Sisterhood of the Antlers is a gathering place for women – sometimes in person, sometimes nomadic and sometimes virtual where we learn, share and inspire through online courses, workshops and journeys to the lands of the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland. Most of all we remember that although we were born into a patriarchal warring culture things weren’t always this way!
As women come together in circle, as they have for countless generations (why do I know this? for the simple reason that circle keeps us sane!) we rebuild the ancient temples once dedicated to the great Goddess. Each women plays her part – some carry the light and so tend to the candles, another woman carries the sacred songs, some are called to roles such as guardian and gatekeeper and some remember the ancient script which they paint on banners. Others create glorious altars, some step into the role of priestess, some are keepers of the drum, others keeper of the rattles, some are called to tell the old stories and together they all create ritual and ceremony and dance between the worlds to ask the old ones, the foremothers and most ancient grandmothers for their insight and wisdom.
The Women Who Followed the Reindeer
Since I could walk up my local hills I have always been fascinated by some of the first peoples to arrive in this area. After learning about a reindeer antler which was found not too far from those same hills, that belonged to the time of the great ice – my imagination was fired! Britain at that times was connected to mainland Europe by the land bridge of Doggerland which now lies submerged beneath the North Sea. I imagine picking up that antler on the day it was shed from one of the female reindeer of those great migrating herds (of all deer it is only the female reindeer who have antlers). Just as fascinating as witnessing the great herds would have been in seeing the people that followed the reindeer. As the female reindeer led her herd I imagine the people being led by she-who-follows-the-reindeer. Of those women some gathered under dark and full moons in ritual and ceremony, wearing clothes made from reindeer skins and headdresses adorned with antlers as they raised their drums and chanted as they began their dance between the worlds to petition their foremothers and the great antlered one herself.
Antlers are my symbol honoring my female lineage – which stretches Past celtic and pre-Celtic people back to an ancient ancestor, Xenia one of the Seven Daughters of Eve who lived in Europe at the time of a great ice age in 25,000 BCE (DNA analysis by Brain Sykes of Oxford Ancestors). She and her tribe followed great herds of reindeer and other animals over the tundra.
While the reindeer have gone and so too have the people – some of us know that we are descended from these women of the reindeer for their songs still echo in our blood and on nights of the dark moon we can be seen wearing headdresses adorned with antlers. We keep many of their traditions such as gathering in circle, picking up our drum as we dance between the worlds to petition those old ones for for insight and wisdom. We do this and share our experiences in circle so we can make sense of them – sometimes we create art from these stories – through doll making and painting, gathering natural materials or clay. We do all this so we can weave that wisdom into our daily lives and let it feed our actions in the world – with each other, our community and the work we do in the world. Although we were each born into a warring patriarchial and hierarchical culture the heart of the Sisterhood of Antlers lies in reclaiming women’s ways and sharing women’s ways of knowing the world – reclaiming our tools of women’s mysteries and shamanic or magical ways of working. In circle we are all equal and it is a place where we share, strengthen our roots of sisterhood, intuition and begin to weave this ancestral wisdom into our lives.
At each turn of the wheel of the year I create a guided meditation and some drumming so we can journey between the worlds while holding our own personal intentions (be they be for ourselves, our community or the world). Then we gather in circle (maybe physical or virtual) and share our insights and visions – as this is where we reclaim some of the knowledge that has been lost to us. The same knowledge that millions were burnt at the stake for – for practicing earth ways that foster a life affirming way of being.
This year Sisterhood of the Antlers is supporting Equality Now! helping to support their work to end FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), to end sex trafficking as well as to end the practice of Child Brides. You can learn more about their work by clicking on the image above. Equality Now! are partners with Girls Not Brides in working to end child violence through forced marriages. We are also supporting Kiva through providing micro loans for women around the world.
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Your Invitation to a Wheel of the Year Journey
This is a free community where we journey the wheel together – sharing our insights on the holydays with a guided meditation, ritual and art.