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To Be a Woman - Feminine Embodiment, an offering by Ebyän

Written by Ebyän Zanini Chimba & Megan Hudson, 7th December 2022

Weaving together sacred activism into femininity, creativity and celebration, we are stepping into conversation with artist and healer Ebyän - sharing her deep wisdom on feminine embodiment with our community. She is a teacher of activating power in recognition that a state of being is revolutionary in itself. Currently based in Ibiza, Spain, Ebyän says “like my bloodline, I have been very nomadic and feel the winds call me to move again.”  We connected with Ebyän to ask what feminine embodiment means to her, how this wisdom informs a new way of navigating and experiencing the world and how every one of us can step into this sacred space of the feminine, of being in healing the collective.

Could you introduce yourself and share a little about your story? 

I am a Somali Nubian - Italian artist, activist, and teacher weaving together decolonialism, ecofeminism, and spirituality through my work. I am deeply passionate about Goddess mystic traditions of our world and keeping them alive, feeding the fire of Feminine wisdom and sharing some of the teachings and practices with women. 

What is sacred activism?

I think all activism is sacred because it is inherently an initiative to bring more peace, harmony, and kindness to this world. Though I do think that sacred activism in and of itself is activism that weaves itself together with the sacred, a co-creative work so to speak, and does not emancipate itself from the mystery of life. 

Many of us are scarred, either directly or indirectly, from the imprint of dogmatic religions in our world. Religions that are mostly a result of an imbalanced patriarchal society that has lost many of the Feminine aspects of spiritual teachings and life. Indigenous cultures maintained that balance. Rather than dogmatic religion, we see reverence, a freedom in expression and a sort of private and intimate respect of each beings relation with the sacred. We see ceremonies that empower the individual, not rob them of their connection to Spirit - because when we are connected to the numinous, we walk as fuller humans. And if there is one thing I see and feel in my bones at this time in humanity it's that we are not walking as full humans.

We are like ghosts of what the human self can be. We are amputated from our roots, both cultural but mostly I mean roots in the Earth and the magic of the Earth. We are numbed out and distracted. We are forgetting what it means to live in a loving community and to be among the generous spirit of a tribal culture. All of this leads to our self-destructive behaviour as a species as seen in the way we treat the planet that feeds us and our children, as seen in the way we treat our human kin, and our animal kin. There is a missing link here, and it's the Feminine element in our culture, in our humanity, in our perception of the world and the hidden woven meaning between everything. 

Feminine embodiment work is the work first and foremost of exploring what is the Feminine, not to be confused with Femininity. The Feminine is a vast and wide concept that can really only be felt and transmitted through art or poetry. She is not a quality of logic. She is of magic and the freedom of a flowing river.  Femininity, on the other hand, is a construct. An attempt at placing the Feminine into digestible packaging that appeases and pleases the other. The more women and femmes learn to claim the fullness of the Feminine, recognizing the negative imprints of 4000 years of patriarchal conditioning and clearing those cobwebs from our hearts and souls, the more we will see the world transform. 

I deeply believe no one is going to give us our dreams on a silver platter. We will have to enchant our way home to the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. Enchantment includes the roar of lionesses, it includes the magic songs of the sirens, it includes the deep stillness of the Black Womb Mother. There is so much wealth of wisdom and rich information in the Goddesses across many cultures to pool from, to learn from, to commune with simply with our attention and intention. And I am not referring to a relationship with the Goddess in a performative way. That is the capitalist patriarchy disguised in kimonos and robes. I mean reclaiming a spirituality that is our soul sanctuary, a place we can reach inside and remember like glowing embers the beauty of being here. Goddess spirituality cannot be separated from the injustice of our times, from environmental degradation, from abuse, etc. The Feminine is where all life births from, therefore within her is a deep care for all life. And for activists, I so wish for us to be able to pool from this well of the sacred, to see the reclamation of our relation with Spirit AS a deep and important form of activism and for us to know and feel we are not alone in our lives and work. 

What rituals and practices to cultivate such embodiment can you share with the community?

I will share a very simple ritual for Feminine Embodiment that is not tied to a specific Goddess but to Feminine expression in general:

Put on a sensual playlist or some favourite music you have. We are going to begin by tuning into our breath. And then checking if there is any tension or holding in the muscles of our lips. Part your lips just slightly and see if you can soften them. Make them juicier, not forced but just by softening as much as possible. This is one of the places in the body we carry our armour around the Feminine as it has not always been safe to be expressed.

Now, feel into something in your life that brings you pain or confusion in some way. And allow your body to begin to move intuitively (no mirrors). Allow yourself to express the sensations through your body and movement. Do you feel stuck? How does your body tell that story of stuckness? Try to enter into a state of wu wei - non doing or No Mind in the Taoist tradition. Allow your movements to be born from as little thought as possible. 

Continue here for a time and when the song changes or you feel ready, begin to allow your body to continue the story towards a resolution - an antidote to the poison so to speak. The key here is not to try to mentalize this in the moment. Allow the movements to incarnate something and to guide to the forward movement of this story. Most of our pain and confusion is because we are in the middle of the hero or heroine’s journey. We cannot see what the greater workings happening are or the possibilities ahead for us. Our body is intelligent and can show us windows into this time. Continue here in The Antidote until you feel your body has somehow memorised this energy or energies. 

Then come to stillness laying down. Again, holding the meditative space of no-thought following the breadth for just a moment longer. You can close the practice here as oftentimes the nonverbal understanding can sometimes be even more potent or close the practice by journaling. Watch how you walk differently throughout your day. . .

Is there anything you’d like to share with our community? Any exciting projects?

So many. I think the most relevant is a course that I am offering called “Teachings of the Dark Feminine”. It’s a four part course on cross-cultural mythology, ritual, dance, & contemplation to access our inner wild fire often necessary for Feminine Freedom. We will explore wisdom in the wound, holy rage, protection/boundaries & self worth, and the oracular nature in the “madwoman”. The course begins on the winter solstice but enrollment is open now through my instagram @ebyanzanini or website

Image credits: Artist Ebyän Zanini Chimba @ebyanzanini captured by Maya Poon @maya.poon

Give Birth - An original Poem by Ebyän Zanini

This is for my sisters,

Living Revolutions.

Singing freedom songs with their hips

Painting hope barefoot on this Earth

No longer playing someone’s game.

And to themSelves,

Give birth.

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