One of the most beautiful and ancient ways of increasing femininity and feminine energy is women’s arts that are thousands of years old. In our modern world, there is unfortunately still a collective underappreciation of womanhood and femininity which is affecting the health and wellness of many women and young girls from around the world. We have long forgotten that we need to appreciate, celebrate and honour the gentle aspects of the feminine energy, and our women today need more softness, tenderness, love, care, support and appreciation.
When a woman is made to go against her natural essence, this affects her physical health and wellbeing, which is why so many women today still are struggling with many issues. While this is something that has to be addressed on a collective level, and is multi-layered requiring the support and attention of organization and behavioural change, I thought that today in this article I can share some beautiful arts gathered from all cultures and belief systems, so that we, as women, sisters, mothers, daughters and friends, can inspire and empower ourselves from within.
These arts carry deep wisdom and can allow us to step into our heart and intuitive wisdom more deeply – as we connect to ourselves, settle into greater harmony, and walk our unique paths in life.
Back in the day in more spiritual places and tribes throughout the world, feminine energy was appreciated, celebrated and honoured, and taken good care of, because all men realized how important this is for the wellbeing of their communities. A harmonious woman was one who could accumulate and harness her feminine energy, and then apply it to fulfill her feminine talents, gifts and skills, to follow her true heart’s path, and to be able to follow her higher purpose of giving expression to and strengthening her connection to God. Through that, she was then able to inspire and guide others towards fulfilling their true soul’s paths also.
For example, in Vedic times it was considered the main duty of each woman to perfectly know all 108 woman’s arts. Her mothers and grandmothers would teach her these since she was a little girl. Without this knowledge, she wouldn’t be able to find her inner balance and build trust in herself. Nor could she be able to build more harmony and peace in her own family and within her intimate relationships.
Among those 108 arts were not only woman’s arts that had to do with home, such as the ability to keep the house clean, organized, beautifully decorated, as well as take care of her children – but also the learning of deep philosophical knowledge. All of these things were governed by Goddess Saraswati that was the deity to always protect those who bring harmony to this world in one way or another. She also provided powerful and strong protection to all those women who truly followed their dharma, or higher life mission – harmonizing internal and external space. At its essence, this was the main mission and purpose of each woman.
The more a woman is in harmony within and able to connect to her heart’s wisdom and intuition, the better she can maintain and nourish her family and all of her surroundings.
In many Indigenous cultures today still, women take time each day for themselves. They can sit in quietness in their spaces, pray or meditate, or walk in nature, or do anything they desire, while the men of the tribe take care of the chores and the children. This is because of the understanding that feminine energy is receptive, healing and transforms all around itself to bless it into wellness and newness. Just by sitting, and doing “nothing”, a woman’s energy is healing and transformative; and so the wise men knew throughout history that the only way to keep a community healthy was to take care of the women. You can look at statistics today and see that the places where there is most harm, ailments and crisis in the world are those where women have been long mistreated.
Now let’s go through some of the ancient women’s arts throughout many cultures and belief systems, and I’ll organize them into:
- Women’s Arts in Health and Healing
- Women’s Arts in Beauty
- Women’s Arts of Clothing and Jewellery
- Women’s Arts of Relationships
- Women’s Arts in Creativity
- Women’s Arts in Communication
- Women’s Arts in Interpretation
Women’s Arts in Health and Healing
One of the first and most important lessons of each priestess was to know herself and know the earth. Without this self-knowledge she would not be able to hear her intuition clearly, and discern what’s hers and what isn’t. Knowing the earth was also meant to teach her the cycles of the land, and tune into her own phases that she weaves and waves in and out of. Each woman is like the moon – we wax and wane, physically and emotionally, and there is purpose to it all – and an acceptance we need to settle into. Like the moon too, the waning phase is always held by the waxing, and even if we can’t see it yet, there is something forming from the seeds sewn before. This teaches us trust and higher wisdom.
