Jassy Watson lives in Queensland Australia. She is a mother of four, a passionate organic gardener, an artist and a student of history and religion.
How did I come to know the great mother, the goddess, divine feminine? Reflecting on this question has made me think very hard about when she actually became a presence in my life. I’ve always felt a connection to another presence or energy source and this feeling is intensified when I am outdoors in my natural environment; warmed by the Summer sun, basking in the light of a full moon, watching and waiting for falling stars, contemplating under the shade of a tree, planting seeds and watching them grow, listening to the birds and sitting in front of a fire and getting drawn into the flames. It’s these simple moments when I pause, that I can feel her watching over me and I acknowledge her; the great mother, goddess, divine feminine.
I had a childhood filled with camping trips that took us from remote beaches to the bush. I had countless opportunities to explore local neighbourhoods in areas of Queensland that were yet to be housed out. Our first ‘home’ backed onto state forest and we were forever roaming about and discovering. We played in the dirt, ate grass and mud, stayed out and watched sunsets, bushwalked, fished, boated, swam, cart wheeled on the freshly mown grass, made shapes with clouds and built secret cubbies in the shrubs. I was always and still am overwhelmed with how remarkable the waves were, how blue the sky was, how loud the crickets could sing in summer or how the rustling of trees felt like I was being spoken to. I just loved standing still and taking it all in, nature is silent, yet raucous; benevolent yet sinister; peaceful yet harsh and I felt all of this. Its’ very presence envelops you and in that stillness, for a moment you feel at one, connected to a greater source of power and part of the web.
I used to go off into stares when I had these moments; they were like quick mini meditations, moments of trance-like states that I went in and out of. I still do it when I’m out in the garden and the wind chimes are telling me there’s a gentle breeze, the magpies are warbling and the sun is warm on my face… off I go staring into space. Then snap, in a matter of moments I’m back to reality and on my merry little way again. This feeling I know now to be the Great mother. She embraces me, and I stop to embrace her back. She is reminding me of her presence and reminding me to take moments to stop and just be and to appreciate the miracle.
I don’t remember hearing the word Goddess or Divine Feminine until my teens when out of my developing curiosity for myth and religion I became obsessed with the supernatural, reincarnation, tarot and anything that was a bit witchy, for a time there, I even fantasised about what life would be like as a vampire. Ah, the joys of teenage hood and self discovery! I was always reading and drawing or painting. ‘
My Mum introduced me to books by David Eddings, Tolkien and ‘The Mists of Avalon’ by Marrion Zimmer-Bradley and when I read these, my life changed. I really resonated with the characters and places portrayed in these stories. I immediately felt a connection to an Ancient past, one of mages and magic, love and conquest. But it was the women in these stories that I felt connected to, they represented the divine feminine; maiden, mother and crone; healers and homemakers. I read anything I could on the Arthurian legend, I was captivated by the magic and in my twenties I had the opportunity to visit the Isle of Avalon and experience firsthand the remnants of this magical past and it was a mystical encounter I had here that compelled me to further embrace the spiritual path of the Goddess. I read many books on Celtic history, Celtic gods and goddesses and Celtic ritual. It felt like a homecoming.
After I married and began to have children, I decided to enrol in university again studying ancient history and religion online. Studies in religion tend to focus on belief systems that pre-date Christianity. I’ve studied Mesopotamian, Sumerian, Greek, Roman and Egyptian (just to name a few) histories and mythologies. I am particularly interested in the Minoan civilisation and Paganism in the Roman Empire between the first and third centuries BC. Studying religion has taught me to not be judgemental of other faith systems. While there are certainly things that don’t sit right with me and there’s a lot that’s just downright absurd we cannot take away what faith means to the individual. Faith is a common thread that connects humanity past and present.
So how do I define my personal experience of the great mother? Firstly I think my personal experience of her presence would be the same as what a Christian feels when they experience God or a Jew Yahweh; it is an intimate knowing of the presence of an unknown. Following the traditions of the Goddess however, we do not need doctrine, creed, hierarchy or fear. I am my own spiritual authority. I experience the great mother all the time, she is within and without. I have come to think that there is no division between the sacred and the mundane. Life itself is sacred, the earth I walk on is sacred, the air I breathe is sacred and it has been since the beginning, our ancestors knew this.
Nurturing my own children has taught me that magic and spirit is truly created and experienced in our home. It’s in the dough we knead to make bread, in the seeds we plant in the ground, and the produce we pick from the garden. It’s in the little family rituals we set up like cooking by fire on Sundays in winter or eating outside on summer evenings. It is in our home that I also pray and commune with the great mother daily and it is where I feel connected to the divine feminine the most; as a mother & homemaker.
This year I am very fortunate to be attending the ‘Goddess Pilgrimage’ tour to Crete with Carol Christ, and I know that this is going to be a pivotal point in my life and a significant development in my spiritual connection to the ancient goddess. Not only do I want to honour and acknowledge the goddess in my daily life but I also want to learn about her past and come face to face with her ancient images and feel her presence amongst the ancient ruins and sacred places. You see, the divine feminine has never disappeared; she has lain sleeping for a long time, her images hidden and her name barely spoken. However she is revealing herself and has been for some time and I feel privileged to be witnessing her current transformation. I feel privileged to be part of the movement that is slowly transforming the schism between male and female. I truly believe that by honouring the goddess, the great mother or the divine feminine in ourselves, in our family and home, in our community and in our given faith, regardless of whether we come from traditions that are male-centred and monotheistic, the balance can be renewed. I set forth with the intention to connect my local community and to aid in the building of a tribe of like-minded women to strengthen the power of the feminine.