Daughters of Ishtar embodies a feminine stream of blessing which honours and holds the whole of women's lived experience as sacred - the luminous moments of love, joy and self-transcendence as well as the dark and potent places of despair, rage and birthing power.
Catherine Ishara de Garis (Ishara) is a skilled facilitator and gifted healer with a proven ability to open and hold sacred space for healing and transformation. Daughters of Ishtar originated as a practical expression of her personal vocation as a priestess of the Great Mother.
Our work with the women's mysteries is informed by a strong belief in the value and power of life-affirming, grounded spirituality, emotional authenticity, and the sisterhood of women. Daughters of Ishtar strives to uphold these beliefs and values in all the services we deliver.
Our hope is that, in its own small way, Daughters of Ishtar can make a positive contribution to the evolution of sustainable local culture and a peaceful world.
Ishara's formal studies in childbirth education complement her innate spirituality and strongly intuitive nature, and combine with over fourteen years of practical experience in designing and facilitating ritual.
Her priestess path began in her late teens, as a fascination with questions about what it means to be a woman, a curiosity about spiritual healing, and a growing resonance with earth-centred, pagan spirituality. "I remember reading Starhawk's Dreaming the Dark and thinking, as I experienced bells ringing for me on every page, I must be a pagan!" In the early morning of the summer solstice in 1992, a small dedication ceremony witnessed by friends, she formally committed herself to a life of service as a contemporary priestess of the Great Mother. Since that time she has been actively engaged in finding new ways to live out her vocation within her community.
In 2001, Ishara co-designed and -presented the inaugural Community Childbirth Educator training for Birthplace Support Group: a three month intensive process of reflection, sharing and personal growth centred on women's own experiences of pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. The aim of the program was to empower women who were mothers to take their experience and passion about choices in childbirth back into their local communities to share their with women just beginning on the motherhood journey. Many of these women have gone on to successfully develop or extend their own work as doulas and/or educators.
" My dream, the theme that recurs again and again in my life, is to recreate sacred Goddess space. To dream new forms for ancient roots, ancient energies, and give them new life for the times ahead. My creative work as a community facilitator, a healer and a priestess is a constant process of dreaming, gestating and birthing, a constant practice in opening, surrender and letting go. "
"Pregnancy and childbirth are a special focus of my work, because they touch on a central mystery of our humanity, and because of their double potential - both for realising our personal power as women, and for literally changing the world, one birth, one human beginning, at a time."
To explore more of Ishara's priestess journey... au.geocities.com/priestess_of_the_mother