- An Invitation to the Woman Soul Gathering by Chalice Bailey
- An Invitation to Experience the Truth Mandala by Mary Shackelford
- Embracing the Crone by June BlueSpruce
- Grandmother Moon Bundle by Barbara James Snyder
- Poetry by Women of Woman Soul Gathering including:
- Reflections of My First Woman Soul Gathering by deJoly LaBrier
- The Woman’s Dreaming Soul by Dawn Dickson
- Women of Soul in Circle Together by Mary Shackelford
- Wisdom of Medicine Wheel Teachings: The Four Elements and The Four Directions by Mary Shackelford
- Published Work by Women of Woman Soul Gathering
An Invitation to the Woman Soul Gathering
By Chalice Bailey
Many of us have heard the stories, and feel them to be true. How we come into this world from the other side with a gift placed into our hands that is for us to live into and express through our unique and precious life. Some stories speak to the forgetfulness that befalls the infant as she is born into the world, and a lifetime of seeking for her soul’s purpose. Other stories speak to the task of the midwife who sees the newborn’s gifts, and steals them away for safekeeping until the child is ready to leave home in search of her gifts, her medicine, her soul’s purpose.
As the child grows, she learns her role in the family. She learns what is expected of her, and what is not acceptable. She embraces beliefs and values that bring her the positive nods of her peers, and in other situations, she withdraws in confusion from a world that isn’t understanding her, isn’t recognizing her unique spirit, so she hides, pretends, and does the best she can to fit in. This may not be your story, but you have one that is true for you.
The stories of soul work always involve a leave taking and a journey through what has been called the underworld. This journey takes us to places where our experiences live that want to keep us small. Where distorted thinking presents itself as truth. Where hurt feelings and the anger of betrayal have left us frustrated and confused. These stories have been layered over our gift, our personal medicine, and it is through these layers we need to journey. It is for such a journey this Woman Soul Gathering has been created.
Over four days there will be time in small group with other women, and an elder or two in attendance. Your group will turn over the toxic waste that has layered over your birthright. You will have the opportunity to participate in a water cleansing ceremony and continue to deepen into the wisdom of your gift. You will have time for personal walks through the 120 acres of woods and around Lake Flora, for morning meditation and/or journaling, and time for hand crafts so you can bring back with you a talisman of your experience at the Woman Soul Gathering.
Morning circles will begin with time on the four mother drums, singing, dancing, and stretching yourself into the day. You may want to take time in the mornings to ask questions of the Honored Elders, who will also be sharing their wisdom and experience shared with us during our times in large and small circles. The Grandmother Moon Bundle will be opened and stories told, and there will be ceremony and ritual Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights that will take us through the life phases of releasing and letting go, being still and going within, and stepping forward into our soul’s purpose.
Life may seem out of control and chaotic, and that is the birthing ground of creativity. You are invited.
An Invitation to Experience the Truth Mandala
By Mary Shackelford
In these urgent and turbulent times of change and great uncertainty, there is much about our world that is overwhelming. In response we sometimes grow numb. This numbness threatens our capacity to bring our full selves to participating in our changing world in a positive way, engaging all of who we are, all we have to offer.
Speaking the truth of how we feel is essential to dispel the numbness that threatens to immobilize us. Telling the truth about our fear, allowing ourselves to feel, speak and witness the suffering in the world and in our hearts and bodies stirs up our innate healing intelligence – our compassion – and brings clarity to our intention and impulse towards empathy and action.
In the flow of Woman Soul Gathering, in the spirit of inspiring and igniting our soul’s wisdom, we will join together to create a Truth Mandala, a ritual that comes to us from Joanna Macy. This clearing and purification ritual offers the opportunity to reflect, share, speak and witness the truth of what’s happening in our world – what’s unfolding around us and inside us. Its purpose is to clear the way for each of us to bring our gifts, willingness and commitment forward into our lives, into our communities, into our world so that we may fully engage with our changing times to create a new paradigm.
We will create the container for the Truth Mandala in the sacred space of a circle. Hope is the ground of the mandala, and a symbolic object is placed in each quadrant. Women move into the circle to speak one by one, if and when they are so moved. We take a symbol in our hands and speak, or move from one symbol to another. We let the ritual object focus our mind and heart and help us voice the truth of our own experience.
In the Truth Mandala, we speak not only for ourselves. It is the nature of ritual that it allows and invites us to speak archetypally on behalf also of our people, our Earth. We speak briefly; in brevity, words are powerful. The ritual requires the support of the whole group; after each person speaks, we say together, “We hear you.” and then we pause in silence. Typically there is a lot of silence and space that grows increasingly tender as together we deepen into the holiness, vulnerability and honesty of the ritual.
Each symbolic object is like a coin with two sides:
– The courage to speak our FEAR is evidence of the trust it takes to speak it.
– The GRIEF spoken is in equal measure love. We mourn that for which we
– The ANGER we feel – what does it spring from but our passion for justice?
– Expressing our EMPTINESS makes space for the new.
In the afternoons there will be an invitation to join in small group with an Honored Elder to inquire, explore, share, witness, question and deepen into our shared journey. You may also choose to express your soul’s wisdom through creative handwork and artistic expression. Two of our Honored Elders will be present in the art room to talk with you and provide guidance as needed.
This retreat asks for vulnerability and risk. To that end, we will cultivate a space of clarity, safety and respect. Here are some basic guidelines:
Using The Talking Stick
Our words in these circles are sacred. We honor each sharing and allow the deeper wisdom to shine through by attending to our listening and speaking skills.
- After receiving the talking stick, the person speaking has the right to speak without interruption, and an obligation to speak in a focused way.
- Each speaker takes a brief moment to attune – to allow the inner voice to speak spontaneously with clarity and simplicity. Each person is invited to share in an empowered way what truly has heart and meaning for them.
- Sharing may be cumulative, building on what others have spoken. However, this is done with care to not comment directly on another’s experience, offer advice, fix anything or supersede another’s experience.
- Silence is always honored. No one is required to speak. If one receives the talking stick and does not want to speak, simply hold the stick for an attunement moment and then pass the stick.
- All others listen for the soul, release judgment and hold loving presence.
The time in circle can allow a more intimate sharing that outside of circle feels like an invasion of privacy. We ask you to take care in engaging a woman in her personal story outside of circle.