In a couple of weeks I will walk through one of the most significant thresholds of my life. I will step into an unwavering commitment with a lifelong irrevocable vow. In some ways I have prepared for this moment for a year and a half and, in others, I have been preparing for this my whole life.
It struck me recently that I am crossing a huge rite of passage in my life and I have only shared this with a handful of people. And even with the handful of people I have shared it with, I’ve said things in passing and often with an undercurrent of dismissal.
I share many parts of myself with my friends, family, community and the general public. If I were graduating from grad school or getting married or having a baby or even a birthday, I would share this for witnessing and celebration. Yet, this particular ceremony—that is so deeply important to me—I have hidden behind a veil and I have to ask myself why.
I know enough to know that if I’m hiding this part of myself, there are also other parts of myself that I’m hiding. This hiding plays into a smaller story of mine and, when you are making a lifelong irrevocable vow, it is not the time to play small.
On the summer solstice I will be initiated as a priestess. I will commit fully to my spiritual development and step into complete responsibility for my personal power. I will devote myself to a journey of embodying epic, ever-expansive unconditional love. I will take a vow to be in service to the divine feminine, eros, the earth and all of her beings.
My journey as a priestess has incredible significance for me. I spend a good portion of my time devoted to priestess practices and studies. My spiritual practice is my primary anchor in life. It supports me to navigate the complexity and chaos of being a human. It invites me into dreaming something extraordinary. It is the lens in which I perceive, relate and teach through. I think it’s fair to say that my spiritual practice has even saved my life a few times. When people used to ask me, how often do you practice yoga?, I would answer every second of every day. The same goes with priestessing, it’s part of me, comes through in everything that I do and life itself is the vessel for practice.
There is an aspect of bringing reverence to my spiritual practice by holding it close. Maintaining some privacy with these deeply intimate experiences is a way of making them sacred. I believe the expression of connecting to something greater than the ego self is very unique to each individual. Moments of holy communion are often nonlinear and speak in symbol and therefore difficult to translate into language for the linear mind of another.
Yes, there are many ways that our relationship with mystery is indeed personal. Yet, there is a difference between discerning privacy and secrecy.
What I am interested in looking at is why have I been wearing a cloak of secrecy as a priestess. What this feels like to me is equivalent to experiences of shame that I have had. It’s the ways in which I dim my light as to not shine too bright. It’s in the moments when I’m quiet even though I have something valuable to say or when I purposely take up less space to avoid being fully seen.
There are two voices within me that I’ve tracked that contribute to my hiding as a priestess. The first is that it’s a joke, it’s not serious work but a silly indulgence—it is that voice of dismissal that I spoke to earlier. The second voice is one of fear—fear of exile and persecution.
About 4,000 years ago the consciousness of humans across the planet began to shift from one that is participatory—having a relationship with the numerous forms of god and goddess represented in the spirit found in all living things—to one that is completely differentiated and individualistic. This individualism and strong sense of ego self began to create hierarchy and project a personified male god outside of, and above, oneself and nature. Human tribes moved from collaboration to hierarchy that placed god above man above woman above animal above nature. At this time priestess temples dedicated to the goddess began to be burned to the ground as spiritually awake women were deemed dangerous and evil.
Then from 1200 to 1800 across Europe there were witch burnings where hundreds of thousands of people, mostly women, were killed and tortured. Many of these were the midwives, the medicine women and women that worshipped nature and the cycles of the earth. At this time my ancestral lineage of earth-based wisdom was virtually wiped out.
There is a voice of me that says, This is dangerous work, don’t let them see you. This part of me remembers that to practice my love affair with the earth, to midwife life and to make medicine out in the open risked torture and exile. This is the part that wants me to cloak this work in secrecy.
We are in a time that has been called by Joanna Macy The Great Turning which she defines as the “essential adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.”
We are in a time where we are being called back to connection with each other and the planet that we live in—this is essential for a thriving future. We are remembering the times when we did live in concert with the cycles of the earth and the rhythms of nature. We are remembering a time when we were active, co-creative, empowered participants with the great mystery.
On this threshold of my priestess initiation I choose to be seen. I vow to be in service to the emergence of collaboration, community, freedom, a thriving planet, the evolution of consciousness, epic love, the future children, the earth and all of her beings. I vow to fully embody my expression of leadership toward this vision.
Thank you for being my witness. Here is to an extraordinary future for all and to each of us taking our unique place of greatest contribution.