How to love with interfaith minister Gail Love-Schock

5 November 2019

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Gail Love-Schock is on an extraordinary mission to help people work out how to love (themselves and others), and what it means to be loved. As an interfaith minister, behaviour specialist and spiritual counsellor, she has gained a reputation for conducting meaningful ceremonies, as well as transformative personal sessions, workshops, retreats and events.

Nave spoke with Gail about her journey and her thoughts on the milestones women go through in a lifetime.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your offering.

In the winter of 2017, I added Love to my surname to highlight my devotion to Love and all her teachings. My life’s walk (not work) is about helping me and others return to wholeness, to connect back into the cathedral of our body, and to remember we are 100% divine and 100% human.

I specialise in heart-to-brain cohesion, drawing from ancient and modern practices reaching across Celtic traditions, buddhism, earth practices, and more. The way I work encourages you to harmonise your three centres: the heart, brain and body. I work with people one-to-one, through mentorships, spiritual counselling and gather big groups of people for salons, workshops, events and more.

I’m a Celt through and through, although I consider myself a citizen of the cosmos. I’m married to my delicious beloved James and we have a cat companion Shadow, who rules the roost.

How do you feel about our support networks, as individuals and as a collective? Can we be doing more? 

Every day, humans are dying of loneliness; in short, this freaks me out. To think someone moved to a metropolis to find community and ends up lonelier than they could imagine makes my heart ache. Our need for connection is marrow deep and support networks are a key part of this. It’s why I created my monthly gathering Temple of The Ribcage, because I wanted to invite people into community, to remind them connection is closer than you might think and to help, even if it’s just a little, to illustrate if you see someone you like the look of, it’s okay to go say hi. 

Cliques and tribes are as worrying as isolation and disconnection – I’m aghast at our use of the word tribe, it’s fundamentally riddled with separationist subtext. Loving one tribe hard and ignoring the other is species suicide for humans and we have to be willing to focus on what unites us, not what divides us. 

We do this together; help a neighbour, volunteer locally, smile at your postman. We always think it has to be something big to make a difference, but something tiny done consistently changes society from the inside out.

You’ve been going to minister school and we touched on some interesting points around the feminine, goddesses and childbirth, Do you feel that we are in a place of celebrating the feminine in our culture? Could we be doing anything else?

It’s incredible to me that I’m a trained interfaith minister… Minister Love-Schock! Somehow, this white female, at times mouthy, F‑bomb-dropping, down-to-earth Celtic spiritual seeker has found her home in between the holy ones and great mystics of our not so tiny history. It’s this history where women have been written out that fascinates me and drives me to find out where and how our sister origin stories truly began. Author and teacher Meggan Watterson has been a huge inspiration to me; she gives voice to those remembered in songs and on the lips of storytellers. 

It wasn’t an intention to set out to reclaim ministry for women, but it is absolutely part of what I’m now doing. To speak for those who cannot, but want to. To remember the women teachers almost if not forgotten, to honour the Goddess in all her forms AND to honour the Divine Feminine and Masculine in each of us. My masculine makes sure I get dressed, pay the bills and sort the shit out that I need to. In truth, I’m still getting to know my Feminine; my instinct and intuition, the way of the wise woman traditions, the all-knowing, or the all-not-knowing, which is how I spend most days, discovering I know less than I thought and getting really comfy with that.

We always think it has to be something big to make a difference, but something tiny done consistently changes society from the inside out.

We could celebrate more, speak more, write her-story, as opposed to his-story. We could tell tales of the great female adventurers, teachers, pioneers, medicine women, scholars, readers of stars, healers, mothers and so much more. Things done in the name of Christianity led to genocide of earth practitioners – some may call them witch – but earth practitioners were and are women and men. All priests, healers, those working with connection, the planets who understand nature and how to healthily work with the earth, instead of raping and fracking the heart of her.

You only have to look at the earth to know how much we are disrespecting the earth, and that disrespect is a mirror of the neglect felt in our own bodies. The loss, grief, disconnection and shame at damaging our own vessels and the one we live on. Even in acknowledging this can take a return to wholeness. Understanding life is already better than we think, to know that the negative bias impounded by news, social media comparison-itis and the myth of keeping up with the Kardashian illusion, is just that – an illusion.

Our challenges are not individual. Domestic violence increases in environments of poverty; depression in young people as a result of large corporate organisations pulling rank and making money instead of opportunities; suicide increases where faith is lost and the individual thinks they have to solve everything on their own because they are not good enough,’ to be with other people.

We can’t simply honour Goddess; we have to honour God as well, the balance, unity in all. For it’s what unites us, not divides us that’ll make the difference. Again, her-story must be told more and more – if you don’t know about your women, your lineage then find out; and find out about both your mother and your father. We do this together. No child left behind.

Our need for connection is marrow deep and support networks are a key part of this.

How do you feel about ceremony and ritual around women as they move from maid, matron to crone, and would you be able to tell us a little about these terms?

Ritual is such a key part of recognising transformative experiences; Judaism in particular provides incredible ritual for every plot twist in a young to adult life. In a Western Christian world, ritual is often kept to the church, to the stone altar which doesn’t move, through the man who connects you to God and never the twain shall meet.

The emergence of Goddess circles, women’s groups, menarche ceremonies are all welcome. Right now, I’m in 40 days of devotion until my 40th birthday, honouring the bridge from my maiden to Goddess years. Some might say 39 is beyond the maiden years, but my soul informs me otherwise. Working with people to help them cross their bridge of now to next is one the of the favourite parts of my job, and I love watching people understand that in marking a passing of time, we are also releasing what doesn’t serve us anymore, celebrating what is complete and creating space for what will be. If the fridge is full of food, included all the out-of-date crap, you can’t fit anything fresh in there, you know?

I look forward to my Goddess years. I also look forward to my crone years, the all-knowing. The crone is often disrespected: crone, hag, witch….are sadly words associated with ugly, near-death and dangerous. Now, some of that might be true, but for me, crone is pure wisdom, all-seeing, deeply connected to her instinct, her wisdom, her heart. Personally, I’m planning on sage-ing as opposed to age-ing. I want to take my seat as an elder. I want to be a thriving, glamorous, successful, wealthy, cheeky, fabulously dressed, healthy 95+ year old, and people will say: You know Gail’s still alive. You should totally see if you can get a session with her. I heard she was part of the circle to heal the UK from Brexit back in the day. You know like the witches who turned back the Armada, only cooler.” That, my friend, is what it is to grow in years, to honour the mother and the father, to honour the child, the holy ones and the great mystics. To make a tiny difference to this incredible world we live on, which is doing so much better than we will allow ourselves to believe. That’s a life well lived, and as a Minister of Love, that’s a full time contract I was more than happy to sign when it was put in front of me.