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Woman of the 14th Moon
by Madie Kessinger

I am an ELDER. By the waters of the river and in the presence of one hundred of my sisters, the tall whispering cedar had told me so. In the dark of the moon, the beat of the sacred drum, the rippling water, and the smoke from the ceremonial fire, I reached the final stage of my journey as a woman. Now, I am a teacher, a healer, and a woman of the 14th moon. I must stand straight facing the wind. I must choose my words carefully and speak them to the maidens of another generation.

I have been a child, a maiden, and a matron and now I am an ELDER. I have many stories to tell ... stories about my experiences in this great universe. And now, I have gained many sisters that I did not know I had, and they are with me and I am with them. They are the center of the universe. They spread far outward from the center. I have power and I must give wise counsel when it is sought. I must be worth keeping of the land, the air, and the water that belongs to my sisters and me. I have a voice and I am singing, but not alone. I feel Mother Earth beneath my feet and she tells me to protect the wild things that are with us. I will wear my red dress and stand deep in thought as I wait for grandmother and grandfather to guide me. I know that they too will say: "You are a teacher, you are a healer, and you are a woman of the 14th moon."

I am from Texas ­ land of pine trees, hot summers, rattlesnakes, cattle and cowboys. A place that has made great contributions to the history of our country. There are many "Bubbas" here. The word "Bubba" is defined in the l999 Webster's Dictionary as "A good old boy," one who is dependable, honest, and compassionate. Though Webster calls "Bubba" a male, there are many women with the same characteristics. I think I should find a term that would describe female "Bubbas" in order that they, too, might be included in Webster's Dictionary.

I have been coming to the Northwest some fifteen years now to be with my daughter and her family. I have many friends here. This is a different world and yet it is still the same as Texas. The people make me feel welcome wherever I go. I have learned different ways of life. I have met people from many foreign countries and call them friends. Through my daughter's activities (she always includes me) I have insight into new worlds. Worlds that are seeking to ease the burden of life for many and to find PEACE for all. When I return to my home in Texas, it is a different world. My friends do not and would not understand all that I have experienced in the Northwest. My church is one that has been established for centuries. I have "belonged" since a child. It is one of tradition but my particular church has undergone many changes. We believe in a universal GOD, do not interpret the Bible literally, and are free to appeal to our God as we wish.

Having worked in the professional world for many years and learning through many sad instances the plight and status of women, I champion all occasions where women draw together to support each other. This past weekend in an Earth and Spirit encampment on the banks of the Lewis River I had the privilege of enjoying and participating in just such a remarkable event. I found women that I had never seen before but that I seemed to have known. And now, they will be my sisters forever. I was a participant in a sacred ceremony honoring women and the feminine aspects of the Creator.

Yes, I now feel that I am a teacher, a healer, and a woman of the 14th moon. I will stand tall in my red dress.

The Earth & Spirit Council is a non-sectarian membership organization whose mission is to re-awaken our spiritual connection with the earth and to engage ourselves and others in earth-conscious living. 503-452-4483 www.EarthAndSpirit.org

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