HOME CAVE

ABOUT
SHEKHINAH

CURRENT
EVENTS 

MAGICAL
OFFERINGS

Shekhinah's Music
Ariadne's Thread

TAROT
To Order A Reading

Payment Options

TESTIMONIA

MOONCAVE
CHAT

THEALAGIE*
Moonwheel Calendar

WITCHY
COMMENTARY

Dark Maiden Writings

APHRODITE'S
SHRINE

Shrine Library

HABONDIA'S
GROVE

SOULSONGS

MAGICALINKS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Home

 

 MNSPELL

ABOUT SHEKHINAH

mailto:shekhinahmoon@aol.com?subject=General Inquiries

This is a spirit photo,
taken not long ago
when Shekhinah
was 58.   
The image  reveals
her ageless 
muse-ical soul,
and the ecstatic state
that is the basis
of her
spirituality
and
life path...    

Photographer Peter Hughes

 

 

 

Welcome to Shekhinah's Story Cave. 
Here is where you can read her present
lifetime biography, learn about her training in the magical arts,
get to know a little about her friends and family.

                                                                                                            

Hello!  This is me at the Women of the 14th Moon Gathering  in the mountains near where I live.  I  was there to participate in Maiden,
Mother, and Crone ceremonies, and even though I was still having my                      moonflow now and then, the women there insisted on Croning me! 
I was in my early 50s in this photo.   The following year Sumasihl, the
organizer of these circles, demoted me back to Mother  because I was still
having an occasional moonflow... LOL!  (well, not really demoted- just
kidding!) Then the following year I got Croned all over again.  Meanwhile
I'd been getting Croned several other times in several other circles. 
Everybody's so excited about reclaiming the Crone Goddess and this aspect
of Woman, that they want to have Cronings at every possible opportunity.  :0)   What's a Crone, and what's Croning? you may be wondering...  come to the Thealagie cave and find out.  <g>  Anyway... here's
my story:                                                                           
(photo above by Angie Miranda)

 

                                                              FINDING HER

                                 

I am a muse-ical mystical magical woman who loves the Goddess and women,
a foremother of the Womanspirit movement, a teacher of Women's Mysteries,
and a priestess of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love.  All the things I do- rituals,
thealagie,  classes, Tarot, writing, poetry, Womanrunes,  calendar
keeping, inner politics... stem from the musical ecstasies that are the soul of
my craft.

I consciously received the Goddess in the mid-1960s to early '70s, when my
children were dancing to my songs.  We were experiencing ecstatic trance
states evoked by the music and movement of our bodies and spirits.  I had
been exploring many spiritual pathways in those years, from Hinduism to Occultism
to Christianity, to innumerable esoterica, and 'round again. 

My parents raised me in their Marxist/Atheist frame, and while this gave me
the vantage point of socio-political dissent, it offered no explanation for the
spiritual epiphanies I'd had from a very young age.  It did, however, give me
a clean slate with none of the psychic rapes many of my sisters have had to
deal with in their conventional religious backgrounds.    My Jewish roots,
Celtic affinities, red-diaper-baby beginnings, and  feminist spiritual
choices have all played a part in my thealagical synthesis.

Hinduism gave me mantra, reincarnation, karma, and the realization that
Self/God is All... things for which we in the States had little language
back then.  Buddhism gave me meditation.  The Builders of the Adytum
(a mystery school in Pasadena CA) gave me many of the principles illustrated
in Tarot and Hermetic Kaballah; the power of symbols, "as above, so below." 
Jungianism gave me archetypes, the anima and the animus, synchronicity,
and the collective unconscious.  Christianity gave me the seasonal cycles as
exemplified by the dying-and-reviving saviour, which I would later come to
understand as the female rites of passage of Inanna/Persephone, and Women's
Blood Mysteries.  I passed through many doors in my spiritual questing, and
learned something important behind each.  But always there was something missing-
the affirmation of myself as woman.

Finally I arrived at the Goddess Gate, recognizing Her as a very old friend,
and have never parted from Her since.

