Excerpted from The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman ©2018 by Danielle Dulsky. Published with permission from NewWorldLibrary.com | January 2, 2019
The Maiden of the Unbridled Sensual feels into the world by way of her creative expression. Whatever the form, whatever the intent, the act of creating is undertaken despite all obstacles to her sensual presence. Lalita, Freya, and Salome all embody sacred sexuality and empowered emotionality. They are the generative erotic, and a Maiden’s wild art contains a good deal of power sourced from a low place.
At the end of the revisioned tale, Salome declares herself both unveiled and awake, now poised to refuse any unwanted mask or role given her by someone else's hand:
See me as I am now, for I am no longer the woman who will dance only to please. I demand the head of anyone who would wrap my wrists, and these haunted river lands shall be my new palace until I find a wilder home.
The acknowledgment that our art does not always require an approving audience, does not always need to be pleasing even to ourselves, is a radical rite of passage in any artist's life. While positive, or at least critical, reception is indeed necessary to sustain a working artist's livelihood, all that is required for art making is time, materials, and intention. In What We Ache For, poet Oriah Mountain Dreamer writes: "The artist’s life is simply an ordinary human life that is consciously choreographed to support ongoing creativity."
We do not need to tirelessly search for the "wilder home” Salome speaks of; we need only create the conditions of reception in our bodies, psyches, and worlds so we recognize the wild place when it finds us. Our "conscious choreography" of staying present as much as possible, regularly engaging with whatever our art may be despite many apparent obstacles, and feeling into and through our worlds with a sensory, innocent curiosity is the true dance of the fearless Maiden.
Sadhana is a Sanskrit word for a regular spiritual practice that holds the power to break dysfunctional patterns, gift greater clarity, and ground the normally scattered mind in both rooted presence and collective divinity. This sadhana is a thirteen-day ritual of sensual presence and wild art, beginning on the new moon. Ideally, take twenty minutes for yourself each morning, as close to waking as possible, to forge meaningful connections between the luscious body, creative psyche, and infinite spirit. Carve out thirteen pages in your journal, one for each day of the sadhana, and number them accordingly.
Each day of sadhana will unfold in much the same way, with the most variation coming from the words you write. Begin by stretching your limbs long and moving your body slowly with no intention other than to feel wholly present in your skin. Stay with this for as long as you have, either moving to music or responding to your heartbeat. When you feel ready, take to your journal and freewrite on this prompt: I have the right to feel deeply, and right now I am...
Try to write, without editing yourself, for at least ten minutes. Should you become stuck and feel unable to continue, write the prompt again and press on. Each day, as your sadhana nears a close, go back into your writing and circle any words that repeat or any themes that seem particularly pertinent. Use those words to handcraft a mantra for the day to guide you. Begin by repeating the mantra a few times while coming back to the organic movement. Allow the sadhana to set the tone for each day; trust that your muses, ancestors, and guides are present to support you; and let this simple practice be a valuable gateway to the ethereal, a way of communing with those whose bodies vibrate so subtly that we rarely are gifted with knowledge of their presence.
At the end of the thirteen days, go back and take note of all the words and themes from each one and use them to inspire a piece of art — any piece of art — that will symbolize your Maiden's growth. Ink the words on your skin and dance, write an epic poem, assemble a collage on glass; whatever your art, name it as pure and unadulterated perfection born of genuine movement and honest emotion. Bless it, my love. And so it is.
There are mornings we wake knowing our value, full of hope at dawn that we will be granted just one chance before moonrise to show the world our worth, just one moment in our day when we will feel validated, whole, and present in our feeling bodies. Recite this prayer on those mornings, Priestess. Look into the mirror and anoint your throat with a single drop of water, granting yourself the very thing you seek, fulfilling your wish before breakfast, speaking to your own reflection, and calling your joy home.
Come to the haunted forest with feet bare and hood raised. There is no one else I'd rather be with when I paint the sacred symbols — the ones no one knows but me — on my soft, stretch-marked belly. Can you feel it? The bones of the Earth are sharper here, and the primal feminine buzzes from below and climbs our legs like impassioned vines. Watch me now as I revel in the most ancient grace, as I dance like a long-limbed faery with wide and wiry wings.
This is my benediction, my body prayer to the forked-tongue seductress that is me. I'm through with the solemn chants and still-bodied meditation. My God's skin is made of tree bark, and my Goddess is not pure. What’s more, my friend, my divinity is a genderless spark that lives and breathes within and without, above and below.
And so it is.
Danielle Dulsky is the author of The Holy Wild and Woman Most Wild. She is an artist, yoga teacher, energy worker, and founder of Living Mandala Yoga teacher training programs. ... @WolfWomanWitch, @NewWorldLibrary
The Holy Wild invites you to create your own spiritual path based on often-suppressed ancient principles and contemporary practices. Using the elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether) rather than traditional patriarchal hierarchies, this “holy book” is designed to connect each individual to their universal — but often denied — powers. Wild woman Danielle Dulsky takes you deep as she explores and embraces sacred feminine archetypes such as the Mother Goddess, the Crone, and the Maiden. We hope you will enjoy these excerpts from the book.