This series explores what it is like to be a spiritual seeker and Priestess in the 21st century.
Is there more empowerment & direct access to the Divine in the world now?
I’ve been interviewing women from my Priestess Training Program to find out! Now it’s my turn in the hot seat!
I’m a Priestess but the truth is that’s only one part of me (a big part but a part none-the-less). I’m very aware how identities shift and change through time, so whatever I write here will probably be a little bit different by the time you read this.
I’m a believer in impermanence but still think I can come up with five year plans I’ll stick to!
Truth is I’m a bit of a rebel. I often feel like I don’t fit in and have to tell myself all the time that it is perfectly okay to live in contradiction and that I don’t have to be anything for anyone. #recoveringpeoplepleaserhere
I once described myself as a Blasphemous Buddhist Pagan. That still feels right.
My Buddhist name is Lodro Da~u. That means Intellect Moonlight. I’m an academic and a Moon child.
I missed hippy by a generation.
A Romantic really.
To me, the world is an enchanted place
Where I choose to see wonder in my tea cup and
Spirit in the space between the shore and the sky.
I’m a poet but I was a dreamer first. Poems are the way I shape dreams.
An anthropologist because I will never see the world the same way again after that decade in school! I’m really smart but I don’t much care to prove it in everyday conversation.
I may be a shaman and a wounded healer
but that’s not really for me to decide. Although, I do think we get to decide who we are. There is power in our own namings.
And, last but not least, I’m a fabulous fierce femme who can be a little frantic sometimes!
- Chanting Om Tara Tuttare Ture So Ha in the green forest near the Barre Centre for Buddhist Studies.
- Going to the Gampo Abbey Stupa consecration where I saw what years of practice looks like on beaming faces.
- That moment when I screamed at the top of my lungs and cried harder than I had ever cried and knew that life couldn’t be like that anymore.
- That other moment when a doctor told me I could have died. I still feel a bit light headed when I think of it.
- Walking the Glastonbury Tor labyrinth for six hours. Twice. In and out. While overweight. Women I’d never met held me and somehow carried me with their laughing spirits.
- Cutting those damn cords!
- Chanting on Wearyall Hill right before I went into my PhD program. I weaved a spell that day for the rest of my life that told me that I am just fine the way I am. That spirit is within me and no one, least of all me, can touch it.
- May I be happy. My peaceful and at ease. May you be happy. May you be peaceful and at ease. That. Over and over again until compassion is a habit.
I’ve tried really hard in my life to make other people happy. To fit my imagined ideas of what other people want me to be. The truth is I have no idea what people think and to try to guess is actually unkind.
When I came out after 32 years of hiding from myself no one batted an eye, and if they had I would have, very confidently, told them where they could go (i.e. across the street and very far away from me).
It’s freaking hard sometimes. I’m not going to lie. But what is the choice? I really can’t live someone else’s idea of my life for them.
Not wanting to loose myself keeps me authentic. Every day I ask myself are my actions in alignment with my values. Sometimes they’re not. But if I didn’t ask I wouldn’t be able to grow and I really really love my values.
I’m a very good holder of sacred space. I believe that everyone is basically good and I hold space for all of the stuff. We are whole and holy!
I have a deep love and passion for all that is beautiful in religions around the world. I’m open minded, have a vast spiritual knowledge and am a life long learner. I question things and I let things be.
As a HSP introvert, I’m also really clear on boundaries and have a very intuitive understanding of energy.
I was raised as a third generation atheist. I didn’t understand my interest in religion and spirituality and internalized it as something wrong. But the truth is being raised in my family gave me so much space to discover what was right for me. My grandfather questioned everything. My grandmother sung in church choir simply because she loved to sing.
My mother made altars to flowers and bones
She showed me how a garden can be a cathedral.
My family gave me strong critical thinking skills, a sense of the joy of being alive, and an appreciation for what is beautiful about everyday life.
Now, I start in the everyday. I’ve made a life out of noticing everyday enchantments.
I view life as a spiritual practice. I ask myself:
- Can I notice the tension I’m carrying in my shoulders and loosen it?
- What is it like to pour this cup and hold it?
- What am I meant to learn here?
I chant, drum, meditate, have a very lapsed yoga practice I only mention because I yearn to get back to it, write down what I’m grateful for, am interested in contemplative photography and enjoy taking photos, go for slow walks, sit by water, write, and read tarot cards.
But in the end it is all about coming into closer connection with what I can only call Spirit.
Presence is only ever a breath away.
It really is this simple.
Can I go back and read what everyone else wrote because, wow, there were some really good ways of saying what a Priestess is!
For me, it’s about choosing to serve Spirit. The Spirit within and without.
It’s about caring for the world and living love.
It’s about saying yes to the Divine. And knowing She looks an awful lot like me so I better figure out a way to love Her already!
Being a Priestess is every good Mary Oliver line ever written.
Because does she ever know how to be a Priestess of the world
without ever having to say those words!
It’s about loving the Goddess passionately and asking what She can teach me.
Asking how can I embody Her more and more fully.
Asking how I can serve others.
My idea of what being a Priestess means evolves everyday. When you read this I’ll probably already have more to say…and less…it’s a really hard question!
If you’re interested in diving deep into your own spiritual journey
with some gentle yet fierce guidance along the way
This post originally appeared on vanessasage.com in 2015