March 4, 2014

Woman. ~ Candice Holdorf {Poem}

Photo by Sequoia Emmanuelle

What does it mean to be Woman with a capital W?

What is it like to pass through the ritual of childhood and squirm down the birth canal, both birthing and being birthed into an expression of mature femininity? What is it like to release our mothers and become our own parents/gurus/mentors/teachers/midwives? How do all these aspects reveal themselves through our own erotic awakening? How do their shadows show up and unconsciously hijack our lives if we are unwilling to visit the basements of our souls?

These questions circle around me as I put on the finishing touches on the first draft of my book, From 6 to 9 and Beyond: Widening the Lens of Feminine EroticismIn the book, I share the erotic awakening of six feminine archetypes. And while the stories are fictional, many of the events within them are based on my own journey into Womanhood—a journey that is still unfolding.

The process of writing itself is teaching me more than any workshop I could take. My own life has become a crucible for honest self-reflection and growth. These archetypes grab me by the pussy and demand that if I am going to tell their stories, I better damn well love and integrate them into my own life.

And while six archetypes (virgin, whore, warrior, queen, nun, grandmother) is not enough to capture the magnitude of Woman, it is a step towards widening our perspective on how Womanhood, female sexuality and feminine eroticism can express themselves in our world.

Below is the opening poem from the book. This piece emerged recently as I sat in deep meditation with these women.

Whether you identify as predominately masculine, feminine or gender-neutral (for we have all of it within ourselves), I invite you to investigate this question as you read the piece: Who are you as Woman and how does that show up in your own life?

For when She is loved and accepted, all parts of ourselves have space to heal and shine.


I looked into the mirror today,
Focused on the mystery
Waiting patiently behind the ocular aperture;

Quieted the voices that told me
I should have a smaller waist
And a smoother face.

I asked the question,
“Who is Woman?”
And awaited the ineffable reply.

She first came to me as a dragon’s eye.
“Beware the lower depths,”
She counseled.

I flashed a bravado smile
And asked again,
“Who is Woman?”

Then came the hummingbird,
Flapping her wings
At my arrogant back,

And cautioned,
“Those who ask this question
Must be willing to die.”

Steeling my jaw,
I did not heed her warning,
But demanded once more,


A silent scream ripped though my ears
As her thick-bitter tea joined
My lips in holy prayer.

A face, too beautiful to bear,
Delicate features contrasting my own,
Slashed my vision.

Crumbling to my knees, I cried,
“No! Please! Spare my life!
I will give you anything.”

Hoisting me to my feet, she growled,
“Wake up, Girl. Do not bow to me.
Remember: True Service is not Sycophancy.”

The black blood, pooling between my thighs,
Now rose above my chest,
Flooding my frozen throat.

She whispered, “Your hard heart
Is still learning to let the love in.
Drown the Child and your freedom begins.

The men, they are calling,
Aching to suckle
Your milky breasts.

And when they are grown, they will call,
Aching for you to suckle
Their milky heads.

You can not blame them.
You can only love them.
As I love you.

It is the easiest thing in the world.


The balm of healing seared,
Ice cold, through my heart,
And panicked blindness gave way to simple sight.

The Virgin appeared before me,
Her innocent gaze teaching me how
To see with fresh eyes.

Next the Whore,
Celebrating her body,
A vessel for divine inspiration.

Then the Warrior,
Bloody blade at her side,
Dripping with uncompromising truth.

Followed by the Queen,
Glittering in gold,
Unapologetically receptive to her own greatness.

Afterwards, the Nun,
Prostrated, her twisted fingers
Spelling out her memoir of devotion.

Finally, Abuelita herself,
The Grandmother, wise and wizened,
Birthing and destroying all of creation.

As the riddle unfolded and the veil lifted,
My choked voice gave way to breath
As I inhaled her final words:

“Only trust the bearers of light
Who have also fallen in love
With the dark.”

Salty-sweet tears of recognition
Slid down my mottled cheeks,
Cleansing my bitter soul,

Until I was met,
Once more,
With my own solemn reflection.

I looked into the mirror today,
Focused on the mystery
Waiting patiently behind the ocular aperture;

Quieted the voices that told me
I should have a smaller waist
And a smoother face.

I asked the question,
“Who am I?”
And what I saw was simple:

I am Woman and She is Me.
You are Woman and She is You.
We are Woman and She is We.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo of the author as “The Queen” by Sequoia Emmanuelle

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