Miranda Gray – The Crow on the Cradle

it is a real honor for me to be here at the goddess conference the last time I gave a presentation in Glastonbury was about 20 years ago so it is a delight me to be back here I'd like to connect to the more gentle side of the Maidan to to her intellect to her playful curiosity and to do this I just like to start with a meditation so if you'd like to put everything down on the ground so close eyes take a deep breath and bring your awareness into your body be aware of your lower belly and feel no or see with a warm night gently surrounds you a beautiful calm mountain lake stretches out in front of you everything around you radiates stillness and purity you feel the strength of the silent earth supporting and above you a beautiful crescent moon bathes you and the mountains and the lake in her subtle light in the dark waters of the lake you see the crescent moon reflected and you also feel the crescent moon reflected in the dark waters of your womb you know in this place heaven and earth you know the deep within the darkness of the lake the Crone supports the first growing light of the main you know that deep within your own inner darkness the chrome supports and she defines the emerging light of the main take a slow deep breath and place your physical hands over your womb feel the darkness and the crescent moon lying within your room take a deep breath smile open your eyes for those of you who don't know my work my background is in women's menstrual tradition and my first book red moon was published in 1994 and in red moon I introduced the concept of the cyclic goddess the goddess who was the cycle of the stars the cycle of the earth the cycle of the Seas and the tides the cycle of the Moon the cycle of life and the cycle of women and in the old stories we see the cyclic goddess as the maiden the pre ovulation phase of a cycle as the mother the ovulation phase of our cycle the Enchantress the premenstrual phase and a crow or the as our menstral faced a bleeding time now this is probably not the picture you are expecting for a talk on the Maidan but the crew on the cradle was the title of a folk song created in the 1960s by Sidney Carter and it's based on a Scottish lullaby and I heard the song on the radio in the car driving back from Heathrow and I started thinking what is the crow on the cradle how does the dark mother relate to the bright maiden and why is the dark mother so important for modern women so I took the lyrics of the song and I rewrote them and I'd like to present them to you today as a poem as the start of the talk of crow on the cradle the crow on the cradle the sheep's in the meadow the cows in the core now is the time for a girl to be born she'll laugh at the moon and dance in her light her mother's heart open with all her delight sang the crow on the cradle and when you are older and so full of life then I will come for you swooping in flight crew on the cradle brings you a gift and Apple a spindle a 13th dark wish sang the crow on the cradle grow on the cradle the black and the white into the dark the center of night crow on cradle the white and the black from the Chrome's dark embrace the maiden comes back sang the crow on the cradle no charm to protect no shield or a cloak just the compelling call of the dark Ravens croak at rare red trail of blood lying bright on the snow magic of womanhood wisdom you know sang the crow on the cradle crow on the cradle your secrets now told into the world we walk live our life bond crow on the cradle what shall we do walk with the moon as I guide you to do sign the crow on the cradle so this image of the dark and the light I'd like to explore in this little talk to give you a little background in all my work I follow the experiences of women not the biology and within the menstrual cycle we have two cycles one you probably know very well the other you may not be so aware of the first cycle is the physical cycle are changing flow of energy from increasing energy after the hibernation of winter of Crone time increasing through the pre ovulation to bring us a stable time of a good physical energy in our mother phase are ovulation phase and then that gradual descent of physical energy as we go through the Enchantress face the premenstrual face the finally rest in the heart of the labyrinth to rest in the lap of the crow administration the second phase you may not be so aware of and this is a cycle of dominant perception in each of our menstrual cycle phases we embody a particular archetype and she holds a particular way of thinking and as we move around the cycle we go through these dominant thinking these dominant perceptions now we can think in other ways it's not a problem but our dominant way of thinking is easiest for us and most natural so in the pre ovulation phase in the maiden phase a dominant way of thinking is the intellect the thinking rational mind the mind the things in structure in logic it has good concentration we can learn easily and we have a week or less or more of a maiden intellectual dominance and then gradually we move into the mother phase and are dominant the perception changes our feeling mind becomes dominant so we have more empathy we are able to read people's faces able to read emotion and express emotion and then we go in to the Enchantress phase where our subconscious thinking is dominant this is the realm where we hold our patterns where we hold