Saturday, July 18, 2009

Meditating on Images of the Divine Feminine and Sacred Union Is Healing

copyrighted by RUTH THOMPSON

Lifelong Healing

In my healing room, I surround myself with beautiful images of the Divine Feminine. These images shift my consciousness and remind me that I, too, am divine. And when that shift occurs I feel whole and my body does what it knows how to do and heals me.

I have a dove and a chalice; paintings and statuettes of Mary Magdalene, Kuan Yin, Mary Magdalene's daughter Sarah (who comes to me as Tamara), the Virgin of Guadalupe and Mother Mary; Mother Earth paintings of deserts and rivers and rainbows and flowers -- and now this one called Revision by Ruth Thompson.

At first, I began to bring home images of Kuan Qin because I loved to look at her. As I read Joan Norton's and Margaret Starbird's books about The Mary Magdalene, and later as Joan added such beautiful pictures of Her to her blog, I consciously began to find pictures of Her to add to my walls and altars because I felt an inner peace and sweetness when I looked at Her.

After surrounding myself daily for years with beautiful images of the Divine Feminine just because I loved them, I saw Ruth Thompson's Revision a year ago. I felt like the inside of the top of my head was the Sistene Chapel ceiling, that it had suddenly been blown away, and that I had been given a new crown chakra!

It was a culminating moment of healing in which I felt completely new and changed forever into who I already really was.

As I reflect on it now, this culminating moment was the result of a simple, almost unconscious process that is both miraculous and obvious: My consciousness had been re-patterned by introducing images of the Divine Feminine and meditating on them. It's a process that I now consciously engage in.

Recently I learned from neuroscientists Andrew Newberg, M.D., and Mark Robert Waldman in HOW GOD CHANGES YOUR BRAIN that meditating for as little as 12 minutes daily permanently changes the structure of our brains by activating the "God spot" and feminine traits like compassion and acceptance.

I had been activating the Divine Feminine permanently by meditating upon her images. How powerful is that! And simple. Easy. Available. The way Divine Love should be.

In their research, Newberg and Waldman also trace how the God concept progresses in human consciousness. They report that young children in all cultures draw anthropomorphic pictures of God -- for them God is a person.

In our culture that person is male. In my Southern sub-culture, it was God-the-angry-father. The wrong image for me, making God unreachable because my other father, my personal father, was my abuser.

Consequently, until two weeks ago I only had one image of the Sacred Masculine in my healing room. It is of the son, of Christ as envisioned by Alex Grey. A dear friend, David Ray, who worked with me doing Healing Touch in the chapel at Hollywood United Methodist Church years ago, had given it to me. I love Alex Grey's work, and I think this image is gorgeous, but because of my wounding, I could not have put it in my healing room, if it had not reminded me more of my friend David than Jesus. Though I admit that over the years, as I meditated on Mary Magdalene, framed and on a separate wall from Christ, I felt her love and longing for him flow through me.

Now I have placed an image of the Sacred Union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, called Kundalini Christ by Sofia Christine on one of my altars, the one I see across the room when I sit in my chair and meditate. I had the reproduction for over a year before I framed it and placed it there.

Copper Icon of Kundalini Christ
copyrighted by Sofia Christine

I feel like a spiritual version of Barbara Kingsolver's POISONWOOD BIBLE character Adah, the victim of hemiplegia at birth, who limped along and kept her silence until she was an adult and away from her family. Then by learning to crawl again, she taught herself to walk normally and to speak brilliantly.

Like her, I have abandoned my larger family -- my Southern religious subculture -- and crawled back to the foundation of the Divine in myself and rearranged it. I began as an adult, as all children intuitively begin – with anthropomorphic images of the divine – this time the Divine Feminine as a real woman, a really beautiful woman who loved.

Newberg and Waldman also report that the natural progress of the concept of the divine is to move from the anthropomorphic to the abstract. By age 16, 80% of religious children draw abstract images of the divine.

For now, I am consciously going in the opposite direction.

A sacred geometry image of the yoni

I had meditated on the abstract image of the yoni or vesica piscis () since I dreamed someone drew one on my palm about ten years ago. I had thought of the yoni as the image of the Divine Feminine, and it is that, but it is also the image of the sacred union. It is formed by the intersection of two circles, representative of two complete beings.

Now at 60, instead of abstract images of the sacred union, I am meditating on Sofia Christine's gorgeous human image of a loving Mary Magdalene with a loving Christ, so I can experience the traits of both the Divine Feminine and the Sacred Masculine and a balance of the two, as represented in the Divine Union, at the core of my being.

I want to start over, to grow up again with these two beautiful people-gods locked in their lover’s embrace at the foundation of my consciousness, so when I can walk upright without limping, I can continue to explore, experience, and refine my relationship to the divine within and bring this balance, this divinity, from inside myself each day into the world.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bless this Body as Goddess in Every Cell

Copyright by Elenaray

Lifelong Healing

When I began promoting GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS, everyone I asked to help, answered with an embracing and enthusiastic “Yes!” Other writers wrote reviews for me, and independent bookstore owners sponsored readings and signings and stocked my book. The UNC-W women studies program invited me to speak, a friend set up private home readings, and a radio talk show hostess and a newspaper writer interviewed me. Independent reviewers accepted review copies and wrote reviews filled with praise. Women studies programs at the major colleges and universities in NC advertised my readings. The NC Writers area coordinator invited me to open mics, and abuse survivors in Greensboro at the HIVE set up a reading and discussion with me, coincidentally just a block away from the house where I was abused nearly 60 years ago. This was just the beginning.

The events themselves were small, but the women were big-hearted and though almost all were wounded women, too, they embraced my story, my book, and me. Those who were present as I read, and those who read my book in private, talked and wrote about how it held them spellbound and shook them up with its personal and collective truth-telling. They were so grateful that I have been given the courage to tell my story and to help break the silence about how our culture collaborates in sexual abuse.