In the Vedic 108 women’s arts, the Asana-Vidya was one of the first and main ones. Asana-Vidya simply means yoga: Asana means position and vidya means knowledge. This is the art of knowing how to keep our bodies healthy and fit, not only physically, but also energetically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Since early childhood, girls would be taught on how all is interconnected within and would study these ancient healing practices. Yoga means to be in inne balance and it is not a bunch of poses, it is a way of life – an understanding of how to live a more fulfilled and balanced life, within and without. It is about oneness – the marriage of the external and internal.
It is about knowing how to spread the energy within so that nothing stagnates, and how to balance and harness our powerful energies so that we maintain health and wellbeing on all levels. When the energy flows well, all else flows well also.
Pranayama-Vidya is the knowledge of proper breathing. Breath is not only a thing of the lungs, our entire body is involved in breathing. It is also the way that our life force moves through us, and so it is really important to know how to breathe. It is how our Chi energy spreads and supports us, and when we know how to work with our breath, we know how to better master our emotions and thoughts also.
In the Indigenous Medicine Wheel, we also see the importance of maintaining health on all four levels: the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical. It is the sacred hoop of the four bodies of consciousness, and the understanding that when one is imbalanced, all else will be as well. More importantly, it also shows us that without the spiritual and emotional balance, nothing else in our life will feel balanced and in flow.
We also have the art of massage, which is known as Abhyanga in Vedic philosophy. As women, massage is really important for us on so many levels. Physically, it helps to stimulate all of our cells and relax the body, as well as spread the energy also. You can perform your own massage each day; before bedtime massage your feet and you’ll sleep like a baby. And each time after shower or bath, create your ritual practice, where you will rub lotion, cream or oil mindfully to all your body, paying attention to each part of you, and massaging love and care into yourself. This will also help you feel more embodied and grounded. Saunas are also really important as they too like massage help to clear out toxins from the body. And of course, learning how to give a massage to others was part of the teaching also – as through massage, we help others feel better as well.
Massages aren’t all about giving – they are about learning to receive and being open to receive others’ care for you also. In Some Indigenous rites of passage ceremonies for girls stepping into their womanhood included three phases: the first was baking something to feed the community, which taught them caring for others; the second was running some area of long distance to teach them endurance and perseverance; and the third phase was getting a day of massage, which was meant to show them the importance of receiving, of being supported and nurtured by others, and taking care of themselves. As women we often put other people’s needs before ours, but doing that constantly can harm our own health – so it is important to take care of ourselves and to have people who take care of us also.
Throughout the world, throughout history and time, some of the greatest gifts of women was learning about health and healing. Whether it was teaching on natural herbs, as their mothers and grandmothers would take them on walks in the forest and show them and teach on all; or it was being taught on how to care for ailments that arise, and even practising on doing small procedures when they get an injury on their foot or hand while playing, women need to know the art of health and healing.
Many of them would be taught on ancient arts of healing, and how to prevent ailments and illnesses, so that they can teach and take care of their little ones also. A woman would also know that health is holistic, and by knowing how to take care of herself, her body and beauty and mind and emotions, she’d be a good guide to others also.
Women’s Arts in Beauty
True beauty is the beauty of the heart – of compassion, love, kindness, generosity and inner truth. But it is also about self-respect and self-esteem, which begins with how we treat our body.
The art of washing was a very important art – and it was about the way of washing our face and our body each day and night. It was about knowing the sacred power of water, and the importance of its qualities. The way water moves is the way our feminine energy moves; we align to the rhythm of patience and tenderness, while we also understand its strength and power for it can be a powerful wave and its gentleness should not be mistaken for weakness. It is also about understanding that our own emotions are like water, and that we should allow ourselves to feel our feelings, rather than think our feelings, and then let them move through us, understand them, yet also give them the freedom to then move away also. Emotional maturity is a skill each one of us should develop.
The art of washing was also about the importance of spiritual and psychic cleansing, and the ability to set energetic and physical boundaries. As women, we absorb all and everything around us and so it is crucial to spend time to cleanse ourselves energetically and to clear our auras. Water is powerful, and spiritual baths are the most powerful and ancient ways of psychic protection; they are also used for intuitive channeling and attracting and manifesting, so learning how to properly and mindfully work with water is a high skill.
