The Wild Path of the Sacred Feminine - The Wild Mirror, Surrendering, & Being of Service in a Patriarchal Paradigm
The wild path of the Sacred Feminine. Treading places unseen, unknown, deeply mysterious and yet achingly familiar and so very longed for. Our overwhelmingly patriarchal western world leaves little room for ‘believing in’ these wild, magical ways, led alone for engaging with, embracing or inviting them in to our lives without cynicism, ridicule, doubt or judgement, either from ourselves, others or both. And yet the realness and sense of absolute necessity deep within us - the drive to connect with this path as a matter of fact - can be facilitated with far greater ease, and more profoundly obvious, clear and tangible results than we can even begin to imagine. We simply, or perhaps not so simply, need to start trusting and acknowledging this very different form of evidence we start to witness when we have the consciousness to observe and listen. After a lifetime of disbelieving that which we do not understand, or that with no explanation rooted in the world of what we can engage with on the level of our 5 physical senses, this process can be a long unravelling and rewriting of very old (and sometimes generational) stories that we carry within out hearts and minds. More specifically, it is actually a re-connecting with the most natural, uninhibited, wild-eyed pieces of ourselves, often existing in the shadows for so long as those have been the only safe places within. It is a remembering - the opposite of dismembering - and a re-weaving of all that makes us who we are from the core out.
Seeing the link between the way we commodify and treat the earth as an exact replica of the way we dishonour the feminine and wildness within ourselves is a potent real-life metaphor that can be used as a starting point for figuring out what needs to change within us to honour the Sacred Feminine and the way of the Wild Nature. And further to that, understanding the many levels of the sacred feminine’s existence and language is a map that can direct us through a course of desperately needed medicines and panacea’s that lead us closer to the truer nature of ourselves, and a clearer understanding of how we can serve the earth through spiritual and sacred connection with her. For when offering our service to Gaia, to the sacred feminine, to the universe, we will only be asked for the magic and offerings within us that most naturally and easily flow through us. Never will we be asked to strive, to create something from nothing, act in a way contrary to our truth, or to force our way through anything. The way in which our very essence is most inclined to just be in this world, the way our inner light naturally shines, is the part that brings us closest to source, and to the the ebb and flow of the universe. That is the feminine way.
As Within, So Without - The Wild Mirror
Nature herself, the earthly world around us, is a direct reflection of our true wild nature within. The way our body innately grows, moves, reaches for sunlight and rests in darkness, of micro and macro and above and below. Knowing and learning again and again this underlying truth, we can start to see the way we must move or shift to undo our inner patriarchy. For patriarchy demands control, productivity, order, tameness. There is no room for wild unkempt growth. To work with one side, either the wild nature of our selves or the wild nature on our planet, is by default to work with the other - its reflection.
The wildish nature within will suffer the same fate as the earth herself for as long as we believe that anything wild, anything natural, anything of the earth is nothing more than a commodity existing solely for our benefit, profit or convenience. According to the patriarchal world view, anything that is not ‘useful’ or productive is of no value. It is poignant to consider that the fruiting, productive phase of a plants life cycle is only one small window of it’s entire life - collectively far more time and energy is spent in the putting down of roots, shedding leaves and parts that no longer serve or take up too much of the plants energy, growing new foliage and moving toward the sun. And yet in our lives we are encouraged to spend as little time or energy within these processes so we can focus primarily on whats to come in the all-producing always switched on machine our body’s, hearts, and minds have become. We finish one project, and before we can even celebrate our success we are asked “so, what’s next?”. We compromise our sleep and nourishment of our soul to squeeze a few more hours of doing and getting things done. In the same way, we do not allow the earth the time or space needed to enter her own timing of regeneration and dreaming. We appropriate as much of her as possible for making and taking, and leave her so little room to grow what she needs for the sake of sustainability. Instead we consistently position her in such a way that we can achieve a greater yield, get a little more for our money’s worth, stretch her resources to go a little further. Like rootless trees, focusing entirely on the seen, reaching out, the absorbing of light, not using any of our attention on the exploration of the dark, nourishing soil below us.
