Photo Credit: Mara ~earth light~
This is the second post in our Women’s Medicine series. This post is a collection of excerpts from Kay’s book, Sacred Link, in which she describes her first “moon lodge” meeting with Chea and the beginning of this time together.
Chea talks about women’s medicine, women’s power, women being at the center and what it means for a woman to become ready to take that place again!
Please read slowly. This is not light entertainment reading. Chea shares some deep core principles about Ka Ta See and her people’s way of life.
If you don’t have time right now to read carefully, make a note and come back later when you do.
Follow this link to Part 1 of Women’s Medicine, in case you haven’t seen that yet.
…I rarely had the opportunity to spend time with Chea alone. Although I had no idea of what to expect I was really looking forward to it. She explained that it was time she taught me about women’s knowledge; my culture had lost a tremendous amount of our understanding of not just sensual experience but of what that means in terms of femaleness and maleness. She was going to teach me the vision quest ways of a Bleeding or Moon Ceremony.
The day was warm and the moisture from the damp soil of the forest floor made the air thick and sweet. Chea asked to meet me at this location because she said the waters of our planet are the blood of the Mother Earth and in that way are similar to the blood within our own bodies. For a woman it can be a special benefit to her at her bleeding time.
As I walked down the middle of the little river I could see Chea sitting on the boulder near the fallen tree. She was quietly looking at the falls and dangling her feet into the water.
“Hi Chea.” I said as I got close enough to be heard. “This is sure a beautiful day.”
“Come.” She smiled and motioned for me to sit on the rock next to hers. “Here. Sit so you can see the white water as it tumbles down.”…
… Chea looked around breathing deeply, taking in the banquet of smells the forest had to offer and went on to say, “In these days while we are here I’m going to tell you the knowledge my Grandmothers told to me and their Grandmothers told to them all the way back to the time of the land before. These are the things we learn in our Bleeding Ceremonies.
“To begin our time at this place we need to ask the folks who live here, our relatives here, for permission to share their home with us for our ceremony. We offer of our hearts and ask for their help.”
Chea and I stood up on the bank. She pointed and said, “We walk all the way around the area this way, clockwise, and talk to everybody.” She tapped her chest. “We talk to them this way.”
When we finished the circling we sat back down on the big rocks at the edge of the waterfall. She studied my face the way she often does. “You’ve applied all your senses now but they only work as fully as your awareness and acceptance is of your whole self. You must understand what it means to be a woman. You must perceive through your awareness of your body as female.”…
…”Women,” she said, “are the center. That is what it is to be a woman.”…
…”We are the center of the family,” she added. “And the center of the tribe, the nation, even our species. Everything moves around us. It is the women who naturally set the rhythm, the mood, the pace. We are the fire that is at the center of the hut, the smoke that rises up like a pillar to the Creator and the spirit nations. For the generations of the Humans we are the source – the key to the future, the survival of our kind. We carry the future inside us and we mold the makers of the world of tomorrow.”
I looked up at her. “How does that make us the center? Why do you say ‘center’?”
“I say it because everything comes from a womb.” She looked back at me as though I should understand her reference, but I didn’t. “We start there and we return there. You knock the woman out of her place at the center and your world begins to spiral backwards into destroying itself.”
I stuttered as I shook my head nervously. “I don’t think I understand what you mean when you say ‘center’….
… “To be the center means we are the first and biggest influence on the tiny newcomers from the time they are conceived. It is us who make the crucial shape of the generation being born and we keep affecting for seven generations to come. We are the biggest influence on our mates. That makes us the biggest influence within our group. You have to come to know that, to know the weight of that.
“I’ll tell you about the way it is back home. A girl in our tribe, when she begins her first bleeding, the old Grammas give her a bleeding hut to carry out her first Moon Ceremony in. She takes only water and fruit and stays there for her whole blood time, praying. Praying night and day. She seeks her vision of who she is and what it is for her to now be a bringer of the next generation, a starter of a brand new life that wasn’t there before. Her Grandmother instructs her to think on being the maker of life who protects life and protects the making of new life. She seeks to understand how it is she can live best to help herself and her people be healthy and happy. She is to begin to find her power as a woman. Her spirit helpers come and teach her. She talks to her Mother Earth. She learns that to be a woman is a great responsibility.”
…”And this girl is taught this from a very young age?”
“And they teach her about power?”
“How is that?” The Hetakas’ whole use of the word ‘power’ always confused me. It was something I had never grasped completely. “You’ve told me before that women are more powerful than men. What does that mean? Is that part of this difference and responsibility thing? What is it they teach her?”
Chea seemed to understand my difficulty and thought hard for the right words to use. “It has to do with ability to collect attention and to alter inner atmosphere. And about ability to connect with other beings. Because women bear and nurture the new life they have a greater need to do this. It is a matter of survival.
“In my tribe, as a girl grows into a woman, her Grammas will encourage her to take her right to be in her ceremony and pray alone at her bleeding times. They will help her to quest and discover her own center, her place as center, her place among the nations of the planet, her place among the star people. They will guide her to learn about her awareness and to see that during her blood time she can collect her attention even better. The dream that hides some things and beings from our notice most of the time is no longer a burden, and she can reach in. Her prayers have no blocks. What she prays for has great influence. And she learns that her thoughts and emotions can cause even more effect than at other times.
“Her task, Kay, is to take responsibility for this.”
My immediate reaction was to judge this a grossly unreasonable weight to ask anyone to take on. The words jolted out of my mouth before I could think. “Good grief! That job’s just too damn big for anyone! I sure wouldn’t want it.”
“It’s yours anyway.” She said with the power of great assurance. “When a woman doesn’t stand up and honor herself and the center place where she belongs, then balance is lost. Just look around you. This struggle to get your power back isn’t about getting fair wages or equal jobs. It’s about learning how to pull yourself back to the center place. How to take responsibility for your woman power, your birthing power, your influence, and to see that when actions are taken they are to the benefit of the generations.
“It’s about acting and living in such a way as to earn the honor and privileges of the center place not force them to be given to you no matter what. A woman who doesn’t have her head screwed on right trying to take the center place is only a little better than a man trying to force himself into the center place.”
That seemed like an odd thing for her to say. I found myself feeling irritated by it as though the rules for being “correct” were beginning to appear impossible to live up to. I turned to catch her eyes. “What do you mean? What kind of woman?”
“A woman who has been taught to override her natural way of being and think like a man of your white culture. To think with the same walking-dead masks that he is preoccupied with serving and imprisoning himself in.”…
… I hesitated. I didn’t want to know about those things. It was too disturbing. “Yeah. I see what you mean. Well, then, you’re going to have to describe a woman who is able to take the center place.”
“She is all that I have been talking about,” she answered. “I’ve told you before, my people say women are sacred. It is not just your men who need to live with this as their guide. The women need to discover this for themselves, to know and honor this sacredness within their own hearts. It is part of their Song, their identity as a unique individual and as a whole group.”
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Song to Song,
Other posts in this series on Women’s Medicine