An Exploration of the Deep Feminine
This article appeared in Scared Hoop in 2007
By Lorraine Grayston and Dawn Russell
1. DESCRIBE THE QUALITIES OF THE DEEP FEMININE
We are writing from our experiences and from our relationship to the Deep Feminine. As you read this we invite you to find and explore your relationship to the Deep Feminine through your own experiences.
The Deep Feminine is ineffable, formless, beyond words and logic. It is not an intellectual concept or construct, but something we discover thru experience. Take what registers with you, what speaks to you or, has meaning in your experience from this article.
In the beginning there was the primal consciousness, but this consciousness did not know itself, and in order to know itself it had to split in to two – the primal duality – the masculine and the feminine. In this article we explore one of these dualities – the primal feminine, the deep feminine.
The Deep Feminine is accessible to both women and men
The Deep Feminine is a place of non-action, of stillness and of great potential – it is the moment before movement – it is the impulse of movement – it is the force that feeds evolution – all things are born from this place (Native American saying “all things are born of woman”), it is the source of creativity – it is the energy from which all things are created.. It is the deep pool from where all life is given birth to. It is the place that gives birth to all life. It is the place of the non-manifest.
The Deep Feminine is the dreamer, the receiver – the masculine is the stalker, the seeker
In this place we sit in stillness, surrender, become the dreamer, connect to the dream and receive (as opposed to the masculine where we go out, seek, stalk, search)
It is the deep pool of energy we draw from – we reach into the darkness to bring the dream in to the light – for e.g. when we have a dream that we wish to manifest we may make ritual, ceremony, prayer to make it manifest and this involves reaching in to the deep feminine to bring the energy of the dream in to the manifest. To be potent co creators, co-dreamers of our lives we need to be able to reach in to the deep feminine to create
(The Deep Feminine is the source of the feminine, the root of the feminine)
When we touch this place we are in touch with our intuition. It is the dream of life and our dreams are born from this place, the experience of life is born from this place. It is a place absent of thought but is a place of deep awareness – we must go there to receive inspiration, to receive our dreams.
It is place of power unlike the power of the masculine which is out there, visible, quantifiable and noticeable – the power of the feminine is felt yet is invisible, intangible and often unacknowledged. It is the place of the unknown. If we dare to stop our planning and desire to control the unknown, if we can let go of the logic if we dare drop ourselves down into this place of darkness and potential and trust it we may find we can live a life we could barely have dreamt of. When we go to this place of creativity, of experience we align ourselves with the greater dream and we dare to trust life itself.
The Deep Feminine is the source of our personal power for both men and women. It is the darkness – we live in a culture that predominantly fears the darkness – we fear our power. In the darkness we cannot use our eyesight. In the darkness our other senses become more alive and open gateways to the dreamtime.
It is half of our being. When we meditate when we find our mind is stilled, when we surrender, when we go within. A dream state. It is the place of receiving.
It is the place from which we intend to create something, the place from which we draw upon whenever we pray, make ceremony or have an intent to create something – the energy comes from the pool of the deep feminine.
2. WHAT ARE THE SITUATIONS IN EVERYDAY LIFE WHERE WE MIGHT MEET THESE QUALITIES?
When we want to dream our lives in to being – create a sense of how we would like our life to be if we had a magic wand, without what ifs or if onlys.
When we lose a sense of ourselves. When planning and logic ceases and we reach a place of stillness within.
It is a state of being that we take ourselves to thru stopping the world- thru altered states of consciousness e.g. when we sit and lose ourselves by the sea, in the woods, on a mountain, in a cave – allowing ourselves to seep, dissolve in to nature.
Being outside at the dark moon
We meet it when we know something – not of the mind, not from logic – but from deep knowing within our being – from intuition e.g. Dawn”s knowing that her mother was going to die. Lorraine in a freak storm with dark clouds in Greece in July and waking at 5am and knowing her sister died at that moment. E.g. a gut knowing about something – that it the right thing to do
It is a moment of being expanded out in our awareness, in an altered state – it is that moment when we receive inspiration and just know from deep within (not from the mind)
We meet it when inspiration surges up thru us. We meet it when we are feeling powerful within
Stages of life change – the infamous mid-life crisis, the menopause, childbirth, times of perceived chaos – when chaos enters our life and change is imminent. In moments we feel we don”t know who we are. When we think we don”t know anything (and yet are about to discover something new)
In the still of the night – also at the changing light at twilight, at dusk and dawn the moment before the light becomes the dark and the dark the light.
