PART TWO: Inner Practice & Outer Expression
We had arrived at the farm in a state of discouragement about the events of the past year, and the future of our small, scattered community of women. Because our discouragement was so profound, we decided to begin our own personal healing work by shamanically looking at its causes. Being women, we naturally gravitated toward introspection: What was wrong with us? What mistakes had we made? What could we do better? The basic underlying issue seemed to be that the problems women face in today’s world are caused by the monolithic weight of the patriarchal pressures we must deal with on a daily basis, and because of who we are, we are particularly sensitive to those pressures. It all seemed like too much to take on; it felt as though our small voices advocating for balance between Feminine and Masculine energies were being lost; were being suffocated and oppressed by those relentless patriarchal pressures.
Whatever your personal feminine practice may be, I’d like to share with you some of the guidance we received about this issue, in the event you, too, are feeling a similar kind of discouragement as you contribute to the rebalancing of Earth and Sky energies, which have been dangerously skewed by thousands of years of patriarchy. These are some of the teachings and guidance we received regarding this issue:
~ Women all over the world giving love to the Earth and to other women is what we can do.
~ It doesn’t have to be a coordinated local community effort. All women working towards Earth/Sky-Feminine/Masculine balance can be connected in the most feminine of ways, as a web of relationships with Earth.
~ Each new stage of feminine shamanic growth is initiated by a test which challenges the status quo in ways that shatter it, making room for the next stage of growth to develop.
~ The challenge of maintaining one’s personal feminine shamanic practice and accomplishing one’s life goals and tasks in the face of deep discouragement is a test; something we must master if we are to reach the next level of feminine shamanic consciousness. Discouragement is not evidence of failure. It’s a sign that one is about to break through into a new level of awareness.
~ Don’t try to measure the success of your personal feminine spiritual practice by patriarchal, western standards of success. They don’t apply.
~ Rather, measure your success by how well you have encouraged and supported the women you encounter who also seek feminine wisdom, however few they may be, so that they may be empowered by your encouragement and support to share that wisdom with other women, each according to her own gifts.
~ One of the greatest flaws of patriarchal religions and cultures is that they suffer from the delusion that they are the only one, true religion, or the best of all cultures, and are therefore suitable for all people in all parts of the world. This belief is responsible for much of the suffering humanity has experienced throughout history.
~ One of the primary teachings of feminist shamanism is that it is an earth-centered practice, and as such, arises directly from Earth, not “descending” upon one from Sky. It therefore takes on many forms, depending upon the specific geographies in which it arises. It is understood that shamanic cosmologies arising in one geographic location are not suitable for the kind of one-fits-all transfer to other locations and cultures that patriarchy embraces. The aspects of feminist shamanism which are suitable for transfer or sharing across geographies and cultures, however, are the feminist shamanic structures, practices, forms, and processes by which women can discover and align themselves with the animal and plant spirits, and with other shamanic energies and needs of the particular part of the earth upon which they walk, and so develop healing relationship with the earth upon which they walk.
~ In these times, it is very important that women learn how to find meaning in their own lives in the places on the earth where they live, love, and work. Discovering one’s personal myth, or story, as it relates to one’s connection with the land upon which one lives, is crucial to finding that meaning. It is for this reason that I was given the practices and sequential shamanic procedures required to teach women how to successfully “find” their personal myth. To learn more about this teaching: http://thestandingbear.com/shamanic-myth-writing-seminar/