Episode #116 Daring to risk: finding our purpose in a turbulent world with Maggie Ostara
What do we do when the world isn’t working for us? When our every fibre rages against the machine and our place in it? Maggie Ostara, PhD, talks about her own path from a high-flying academic career, through to a life of clear purpose and contribution that has authenticity, integrity and power.
Maggie left her job as the Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Columbia University when she realised she’s not meant to work for anyone else.
Twenty five years later at the height of of the pandemic, she created the Eight Pillars of Feminine Sovereignty and the six Feminine Sovereign Archetypes and then organised and hosted the online Women Evolving Our World Conference (and upcoming podcast).
She is committed to helping people from all walks of life to connect deeply with the flow of life, to listen to the inner wisdom of their own bodies, and to find their own empowerment, authority, agency and resilience.
Maggie says: “Now is the time for those of us who’ve been clearing our out-dated belief systems and building our skills and wisdom in the energetic and emotional realms to step forward and take our place among the leaders of today. For too many years, those who claim leadership in our world have valued profit and personal gain over the well-being of the majority of the human world, not to mention all the other beings with whom we share this planet. We are transforming and upgrading what it means to be a leader in alignment with the More Life principle: more life to all and less to none. I invite you to take the next step forward — whether that’s simply in your own life, or in your family, community, neighbourhood or in your work in the world – shining out your values, your radiance, your compassion and your vision of the world you want to live in. Together we truly can make a difference!”
Maggie has a thriving YouTube channel, teaches online courses, works with clients individually and in groups, provides business consulting, and particularly loves guiding Change Agents expand their body of work and its influence globally. She lives in occupied Pomo territory in Northern California with her non-binary 20 year old and her black feline familiar.
In this episode, we explore what it takes to let go of the restrictions of the conventional world, and listen to the quiet urgings of the inner voice that pushes us to be other than our conditioning or society’s expectations. With clarity and courage, she charts a course to a sense of self-compassion, self-awareness and connection to the flow of life that brings clarity to her life’s purpose – and then shares the core of what she does in a way that makes it universally accessible. At the end, she offers a gift to Accidental Gods listeners, so that you, too, can share what the learning she offers.
Manda: What we’re doing now in the podcast is increasingly trying to find people who are helping to map that flourishing future into being. And Maggie Ostara, this week’s guest, is definitely one of those people. Maggie contacted me about six months ago to invite me to speak on a conference she was organising called Women Evolving Our World, and we got talking and found that we had so much in common. And I was really keen to invite her back to the podcast to explore her insights into the ways that we can begin to break out of the conventions of our current world and step into a world that is genuinely heartfelt. Where we can begin to connect to whatever that inner wisdom is, whether we call it our soul’s purpose or instinct or intuition, or just feeling that we want to do something that is going to make a difference as we see the world hurtling towards inevitable change. And so as Maggie delves deep into this with such authenticity and integrity and beauty and courage, people of the podcast please do welcome Maggie Ostara.
Manda: So Maggie Ostara, welcome at long last to the Accidental Gods podcast. It’s been a long time since we first spoke. And years back, it felt like February was never going to happen. But here we are. We’re in the middle of Storm Eustace here. How is it with you over there in the states?
Maggie: Well, I am in sunny Northern California and it’ll be 75 today, which is lovely. And it’s also part of our climate change and what feeds our summers of fires. So it’s all mixed. But yes, it’ll be a lovely day today.
Manda: I’m not slightly envious at all. No, because I read something the other day that someone had done quite an interesting study of looking at the last time we had this much CO2 in the air. And looking then at fossilised plant pollen around Britain to see what was growing, to see what the climate was like. And they were looking at really very significant increases in rainfall. And given that it’s basically you would drown if you went outside without a snorkel at the moment, increases in rainfall over that feel quite scary. But then you guys have had no rainfall for a very long time, have you?
Maggie: Well, we had quite a bit of rain in the end of November and December, and then we haven’t had any rain since the beginning of January. So we’re coming on five, six weeks now. But we had quite a bit and that was great. We were all, you know, celebrating and hoping we were going to have a wet winter and we got eight inches in 48 hours.
Manda: Wow. And are there designs? Are people creating ways of gathering this water in regenerative ways, in the Land and in places not just great big concrete reservoirs.
Maggie: One of the things about Northern California is there’s a lot of people who are kind of came out of the 60s and the 70s and they’ve been doing all kinds of different kinds of farming and back to the Land things ever since. So I’m sure that there are lots of catchment, you know, things that people are doing. Where I live, even my town is on wells. So we’re on well water. So we have our aquifers. Here, we’re doing OK but I do live in an agricultural area and unfortunately it’s being taken over by grapes and they take a lot of water. And we used to have apples. This was an apple area, the Grabenstein apples, but now we’re being taken over by one country, which is much more lucrative but also extremely problematic in environmental ways. I’m always like, why are we using some of the best agricultural land in the world to not grow food? And alongside that, there’s there’s biodynamic farms, there’s organic farms there, there’s regenerative agriculture. So right where I am, it’s very mixed. There’s all kinds, of course, when you go to the Central Valley, you’re talking GMO Land and and commercial agriculture and and all of that. But right where I am and north of me, it’s much more mixed and there’s a lot more innovative things going on.
Maggie: I had the good fortune when my child was small, to go to a farm, you know, like this called Live Power Farm. And they only use live power. So they only use horses. And they’ve been doing this since the 70s and they have a biodynamic farm, so they have 40 acres. It takes 40 acres to have two acres of cultivable land where they can grow food because everywhere else they have to grow hay and then they have to feed their animals, and then they have to take the poop from the animals and make it into compost. It’s very complex, right? But it was astonishing to go on a wagon ride, with this man who was able to get through, literally there was maybe two to three inches on either side of the fences as this big big wagon was going through being led by horses. And they started this with the idea that at some point we’re not going to have fossil fuels and we might not have other forms of energy for machines. And so someone has to remember how to do that.
