Conversations with Brooke Medicine Eagle
The Role of Women Today
When we are born in female bodies — when we choose a female body for our earth body — we literally choose to come into the Earth plane with the charge of the nurturing and renewing all of life. We choose to nurture and renew all life, not just through the birthing of children, but through teaching everyone that ability to nurture and renew life, so that we don’t wind up being the ones taking care of everything. It is that sense of standing as warrior women for life, for aliveness, standing for really taking the energy away from those things that are destructive to life and aliveness and the circle of all our relations. That, to me, feels like the really important charge for women in this time.
When the woman I called Rainbow Woman, who has now revealed herself as White Buffalo Woman, spoke to me at my Bear Butte vision, she reminded me that women carrying that energy are extremely important now. We must bring that energy forward, because the world is out of balance. The masculine energy that says and acts, “Change it. Fix it. Move it. Rape it. Hustle it.” is way out of balance. We need to bring that male energy back into balance, so it isn’t overpowering the feminine nurturing energy.
The primary law — the first law among people from my background — is that you must take care of, and nurture, and renew all life. And women are in charge of that. So, the women carry the charge for the highest law. And they carry the charge to teach it, not just police it. We are charged with teaching it to all our children, all our families, so everyone is aware of how to nurture all of life.
And our work is also about good relationship. We come into life with a total fascination for, and interest in, this business of “relationship.” If you sit down with a bunch of women, what will they be talking about? Relationship. They’ll invariably be talking about who’s doing what, to whom, and how. Relationship is our forte; and our challenge is to learn to be better with relating to things in a good way. I think our most intimate relationship might even be the hardest work we do, but if we can get that clear, we can take that experience, that wisdom, and move it to a larger frame. I’d recommend James Redfield’s Celestine Prophecies. His comments on relationship are very simple, but stunning. They make you go, “Oh, this isn’t so hard. There are things to do here, but I think I can do it.”
As women, we are coming to a place of great power, and it is time for us to express our power. I think we’ve moved, thankfully, through the times when we see the way to gain power as a process of out macho-ing the guys. Socially, I feel we’ve moved beyond the hard-edged, pushy, “wearing the pants and the big boots” kind of energy in order to take power.
It is imperative, in this time, that women really work with Women’s Mysteries; work with your Moon time. There is enough information available on menstrual work, whether it’s on my tapes or from other sources. Women’s Mysteries carry an empowering work of Spirit.
We must understand that this is not about domination and force. It is about flow and connection. It is about flow and connection to and relationship with, the feminine power. That’s what it’s all about. And that is exactly what we need so crucially today; that’s what we desperately need to have modeled on this Earth now.
It is crucial that, as women, we fully understand that our role is a role of service, with a capital S. But that doesn’t mean being a servant, in the negative sense. Our role is to be of service to the people around us, including the men around us. But that doesn’t translate to saying, “Yes, dear. Isn’t that wonderful what you’re doing, dear. Anything you do, is fine. I’ll help you with anything you want, dear.”
Our real role of service is to give clear feedback about whether or not that person is walking the line of good relationship and doing it well! That means instead of saying, “Yes, dear,” you say, “Listen, guy, that’s not alright with me.” That means sometimes you say, “I’m not interested in walking beside someone who damns his life that way.” Or, it means giving praise when someone is walking a way that is good for the Earth.
So service really means helping a person with their soul work, with their real self, which must become a loving, “good relationship” self.
It isn’t about saying, “Yes, dear,” to everything.
What if women had the ability and the understanding, over the last 100 years, to look deeply into men’s work, and see as deeply as we see today, what the implication and ramifications of that work would be for the next seven generations of children? If women had had that sight and taken a voice, things might be different today. What if women had said to those men of even fifty years ago, “Hey, what you are doing is not alright with me.”
It would have taken a lot of courage.
It still takes a lot of courage. It might mean taking the risk of leaving the corporate world. It might mean doing a million other things that seem scary and hard. But that’s our role. That’s our job! That is service.
