Bounty

My bounty is in reflection August 2015 106
and story-telling
and deep spaces.

My bounty is in dreams and plans
and refusing to quit.

My bounty wells up from within and
spills over with gusto
and irrepressible hope for
possibility,
and plans,
and endless newness
bright within each morning.

My bounty is in blooms and clay
and gemstones and gravel
in dirt and weeds
raspberries and blood.

My bounty brings the women.
Energy feeds the land.

Words spill forth onto
page,
screen,
memory,
ground.

My bounty is in what I holdAugust 2015 119
and release.

What I won’t give up on
and what I set free.

My bounty is milky.
Curled eyelashes,
blonde head,
sturdy legs.

My bounty is in conversation
circling the veranda in
steady, strong loops
of raw possibility
hope and wonder.

My bounty is in moments of despair and hopelessness
that break like waves on the shore
and make way for sunrise.

My bounty gathers together broken pieces
and tries again.

My bounty moves quickly
fluttering like a butterfly
and traversing continents of desire
before alighting on a thistle
downy,
purple,
sharp,
and beautiful.

As the wheel of the year turns towards fall, what is your bounty? What have you harvested or are waiting until the time is right to pick? What have you created, birthed, sweated over, discovered, or enjoyed?

There has been a crispness to the evening air and the hint of color in the trees that makes me reflect on the passage of another year. It feels like a time to wrap up projects, enjoy results, and to begin another time of turning inward, moving toward the cocoon-call of winter.

Last night my family held an abundance and gratitude ritual (+ harvest + autumn + full moon). I had a wonderful time setting up a mandala on our back deck, which we have recently taken to calling the veranda. Life is much nicer with a veranda in it and we regularly make time to sit out there in the morning as well as walk there at night. I got the term “verandahing” from Leonie Dawson and I highly recommend this practice of making time daily to sit outside on your veranda (deck, porch, front stoop, stair, whatever you’ve got, just try it!).

In the mandala, I set gourds and sage that we grew, harvested, and dried. I also used rose petals and hydrangea blooms that are still currently blooming. I picked dittany, sumac, and dogwood leaves from the forest. After the moon rose, we drummed, sang, danced, wrote what we are grateful for on paper leaves and added them to the mandala. Earlier in the day, I followed a prompt from my Sacred Year class to reflect on my “bounty,” as we approach the harvest season. I expected to write more literally about the things I’ve created and harvested this year, but a bountiful, bounty poem emerged instead.

I registered for Joanna Powell Colbert’s upcoming ecourse: 30 Days of Harvest ~ A Daily Sacred Pause of Welcoming Autumn. I look forward to another experience of daily practice with her.

My own Red Tent class began on the full moon, the birthing of the “seed dream” I planted in February, and another Womanrunes Immersion as well as a Divination Practicum begin in October. A bountiful culmination of the year’s work. I am amazed to see what can be generated and grown over the course of a year.

This month has been a busy one for me and I’ve felt emotionally erratic—vacillating between a boundless enthusiasm and a sort of trapped, snappy despair (as I re-read past blog posts, I recognize this as a feature of having a toddler, disrupted sleep, and an unpredictable “schedule”). Last week, I felt moved and very reassured by a quote I read via a post on Changing by Trista of the Girl God:

“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”

-Alice Walker, Living by the Word

August 2015 089

Categories: art, nature, poems, practices, ritual, sacred pause, seasons, spirituality, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

Call for Contributions: Practical Priestessing

July 2015 001I am in the process of finishing my dissertation project about contemporary priestesses in the U.S. The working title of my dissertation is “Practical Priestessing.” As I’ve collected data and dialogued with practicing priestesses throughout the U.S. and in four additional countries, I have been touched, honored, and amazed to see how much deeper, more nuanced, and powerful my work is with the gracious contribution of additional voices. I have always intended to publish my dissertation in book form after I complete my degree, but I now envision including an anthology section in the book about practical priestessing from a variety of perspectives. I gratefully welcome the contribution of your essays (previously published blog posts or articles acceptable) for this project!

Contributions should center around the following themes:

  • Priestess path: how did you become a priestess? How did you hear the call? How do you serve?
  • Practical service + vocational priestessing: what does priestess work look like for you? (Yes, this project is about the DO-ing work of a priestess, rather than the be-ing work.)
  • Community support: how do you work with the community around you? What would it take for the community to support you in vocational priestessing?
  • Nuts and bolts: thoughts, reflections, and suggestions on ritual facilitation, pastoral counseling, teaching, group dynamics, etc.
  • Scraping the candle wax. My dissertation project has its roots in a quote from Ruth Barrett that ends with this thought: “The reality is this: you will be the last one left in the rented hall, scraping candle-wax droppings off the floor with a razor blade…” While it sounds mundane and even a little harsh, at the core, my dissertation research is focused on these Candle Wax Priestesses. Anyone can say, “I’m a priestess,” but when the wax actually hits the floor, who is there?! That’s the crux of it, for me, the differentiation between “title” and practice. The difference between inner activation and outer vocation. I’m not talking about pop culture priestesses or “The High Priestess Nail Your Webinar Manual,” I’m talking about candle wax. I’m talking about toting tubs of supplies, I’m talking about making copies, and picking dates, and writing rituals, and doing this…

You may also include a brief biography as well as links to your own blog or business to be included in the book. Please include your mailing address with your submission if you would like to receive a copy of the book when it is published! 