our memories and the subconscious thinks quicker than the rational mind and the subconscious makes connections patterns creating inspiration creativity intuition and then we move down into the menstral phase into the Crone mind and that mind is our deepest level of perception it is our soul mind in that phase we can't think in words try doing your accounts in your menstrual phase it doesn't work because that intellectual thinking belongs to the maiden in the Crone we have no words we have no motivation no get up and go because we sit at the heart of the labyrinth in the deepest level of our thinking and of our perception and then we take a step we take a step out of the darkness a little further up into the light and we start that journey of rebirth but I'd like you to think about what this cycle of perception means it means that there is nothing about you that is not affected by the archetypes of the womb energy center doesn't matter what age you are it doesn't matter if you have a physical womb or not doesn't matter if you have a cycle or not you still hold the four archetype goddesses within you and you also hold those four changing levels of perception so it means that there is nothing about you and your life that is not affected by the goddesses how do you think about yourself is affected by them how you think about your work your relationships how you think about your family your goals in life how you think about your soul path how you think about yourself spiritually or creatively or sexually are all changed by the journey of for goddesses and wherever there are women you have the room energy center you have the four goddesses and their perception so it affects the world of business it affects community it affects Society it affects culture so whether we are aware of it or not the cyclic goddess affects everything and this is why the womb and the wombs energies are so important to women and so important to our culture around the world so let's just meet the maiden for a moment let's just think about who she is and then we can look at the transition from Crone into maiden the cycle starts with the pre ovulation phase yes we usually write down day one as the first day of bleeding but the cycle actually starts when the maiden takes that first step out of the darkness it is a reawakening of our outer world perception after we have been withdrawn in the heart of the labyrinth we are like the energies of the spring the incoming tide the crescent moon the young girl so no matter what our age we are the young girl again our physical energy restores itself from the sleepiness of the Crone suddenly we have vibrant physical energy we want to get out we want to do things we want to shake things in the world around us our ego is strong it's bright it wants to travel it wants to achieve it wants to explore it wants to learn new things we want to take action and we want to take risk this is the phase of your cycle to step outside your comfort zone because the maiden has a lot of self confidence self belief that she will give you the courage to take that step so we are the Huntress we know what we want we set our eyes on our goal we focus and we go and we achieve it we are the goddess of the intellect we can reason we can structure we can organize we can create community we can create large organizations or large patterns we're also the young maiden who is reborn from the darkness to walk again in the sunlight for many women the pre ovulation phase is an amazing phase suddenly they have self-confidence they know who they are they know where they're going they have the energy to work hard to play hard it can be an ideal time and mainly brings us the gift of renewal of our physical energy from the sleepiness of the Crone we are full of energy again wanting to move and get out into the world and she brings the gift of renewed active sexual energy as we come out of menstruation our sexual energies start to become more dynamic again we have sexual energy in each of the four phases they just have a different form so we have sexual energy in the krona face but that changes into the dynamic playful flirty energy but we also have access to our thinking mind suddenly is easy to think again it's easy to structure to plan you no longer wonder where you left the keys you know where they are this is the phase to learn new things to find out new things to find out or all the icons on your mobile phone do to find out how to use the things on the software you don't normally use there is curiosity there is playfulness the world is something to be explored in your pre ovulation phase and she's a risk taker watch yourself in your pre ovulation phase in your Maiden face notice what you do you are much more likely to take a risk to take a chance because you have incredible self belief and self confidence and there's also a need for action to make a change in the world to be the protest singer to be about there defending the people and not stand up for themselves but this is not a negative ego this is a positive eager a bright ego that is balanced that knows personal independence but also has the cloak has the shield to help support others but how do we connect with the Maidan in our Prix of elation phase we do activities but are in harmony with the Maidan energies so this is the phase to start new projects because you have great self belief that you can achieve your goal but also you have the ability