In effect, that is saying, “Hey, I don’t want you to spend a lifetime building karma that’s about killing things and ruining life for our Grandchildren.”
Being in service as a woman is about saying, “I will not live that kind of life. I will not stand beside you for that.”
So that’s why we need to learn about how we use our power as women. I once had a teacher who was really a wild woman. She used to say, “You know, women have the shoe stores and the men really want shoes.” She was saying we really have a lot of things that men want, and we can set some rules about how those things are given, and about how we love. How we give attention and nurturing must depend on some things.
It must depend on how the guy behaves. It must not be, “Oh yes, dear. You get to be nurtured, cared for, agreed with, and supported, no matter what you do!”
When my mother wanted to leave an abusive relationship with my dad, she spoke with her mother about the situation; and her mother said, “You made your bed, now lie in it!” How could she choose and be supported to get in a better situation? And why did her mom respond that way? Because she’d been in an abusive situation for 50 years!
We need to take the long view and handle our issues inside ourselves. And one of the things we must remember about forgiveness is: forgiveness is freeing.
And we must always remember one of the most important things about forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice. And sometimes it’s a hard choice. Sometimes it seems easier to just keep bitching and blaming and being angry. I know that energy. But we have choice. If we are going to create magic in our lives, we need to be 70% present. That means we must be 70% in this now. We must be right here now, present in this moment. We might be present with all our hurts, and our judgments, and our beliefs, but acknowledging that, and getting into the present moment, is how we create magic. And that is where we create the next step, in a better way.
So, it’s a hard choice to make. But if you can create a beautiful life for yourself in this present by bringing your energy into the present; then it will feel real powerful. And forgiveness is the key to getting into the present.
You’ve got to give up the baggage and stop hanging out in your past. I know someone who’s mad at a husband she had 25 years ago. She still lives her life being angry with him. And it has made her an angry, bitter person. And she hasn’t even seen the man for 20 years! I mean, she’s way back there somewhere! How could she possibly create a happy, excited, and joyful life for herself?
It’s all choice. You pay your money, and you take your choices. And if you want to play that game and stay back there in the bitterness and the confusion, then fine. But if you want to come into the present moment and say, “I’m still feeling this hurt, and I need to figure out how to deal with it,” that’s great! Go get therapy. Clear it through your present work. But, please, get through it, and let it go! Because the longer you drag your old baggage and wounds around, the less time you have to think about how to actively choose and create your life.
I think we’ve developed a strange habit I’ll call the Therapy Mode. Because we no longer have extended families, we go to the therapist to have someone who will listen to us. Reason it out. If all your problems were solved, you wouldn’t get to go have this wonderful, nurturing connection with someone who listens once a week. And if all your problems were solved, they wouldn’t make their money.
We’ve gotten in the habit of telling what’s wrong to a therapist, as a way to feel heard and feel connected. We really need to turn that around. We need to work on our relationships, to create a nurturing and helpful place at home to be heard. And we need to work within our community, in the present moment, to create more nurturing and helpful environments there. Then we won’t have to spend money to continue running our negativity.
I tell people to really watch where they choose to spend their energy. Because where you spend your energy is what you’re creating in your life. So, if you want to spend your time being aggravated at your mother and running that number endlessly, guess what? That is what you are creating in your life. But, if you make the other choice, you can choose to say, “Boy, oh boy. I am really aggravated at my mother.” And you pound your fist on the door for five minutes. And then you get on with the rest of your life. Then you’ve got more time to create something really beautiful in your present life.
A Process to Accomplish Release Sit down and write out all of the stuff, all the issues that pull you into the past and into negativity. Just pour it all out. Number them. Put it all down on paper, so you can recognize them when you do them. And if you need to add to this list because you catch yourself doing another one, just add it to the list. Then review that list every once in a while. That way you can say, “Oh, I recognize that little number. I’m running that negative number again. It’s based on the past. I don’t have to react this way!” When you catch yourself, you can shift it.
