Thursday, October 29, 2020

MAGA? We Maga are Here...Arising

The universe startled me yesterday, which these days, takes some doing.

There’s not a day goes by that doesn’t have me scratching my head or struggling to bear up under the inhumanity we’re seeing right now. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel a sense of awe-disbelief at the surreal world we’re living in, finally being unmasked (so to speak) for what we’ve made it, collectively. Each day brings its news cycle or social-media blitz, un-grounded and ungrounding 7-course meals of anxiety and disbelief, fear and disdain, increasingly unconscious sufferings and hatreds, with a little toothless satire dusted on the top trying to help those of us who appreciate satire digest it all. Yet the universe startled me last night with a marvelous juxtaposition, a stunning invitation for me to play in (as the writer I am), to see what might rise here for Good. For Heart. For Healing. I’m going to start a ways from where we’ll end up, but those who are hungry for the feast provided by such Great Mystery will stay with me. I’m not writing for those who aren’t hungry anyway.

This weekend marks the “fall-back-one-hour” season in my part of the United States, November 1st, All Souls’ Day, and Nala’s Arrival Anniversary. Brian has asked me repeatedly these last pandemic months: When can we put up the Christmas decorations?!? Last January, after a hellish drive home in an ice-storm only Minnesota does best, he came home from Cost-Co with a huge box. “It was on sale!” he said triumphantly. A full-size—maybe even grand-size—Christmas tree, with lights already attached. It’s a “put-together-in-3-minutes” fully-lit Christmas tree for our high-ceilinged living room. This weekend is finally to be the weekend! Sunday November 1st is the day we’re going to decorate our home for Fall-Back, Nala’s Anniversary, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas…the holy-days.

Which means the Season of the Magi is fast approaching... Most of us are familiar with the journey of the Wise Men in Christian story-telling...three men traveling from their distinct locations, following the brightest Star, bumping into one another on the way, and landing at the stable where the Christ child lay shortly after his birth. I remember trying to convince my mother that I should give my (rather fundamentalist sister) a feminist version of the story. It tells the story of the Christ child's birth, but offers the wisdom of women from across the world, bringing their gifts of storytelling, of bread-baking, and of...I forget the third 'gift.' Out of an honoring that this gift would not have been appreciated by my sister, that I was giving it because I wanted to give it with a rather angry-feminist-flick at her, I did not leave the store with it... I don't remember whether magi was even used in the text itself...

Magi is the plural form of magus, which named a priest in Zoroastrianism and the earlier religions of the western Iranians, the Persians. The earliest known use of the word magi is in a trilingual inscription written by Darius the Great—the Behistan Inscription. This word is commonly associated with the astronomy/astrology of the time, alchemy and other forms of esoteric knowledge. (That both scientists and religious folks today hold these things in disdain or condemnation should cause your eyebrows to rise and get curious...). In these contexts, the word carries a feeling of magician or practitioners of magic. Once Latin and Greek languages-influence come into play, we land with magi meaning “kings” or “wise men,” entering into English through the Latin around 1200 C.E. Today, depending upon your level of fear and willingness to demonize another, magi can bring a ‘scholarly’ condemnation of Zoroastrianism or a 'projection of fear' onto other human beings accused of ‘the dark arts’ or magick. My own scholarly-skepticism is well-familiar with both condemnation and projection, so I’ve taken to getting curious about the scholar's need to condemn, the patriarchal-Christian need to demonize. That may be more healing, in the end, I’m learning.

 So why not condemn or refuse? Why care about all of this? Because we have now received a delightful serendipitous-juxtaposition that invites our reclamation of We the People amidst some of the most fear-mongering and inhumane energies I know in the United States today.

Magus...priest of an ancient tradition ...

MAGA...Make America Great Again ...

and now

Maga...the feminine form of magus...

a Harvest Woman rising into her distinctive necessary presence and gifts for the world 


I landed here in this linguistic collision because I was looking for the location of an article I had read years ago on the Harvest Woman or being an Autumn Woman—a woman after motherhood who is entering into menopause, yet clearly years before her evolution into Elder/Crone. A Harvest/Autumn Woman is awakening to her distinctive gifts to bring to the world, often with a much more deeply embodied wisdom shaped by nourishment-with-rigor, deeply felt commitment to the earth and her offspring…gifts differentiating from and completely freed of the biological-mothering rhythms and quite distinct from the more cerebral-linear masculine (today, especially). I was looking because I had just spent a privileged-blessed hour with an awakening Harvest Woman…


Eventually, I remembered that it was a women’s circle community in Australia, and that my first introduction to this wisdom circle was an article on Menstruation as Spiritual Practice. (Yes, really...). Both essays were timely gifts for me five years ago as I was beginning the long journey of reclaiming my own body, its beautiful blood-rhythms, its impending journey into menopause. Because of this community, these writings, I was able to truly love my body’s deep-wisdom known during menstruation—the dreamtime, the deeper sensations and awarenesses—before it was all over. The imposed shame of my tradition’s condemnation of my woman’s blood as unclean broke open to a fierce delight in my body’s wisdom-week every month. I was increasingly freed of the inherited embarrassment of my blood’s presence, smell, physicality. Before it was too late, I knew my motherhood’s cycle-rhythm-wisdom, though my path has been to not have biological children. Utter GIFT. I then learned I was becoming a Harvest Woman, approaching menopause. With longer-life, women today enter into this distinctive evolution of the Feminine beyond its phases determined by the masculine and its predilection to focus on maiden and motherhood. I was entering into the phase of my Feminine journey completely independent of the masculine yet gifted with all the masculinized gifts I had inherited and honed in my journey. 