Submissions should be emailed to Molly: priestessworkbook at gmail dot com. 

Deadline for contributions is February 1, 2016. 

Suggested word count: 500-2000 words. 

“The priestess is worn within the soul, not donned for occasion or kept in a bowl.” (http://schoolofsacredscience.com/Priestess_Training.html)

“The journey to become a priestess…(even of the urban variety) remains a grueling task, not something capable of being conferred by a few weekend workshops or sweat lodges. The glibness with which such terms are used can be infuriating…”

–Vivienne Vernon-Jones (in Voices of the Goddess)

“The Goddess is not only for the temple, she must be carried out into the world to wherever she is needed…”

–Vivianne Crowley (in Voices of the Goddess)

Categories: community, dissertation, priestess, spirituality, woodspriestess, writing | 6 Comments

Woodspace

Woodspace July 2015 005
soul unbound
mind unhurried
emotions settled
mood soothed
life paused
senses sharpened
awareness heightened.

Solitude soaks in
like a mantle of truth.

and yet
all around me
are life
companions
creatures
trees
plants
all that
which is seen and unseen
watching, waiting, living,
growing, learning, knowing,
spinning
the world into being.

Body relaxes
I am whole
Complete unto myself
I know who I am
I am real
I am at peace
I rest in authenticity
And appreciate my own company.

I read several articles this week that I identified with. One was about how walking in nature changes the brain (for the better!)

But the volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health, according to their scores on the questionnaire. They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk.

They also had less blood flow to the subgenual prefrontal cortex. That portion of their brains were quieter.

These results “strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments” could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Mr. Bratman said.

via How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain – The New York Times.

The other was a thoughtful, critical analysis of the “shadow” side of the mainstream “green” movement:

These days, in the ‘new green economy’, trees are seen simply as things that make the air better for people to breathe. This new, modern functionality stems from the next generation of green propaganda, which strives to homogenise everything into one giant communist planetary pie chart. Small ecosystems like a forest or river no longer matter in this grand global picture. It sounds almost acceptable now to hear someone say something like ‘But after they clear-cut the old growth forest, they replant way more trees than were there before, so they improve the climate, now it’s even better than it was!’ Marketing air as a commodity from trees created things like carbon credits and off-setts.

via Our Footprints on the Earth | The Dark Mountain Project.

Reading this article as well as getting ready for our Red Tent Circle this Friday, brought me to revisit an article I’d saved several months ago about creating a Black Tent temple as a space for endarkenment: The Black Tent Temple: A Space for Incubation and Endarkenment | The Black Stone Hermitage.

I also enjoyed browsing through the blog posts of a woman who writes about her life living and farming in an Irish cottage: Bealtaine Cottage | 11 years of Permaculture in and around a small Irish cottage, 3 acres and 1 woman…creating Eden!.

I haven’t been making many blog posts here lately myself because I’ve been working on my newest program: Listening to the Deep Self: Divination Practicum for Women. I’ve also been keeping up my writing with my other blog and my business site. My most recent Feminism and Religion post came out today, I submitted an essay to a new book about the placenta from Demeter Press, I’m working on multiple essays for The Oracle and for Motherhouse of the Goddess, and I’m continuing to collect data for my dissertation project. I also finished the content for a new book about ceremony that will hopefully be published in September. And, yes, I do actually get eight hours of sleep each night. ;)

Thank goodness for the woods!

 

Categories: nature, resources, woodspriestess, writing | 9 Comments

Blue Moon

11754674_1017047968347472_5569625733581356394_oSince July 31 is a Blue Moon, we decided to have fun with a special discount code offer. This is our best discount ever–it will only happen once in a blue moon! ;)

Also, remember to sign up for the Brigid’s Grove Newsletter for resources, monthly freebies, + art and workshop announcements!

 

Categories: resources | Leave a comment

Moon Stained

Darkness falls. July 2015 083
I enter sacred space
stepping from holy ground
onto holy ground
only this time I recognize it.
Owl calls,
moon rises,
sun sets,
leaves rustle,
heart beats.

Breathing in,
breathing out
feeling the world spin
feeling the earth turn
watching Her weaving at work in the night.

July’s Blue Moon is coming up at the end of this week and my Womanrunes course is carefully scheduled to end on that day. I can hardly believe we have worked through 37 runes already! (I’ve also scheduled the next Immersion for October.) I’ve written a Full Moon ritual to go out with the last email for the course and I will do the ritual myself with my family. I definitely feel the restless energy referenced in this Blue Moon article:

…As amazing as this moon will be, and necessary—it’s going to be one that challenges us on every single level. In the build up to this lunar event we may have been feeling restless, or have had an excess of nervous energy. Our pulses may have been racing, and it may have been harder for us to relax or fall asleep at night.

Our souls can sense that we are on the verge of something big—but it’s up to us to initiate change.

via Unprecedented Blue Moon in Aquarius: Now or Never. | elephant journal.

