The Wise Woman Tradition is both ancient and modern.
It has many names and many faces. It is earth-centered. It is woman-centered. It is family-centered. It speaks to the healer within. It nourishes the healer within. It encourages trust in yourself and listening to the wisdom within your own heart.
It empowers women to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. It sees each person as their own healer. Whole and always moving and changing. Still and dancing. Peaceful and problematic. Transcendent and organic. It honors the wise woman within.
It was my first wise women’s gathering. The gathering was an eclectic group of empowered, wise and beautiful women. Our teachings that day focused around deepening our awareness and understanding of the five yamas and five niyamas. We put each of the yamas and niyamas inside of a basket and passed it around the room.
As the basket approached me, I pulled out Svadayaya (self-study) as well as Aparigraha (non-grasping). We discussed in a circle what we thought our drawings from the basket meant to us. I thought to myself, “Hmm..self-study and non-grasping?”. I couldn’t speak; I was unsure what this meant for me in my life at that very moment.
We then segued into practicing moon salutations. Our teacher explained that moon salutations allow us to honor the yin or feminine side of our energy, in contrast to the sun salutations, which are more yang, or masculine, in nature. A resurgence of the moon salutation is part of the rediscovery of the divine feminine at this important time in our evolution.
As we practiced moon salutations, we were guided to tune in to our wise woman. To be still, wait, observe and listen to guidance from the one mother who lives inside each of us.
The wise woman told me to follow my heart, my dreams and to go big! She showed me a black and white photo of myself doing a low lounge twisting yoga pose with my hands rested at my heart center. She whispered to me, “surrender” and then she showed me love by using the power of symbols and vibrations.
She took me outside of my body so I could take a good look at myself from another perspective and said, “Look at yourself and remember the day that you truly saw your pure beauty and love for the first time.” She revealed the illusion that had once enabled me to feel insecure and unaware about myself.
She allowed me to experience the jubilant emotion of self-love and acceptance.
Before I left my meditation with the wise woman I realized something very important. I am love. I am truth. I am beauty. I am the wise woman who spoke to me.
I am love,
I am truth,
I am beauty,
I am pure,
I am the wise woman who lives inside of me.
Caitlin Smith is an activist for love, peace, yoga, health and awareness. She is the co-founder of a Southern Appalachian movement of grassroots activists called Manifest Collective. They strive to be the change they wish to see in the world through teaching their passions of yoga, sustainability, agriculture, music and public health to their community.
Editor: Carolyn Gilligan