Celtic Spirituality Series Part III
The Wise Woman
by Bridget Geegan Blanton
Although the title of wise woman conjures up an image of a matriarchal figure of a long ago clan, it was and continues to be a description of the hearth keeper. Just as in ancient times, women continue to nurture, heal and care for others. Quite often, their presence around the hearth was taken for granted, yet their absence was always profoundly evident. Some things never change. Woven throughout the varied characteristics of the wise woman is an undeniable presence of strength. It is this same strength that provided the wise woman with the courage to move from hearth keeper to celtic warrior. Women have been multi-tasking for centuries.
The celtic focus on a connection with nature and the rejuvenating quality of the hearth is combined and expressed in the life of the wise woman. She is more than a repository of herbal lore and orator of beloved stories; she is strength and intuition. The wise woman advises us to look into our hearts for answers instead of solely reasoning with our mind. She stokes the fire of spirituality within and prompts us to tend to our longing for a relationship with God. Just as it has always been, it is the woman's touch that makes a house a home. Her presence around the hearth, in days of long ago, tending to the needs of those entrusted to her care has continued to this very day.
We have all known a wise woman along the path of our lives. We have learned from her and it has prepared us to step into that role. It isn't necessary to adjust her image to fit within the parameters of modern life. Technology hasn't displaced the timeless nature of humanity. If anything, the emphasis on the material side of life has exposed a critical need for the resurgence of our connection to nature, as well as our connection to the spiritually replenishing hearth of the home. There is nobody better suited to this task than the modern day wise woman.
This must not be misconstrued as a plea for uber feminists to step forward and exert their will. As in all things, there must exist a balance in life. An over emphasis on the feminine is as unjustified as a solidly patriarchal system. The ebb and flow of life that exists in nature must be the foundation upon which any system is built. What happens out in the world needn't be recreated within the sanctuary of the home. If you work within an excessively patriarchal system, you should go home to a more balanced environment.
Over the last few centuries, the patriarchal system has undeniably held women back. Prior to the twentieth century, women rarely received an education, nor did they vote or hold political office. Much has changed, as evidenced in Ireland itself, upon the election of a woman as a leader. In ancient times, women were accepted as leaders and were venerated for their wisdom. A belief invaded the collective thought process that women were by nature less than men in mental and physical capabilities.
Feminine contributions just did not garner equal value in society compared to male contributions. Sadly, this falsehood has been deeply ingrained in western culture. In the last 50 years, women have worked hard to overthrow this myth. Although there continues to be a divide between men and women as the patriarchal system maintains a foothold, we've done much to close the gap. The challenge at this point in time, is to embrace balance as we move towards the middle ground.
The wise woman is equally at home in the world as she is around the hearth. Her strength, her intuition, her ability to see both sides of an issue is as crucial in the work place as it is within the family. Our society struggles in its move towards equilibrium as men begin to assume roles traditionally held by women. It is because of the deeply ingrained belief in our society that women's work is inferior, that these men question their contribution and the validity of their service. The singular positive outcome is that now a few men understand how we have felt all these centuries.
It is an equal responsibility of men and women to move towards reconciliation. As an individual, one must choose to be willing to embrace the inherent strengths of the opposite sex, as well as embrace the tendencies within themselves towards the feminine and the masculine. The time has arrived for all of us to cease buying into the myth and instill honesty and humility in our children and ourselves.
If a wise woman were to share her wisdom on this topic, she might say that the events in life call upon us to respond with strength in one moment and tenderness in the next. As women, we are being dishonest with ourselves if we consider ourselves weak and incapable to confront a challenge in life. It is upon our inherent strengths as a woman that many families are founded and sustained. If we give into a myth such as vanity, we forego the opportunity to enjoy life in our present shape and circumstances. We turn away from hope and rob ourselves of a chance to learn, to improve or to achieve a dream.
The truth is that we are equipped not only to handle whatever life puts in our path, but to reach for the stars and believe in our wildest aspirations.
Bridget’s writing career as a newspaper columnist, a web-site contributor, content writer and French language translator has found new expression as a novelist. Whispers on the Wind, Bridget’s debut novel was the first installment in the Celtic Heart historical fiction series that continues with A Woman’s Equal Share. View more inspirational articles and motivational videos at Bridget’s web-site: https://www.desertrosebooks.com
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The novels in the Celtic Heart Historical Fiction Series are available at our Bookstore.
Learn more about 'Whispers on the Wind' and view the book trailer.
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Learn more about 'A Woman's Equal Share' and view the book trailer.
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