Spirit Keepers of the Womb: Water Bearers, Fire Keepers
Slowly, surely, spring is coming here in the Appalachian mountains, where Azra and I live. In many ways, it’s been a long, deep winter. Literally and figuratively. Its been interesting to compare our luxurious, slow, silent descent into snow wisdom, with the outer frenzy and fury on the social media streams that also penetrate our lives.
We live on a mountain, above a river valley, and when it snows we are often called into a ‘shamanic internment’ within our home, unable to leave until the melt comes. Neither of us have ‘smartphones’, and I don’t have a cell phone at all (I’m allergic). We don’t have central heating either, and a log fire is our primary source of heat.
There is a famous Buddhist saying, “enlightenment, then chop wood”. For Azra, six months of the year, this is more than just a saying. Every morning, come rain, shine or snow, he goes outside to chop wood for the fire that will keep us all warm that day. Often the cats are giving him beseeching eyes, and I am still snuggled in bed.
Somedays, in ‘remote’ parts of the house (like the bathroom and near the windows) the temperature indoors has gone below freezing, whilst it’s been minus 10 outdoors. Many of my beauty potions and products completely freeze over.
Wisdom of the Fire Keepers
Yet winter has so much to teach us, and I appreciate being able to sit and listen. Firstly, with no heat other than a fire, I begin to truly appreciate warmth – and I am viscerally brought into circle with my Ancestors, who understood the sacred power of fire. On cold nights out here, it can be the difference between life and death.
The elementality of winter also brings us – if we choose – into deep presence.
Although Azra starts the fire, often, throughout the day, I am the ‘fire keeper’ – tasked with watching and tending the fire to make sure it doesn’t fade and go out.
Even a fire that is burnt down to its final embers can miraculously resurrect, with a few strategic prods, but if it is allowed to truly die out, it is hard to bring back to life.
My fire tending at home is sometimes haphazard. If I am not really in my body, or noticing my surroundings, when I finally look up from my ‘fugue’ – the fire is out. So it has become an art for me, over the years, to be involved in something – writing, emails, online – yet to still notice my body, and my outer world, and to stay tuned in.
It’s interesting, because in the spiritual worlds, we often talk about ‘flame keepers’, and tending to a fire is a lesson on the lived reality of this. It helps me reflect on the 9 Moon Spirit Keepers of the Womb Apprenticeship training that over 120 people are journeying on within our Moon College. What ‘flame’ can we not afford to let go out?
What I’ve learned is that ‘keeping the flame’ is a journey of slow steps, not big leaps. Every single day we are making deeply important choices. Seemingly small choices. Where do we put our focus? Who and what do we give attention to? What are we conceiving, gestating, nourishing and preparing for a successful ‘live’ birth?
Because every distraction, every time our attention gets sucked in the wrong direction, often by strategies designed to do so, somewhere a fire is dying out.
Often the flame that is withering is within us. What keeps your flame strong?
Wisdom of the Snow Maiden
Also, keep close to you the wisdom of snow. Recently, we spent time in the Navajo lands, and near the Hopi territories. I discovered the Kachina of Snow Maiden. In drought lands, such as Arizona, snow is more prized than rains. Snow drenches the land with moisture in a digestable way, it allows the earth to get deeply soaked. Sometimes a downpour will just run right off the hardened, sun-baked land. But snows gets down to the roots, it stays long enough to give back true nourishment. Snow Maiden is the wisdom, beauty and magic of that cold, water-drenched, wisdom.
Sometimes life ‘snows’ on us – and it’s bleak, cold, and seemingly endless. Let that snow seep in, because it might just be rich with something your inner landscape needs. One season’s snow becomes the fertility that fuels our summer blossoming.
During our time ‘out west’, we visited a Navajo medicine woman, in her nineties, who lives without running water or heat, and whose home is a traditional Hogan. Speaking Navajo, with a translator, she told us that Arizona was in a long drought period, and laughed saying we should bring her, ‘some of that mountain rain’.
As we left, the skies broiled over, gray clouds moved in, and rain started spitting down from the skies, before frosting over into a soft flutter of snowfall that began to blanket and feed the land. I like to think we paid our dues, as she had requested.
The elements are alive and they listen to us, and if we are blessed, they answer back.
Life is moving pretty fast right now. Tune into the snow and fire.
- What ‘waters you’ and helps you ‘digest’ more nourishment in your life?
- What gets your fire rising and brings you warmth, energy and excitement?
The Womb path is all about the practical magical of being ‘impeccable’ in our world.
Let’s keep our ‘sacred watch’ together.
By Seren Bertrand, Co-founder and Creative Director of www.thefountainoflife.org
Seren Bertrand is a womb mystic and midwife of feminine consciousness, who has been a visionary leader in women’s empowerment for over two decades. She is the co-founder of The Fountain of Life feminine mystery school and co-author of Womb Awakening – Initiatory Wisdom From the Creatrix of All Life – described as a “Revelation and a Masterpiece”. She graduated with a degree in English Literature and Modern Philosophy, before embarking on the twin-paths of a career in writing, as well as journeying deeply into the spiritual feminine traditions. Her writing on female Tibetan refugees was nominated for an Amnesty International Award for Human Rights Reporting. She is passionate about the practical, embodied awakening of women and men, in a mystical yet no-nonsense way, which calls us into our true feelings, brings us back into the body, and roots us into the wisdom of Earth.
The Fountain of Life offers in-depth online Womb Awakening Apprenticeships.