Subud in particular was to be a significant step on my path.  This is a
world-wide non-denominational practise born out of Tibet, with a strong
influence from Islam.  It involves a meditation called the "latihan," and an
initiation called "opening."  I was instructed to surrender to the latihan,
and told that this was "God entering me."  I didn't know then to call it a
trance, but I loved the blissful peace of the latihan.  Eventually its energy
came into my music, and I was flying out on song and sound.  Since many
of my compositions are mythic, droning, and modal, they make a likely
vehicle for this marriage.

Audiences, if they were open to it, would sometimes join me in this delight. 
The practise was so beautiful and profound for me, and I devoted my life to it. 
Soon my children asked to dance with me, and the miracle deepened as
we created and performed together.

Not that it was a "performance;" more like a sharing, a ritual. 
We were sometimes compared to Isadora Duncan and her schools of dancing
children.  We named our family troupe The Sybil after the oracular women
of ancient Delphi, who sat upon a tripod over a gaping hole in the earth
and breathed the trance-inducing gases that emanated there. 
Priestesses (later priests) would interpret their babblings in answer to the
questions of seekers.

"...poetry is the babbling of our tongues," my son Frey would explain in our
introduction, "beauty the fume that intoxicates..."

 

We had no idea that we were invoking the Goddess until we met a very
special woman.  Sara was a closet poet and a retired school teacher who
had literally lost her voice.  When she saw us "performing" at the
Troubador down in Los Angeles, she said in her  whispery croak,
"You're the hope of the world!"  What on earth did she mean, I wondered. 
"Read The White Goddess by Robert Graves," she kept insisting, whenever I
asked, in her unforgettable croaking scratchy voice.

Our little family moved north, following the fairs and our Muse, settling in
the coastal rain forested mountains.  It was then that I found a used copy of
The White Goddess
in a second hand bookshop.  On the cover was an
ancient Greek seal, showing the Triple Goddess handing the Eye of Poetic
Inspiration to a young male acolyte.

Graves taught me that all poetry, all theatre, began as invocation of
the Goddess.  In our openness and innocence we had stumbled upon a
spiritual practise that had once been the sacred rites of thousands.

I had always sensed a loving Source; had called Her "God" simply by
default.  Upon receiving the revelation of this book, it was a small
matter to add "dess" to Her sacred Name.  I took vows to serve Her forever.

Soon after that women began coming to me, asking for teachings. 
I hadn't much formal education except for theatre training at the
High School of Performing Arts, and a year and a half of college as a
drama major- plus extensive input from my amazing self-taught and
brilliant mom.  I didn't think of myself as a teacher, but I was
channeling like crazy, and women wanted to be a part of the beauty
I was delighted to share.

We were living in a yurt in the woods, while the women's movement
was burgeoning around the world.  (A yurt is a small wooden
tipi-like house, originating in Tibet.)  On full moon nights we would
offer concerts there, and people would either squeeze into our tiny
space, or actually watch us through the windows!  Sisters would
come up the mountain on Monday nights, and since our space was
round, we of course sat in circle.  I called our groups the Moonday
Circles, and our home the Moonhut.  Later I found out that this name
too was ancient; moonhuts were the menstrual huts where women
used to go when their bloods came, for ritual, communion, learning,
and community decisions.

Back in L.A. I had participated in feminist consciousness-raising
groups, so I knew to use their techniques in facilitation.  We would
"pass the rattle;" actually a Native American tradition, and take
turns speaking our truth and listening well.  I saw how circular
process could heal us in so many ways, and how it could heal the
world.

The Moonhut was located in a Tibetan Buddhist community in the
woods.  Everyone around there was chanting OM in their circles, so
I naturally thought it appropriate to chant its opposite; MA, for
calling in the Goddess.  Ma, the universal Mother cry, is now chanted
by Goddess-lovers around the planet.

I had learned at the Builders of the Adytum about visualizing the
rainbow colors in alignment with the seven primary chakras.  As I
ardently pursued my studies, I found the witches' Cone of Power. 
This, combined with the rainbow, the chakras, seven ascending notes
of MA, our visioning, sounding, and breathing synchronized,
became the now widely used Rainbow Cone Meditation.  (See the
back of Cycle 1 in my book Ariadne's Thread.)  The Cone of Power
is a psychic vortex of energy which swirls around the circle and comes
to a peak above its center.  The Cone is usually used as a projector
of intention and vision, for the purpose of casting spells with real results.

