Welcome to the Wise Woman Tradition . . . let's walk together
Welcome to the Wise Woman Tradition. Come, let's walk along the path together . . .
There’s an awful lot of static in our world today. We’re constantly inundated by outside voices—including the media and the internet—all telling us who we should be, what we should eat, what we should wear and how we should look. These voices are loud and strident, and often contradictory, yet they generally suggest that we are essentially lacking and need to be fixed. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, dissatisfied and confused under these circumstances.
As women, multiple demands of daily life can make it especially challenging for us to find our center. We’re juggling all the pieces of our lives, wishing we had more energy, experiencing puzzling health concerns—our own and those of our families—and wanting to feel more grounded. We’re presented with ideals of female beauty that are unrealistic (and frankly, unhealthy). We often feel that our needs for solitude, rest and restoration aren’t being met. But our schedules, our responsibilities and those voices create a disconnect between who we are and what we’re doing.
And there’s that endless stream of information, coming at us in bytes and sound bites. But information isn’t necessarily wisdom.
OK. Stop for a moment. Breathe.
There are other voices beneath the ruckus. I’d venture to guess that as a woman curious about the Wise Woman Tradition, you’ve already been hearing them whisper to you.
You have an awareness of the interconnected-ness of your physical, emotional and spiritual health. You’ve probably embraced some important lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy eating habits and using environmentally responsible products. You may use herbal allies—tinctures, teas and supplements—to support your wellbeing.
Good. It’s time to go deeper. It’s time to remember.
Embracing the darkness and the light
Our society insists on duality. There’s an either/or paradigm in mainstream culture, and even in much of the “alternative” sensibility and New Age spirituality.
It’s all about the “light,” and a predisposition to shutting out what is mysterious and “dark.” That tends to include the Earth—which remains untamed despite all efforts to master her—and woman, whose body and its great mysteries are intricately intertwined with Earth’s body.
The prevailing paradigm tells us that we need to overcome our connection to our bodies and to the physical plane in order to achieve a high level of spiritual “purity.” It calls us to answer to a “higher authority” that dictates strict codes of behavior, telling us that we are, essentially, dirty and flawed; in need of being saved. It negates so many essential parts of our experience as human beings and as women.
When we move from a perspective of either light or dark, to a configuration of both light and dark, we move away from this striving to transcend our bodies--away from a perspective where the divine is something outside of us.
In the Wise Woman Tradition, we understand our bodies as sacred and we trust her as a source of inner guidance. Often, we are so steeped in the cult of duality that the Wise Woman Tradition concept of wholeness is difficult to understand or accept.
Still, there’s a deep resonance that many women experience—a cellular memory of a way of life and a belief system that embraces a spiral that includes both light and dark, just as the natural cycles of our world constantly move through day and night, from dark moon to full moon, from winter to summer, from youth to old age and death.
As Wise Woman Tradition expert Susun Weed reminds us, our planet is always half in darkness! Constant light is an unnatural state for the Earth and for all beings.
Women of various religious traditions today are coming back to the realization that in order for spiritual language to truly apply to women, there needs to be focus on the embodiment of our spiritual experiences, in both our own physical bodies and in the earth’s physical form of plant and tree, rock and water—the sacred that is around us and within us.
The Wise Woman Tradition embraces the Earth, local plants, deep nourishment and self-love.
Our relationship with our bodies shifts when we look through this Wise Woman lens. We go from perceiving ourselves as unclean and in need of purification, to recognizing the intrinsic perfection, interconnectedness, and wholeness of our body and our spirit.
We honor our natural cycles—our ebbs and flows. As we turn our attention away from fixing or rejecting our physical selves and toward nourishing ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually, our bodies respond by moving towards optimal health.
As women, we recognize this way of life as familiar; the Wise Woman path is a process of remembering much of what we already know. We may recall it as “folk wisdom.” We may have heard our elders speak of rituals and remedies that were passed on to them from their foremothers.
Walk along the Wise Woman path….
The mind/body/spirit connection that has become a catch phrase in the media has always been at the heart of women’s wisdom.
Wellness and healing are proactive—an ongoing and integrated part of our lives. This means trusting our inner knowing; tending our needs for rest and comfort; nurturing our bodies with the wholesome, natural—even wild—foods that will support our systems; and responding to health concerns with the abundant gifts of the plants and herbs that present themselves to us right where we live . . . no matter where we live.
We are in an alliance with the Earth and with the plants that share our home. You don’t have to be an “expert” in plant medicine or move off-grid to a permaculture farm to receive the benefits of this relationship. You can be in the midst of a busy city and still be rooted in the Earth.
Walk along the path with me . . . this blog includes some easy and very effective ways for you to cultivate the Wise Woman Tradition in your everyday life. Some may already be familiar. Many are simple exercises; others require a bit of commitment, but will reap wonderful rewards. Often, it’s simply a matter of shifting your lens so that you can see things in a different way.
Come closer and listen . . .
Walk proud, beautiful woman
As you continue along the Wise Woman path, you may notice changes in the way you approach each day.
The deep connection with the plants, the Earth, your sisters and your own body, colors your approach to even simple and ordinary tasks. You may notice feeling safer, more grounded in your own body, your own life, your own sense of source. You may find that you move more easily and open your heart more readily—feeling connected will do that!
Trusting your inner knowing and honoring your physical, emotional and spiritual self brings with it a sense of joy, courage and curiosity . . . you’ll want more! It’s there for you. Explore the miraculous bounty of our glorious Earth. Nurture your creativity. Sing, dance and share with your sisters. Tend to your body with deep nourishment and embrace yourself with unconditional love. It’s your birthright.
Walk proud, beautiful woman. You are not alone. You walk in the footsteps of the grandmothers—of all the Wise Women who have come before. Listen to their voices when they speak to you, no matter how softly. Listen. Learn. Love. Shine.
Corinna Wood, teacher of the Wise Woman Tradition for 30 years–from herbs to self love
"I became an herbalist in the Wise Woman Tradition at the tender age of 22, initiated by Susun Weed and a beloved patch of nettles. Today, I support women with earth-based, woman-centered tools to ground you in your own innate wisdom, needs and desires. My teachings 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."