Manda: Oh, that’s such a good idea because we’ve been talking about doing exactly that here. I just haven’t got around to teaching the pony how to how to lead things. But I have a friend who makes violins, beautiful, and works horses on his Land. And he spends a lot of time, or used to before we all realise that flying was a bad idea, going to the states because you have the Mennonites who also still maintain and have created a whole structure of amazing horse drawn tools. And he said, this is, I found, really interesting. He speaks Norwegian and German. He goes around Europe a lot, to lots of different places where people make violins and talks to them, and then he goes to the states and he particularly spoke about one sale that the Mennonites held. And he said the culture shock was more than he’d ever had anywhere in Europe because nobody was focussed on making money. They were only focussed on what was best for the family, the clan, the tribe, the people, whatever they called it, and they were working with the animals. And I think I’m not sure that the treatment of the animals is one that I would necessarily go along with. But even so, the fact that that knowledge is retained, it’s, you know, Joanna Macey’s idea that we need to have a kind of create little time capsules. And one of them has to have all of the locations where all the nuclear waste has been put so that however long it is before people need to know that, that knowledge is there. And the other is, how do we do this? We’re sidetracking already because you have such a fascinating life. So, Maggie…
Maggie: I was just thinking, Manda, you’re talking about nuclear waste. I’m going, Oh yes, so we can send the mushrooms in.
Manda: Yeah, we can. Well, we can try.
Maggie: But that’ll be some point in the future.
Manda: Yeah, I think yes, because we can. You’re right. There are biological ways of decontaminating everything, but we just need to work them through. We’ll get to that in a while I think. Let’s start off from the beginning, because you are… Not Totally the beginning… But the break point with consensus reality. When you stepped away from what sounds like quite a high paying prestigious job into a world that feels much more fluid. Can you tell us that process? Because it seems to me that this is part of what we’re all going through now. Is the old world is crumbling and we need to know how to follow that inner sense that sends us somewhere different.
Maggie: Mm hmm. Yes, it’s absolutely critical. And I’ll yes, I will share about this kind of this first big time it happened, but I will say that it has happened more than once. And that this is the process of ego death and the ego that is developed in culture. And I don’t regret doing what I did. I grew up in a literary family. My father was a professor, my grandfather was a professor, my uncle was a professor. My both my grandmothers had advanced degrees and so does my mother. So I grew up in a very academic, very literary family, and I did go to graduate school. I have a literature PhD, and I was also a Women’s Studies and African-American Studies Ph.D., and so I was hired at Columbia University in New York to set up their Women’s Studies programme, which is what it was at the time. And then we made it a women’s and gender studies programme while I was there. And then we also incubated lesbian and gay studies inside of women and gender studies because there wasn’t anywhere else for it to be. And we were in the same building with African-American studies. So my interest in being a professor was always about power and authority. I was always interested in consciousness, although I didn’t use that word back then, but I look back now and I think about that. Because the way that I approached literature was much more kind of cultural studies.
Maggie: I was really looking at what are the narratives that are available and who has a voice and who doesn’t and why? Who gets to be a human? Who gets to be a man and why? Because studying the literature of slavery, this is really big about who gets to be a man. Because if you’re a man, you get to be a citizen. If you’re not a man, if you’re not human, then you don’t get to be a citizen and so on. And Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Frederick Douglass, who were the two most respected or famous authors, African-American authors of the 19th century were both very, very clear that the slavery of the mind, the enslavement of the mind was probably even more important than the enslavement of the body. And so I was very interested in those questions then. And what I discovered being in academe was I always have thought different. I’ve always been different. I’ve always just had a different point of view. I grew up in a black neighbourhood during civil rights. I came of age during feminism, the second wave of feminism. My mother became a feminist when I was a teenager, and so I was really infused with all of that. So my academic work was also infused with all of that.
Maggie: And what I found was that inside the academy, I was really a black sheep, if you want to call it that. I mean, I was just always pushing the edge of what we were talking about. And I got so disillusioned with the way that people were using kind of their political orientation for building their careers. Like it just really drove me nuts after a while. And people would have arguments that were just about positioning. They weren’t really true debate about moving the the thought process and the understanding forward. And I just got so I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I didn’t know what was going on. I just knew I had to leave and it was hard. I mean, I’d spent, you know, 15 years of my life getting a Ph.D., getting this job here. I was at Columbia in New York, and I’m like, Really, really Ostara, you’re going to leave? And but I had to because I was getting sick, I was burnt out. I just knew and plus I saw women 10 years older, 20 years older than me down the career track. And I was like, I don’t want their lives. I was like, No, I don’t want their lives. I had seen my dad’s life. My dad had a pretty good life. He was a professor for close to 60 years, literally.
Manda: Either he lived a long time or he started very young
Maggie: Well, he got his Ph.D. when he was 25. So yeah, and then he did live a long time and he taught a long time. Plus, he’d been teaching before that. But anyway, so. So I just was kind of driven out from the inside, not from the outside, but from the inside. And I remember this moment walking down West End Avenue in New York, and I was not a very spiritual person. I was much more politically oriented at that time and an activist and so on. But I was kind of waking up to the limitations of that way of being and was opening up to a more spiritual orientation. So I’m walking down the West End Avenue and I threw up my arms and I’m like, OK, universe. All right, I get it. I got to go. I have no idea what to do. Like zero. Everything in my life has led me to this job at Columbia, and I don’t know anything else. Plus, I came out of this family. It’s like, I don’t know anything else. I will go out and I will look, but you will have to bring it to me, OK, because I don’t know. And it was the first time I’d really kind of surrendered to, if you want to call it a higher power, this idea of spirit, I didn’t really have a spiritual practise or anything.