Purification rituals were one of the most important for the women and priestesses in the mystery schools. To come into their inner beauty and power, walk a life of self-trust and authenticity, and be able to develop their intuitive powers and gifts, they had to spend many years consistently purifying their energy. Purification means leading a healthy life and diet, balancing their emotions, harnessing their sexual energy, developing their mind and cleansing their thoughts, and growing spiritually. In our every day world, this is about emotional maturity, cleansing house and cleansing people, removing unhealthy relationships and keeping away from people not respecting you, investing your time and effort into self-development, and being very mindful of whom you engage sexually with.
The arts of beauty were also about physical beauty – knowing how to groom yourself was a sign of self-respect towards the sacred temple that you body is. In our modern day, there is little self-respect, as there are fillers, filters and all kinds of toxic body image online. Little girls and youth are constantly being bombarded by irresponsible influencers and celebrities who gaslight them on what their “real” bodies look like, though they are constantly using apps and cosmetic practices and surgeries to change who they are. It all stems from insecurity but this affects women of all ages as they begin to view their real bodies as shameful and struggle with so much self-esteem issues, body dysmorphia, and various mental health struggles.
Cellulite is natural and more than 95% of women have it – this is our intelligence body way of protecting us as it stores fat to be used during our childbearing years and to help us in case famine happens or we can’t be fed what we need to survive. Cellulite wasn’t even a thing or had a name, until the beauty industry decided to make money off of creating insecurities in women. Lower belly fat is also natural and needed because just as we have our bones to protect our lungs and hearts, we need our bellies to protect our reproductive organs. Please be mindful and take care of yourself, seeing the real beauty that you are. Toxic beauty standards can be extremely harmful.
In the old days women would engage in the arts of cosmetology as part of their learning – to learn about their own natural skin and phases, so that they know how to care for it in its unique needs. We all have different skins and one size does not fit all. What’s good for you may not be good for another. These ancient arts were also about the art of knowing how to do makeup and any beauty routine with the intention to emphasize your natural beauty features rather than become something you are not, or with the intention to hide something or feed an insecurity.
It was also about doing your own nails, hair, experimenting with makeup and playing around with colours, and knowing how to apply perfume oils and any fragrance in a feminine way. All this was essentially about practicing the sacred art of self-adornment. When we do that, we give expression to our creativity and experience ourselves differently, so it is a beautiful practice that can be made very empowering.
In rural France, girls coming of age would spend a winter with their local seamstresses – and while it was a part of learning a skill that teaches patience and rhythm, it was also about learning manners, behaviours, ethics, and how to dress and adorn yourself with make-up and jewellery also.
A lady needs to know how to move, act, behave, and apply grace in all her movements and walking in life. The ability to move gracefully and in a feminine way was very valuable and women throughout many cultures were studying how to properly sit, stand, and lay in beautiful poses until it becomes second nature. This is not just for “beauty”, it helps the energy within the body to move more healthily, as the way our body moves is essentially how we then feel on the inside. Our body is a language and speaks to our mind and emotions how we feel – and what is going on in our life. So if we stand up straight, our inner world begins to think that all is well outside and relaxes in this knowing.
Women’s Arts of Clothing and Jewellery
The art of sewing and knitting is practiced throughout the world. It would include knowing how to stitch, sew and what needles and threats to use. As a little girl I learned all that by my beautiful mom, and then would create dresses for my dolls – and then eventually for myself, but at the very least, I’d know how to fix my clothes when a thread unthreads. This art also teaches you patience and how the threads of life weave also – weaving and spinning in, of and through ourselves, destinies too shape, and we know how to pave our own ways with our hands, lips and actions.
There was also the ancient art of material knowledge. This was about knowing the beautiful and unique qualities of various materials – their ability to reflect light or their air permeability quality, their ability to cool down or to warm up, and the way they can merge with other fabrics. It was also about knowing textures and engaging your own sense of touch – which the higher purpose of is how we touch people’s hearts as well through our actions and words.
This art of material knowledge was also a way a woman knew which fabric to use when, and how to adorn herself with jewels and crystals when needed. She knew the balance between subtlety and sparkle, and how to create magic by her choices and movements.
