Embodying Women's Power — 7 Ways to Reconnect with Your Sacred Body
The power of women has been a source of mystery, awe, fear and wonder through the ages.
Even as a woman yourself, you may wonder what is women’s power? And what would it look like for me to embody my own power more and more?
In the Wise Woman Tradition, we embrace embodiment. We see the sacred and the physical as inherently interwoven, rather than separate.
And we’re not talking about power over. We’re talking about power within. Power in your world.
The power of women is rooted in the sacred connection of women to nature. Women as nature.
In this article, I'll discuss 7 simple yet profound ways of embodying your power through reconnecting with your own body. Thus, you reclaim your birthright of embodiment.
Table of contents
- Woman of power —honoring the sacred in your body
- 7 Ways to reconnect with your sacred body
- Embodying women’s power
Woman of power—honoring the sacred in your body
In modern society, the separation of mind, body and spirit is deeply ingrained.
You’re encouraged to transcend your body to become more spiritual; to connect with a “higher self” that is said to be superior to your physical existence.
In the Wise Woman Tradition, we embrace the sacred in our bodies.
We acknowledge that women’s power and wisdom is accessed through our bodies.
Both as our intuition (“inner knowing”) and as our transformative physical experiences, from menstruation to menopause and beyond.
As you move beyond the illusion of separation and duality, you re-integrate yourself, becoming more fully present with the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of your being.
You begin to feel whole again. And to reconnect with the innate, embodied power of women.
1. The power of embracing embodiment
Women of various religious traditions today are returning to the recognition that for spiritual language to truly apply to women, there needs to be focus on the embodiment of your spiritual experience.
That's a shift from the prevailing paradigm—today’s society insists on duality.
There’s an either/or paradigm in mainstream culture, and even in much of the “alternative” sensibility and spirituality.
So often, it’s all about the “light,” and a predisposition to shutting out what is mysterious and “dark.” That darkness 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 you that you need to overcome your connection to your body and to the physical plane in order to achieve a high level of spiritual “purity.”
It calls you to answer to a “higher authority” that dictates strict codes of behavior, telling you that you are, essentially, dirty and flawed; in need of being saved.
That striving negates so many essential parts of your experience as human beings and as a woman.
When you’re able to embrace all aspects of yourself and draw from the wisdom of your experience, you tap into a depth of knowledge. And knowledge is power.
When you move from a perspective of either light or dark, to a configuration of both light and dark, you move away from striving to transcend your body—toward a perspective where the divine is something within your own body. Towards truly wholistic healing.
You don’t need to look outside yourself for wisdom or power.
You embody your own power—and the worldwide power of women.
2. Love your body—the power of images of real women's bodies
From a young age, you likely absorbed the unrealistic, media-driven messages that disconnect us from the innate beauty of our bodies.
The messages that say, to be beautiful, a woman must be stick-figure-thin, with a flat belly.
You know what I’m talking about.
Like most girls and women today, chances are you’ve experienced an adversarial relationship with your own body and your appearance.
Modern society cultivates a sense of inadequacy in women, barraging you with images of emaciated, photoshopped models and subliminal advertising messages: “You are not enough as you are.” “You would be happier and more loved if you buy the products that will change you.”
Talk about disempowering!
The cost to your self-worth and to your relationship with your body—let alone your needs for nourishment—is immeasurable.
So, how do you support your internal lens shifting towards actually loving your body?
Here’s what we’re gonna do, lovely . . .
Surround yourself with images of real women. Images of female-affirming beauty. Images that counter the messages of society. Images that reflect your individual beauty.
In your home, your workspace, your car, bring in images that nourish you and feed your sense of self worth.
Display artwork that depicts real women; goddess images of female forms; photos of friends, loved ones and of yourself.
Thus, you support your mind and heart internalizing positive, loving appreciation for your body, yourself, and womankind.
Turning loving attention to yourself, with an awareness of what is being done to you by the media, reduces the power of that cultural brainwashing.
Although it’s an uphill battle, heeding misogynist messages is a choice that you can reject—knowing that you are, in fact, perfectly enough, just as you are.
As you gradually love your body more and more, you embrace yourself as a woman of power.