When we begin to recognise that the tools which built these oppressive structures must be discarded for the growth of the new landscapes to come, we begin to enter the space of wild, deep trust of the Sacred Feminine. For example. Masculine energy calls for striving, persistence and direct, linear movement. We cannot apply this same dynamic when calling in the wild feminine, for these things go against the her very nature. This duality is both opposing and complementary, and can work together. But what I see now is a world who’s heart doesn’t know how to hold the ‘she’ anymore. Who is scared of the chaos of the unknown and the unplanned. To relearn her we must set aside the tools that sought to imprison her into perfectly measured rows, containers and safe places. To draw in the feminine we must match and mirror her very nature.
For it is the feminine way to make and hold space for that which is most deeply called for, yearned for, needed for healing, needed for the most easeful way forward. By honouring that which most wants or needs to surface, that which most wants or needs to grow, live and die, that which most yearns for our attention and love, we allow the energy of the earth and the cosmos to move through us, and it is almost effortless. That is not to say it is without challenge or hardship. But it is about moving with and following the path of least resistance. Not attempting to peel back and clear the growth of a tangled, woody path to surge and penetrate through with reckless abandon. The way of the masculine, of directly channeled energy is important and essential to life, but is not the way we protect and nourish our wild feminine nature. Growth of all kinds has it’s own innate plan, a set of instructions buried within our DNA, and allowing our body’s deep knowing to follow these currents and instincts within is something we often don’t allow ourselves the time or patience for.
Our wild places do not need tending, fencing, managing. The shadowy tangled pathways within us and outside of us do not need pruning, dead-heading, cutting back. They also don’t need our ignorance, pretending they don’t exist, or wishing they were something other than what they are for the sake of ease or comfort or pleasure. They need our acceptance, gentleness, understanding, honouring. They need to be valued and protected for the absolutely essential role that they play in our very existence. The paths of the Sacred Feminine need the space and protection to be exactly as they are, allowed to be and move and dance as she will, with no expectation of change or facilitation for the sake of others, to become more useful, to give us a more palatable and yet dishonest experience of what she is. She needs to be allowed to be what she is at her very core. No more, and no less. We are the wild, and the wild is us. When we bridge this artificial induced separation we open a portal for growth, expansion and connection back to the source of all things, and back to ourselves.
Surrendering to The Path of Least Resistance - Allowing, Opening, Flowing
To walk this wild, feminine way is to commit to a path of self-realisation and growth, to live in tandem and flow with our own innate cycles and those of the earth, stars, sun and moon, and to live in harmony and symbiosis with our environment, as a literal and symbolic act of self-care and love. It is to respect and recognise not only the core value of, but also the absolute necessity for the honouring of the feminine, and all that that represents - from menstruation to birth to menopause, from rest and darkness to deep underworlds, from old half-forgotten mysteries to surrendering with entirety into the unknown. All honour the feminine, and therefore all honour the goddess.
Make no mistake, this is not just about those of us born with women’s body’s. Without the masculine, as in all dualities, the feminine would not exist, and vice versa. The feminine exists in all things, as does the masculine, and both needs be honoured and nurtured. They are engaged ever in a dance of gentle or forceful movement and momentum, support and opposing each other all at once.
Following the path of least resistance is best facilitated by having your eyes open to the truth of things, to become and observer and witness both to the world and yourself. To start seeing that all things have their own natural movement. Like a river, we must learn to move with the current rather than against it, rather than damming it, redirecting it, draining it, dumping our waste in it and hoping it’ll just float on away never to be seen again. And when we find ourselves in the wrong place, we seek the right one, journeying from that place to another rather than forcing change in our direct environment. We realise that the river itself is not wrong, or bad, or needing change. Instead of crippling that which is out of alignment with ourselves, which is not the same thing as being wrong or needing change, we seek our right river, our right flow, our right energy. We seek the place in which we need to be to surrender, open and flow with the momentum of our own energy and growth.
It is also so important to realise here that wrong and uncomfortable can feel very much like the same thing. Am I feeling like I need to leave this relationship because something, on a gut level, feels wrong? Or am I being challenged to see, be with or accept some really uncomfortable shit within myself? That tight feeling in the pit of my stomach may feel the same under both conditions. Do I want to quit my job because it’s a toxic environment and feel I can’t/shouldn’t have to be exposed to that? Or am I being reminded that I need better boundaries, that I haven’t yet communicated my needs, that I am taking part in the creation of this environment and I don’t know how to not? The fatigue and anxiety could be a result of all of those things.