The art of making jewellery was another ancient art, and I myself practiced that too when I created, and still create, my own jewellery. Women learned how to work with beads and crystals to create their own necklaces, bracelets and earrings, as well as become creative with sea shells or stones from nature. Expressing our creativity through this is beautiful and aligns us to the natural world as well, and all the beauty to be found in pebbles, flowers and leaves.
Women’s Arts of Relationships
Prema-Vidya was the art of love toward a spouse, children and grandchildren, parents, and older relatives. This art was also about general friendships and relationships, as well as love towards nature and all wildlife. Prema-Vidya included an understanding of the different types of love, as well as the different phases of love.
In many cultures around the world there was also the art of intimacy and making love which were important. A woman should know what she need to feel pleasure and also how to use her creativity to awaken her sensuality and erotic self to feel deeper love and deeper intimacy with her beloved. There are so many ways beside our genitals with which we can make love – eyes, lips, hands, silk.
The art of intimacy and making love wasn’t only about the physical love though – it was also about the emotional connection, the spiritual connection, the connection of the minds, and the ability to weave magic into everything to make it an art of love making. Intimacy is based on trust, vulnerability and creating the space in which we can unveil our true self and feel understood – so it is based on emotional maturity. These arts taught women the many skills needed to settle relationships into peace and harmony, how to build trust and understanding, and how to discern the men they should choose as their intimate partners. Knowing the phases of love that we go through in our relationships allows us to better lovers and partners.
There was also another interesting art, which was the art of using pheromones. It was considered one of the finest arts – and no, it wasn’t about “attracting men other than your beloved for sexual pleasures”. This beautiful art was essentially about the ability to still be a beautiful and attractive woman who everyone loves but not in love with. It wasn’t about having every man obsessed with you – it was about your one true lovers and spouse being in love with you. So while other mean would feel attracted to her sexually, the desires of her beloved were her priority.
Women have powerful sexual energy – this is our creative energy, and we must know how to harness it. Having many sexual partners, or the wrong sexual partner who is not an energetic match to us, is something that drains our energy and affects our wellbeing. I cannot stress this enough, but educating yourself as a woman on sexual energy and how it affects you and how you can harness and master it and channel it properly will really change your life on all levels. You’ll be able to experience so much more pleasure, and your aura will become magnetic and powerful.
This ancient women art that goes back thousands of years requires a lot of psychological work as well as great skills in working with energy – but it is the most important because everything that a woman creates and brings into being and experiences is rooted in her sacral chakra. So taking care of this is needed. When you learn how to release pheromones intentionally and apply discernment into your intimacy, you’ll awaken true inner power, feel more empowered and connected to your heart, soul and higher values.
Women’s Arts in Creativity
The art of playing musical instruments and knowing musical history and culture was important for a woman. Many women played or experimented with playing several instruments growing up – whether it was string, keyboards, drums, or wind. A woman was also encouraged to understand and master musical notation and the science of rhythm, as well as to learn about various musical traditions and cultures from around the world. This art is one of the most important ones, not only for the purposes of education, entertainment, expansion of mind, and being worldly cultured, but it is an art about life itself, just like sewing and knitting and jewellery making are. Music has the rhythms of the whole universe encoded in itself, along with both spiritual and scientific knowledge. Knowing music essentially teaches us to hear the harmonies of the universe and to follow the rhythm of all that continuously interweaves in nature.
When growing up I loved experimenting with playing guitar and piano, and a few times also the violin; I also learned to play drums and even performed on stage. Looking back these were all so memorable and taught me the symphonies of life that moves through us – which are also like the ones in nature. The songs of birds, the shushing of grass, the wind kissing the tree leaves, the whispering of river streams. It also sharpened my sense of sound, and it is just so important to know how music can move and affect us – and we ourselves begin to tune in more closely and move in our own unique rhythms as well.
The art of dancing was a big part of my own life also. Dancing was my first love, way before writing ever was. It was where I found my soul free, where I was freedom itself, and where I could fall into surrender allowing something much greater than us humans to shape and move through me.
