Please enable javascript in your browser to view this site!

I built a white feminist temple. And now I'm tearing it down.

I built a white feminist temple. And now I'm tearing it down.

Hello, my name is Layla Saad. And I built a white feminist temple.

That is to say that my business, Wild Mystic Woman, which I have always described as a ‘temple space for wild women & modern mystics’, was in fact a temple space that was predominantly for white wild women, and white modern mystics.

I am a black woman.
I have always used predominantly black women’s imagery in my branding.
I have never stated that my work was predominantly for white women.

And yet the truth that I have had to face is that my beautiful business has always catered to and served white women, 95% of the time.

This temple that I have so lovingly built, brick by brick, is a white women’s temple. It does not matter that I, a black woman, have been the high priestess of this space, because the majority of members in this space have always been white; making me and women who look like me a minority.

White women did not marginalise me and women like me in this temple space.

I did that.

I did exactly what I have been asking white women to stop doing to us. I have been perpetuating white supremacy through my business, because of my own unexamined internalised racism and conditioned oppression.

None of this was by intentional design. It was by unintentional default.

The unintentional default in most online businesses (regardless of who runs those businesses) is that whiteness is centered. White imagery, white clients, white perspectives and white narratives of success, empowerment and spirituality dominate this industry. This is because this industry reflects the white supremacy ideology that white is seen as ‘universal’ and applying to all, and non-white is seen as ‘other’ and applying only to those who are non-white.

It is only when a business owner makes the intentional and overt choice to purposely de-center whiteness and center people of colour that things begin to shift.

So while I have been growing this business, it has not mattered that I am a black woman.
It has not mattered that I always used predominantly black women’s imagery in my branding.
It has not mattered that I never stated that my work was predominantly for white women.

None of these things mattered, because I did not intentionally de-center whiteness, and consciously center people of colour.

I made the unconscious assumption that having a business that was open to all women would mean that I would see a diversity of women as my clients and readers. That me being a black woman was enough to create a business that was diverse and reflective of my racial identity. This was not the case, and it is why I have built a white feminist temple, and why I'm ready to tear it down.

We Are Not Your Ugly-Beautiful Toys

We Are Not Your Ugly-Beautiful Toys

First they called us n*ggers
Now they call us regal queens
Always 'other'
Always 'other'

One day we are the garbage
The next, we are the Goddess
Always 'other'
Always 'other'

Never just woman
Never just human
Always, always
something
Other

Something tokenized
fetishized
modified
and then commodified

For your consumption
For You

You
The one with the white gaze
The one with the colonizers' appetite
The one who needs to oppress and control
just to feel whole
The one who cannot find shared humanity
outside of whiteness

We do not exist for this purpose
We are not your ugly-beautiful toys

No
You cannot
touch our beautiful black hair

No
You cannot
talk about our beautiful black skin

No
You cannot
project your hate or your love
onto our beautiful black souls

We are not your blank slates
We are not your toys

We are
Women
Humans
And yes, even
regal goddess queens

But for our gaze
Not yours

Always ours
Never yours

I need to talk to spiritual white women about white supremacy (Part Two)

I need to talk to spiritual white women about white supremacy (Part Two)

I have had to wait two months before I was ready to pen this second open letter.

It took two months of processing the enormity of what happened when I hit ‘publish’ on Part One of this series, before I could summon up the fire and love to write Part Two.

Let me give you a quick recap of what’s happened since publishing Part One of this letter.

About two months ago, following the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, I was driven to write what I thought would be a regular newsletter to my small but engaged community (of largely white spiritual women) on white supremacy, racism, spirituality and the complicity of entrepreneurs who do not speak up on issues of social justice.

It was a complete shock and surprise to me when this letter went viral It has now been viewed over 200,000 times at the time of writing this second letter. It has been commented on, shared, criticised, referenced, celebrated, disparaged, upheld, dragged and everything in between.

And so have I.

The Uses Of Anger: The Goddess Responding To Racism

The Uses Of Anger: The Goddess Responding To Racism

"My response to racism is anger. I have lived with that anger, ignoring it, feeding upon it, learning to use it before it laid my visions to waste, for most of my life. Once I did it in silence, afraid of the weight. My fear of anger taught me nothing. Your fear of that anger will teach you nothing, also."

- Audre Lorde, The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism (1981) 

Lately I have been thinking about anger, and its uses.

And I have been thinking about the Dark Goddess and her role in the cycles of spiritual death and rebirth.

And I have been thinking about how all of this intersects with spiritual activism and how I want to continue cultivating conversations in my online spaces.

I need to talk to spiritual white women about white supremacy (Part One)

I need to talk to spiritual white women about white supremacy (Part One)

Yesterday I was planning on releasing a new podcast episode with one of my dear friends, all about intuition and running a business as a mystic entrepreneur.

But I couldn’t do that yesterday.

Because this past weekend a white supremacist rally took place in the US and it’s all that’s on my mind.