Months into my book promotion, GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS still holds the vibration of “yes” when I ask for doors to open for it, and it has begun to open doors for itself. It is a mysterious, sacred journey that has a life of its own.

And that’s a blessing because I need time to re-read my chapter on lifelong daily healing practices and begin to re-balance from the over-doing and over-thinking I engaged in for a few months. If you are a mother or have been around a new mother, you know the physical exhaustion of those first weeks, months, even years. I gave birth to twin daughters 29 years ago, and I was sleep deprived for the first three years of their lives! That’s how I felt after three months of being the “new mom” of my book.

I’m really much more of an introvert than a book like mine (that tells all from A to Z about being physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually abused) might indicate. I loved the people I met, but every time it was hard for me to find the public persona that could stand up and read. If you heard me read in person or heard me speak on the radio, you just would not know that.

But I am shy, and being in public took its toll. While I was with the book in the world, the Divine Feminine was present in me and through me. I loved the feeling of expansion and my shyness seemed gone forever – until the next event approached.

I’d like to tell you that I heeded the dreams I had along the way that showed I was not protecting my beautiful self and that I needed to consciously return to my inner life after these expansions the way I might after giving a healing session. But I did not pay attention.

I barely took time to write down my dreams even though they have been a source of divine guidance for nearly 30 years now. Only later after I had to stop did I take time to read the few dreams I had recorded. It was so easy then to discern the wisdom that could have guided me to slow down and go inward to allow the Divine Feminine to nurture me and to allow the Divine Masculine to constellate and protect me.

I’d like to tell you also that I was wise enough to stop and re-orient myself without needing my body to nudge me. But that’s not true. I pushed until my body pushed back with migraines and a painful sinus infection, which eventually made me “see” I was too much in my head, too left-brained in my planning self and sick of it and sick from it.

From my Healing Touch work, I know that a migraine happens when the vibrational system shuts down and will not allow life force to travel through it freely. Too much life force tries to enter the body’s bio-field through too small an opening.

Migraines mean, “Stop. Re-balance. Allow the chi, qi, prana, barata, grace or life force to flow freely through.”

I didn’t stop. I hardly slowed down until a shocking blow came to the right side of my car and the right side of my body in an accident. Because I was tired, I had let someone drive with whom I really didn't feel safe. With deep gratitude, I can report that no one was badly injured. I eventually walked out of the emergency room, shoeless, adorned with a neck brace, without a car, and with only “soft tissue” injuries.

I don’t believe that the accident was created by dark forces or vengeful entities, which slapped me around because I failed to take care of myself. I do know that sometimes I want to be perfect at whatever I am doing. I get an idea of what that means, and, loyal to the idea, I try to enact it, no matter how hard it is. I turn off my feeling function. I forget that I am not alone. Then I get unbalanced and keep doing things without stopping to nurture myself.

Now, I am healing from overdoing. Writing is a part of that process for me. And so are dreams.
I meditate. I pray with my Magdalene Rosary. I read healing books. I draw and paint. I cry sometimes. I watch the green grass grow while Grandma Rabbit eats the plants. I laugh occasionally. I do Healing Touch, use mudras, and do aromatherapy for myself.

Also, I've found it helpful to look at that shocking accident as though it were an inner world vision or a dream. . .

If the accident had occurred in a dream, I might ask myself why the right side of my body was injured. My answer to the “dream” question would include an understanding that in my daily waking life I was injuring my intuition, my feminine wisdom right brain, by over-ruling it, which is always life-threatening. My accident simply pictured this for me.

If the accident had occurred in a dream, I might also ask what it means that I let someone, with whom I did not feel safe, drive my car. I would remember that my natural self-protective instinct was impaired when I was abused. And when I stop doing the things regularly that rebuild my vibrational body and repair my instincts, I become the careless driver, driving myself too hard and endangering my life. That’s what over-doing and over-thinking do: they endanger and injure and sometimes destroy Life.

If the accident had occurred in a dream, I might ask myself why my car was totaled. I would say that my plan, my way of getting from here to there with what I am called to give the world, was not safe for me and so it could no longer be available. I would say I have to find another way, another container for holding and offering my gifts, that takes care of my whole being.

Oh, and did I say that in waking life, I was going to see a dear friend, who was at a social function at which I did not want to be? Only after I discussed this part with my therapist, did I understand. If this accident had occurred in a dream, I’d see that I needed to find a new way to be with that dear one and stay away from social events that I dreaded – at least, until my feelings healed and my energy returned so I didn’t dread them.

Now, I am at home. I wait and wonder what that very different mode for getting from here to there is and in what new way I will be in the world with my healing gifts and my book about healing, which, like my friend, are dear to me. Perhaps I just need more rest stops along the way.

Lately, I am using Frankincense to help overcome over-thinking and to create an opening for receptivity and to develop the intuition. Frankincense has begun to talk with me, and I have begun to listen. That’s what I thought I was going to write about today, but the inner guides took me elsewhere. I’ll share that really soon.

Copyrighted by Loveliestdreams

Bless my body, Goddess that it is in every cell – in every soft feminine tissue cell – for healing itself, for holding me in this dimension, and for nurturing me always with love.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Invisible Helpers: Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women

Lifelong Healing

Many of you read my book GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS and know that I spent the last thirty years trying to figure out what went wrong in my early childhood. I started out searching because the pain, first emotional and later physical, was too great to ignore.

Whatever happened in my early life had warped me, and as an adult, I fell into a pattern of setting up one life and support system after another, and destroying each one as soon as it was stable.

All through my search to understand why I acted out of such self-hatred, and how to heal my body, mind, emotions, and spirit, I sensed there was help available from what I learned to call the invisible world, the inner world, the Otherworld, and eventually the Sacred Feminine.

