A Memory of Magas

Magas are stepping into their power. (1) This was so beautifully evident in my most recent MoonSong One Day Workshop. One of the joys of this work is meeting and connecting with so many beautiful women. Women who show up as vulnerable, open, nervous, tentative, strong, honest, humorous. Women who show up as themselves, and who through the day become more of themselves.

When we allow ourselves to be held in the safe container of the circle, we open.  We speak and are heard. We feel what is arising in us and allow ourselves to express these feelings. We listen with the ears of our heart, to our sisters speaking.

Our Altar- a central part of the magic of circle

We were so blessed to sit in the good ground of a memory of Magas.  This is my new collective term for Magas. I use it in recognition of the collective noun for elephants as elephants understand the wisdom of the Grandmothers. Elephants will follow the lead of their older, wiser females. Elephants have a long memory and use this to make tracks across vast country, navigating all that is before them with tenacity and courage, just as Magas navigate the country of menopause.  They are intelligent, cooperative and work for the betterment of their group.  Their group is led by the Grandmothers.

A family of African elephants. Photo by D. Kunert from Pixabay. sourced from The Grandparent Effect, Stories from a Quiet Revolution by Olivia Gentile

In my most recent MoonSong workshop, the joy and wisdom of the Magas was so evident and powerful.  Some of the words they used of this life season and of themselves within it were: freedom, courage, intimacy, reflection, power and authenticity. For the Maga woman, as one so beautifully articulated “gives no fucks,” about what others think. The time for being small, for limiting or containing oneself in restrictive ways is over.

A Maga woman follows her own powerful inner authority.   And it is an authority she wields for the betterment of all. These wise women will speak their truth and live their truth. They have been through the rigors and challenges of peri- menopause and menopause and come out wiser. They know what it is to set sail on uncharted waters, to look to the stars for navigation in the darkness of night.(2) They know themselves as part of something far larger than our culture conceives. They are Maga. They are Woman – part of Her archetypal power. And they draw on Her strength.

Just a few of our beautiful Memory of Maga’s

We celebrate this shared wisdom, the role model that they provide to us in these times of need.  I am delighted to consider myself as emerging into this growing tribe of women. For Maga’s may well be the largest demographic in the world, and are surely needed now.

And yet the wisdom and power of the Magas is untapped, because many women do not recognise their own power.  Not surprising in cultures which undervalue women, feminine knowledge, the menstrual cycle, menopause, descent, aging, darkness and regeneration.

When we teach the wisdom of the cycles and the wheel in the MoonSong Workshop, we position Maga with Autumn, with the disseminating moon, with the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. We position Maga in the descent phase. And this is the phase our cultures totally undervalue. We live in times of crisis- precisely because we fail to recognize the inherent necessity and power of the descent. And it is taboo, and undervalued precisely because it is such a powerful phase, a phase inherent in the feminine, in our cycling bodies and our menopausal Rite of Passage.

My Womb Altar Card with the MoonSong Altar Cards produced by Jane Hardwicke Collings.

This is the time of harvest and letting go. This is the time of regeneration and renewal. Without this phase there can be no new life. The capitalist growth model is ultimately a model of destruction, for it fails to take into account the necessity of loss, of aging, of compost, of release and decay. It fails to take into the account that death is a necessary part of life. They are part of the same continuum.

Through this work, and the work of the Mystery Teachers across the world, the sisterhood wound is healing. It is a wound embedded in cultures which teaches us to compete and to compare, rather than to cooperate and support each other. And yet in so many ways we are always cooperating. Our culture requires this of us, whilst often denying its essential role. Humans are social beings, always in process of becoming in relationship to each other and the world around us. 

So here we are, a Memory of Magas showing up in our power, in our inner authority. We are here celebrating the Rite of Passage of Menopause, celebrating the challenges of navigating this rebirth of self, and celebrating who we are becoming. We are fierce and we are loving. And we are descending and arising, descending and arising into our power as we celebrate the Memory of Magas growing across the world.

My Teacher, Jane Hardwicke Collings, founder of the School of Shamanic Womancraft

Acknowledgements

And there are so many powerful Maga’s in my life both near and far. I look to my mother, and her artistic, creative, powerful friends. I look to my Step Mother and her circle of women. I look to those very powerful Teachers of the Blood Mysteries, the Fierce Feminine Warriors shaping this world. In particular I look to Jane Hardwicke Collings, Alexandra Pope, Jane Bennett, Chameli Ardagh, Clare Du Bois, Amber Grey and Rebecca Lawson. Each of these women has been pivotal in my ability to step with great courage through the rite of passage that is surgical menopause. I celebrate these women and their way showing.

