Thursday, April 12, 2012

Episode 37: Re-Visioning the Garment Symbols

Right click here to download the mp3.

Art by Mara Berendt Friedman
Sometimes our thirst for divine reflection of our gender can lead us to fascinating places. In this panel discussion our panelists Jenne A and Jenni B are joined by their friends Jena and Genevieve to present an interpretation of the garment symbols that includes the Divine Feminine. In addition to the meaning they give the symbols, they have also created daily rituals that help them to connect to their garments in a positive way.

The panelists will be watching the comments to respond to ideas and to elaborate on the symbolism and practices they share in the discussion. 

Resources and References
Two Facebook Groups that Happened as a Result of this Panel Discussion
  • Wildly Speculative (Feminist) Mormon Theology 
  • Mormon Moon Circle: Once a month on the new moon this group (which includes the women from the panel discussion) hold a "live" meeting where they explore and enhance their spirituality by sharing experiences or epiphanies they’ve had, and doing a group visualization/meditation and prayer circle.


  1. This was a wonderful podcast. I really enjoyed the discussion on how to make the garments more meaningful and all of the speculation. I have not really had a problem with the garments (the endowment and sealing are another story) but I often put them on with another thought. I think I may want to incorporate a ritual for myself. It never occurred to me that you could come up with your own meanings or rituals. That sounds fantastic. Thanks again for the podcasts!

  2. Really interesting ideas. I like how you reclaim the symbols and make them yours. I'm curious about other things you've attached to the symbols, especially since you recorded this podcast. Have you done the elements with the symbols? Other things? Colors?

    1. We actually have not really done anything to add to this since we made the recording. It was something that was really helpful to us at the time, but (at least for myself) it's something I am doing less regularly at this point. I think I got the major benefit of it in a time when I needed it, and then moved on.
      We've developed a ritual for menstruation (like Jenne A mentioned her idea about using Sybil's prayer, we incorporated that with a self-blessing based on the chakras). We've developed rituals for several things, and explored a lot of symbology for all kinds of things. Lately I personally have been most interested in the pentacle and star of david. I had a little epiphany that if you take the four garment symbols (rotate one of them) and set them all together on top of each other, you can make a star of david. I ♥ the idea of that star as representing all those meanings rolled into one!

    2. That's really interesting. So, it's almost like the creation of the ritual fulfilled the need, rather than the ritual itself? I'm really interested in this idea of a self-blessing based on the chakras that you mentioned. Could you describe it to me? The Star of David idea is cool, too.

    3. This is the menstruation ritual as I wrote it/do it (and I don't do it every month, I'm a little sporadic that way...but I've done it a few times and I do like it)

      On the day before you begin (if you know) or the day you begin, prepare a space with the following:

      a red candle
      a small bowl or vial of water and/or annointing oil (for optional second part)
      (if needed) a notecard or paper of the following invocations/blessings

      In your quiet space, set a circle (if desired), and light the candle.

      Invoke the Feminine Divine

      O Goddess, the Eternal Mother,
      I ask you, as the heiress of your daughter, Eve,
      To bless and sanctify this blood to my soul as I release it
      That I may bleed in remembrance of the blood of thy daughter
      And witness unto thee, O Goddess, the Eternal Mother,
      That I am willing to take upon me the legacy of your daughter
      And always remember her
      And honor her choices with which she has blessed me
      That I may always have that spirit to be with me.

      Second part (can be done immediately following the first part, or can be done on/after the last day of bleeding)
      [Light the candle again if you are doing this at a separate time from the first part]

      Dipping your finger(s) into the water/oil, anoint yourself on the designated parts of your body

      (base of spine/root)
      Bless me, Mother, for I am your daughter.