This help came to me through dreams, through chance meetings with others who had books to offer, through crossed paths at a daycare center that led to finding just the right therapist and dream analyst, through insights that came when I wrote or drew, and later through visions.

So I sensed that I might be a part of bigger story, but I didn’t always believe it. (And I didn’t have much time for other women’s stories since some early women’s consciousness raising groups, still acting out of degraded male consciousness, had skewered me in the late 60’s.)

Most of the time I felt like I was on a singular, solitary, isolated journey, stripped of human companioning. A modern mariner. Or the albatross itself, dead, but driven to repeat my story, to enact my brokenness again and again. Perhaps I didn’t deserve authentic companionship. I certainly turned it aside whenever it appeared.

Yet there were Voices that would speak from my notebook, my typewriter, and later my computer screen with far more wisdom that I had. I was somehow tapping into wisdom of the collective that I know now many other women were also finding and into which they were creating openings.

From some universal reservoir of wisdom, images of mythological characters, which I had no knowledge of but which I would come to see as archetypal/spirit guides, would arise in my dreams.

Once, Eurydice, the neglected wife of Orpheus, came to me in a dream. I awoke saying her name, a name I had never read nor heard. Because I could sound it out, I found her in the dictionary, and understood that I was like her – lost in the Underworld to find my own way because my “Orpheus” energy, the ego out-in-the-world energy could not keep its promise, do its duty, keep me safe, and bring me up to the surface without looking back, without making me into an object for the eyes to see, rather than allowing me to emerge as a human being ready to participate fully in Earth life.

The dream promised I was not entirely on my own to find my way out of the darkness, though. First of all, the wisdom from the inner world, had given me a picture of what was going on within me. That information showed me where to put my loving attention so I could heal.

Also, that same dream gave me another guide in addition to Eurydice, a guide who had an outer world existence, too – my therapist had visited me in a dream that night, had stood by my bed and told me that I would be okay – that I was strong enough to go within and find the light and bring it back to the surface. What the outer masculine had spoiled, through neglect and abuse, could be healed within.

But in the day-to-day world, in what I call the outer world, I was alone.

Solo. Single mom. Single woman. The one you see eating my herself and reading a book, trying to shrink herself into invisibility. The one who no longer goes to social gatherings because husbands make her feel uncomfortable. Separate, even through many short marriages. Separate, inauthentic, even – especially – in lovemaking.

Consciously, I held myself apart, and often I still do. But I see now that I was being swept along unremittingly by a wave of increasing consciousness about who I was as an individual and how I became that specific Sandra because of the collective cultural unconsciousness that held the hatred of women.

What was activating that ancient collective wisdom? Who was re-discovering the underground pools of divine healing and leading me to them?

Books I read held whispers that others were engaged in similar journeys inward. Whispers of the deeper lives of others reached me through poems and an occasional film. Decades passed.

I resisted.

Unfortunately, it took sickness to bring me understanding of my body as spirit, not just a vehicle for spirit, but divinity itself. That understanding allowed me to get out of the way and allow my body to heal. And as my body healed,* it guided my search and released to my consciousness the knowledge of my original wounding and separation from others.

As I grew to understand that I had been abused in early life, I understood even more why Eurydice came to me. Like her, I was neglected and unprotected and not just during those specific moments that I was physically and sexually abused. My whole being, my light body, my vibrational being, my chakra field – whatever I call my expanded being – held the pattern of abuse and the culture reinforced it daily. As Clarissa Pinkola-Estes says in one of her wonderful healing stories, [my] spirit went a way off and sat.

No wonder I began to participate in my own abuse, as we all do for as long as we must, by enacting the hateful pattern of self abuse and deprivation.

But, as I slowly came to know, there was a bigger story, a wondrous story, in which I was participating. As I allowed healing to flow through me, as I wrote my book to follow my healing guides and integrate their healing energies, there were other women who were also working in their own ways through their specific life problems and blocks and drives and dreams, so they could enter the sacred mystery of consciousness.

And somehow my individual healing was fed by pools of ancient collective healing wisdom and ways. It was from those pools that Eurydice, unknown to me until she appeared in my dream, arose.

Somehow what those other women, separate but contemporaneous with me, and I experienced, created, and unraveled through our individual Selves had fed the Source and helped the ancient wisdom find ways into all our daily lives. We had primed the pump, and now all our stories flowed together, little streams of consciousness seeking their Source while Source was seeking each of us and sending us invisible companions and guides.

Here now in a book I love, Women of Wisdom: Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women, are wisdom stories and healing stories of other women. Some of these women fed my healing through other books they have written. Some of them are women whose stories were unknown to my conscious self before I read this book. But all these, and many more, too, companioned me on my journey to healing through the invisible circle of Sacred Consciousness. For that I am deeply grateful.

Women of Wisdom: Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women

by Kris Steinnes

is available now through a special promotion.

I invite you to go to this page –

to access the order page and then go back to this page and enter your order confirmation code and your email address. That will take you to the sign up page for the Women of Wisdom enewsletter, once you join the WOW book group you will be sent an email with a link to the bonus gifts that are available to people who buy the book today. You can later opt out of being on the Women of Wisdom newsletter list if you choose.



Growing Up Without the Goddess

* I continue to engage in daily healing practices (Qigong, meditation, Healing Touch, reflexology, aromatherapy, and prayer with my Magdalene Rosary). Healing is lifelong, and as I engage in healing ways daily, I deepen into the ancient ways and wisdom and add what I have transformed to the Source.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women" Guest Blog from Women of Wisdom's Kris Steinnes


Here is a beautiful and empowering book for all who are engaged in healing themselves and the Earth by bringing in what author Kris Steinnes calls "the feminine mind." The feminine mind is what I call the Goddess within each of us, the One who holds us and heals us and moves through us -- each of us a part of nature -- to heal the Earth.

