What is Wild Woman Rising?

We are artists, musicians, actors, poets. Kitchen wizards, medicine women, plant whisperers and earth mamas. We dance, we sing, we listen, we create. We are alive and engaged in life on this planet! We invite you to share in our magic and weave your offerings into the web. Learn more here:

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Breaking the Alabaster Jar

China, 2014

by Melissa (Mei An) Reed

For all the street dancers who move between Swing, Folk, Jazz and the Cowboy song,
“It’s been a long hard ride home.”


Unhelmeted electric-motor bikers swarm

Nanjing streets, bike paths, sidewalks, swoop

soundlessly from behind pedestrians, graze

human calves with passing shoe leather racing

relentlessly to work. Their mission? Forced

to workplaces on time or lose their jobs (despite

unmanaged high volume traffic) they freely choose

to support clean air. Only wei guo ren * need remember:

pedestrians sharing that mission lack right of way.

Safe awhile inside the stationary shop, you view

the frenzy of fast development storming by, destroying

the lives of people it aims to serve,

view the unfolding drama as Eros and

Thanatos write it, as Chinese view it —

the past always before them, a rewinding film.

You count the mounted Venuses whose broad-brimmed

hats challenge the promised, never delivered

safety, their colorful silk scarves floating

Continue Reading →

Mother Goose: Why Was She Sometimes Shown as a Witch?

by Jeri Studebaker

About Mother Goose very little is known. The few theories floating around about her are sketchy at best: she was Clotilde, wife of king Clovis of the Franks; she was Charlemagne’s mother “Goosefooted Bertha”; or, she might have been Bertha, wife of King Robert II of France. Others say she was Queen Pedauque, known only from mysterious statues in Medieval French churches of a woman with a webbed foot. Still others insist she was Elizabeth Goose of 18th-century Boston, Massachusetts, whose son-in-law supposedly published a book of the rhymes she sang to her grandchildren (no one, though, has ever found a copy of it).

Above left: Queen Pedauque, on the far right, with her one webbed foot.

Whoever she was originally, to many late 19th and early 20th century American artists Mother Goose was a Halloween witch. These artists show Mother with a large hooked nose, a giant pointed chin, and an evil, sinister grin smoldering on her face. She flies though the night sky on a goose or a broom, often in front of a big, round, orange-yellow moon. Sometimes a black cat rides behind her.

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Being A Badass

by Laurie Lahti

“Laurie, I challenge you to do something out of your comfort zone and discover your inner badass.”

“Like what?” I replied.

“Well, you could take an improv class, like we’ve talked about before. Or you might think of something else,” my therapist suggested.

Taking her challenge to heart, I gave myself a few days for ideas to percolate and my intuition to guide me. The term “badass” made me laugh, because it was so far removed from my self-concept and the demeanor I present to the world. The transformation I imagined was like Sandy in Grease, from miss goody two shoes to badass in black leather.

Not even 24 hours passed before an idea occurred to me, like an intuitive spark. I knew I needed to learn how to ride a motorcycle.

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Grandmother Corn

by JoAnne Dodgson

She came on the waters, traveling many miles and many moons on a wooden raft bound with sinew and vines. Attentive to every sound and sight and smell, she searched along the shore for signs of the villages she’d seen in her dreams. Grandmother knew the people were hungry. She’d seen the rippling effects of their fears. Guided by her visions, she followed the currents of the wild waters, carrying bundles of ancient medicines for those calling to her.

Drawn to the laughter bubbling up from beneath a canopy of trees, she came upon a group of children playing where the river meets the land. Grandmother drifted into the cove, chanting her Greeting Song. With wide-eyed curiosity, the children waded into the waters, giggling and holding each other’s hands. They pulled the raft into shore, staring at the old woman who’d come from Upriver. With her long silvery hair, wrinkled dark skin and green eyes shining like stars, she was unlike anyone they’d ever seen.

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What I Heard

by Marianne Lyon

Somewhere in all of us are memories of how we were at six
Sundays at Grandma’s are melted into me
I see them as clearly as a stage set —
her barn-like kitchen, oak table long with extra leaves
lace cloth, mix matched cups fitted on saucers

Friends drop in after church
for a coffee, strudel, a shot of whisky
the kitchen, a wide alley of sound,
I squint my ears to the Croatian words
like nonsense rhymes
we concoct playing jump rope

Every linguistic morsel consumes me
the room, a communal throat
I go back and forth like a swinging gate
the exchanges electrify me

Grandma’s friend Maria stands by the wall furnace
forehead a ladder of wrinkles
black hairs stiff from creases above her pursed lips
she runs her fingers through her hair
as if trying to comb her thoughts into place
her eyes grow big beyond belief
when something pleases her
she is like a dog-eared page in the script of my early life
I move even closer thinking that I will understand

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This Body is a Vast Terrain

by Eva Burke

…and then from the one pool we sprang,
leaping across the invisible abyss onto a new earth.
The terrain was hard and supportive,
but still we walked with a heavy, lumbering step,
and with eyes still unseeing from new birth.
We’ve been stumbling and trampling a long time,
been playing like children with our blocks,
seeing just how tall and how many.
We’ve been building a delicate system of distractions,
seeing just how long we could cut-off from the mystery of living.
But the blocks always fall
and we are faced again with the choice.
Which way to go from here…

…and then the child spins around,
bored with amusement,
and sets off in a new direction
eagerly seeking, yet
secretly knowing already
the really real:
the flesh of mother,
the soothing breast,
her firm embrace
and loving gaze,
her
offering
of milk
and honey…

…the body itself is a vast terrain,
with its bones, like rocks
flesh, like flowers,
let blood be the waters,
and limbs like grass.
Let us start a new journey
and learn to sway
and flow,
to quake and grow,
to spin and dance,
to stretch
and to feel our very own
expanse.

I Miss You This Much I

Poem by Janeen Pergrin Rastall
Image by Cheryl Angel

make a little circle,
touch my fingertip to thumb,
a line of flesh that does not end.
This is not the ring
that you forgot, not the shape
knuckles make on thighs
and breasts, not the hole of days
I dug and dove into. This is the circle
you did not expect, the manhole cover
I crawled up to, the shape of lips
saying: “No.” This is the drain
I place on my chest to siphon off
love’s residue. This is the zero,
the nothing left, the blast site center
aftermath. When I lift my hand,
this is my sign: three fingers splayed,
without you I am okay.

Continue Reading →

Spirit Nourishment

by Barbara Heile

It is the silence in everything that feeds my spirit.
This silence has so many qualities and always the same quality of depth.

When a tree stands before me, feeding me with the spirit of branch and root, trunk and presence, the silence is the container for this nourishment.

When a spring flower opens before me, the delicacy of its spirit often belies its own fine rooted system of being grounded and nourished through the soil.

When my Friend looks into my eyes, all the ages are held in his gaze, feeding my spirit through his loving eyes.

Those who have read my words feed my spirit in their open response of hearing and reception.

My family feeds my spirit. In their blood knowing of me I am unconditionally being embraced.

Open the Door

by JoAnne Dodgson

“Forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” — Leonard Cohen

From a shamanic perspective, change is seen as a journey through a doorway. Every change is a passage. We leave behind what’s familiar and known, letting go of what has been while creating momentum toward something not-yet experienced, unmanifested, colored by mystery and unknowns. Change involves movement, actions and choices which carry us through the opened door to the other side, whether we tentatively touch our toes in the newfound waters or exuberantly dive in.

Initiating change, any ending or beginning or transition in-between, requires that a door be cracked open, that we dare to look around and sense into what exists beyond the current landscape of our lives. Our thoughts, beliefs, emotions and dreams. Our relationships. Health, home, finances, community. Creativity. The flow and construction of our everyday lives.

Cracking open the doorway boldly sets things in motion. Because the light gets in. We see now what we couldn’t see, or maybe even dream of, before. We taste the potentials, sense the adventure, get curious and hungry for more.

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Feminine Mysticism in Art

Artists Envisioning the Divine

by Victoria Christian

The rise in the United States in recent years of feminist religious movements that focus on female images of the divine Goddess suggests that many women, in addition to men, find goddess symbolism to be appealing. Many feminist artists, too, claim to have found inspiration in goddesses and goddess symbolism as they provoke reminiscent feelings of a distant past — a vague, yet familiar reality lost to westerners. Feminist critiques of religion and some postmodernists have taken issue with traditional images of God, arguing that male hegemony in Western cultures can be correlated directly with the centrality of a single, all-powerful male god in the dominant strands of the predominately Jewish and Christian religious heritage of Europe and the United States. Many would argue further that given this situation, it is important for women as well as for men with feminist goals to recover or create empowering female symbols to help combat the ones that support patriarchy and the denial of the feminine principle.

For the past five years I have been researching the work of contemporary women artists from all over the United States. My mission has been two-fold; to study the stages of their development of an identity as women artists, separate and distinct from that of a male artist, and to study the impact and development of feminine mysticism on their lives and on the world at large.

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Dawn

by Nathalie Jackson

I sit here this day
Full of wonder, awake, amazed
Miracles are finding me
Seeking me out
Looking for me in the cold, dark moments.
Knowing I am in there somewhere.
Not willing to settle for anything less
Than All of Me…

Filled with gratitude
For all those who never give up on me
Small reminders of the latent beauty
Of a diamond hiding deep in stone.
Diamond, stone, sculptor — I Am All of it.

All of nature pauses before
The breaking dawn,
The breath before the diamond emerges
In anticipation
Whispering, “Yes, You CAN and you WILL rise.”
Never a doubt
That new birth will take place
Enough trust
To change the tides
To quench the raging fires
And calm the endless storm

This same trust, I find
Somehow, Somewhere, Within my Heart

The Dawn beckons me back home

It Was Always Yours

by Mikki Baloy

Take a breath, love.