I hope that more people come to value the power of Menopause as a rebirth of self. A self woven into the fabric of this earth and cosmos. I hope some may find the collective noun for Maga’s, a Memory of Maga’s appropriate too. If you do please credit me, Sarah Miller and this article. It reflects my own work, and acknowledges the Teachers who have inspired me, and walk before me. And lastly I want to acknowledge the Bagurrk, the Women and the Gugungdjaleek, the Grandmothers of the Bonnwurrung peoples, of the Kulin nation on whose land I live and love.

References

  1. This article by Jane Hardwicke Collings explores how the term Maga came to be, and is a beautiful exploration of this life season. https://janehardwickecollings.com/autumn-woman-harvest-queen/
  2. This image was drawn from a discussion between Alexandra Pope and Chameli Ardagh on a Red School conversation https://www.facebook.com/redschoolonline/videos/997582880573142/

Creative Collaborations- October Newsletter 18

New Moon Blessings

Hello Dear Friends,
It has been so long since I have felt able to write a newsletter but this New Moon sees me return. I am grateful for your eyes and ears and hearts opening to what is arising. Thank you for reading.

I am conscious that this is a New Moon in Libra (my sun sign) and that the scales are our symbol, so this is a moon cycle about balance. How can we bring balance into our lives? How can we have equanimity with all that arises? As a Libran this is part of my life’s work.  I sense it is a deep calling for so many of us as we live in a world that is out of balance. We live in a culture out of balance.

So here now we can reflect on what we can call in to bring in more balance in our lives. What do we want to sing up? What do we want to let go of? And how do we make the space to reflect, to feel into what is right for us?

Before diving deeper into these reflections have a look at these offerings and follow your hearts call to some embodied remembering, to the sacredness of this life.

Sacred Women’s Circle, Thursday 11 October, Carnegie
MoonSong Workshop Saturday 27 October, Raw Gardens, East Brighton
Sacred Women’s Circle, Wednesday 14 November, Carnegie

Prayers and Neuroscience

These celestial events offer us a space, a portal to open up to what is arising in us. We can use the New Moon energy, to tune into what is being called forth (having used the Dark Moon, to let go of that which no longer serves). Of course it’s not that simple- these things, these aspects of self  don’t just disappear with a prayer but a repeated prayer, an intention followed through with repeated action can change the way we are.

Neuroscience is a way of articulating this “magic” of demonstrating how our prayers take effect in the world.  We can change our states of being and doing. With our prayers, with our meditation and mindfulness- with our will, we can visualize and practice how we want to be. And if  we repeatedly call this up, then we can change. There are so many evidences of this in the world. So use this portal of the New Moon to call in what you want in your life, truly and deeply.  Create rituals, and practices which embody how you want to be. And check out the readings and resources on Neuroscience to help you navigate and embed these practices in your life.

This image above is of  “Biocytin labelling of two synaptically coupled pyramidal cells in medial entorhinal cortex” by Julian Bartram. I love the way it reminds me of that amazing electrical storm that flooded the sky last night.  I love the way patterns repeat themselves in nature, reminding us of our interconnection. And despite the big words, to me this picture is of a meeting place of opportunity. It is the communication of that which we have repeatedly, bodily called up, and then sparks into action.

Creative Collaborations


And the spark for me right now is writing. I am calling in this creative flow as it is bringing me much joy. I am writing a play and one of the wonderful aspects of theatre is that it is not only about words. Theatre invites all our senses to the party. My writing of this play is a calling up of sound, of music, of drumming, of dancing and of words!  It is so cool to work with a platform that encourages me to bring these sometimes-disparate aspects of my life together.  So this is where my writing focus has been. And of course, the content of my play also draws on my passions.

Now I am at the stage of translating this written document into its physical form. It is another birthing, so I call this birthing in under this loving Libran Moon, knowing how much Libra is also about partnerships! I am calling in collaboration with actors, dancers, drummers, lighting and sound technicians, with musicians, directors. I am calling in creative collaboration.  As a Libran, this way of working makes so much sense to me. And my work with Sonia Stocco and Rebecca Grace Funk has shown me how lovingly and joyously I can work with others.

Is there some collaboration that is calling you? Are there opportunities to use this Libran energy to invite others into your work, your way in the world? How can you cooperate with others to bring about the changes you want to see in yourself and for this Planet?

This image above is from Rhiannon Newton’s recent work, We Make Each Other Up performed at Dancehouse.  Of her work, she says,

“A tendril of dance has grown across the dance-floor. The body and the dance are finding new ways to live and flourish together well. Mutual thriving has never felt so good.” – Rhiannon Newton

And this creative collaboration was so beautiful and so inspiring.  There were so many layers to this creative process. Not only was this a collaborative dance work performed at Dancehouse, which was amazing and beautiful, there was also a public program which invited people (like me) to participate in. I was blessed to attend (to be in) Textures– which was a reading by Rhiannon at the Carlton Library. It was a one on one storytelling session. We sat together, and she read to me, from a text I had selected from a set library of texts.  Each of these informed her final production, and were chosen by collaborators from Dance House. And what a selection it was. I could have dipped into them all (Le Guin, Abram, Bird Rose to name but a few) A poem from the writing I chose is here for you at the end of this newsletter. And the poet is only 21!!!!!

