Ever since the Aubrey Plaza video came out, we have been deluged with requests to join our Sisterhood. These requests are coming in from both women and men, many of whom are offering help in establishing a chapter, an order, whatever the Beguine equivalent word is, in their ‘neck of the woods’. We tirelessly work to answer each and every one of them, but because of the Aubrey video (I wonder if she calls it ‘the weed nuns video’?), we are now officially backed up and it may take us weeks to catch up.
Step 1: Go to bottom of this page to sign up for our Newsletter
Step 2: Get Active in Local Cannabis Law Reform Movements
Step 4: Be patient. We are working on it.
Normally, when favorable press comes out on us, we see a bump in sales. This time, we saw a huge spike in the number of requests to join us.
It makes us all very happy to see people across the planet identifying with us and connecting with the message. I almost wrote ‘our message’, but I stopped and corrected it because I have said from the beginning, that all what we do is not original. It’s not new. It may seem that way, but Beguine revivalism is happening in many places on planet earth right now, in many forms. And with or without knowledge of the Beguines, women and men are walking the walk everywhere, and those people with a devotion to healing, have just been waiting for the Sisters of the Valley to come along, to unite us all.
We are connecting the women and men that can be a force to be reckoned with – we are connecting a thousand points of light in a thousand places in a thousand lands . . . it feels wonderful. It gives us hope for humanity, the people, the planet. It gives us renewed belief that maybe we can turn the corner and start living a more charming and gracious interaction with our all-nurturing, all forgiving, all providing Mother Earth.
We don’t believe in suffering as a path to spirituality, as many other religions do. We don’t believe that suffering necessarily brings you any closer to God. We don’t believe that healing should necessarily hurt. But there is one place we suffer – and that is in our activism. Being an activist is like being in the army, or being a parent to a newborn. Your personal comforts are set aside, while you are subjected to servitude. In our case, the suffering comes from listening to city council(s) and police chiefs and even citizens spew lies about the cannabis plant (either out of ignorance or some other agenda that trivializes people’s pain).
For these highly spiritual women, highly intuitive women, it is difficult to be in a room with liars. It is a tear in our golden web when we have to sit in a room and listen to lies come through a microphone. It hurts our feet when we protest. We sometimes don’t get to eat, and our stomachs are often growling and we can’t find a place to even get a drink of water.
Even though we are not proponents of pain, nor are we interested in poverty vows, we also know that all things worth having, are worth making some sacrifices for. We sacrifice our time, we sacrifice our feet and our comforts all in the name of activism -- to change the minds and hearts of a very uncompassionate governing body.
Many ex-Catholic nuns and a few current Catholic nuns reached out to me to talk with me. I always ask them the same thing, I ask them for advice on growing my order. The common answer is: “Many are called, few are chosen.” I take that as a reminder that this is my order, I gave birth to it, and I can’t let any one person pollute it or harm it.
I know what we are not going to do. We are not going to sell admittance to our order. We are not going to be like the internet minister certification companies. We aren’t going to sell outfits or commercialize the spiritual side of things.
More and more, Christianity is getting on my nerves. They are holding up a patriarchy that needs to collapse, and they are leading the attack against the cannabis plant. At the city council meeting in Fresno yesterday, four Christian ministers/pastors and one Chaplain from the police force (?) spoke. All of them were men, and all of them spoke out against the intelligent plant. Against mother earth, and her people. I was the only woman representing a ministry (of sorts) and I spoke for the plant. Do you see what I see? Do you see a connection between Christianity suppressing women, suppression of the feminine healing cannabis plant, and trashing of Mother Earth?
The planet is crying out for a new age order of Sisters (and Brothers) to grow and provide some leadership and direction. Seriously. We need to grow big enough that we become a political force of our own. It is the only way we will gain justice for the people of the plant – and the planet.
The media has perpetuated the lie that the cannabis plant is our own ‘holy trinity’. That’s ridiculous. We work with all kinds of plant-based medicine, and even though we are lousy vegans, we try. We are always trying to be more plant-based in our diets. More raw foods.
We do have a holy trinity, though. It is Service, Activism, and Spirituality. We put our prayer into our work and into our activism.
We take six vows:
1. Devotion (Service) – through spreading the Word (of the intelligent plant) and Medicine-Making
2. Activism – Dedication of Time to Local Politics, Local Causes
3. Ecology - a commitment to reducing our foot-print
4. Chastity – Privatizing sexuality / keeping ourselves covered out of respect for the work we do
5. Obedience – to moon cycles
6. Living simply – one bedroom, one car, one TV – wealth goes to creating more jobs, more housing security, more career paths for women
We celebrate every full moon with a fire circle. When the weather is bad, we light up a large room with candles and have the service and celebration inside. (Ancient wisdom. Don’t make your tribe sick.)