As though time has stopped
(though your tenacious heart will not), pause here. Listen.

In this moment, there is nothing to do but breathe.
Or, if you like, there is nothing to do but move your body in a way
that feels good,
all your dear sinew and flesh rolling like tides or
pounding like drums.
There is truly nothing to do but enjoy the flavor of this bite of chocolate,
nothing to do but laugh with this beautiful friend,
let the sun soak into your bones
or inhale the particular fragrance of this cup of tea

In this moment, all you need do is feel the blades of grass between
your fingers
and let the broad comfort of sky cover you like a lover’s sheet.

All you have to know is
that you do not have to earn it. How could you, or anyone,
earn such wealth?
One could give her whole life, and still it would not be enough for
this much glory. So, for just this moment,
cease all effort.

You do not have to be better, thinner, happier, stronger or richer.
You do not have to have a mother who loved you or a father who
was kind.
The World does not need your explanations, or demand the secret
handshake you were never taught.
You do not have to be anything other than what you are, precisely imperfect,
right now.

Continue Reading →

Parable

by J.K. Winters

Spider-like we spin the sticky web of our dreaming,
      racing freely along the swinging strands
     to the Center, where we wait, ravenous.
There, miraculously,
             in our patience of not doing,
                      we are fed.

An Invitation

by Eva Burke

I tell myself
that I am going to put my head down
and when I look up
there will be before me
all that I need.
And so I do it
in my mind’s eye:
I put my head down
and look up
and simply see
what needs to be seen.
Of all the possible things I think I need,
it’s nothing but
rolling hills
covered
in a thick green pine
as far and wide
as the eye can see.
It spreads out before me
like an emerald carpet
as I stand on the edge
overlooking,
surveying,
waiting.
And then
slowly
there arises
an invitation

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Coming of Age – What’s the Alternative?

by DeAnna L’am

I recently watched in disbelief a short video taken during an Israeli girl’s 9-year-old birthday celebration. The girl, and a group of her select girlfriends, were driven in a stretched limousine to a Beauty Salon within a Birthday Parlor, where they were primped from head to toe, given facial masks (at 9 years of age!), manicures and pedicures, hair removal and hair styling, surrounded by pink balloons, trays of sushi, cupcakes and drinks in cocktail glasses (I trust they weren’t alcoholic, but I wasn’t there).

The Hostess prompted: “Who wants to be the most beautiful one in the world?” To which a choir of girls screamed: “Me!” Interviews with the girls included gems such as: “I have a personal stylist” and “My name is Rommy, I am 6, and my hobby is eating Sushi.”

The Event Planner said: “Events start at $400 and can go up to $13,000. I get all manners of requests from parents, from hair removal to yachts with a girl lowered into them by a helicopter.”

It is painful to contemplate what this over-the-top celebration reveals about the mother who raises this girl and the mothers who send their daughters to participate in these. How must they feel about themselves as women? What messages are they hoping to convey to their daughters? And what messages do they end up bringing forth?

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Seeds of a Grandmother

by Marie-Ève Bonneau

At first there was just one and I could see it only if the light caught its reflection at just the right angle. The appearance of the first was followed by a second and a third. I’m not sure why we call them grey — they’re actually anything but grey. In my eyes, they’re silver and shiny and more luminous than all the other strands of hair.

I had a dream about these silver strands many moons ago before the first one appeared. I was living in the jungle, near the ocean, and dreamt one balmy night that I had a crown of silver hair. In the dream I wondered why I hadn’t noticed it before.

There are only a few now but I see more and more by the day. At first this came as a surprise, even a bit of a shock…it’s as though I thought that I alone would be spared the aging process. After my surprise, came a feeling of slight worry and various thoughts about my mortality and how temporary this form really is.

Continue Reading →

The Knitter

by K. Chavez

I’m bound by your hands.
The ugly parts of my soul
Slowly have unraveled.
You’ve recreated those memories
With a unique new pattern.
And with your needle,
Methodically,
Wrapped yourself around my heart
And knitted yourself into my life.

Sorceress

by Joyce Thornburg

I always felt another presence in the room with Granny.

She looked straight through me — 
her eyes fixed on some invisible thing.

Seventy pounds of pure spirit, I felt her love with the force of ten thousands hammers.

Her snuff-stained apron as holy as a nun’s habit.

She wrapped a string around a wart on my finger, mumbled incomprehensible words — then buried the string.

In three days, my wart was gone.

Even Comets Sing

by JoAnne Dodgson

Comets sing! The audio recording made when a space probe landed on a comet has gone viral. While the world seems to be falling apart, with ceaseless news reports of wars, heartache and destruction, something else is capturing our attention.

The very songs of life.

And the beautiful thing is — we’re listening.

We all have a Song, a unique vibration, a dynamic energy field existing within our physical bodies and rippling out beyond. Though audible sounds may not be detectable by our human ears, there are countless ways we can feel, sense and experience our own and others’ Songs — whether we’re connecting with another human, with the trees or a mountain, with a river, coyote, comet or star.

Each and every one’s Song is unique. Full of aliveness and knowing. Ancient and vast. With particular purposes for existence. Beautiful and loving. Curious and aware.

Remarkable scientific genius was poured into hours and hours of innovative construction of the spacecraft that landed on the comet. Interestingly, the mission was not about finding the song. The song of the comet was an entirely unexpected discovery which has opened doorways into new territory, stretching the mind, awakening the heart about what is and can

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The Way of the Heart

by Trishuwa

I saw a coyote.
He moved so swiftly his body
stretched across the earth and the sky.
I watched him travel and followed.
Coyote laughed with me.
He laughed with the whole universe.
My eyes changed.
They became like the stars, bright and shiny.

I lost the way back to
before I saw Coyote.
I was never to return.
Sometimes I wonder if I should have
marked the trail.
You see I thought that someone would find me.
Take me back to before.
Once in a while someone does comes along,
but the same thing happens to them.
They never return to the before time.

They are the ones with eyes of stars,
laughter that vibrates with the universe,
and bodies that stretch
across the earth and into the sky.

Continue Reading →

Shall I Drive You to The Red Tent?

by DeAnna L’am

Imagine your girl coming home from school. She feels tired. She is actually crabby, and the sullen look on her face warns you to keep your distance. Throwing her backpack on the floor she runs into her room, not interested in answering any of your questions about her day. Her shoes fly off her feet, one at a time, on her way up the stairs, and land randomly on the floor. Her door is slammed shut, and you are not welcomed inside. You want to ask her about her feelings, to understand what is going on, but the door’s message is clear, and you know it will not open for a while…

Imagine, though, that you had a magical key to this closed door…

Imagine softly knocking and whispering to your girl: “Shall I drive you to the Red Tent?”

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Close to Home

Home is Where the Heart Is

by Barbara Heile

“It is critical that we feel worthy.” — Flora Aube


The Heart is a Portal for Beauty and Light

And the heart is a portal for truth!
Now, I understand the truth and power of this word: critical.

It is absolutely critical that we feel worthy.

I did not feel worthy for many, many, many years.
I was too critical, of myself.
And yet I painted and I showed paintings.
I ping ponged between feeling the best and the worst.
I could not bear to see what I painted for long.
And I destroyed a lot of paintings.
The painting on this postcard is from a small exhibit of my work at Lord Fairfax Community College, some time before 2006.

The name of the exhibit was “Close to Home.”
I destroyed the painting, let it go to hold another painting,
because no one “wanted” it.

It is clear for me that I could not own it myself.

The woman standing at her home is me.

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Only an Initial Spark

An Interview with Dime Novelist Kathleen Glassburn on Inspiration, Writing and Horses

by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Laura Madeline Wiseman: I just finished reading your flash novel A New Plateau from Red Dashboard’s dime novel series. This is part one of the trilogy, with the next two in the series forthcoming in 2015. Talk about the inspiration to write a trilogy and the art of publishing sequentially.

Kathleen Glassburn: I didn’t plan to have this story be part of the dime novel series, but rather submitted the stand-alone story for publication in a literary journal. Red Dashboard offered me this opportunity, and it sounded like a fun experiment. I’ve never written a trilogy, so one of my questions was: How much information from the previous story do I need to insert in order to place the reader? Eventually, I figured out what felt right, assuming that anyone reading the second story would have read the first one. Many of my stories end in such a way that there is room for continuation. I’ve finished the second story except for a bit of polishing, so I knew where it is going. In “A New Plateau,” the first story, Janice is excited about resuming an old passion for horses, as well as making a change of scenery to Santa Fe. Since the death of her husband, the life she loved has altered significantly. The second story, as yet untitled, opens several months later, with her missing the comforts and luxuries of life in Seattle. For her, bunkhouse living has proven to be pretty miserable at times, especially during the icy, winter days and nights. But home, which she returns to during the holidays, continues to evoke grief and sad memories. How this conflict — Seattle or Santa Fe? — is resolved makes up the story. Since the series is called The Santa Fe Trilogy, a reader knows that Janice stays. But, how and why does she stay?

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Priestess in a Material World

by Sage Woman

In 2010, I went through the Shamanic Priestess Process facilitated by Anyaa McAndrew and followed with the Shamanic Magdalene Mysteries Circle. I received my calling from Spirit to carry on the lineage and am beginning my apprenticeship with Anyaa in a few weeks. As a facilitator of the Shamanic Priestess Process, I will be bringing my own Medicine Woman Mystery School to the Process in 2015.

Many times I have been asked: what is a Priestess? Often, I have not been able to really articulate an answer. For that reason, among others, I have decided to make this article about what I believe it means to be a Priestess in 2015.

