Powerful singing

“It is that holy poetry and singing we are after. We want powerful words and songs that can be heard underwater and over land. It is the wild singing we are after, our chance to use the wild language we are learning by heart under the sea. When a woman speaks her truth, fires up her intention and feeling, staying tight with the instinctive nature, she is singing, she is living in the wild breath-stream of the soul. To live this way is a cycle in itself, one meant to go on, go on, go on.”
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes February 2016 177
 I’m getting packed up for a Red Tent Circle tonight. There will be singing and dancing and wild women. It feels so appropriate that we reach this quote about powerful singing at the same time!
I also think of my past post: Women’s Voices | WoodsPriestess
“I hear the singing of the lives of women. The clear mystery, the offering, and the pride.”
– Muriel Rukeyser
February 2016 134

Supplies packed up to make manifestation bracelets.

 

 

Categories: ceremony, priestess, quotes, red tent, resources, ritual, womanspirit, women's circle | Leave a comment

New Practical Priestessing Program

Our new Womanspirit Initiation program in practical priestessing begins on the Spring Equinox! I’m really thrilled IMG_0050to do this. Since it is the inaugural offering of this program, I’m offering an “early bird” registration option until February 15th. There are 19 spaces currently available in the training.

I’ve been working on my dissertation about contemporary priestessing in the US for a long time and it has deep roots in my passion for priestessing as real work, not a self-empowerment buzzword. While I’m a huge fan of self-empowerment, I also adore practical priestessing–what does doing this work look like? I call it “Candle Wax Priestessing,” based in quote from Ruth Barrett who said:

What is your motivation for leadership? The title of Priestess sounds mystical, powerful, and conjures up fantasy images of flowing robes, crescent tiaras, charged magical tools at your fingertips, and rooms full of chanting, awe-eyed devotees lingering on your every muse-inspired word. You dispense wisdom directly from the Goddess Herself, channeled in perfection to the unquestioning multitudes that wait and depend on your guidance.

If that’s your vision, get another hobby. 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 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; the differentiation between “title” and practice. The difference between inner activation and outer vocation. I’m not talking about pop culture priestesses or “High Priestess of sales conversion” manuals, 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…

This program is more than just a class, it is a process of discovery, preparation, and initiation. What does it involve to do womanspirit priestess work in a variety of settings, including women’s spirituality circles, seasonal ceremonies, family celebrations, rites of passage ceremonies, rituals, and retreats? That’s what we’ll uncover, explore, and share together! Of course, we’ll also create plenty of magic and deep, transformative personal experiences, it isn’t all about candle wax! You also get a fabulous resource kit of real supplies, including a brand new spiral goddess sculpture in deep purple.

These questions of candle wax priestessing connected deeply with the priestesses in the research group, with many sharing stories of candle-wax, or accidental fire, related experiences. One of my own moments was when I beat out the flames on the altar table with my sandal while wearing my baby daughter in a pouch on my chest while working in Brigid’s Temple at the Gaea Goddess Gathering in Kansas.

Womanspirit Initiation is a sister program to the Red Tent journey I offer (and love!). I think it is funny that I developed the priestess course second, because I’ve been planning and facilitating women’s rituals and retreats for many more years than I have been facilitating Red Tents, but that is how it emerged! I explore some of the differences between the two programs in this post: What is the difference between a Red Tent and a Women’s Circle?

If you are currently enrolled in the free Womanspirit Wisdom mini class you will get a $25 coupon code that can be combined with the early bird registration. This coupon will arrive in your email on February 12.

I’d love to walk this spiral path of initiation, discovery, and practical leadership with you!

cropMolly 184(I’m also cooking up a semi-secret new Goddess Magic Circle. It isn’t a class, it isn’t a “virtual circle,” it is opportunity for collaboration, experience, and co-creation!)

Categories: dissertation, priestess, programs, ritual, spirituality, womanspirit, women, women's circle | Leave a comment

Womanrunes Layout for Imbolc: The Seed

Something waits beneath the surface of your life. If you listen, if you’re quiet, you can hear her breathing. Stretching out, reaching forth. Change. It is IMG_0935coming. Peeking up from beneath the soil, a tender green shoot of possibility and promise, waiting to be nurtured. Do you have room for new growth? Are you able to water and tend to your dreams? Are you able to let light shine upon them? What in your life may be withering from neglect? What has attempted to sprout, but has been cut down, or uprooted, or malnourished?