Last night, I took my new crystal ball with me to the woods to reflect. I asked what I need to know right now, as I am feeling pulled in several directions and between several wonderful ideas, and I drew The Heart. It reminds me to rest for a little while, but also that I act in this world with great passion and intensity and that’s okay.

We are leaving tomorrow for a family mini-vacation at a river cabin. I’m really looking forward to it. Some healing, play, and relaxation after the energetic depletion of the hard work required for me during the last two weeks of my school session.

(Of course, I fantasize that somehow I’m going to finish writing my dissertation during our mini vacation! ;) )

July 2015 081

“She may feel she will die if she does not dance naked in a thunderstorm, sit in perfect silence, return home ink-stained, paint-stained, tear-stained, moon-stained.”

—Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

 

Categories: liturgy, moon wisdom, nature, night, poems, practices, prayers, sacred pause, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

New Moon

July 2015 002

We honor the new moon and her blessings.
Letting go, releasing, shedding.
That which no longer serves is gently released
That which is desired, slips out into the crack of possibility
And takes root
Preparing to grow.

But, for now a moment to rest.
To keep silent peace
To soak in the dark of the moon
And her promise of quiet

Deep

Renewal.July 2015 029

Categories: blessings, endarkenment, night, poems, prayers | 2 Comments

Red Tent Initiation Program Launch

11692528_1643738219171727_6214351850615964803_nFollowing the spiral path of maiden, mother, and crone…

Do you want to take a journey into a deeper understanding of yourself? Do you wish to unlock insight and understanding? Do you want to reach out to other women in sisterhood and co-create a powerful circle experience?

This new online program is both a powerful, personal experience AND a training in facilitating transformative women’s circles. You will listen to your deep self, access your inner wisdom and prepare to step into circle as guardian and guide for other women who are hungering for depth, connection, restoration, and renewal in today’s busy world.

This intensive course is limited to 15 women, to allow for deep connection and dedicated attention.

August 29-October 12, 2015

Your online experience includes…

  • Asix week immersive journey over the course of the spiral path
    • Knowing Self (Maiden Unit)
    • Might of Creation (Mother Unit)
    • Gathering the Women (Crone Unit)
  • Each unit includes a ceremony, meditations, discussion questions, journaling exercises, projects, and prompts designed to take you deep into the Red Tent process.
  • Live interaction, support, feedback, and conversation via a private Facebook group

With your registration, you will also receive an incredible resource package valued at more than $100 including:

  • 58 page manual: Restoring Women to Ceremony, The Red Tent Resource Kit, written exclusively for our Red Tent redtentkitKit and Initiation Program. In this collection of essays and ritual resources, you will find a complete Red Tent “recipe,” circle leadership basics, moontime musings, and readings, quotes, and poems to help you facilitate a rich, inviting, welcoming, creative space for the women of your community.
  • Womanrunes Book and Card set: used throughout the program for personal guidance and self-development. And, perfect for ongoing use in an inspiration and renewal corner at your Red Tent Circle.
  • Red Tent Goddess Sculpture: symbolic of self-care and of both receiving and giving.
  • Carnelian Pendulum
  • Moontime pendant with silver-tone, solid crescent moon charm
  • Red altar cloth
  • Red organza bag to store your resources
  • Altar Candle
  • Head wreath kit and tutorial
  • Special Red Tent Circle Leader initiation gift (to be opened only upon program completion!)
  • Red silken cord
  • Moon or spiral goddess pendant

After your process is complete you will also receive:

  • Certificate of Completion
  • Ritual Recipe Kit e-book
  • Circle-ready digital files of the rich meditations and insightful readings used in the program
  • Ongoing support and guidance through continued participation in our private Facebook group

Mollyblessingway 238

For inspiration on your own path, feel free to listen our local Red Tent Circle singing the beautiful chant Dance in a Circle of Women during our May Circle

Register via our website or check out via Etsy here.

 

Categories: community, Goddess, priestess, programs, red tent, resources, retreat, ritual, sacred pause, spirituality, womanspirit, women, women's circle | Leave a comment

Initiate Yourself

11692528_1643738219171727_6214351850615964803_n
…Make a sacred fire
and throw on it all that you would use to harm yourself.

Make kindling from shame.
Let your dance be wild,
your voice be honest
and your heart untamed.
Be cyclical,
don’t make sense..
Initiate yourself.
Initiate yourself.

(Aisha Wolfe)

The Spiral in Womanrunes is The Rune of Initiation. Our spiral goddess pendant represents and reminds me of this lifelong process of initiation. A pivotal initiatory point for many women is giving birth and I wore this pendant all through my last pregnancy, including in the birth pool in which my last son was born. She carries the imprint of that power for me, a reminder of my own capacity to change, grow, welcome, and create.

I consider her a pendant symbolic of initiation for many events, whether a personal life transition (such as childbirth) or as dedication to a particular path, life purpose, or journey.

This is the pendant of initiation. This is the pendant of change.

It is time for dedication to your sacred path.

Pewter Spiral Goddess Priestess Initiation Pendant by BrigidsGrove.

