Becoming Priestess: An Invitation Into Radical Self Care

by | Mar 31, 2016 | Articles | 21 comments

Becoming Priestess

I am a person who has spent her life trying to heal the hurting places in women. Starting with myself.

I want women to feel powerful. To have agency in their lives.To be full of their own light and shining goodness. To bring that goodness out in the world where it can be celebrated and responded to with respect and joy. To dance. To laugh. To create their lives in the way that makes them feel most fulfilled. To be free.

On a very core level we are not broken. We can never be broken. Our spirit and our essence is inviolable and always whole.

But our human selves are a whole other story. Our hearts can break, our bodies can be injured beyond repair, our minds can fragment under unimaginable stresses or illness.

And when we are only focused on the wholeness and the light, that part of us that lies in a shattered heap can feel abandoned, neglected even betrayed.

I have been struggling for a while now with my body. Going to various healers, upping my self care practices, drinking my green smoothies, giving up chocolate, getting more help with my business, going on vacations, taking time to relax and read trashy novels and watch bad TV. But in some ways things keep getting worse. My body just keeps breaking down with new and often incomprehensible symptoms.

So I finally decided that instead of trying to make things better, I would simply listen.

What if my body is not being stubborn and a problem child but has all along been communicating with me? By refusing to be healed in the way that I keep envisioning, maybe it is actually saying to me something like: “Pay attention to what’s broken. Don’t try to fix it. Don’t try and triumph over it. Just BE with it.”

I realized that in order to address this question I needed to create a ritual. To consciously choose to let myself fall into the brokenness.

I began by creating a safe space for myself, finding a sheltered and comfortable corner of my home that was soft and nurturing and could hold me as I began this journey. Then I put on some music that transported me inward. Lit some candles. Said a few prayers. And waited. Listening patiently for what my body and soul wanted next.

And what I heard almost immediately were two words.

Anoint me.

Which kind of freaked me out but also felt so incredibly right.

Luckily I have been collecting some powerfully healing perfumed essences that were created by my dear friend Shelly Henry, also known as The Gatheress. I chose the fragrance she calls Wild Beauty, opened the bottle and let the gorgeous scent fill and surround me.

And then I began the process of anointing my body. And not my body as my powerful goddess self. But my body as vulnerable. As human. As broken.

I began by touching all those places that are painful or problematic. The places that cause me anguish and despair and shame. The parts of me that I want to repair and change and make better. The parts that make me angry and howling with agonized frustration.

I slowly and with shy tenderness began the practice of anointing each of those places that I so often fear with love. With compassion. Holding each of them as holy. Sacred. Precious. Deserving of my care.

I found myself becoming my own priestess, lighting candles of mercy in the temple of my body. Opening the door to the energy of the Great Mother, she who heals all wounds with exquisite tenderness and melting kindness, and allowing her to mother me.

As I anointed each distressed area the tears began to flow. Each touch of the fragrant oil on my skin unlocking floodgates of grief from years of trying to be better than I am. Crying for all those times of ignoring my fear and vulnerability in the service of achievement or accomplishment or looking good to the outside world. Sobbing in response to those many remembered moments and hours and days of pushing aside need and hurt and what I thought of as weakness because I felt ashamed to be so messily human.

And then it went even deeper.

I began to feel and see how those patterns of self neglect and harshness were an outgrowth of so many internalized messages that I received about being a woman as I was growing up. Memories of feeling oppressed, denigrated, victimized and powerless because I was female came rushing into my awareness.

All those beliefs that I was intrinsically second class, that I wasn’t good enough, could never measure up, lit up in me as if powered by neon. The assumption that I had nothing important to say ( because women aren’t as intelligent as men), no voice, no sovereignty over my choices or my life, that I only had value for what I could provide to another, that my role was to be used and taken from with no concern for my well being, flooded me with ancient anguish.

But these were no longer beliefs that lived only in my mind. I was feeling them as energies that had taken up residence in my flesh, my cells, my bones.

Even though I have spent my entire life proving to myself and others that NONE of those things are true for me or any other woman on the planet, even though I had done millions of years of therapy and felt those feelings of rage and sadness many times before, I had never HONORED the impact that those messages had on my psyche, my spirit and my soul. And my body.

I hadn’t brought those seemingly damaged places into the temple of the goddess where they could be bathed in beauty and sanctified. Where they would be seen and blessed and revered as the seeds that were the source of who I ultimately became as a woman.

I can’t say that my body was miraculously healed after this experience. But there is a lovely sense of peace in my heart and a deeper understanding and respect in my mind for how I have come to this place of difficulty and struggle in my life.