Dancing is a language – it is a language of the soul, and one of the main forms of self-expression. It also teaches us trust and surrender – which are very important for feminine energy. Dancing is also one of the main techniques for feminine embodiment, emotional balance, and stimulating your sacral chakra of creativity, fertility, intimacy, pleasure and emotional wellbeing. It is a great outlet for emotional release also, and can be very healing to women. You can also build more intimacy and re-awaken your intimate connection with your partner. Additionally, the knowledge of dances from different cultures and the ability to teach our own children dancing are also part of this wonderful feminine art.
The art of poetry and beautiful speech was another important feminine art and practice. Poetry is the fine art of writing, and learning how to speak beautifully and meaningfully is a great skill in life. Our modern world has gotten used to emojis explaining emotions, and uses quite a shallow way of words – so it is perhaps more important than ever to remind ourselves of speaking. Words are mini Gods, they are prayers, and they weave like a necklace adorning us. How we speak is how we think and feel, so we need to understand the importance of good speech and put in the effort and time to learn and educate ourselves properly. We can either bless ourselves or curse ourselves through words, and we can either weave beauty or ugliness in our world, and the worlds of others – so it is an every day choice what kind of a difference we want to make in life.
The art of good speech was also about visualizing images through words and using our voice as a musical instrument that dances life into being. What do you speak into existence, how do you adorn your self and life, and how do you move at the rhythm of your voice, with the souls of your feet?
There were also the art of painting, sculpture and architecture, as well as the art of gardening and cooking and home design. All of these, including writing, dancing, singing and composing music, were just ways of shaping emotions – and ways to express the world of shapes and forms through ourselves – through our lips, hands and movements. Learning arts of creativity is important for a woman as she steps into her true power – which is her creative power to birth beauty, as she brings energy into the world of shapes and learns to master her own energy. She also becomes a conduit of divine energy, inspires others, and brings spirit into matter.
Women’s Arts in Communication
The art of communication is the ability to hold a conversation on many different topics with various people from different backgrounds and educational levels. This is a complex art that also includes learning psychology, expanding your knowledge and growing spiritually. Spirituality is essentially the expansion of perception – and the more we evolve, the more expanded our conversations will be. It is also about knowing how to be delicate, humble and remain in kindness. Intelligence in communication comes from the ability to remain open to ideas that challenges your own narrative, and apply the approach of the beginner’s mind – which is intellectual curiosity towards all, no matter how much you may think you already know. As we learn to recognize the level of development and areas of interest of another person, we can make conversations more interesting for them – which is a skill practiced by women for thousands of years.
Think of Scheherazade – how she was spinning stories to enchant the king, and even save her own self so that she isn’t killed by him. Her greatest skill was in her words, language, wit, intelligence and wisdom – and her immense talent of storytelling was an art of seduction and magic making in itself. Think also of the geishas; sure they learned arts of beauty, but their main learning was knowing how to communicate. Education is important for women, and knowing how to express ourselves and speak and communicate are skills that we can apply in everything to live more fulfilling lives. We’ll raise our children with our words; we ‘ll have better relationships because of our communication; and we’ll know how to communicate with our own selves also.
This feminine art comes with the knowledge of the rules of the conversation where a woman can increase the interest of a person she talks to or on the contrary, to subtly change the subject, to initiate a conversation, to draw boundaries, or to avoid potential arguments. The art of gestures is also included here.
The art of ethics was another very important art. A woman had to know not to gossip or speak badly about other women behind their back, as well as practice good moral, discernment and good manners towards her own thoughts, words and actions. This is about having ethics, higher values and integrity, as well as control your emotional speeches, so that you are trustworthy, your words carry weight and meaning, and you are delicate enough not to break the Universal laws of harmony and morality.
The art of communication also included knowing how to write properly and remain respectful of other cultures and foreign languages. It was preferable for a woman to educate herself on foreign language and be worldly cultured.
There was also the art of aesthetics which was the knowledge of beauty and harmony in every type of art, in daily life, and in our own physical appearance. Essentially this is about our ability to see the beauty in nature, and the ability to express your impressions into words, images or visuals. The more we are able to see beauty in the simple things, the more we’ll be able to recognize it everywhere.