Every woman carries the lineage of the Priestess. Somewhere deep down inside each of us is a memory of our Divinity. We are healers, caretakers, nurturers and peacemakers. We show up in the world through every profession. The Priestess chooses to live her life from a place of spiritual intelligence and maturity. She embraces her shadow-self and does the work. The work consists of interior cultivation, facing demons of the past, choosing love over fear and knowing how to live with passionate detachment.

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A Loss

by Nathalie Jackson

I walk with death today
I feel its power
Know its fierceness
Feel its gentleness
My heart at once
breaks with the finality
of the moment
And bursts wide open
With the beauty
Of knowing you are with the ancestors
How can one heart
feel so much
in One Precious Instance?
I feel your presence
Hear your laughter
Feel the gentle way
you poked and teased
and shared your joy
I miss who I remember you to be
I miss the sweet memories of my youth
And how you were a part of healing
and laughter in my life
I will remember
your smiles and sense of humour
How you fed us to show you cared
And sat watching us children play
My love of the garden comes from you
I blissfully remember the sea of geraniums
on your dining room table
And how you taught me to graze in the garden
Your hands will forever remain strong in my memory
Hands that massaged, planted, fed, created
You can relax now
You will be missed

Invisible No More

by Feather Redfox


Dreamer Memories of the Time of Dann

Scented knowings of past realities smoked thru dreams
and
Incense smoldered,
losing past ash on
Brass moon and stars near
Milky iridescent
Shell.

She sat…heart reaching for the
Hurt,
the devastation that dissipates all
present
presence…
Life goes thru new doorways on other paths between
Green-rowed trees both
Dark and light to
dappled path
and she of flowing skirts and copper hair
is walking,
Certain,
to a joyous Connection with her
uplifted knowing of Home,
place of exchange, growth, teaching, empowerment
always.

Continue Reading →

Turning of the Times

by JoAnne Dodgson

How can we create a world of harmony, happiness, and well-being for humans and all life on earth as we move into the new year?

This question was asked in a Throwing of the Bones Ceremony, a Peruvian healing art and divination ceremony in the ways of Ka Ta See. Here is the Spirits’ response:

Building from the Inside Out

The Bone Spirits show that creating a world of harmony, happiness, and well-being begins by having these energies felt, known, and actively alive on the inside, in our inner worlds. We build a harmonious world from the inside out.

The key is our personal and collective awakening as humans. Remembering who and what we really are. Living life as a genuine expression of our true selves. Not somebody else’s expectations. Not society’s map for our lives. No judgments, assumptions, or fears.

In the Peruvian ways of Ka Ta See, your self, the totality of your being, is poetically described as your ‘Song.’ To wake up means to remember your Song. To feel, know, experience, and openly share who and what you really are. You being you, for real.

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Discovering Original Face*

For Reinier Jesserum and My National Chinese Students

by Melissa (Mei An) Reed

Waterfall and hidden birds beckon — initiate
an extraordinary human
experiment.

Supine on Classical Chinese Garden ground, we give
ourselves to gravity, slowly, deeply, evenly breathing
into pulsing star shapes.

Supple in the Green World’s hand, we surrender
vital radiance, receive all needed frequencies of light, relax
deeply into the Book of Earth, the Teacher who cradles us.

Transparent to all Gaia has to give us, we forget
ourselves — discover,
We are rich!

Is this the face we have lost?

We notice how more light radiates
outward through our upturned palms where sunlight meets
and radiates in return.

Levity pulls equally, oppositely from gravity to exact
new vertical balance. Floating
effortlessly between sky and earth we rejoice,

We are free! —
free artists
of our characters.

Continue Reading →

Shakti Rising — Women Rising

by Lakshmi Raman

The Dalai Lama once said, “The world will be saved
by the western women.”

I say, “The world will be saved by Women.”

As women, we are bestowed with the power to create, the power to restore and destroy. Shakti lives in us. Through the ages, women have been taught to silence Shakti. They are taught to dim down their light.

I call bullshit on this. Stop dimming your inner light. The world needs you to shine bright.

Now you may ask, “Lakshmi how do I harness the power and light of Shakti?”

First, YOU are Shakti. She lives within you. Her form maybe different, but her message remains the same; heal the World.

Second, her power is harnessed through your everyday act.

Healing the world does not require you to touch the lives of the masses. Healing begins at home. As a mother, you touch the lives of your children everyday. Our children go on to building the future.

Continue Reading →

I Remember

by Nathalie Jackson

I remember Who I Am
How many times have I heard these very words
Come from my very lips?
Here I am, once again…
Having forgotten
To remember.

Is this how the story is meant to unfold?
Is this the destiny of humanity?
How far will I fall
When next my memory fails?

It remains unknown
Forever in the mystery
Here for my discovery

Until then, I smile.
For right now I’m alive,
I’m awake; I see.
I’ll stay here
Content and at peace
Fire burning in my belly
Giving love, taking love in
Living to be alive
Not forsaking any part of me
Loving every crease, every wrinkle
Every eyelash, every grey hair

Every part counts
All of me matters.

I remember…

Tumbleweeds Who Forgot to Tumble

by JoAnne Dodgson

I’ve been clearing a patch of land near my house where there’s a burly overgrowth of brown tumbleweeds. My harvesting wardrobe includes thick leather gloves and toeless socks pulled over my forearms to prevent painful encounters with the sharp prickly spines. I’ve gotten to wondering about this unlikely gathering of still-rooted tumbleweeds. Why haven’t they tumbled the way tumbleweeds do? What’s held them in place despite their natural inclination to uproot and blow in the winds and dance across the land?

Do they really like it here or have they just gotten stuck?

My clearing-away of the aged tumbleweeds has revealed unexpected treasures. Hidden beneath the crunchy brown tangle I’ve discovered a lush growing world of green. A vibrant Yucca once buried beneath the overgrowth now stands visible and undisguised. White blossoms on a delicate curvy vine now reach joyfully toward the sky. Purple wildflowers are flourishing. The soil is sunning herself, nourishing the renewal of her patch of land.

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Finding My Heartsong in the Southern Highlands

by Tudzeline1 (Nadine Waltman Harmon)

Sometimes we find love in the strangest of places and in the most unusual circumstances. It all began for me one late June night, a winter’s night in the southern hemisphere when I felt surrounded by a seemingly cold, harsh and uninviting environment. After traveling all night over a bumpy road from Dar es Salaam, Rukia Masasi and I reached her parents’ home in Iringa, Tanzania. Rukia, who had lived with my family and attended the local community college, would be my interpreter while I researched folk tales of the Wahehe, the indigenous people of Iringa Region. My research was partly financed by a grant from The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an honorary for women educators. I would live in the small guesthouse in the Masasi’s compound while I learned about Wahehe folk tales.

As I looked at
the typewriter I wondered if I could find the right words to retell the Wahehe folk tales.

The Southern Highlands, Iringa Region in Tanzania, East Africa is a land of surprises. Surrounded by high stone mountains, its many red mud-brick houses

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The Call

by Kaylia Dunstan

Woman where are you?
Where are you woman?
You have wrapped yourself in silence
Cast your eyes
From the terror of sadness
Forgotten your belly
It’s now fat with water
That dripped from your lids
Dropped rivers down your neck
Too long ago to mention

This is a story of a woman
who dared herself
to dream
she belonged to the sea

Woman where are you?
Where are you woman?
Persephone’s pilgrimage
Is not your own

Where is your dance of celebration
Your velvet parade through the streets
Your folded skin
Shaking like bells
Where is the fine spin
Of the moment when
The sunlight mellows the face
And the breasts are deep and round

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Poem for Dancers

Moving Prayers

by Katlyn Breene

Carry your prayers
Like jewels upon your breast
Like honey upon your lips

Hold your prayers
Like the egg of a wild bird
Like a sleeping child,
Ever so lightly, yet so strong

Embrace your prayers
Like a lover who is leaving on a journey
Then let them go with a smile

Dance your prayers
Into the present
Every step a heart beat
Into the earth

Find your prayers
Inside every breath,
Let them open you
Until you are filled with tears
Of phenomenal blessedness

Release your prayers
Like sweet smoke
Spiraling between earth and heaven —
By forgetting the words…

Five Tips for Juicy Aging

by Mariana Trapera

Feeling JOY, experiencing WELLNESS, and finding MEANING in your third chapter is essential if you want to live through these years with a sense of peace and purpose, and into your 80’s and beyond.

Although research has found that older people do tend to feel happier and less stressed in their retirement years than younger folk, it appears that this changes in their geriatric years when they can become very miserable. I propose that we can greatly improve our chances of feeling HAPPIER in our later years by taking care of the transition ones in our 50’s to 70’s. As one who knows, I offer the following tips.

I Believe There Are Five Key Areas to Focus On

And if you feel STUCK in any area, don’t know the HOW to, or need SUPPORT to resolve the past, then please ask for help. You’re never too old to hire a coach to get some tips, or talk with an empathic therapist if there are things from your past to let go of, like healing family wounds or unresolved grief.

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Hello Beautiful Debbie

by Kytha Gernatt

Hello Beautiful Debbie
Let me tell you something, Dear
I may be right and I may be wrong
but nothing is easy and the road is long.

Take your own sweet time, Debbie
and relax your mind, Debbie
everything is perfectly broken
that’s why we spend our time mending
our hearts, our souls, our bodies, Debbie
if that is your real name.

