Connecting with your sisters in the Wise Woman Tradition
Societal norms shift very, very slowly. In the last century we’ve seen tremendous progress in bringing women’s issues out of the shadows. With strength, perseverance and non-violent resistance to nearly universal oppression, women are reclaiming our rightful place as co-creators of a new paradigm of equality. And we still have a long way to go in a world where violence against women continues to be both endemic and internalized.
Much of what sustains us through our journey is the profound, primal connection of women throughout the world in our roles as daughters, sisters, and mothers—the unwavering nurturers and protectors of Life. It’s part of our biology; it is our essence. It is the thread that joins us with every other woman on the planet.
Cultivating a deep, supportive relationship with our sisters of all ages—and throughout the ages—is key to the Wise Woman Tradition. We share our stories and our skills, teaching each other, learning from each other and contributing our gifts to the greater whole. By embracing and honoring other women, we come to more fully love and value ourselves.
Imagine a woman who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.
~Patricia Lynn Reilly, Imagine a Woman In Love with Herself
Gather with women
Coming together with other women in groups large and small is nourishing to our spirit. We’ve done it since the dawn of time—working side by side in the fields, tending to the family—the young, the ill and the elderly. We create together: cooking, sewing and weaving. We share secrets, joys and sorrows. We laugh, cry, sing and dance in community.
Women tend to feel better when surrounded by other women. Part of the reason is that we have high levels of oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone” which, among other things, is pro-social. It stimulates relaxation, trust and altruism. Making our relationships with our sisters a priority in our lives galvanizes a sense of belonging, providing us with inspiration and strength.
Engaging in women’s rituals, whether they involve gathering in a sacred circle or simply sitting down for tea and conversation, allows us to dissolve the internal barriers of competition and separation. The Red Tent movement, which is gaining popularity all around the world, offers safe, blessed space for women of all ages and stages to embrace our commonality. It’s very powerful, indeed.
As Winston Churchill said, “history is written by the victors.” This helps to clarify both the antagonistic contests that create today’s hierarchies, and the philosophical sub-text of the patriarchal historical version of “how things came to be” in the modern world. In this version, women are, at best, supporting players in the development of civilization.
Not so. As feminist writers Casey Miller and Kate Swift point out, there’s a tendency to “disappear” women, neglecting or devaluing “women’s lives, deeds and participation in human affairs.”
Yet we all stand on the shoulders of visionary and courageous women who have made vital contributions in virtually every arena from the sciences and the arts to spirituality and social causes, often while bearing and raising children.
When we explore the stories of women who have gone before us and the women who are at the vanguard of social change today, we recognize the commonalities in our struggles, even as we celebrate our uniqueness. We can see ourselves as part of a wider context and, perhaps, find the inspiration to pursue our own passions in a way that helps to bring the human story forward.
“Womanist: committed to the survival and wholeness of an entire people . . . Womanist: loves music. Loves dance. Loves the moon. Loves the spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Loves struggle. Loves the Folk. Loves herself. Regardless.”
~Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens
Corinna Wood, seasoned teacher and mentor along the wise woman path–from herbs to self love
"I was initiated into the Wise Woman Tradition at the tender age of 22, by Susun Weed and a beloved patch of nettles. Today, I support women with inner growth and healing tools to ground you in your own innate wisdom, needs and desires. My teachings on heart and soul healing draw on earth wisdom of our foremothers––the shoulders on which we stand––to navigate the challenges we face as women in the world today."