–Molly Remer, Womanrunes

Imbolc, or Brigid’s Day, brings a reflective pause. Time to sit with your dreams. Time to look at the “seeds” of possibility in your hands and decide what you are going to plant. What needs some time in the deep, dark earth in order to grow? What are you incubating within your own deepness? In honor of this time of year, we created a special card layout themed around the The Seed rune. You can use any of your cards with it, but it works very well with Womanrunes. We have a full page worksheet for it and then the same layout on a half-size worksheet (for tucking into your journal).

May you enjoy a peaceful pause for contemplation today!

Also: we’re celebrating Brigid’s Day and our Business Birthday with an all day Customer Love event today: giveaways via Facebook and Instagram + a Brigid’s Day ritual kit in your email as well as 20% off in our shop with code BRIGID and a 99c deal on our original Ritual Recipe Kit ebook. Enjoy!

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Categories: blessings, divination, endarkenment, holidays, practices, seasons, Womanrunes | Leave a comment

What is the difference between a ritual and a ceremony?

January 2016 035In the course of my dissertation research, the subject of the differences between ritual and ceremony arose as one of the spontaneous questions under consideration. There are many ways to use the words and people tend to gravitate towards one over the other. I realized in our conversation, that I perceive a distinction between the two words and use them in slightly different contexts, but it is difficult to pinpoint the exact difference. Is it just personal preference? Is it tradition or habit? How do you use the two words?

I find that for myself personally I have increasingly begun using the word “ceremony,” because to me it denotes something dynamic and alive. Ritual sometimes implies repetition or roteness. Ceremony implies living, changing, evolving, as well as celebration. I think ceremony is about a sacred approach to the world. However, both can be a collection of actions, a sacred container for experiencing and shared experience, and a process of honoring and celebrating. I also use the terms somewhat interchangeably–i.e. “a women’s ritual” or a “ceremony for my pregnant friend.” I’ve still been trying to puzzle out the distinction between when and how I use the words. We have “full moon rituals” and seasonal rituals and then I have “ceremonies” for specific occasions–like a maiden ceremony or a baby naming ceremony. I’ve also noticed that ceremony feels like a “safer” and more expansive word to me when describing what I do, because ritual might sometimes be associated with “ritualistic” which can have negative, “occult,” or abuse-associated connotations for some people.

I recently finished a book that has been waiting on my shelf for a long time, In the Shadow of the Shaman, by Amber Wolfe and she notes the same: “the very words ceremony and ritual have so many different interpretations that we may become confused and frustrated.”

She offers three basic approaches to the concepts:

Native American. Ritual has to do with acts of Nature energies, primarily shamanic. Ceremonies have to do with set forms of spiritual connections.

Western Occult. Ritual has to do with energies of soul or spiritual levels, set form. Ceremonies have to do with Nature or elemental energies, some set form.

Aquarian Format. Ritual is set form; specific words are used, although you may construct these beforehand from your own blend of traditions. Once ritual is begun, it follows a set format, regardless. This can be most important for acts of active magick when the energies become intensely focused and specific. Ceremony is free-flowing. Emerging energies are incorporated in the basic format. Some traditional ritual formats are used in ceremony to being and to end the events.”

In this context, Wolfe primarily identifies ritual as set or fixed and ceremony as free-flowing, spontaneous, or co-creative. Living ceremony.

The dictionary also seems to overlap the two without clear distinction, describing ceremony in terms of ritual:

  • a formal act or series of acts prescribed by ritual, protocol, or convention <the marriage ceremony>

And, ritual in terms of ceremony:

  • done as part of a ceremony or ritual

Both words get the mark of perhaps connoting meaninglessness or roteness:

  • For ceremony: 2 a :  a conventional act of politeness or etiquette <the ceremony of introduction> b :  an action performed only formally with no deep significance c :  a routine action performed with elaborate pomp. prescribed procedures :  usages <the ceremony attending an inauguration> b :  observance of an established code of civility or politeness

  • For ritual: always done in a particular situation and in the same way each time. Done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol <ritual handshakes> <ritual background checks>

In my research group, the women turned the question over, with one reversing my own use of the terms (ritual = more habitual, scripted, and formulaic and ceremony = living, evolving, active, and embodied) explaining that in her experience: Although ritual can involve ceremony to a lesser or greater degree – the ceremonial aspects are simply trappings. They are the outward visible signs of an inward reality – the embodiment of the ritual enactment within the participants.

