my taste buds, but usually if food is present, it is more for grounding when I am finished. As you can see, I choose everything as it relates to my goal. When I do this magic, I usually dance to involve myself fully in the work and raise the energy and emotion necessary to send my intentions out into the universe to be accomplished.
Another aspect of my spiritual practice has been to delve into the study of the Ogham. I was drawn to the Ogham because as a symbol set it was nature based and included not just letters, but goddesses, trees, birds, animals and stones. I can look at all of these with a naturalist’s eye or through the mythological stories contained in their teachings. By following them, as used in a year and a day calendar and guide, I have found them to be tools for personal growth.
Because I have set no limits on my spiritual practice, other than to explore and do what feels right to me, the boundaries of my exploration are limitless. Because I know that all is sacred and of Her, I am obligated to honor that in my daily life and in my daily interaction with others. When I can look within and see Her, in others, I honor that and make every effort to see beyond what that person may be manifesting at that given moment. I see Her in everything around me, which obligates me to care for this planet, and to do my best not to do anything that will destroy or corrupt Her beauty.
Loving life and all that it includes has given me the ability to grow in compassion toward others and not to be so self-centered in thinking only of myself and how things affect only me. I am conscious of the ripples I make in the waters of life. Through my studies of religions, I have come to learn that the only real value of adopting a religion is to explain the unexplainable, to have a guide to go by, and to offer comfort when life becomes overwhelming. Being a sensing, feeling woman, a woman who must experience to know, has made it very difficult for me to adopt another’s religion. By coming to my own, by honoring this Goddess from whom I come, and who is also me, there is help for me to understand what is unknowable. I receive guidance at my every breath and am shielded and comforted all my days. As the nurturing, all loving Mother, she suckles me at her breast and shelters me in her lap. I also know that I can be the wild woman I am without fear and to understand that sometimes my anger is a great thing! Her world is open for me to explore, to study and to grow. I am driven to stand on my own and I know that should I fall, help is there. She is all of that because all of that is in me. I do not need to seek it outside of myself other than to be with it. While it is in me, I can also find it without. This knowledge strengthens me, guides me, and lights up my soul. She has taught me to be Her beacon, a beacon to shine so that She can be seen by any who might glimpse my way.
Deanne Quarrie. D. Min. is a Priestess of the Goddess. She is the author of six books. She is the founder of the Apple Branch where she teaches courses in Feminist Dianic Witchcraft and Northern European Witchcraft. She has recently opened Iseum Benedictus as a priestess in the Fellowship of Isis. She mentors those who wish to serve others in their communities. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Ocean Seminary College and is the founder of Global Goddess, a worldwide organization open to all women who honor some form of the divine feminine.
Belladonna is a High Priestess in the Apple Branch. She was, for many years, the editor of the Global Goddess Oracle. She is the owner of Belladonna’s Garden offering quality products for the bath!! My thanks to her for providing the substance for this article.