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Boudicca Rising

Though most of my friends will not agree with the sharing of this image and most will not Like the post, I still feel called to share it for it speaks a powerful truth that most of us want to ignore and pretend is not happening.  For days I’ve been sick – literally – from the collective energy surrounding the current attack on women.  Sure, I could call it Supreme Court confirmation hearings, but in truth it is the ultimate assault on women and women’s rights.  We. Do. Not. Matter.  Not just in the grand scheme of this hearing, but – to these men – we do not matter at all.  We are merely an impediment meant to be stomped on, an irritant to shackle and control, if not completely eradicate.

AND…

Women ARE Rising.  I know this.  I see this.  Sadly, though, as long as these privileged white men have the power they have and the monetary support that holds them in place, our battle is far from over.  In fact, it has actually just become HUGE.  As women we HAVE come a long way in changing things, but if we think our fight is over or less, then we are not paying attention.  It’s about to get a whole lot worse.

AND…

As I’ve read in many places from other writers, Patriarchy has just awakened the Sleeping Dragon… Kali… Lilith… the Morrigan… Sekhmet… the Amazon.  By their callous disregard of women and women’s lives and safety, they have called forth Boudicca, the Iceni Queen who raged against the Romans who killed her husband and raped her daughters.  Just. Because. They. Could.  Sound familiar?

AND…

Now, each of us is reaching our tipping point.

For me, it was a few days ago and, as often happens with a tipping point, it began with an irritating, but insignificant (in the grand scheme of things), event.  My FB account was hacked so I needed to change my password.  I hate having to change my password because it can never be like any other and so there are millions of words and combinations floating around out there that I’m supposed to remember.  FTS!  I was irritated that some sleaze bag had hacked accounts and now I was inconvenienced by such an irritant.  What or, rather who, kept coming to mind was Boudicca.  I kept thinking what she’d do.  Not just about this stupid FB password stuff, but about all the insidiousness happening to women at the moment.  The only words that made any sense in my cluttered mind – the only ones clear – were Boudicca Rises.  So I thought about making that my password, but then words began to come and I knew that phrase was bigger than a mere password (though it did open something for me).

Like a raith raised from a haunted rest, Boudicca would not go away… her sword cutting through all the thoughts, all the feelings, all the bullshit until she had my attention, my tears, my rage, my full bodied attention.  Every hair on my arms, my hair… raised like antennas sensing, feeling.  Words pulsing through my brain like an emotional hurricane until I knew what was coming.  Knew what was birthing.  She.  SHE.  Boudicca.  The raging Queen of the Iceni was rising through me and she would have her say… have her wrath expressed… on the page… on the canvas.

But first the tears had to flow and words had to flow outward into the void…

I write with a broken heart, though I do not know why.  I have good things in my life, good people.  Some of both really good.  Then why do I feel this rage building and my heart cracking wide open?  Why do I feel lower than the lowest worm?  Why do I not matter?  Why am I scorned and spit at and revolting to so many?

 It is because I, a woman, exist.  Not that I exist here or there, but that I simply exist. 

Why did I choose to come to this time, this fucking time, as a woman.  Have I not been ridiculed enough in previous life times?  Have I not been murdered and tortured, burned and buried alive before?  Why risk that again? 

 There is a primal scream in me this time.  A primal rising that says NO MORE! 

 All I hear in my soul is BOUDICCA RISES

And so SHE comes.  Sword in hand with a death scream that rents the very fabric of the cosmos.  Patriarchy came for my daughters once… had its way with them and then tossed them aside… killed my beloved and took my crown.  Well, not this time.  Not as long as my hands hold a sword and my voice speaks.  Not as long as women continue to wake up – really pay attention – and use their voices.

Make no mistake, we are at war – not just for the soul of women, but for the soul of Lady Liberty and America and, in many ways, for every woman on this planet including Mother Earth herself.  We are at war and it is going to take commitment from every woman, every girl, every man who stands with us.

Each individual who will commit to the idea of NOT ON MY WATCH…

Each woman who will stand and shout…

I AM WOMAN.

I WILL BE SEEN.

I WILL BE HEARD.

I have had my tipping point.

Where… what… is your’s Sister?

