Intentionally invoking magic and playing with consciousness in all Her forms on “Goddess Quests” has been one of the practices that my daughter Siena and I activate to help us feel closer to the Divine. Some of you may have followed us on the Goddess Quest we posted about on Facebook last summer, but in case you missed it, let me share with you how we do this and how you can try this on your own, whether for a day, a week, or a whole year. Since summer is coming up, some of you might like to try this with your own children, or embark upon a solo Goddess quest or even just a day trip with some friends.
A Weekend Goddess Quest
Let me start with a story of one of my personal Goddess Quests, just to show you how this kind of mysterious play can unfold, then I’ll share with you some tips in case you want to try going on a Goddess Quest yourself.
I had a few days off after something I had planned got canceled, and my daughter Siena was supposed to be with her father, so I had the weekend to myself. Siena asked, “Mama, what are you going to do this weekend?” I said I didn’t know. She said, “Why don’t you pick a Goddess card?” Oracle decks are one of the many tools we use when we’re venturing off on a Goddess Quest. I picked Diana the Huntress. This caught my attention. Curiously, just a few weeks earlier, I had bought a Diana the Huntress statue at a cute little shop in Inverness, California called Spirit Matters.
I said to Siena, “Why don’t we go upstairs and ask Diana the Huntress where I should go.”
I know this sounds a little nuts to most Westerners to think we could communicate with a statue, but it’s not considered strange at all in many Eastern or indigenous cultures. Siena and I do “crazy” things like this all the time, so just for the sake of play, try to suspend any disbelief as you read this story and imagine for a moment that statues and waterfalls and animals can communicate telepathically and that you can “hear” them if you tune in. As you read this story, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether I’m lying or crazy or maybe the world is a more mysterious place than many of us are raised to believe. Pretend as you read that such communication with the invisible realm is possible, and imagine how it would feel to try it for yourself!
Siena and I went upstairs and when I tuned into the consciousness of this particular Goddess, Diana told me to pack a suitcase for a weekend away, but she didn’t tell me where I was going, so I packed my bag without knowing what I was packing for. I then strapped Diana into the passenger seat of my car as if she was a living, breathing Goddess Quest GPS. I surrounded her with rose petals and asked her where I should go—genuinely open and curious. I live right on scenic historic Highway 1, and usually, if I’m going on an unscripted Goddess Quest in my car, I go north on Highway 1, because that’s where all the beauty lies. But Diana said, “Go south.” I was baffled. South? Why south?
As I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and sitting in traffic on 19th Ave, feeling a bit resentful that I was stuck in traffic when I could have gone up to Point Reyes National Seashore or eaten oysters in Marshall, Diana the Huntress telepathically told me to text my bestie Diane and find out what she was doing for the weekend. I laughed when I heard this instruction because . . . get this . . . Diane’s last name is Hunter. (I couldn’t make this stuff up.) Diane Hunter (who is a magnificent equine therapist in case you ever want to try it!) responded to Diana the Huntress’s request by saying, “You heard me! I’ve been telepathically inviting you to this equine therapy workshop I’m teaching all month long, but I don’t think I ever got around to calling or emailing.”
Hahaha! I had to laugh. The Goddess can be freakin’ hysterical!
Not only did I wind up attending Diane’s equine therapy workshop with a group of wonderful women; she also invited me to attend a weekend meditation retreat she was co-leading with a friend of hers. Both of them gifted me the workshop tuition. When I showed up at the workshop, Clayton was building the altar in the center of the circle. Diana the Huntress said she wanted to be on the altar, so Clayton included her.
The first night, I spent the night with Diane and the other facilitators at the workshop venue, but the second day, the woman responsible for caretaking the venue said I’d have to find another place to stay, that the venue was only open for sleepovers for the teachers. I thought maybe the Goddess was instructing me to go back home, which would have been just fine. (Part of a Goddess Quest means letting go of attachment to outcomes, so when the flow stops, that’s often the cosmic redirect.) I had experienced a wonderful 36-hour adventure. Maybe the Goddess had something else in store for me. Or maybe it was simply time to go home. I waited to see how the day went, perfectly happy to go home at the end of the second day of the workshop.