On the one hand, “doing ceremony” can be seen as trivializing ritual, the ritual process, the ritual prayer. It is an outward sign. How many times have we experienced ritual – liturgy – perhaps in a traditional church setting, and known that the presider is simply going through the motions. The presider is “doing ceremony” or “saying the mass” — there is no determinable connection with those present. If one acknowledges such things, Spirit is lacking, although many in attendance will contest that observation. However, and I have experienced this myself, when the presider truly connects Higher Power and with those in attendance — truly becomes that vessel of connection — is embodied, then ritual is transformative.

In the book Sacred Ceremony by Steven Farmer, he differentiates the two based on how they change or not. Ritual, to him, is something that doesn’t change–it is always done the same way. Ceremony, to him, is alive and evolves, adapts, and changes.

Another participant pointed out that ritual is the way of enacting ceremony. The two cannot be separated—ceremony is used as a noun and ritual is used as an adjective (though this isn’t actually the case in common use, in which ritual is often used as a noun).

As I’ve typed, I realize that I may personally be more likely to use “ritual” in terms of holidays/calendar-associated events and ceremony with regard to life passages, rites of passage and celebration. I also notice I have a blog category for ritual, but not for ceremony, which indicates that my personal semantics have evolved since I began this blog.

I would love to continue to expand this section. What are the differences in the words to you? Which do you prefer using? Do you use both, but in different contexts or purposes? Is one an inner experience and one an outer one? Is one solitary and one communal? Does your choice of word depend on your “audience”?

IMG_0172Speaking of ritual and ceremony, I’m almost finished with our free Brigid’s Day ceremony kit! And, for a very reasonable price, we’ve also developed a digital version of our Mother Blessing Facilitator Kit.

motherblessing

 

Categories: 30daysofdissertation, ceremony, practices, priestess, ritual, spirituality, women's circle | Leave a comment

Priestess Year in Review (2015)

IMG_7758“… Every day, we witness the positive, transformative effects of, ‘restoring women to ceremony’…another reason it is vital that we continue our work…”

–D’vorah Grenn (Stepping into Ourselves, p. 56)

“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 edited by Caitlin Matthews)

When I became ordained as a priestess with Global Goddess in July of 2012, one of the commitments I made as part November 2015 050of ordination was to be of service in some way to the organization and to document my service to my community through the year. So, in keeping with that commitment, I made a year-end summary post at the end of 2012 and at the end of 2013 and 2014. It is helpful to me personally to see everything grouped together in one post and see that I’m truly doing this work. I enjoy sharing my post each year with the rest of the GG community in hopes of encouraging others to keep a record of their own. To continue this commitment, I again kept a list during 2015 and here it is!

January: family full moon ritual (1/5), beta test priestess class based on Stepping Into Ourselves (they also offer a free intro to priestessing course). Reprinted Womanrunes book with a few revisions and updates.

February: family Brigid Day/Imbolc + baby feet on ground ceremony (2/1. Post regarding is here) IMG_8126

March: full moon ritual (3/7), Sacred Year manifestation ritual (3/8). Family Spring ritual (3/14). Red Tent (3/21).

Also: published Restoring Women to Ceremony: The Red Tent Resource Kit

April: full moon ritual (4/5). Red Tent (4/17). Spring women’s retreat (4/25).

May: Family Beltane (5/3). Red Tent (5/15)

June: Red Tent

July: group summer ritual for whole families (7/1), New Moon ritual (7/15), Red Tent (7/17), Blue Moon ritual IMG_7770(7/31)

Also: Womanrunes Immersion ecourse began

August: Red Tent, Family abundance + gratitude + harvest + full moon ritual

Also: Red Tent Initiation began online

September: Red Tent (9/11). Interview during virtual Red Tent for Journey of Young Women twice. Interview on Goddess Alive radio. Autumn family drum circle. Mini full 11986976_1661342964077919_7888471579811176826_nmoon/eclipse ritual. Went to Gaea Goddess Gathering as vendor and participant.

Also:

October: Red Tent, mother blessing ceremony (10/22), Family Halloween ritual, family full moon ritual

Also:

November: Pink Tent ceremony for mothers and daughters (11/6). Family full moon ritual.

Also:

December: Family solstice (12/21), Family full moon (12/25), Yuletide ceremony (12/28)

Completely unanticipated for 2015 was my “raising” of my own tiny Goddess temple in the woods in which I have happily worked for the last two months and in which I plan to hold small rituals and celebrations throughout 2016.

