Woman Culture…as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.

Since the way far back times, we women have traditionally been the healers, wise woman, seers, oracles, priestesses, diviners, storytellers, herb chanters. We sang/sing appreciative, grateful songs to plants, we chanted/chant incantations, uttered/utter spells, prayed/pray out loud, poured/pour libations onto rocks and trees.

We were/are the soothsayers, lot casters, wort cunners, cunning women, mantics, midwives, musicians, artists. We told/tell future events, we offered/offer guidance, hope. We fumigate and steam, we work with the elements and energies of life. . We interpreted/interpret dreams. Give blessings freely.  We have always done these things

We took/take advice from snakes, wolves, birds and bears…and from the wind, the well, the tree, the mountain. We made/make friends with the fates, with the fairies, with the ghosts and spirits, with saints and holy people, with plants and trees, with our ancestors and the dead. With each other. We were/are shapeshifters, prophetesses, visionaries, spirit journeyers, invokers. We are enspirited.

We made/make…we twist and spin, we knit, crochet, sew and weave. We build. We concoct. We cook and stir and mix and blend. We clean and sweep, dust and shine. We carried/carry a magical staff, a stick, a wand, a broom, a stone and we knew/know how to use it.  We have beloved animal familiars, totems and plant allies. we grow gardens, provide nourishment and beauty. We honored/honor the elders among us, we listened/listen deeply to their tales.

We wore/wear masks and costumes and we drum and dance in ecstatic circles.  We wore/wear amulets and talismans, brevi bags and magical colors and symbols. We made/make signs and gestures.  We offered/offer comfort, blessings and good remedies.

We had/have a vivid language of our own, spiritual techniques we developed and we knew/know uncommon things deep in our bones.  We had our own world wide feminine culture and one of our most widespread names, across diverse cultures, was “the knowers…the people who know.

We were/are not scary, weird, demonic, strange.  We are women. We are genetically different than men. We feel, see, understand and interact with subtle energies. In fact, they constitute our very nature. They are our natural birthright. We are part moon, part earth, part underworld…we walk in all worlds.  

We women and our ways were/are demonized. A great and long-standing, still standing, pogram was initiated against us and our sacred traditions. These ways have been chipped away at and taken from us over many centuries…they were outlawed, vilified, suppressed, forbidden, often under penalty of suffering and death.  We have been punished across countless generations, trying to force us to discontinue our practices and beliefs and to forget who we are and what we do. We fought hard.  We did not give up. We did not lose.  We did not forget. 

If we were reluctant or resistant to male wooing, we became haggard. Resisting male power, we became hexe. We were scorned as incalcitrant, stubborn old hags. They called us dangerous, heretical, pagan, heathens, witches.

Our ancient mothers were animist shaman, under attack by the ruling classes who wanted to repress and control them. They wanted the power and respect we women had. Male social privilege is and has always been threatened by female power. It’s an ancient/modern ongoing storyline. Read Gilgamesh.

They burned us and drowned us and they stole our lands and wealth. Then they renamed us, our female culture and our female ways. They renamed all the beautiful things we did and called them ugly and evil. They shamed and intimidated us. 

But we came right back to set them straight. We’re here now to reclaim and restore our original names, our original places, our original ways.  We are more powerful than we know. More potent than they told us. We’re only now discovering who we are.  And this discovery and the resulting empowerment is what will turn the world back right

Pick up the threads now. They are all around us, plain as day. We’re counseled by the overculture to ignore them, but don’t be foolish. That only serves the patriarchy.  Make the prayers, the spells, the incantations. Wear the mask, sing the song, make the art, play the drum, dance the dance. It’s what we always did. Do it now. Do it again and again and again. Do it out in the open, where everyone can see. Practice. Share it. Be courageous. 

A prophecy: We ended the patriarchy because we picked up the prayer, we chanted our holy incantations and we knelt at the holy well together. We remembered what we always knew and we began to do again all the things we always did. We used our power of far seeing to look one hundred years into the future and see that everything is restored, full power has been taken back, birthright fully intact.  We link arms, nod our heads, wink at each other and smile…an ancient, stunning, magnificent toothy grin across wrinkled, wisened, wild hearted faces framed by wild, whitened hair.  We did it! A blink of the eye in deep time. We came, we saw and we fixed it good!  Blessings of Samhain!

If you’d like to learn more about ancient female culture, beliefs and practices, prayers, rituals, herb use and more, join us for BENEDICARIA; THE BLESSING WAY OF SOUTHERN ITALIAN FOLK MEDICINE. NEW CLASS STARTS NOVEMBER 1. www.Benedicaria.com

About gailfaithedwards

Gail Faith Edwards is an internationally recognized Community Herbalist with over thirty years experience. She is the author of a number of books about herbs and has taught in India, Italy, Poland and Russia, at the Yale School of Nursing, the University of Maine and the College of the Atlantic, among others. She is the founder of Blessed Maine Herb Farm and Director of the Blessed Maine Herb Farm School of Herbal Medicine. She is the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of four grandsons. Gail leads sacred journeys and ancestral pilgrimages to Southern Italia twice a year.
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2 Responses to Woman Culture…as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.

  1. myra says:

    Beautiful Inspired Writing! Oh how I want to remember and practice the old ways. Yes we are back and stronger than ever. I too happily prayerfully affirm our restored future all are full of light all is well. Thank you for writing and sending this post!

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