Maggie: I didn’t like religion that I grew up in, you know, but I was like, I don’t know what else I’m frigging going to do. And then I did. I left and I’ve been out since ’97. And so I’ve had my own businesses since then and a series of different things that I’ve explored for the last almost 25 years now. And it has not been an easy road. I don’t know if any of us have easy roads, really, because whatever the outer circumstances are, we have our inner development that’s always going on, especially if you’re paying any attention. So when I look back over those last 25 years, I think the pieces that I mentioned earlier about my academic work, my interest in power and authority and who has Voice and who doesn’t. And how do we value ourselves? And how do we have people who have been at the margins have more power and authority? That has been a through line for me, in all of the kind of different things I’ve done. And like I said, I have burned out more times since then. But that’s been the kind of the constant.
Manda: So clearly there’s a line we want to go down and look at power and authority and what you’re doing now. But I’m really curious for people listening who are on the edge of where you were; of realising that the system isn’t working for them, if it ever did, and that they need to do that, you know, ‘OK, the powers that be, all that is, web of life, whatever we call it. I have no clue, but I need something’. Can you walk us through, as much as you remember, of getting from A to B? Or did you hand in your notice and then just float? How did the universe help you, nudge you, ease you onto a path, that leads to where you are now?
Maggie: I started studying food as medicine when I was still teaching at Columbia. I had started working with a Chinese and Tibetan medicine practitioner. I knew that I was not well and every Western doctor I went to told me I was fine. And I was like, Something is off. I can just feel it. I don’t know what it is, but I could just feel it. So I found this woman through a referral and I went to her and she completely changed my life and changed my physiology. And so she turned me on to macrobiotics and she treated me with Tibetan medicine. Medicine that was like prayed over by monks, you know, and Dharamsala, you know, I was so fortunate to have been able to work with her, and she gave me very strong acupuncture. And I really, I was like, Wow, I am so different. And so I started studying food as medicine as a result of that. And it was through that and I was still doing that while I was teaching at Columbia and I was in New York. So there are so many things available.
And I was looking at this because I trained to be a macrobiotic chef and counsellor and all of that and I did do some cooking for people who were ill, and I did teach some cooking classes and stuff. But I was like, ‘This, isn’t it’. And I knew this, wasn’t it. And I was introduced to a network marketing company in health and wellness. And I was like, really? No. Really? But I had such a strong ‘yes’ happening inside, I was like, ‘OK, I asked for some help and I didn’t think it would come in this form. But here I am’, and I’m like, OK, are you going to reject the help that has been handed to you? And so I dove in and I actually became very successful in that company in a very short period of time. I was able to double my income from Columbia in 15 months, and I just went, Wow, that’s cool. I was actually not paid very much at Columbia I just have to say.
Manda: Impoverished academics are impoverished academics, but even so,
Maggie: No, but even so, it was wild and I was like, Wow, this is something new! And I didn’t realise my ability to really kind of enrol people in new ideas. I kind of knew that as a teacher, but it turned out that I could do this working with health and wellness products. And I was really passionate about it because it had changed, including the things that I got from this company had really impacted me. So I also was introduced to metaphysics in a very significant way through that experience and the person who mentored me and supported me all the way through. She’s very metaphysical, and she helped me to develop my capacity to envision what I wanted and then carry it through with actions that came to me, that were inspired by the vision of what I wanted. And I did come to the end of working with that company, but it showed me what was possible out in the world. And I think that there are a fair number of people who do engage with network marketing as a way out of some of the common culture ways that we’ve been taught. To get out of a corporation or for me, it was out of academe or whatever it is, because it is a different way of doing business and there is a certain amount of support which is very different than if we’re just doing our own thing all alone. I have mixed feelings about network marketing, but I do think that there are some benefits to that for people, when they know how to work it and they know how to use it. So I was very fortunate and it was definitely something that spirit brought to me.
Manda: Exactly. And therefore, we don’t poke it in the eye because it’s not quite what we had in mind. I really like that something unexpected came and you still said yes. Because my experience is a lot of people, their heads have already defined a little bit of what it isn’t that they want and maybe even a tiny fraction of what it is. And they and the world is going, ‘hello! Over here. Way out in left field’. And they won’t look because it’s not what they’re expecting. But you went with it, and I’m guessing it gave you that sense of personal agency that it sounds like you were looking for.
Maggie: Well, it gave me agency outside of the confines of what I already knew. Like inside of academe I had a lot of agency, but it absolutely did do that. And it also awakened this entrepreneurial spirit inside of me, that later on I looked back like I was a campfire girl when I was growing up. And that was..
Manda: What’s that?
Maggie: Well, have you ever heard of Girl Scouts?
Manda: Oh, OK. We have girl guides.
Maggie: Well it’s like that. Ok, girl guides. Ok, but it’s the Native American side by side of Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts is kind of paramilitary and campfire girls, our slogan was WoHeLo. So it’s more of the Native American, probably appropriated. But anyway, I grew up with that, and I know when we were doing that, we would create things and we’d have fundraisers and we’d sell the stuff that we created so we could go on trips and do things like that. And I was always really good at that. And so then when I came to network marketing and it came to enrolling people in a vision and being able to do sales and marketing and things like that, it turned out I was just a natural at it. I was really good at that. And I didn’t know that when I was a professor. Or I didn’t know it in that way. So that has always stuck with me for over the, you know, 20 years since then. Because I’ve had my own businesses since then and I’ve taught a lot of people how to build their own businesses. You know, I’ve worked with people in the health and wellness field, spiritual teachers, healers, people who are basically allergic to business. They break out in hives when they think about it.