Women’s Arts in Interpretation
A big part of communication is non-verbal, and often times, it is very very subtle. We communicate with our bodies, with nature, with wildlife, with God, with life itself along our unique physical, emotional and spiritual wildlands.
Communication is about knowing how to learn and listen to the language of our own bodies. Our bodies are intuitive and it is important to know how to listen to them, so that we give ourselves what we need. It is also about learning to build a bridge to God through prayer and our spiritual practices. All these essentially create a deeper connection to our selves – to our heart, inner intuitive wisdom and to our faith. When a woman feels more connected to herself, she’ll be able to experience better connections with others also, and experience life itself more deeply through her. Love itself is indecipherable – we can’t ever possibly shape into words or even visuals the immense depth of feeling and waving of the sense of being that love is. So we need a woman’s touch, the feminine gift of seeing beyond the veils and understanding the intuitive landscapes of the heart.
The art of Nimitta Shastra was one of the 108 women’s arts in Vedic philosophy, and this was the art of reading signs and omens. Understanding all this is a very important skill because information from the divine usually comes to us in the form of symbols, dreams, images, letters, and numbers. Knowing how to notice and to interpret a sign is very important.
Omenology is the understanding that everything is interconnected, and we too are connected to everything; so we can have messages about our own life through all around us by understanding its languages and how all speaks to us without words. In Shamanism the belief is that spirit can flow through all and is imbued in all, so even sitting in a room, if for long enough in intentional silence, we can begin to see how all interflows and becomes of one.
In any and every feminine teaching and the the feminine mystery schools, connecting to our intuition was integral to who we are, how we connect to ourselves and how we navigate in life. Whether it was learning dream interpretation, symbology, animal totems, astrology, tarot – all these were various tools to learn languages that weren’t our own, and yet to know how to communicate with those of the other languages. Discernment was always seen as the highest spiritual gift, because without discernment our psychic gifts could not be interpreted fairly. We need discernment to navigate through the spiritual realms.
Prayer is also a way of language and communication. And any kind of spiritual ritual is also a bridge, a way of language, which you build to understand a message. In Indigenous cultures, when we receive a message from an animal guide, we should also pay it respect and gratitude through giving back to nature. For example, we can make a donation to a local animal shelter or leave some food for the animals in the part. When we give something back we build a bridge to that energy – and it strengthens through the interexchange.
This is how we build relationships of all kinds: silence, respect, and sharing. Silence teaches us listening, so that we notice and understand. Respect is then needed, because we can also love what we appreciate, and this builds trust and loyalty. And sharing is what strengthens the bond, because a relationship requires interdependence.
Intuition is something that girls would be encouraged to develop since a young age. Throughout cultures, the older women, the mothers and the grandmothers, would encourage the girls to connect to their feelings and emotions, express their creativity, stimulate their imagination, engage their senses, and connect to nature, the cycles of the land and their bodies. Their sensitivity was something greatly valued and appreciated and protected – because it is our ability to be in tune with our sensitivity and sharp senses and discernment that is the first step to intuitive development. And once time came, the girls would learn how to develop their intuition and psychic senses in a proper and healthy way, rather than confuse emotions for intuition and vice versa.
There is so much more that I can write, and in truth I do write on all these and many more here on Art of Love. While some of these old traditions may sound outdated, they carry their own wisdoms that you can apply in your own lives accordingly. A woman is many things, many gifts and blessings. She is the one who can heal herself and family, who can maintain her health and beauty and wellbeing. She is someone who knows how to give massages, receive massages, how to make hats, jewelry, and how to design clothes and dresses of dreams, hopes and magic with our trusting hands. She knows how to speak love and how to weave love and how to make love continuously. She knows intimacy and how to experience pleasure on all levels. She knows how to love. How to love her body, her mind, her heat, her heart, her partner, her family, her children, and everyone. She knows how to pay attention, and how to walk the devotional pathway. She knows alchemy and how to transform her life. She is a beauty, a muse, a teacher, a lover, a healer, a mystic and a magical being who deserves to loved, adored, supported and taken care of every day, and all the time.
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