I was also blessed to participate in Fortunes of the Forest  which was a meeting with two others, (Caitlin Franzmann @caitlinfranzmann and Amaara Raheem, @amaararaheem ) and included a divination reading from the tarot deck Fortunes of the Forest, created by Franzmann and the gift of a collaborative dance with (in my case) the three of us and a Moreton Bay Fig Tree, and her seeds. It was so beautiful to be part of this co-creation, to be invited into this creative space in this way. And this helped cement my focus on collaboration with the human and more than human world.  Deep bow!

And for those wanting a deeper dive into relationship with the more than human world, then join the Victorian Four Seasons Journey, with Nymh Fox @waysofthewild on Otways land, King Parrot Country of the Yan Yan Gurt people.

“The 4SJ is a year-long educational program, open to women of all ages and circumstance. It offers students an in-depth opportunity to learn the philosophy and practice of Shamanic Womancraft, whilst cultivating a deep personal and spiritual connection with the Earth and the Divine Feminine.

“Focused on the shamanic perspective of cycles – of the Earth, Life, Moon and the menstrual cycle of Woman – the 4SJ prepares its students to become Shamanic Craftswomen – teachers and practitioners of the women’s mysteries, for their community and beyond, in the worthy mission of healing the wounded feminine, healing birth and healing the Earth.”

Contact Sequoia Krop  <admin@schoolofshamanicwomancraft.com> for more information and to grab a prospectus.

Arising and Dissolving


The Libran Glyph (pictured above) “depicts the setting sun about to sink below the line of the horizon, symbolic of the withdrawal of vital day forces after the intense activity of spring and summer. It also reminds one of the beam of a pair of scales, which suggests the weighing of the self against the not-self in the hopes of achieving some kind of balance and equilibrium between subjective and objective consciousness.” From Genevieve Vierling and her Blue Light Lady blog

And so while Spring is dancing her bodied self into our lives, we are also asked to pay attention to the setting sun. We are asked to remember that birth and death are aspects of the one continuum. We arise out of her Dark Cosmic Womb and we return to her Dark Cosmic Womb. For someone who has journeyed with Cancer this dance with death is a beautiful reminder of the preciousness of life. It is a reminder of the need to continually reflect upon my own capacity, and to give myself time to arise and to dissolve whatever the earth season. My tendency has been to stretch myself beyond my capacity not only physically but mentally, my mind (I am an air sign!) is very active and so I am learning how to calm my mind, how to drop into the portal of Darkness, this balm of Dark Energy…I am learning how to let myself go with grace and ease.  This is the balance at the heart of Libra, a need to continually readjust to ensure that there is balance in my life. And to me the whole world is calling for this balance between growth and decay, between action and rest, between light and dark, between all things.

And this is the wisdom also of the Life season of Maga- to be in full recognition of the power and blessings of the descent phase of our life. To have moved in the upswing of maiden and mother, and to be fully present to the pull of the maga and crone energy.  We don’t have the “high” of ovulation, we don’t have the same hormones stimulating us in that way, but we have a steadier energy- once we get through the initiation of our peri/menopause dance.  And what a dance it is! I am still dancing though this initiation and despite the challenges (hot flushes, mood swings, vaginal dryness to name a few ) I am relishing this opportunity to step more fully into myself. I see the Magas out there and I celebrate their wisdom, their way.  I honour their commitment to themselves and to the world. They know themselves, they meet themselves and other from this wellspring of knowing. There is no one else to do this journey work for me, there is no other me, and there is no other you. So we celebrate our unique diverse journeys. We celebrate this dance with descent, welcoming the wisdom that comes.

And so once again I am offering  the MoonSong Workshop for Women, this beautiful day of remembering our life seasons, our bodily wisdom and knowing and our deep interconnection with the moon and the earth. This is for all women- no matter what life stage you are at. There is so much to re learn, to remember, and we do it in the safety and sacredness of a women’s circle. Please join us. Bookings and more information here.

A Poem for You

Yesterday I was the Moon

Yesterday – I was
The Moon
Today – Just an
Eclipse
Something in Me
Travels; Some Days its
to the Dark
Some Days its To
the Light

by Noor Unnahar,  follow her @noor_unnahar  on instagram.

Whats On:

Sacred Women’s Circle;Co Hosting with Grace Funk, Thursday 11 October
MoonSong Workshop-   Saturday 27 October, 2018. RAW Gardens Brighton
Sacred Women’s Circle Co Hosting with Grace Funk, Wednesday 14th November
Summer Solstice Dance- Thursday 20 December,
Medicine Drum Making Workshop- Date TBC 2018

References

The Brain that Changes Itself, Norman Doidge

Thanks for reading,

Blessings
Sarah xxx