The feminine is incredibly strong and connective, the force that both gives and holds life together.
Today, many women don’t completely understand that what they ARE is an aspect of this incredible expression of divine. We come from generations of people who have been disconnected from their lands, their communities and even their bodies. This disconnection has been passed down to us along with a sense of the feminine as “lesser than.”
Over the last 50 years, there has been a great effort to produce restoration and rebalancing to bring women into “equality” with men. Women have more choices and are more educated than any generation of women in history, yet studies are showing that we are less happy than we’ve ever been. What’s going on?
To uncover this, we need to engage in “women’s business,” a term sometimes used by Australian aborigines. In that culture, women were central to communal life, autonomous in their actions, and in positions of influence quite comparable to men. Women were guardians of a special knowledge and therefore held great spiritual authority. Likewise, this was the case in many indigenous cultures. Women and men both knew their roles and understood this significance for the community’s benefit.
Our women’s business today is to reconnect to our fundamental values as the feminine that our ancestors understood so well, and to remove impediments to remembering and living this knowing through the gathering of women. We call this gathering “Ukalai,” named for the cyclic time when the women of the Huichol indigenous peoples of the Sierra Madres of Northwestern Mexico come together to reorient, refocus, and renew. The Sacred Fire Community is holding the next Ukalai gathering at the Blue Deer Center in Margaretville, NY August 20-24th. For information or to register, please contact Linda Felch or use the form below.
Sherry Boatright Quiatlzques (woman bringer of rain or weather shaman) in the Nahuatl tradition of the central highlands of Mexico, a ceremonial leader, Sacred Fire Community Firekeeper and a licensed psychotherapist. She is the director of the Sacred Fire Community’s Lifeways, our series of programs that honor and celebrate the natural stages and transitions of life.
Sherry facilitates Lifeways’ Ukalai Women’s Retreat.
Read more about Sacred Fire Community Lifeways.
Use this form to contact us about our August 2014 women’s program. [contact-form-7 id=”8067″ title=”Ukalai”]
Thank you for highlighting the strength of women and providing an example of what a different power relations framework can look like. In these days where cultural appropriation is a sensitive topic, I wonder if you want to consider highlighting that our Indigenous sisters can teach us how to create power relations frameworks that bring the cycles of life and our relationships with one another back into balance, restoring our orientations with ourselves and each other through relationship insights gathered from being in relationship with where we are, and being present to what the land communicates to us.
For example, I live in Canada in a community that has enormous income disparity. There is an area in the community that attracts all of the people that are hurting the most. Everyone must witness them on their way into downtown Vancouver, so people feel an immediacy and an equal sense of defeat when it comes to supporting the people that are hurting the most. It is this area that the land reminds us needs our attention. I see this but I don’t yet know how to participate in the solution or if there is even a place for me to do so. One thing is for sure though, under the current hegemonic masculine or addictive society or patriarchal imperial lens, whatever you wish to call the power relations framework that causes enormous social and economic issues, it is really the job of all genders to appreciate the wild spaces, the unknown, the nurturing forces that come from within, in order to re-network our ways of being with ourselves and one another so that we can continue to heal the imbalances of our Imperialist society.
Thank you for posting your blog to bring importance and attention to the conversation you started and the dialogues in response.
Thank you April for your response. I certainly agree that our indigenous sisters can teach us a lot. Recently I returned from travels to the land of my Nahuatl tradition in Mexico. In talking with a woman in the village she reminded me of the relationship between the men and women in how corn is planted and grown: the men are responsible for preparing the ground and planting the seeds, then during the growing season both the men and women take part in the cultivation. When the corn ripens it is the women’s task to harvest, grind and make the tortillas to feed the family. I recall how beautifully she described this cycle where roles are understood and accepted and balance created.
So many of these traditions have been lost that kept us connected to the seasonal cycles and balanced in our relationships. As you say it is often difficult in these times and in our communities with enormous income disparity to know now how to participate in the solution. In the Sacred Fire Community we are building a network of hamlets where Firekeepers hold monthly fires and people are invited to come and sit with a sacred fire monthly in order to reconnect to their hearts, join in community and feel more deeply our kinship with all of life. What is offered is not a spiritual path but a spiritual community where people from any path or none can open our hearts to the interconnectedness of all things. At this time unfortunately we do not have a Firekeeper in Vancouver, but there are a number of Firekeepers in the Northwestern US including in Seattle and Olympia WA and Portland and Bend Oregon. We also have Lifeways programs in various places in the US and Canada and abroad. I have often found that in small ways like attending fires, we begin a process that makes a big difference in our personal lives as we come together to effect change.