3. The power of women embracing nourishment
The concept of nourishment is central to the Wise Woman Tradition.
Nourishment that comes through a wide range of whole foods to support optimum health.
As a woman, the concept of “nourishment” may bring up societally-programmed fear.
Namely, the fear of gaining weight, which is ingrained from an early age—and often comes back up loud and strong if your body is changing through your midlife transition.
All those media messages and cultural norms about body shape and size can lead to self-denial.
One popular form of self-denial is through cleansing or fasting. Let’s pause for a moment to consider what cleansing is about. The idea that your body needs to be cleansed is to say that your body is dirty, unholy, or somehow bad.
Cleansing and fasting involves withholding food, and with it, life-giving nutrients from your body.
While self denial may begin in relation to food, more often than not, it translates to other parts of your life too, such as self expression and other aspects of your power.
Turning the focus toward nourishment puts your attention on giving your body the nutrients to strengthen yourself, to prevent illness, and to address illness. Nutrients sourced from a wide range of whole foods and natural herbs—as your foremothers did.
Nourishment supports strength. Strength in body. Strength in mind. Strength in spirit.
When your body is given what it needs, you’re no longer starving. Food cravings diminish. Your body can regulate to your ideal body weight. You may not look like a teenage stick-figure, but your body will achieve the balance it needs to keep you well.
Still worried? Check out some of my favorite resources regarding food—the books Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig and the Weston Price Foundation. They’re focused on nutrient-dense food and strong, healthy bodies.
If your body is nourished, you’re more able to work hard and play hard. You’re more able to embody your own power.
I dare say that nourishment is one of the keys to overturning the deep-seated misogyny of a culture that leaves women feeling that they need to deny themselves.
Let's create culture where women’s creative energy can be freed up to care for themselves and contribute your unique and powerful skills and gifts to the world.
4. The power of rest
Loving your body and honoring your body’s needs means tuning into the sensations of your body. Surprisingly, this is generally discouraged.
As you pay attention to your body’s signals, you may notice, like many women, a feeling of fatigue and low energy.
Rather than ignoring or covering that feeling with stimulants such as coffee, caffeine and constant stimulation, the wise women approach is to focus on giving your body the rest that you need so that long-term health and healing can truly emerge.
Over time, using caffeine and other stimulants actually decreases your baseline energy levels and contributes to adrenal exhaustion, which is endemic in women today.
Women typically need more sleep than men, yet most women receive far less than we need, due to the multiple demands on our time and energy.
Hormonal changes—at all ages and stages—can also contribute to fatigue for many women.
Do you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night? It can make all the difference. As my family often hears me say, “Sleep is my source of happiness!”
During sleep, you release human growth hormone, which contributes to your body’s ability to nourish and strengthen itself. They say 90% of your healing happens in your sleep!
Naps are also now known to have a huge array of benefits, from improving memory and elevating mood, to reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.
Lying down for even 15 minutes with a cloth over your eyes allows your body to reach a state of relaxation and your brainwaves to shift into beta mode. Even if you don’t fall asleep, this rest allows you to move back into your day replenished, refreshed, and restored.
As you heed your body’s calls for rest, you’ll naturally gather energy for stepping into your power more and more.
5. In your menstruating years – the power of a moon day
If you regularly stuff your “negative” emotions—not allowing yourself to feel the full range of your expression—they are often stored in your body in a raw, unprocessed state.
As a woman, you are blessed to have a hormonal system that supports the release of these pent-up emotions on a monthly basis through your menstruating years.
That’s women’s power embodied, sister!
Today, however, menstruation is often thought of as “the curse,” since it brings with it certain discomforts.
In the Wise Woman Tradition, the pain many women experience with the moontime can be seen as a way that your body is calling you back to the moon lodge.
In many ancient cultures around the world, there existed traditions of women gathering in moon lodges or “red tents” during their bleeding times.
Through embracing your body, you can connect to women’s powers of intuition and vision.
Before the prevalence of electric light, when the pineal gland was more affected by the light and dark of the moon than it is today, women often bled simultaneously at the dark of the moon.
Today, women’s cycles fall in all different parts of the month, and may or may not line up with close sisters—and women may not have red tents to take refuge in.