Women of Wisdom by Kris Steinnes, is being offered beginning on June 23rd, 2009 at 12:01 am. We invite you to go to this page - - to access the order page and then go back to this page to access the bonus page. On the Exclusive Private Invite page, enter your order confirmation code. That will allow you to gain entry to the bonus gifts that are available to people who buy the book on June 23rd.

Here is Kris' description of the wisdom that
WOMEN OF WISDOM: Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women makes available to all of us. I love this book. It holds the Divine Feminine.

Women of Wisdom is a journey through sixteen years of one of the largest women’s spirituality conferences in the world, a very unique conference that has impacted thousands of women’s lives. Authors Jean Houston and Margot Anand both exclaimed separately to me – “Kris there is nothing like this in the world” – and they have traveled around the world. The book will continue to impact women, as they experience the wisdom and gifts of the sixty contributors in the book.

The Women of Wisdom book gives women access to powerful, inspiring women leaders and their message for women to step into their power, own their feminine gifts, and learn to speak their truths. WOW provides role models who will inspire women to discover their dreams and their purpose.

Additionally the book shares stories from women whose lives have been changed by experiencing these women’s messages. Evocative art, poetry and experiential exercises enhance the book’s message, providing diverse ways to experience the spirit of the feminine.

Included in the book is my own story of how I started Women of Wisdom, which has been an empowering story for women to hear. My story began with reading The Feminine Face of God, by Patricia Hopkins and Sherry Anderson. Shortly afterwards I had a vision of bringing these spiritual women leaders to Seattle. And I immediately set that in motion at Seattle Unity Church, where I was a board member.

I realized this was something more than just a conference when I welcomed people at the first night of the conference, February 11, 1993, and I stated “Welcome to the First Annual Women of Wisdom Conference.” It has become a movement for women to come together in community and explore their potential, and to honor and support one another. This conference has continued to grow and be strong for seventeen years now and that is a testimony to the power of the vision, and the importance of women realizing the value of their unique gifts to share with the world.

In 1998 I realized I had a wealth of material in the tapes of the talks from these nationally known best selling authors and that they would make a great book. I had a dream to share this with other women. I would get phone calls and emails from women asking me if there was an organization like WOW in their city. Not everyone has the luxury to travel to conferences and experience life changing conferences and this book will provide that opportunity to many women.

In addition, the powerful women who participated at the conference in different ways – artists, musicians, writers, local presenters and WOW leaders – would contribute to make this book a holistic experience of exploring the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of being a woman, giving the reader the full conference experience.

The women’s movement has led women to evolve to such heights as running for the presidency of the United States. However in workshops I have given women have shared how isolated they feel. They don’t feel honored in society for their feminine gifts and how they don’t feel comfortable or safe speaking what they feel, what’s inside their hearts, whether it be in the workplace, home or other. In sharing women’s stories in the book, women will relate to their experiences and gain strength and support through the validation of the feminine that is expressed in the book.

Many of the authors in the book share how there is a lack of balance of the feminine in our world, and how we’re at a critical time where women need to become equal partners towards creating the solutions to the many crisis facing our globe. Jean Houston shares her experience of Women of Wisdom in the foreword of the book:

Women of Wisdom is in the forefront of the biggest change in human history – the only change that will assure our continuity as a species. Those who organize and participate in the Women of Wisdom experience, know that for a new world to be born we have to bring a new mind to bear. Critical to this is the rich mind style of women that has been gestating in the womb of preparatory time, lo, these many millennia. In their ebullient and evocative conferences WOW demonstrates a tremendous change in who we are and how we do things.”

”Playing their part to usher in feminine mind, WOW emphasizes process rather than just product, and making things cohere, relate, and grow. Cultures in which the feminine archetype is powerful are almost always non-heroic, they tend to make things work together, each piece has its part to play.”

“Men and women will be released from the old polarities of gender that force them into limited and limiting roles, and qualities of intelligence will be added to the human mind-pool that will render most previous problem solving obsolete. Linear, sequential solutions will yield to the knowing that comes from seeing things in whole gestalts, in constellations, rather than in discrete fact…. And it will ring an ecological ethic, along with a new partnership between men and women, in which the human acts in concert and in partnership with Nature to bring about more symbiotic ecological relationships.”

As a bonus, those who buy Kris, book on June 23 from her link (see above) and are in the first ten to select my book as a bonus from her bonus page, will receive a free copy of GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS: A Journey through Sexual Abuse to the Sacred Embrace of Mary Magdalene. You may request a pdf. file or a signed paperback.

Blessings, Sandra

Sunday, June 14, 2009

National Campaign for Health Care Reform

and Gifts in Raleigh, NC. Photo by Alice Osborn.

While I practice holistic healing for myself and others -- Healing Touch, Reflexology, and Aromatherapy -- I understand that sometimes we all need to go to a doctor to speed healing. Many of us needed a doctor (and someone willing to take us to a doctor) when we were abused. I also know that those of us recovering from abuse need the support of psychotherapists as we continue on our healing path. For these reasons, I support the
National Campaign for Health Care. Here's my story, which I submitted to the campaign for posting on their blog, if they choose to do so. You can post your story, too, by going to the site above.

I am fortunate because I am healthy, but if that were to change, I would be among those who are most unfortunate because I have no health care insurance. I worked for 20 years as a high school teacher, but a technicality left me without health insurance when I retired early and received partial retirement pay. I continue to work part-time as a community college instructor, but I receive no benefits from that employment. I can no longer afford catastrophic health care insurance ($250 a month), so I eat right, exercise, meditate and pray and try to stay out of harm's way.

I could pay $125 at most monthly for a health care plan that would do more than pay 80% of hospital charges after a $5,000 deductible. I could afford low co-pays for office visits and routine care. Paying more than $125 a month for health care means that I can't afford to visit a doctor for everyday care and checkups. It means I can't afford to visit a dentist for teeth cleanings and ordinary checkups. So I pay for that preventive care now instead of paying for a catastrophic health care insurance plan.