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My tiny temple!

I wrote 179 posts here in 2015, which was a dramatic increase from previous years, primarily because I took four different 30 Days seasonal ecourses from Joanna Powell Colbert and posted almost every day during those courses.

We published two new books: The Red Tent Resource Kit and Earthprayer, Birthprayer as well as updated and made minor revisions to the Womanrunes book. We also put together a 340 page workbook for the Divination Practicum course. I sculpted six new designs for pewter pendants and 13 for resin goddess sculptures and created our line of beautiful ceremony kits and blessing pouches (and we fulfilled more than 1300 orders for these items, particularly our wildly popular goddess holiday ornaments!)

I continued to host a Priestess Path group on Facebook and began doing dissertation research in this group over the course of the entire year, eventually collecting more than 100 pages of original research thanks to the thoughtful and generous contributions of the practicing priestessing in the group. I started a new Facebook group for Brigid’s Grove: Creative Spirit Circle, as well as maintaining the Brigid’s Grove and Woodspriestess front-coverFacebook pages.

In keeping with the commitment I made upon my ordination, I contributed articles to 7 issues of The Oracle, the online journal of Global GoddessImbolcBeltane, Summer Solstice, First Harvest, Samhaim, Fall Equinox, Winter Solstice.

I wrote 6 posts for Feminism and Religion:

I also wrote 23 posts for my blog at SageWoman magazine.

And, I wrote two articles for Motherhouse of the Goddess:IMG_7927

and for the Rhythms of the Goddess journal: Rhythms of the Goddess – Seasonal Journal | The Motherhouse of the Goddess

I moved some of my blog writing to Brigid’s Grove, creating 86 posts there in 2015, and I will continue to do more and more of this as I phase out some of my other blog commitments.

(I also wrote 100 posts at my birth/motherhood blog and taught ten college classes, but those don’t directly connect to my priestess year in review theme!)

One of my biggest goals for 2015 was to finish my last two D.Min classes (which I did) and my dissertation (which ISeptember 2015 0099 didn’t).

My relevant 2016 goals include:

  • Finish usable draft of dissertation by February
  • Continue hosting monthly Red Tent Circles
  • Continue having family full moon rituals
  • Have at least one community family ritual
  • Participate fully in the Lunar Priestess course I registered for at the beginning of this year
  • Hold a monthly study circle with a few friends12036397_1667128160166066_8284211676923229933_n
  • Finish writing practical priestessing manual and perhaps convert dissertation into a new book
  • Write the book for the Shekhinah Tarot project
  • Facilitate two new sections of the Red Tent Initiation course as well as the very new Womanspirit Initiation course as well as continue to offer the Divination Practicum and the Womanrunes Immersion
  • Gestate and birth and delight in a new Goddess Magic study circle online

As occurs each year, when I write my year-in-review post, when I read this over, it comes up for me to wonder if writing a post like this looks “smug” and self-congratulatory in some way. Am I too focused on numbers and hours and quantifying something instead of small logopresence? Too much do-ing and not enough be-ing? But, in truth, the intention with which each year’s list is created is simply as an accountability thing—both in terms of the vows I made to my community as well as to myself. It is so I can see, collected in one place, what I’ve offered as a priestess this year. It is to allow me a moment of pause, reflection, review, and a sensation of a job well done, rather than immediately rushing off to the next thing, as I tend to do. In reviewing the past year, I am able to see that yes, I am doing this work. I am not just talking about it or imagining it, I am walking the path. I also have to shake my head with some self-compassion and a smile when I recall all the times I worried that I haven’t been doing “enough” or everything that I’d like to do and offer to my community.

July 2015 103

It was a beautiful year! IMG_4933August 2015 089

Categories: nature, practices, priestess, programs, red tent, ritual, spirituality, womanspirit, women, women's circle, woodspriestess, writing | 6 Comments

Free Mini Course: Womanspirit Wisdom

I’ve developed three new free mini courses to offer this year. The first is ready to roll and begins on February 1!

Here are the details…

Womanspirit Wisdom

IMG_0173This three week ecourse is designed to offer you a gently nourishing daily “sacred pause.” Beginning February 1, each day for 21 days, take a moment and simply receive. There is nothing to do, just enjoy taking a daily minute to connect with yourself.

