What was your inspiration of interviewing these women?
After reading The Feminine Face of God, by Patricia Hopkins and Sherry Anderrson, I was so moved by these spiritual women’s life stories that a vision came to me to bring them to Seattle. When this began in 1993 I wanted to bring these spiritual best selling authors/women leaders so we could experience their stories in person. It felt like a call for women leaders to be visible to us so we could have role models of what a woman embodied in her own power would look like.
What made you choose these specific women?
For the book I chose some of the women that stood out for me as powerful women with an important message for other women. And I wanted a diverse selection where they each describe a different picture of what the feminine is, or what women need to do to empower themselves. There are many more that could have been included but it was limited in space as I also wanted to include the everyday woman who comes to the conference, expressing her stories, art and poetry for a full spectrum viewpoint of the feminine. Both, leaders and lay women, are important in the community of Women of Wisdom.
Are you thinking of doing a book of sayings I found so many I loved?
Yes I thought these would make great cards, book marks, etc. as the messages are so powerful and moving.
Love the concept of co-illusion and hidden in plain sight. Will you share some of your favorite sentences or passages?
There’s several – you can choose:
Our call in the 21st century is to bring meaning, magic and enchantment back into the world, and we can only do that by coming forward with our gifts and our talents. This century is really a call to courage and character; a deep, deep remembering of why we’re here, our life dreams and life calling.
“When in your life did you stop singing? When in your life did you stop dancing? When in your life did you stop being enchanted by stories and particularly you own life story?
I’m at home when I have fire; when I am deeply connected to what has heart and meaning, the heart’s fire; when I’m seized by a vision that I want to manifest and bring to the sweet face of Mother Earth. I know I’m on fire when I’ve connected to something numinous and extraordinarily beautiful that can only be found when trusting in an unshakable part of myself, in a sacred refuge that I can find in my deep interior.
Isabel Allende – page 70
I have come to the conclusion that the most precious gifts women can give to each other are their personal stories. By sharing our experiences, our pains and joys, our fears, hopes and desires, we create a sacred space where we can find new strength.
As women heal ourselves individually, we heal the great wound to the feminine in our culture and in our world. As we share who we are, we awaken new consciousness in the collective, forging a way for the Divine Feminine to manifest. As we grow, She grows. In this way, sharing our individual stories serves a much greater unfolding.
I believe that if a story touches one person’s heart, changes one person’s perspective, then it has fulfilled its mission.
I believe that feminine consciousness is today more essential than ever, because it is women who must lead the changes in our world. For me, this consciousness has a spiritual dimension. But it is not spiritual in the conventional sense, because for me, spirituality is putting love into action. We must reclaim our heritage as spiritual leaders. This is our great challenge and opportunity; to join with one another and with enlightened men to build the foundations for a more equitable, peaceful and joyful world.
The rise of the domination model includes a spiritual model of men as divine and women as merely carnal. If we have the divine Father and Son, but no Goddess to workshop, then it follows that men are above women and therefore have a right to dominate us. If the divine is male, then all that is female is not divine. What is lost then? The female, the Earth, the sensuality and sexuality of the body are all left behind to be denigrated and dominated.
But we can reclaim the sacred feminine.
I know I can say “thank God for my addiction, because without the addiction I would never have known Sophia. I had to change my whole relationship to life. I had to recognize the slowness of the feminine, the beat of the heart, the earth imagery of the feminine. I had to take time to love nature, be with my body, to honor the soul in my body, and come to love Her through suffering. The suffering broke my heart open. It put me on my knees, in front of the wall, and smashed my heart open. And that was the end of compulsive control.
So you see the paradigm we are moving toward has to be one of love. We must let go of control dynamics.
The awareness that we are all one – we, the animals, each other – and that we are en-souled in one loving energy, is the Goddess. The goddess is a manifestation of god. The two go together. To feel this in your body, and to feel the heart beat of the planet, this is the feminine. From my point of view, the creative imagination is the healer – it’s healing the Soul, so that even if I die, the healing is taking place.
Jean Shinoda Bolen
Male leadership cannot change the fundamentals of masculine hierarchy. For there to be a balanced world where those without power matter, empowered women, such as we can be, need to speak for the children, women, animals and for our beautiful planet itself. Women’s wisdom, experience and compassion are missing when decisions that affect us all are made.
I realize that there are many men who are in circles, and yet I really think that it is the proliferation of women’s circle that is going to change our world. From the women’s circle, each woman learns and practices what it’s like to be in an egalitarian society. And she learns to speak up, to speak out-not with anger, but with clarity and with her real voice. She learns how to be both truthful and direct, and to be concerned and compassionate at the same time.