I'm five years away from being eligible for Medicare, and from what I read, Medicare is underfunded and at its current funding rate, may not be able to continue paying for care within a couple of years.

Fortunately, my husband is a veteran who qualifies for his care through the Veterans Administration. Otherwise, his diabetic care would be far more than we could afford. He is 65, and receives Social Security and Medicare, and he, too, continues to work part-time. Our cars and our house are paid for, and fortunately, we are almost out of debt.

We are able and willing to pay for ordinary medical care, but not at the rates insurance companies charge today. I've worked for 40 years, and only in the last three years have I been without health insurance.

I'm not afraid of death -- of dying maybe -- but not of death. I'm not seeking care that will give me new joints and new body parts or even exceptional intervention if I am faced with injuries or diseases for which the chance of recovery is slim. I believe the body is an amazing healer, and I just want simple interventions to help it on its way. A flu shot, a bone set, a blood panel now and again, and hospitalization to help with minor interventions that will sped recovery.

I watch as people in my community have barbecue dinners to help people younger than me, who have not yet raised their children, pay for necessary life-saving hospital care. I know there are others who need this help far more than I do.

I hear that the medical lobby and the drug lobbies have just about killed the possibility of a "public Medicare" plan. I do hope what is being reported is wrong and that our legislators will have the foresight to make basic health care available to everyone.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

JOAN NORTON'S new book is the Feminine HERO'S JOURNEY for the Intimate, Inner Journey to Resurrect the Sacred Feminine

As a sexual abuse survivor, I especially celebrate and recommend Joan Norton's and Margaret Starbird's 14 STEPS TO AWAKEN THE SACRED FEMININE. Sexual abuse thrives in cultures like ours that have banished the Sacred Feminine, and here is a book that shows how to awaken her and bring her back!

Beautifully written and designed, 14 STEPS TO AWAKEN THE SACRED FEMININE is a gentle, loving guide for individuals or groups that want to heal and reclaim the empowering archetypes of the Sacred Feminine which the Western Christian tradition has hidden, denied, degraded, and banished. This book is the feminine HERO'S JOURNEY for the intimate, individual journey to the inner world to resurrect our part of the Sacred Feminine and to call her forth into our daily lives through story, image, meditation, and reflection.

By engaging personally with the seven historical and seven legendary archetypes of Mary Magdalene, we can shed the historical distortions and cultural and doctrinal practices that changed Her story, which then captured, distorted, and degraded the Sacred Feminine in each of us. We can emerge with the mystery of our own divinity restored, empowered to be Her in a world that so badly needs and wants the strength, compassion, and balance She brings.


See Joan's blog at
See Joan's website at

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


TODAY at 6 pm PDT. Link to World Clock.

I would love for you to join me when Goddess Advocate, Sacred Tour Director, and Author Karen Tate interviews me about GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS today, Wednesday, 6 pm PDT on her internet radio show “Voices of the Sacred Feminine.”

Karen and I became Facebook friends at Joan Norton’s suggestion after I read Karen’s beautiful book Walking An Ancient Path which was named an award finalist in the USA National Best Books of 2008 Book Awards in the spirituality category. Karen’s work to bring the Divine Feminine into daily life is inspiring and empowering. When I read her book, she entered my dream life, welcoming me into a labyrinth or crop circle – both symbols of the Sacred Feminine and of a matrix that connects us to the divine within.

In the waking world, Karen is also a terrific lecturer on the Divine Feminine, whose lectures appear on YouTube. She is a compelling interviewer who brings us insight and inspiration weekly on the Voices of the Sacred Feminine, her Internet radio show.

I am delighted and grateful that Karen will interview me about what has been given to me to say about the Sacred Feminine through my book GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS.

Join us as we consider the following points about my personal experience of and teaching by the Divine Feminine, who comes to me as The Mary Magdalene and her daughter:

  • The link between sexual abuse and growing up without the Goddess
  • What started me on my journey to discover the Goddess and how I knew it was the Goddess I sought
  • How my dreams connect me with the Divine Feminine
  • How all healing is self-healing and lifelong
  • How we “embody the Goddess”
  • Why the personal masculine abuses the personal feminine

From Karen’s website here are the


To hear my program, just go to If you are there to listen to the live broadcast, just click on the appropriate link on the top of the home page. If you missed it the first time around, you can hear the podcast by clicking on ‘Archives’ on the main menu on the left side of your screen. From the Archives page, a list of names appear. Karen Tate is on the list. Scroll down the list until you come to her name. Click on her name. All of her podcasts will appear below the guests and description of the show. Click on the podcast that you want to hear.”

I hope you’ll be listening tonight at 6 p.m. PDT when Karen and I talk.

Peace and Light,

(Here is a list of Karen’s recent interviews, which are archived and can be downloaded from her website.)

January 7
Matthew Fox
Former Dominican Priest - Author of The Hidden Spirituality of Men
January 14
Dale Allan
Thinking With Your Right Brain
January 19
Zohara Hieronimous
Kabbalistic Teachings of the Female Prophets
January 24
Pastor Stacy Boorn
HerChurch in San Francisco
January 28
Prof. Chiavola Birnbaum
Ancient Mothers & New Treatments/Cures for Breast Cancer
February 4
Jann Aldredge-Clanton
Restoring Sophia Within the Church
February 11 -
My Talk "Relevance of the Sacred Feminine: Deity, Archetype & Ideal - Building Bridges and Finding Common Ground" and Riane Eisler on the Economics of the Sacred Feminine
February 18 -
Miranda Shaw, Phd
Kumari Goddess of Nepal
February 25 -
Beth Wilson
Author of He's Just No Good For You
March 4
DeAnna L'am
The Red Web Foundation - Part I of IV - Positive Societal View of Women's Bodies & Menses
March 11
Lisa Raphael
Becoming One - Transformational
Holistic Healer and Spiritual Mentor
March 18
Grandmother Agnes of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers
March 25
Margaret Kushara
Women's Sacred Source Origins
Program - Traditions of Movement, Dance, Song and Ceremony
APRIL 2009
April 1
Ashley Ross
The Red Web Foundation, Part II of IV, Positive Views of Women's Bodies & Menses
April 8
Melody Friend
Discussing Volunteering in Service to Goddess
April 15
Fr. Roy Bourgeois
Advocate for Women's Ordination
April 22
Lauren Thyme
Earth Day Special: Permaculture Farming
April 29
Marcia Mastroddi
Lady Diana, Queen of Heart as the Sacred Feminine