 

 

Boudicca Rises by Arlene Bailey, © 2018

Art by Bruce MacKinnon, Editorial Cartoonist

When the Old Antlered One Calls

About 5-6 years ago, the name Elen began coming to me in my dreams.  I had no idea who Elen was nor that there were legends of antlered women and female deer that ran through my lineage.  I knew nothing of this entity nor her mythology but I was very intrigued and felt I’d found a part of me.  I was aware of the Artist, Jude Lally, and had long admired her work with the  needle felted dolls she created, knew also she worked in the realm of women and mythology and Celtic and pre-Celtic lineage, so I contacted her. I told her of my dreams and asked if she knew much about an ancient deer goddess – specifically Elen of the Ways.

chescapotterladyoftheways

Chesca Potter, Artist

After many talks with Jude, I learned about the Old Antlered One/The Ancient Deer Goddess/Elen of the Ways.  After more talks and research I asked if I could commission a doll.  I really felt I needed a tangible representation of this entity who was very insistent about connecting with me and becoming part of my life.  Jude was aware and together we created my vision of who had been coming to me.  That vision was pretty limited as I only knew she had antlers, carried a drum  and wore a purple cloak.  Oh and she had silver hair with a few red streaks left – just like my red hair that was becoming silver.

Elen Altar

My Altar to Elen and the Old Antlered One

I have walked with this ancient one and her more modern naming in close harmony for these past years continually learning and expanding my knowing of exactly who she she was and who she is today.  Most importantly, perhaps, is the why of why she came to me and why she is coming to so many women in this particular time.  To know I am a daughter of the ancient antlered one… a sister of the female deer of ancient memory… is one of the most profound discovery of my now 65 years.

SuziEdwardsGooseSuzi Edwards Goose, Artist

Sooo…  I’d thought I’d share a few resources for my sisters interested in the mythology of female deer and women.

The work of Jude Lally

FB – Sisterhood of the Antlers

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1634210959937363/?ref=br_rs

Website – https://www.pathoftheancestralmothers.com/

Other FB groups

Elen of the Ways
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ElenoftheWays/

Finding Elen – The Quest for Elen of the Ways
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1499206050378902/

Books and Articles

Following the Reindeer Goddess, Linda Schierse Leonard (older version called Creation’s Heartbeat)

Finding Elen, The Quest for Elen of the Ways – Caroline Wise

Elen of the Ways, Elen Sentier

Following the Deer Trods, Elen Sentier

Two articles by Judith Shaw,

Elen of the Ways by Judith Shaw

The Reindeer Goddess by Judith Shaw

Cehr-SuziEdwards-GooseSuzi Edwards Goose, Artist

a99257b2a96f811162af00631f0407e9Jude Lally, Artist

If you feel the call, I welcome you to the circle of antlered sisters.  As you feel her call… feel the creativity stirring within… the Old Antlered One awaits.

Final 9-13-wmAutumn Deer Goddess by Arlene Bailey, Artist

Blessed Be!

Per Google Image Search, Feature photo at top from Omnia’s video, I Don’t Speak Human.

Storm Crone Musings

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about Florence… about Mother Nature and her power.  Many, including me, have said she is angry and this hurricane is her expression of that anger.  Then I began to think of how a mother is with her children.  She would never intentionally want to hurt them and violent weather hurts not only humans, but animals and indeed all of nature in the path of storms.  All are her children… So why?

I look out my window at the wind and rain… all the leaves and branches on the ground… no sight of birds – not even the hummers at the feeder.  I wonder if Mother Nature… Pachamama… Mama Gaia… is angry or is she simply reminding us that she is here, that she was here before humans and animals and will be after we are all long gone.  Are storms simply a reminder of her wildness, her power?  Are they a means of clearing away that which is no longer needed?

Our current cultural mindset – a product of patriarchy – centers around the idea that human life is the pinnacle of all life and anything that adversely affects human life is bad.  It would have us believe that Mother Nature is violent, destructive, unpredictable, a bringer of senseless death and something to be managed, controlled and even altered if that suits human pursuits.  When humans bring violence and destruction and death to Nature, it is considered necessary – a right even – so that humans can have food, access resources from the body of the Mother, control and alter her so she is not in the way of human expansion or… from the most patriarchal of patriarchal ideas… our manifest destiny.  However, when Nature brings violence and death to humans, it is considered an atrocity, evil even.  Wow… What an egocentric, human-centric, anthropomorphic view!