Includes:

Categories: blessings, practices, priestess, programs, quotes, readings, red tent, resources, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, womanspirit, women, women's circle | Leave a comment

Day 31: Gathering your soul at the hearth-fire of Winter (#30daysofyule)

IMG_0280Gather your soul at the hearthfire of winter

Hold the embers of last year’s dreams

Celebrate the warmth of that which has ignited

Honor and release that which has grown cold

Rest for a moment in the grace of winter’s thoughtful spaces.

Happy New Year!

It is the first new moon of a new year and I’ve worked up a Flying Woman 12440694_1696249130587302_4628168024963259367_oWomanrunes card layout for you (you may use it with any divination system you choose, of course!). The Flying Woman is the Rune of Transformation. She is perfect for the planning and inspiration present in a fresh new year. She is the card that has been tickling at my consciousness throughout my work in our Divination Practicum course and who turned up as my key theme for the year during 30 Days of Yule.

If you need help getting started with Womanrunes, check out our free intro course here (includes printable rune set): Introduction to Womanrunes

And, of course, copies of the books and cards are in our shop.

Categories: #30daysofyule | 1 Comment

Day 30: A magical giftbringer (#30daysofyule)

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Where in your life might you be putting work before wonder?

The final day of 30 Days of Yule corresponded with the first day of the Womanrunes Immersion course. The first rune we study is The Tree. The Tree is special to me because I wrote the Womanrunes book surrounded by trees, in my sacred space in the woods behind my house. I was “named and claimed” by the woods in this way and they are my spiritual home, place of respite, solace, and restoration. My soul is replenished by my daily woodspractice.

I didn’t post immediately after reading the “work before wonder” prompt, but not because it didn’t resonate, rather that I thought about the question of work before wonder all day. I am the kind of person who always does what she “should” do first and it can be easy to miss out on wonder that way! That’s one reason why I’m recommitting to my 365 days in the woods Woodspriestess practice this year. I HAVE to allow myself to put the practices that nourish and restore me first–or, at least move them up in the day.

At the same time, I thought of my kids, my “magical giftbringers.” How often they need my attention and it is only half available to them because I always have so much to do in a day. But, then I also allowed myself to tune in to and appreciate the times I do enjoy wonder with them every day–and maybe don’t give myself credit for, caught up in the barrage of “should do’s” plus maternal guilt that tends to haunt many days. We have a home based life. We homeschool and we work from home–I spend 90% of my waking hours in the company of my family + 100% of my sleeping hours in the company of my youngest who sleeps in my arms all night long. Paradoxically, it can be hard to be “present” in the face of that much togetherness!

So, I took some moments to notice and bask in wonder. All four of them lined up waiting for me to read to them at bedtime.

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Reading at bedtime. We’re reading “Milly-Molly-Mandy Again” and “Wild Magic.” I read to them all for 30 minutes to an hour every night.

My arm curled around the baby as he fell asleep at naptime that afternoon. No matter how I might feel “not enough” in the course of any one day, it must be a pretty nice life to fall asleep on your mother’s chest–hugging you and smelling your hair.

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The final picture was taken on Christmas, but I included it here because that is the, “pick me up” face I see every day and it has a background of gifts, which seems symbolic and appropriate.

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Yep, of course I picked him up! But, I wanted to remember what it looks/feels like to have a little person reaching for me. It seems so commonplace and never-ending. I’ve had little people reaching for me with a very similar face for 12 years and counting. But, this is the last baby. And, the days of the intensive need for mothering will pass and this face and this reaching will be a memory and a past spin on my own wheel of life.

 

Categories: #30daysofyule, family, parenting, practices | 1 Comment

Day 29: Celebration (#30daysofyule)

Now is the time IMG_0172
to free the heart,
Let all intentions and worries stop,
Free the joy inside the self,
Awaken to the wonder
of your life…

— John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us (via 30 Days of Yule)

Went to the sacred woods. Heard turkeys gobbling in the woods and watched squirrels move in and out of a hollow tree, talking to each other. Heard a bird call that sounded like a hawk or eagle, but never saw it. Felt peaceful and centered. I’m making a new Woodspriestess vow for 2016. 2013 was my first year of this dedicated daily practice (which yielded 330 days to the woods and two books!) and 2016 feels like the year to bring my woodspractice back into my daily life once more. After I had my last baby in October 2014, I let some of my soul-nourishing spiritual practices fall away, and this year I am recommitting to my daily woodspractice: visiting the woods once a day every day for the year. I haven’t missed a day yet this year.

