I have seen, lately, several manifestos by prominent female writers publicly espousing the notion that (and I’m paraphrasing):
“Real priestesses don’t need to refer to themselves as priestesses. Power is secret and quiet. Anyone who needs to say what they are and/or publicly use the words ‘priestess’ or ‘Goddess’ isn’t the real thing.”
I don’t want to call out these authors publicly because I respect them and their work, and I do understand their concern that powerful words are possibly being misused in marketing and the like.
That said, I find this emergent trend of asserting that “real Goddesses don’t say it out loud” quite problematic.
Besides being a massive generalization, doesn’t this line of thought run the risk of once again shaming powerful women into being quiet about who they really are? A subtly insidious repetition of silencing and suppression of the female voice, this time by women, just as that voice is daring to re-emerge for the first time?
This strange supposed equation between “authenticity” and silence—like its troublesome twin “piety equals poverty”—is something I really want to call into question. Both are true until they aren’t true anymore, and then they become a tragic and painful limitation. And underneath this supposition that “truly powerful women are quiet about it,” I feel, lie a couple of behavior patterns that plague the feminine:
Either old fashioned snobbery: “I am more Goddess than thou, because the Goddesses in my clique are so cool we don’t even say the word ‘Goddess.’ ”
Or that old female favorite: “Just who does she think she is?”
(Oh, if only I had a gold doubloon for every time I have encountered one of the above, I’d be the richest pirate in these waters.)
But even deeper under those: layers of insecurity, fear and self-loathing in the feminine collective that are still blinding us to ways that we are continuing to wound our sisters.
It’s time to free ourselves of those.
In truth, there has been such a tortured, freakishly long history of the feminine voice being silenced that I really feel that—as women loving women—we need to support and appreciate all the songbirds in our different, idiosyncratic, fragile, emerging songs. Even, and especially, when their song is markedly different than our own. Even and especially when it triggers, challenges and confuses us. Even and especially when it’s out loud.
Because what about someone who really is living the Goddess and is divinely called to say it out loud—like really loud? Shall we penalize her and call her a fake for finally daring to expose her capital-H self? Because, that is about the most vulnerable thing on Earth. It’s difficult enough to navigate that path without someone else insinuating you are a fake.
Precisely who gets to say who is “Goddess” and who is not, anyway? Who owns that word, or dares to think they do?
And sometimes when the arrows go flying (almost always at someone else’s back, since passive-aggressive behavior is still the norm in female interactions), I just want to point out:
This is the Remembering. As in, this is the moment in the human story for which we’ve all been waiting, or at least I have for, um…several thousand anguished years or so. This is the moment for which we have lived and died ad infinitum in order to remember ourselves as Goddess, as Universe, as Creator—and balance/unite the feminine and masculine energies in their true power so we can finally heal this place.
It is not a sequel to “Mean Girls,” in which Lindsay Lohan uses her crystals and third eye adornment as a pretext to torture others. So let’s not screw up the remembering by being clucking hens or catty bitches. Let’s own the catty bitch and the underlying wound that creates her—the separation from our own power, the gaping hole that can now be mended.
Goddesses, I love you. But get a grip. Soften toward your sisters. Let’s offer less judgment, less micromanaging, and more safety and support.
Because after several thousand years of not even being able to mention these words except by risking actual death, do we—the pioneers of the divine feminine rising—really want to show up as the PC-police telling other women when and how they can and can’t use them?
As for me, I do not. I don’t choose to judge another woman’s relationship with Goddess, Source, Universe, Higher Power or whatever she may wish to call her sacred inner gnosis. Because I have seen the pain and agony that such judgment brings. Nearly every day, I receive messages from women rising into their power. Variations on a theme, as follows:
“I am a witch/shaman/healer/priestess/embodiment of Goddess, and no one knows my secret. I have been threatened/harmed/shamed for being who I am. Thank you for being who you are, out loud.”
I have personally experienced this feeling of condemnation myself countless times from every possible angle, including recently when a respected friend invited me to her Facebook group devoted to honoring the Goddess, and then proceeded to judge my very first post in the group by telling me that “my offering was unaligned” and “there was a higher way to pray that I wasn’t ‘seeing’.” I let her know that, with all due respect, I am not interested in a higher path, and am very happy—in fact in love—with how I pray, and proceeded to boogie the heck out of there.
