Over time, through dreams and images, I began to understand how a woman’s life is connected to the whole. In our Western culture we are conditioned to feel separate and alone. This deep conditioning interferes with a woman’s natural capacity to live her potential. Not in the way of achievement, but in a different way.
In dreams and visions we perceive the feminine in ways unique to each of us - a necklace we hide in a pocket; a glass of water that's sweeter than any water we have ever tasted; the vast ocean where we rest; a silver coffee urn to wake us up; a tree bursting with peaches. Regenerative, transforming, the feminine is what dies into what is born.
A few years ago I had a dream:
I see the moon shining through thin clouds. Then there are three moons, and I think, how can that be? Clouds then obscure the moons, but open again. In this opening I see not the moons, but the earth. And I am told, “The reason you were given this experience is so that you can feel the earth in your body.”
What a mysterious dream this was. Over time, I began to know its meaning more deeply. It has to do with honoring one’s body, honoring our connection with the earth, and with those who care for the earth.
I remembered this dream just before a recent trip to the Yuba River, up in the Sierras. I held the dream's feeling of quiet, of mystery, during my three days away. I sat by the river, and swam in its clear waters. This river runs with a great force that gradually softens by the time it reaches the south fork. But even there the river has a power which, over centuries, has shaped enormous boulders.
How essential it is to feel our connection to nature. Even in the city we can listen to the wind through trees, to a bird, or a child at play.
On the second morning I awoke before dawn. While in prayer, I saw an image. Set against the darkness was a circle. And inside this circle was an inner circle of many pearl necklaces. The pearls shone with a particular beauty.
I felt the power and protection of this circle within a circle, and that I was shown the true nature of being a woman. And how together we hold a sacred, open space. For a necklace has to do with a woman’s being - like the river that cleanses, transforms, softening the hardest places. The divine stream that runs through a woman, according to the Tao, never dies.
When I began to hold circles with the newly homeless women, I witnessed how they were living the collective wound of homelessness of the feminine. It has become clear to me that we can welcome the feminine so that she returns home. To this earth, through us.
We need once more to feel at home on the earth and with each other. - Vandana Shiva
Sculpture by Connie Butler