So, this earlier essay led me to the updated site, which can be accessed here. What had been has become a portal into the writings and teachings of Jane Hardwicke Collings, introduced more fully here. And you know what the Harvest/Autumn Woman essay has become, re-named? Introducing Maga

Collings gives her introduction to the name, Maga, from her friend Cedar Barstowe, while they were sitting on the back deck of a home in Boulder, Colorado. Maga is the feminine form of magus, priestess of the Feminine moving into the world. As Jane asked her friend for more story, Cedar said, “I’m no Crone yet….far from it, I’m out there in the world earning my living and I have much to give. … My life experience and the wisdom it has brought me provide a stable and rich foundation. … I have arrived at my Self in this life season. I’m not trying to prove myself and so I’m now driven by a desire to use my gifts and passions to give back. The name Maga came from one of the women in our community, Sylvia Keepersii. An apt and potent image, Maga was intended as the feminine version of Magus – the wise man, magician.”

As I read this updated version of the article I had read years ago, I was stunned as it came fully home into my own body.

I AM A MAGA? I gasped and paused. My United States-ean soul-eyes bugged out, again my body breathing in sharply. 

And then a deep-womb laughter of the Old Woman coming soon within me began at my very root… I let the guffaw fill the room and sat with the picture-perfect unity of it all. I could hardly contain the delight and giggling.

Today’s Harvest-Women-Magas are the perfect counterpresence to USA's MAGA. We are simply going to take-over their name, their symbol…just as many populations unseen by the dominating-toxic masculine reclaim words for themselves. Perhaps this time, we'll do so with pink Maga hats and irrepressible humor, fortitude, and wisdom, which is able to love the violently afraid, able to withstand the pains of rebirth all around us.

This capacity in us is not painless, but it does not require suffering, if we surrender to who we already are in this world and the gifts we are here to bring. Nor is this journey peaceable or calm as we would hope for. It’s incredibly tense and holding-still. It’s an increasingly energized stasis, knowing yet waiting patiently in the Flow for the Pace of Guidance. It’s more like being an arrow drawn back to the bow but fiercely held there, staying, not releasing any weapons, not participating in the violence. When we participate in the violence, after all, we become them...


Regardless of who wins the election next week, our world IS beginning to see this global rise of Harvest-Autumn Women, deeply steeped in the wisdom of nourishment-with-rigor, living a fierce protection of the young, the vulnerable, and the elderly… No matter what happens in these next weeks, more and more of us are rising to care for the planet, for our Mother. She is calling her best warriors who know intimately the costs of war and have the personal power to stop it the only place it can be stopped...withinwhile standing firm without...

Which can only happen when each/all of us learn it within, for ourselves, first…women now, but also our men... When we learn that each of us is worthy of true intimacy while most of us have not actually experienced it in the prisons of cultural-marriages, the (external and internalized) abuse of women(-identified), and the toxic masculinity binding our beautiful, compassionate men(-identified). When we learn our safety matters and learn how to hold our own boundaries, with deepening personal power used for the good of all, not the (un)paltry economic gains of the few.

We used to think voting was about the economy, but it’s increasingly NOT about economic stability or security anymore. It’s slowly becoming about awakening and becoming human, connected, kind… Our Harvest-Autumn women(-identified-ones) are re-learning how to allow the masculinized partners in their lives to do their own emotional-spiritual work, to absolutely be required to honor spoken boundaries and the distinctive gifts of the women-identified in their lives, even more than their own...a spiritual strength of surrender inaccessible to most (men-identified) today. It’s not easy, and as most child-bearing women know, it’s bloody and full of shit that needs to get out of the way.


But the Maga are here, in our midst. More and more of us... We stand for the vulnerable, the young, the elderly, those who are suffering. We won’t save this world because Maga wisdom is not about salvation of what used to be. It’s about more and more of us becoming the New, to-get-Her, pushing through What-Was without denying or blaming or ignoring or even looking away. The best part of this, in my belly, is the ability to smile gently but persisently: today’s MAGA is only the painful-pill or seed of all the Maga to come. We are already here, learning...


...we may need to confess that the majority of these our United States may not have woken up enough to know this from within... We may yet be in for the ruin of our institutions in the teeth of the inhumane...but I am writing for myself here to remember. The Maga are already here, rising... More and more of us... Women and men learning to do this kind of work, inside, for themselves...for the most tender of us... We simply need to hold Her hand(s)...together.


  1. This is THE MOST POWERFUL piece of writing I have read in a very long time. Yes, we are rising and we do need to stand with the vulnerable, the young, the elderly, and those who are suffering.

  2. LISA! ....already! Thank you, sister!

  3. "Before it was too late, I knew my motherhood’s cycle-rhythm-wisdom, though my path has been to not have biological children. Utter GIFT."

    "The Maga are already here, rising... More and more of us... Women and men learning to do this kind of work, inside, for themselves...for the most tender of us... We simply need to hold Her hand(s)...together."


ENACTING Beloved Community

This is a phrase that undergirds the work of C. Anthony Hunt (or here ) as well as a curricular goal of one of United Seminary’s Immersion...