I’m currently taking Vanessa Sage’s Enchant Your Everyday class (free!) and my daily enchantment practice is this:

  • Open arms to the sky.
  • Touch the rock/earth.
  • Place one hand on belly and one on heart and take a deep breath
    (“belly, bones, and blood,” I usually say in my head)
  • Touch my spiral pendant and say: Initiate yourself. Initiate yourself.

(I usually go to the woods for this, but sometimes my own living room has to work instead!)

July 2015 124

Categories: art, blessings, poems, practices, prayers, priestess, sculpture, spirituality, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Interdependence Day

As we approach U.S. Independence Day and I continue to work through the Womanrunes course, some themes of interdependence emerge. There is so much strength in interdependence or being in-dependence together. How do we balance the twin forces of separation and connection?

For me, I spend a LOT of time in direct connection with my immediate family. It is rewarding, but I also crave time alone. I am introvert and I need time alone to restore my soul! The Two Circles remind me that I need to carve out the solitude my soul needs for restoration and renewal—and, I need to stop apologizing for that. I’ve cobbled together a solution of sorts, that in itself is an illustration of balancing the twin forces, in that when my baby takes his nap, I retreat with him to my bedroom. I sit next to him while he naps (he wakes up otherwise!) and write, work, and sometimes I even journal and read and make art. I usually set up a mini altar on the bed next to my laptop–sculpture, stones, salt lamp, cards. It isn’t “perfect,” but it is what sacred space looks like for me right now. Most of the course was developed while sitting next to a sleeping baby or even nursing the sleeping baby and typing with one hand! I’ve come to see this intensive time of baby-mothering as a peaceful sabbatical, rather than a denial of myself/what I need.

When we reaching the Two Circles in the course, I felt stressed at the beginning of the day—torn between the needs of kids, baby, students, myself. I was fretting over this seemingly eternal struggle for “balance” and criticizing myself with an old, tiresome story of not being a good person, what’s wrong with me, etc. I decided to listen to some old saved voice recordings from my Woodspriestess experiment that I never transcribed. Interestingly, the first one I listened to (from 2012) was practically verbatim the “tape” that was replaying for me at that moment–balancing the needs of connection with the need for solitude, separation, and independence. And, interpreting my own, legitimate need for time and space on my own, through the lens of being “selfish” or somehow inauthentic as well as not being able to meet everyone’s needs for my attention and time. I told my husband about this and he said: “how old was Alaina then?” I paused and realized that she was almost exactly the same age Tanner is now. Suddenly, we realized that this sensation is probably related to having an eight month old baby, rather than a personality “defect” to be corrected! It was actually really freeing then to realize this is not a new experience, but is situational.

July 2015 011(Body paint is left over from our summer ritual on July 1, but it decided to hang around just a little longer to give me another reminder!)

My favorite quote about the concept of existing in the context of relationship comes from another of Christ’s books, She Who Changes:

“[According to] Martin Buber, there can be no ‘I’ without a ‘thou,’ no self apart from relationship. Martin Buber said that before speech is developed, the hand of the infant reaches out for its mother (or other nurturer).’ In other words, before Descartes could formulate a thought, and certainly before he knew that he thought, he reached out his hand in relationship. The existence of the other is as certain as the existence of the self. Long before infants learn to speak, they come into relationship with others besides the mother, and with the physical world, with cribs, toys, sunbeams, shadows of leaves blowing in the wind. The existence of a world and the existence of others can be doubted only by someone who imagines that he or she could exist apart from relationships. According to process philosophy, a person who imagines he has no relationships is to be pitied-or committed to a mental institution. His thoughts on this matter certainly should not have become the foundation of modern western thought.” (Christ, 74)

via The Central Value of Relationship | WoodsPriestess.

Today, we reached the Crowned Heart, Rune of Unconditional Love. I knew right away this morning what this rune was going to remind me about. I think that the most unconditional love I’ve experienced is from my babies TO me. I’ve never been loved so intensely wholeheartedly as my babies love me. I know that might sound weird and that we think of parents as the ones having unconditional love for their babies, not vice versa, but the depth of the mother-baby attachment is extremely profound and incomparable. It is also feels so simple and uncomplicated. I had the same depth of attachment with all my children, but with each one I feel more aware of how short-lasting this period of intensity is and I just love how much my baby loves me. While we’ll always love each other deeply, right now we are a motherbaby—a single psychobiological organism and there just isn’t anything else like it…

Let’s celebrate in-dependence together!

 

Categories: family, parenting, seasons, self-care, spirituality, Womanrunes | Leave a comment

Holy Ground

June 2015 051

The color in this picture isn’t edited at all. They really are this glowing color that is so perfect it doesn’t look real.