to think clearly to structure to make things happen so whether it's a healthy eating regime a fitness regime a new business or a project at work the ovulation phase too much energy in the room so it's also so it's also the face of using our thinking mind using our abilities to think clearly and well so it's the time to do our accounts to look for that bargain to read the small print the maiden will love these types of projects because it's expressing her own personal energies many women want to stay in this face all the time it helps us to be more competitive in the masculine world we can work late we don't need sleep we are able to think clearly we don't have the disability of empathy to stop us challenging other people and walking over their needs our ego is strong we can do this so it makes us competitive with men it makes us fit comfortable into the world of men but there are also women who find this phase difficult women who have been brought up with the idea that you have to be self-sacrificing if you are a good woman for these women the maiden phase seems to be a selfish phase something that they fight because it's not a view of the perfect mother or the perfect woman but mother nature gives us this phase for a particular reason it's a phase when we have our energies for ourselves if we use this time for personal development if we use it for personal growth if we start the projects that we want to start then what happens is we build a healthy ego and we can go on and we can be self-sacrificing and empathic and caring and loving in the mother phase of our cycle women I like the moon we change a little bit every day we are not linear we are not static each day we change a little bit more and if we compare one day to the next it's difficult for us to see that difference just like the phases of the moon one day to the next it doesn't seem to change much but when we check when we compare one week with the next then we see our changes then we see the change in the lunar phases but the change from one face to the next is not a dramatic change there's not a barrier that we jump over it is a gradual change so it means that there are transition days days between the phases where we are moving out of one energy and into the next moving out of the chrome into the maiden then we have days when we are fully formed in the phase energies in the archetype energies we hold the four maiden energies and then we start to transition again we start to transition in a blend of maiden and mother energies as we move into the ovulation phase the mother phase so let's look at the crow on the cradle let's look at this transition from the crow from the Crone goddess of menstruation into the bright Mazin energies think about what you are like when you are menstrual our Crone time is time of static energy of stillness of calm of darkness our physical energies are withdrawn from the world our intellectual mind is quiet our ego is quiet we are simply in a state of being our deepest level of being there are no words there is no motivation we are totally accepting of what is happening around us we are given this awareness as a gift every month men have to do lots of meditation practice to reach this state but we are given it as a gift once a month so we find it difficult to interact and be involved with the world around us because we have withdrawn and we rest in the warmth the dark at the center of the caldron we rest in the lap in the womb of the dark mother and then something happens magically our energies are restored by the dark my mother magically we feel that first spark of dynamic energy creeping back into our lives we find that we start to move earth or more we start to manage the outer world or more we take that first step that takes us out of the labyrinth but as we climb those steps we are still in the darkness we see the light from the door above and the light shines onto the steps to show us the way but we are still of the dark we are still in the dark and we look up to the light and we go wow we're going to get our energies back fantastic and we start to run and we focus on the light and all the great things the outer world has to offer us all those bright and shiny things that we want the things we want to achieve the things we want to do the things we want to have the maiden is excited she starts to run up those steps but we forget we are one step of light and dark and as we rush up those steps we forget the darkness and we only focus on the light we miss out on something very deep we miss the crow on the cradle we forget that the maiden is both darkness and light in terms of perception think about what this means the intellectual mind is awakening we start to be able to think in concepts in words in structure but we are still linked to the Crone to the darkness to the soul level of our being we stand between the worlds we tend to recognize this more in our premenstrual face in our enchantress face that we are someone who stands between the worlds but this is also part of the maiden the bright maiden and the dark maiden of the enchantress have similar qualities they are both dynamic they are both growing one in light one in darkness but they both hold dark and light within them and when we rush towards the light in our maiden phase we tend to forget that we are also darkness and in this light and dark awareness we have a gift we can articulate the messages that come from the