The moment before dropping in to a deep sleep and the moment before fully waking from sleep
When women bleed –
“I am being out in the world it can be teaching, running a Sweat Lodge, holding space in a circle, having a conversation. I begin to feel my energy pulling inwards, I can almost see the sockets of my eyes. I perceive everything as being visually further away as my available energy for the outside world withdraws. Everything slows down. I feel in a dream like state. I become aware of my breath, then The Breath. I become aware of my heartbeat, then The heartbeat. I lose a grip on what is me as a separate identity. I begin to feel deeply connected to something deeper, wider, higher, lower, something so much fuller and bigger than me. I am inside of it. All is one. If I speak, the words do not belong to me – I have a sense of them coming through me….I realise I have just stated bleeding”
These are all gateways to accessing the Deep Feminine – not that we necessarily do, but they offer us moments of potential to go there
3. WHY/HOW DID YOU START WORKING WITH PEOPLE TAKING THEM IN TO THE TRANSFORMING EXPERIENCE OF THIS ENERGY?
We came to this work in general thru similar but different pathways (Jan see other article). Both of us, thru our life”s paths, are passionate about the power, beauty, gifts, potential and experience of the deep feminine and womanhood. We set up Celebrating Woman to enjoy (Jan see other article)………we found that as we worked more and more in women”s circles we were taken deeper in to the feminine. We followed the energy…women asked, we offered, we received inspiration. In our work we are guided by the alchemy of our own vision/inspiration for the work and the energy that each group brings.
4. WHAT DOES THE DEEP FEMININE GIVE US?
– the power of dreaming – of reaching into the dream of life and aligning with our individual dreams. Gives us the power of knowing we are the co-creators of our lives.
Gives us a sense of connection and deep empowerment. Gives us a sense of integrity.
Being able to respond instead of react.
Opening up to experiencing everything as if it were new i.e. opening up to the possibility that the next minute isn”t going to be as you expect it to be. E.g. of one woman Lesley, who was unable to sit, lie, be on the ground due to chronic arthritis, in her altered state dance on the Earth she woke to find herself lying on the grass with out pain, loving the Earth, the support it gave her. This enabled her to later take part in the Sweat Lodge and Burial ceremonies.
It touches in on a sense of power within. From this place of power we are no longer the Victim, no longer need to blame ours, we can see and feel the energy to change our situations, to make different choices.
This has often lead to some women who came with a sense of dissatisfaction with their partners, looking forward to going home to new possibilities within the relationship.
Stories of how the Deep Feminine effected some women
(Jane). “It touched parts of me and interlinked elements that I knew as quiet echoes in my heart and body and mind that became moving and living and opening other worlds that continue to amaze, inspire, frustrate and then reveal the beauty of this connected life we all share.”
(Liz) “It got me into my body and away from my chattering mind. With that have come surprising revelations and confirmations and acceptance of my
own story. Through the work I have started re imagining my life in a more positive way. I am still working on that.”
(Eileen). “I was able to reach that place in me I have desired to connect with for a very long time, supported gently, held strongly a truly amazing experience.”
(Una),”Using magical and transformative tools like trance dancing and fire dancing, which somehow miraculously bypassed my ever so intelligent mind.”
When we touch in on the place of the Deep Feminine we touch in on the place of potential and can dream a new dream.
(Olga) “WW&S (a journey into womanhood and the DF)was a magical exploration of my self as a woman. It has profoundly changed my life and my values. I have wonderful sense of aliveness that I never had before embarking on the journey within Woman Wild and Still. I have redefined who I am, emerging a different person unrecognizable to my nearest and dearest and am 6 months from starting my new life /business as an Acupuncturist. Life is a joy”
5. HOW DO YOU DREAM THE CIRCLE?
In the dreaming/setting up of the workshop the first thing we do is connect in to the Deep Feminine ourselves. We do this initially by going for a walk in Nature along the hills by the sea or in the woods. We call this a walk of intent to open ourselves to receive inspiration.
We put a call out to Spirit – this for e.g. could be by putting a prayer in to a stone and giving it away to the sea.
We have three lodges for accommodation – A Yurt (the Bear Lodge), a bender (the Moon Lodge) and a geodesic dome (the Sun Lodge). Before the group arrives we physically and energetically prepare the space. We do this by cleaning and clearing the Lodges that people will sleep in and the spaces we will work and eat in. We make up beds, set fires in each Lodge smudge each area and call in the healing energies that will best facilitate the work, to be with us.
After we have prepared the space we prepare ourselves to receive the group. We do this by taking time to ourselves, being in a place of stillness, call in our personal allies and we tune in to each person.
As the group gathers for opening circle we enter in to the unknown. We begin with songs and smudging, to help us to let go of our travels here, to relax and clear people”s energy and become present. Their faces reveal a mixture of anxiety, fear, bewilderment, tiredness, excitement, anticipation and various levels of trust, some doubt and some good doses of scepticism.
