I also wanted to collect a small buffet of creative work by women who play by their own rules to inspire you all and me. Some things to keep coming back to when it feels difficult to be a Women. Some Women to fire you up and fill you up.
Firstly I found this
, two incredible articles by the Witch of Forest Grove , truly honest and powerful mud and blood witchcraft if ever I saw it. The rest of the site is pretty amazing too!
Next I want to take a moment to return to and venerate Kali, the epitome of the unacceptable nature of women. I want to give a shout out to Ibis music who are creating some incredible soul stirring work on Kali and others. You can listen to the Kali album streaming live on their website here
I only recently discovered Buffy Sainte Marie but she speaks a direct and powerful truth.
Ruthie Foster took one of my favourite Maya Angelou poems and turned in into a divine song - this is for you dear reader, you are a Phenomenal Women, whoever you are.
Lastly another of my favourite poems by Kate Makki and a performance that has stayed with me for years. If I ever feel I am not pretty - I watch this and remind myself why that is a good thing!
I am going through an interesting time right now exploring the "unacceptable nature of women". Over a year ago I attempted to read Emma Restall Orr's book "kissing the hag" on the "unacceptable nature of women" and was disappointed beyond measure. If anything it seemed agree with some of the worst stereotypes about women and did nothing as far as I could see to embrace the unacceptable nature of women - a powerful phrase which the book did not do justice to.
Earlier this year I managed to get a copy of Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, this is a book about the true unacceptable nature of women and it is so deep and so inspiring I can only consume it in small bites so that I can really savour it, really absorb it.
Through the work I have been doing by myself and with my Ladies I have come back again to this concept of embracing the unacceptable. I am still assimilating these lessons and I will no doubt come back to this again and again but the idea I am currently working with is simple...
Women have been allowed power on the condition that they abide by the boy's rules. That we women are not "too emotional" and "don't cry or get upset", that we don't get too obviously old, hairy or plump, that we are not compassionate at the expense of business and a whole host of other things too numerous to mention.
So I am bringing you on my journey into the unacceptable nature of women, my journey where I hope to embrace that nature and perhaps help other women embrace it to. Because I don't think those rules work...no wait...because I don't feel those rules work!
Nothing encapsulates my current train of thinking more than these two videos. Talking about the rage carried by women and the compassionate nature of us all which has been suppressed.
If you don't know about the TED talks then consider these your gateway drugs.
This first one is a talk about the fierce nature of women by Chameli Ardagh and why that nature is breathtaking and amazing and to be used as a powerful force to change the world for the better. The honest discussion of the nature of rage as experienced by Chameli is moving beyond belief.
Eve Ensler captured my heart with the Vagina Monologues many years ago. I recently found this video and I cried with sadness and then I got to the poem at the end and I cried with joy as I realised it was not only ok to do those things, but something to be celebrated because "I am an emotional creature".
Please be aware of a trigger warning - this video contains descriptions of violence against women, and sexual violence against women, but if you can make it to the end you will find the poem that made me cry with joy!
Tune in for part two for a glorious celebration of Women's Creativity.
I am back from my holiday...it was fabulous and I am full of zip and zing to launch myself back into life, magick, work and creativity.
These last few weeks have been hectic as think I have mentioned, between the crunch of work and my Masters course had left me completely depleted. Since the Summer began I have tried to slow my pace down, take care of myself a little better and to that end I have been consciously letting stress go, trying out Reiki and using Bach Flower Essences and lots of meditation and aromatherapy. All good stuff - but I needed something more.
I needed to get out of the cavern and back into the light.
These things were simply relieving some of the pressure - what I really had my eye on was a relaxing holiday in Wales. Which is where I was until Friday, deep in the heart of Snowdonia - a truly magical landscape. From the first time I set foot in this part of the world I felt tremendously moved almost to tears by the power of the landscape. In fact I find being nestled amongst the mountains and hills provides a perfect sense of retreat and that the peaks around me have distinct and tangible energetic personalities. I used this time to completely relax and recharge with a mixture of vegging out in front of lots of DVDs, eating great food, soaking up amazing views and trying to breathe in a little of the energy around me to fill me up again. In fact I seemed to deliberately retreat back into myself for a few days, until I was utterly bored of it and ready to engage with the work again. Of course being amongst such epic scenery helped a lot (despite the very soggy weather).
My creativity during this stressful period hasn't been affected (which has been part of the problem in a way). But this week I have been able to enjoy a little writing at a more relaxed pace, knowing I have time for it.
So if you can plan for yourself a little retreat like this, even a couple of days, here are my three top tips for making it a success:
1. Head for nature - a city break just won't do it as you are aiming to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of human civilisation. The quieter pace of country life is better suited.
2. Switch off - mobile phones, email and all real time communications. It will all still be there when you return.
3. Take with you those thing you haven't found time for but really want to indulge in; like an amazing but challenging book, a set of guided meditations, a new tarot deck or perhaps a yoga DVD you wanted to try out. You now have some space to play with them, but don't worry if you don't get round to it either, because when you return home it is likely you'll have a renewed enthusiasm and energy for them anyway.