Photo/Art: Stella Maria Baer. Instagram: @stellamariabaer
"You are the medicine." "Malnourished soul." Do you feel either of these? How does it make you feel to be called the nice girl? Yikes.
The Wolf Moon was about being hungry, howling to be fed. In the newsletters sent, I had fun easy recipes with the folklore surrounding them, key inexpensive in-season items to find for your meals, and a discussion around elixirs but this post is about a reflection on the meaning of this moon. What am I really hungry for? What do I want to feed?
As the Wolf Moon comes to an end and a newness will soon emerge. I was reflecting on the years of notes I’ve been researching and will share here and in the class with Purearth Organics: the topics of food, ancestral cooking, folklore around seasonal meals and celebrations for the month of February and the Hunger Moon.
So many of the notes are about women as the powerhouse in the community. Have we become too nice? Have I become too nice? What is my role in the community?
I grew up in the Northwest Territories a place of adventure, strength, power, and attitudes of being fierce, not mean or aggressive but with such determination that nothing stopped me. My parents were the same way, as were their parents before them, as were our ancestors. They lived off the land and had to be strong, fierce, unwavering, and determined. At some point after leaving my beloved North, I internalized the idea of needing to be a “nice girl.” It was never something I was familiar with, it just seemed in the south I recognized that life as a female would be easier for me if I just became unreservedly nice. But I was wrong. Really wrong.
Pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory. This is how the dictionary defines nice. And on a subconscious level this is how I fashioned myself to be in the world. I became someone who always put others needs first, defaulting to an attitude of cheerful mildness. Even as I empowered myself with education, knowledge, life experience, starting and excelling in another business, there was always the impetus to be a nice girl. Which meant, among other things, agreeing to situations that didn’t always feel comfortable or resonant. Saying yes when I wanted to say no. Going out of my way to make sure I didn’t step on any toes. Create other people’s images to be ‘the expert’ in a specific industry. I was excellent at marketing and storytelling so why not. Apologizing for things that I had no need to feel sorry for, like speaking my mind or just enjoying my life. I had focused wholly on tending to other people’s feelings I couldn’t even trust my own.
Sometimes, niceness takes you so far down the rabbit hole that you lose track of how to even understand what it is that you need on a deeper level. When we spend so much time securing other people’s comfort, we lose connection to our innate desires. I had spent so long being a nice girl in my relationship that I lost track of the woman who had forthright interests and desires.
In our country being a nice girl is such an ingrained expectation it is painful, and sometimes shocking, to realize that we’ve cultivated so much pleasantness that we’ve dulled our own power. But becoming, and remaining a nice girl, is a kind of malnutrition to the soul of a woman. To remain a nice girl means just that. To remain, in the eyes of the world, a girl. And it is clear that the world, our aching world of imbalance, is starving for something different.
At its root, the very world “nice” is something that is defined by others. One does not declare oneself to be nice. Nice is a title that is bestowed upon you by those you have pleased, a reward for agreeability. Your skill at fulfilling this role is wholly judged, decided and anointed by others. As nice girls, we don’t have the power to decide whether or not we are good; this lies directly in the hands of those who judge us to be nice.
Let’s bring wholeness back to our own souls, and balance to this earth.
Let us be fierce, determined, strong, and kind.
Kindness is hospitable. It is the grace of our care, a gift that we can decide to bestow. Nice is mild and forgettable. Kind is a power unto itself. Kindness is a bigness. In many cross-cultural myths, we hear of references to women as being kind who chose to also be deeply wild, sharp and severe. But we never hear of a matriarchs being nice. Matriarchs simply aren’t nice. Queens aren’t nice. Nice isn’t big enough for the vastness that is feminine energy, compassion, and care.
It is in our nature to be kind. Kindness is something we can give. Kindness creates community. Nice is something we must mold ourselves to be.
The feminine, the divine feminine, the matriarch, the Empress, the Queen, the Huntress has been starved from our earth. Kindness is the food that will reawaken balance once more. This Wolf Moon reminds me of this. Even she, the one leading her pack is the fiercest yet kind. She doesn’t take more than she needs. She looks for balance.
So next time you feel pressure to say yes when you want to say no. Next time your truth feels uncomfortable. Next time you feel subservient or small. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are a kind. See how quickly the matriarch inside of you is nourished and grows.
To my friends and family who are kind and continue to change the world with their big bodacious fierceness, I write this as a gratitude for remaining in the fire, in the energy that fuels you. I VALUE your legacy, bravery and work in remaining true to your voice and power.
Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, Pink, Buffy St. Marie, Nina Simone, Maya Angelou, Hilary Clinton, and recently Meghan Markle are celebrities that are kind. They promote kindness yet used their art and platform to CREATE not only their voices in the world but to create a power that comes from a nurturing compassionate place to and for others but INCLUDING themselves.
None of them had it easy, yet found a way to stand in all of who they were, not being seen as some sweet candy for someone else to enjoy. I have friends who are kind and certainly my Mom is kind. I used to be kind, which to me is wild, strong, independent, fierce, take-no-shit, highly encouraging, yet I became “nice” over the years. I’m now in my 40s and I thought I was just plain invisible from being too nice for the past 10 years but I’m not.
Last weekend’s hike was a reminder that I am not who I used to be, this is a long, winding, and often unforgiving path to take, but it’s so very necessary to stop and look at where you are at right now. Are you hungry for more kindness? Or are you remaining nice?
Perhaps last Sunday’s hike in the woods along with my notes reminded me to return to my strength, my voice, my writing and remain kind without the wonder of what people will think. I want to share my knowledge in food, history, ancestry, folklore, traditional feasts and how it teaches about a connection to gardening, the earth, the common between all of us, the community it took to survive and the hunger for this natural medicine.
The return to these teachings have already filled my soul. During the end of the wolf moon, I am filled with gratitude, joy, action and ultimately a sense of purpose to encourage kindness on this big old world and how each of us has a power in us that may be untapped. I hope this year you too find your purpose, your truth, and not being too damn nice but kind, creative, fierce, compassionate, wild, and determined with your honesty and integrity. Become the Matriarch. Become the Queen. Become the Empress. Become the Huntress. You are the medicine.
See you this February and the Hunger Moon. I can’t wait to share what it shines light on for the month, for you and for the class.