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My Turn--Women's Wisdom & Creativity

Beltane 2001, Vol 0-1
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MatriFocus, an eZine for Goddess Women Near & Far

Reflections on Time, Abundance,
and Personal & Seasonal Rhythms

by Sage Starwalker

My first group celebration of Spring Equinox took place with an eclectic group of women living in and around Austin, Texas. We met in a mini-grove behind Pat Cuney's house to honor the season. We weren't a coven; some of us didn't know each other; together we were birthing the Goddess Movement in Texas.

The theme for our rather spontaneous ritual was Abundance, and we each had the opportunity to speak into the circle the kind of abundance we wanted to draw into our lives. What a great time to invoke abundance, with new life manifesting all around us. The equinox in Central Texas is quite like Beltaine in Wisconsin. The weather is mild, the insects aren't too active, and trees and plants are growing and flowering bounteously. In
Texas, fields are literally carpeted with Indian Paintbrush, Texas Bluebonnet, and Buttercups. Daffodils and Iris have already bloomed and faded. Gardens are in, seeds are sprouting and evidence of renewal is everywhere.

At the time of our Austin Ritual, my life reflected the frenzy of the growing season: I had a full time job, worked two shifts at a crisis hotline and trained new volunteers there, was in therapy, taking a university course, researching graduate psychology programs, exploring Goddess religion and developing my Craft, building a network that would become a Cella program in Texas, building altars, taming my wild four-tenths-of-an-acre yard, reading Tao of Physics, Starhawk, Depth Psychology, and Joseph Campbell.

A friend who heard me talk about my activities said "Stop. I'm getting a headache. I just can't take in anymore." (This was a familiar reaction to my high-velocity, high-productivity life. A decade earlier, an activist friend had said I had more energy than anyone she'd ever known.)

When it was my turn to speak my desire for abundance into the ritual circle, I asked for an abundance of time, for a sense of time as an abundant resource in my life. From the gasps and nodding heads in the circle, it was clear that my request resonated with a lot of the women there, though none had thought to consider time as something one could have in abundance. What an effective piece of magic! I got even busier in the seasons following Equinox, but I never felt squeezed time-wise; there was always enough time to take on the next project.

Two years later, I was rear-ended at a stoplight. After that I had three months of daily pain, a neck-brace, and lots of chiropractic and massage sessions. I went to work, but did little else. For the first time in my life, I slowed down, slowing enough to hear the promptings of my deepest self to abandon mainstream education and pursue Goddess studies in Madison, Wisconsin. This made no practical sense to me, and it took six weeks of prayer, meditation and agony to change the carefully crafted course of my life (I had already done grad school interviews and been offered admission).

A half a year later I was settling into Madison and getting involved in the Goddess community here. I still wasn't up to my old speed, but was looking for a job and, like everyone around me, I was finding ways to work for the Goddess and community. One night I had a dream in which I was given a piece of citrine that had a message for me: "slow down." I took this dream as guidance from the Goddess, bought a piece of citrine the next day, and resolved to be more conscious of time and energy.

Unfortunately, I had learned how to be stopped by physical problem, but clearly I had no concept of what slowing down looked like. Three years later, I went on medical leave because of chronic and debilitating pain
and stiffness. A year after that I was declared work disabled. My body had burned out. The transition was difficult and frustrating. I'd always been busy, productive, an adventurer. Now I had trouble finding the energy and physical stamina to wash the dishes or take a shower. I was finally working full time on the business of
slowing down, of truly making time for time in my life.

Since then, I've learned to listen to my body, to manage my energy, to appreciate relaxation. I've developed a contemplative life and daily meditation practice, something I had felt called to earlier but had never found the time for. I eventually learned that I could still get the important things done, though my ideas of what those things were changed radically. Perhaps the greatest gifts of this abundance of time and forced slow-down have been the discovery of my inner scholar and writer and the opportunity to do my Goddess work with all the energy I have.

Looking back, I see that I was clueless about what slowing down really meant, when I had the citrine dream. Busy was the only way I knew how to live. Western culture is a busy-ness culture. The Industrial Revolution put us all on a treadmill, whipped us into production mode, taught us to value output, to measure our worth by the fruits of our labor. Feminism encouraged us women to join the rat race, to add full-time jobs to our full-time work in the home and community. Goddess religion gave us an active spirituality, a desire to learn and do, and for many of us, the opportunity for spiritual vocation and all the busy-ness that comes with it.

Productivity, independence, equality and spiritually meaningful lives are wonderful things, but what about balance? Ours is a spirituality that honors the seasons, the cycles of birth, growth, death and renewal, the phases of the moon and of the solar year, yet how many of us take the kind of break Mother Nature takes? How many of us value and make time for dormancy, for lying fallow, for resting deeply, for spiritual, emotional and physical renewal, for "being" alive versus "doing" our lives?

Inspiration, dream gifts and little behavioral changes didn't do it for me. The universe had to use the two-by-four method to get my attention.

The busiest time of the year is upon us, and yet right around the corner, the sun's light will begin to wane at the Summer Solstice. The Great Mother takes responsibility for an abundance of inactivity to go with Her active times. We women need to follow Her lead, to live our destinies and follow our spiritual paths without constant sacrifice. This is as good a time as any for a busy witch to consider slowing down, to evaluate her personal rhythms, contemplate the good life, and develop an abundance of time for all of life's gifts, not just the busy pieces.