One thing that I’ve been taught to do is to really pay attention to my daily inner thoughts, my inner visions. That inner thinking, that inner talking is like my daydreams. So, this is some of my dreaming work. I look at the situation to see if I might be running a negative thought pattern. For example, I might be talking on the phone while a thunder storm is raging. Maybe I catch myself thinking, “Wow, that lightning could just come right on down the phone line and zap me.” But when I catch myself doing that, I now can say, “And that’s a story that doesn’t have to happen.” You are immediately catching yourself, instead of going on and on with that kind of negative thought or thinking that carries you into the past.
Just stop and say, “That’s not a useful thought. That’s not a story that needs to happen.” Then, immediately change your thoughts and your creation. “Oh, we’re going to have a wonderful conversation, and it’s going to be just fine. And the rain will come and wet the earth, and it will be wonderful.” When you have a positive thought like that about the rain nurturing the Earth, say to yourself, “And this is a healing story. And this is a good thing.” Really acknowledge yourself when you’re doing that. That way, you bring yourself around to more and more positive images, and that creates the electromagnetism in your mind that brings those beautiful things to you. It’s a matter of awareness and choice. You really have to want to turn things around; and you must also have the faith that it’s going to be different when you do turn it around. But you must watch those inner messages, that inner language, and the energy attached. That ability to be consciously mindful of your inner language is one of the finest practices you can accomplish.
And if you hear negative or damaging, fearful thoughts, just say, “And that doesn’t have to happen!” Then turn around, and create an image of what you would like to have happen, and acknowledge that by saying, “And this is a healing, beneficial story. This is a good thing.”
The Meaning of Grandmother and Grandfather When I speak of Grandmother and Grandfather, I am referring to Grandmother, or Mother Earth, and Grandfather, or Father Spirit. In that frame of reference, I think of Great Grandmother, like the Great Goddess, the Great Mother that is the Beginning of all things.
Then, in the next level in my mind, I drop down to thinking about the Grandmothers in the sense of the ancestor Spirits, who mostly have gone on beyond this plane. In that frame of reference, I am speaking of those who have gone beyond, who literally carry, or have established, a line of energy that continues to this day.
Whether they have passed beyond this Earthly life or not, these Grandmothers hold a powerful and loving intention for their Grandchildren on this earth today. And I believe they continue this loving connection with us, and they are willing to be connected through meditation and prayer to help us answer the questions we have in life. I believe the Grandmothers, in that place of Spirit, have access to a larger realm of information and can be a wonderful guidance for us.
And it’s an important thing, especially for women, that we be aware of connecting to our own mother during meditation or prayer. We must acknowledge that she might not have had the chance to learn what we know, and forgive any omissions she may have made with us, considering cultural and social pressures.
It is critical to get over blaming, and instead, to connect lovingly with our Mother’s spirit and energy. And then, during meditation, we must be aware of connecting with her Mother’s Mother, and then with her Mother, and her Mother, and go on back, forever. Go back through all your human ancestors, and then be aware of going back into the animal, and all the other kingdoms.
I believe there is an ancestral line that goes way back; it literally extends back through all the kingdoms, and that is the loving energy of the Grandmother who just loves her Grandchild and would always give her Grandchild the best guidance possible.
So the Grandmother energy for me is just the most loving, wonderful, comforting, nurturing guideline. It is a cord, a circle that is holding wonderful energy for us. And as we meditate and consciously connect, we might be able to awaken to some of that energy.
Next, I would describe those Grandmothers with a capital “G,” who are elder women living today. These are the white-haired crone wisdom women who are carrying that same kind of love and nurturing, and they consciously hold a loving energy in prayer for all of the Grandchildren of all our relations. They are the women who understand the Grandmother Wisdom Lodge and make that commitment to care for all their relations, and they are actively doing that! And the fact is, we are losing a lot of those Grandmothers who have the heart, the intention, and the training to be aware at that larger level than themselves.
I encourage women to step into that line of Grandmothers and to begin to look forward to that time when they can hold that large a love and caring for others, and do the ceremonies, and keep the energy for all the children.