Love. Debbie.
There is only One.
we gotta share it.
Like Our Mamas always told us
this world was made for us

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Fill The Gap

by DeAnna L’am

My Great-Great-Great-Grandmother sat in a Red Tent. My Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter, yet to be born in a distant future, will be sitting in a Red Tent, as natural to her as her own home. She will know that her mother, her grandmother, her great grandmother, who is currently my teen-aged daughter — all sat in Red Tents before her…

Our current generations live in a gap: the gap between our Ancestors, and our Offspring. Our mothers and grandmothers lived without a memory of places where women could go to, monthly, for renewal, regeneration, and support. The generations of women living on Earth today are rapidly remembering! We have a sense of what it would feel like to sit in a Red Tent monthly. More and more of us have an actual experience of it.

The gap closes by Activating Memories! We can’t reclaim, renew or regenerate a tradition we never heard of. If there was once a tradition in which women planted forests together — we have no memory of it. But we do remember sitting in Red Tents. And when we remember — our longing awakens… When we remember — we can create anew.

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When Passion is the Guide

by JoAnne Dodgson

There are always changes going on — in the shifting seasons of the earth, in our personal and collective lives. Whether planned or unexpected, change involves endings and beginnings, the dismantling and rebuilding, the death of what has been and the birthing of the new.

Though change is ever present in the natural flow of life, we tend to fear and fight against it. We struggle to hold onto what’s known and familiar while longing for something fresh, dynamic and new. Endings tend to get fueled by anger, disconnection, and disappointment. Beginnings often evoke fears of unknowns, doubts about survival, questions about which direction to go.

So how do we find our way?

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Becoming

by Nadine Waltman Harmon

Clay Lady…Earth Mother
somewhere, between mesas of New Mexico
and tallgrass prairies of Oklahoma
you carried the plan for me,
but I got lost on the edge of the reservation.
Dog was my playmate and
Horse my watchman.
Blackjack oaks shaded me,
Coyote and Wolf entertained me with their
melodious nightly lullabies.
Always Clay Lady…Earth Mother watched
over me as I became a proud Osage woman.

The Paradox

by Nathalie Jackson

Life is a paradox
A living dichotomy
The Knight, the Queen
The Black, the White
At once full of hope
Tears brimming with joy
Feeling the beauty that is life
Coursing through my veins.
Such Goodness, such Courage.

And in an instant feeling the gravity
The weight and burdens Mother Earth bares
The wars over resources
The perpetuity of generations of hatred
The needless taking of human life
For profit — for power
Followers following
In blind obedience
WHEN WILL WE STOP OBEYING BLINDLY?
When will we stand for Acceptance,
Respect & Appreciation of one another?

My heart is full of ALL
The Knight, the Queen
The Black, the White
Can we have one without the other?
Can we live in the paradox
without the paradox?
Yes and No
All is in me
I am all of it
I am.

I Put You In This Box

by Arianna Giorgio

The first thing to occur was the second longest silence ever recorded in human history.
What could I say to something like that?
What could I say to someone telling me that God had decided I wasn’t worth it anymore?
I put you in this box.
I put you in this box so you can’t hurt me.
You are contained and therefore are no longer a contaminate to my soul.
This box makes you nameless, strips you of all recognition.
Finally, people won’t stare at me because of the physical scars you’ve left.
The scars carved into my back with a blade so hateful my heart attacked itself.
The scars on my face from the tears you ate on your way up to devouring my brain.

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A Passion for the Deep

by Barbara Heile

newspapers bleaching on the doorstep,
the women retreat so deep within themselves
that their gaze itself becomes the path you wish to follow,
back to your true self as man.

through woman,
you’ll arrive again in the world, anew.

a woman’s gaze from within her center
is a golden pathway
to what is real and true
beyond the news of the world’s play and warfare and latest sale.

take this path, woman,
let the papers bleach on the doorstep,
find your way home so they can find theirs.

oh, who could have guessed what your gaze promised?
who could have guessed?

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To Be Enjoyed

by K. Chavez

He struggled to scale her walls
And she shoved him off.
Dug deep through her trenches,
But the ground caved in.
Followed her across oceans,
Only to have the wind change direction of his sails.
He had her only once before,
Yet remained relentless.
For he knew she was to be enjoyed,
And in copious amounts.

On Madness and Wild Women

by Vanessa Codorniu

Someone asked what madness means to me. Some people think women dancing ecstatically under a starry sky is madness or that men and women listening to their Souls and being guided by their hearts is madness.

Some see it as madness when you choose the road less traveled, for your Soul is the pathfinder of its own destiny.

Wild women and men with wild souls, it is not madness for me because that’s how I’ve lived now for a long time.

It’s like when people say ” OMG! OMG! I think I’m psychic!!! OMG IT’S SO CRAZY!!!” It’s not crazy at all. It’s our birthright. Part of my mission is to share that we all have these abilities and how to hone them so they can serve us and allow us to step into our greatest calling!

I live between the worlds and succeed in both daily, I help others do the same. Its normal for me and a way of life. I started going to spirituality festivals and dancing under the moon around bonfires 20 years ago, sweat lodges, journeying, healing with sisters, ritual and ceremony. I started holding women’s circles in 1999. It’s my normal place of existence and most if not all of the women in my life are like that too!

So madness to me is when you DON’T listen to your SOUL.

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Our Mission during this Changing Reality

by Vanessa Codorniu

Many believe this earth as we know it is changing: yes, I know ALL IS CHANGING. I am speaking of an increased transpersonal, spiritual and conscious-expanding SHIFT. If this SHIFT is supposed to be so good…why am I confused, suffering or feel like I’m in limbo at times? The stars are shifting above us and within us. Many spiritual seekers, teachers, shamans and priestesses I know have realized that, “We cannot get away with ignorance anymore. We know better. We must do better.”

Some would argue, did we ever really get away with ignorance or turning the other way?

The point is that the time we have been waiting for and hearing about, the great SHIFT and change is here. NOW. This great opening can send us reeling into unknown spaces. What we were intellectually certain of can become shaky and what we counted on physically, now questionable.

As brilliant, bright, loving and eternal as we are, the earthly component will always creep up as indeed, here we ARE. I want to reach out and say that YOU KNOW SO MUCH.

Trust this.

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The Sky Clan

From the collection
Onion Prairie Woman: The Search

by Nadine Waltman Harmon

Our grandmothers sit in silence
around ghostly campfires
huddled deep, within
blankets of Army blue.

“Child, turn away
from smoke that hovers
over these ghost fires.”

In the grandfathers’ circle
the elders sit unbroken with
backs bent against rains
threatening to smother fire.

“Turn away, child,
look not in our faces it makes
your time come too soon.”

The grandmothers’ eyes reflect
firelight, revealing wisdom
of ancient times, times
too long gone…too soon dust.

Continue Reading →

A Mother Is

by Helene Rose

A mother is:
a rock taking in all the sweet whispers of
her child for eternity,
a tree standing tall and with great strength,
grounding her family,
a squirrel busily gathering supplies in
preparation for the day,
a summer’s breeze light and refreshing when
caressing your skin,
a drop of rain bringing renewal and
cleansing when needed,
a field of sunflowers reaching
toward the sun in harmony,
a hummingbird full of sweet nectar,
swift and precise,
a pond, full of life and sparkle,
feeding all those who enter,
a morning dew, awakening with
calm and clear presence,
a vegetable garden, needing care and tending to
in order to give of herself, and
a robin, whose song radiates sweet joy.
A mother is everything.
A mother is everywhere.
A mother’s love is unconditional.
A mother takes into her womb and into her hands
the future, a child.
Through her, the earth is blessed
and the earth blesses her
with life.
For mother is the earth and earth is the mother.
Together as one, they bless each day.
Thank you dear mother. Thank you dear earth.
For giving us a beautiful today and tomorrow.

Why Do You Love?

by Trishuwa

“Why do you love?” she asked.

The invisible presence.
The divine ingredient.

Can this be named?

I try, we try.

My voice, my tears, my yearnings
create words of love for the divine presence.

In the silence between the words
my heart fills with devotion.
I am ensouled with love.

I see the divine in your eyes,
feel it in your touch,
the breathing in and out of you.

I surrender my heart to
that which cannot be named.

Continue Reading →

For Once In My Life

by Lisa Adams Reed

Choose

Choose contentment, joy, fun.

Bless the losses, for they became your greatest teachers. Wallow in them only if you want more of the same.

Continue to swiftly recognize and escort the negative people, situations and memories that don’t serve you out of your life. You cannot afford the sickness and the pain that they bring into your space.

Stop complaining unless you want to have complainers in your life. Don’t you dare inflict your whining on others. It hurts them and magnifies your original woe.

Tune in to those that appear to be one thing and turn out to be something else. They are your mirrors. Bless them and take a closer look at yourself.

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Collection

by Alisa Muñiz Blanchard

I see her stand on top of a mountain, the wind blows her hair out, reaching for the sky, almost touching the clouds. I see her looking through her eyes which squint gently to filter the sun.

At her feet sits a porcupine. They are still looking at one another; she swears that she sees it breathing, but no other movement. They are at an impasse. She fears if she goes any closer she will be stung by the quills. As she looks, she notices that it appears soft. She wants to touch it, but is afraid it will hurt.

I see her squatting down on the mountain now, realizing that this creature is not moving, is not going anywhere, that it is staying at her feet.

She wants to let it know what it feels like to be touched, she reaches out with a stick to gently poke the porcupine

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UnLeashing Love

by JoAnne Dodgson

It was clear from the start there was a wildness in her that wasn’t to be tamed. Despite what they say in dog-training manuals, Jasmine had no interest in following along at my heels or obeying commands just so I’d call her a ‘good girl.’ She wasn’t here to live by the book. She wasn’t born to be leashed or caged.

She’d come to run wild in the woods on impassioned, instinctual hunts. And reach her face to the sky, catching scents blowing by on the winds. And roll around with joyful abandon on the earth, adorning her body with rich pungent smells. And teach me about opening up my senses — listening, feeling, communicating without words as we walk among the trees intrinsically connected as a pack.