Manda: Yeah, I need to. I probably need to take you… Yeah, I will have a separate conversation about that. Because it does seem to me that we’re in a transition point. Deep transformation, whatever we want to call it. And the old system is breaking down, and a lot of us have got to the point where the economic model within which we exist is horrible and we don’t want to be part of it. I really, really don’t. But on the other hand, we still exist within it. We still actually have to pay the bills. You know, we have to pay our Zoom accounts and Scorecast accounts and everything else still requires money. And making that transition without feeling as if we are compromising our integrity, I find hard. And I’d be really interested… Because it sounds like you were able to step into this with authenticity and integrity, because it was products that you believed in and you were able then to talk from your heart with authenticity and integrity. And I’m sure that was a big part of being effective at what you did. What got you to move beyond that?
Maggie: It’s interesting that you bring up authenticity and integrity because I would say yes, to a degree. Not that I understood at the time, because this is all extremely new to me, right? Really a whole new world. And the reason I left that work was I felt that there were aspects of it that were out of integrity and that I could not align with any more. Same with academe. I just couldn’t. I was out of integrity for me and I just couldn’t continue to participate. And I couldn’t find my way through to continue to really be authentic and to feel like I was in integrity doing that business, without going into any details. And I think that unfortunately, we continued, just as you said, economically, but also in terms of our consciousness. We continue to live inside of power dynamics and mindsets that are really based in colonialism. I mean they’re… You know, one of the reasons I loved your Boudica books so much was it helped me to really get a sense of what it was like to be in an indigenous culture that’s being invaded and then subjugated. Whereas I never felt like it was cool for me as a descendant of colonisers, and some people would still consider me a coloniser, in the United States to do that with with indigenous people here, right. There’s no way to kind of do that without being really appropriative. But to be able to connect with my Celtic ancestors, because my ancestors are Celtic and do come from the British Isles, and to feel that and to see, you know, that so much of our mindset goes so far back and we’re still embedded in that.
Maggie: And I think it’s what we’re unravelling, right? It is what we’re unravelling. There’s so much that’s still in there and that is embedded in our economic system. And it was in the mindset of people in that network marketing company. Actually I don’t think it was in the company so much. It was a Japanese company and they really had a different mindset. But you bring it into the U.S. and then it gets all distorted by our way of thinking about stuff. So anyway, so that’s why I left, because I ended up feeling like ‘this is still off’. Like, I have a pretty good BS metre inside of me that just starts to go ‘uh-uh, get out of here, get out of here, like, go do the next thing’. And I’m like, OK, well, then bring me the next thing! Because I just, you know, built this and now this isn’t it either! And that’s happened through a series of time. And the thing I want to say is it’s not so much about the next thing that you do. It’s about getting good at being flexible and and being able to hear, see, feel tune into the inner guidance that will tell you where to go if you pay enough attention and if you agree inside of yourself to meet your own resistance. To meet the places inside of you, that go, ‘Are you nuts? What are you thinking about?’ Like, you have to get good at that and like, I’m really good at it now after 25 years!
Manda: And a lot of cycles, I imagine of of exactly that. Can we? That’s a really interesting thing. And I think for people again, for people listening. Who have perhaps been around the burnout cycle once or twice, but getting to the point that you have got to, where you understand that it is a cycle and it’s almost certainly going to come round again. Learning, and I use the word with care, the resilience to navigate that sense of unknowing. Can you unpick for us how that feels for you and your strategies for not just disintegrating, which is always an option when we hit burnout?
Maggie: Mm hmm. I have committed to never burning out again. And I think I understand well enough now what I need to do so that I don’t. But it took a while, because I definitely had many cycles of burnout. And one thing that I do now is I only do what I have energy for. I do not force myself to do things I don’t have energy for. And being able to tune in to my inner guidance enough to know what I actually have energy for and to make decisions with that body wisdom rather than with my rational mind, has been huge. Because the rational mind doesn’t really know what you have energy for or not. It knows does it strategically make sense? You know, does the plan pan out? Can you see if there are material resources that will support it? It won’t tell you, do you, your body, your spirit, your mind-body-spirit – is it on board? Like your rational mind will not tell you that. In fact, it will try to talk you out of what your body’s telling you! And so I’ve developed a very highly attuned ability to know what my body-mind-spirit is telling me. and to follow that.
Maggie: But again, these things really go against everything we’ve been taught to do in culture. One of the things I say to people in, you know, in my work with clients and classes I teach and so on, is from the earliest, earliest ages we are taught to disconnect from our bodies and our intuition. We go to school. What is the first thing we get when we go to school? Sign systems: letters and numbers. Here you are, you’re like, this, what four year old, five year old, right? And you’re still talking to fairies and in the imaginal realm and the world is alive and the trees are talking to you and everything. And you get these little squiggles and you’re supposed to start to understand what those are. And then we’re told that they’re real and the voices of the trees are not. And then school just just reinforces that for years. I mean, I did that, I sent away my intuition when I was a kid and was really good at maths and won the senior maths award in my high school because that was what culture said was good.
Manda: Yeah. And we get lots of kudos for that. And yeah, especially if we are in an academic family. Academic families produce academic children.
Maggie: So just to just to to wrap that up, is to say in order to not burn out and in order to find your way out of the social dictates that tell you who you are, who you should be, who you shouldn’t be, what you can do, what you can’t do, what’s possible, what’s not possible? We have to exit the matrix basically, right? We have to find a way out of the matrix. And for me, the body and our our intuition are our biggest allies, that will help direct us. I think of the body, when we’re able to kind of strip away its conditioning because it’s very conditioned by bad food and, you know, environmental toxins and all kinds of things, right? But when we can really get clean in our bodies, it is a way that the web of life, I call it the flow of life speaks to us. And that to me has. That’s been my saving grace for sure.
Manda: I would be really interested… When you’re teaching, how do you help people to listen to the voice of their body mind?
