This image will be familiar to women who love goddesses. This is the classic “drawing down the moon” posture of celebration and veneration. In my qigong practice it is called “drawing down heavens,” but I also like to think of it as “drawing up earth” since the gesture is made in a circle by arms around the central core of the torso, uniting earth and sky through the body.
Qi is Energy, Prana, Breath, and Gong is Work: Energy Work. When I first learned qigong I realized that I had been instinctively doing movements like these for years already, in my yoga/physical therapy/body practice. The movements themselves feel like they emerged organically. My husband says that when he sees me doing qigong, it appears as if I’m praying. This is just one of many ways that I “dance the old ways.”
Images like these goddesses arise in my mind during my practice, and I believe they aid and give me strength. They speak to me with the voice of my ancestors through my hands and body. This is the essence of the pagan experience, knowing divine energy for myself instead of having it translated to me by an intermediary, a priest or shaman or guru.
These small figurines from predynastic Egypt are from about 6000 years ago, found among funerary objects. They have the bird goddess head of Neolithic times and reach up to the sky; they are most often referred to as Nile River Goddesses.
Body wisdom: touch the sky, draw it down through me and into the earth, go around again. Open my arms, lift my heart. Look up.
Image source, The Great Mother, by Erich Neumann, first published in 1955 and dedicated to his teacher Carl Jung. This book is filled with amazing images of the Sacred Feminine going back into pre-history. It pretty much jumped off the library shelf at me when I walked past it in search of another book last month, and sparked the idea of Moonday School.