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Connecting with the Divine through the Intuition for Discernment and Protection against Enchantment

(This is a Rowan Tree. Its red berries have an ancient magical symbol of protection --
a pentagram or five-pointed star opposite their stalks.*)

I was scheduled to drive to Greensboro yesterday to the NC Writers Conference at UNC-G, the same kind of conference I attended two years ago and where I felt like I was really out of place. Those I met were good people, and the seminar on memoir-writing was helpful, but I was back on the campus I fled 42 years earlier to join the consciousness-raising and anti-establishment movements of my youth.

At the earlier conference, I felt like I was an interloper, and a part of me wished I had stayed on a more traditional writer's path through academia. I skipped the conference last year.

But this year, I thought that, with my book published, it would be a good time to return to the conference. I felt that I would not feel displaced this time because now I was a "published writer." I had paid my fees, had everything packed and in the car, and I even got up at 4:30 a.m., so I could get dressed and leave on time.

I sat on the side of my bed, and feeling exhausted, I remembered how I always tell my clients that they are never required to do more than their bodies can stand, that only when their "cup runneth over" can they be certain that their work in the world is of the Divine and not of the ego, from the high heart chakra and not the human heart chakra.

I remembered that Clarissa Pinkola-Estes said we sometimes have to remind even the angels, who visit us with inspiration, that we are not like them, that we need rest, and food, and time for recovery. I had been working non-stop on all sorts of projects: I had been eating most of my meals standing up, had canceled dream analysis and therapy sessions so I could work more, and had minimized or eliminated exercise and meditation time. I reached under my pillow, found my Magdalene Rosary, and I used it as a pendulum to ask if "we" should go to the conference.

NO. That was the answer.

I didn't like the answer. I had pictures in my mind of being able to read at the open mic, display my books (maybe even sell some), and introduce myself in my seminar as a "published writer." But my body held the wisdom of "NO," and my vibrational field, which moved the pendulum, showed me this "NO." It was a big one, too. The pendulum did not hesitate. It rocked back and forth vigorously.

Okay. So, what then? I went down to my healing room, and asked for tolerance from the Divine, as I asked that same question from the pendulum I use in daily life and healing work. Again, "NO."

I got tricky. I decided to ask: "Is it okay if we go?" I got a "Yes," which, of course, is what I always get when I frame questions that way because the Divine is always embracing of me, even when I don't do what's best for me.

I meditated, watching the clock with one eye just in case when I asked again, I'd still have time to get ready and go. I still got "No." Three times was all I dared to ask the same question, out of at least minimal respect for the process. The Divine knows I am not dumb enough to need to be told more than three times -- at least told in the same way, the tricky mind said.

So, instead I looked for the Celtic Tree Oracle deck I bought three years ago, when my ever-present connection to dream life faltered. My therapist and dream analyst said that images are the language of the Soul, and she suggested that introducing a system of images as a shared language between me and my inner wisdom might fill the void the dreams left.

Working with the Ogham (pronounced Ohm!) has been wonderful, whether I pull a single card in a moment of distress or do a complete reading, I always feel re-harmonized with the inner, the "Otherworld." The Celts say that the Otherworld exists right alongside this one. One of my favorite quotes comes from a book I lost and forgot the title of long ago, but I remembered this quote and even kept it in amongst my bills during a particularly difficult time in life: "The mundane is the edge of glory." Indeed!

I took the deck from its special place, unwrapped the card from the scarf that acupuncturist Sally Norton bought for me when she was visiting Sai Baba ten years ago, and I asked my simple question in this way: "I have been told not to go to the writers conference today? What is the situation concerning this?"

I shuffled the cards, cut the deck, and drew the card with the Rowan tree on it. The Rowan tree protects from "enchantment, " from the "evil eye," according to *THE CELTIC TREE ORACLE by Liz and Colin Murray.

Because I had done a full reading when GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS first came out, I recognized the card. The Rowan tree was the only tree that had shown up in all three circles in the reading-- once in the past or foundational state of mind that created the current situation; once in the present, as the balance needed because of the confusion created by the past; and again in the third circle as "the way forward," "the future perhaps. . .or even the creative force" that could resolve the confusion of the present (Murray, THE CELTIC TREE ORACLE).

At the time I did the full reading, I understood that my challenge would be to let the book's healing message find its way the world and to avoid being "enchanted" by seeking praise for myself as the writer.

The Rowan card counsels: "Undoubtedly if you are in danger of 'enchantment," being swayed or mesmerized by harmful or vindictive powers, keep your wits about you. Choosing this Ogham card will help you . . . distinguish bad from good, harm from help, using your spiritual strength to turn away anything that threatens your serenity and purpose. . . You must use your sense and intuition to distinguish one from another, and so be protected"(Murray).

The guidance was perfect!

I was not serene. I had forgotten my purpose, the book's purpose, was to heal me and share my healing story with others, so that its vibrations could be a part of their healing process, if they choose.

And as a survivor of neglect and physical and sexual abuse, enchantment and mesmerizing were very familiar to me, for
enchantment and mesmerizing are consequences and survival modes for those of us who have been abused.

"Enchantment and mesmerizing" answers the question many still ask about abused women "Why doesn't she leave him?"

