woodspriestess

Spring is here!

Tiny flowers know April 2014 072
that hope blooms eternal
pushing the way
through cracked stone
reclaiming
repopulating
rebirthing the Earth

via Woodspriestess: Tiny Flowers | WoodsPriestess.

It is my favorite time of year again! The bright new promise of springtime, the pretty weather, the sense of discovery as new flowers start to bloom. This evening I headed down to the woods and saw that my baby’s memorial magnolia tree is just about to bloom! That always makes me so happy!

April 2014 058

I made my way down to the priestess rocks and admired the lovely rue anemone: April 2014 061I heard buzzing and looked up to see the wild plum blooming high above me and attracting bees and butterflies:

April 2014 064My favorites, the wild violets, are blooming now too (over by the woodpile):

April 2014 069
Grape hyacinths from a friend surprised me earlier in the week:

April 2014 075
And my grandma’s memorial hydrangea is coming back too!

April 2014 074Today my new Red Tent on the Go arrived via ebay! I’m planning to use it to vend in at the Gaea Goddess Gathering (“it is like a sacred temple of Brigid!” my ten-year-old said), but maybe for some other things too. I love it!

Last weekend I finished transcribing the 40th and final Womanrunes interpretation (which included having to do two new recordings for the stones I’d overlooked and never done!). It is a lot of work! I’m so excited about what I’m doing though. I submitted my workshop proposal to the GGG as well and plan to have my little book finished by then.

I warned my friends that The Pap Smear Diaries was coming and I did it! My most recent post at Feminism and Religion is Pap Smears I Have Known:

One afternoon at the skating rink for homeschool playgroup, a few of my friends sit in a hard plastic booth and the conversation turns to pap smears and pelvic exams. Later, I read Michele Freyhauf’s post about her hysterectomy experience and the skating rink pap smear stories come back to me with vivid clarity. Being a woman is such an embodied experience and we have so many stories to tell through and of our bodies. During my conversation with my friends, I warn them: watch for my new show–Pap Smears I Have Known. At the time, several other friends are preparing for a local production of the Vagina Monologues and I have a vision: The Pap Smear Diaries. But, really, how often do we have a chance to tell our Pap smear stories, our pelvic exam stories? Where are they in our culture and do they matter?

via Pap Smears I Have Known by Molly

This week, I finished my first assignment for my Women Engaged in Sacred Writing class at Ocean Seminary College (how lucky am I to get to take classes like this?!) and my theme was (surprise!): story power!

“Human connections are deeply nurtured in the field of shared story.” –Jean Houston

I’ve gotten several questions about OSC lately and I hope to do a blog post about it soon. My short tip is that you do have to be extremely self-motivated to be a student there. There is not a lot of feedback and can be long delays in communication. So, lots of self-discipline, self-motivation, and self-starting is very key to actually making progress! Alas, I must heed my own advice when it comes to my thesis project. I’m just not doing it! I have a long file on my computer (300+ pages), but every time I open it, it feels overwhelming or like the wrong time and I end up going away without making any significant changes.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to a workshop and then to our spring women’s retreat. This is what planning a ritual looks like for me: it starts with a general idea and some books and turns into a little scribbled outline with arrows and question marks and then eventually moves into my laptop where it becomes a four page ritual recipe!

April 2014 001I’ve been feeling a little down today about how “little” I’ve gotten accomplished today, but looking over this post makes me feel pretty satisfied. :)

 

Categories: nature, OSC, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Woodspriestess: Shadows

Shadows   April 2014 132
shadows of time
mystery and space
shadows of home
shadows of place
shadows from life
stretching past death
shadows of hope
crossing the rest.

Lives past
Lives future
Unlived lives
Dream lives
Each casts its shadow
on the rest
making patterns on the ground
patterns on rock
arms of branches silhouetted April 2014 030
against the sky
new leaves
shadowing across a carpet of those gone before.

We all cast shadows
and create cool places
in which others may sit.

 

April 2014 018

Categories: death, nature, poems, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Womanrunes: The Sun and Moon

Womanrunes: The Sun and Moon. Rune of Laughter. Joy. Ease. Oil. Poise. Hilarity. Belly Laughter. Pure Fun. Healing Laughter. Baubo’s Rune.March 2014 006

When you draw this stone, take a minute to put down anything else you are carrying, doing, or thinking about. Let your shoulders relax and release. Let the breath move easy down into your belly. Then smile. Smile from your roots up through your branches. Feel joy suffuse you, filling you, bathing you, and laugh. Laugh from your belly. Laugh from your heart. Laugh with the wild abandon of freedom and release.

