MUSED
BellaOnline Literary Review
Death of Salome by Kristina Gehrmann

Non Fiction
The Breath of Women´s Power

Carolyn Lee Boyd

In ancient times, women celebrated their wildness, strength and will within through the rituals they created together. Over time, we only witnessed rituals others made, seated from afar. The time has come to reclaim the art of making rituals for ourselves. If we must sometimes make our new rituals only in our minds, so be it.

Throughout my 50 years of life, women have taken their place in my circle of power, one by one.
As I live my life day by day, I see those I have loved come and go with births and deaths, moving and moving on. When I view my life as a flowing whole, with all moments equal and present, the circle comes into focus, constant, intertwined and one.

These are the women who plucked embers from the own souls to light the first sparks of power within me. They breathed their own strength up into their mouths and blew onto me the smoky essence of themselves that I may breathe it in and transform it into my self. As each takes her place, I see the moment she bestowed her gift.

My mother has always been in this circle, even before me. Her force fired the earthen clay from which my body is made. In her 40s, she became a private pilot and would fly me over our house in her tiny plane, opening up to me the sky and its meanderings away from what I assume must be. Her muddy smoke turns to purest blue as it swirls around me.

My grandmothers stand farther back, not because they are outside the circle but because, as ancestors, their power is so mighty as to need distance. Olivia tells me of her beau from World War I who never returned and her past weighs heavy on me, too, grounding me. Gladys’s hands hold out the future in her stories of getting her university degree after marriage and motherhood while the neighbors whispered behind their draperies. Their smoke is the richest crimson of primordial life-giving.

My sister, pure heart illuminating from within. She scatters transparent crystals every evening as she tells me about the latest news of the single mother’s toddler she baby-sits as a favor each day.

And more came who I called on my own.

Marione, who told me my story was the best she had ever published, though I knew it was not, blowing faith in bone.

Isadora, her dancing feet leading to the moment when my body and mind became a unity, her white robes billowing.

Patti, walking onstage the first time I saw her, sure of herself as the high priestess of creation, black mist revealing.

Alice, the angel of reincarnation, giving me the hope of regeneration when she handed me her book about reclaiming her life. Her smoke is iridescent violet.

And so many more…

And so lives on the power that women have had always. It is not a power over others, but that comes from who the women are, transforming by the force of the undeniable fierce truth and gentle genius with which we live each day. This can never be taken or given away as long as we breathe and when we die it lives on in all those women whose lives it has illuminated.

I breathe in all the women’s smoke and it comes together and makes my own fire, my unique color that will never belong to another woman. I raise my head and blow it out onto the sky. The smoke rises and tendrils reach to every woman in my circle, living and dead, giving back to them what I have received. Plumes of the incense reach beyond the circle and an atom or two travels into every woman on earth, as a bit of each of them comes back to me. A haze of woman’s power covers the Earth, revitalizing it and making it even more beautiful than it was before.

And that’s how we change the world.

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