Over lunch, I was talking with the woman in charge of the venue, and she was telling me about a vision she had for teaching mindfulness to physicians at Stanford. I was sharing my reflections from the work I’ve done with physicians in the Whole Health Medicine Institute. She asked for my contact info and turned to the Notes section on her iPhone to have me write down my name. In the notes, she had typed “Mind Over Medicine.” My name was typed there, but it was misspelled—Lisa, not Lissa. I corrected my name and handed it back to her, along with my email address.
Her eyes grew wide. “Lissa Rankin? You’re Lissa Rankin? Someone just told me to read your book yesterday! That’s why I have your book title in my notes!” She looked surprised and delighted. She then invited me to spend the night in her guest room that night and offered to feed me dinner with her family, which I graciously accepted as a gift from both Vanessa and the Goddess.
The rest of the meditation retreat was filled with synchronicity, sweetness, ease, insight, silence, and pure open-heartedness. The whole thing felt like such a gift. At the end of it all, Diana the Huntress, who was still in the center of the circle, told me she wanted to go home with Diane Hunter, so I passed the statue along to my friend.
Rachel Naomi Remen says, “We trade mystery for mastery and it’s a bad trade.” Goddess Quests require a willingness to open to the mystery, to not know, to make space for miracles without attaching to them, to listen deeply to the silence and pay attention to all the signs. When you’re willing to not know, miraculous unfoldings have space to blossom.
How to Go on a Goddess Quest
Want to try this alone or with your kids? Here are a few tips.
1. Determine how much time you’ll devote to your Goddess Quest.
2. Surrender the whole Goddess Quest to Divine Will and let go of attachment to outcomes.
Offer the whole thing to the Goddess. Let her know you’d like to honor Her and spend some time playing together. Then get your ego out of the way and let it happen. Ask for permission to approach the Goddess. Humble yourself before the Goddess. Thank Her sincerely in advance, and pray for help. Pray for clear guidance and assistance with having the ears to hear, the eyes to see, and the wisdom to interpret the guidance. Ask the Goddess to make it clear how and where She wants to play with you. Trust that the Goddess hears you and, assuming She wants to play with you, trust that you will be shown in ways that you can interpret. Trust is a big factor here. If you think this is all mumbo jumbo hocus pocus and your inner skeptic is riding shotgun, the Goddess may be more elusive. Trust that the magical invisible realm wants to play with you as much as you want to play with the invisible realm, and be sincerely and humbly in awe of these powerful forces of love. Keeping the ego out of the way really is key here. If you’re just trying to prove how powerful you are when you play with magic, the Goddess will not be impressed and is likely to give your butt a good ass-kicking. Give credit where credit is due. It is not YOU, the Small Self, doing the doing. Continue to bow before the Goddess as the magic unfolds.
3. Don’t think.
This is not a cognitive process, so ask your mind to move to the side for a bit. You will not be “thinking” about what you’ll do on your Goddess Quest. You’ll be feeling, sensing, listening deeply, paying attention to synchronicity, and intuiting where the Goddess wants you to go. If you interfere with too much thinking, planning, controlling, or structuring, it’s not a Goddess Quest.
4. Decide how you’ll invoke your first instruction.
Going on a Goddess Quest is a bit like a treasure hunt, so you’re looking for clues. If you’re really adept at communicating with the Goddess, you can just pick a Goddess and ask. But most Westerners need a little help getting started. You can use Oracle cards like I did in the story I just told you. You can put your iTunes on random and ask a song to give you a clue. You can go out in nature and see if a river or a mountain or an animal that crosses your path has a clue for you. You can intuitively select a book off the shelf, intuitively open to a page, intuitively choose a paragraph, and see if you get a message. Here are some other tips for how you might tune into your Inner Pilot Light and get clues.