Most of the Moonday circles would convene for nine months or moons. 
Among our varied projects was the Pact; our collective statement of
ethics, which we would compose and then sign in blood, at midnight,
on Hallowe'en.  As far as I know, I was the first facilitator of Goddess
circles to emphasize the development of ethics for our current
movement.  (See the Pact to Build the Temple of Trust in the back of
the Thread.)

In these circles we went to the same liminal spaces as the Sybil; a soaring,
ecstatic high.  We were possessed by the Goddess, in love with each
other, flying in the magic.  Practical activists may think this
practice of no use in undoing real oppression, but they may not
realize it is the basis of all shamanistic powers of magical
transformation and the unification of our spirits for the building of
true community.

Such years those were, as the Goddess drew me through one initiation
after another.  I knew She was going to sweep the planet, but there was
still so much I didn't know.  She sent me a woman lover, and so the
mystery expanded and deepened, as I saw the connections between
sisterhood, spirituality, politics, and sexuality.  Our passions were
intense and soulful.  That same magic appeared in lovemaking that
I had found in ritual and music.  This too was a Goddess channel
and it was only a matter of time before I dedicated myself to Aphrodite,
Goddess of love, beauty, passion, and poetry.  Inevitably I have had to
face Her dark side as well; the pain and death and rebirth of love, the
transformations that wrench the soul, yet bring so much healing and
empowerment, the need to be fierce and to risk much for one's Muse. 
A few years ago I consecrated myself as a warrior to the Dark Goddess,
chose my magical weapon, and made my shield.  For me, Aphrodite and
the Dark Goddess (the Faery Queen) are two aspects of the
same Archetypal Being.  (You can see my shield on the altar at
APHRODITE'S SHRINE.)

The Goddess sent me many lessons about gender, about feminism,
about patriarchy, about circle energy and sisterhood, about herstory
and history, mythology and thealagie.  Yet through all my development
as bard, author, thealagian, priestess, and activist I have always sought
to maintain those early muse-ical ecstasies in my circles; to find the
language and thealagie that would get their importance across our
gaps of estrangement and unknowing.  Years later I was to publish my
book Ariadne's Thread (1991), now considered a classic in the movement,
and still going strong.

I am a pioneer on many fronts and so have not always been warmly
received in all Goddess venues.  Having been raised in poverty with
a Marxist influence, I bring a vision of classlessness to my spirituality
and teachings.  My theatrical and ecstatic beginnings take me beyond
standardized ritual.  My openness to a kind of tribal intimacy brings
a special way of connecting deeply in circles of every size.  My music
permeates everything I do, which makes my offerings unique.  My
non-linear thealagie and politics compel me to introduce new ways of
understanding archetypes, gender, and circle work.  My lesbianism and
devotion to women is sometimes challenging to male-centered or
male-identified groups.  I am not a separatist, but some groups assume
that "I hate men," and withdraw.  (See more on my position on this
in the THEALAGIE cave.)  That I ask for monetary support for my work
has been controversial too.  (See HABONDIA'S GROVE)  My self-taught,
non-academic approach is sometimes unacceptable in groups that
emphasize a more conventional scholarly style.  My identity as a witch
has lost me many supporters in those parts of society where the "w" word
still rankles.

Feminists don't always support me because some think a spiritual,
inward emphasis is ungrounded or impractical; that it fails to address
the realities of poverty, pollution, rape, and other grim works of the
patriarch.  My message to them is:

The archetypes rule our fate.  What manifests begins in the dreamtime,
and in our concepts of reality.  Yes, of course, the outrages must be
addressed and dealt with in the "real" world.  But sisters, beloveds,
please consider this-  we will only make lasting change when we
change the thoughtforms and inner grids that bring our reality into
being.  Many have seen the truth of our situation on this planet, many
have analyzed it well and struggled valiantly to Name it aloud and undo
it in direct action.  But few have presented alternative inner systems to
address our reality at its source.  This is a major aspect of my work, and
the work of others who deserve your attention and support.  Remember
the teachings of Native American and Bardic wisdom: there is much
power in magical song.