And on most New Moons the Sisters gather, either by laptop connections, telephone conference, or in person, to provide healing to one another through word medicine, Taro card readings, energy healings. New moons are for the women. Full moons are for the tribe.
When Sisters of the Valley was just an idea, four short years ago, I thought that I would disqualify women who had ever shamed someone for using the cannabis plant. I would ask that question first, and if they told me they had, then they couldn’t be a Sister. But then, I met too many lovely women who had crossed over from the darkness to the light, and became advocates for the plant, and why should they be punished for having bought into the propaganda that was the gospel of the day?
We strive for excellence. We need women (and men) who want to walk that walk.
If you are strongly against abortion, you shouldn’t even be talking to us. What we hear when people talk about abortion being a sin is this: I DON’T TRUST WOMEN TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR OWN BODIES. Actually, we just hear the first part: I DON’T TRUST WOMEN.
If you are strongly pro-gun, as well, you probably aren’t going to like our organization. If you believe boy parts are boy parts and girl parts are girl parts and deny the existence and rights of those who are ‘twin spirited’, gender neutral, or transgender, then you won’t like the Sisterhood, either.
We are a women empowerment organization. Every single decision we make about our order has to pass these tests: Is this empowering? Or does it dis-empower women? Would our ancient mothers approve? Or disapprove?
If we banished women who took their vows, but ultimately decided to leave, is that empowering? No, banishment, shunning, shaming -- all the same negative energy. That’s exactly why our vows require no allegiance to the order. Women can come join us, but they can also leave, and there is no shame, no dishonor, no negativity associated with ‘moving on’. Not all things, not all experiences, are meant to be permanent. You still learn and grow from them. And I believe some of those women who leave will return, if we release them spiritually, gently, honorably . . . if we assist, rather than harm, in their path to move along.
If we told women that they couldn’t have a husband or children, is that empowering? No, it is not. If you want to empower women, you let them choose their partner, and if and when they want children, how many. We respect them. They are women. By virtue of the fact that they can give birth to children, they are closer to Creator God then men. Yes, I said that. That is ancient wisdom. It’s sexist, but it’s true.
Our guiding question is, “What would our ancient mothers do?” We know they wouldn’t make any sick person wait for more than 12 hours outside the cave, teepee, or castle apartment, to get an answer to a medical question or question about diet. That’s why we try to answer all questions that come to us via telephone or social media, within that timeframe. We don’t always succeed, as we honor the weekends as a break from our work, and so we can refresh ourselves and rest. (Last year, we had long months of no days off and that is not a sustainable model, either.)
“What would our ancient mothers do, if they had the internet and the post office and could reach the world with their plant-based medicines?” We are like our Beguine mothers and have no intention of hiding from the public, but rather – we work with them. Helping them. The Beguines had enclaves inside every castle during the middle-ages. They had the first nurses; they rescued poor women and gave them housing security, food security, and honorable, spiritual jobs. They were around long before Christianity came with its armies to convert the world.
Sister Kassidy began working for us as an apprentice in January of 2016 and by the Fall, she had completed her apprenticeship, and shortly thereafter, her and her man, Brother Rudy, came to inquire about making their participation in the Sisterhood more formal. A few months later, she took her vows.
Sister Freya joined us as an employee in August, and by December, she was also interested in formalizing her involvement and her commitment to the order. Sister Freya is a tribal elder. She has many years of studies and practical work experience in the healing arts. When women come to us with decades of experience, they are automatically Elders and they take their vows once. We don’t put them through the same process that younger women are put through (meaning, apprentice positions and three times taking their vows under full moons). Some women we are simply connecting with; for others, we are providing their first training and their first opportunities on a career path. Some don’t fit neatly into either category (for the record).
Like Sister Kass and Sister Freya, Sister Eevee and Sister Gina and Sister Claire all worked for the Sisterhood for a period of time before the subject was broached. Although Sister Eevee shares the abbey with me, she is the only Beguine revivalist Sister that lives here on the farm. Sister Kassidy and Sister Freya live in nearby towns and come to the farm every day. Sister Gina lives and works in Sacramento making our holy soaps and prayer shawls.
Sister Claire lives and works in Toronto and has spent a year building us a complete, real-time, state-of-the-art control dashboard for the many systems that drive our engine. She is going to be playing a prominent role in growing our global business, as she is our Chief Risk Officer, our Chief Financial Officer, and is the person through which the Canadian Sisterhood shall grow. She will be coming to the farm next month, along with another Canadian Sister, to take their vows.
In between these occurrences, three other women came to stay with us, worked for us, and ultimately, didn’t work out.
