ParaYourNormal welcomes Joy Reichard, expert on the divine feminine and all things goddess. We talk about the Goddess, altars, and even a ritual to mend a broken heart. In addition to having a book available on Amazon, Joy offers complimentary mini-ebooks with affirmations. Check them out in her online temple.
PYN: What is the divine feminine?
Joy: She is the archetype of that essence of woman that is divine in all her different manifestations [Tweet this!]. She is every part of what it means to be a woman – from the roles of mother and daughter and bride, to being the wise woman, the nurturer, the comforter, the lover. And she is that divine aspect that helps an earthly woman rise from the mundane to the divine.
For instance, we have the bride, who in our society is typically a young maiden moving into a new role of marriage and commitment and relationships. But on a more divine level, we have a young woman who is severing ties with the past and moving into a higher level of commitment, and relationship, and loyalty to a whole new way of life. Here, the more divine aspect is the death of the maiden and the birth of the adult woman.
PYN: How can people get in touch with Her?
Joy: I think getting together with other women who are also seekers of the divine can help, and finding a tribe of women who want to understand the divine beyond just the masculine. The divine masculine is not to be denigrated or undermined, but it is only half of what it means to be in a relationship with the divine. The divine masculine has its own properties – the father, the king, the shepherd – and that is good and helpful.
However, the father, the king, the shepherd archetypes do not exemplify the nurturing, comforting, and supportive aspects of what it means to be a woman. Nor do they exemplify that fierce compassion that is also what it means to be a woman – i.e. the mother bear who will snap at her cub when it’s time to leave, or the mother bird who pushes the fledgling out of the nest when it’s time to fly. So there’s a strength, and an understanding of life and independence that is divine feminine.
There are also feminine aspects like Kali and Sekhmet – that divine aspect who is willing to fight for justice, to be courageous in the attempts to transform, and to find her path and move on that path with courage, even as it takes you into the mystery of the unknown.
It’s also the aspect of woman who’s willing to clear the old. Who’s willing to release what no longer serves so you can step forward into the new. Who is willing to battle the demons, the shadow, so that a new way of being that is more authentic and honest and truthful can emerge.
And when you’re in relationship with other women seeking to know the whole divine aspect – masculine and feminine – you can and begin to rise above the mundane.
PYN: How did you develop your rituals?
Joy: Number one, I had a strong religious upbringing. My father was a Methodist minister. And in all religious practices there are rituals. So that gave me the beginning of understanding. But I also attended the Women’s Spirituality Program at New College in San Francisco. There, I attained a deeper knowledge of how we can use symbols and ritual and metaphor, bringing in the images of the divine for the purpose of making change. Ritual and ceremony are magic. It takes an ethical person who has done their work and the work with their shadow ensure the rituals that they use are for the highest purpose.
But going back to how can you connect to the divine, one way to do it is by engaging in ritual and ceremony – both individually and with other women – with the intention of bringing in the energies of the divine. And it helps when you use symbols to help you connect, like candles, flowers, incense, music, or crystals.
PYN: Explain the use of an altar
Joy: The altar is a central focus point. The mind is very, very powerful. As human beings, our minds are busy and our thoughts racing all the time. When we want to focus on accessing our mind, calling something important into our minds like a relationship or writing a book, creating an altar can augment that desire or focus [Tweet this!]. It helps us visually to see what we want to bring into our lives. And that helps to amplify our thoughts so that they’re less likely to be distracting.
An altar as a focal point of a ceremony helps us gather our focus and intentions and energies, so we can amplify our desires. By having that altar in a home, it is a way to subconsciously reinforce what we are calling into our lives, because we can process images and visuals much faster than we can process words and thoughts. Just by glancing at an altar we’ve created for a specific purpose, we can reinforce that purpose in our subconscious.
When we gather with other women for a particular purpose or intention, for example to honor the divine feminine as Aphrodite, who is the manifestation of live in all its properties, and create the altar that represents that, you’re literally gathering the energies of love and the power of the collective mind. With an altar, you can gather the energies to manifest greater expanded love of life. So the use of altar and ceremony and community and intention is all part of what helps you access the divine feminine.
Ritual can be very powerful. For instance, I recently went through a breakup. It was really, really painful. But I didn’t want to get stuck in the pain. I wanted to be able to open up to the greater lessons and gifts that came from that relationship. So I created a personal ceremony where I created a circle. I think I placed it in the north because that is the realm of physical manifestation and this is what I needed to break up . And as part of the ritual, along with the candles and incense and music, I went into meditation, called this person to me, and set the intention to release him and the relationship. Then I felt the energetic cords in my body where I was feeling the pain, and symbolically, cut the cords.
Once I had cleared that and released him, I called in the divine feminine and the aspects of Aphrodite and Annana and Freya and asked that the pain be removed and that I be open to seeing the gifts and the lessons. And the next day, the pain subsided. There was still pain; it takes time to grieve. But I started opening to the gifts and the lessons. And I could see more clearly from a higher perspective than from the wrath and anger of the woman scorned.
PYN: Tell us about your book
Joy: Celebrate the Divine Feminine, Reclaim Your Power with Ancient Goddess Wisdom. For four and a half years I’d been putting on sacred circles for women. There, we explored different archetypes of the divine feminine and we explored everything from Aphrodite to Mother Mary and Magdalen to Yemaya. After three years I had this amazing body of work that I felt needed to have a larger audience. I wanted to write a book that was not only informative about the divine feminine and Her different aspects and archeytpes, but would also provide guidance on how to set up altars and do ritual. So that’s what I wrote. My vision was to break it into four books: earth, air, fire and water. The first book is six aspects of the Earth goddess: the Neolithic Goddess, Grandmother Spider, Demeter and Persephone, Hecate, Lakshmi, and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Each of these goddesses reflect a different aspect of the earth goddess, from being the mother of all life to being the mother of the people who offers compassion and support.
PYN: What are you working on now?
Joy: I hope at some point to finish the other three books. But the experience of writing a book is time consuming and I have to allow for doing my other work, my private practice of working with women to help them create the life they want and to break out of those careers where they’re unfulfilled, or not living their full potential and value. And I’m still doing the divine feminine work of my In Her Name Circles and other classes and workshops.
Joy Reichard is a transformational and Money Story Coach, spiritual counselor, hypnotherapist and Reiki Master. She works primarily with women, helping them break free from these limiting and self-sabotaging beliefs so they can awaken to their brilliance, own their true value, and live their full potential.
Joy is also a spiritual leader for the Divine Feminine, helping women heal from their feminine wounds and step into their power using Ancient Goddess wisdom. She leads monthly women’s circles called In Her Name, which offers speakers and programs on feminine wisdom, women’s issues and the Divine Feminine. She leads workshops, classes, and teleseminars, and is the number one best-selling author of Celebrate the Divine Feminine: Reclaim Your Power with Ancient Goddess Wisdom.