Mother, mother, what illbred aunt
Of what disfigured and unsightly
Cousin did you unwisely keep
Unasked to my christening, that she Sent these ladies in her stead
With heads like darning-eggs to nod
And nod and not at foot and head
And at the left side of my crib?
-Disquieting Muses 1957 Sylvia Plath
Back in the day, when I began running writing classes, I used to invoke the Muse by setting up an altar, burning sage and having everyone actually imagine they could hear the rustling of gowns as the muses came to join us. Ask anyone who participated at that time and they will leave you in no doubt that the Muses were responsive. These wild women were overjoyed to be invited, having felt that they had been all but forgotten for centuries.
At this same time, I was establishing the Soul Food Cafe and one of the early sections I built was The House of the Muse. As a part of this feature, I gathered a collection of hymns to the muse. Then, when my late husband and I travelled throughout Europe for six months the absolute highlight was finally reaching Delphi, Mount Olympus and other sanctuaries in Greece. At Delphi, I called upon the Delphic Oracle and all but plunged myself in the famed waters of Castalia. I bought back bottles filled with water from the Castalian Spring, decanted the magical water into smaller bottles and gifted these to those willing to anoint themselves and experience a heightened sense of creativity.
Time has passed and I have never forgotten these big-hearted muses who were so responsive to my call for support. Perhaps it was these heavenly spirits who gently reminded me that there is a whole cast of female mystics who would willingly give their time to massage the creativity of those who feel that it has waned a bit.
Little wonder that, seemingly by chance, I came into possession of Mirabai Starr’s ‘Wild Mercy – Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Female Mystics’. It is the perfect text to introduce early in my Great Escape – Intensive Journal Writing Class.
So, in the first session of the Intensive Journal Writing Class, we drew cards from the Goddess Knowledge Card deck.
Then we sat quietly with our eyes closed and allowed ourselves to contemplate our strengths and weaknesses as we begin intensive journal writing.
We each, silently considered how the Goddess who emerged might help us harness our strengths and mitigate our weakness.
I set an alarm and we began a twenty-minute free-writing session where we introduced ourselves and called for support as we begin this work.
Upon completion of the speed writing, we spent time critically analysing what had emerged from our speed free-flowing writing and shared what we had gleaned. It proved to be a moving exercise as each participant found that the Goddess who had stepped up for them resonated in very personal ways.
Certain that in another life I was a Native American, I was delighted when the Native American Changing Woman emerged from the deck to support me as I adjust to the changing landscape of the field I have worked in. The technique I found myself turning to in the twenty-minute free-writing session was what Jung described as Active Imagination. Changing woman and I began to dialogue and I was touched by her tender-heartedness and motherly approach.
The homework I set was to research further and to work with the Goddess every day. Working with the Goddess might mean establishing an altar and making a daily offering before calling upon her for some guidance and a message. It might mean spending meditative time calling upon her and then journaling her daily message.
My Daily Goddess is no longer posting but I found her work on Changing Woman and discovered that she has some lovely ideas to explore. If I apply some of her suggestions I can work with these in my journal. Personally, I am looking forward to working with the range of Goddesses who appear to be queued up, ready to help me as I reframe the way I work.
Note: This post will be updated as relevant, supportive material presents itself.