For now, a Sister isn’t going to become a Sister until we meet her and work with her and qualify her. But soon, I hope, we get some Sister-Generals in all the states and all the countries, so that everyone needn’t come here. The participation and selection should be happening locally, but we need to get sister-leadership all over the place so that we can accommodate that dream.
Ultimately, we would like to have cottage-industry kitchens making our medicines, from locally grown cannabis, with the loving hands of local women. We believe that cannabis is like honey and local is best. We believe that the healing hands of the local women add to the benefit of the medicine for their people. In other words, German women should be praying over Sisters of the Valley medicines made in a German kitchen from weed grown in Germany. Same for Canada. Same for each state in the U.S. and all the provinces in all the countries.
That’s a big goal. It will take a lot of coordination.
In the meantime, we are looking at perhaps making the Sisters an exclusive offer to be our agents and to earn commissions from getting our products on the shelves of stores in their local areas. There will be a path to Sisterhood and earnings there, very soon, I hope. I am working on export licenses. We don’t want to do anything ‘US only’ because ‘Murika scares the crap out of us. Every day.
Wealthy women of the middle ages were attracted to the Beguines, as well as poor women. The wealthy women were attracted by the Beguines’ excellence and wanted to be part of things because the mission was worthy (helping people) and the way they did it was spiritual, and with system-run operations to ensure that the quality of everything they made (textiles, medicines) was always excellent.
So, what shall we do with wealthy women who want to help? What shall we do with women like Aubrey Plaza? We don’t take donations. We aren’t a religion. (But then, neither were the Beguines.)
What would our ancient mothers do?
They would use the money to build housing for more women who need housing security, food security, and whom desire working in a quiet, compassionate, spiritual environment. They would use it to give more women skills, to give more women business savvy, so more women can grow and operate and manage more businesses. They would turn their wealth over to the Bougienage so that others who would have otherwise had no shot at property ownership or business ownership – suddenly get a chance.
My son came into my office one day, recently, and said “Mom, how come there’s a path and vows for the Sisters, but nothing for the Brothers?” I smiled at him with a look on my face that warned him that what I was about to say, he wasn’t going to like.
“I’m sorry, honey, but I told you, this is a woman empowerment organization. It’s about empowering women. That’s why I did this.”
“But why can’t there be a path for the Brothers? Why can’t you make something similar?”
Again, I hesitated at being blunt with him. He took his role as fire-keeper, with Brother Rudy, very seriously these days. They work together well, and he had been working harder and harder and taking on more projects and I didn’t want to interrupt his enthusiasm for our growing order. Yet, I couldn’t avoid it.
“Because the Brothers don’t matter, honey.” I said as kindly as I could. His eyes, predictably, flashed with disbelief.
“Look, Alex, a Brother becomes a Brother when a Sister says so. It’s very simple. If you ask, which approach is the most empowering to women? The answer is, let them choose. So, as long as the Brothers are helping the Sisters on their mission, they are fine. But if a Brother falls out of favor with a sponsoring Sister, he will have to find another Sister-sponsor or leave. You have nothing to worry about! You are my son, so you are a Beguine, so you are always welcome. And anyway, all of the other Sisters would be happy to sponsor you.”
“That is f’d up.” He said to me.
“That is ultimate feminine empowerment. And you do believe that what is good for women is good for society? That the higher women are elevated, the higher a society in whole is elevated? You do believe that men will benefit from female leadership?”
“I’m leaving now, Mom,” he said, sullenly closing the door to my office behind him.
Men have a distinct role with the Sisterhood. They are to protect us. They are to be our political ears to the ground hearing what people say about us and reporting back (politically, socially). They protect us physically, they tend our fires. They play an important role in our community and we will never want to be without them. They are not disrespected. We are simply focused on women empowerment and believe strongly that men will only benefit from this focus. And of course, because we believe that choices are empowering, we will, from time to time, choose to partner with men who share our values.
Six months into working with us, Sister Claire said, “I am so shocked by all the support we are given by men, I’m kind of shocked that so many men connect to our message – a feminist agenda. If men asked me to join their ‘male empowerment’ organization, I would tell them ‘no, no thank you, pass’.”
“It doesn’t shock me at all.” I explained to her. “It is simply because so many of the men we meet were raised by single mothers. They saw first-hand how it’s all a trap. Slavery. Spending hard earned money to protect custody rights. Or fighting for child support. And minimum wage jobs that make it impossible to support a family. The men, too, are tired of this country’s wealth going to a military machine that seems to be operating for the direct benefit of the top 1%. They want feminine leadership, too. They crave the women taking their turn at running things. They trust us not to do many of the stupid things men have done. They trust us not to feed a war machine unnecessarily, not to feed our children poisonous lunches, not to set a bad example. We’ve proved ourselves to the men and they now want us in leadership.”
I may have convinced Sister Claire, but I’m not sure about my son.
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