Shamanism and beyond
by Charmie Gholson
When I call for information, Anita, one of the founders of SpiritSisters Women's Circle, tells me why they started this monthly group that discusses spirituality, relationships, empowerment, metaphysics, and healing: "We just felt like it was a good idea and wanted to see where it went. It's nice because we can talk about things you might not ordinarily be able to talk about." She adds, "Some of the women are into shamanism, some into more metaphysical. Some are more pagan." Metaphysical, she explains, is a broad area that can cover psychic stuff or divination or channeling or crystals.
At the meeting, ten women sit around a six-sided table in the basement of a church. Actually, it's a church-synagogue, which is an interesting concept in itself. Many of the women have candles burning before them. In the center of the table is a lovely candleholder. Three women with long braided hair sit facing the flame. They remind me of me and my two sisters.
The women introduce themselves and catch up on what they've been doing. One recalls some advice she recently gave her daughter, "Smart women are impressive, but cookies conquer all." The next woman says she started on a Native American path thirty years ago, tried out everything else, and is now back to Native American with a Christ base. "Mainly, it's all about Girl Power," she laughs.
Another woman left Jehovah's Witnesses and is on a quest for something spiritual. The next is looking for spiritual diversity. When she says this group isn't like the others, the older woman next to me raises her fist in the air and yells, "YEAH!" This startles me, not because she looks like my grandmother, but because she's so darn powerful. Sweet, I think. She should do that in mixed company.
Most of the women are about fifty years old and very empowered, if I may use that term. A regal woman with her hair in a
bun asks if we know the new term being used for an older woman who has a relationship with a younger man. "A cougar," she smiles, knowingly.
After introductions, we call the four compass directions, Peruvian style, and then have quiet meditation. I especially like the faint sounds of a choir upstairs that sprinkle around us. We take turns pulling cards with uplifting messages: "Undergo your path with compassion and total trust," "Nourish those around you and be nourished," "The gift of patience is patience."
Someone passes a sheet that enumerates spirit guides in categories joy guides, protectors, doctors/teachers, and so on and a conversation ensues about whether or not we really need their help anymore. "We're suppose to be trusting our own abilities," says one, "and spending our time with positive thoughts, cocreating."
Is that what I've been doing? You know, I prayed for a house, and it came. Really. Then I prayed for a great job, and it came. Hmmmm . . . I probably should start praying for a Jacuzzi.
SpiritSisters get together again at St. Clare's Episcopal Church / Temple Beth Emeth on Tuesday, April 17.
[Review published April 2007]