What I am able to do, seemingly without effort, is collect women. I use this phrase “collect women” to refer to the gathering and collecting of Goddess Women for the purpose of sharing their stories, exploring their divinity, having fun together, and honoring the seasons and cycles of the year.
I say “without effort” but that is not entirely accurate! It does take dedication and the willingness to hang in their long enough to make it happen and to see it through as it all comes together. You want to find other women in your area. You want to get together with them and explore. What is it you really want to do? Do you want to study with others? Do you want to play with others? Do you want to have ritual? Do you want to make friends?
There are so many ways to join with women! I learned a long time ago that if I want to find women I enjoy being with, I need to do it through activities I enjoy. I have used the resources of the Internet to find women for years. We have so much available to us. Putting the Internet to work for us works! For me, it has been Witches Voice, goddess e-lists, and my own personal web site, The Blue Roebuck. E-lists are plentiful and if you cannot find exactly what you want, you can start one. Once you have it created – it takes getting the word out there and then staying with the list – to keep the threads going – offering information and responses along the way – all of which encourage women to speak and interact. Witches Voice is easy to use and listings can be created in about any venue you can imagine.
Explore your local Unitarian Universalist Church. They are very pagan friendly. If they already have a CUUPS group, join in. If they do not, start one. If you want a woman only group, whether there is a CUUPS group or not, ask if you may start one. Take yourself wherever women gather. Be willing to be open. Be willing to speak freely (if you feel safe) about yourself and what you want. Hang out at local pagan shops, health food stores, or natural food places. Leave a card. Leave a flyer. Attend any event you can find. Go to classes. Drop your shyness and talk! Do not be afraid to say who you are, how your feel, or what you have experienced. Share your experience, strength, and hope and others will respond.
I am a priestess. I train other priestesses. As a high priestess, I formed my own Tradition from the traditions I hived off from. Each is lovely. However, staying within them limited my desire to explore beyond. I created The Apple Branch ~ A Dianic Tradition to speak to that need. It is through this tradition that I teach, share and guide women who also wish to be priestesses. When a woman decides to dedicate herself to the work of the Goddess, she is a priestess. My job is to help them find their skills, develop new ones, and help them come into their own fullness. A certain amount of my collecting of women is dedicated to this purpose.
It has been my experience that women think there are only two ways to bring Goddess Women together, through a study group or by starting a circle. There are so many more ways to do it. Nothing stands in the way of creating what you want, except a limited imagination. I love to sing – I like to bring women together to sing – to develop harmonies and rejoice in the gift of music, singing Her praises. I enjoy “crafty” things – I like to collect women to work with their hands, the way women always have, shades of quilting and sewing circles. Much like when farmwomen came together to shell freshly harvested peas and beans. They sat together and shared their stories. And through these shared stories, learned and grew strong together. I love to dance, so also may women come together to dance ecstatically. How about creating dances to honor goddesses, dancing with masks and costumes? It takes a bit of imagination, it takes a lot of work, but it brings joy beyond measure! The methods for doing it are the same in every case – networking, talking, and spreading the word. Decide what you want and go do it. These are the things that give me joy. You may have others. What about social action, women’s rights, the environment, herbalism, gardening, and drumming circles? See? Look to your own imagination. It will be your work – find your joy in where you place your energies. The secret lies in being willing, once you have started, once you have put the word out – it takes being willing to take on the load when they come, even if at first you are the only one really working to make it happen. If you can hang in there and make it work – then the load can be spread out among those who find joy in being there also. It does not take much experience. It does not take a lot of knowledge. It takes honesty, a desire to share, and a willingness to work to make it happen. It also takes enthusiasm and joy! When you offer your work up as a service to the Goddess and Her Women, every bit of it – all of the energy you give it will bring three-fold rewards to your life. To the lives of the women you touch – well, you will feel so blessed by the experience of finding them, knowing them, and loving them, you will wonder what you were waiting for!
© Deanne Quarrie 2002 (Used with permission by Global Goddess)
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