Maggie: Well, I am certified in radiant body yoga, which is based in kundalini yoga. And that is an ancient wisdom tradition. The yoga traditions go back many, many, many thousands of years. It blows me away the yogis were able to tap into just through meditation. Right? Same with like the people in China who are able to map the meridians just through meditation, right? And so the yogis similarly able to map the energy system, multiple energy maps of physical form. And so I help people with that. Is to be able to how do we quiet the mind and activate the prana? You know, the life force energy, to a level that we are then literally shifting our vibrational state, so that we’re more aligned with what the quantum physicists now call the unified field and the yogis would call the great womb of life. But it’s this greater energy field. The creative intelligence of the universe that is everywhere, present all the time and is always available to help us. But we have to, like I said, learn to exit the matrix, in the sense of if our minds are constantly in control. And our minds are a beautiful, beautiful gift, right? They are. And they’re limited. They are limited the same way a computer is limited. Our minds are like computers; they’re limited. It’s when the mind bows down to the that creative intelligence that is larger and is willing to take direction from that, that our lives change dramatically. And that’s definitely been the case for me. And that’s what I teach people how to do.
Manda: Yeah, and I think the first time it happens, when somebody does listen and then they step on the path, that then becomes a reinforcing cycle. You’ve just got to kind of help them over that bit, between letting go of the old and there being a gap before something obviously new arises. And then, then it’s OK. Then it goes
Maggie: Well, yes. And we need to practise. I mean, I practise every single day and I teach my clients to practise every single day. Because the forces that be that are both outside of us, you know, whether that’s media and economic social structures and so on, but also the forces that are inside of us, you know, the ancestral wounding and trauma that we have that we carry in our epigenetics. Or our access, if our listeners will go here with me, to the imprints that we carry from other lives that we’ve had. I’ve done a lot of work over the last 20 years with helping to release traumas from witch burnings that have been in my form that I have had with me. And I think that mostly women, but men too, because men were burned at the stake too. Contrary to many beliefs. And like, that’s part of what this healing and freedom process is, is to recognise how deeply we’ve been imprinted and how much we still carry it with us. And I’ve worked with people whose parents are Holocaust survivors, for example, and who’ve had, you know, they’ve got that really, you know, the idea that if you’re too visible or you’re too seen, you speak up too much, you know, the next thing you know, your head’s going to be cut off. Or whatever, you’re going to be taken away and disappeared. You know, your kids are going to be taken away. These kind of deep imprints that we have ancestrally and through the soul’s journey. And so because sometimes you know, you can go, ‘Oh, I don’t know, nothing so horrible happened to me in my childhood. I mean, yeah, sure, it was complicated, but you know, whatever’. But then when you think about our history, right. Again, going back to like the Boudicca books and you think we think about our history; it’s not gone, just because in our linear, you know, teleological way of thinking about time, it was in the past.
Maggie: We still carry it in our in our social structures, our political structures, our economic structures and in our energy fields.
Maggie: And so that’s why for me, the work I do with feminine sovereignty in the eight pillars of feminine sovereignty, is the the very first four pillars are all about developing power within. Because if we don’t shift our understanding of power dynamics, we will just reproduce them. In whatever organisation we’re in, whatever movement we become a part of. I know for me this is part of what happened with me, with activist organisations I was a part of and I just saw people reproducing the same power dynamics and still talking about how we have to fight and we have to overcome and we have to marshal our resources and we have to kill the enemy. It’s just like the same stuff. And I’m like,’Wait! There’s something off here, you know, we need to do it a different way’. So that’s why the first four pillars are all about the inner landscape. And how do we heal and grow and develop our inner landscape, so that we can handle power, right? We don’t give it away, and we don’t just do power over. We have a different relationship to power and we can handle it, we can manage it, and we can direct it with equanimity and with compassion and with fortitude and insight. And if we don’t do that, all the other things that we talk about doing, it’s not going to get us where we really need to go.
Manda: Yay! So I was wondering how we were going to…how I was going to move us… Because actually, there’s so much in what you said. I would love to go back and explore ancestral epigenetics, but actually, let’s move on to the eight pillars. Because it’s something that you have created. I will put a link in the show notes for listeners. Tell us about the evolution of the eight pillars and then what they are and then and why we need them.
Maggie: The eight pillars really go all the way back to my academic work. You know, I do see this through line. And this is why and I want to underscore this for readers, because sometimes you might feel like you wasted time doing something before that you then left. And there were years when I felt that way about getting my Ph.D. and so on. I was like, ‘Why did I spend all the time doing that?’ And now I look at it and I go, ‘Oh no, every single step along the way has led me to where I am now’. So there are roots of the pillars all the way back. To me, growing up in a black neighbourhood during civil rights, I mean, they go all the way back there and probably in my soul journey, right, too. I got very interested in the notion of sovereignty as applied to the individual when I was working with a shamanic practitioner in the late 90s and I was… This is actually when I was planning on leaving the network marketing company I was a part of and I was like, Oh my gosh, what am I going to do now? And so I worked with this woman. She was extraordinarily helpful to me and taught me how to do what you might call dreaming and connecting with my guides and connecting with other dimensions and so on. And she introduced me to this idea of sovereignty in relation to a person, because I always thought about it as royalty, right? The sovereign and then the sovereign state. And as an American asset, I understood the United States is the first sovereign state, right, where we take power and authority away from a family, basically, and we invoke it into a political structure. So the United States is the first sovereign state right. Now we have lots of sovereign states, but that was an extremely radical thing that happened at the end of the 18th century,
Manda: At least within the western world view. I suspect there were sovereign states, probably within the states and elsewhere, but we didn’t acknowledge them.
Maggie: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know if people called them that, though. I don’t, I think in terms of using that word or that concept. And of course, there’s the sovereignty goddess, which is Celtic, who is predates all of this. But anyway, that’s another whole other thing. But she comes in into the the eight pillars of feminine sovereignty. So anyway, so this woman introduced me to this idea of personal sovereignty, and I’ve been fascinated with it and working with it ever since. And as I said, working on the inner landscape and, you know, clearing our, you know, our ancestral trauma and from other lives and so on. And then it really came in strong during COVID, and it was partly a response to what happened in response to George Floyd’s murder and the uprisings that happened globally. And I was literally looking at what was happening online and sobbing because I.. It makes me emotional right now, even though I cry. I never thought I would see this in my lifetime. I really didn’t. You know, as a person, you know, I was dedicated to African-American studies, and I never thought I would see it. And I saw an interview with Angela Davis, who basically said the same thing. She goes, I did not think I would see this in my lifetime.