She wasn’t
here to live by the book. She wasn’t born to be leashed or caged.

We first met at the animal shelter, Jasmine and me. There were many quirky circumstances that easily could have kept us from crossing paths. And I’m not quite sure who chose who or exactly all the reasons why. Apparently Jasmine wasn’t deterred by my doubts about being a dog mama.

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Where Do Poems Come From

Part 2

by Rand Hall

like the last leaves
that have clung through winter
to float down on a chill wind,
words fall
on the barren page

dying embers
flickers of the once bright fire
spark to thought?

but seeds bursting from the pod
though carried by the breeze
rarely grow to rhyme.

it is not the warming fire
the whistle of the kettle
or the company of friends

but
the lonely wail
of a distant train
that draws the wandering line

nor does the rising
sun inspire
words of living color
but the darkest hour
of night

it is the ends
that force the heart
to write.

Original Wild Nature

ReWilding Self

by Trishuwa

My teacher and I rendezvous just after dawn. I set up my tent while he searches the small roadside campground for firewood. Picked clean by previous campers he opens his van and carries wood to the fire pit. He has a rake, a small shovel and an ax. While I set up my tent he gathers dried grass, deftly shaves off kindling from the split logs, picks up old garbage and rakes the pit readying it for a fire. He looks in the trunk of my car. Words are unnecessary. I have no firewood or even a small camping shovel. It takes me a while to set up my tent. He watches.

I finish and sit down to rest. He begins to talk. I know why we have arranged this time, but he will say it again as if he has never said it before. “You are Earth. You will go alone up the mountain. Stay the night, perhaps more than one. Yes, more than one. You need to learn how to live in a sacred manner. This is part of your training.” He does not speak these words but I know I am not to return until I can say “yes” and commit to the words he often says: “Are you going to do this dance, sister?”

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Owl Medicine

by JoAnne Dodgson

The full moon rose up over the horizon, glowing orange, illuminating the summer night. A woman walked among the trees as moonshadows danced along the path. She climbed on top of a large boulder, her worn leather bag strapped across her back, and sat facing the moon to soak in the mystical glow.

A Great Horned Owl suddenly emerged from the starry sky, swooping down and lifting the woman up on his wings. Greeting her old friend, the woman settled herself into the soft downy feathers on the owl’s back. Sinking into the soothing rhythms of the owl’s undulating wings, she relished the sweet sensation of warm winds blowing in her face.

“I wish I could fly like this,” the woman told the owl dreamily. “I’d love to be so free.”

“If you want to be free, there’s something for you to see with your very own eyes,” said the owl. “Because it’s time for you to choose.”

“Choose what?” asked the woman. The owl flew on silently, veering sharply to follow the river, heading into the West.

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In This Room

by Alisa Muñiz Blanchard

I broke into a little room of myself
unnoticed, untouched, forgotten all together
until today
The dust stirred and lifted
a filter to the sunlight creeping in
I stood puzzled

Many days were spent in this place
So familiar, left still for all these years.
Holding my breath I could hear
the laughter and tears
distant groans of the bed frame
as we jumped in sheer joy.

Should I be here, in this familiar comfort,
I thought to myself as the dust settled.
What is left of her, I wonder?

My daughter ran past the barricade of
confused frozen self, rushing to
the patch of sun broken on the floor.
She was glowing in front of me,
A vessel for life and light
twirling in song,
Divine manifested.

I took a step into this sanctuary, to be closer
to this creature of tomorrow
how she slithers around me sparkling
like a time honored serpent dressed in mirrors
She, the pulse of our cord
She, the scribe of my memory
She, the key to spirit

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Creativity is the Flow
of God’s Love

by Douglas Walker

In my experience, healing is a whole lot more than attending to the physical body. It is the development of an integrated functioning of mind, body and spirit. It is the creation of a state of physiology where the light of the higher Self can flow unrestricted to all parts of the human experience — mental, physical, emotional, energetic.

When we are disconnected from our higher Self we not only lose touch with our spiritual essence, we also set the stage for physical and emotional suffering.

What is the solution?

How do we reconnect with the Self? How do we remember our life’s purpose? How do we bring bliss back into our daily experience?

There are probably as many ways of reconnecting with our source as there are souls on the planet. Many turn to religion, others to meditation, others devote themselves to service to others. As an artist, I find that opening yourself to the flow of creativity is a perfect way to reconnect to the divine Self. The process of painting (or writing, or sculpting, etc.) is in itself a process of healing.

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Ode to the Mountain

by Nathalie Jackson

Mountain, beautiful mountain
All around me
Surrounding me, filling me
With images of years gone by
Ageless wisdom

How long have you known?
How many moons have risen and fallen
On your shoulders?
What have you seen?
Before time
Before concrete, electronics, cars
Before birds, caribou, salmon
Surpassing the lives of millions
You’ve listened and witnessed
Silently you stand
Wordlessly you hold life as it is

Do you long for it to be better?
Do you mourn the falls and mis-takes
Left in the wake of humankind?
The factories and vehicles that pollute your roots
The taking of all you possess
Does this bring you pain?

Today I stand in awe before you
Knowing you will go on long after the walls have fallen
Long after I return to ashes

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Self Pleasure

by Bolajoko Collins

Lungs expand
carrying breaths
Inviting my morning inhale

A routine of locking personal perfumes within nostrils
retaining scents as momentary keepsakes

Then exhale
lungs release forward
chest tangos between outward and inward pulls
my scent still lingers in the pits of my nostrils

Breathing
breathe in a daily regimen
of warm touches on my design

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The Holiness of Dirt

Santa Fe to Taos via the High Road
May 17-26, 2014

by Winter Ross

“Pilgrimage: a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. Typically a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person’s beliefs and faith, although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone’s own beliefs.” — Wikipedia

I trudge breathlessly, head down, toward our next camp: the parking lot of El Santuario de Chimayo. A Roman Catholic Church and National Historic Monument in New Mexico, it is famous for miracles of healing. I look forward to baptizing my feet in the pure cold stream that gurgles behind the church. (The water is shared with the cattle in the pasture beyond. Shared water and the systems of acequias of New Mexico are sacred, too.) Although I’ve trained to hike the distances expected on this march, I’ve not trained to the pace of walkers who have been on the road for two months already. I hurt all over; my joints are stiff; the soles of my feet are burning.

The High Road sees pilgrims and seekers of many kinds. I have been studying the descansos, the roadside shrines of white crosses, plastic flowers and sometimes stuffed toys which mark a soul’s passing after a traffic accident. And I’ve been avoiding discarded syringes, broken bottles and crushed beer cans all day. My eyes on the red pumice gravel, I nearly run into a marcher holding up a sun-faded rosary he’s found on the side of the road. He offers it, and I, who have recently misplaced my Buddhist mala (but not my Hindu mantra, the chanting of which keeps me going on the uphill) know it’s meant for me. Every tenth bead is a plastic picture of our Lady of Guadalupe, the Christianized Aztec earth goddess, Tonantzin and Mother Goddess of this land.

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American Galactic Interview

by Sally Deskins and Laura Madeline Wiseman

Artist and Les Femmes Folles Editor Sally Deskins interviews poet Laura Madeline Wiseman about her recent book, American Galactic (Martian Lit Books, 2014) about the inspiration behind the book, challenging gender representation via her writing, how the environment plays a role in the book and more…

Sally Deskins: Why science fiction and/or why Martians? What was the inspiration behind this specifically, as it seems to differ from your other subjects (or does it not)?

Laura Madeline Wiseman: I started writing American Galactic the semester I took Naomi Shihab Nye’s master class at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It was a spring of fierce thunderstorms, power blackout and utility men moving along my fence line with flashlights in the dead of night. Across my backyard and in the backyard of my neighbor’s, the silver and black electric lines draped across swing-sets and raspberry canes. Many evenings, I watched the trees gutter in the storm winds. And I wrote for Naomi’s class. Martians walked into my poems during those weeks and stayed around in my poems for the next two years until I finished American Galactic.

SD: Did you want to write about something genderless intentionally?

LMW: I’m interested in literature that challenges gender representation — Marge Piercy’s The Woman on the Edge of Time, Jeannette Winterson’s Written on the Body, for example — and seeks to question gender by asking readers to consider worlds where gender does not dictate roles, clothing and social standing in the former and cannot be tied to the body

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Full Moon Says

by Katlyn Breene

“I am the Moon
the shadow fader,
stumble in the dark
and find a mystery Moon.

The Eternal lover’s Moon.
the gaze up,
and sigh and cry, and kiss Moon.

Whom men, gods and beasts alike
reach up and long to touch.

A mirror of mothers and maidens,
with cracks and craters
as my beauty marks.
The ‘women see yourselves’ Moon,
radiant and perfectly imperfect
constantly changing shape.

Moon that lets you stare up
and bathe in the reflection
of something too hot to touch.
I will make you sweat with passion
and hot-flashes.

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Autobiography

by Katherine Brennan

My name is Katherine. For 29 years I’ve lived in a city on the west coast of the United States, famous for its earthquakes. I have a job on the nineteenth floor of a building in the Financial District. In strong winds the building shudders and sways. In movie theaters I always take an aisle seat.

I want to adopt a dog this year. I plan to name him Scrappy. I dropped out of school in the tenth grade. I’ve read all of Dostoevsky and most of Tolstoy. I live alone.

My mother was severely bipolar.

A man I knew told me I had storybook hair. When I was nine years old a friend of my parents called me husky. He watched me in a way that made me uncomfortable. I am afraid of spiders.

The bagpipes make me cry.

