By Jennifer O'Conghalaigh
From an earthen temple in Ireland, I look out over the hills as if sailing through an undulating green ocean. Through the fog, I see traces of magic from a long gone past. The wanderess within says be silent, be still; simply be.
The specific temple I stand near is dedicated to Ireland’s most ancient sovereignty goddess—the Cailleach.
She represents the Great Grandmother spirit that holds us all in her earthen womb. She is the divine Earth mother from where we emerge and return; she is the womb and the tomb of life. She is paradox, the universal feminine life force that encompasses the cycle of creation, decay and rebirth. Inside this temple lies great indigenous feminine wisdom—an ancient lineage of female sovereignty, power and enlightenment.
I drum in the stone circles and see shadows of long gone priestesses dancing. The Cailleach calls to me, whispering into my bones, “Gather the sisters of the Rose, dear one!” I see stone circles arising all over the world; the stones turn into women, lit from within, glowing and flowing like starlight, a cosmic fire in their heart.
What is a priestess?
A priestess is a woman who walks on Earth within the backdrop of a vast cosmic remembrance. They are the guides through deep transformation. And there’s a timelessness to the priestess role that is very relevant right now.
The sovereign goddess teaches the lessons of death and rebirth. She teaches us not to fear transformation. She’s about overcoming the fear of death and seeing oneself as an energy being, a spirit having a human experience. That’s why the sovereignty goddess is potent medicine right now—because we are going through a death and rebirth process, a transformation and evolution of consciousness.
The priestesses serve a certain function for their community. They hold a flame within; they are a conduit for Shakti, or feminine creative force, to flow. The priestesses live in ritual, like a living prayer, knowing that the feminine principle is what creates, nurtures and nourishes the web of life.
Ancient peoples knew and understood the divinity of the womb and the feminine creative powers. They knew a woman’s body was a cosmic temple, with a deep and primal connection to Nature’s wisdom.
The Oracle of Delphi was consulted for a reason.