Two beautiful quotes come to mind here. Yogi Bhajan said “recognise that the other person is you”. And Jung said “what you resist, persists”. Like anything, it isn’t ever that simple, and resistance in and of itself is an important tool for our survival. But at its core is truth. When we force movement against its nature we are bound to come up against some resistance. And we must look within as to the what and the why and the patterns. Coming back to learning how to step into the shoes of the observer of the self and other, of recognising the wild mirror inherent in everything requires a great deal of surrender to what simply is. And when we surrender to what is, and begin to unravel what that means for where we are and what comes next, we can surrender more deeply again into allowing it’s natural course. It is the feminine way to find the path of most ease when possible. To come back to the tree metaphor - the roots of a tree will only push through concrete and stone when it has no where else to go.
Being of Service & Showing Gratitude in a Culture of Taking
If we use our earth as a metaphor for the state of the feminine, with the feminine being nature and the earth herself, one could argue that she is deeply, sorely wounded, ignored, belittled, pulled apart, used and abused at humanity’s discretion. It’s actually pretty fucked. While we need to take from this earth to eat and nourish ourselves, to be safe and warm and protected, the scales have long been tipped too far into taking for the sake of having, without the giving back or honouring of this body and soul feeding. Too long has the first question on our lips been “what do i need?” or “can I have that?”, and not “what can I give back?” or “how can I serve?“. This echoes through many spiritual movements as much as it does through day to day living. Attempting to honour mother nature and the earth can not and will never be accomplished by picking all her flowers for altars, depriving her of her autumn seeds; harvesting plants to the point of extinction for medicines, oils and incenses; supporting environmentally damaging events, products or processes such as mining or buying plastic or synthetic products so that we feel closer to spirit. We are versed at calling on spirit to help us and support us and clear the path for us, but somehow miss the essential step of gratitude and giving back, never asking how we can serve this same very real, very tangible world that needs our advocacy as much as we need its holding.
This attitude of “what’s in it for me?” is perfectly aligned to the patriarchy and it’s cultural affects on us. Learning and bringing in the wisdom of the wild mirror, and starting to feel the currents of surrender, natural movement, and the path of least resistance is the beginning of a reciprocal relationship between ourselves and this most natural, cyclical, growing earth of ours. Between our conscious and unconscious selves. Between our waking and dreaming state. And from here we are in a position of power and deeper seeing and feeling, which can lead us to knowing, deep in our bones, just how much we are held, loved AND needed by this earth, this wild nature. Go out and look out over the whispering trees, feel the current of the stream around your ankles, watch the clouds pass by overhead and ask “how can I be of service? what do you need?”. It will blow your heart wide open. For to give without expectation of what will be received is the most powerful act of love and kindness and compassion. And what you give will echo back into you, so that in service you will be also filling yourself. And as mentioned earlier on, you will be never be asked for something you cannot give. The earth, the sacred feminine, YOUR wild nature wants nothing more than your deepest alignment with self, for this is the most powerful place you could possibly stand in. It is the place from which your heart flows most strongly and openly. Whenever I have asked the trees what they need from me, I have heard the same two words, over and over. Be Love. And part of me goes nice one guys, way to exhaust a cliche! But I know it to be the thing that will give them the most, while keeping me most in my own heart and in love with myself.
You can also just give without asking. Spend time with her - the wild nature within and without. Sing to the flowers. Smile at the clouds. Run your hands lovingly over the surface of a lake. Walk barefoot in her fields. It really is that divinely simple. Treat her as your lover, your child and your mother all at once, for she is all those things, as are we.
Committing to the path of the sacred feminine - An Invitation
These are words similar to what I speak out loud from time to time, when I feel I want or need to connect with my path again, or to remember who I am, what I’m doing, why I’m here. You can adapt and change it as much as or as little as you like. You may want to change certain phrases like ‘sacred feminine’ to ‘the earth’, or ‘great mother’, ‘source’, ‘the universe’, whatever works. The words may feel perfect or all wrong for you, and both is ok. You don’t need to engage in a ceremony or make a commitment of any kind. But for myself, it has felt meaningful to speak my intentions clearly when it comes to what I am devoting my energy and heart to. I wish you so much love on your path, walking with she of the wild nature, within and without.
