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Barbara Biziou

A Path to the Goddess through Ritual
by Barbara Biziou

The Need For Women’s Rituals

Women nurture. This has been the expectation, experience, the timeless lore and historic fact of our lives. Not until this century have we started to ask the meaning and cost of this age-old assumption. Why is this our exclusive domain? What happens to our own needs while we’re so focused on those of others? Who tends to our wishes, our desires? When do we find time to replenish our inner resources, to grieve our pain? If we don’t recognize and honor our stored emotions, we not only do ourselves a disservice; our loved ones suffer, too. We have nothing left to give. Where do we go for help?

Throughout history, women bonded together as they did traditional "women’s work." They wove understanding, consolation, support--even humor--through communal cooking and sewing and childcare. Today, however, many women do "men’s work"--their jobs and careers are often based on male role models--and, in the process they’ve become more and more isolated from each other. Even stay-at-home moms are experiencing this sense of isolation.

The Joys of Everyday Ritual by Barbara Biziou

The truth is, many of us have lost the wisdom of our grandmothers, their gentleness, their sense of community and their easy sharing. We must reclaim our heritage as women. And we must reclaim their unlived wildness and sexuality.

Regardless of race or religion, women from around the world are reclaiming the Goddess within themselves. There is an understanding that she is within all life, and that all life is sacred.

It is important to create rituals that empower women so that we might recognize and celebrate our true strength and talents; and to support us in accepting, honoring and meeting our own physical and emotional needs. As we honor the goddess, we learn to communicate our feelings openly without apologizing. We then move into the trusting, rather than the controlling possessive, heart.

Here are some Archetypes from the tarot to reflect on:

Queen of Cups:
  • Represents the tranquil, receptive, and power of reflection
  • Sovereign of dreams
  • Psychic power, clairvoyance and telepathy
  • Nurtures without dependency
  • Masters self-acceptance and listening to our feelings
  • Integrates mothering and imaginative process--she is strong willed and inclined to care deeply enough to be able to stand back and let a person learn their own lessons.
  • She does not use her feelings to attack others nor does she apologize for her feelings
  • Emotionally authentic--she owns her feelings without blaming or judgment
  • She is the image of "superwoman" who is capable of loyalty and love, yet who has the strength, creativity and energy to rule her own world, in her own right, and needs no strong shoulder to lean on, or socially acceptable label of wife, to make her a worthwhile and self-confident individual.

Queen of Swords:

  • Clarity and limitless visibility.
  • She has the ability to see through smoke screens and perceive things as they are and then transmit them clearly and consciously
  • Quiet determination
  • Idealistic
  • Knows that demanding superhuman perfection in herself and others creates problems
  • Wields her sword of justice with confidence courage and detachment
  • Represents ones deep unconscious awareness of the cycles and that dawn always follows the night.
  • Skilled and powerful communicator--able to clear the air of misunderstandings
  • Good listener and keen observer
  • Can confront, negotiate and solve problems.

Queen of Pentacles:

  • Represents Mother earth fertility…the germination of future abundance during seemingly barren times—provides nourishment
  • She is sensual, vivacious, practical, artistic and has a magnetic quality that sets people at ease
  • Sharing while being able to maintain stability
  • Competent and sure of her abilities
  • Practical, organized and energetic
  • Good business sense and skill in financial projects
  • Manifests full expression of her sensuality, the value of the body and that importance of those pleasures which preserve and enrich life.
  • Preserves and sustain material resources
  • She values herself
  • Understands diet and nutrition
  • Building new words that are nutritious and fulfilling.

Queen of Wands:

  • Knower of the self
  • Wisdom being
  • Prophetic
  • She is at home with herself
  • Strong, insightful, impatient and resourceful . She is able to perceive illusion and delusion in others
  • She is not a queen to be crossed…Has a temper
  • Understand that discretion is important. She tolerates no lies deceit or hidden agendas.

Celebrating Your Sensuality

The ancients honored female sexuality as a regenerative power blessed by the gods. Astarte, the Phoenician goddess of beauty, fertility, and love, was more celebrated than any other deity. She was known as Isis in Egypt, Aphrodite in Greece, Ishtar in Babylonia, Inanna in Sumaria, and Venus in Rome.