We are now living in a world where fewer and fewer people (especially children) consciously engage with Nature on a daily basis.  Fewer and fewer go outside, much less venture into forests, onto lakes, into the mountains, etc. to connect with the peace and beauty of our Mother… to listen to her wisdom, receive her healing, embrace her love or hear her cries of pain as her heart breaks wide open over what was, what is and what will be if things do not change.  Fewer and fewer humans engage in sacred relationship with all that supports us.

What if storms are Mother Nature’s only way of getting our attention to say I have a right to exist too?

What if storms are her way of saying… Remember me?  I provided food and shelter and a spiritual connection for you in the infancy of this planet and human kind… the time when you honored me and saw your life mirrored in my life and my cycles mirrored in yours… the time when you saw me as divine as you saw the women of your kind… Remember?

What if storms are her way of shouting about the abuse forced upon her day after day after day, until she screams enough is enough?

What if she is reminding us of her innate wildness and power as if to say woman remember yours?

[Sigh]

If only there were clear cut answers to these questions.  In some ways, I believe there are hints of knowings, but it takes a mind willing to step away from everything we’ve been taught about the value of a human life vs. the value of any/all life out in Nature.  It takes a cultural mindset of living in balance with all that is and that would take a radical cultural reset.  Truly, if only…

For now, these are simply the musings of a woman walking her path searching for grace and understanding… wondering, as she always looks for the deeper meaning in things… wondering, as her heart too breaks wide open at the disconnect that exists between mother and child.

For now, I bow to Mother Nature, Mama Gaia, Pachamama, Papatūānuku, Máttaráhkká – in all her forms and namings – and her wildness, her power, her beauty, her spirit that imbues ours and the bond that does and can still exist.

As a woman deeply connected to women’s ancient ways and knowings, these musings turn me to the energetic workings women have done for ages.

As a Crone deeply connected to the land and the Mother… to Goddess…  I turn to visioning,  bow to her ancient ways, her ancient land and offer her my blessing.

And So It Is.

~Arlene Bailey, © 2018

 

Artist Unknown (Google Image Search revealed no definitive artist)

 

Black Moon Lilith

Final-wm

I walked barefoot on the earth
My feet touching the body of my mother
My body, her body.

I bathed under silvery moonlight
In waters glimmering from her shine
My body touching her body.

Once a month when the moon released
I too released
Giving my life blood back to the Mother
Nourishing her as she nourished me
Mother and daughter in synchronous alignment
My body, her body.

Then the sky god came
And his people told me I was evil
That my body was shameful and I should cover it
That to bathe naked under the moonlight was satan’s work
And I should cover my body.

That my lifeblood released with the dark moon
Was the most evil of all
And during this time I was unclean
And I should be hidden away
And my body covered.

No longer was I allowed to connect to my Mother
No longer was I allowed to stand in my nakedness
Or to revel in the shimmering moonlight
Or release my moon blood back upon the earth.

They told me I was evil.
They told me I was shameful.
They told me I was dirty.

Then they tossed me out of the garden
My body, her body.

Well no more!
The veil has fallen from my face
No longer will I cover my my hair, my body
I am ALL the things they told me NOT to be
ALL the things they told me I COULD not be.

I am Black Moon Lilith
And
I stand in MY Sovereignty.
Screaming forth…
I. Will. Not. Submit.

AND…

You will not get my anger
You will not label my juicy parts evil
Nor will you culturally codify them as shadow
Something to be feared
Something to be hidden.

I am ALL the things you told me NOT to be
All the things you told me I COULD not be
All the things that make me woman.

AND…

I will dance under the light of the full moon
Illuminating the ALL of woman
I will revel in my divinity, my dark, moist woman-ness
I will shine like the stars from whence I came
I will walk naked on the wet, moist earth
For my body is her body.

Standing in my sovereignty
I re-claim all.

My body.
Her body.

The Light
AND
The Dark.

No longer will I live in the Shadows
For now I dance in the Full Moon light.

I am Dark Moon Lilith.

Let the Revolution begin.

~Art and Words by Arlene Bailey, ©2018

The Gift Of A Year

There’s nothing so profound as having a concrete, this world, experience with one of culture’s axioms.  You know, those sayings that others offer in times of stress or difficult situations?  The ones we often label as unwelcome and trite?