This photo was taken for day 29 of 30 Days of Yule (1/4). I took my drum to the woods that morning. It was freezing cold and I drummed until I had numb fingers. It is such valuable time for me and I am excited and happy to dedicate myself to it again this year.

Categories: #30daysofyule | Leave a comment

Day 28: Birth (#30daysofyule)

12466195_10208500869429257_5820988480424338801_o(Still catching up with draft posts from the last days of 30 Days of Yule, which ended on January 5.)

Much of my work is rooted in my passion for birth, birth work, and women’s health. A feminist since childhood, I started my career with domestic violence work while still in college. I did that work for several years (and finished an MSW degree) and then worked at the Ronald McDonald House until my first son was born in 2003. His empowering birth (coupled with a difficult postpartum adjustment) lit my fire as a birth activist, advocate, and educator. I earned multiple certifications in childbirth education, prenatal yoga, birth art, prenatal fitness, birth doula, and postpartum doula work as well as becoming a certified breastfeeding educator and LLL Leader. I did this work regularly for ten years. My first son was born at a birth center, a straightforward and reasonably easy + triumphant birth that left me with an enduring sense of my own inherent worth and value.

My second baby was born at home in my living room in 2006. An extremely rapid, two-hour train ride of labor, this birth brought my second son and the joy of having a pair of brothers in the house which has blessed my life ever since.

In 2009, I gave birth again, this time to a tiny third son, born unexpectedly, early in my second trimester. The dark and wrenching walk through grief that followed his death-birth shaped me permanently and altered the course of my life path as well as opened me up to my spiritual path dramatically. It was a “shamanic crisis” of sorts and remains one of the most pivotal moments of my life. I bled so heavily following his birth (grapefruit sized clots!) that I had to transfer from home to the ER and actually thought I might be going to die. His birth set me firmly on my priestess path and re-set my devotion from birth work, to a focus on creating ceremonies and circles that honor the entire women’s wheel of life and their broad range of experiences and triumphs, rather than remaining more narrowly focused on the Mother (birth) phase.

2010 brought an early miscarriage and then the tentative joy of a “rainbow” pregnancy, a pregnancy that would eventually result in the birth of my beautiful daughter, born in an unassisted homebirth in wild, sweet relief into my own waiting hands as I knelt in my living room in the winter of 2011.

2014 brought the unexpected pregnancy of my last baby, growing in perfect alignment with the Wheel of the Year until he was born on October 30, another unassisted homebirth, again into my own hands, this time in a pool of water in my living room.

I first began creating birth art before my first son’s birth in 2003. Needle felted birth goddesses with wild hair and full figures. I started writing about birth and birth education in 2007 (and have never stopped). During the tender, tentative post-loss pregnancy with my daughter, I began creating clay birth goddess sculptures as a way of bringing Pregnant Woman back into my self-identity and to re-build my trust in my body and myself. These sculptures evolved from here into the pendants and sculptures I still create.

The book in the photo is the Earthprayer book I published last year. The picture on the front is me awaiting the birth of my last son. In the picture, I’m in my sacred woodspace, where I have learned so much.

Categories: #30daysofyule | Leave a comment

Day 27: Rest and withdrawal (#30daysofyule)

Look into her eyes, this winter woman. In their gray spaciousness you can see the future. Look out of your own winter eyes. You too can see the future.

— Patricia Monaghan, Seasons of the Witch via 30 Days of Yule

I love the quotes Joanna shares from this book. I look forward to ordering it myself (used copies are expensive right now though).

Yesterday, I posted my reading with three hearts showing up in it as well as the Lovers, reversed. I took this as a nudge to be more loving. The next day, I walked out to my tiny temple and…my auger…a Rose Quartz bracelet was lying in my path.

12466103_10208494981562064_4186282811287005832_oAs I worked, my candle wax spilled onto the desk in an interesting pattern.

12471864_10208494982362084_6058408378129887199_oAnd, in keeping with the “rest and renewal” prompt, my parents kept my three older kids overnight (the youngest went for the afternoon through dinner and then came home to me) and my husband and I spent the day planning and visioning for our business during the coming year. It was just the focused, devoted, clear time that we needed and it felt extremely restorative and I’m grateful to have had the time.