But today society has come to fear and even denigrate women's sexuality, and as a result, many of us have lost touch with our sexual energy and our natural ability to experience ecstasy. As Andrew Harvey and Anne Baring conclude in The Divine Feminine, "Where Aphrodite is not honored, she returns in negative form as the sexual compulsions, pornography, and sadistic fantasies that have taken possession of our culture." We see this time and again in the media--consider the male characters in "Basic Instinct" and "Fatal Attraction," or in so many popular music videos.

However, women are beginning to reclaim the sexual and sensual goddess within. We are relearning to love our bodies and our innate beauty. We're recognizing that we don't need to emulate rock singers, models, or movie stars to get in touch with the seductress living inside of us. She is waiting to be released--vibrant, confident, and totally in synch with her sexuality. She loves to touch and be touched. She loves the feeling of silk against her skin, a warm bubble bath, fresh flowers, and exotic scents. With practice, we can learn to see her, enjoy her, and own her as a vital part of our own being.

Sensuality Ritual:

Intention: To awaken the sensuality within.

Timing: Whenever you wish--but particularly when you feel disconnected from your sexual self; before bed is an ideal time, but you can perform this ritual any time--just give yourself at least an hour and a half to enjoy it.

Ingredients: Red candle (passion), essence of ylang-ylang or jasmine (sensuality), your favorite perfume, chocolate (sensuality), and sensuous music. Optional: silk sheets (sensuality). Prepare this wonderful tonic to drink at the close of this ritual, which will delight your senses and unleash your nascent sensuality: Blend 1 cup of papaya juice, 1/4 cup of mashed banana, 1/4 cup watermelon juice, and 1 teaspoon cloves (optional). Or you might prefer to mix a cup of milk with a dash of cinnamon and a splash of rose water. If none of these are available set out hot chocolate, grape juice, or a glass of red wine.

Recipe: Create a sensual atmosphere that will entice your inner seductress to come out of hiding. Find a time when no one will disturb you. Turn off the phones. Put fresh sheets on your bed--silk would be great! Turn down the lights, and light the candle. Place a few drops of the essential oil in a diffuser.

Anoint yourself with your favorite perfume, concentrating on the areas between your breasts and near your pubic bone. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and open. Begin to inhale, slowly and deeply, to the count of four; then, exhale in the same manner. Now experience your breathing as if the air were moving through your vulva. Continue until you feel these breaths connecting you to your deepest being. Let the breath flow like a river of energy. Feel the fluidity--the sensuality--and envision a passionate woman inside who wants to talk to you. Imagine that she wants to tell you about herself. Ask her questions: What kinds of clothes does she like? What are her favorite foods? What makes her happy emotionally, physically? What is her relationship with your body? How does she like to be touched? What does she want from you?

Allow this energy--which emanates from your passionate being--to infuse you. Remember this is your own creation, a part of your self, so don't censor any words or feelings. Be open to learning.

When you're ready, get up slowly. Run a warm bath, adding the oils of your choice. Start your favorite music, and set the candle near the tub. Let your body melt into the fragrant water, touching yourself in whatever ways feel best.

Afterward, dry off with a warm towel, get back into bed, and drink your wonderful tonic. Sip it slowly. Let yourself feel and become that sensual woman. Fantasize, fantasize, fantasize, and immerse yourself in the feeling of hedonistic delight.

Follow-up: Spend a few moments every day appreciating the sensuality of your body. Keep fragrant oils, perfumes, and scented candles in your bedroom and bathroom.

Ritual Excerpt from The Joys of Everyday Ritual: Spiritual Recipes to Celebrate Milestones, Ease Transitions and Make Every Day Sacred, by Barbara Biziou (St. Martin’s Griffin).

 © Copyright 2002 Barbara Biziou.  All Rights Reserved. 

The Joy of Family Rituals by Barbara Biziou

Barbara Biziou
Barbara Biziou, author of The Joys of Everyday Ritual and The Joy of Family Rituals, is an internationally acclaimed teacher of meditation and a life-strategy coach. A frequent television and radio guest, she is president of Blue Lotus, a multimedia production company specializing in spirituality and personal growth. As America's foremost ritual expert, she teaches us how to restore ritual to its rightful place as food for the soul through practical, easy to use ritual recipes that are inspiring and fun. Email: britual@aol.com


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