Maggie: And so there was a, you know, while it was horrible that he was murdered in the way that he did, it also catalysed so many white people. I mean, black people don’t need this right, but it cannonised so many white people to go, ‘Holy smokes, we got to wake up to what something’s happening here. Like, Oh my gosh, I have white privilege. What do you mean?’ And that was really, really astounding. And so the The Pillars six and seven, which are about communication and collaboration, I realised this can’t just be about the inner landscape. It has to really be about how do we be in the world with each other, as sovereign beings. Like, How do we do that? What’s our responsibility? Because unfortunately, and this is what we see this happening now, it’s a relatively recent phenomenon. There’s a lot of, I’ll just call them, maybe reactionary people in the United States who use sovereignty to mean I have individual rights and I can do whatever the hell I want. And that is not the kind of sovereignty I’m talking about at all. It’s not the kind of individualistic, independent white male who wants to assert his ability to keep his rifle, basically right.
Maggie: And instead, we need to be in a world where we have other sovereign beings, so we’re recognising that nobody needs rescuing. Nobody is a dominator. Nobody’s a victim. Even though things look that way and they feel that way, and it doesn’t mean that people haven’t done things to each other, I don’t want to say that. But how do we evolve out of victim perpetrator, rescue or paradigm, into some other way of understanding power? Even if somebody has been deeply abused in some way, we can still hold them as whole. Becoming sovereign, they can be in charge of their lives, we don’t see them as somebody who has to be, you know, care taken and that they’re damaged. And that is that’s a big process, right? We start doing it with ourselves, of course, first. But then how do we do that with each other? So the pillars; the first one is co-creating with the flow of life. Consciously co-creating with the flow of light. So that’s about our spiritual connexion, right? And then there’s the emotional wisdom, and this is not emotional intelligence, which actually is quite intellectual as it gets talked about, by men mostly. Not to bash men, but it is kind of how they come about it, a very rational way of talking about emotions.I find it ironic and kind of humorous.
Maggie: But the wisdom that we get around our emotional energy, which isn’t just about our reactivity, but it’s also about the power of our emotions. How do we harness and direct the power of our emotions? Then physical vitality and our relationship to the natural world. Because we are part of the natural world, our physical vitality is intricately and always connected to the vitality of the planet. And then pillar four is energetic mastery, and that is a lot of where the yogic practises and energy practises come in. Pillar number five is to know your purpose and your contribution; because I see so many people get paralysed in the face of what’s happening in the world because it all seems too big. It’s all just too big. I’m just going to go watch Netflix again, or I’m just going to go have some more ice cream or, you know, whatever I’m going to do, right? And so being able to discern what is my part and to be able to focus on my part and that part can change. It’s not set in stone. My part has changed a lot over the years.
Manda: Yes, I think that’s a really important thing to emphasise. It’s not set in stone.
Maggie: It’s not. It’s going to evolve. Everything I do is inside of a developmental model. That we are an evolutionary model, that we’re always, everything is always evolving and developing, and so nothing is ever set. I don’t believe, I know some people do believe that, but I don’t believe that. And then the Pillar six is excellent communication, which is how do we actually really, really listen to each other and allow ourselves to be influenced by other people? And also, how do we speak up, speak our truth and be unattached to the results in the outcomes. Especially the immediate outcome and results as much as we may be dedicated to the long term results that we really are standing behind. And then collaboration. And so these all build on each other, right? We can’t do collaboration if we don’t have emotional wisdom and we don’t have some mastery and if we don’t know how to communicate, right? So collaboration is a very, very high skill, but we absolutely have to have it. How do we learn to collaborate across traditional divides and with people who, you know, we don’t really agree with and we may not like certain things about them? But how can we find common ground? How can we develop an understanding that we are all in this together? Because I really believe that we’ve got to have that if we’re going to make it through. And then pillar number eight is a benevolent and compassionate attitude towards all of life. And really taking in the more life principle. More life to all and less to none. And how do we actually get to that place, again, a very, very high skill. But so this is what the pillars of feminine sovereignty are about. Is how do we grow ourselves into the people who can write the Thrutopia stories and then who can live in a Thrutopia world? How, because we, you know, we have to grow ourselves into that.
Manda: Yes. Yes, thank you. That’s so beautiful. And I love… So pillar five – my life, purpose and contribution – You’ve got a picture of Greta Thunberg. I love that. And then Pillar seven, we’re talking about the ability to creatively partner with our non-human companions in the natural world as well as with each other. And that kind of looks back to right at the start; co-creating with the flow of life. That it’s.. It feels to me that these are a spiral.
Maggie: Yes, it’s exactly how I teach them. They’re not. They’re not linear because we develop this power within, but then when we go out into the world and we engage, you know, our stuff comes up. And then we got to go back inside and grow ourselves more. And that process doesn’t, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t end as long as we’re in the body, right? It’s like, this is our evolutionary process. But then once we develop that power within, it’s incumbent upon us to go out and engage with others as well, because we can’t just kind of… I used to talk to people about their addiction to healing. You know, it’s like your addiction to personal growth. Like personal growth, so that…What?
Manda: Yeah, exactly. Don’t just keep going on the courses, on the seminars and the workshops. You got to go out and actually live in the world. So how do you find… How long have you been teaching this now, Maggie?
