Today I received what I receive several times a day: an email asking me to help market another woman’s self-help/spiritual/empowerment program. While I’m familiar with these emails, this one in particular brought up a host of feelings.
The email was written to me by a “program manager” asking me to become an affiliate (make money) by marketing to my audience a “very exciting” upcoming virtual Priestess Program offered by two women I don’t know, who didn’t bother to write me a personal note respectfully introducing me to their hearts, their souls and their missions.
My red hot and holy heart contracted in pain and a fierce feminine energy rose from the core of the earth and coiled around me in a hiss. The following post is an attempt to translate this hiss:
Oh, Fuck No. Patriarchy isn’t just wearing a goddess costume these days, it has managed to hijack the priestess archetype as well. Stick a wad of feathers in your hair, do some rituals under the moon, learn a handful of ancient feminine arts, practice the appropriate amount of self-reflection, sexual liberation, shadow work and yoga asanas, don’t forget to pay the fee, and BAM – you too, can be initiated into priestesshood (in a year or less) and go forth and prosper into the magically-empowered woman you are now being manipulated into becoming!
As we’ve all noticed, “Priestess” has become the latest trend in spiritual titles and the hottest garb in spiritual fashion. What was stretched into “Yogini” flew into “Dakini” opened its’ thighs to “Tantrika” and now dances around a fire as “Priestess”(even better if you list all the above in your tagline – throwing in “Shaman” for good measure).
Now, I whole-heartedly champion and celebrate the fact that every woman carries the priestess archetype, and I want nothing more than for women to reclaim their birthright and enact this organic way of Being of Service, but unfortunately, I have met very few women who are genuinely embodying this archetype in the way this planet so desperately needs it to be embodied at this time.
Interestingly, most authentic priestesses that I have the privilege to know don’t even call themselves “priestesses”. There is no need for a “title” or a costume, a brand or a campaign, a photo/video shoot or a glamorous website. There is no need to lure you into their field or into your Self.
They simply are Who They Are and Offer What they Offer – and if you can’t sense the Holy Fire they come from, tend to, and help re-ignite in others, then that is your loss.
We all know there are real-deal, heaven-crashin’, temple-tumblin’, lineage-rumblin’, earth eruptin’ Priestess Initiations going down on this planet right now, and I’m eternally grateful for the courageous (mostly) undercover priestesses stewarding these intrepid feminine movements. And, if they are being guided to – by nothing and no one else except the only Program Manager they need, The Big She – I am excited when these authentic priestesses share their offerings publicly (via websites, photos, programs, etc), so we can find them, so we can feel what it is like to be offered something from the feminine with no subtle strings attached, and so we can give them the proper recognition, respect AND financial support they deserve.
But, the email I received today reminded me that no matter our best intentions, no matter if we are truly being guided to claim this title publicly and initiate other women into their own remembrance and authentic feminine power – we cannot do so if we are misusing this alluring title for identity inflation or using the power that comes with the “priestess” role for self-seeking purposes.
And portraying and selling this sacred archetypal energy in the way this email (and accompanying website launch page) demonstrated made me even more aware that we will never be able to truly priestess ourselves or others if we are consciously submitting to – or unconsciously clutched in – the clever claws of covert spiritual consumerism, misdirected marketing, and a subtle synthetic system that although looks and sounds right on the surface, is actually vamping our feminine power and perpetuating our enslavement.
Now, to conclude my rantin’ and ravin’, I’m going to inappropriately “add to” one of my favorite quotes about priestesses that comes from Elizabeth Cunningham’s vivacious novel, “The Passion of Mary Magdalen,” spoken by Magdalen:
“I don’t know what it is about priestesses. You can always tell. Or at least I can…I knew a woman in authority when I saw one. Most women, now and then, concern themselves to some degree with pleasing men or people in general [or with trying to “be” someone or “do” something that will bring them fame, money, professional gain, social attention or spiritual recognition]. Priestesses don’t. They have bigger game. Their eyes show it.”
we need to play a BIGGER GAME
(than the current spiritual/self-help market is tempting us with).
Dare to Show It.
(not tell It.)
In other words, we need to do what it is every cell in our beautiful body aches to do with this returning priestess archetype:
And protect It like a mama bear protects her cubs,
and a wild woman protects the Sacred.