I see the original Grandmothers as the manifest beings who have been here and are gone beyond, but are a continuing line of energy.
I certainly would call some of the Ascended Masters Grandmothers. They are models of the ones who very profoundly hold that energy, and we have a name for them. But there have been many, many, many others. There are many Native Women who have held marriage baskets and held the shields of the world. They have really been holding the balance in many different forms. These are women whose names we may never know, but they are there, praying for us, and they will continue to do that.
I think of Creator, Mother/Father differently. To me that is non-manifest energy, that is a creative energy that lives within all of us. So when I say Grandmothers, I am not referring to Creator, Mother/Father.
Moontime Mystery Women must start paying attention to their Moontime and doing Moontime practices. We should take time during our Moon. We should quiet ourselves and listen to Spirit. That is the thing that works best for women during Moontime. It is best for our health, and it is the best for everyone in the whole circle.
I believe that it was originally women’s choice to sit out of ceremony and not cook, or take care of anyone during Moontime. I believe it was the women’s law that we got to take time off. Women left the usual circles, by choice, during this time and went, and sat, and quieted themselves, and listened to Spirit. That was the most profound thing you could offer.
We have forgotten how that choice was made, and since we have not chosen that for ourselves, we have allowed others to tell us those things in a way that isn’t very pleasant. And there’s also this Cowboy-Indian-Macho attitude that turns women not participating in ceremony during their Moon, into a negative energy.
And the men don’t understand; they just remember some old rule that said something about the women not being around the food during their Moon. So, they’ve turned women taking time to take care of themselves during their Moon, and not cooking for others as they usually do, into “You’re not clean, so you can’t touch the food.” And the whole process has been made into a negativity, and the wider culture has reinforced that.
But what we, as women, need to understand, is that our energy is different during Moontime. The most profound thing we can do is step aside. We must understand that a woman’s energy during Moontime is literally an energy that is spiraling down into the dark, into the depths. It is flowing and rolling, and in that way, it moves through form, like a big river moves through structure, through form, and thus, it de-structures things. So the energy we carry during our Moontime is de-structuring energy. If you can perceive this without seeing it as a negative, our energy during Moon is de-structive energy, and that’s its purpose! We are supposed to break through old forms, and old structures, and old beliefs, and old ideas, and touch the essence of the great truths which aren’t yet formed and don’t already have little boxes to sit in. So, as women on Moon, that’s where we’re trying to get to; and that’s where our energy is taking us.
Knowing that, now consider what happens if you are a woman on Moontime sitting in a ceremony where there is a structured order and a way—where you have to follow a linear order, where to get to four and five, you have to go through one, two, three. The energies would fight each other.
And that’s why women chose to set themselves aside, rather than participate in structured ceremony during Moontime.
We don’t take enough time for ourselves anyway. We really don’t rest, or take enough time off. Some women almost never rest, or take time for themselves. Don’t let someone else tell you to do that for the wrong reason. Know it for yourself!
Start training the men. Start training your husbands and your kids that during your Moon, you take time off. They can cook for themselves during that time. And when you come home from work, take a hot bath, go to bed early. Have some quiet time. That’s what you deserve.
When you choose that for yourself, no one can banish you.
It is the responsibility of the person running the Sweat Lodge or any ceremony, to find out about the power and the beauty of Moontime, so that when they’re running a ceremony, they can be prepared to educate. They could have a sheet to hand out that explains what Moontime is really about. Or, better yet, they could have someone there to work with the women on Moon, so that it is honored.
Women on Moon can have their own ceremonial circle while a Lodge is going on. That way, women on Moon sit aside in a circle of their own. During the Lodge, they meditate, and bring in good information. Then, when the Lodge or ceremony is over, they should be brought back to the circle, and asked to share what they received in their meditation that would serve the whole circle.