For our 2-week summer Goddess Quest, Siena and I decided to use Facebook to help us get our first instruction. I posted on Facebook that Siena and I were going on a road trip, and our intention was to make no plans ahead of time, spend no money except for gas, and open ourselves to the generosity of the universe to see what happens. I asked if anybody had any suggestions for where we should drive first. Many generous people invited us to camp in their yards, stay at their vacation homes, or shack up in their guest rooms. As we looked at the long list of invitations, I invited Siena to ask the Goddess where we should go first. Siena (who is really good at telepathically communicating with the Goddess directly) said the Goddess told her to draw a map of our options. She wrote in the names of the places we had been invited in California, Oregon, and Arizona. Then she asked me to spin the map while she closed her eyes and put her finger down on one of the cities in the Sierra Nevada mountains where we had been invited to stay in someone’s family vacation home on a river. I said, “Is this where we start?” She said, “Now it’s your turn, Mama. You close your eyes. I’ll spin the map, and you put your finger down.” I did, and my finger landed on the same river town in the Sierras. Siena said, “We start there.”
5. Be curious about anything unusual as you look for signs, but be discerning.
This means you must pay very close attention to life as it unfolds, which forces you into the present moment. Notice everything. If an animal crosses your path, be curious about the message it might have for you. (You can Google search the animal and “spirit totem”—”eagle spirit totem”—and there might be a clue for you in what you find.) Maybe a street sign has a message for you. Maybe you’ll just hear inside your own mind, “Take a right turn.” Maybe you’ll see a clairvoyant vision of where the Goddess wants you to go. Maybe you’ll sense that you’re meant to go somewhere, and you can check in with your body compass to see if your body agrees. Maybe you’ll have four options and someone can “muscle test” you to see which one aligns with your body. Maybe you’ll just feel a pull towards something without knowing why. Before you go to sleep at night, maybe you’ll ask your dream to give you a clue. Maybe you’ll use a pendulum to help you make a decision. Maybe you’ll pick an Oracle card or consult the I Ching or throw the Norse runes. Maybe you’ll ask a psychic or shaman to help you. You can put your iPod on random or turn Pandora on your computer and see if the song that pops up has a clue for you.
Embarking upon a Goddess quest requires trust—trust that the invisible forces of love has heard your request to play and are listening. You’ll need to trust that your Goddess Quest will unfold as a series of bread crumbs, like clues on a scavenger hunt. Even if you think you’re imagining the sign, experiment with what happens if you follow through on it (assuming it’s not downright dangerous or harming someone else). How do you know if it’s real guidance? How do you know you’re not just making stuff up? You can try these 15 discernment tools—and check in with your own.
How do you know you’re not just going crazy? After all, schizophrenics think everything is a sign meant just for them, and Hitler thought he was getting spiritual guidance that told him to kill the Jews. One of the signs of delusional disorders or schizophrenia is the belief that an ordinary event has special and personal meaning, so when we go on Goddess Quests, we’re potentially treading on thin psychiatric territory here! In other words, trust that the Goddess is communicating with you, but know that people who are delusional are at risk of over-interpreting ordinary events! The difference between the mystic on a Goddess Quest and a psychiatric patient is that the mystic has finely tuned discernment, is well grounded, isn’t harming herself or anyone else, and knows how to return to “normal” Muggle life when the Goddess Quest is over.
6. Follow the signs.
If you’re like me, when you receive what feels like guidance, your mind is very likely to argue with it! Your mind will dismiss something as mere coincidence. Your mind will tell you you’re imagining it. But that’s what minds do. Let the mind participate in your discernment process, but help it relax by reminding it that you’re just playing, that you’re just on a Goddess Quest and the worst thing that can happen is that you get lost.
7. Express gratitude to the Goddess.
With each sign that appears, don’t forget to say thank you! Even if you don’t perceive that any signs have been received, express gratitude anyway. Be willing to keep playing, without attaching to outcomes. Consider making an offering to express your gratitude, as my friend and Qoya founder Rochelle Schiek describes here in this Peruvian shamanic despacho ceremony.
Are You Ready For YOUR Goddess Quest?
Whether you try this for an afternoon or a year, and whether you’re a woman or a man, we’d love to hear from you about your own Goddess Quests! Experiment. Tell us your story. Express any frustrations that show up, or tell us your magic stories.
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