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A Different Way to Sunday

Sundays growing up were for church in my family. Now that I’m not Christian, I find myself still wanting sacred time to feel connected (not necessarily on Sundays). And while I don’t really believe in entities that are gods and goddesses, I do believe in magic and energy and a connection to all living things, including the Earth.

2015. Commissioned painting

The best way I’ve come across to connect to my intuition, other than rituals in my studio, is the Atlanta Women’s Temple.

My best friend and soul sister, Arlia Hoffman, started our Temple 10 years ago. It is a safe place, full of love and compassion.

Sometimes it’s held in someone’s home, sometimes it’s in a yoga studio, but the energy is always the same. I know that I can bring myself in however I show up that day and settle in to those feelings without fear.

Coming exactly as I am into Temple means that I can witness an unfolding of my own spirit.

Design: Amy Everett; Image: Canva.

No one is watching,

dance your heart out.

We use dancing to get into our bodies — to feel what is happening in our bones, skin, muscles, and blood. Arlia plays beautiful music and we sway our hips, move our arms, float on the melodies and feel everything that bubbles to the surface. Without fear of judgement. We close our eyes, shut out the self-consciousness and move however our bodies want us to.

There have been times that I have danced with tears streaming down my cheeks and my sobs echoing around the room. No one rushed over to make a big deal about it. I was free to cry, to reach catharsis, hugging myself tight. And in that vulnerability is where Temple thrives.

While in Temple, we don’t talk much, which I think is a major piece of why these circles are so meaningful. We are each as we are, working through our own bits and bobs, and not trying to fix anyone. Arlia leads the group and we connect with the Earth, Sky, Space and Each Other, and it is real meatspace unity.

As an introvert, you'd think that I would hate it. I feel totally refreshed at the end and connected as if in ritual. We interact — but as if on a dancefloor, rather than at a party.

The women in these circles, even if only for one time, are my sisters.

One exercise we do is called a “Goddess Rinse,” and I love it. We split off into smaller groups of 2 or 3 and one woman closes her eyes and the other women begin to lightly brush their fingertips over her body sending love and compassion to the receiver as they do this. It feels amazing to have this kind of intimate platonic touch, which, as humans, we all need and crave.

At one Temple, where we met outside in a sacred labyrinth, Arlia had us form 2 lines. One by one we each walked with our eyes closed in the middle of the 2 lines of women. And as we did, we were met with whispers of love, strength, beauty, compassion and trust from the women in the lines. Because your eyes are closed you lose track of where you are, and who is speaking, so it feels as if the Universe is speaking to you. This experience lit me up and made an impression on me that 3-4 years later I’ve still not forgotten.

Each Temple is different, based on what intuitively comes up for Arlia when she’s planning the gathering but they all feel the same.

Source unknown.

Most of the temples end with body work, which is a kind of magic. Each woman lays on pillows like a queen and is surrounded by her Temple sisters. A kind of container is created and we give reiki, massage, and energy to the Queen. We all get a turn and it is glorious.

I think there’s a very good reason why it’s called Temple...because in a sense it is worship, it is church. A worship of where you are right now, a church of awakened women.

My experience with being fully IN my emotions at Atlanta Women's Temple gatherings directly led to the framework of my art class. When I say "come as you are," I really mean it. That phrase encompasses what I want to create in this class — a circle like Temple practice that welcomes you wherever you may be in the moment. I believe that is a powerful medicine and incredibly healing. My class is launching very soon!



PS: I'm blogging along with Effy Wild in April. If you'd like to join the facebook group to read the rules, go here:

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