      Bless my womb, as the lifeblood flows from it, that I may remember the cycles of all living things

      (navel/solar plexus)
      Bless me with balance and equilibrium

      Bless me to feel your love and peace

      Bless me to speak your wisdom and grace

      (forehead/third eye)
      Bless me to see your path and your light

      (top of head/crown--you may lay both hands on your head blessing-style if you wish)
      Bless me, your daughter, to grow ever more like you


      DOM “Eve as a balance to Christ”

      Self Blessing from “Drawing Down the Moon”


    4. This is really beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. I love it. ♥

  3. I was the one who wanted to connect colors and elements to the garment symbols. Typically, the colors used are green, blue, yellow and red and they correspond with earth, water, air and fire (respectively). They also are often associated with the cardinal directions, north south east and west. I like following the practice of aligning the directions to my local environment so in my case water is to the east, air to the north, earth to the west and fire to the south. If I were to transpose the elements and colors to the experience I had of the family hug, I would assign water to Heavenly Father, air to Christ, earth to Mother and fire to Eve/Spirit. Those correspondences definitely seem fitting to me, especially with "the Spirit of God like a fire is burning,"

    I also find an interesting relationgship to my favorite way of singing for The Beauty of The Earth. I sing the verses and end with "God, our Father we now raise, this our hymn of grateful phrase; "God our Mother..." and "Christ our Saviour..." respectively. The second verse seems very earthy to me snce it is honoring aspects of the earth while the third verse is very airy with the idea of friends above. It would be interesting to further explore Heavenly Father as a water god, especially as it relates to Greek mythology and other traditions.

    That said, I don't particularly like to pigeon-hole deity to only one element because I believe that in order to be complete, omniscient and balanced that each deity is a perfect balance of all 4 of the elements and has mastery over all. It seems a disservice to claim that anyone element is more prevelant than another when we're talking about perfect people.

    The chakra blessing is much like what was described in the podcast but is a prayer over each chakra rather than the garment symbols and corresponds the particular values of each chakra to each part of the body.

    For instance:
    Root = grounding
    Sacral= creativity
    Solar Plexus = acceptance
    Heart = connections
    Throat = expression
    Brow = understanding
    Crown= intuition

    One could go through touching each chakra on your own body and pray to God to ask that you may be blessed with or manifest that value so that you can balanced overall or ask that a particular chakra that is out of balance may become balanced.

    I have found it quite helpful to carry with me a diagram of the chakras with the correspondng values. Aveda used to have cards with information regarding indications when a chakra was out of balanced and I found them quite helpful to either focus on bringing them into balance or manifesting a particular chakra for various situations. Unfortunately those cards are no longer available to the public.

    1. Oh, I like your different verses of For the Beauty of the Earth! And it had never occurred to me to think of Heavenly Father as a water god. Somehow this breaks open so many new ways to think about the divine! All my growing up, I was pretty locked into a very certain way of seeing God. I like these ideas! Thank you for sharing them.

  4. It does seem like creating the ritual fills a need sometimes. I actually haven't used the garment ritual at all in the past few months--partly because I'm on a sabbatical from garments I think. But I continues to look for symbolism and ritual to enrich my life wherever I can find it.

    1. "On a sabbatical from garments"
      I might have to use this line!

    2. I'm on a sabbatical from mine as well! It's always nice to stumble upon kindred "garment break takers" in the blogosphere.

      Does your family know Genevieve? I am commenting anonymously because mine does not and I'm not sure how to approach it with them.

  5. (And thanks for letting me ask all my questions and get such great responses! You are great!)

    1. Of course. We love to get into wildly speculative theology (like Genevieve said, it's a badminton game with five or six birdies!), that's why this episode happened in the first place!

  6. My family knows now. At least, two of my sisters do and I think they'll probably spread the word. I had to come out of the garment closet because of an impending visit and I refuse to wear anything but tank tops in this hot weather...

  7. Something I have always found interesting, and now even more so in light of this podcast, is in a very male centric book wisdom is spoken of as the feminine.
    Proverbs 1:20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:
    Proverbs 7:4
    Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
    Proverbs 9:1
    Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:


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