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Categories: #30daysofyule, family, sacred pause, self-care | Leave a comment

Day 26: Visions for the New Year (#30daysofYule)

Happy New Year! I’m catching up with a few days of posts from 30 Days of Yule (which actually comes to its end today). One of the fun things about this class has been the opportunity to practice with thematic layouts for Tarot/oracle cards. For the New Year, in addition to determining my “card of the year,” I also used this spread provided by Joanna:

1. What do I leave behind in the Old Year? 12440438_10208488403997629_8834260999752971080_o
2. What do I open up to in the New Year?
3. Key Opportunity of the New Year
4. Key Challenge of the New Year
5. Hidden concern (pull from bottom of the deck)
6. Deep Wisdom / Advice from God/dess (pull from middle of the deck)
7. Key Theme of the New Year

— JPC, The Gaian Tarot

I did this reading in bed next to my napping baby and found it hard to get a clear photo of it. I also had a headache and was in a bad mood and I think that impacted my results! All of the tarot cards were reversed, which I found interesting. The six of water that showed up at the end not reversed wasn’t part of the spread instructions, but I laid it out accidentally and so I kept it as an additional inspiration for the new year. I drew four fire cards from the Gaian Tarot and three hearts from Womanrunes, which was another interesting connection.

We did a lot of goal planning, as I am wont to do on New Year’s Day, and so I appreciated the reminder from the seven of air to “make my plans but leave room for serendipity.” The 8 of Fire also reminded that I may be rushing others and not overlook the inspiration! This pairs with the Yoni from Womanrunes which reminds me of the role of pleasure in life. The Lovers + the winged heart (rune of ecstasy) showed up in the first position and I don’t totally get them, but perhaps I need to leave behind not taking ample time for love? (Or, possibly only that I was feeling in a crabby mood with my husband that day.)

Not surprised at all to see The Flying Woman turn up as the key theme card! In the same position the reversed Four of Fire suggests feeling depleted and worn out and need to take a stand for myself. Fly, woman, fly! Another funny overlap was in the challenge section in which The Box (rune of boundaries) teams up with the Two of Fire reversed, which reminds me that, “no may be the best response.”

All in all this reading actually felt more relevant to the current week (or even just the day I did it!) than to the whole year! I might do it again next week or try a different format for a new year reading, because I feel like my subconscious focus was on this week and that the layout didn’t speak to much beyond that at this point (as a week’s reading it was very accurate though!).

In notes relating to the “12 omen days,” I remembered something I meant to share. On Christmas Eve we went to town to see Star Wars. On the way, within about a seven mile stretch of road we saw a dead coyote, a dead owl, and a dead hawk. It is uncommon for me to see birds of prey as road kill and I wondered aloud if perhaps they had been purposely shot and killed. We almost stopped to pick up the owl, but it is illegal to have feathers from them, so we didn’t. I still feel sad when I think of it there.

However, on the 30th, after the flooding in Missouri, I drove back to town and in almost the exact locations, except reverse order, I saw a live hawk and a live owl. I wonder if coyote was there too and I just overlooked her! I often see hawks, but owls, especially in the afternoon, are much less common sights.

Then, that night I dreamed of eagles, filling the trees at a nature preserve. A man behind me on the path told me excitedly that the preserve was being opened to hunters. For a certain price, you would have six chances to shoot an eagle. “That doesn’t sound like a good idea,” I said. “Oh, we’ll only shoot the bad ones,” he replied.

Anyway, I just wanted to share these experiences as well. Not particularly earth-shaking, but the memory was triggered and I felt prompted to share!

Categories: #30daysofyule, divination, dreams, holidays, practices, readings, sacred pause, seasons, self-care | Leave a comment

Day 22: Winds of change (#30daysofyule)

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We had a small Yuletide ritual last night with extended family, celebrating 2015 and welcoming 2016. We made our manifestation ornaments and walked a slightly belated solstice spiral together (I did the outdoor spiral with my husband and kids on Dec 21st, but this ceremony was planned to include my parents and my brother and sister-in-law who couldn’t come until this past weekend). We sang blessings together and upon leaving the spiral, each person got a little medicine bundle that I had made for them with some stones it in.

Outside is nice, but given recent torrential rains and flooding throughout Missouri, the floor works too!)

Outside is nice, but given recent torrential rains and flooding throughout Missouri, the floor works too!)

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Outdoor spiral on the 21st.