“And I toil and sweat
And watch and wonder
And am full of love.
Living in place
In this place.
For truth and beauty
Dwell here*…”

While I expected to participate in my own photo prompts for the Womanrunes Immersion course, I didn’t really expect or plan to fully experience the course myself, personally. I am so familiar with the Womanrunes that I guess I didn’t know they still had more to share with me! As I developed the course, I kept saying to myself, “I guess this is my immersion!” When I described it as an “immersion” course, I meant it for the participants—to have daily contact with the symbols, to uncover their own truths, and to be alert for this work and magic in their own lives—but to develop the course materials, I had to be immersed myself for several months. And now, as I read my own words as they arrive in each daily lesson/prompt, I find the immersion continues and I still have more to uncover. As I touched on in my last post, what this course is uncovering for me is a desire, no, a need to reconnect and re-establish meaningful practices and contacts that I have let fall away since my baby was born in October. I also need more gentleness, patience, and grace when faced with the unexpected (which pretty much happens every day). I am receiving that I need to tend my relationships. And, at the same time, I am feeling the tickles of multiple additional course ideas and possibilities and I feel exhilarated and excited about this inspiration. I often feel as if my work comes through me, like I am a channel for it and this fire of inspiration just wants to burn through me…to be expressed and birthed into the world. It is an intense experience and it can lead me to be a little skewed in my personal life—to burn and burn and burn with “just one more thing! I’m almost finished!” rather than heeding my body’s call for rest or food or hugs.

Yesterday morning, in response to the prompt for the Pentacle, Rune of Protection, I took a picture through my roses at the woods leading down to overlook where I wrote the Womanrunes book. I love this place so much.

June 2015 077I was then enchanted by the raindrops on the rosebuds and by my baby’s face, enjoying the light drizzle.

June 2015 075 June 2015 071In the last few weeks, I’ve been delighting in harvesting various plants. I made a rose elixir and also started a plantain infusion for salve. I finished drying raspberry leaves for tea and some chocolate mint leaves as well. And, I made four sage smudge sticks from sage that grows in front of our house in the flower boxes. I’m having so much fun lately with this herbal craft. As I mentioned, one of the things I’m recognizing as I work through this course myself is that I really want move these self-care, nurturing connections and practices up in my daily priority. While much of my work takes place online and I am grateful for that, I simply must cultivate more time to be offline, restoring my soul.

June 2015 083
June 2015 059I’m also remembering to consciously center in my heartspace to consider what is actually required in each moment. What task actually needs my attention and what is self-generated, self-imposed busy-ness. And, I’ve implementing a daily, one minute grounding practice after being inspired to do so by Enchant Your Everyday.

While I was walking in the driveway on our nightly walk, I came across a gigantic frog. I’ve never seen such a big one! It was the perfect reminder of how this very same patch of ground upon which I spend all my days still finds new ways to surprise and enchant me!

June 2015 079One of the Womanrunes course participants then shared this with me:

Frog spirt animal associated with water:

“Cleansing
Renewal, rebirth
Fertility, abundance
Transformation, metamorphosis
Life mysteries and ancient wisdom.”

Sounds perfect!

June 2015 068(*Past post with the rest of the “I stand on holy ground” poem quoted above: I stand on holy ground | WoodsPriestess.)

Categories: divination, nature, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, Womanrunes, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Summer Love

11227964_10207110812918713_5387391899479469362_nToo busy. Too buzzy. Not enough time.
To do. To do. To do.
Scramble. Hurry.
Tight chest
Tight breath
Tight heart
WAIT!
Listen to Summer.
Languid. Warm. Sweaty. Hot.
Petals soften
Juice drips
Kissed by sunlight
Bathed with rain
Sweet stickiness.
Passion.
Summer is heavy.
Hot and ready.
Blooming and dripping.
Unfolding. Becoming. Ripening.
Sweet. Tangy. Biting.
Feel it in the air.
Greet it at sunset.
Throw your arms around it.
Dig in. Hang on. This is IT.
Taste it. Hold it. Enfold it. Be it.
Lick it. Know it. Be it. Embrace it.
This is your life.
This is your life.
Do you love it?

I’ve been working really hard for the last month preparing my Womanrunes Immersion course and I feel a little IMG_5716unbalanced and skewed off-center. I keep telling myself that it is okay to keep working hard, because I’m “almost done,” and sometimes pushing is exactly what is needed. But, I’ve realized as I participate in my own course, that since there is always something else immediately around the corner, that “break” I keep holding out for never comes. I have to create it for myself. The course is going so well and has been really inspiring and magical so far, while also needing a lot of energy from me. I’ve committed to working through the course myself, not just guiding others through it, and I’ve already had to take a deep look at several issues…feeling on the verge of some kind of breakthrough now. From yesterday’s lesson this reminder:

When we lack proper time for the simple pleasures of life, for the enjoyment of eating, drinking, playing, creating, visiting friends, and watching children at play, then we have missed the purpose of life. Not on bread alone do we live, but on all these human and heart-hungry luxuries.
–Ed Hayes (Simple Pleasures)

And, then from another article:

“The more fully we experience life’s beauty, the less regret we have that we didn’t live and love in the ways we most longed to.”

Barefeet, watermelons, and sunburns – it’s summer!

Yesterday in response to my own Womanrunes prompts, I literally went outside to smell the roses.

It was just what I needed and I need to move these experiences up in priority in my day, instead of being the last things I attend to. I’m also participating in this free offering:

Enchant Your Everyday: 108 Day Pilgrimage to Your Beautiful Life – Vanessa Sage.

