The Priestess Path By Anyaa T. McAndrew
The Divine Masculine no doubt began as a worthy counterpart to the Divine Feminine in the ancestral environment. Unfortunately, patriarchy, the shadow side of the Divine Masculine, has gained ascendancy and fostered myriad forms of oppression (Holy Inquisitions, suppression of women’s rights, etc.). You can tell how true this is by how you feel in your gut about the very word “patriarchy”. Over the past several millennia, particularly in the western religious traditions, we’ve had priests but no priestesses; a male God, but no Goddess. It’s been pretty one-sided . . . but things are changing.
A defining feature of patriarchy has been its emphasis on “solar initiations”, or practices that focus on transcending the body to join with Spirit. Fire-walking, warrior sweat-lodges, the Sun Dance, meditations, some martial arts, and many forms of prayer and visionquests use endurance, trance and supplication to reach out of the body and, thereby, elevate consciousness. By contrast, the Divine Feminine employs “lunar initiations”, those practices that call Spirit into the body (a welcome alternative to jettisoning out into the universe to make a connection!). After a long suppression, this Divine Feminine and its priestess archetype are returning to cultural consciousness and acceptance.
A feature of patriarchy is our loss of soul connection to our bodies. The result is that most of us center ourselves from our neck up. We identify heavily with our thinking. But as women reclaim their Divine Feminine natures, the true feeling function of femininity gets to play and be re-membered. Shakti dances into ecstatic bliss. Aphrodite revels in sacred sexual pleasure. Pele fully runs the life-force energy of fiery passion. Inanna consciously surrenders to the death-rebirth mysteries. Baubo laughs her bawdy belly laugh. Kuan Yin cries her tears of compassion for all living things, while Gaia pours forth her infinite abundance. Priestess consciousness allows the myriad faces of the Goddess to be soulfully expressed, as the human woman steps into her spiritual power.
Women walk very differently on a spiritual path when they are fully encouraged to express their soulful nature. The soul itself is described as feminine by many sources, being at once wild, willful, chaotic, earthy, sensual, sweet, deeply emotional, passionate and compassionate. These natural soul qualities are also the qualities of the divine feminine seeking to awaken the priestess within the woman. This awakening results in the full empowerment of the woman as a Priestess whose Temple is the everyday world. She exerts her influence in all of her roles—as daughter, mother, lover, career woman, neighbor, and in every interaction she has, moment to moment. At last, the divine feminine and the divine feminist are joined.
Women’s spiritual work calls for full embodiment if we are to co-create a New World with Spirit. We can no longer afford to be disembodied victims of a worn-out patriarchal system on any level: physical, economic, social or spiritual. At the same time we cannot afford to exclude the Divine Masculine as we embrace the Divine Feminine. This Sacred Union, or Sacred Marriage within, is the spiritual foundation from which springs true personal growth and empowerment.
The Priestess calls us back with the “Charge of the Goddess”
I who am the beauty Of the green earth and the White moon on The mysteries of the waters, I call upon your soul to arise And come unto Me, For I am the soul of nature That gives life to the universe, From Me all things proceed And unto Me They must return. Let My worship be in the Heart that rejoices, For behold All acts of love and pleasure Are My rituals, Let there be beauty and strength, Power and compassion, Honor and humility, Mirth and reverence within you. And you who seek to know Me, Know that the seeking and yearning Will avail you not, Unless you know the Mystery: For if that which you seek, You find not within yourself, You will never find it with out. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, And I am that which is attained At the end of desire. ~Doreen Valiente from “Earth Prayers”
Anyaa McAndrew is a licensed psychotherapist. Her work is grounded in Transpersonal and Shamanic psychology as she walks the spiritual path of the Goddess. She has birthed the Mystery School of Life Force Energy, encompassing the Scorpio-Taurus Mysteries. Contact Anyaa at [email protected] or call 770-640-1236 or visit www.tantrainatlanta.com. Anyaa will be teaching at Breitenbush Hot Springs in June. For more info, call 503.854.3314.