Maggie: Well, I mean, in some ways I’ve been working with sovereignty for over 20 years. Because even when I was working doing the network marketing work, I was talking to people about developing their own sovereignty to exit whatever matrix they were in, whether that was a corporate job or whatever, it was, right, so that they could then develop their own business, right? So that process of deconditioning or deep programming has been with me for a very long time. But the pillars themselves in the current form came in during COVID. They came in after George Floyd was murdered. And it was one of those, you know, light bulb or, you know, hit on the head moments, where I was like, ‘Oh, we’ve got to have these other pillars’. We’ve got to have communication and collaboration in here, right? And the others were all there, but those came in and then the form came in very crystal and clear during that time. And I was very happy because I had been writing and writing and writing about this, and I just… The form just wasn’t. You’ve probably your a writer Manda. You know how this is. You can write the equivalent of like three books and still not the form, right? And so that’s where I was in terms of the writing of it. But the pieces of it and the the practises and the concepts of it are something I’ve been doing with people for a long time. But then it crystallised into this particular form, and then I created the women evolving our world conference that you participated in, which was organised around the eight pillars.
Maggie: And that was another step for me to be asking others to be coming in and contributing just from their work into each of the pillars. And that helped me see, Okay, how does this how does this work in relation to other people’s work that’s already going on in the world? And then I created the Light Worker Leadership Code’s Course, Mini Course, which came out of the conference, which further introduced new concepts about power and authority in relation to feminine sovereignty and and then also the eight pillars. And now I’m working with a set of clients in a deeper coaching, ongoing relationship with this material. And I’m also writing a kind of manifesto manual, which is the first of three books that I now have kind of clearly in my head about the eight pillars of feminine sovereignty. So it’s all really, the form is really coming in and and I like working with people and getting their feedback, like, how is it landing for them and what do they need? And what are the blind spots that they have. So I really think it’s important when we’re doing work like this, that it’s not just coming out of my download. My mind, you know, is plugged as I am. I want to see how it lands with people. So that’s where I’m at with it currently.
Manda: And not burning out in the middle of writing three books, teaching a bunch of people holding a conference and then moving on into a course. I am beyond impressed.
Maggie: Let me just be clear, I’m only writing one book at a time, but you know how it is, right?
Manda: Yes, you’re planning the others
Maggie: Well, you know you write something and you go, Oh no, that belongs in that one, and then you dump it, right? Yeah. So no, I’m not trying to write three at once.
Manda: And when the first one will be out? We can invite you back.
Maggie: I really hope it’ll be out this year. I mean I think I’m going to self-publish this one, because it’s my stake in the ground book. For many years when I talked about sovereignty, people would kind of look at me like, you mean, like the king and queen? And I’ll be like,
Manda: It’s such a buzzword now
Maggie: Well, now it is Manda. But I’ve been doing this for over 25 years now. And so now I’m like, Oh goodness, I’ve got to get my stake in the ground with my version of sovereignty. Because I also don’t want it to be associated with this kind of reactionary thing that’s happening. Like, I want to very clearly differentiate. But then I also… Like a couple of the people who came into the light worker leadership course that came out of the conference were just saying,’Wow, this is like a manual for my personal development’. And now I’m developing a self-assessment so that you can be like, Well, where are you with these? And people are deciding what they really need to be working on right now, because you can’t work on all eight of them at once. I mean, you just… That’s trying to eat a whole buffet in one meal, right? And they aren’t truly distinct in some ways, or they’re not completely; they’re all interconnected, but you have to have a focus to be able to go deeper. Otherwise you just skim on the surface. And you know me well enough by now Manda; I am not a surface skimmer.
Manda: Definitely not. Is the self-assessment ready? Is that something that if I linked to it, people can do it now?
Maggie: I will have it ready by the time the podcast comes out.
Manda: Ok, and I’ll put a link to that on the show notes, because it seems to me this is so aligned with what we’re doing in Accidental Gods. And you’ve got so much material, even on the websites that are there at the moment. And if people can find a way… Because exactly as you say, people have, I think, a sense of urgency now. So many people. And an understanding that the internal work has to come first before the external work really can kick off. Although I think I’ve heard you say, and I would certainly think, that you can run the two in parallel up to point. You start the internal work and you can start the external work as long as you don’t then abandon the internal work. But to give people a focus would be brilliant.
Maggie: Well, and I would say, you know, there are people… As one of the participants in the conference we did together said, she said ‘some people are going to drop more on the inner part of the spiral, and some people are going to drop more on the outer part of the spiral just because of how they’re oriented, right’? And this is a woman who does a lot of depth psychology, and she uses the most incredible art processes and so on. She goes, ‘you know, I’m more on the inner spiral. You know, this is where I do my work’, she goes, ‘and it ripples out and I’m teaching. I have, you know, a school. And so of course, I’m engaging with other people and I, I ripple, you know, I spiral out in that way. But the work that I do is really focussed on kind of the the tight inner part of the spiral. Where there’s other people who are going to be more on the outer part of the spiral. People who maybe do have more of an activist orientation to their work. And that’s right for them. And so depending on where you are, that activist person might be like, ‘Oh gosh, I really do need to kind of get inside and clear some of this power dynamic that I have. That, you know, I just got brought up in and, you know, it’s been effective to a certain degree, but I’m realising it’s, you know, it’s not enough. I really need to evolve on that level.
Maggie: And then there’s other people who like we were talking about, who are kind of stuck in the personal development, you know, hamster wheel, who need to get out of there and get out and learn how to really talk to other people and collaborate with other people. So I think that there’s an inroad for everyone, depending on where they are and they can find themselves. And I invite all of you who check this out to be really honest with yourself, about where your edge is and not where your comfort is. Because a lot of times people just want to go to their comfort. Like, Oh, I know that I’m going to keep doing that. And it’s like, But what’s your edge? Right? Because in order for us to get to where we need to be, we need to be on our edge. Like all the time, pretty much. Like we need to just… you can have respites, but they’re short because we don’t have a lot of time, right? Manda.
Manda: I think so. Yeah, but not burning out,
Maggie: But not burning out.