Crone we can give words to that deep in a soul wisdom that she gives us we can give words and structure and images to the beautiful wisdom at the universe that she gives us when we're at the heart of the labyrinth in this face we give a voice we give human words to the Crone to the crow who croaks on the cradle but we forget we see the light and we rush towards it we forget the darkness that lies in us we forget the dark mother who calls out to us from the darkness we forget that it's the darkness that's holding the light around us and we don't hear the dark mother when she calls out to us in love in completeness in soulfulness in fulfillment so in your pre ovulation phase stop take a deep breath be aware that although the light calls you to take action to step outside your comfort zone to fix the world to plan your life to plan your partner's life to plan your family's life to organize everything to achieve everything right now not later stop take a breath remember that you are the black and the white listen for the dark mother's call in your soul hear her from the center of the labyrinth saying I am your support and now as you climb the steps listen for her guidance she will guide you as you go out into the light showing you the direction listen for her wisdom walk the path of the light but remember it's the Crone who's guiding the direction and when we finally step out into the light the crow doesn't leave us she goes into the tree and she watches us from the shadows or she flies high above us croaking her wisdom but how many of us feel her presence when we're out in the world strong in our maiden energies we live in a masculine world we live in a world that worships the intellect a world that sees our being as the thinking mind there is nothing else we are the thoughts that we have it is a world that pushes the ego drives it for more achievement ambition the aggressive person who achieves is something that is acknowledged as being good in this world so it is a world that supports the maiden energies but an out-of-balance maiden energies there is no room for the other archetypes the maiden is now the acceptable face of femininity in the modern masculine world many women love being made an energy dominant because we compete more easily in the masculine world we can stay up late we can do extra work on the project we can compete easily with men we are not hindered by empathy oh you have promotion because you need it more than I do that's not gonna happen with the maiden dominant energies so what happens is that women suppress their cycles either by the way they live or medically and what happens is they miss out on the gifts of the other archetypes in their lives they miss out on the intrinsic empathy and understanding of the ovulation phase they miss out on the intuition the inspired creativity of the Enchantress phase and they miss out on the deep soul wisdom of the Crone phase no single archetype exists in isolation it is a flow of energy from one archetype to another so to hold only one archetype is to unbalance the natural flow of the universe to bring imbalance to our cycle and our cycles cry out in pain and our wombs cry out in pain because we have lost the balance cycle and it's because the modern world over feeds the maiden it helps the maiden to have lots of goals lots of things she wants to achieve lots of things she wants to fix in herself in the people around her in her world the modern world supports the ego the thinking mind or beautiful aspects of the maiden but the maiden gets lost we cannot live the maiden Energy's imbalance if we do not also realize the energies of the Crone and the mother they hold the maidens hand they stand either side of her they bring her balanced but how do we recognize maiden dominance within ourselves think about how you are in your life not just in your pre ovulation phase because maiden dominance affects all four archetypes there is a strong self interest a lack of empathy for other people we multitask we do lots of things but we never truly engage in the task while we're doing it we're unsatisfied there is no sense of completion because there's always something more to do I call this the PES effect if you know the PES is a plastic toy that distributes little cubes little breaks of sweet and usually is a plastic tube with a cartoon head on the top you tip the head and one of these little sweets come out there's a spring underneath so every time you tip the head a break comes out and you replace the pairs from the bottom for the maiden dominant life is like that there is always more Pez coming into their life always more things to do nothing gives a sense of completion you never get to the end of the sweets they always keep coming we find that we take on too many work projects we're scattered in our energy we see something shiny we go for it we see something else that shiny we go for that so we scatter our energies with these dynamic maiden abilities now interestingly there is also a lack of self empowerment in a dominant maiden this is because there is no boundary she's unable to say no because she's always going for all these different everything is the next new bright and shiny thing that she has to do or have or achieve so what happens is not a sense of self empowerment but a scattered energy of never achieving we also find micromanaging the maiden is fearful of letting go because she is independent she thinks she should