Don Juan and the Art of Sexual Energy by Merilyn Tunneshende relates how her mentor, the shaman Dona Celestina, teaches her of the objects being placed on an altar.
“The lesson is about the power of complete woman and who possesses it. The items represent the powers a woman can wield.”
On the altar, quartz stone, ripened pomegranate, clay chalice, shell but also a hunting knife.
Celestina remarks that at some time the culture of women laid down the knife and they need to pick it up again.
“Many females have abdicated their edge because they are afraid of it.”
These writings had huge impact on me and prompted me to pursue the image of the Woman with the Knife.
What follows is Phillip Trice’s text, from our conversations:
Annetta Luce and I are collaborating on some workshops for what we code name “Otter Geisha” for the women’s theme: movement workshops to create and free up a continuum of movement, in a spirit of formlessness and freedom, from lovemaking to self-expression, to play to “fighting” or rigorous self-defense. This will include openings for women to pick up “the knife”.
We think of the knife as an “edge” / a “purposefulness”, a willingness of discernment and distinction, including a willingness to kill and to make life and death decisions and creative choices.
The knife is essential to cooking, healing, carving, art, homemaking, as well as killing, and is used by the warrior at every level. I think of the biblical words … that the word of God (I might say… the word of truth or the word of creation) is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts to the dividing of the soul and spirit.
It is interesting that the word cleave means both to separate and to unite. And the Japanese ways include teachings of the sword that kills and the sword that brings life… the difference is in the wielding.
I see this in a person as an extent of willing, of carrying consequences, of embodied freedom, of willingness to choose life or death, of ability to kill or give life, to decisively perceive, to be at choice, an expression of warriors freedom.
I find it hard to imagine beauty of depth or lustre, or full embodiment of lust, without the gleam of the knife in the eye.
It is not a sign of hardness or brutality but of ability and will to leap, to choose an alteration in the world, to shift realities.
It is only by the light of the knife, with other lights, that true respect and kindness can be shown.