Enchantment and mesmerizing answers that question this way: "Because she is under his influence and controlled by his 'evil-eye,' by his way of seeing her, by the man-culture way of seeing her, so she thinks she deserves what he, the god-man in patriarchal society, gives."

So there it was:

I wasn't going to the conference because I was interested in any of the workshops, though they were all wonderful and led by lifelong writers with developed expertise and much, much to offer writers learning their craft. I wasn't going to hear the keynote speaker, the faculty reading, or even to have lunch with a faculty member or an author.

For me, the "Writers Conference" had changed into something other than what it really was -- talented, dedicated writers and willing, hardworking students, who were coming together to enjoy one another's writing and to enjoy learning from one another. For me, decades ago when I attended, colleges and universities carried and disseminated the vibrational field of the patriarchy, of "Daddy's way." There I was, thinking of going to what had become, in my mesmerization, an enchanted version of the writers conference where I would be noticed, where I would be acknowledged, where my Daddy would love, not abuse, me.

So, the pendulum and the Ogham, which connected me to my own inner Divine, said, "NO."

The Divine said, "NO," because I do not need to be mesmerized or enchanted by outer world acknowledgment -- I never, never need to return to seek "his" approval.

The more I go out and read my book to people who come because they know what the book, not the author, is about, the more I am humbled by how survivors daily transform their pain into strength. Author Joan Norton said in a review of GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS that "the inner journey of recovery of the 'feminine face of God' is the great work we are all engaged in – and maybe it is abused women who are leading the way."

Within that inner journey of recovery is where my Rowan tree grows and where my protection from self-enchantment lies.

Blessing and Rainbows!


P.S. Receiving praise is healing and the praise for this book has been abundant. Thank you all for your generous praise! Seeking it for its own sake, for me, is enchantment.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Meditations on Love, Abundance, Metaphors: Embodying the Goddess, Moment to Moment

I am in love with Michelle Obama. Pure love. She is a walking springtime garden of Goddess dresses and rainbow smiles, each one meant especially to lift me up, and you, too, I'd guess. . .

, she evokes an inner hidden springtime Goddess of blooming womanhood, and I want to decorate myself, too, until my inner beauty is turned inside out, and I am safely visible -- a burst of color, a brilliant ray of light.

Then, I cry like a school girl, asking "Why is She here?" And weep again to know: She is here because I am here, and though it all feels so personal, because you, too, are here, I'd guess.

Abundance: Images of an Abundant Goddess in Becoming visit me in my dreams. Large and beautiful and loving, she doesn't know how to do all she is drawn to do, but she is learning. I love her, too, like I love Michelle, like I love Mary Magdalene, like I finally love myself.

Metaphors: Those comparisons that say a thing is something else and so expand our knowing -- I have loved them for decades, these powerful figures of speech that can import the beauty and majesty and sacred creative mystery of the stars to my woman's eyes:

Her eyes are stars in the dark night-time sky, lighting the way.

I have hunted them down, these metaphors from Milton to Donne to Shakespeare to Jesus to Mary Magdalene to Dorothy Parker, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, and hundreds in between. For decades they expanded my mind; they pried it open wide and beyond the scope of conditioned response. I constantly sought the sudden surprise of Wordsworth's daffodils on the other side of the hill or violets populating the hillside of a Tennessee pond from childhood, for I have loved the experience of being suddenly seized and lifted to a different way of being.

Now I know.
They are one way, one love,
these metaphors are,
to broaden consciousness.

Their playground is the mind, but their gift, finally, is
insight, as they tutor us to find our other mind, our intuition, till a new time of life, of knowing, comes (and it goes, too, to where I do not know, but it also returns), so that:

My ancient mind is unfettering itself, and there are moments now when I no longer need metaphors to prop me up till I reach the sky or deepen me until I feel the Earth inside my flesh.

I used to pray every day into conscious experience -- 365 prayers a year -- and devour each day with my hungry mind as it entered my always greedy-for-beauty eyes. But I am more than observer now, more than speaker now, more than meaning-maker now.

So when I say, if for an instant only sometimes, that my eyes are the stars or that I am the Goddess, or that the days pray me, I don't
mean it. I don't believe it. I don't even simply experience it.

Embodied -- I am it!


Growing Up Without the Goddess bookcover front

Buy it now at

Here's my schedule of events, some past, some nearly present:

March 2009

March 19: Read at North Raleigh at Fall River Books Open Mic
7:00 pm 1141 Fall River Ave.

March 29: Private Reading in Magnolia, NC
2:00 pm
4:00 pm

April 2009

April 9: Reading and Book Signing at Pomegranate Books, Wilmington, NC
7:00 pm

April 23: Tentative: Faculty Colloquium at UNC-Wilmington (re-scheduled for the Fall of 2009)

April 25: Display book at NC Writers’ Conference in Greensboro, NC

May 2009

May 2: Reading, Dancing Moon Books & Gifts, 12 noon to 3 p.m. Raleigh, NC
12:00 - 1840 Wake Forest Rd. Raleigh, North Carolina 27608 Phone: (919) 833-8081, 3:00 p.m.

May 6: Voices of the Sacred Feminine Radio Interview with Karen Tate
9:00 EST

May 9: Reading at the HIVE in Greensboro, NC
2:00 – Greensboro Hive, 1214 Grove St. Greensboro, NC
4:00 p.m. 27403 (336) 617-5328

May 21 Seminar on Abuse and Vibrational Healing with readings from my book,
6:30 p.m. – Visions & Dreams, 4403 Park Avenue, Wilmington, NC.
8:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Guest Blog: I, too, found the Mother I so badly needed in the Goddess

What follows is a commentary by Merry Stetson Hall about how she entered the story I tell in my spiritual memoir GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS and discovered that we shared similar hidden abusive experiences growing up in a culture that does not honor the feminine as divine. Her story touched me deeply and affirmed that this is our collective story and that as each one of us heals by finding the Goddess within, that healing spreads out to all others, too. Thank you, Merry!