do everything or is not done correctly if she doesn't do it and what happens is that limits us it limits us to what we are able to do on our own so it means the maiden has to control has to micromanage it so that she knows that she can manage it and this builds insecurity because I have the other slide please so how do we heal the maiden what is missing in the moon cycle there is one thing that there is one aspect that appears in every single phase and that is the darkness it is the darkness that defines the shape of the moon if there was no darkness the light would just scatter in all directions and it is also the darkness that stages the growth of the moon she brings stability by staging how the moon develops the same is true with the menstrual cycle the one archetype who is present in every single face is the chrome and she defines our energies the other archetypes in our cycle and she defines the growth and the way we move around our cycle so she is the darkness that shapes us she is the darkness that guides our growth she is the soul our foundation for who we are as we express our femininity out into the world and the crow cruel caught the crow calls out to the maiden as she climbed the steps as she climbs out into the light the Crone says enough but once the maiden is out in the Sun again she doesn't hear this message from the crow she forgets she's part dark and part light she forgets the soul aspect of her journey and when we forget the darkness we over identify with the ego we over identify with the things that we want what we achieve we over identify with our work we over identify with our desires we strive for total independence and individuality and this creates insecurity by focusing on the egos wants we automatically create patterns of lack and we also over identify with our achievements and this creates patterns of lack of love and what happens in the maiden phase doesn't stay in the maiden face it comes back to us in the enchantress in the premenstrual phase remember the enchantress is our phase where our subconscious mind is dominant and in us a consciousness we hold those patterns of lack lack of love lack of self-worth we hold our patterns of guilt of not being what society expects of us and our sub consciousness is the ultimate storyteller enchantress paints beautiful pictures for us of how the world is and we believe them but these are not pictures about how the world is these are pictures that are telling us that there is something wrong they are big neon flashing signs that says we do not love our self enough because if we loved herself enough we would not have an over dominance Maiden so the Crone brings us balance she brings balance to the Maiden she tells the maiden that she is enough that we do not need to identify the with the things that we have or do to feel serf self-worth or fulfillment that we do not need to achieve to feel loved we are completely enough and the Crone helps the maiden to structure her energies to say listen not so many directions choose one or two and I will help you to bring them into the world she says focus your energies not scatter them and she says listen to me because I will guide you on your path you have a guide don't follow all the shiny things and the Crone says enough already she asked the maiden to stop stop running for a moment and appreciate because when we're running we do not appreciate where we are where we're going where we've come from and the Crone says enough stop just for a moment feel gratitude and appreciation for where you are and the Crone also tells us that we have enough we do not need to achieve more stuff we do not need to bring things into our life to bring us self-worth we are enough as we are we have everything that we need right now and the Crone gives us that and the Crone says enough enough of the micromanaging the over planning she says let go allow a little flow into your life she says let go to me she knows that we fear the darkness because in the darkness you can only feel and not see the light but the Crone says trust me trust me I will lead you in the right direction you don't know what the outcome will be but it's going to be a pleasant surprise and the Crone says enough let go to the flow to the flow of the cycle the flow of life she says let go enough to let me into your life and what happens when we become a balanced maiden we remember the joy of life the playfulness the generosity of the young child we are helpful we are kind we are exploring the world with inquisitiveness curiosity like joyfulness as well we no longer run we dance the path we have our companions around us we have the crow flying with us we know our direction we do not have to rush we have time to stop and smell the flowers so I'd like to finish and today with us or prayer dark Crone mother bless us with your presence and your energies help us to hear your call that we are enough help us to feel your hand guiding and supporting the maiden within us help us to know that our maiden Crescent always grows surrounded and supported by your quiet darkness crow mother bless us with your love so our maiden grows into the world balanced in darkness and light crow on the craver the black and the white in a flurry of wings taking to flight enough croaks the crow from high up above remember bright maiden you are held in my love sang the crow on the craver thank you

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