My priestess sisters don't always welcome me because some perceive
me as a threat to their toehold of success.  The capitalist competitive
system we all must somehow survive forces us apart and onto pedestals. 
My message to them is:

There will always be a scarcity of recognition and support until we
step off the staircases and pedestals of patriarchy.  In the circle of
priestesses there is room and time for each to be recognized, to share
her light and give of her gifts to the community.  In the circle everyone
has her turn and the talking rattle is available to all.  There is no
competition if we give this support to one another, appreciate one
another's gifts, exclude none.  (Including ourselves.)  We are the
vanguard of the movement, and the models for those who come after. 
Leave one priestess out and you are playing His game, perpetuating
His system.  There will be no dismantling of patriarchy without
solidarity among sisters, especially among sister-priestesses who are
accessing deep powers and are role models in our community.

Many times I have received the message that I am "different" and don't
"fit in."  It breaks my heart for my only wish is to mend the broken circle
and be one with our lost Goddess tribe.  Standards of convention:
imperatives to be rich, fast, thin, perfectly coifed and clipped (including
our gardens!) and stay "in our place," are merely the tools of oppression. 
I know the Goddess brought me in as a wild woman for a purpose.  My
life is a struggle, but She gets me through, and I have seen my influence
take hold despite the resistance.  And still those limerant states embrace
me when the Muse is aroused and the song is full.

Now at age 66 I live in a small coastal town, in a garage and
backroom I have made womblike and sacred, with draperies, altars,
and cushions.  Most of it I reserve as a temple for circles of women,
circles of women and men, (and sometimes children if they're into it),
as well as my own solitary practises.  I offer ceremony, tarot readings,
consultations and music in this magic space... as well as schmoozing
with friends and loved ones.  I also offer tarot readings by phone and online. 
(See the TAROT cave.)  I teach a correspondence course based on
the Thread, and have a few cyber students one-on-one, as well as my
online classes in the Moonspell Study Circle.  When I can
raise the funds and gather the energy, I offer public rituals, workshops,
or concerts; some for women, some for mixed groups of "every gentle
gender."  I'm still building this website too, as you can probably tell...
:0)  Occasionally I am invited to travel and do presentations around the
planet.  (Watch the CURRENT EVENTS cave for more information
on live appearances.)  I'm writing several books, and completion/release
of my tarot book and deck is my current goal.

My two children, Angel (now forty-something) and Frey (now also
forty-something) have grown and flown, and have children of their own. 
My grandsons Max and Janiko live in Europe, so I don't get to see them much. 
My grand daughter Jesse is in the Southwestern U.S., so I do get to see her occasionally. 

Here is a picture of my fabulous gorgeous daughter Angel
with Jesse-the-adorable.

Angel is a gifted writer and a brain.  :0) 
She is currently working at a community
college and raising the beautiful Jesse. 

Angel graduated from Arizona State U.
Summa Cum Laude! 

 

 

Here is Angel's Graduation Picture.  :0) 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Frey, my incredible dancing son. 
Frey lives in Belgium where he teaches dance
at his own school, Turning Point.  He has developed a dance methodology called Axis Syllabus.  Students come to study with
him from all around Mother Earth.  Frey
tours as well, teaching and performing in
many countries.

 photos of Frey by Lois Greenfield

Frey has a professional website at:

http://www.artychaud.com/

Come visit and find out all about his
work, philosophy of dance, performance
and teaching schedules.

Watch the CURRENT EVENTS cave for
announcements about events with Frey
and Shekhinah.
 

 

BACK TO TOP     HOME CAVE     CURRENT EVENTS     TAROT

MAGICAL OFFERINGS   MOONCAVE CHAT   HABONDIA'S GROVE

THEALAGIE   WITCHY COMMENTARY   APHRODITE'S SHRINE

SOULSONGS   MAGICALINKS