Is it reckless or holy to dare to redefine sacred words?

2024 a year of sacred memory, dreaming dragons, and original prayer

Week 20--in which we ponder: "Is it reckless or holy to dare to redefine sacred words?"

Friends, soul writers, mystics, witches, and lovers of prayer,

I spent this past week in a sacred circle of sisters. My younger sister and her wife flew down from Minneapolis. We filled the car with food and drove to Punta Gorda to be with our oldest sister whose beloved husband just died. It was the first time in years all of us were together.

I had no idea what a week in a house in mourning would be like. Or if I would be able to do anything to ease such sorrow. My intention was simply to be present. To listen. To affirm their abiding love. (They were high school sweethearts separated at 18 who reconnected at 60 and were inseparable for the next 20 years. It’s quite the love story.)

But something happened that I didn’t expect. Something I’m slowly digesting.

To understand what happened, you have to know that I have been television-less for 14 years.

I was never a TV addict, but there were a few shows I watched. But in May of 2010, I took a group of 13 enthusiastic deep soul writers to Oaxaca Mexico. I’d never led a trip, so I asked a spiritual travel professional to select the location, tour guide, and itinerary.

The trip turned out to be spectacular. We stayed in a small adobe hotel with just enough rooms for our little group. The hotel had two tiny outbuildings: a chapel and a kitchen with dining room. The hotel had no screens, letting in the delicious cacophony of cicadas in the trees and the not-so-delicious cacophony of a lone and apparently quite lonely donkey.

Our tour guide was a college professor with expertise in syncretism—how a new religion melds the stories and symbols of an older religion into itself to ensure easy conversions. Every day we’d pile into our little tour bus and our professor would take us to place after place that illustrated how easily the Dominicans transmuted the ancient god and goddess stories into the Jesus story.

I found it all just so heartbreaking.

We also got to experience pre-colonial healing ceremonies with a native Shaman in our little chapel. The richest experience was standing on sacred ground at the top of a hill where the chief shaman sat in a sacred water pool, looked down at the reflection of the stars, and predicted the arrival of what we now know were the Spanish conquistadors. Thanks to his mystical foresight, several tribes in central Mexico scattered and were saved.

One morning at breakfast, I realized how happy our little group was. With no TV, radio, or newspaper, we were oblivious to the news of the day. With zero distractions, our focus was only on one another and the experiences (and food!) we were sharing. After breakfast, I picked up a journal, and told Dear God (to whom I addressed my soul writing at the time), that I finally understood what it means to be fully present.

I wrote: Help me remember how to be present when I get home.

Be careful what you declare in soul writing! When I got home, both my TV and the cable box were broken. Took me two days to realize I’d received exactly what I asked for. And I haven’t missed television since.

But my sister and her husband watched TV throughout his illness. The TV was on when we arrived and it stayed on the whole time. It took me a while to adjust, but I had resolved to do whatever she wanted and what she wanted was for us to watch TV with her.

The first night, she suggested we watch a PBS series called Poldark. I never heard of it, but she said we’d love it because it takes place in England after the American Revolution and has quite the love story. I got comfy and watched the first episode. When it ended, we watched the second, and the third.

The next day, I actually wanted to watch more.

Cathy Stevens Pratt, my partner in creating The Witch Sequence texted to ask how I was. I said I’m watching TV. She said: What? You’re watching TV! Yup, I answered, and I love it. Or rather I love this show. Just like my sister said, it was surprising to see how losing the American Revolution decimated the British economy. And the love story was wild. The main character, Captain Ross Poldark, who had been injured fighting for England in Virginia, comes home to Cornwall and takes risk after risk in politics, in mining, in love…in, well, everything.

When I got back home, my sister-in-law showed me how to watch Poldark on Prime Video. I watched two episodes Wednesday night. On Thursday, I realized the series was ending at midnight. Oh dear. So I skim-watched the rest. When the last episode ended, I felt strange and sad.

On Friday morning, a startling revelation surfaced.

Ross Poldark, the main character, was reckless. I found myself tearing up as I realized my husband looked like Ross, took outrageous risks like Ross, made the same mistakes as Ross, was as charming and beloved and principled as Ross.

Uh oh. This led to some intense introspection on my attraction to a reckless man.

That afternoon, my son called for our weekly Friday chat. I told Jerry about being surprised at loving the series, and how I was now exploring what it means to be “reckless.” We talked about all the times his father spurned the system and did what he felt was right despite the risks, and then, all the times Jerry has taken what most would consider reckless actions to uphold his principles.

