You meet her in fairy tales as the witch, and as the Baba Yaga. You find her in stories as the crone, a bit frightening but one who teaches lessons that would not be learned in her absence. She is a trickster and she presents tough challenges for those on a journey of initiation. She is the one who sets the test for the quester. She is usually cunning, a bit wild and she certainly does not care what anyone thinks of her. As the Wise Woman, she has outlived any worries about people pleasing and has grown into her full power and wit.
In these times of shift, the power of the Wise Woman is returning to the minds and awareness of our people. After thousands of years of Patriarchy during which as many as 9,000,000 women were murdered as ‘witches,’ the archetype of the Wise Woman-Healer-Witch is returning. She is just beginning to feel a little bit safe again.
So many of us were burned, raped, chopped open and cut down during the Burning Times and we have not felt safe coming out of the ‘broom closet,’ because of the fear of a repetition of that time. Even today Wise Women are often discredited because of an old and pervasive attitude that women’s ways of knowing are not valid…and yet we know things, things that are inexplicable and wondrous and frightening to those who don’t understand. All we really need do is surrender to our inner voice, our inner knowing, our intuition, and to deeply listen to what we hear and to heed it.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ignored my inner Wise Woman and chosen, instead, to listen to my bossy old Inner Patriarch. He is always wrong when he goes against her advice.
So, who is this Wise Woman and do we all have access to her? Yes, we do. Men, too, have this way of knowing, though they are perhaps even more disconnected from it than women are. For now though, I will address the Wise Woman as she appears as a real woman in today’s world.
The Wise Woman is deeply rooted, connected to the land. She may be from the place where she lives or from the other side of the world but she knows the land, the creatures who inhabit it, both animals and the spirits of the unseen realms, and she communicates with them.
A Wise Woman nourishes those around her. She feeds their bodies nourishing broths and soups. She feeds their hearts with acceptance and the occasional tart word! She is an herbalist and she is a yogini and she is a tantrika and she is a mother to many, not all of whom she birthed. The Wise Woman is the woman who listens, deeply and clearly to those who come to her for help.
A Wise Woman may do ritual under the starry skies on the days of festivals and cross quarters. She may be the treasurer for the churchyard sale. She may wear the coverings of a Muslim woman, but rest assured, underneath whatever she wears on the outside of her body, beneath that she is powerful and deeply surrendered to her way of inner knowing.
As the pendulum swings back toward center, to a place where male and female energies are equal and united, the Wise Woman is finding herself needed and wanted once again. These are the times for all of us, young and old, to find our inner Wisdom and to heed it so that we, too, may grow into the women who will heal the Earth.
Be Essert is a facilitator for the Shamanic Priestess of the Sacred Shield and Shield Maidens. Both processes are focused on helping women or girls honor their sacredness through a series of initiations. She is also a Space and Personal Clearing Practitioner; a Reiki Master; a Cranial-Sacral therapist; an herbalist; and a Holistic, Professional Organizer. Be lives in Chesapeake, VA with her family, 3 horses, 2 dogs, a goat and a menagerie of other animals.
You can find her website here: http://fouroakssanctuary.net