Manda: Get to the Edge and yet have the resources to understand that burnout is a possibility and and have the resilience not to do it.
Maggie: And give yourself integration. I would say just give yourself integration time, because I don’t think of that not being on your edge. It might not be, you know, on the cutting edge, but you’re still working with whatever that is.
Manda: We’re right near the end, and I ought to be asking the kind of winding down questions. But I thought, this is so juicy and I’m honoured to be with someone who’s so self-aware and I wonder what your edge is.
Maggie: Well, I have a few. I can just say my one of my edges that I’ve been dedicated to for the last month is what I call my sadhana practise. I mean, it’s not my word, it’s a Sanskrit word. It means spiritual practise. And so my teacher has been such a huge advocate for spiritual practise upon waking and early. And she’s always like, Get up early and I’m not a morning person. Ok, let me just say I’m not a morning… like the transition from sleep and day is like my hardest time of day. And I committed because I did another module of our 300 hour training last month and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to get up at 6:00 every day and I’m going to practise’ and it’s winter, which is like the worst time to do that. But I’ve been doing it. And now, like this morning, I woke up at five 30 and so I’m starting to adjust. I’m still a little blurry in the morning, but I’m like, OK, I’m starting to adjust and spring is coming, so it’ll be easier. I’m a spring person, I’m a spring baby, I’m Ostara, which is spring. So. So it’ll be easier. But meeting my own resistance to what I know, what my teacher says, who I totally trust, completely in integrity and just being like, OK, my teacher tells me, this is what I need to do. I do a spiritual practise every day. I’ve done that for a couple of years now. I didn’t used to do that at all, but I’ve done that for a couple of years, so that’s been good. But it could be 11 o’clock, it could be five o’clock.
Maggie: It could be whenever, right? And she’s like, first thing in the morning. The reason you do it first thing in the morning is you set your vibrational frequency for the day. That’s why you do it and then you set it and then you memorise it. So that when you move out into your day that you have that and if you get thrown off because of whatever happens, you go, OK, let me just get back to what I memorised this morning. And it just keeps resetting you, resetting you, resetting you. So my current edge is the ability to do that really consistently and not in a more haphazard way. So that’s more on my inner landscape, right? That’s Pillar four is my energetic mastery. But then there’s my communication. So Pillar six or seven collaboration and communication, which is really building my YouTube channel. And really looking at how do I communicate with people in a way that is transformative for them, that is helping them to, you know, build them, grow themselves into the people that they have the potential to become. And to exhort people to care about the environment and to realise that they are part of the environment. It’s not like a cause, it’s actually our home and there’s no Planet B and all of that. So I wrap it all up together in that. And so that’s my kind of outer spiral edge, is what do I do with that platform and how do I grow it so that it can become influential? And then, of course, the books will help with that and all of that. And the writing the books. And so those are my two edges.
Manda: Yay. That’s fantastic. So I was going to ask you, what next? But actually, we’ve got the books are coming, the YouTube channel. I’m guessing that everything will expand as you reach more people. So before we go, is there any one last thing that you would like to say or to offer to people listening?
Maggie: I do. I was thinking about you and your audience, and you know, I’ve been a fan of Accidental Gods I think pretty much since you started. I really have. It’s why I said I was a fan girl of yours when I invited you to participate in the conference; that and the Boudica books. And I was thinking about what I thought could really support our listeners. So I’m going to put together a little gift package and it’ll include that self-assessment that you just asked for. It’ll include the light worker leadership codes mini course, which has got like six videos, I think, and it’s also got a reflection journal that includes the eight pillars of feminine sovereignty and reflection questions that you can use to help digest that. There’s a video on there that actually comes from the conference. It’s about the eight pillars of feminine sovereignty, so they can dive more into that as well. So there’s some information, but then there’s also ways that they can take it and utilise it. Because I’m a big believer that not to just take in information, taking in information doesn’t do anything. It’s when we take it and we actually digest it, and then we begin to integrate it and apply it to our lives that we begin to grow ourselves into another level of who we can be. And by doing that, we begin to transform our world. So that’ll be a little gift package that I have. And it’ll be on the (and I’ll send you this link too Manda) But it’s womenevolvingourworld.com/accidentalgods
Manda: Wow. I will put a link to it in the show notes, but people can just head there straight away. Forward slash Accidental Gods on women evolving our world. You’re a wonder. Thank you so much, Maggie. We definitely have run out of time. We could have talked for easily another hour or so. When the book comes out, we will definitely come back for a second look. But in the meantime, thank you so much for coming on to Accidental Gods
Maggie: And thank you Manda. And I really, really deeply appreciate your work in the world. Thank you.
Manda: And that’s it for another week. Enormous thanks to Maggie; for the courage of her journey and for the clarity with which she’s able to share it with the world. I have put a link in the show notes to the gift that she offered. But if you want to go straight there without having to hunt through, you’re looking for womenevolvingourworld.com/accidentalgods/ and do enjoy it. And as Maggie says, part of this is about having the discipline to do the work every day and we will find a lot of inner resistance. All of us do I promise you. But I also promise you that it is worthwhile, and the time will come when the resistance melts away and you look forward to whatever it was that previously made your heart sink a little. So go for it. Download it. Explore. Enjoy. And as ever, we will be back next week with another conversation.
Manda: In the meantime, huge thanks to Caro C for the production and the music at the head and foot. To Faith Tilleray for the website and the tech. And to you for listening. And please do remember that if you are a writer or an aspiring writer, if you know anyone who is a writer or an aspiring writer of any form; not just novels. Scripts, dramas, radio plays, songs, poems, blogs, anything; and you want to be part of writing the maps to the flourishing future that we would be proud to leave to our children. Then please do head over to thrutopia.life and have a look because I think it’s going to be very exciting and I would love to share it with you. And that’s it for now. See you next week. Thank you and goodbye.
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