There’s much more information than we have space to consider here. But it’s important, as women, to know for ourselves what our Moon energy is like, and how we can serve the most deeply with it. We need to convince ourselves that what others say about Moontime isn’t true, rather than being reactionary and angry at what can feel like ostracism. Besides, reaction and anger comes out of being unsure ourselves. And of course we’re unsure, because we’ve been told all our lives that we’re dirty when we’re menstruating!
But when you know that menstrual blood is one of the most nourishing things you can give the Earth, and that it nourishes the child, if a child is brought into your womb, it becomes a honor. And if you know that when you don’t choose to bring a child into your womb and that blood is released, it is the most nourishing, positive thing you can give back to the Earth, it changes everything. You need to have that knowledge. You need to own the beauty and mystery of that experience. If you take control and own that wisdom, and take control of your own experience, then no one can tell you any different. And when you own that knowledge, you can respond differently to the ignorance that comes at you.
Why should anyone else be able to tell me anything about my Moontime? I’ve been doing it for years. But if I’m ignorant, and I don’t have any idea what the energy of Moontime is all about, then I have to buy someone else’s garbage, because I don’t know any better. So it’s real important to know deep in our hearts. That way, if you’re asked to sit out of a ceremony in a Cowboy-Indian-Macho way, you can get with your Sisters and say, “Well, that person is very ignorant about this. Listen, let’s go sit inside and share some good energy on our own and say a prayer for the people who are ignorant.”
If you are in a situation where you, or a Sister on Moontime has been rudely and ignorantly excluded from ceremony, I think it’s fair to actually say something like this, in a nice way. “I don’t think you understand the beauty and mystery of women’s Moon. May I share that knowledge with you? The feminine must be honored and not denigrated. And I’d ask you, as a ceremonial leader, to really learn more about it.” I think that’s a viable response in a difficult situation, rather than being angry and reacting to their ignorance. If we can do that effectively, without hurt and anger, we will have accomplished a great deal.
Right now, it seems some of the so-called traditional Natives have bought a lot of the White Man’s stuff, filled with negativity and ignorance of the feminine. And they have forgotten that the feminine blood created them, and it has its own place and its own function. It needs to be honored.
The issue truly becomes poignant when a woman has planned to participate in a Sweat Lodge for three months and when the time comes, they’re on Moontime. That’s when it feels like abuse to be sent away. It’s really the scarcity of ceremony and Sweat Lodges and celebrations that makes us sad when we can’t participate. Of course, it’s sad when you’ve hoped for something for so long and then you’re refused.
That’s a very different thing from when our way of life was ceremony. In those days, there was a Lodge starting somewhere every five minutes!
I think it just urges us to create more rituals and ceremonies, so that no one has to feel abused when they are eliminated from attendance at one.
This article was written from a long conversation with Brooke Medicine Eagle. Lightning sparked the horizon and the Wakinyan (Thunder Beings) added footnotes for emphasis over her ranch in Montana as we spoke. I asked her to convey her understanding of the GrandMothers, because I felt many people addressed this language, “GrandMother, GrandFather,” without understanding what it meant. I requested that she speak about women on Moon being banned from ceremony because I was angry for the many women who had come to me in tears after being rudely turned away from Lodges and other ceremonies during their Moon. She not only taught me about the mystery of the Moontime, but she also taught me, without realizing it, that I could do more for my Sisters without my anger at the dominant male ignorance. She reminded me that what the ignorant need, is education. Her words about the role of woman in this time as one of service, but not, “Yes, dear,” are enlightened and timely. I consider Brooke Medicine Eagle one the greatest teachers we have available on this plane, not just for women, but for all people. She is also one of the few teachers I know who purposefully spends time each year learning something new herself. Thank you, Brooke! You honor me, and Wolf Lodge, by giving us your time and your wisdom. Aho. Judi Pope Brooke Medicine Eagle is an American Native Earthkeeper, teacher, healer, songwriter, ceremonial leader, sacred ecologist, and author of Buffalo Woman Comes Singing. Her dedication is to bringing forward the ancient truths concerning how to live a fully human life in harmony with
Aho Mitakyue Oyisin All Our Relations.
BROOKE MEDICINE EAGLE