Barbara Marx Hubbard
So I’m laying the groundwork for what I mean by an evolutionary woman, a feminine cocreator. Not only is she awakening to her equality, but she doesn’t want to be equal to men in a dysfunctional world. We do not want front seats on the Titanic. So we have a role to play in creating this new world.
You are telling your stories, and you must continue to tell stories, because solutions to the problems facing the future will arise from the subjective world, from the unfolding of levels of understanding, from the implicate order that is held in the metaphysical womb that you all contain, which is gestating a world to come. This nonlinear mind we hold is the Mother mind,. It is not analytical or sequential, but is by and large circular, empathic and narrative.
Circles are the way of the feminine how would you explain this to women who have never experienced the concept?
I think circles are natural for women. Curves are feminine! I’ve never had difficulty explaining how circles work as I find it easy for women to understand, it’s how they meet with their friends, having tea, sitting in your living room – we all like to see each other. Circles invoke a process modality and women’s way of speaking is through process rather than product. We talk in circles, rather than straight lines. Circles are feminine as they allow for people to be receptive to others around them and receptivity is a feminine trait.
are the way of the feminine
is that they allow for inclusiveness – everyone is part of a circle equally. It’s much more comfortable than sitting in a linear mode with a teacher at the head of the class, and chairs, or tables and chairs in rows in front of the teacher. The message given there is the teacher is the expert, and you have to listen to what they say- and that you don’t have a voice unless called upon. In a circle all people have gifts to share and their expertise adds to the whole, the process of whatever is occurring in that circle.
The circle allows for the voice of every person to be shared, and you can see everyone. It also can stretch you if you’re not comfortable being seen, as you can’t hide in the back of the room! It gives the person the message that they can contribute and they are important to the process that is going on.
What do you want women to take away from this book?
That they are powerful leaders, they need to find their voice, they need to stand and be visible, and they need to honor their feminine gifts. They need to be role models for the younger generation so girls see women are respected and the feminine gifts are acknowledged in our society. Then they don’t have to squash them like so many of us felt we had to when we were growing up.
What ways do you see this book creating support in women’s life?
I think it would create support, because reading it you are hearing from women who are just like you – so the will know they’re not alone. Tools are in the book to teach you how to create your own circle of women friends. There are exercises for the inward journey – to explore the topics these great women authors have brought to us in the book – to explore how they relate to our own lives. I know it has reached many women and impacted them to feel supported at a time that they needed to hear these messages. I think it’s a great book to have by your bed and just pick up any page and start reading, it will inspire you.
How did the concept of WOW come to you?
I was reading The Feminine Face of God by Sherry Anderson and Patricia Hopkins in 1992, which I loved as I love stories and particularly stories about people’s lives. During the time I was in a healing group and a woman who was working on me doing a shamanic type healing said “you need to be an advocate for women.” I had no idea what she meant and she said it two weeks in a row. I had already claimed a mission statement for my life to bring people together but I didn’t know how that would look like.
A couple of weeks later, one night I was driving home and it was one of those clear nights, clean energy around me, and the idea came to me to bring these women from the book to Seattle Unity Church who had an ongoing speaker program. Then the voice said, no, do it as a one-week conference so there can be a community of women. Two weeks later I realized this was what the healer was seeing around me, it just was able to come in on that drive home as I was in a receptive mode.
Loved the concept of the male Hierarchy not being able to heal itself that it will take the women to heal it. Could you speak to this?
I think it will take women to heal the hierarchy because we are the one’s who can bring in the feminine energy that’s needed for balance. There are many enlightened men out there, who understand the feminine energy, but even they are not fully accepted for using that energy. It takes a courageous person to do so as they are going against the way our society operates. The masculine mode of operating in business and politics is the predominant one still. It will take women rising up in power, taking on leadership positions to change how we do things, which is more process oriented than product oriented as Jean Houston stated. It won’t be felt as the feminine unless it’s embodied in the female form. We have bodies for a reason. Feminine and masculine isn’t about the physical, it doesn’t equate to men and women as we all have feminine and masculine traits. But the physical is how we express things in this world, we came here as humans and it’s for a reason, so probably it’s one of our lessons.
Everything seems to be off kilter these days and if women’s voices were more honored, if the feminine was more respected, the hierarchy wouldn’t be a hierarchy anymore, it would be yin and yang, feminine and masculine, together, co-creating as Barbara Marx Hubbard calls it, and the partnership way as Riane Eisler expresses it.