So today I want to share my thoughts on racism, sacred activism and the responsibilities of those who choose to walk the priestess path. I’m also going to talk about white privilege and the role that white women must play in combating white supremacy.

Why are we so afraid to be Wild Mystic Women?

Why are we so afraid to be Wild Mystic Women?

Why are we so afraid to be Wild Mystic Women?

Because the world fears wildness, mysticism and women.

And it has taught us to fear ourselves, too.

Over the past year or so I have done a lot of inner work to excavate, revive, heal, reclaim, integrate and rebirth my inner Wild Mystic Woman.

I have read countless books and articles on the Divine Feminine and feminist spirituality. Each lunar cycle I have carried out rituals of releasing and healing. I have hired energy healers and spiritual mentors to support me through reiki, Akashic records sessions, card readings, flower essences and healing my relationship with money. Hell, I even became an energy healer so I could do the work for myself!

I have worked with archetypes to help me access parts of myself I had forgotten. I have done an incredible amount of work on healing my mother wound and my relationship with my mother.

I have cried rivers of tears that fully acknowledge the grief, rage, shame and unworthiness I have carried around with me all my life.

I have told my unapologetic truths both to myself and to community. I have read and written poetry to help me honour my darkness and remember my light. I have worked with the cards everyday to help my tune into my own intuitive guidance. I have meditated my way back to presence.

I have prayed and prayed for my words and my work to be of service.

I have done my inner soulwork and my outer soul's work in devotion to the truth of my inner Wild Mystic Woman.

And yet I can still find myself crying on the bathroom floor.

Feeling misunderstood, feared and ashamed of being a Wild Mystic Woman in a world that misunderstands, fears and shames wild mystic women.

Why those '6 figure' business coaches are failing you

Why those '6 figure' business coaches are failing you

Note: This post was originally written by me on 5th April 2016 and published on my previous website LaylaSaad.com. This article has been shared on Facebook thousands of times and was a catalyst for my own Wild Mystic Woman journey. As I have now taken down that website, I am migrating this viral article here as I know it has served as soul business medicine for so many soulful entrepreneurs. I pray it serves you too.

Layla xo

Maybe I'm Ok As I Am

Maybe I'm Ok As I Am

Maybe this unexplained force
which takes me to the depths
of my darkness and pain
Is the same divine force
that gives me the capacity
to hold so much power and light.

Maybe my fears and anxieties
give me empathy and wisdom.

Maybe my dark days
help me shine brighter in the night.

Maybe my emotional wounds
teach me how to love right.

Maybe I'm not broken.
Maybe I don't need to be fixed.

Shall We Dance?

Shall We Dance?

The vastness of my soul
often does not match up with
the smallness of my fears.

And so I live everyday with this
constant back-and-forth rhythm.

This reliable up-and-down beat
which has me dancing around the
perimeter of my power.
Sometimes deep inside.
Sometimes far outside.

As I expand I think:
I am beautiful! I am magnificent!
As I contract I think:
I am less than ordinary. I am delusional.

As I rise I say:
I can create whatever I put my mind to!
As I fall I say:
I am incapable of even leading myself.

As I ascend I believe:
My soul has a unique & importance purpose.
As I descend I believe:
I am unworthy of living that purpose.

And so we dance this dance,
My soul, my fears and I.
My soul ecstatically dancing
for my power
My fears mournfully dancing
for my unworthiness
And I, the observer.
Sometimes dancing with this story,
sometimes dancing with that.

Maybe this is what it is to be human.

Maybe it is about dancing this holy dance
of up and down
back and forth
inside and outside
expand and contract
rise and fall
ascend and descend.

Round and round and round.

Trying to find the beauty
of where our humanity
and our divinity
can find love
within each other.

Lady Of The Water

Lady Of The Water

Today I walked into the water
and swam far out into Mama Ocean
and asked her to cleanse me
of my fears, and purify my tears.

I prayed in the water:
O Beloved Divine
release me from these patriarchal bonds
that claim Good Girls
don't lust for life,
or desire pleasure,
or crave sensuality,
or take up space
with their wild self-expression.

Peel back these lies that insist
Good Girls must
cover up their bodies,
and restrain their hungers,
and tone down their voices,
and question their inner wisdom.

Dissolve these falsities that say
Good Girls must
hide, limit, dilute and apologise for
the power of their minds, bodies
and souls.

Mama Ocean listened calmly,
lovingly, as I prayed with desperation
to be released from my pain.
She held me as I sobbed
and choked on my fears.
She listened patiently
with the greatest compassion.

And then she sent me
the most beautiful divine sign
that my soul had been heard
and my prayers were being answered.

She then laughed softly, and whispered:
My darling daughter, you can relax now.
You can let go.
You can be free.
Mama's got you.
You can expand into your full being.
You won't explode from getting too big.
You'll just grow closer
and closer
and closer
to me.