This past year I’ve had an experience with these two…

~ Life is unpredictable and we truly have no idea how things will look in the future.

And

~ Every day is a gift.

One year ago today, I was sitting in the hospital with Larry as his heart continued to fail.  I honestly thought my husband was going to die.  One year later, though his heart will never again function at full capacity, Larry is doing great.  Over this past year I’ve seen remarkable strides in his activity and I’ve seen days of frightening weakness.  Still there have been those magical moments when he worked in the garden for brief periods and took short walks with me and the kitties in the woods.

Interesting how a few words look so different on the other side of an experience.  Life is indeed unpredictable and we truly have no idea how things will look in the future AND every day has become a beautiful gift.

To the two ideas above, I now add my own…

The Mystery shows up in our lives in the most unexpected and yet, magical ways, offering us portals of transformation that often come cloaked in darkness and uncertainty.  As with all things, we have the choice to step through this space or walk away.  If we dare to step through – looking beyond our fear and misgivings, our pain, our sorrow – we allow life to move in ways we never could have imagined.  Ways that cloak us in transcendent beauty, ultimately opening us to all possibilities.  If we let go of our resistance, these portals can allow us to fall into grace*.

Amazing how darkness and uncertainty can seed and even birth transcendence and beauty.  I am deeply comforted by the idea that within darkness lies the alchemy of all possibilities.

Today I celebrate this gift of a year with open eyes, leaning into the deep knowing that indeed every day is a container of magic and memory that will never come again.

Today I honor Larry… his journey… my journey… our journey.

Today I celebrate the gift of grace that is this day.

 

________________________________________
*Grace is defined as simple elegance or refinement of movement – a way of moving that is smooth and seemingly effortless, not stiff or awkward.

~Artist/Photographer Unknown

Lilith and She Who Paints

A few days ago I had an incredible need to release a lot of pent up energy.  Some of it was mine, some from others and the collective.  I have learned from experience – the hard way of course (is there any other way?!) – the energy is going to come out and it’s best if I find an appropriate vehicle for its release. Thankfully, as an artist becoming and growing, I am learning to turn to the canvas for release, finding this free-form movement of brush, hands, and paint an invaluable tool of transformation. So I went in with no intent other than clearing energy, simply surrendering to the Mystery – with no mind –  to allow the emergence of who or what needed to come through.

When I reached that place of completion, my only thought was ok, this is ugly.  Later when my husband asked if he could see it, my reply was yes, but it’s hideous and I’ll probably gesso over it.  Looking through eyes not attached to outcome, his reply was I like it.  It’s very expressive.

I sat with that thought for a long time and I realized my painting was not ugly, not hideous.  It was expressive, very expressive and a visual container for all the energies I’d been carrying for days.  I’d painted for 2-3 hours with no attention to form or detail – painting wet on wet without allowing previous layers to dry and adding features without attention to detail (very unlike me!) – letting whatever needed to happen, happen.  Of course, when I finally took a step back and began to assess all that had come – coming out of the zone of soul and into that of the ego – I began to see things I thought needed to be fixed… nose, mouth , eyes, more red here, more black or gold there.  But a voice said, NO! This was never about creating something beautiful or perfect.  It was about expressing your feelings… a vehicle for the self-expression of where you were in the moment and it is enough.

The next morning as I sat looking at her, I learned a very valuable lesson around simply allowing without judging or needing/wanting to fix.  I saw my raw vulnerability in its own kind of beauty and I realized it is enough.

Fast forward a few days, moving through hours of simply staring at her – leaning into how I felt – and allowing messages that wanted to come through this sacred container to flow into me.  In the end, I realize I LOVE her.  I still see my raw vulnerability, though that is now centered in the unabashed raw, vulnerable strength and power of release and transformation.

And…

She is a Dark Goddess who comes when we need to shed outworn habits and ideas… those ways of being and knowing, living and doing which no longer support us or move us forward on our Soul’s path.  As frightening and possibly uncomfortable as this may be, her presence means we are in a place of powerful alchemical potentiality.  We are the seed in the darkness being stretched and pulled as we gestate awaiting birth.  We are the dark matter in the forceps being held to the fire, hammered and forged until we are pure gold.  First, though, we must embrace the wisdom of the serpent who sheds what it no longer needs.  That too requires stretching, pulling, even possibly discomfort as what no longer fits is shed.  Only then can we move into our new form and allow our brilliance to light up the dark sky.