Dear Sandra,

I commandeered GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS right out from under Burl's nose for two days! I intended to look at the format and presentation because I'm almost committed to using BookSurge to publish BRINGING FOOD HOME. I found your story too compelling to put down, however, and read every word greedily.

A review follows, but first I wanted to share with you more personally.

You are, indeed, right that your story bespeaks the gender abuse all women suffer in one form or another in our patriarchal culture, whether or not the abuse manifests in sexual rape. It pervades our sexuality, our relationships, our self-esteem, our spirituality, our employment, our status, and every conceivable aspect of our being on earth. It perverts our fathers, brothers, sons, and lovers too in a different way. You are right on target, too, when you suggest that the sexual manifestation of this abuse is inevitably rampant throughout our homes and families, because it is based on misogyny. You offer the painful details of your personal experience with eloquence and courage. Because you also trace your recovery in ongoing detail, your story stands as a guidepost for the acknowledging and healing journey we all must take. Your understanding that we can never be fully healed in a culture that continues its patriarchal abuse and asks us to turn to an all-male Father/Son God for guidance out of sin is invaluable. We heal ourselves by resurrecting the Goddess; we resurrect the Goddess by healing ourselves. This is our ongoing mission.

I, too, found the Mother I so badly needed in the Goddess as she variously manifests within me, within nature, within human history, within the universal energy that flows through us all, within my therapists, and eventually even within the female abusers who became my personal teachers. I am especially gifted to see and hear Her present in my husband Burl's experience, relationship, and voice--a rare blessing.

I cannot yet fathom whether the story I have woven from my own experience with my father is shrouded memory or personal mythology. I have decided that it really doesn't matter, because it requires a story of that scope to account for who I am and how I am wounded. My story goes that he used me and my vagina as a "mule" for black market goods when I was 3-4 years old and we were in Japan right after World War II. He then abandoned me in mind and spirit while still a part of the family in body as he sank into psychosis and frequent sexual liaisons that took him from home.

My mother's coping mechanism of putting a "normal" face on all this, moving the family whenever the truth started to catch up with us, mothering/nursing/forgiving her husband, and encouraging me to love/respect him as a father, only deepened the abuse and delayed my recovery. As a young mother, I ended up stepping into the role of my mother's mother, comforting her and getting her legal representation when my father finally threatened to leave her/us for his newest lover.

I did not have a brother (unless the half-Japanese half-brother I fantasize we left in Japan is real and not imaginary), but I have a now-deceased, abusive older sister, more deeply wounded than I, who spent her time on earth hating herself, life, our father, and most especially me for stealing from her the scant amount of love, attention, and affirmation my mother had left after mothering our father and nursing the wounds he inflicted on her. By the time mother had coped with my father, my sister, and her own pain, there was little energy left to mother me though she meant well. To gain at least her approval I identified with her and took on the role of "the healthy one who would succeed and uphold the family honor."

Only through my willingness to fail, to hurt, to do the incredibly painful work of acknowledging and healing have I grown now as a 65-year-old into a true though shaky manifestation of that role. Like the velveteen rabbit, I have become real. Only Sophia could have placed and nurtured the wisdom, willingness, courage, patience, and forgiveness in me that this transformation required.

Here's my book review. I hope you find it helpful.

GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS gives story and form to the abuse all women suffer in one form or another in our patriarchal culture. Sandra Pope offers the painful details of her personal experience with eloquence and courage. She shows how the denial of the Goddess has blighted both men and women from generation to generation in her family and the human family. She reveals how rape and incest team up with denial, neglect, and the perversion of victims to maim us. She shows how both the egregious and the subtle forms of sexual abuse pervade our families, our sexuality, our relationships, our self-esteem, our spirituality, our status, and every conceivable aspect of our being on earth. Her message that we heal ourselves by resurrecting the Goddess and resurrect the Goddess by healing ourselves is much needed in today's world.

Merry Stetson Hall
Author of
BRINGING FOOD HOME: The Maine Example. Her book profiles local farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, processors, distributors, merchants, restauranteurs, consumers, and advocates. Through these profiles, it explores how a healthier community, economy, ecology, and ethic are growing up around local food in Maine.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Telling the Truth from the Heart

Hello, All!

Many of you, who have read or read about my book GROWING WITHOUT THE GODDESS, have commented on how much courage it must have taken to tell my story.

My story is about my search for the one who abused me before I was old enough to have memories. My story is about discovering, revealing, and dismantling the destructive patterns the abuse caused me for decades.

The amazing truth about my courage is that the book gave it to me. I didn't have it before I wrote the book.

I'm no linguist, but I love the etymology of words, and I remembered something special about this word "courage," as I reflected upon your comments.

The word "courage" comes from the old French word "corage" and means mind, heart, and spirit, according the WEBSTER'S NEW TWENTIETH CENTURY DICTIONARY (unabridged and not so "new," published in 1976!) and according to very up-to-date

The word also means simply, "heart," as it comes through Latin to us. Another word from the Latin that means heart, is "cord." You see this root in words like "accord," "discord," and even "record!" Many of us speak of "heart cords" that connect us to others.

So, the book took discipline to write. It took desire. It took belief in the outcome.

In return for those qualities -- and HURRAY! -- the book gave me courage -- the gift of healing my mind/heart/spirit (and body). Now I am more heart-centered, not captured in the stories others imprinted on me and not tangled up in their "cords."

And I truly know that my healing released them from the heart-pain they tried to heal by reaching out so wrongly to me. My healing gave them back their courage, too, and makes a difference in each one's mind/body/spirit.

I do have my courage now, and thank you for pointing it out to me! I am on my own heart-path, which keeps opening up before me, and my mission is to help others see my personal story of wounding and healing in the context of the greater spiritual problems of our times.

My Best to You!