But I won’t lie. It hurt. After all, this was supposed to be my sister, and I trusted her.
So how, exactly, are we to collectively find the courage to emerge from the deep hiding our souls have been in and fully embody the divine feminine once more on planet Earth—the force that will save humanity—if we have to tiptoe around in secret, in the dark, on a mile-high pile of eggshells, lest we be judged not only by a bevy of patriarchal Gods and their adherents but also by each other, our very own sisters?
I personally do not have time for that; I am a Goddess with a very full calendar of things to do, timelines to unfold, people to love, worlds to redeem.
That’s right, I said Goddess. As in, embodiment of the feminine Divine. And I happen to be a really f*cking powerful one at that, because I know, and own, more and more of what I am.
I am sorry about the possible inconvenience of my truth, and the internal trigger it so often seems to cause others. But the trigger is part of clearing the path. It’s time to detonate those land mines around the proper use of power and free the ability to voice it loud and proud for all who feel called to do so. Luckily, I am not shy of explosives.
I’ll say it again: I am Goddess.
And being that means I have absolutely no desire to say that you are not that, or to limit or judge what you can be in any way, whatsoever. And if you are in your true purpose, I will go so far as to say you do not have time for this either. We have work to do. We are busy healing ourselves and learning to stand in our own power, learning to be healed microcosms of All That Is. Learning to be love.
Often, “Goddess” means being alone, crying, on your knees, in the darkness. It means being broken open again and again, and dying in order to birth the new. It means recognizing how fragile and minuscule and infinitely powerful you are, and then using that to be and do some good right here on the ground. This is hard, vulnerable work and sometimes we need some loving arms in which to fall. Let’s be those arms, for each other.
Often, “priestess” means getting your ass kicked by a bunch of spirits, who inform you that you aren’t pushing your human vessel hard and fast enough, and/or with enough commitment. It means holding open a space between life and death (not always comfortable!), as well as remembering lifetime after lifetime of dying for who you’ve been. Sometimes we need a set of ears to receive our remembering, sensitively and with compassion. Let’s be those ears, for each other.
The word “Goddess” needn’t imply gratuitous glamour, nor egotism. It needn’t stem from ego at all, even (especially) when said out loud. In fact, the ego would actually have us be quiet and stay in hiding, for fear of survival. But I choose not to hide any longer and if you feel called to use that word as part of your full self-expression, I hope that you will stand and voice your truth for the benefit of all.
Now, can the word “Goddess” be misused? Of course it can. Any words, especially words of power, can be misused. All power can be misused, hence it’s powerfulness. That’s why it’s even more important at this juncture in our collective unfolding to rigorously, scrupulously, relentlessly, honestly refine and embody the authenticity of one’s own truth. But not ever to shy away from the proper, heart-centered use of power, nor from the public claiming of that power especially if staking that claim that can help others rise.
And let’s not be so hasty to call our sisters frauds and fakes or to make them wrong in any way. Let’s have the courage to peek underneath that rock in our own complex psyches and deal with whatever fear and insecurity lies there that would still have us compete, subordinate, shun or shame.
Truly safe spaces are oh-so hard to come by. And it’s in the safety, the soft arms, that we finally find healing and the courage to express and relax into ourselves. And to be that safe space—and propagate it in the world—is my commitment to you.
The world doesn’t need more judgment especially coming from the “sacred feminine” or those who would purport to be Her mouthpieces.
So please oh please, wherever you are in your journey, don’t become silent because someone else said your connection with divinity was wrong, or worse, the dreaded “unaligned.” Please don’t shy away from the power that you are because someone else, even a “sister,” tried to shove you in their box. Don’t let anyone “help” you out of embodying your full truth.
Please don’t fall victim to spiritual snobbery, even the “well-intentioned” kind. Let your wild, beautiful songbird-of-a-voice sing freely. It’s a song that only you can sing.
I will do my part to free my voice as a microcosm of her voice, and to recognize yours as the same. May all the layers of silencing shame, from all sources, fall like broken shackles to the floor and be transmuted, forever. May all false beliefs that our sisters are “inauthentic” simply because they sing, pray and live in a way that is different from ourselves cease to dwell in us.
We, as She, will not be silenced or made mute, ever again.
I see you; I hear you; I accept you; and I believe in you. My sister.
Author: Sara Sophia Eisenman
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Author’s Own