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/

Dark Words

Last session in the Temple of She! we dived into the murky depths of the dark. We visited with the crone, the hag, the Dark Goddess. And as the temple dancers lay cushioned on the ground, i read them some words. I let the words woo them into the mystery and divinity of the dark…I let the words out to weave their magic….So it is with much gratitude that i share the words of three amazing women with you…these are just snippets, fragments from the richness of their worlds, go and get the books and read the rest yourself….

excerpts From La Loba, in Women who run with the Wolves,  Clarissa Pinkola Estes, 

“The sole work of la loba is the collection of bones. She is known to collect and preserve especially that which is in danger of being lost to the wordl. Her cave is filled with the bones of all manner of desert creatures, the deer, the rattlesnake, the crow. But her specialty is said to be wolves….

wildwomenShe creeps and crawls and sifts thought the montanas, mountains and arroyos, dry river beds, looking for wolf bones, and when she has assembled an entire skeleton, when the last bone is in place and the beautiful while sculpture of the creature is laid out before her, she sits by the fire and thinks about what song she will sing.

And when she is sure, she stands over the criatura, raises her arms over it and sings out…That is when the rib bones and leg bones of the the wolf begin to flesh out and the creature becomes furred.”

Excerpt from Kissing the Hag, Emma Restall Orr 

“Hag is not a nice word.

Yet there comes a time in every woman’s life when nice is tedious, when nice is insipid, seeping into the soul like souring milk, warping the mind. Indeed nice can at times, be all that is offensive.

kissingthehagHag, its a fascinating word. As I speak it aloud the sound as smooth as an out breath, Aspirated its vowel is extended and then clipped as if with a warning kick of death. It is a primal work, formed with barely any effort required. It whispers of cold wind, of thick fog and the stench of stagnant water. It is word robed in spider’s webs, dusty and worn, unsure where to place itself on the shiny veneers of today. Lingering st the edges of life, it waits to tun a broken nail down some blackboard of the soul.

No hag is not a nice word. Like princess or pole dancer the word quietly slips us a picture, and though for each of the image may differ slightly , it invariably embodies all that is declared to be simply and irrefutably not nice in a woman.”

From Jane Meredith, Diving Deep Listening to the Dark Goddess

Do you hear that faint voice calling to you from within, from your dreams, or from underneath your daily life….do you sense something almost beyond the range of your sensing. Do you dare to leave your safety and set out to investigate?

There are many ways the Dark Goddess calls to us. When we sense something missing form our lives, though we have no idea what that might be.. When we have everything that should make us happy, but we are not happy. When we are struck by depression ir inexplicable illness or doubt; when we sense ourselves becoming more and more isolated or fragmented or pressured…. When we long for death, or change, or oblivion. When we meet that same, familiar set of problems yet again but have no idea what we could do to change it. When we fee; we are yearning for the impossible, or we wont let ourselves yearn, when we long for change but fear it.

lilithShe will be there, calling to you. The question is, will you listen…

Our next gathering will also invite the Dark Goddess. We will journey together in the week of the Winter Solstice and we welcome the Hag/the Crone/The Wierd Sister/  Do yo welcome her too?

Blessings Sarah

image above of Lilith from Mesopotamia.