I don’t show my teeth when I smile because they are unattractive. I met two young women from Wisconsin yesterday, both schoolteachers. They seemed to think I was interesting and we promised to stay in touch. When I was 13 my family moved from California to Scottsbluff, Nebraska. We lived in a small, beige apartment with a chain grocery on one side and a dead cornfield on the other. There was nowhere to hide from each other.

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On the Wings of a Hawk

by JoAnne Dodgson

When she got to the dirt path circling the meadow at the edge of the woods, Kyla looked to her left and looked to her right. Feeling pulled in both directions, she was unsure which way to go. While trying to decide, she noticed a shadow moving swiftly across the tall swaying grass. She looked up toward the sky to see who it belonged to.

“Hello!” Kyla brightly called out to the hawk, delighted by the sight of the magnificent bird.

“Hello to you,” said the hawk, soaring by.

“What’s it like up there?” Kyla asked, admiring the way the sun lit up the hawk’s wings and red tail feathers.

“It’s incredible,” replied the hawk. “Beautiful winds. Spectacular views.”

“Hey, can I ask you something?” Kyla called out, thinking quickly on her feet. She realized this was a great opportunity to get a second opinion. “There’s something I’m trying to figure out and maybe you can help me.”

Suddenly Kyla was distracted by the fear of what he’d think of her if she asked a stupid question. She nervously coughed and cleared her throat, delaying for a moment while she silently cheered herself on to be brave and take a chance and just ask.

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I Choose

by Helene Rose

I choose to deepen
into the experience
of my ordinary Life
and begin to see how
unbelievably extraordinary
this Life truly is.
And how truly blessed I am.

What Is Beauty Good For?

by DeAnna L’am

Indigenous cultures around the world are renowned for their beautiful artifacts and ornaments. While both women and men in ancient cultures created functional vessels and tools, such as baskets, ropes, pots, bows and arrows, storage containers or hunting aids, it is women who created objects for beauty alone.

What is beauty good for?

You can’t eat it, you can’t use it for any serviceable purpose, it doesn’t help in achieving anything. It exists for one purpose alone: itself. And women are the ones responsible, historically, for bringing it forth.

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I Believe

by Samantha Moore

It is my time,
they keep telling me.
For too long, have I kept myself small,
asked for too little,
expected no greatness.

I need only grasp it,
they say.
I am primed and prepped,
washed clean by tears of suffering and joy,
ready to receive.

What hesitation is this,
what fear that holds me back,
one foot mired in muck,
the other swimming freely in the clean, clean
flowing river?

Feet be where they may,
The wind, She whispers to me always,
if I listen,
that I am the goddess, the temple priestess, the healer, the sage,
daughter/mother/crone.

Receive to give, they say
(I thought it went the other way!).
I am the earth beneath me, the sky above.
All love and healing flows through me
and this is my divine right

So I am told.

The Edge

by Rand Hall

when life has thrown me a curve
  that I am finding hard to follow

  I go to the edge
  where sea meets shore
  and walk a line I understand

  and remember again I am
  but the grain of sand
  tumbled by the tide

I set my eyes
on the far horizon
and reach for a broader perspective

  and if I cannot get to the sea
  I find me a tree
  climb it’s high branches
  off to the sky

  I go to the edge
  where there is no I

A World Tearing Itself Apart

by Nathalie Jackson

This may seem like a loaded, never-ending topic. Yes I agree. I’m engaging in an inner dialogue today on this very subject, as I reflect on recent conversations I’ve had and how easily we can hurt one another with our words. I have the privilege of living in an intentional community and of leading women through empowerment programs, all of which put me in situations of intense vulnerability and honesty. I know first-hand of the power of words. And I see over and over again how we can destroy one another and tear the very fabric that unites us with the way in which we choose to communicate.

Women in general are especially skilled at both building and tearing apart the fragile field that weaves a delicate tapestry between us. The divine feminine, in its purest form, is the energy of fluid motion and interconnectivity.  It binds and unites and moves through the changing tides. Because of its dynamic nature it has the ability to handle the inner storms of emotions and when embraced fully, it gives us, as women, permission to feel and to express all, in the name of interconnection and union.

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Eudaimonia

by em jollie

“If you meet a woman…who sails her life with strength and grace and assurance, talk to her! And what you will find is that there has been a suffering, that at some time she has left herself for hanging dead.” — Sena Jeter Naslund, Ahab’s Wife

The landscape of Western Mass sprawls, mute
as a Rand McNally and as full of invisible
histories.
From the top of Mount Sugarloaf I see scrawled topographies
of rape, brutality, magic: bruised ingredients.
Untidy childhood. Long ago I climbed these mountains
and came down the other side. Mostly

unscarred, I have returned to New England
for this: the way fire brushes brilliant hues
across a canvas of foliage. For this: the way
wind lends wings to the leaves
in their terrific tumbling.
And for this: the hovering of bumblebees,
busy with the instinct to savor
their last days (sweet like honey
and difficult to swallow).
I have come back to this campus, too, to my
books — pages bound
to radiate reason, meaning,
a certain steadiness. I meet
a man named Marcus Aurelius
who, through a fissure in time, whispers
there is only the present. I know he is not
lying — I have never been that shattered little girl.
I have always been this strong
young woman
who refuses the choreography composed
by her memories and chooses, instead
the song of each new Autumn
morning:

there is only this day
there is only this dance
& all I need is the melody
of my one self, infinitely

Open.

Of Goddesses and Fools

by Betz King

The time has come, the walrus said,
To talk of many things.
Of shoes, of ships, of sealing wax,
Of cabbages and kings.
And – why the sea is boiling hot,
And whether pigs have wings.
— Lewis Carroll

The time has come, the priestess said
To write, like back in school…
Of research, rivers, cougar snacks,
Of goddesses and fools.
And – why the land is always right,
And whether hearts have rules.
— Betz King

The places of earth, spirit and society first overlapped during my doctoral interview at the Center for Humanistic Studies in Detroit, Michigan. Born in the zeitgeist of late 50’s and early 60’s social justice movements, CHS was a critical midwife in the birth of humanistic psychology. Defecting from previous camps that viewed humans as a collection of unconscious impulses or learned behaviors, humanistic psychology posited that humans possessed an inherent desire to make meaning and to grow, and if treated with unconditional positive regard, would do just that. Rooted in existential

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Year of the Crone

by Jennifer R. Miller

The neighbor’s bamboo wind chimes
clink together in the afternoon breeze,
gliding in so warm and sultry from the west.
But all I hear are the rattling bones…
all I have known this year is the Crone.

She has spread her cloak wide
like a Valkyrie soaring above the battlefield,
like a vulture swooping in for the feast —
her claws sinking deeply into sorrow and regret,
her raspy throat swallowing down aborted dreams.

She has come for the ones who bore us,
the women who pushed us down into the dark tunnel
to emerge screaming and grasping for the light.
Now they, too, must face the velvety blackness.
Now they, too, must reach for illumination.

“We must be born to die,
and we must die to be born,”

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Dreams

by Jiling Lin

“When each child is born, a morning star rises and sings to the Universe who we are… we are our Grandfathers’ prayers… we are our Grandmothers’ dreaming… we are the voice of our Ancestors… we are the Spirit of Love.”   — Sweet Honey in the Rock

Each human is a seed capsule. Each seed holds all the stories, songs, dreams and genetic material of all of the previous seeds that came before, and all of the future seeds that will come after. What magic, what beauty!

Enough of the cliche conversation-starters of, “So, where do you work? Where do you live?” I prefer to start off conversations with, “What are your dreams like?” That opens up whole new worlds of discovery. “Dreams” can be interpreted in a variety of ways: night dreams, day dreams, life dreams and more.

What do you mean when you think, talk, write about your dreams? What do I mean?

It’s all interconnected. All of our dreams are interwoven together, encapsulated within the seeds of our being.

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I Hear Her Calling

by Sha Shama

I hear her calling, her voice like a siren’s song. I know I am not the only one, a lot of women hear her… some men do too! She’s calling us back to her, asking us to remember.

Remember what it feels like to dance with the wind, sleep under the stars, be kissed by the sun. She’s asking us to connect back with the spirits of trees and the streams. to dangle our bare feet into the lakes, letting the minnows nibble our toes until we dive into the deep. She’s calling for us to leave this sterile cold society we have created, this safe and orderly existence that knows not the pleasure of plucking a warm, ripe plum from the tree and immediately biting into its richness letting its flavor consume you even as you consume it. This sad place in which we have become so worried about having great sex that we have forgotten how to make great love. Yes, she is calling us to lay our lovers down upon the warm, soft moss until we are so lost in each others embrace that we have nothing left to lose. She is calling us to bare our souls and open our hearts to her passions. But that kind of fearlessness terrifies us and so we pretend we don’t hear her, but she calls. She will continue to call until one, some, all of us answer and run headlong into arms forever changed.

The Girl Who Loved Good Times, Jazz and F.S.F.

July 24, 1900 – March 10, 1948

by Nadine Waltman Harmon

I was that skinny girl who ran bare foot
embarrassing my mother who thought a judge’s
daughter should be more disciplined to avoid
gossip in Montgomery. I dream of times when
my ‘Jellies’ and I scandalized the town, but what
they talked about the most was the time I fell head over
bare feet for that dashing lieutenant and escaped
with F.S.F. and headed for the big city, leaving
my innocent days behind to fall into the pit
of darkness; of being controlled by a husband who
loved me; who took credit for my creativity,
works that should have had only my byline.

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To the Gypsy That Remains

by Haley Hoover

This morning I have a powerful connection with an old song.  I have often loved this song, but today my love discovers new depths through it.

