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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Three Wise Men & Many Wise Women

At this time of year, depending on the traditions you believe in,  mention is often made to "The Three Wise Men". In the Christmas concerts of my youth, the costumes for The Three Wise Men were always fathers' bathrobes, a rope belt and a towel or a tin foil and cardboard crown for your head depending on which of the three you were supposed to be and which gift you were carrying. These guys were usually portrayed by either the tallest boys in the group or girls that were lucky enough to get very few lines.  The Wise Men never said much. They just deposited their gifts and then "stood by". Hmm....

But in my world, that whole concert experience from the appearance of any kind of  respectable costume, and props, through line rehearsal, and most of all, frayed nerves and hurt feelings, was organized or at least soothed, by Wise Women. I still rely on Wise Woman to help guide and soothe me and am thankful that there are many more than three of them in my life!

My We'Moon 2011 book includes an excerpt from Beth Beurkens 2009 entitled "The Wise Old Woman". Beurkens is quoted as writing:
The wise old woman stands guard over every century, stoking the fires of the hearth and the alchemical brew. Her words, sometimes gentle, sometimes harsh, point the way, help us reckon and understand. Her medicines are many-the swish of a feather, the warmth of tea in a china cup, the milk of kindness, the staunch of herbs on a wound.

She is the salt in our tears, the salt in our blood the salt of wisdom. Vital, essential, for without her salt there is no life, as without her wisdom there is no healing, no insight, no progress forward through life's cycles and passages.
To me, Wise Woman is an energy that is passed on from one to another. When you receive that energy it becomes a part of you and you are able to pass it on to someone else. Not all the Wise Women in my life have been female. I believe it's an energy that can sometimes come from male figures as well.  It's not about the physicality of someone, it's about the energy that surrounds them. There are clear differences between The Three Wise Men and Wise Women that are related to something much different than physical attributes.

The Three Wise Men were always looking up- following that star, some sort of external guidance system.  Wise Woman look within for direction.  They know they have everything they need within themselves and they no longer place as much faith and trust in external evidence.  They are able to pass on that sense of internal strength. A Wise Woman is the one that can truly enable the Wise Man with the scruffiest bathrobe to feel like a king inside, proud to be exactly who he is whether he remembers all his lines and cues or not. Wise Woman recognize the vast difference between beauty and fashion. And they can pass that sense on so you actually believe it yourself.

The Three Wise Men carry gifts from their world with them. They brought what they believed to be important. Gold, frankincense and myrrh were considered very practical gifts with multiple uses. I'm sure they were appreciated for equally practical reasons. Wise Woman gifts are often very practical as well.  But if they bring gifts, they bring what they know to be practical to YOU, not what they figure you need.  There's a big difference in my opinion.  Their gifts are often not as tangible as those brought by the Three Wise Men. They are more likely to be the passing on of abilities, strengths, and ways of making it on your own in the world. Many times when you receive a gift from a Wise Woman you aren't even aware of it until later on.  No thank-you cards are required.

At least in the concert version, the Three Wise Men didn't say much.  Wise Women on the other hand, while they aren't "chatter boxes", and they don't speak for the purpose of hearing themselves talk, are not afraid to speak their mind. They speak their mind because it comes from their heart. Through the sharing of their experiences, they pass on that knowledge through stories.  There's a good chance at least at some point in your life, you heard a lot of Wise Woman stories without realizing it.  You know you're becoming a Wise Woman when you remember the stories and realize the value behind them.

The Three Wise Men "came from afar".  They traveled great distances to bring their gifts. Wise Women on the other hand are all around you.  You just have to open up your eyes, your ears and most of all your heart, to let them in.  Sometimes they are family members, sometimes they are neighbours, sometimes friends, sometimes they are complete strangers that you meet for an instant and in that seemingly chance, spontaneous exchange, you  receive that energy transfer.

If you're searching the "perfect gift" you might be caught up in a mythical search for  gold, frankincense or myrrh.  Maybe what we should be giving and receiving is Wise Woman energy. Maybe it's about just sharing a laugh, a story, an understanding. That to me is true Wisdom and the greatest gift of all.

Pass it on!

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