Like many of us right now, life has not been easy lately. My husband has been ‘in between jobs’ for thirteen months, and the stress of this has almost led us into a divorce. I am a Stay at Home Mom with four kids/a blended family and pretty much every single day, I have to move through some really rough emotions: anger, fear, anxiety. You name it, I got it right now.
And when I made the decision to go to the Daughters of the Earth Gathering the week prior, kudos to my husband, he came downstairs where I, with ‘that’ look in my eye told him, ‘I think I have to go to this.’ He did not say a word other than ‘okay.’
As Lucy Pearce said, “I heard the call.”
And when you hear the call, Go.
It wasn’t easy. This was no vacation for me. Even though the cost of the event was reasonable, I also had to buy an airline ticket from Chicago, get a rental car and pay for airport parking: all monies we don’t have at this time. And then when I got there, I was exhausted and tired and … scared. I had never really even camped before and to go to the middle of nowhere and not knowing anyone, it was difficult. I had to move through some very rough emotions which had me thinking several times that first day, ‘why did I do this again?’
But I know why I did it. You see, Daughters of the Earth is not a festival. It’s not entertainment. It is a whole new way of Life. It is a new way of Living.
At one point, I heard a woman wailing in the field. Keening. Not just crying, but this heart felt sorrow erupting. I understood her.
I heard a lot of crying over the weekend. And that was fine. No one looked at you sideways or apprehensively for crying or even sobbing. Because you see, they get it. One of my favorite poems:
To put the world in order,
we must first put the nation in order;
to put the nation in order,
we must put the family in order;
to put the family in order,
we must cultivate our personal life;
and to cultivate our personal life,
we must first set our hearts right.
Face your stuff first. Move through it, because until you do that, you can’t do anything else. There was lots of tips and classes and talking and examples how to do this, set to the background of a lot of singing and drumming.
So many of us have grown up being told, ‘be a good girl.’ Act a certain way. Look a certain way. Keep your mouth shut. When you find your Voice, you Find Your Voice.
When I think of this weekend, I am going to think of continual singing and crying and drumming. There was a Grieving Ceremony, Inipi Ceremonies led by Indigenous women and a Fire Circle Ceremony. ALisa Starkweather is the Found-Her of Daughters of the Earth and the founder of the grassroots global initiative, the Red Tent Temple Movement. She has been doing women’s empowerment work with the sacred feminine for thirty-three years.
Daughters of the Earth Gathering opening circle began with teaching about racism, multiculturism and micro-aggressions. How we can, no we must, all learn to work together.
Out of the five temples for women, at the heart of it all was the ‘Rainbow Turtle Temple’, and a rainbow it was as there were women there of many diverse backgrounds and cultures. Here women brought their teachings and understandings with women who facilitated ‘listening to’, a ‘respecting’ and then an ‘incorporating’ or ‘weaving in’ of what works from all of our different perspectives with honor and humility.
I was humbled by the women there – the sheer number of incredible, awe-inspiring, beautiful, powerful, wise women of all shapes, sizes and ages. Like Shailene Woodley, an ‘actorvist’ who spoke of courage, standing up for what you believe in and continually helping others. And Lucy Pearce from Ireland, the author of the Amazon best-selling The Burning Woman, which aptly discusses finding and supporting your burning passions inside while protecting yourself from the ‘burning without.’
And Laney Goodman who led the drummers was incredible. The Fire Ceremony had a good thirty women drummers. At one point, I just went and stood behind the drummers and listened/felt that continual drumming: the heartbeat that continues and brings us back into the now.
And when the weekend was over, and I returned to the airport, my perspective was forever changed. In every single woman that I looked at, I saw that same potential to really step into their skin and their power. This is not some hippy peace love and happiness, selling what’s trendy and popular. This is fiercely choosing Love time and time again. This is standing up and supporting each person’s ability to choose Love again and again.
I heard Mama Gaia sighing in relief.
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