I often times feel like plastic.  I am shiny and positive and talkative and productive.  I am energized by people and so I nearly always find myself at the mercy of others.  I love people and interaction.

Yet deep down there is still this whole other person.  This deep intellectual who has always felt shunned and scared. She is a child, a small girl who must be cherished and nourished and drawn out.  Perhaps it is my inner artist-child as Julia Cameron suggests, or maybe it is just the softer me.  The softer me does not beg for attention or ask to be seen.  She knows she is worthy and her heart waits patiently to be sought after.

It is this woman that leaks out in my early morning walks, my extended painting sessions, and in the pages of my journal.

How must I draw her near?

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The Call

by Nathalie Jackson

I heard a call
Deep within my very bones
To be all I’m here to be
Through synchronicity
Sublime divinity
And profound creativity
I leaped
I stepped
      Moving
      Growing
      Becoming
The Earth She beckons me
She’s captured me
She lures me
In the heart of Her heart
I hear my own rhythm
Ancient bones that are my bones
Ancient blood that is my very life force
Ancient rhythm
That calls forth my very Beat
The path laid out for My Feet alone
The whisper that screams, “LEAP!”

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Inside Me

by Helene Rose

inside me
you will find a deep dark cave
where I go to retreat in moments of tenderness

inside me
you will find a river of love
that flows with strength and compassion

inside me
you will find a heart of gold
that I polish often with nourishment and attention

inside me
you will find a gushing waterfall
whose power and force bring electric change

inside me
you will find a rose garden
scented so sweet and painted so colorful

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What Mom Carries

by Nicole Taylor

She lives with my brother’s family.

My maternal mother peers at my book
on the butcher block counter,
Dorrianne Laux’s What We Carry,
she repeats the title.

I carry a lot
she tells me and I
know this. I just watched
her wind the portable
computer and cord
and carry them downstairs.

I just watched her carry her orange juice
across the kitchen to answer
the door, to let in my hip nephew,
returning home this late evening.

I just watched her carry piles of laundry.
She picks up a knee-length soccer sock
saying “This goes in their room,”
“This is Nate’s” my hip fifteen year old
skateboarding, video-gaming nephew,
and “That’s Nate’s.” She carries
Dad and Mario in her memory.

The Sun Has No Shadow

A Morning Nature Lesson

by Barbara Heile

morning sun is shining on the Sycamore outside my window.
the branches cast their shadows on the trunk of the tree.

another tree casts its shadow on the barn.

barns are made for holding
steadily, quietly, protective

whatever is inside those weathered walls and broad roofs.
they can hold the cast shadows of others without concern.

the Sun moves the day along.
and I watch the shadows pass.

I feel the desire to paint this barn, again.
I can feel mind wanting to make a religion out of this moment of seeing and feeling,
to drive the point home
again and again and again,
however beautifully.

sometimes it is enough
just to see.
and to write.

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Tao and the Art of Hitchhiking

by Lin Jiling

First, patience. Most cars drive by. Most drivers don’t give eye contact, or they look away, or even shake their head. Get over your ego. Get over your sadness, disappointment in humanity and exhaustion. Reconnect with your inner peace, and enjoy the journey. You’re walking. Maybe you’ll walk just for a few minutes. Maybe you’ll walk for an hour or more. Maybe you’ll (my favorite) just sit there and read or write, stopping to stick your thumb out at each passing car (I do this on slow roads).

A car finally stops. Check out the driver. What’s your instinctual reaction? Trust that. Trust your intuition, your gut reaction, your innate primal knowing. And if you can’t trust that, then it’s over. Go home. Walk home. Don’t catch that ride, or any other ride, to boot. Your instincts will tell you everything you need to know. Hone your instincts by breaking physical patterns: write with your opposite hand. Take a different route home. Watch people in social situations and make guesses about them, then go meet them. And for hitchhiking: your instincts will potentially save or destroy you. Listen.

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Crazy Magic

by Trishuwa

This poem, CRAZY MAGIC, speaks to inhabiting self. ‘Crazy’ is not all sparkly. It invites introspection. Doors open to self-knowledge and participation with all life. I contribute my genuine self.

Crazy eyesight is magical.
Like walking around while not moving.

For a long time I thought
everyone had this magic.
(And yes they do.)

Most ignore their crazy part
except on a special day.
A day visited by unbidden memories,
a family of sorts.
They think it’s an illness.

I thought myself ill.
(They’re just thoughts.)
In desperation
I unwrapped myself.
Old parts disentangled and
I studied them, witnessing,
watching and learning.

I made a web in my mind,
The threads of my life
are connected with parts of me.
(although they don’t resemble
their former selves.)

The web is strong.
It can hold all of me.
It’s part of the universe.
It is so strong that it can change
its shape and form.
(And does the more I remember me.)

A year or two ago I set
crazy free to be part
of the web.

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I Praise the Blood that Flows from Women’s Wombs!

by Terra Rafael

I Praise the Blood that flows from Women’s Wombs!
The Blood of the Mother, shed for you.
Moonly rivulets in every country, tribe and village —
Food of creativity, fertilizing Mother Earth.
The first bed & breakfast of each human soul.
Yes — You Too, when allowed entrance there,
ate your way into the soft landing of Incarnation.
Here, secreted away,
the magic of cells multiplied and differentiated,
safely humming the notes of your DNA in the key of your karma.
From Her Blood you created your own private ocean,
tethered to Her life support, corded from your guts.
Moons and dreams later
came the high tide of labor,

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Women Write Resistance

Interview

by Sally Deskins and Laura Madeline Wiseman

SD: Your preface and critical introduction to Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013) explains the societal importance of the book and resistance poetry, but can you talk about why you put this anthology together here?

LMW: We need spaces in culture for people to resist.

I began working on the anthology seven years ago. During this journey I have explored in my creative writing, my academic research and scholarship, my teaching and my volunteer work the ways in which people resist for change. There are other anthologies where writers resist gender violence or other forms of cultural violence. In fact, there’s an anthology that’s in the works by a pair of editors on gender violence globally that just accepted two of my poems. Anthologies like Women Write Resistance should be published every year, year after year, country after country, place after place, because the space to resist is so necessary for change, for breaking silences, for offering hope.

SD: I really appreciated the use of “sassing” language throughout Women Write Resistance. Can you tell me more about how that came about in poetry and its significance here? What might be an example of “sassing”?

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Cafe Discussions

by Nathalie Jackson

As I sit in a crowded cafe in Calgary today, I’m filled with awe at the complexity of the human expression. Somehow, in some way so foreign and unknown to me, we’ve agreed to enter the earth-plane and share this experience with Billions of others of the human species. This is amazing to me. We’ve contracted on a higher plane to have a journey in a human form and find our own unique expression while nearly 8 billion others are also carving out what it means to be alive at this point in history.

I recognize the fact that just by sitting here, well fed, warm, knowing I’m supported and loved, puts me in a minute category of privileged people. The very fact that I’m contemplating my existence at all classifies me in an even more elitist group of individuals who have the time and the spiritual privilege to contemplate these kinds of things. And so I contemplate and I write because I can, because I’m curious, because I know that my voice, along with every voice, matters. I actually consider it somewhat spiritually arrogant (which is a definite shadow side of privilege) to NOT contemplate. I see so many around me so focused on the mundane – what treasures they’ve purchased, what so-and-so said at work, how expensive everything is, what dismal weather we experience here in Alberta, Canada.

And I wonder, how different would it be if each of these conversations touched into our existential existence, why we’re here, what good is to come from each of our lives, what positive change our voice can be used for?

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My Spirit Walks These Arroyos

by Nadine Waltman Harmon

I.

I wondered, sometimes, if Albert, looking at me
through the lens, saw his spirit-eye or was it only
those planes of my body, its contours, its nakedness
that meant little to me. The blind crowd of unbelievers
called his images exotic and scandalous, at a time when
jazz, flapper style was the rage and his photos were the talk
of the town and he often referenced my lineage, my
grandfather, the count, but nude photos and nobility meant
nothing to me. I had already moved on to paint my flowers
while Albert found his way through the lens, both of us remembering
the wildness of other loves that sent us in opposite directions, each
destined to follow our spirit guides. I painted, never tiring of painting a petunia
countless times while the unknowing classified my iris and Jack-in-the-pulpit
paintings as sinful, in their shallow minds finding a comparison to
a woman’s genitalia rather than seeing the mind’s eye in a flower.

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A Primal Poem

by Mikki Baloy

I want the raw
guts of life, splitting bone and spitting fire
I need to dance on the corpses and graves
of whatever held me
imprisoned,
and inhibited
the wildness of all I always knew I was.
I give it all back to the earth
crushing dust to dust under bare feet
I want the blood dark
howling
the roar from deep within my heart
no, deeper–the belly of my belly
shadows of shadows crying out for recognition
I want their voices to smack the mountaintops and hurl themselves down again
into silence,
then laughter at long long last
I want the nectar
the stuff of life
poured over onto me
out of me
quenching a thirst I’ve had forever
I want to rub it all over my body
run through the streets covered in leaves, dirt, blood
shocking spectators to their senses, waking them up
shouting
You will die, you will die, my loves! Wake up!
Live while you are alive

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Recognition

by Kerem Brulé

Dear Sisterhood
of the Half Shaved Head,
I want to apologize
if I seem overly enthusiastic,
like I already know you,
when we first meet.
For it is when
I’m among you
that a part of me
feels radiant,
recognized
and understood.
It’s hard not to smile
with a crackle of knowing
when our eyes mingle.

We are sisters
of a hair tribe
I never knew existed
in this Universe
until right now.
So I’m sorry
if my longer glances
make it weird for a minute.
It just seems like
we’ve met somewhere before
over these centuries.

Spontaneous poem inspired by my Friday night concert experience.

