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Barbara Ardinger

Practicing the Presence of the Goddess
by Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D.

Soulful living, to a witch like me, is practicing the presence of the Goddess. Itís living in Her home, which is our beautiful blue planet. Itís letting Her be our mother and our friend. Itís remembering that every one of us is Her most precious child. Itís remembering that we are all kinówe who have two legs and also those with four legs or wings or fins, also those with leaves, and even our eldest kin who have crystalline structures and look like rocks. She is the Great Creatrix. She is the grandmother of all the gods of all the standard-brand religions.

Goddess Meditations by Barbara Ardinger

But those are big, fancy, abstract ideas, arenít they. What does it mean to live soulfully in the lap of the Goddess on a daily basis? After all, She doesnít open up a lane on the freeway especially for me. She doesnít sprinkle money down upon me while Iím standing in line at the grocery store. She doesnít do car or computer or plumbing repairs.

Day in and day out, like everybody else I struggle to live soulfully, to bring a little bit of peace to a world that is always marching toward war, to be kind and helpful and creative. Some days, I succeed. Other days, I donít.

So what else is new?

I think focus is a large part of soulful living. Paying attention is a large part of practicing the presence of the Goddess. This reminds me of a college English class in which the teacher explained the difference between Romantic literature (the poetry of Wordsworth) and Naturalism (the novels of Zola). Letís imagine weíre all walking down a road, my teacher said. The Romantics look at the scenery on one side and all they see are clouds and daffodils and lovely maidens and handsome knights. The Naturalists look at the scenery on the other side. What they see are children working in factories, the bodies of people who starved to death, and families full of rape and incest and betrayal. Good writers have written about all of these things, and their words have been read for two hundred years or more.

How about you and me? Should we spend our time looking at daffodils or corpses? Should we focus on fluffy little greeting card angels and pretty crystals? Or should we focus on a failing economy and stupid, corrupt politicians and CEOs?

I believe that to live soulfully, we need to be aware of both sides of that road weíre traveling. Itís the good and the bad that make us what we are. Itís both helpful and hurtful experiences that act like sandpaper on our lives and on our souls to smooth us out. Itís the combined spinning of upper and lower chakras that brings us into balance. Itís yang and yin working together that energize us so that we can keep walking along that road. The road, of course, is our life path.

Practicing the Presence of the Goddess by Barbara Ardinger

The Great Goddess has many faces. She is the virgin who is exploring the wonders of life and learning to stand on her own two feet. She is the creative mother who nourishes her children and causes corn and roses and oak trees to grow. She is the destructive mother who prunes back our growing tips and harvests our fields so that new crops can be planted. She is the warrior mother who fights like hell to defend Her own. She is the sexy mother who sings and dances and embraces her consort. And she is the crone who looks at life and gives counsel and judgment. The Great Goddess is said to have ten thousand names and ten thousand aspects.

It seems to me that whatever we doówe are practicing Her presence. Wherever we goówe are in Her presence. Whenever we liveówe are keeping Her time.

Soulful living is living in the world. It is also, as a friend of mine once said, praying to the Goddess for help but doing our own homework.

I am a writer. Our society places little value on the arts, and so to help pay my rent and buy cat food, I sometimes do temporary office work. My books bring in royalties, but only twice a year, and writing book reviews and contributing to web sites, however wonderful they are, isnít going to make anyone rich. So I am fairly pushy about publicizing my editing services. Iím fairly pushy about getting in touch with literary agents and acquisitions editors. Iím doing my own homework.

And nearly every morning, I practice the presence of the Goddess with a little ritual. I speak specifically to the goddess Fortuna. Youíll recognize this goddess, for Hers is the famous Wheel of Fortune that we see on Card X of the Tarot pack, in the famous television show, and in any casino. Wherever that wheel is spinning, Dame Fortuna is spinning it. Dame Fortuna also carries a cornucopia that is filled with wonderful things, and She holds the rudder with which She steers our lives. Dame Fortuna stands on one of my altars. Behind Her is a collage that I made one night in ritual with friends. Piled on the altar in front of Her are my symbols of abundanceógold and silver U.S. dollar coins, a wishbone or two, a magnet, sand dollars, play money, fortunes from Her cookies, fairy dust, and cat whiskers (which enhance any spell).

I cast my little circle, and then I invoke the powers aboveó"Help me reach the stars"óand the powers belowó"Keep me grounded"óto create a sphere in which I stand at the center. "Dame Fortuna," I say, "be with me in my life and in my work. Turn your wheel to bring me to fame and love and abundance. Share with me the bounty of your cornucopia. Use your rudder to steer me to good publishers and good friends." These are the things I want in my life. Other people, of course, have other wishes and talk to other goddesses and gods.

Writing and editing are what Iím good at. When I do what Iím good at, Iím practicing Her presence. When Iím practicing Her presence, I am living as soulfully as I know how.

© Copyright Barbara Ardinger 2002. All Rights Reserved.

Barbara Ardinger
Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D., (www.barbaraardinger.com),
is the author of Goddess Meditations and Practicing the Presence of the Goddess. She has two books scheduled for publication in 2003. Finding New Goddesses is a book of parody and puns. Quicksilver Moon is a novel about a vampire, a coven of witches, and a far-right fundamentalist preacher. She has recently finished Crone Encounters, a novel, and is also working on a book called Let There Be Beauty. She lives in Long Beach, California, with her cats, Schroedinger and Heisenberg, plus her collections of witches and goddesses


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