I laughed in awe and great relief,
wiping away my holy tears.
Then I shouted back to her in delight:
Thank you Mama, thank you!
That's all I've ever wanted!

Freeing The Caged Bird

Freeing The Caged Bird

I was taught from a young age
to doubt my art
to hide my body
to lower my voice
to limit my power.

Is it any wonder I have feared
my self-expression all these years?

Is it any surprise I now crave it
with this wild hunger?

Do You See Me?

Do You See Me?

What is it about
speaking our truth
that is at once both
frightening and exciting?

It is the possibility
of being seen.

Truly.
Seen.

And not just for our
shadows and the fears
that we keep so hidden
in the dark.

But for our Power, too.
For our dazzling light
and our undeniable beauty.

And for the way that we dance
this sacred dance of
Shadow and Light.
Light and Shadow.
One no less worthy
of love than the other.

Both needed
for wholeness.

This is the risk
and the opportunity
of living in truth.

The question is,
Are you ready to See yourself?

The Choice

The Choice

I can be exhausted
and pretend to be perfect,
or I can surrender
and actually be real.
.
I'm choosing real.
Perfection is an act of
violence against my soul.

The Unveiling

The Unveiling

Underneath the many
wounds, fears and untruths
that cover your heart,
sits the centre of your Be-ing.
Your sacred Light and Dark.
The You
that is fully and
unapologetically
You.

Your divine assignment?
To peel back,
burn down
and offer up
all of the masks
that hide this truth.
So that your Sovereignty
may finally be
Unveiled.

The Assignment

The Assignment

Inwards. Downwards.
The High Priestess
continues to beckon me.

She doesn't flip my life
upside down
the way Kali did.

Her way does not ask
me to burn my life
down to the ground
and start over.

She simply asks me to
s u r r e n d e r.

To slow down.
To draw my energy
Inwards. And Downwards.
To focus on doing less things
and being in fewer places.

She invites me to
shut out the noise
and tune out the frenzy.
To step away from the
manic highway of
the creative outer world,
and melt into my
creative inner sanctum. 
Everything She's sharing
with me is an invitation.
Her way is not to force or push.
She says to me,
'Take it or leave it. It's upto you.' But She does have one
non-negotiable
Divine assignment for me.
Just one.
This is all She asks.

It's only three words.
Three words that could
change my life.

Want to hear it?
Here it is:
Write the book. 

Inwards, Downwards

Inwards, Downwards

I am being called.
Not out into the world
on an exciting adventure.
But inwards, downwards.

Into the dark depths of a
heart-breaking
ego-shattering
eye-opening
mind-bending
bone-gathering
shakti-awakening
truth-embodying
Soul Initiation.

Meeting Myself

Meeting Myself

I am reaching.
For the woman I am becoming.
For the woman I've always been.
For the woman who lies underneath
all these layers.

I am reaching for Her.
And She's reaching right back.
And soon, very soon,
We'll meet somewhere
in the middle.

The Spiritual Journey Of Going Viral

The Spiritual Journey Of Going Viral

Dear Sister,

I cried before I was able to write this letter.

I cried tears of gratitude, exhaustion, awe and relief. I cried and whispered to the Divine two holy words, over and over again:

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

What’s so significant about today? Why the tears?

Today marks the one-year anniversary of publishing this article on 6 figure business coaches and promptly ‘going viral’.

Let Goddess

Let Goddess

Remember in your early 20s
when you suffered from
anxiety and depression?
And that dark, scared,
stagnant energy was always
stuck in your body,
but you didn't know
how to get it out?

You would smoke.
And party.
And be reckless
with your safety,
your education,
and your health.

You would stay up all night
staring into the abyss,
praying for the ground
to just swallow you up
into the darkness
so that you wouldn't have
to feel that pain anymore.

You would listen to
sad songs on repeat
hoping that somehow
you could vicariously
get those emotions
out of your body
by hearing an artist
emote theirs.

You tried everything
except the thing your
mind, body and soul
needed most:

To surrender
and allow yourself to
fully feel all of your emotions.

You never gave yourself
permission to sob
like you were dying inside.
Permission to roar
like you were raging.
Permission to stomp and stamp
like you were fighting for your life.

You kept trying to
rationalise your pain
instead of feeling it.

You kept trying to
question your pain
using logic as your sword,
instead of your
body's natural instincts.

It's now a decade later
and you've learned
this important lesson:
that pain, sadness and rage
cannot be bargained with.

They are jealous lovers
and will not be satiated
until you have allowed them
to course through your body
unimpeded and unjudged.

So now,
you welcome the holy tears
the holy roaring and the holy
stomping and stamping.

You say to your body,
"Show me how to move
these energies through you.
Show me how to transform
this chaos into calm.
Show me how to not be afraid
of the power of my own emotions."

And your body,
grateful that you have finally
learned to trust Her says,
Give them all to me, Dear One.
You don't have to 'do'
anything, except let go
and let Goddess.