This is a beautiful world. Don’t miss it!

IMG_5709

 

Categories: poems, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, Womanrunes | 5 Comments

Summer Solstice Imprint Necklaces

Summer’s bounty b2ap3_thumbnail_June-2015-060.JPG
both sweet and spiky
sun-kissed and thorny
able to draw blood
and to cause you to smile
as you taste the juices of life.

I find it interesting to observe how the wheel of the year is reflected within my own mind and thought processes. In the late fall, I turn inward and feel like retreating and pulling away from commitments. In the winter, I incubate and make plans. In the spring, I emerge again and feel enthused with new ideas. In the summer, I start to make decisions about what to keep and what to prune away. I find that summer is a perfect time to see what is growing well and what needs to be yanked out by the roots.

Summer brings the opportunity to both wrestle with what isn’t working in your life and to celebrate the fruits of your labors. Summer is when you peek under leaves only to discover bugs in your cabbages, whether literal or metaphorical. And, it is the season in which you bask in what is growing well, what has taken root firmly, what is beautiful in the sunshine, what you can trust, taste, enjoy and savor. In the summer, we see both weeding and harvesting. Planting and tending and maintaining. We see withering. We see giving up. We see what is dying and what is thriving. This is the balance of the year. The wheel turns and turns and turns and before we know it, we are holding a palm full of berries once more. Older, different, changed and yet, right there, again. That juicy bite of summer.

Heat and light. Growth and transformation. Bearing fruit. Spreading open in the sun. Digging up by the roots. Weeding out. Composting. Turning over. Turning over. Turning over.

I’m preparing for our summer ritual and the themes above are on my mind. Based on the Sacred Year class I’m taking via the Sacred Living Movement, I’d like to offer the following activity idea for your own summer solstice experience. It would be a beautiful project to undertake at sunrise or sunset on this year’s summer solstice.

You will need:

  • Clay of some kind (self-hardening, air dry, oven cured, kiln fired, or polymer clay)
  • Rolling pin
  • Knife or cookie cutter
  • A few minutes outside alone in Nature

Go outside and center and ground yourself with three deep breaths. Then, begin to walk around slowly looking for a message from Nature, from Gaia, from the Earth. Trust your intuition and choose what calls your attention and seems meant for you. It might be a seed, a berry, a leaf, a stone, or a flower. Accept this small, renewable gift from nature with appreciation and collaborative intent.

Roll out your clay on a firm surface (protected with cardboard or a placemat) to about 1/4 inch thick. You can use whatever shape or size makes sense to you, squares, circles, dewdrops, ovals and freeform oblong shapes work well that about two inches across. If you are using clay that will be fired in a kiln, remember that it will shrink as it dries.

Gently press your gift from nature into the clay. Press it down on all slides, firmly but gently. If you are using a leaf, use the back of the leaf to create the imprint, because the veins on the back will create a clearer impression. Your imprint will not look perfect, but that’s okay!

Make sure to poke a hole near the top before the clay dries so that you will be able to hang it up or string it on a cord. If you are using clay that will be fired in a kiln, you can use one of your imprints as an essential oil diffuser after the first firing. Or, you can glaze it and have it fired again. I am fortunate to have a mom who is a potter and who is firing the imprint necklaces I made.

As I referenced in my last post, wild raspberries are special to me. While I originally expected to use wild dianthus flowers for my imprint, I followed my intuition and absolutely delighted in creating my imprint necklaces using wild raspberries and raspberry leaves. Seriously. These little berry prints make me swoon.

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The message of the imprint necklace you create will be unique to you and your experience. When you wear or hang up your summer imprint, you will be reminded of the messages and lessons of Gaia’s natural, wild wisdom and the ever-changing, unfolding, everyday miracle of life on Earth.

(Note: if you also use berries, choose an unripe berry because it makes a much firmer “stamp” with which to imprint!)

b2ap3_thumbnail_cropwomanruneslogo.jpgUpcoming courses:

Womanrunes Immersion

Red Tent Initiation Program

—-

Crossposted at SageWoman

Categories: art, holidays, nature, seasons, spirituality, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Raspberry Revolution

…The spirit of adventure b2ap3_thumbnail_June-2015-067.JPG
    runs through my veins
    with the rich color
    of crushed raspberry

    May it always run so free
    may it be blessed
    and may I be reminded
    of the courage and love
    shown in small, wild adventures.

June brings out the hunter in me. The mission: wild raspberries.* A friend once laughed to hear me describe picking raspberries as a “holy task,” but it is. A task earthy, embodied, mundane, and miraculous at once.

Two of June’s treasures each year for me are the roses and the raspberries. This week, I sweated and struggled and was scratched and stung, but I returned home once again with my bounty.