As the Smudge and songs help people settle and arrive, the anxiety starts to dissipate and the energy starts to build. We send round the “Talking Stick” (a tool for helping people to focus), an invitation to speak a bit about yourself. People surprise themselves with what they say (the deep feminine starts stirring), the energy shifts some more, by the end of the round we are all in an altered state, we are all very present, we have stopped the world. We are in a bubble of our own, ready to “do the work”
6. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT TO EVOKE THE DEEP FEMININE?
The foundation is now set for us to enter into whatever medicine we are using to help us access places of healing, of empowerment and to access the dreamtime and to evoke the Deep Feminine to affect our lives. One of the ways we do this is through the Sweat Lodge Ceremony – a ceremony that takes us into the womb of creation, the DF thru the alchemy of earth from which the lodge is made and from where the rocks and the wood to heat the rocks, come, the fire that brings out the heat within the rocks, the water that when combined with the hot rocks gives us steam to make us sweat, to purify, to cleanse mental, emotional and physical toxins, the air which breathes life in to all things – the combination of which takes us to the womb of creation. In the darkness we enter in to the Deep Feminine and in this place our prayers, our give aways, our sweat, our tears, our joy affects our manifested lives. From this timeless and potent moment we can dream new aspects of our lives in to being.
The Deep Feminine within the circle
(Margaret”s experience of the circle) – “It felt totally safe and ok to be who I am and to express my vulnerabilities as well as my joys. It was there witnessing me, holding the space for me to go through my pain – supportive but not interfering, supporting me but not carrying me…Not only was it ok to be who I am, it encouraged me to honour who I am. Nothing I said, nothing that I felt was neither right nor wrong, it just was. It just is. What a relief, what a gift.”
7. DESCRIBE HOW THE CIRCLE FEELS FULL AT THE END
As the groups” journey together this time comes to an end we enter in to a closing circle. The feeling here is very different from the opening circle. There is a sense of connection, not just to Spirit, to the Deep Feminine but to each other, to the Earth and to Nature. The air is tangibly tingling. Some are reluctant to end the circle, some are keen to get on with the rest of their lives. Some leave with answers, some leave with questions. All leaved stirred. Each face looks more vibrant and full of vitality as though they have stepped outside of the everyday trance state and drunk of the elixir of life.
8. HOW READERS CAN EXPERIENCE IT “AT HOME” MINI EXERCISES OR ACTIVITIES TO BEFRIEND THE DEEP FEMININE
How to touch in on the Deep Feminine for yourself:
1. Spend time still in nature
Set aside a time where you can go to a place in nature. It may be a park in a city, or you may want to take a train ride to the sea. Give yourself as much time as you can. Make sure you take enough to be comfortable and warm. See if you can find an area where you will be alone,( not essential). Put your senses in your feet and allow them to take you to a spot (feeling of being led to a place) where you can sit. Make yourself comfortable and warm. To begin with observe what is around you and as you settle down in this place bring your attention inside to your breath. Feel where you are sitting on the Earth. Be still. Allow your thoughts to come and go, but try not to follow them. Stay connected with your surroundings. Allow yourself to receive from Nature. You may get a thought, a feeling or sensation; it may be from within you or from the outside. There is nothing for you to do, just receive. The most important thing is your stillness. There is no action for you to take. Do this regularly. Your ability to go to a deep space, without chatter will grow, your sense of the aliveness of nature and the potential of life, will get stronger.
Buy some colours that attract you, Acrylic are good. Set aside sometime where you will be uninterrupted,( turn off phones and door bells etc.) Allow yourself to play with the colours on the paper, but without trying to create anything or to achieve an end result. Just paint for the journey of it. Explore colours, shapes, textures. Try to go through the first tastes of frustration, boredom “I can”t do this” etc Stick with it , go beyond. Sometimes it can help to use your none dominant hand. Also try painting a piece of wood or a stone.
Get up in the early hours of the night (between 2am& 5am) and sit in the darkness without light. If you can be outside, great – if not being inside will is fine. Be as still as you can and receive the night around you. Take in the stillness. Even in big cities that don”t sleep there is a quality of stillness.
4. Moon Cycles
Get a lunar calendar or a dairy that follows the moon phases, feel into the different qualities of energy, again just receive the feelings, sensations of the moons cycle. Especially the Dark moon, this is a good time to be up in the early hours.
5. Moon Time
Women – during your bleeding time try and have your heaviest day(s) off with non-agenda time. Allow yourself to “go with the flow” of what you are drawn to do, e.g. sleep, wrap up on the sofa, be creative, chant, stream of consciousness writing etc. Notice what inspiration you might receive at this time. Allow the space for your blood.
6. Sound & Movement into Stillness
Chant until the chant, chants you, drum until the drum, drums you, dance until the dance, dances you, into stillness.