Six women, including me. Six women gathered in my home here in Atlanta two weekends ago. Only two of us – my sister and I – had ever met. The other four women I have loved for nearly five years in the virtual realm of life, although they are women I feel have known me and I them for lifetimes. We shared an amazing sacred retreat together. We laughed, we cried, we came together in quiet contemplation and healing. We opened and gave ourselves to every beautiful moment that offered itself to us. One of these ladies is Joceline Burnel, Crowing Crone Woman of Wisdom and author of If God Was a Woman. She shared a bit about our time together in her post Women Loving Women, if you’d like to feel more deeply into who we are. It was absolutely extraordinary and each of us knows our lives will never again be the same.
On Sunday, with just four of us still gathered, we made our way to my bedroom, my own intimate sanctuary of very holy love. You see, these women have seen and loved me in a way I had yet to experience myself. Our intention was to take photos of me, potentially to be used on my sites and perhaps on the cover of my upcoming book. I love who I am, and yet like so many women still, there are criticisms I’ve held about my body – and certainly that sinks deeper into the core of how I see and feel myself. I feel like a woman who has released so much of that. But this journey to self awareness, to walking this planet with a heart wide open – this journey demands that we give it ALL. That we release and dissolve the places where we allow ourselves to be held back. And in this space of loving me, these women were instrumental in the dissolution of old programming.
It’s been years since I’ve had an intimate photo shoot. I must have been just 19 when I did my one and only boudoir session, mostly because I knew the photographer and he wanted to do it for me. (Well, of course he did!) It wasn’t for me. I was insecure, shy and so very much NOT in my own body. This time was very different. As we began, my beautiful love Cat began to work her golden magic, ‘styling’ me as she called it. What it felt like to me was being adorned with radiant love. My whole body responded and opened as a rose might under the heated glow of sunlight. I’m certain my skin glistened with her love shining over me. She called in our anam cara soul love Anna to assist. I’ve felt Anna loving me for years, and there’s quite honestly nothing like being loved by this woman. She is unconditional and wholehearted in her seeing of me, beyond the body and into my soul’s beauty. And she’s gifted in showing me how that spirals outward into my physical presence.
We began and the energy I felt as I knelt on my bed, my back bared and heart open, was the essence of holy prayer. I’m not one to use that word often – prayer – because it wreaks of church men uttering words filled with pious intent. And yet. My whole body was in reverent communion with all that is sacred. I’ve many times written about becoming an offering of love, baring all that I am to the Sacred Feminine, to the Beloved. Kneeling there, exposed in all my beauty and vulnerable nakedness, all I could feel was deep, deep merging with the divine woman I am.
As Joceline took photos of me, my eyes were closed and I felt myself moved from merely being in that room. I felt the love of those women all around me. Love that stops time and evokes serenity and grace. Love that melts every doubt and uncertainty about who you are and why you might not be good enough. Only beauty remained.
There was a moment, Joceline whispered to me with tears in her eyes ‘you are so fucking beautiful.’ A gorgeous, intimate moment in which she was overcome by the Divine Feminine fully palpable in our temple space. I felt the moist tears welling up in my own eyes, understanding I was the image of each woman in that room; the image of the Goddess shining full in all She is. No hiding or quieting. No judging beauty or imperfection. Every moment, every element, every woman in that room and beyond – filled with beauty and grace.
I’ve had this note on my desk for nearly a year now: ‘HER Temple is my Body.’ I’ve believed it. I’ve felt all that it conveys and stirs in my being. Being in that space of my bedroom with these women surrounding me, loving me, seeing me with the eyes of their hearts – I felt in every cell of my body what it means to become HER Temple. I saw myself as perfect, without flaw. I fully felt IN MY BODY. And I knew I was beautiful to behold. In every way possible. Sacred Feminine essence – raw, vulnerable, laid bare. I gave myself completely.
That experience was so very holy for me. As I gaze upon the images captured that day, I see reflections of each woman present. I see and feel their love poured over me, through them, through me and radiated out from each of us. I feel different in my body now. No more ‘hiding’ what I think isn’t quite right. I walk with a knowing of who I am, of what it is to feel my beauty from the inside out. I feel the holiness of what it is to be woman; this woman. Me. I hold myself with deep honor and divine love. Everything is different now. This is how we love. Women loving women. And I love these women madly. My life, forever changed by the way they have loved me into beautiful, elegant fullness. HER Temple…IS my body.