My own little bundle, randomly selected, surprised me with my second augur/omen like I included in my post yesterday. It is The Flying Woman again! In the close up, you can just spot her to the left in the carnelian stone, arms upraised in transformation. ❤️

IMG_0072This week I enjoyed a couple of posts I’d like to share:

First, a beautifully written, evocative blog post about the ongoing spiral of initiation in leadership…

What does it mean to be initiated? To go through a rite of passage? What does it mean to stand up, to be seen, to be a leader? What does it mean to have the Mysteries revealed to us?…

I believe at one point in the ritual, one of my mentors said something about how initiation and ordination is about becoming someone who can’t unsee your impact. That you can’t go back to the person who can pretend that you don’t have power, you can’t go back to pretending that what you do doesn’t matter…

Source: The Heaviness – Rites of Passage

Then, one about the liminal space of this week between holidays:

The most subversive thing is silence. In this odd interregnum, in the days caught between Christmas and new year, the world suddenly falls quiet. Unless you are determined to face dubious sales, there is nothing more to buy. Travel, especially if you use public transport, is curtailed. We are forced to look at ourselves, to our own company, and those nearest us.

Source: With Christmas gone and new year approaching, now is the time for silence | Philip Hoare | Opinion | The Guardian

And, another about the value of solitude for parents, reminding me of my thoughts about my room of my own:

Solitude is like punctuation. A paragraph without periods and commas would be exhausting to read. In the same way, conducting relationships without the respite of solitude can lessen the benefits of those relationships. Downtime is important for you and your kids. They benefit from solitude too. Taking care of your own solitude will not only help you restore yourself but also show your kids this positive model of self-nurturance

Source: Solitude is Going Extinct: The Stress of Modern Parenting

Here is a past post about Frau Holle as well, who was one of the topics of our day 22 lesson: Source: Goddess Wheel of the Year: Winter Solstice Ritual | WoodsPriestess

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Guardians of the gate.

Categories: #30daysofyule, blessings, family, holidays, practices, priestess, resources, ritual, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality | 3 Comments

Day 21: Time out of time (#30daysofyule + #30daysofdissertation)


I have trouble expressing how significant it has been for me to claim this “room of my own” in which to work, dream, contemplate, and enjoy solitude. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d converted my kids’ former clubhouse into a tiny goddess temple. I’ve been working on my dissertation project in there and it feels so peaceful and quiet. Like it brings out my own best self. It is hard to separate out from my family to go out to the temple on my own, lots of demands pull at me, but it benefits everyone when I take the time to do so. Yesterday, I spent almost two hours working only on my dissertation–devoting time is the only way to bring this into being and it is amazing how much more “flow” developed with focused energy spent on it. I never even opened a single other computer window as I worked and the single-tasking allowed for big steps! I feel it being born…

Yesterday afternoon, I also started working on our Shining Year workbooks for 2016. These liminal days between years feel perfect for it.

In the photo with the candle above, I see my first augur/omen for a “12 days of Christmas” divination exercise that Joanna shared with our class: Soundings: The Omen Days: The Twelve Days of Christmas. In the knot in the wood next to the candle, I see The Flying Woman (rune of transformation) in the center–a little figure with arms raised. ❤️

On Christmas evening, I used my new camera to take some pictures of the beautiful full moon. We also drummed and danced on the deck.

I’m getting ready for the next Womanrunes Immersion ecourse and I’m looking forward to connecting and centering in the energy of the new year. This 41 day ecourse explores each one of the runes in depth, allowing you time to practice with and learn from that rune in your own life. The course includes journal and photo prompts, journal pages, full and new moon ritual outlines, and a private facebook for interaction, support, and shared learning.

You can register for the course here: Womanrunes Immersion – Brigid’s Grove

 

Categories: #30daysofyule, 30daysofdissertation, divination, holidays, introversion, moon wisdom, nature, practices, sacred pause, seasons, writing | Leave a comment

Day 17: Holy darkness (#30daysofyule)

 

 I’ve been feeling rushed for several days so late yesterday afternoon I went and sat on the back porch with my two youngest kids and my drum. We admired the nearly full moon and my daughter said, “let’s make up a new goddess song.” So, we sang and drummed:

I see the goddess in the moon

I feel the goddess in the earth

I taste the goddess in the wind

I hear the goddess in my heart

I touch the goddess in your hand. 

We drew oracle cards and inked them on our wrists. Then, she went in and I took the baby down to the woods where we sang and drummed as the sun went down and darkness fell. We sang:

Moon wise woman*

Moon wise baby

We are moon wise

We are moon wise.

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

 

(*”Moon wise” from a new program being launched by a long distance priestess friend and for which I will be guest teaching in the spring.)

Categories: #30daysofyule, chants, drums, family, moon wisdom, nature, night, parenting, priestess, ritual, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

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