Women’s Spiritual Power
Hilary Hart’s inspiration for her new book coming out Spring, 2013, Body of Wisdom: Women’s Spiritual Power and How it Serves, came to her after hearing a talk by Sufi teacher, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. He stated women have a specific spiritual substance in their chakras that men don’t have. This has to do with women giving birth and their bodies being a vessel for a soul to come into physical form.
Llewellyn said this substance in women’s chakras has a function beyond the birth process. Hilary began to explore this concept, which she found mysterious and full of potential, to see if she could find more descriptions of women’s esoteric make up. She started looking for people and traditions that might identify and describe these gendered spiritual realities.
For Hilary it was like discovering a new world, living in a total new world, like finally seeing something that’s really been there forever but you’ve forgotten about it. Hilary wants women to become interested to see our own embodiment as an uncharted new mystery. “Gender matters,” she says, “because matter matters. The body, the earth, have a spiritual nature we have denied for so long. As we come to know the spiritual nature of earth, we must also consider the spiritual relevance of gender.”
There’s infinite power in our bodies and the shared body of the earth that we’ve yet to discover. This power has relevance in women’s roles in society and in our collective evolution.
What Hilary found so important was this idea that women are really spiritually unique and that uniqueness is grounded in how our energy and life force and divine energy moves through our bodies and energy systems.
Hilary acknowledges that the feminist movement strived for and helped women become equal to men, but points out that there’s a “sameness” that has come from this equality that needs to be let go. There’s a uniqueness of women in physical procreation that mirrors a spiritual uniqueness. Does it make us superior? No, but it gives women unique experiences and responsibilities.
What Hilary is proposing is that this uniqueness of women’s bodies has not been understood in the spiritual implications. There are spiritual functions in our giving birth process, and even breastfeeding.
Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun, Chi Gong practitioner, explains breastfeeding naturally activates a chakra, an energy point, near a woman’s breast, which allows energy to flow with the breast milk to the child. This chakra works with the heart and sustains and protects the child. But breast feeding is not solely a physical function as the energy from this chakra is spiritual sustenance and light given through the mother to nourish the child, and contributes to the mother/child bond that most women experience as deeply nourishing. And it doesn’t have to end when children are weaned as that spiritual connection is still there, but our society has dictated it has ended, and women have felt the painful awareness of that separation.
When we reclaim and honor our own bodies and their sacred processes we can see them for what they are – spiritual gifts that can be lived in so many areas.
Hilary asserts “women’s power is so tied to our bodies that to deny the body its spiritual nature means cutting ourselves off from our power. Repairing this split by surrendering into and honoring our bodies and our instincts is key.”
If we reclaim the spiritual function of our bodies, which according to Hilary includes nourishment, longing, receiving, creating, connecting with the earth, purification, creating community, expressing beauty and recognizing the sacredness of life– all these powers would be available all the time to us and we would be women in power.
For me, reading Hilary’s book, I feel nourishment is one of the core powers. As we expand our awareness of nourishment as a power and accept it as a gift, and a responsibility, we will also see how nourishment works with other powers like the power of knowing life’s sacredness. This expanded vision of life as sacred is nourishing – to us and to those around us, as it changes both how we feel and how we give.
When we live the power to nourish in harmony with our longing, our heart finds its way towards situations where what we truly need and what is needed from us are often synchronized.
The more we understand how the power of nourishment works, the more we can feel nourished and the more we can nourish others. There is a way of balance that does not contribute to the depletion so many women feel as they give and give to others. It helps grounds us in our bodies, as there is no separation between spirit and physical life.
It’s important to touch into this wholeness so that when we give we do not deplete ourselves. The continual inflow and outflow of sustaining power is a key part of it.
At the heart of the power to nourish is the power of energy exchange. Like our breath, life enters us and moves through us. We are part of an expansive multi-dimensional system of energy exchange. The more energy, love or other forms of power we can receive into ourselves the more we can offer out. This awareness of the energy exchange is critical in self-care and honoring the power to nourish.
One example is engaging in food, with eating healthy food and preparing food with love and reconnecting to how food is grown. The energy of the earth comes into us through eating, and that same energy flows through us to others and to the earth. If we engage with food with more awareness we empower our entire nourishing systems. A healthy, spiritual relationship to food can be critical. It’s a direct link to wholeness, and to the utter sacredness of our most simple, daily needs and gifts.
With nourishment, we see how integral women’s powers really are to one another. Without the power to receive, the power to nourish cannot exist. We simply cannot give if we don’t take in. And the deeper and greater the nourishment we receive, the greater and more sustaining is what we offer.
We see how women’s connection to the earth contributes to our capacity to nourish and be nourished within earth’s life-systems. We find nourishment through eating food, and women have always been the servers of food in the family system. And of course women’s physical bodies become food for our newborns.
These sacred experiences connects and awakens, builds relationships, activates love, and the deepest need of the heart. It takes you into this deep place into life where there’s meaning and belonging, and a direct experience of connection with all there is on our planet.
As we come to know this sacredness in all aspects of life, our capacity to nourish deepens. With nourishment there’s a deep connection and sharing of the sacred essence of life.
Hilary proposes that love, peace and joy are present and alive when we activate the power of community, for when we live together we are nourished in those relationships. All parts of a community are given their place; all members are recognized for the gifts they bring.
With the power of beauty our soul has a place that can only be touched and moved and fed by things that are beautiful. With beauty we need to be authentic, stand by it, honor it and refrain from compromising real beauty in order to fit in. Beauty works closely with love, and has tremendous power to transform.
Hilary states one of the most important powers needed to activate and empower nourishment is longing. Longing draws us to what is needed and keeps our heart open and available. When we honor our longing for nourishment – our need to feel loved, our need to give to others and to know where we belong – we open ourselves more and more deeply to the energies within life that can bring us this nourishment and bring us into the depths where meaning waits for us.
For women, our longing to belong and to give and receive nourishment has a role to play in the restructuring of our outer world. We need to feel part of a world that makes sense to us, in accord with our nature. So much of the patriarchal world goes against our nature so the nourishment we desire and need is not readily available. Women’s longing to live in a world in which care, love, healthy food, honoring of life’s sacredness and the beauty of the earth are consciously acknowledged and valued is a force for change. As we wake up to our longing, listen to it and make the changes it calls on us to make, the world itself changes.
It is up to every woman to honestly acknowledge what we truly need and what is truly needed from us. When we are honest in this way, we will be able to live our power with trust and courage. Life needs our nourishment, and nothing holds us back but ourselves.
Hilary states “Women’s power is the power of the earth, which is the power of the Mother, regardless of how we honor or live it. The need is not for women to become powerful but to wake up to the nature of our power.”
The spiritual journey we are on as individuals and as a planetary community includes and requires restoring the sacred feminine, and healing the wounds that dominate our consciousness, our unconsciousness, and our habitual behaviors to each other, ourselves and the earth. For Hilary, this means women need to disconnect from the numbing and deadening patterns that keep us unaware of how we are participating in our own oppression and powerlessness, and acknowledging both what our ongoing patriarchal world does to us and others and how we are complicit.
Women need to wake up to the nature of our power. We have forgotten our power and how it heals and sustains the earth. We need to comprehend what it would mean in our lives to truly live in power. That means fully living in our bodies as women have a power in our bodies and energy systems that creates life and allows spiritual light to come into creation for something new to be born, which many of us are eagerly awaiting.