So it took until the last night of this pilgrimage for HER to really speak to me. To start to open to the questions I am asking. And there’s a lot of them. They are of course all linked and I have the feeling that if I could just make some concrete sense of any one of them they might all just resolve or better yet, dissolve. But the big one has to do with my inner path. I have come here to get lost, so to speak. Because I feel lost, I would rather not be around people who have opinions of what my life is, but rather walk in a landscape that is as alien to me as my inner world currently feels. I have been walking through this beautiful country accessing various parts of myself that feel quite masculine and ‘active’. I watch these hikers and there really is nothing feminine about it at all. And I have bought into this on some level, ‘ when in Rome…’ I am alone here in a foreign country so some protection is needed and if that means keeping my feminine energy under wraps then so be it. But she is peering at me nonetheless in dreams and in nature and today I was tested by a lonely old man who tried to grope her on my way through the forest. I was impressed with the fierceness that arose in me as I challenged his actions and he slid away completely. My observations of this Christian tradition within the Saint Jacques pilgrimage path leave me a little flat to say the least, like they have always done. As empty and lifeless as when my aunt asked me to recite the Lord’s Prayer one night when i was staying at her house and I didn’t know it so I had to repeat it line after line with her, completely unimpressed by the whole thing. So where I find her here is in the dew drops falling on my brow each misty morning and curled up in spiders webs and berries. In the rich multilayered foliage and deep pine forests, in the moss that grows up and over discarded bridges and walls. In the birds and the squirrels and even the dogs that cross my path. The feminine is here for me on this pilgrim path and my Artemis is having the time of her life. So I can worship HER only and stand before HER naked and open like the virgin statues I see scattered through the sacred resting places here. I have brought with me a plethora of reading material on my I pad but it was only last night that I began devouring Sera Beak’s book ‘Red, Hot and Holy’. She truly is a femme inspiratrice and her journey through religion and mysticism to find the divine feminine in herself is an inspiring read and highly recommended for any one who, like me has spent most of their life fascinated by religion and spirituality but never really finding a ‘path’ cos it all seemed to lack something or rather ignore the obvious, fleshy, womanly, bodily aspect of my existence. I have spent years looking for teachers and listening to rich, inspiring words, feeling so uplifted in so many ways except in my body which seemed to be irrelevant to it all. As a child I was not brought up with any kind of religion or spiritual ideals so I sought them hungrily. I was secretly envious of my friends who moaned about having to attend church and mass and I often asked if I could come just to check it out. For me it wasn’t about sin and damnation, those concepts didn’t live inside me thankfully, for me it was ritual and theatre, something to cherish and value and believe in. So much better than nothing. Than the television, which was the only ritual activity that happened in our house. When I started teaching I knew I couldn’t bear the mainstream. So empty, so nothing to believe in, to inspire. So I sought out the religious options. At the girls catholic school I loved the Wednesday morning mass but was stupefied by the girls singing in chorus, ‘we are all sinners in the eyes of god’. I loved the concept of mercy and how freely it was offered when needed but hated the way the nuns tormented any girl who chose to adorn herself with anything feminine, earrings, makeup etc. So I lasted a year and moved to the Jewish schools. I loved their intelligence and no nonsense approach, how they loved and honoured learning and success in women but if I had to sit through one more video reminding us that the holocaust would never go away and that we would never forgive, I thought I could have throttled someone. And then I got too close to them. God forbid, I formed a relationship with my students and they cried when I left. Such a display of vulnerability and emotion did not go down well with the principal who felt there was something a little suspicious in my relationship with these students. And I walked away feeling dirty or wrong for allowing love to be present in my work. And then Steiner. A system that held festivals in honour of the seasons, that worshipped and prized nature and creativity and relationship. The feminine was definitely here and she was thriving. In some ways. Working with feminine sexuality though is still a very delicate topic even in a place as enlightened and ‘open’ as Byron Bay. It is still taboo. And the crazy part is that it is our girls who need it the most. So the work, as always, needs to happen underground, behind the scenes. The hidden curriculum. For me personally, the inner journey has been about finding a resting place and also a place to grow. And tonight I can see it isn’t in any of these places. It wasn’t until I began the practice of Tigress Yoga that I realised where the place was. Inside of myself. My own divinity. SHE is me. She is my resting place and my place of growth. My own eternal experience of the divine within. And nobody can tell you what that looks like or how it’s meant to behave. In working with practices that awaken sexuality and living in an area that is full of tantric workshops etc, I started to fall into this idea that it had to somehow look sexual and that I needed to be exploring my divinity through my sexuality or I was missing something. Sera writes, “In today’s jam packed spiritual arena, it’s all to easy to absorb someone else’s protocol. Some traditional or trendy spiritual road map to enlightenment. Or a happier/ better/ more powerful you. Yet by doing so we often override our own map. Truth is even if we find ourselves nodding yes, yes, yes! to the most super-duper teachings or amazingly potent practices ever, our soul might be nudging us in another direction. No matter how great it is, it might not be what our soul wants or needs to experience right now.” The truth is I don’t know how my divinity wants to express herself. From moment to moment she shifts and changes and I am only just beginning to really listen to what she has to say. Or even to recognise that SHE is me. Away from all concepts of what she could or should be. I only ever really heard her speak to me once that I can recall. Sera writes of her experience, ” Up until this point in my life I had heard and witnessed the presence of the divine, but I had never heard her speaking inside me. There is nothing, no thing like hearing your Self speak for the first time. You enter a pause so deep, you actually remember your divine purpose. Your cells catch up with your truest meaning. Your heart begins to home itself.” For me I was in a particularly potent and dynamic Tigress Yoga class when I bowed to the earth in a deep gesture of love and honour to HER when she/ I said clear as day, “and when you die I will take all of you.” And I remember that pause. That deep recognition that we were one. That this earth was me and I, HER. Walking through these forests reminds me of that moment and as I watch how the moss grows and gathers around dying and discarded stones and objects, I marvel at how in death she might grow and wrap herself over my body. When I hear people speak of being cremated and having their ashes cast over some magnificent horizon, I can appreciate the sentiment but I can’t feel it nearly as much as I can having my body laid to rest in the arms of my mother, the earth. Food for worms. But whilst death is certain, what I am here to do next is not. I am out here because I have reached an impasse. A block. A pause. I have taken time out from all responsibilities to ask that fundamental question. How can I best serve you? What am I here to do and how is my divinity wanting to express herself? And whilst I feel quite far away from an answer I feel blessed to re-member that SHE is me and that within in that recognition will find a way to be heard.