Last year I wrote about my “Inanna’s descent” as I picked wild raspberries with my children:

    …I was thinking about how I was hot, tired, sweaty, sore, scratched, bloody, worn, and stained from what “should” have been a simple, fun little outing with my children and the above prayer came to my lips. I felt inspired by the idea that parenting involves uncountable numbers of small, wild adventures. I was no longer “just” a mom trying to find raspberries with her kids, I was a raspberry warrior. I braved brambles, swallowed irritations, battled bugs, sweated, swore, argued, struggled, crawled into scary spaces and over rough terrain, lost possessions and let go of the need to find them, and served as a rescuer of others. I gave my blood and body over to the task…

I consider any berry picking expedition to be the very definition of success as long as there are enough berries to make a cobbler! It is so delicious I feel like sharing my version here, in case any of you would also like to enjoy one with your family during berry season (modified from this recipe).

Ingredients:

1 stick butter b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5581.JPG
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 ts. salt
1 ts. baking powder
1 cup milk
2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Instructions:

Melt butter. Mix sugar and flour into the same baking dish in which you plan to bake the cobbler. Whisk in milk. Pour in melted butter and whisk again.

Scatter rinsed raspberries evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour until golden and bubbly.

Serve with whipped cream on top if desired, though plain is delightfully delicious as well!

While in the woods with my raspberries this year, I also finished taking pictures for my upcoming Womanrunes e-course:

b2ap3_thumbnail_June-2015-078.JPG
“Revolution keeps a steady tempo with your heartsong and the color of your wings.”

Sometimes revolution tastes like raspberries.

(*This post is crossposted from my Sagewoman blog where it received many Facebook comments from people feeling compelled to inform me that these are called blackberries, not raspberries. Have no fear, however, yes, wild raspberries are black in Missouri and these are indeed raspberries, even though they are not red. We have wild blackberries also, which will ripen in July. The wild raspberries and blackberries, both black in color, grow right next to each other in my back yard. There are distinctive differences. The raspberries are less seedy, sweeter, juicier, and tastier. Their canes are green-white and waxy in color and they ripen a month earlier. We also have mulberries and dewberries here, which are both black as well.)

Categories: nature, prayers, seasons, woodspriestess, writing | 5 Comments

Wisdom from Moon Time for Red Tents

May 2015 047“At her first bleeding a woman meets her power.
During her bleeding years she practices it.
At menopause she becomes it.”

(Traditional Native American saying)

One of my favorite books to have available on the resource table of our local Red Tent Circle is Moon Time, by Lucy moontime2Pearce. I reviewed it in this post, but didn’t have room for all the juicy quotes I wanted to share! One of the ideas I include in my own Red Tent Resource Kit book is to use womanspirit wisdom quotes to stimulate a discussion in the circle. Here are some quotes from Moon Time that would make great launching points for a sharing circle at the Red Tent:

“It is my guess that no one ever initiated you into the path of womanhood. Instead, just like me, you were left to find out by yourself. Little by little you pieced a working understanding of your body and soul together. But still you have gaps.”

Questions for circle: Were you initiated into the “path of womanhood”? What gaps do you feel?

“You yearn for a greater knowledge of your woman’s body, a comprehensive understanding of who you are, why you are that way. Perhaps you have searched long and hard, seeking advice from your mother, sister, aunts and friends, tired of suffering and struggling alone. You may have visited doctors, healers or therapists, but still you feel at sea and your woman’s body is a mystery to you. Or maybe you have never given your cycles a second thought … until now.”

Questions for circle: What do you feel like you need to know about your body? What mysteries are you uncovering?

“Through knowledge we gain power over our lives. With options we have possibility. With acceptance we find a new freedom.

Menstruation matters.”

Question for circle: How does menstruation matter?

Additional information about why menstruation matters on a physical, emotional, and relational level:

We start bleeding earlier today than ever before, with girls’ first periods occurring at 12.8 years old now, compared with 14.5 years at the beginning of the last century. Coupled with lower breastfeeding rates, better nutrition and fewer pregnancies, women now menstruate more in their adult lives than at any time in our history.

From the age of 12 to 51, unless you are pregnant or on the pill, every single day of your life as a woman is situated somewhere on the menstrual cycle. Whether ovulating or bleeding, struggling with PMS or conception, our bodies, our energy levels, our sense of self, even our abilities are constantly shifting each and every day. And yet nobody talks about it…

via Moon Time: Harness the ever-changing energy of your menstrual cycle

As I noted in my review, one of the things this book was helpful for to me personally, was in acknowledging myself as a cyclical being and that these influences are physical and real: IMG_5194-0

Each month our bodies go through a series of changes, many of which we may be unconscious of. These include: shifts in levels of hormones, vitamins and minerals, vaginal temperature and secretions, the structure of the womb lining and cervix, body weight, water retention, heart rate, breast size and texture, attention span, pain
threshold . . .

The changes are biological. Measurable. They are most definitely not ‘all in your head’ as many would have us believe. This is why it is so crucial to honour these changes by adapting our lives to them as much as possible.

We cannot just will these changes not to happen as they are an integral part of our fertility.

From there, another relevant quote:

“There is little understanding and allowance for the realities of being a cycling woman—let alone celebration.”

Questions for circle: What allowances do you make for yourself as a cycling woman? Are you able to celebrate the experience?