I congratulated Jerry on inheriting the best of his father.

And that, I thought was the end of that. But of course it wasn’t. The door was just opening.

This morning, Saturday, in deep soul writing, the word reckless surfaced again. This word really really really wants my attention! And I began to see why. The fictional character of Ross Poldark and the very real husband and son in my life were not the only reckless ones.

My son did not inherit his taste for recklessness just from his father.

I began to list all the things I’ve done that others would absolutely consider reckless. Risky. Unsafe. The list began to grow. And grow. And grow. At 29, I stopped and burst into tears. It would appear that my entire life has been one risky move after another. There were four major opportunities in my life when I could have taken the safe route, stayed in a stable position, kept doing what I already knew how to do. But I never stayed.

Until this moment I would not have called myself reckless, but I think I should embrace that word a bit more.

  • After all, wasn’t it reckless to say yes to prayer artist and completely change everything I do and teach?
  • Wasn’t it reckless to close a very successful radio show to open a podcast on prayer?
  • Wasn’t it reckless—crazy reckless—to say yes to witch and fire my agent when she told me to not use that word?

Those seem rather reckless!

But the three that stuck out the most were the three times I had the audacity to redefine a sacramental word.

  • Prayer for example. It took me six years to totally redefine prayer. I thumbed my nose at the dictionary that says prayer is supplication of an external god figure following a formula. Bloody lie.

    Prayer is none of that. Prayer is love songs, sacred medicine… A total of seven utterly delicious definitions that we explored in depth in the third A.R.T intensive on Original Prayer that just ended.

  • Another massive word I’ve redefined—or more accurately, am still redefining is witch. You can just imagine how witch is defined in the dictionary. Blood lies.
  • And here's another important and ancient word that I’m currently redefining. Anointing.

The fourth A.R.T. intensive in The Witch Sequence is a radical remembering of Myrrhophore Anointing. The dictionary says anointing is smearing or rubbing with oil as a religious ceremony like baptism or consecration of a priest or monarch. I wouldn’t call those lies, but they are not the original or complete story of anointing which goes back thousands of years before patriarchal religions subsumed anointing into the narrowest of uses.

Anointing is older and way bigger than anything any religion does today.

In other words, prayer, witch, and anointing are the victims of Christian syncretism.

And I consider it my sacred witch honor to restore them to their vast mystical feminine meanings.

A.R.T. 4 on Myrrhophore Anointing opens in August. Cathy Stevens Pratt, Emma Kupu Mitchell, and I are creating it right now. I can say this much: anything you think you know about anointing is too small. Too limited. Anointing, for example is not limited to using oils. There are several other ways to anoint.

And of course, the word anoint is demanding to be redefined.

Like prayer and witch before it, I know I’ll be working on a rich definition for months, maybe longer. But here’s where I am right now. I know this isn’t instantly understandable. Nothing that is truly mystical is ever easy to understand, not at first glance, perhaps not ever. That’s what makes it mystical. Magical. Ancient. True.

But here’s a good start:
Anointing is the sacrament of remembering.

Many are asking me how to prepare for A.R.T. 4. If you want to be open and ready to awaken the ancestral mysteries of Myrrhophore Anointing, consider watching the prayer intensives that lead up to anointing:

A.R.T. 1 on Full Body Intuition
A.R.T. 2 on Threshold Crossing
A.R.T. 3 on Original Prayer

During my annual birthday sale, all 3 are available until June 16 with a crazy discount of 22% off the already greatly reduced On Demand price.

Peruse the entire On Demand list, put any you want in your cart, not just the A.R.T. intensives, and enter the coupon code birthday

First LIVE Witches Cafe is May 26
Because the Witches Cafes are such a rich part of the A.R.T. intensives, I’ve created five special live gatherings every other Sunday starting next Sunday, May 26.

When you register for any of the A.R.T. intensives, you will receive the dates and zoom link in the Thank You for Registering page that comes on your receipt. Plus I'll send a reminder email two hours before we gather next Sunday. If you haven't been in a Witch Cafe, know that they're delightful and powerful at the same time.

All Intensives

Please open my gift. I hope you'll take this opportunity to join me and other magnificent women and men around the world awakening our original WitchArt gifts.

to having the audacity to do something reckless, holy, delicious, and fun!

Janet

website: janetconner.com

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