AN INVOCATION FOR COMMITTING TO THE SERVICE OF THE SACRED FEMININE
Go outside somewhere that feels sacred and safe. Spend some time there, engaging your 5 senses with the space. What do you see, smell, feel, hear and taste? What does the land whisper to you?
You may wish to delineate sacred space by casting a circle, calling the elements and four directions, or speaking to being held and protected. You may wish to have an altar. I find the altar of the wild is enough to anchor myself in to my intention, especially in this work.
When you are ready, make sure a part of your body is touching the ground skin to earth (ie. by sitting or standing barefoot, palms to the ground) and spend a few minutes focusing on your breath. Start with four seconds inhalation, seven seconds holding, eight seconds out, until your breath moves easily and comfortably. This doesn’t need to be exact so don’t overthink it. With every breath in, draw in the loving, holding, solid energy of the earth. With every breath out allow yourself to become clearer and clearer as what you no longer need is breathed away.
Feel your roots diving deep, and your branches twisting high. You are forever held in this way, strong rooted and cosmically connected, you need only to tune in long enough to remember it. When you are ready, speak your invocation of service to the sacred feminine, as below.
My name is (Rebecca Holly), and I am fully present and grounded in my body. I come wild hearted, deep rooted, and with open eyes and mind. I surrender into and trust my own knowing and the cyclical movement of all things, and honour the cycle of life-death-life. I am willing to hold, see and accept all aspects of myself, and all aspects of this land. I give my deepest thanks and gratitude to all that has held me, nourished me, and allowed me to grow into the beautiful being I am today, seen and unseen, of body and of spirit. I commit myself to the service of the Sacred Feminine, to the pathways of the Wild Feminine, of the Wild Nature within and without. I call to the depths of the ocean, the expanse of the sky, the tangles trees of the bush, the dancing grasses and leaves, the blooming and wilting wildflowers, winding rivers and still pools, deep earthy beds of rock, tall peaks of mountain tops - I am you, and you are me. I honour you, your wildness, your perfect self, and in this i honour myself. I say again. I commit myself to the service of the Sacred Feminine. To the wild pathways within and without. To be always led ever closer to myself, my heart, my knowing. In perfect love and perfect trust, so shall it be. I say 900 times, so shall it be.
Spend some time in this space, just feeling into your body and the earth. Feel your heart expanding with gratitude for this life, this holding, and let it melt through you into the earth. You may want to speak to her, whisper sweet nothings, tell her what you love about her. All the while remembering that these words are mirroring your heart’s feelings about yourself, and that is a thing of beauty.
Gently ease yourself back into the world, eat well, drink water.
In Gratitude To You
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Reconnecting with this element and energy is such heart work for me. Our own wild natures and the earth’s wild nature are so desperately yearning and longing for us to walk her pathways in respect and love once more. She needs us. Awakening yourself to her is like shining a light in the shadows, welcoming the parts so long hiding in the only places deemed safe to exist. Not any more, dear ones. For she has me, and she has you, and we may never fully comprehend the potency or effect of that - it is more expansive and deeply felt by her than we can understand or know. Thank you for choosing to see the unseen. May your feet always lead you more deeply home, loved and held by all that is.
Rebecca Holly xx
Rebecca Holly van Horssen is a Naturopath and Kinesiologist by trade, and a healer, witch and magic-maker by heart. Her hearts work is advocating for deeper, more meaningful connections with the wild, sacred feminine, and fostering conscious allyship and kinship with the natural world. She loves working to empower women to step into a more embodied experience of their feminine nature, and to help them find a natural, pain-free, and insightful menstrual experience. Rebecca has seen how this positive change can also manifest a deeper connection with your intuition and authentic self, allowing you to feel more grounded and in alignment with your purpose and true self. Rebecca is a graduate of the Four Seasons Journey with the School of Shamanic Womancraft, and can often be found drumming and singing with the trees at dusk.