Fanning the fire midweek, we are tossing you a spontaneous quote, question, or conundrum related to Monday’s post. We invite you to riff on this prompt or share a story—heartbreaking or hilarious—to spark further conversation about the path of motherhood.

From the meal tree that sprang into being as soon as my kids were born, to the forgiving shoulders to cry on, the glasses of wine shared with other mamas when the day was done, and the demands and chaos were finally put to rest, at least for that evening, nothing has woke me up to the comfort and healing power of other women so much as motherhood.

The mamas in my life are my pack. Though we may look sedate with our nursing babes or our ever present picnic blankets, or as we amble along the sidewalks strolling and cooing, inside we are women singing over the bones of the living and the dead, pulsing to the insistent, throbbing heartbeat of our own wild longing.

This is what heals: My women friends—crones, maidens, and mothers— who curl up with me in the tight spaces of irritation, joke with me about too-cool-for-school kindergarteners and the death-defying recklessness of toddlers, and can walk with me under the dazzling darkness of unknowing. With my sister-mamas, nothing can be held back, neither the euphoria of love stretched almost to pain nor the desperate boredom that motherhood can encompass.

You know you who are: I hold you all in the altar of my heart.

The mama’s group that Niki started endures. We take turns, amongst ourselves, to share what burns in us most strongly. In our trip to Ojo Caliente near Taos, New Mexico, we embarked on a healing vision quest. With the medicine wheel as our guide, our task for the North was to claim–and proclaim–our unique gift, that part of our true nature that may have been forgotten or buried. When we returned to the circle, Niki had laid out a ring of stones, a specific one for each of us that had the quality we were struggling to honor and, thus, to heal.

What do you need to honor and heal on the path you travel as mama? What quality can you claim as your blessing?

SmudgeAltar 1Altar 2Altar 3Photos compliments of Erin Dollar Kott