Name: Eve Bradford
Profession: Writer, Educator, Interpreter of Silence
How do you describe your personal style? Hahhahaha…oh my god….How would I describe my personal style…voluptuous/ androgynous? I feel like I tend to operate within paradoxes, and have always been drawn to the space between opposites, so when I start thinking about my personal style, it inevitably is this paradoxical combination of ideas, because I feel like being a total bombshell, and being pretty androgynous in terms of my energy, and I don’t ever really wear heels or any of those traditional things…
So I was hoping that you could tell us from your point of view and from your tradition, what is the point of ritual and why is it important? Well, ok so implicit in the notion of ritual is that there is something different than just day to day life- that when you enter into ritual space that is set aside from regular day to day life. There’s a way in which day to day life ideally has its own sacredness always, but ritual is something that kind of feeds that sacredness. There’s an idea that the point of ritual in fact Is day to day life- that everyday human existence is the blessing of the work of ritual so the fruit that ritual bears is your daily life. And that’s something that I think we undervalue a lot in our culture because theres this underlying commodification of everything, so if your content and happy with the simplicity of everyday life, then you’re not really going to be a very good consumer. So that contentment has been robbed from us I think. So then we come to this idea of ritual as wanting to be in ecstatic states all the time. I kind of have that myself sometimes- I love that state, but in a way, it’s really the gorgeous simple moments of being in the world and being a regular human being that are actually the point of ritual, because what ritual is in the traditions that I have devoted my life to is really about feeding. It’s about feeding what feeds us. There’s this contemporary way where we step into ritual space with the idea that ritual is for us, that it’s to benefit humans, but what I have learned is that ritual is this moment where we take our human ingenuity and our human endeavor and intelligence, which pretty much all the time is put in service of ourselves, and for a moment put it in service of something other than ourselves- put it in service of what and who gives us life. There’s a vast spectrum of what ritual can look like. At the heart of it for me is this notion of feeding, of giving back, of making offerings. My own practice is very offering based. I want to feed those that feed me what they want to eat, so part of cultivating a ritual practice is learning what it is that they are hungry for, and to give that to them. What I have been taught is that the beauty that we make is the only thing we really have to give thats ours, that comes from us, and that we give that with our hands and with our voices, because everything else came from the holy in the first place, and so we can take these raw materials and take these gifts that have been given to us and put our human ingenuity into them to make them into something that they weren’t already before they passed through our hands.
We can make beautiful speech in praise of the water, in praise of the sun, in praise of the corn, in praise of the fire, and those words and those motions of our hands and those offerings of our hands become food for the ones that we are praising, so that they are fed and then they can keep feeding us. They feed us our lives- everything we have- so it’s this attempt not to get out of debt, but to stay in debt, beautifully, magnificently, and to make beauty- to make beauty that feeds- is really at the heart of what ritual is for me.
I also just want to say that the foundation for most of these ways of understanding the world come from over 8 years of study with my incredible teacher, Martín Prechtel. His teachings and guidance have been instrumental in the evolution of my own spiritual practice.
Mmmm. Thank you. You mention a few times “Those that feed me” and “Those that feed us” Can you speak a little bit more about who those are? Yes! For me its kind of pre- diety. Rather than there being a "Goddess of water", the water herself is the Goddess, and rather than there being a "Goddess of corn", the corn is the Goddess. And so really when I speak about those who feed us, I mean our food! You know, of all the ones that are the heart of the wild- and it’s everyone…every part of the world is a part of that holiness, so when I pray over food, I speak directly to the food, and the seeds that the food came from and the animals that where cut down before their time to be on my plate and their ancestors and the ones that they came from and the stories they hold- they are the body of the holy, for lack of a better term- you know?
Yes, I’ve been studying in the Tantric tradition that is essentially ancient methods of Goddess worship, and really loving working with the Mahavidyas (Tantric Wisdom Goddesses.) They’re these older Goddesses that aren’t even really part of Hinduism, representing more primordial energies that Hinduism codified and built on top of. Then there are these even more obscure forces called the Matrikas, which do have personalities per say, but are associated with these particular trees around the outskirts of this one town. There’s always a crossroads or a river or a tree, and that those Goddesses where first named or manifest into something vaguely humanoid at those places where people had already been going for a very long time to worship the tree or the river or a particular stone. When I learned that, I knew immediately that this was it, this is what this whole idea of “Goddess” is all about, and we as contemporary seekers are crawling back down the ladder of time just always asking “what’s underneath that, what’s underneath that, what’s underneath that? For me, I keep arriving at this river Goddess that’s finding me as she’s been evolved through all these different traditions, where they may say she’s about one thing or another, abundance or nurture, but it’s really just flow. The idea of saying “Oh! It’s not a Goddess of the river, its just the inherent divinity of the river herself- that really resonates with me. The way that I thought of it is that nature, or Goddess, or God, whatever you want to call it is so beautiful and forgiving of the state that were in as humans where we are saying “ We need you to look more likea person- we need you to look more like me or else I’m loosing the ability to connect with you.” And nature so generously says “ Ok fine, I will come down as this, I will inspire many people in this way, where they can all get together and compare notes and agree “Oh yes, we all saw that she had blue skin and large breasts.” So now we accept this as some basic truth, and it is true, but its more like that saying “ He appeared to me in the form that I was ready to perceive.” So the forms our Gods and Goddesses take through time is an indicator of the needs of the people, so apparently this is what we need at this time, for divinity to look a lot like us in order to be able to receive the mirroring. We use to be able to look at corn and see the divine feminine there, be in intimate exchange with the corn, know what the corn knows- it was self evident. Now we need a little more help remembering.
Yeah, I think that’s true. Furthermore, each river is a Goddess, and then theres like -well I don’t know… it’s not something that I claim to have a totally quantified understanding of, but it feels like each tree and each field and each mountain is its own holy being, and then there’s like the larger conglomerate being thats all of them, all at once.
Yes, absolutely- I mean you and I have a lot in common, but you have a very distinct flavor that makes you Eve and I have a very distinct flavor that makes me Erin, and that’s how you know that we need to be two different entities with two different bodies and two different paths, because it may all be the same on paper, but you can’t deny that theres just a subtle difference of flavors so it’s just self evident, like “Ok, we have two entities here”. But then I absolutely believe that if you took all the women and you rolled them together, then you would have “The Great Goddess” and she’s no more than the sum total of all the feminine parts of the universe.
Wow- Thats a cool image- all of the women rolled into one great being..yeah…wow.
Erin and Eve collaborated on Matrix of Becoming, a limited edition collection of beaded womb pendants. Click here to see the collection in our online Marketplace.