Love Affair With Life

by JoAnne Dodgson

I’m so enchanted with the wild dogs of the desert. Such agile wispy spirits, coyotes move discreetly through sandy soils, prickly pear cactus and piñon pines. Coyotes have a compelling love affair with the night. Their mystical howls dance across the land with the moonlight and owls.

My beloved canine friend, Jasmine, and I had our first close-up encounters with coyotes several years ago. On a hike in the Oregon forest, Jasmine diligently outran a coyote who was determinedly chasing her. Jasmine rushed back to find me on the trail, welcoming the safety of her pack. Sensing a two-legged, the coyote gave up the chase and turned around, disappearing into the trees.

A couple days later as we hiked along the same trail, the forest’s stillness suddenly erupted into an outburst. There was Jasmine running with wild abandon through the sagebrush, chasing a coyote with all her heart.

Inside this dance of the canines, a potent question was being raised. Just how would the curly-tailed pup and the wild dogs co-exist? In their interactions, the canines’ negotiation was fueled by a shared passion for living, the distinct purposes of their lives

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Moving In

by em jollie

Sap, rising in the trees, quickening
pulse of Earth in Spring.
We had to tell the six and eight leggers
to move out. Played my drum,
made a pact, & they were gone.
The dust bunnies gathered
conferencing in corners
are another matter altogether.
They whisper of the woman
who lived here before us,
her sorrow collected in cobwebs.
So we open
to witness what she carried,
and invite in the sun
the grace to draw new spirals
of light through windows.
We plant
seeds in trays, fling glass open
in the swirling air we roll
new paint onto walls
so we may live in the sea
in the fire
of the women who have come
before us here. I have lived

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Break a Taboo Today!

by DeAnna L’am

“Underneath the color of our skin, all women bleed the same, red, deep, ancient flow of life force. It is this power what makes the blood that naturally flows through a woman during her cycle seem taboo.”

This powerful statement, made by Marjory Meijia is revolutionary in its depth and implications.

Under all perceived differences between us as women — our blood flows as one. This profound realization filled my eyes with tears at the first Jewish & Palestinians women circle I held in 1999 in Israel (my country of origin). Having held many women’s circles before, and having been touched time and again by the power of sharing our first blood stories, I was unprepared for the depth of emotions that engulfed us all: Muslim, Christian and Jewish women, divided by years of political bias, cultural stereotypes and accumulated fear of each other’s nations, we found a common ground that effortlessly bridged any perceived abyss between us!

Raised in small villages or in large urban neighborhoods, by deeply religious or defiantly atheist parents, in close-knit traditional communities or in loosely bound modern ones, our first blood stories differed in details, yet shared profoundly common flavors: those of feeling alone and scared, unprepared, ashamed, fearful or just plain ho hum, a similar cord ran through our stories — a thread of invisibility, of a Coming of Age lacking in welcome, honor or celebration.

The potency of our newly found bond was intoxicating! It made all perceived differences between us pale in comparison, dissolve into nothingness in the face of shared monumental

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God’s Got Curves

by Cara H. Cadwallader

Yeah, I got curves,
I got weight and mass too.
‘Cuz I’m bending time and space around me,
rippling Love, like waves, bobbing and ebbing
to distant shores.
Yeah I got curves.

And I’m sending out these electric pulsations,
short and sweet, bitter and profane,
BREATHY
and  S  P  A  C  I  O  U  S,
Yeah,      I        Got          Curves.

And I’m bowling you over,
knocking you down,
your erect sterility my victory to claim,
‘cuz I. Got. Curves.

And I’m a-rocking and a-rolling,
moving and a-grooving,
stirring
this ancestral pot
the womb of our collective consciousness,
‘cuz I got curves.

And I’m sitting on your symbols,
swallowing them whole,
snuffing out the flames of our past destruction,
yeah, I got curves.

And I’m giving breath to new life,
bringing light to the dark,
giving birth to new worlds,
because God’s Got Curves.

Prayer to the Golden Goddesses

by Jenn Allen

The hive is often likened to the womb of the Mother Goddess, a place of rebirth and revisioning.

Offer this prayer before eating to pay homage to the work of the honeybees who pollinate our plants and who, from their plant alchemy, create healing elixirs like honey, pollen and propolis.

Dear Golden Ones

I offer thanks to you for this meal as

You, are the flying herbalists who bring flower to fruit

And the alchemists who transform plant nectar into sun kissed elixir

Your hive is a botanical apothecary that heals and nourishes with sweet medicine

As you feed my belly,

My heart too is filled with the buzzing vibration of your sweet song

I am humbled by this sacred path,

As I walk in selfless service to the Golden Goddesses of rebirth

Aho.

Wild Woman, Me

by Helene Rose

wild woman, me.
she grumbles
she rumbles
she wants more.
she wants more Life, more Love.

wild woman, me
she breathes
she grieves
she feels more
she feels more Life, more Love.

wild woman, me
she claims her spot here on earth.
she frames her life in her way.
she lets go.
she lets go of your hold on her.

wild woman, me
she lives
she gives
she lights the way.
she lights the way for you, for me, for many

to be
right here
right now
in this moment
and remember the gift of this Life.

Intuition: What’s Power Got to Do With It?

by Vanessa Codorniu

For many spiritual seekers the subject of power has usually been a subject that is tread upon lightly, if at all. We may approve of our inner power but we are often afraid of what power might mean in the everyday world. This approach invites a split off approach instead of a holistic flow between mind, body and spirit.

When it comes to trusting our inner compass, power is actually at the heart of being able to access our intuitive abilities.

What is it? How do we get it? What does it even mean?

Power: a) ability to act or produce an effect b) legal or official authority, capacity or right c) possession of control, authority or influence over others d) one having such power; specifically a sovereign state.

Power means having influence, having authority and the ability to have that authority or the ability to act.

No wonder people sell their Souls for it!

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Arms Wide Open

by Simran Singh

Living Full Out… Free… Trusting the Unknown…

We want to wash our hands of the darkness we carry but we cannot. The farther we run from it, the closer it appears. We cannot scrub it, wish it, will it or cut it away. It is a part of us, as close as the skin…in most cases completely to the core. But look at it…see it here now…is it not as beautiful? Could it be that the dark is the most necessary complement and contrast to the Light? Is it the birth place of the Light? Perhaps just as a plant begins as a seed…the Light begins as the dark. The seed does not realize it is a plant until it begins to grow. The darkness cannot reveal light, until it begins to grow. The stalk of the plant does not know it can flower until a flower appears. The darkness has no way to know the Light is rising within it, to finally shine. Can we allow both, embrace both…cherish both; and give them equal presence in our lives?

As I moved through my experience moment to moment, truly committed to the organic unknowing and unknown, an awareness began deeply within my being. It began as an audible beating heart. My body knew something that my mind had been hiding from me for a long time. I could feel it. As the day progressed, the heart thumping became accompanied by a series of knots in my stomach. And then a frenzied energy took over my skin. I kept watching myself, as if from across the room.

‘Who is that person? Do I know?’

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The Promise

by Nathalie Jackson

The merciless scythe of winter
Has come down hard.
It’s wrapped itself
Like a warmth-less blanket around my heart.
The chill from deep inside of me
Seems to never end.
It calls out to me,
Drawing me deeper and deeper into its jowls.
I’ve dived this time.
I haven’t feared the cold recesses
Of my own dark caves.
I’ve danced the eternal dance of death and rebirth
With my own demons.
And still I breathe.
I’ve plunged deeper and deeper into the abyss
Of my own sorrow.
And still I awaken in the morning.
Something continues to pull me out…
Out of a deep slumber.
Out of the dark night.
With a promise.

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Vitalism

by Jiling Lin


Questions, Interpretations & Practices

What does it mean to be VITAL? What does perfect HEALTH mean to you? What does it mean to LIVE fully?

“VITALITY” means to experience vibrant ALIVENESS in body, mind, heart, and spirit, a feeling of deep internal and external connection and interconnection.

Vitalism focuses on a balanced lifestyle for optimum health and life enjoyment. “Health” includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

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Reaching Out to Meet Up

by JoAnne Dodgson

My bundle of sage was dwindling. This particular sage plant offers beautiful medicines for smudging ceremonies. What I love about the smudging sage is the way the dried silvery green leaves can be crumpled into a ball. Once lit, they gently burn like an ember. On this burning ember, other plant medicines can be added — cedar, sweetgrass, osha, juniper, oak. This allows for a natural smudging ceremony, similar to the old ways.

To wild-harvest the sage and replenish my herb bundle — this became a passionate quest. My search ended up taking me across state lines into the mountains of southern Colorado. Intuitively I headed toward an ancient rock formation which holds stories of indigenous peoples who lived there in centuries past. I sensed I’d find sage in the wilderness lands surrounding the sacred site.

Walking among the towering pines, I shared a gift offering with the land, plant nations and spirits to request their help in finding the smudging herb. I’m-looking-for-Sage became a silent chant, a drumbeat setting the rhythm for my explorations around the land.

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Soul Vision

by Jennifer R. Miller

You can’t go back to sleep —
not when your third eye
has been forced wide open
from the light of all your searching
and praying and wailing and healing —
not when the path before you
shines clear and radiant
as the first star on the horizon,
and your divine purpose
pulses inside of you
even louder than the sacred blood in your veins.
Deny this creative fire,
and it will burn you alive,
take you down to cinders,
and set you on the journey
of the phoenix once again.
No choice but to rise —
no choice but to erupt from the flames,
stronger and faster,
as you remember
how the breath of life tastes,
how the currents lift you up,
how your newly awakened eye
stares boldly at the sun
without tears,
without shame,
without anything
but the vision of your soul.