I was four months pregnant with my second child, sitting alone in a sea of other women at a business conference, when She first came looking for me. My objectives were simple and clear: I was there to network and win new corporate clients for the human resources consulting company I owned. I accomplished neither.
Instead, I listened to a beautiful woman named Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey speak about a group of Polynesian explorers I’d never heard of before. She called them “wayfinders”, and described how they began training to become navigators as little children. With the guidance of thousands of years of teachings, mostly passed down orally, they could navigate between islands using only their intuition and their ability to interpret the wind, stars, birds, and the ocean itself.
“They found their way by listening and watching,” she said – “so much so that they could sail thousands of miles by simply observing the way the waves broke across the front of the boat.”
As I sat listening to her, something began happening to me. I could feel heat building from my feet all the way up to the top of my head. My breath quickened, and everything else receded into the background.
I felt the center of me crack open with a question that somewhere, deep within, I already knew the answer to: What if that kind of intuitive knowledge and ability lived somewhere in me, too?
“What if?” I seemed to hear the waves whisper as they broke across the front of the wayfinders’ boats. “What if all the knowledge we need comes from the depths of our hearts?”
For a moment, it was as if I was on the boats with them – watching the waves, feeling the breeze, calmly and steadily navigating my way home.
I left the conference that day with no new clients, but a deep commitment to learn more about these wayfinders. My search led me to study other indigenous wisdom teachings, eventually finding my way to South American shamanic traditions. But it wasn’t until my son was born a few months later that I realized who – not what – was seeking me.
The birth of my son was one of the most painful, yet transformative moments of my life. Once again, I found myself cracked wide open, stunned by the power of my own body and the realization that tremendous pain and joy and love could all coexist simultaneously and with such magnitude. But when I turned back to my wisdom teachings for help in contextualizing what I’d experienced, I found nothing.
That was when it hit me: the story of women’s spiritual experiences doesn’t exist.
We are adrift in a culture that is unquestionably male-centric, and nowhere is this clearer than among our spiritual traditions. Here in the West, God is unquestionably male. In most parts of the world, the deities are predominantly male as well. The esteemed teachers are male. Their disciples are male. And the vast majority of authors are writing from a male perspective.
When I fully realized the implications of this, I became really angry. Then I became skeptical. And then I became determined.
In a world of such beautiful symmetry and balance, I refused to accept that women were intended to be considered any less sacred than men.
This conviction electrified me, and gave me a sense of purpose I had never experienced before. I began digging for information about female-centric spiritual traditions. The more I learned, the more fascinated I became.
Goddess. Divine Feminine (DF for short). Unknown She. Whatever you call Her (I prefer DF), it turns out we have a pretty rich human history of honoring the feminine as sacred. We just have to go way, way back in history to find it, slogging our way through centuries of bias in the process.
When I found Her, I learned pretty quickly that She is not one-dimensional; rather, She is as multifaceted as we are. She is infinitely compassionate. She is fury personified. She is sexually free. She gives life, and She takes it away. She encompasses all – darkness and the light. And on and on.
When the DF showed up for me, She meant business. The more I learned about Her, the more I realized that many of my choices, particularly in my career, had been deeply influenced by a need to prove my value and intelligence as a woman.
Over the course of a year, I upended my life. I walked away from a successful business I’d spent more than seven years building. I dove deeper into my studies. I began working with an intuition teacher, and guided by research that emphasized the deep sacredness of the body, I became a certified yoga instructor.
None of this was easy. Similar to the birth of my son, the entire journey has been both painful and joyful. And completely worth it.
When we lose our ability to envision ourselves as sacred beings, something terrible and soul-crushing happens. It’s my belief that this lack of sacred representation of women is also a predominant reason our planet is in crisis. In whatever way I can, I’m hoping to address this inequity here.
Since I first began this journey, I have taken the notion of responsibility very seriously – a little too seriously, perhaps. My ego naively had me believe that She needed me to help bring Her back to the forefront. No – it’s the other way around. I needed Her to bring me fully into life.
I recently watched the Grammys. Everywhere I looked, She was there.
She was there in a perfectly imperfect Adele, who with genuine heartbreak but without shame stopped her tribute to George Michael because she was not singing in key. “It’s too important,” she said, defying the show-must-go-on mentality we’ve become so used to. “I have to get this right.” And she did, going on to sing a gorgeous rendition of his song Fast Love.
She took my breath away as Beyonce, radiant and pregnant, dripping in gold and the very embodiment of the Goddess herself, sang of heartache and redemption. “If we’re going to heal, let it be glorious.” Indeed.
And She was there when Adele, during her acceptance speech for the biggest award of the night, could not stop praising her idol Beyonce for her incredible (and incredibly DF) album Lemonade. And then Adele broke her award in half – to share with the woman who most inspired her. I started crying when I saw this.
Adele didn't stop there either, later asking the question so many of us were wondering (and not so subtly pointing to the possibility of racism in the decision-making process): "What the fuck does she [Beyonce] have to do to win Album of the Year?"
This is what the DF looks like in all her glory. She is courageous. She is persistent. She owns every inch of the stage she walks upon. She is radiant with life, full of fierce compassion and love. She isn't afraid to share the spotlight with others, and she certainly isn't afraid to speak out about injustice when she sees it. This is power with others, not power over others, and it's something most of us have never fully experienced before. I can't get enough of it.
So no, the DF doesn’t need me to do anything for Her. She is roaring Her way back into our lives in Her own time and in Her own way, and it is incredible to watch. I’m just along for the ride, bearing witness to the miracle here.