An Interview With ALisa Starkweather – Defining Empowerment
As the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference draws near (mid October), we’re taking this opportunity to feature some of the amazing teachers. Sharing her wisdom and description of empowerment is ALisa Starkweather, a tireless proponent for women’s transformation. Here’s a recently captured interview with her.
You work with women all over the world; what one theme are you seeing these days?
What I am sensing among women right now is a surge of power that is rising like sap from the collective after thousands of years of oppression.
- She senses this is our time and she has a role but in order to participate she cannot walk towards this destiny without shedding the lies and judgments that have kept her down.
- Her visions are haunting her and because of these inner callings she is willing to bring her dreams forward even if she thinks she cannot or that she is crazy. She is becoming more daring with facing the unknown.
- She is learning that she cannot control things but she can come more alive in her full participation with her choices. By doing this, she stops the stories where victim hood once left her helpless.
It is the time of great weaving because we are recognizing that our gifts are greater in collaboration. To do this however, a healing is needed where women must re-learn to trust not only themselves but one another.
What I see is true commitment by many in a time where we are so needed. Love is our ultimate power right now.
What is stopping women from living a more authentic and embodied life?
I cannot speak for all women but I can share what I’ve learned in the last three decades of facilitating transformational women’s empowerment via the archetypal realms of initiation and women’s mysteries.
I am truly noticing a division now between women who are coming from the paradigm of continued blame and shame and right and wrong thinking versus women who are learning skills in communication, taking responsibility for their choices, their attitudes and their own consent to live life fully even with the risks.
I am seeing the difference between women who learn skills, who bravely look within at their own shadows and shortcomings versus women who still project their judgments onto others without recognizing the same qualities are present within themselves.
To live authentically means we must find respect for our tenderest vulnerabilities and equal compassion for our inadequacies. Can we be transparent with our honest feelings and motives?
I believe what stops many a woman is that she still carries a deep predator voice that takes her and others around her down. She fears her own ferocity and her wounds that misused power created–thus she is afraid to claim power for herself.
Wanting to be someone other than the inner critic (who can be relentless), she dulls her fierce self into complacency and then takes the consequence of having no voice or a voice that is not true to her intensity of presence.
She was actually born for greatness but she must face her own inner demons to find her pure brave heart that waits so patiently for her homecoming. When she does this, her embodied life will fit her like a glove. It will become so clear to her what she must give up or move toward. Women around me will do everything and anything to free up. When this happens, women are unstoppable.
In your words, please define empowerment?
I am so grateful to be asked this because for some reason this word got a bad rap out in the greater world. For some, empowerment work conjures visions of women who are helpless, even hopeless, don’t feel good about themselves and need assistance. When I say that I do empowerment work in India, some immediately ask me if I am a social worker.
The beauty of being empowered for me takes on these forms.
- To respect who you are all the way to your core and to know that you have the courage to be yourself.
- To embody without shoving parts of yourself down in any cavity in your psyche or hiding unexpressed parts of you that still harbor shame or hesitation.
- To know that you are at choice and can wield your voice, your gifts, your presence intentionally in service to the greater good by your own aliveness.
- To no longer look at perfection or arriving to a particular status as proof of your strength.
- To embrace the helpless, hopeless, don’t-feel-good parts of you right into the glorious stature of your sacred self who is both powerful and vulnerable, tender and fierce, afraid and courageous, active and still.
We have the capacity to matter and make a difference simply by living in harmony with life that moves through us. The empowered woman is far from any box that culture tried for millennium to put her in.
You know her because she is beautiful, committed, present, truthful and showing up in all she was born to be and you can feel her in your own bones when she shows up even by the way she walks upon the Mother Earth.
Empowered means that we are not going to lay down in despair when humanity is at the brink but rather we are going to wake up, take our place in the web of life in a way that honors what is sacred.
For me, our empowered embodiment is visceral.
ALisa Starkweather, is a women’s transformational leader, well known for her inspirational message of empowerment, healing, community, and ritual. She is founder of the women’s mystery school, Priestess Path, the Women’s Belly and Womb Conferences, Daughters of the Earth Gatherings and the co-founder of the international women’s initiation, Women in Power; Initiating Ourselves to the Predator Within. She has three recordings of her chants and launched the Red Tent Temple Movement which is now in over 35 states and several countries and featured now in the documentary film premiering at the SEWHC, Things We Don’t Talk About; Healing Stories from the Red Tent.