Even without these supports, however, you have the opportunity to create your own red tent experience by taking a moon day: a day alone, tending only yourself.
Your body may be crying out for this tending through the pain or intense emotions you experience during your bleeding cycles.
Like many women, I used to have such severe menstrual pain that I was forced to retreat into bed, with the curtains drawn.
What I found is that when you make space for yourself in the candlelit bath or in a dark bedroom, you are giving your body what she is calling for without her needing to create so much distress in order to receive it.
So, what do you do on a moon day?
You nourish yourself, such as:
- take a bath
- cook for yourself
- rest in bed
- lay outdoors
- walk in the woods
By proactively taking that time to nourish, rest and restore yourself, you may find that, over the course of a year, the menstrual pain and distress are greatly diminished.
You even may notice your lens begin to shift towards seeing your menses as a source of your own embodied experience of the power of women.
6. In your menopausal years – the power of a crone's year away
Menopause offers a similar—and usually more intense—opportunity for accessing a lifetime of grief or emotional pain.
From menopausal mood swings to depression or anxiety, it can be overwhelming.
Hence, menopause is an extremely important time for self-nurturing both physically and emotionally.
Not just for a day, but for a year.
In a culture that glorifies youth and devalues the wisdom years, there’s a lot of reclaiming to do. In ancient times, the term “crone” was one of reverence for elder wise women.
If you’re no longer menstruating, you may consider Susun Weed’s recommendation in Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way, to take a “crone’s year away.”
This is a time to focus intensively on nourishing yourself and taking care of yourself after decades of focus and attention on others.
The crone’s year away can be in the peak menopausal years—when hot flashes, physical irregularities, and mood swings storm through—or it can be later.
Engaging in a cultural or spiritual pilgrimage or finally stepping back from your career to explore passions you may have set aside can help you to re-align with your internal energy and prepare you for the next phase of your life.
As you take time for restoration, you may find yourself drawn to connect with herbs that nourish, tonify, and support you in healing naturally the wise woman way.
May you emerge from your cocooning metamorphosis refreshed and reconnected with your body. May you emerge as an older woman—who is growing into her own power, more and more.
As a woman of power.
7. Reclaiming the power of your body wisdom
The healthcare industry tends to take a “heroic” approach to wellness and healing, with the doctor as the central authority figure who will rescue you from disease.
That paradigm values the perspective of an outside expert over your own intuition and bodily wisdom.
It’s important to recognize that although there are valuable diagnostic and treatment tools in Western medicine’s body of knowledge, it is simply one resource of information and diagnosis.
Among many other resources, include Eastern medicine, energy healing and somatic work that address emotional-physical connections.
The most important knowledge of all is your immediate and intuitive understanding of your own body—after all, you live within and have the most intimate experience of your own body.
Learning to listen to your body, acknowledge the signals it gives to you and articulate them clearly are among the most valuable tools available in terms of your health and healing.
Educating yourself and trusting your own understanding of your body allows you to engage your health care providers in a more empowered, cooperative, and synergistic manner.
Remember, when it comes to addressing your health concerns, there are multiple perspectives and possibilities. All healers are working from the point-of-view of their particular body of knowledge, so their guidance is always filtered through a particular lens.
It’s up to you to decide which advice is in accord with your own experience of your body.
If your health care provider’s recommendations resonate for you and you consciously choose to act on them, move forward. If not, don’t feel obligated and certainly don’t allow the healthcare system to dictate to you.
Through remaining in your own power and developing a partnership with your health care providers—one in which they are resources and allies—the best outcomes are often possible.
Embodying women’s power
Today messages prevail—in the media, in religion, in our own minds—urging you towards self denial and separation.
Messages that disconnect you from your own body as a source of power.
The Wise Woman Tradition offers a fresh perspective—embodiment.
To be a woman of power is to be grounded in and reconnected with your sacred body.
Your body is a source of wisdom and strength, a place of dreams and intuition, and a place of vision.
As you reconnect with your body, you reconnect with your inherent source of wisdom.
So love your body, nourish your body, listen to your body. There you’ll find strength of body, mind and spirit.
As you do so, you embody women’s power.
So may it be, the world round.
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