She is Lilith.  I chose this naming so that I am reminded that it is ok to be ALL they told me I could not be.  It is ok, NO!, it is imperative I embrace all my brilliance and wisdom standing strong and firm in pure unbridled authenticity and beauty.  It is imperative I reclaim all I have been told… all EVERY woman has been told… is wrong and evil.  It is imperative I allow my rawness to bleed through the veneer of patriarchal acceptability.

Lilith is here to remind me that in my darkness I find the most incredible gifts and beauty.  She is here to remind me that the serpent is not something to be feared, rather the representation of an ancient, primordial wisdom… a form of the Great Mother, the Great Goddess, herself.

Lilith is my guide to reclaiming our potent woman-ness which has for millennia been hidden in the shadows.  She is the ultimate guide to my Sacred Wild Woman.  She carries the key to my Soul and my path in this lifetime and is the Sacred Container that holds me as I grow and change and become.

I continue to be amazed with this thing called intuitive painting.  Amazed at how things come and what can emerge on the canvas.  I continue to grow and learn and shift by staying in the flow such that I allow both the dark and the light… by being willing to be pulled and stretched… by being willing to be uncomfortable as I feel the heat of the forge and the swirling darkness as I depth dive to those worlds that birth me anew, all the while Dancing with the Dark Goddess in the ever-turning primordial dance of creation and re-creation.

I am in love.  With Lilith… With Me… With my Light… With my Dark… With my Rawness and Wildness… With the quirky way I see things… but most of all, with my Soul’s walk in this lifetime as She Who Paints.

All because I needed to release some energy…. Welcome Lilith!  Her coming is auspicious indeed in this time when women are remembering and reclaiming the power of their innate wildness and authenticity and daring to say You no longer get to tell me the magic and mystery I carry as woman is wrong and evil.

A final gift from this experience…

~The Coming of Lilith~

When you least expect her
The Dark Goddess will appear
Beckoning you follow her
For there’s work to do.

Work that can only be done
When Gaia’s bare bones shine bright
To illuminate that which
Hides in the light.

That liminal time when the
Architecture of the trees shines through
Revealing their
Raw…
Naked…
Strength…
And
Beauty…
Too.

When you least expect her
The Dark Goddess will appear
Beckoning you follow her
For in the Darkness
Lies your Beauty too.

Through an ancient portal of
All they told you not to be
Listen as she whispers
The Darkness is She.

____________________________________________
Lilith and She Who Paints, by Arlene Bailey, ©2018

Art and Poem, The Coming of Lilith, by Arlene Bailey, ©2018

 

 

 

Altars and the Language of Ritual

On this very cold grey day, I sat watching 4 huge crows eating the bird food I’d thrown on the ground especially for the birds too large for our feeders.  These harbingers of  magic and mystery suddenly gave me the urge to build an altar to this deeper path of the inner time.  Of course the Old Antlered One and Elen of the Ways (as both shamanic dolls* and an antlered skull) had to be present along with my painting called Sovereignty**.  Joining the circle were the feathers gifted to me by two amazing birds, along with a few stones appropriate to this journey (including a piece of amber for the ancestors).  Completing the altar are my beloved Celtic Soul Craft Prayer Beads* with small antler and my Norse Priestess Talisman*** with the Hulinhjalmur (Helm of Disguise), an Icelandic magical sigil.  Finally, though there is no visible representation of her, I called in the Cailleach whose season it is and who is very present in our current weather.

I love building altars as they create such a shift in energy in both me and my environment.  The ritual of these creations allows me to speak in a way that words cannot.  The tools I choose giving reflection to my current journey.

May you find your own symbols of meaning which remind you of the deep cave time and inner journey of this season.  May you speak the language of ritual on this cold winter day.

Blessings of Deep Peace and Inner Journeys!

______________________________________

*Shamanic Dolls and Prayer Beads created by Jude Lally of Celtic Soul Crafthttps://www.facebook.com/Celtic-Soul-Craft-127237380645774/

**Sovereignty by Arlene Bailey, ©2017

***Norse Talisman created by Moons Craftshttps://www.facebook.com/moonscraft/

All animal parts found and/or ethically sourced.