In my own life, I’ve had to reframe my understanding of the impact of the monthly moontime experience by looking April 2015 103at it through the lens of healthy postpartum care following birth—it is crucial that we care for our bodies with love, attention, respect, and time. Our local Red Tent Circle definitely doesn’t focus exclusively on menstruation or on currently menstruating women (all phases of a woman’s lifecycle and her many diverse experiences and feelings are “held” in that circle)–in fact menstruation sometimes barely comes up as a topic—however, one of the core purposes of our circling is in celebration. We gather together each month to celebrate being women in this time and in this place, together. I started out my work with women focused on birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum. While those are formative and central and important life experiences, it became very important to me to broaden my scope to include the totality of women’s lives, not just pregnant women. I want to honor and celebrate our whole lives, not just pregnancy and birth. Having a mother blessing ceremony during pregnancy is beautiful and important and special, but I feel like that care, attention, value, and ceremony can be brought into the rest of our non-pregnant lives The_Red_Tent_Resourc_Cover_for_Kindlethrough gathering together in a Red Tent Circle. This is one reason why I’m so excited to offer an online Red Tent Initiation Program this summer. This program is designed to be both a powerful, personal experience AND a training in facilitating transformative women’s circles.

Back to Moon Time quotes!

“There is no shame in tears. There is a need for anger. Blood will flow. Speak your truth. Follow your intuition. Nurture your body. But above all … Let yourself rest.”

Questions for circle: Do you allow yourself anger and tears? Do you feel shame? How do you speak your truth? How do you give yourself time to rest?

To be clear, I wouldn’t use all these quotes at one Red Tent Circle! I would use them individually at different gatherings. This one blog post has enough potential circle discussion prompts to last for more than six months of Circles! :) This month I also bought a bundle of copies of Moon Time to have available for women at our local Red Tent.

More good discussion quotes here: Talk Books: Cycle to the Moon | Talk Birth.

And, there are others in my Red Tent Resource Kit.

Please consider joining us this summer for the Red Tent Initiation Program!

IMG_3702

Categories: books, community, friends, moontime, priestess, quotes, readings, red tent, resources, retreat, ritual, self-care, womanspirit, women, women's circle | Leave a comment

I brake for flowers

I stopped on the side of our gravel road last week to take pictures of one of my all-time favorite wildflowers. I’ve tried to transplant them to my own house, but they prefer growing in their own way on their own terms (don’t we all!), so I appreciate them from the road!

I also brake for moonrise. The full, strawberry moon was so phenomenal on my drive home last night that I stopped three times to try to take a picture of it. Unfortunately, this meme is so true with regard to my moon-photography skills…

what-i-see-what-my-camera-seesIt was absolutely huge and pink and amazing. All my pictures turned out to be tiny blurs. By the time I got home, interestingly, the moon hadn’t yet risen over the trees at my own house and was not pink at all. I’m not sure why it was so dramatically different just 40 miles away!

On the way, I had to restrain my urge to brake for flowers, because I wanted to make sure I got to the first night of my new class with lots of time to spare. However, I longed to pull over for the gorgeous field of coneflowers, black eyed Susans, and something fabulously blue and spiky that I saw on my drive!

After my daily blogging with 30 Days of May, I’ve taken a break from writing posts here and have been completely absorbed by the preparation of my upcoming Womanrunes Immersion ecourse. I am so thrilled to be doing this! I haven’t finished taking all the pictures I plan to take yet, but all is going well.

I’m getting ready for our annual summer ritual. It is for families, rather than for women, which I find makes the planning more of a challenge! I have been re-reading some of my past blog posts about summer rituals and enjoyed re-reading this past “ritual recipe.” It has a variety of reflections at the end, including this one about group size:

…Small IS good—I already know from my years as a breastfeeding support group leader that I’m a sucker for bigger-is-better thinking (I tell my own students: don’t let your self-esteem depend on the size of your group!!!!!). When the group is small or RSVPs are minimal, it starts to feel like a personal “failing” or failure to me somehow. However, the reality is that there is a quality of interaction in a small group that is not really possible in a larger group. At this retreat there were seven women. While there was an eighth friend I really wished would come and who we missed a lot, the size felt pretty perfect. I reflected that while some part of me envisions some kind of mythically marvelous “large” group, ten is probably the max that would fit comfortably in our space as well as still having each woman be able participate fully. Twelve would probably be all right and maybe we could handle fifteen. I also need to remember not to devalue the presence of the women who DO come. They matter and they care and by lamenting I want more, it can make them feel like they’re not ‘enough.’

via Ritual Recipe: Women’s Summer Retreat | WoodsPriestess.

I was very interested to read this evocative description of the “Goddess Wave” as shared by the Shekhinah Mountainwater Memorial Fund:

“It’s lonely in the tip, and it takes courage to stay there. But every part of the Goddess Wave is valid in its own way, and there is no value judgement here. It just helps to know which part of the wave you are in and whether or not you want to be anchored there…”

Goddess Wave | Shekhinah Mountainwater Memorial Fund.

(I also appreciate the mention in the post of the Womanrunes course)

Check out the information about this neat online course too: The Fivefold Goddess: A Web-Based Course and Initiation Cycle into a New Vision of the Divine Feminine.

So many neat projects!

May 2015 020

Categories: nature, resources, seasons | Leave a comment

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