I am a woman who is trying to do her best in the world–to find a balance between textbook knowledge and intuition, to be confident in myself but still humble and open, to live what I believe and still have time to accomplish what needs to get done, to teach what I know and continue learning. My name is Ashley Annis and I teach fertility awareness because I believe it is what women need: it is learning to respect and understand a mysterious part of the female experience. It is honoring a sacred cycle. It is empowerment and it is beautiful!
What does being am Everyday Goddess mean to you?
It means empowering and educating women. It means being aware of self and aware of others. It means passion, control, empathy, and grace. It is something that every woman can be, if she believes in herself! I consider myself to be an everyday goddess mainly because of the classes I teach: I am a fertility awareness educator and I give women the information they need to understand their cycle, and how to use that information to prevent or achieve pregnancy. There is so much power in that information, and I feel like a goddess each time I give it to other women.
At what age did you awaken to the presence of the Divine Feminine and would you describe it as a sudden awakening or a gentle unfolding?
It was certainly gradual and slow. When I was 21 I attended a study-away program in the mountains of Oregon. I lived with 19 other students and 5 professors and we basically just read books and talked for 4 months. I lived with 4 other women that semester, and these women completely changed my perspective on what it meant to be a woman and a mindful human being. They taught me about using cloth pads, about eating locally and organically, they taught me I didn't have to be in competition with other women and that women have completely different gifts than men. We danced late into the evenings, we howled and played under the full moons, we shared our stories, we laughed and cried. It sounds so cheesy when I retell the story, but that semester changed everything. During that time I was also introduced to the idea of God as Mother, which was completely new to me. I always understood God to be a man, and so switching my idea of the divine to a woman totally rocked my world.
What roles in your life had to transform in order for you to live authentically?
Everything! After my semester in Oregon I came back to family and friends who were very confused at the things I was saying. Many of my friends thought I had joined a cult or something, and my family took awhile to understand that I was still Ashley… in fact, I was even MORE Ashley than when I had left. The hardest role was with my fiancé. He didn't understand the journey I was on, and didn't support the changes I had made. After a very long, hard, messy couple months, I broke our engagement–something I never expected to do. I couldn't go back to who I was before I understood the divine feminine. It felt empty and wrong, so I kept forging ahead, even though I didn't know many other women who were on the same path as me. It was very lonely for awhile. But I'm so glad I had the strength to stay myself.
What have been some of the greatest inner gifts you’ve experienced since stepping into your feminine power?
The greatest gift has been fertility awareness. Eventually I started dating someone new and became sexually active. We knew we needed a birth control method, but I refused to take hormones. It didn't feel right to me, although many people told me it would be my only option. I started searching for more natural methods and found fertility awareness. It was the missing piece! I loved (and still do!) knowing were I was in my cycle, knowing that I was making the choice to prevent pregnancy with the knowledge I had about my own special, unique body. I felt like even more of a goddess once I realized that my own body gave me all the information I needed to prevent pregnancy.
Can you share some of your favorite sacred feminine rituals?
Anything quiet, calm and slow. I love lighting incense and sipping tea. I love ringing the blood from my menstrual pads each day I bleed. I love taking some quiet time to iron each of my pads before my bleeding begins. I love journaling my dreams and reflecting on them.
Is there a particular Goddess that you are intimately drawn to and why?
In one of the bios I use for guest blogging, I call myself “a modern day Xochiquetzal” and I named my newsletter after her! She is the goddess of childbirth, pregnancy, female sexuality AND household crafts–all my favorite things and the two main components of my business. I love it that there is a goddess that is not only beautiful and sexual and focused on reproduction, but she also takes time to do arts and crafts. We would be best buds.
Is there a personal message that you would like to share with women?
You don't have to use a birth control that doesn't feel right to you! It IS possible to prevent pregnancy without taking hormones, and it IS something you can handle. Fertility awareness isn't the rhythm method, it has a lot of science to back it up, but it's much more than science. It's an amazing way to connect to your beautiful body and your beautiful cycle.
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