I will continue to drink my green smoothies and visit my many talented healers. Because those things help tremendously. But one thing I know for sure is that I need to add to my practice of self care and self love many more visits to the temple of mercy and sacred anointing.

And I invite you, in your own way, to join me there.


If you are hungry and READY to bring that sense of divine love and sacred embodiment more fully into your life, I have a powerful retreat coming up in April of 2016 called The Art Of Goddess Creation where we use the tools of expressive arts, ritual and a healing circle of love and support to help YOU reclaim your own capacity to treasure yourself once again. 



  1. Ah, Chris – your words are potent. Your vulnerability gorgeous. I adore you. Thank you for sharing this with us. Time for me to order some new goodness from Shelley. Big love, Sister.

  2. Chris, this writing is its own anointment for all of us. Thank you for so much beauty..

  3. So very touching and beautifully vulnerable! Fierce and important truth for us all. Thank you so much! Love you!

  4. AHO soul-sister, warrior-goddess, coyote-woman <3
    " a deeper understanding and respect in my mind for how I have come to this place of difficulty and struggle in my life"
    Thank you as ever. For sharing and showing up, and rocking the ever-loving-hell out of your magic.
    I'll see you there. Count on it.
    ~Shamsi Charlie Raven The Spirit-Dancer
    Priestess, Trickster, Lover, Warrior, Woman

  5. Beautiful and vulnerable. Thank you for this, and all of your work. Recently I too have felt the need to be anointed. I have imagined it, and felt the healing benefits, somehow. XO

  6. Thank you dearheart for sharing your deep wisdom and sweet humanity. I am so touched to be witness to your vulnerable strength; and inspired to come more fully into my own lived wisdom. love, respect,and joy to you

  7. You’ve done it again! Getting right to the heart of the matter, ringing my bells. It’s no wonder I was guided, those many years ago, to connecting with you. You are truly my Soul Sister, helper, guide and waver of the wand of healing. Gratitude, (which includes all the goodies.)

  8. Aaah my sweet fierce soulsistergirlfriend. Getting right close to the bone here. Yes, yes and yes! Much love…

  9. Chris, thank you for sharing your strong vision and vulnerability. If there wasn’t the distance, I would be spending time at one of your retreats. I believe that what you are offering is great healing and so needed. Thanks for sharing your gifts with all of us.

  10. I get it. Sigh… My body has been my greatest teacher. It’s been a real trooper and waiting for me to listen. Of course, then she finally says… OK… how loud to you want it? Need it? Apparently pretty loud sometimes. Perhaps if I were to volitionally listen,… she wouldn’t need to scream for my attention. Hmmm? Ya think! So I start with a truce. No fighting with each other today. OK… then some kindness and compassion. Sometimes, that’s all I know how to do. Aaah… to be in ritual with her… yes… to honor her and thank her for schlepping me around, for her patience with my ignorance, to honor her uniqueness and magnificence… yes, yes… YES. XO…

  11. Have to share this. And when I share I like to take a part of what I’m sharing to post…I can’t pick a part. It has to be the whole thing.

    And it reminds me of the true paradigm shift I had earlier this year when a woman in a writing group I was in spoke of seeing the “underside of the ocean” – when the tide was out and how vulnerable it was. And all of a sudden I realized that the Goddess has a vulnerable underside….and everything changed.

  12. Beautiful! Thank you!

  13. So gorgeous. Thank you. Chris, do you know the gorgeous “Felt Sense Prayer” ?
    I bet you’d love it. Right up this alley. <3

  14. Thank you Sister x

  15. Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty. I too have been struggling in a similar way and this concept of “anointing” brought tears of recognition and relief. Being human in an amazing sisterhood… what a gift!

  16. You’re honesty has struck a chord in me. I too learned to sit and listen for the answers and follow the instructions that come. Never have I heard of anointing myself in the way you have spoken. I will try this with all openness I can have because I truly want to heal all facets of my being. I am tired of the fragments being fragmented, I am tired of the trying and failing and all that comes with it. Listening to people who have been through it and hearing new approaches to my old problems is so refreshing. I can’t wait to see if this is the magical antidote to all my hurts. Thank you. And a Thank you to my dear friend Lyssa S. who turned me onto you through a facebook post.

  17. this is incredibly beautiful…+touching. thank you for sharing such love. xo,lori

  18. This resonates with me so much, and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing, truly heartfelt <3

  19. Oh so beautiful!! Thank you for sharing your vulnerability and deep wisdom that comes out of it.

  20. Thank for an awesome article!

  21. A delightful reminder of all that is whole about being a woman and how we can heal the damage of patriarchy with our own rituals.

    Thank you for sharing.

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