This is a stone of letting go. This is a stone of release and freedom. This is a stone of trusting oneself and what makes you smile. Are you afraid to laugh? Are you scared to let go? Do you fear the loss of control that comes with hilarity? It is time to shake that off. Don’t be afraid. Laugh, sister, laugh. It is time to have some fun!

Know that you are as free as you allow yourself to be.

This month I’ve been steadily working on the final handful of Womanrunes that I had left to interpret. I’m actually working on a little book to hopefully unveil during a workshop I plan to offer at the Gaea Goddess Gathering in September. The remaining 18 interpretations that I wrote over the last two months are probably going to be saved for first publication in that booklet! However, this one was the very last stone remaining in the bag and it felt significant for a couple of reasons. One, because it was actually the stone I drew to place on our New Year altar when my husband and I started our biz and life planning work with Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Year Workbook. When I drew it then, I knew it was a message that I needed to have more fun this year. Two, when I drew it this second time in order to do the interpretation for my book, I found myself experiencing a huge amount of reluctance and resistance about actually doing the interpretation. I drew it an entire day before I actually took it down to the woods with me. I found myself making excuses about not going and worrying about somehow not being able to “do” this one. And then I heard: Are you afraid to laugh? Am I…?

The first post in my Womanrunes series is available here and all others here. The runes and the names of them come from Shekhinah Mountainwater’s Womanrunes system for which there are no written interpretations available other than the name and one word meanings. I’ve been engaging in a year-long practice of drawing one and then going down to the woods with it to see what it “tells” me–basically, creating what I wish I had, which is a more developed interpretation of the meaning of each womanrunestone.
Categories: divination, Womanrunes, woodspriestess, writing | 5 Comments

Birth Spiral Chakra Blessing

Birth spiralFebruary 2014 015.
Energy
feel it spin throughout your body.
Beginning in your core,
unfolding, unfolding, spiraling upward into a peak
and release
Every part of you opening
making space
making room
for this new little one.
Calling the child forth into your waiting arms
your waiting family
your waiting heart.
Enlivened
alive
fully engaged and embodied
in the current of labor.
It builds
it pulses
it rolls
it rocks
it peaks
it crests.
These waves of power.
They are you.
You are doing it.
You ARE it.
This is energy, this power, this unfolding might of creation.
It’s you.
Your body
your power
your birth
your baby.

February 2014 003

Let the sparkles of these chakra colors remind you to bring your whole self to your labor. To walk the spiral path, to dive in, to embrace, to unfold, and to become: Mother.

Root (red):

Where baby came into being and now will be welcomed. Source of creation. Gateway for baby and life.

Sacrum (orange):

Where baby has sheltered within a cradle of bone. Pelvic bowl that rocks the child. Make way. February 2014 007

Solar Plexus (yellow):

Where you take deep breaths, carried on the waves, following your rhythm.

Heart (green):

Where your love bursts forth and you discover what it is like to be endless.

Throat (blue):

Where you roar your birth song. Welcome your baby with your voice, your cry of greeting. Your cry of triumph. Your cry of fulfillment.

 Brow (indigo):

Where you let your mind go, where you release, and give, and surrender to the creative, nameless, raw pulsing energy of birth.

Crown (violet):

Where you draw in the wisdom of the ancestors. The power of the Divine Feminine. The ocean of mother love that has gone before you and that surrounds you even now as you work.

Draw it in, draw it up, draw it down. And know, without a doubt, that you can do it. You can walk this path. You can rise to the occasion. You can respond with strength to whatever is asked of you. All the surprises, all the mystery, all the twists and turns and unexpected places. You carry the wisdom within you to let it flow.

February 2014 012

Crossposted at Talk Birth.

Categories: art, blessings, prayers, readings, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

Yoga Woman

Yoga Woman Pewter Tree Pose Yoga Goddess  Pendant (custom sculpture, hand cast)
she’s stretching out
opening her arms to the sun
swooping forward
gathering the moon in her arms
stretching from side to side.

Yoked to divinity
with her steady breath
Yoked to infinity
through the supple movements of her body.

In tree pose, she finds her balance
despite asymmetry
flexible, yielding
strong, and steady
one-legged and whole.

She is centered
she is ever-changing
she throws back her head
and laughs with the Goddess

Expansive core
strong legs
squared shoulders
she carries an ancient body wisdom
linking her to that which has come before
that which will come after
and to the steady pulse of
All That Is.

Yoga woman
Full body cellular activation
Occurring through each cosmic respiration.

 

Categories: art, blessings, poems, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

Womanrunes: The Yoni

Womanrunes: The Yoni. Rune of Making. Creativity, Fertility, Wealth, Pleasure, and Birth. December 2013 012

This is a stone of creation. The womb of all possibility and all changes. The cauldron of life. Doorway, initiation, birth, and re-birth. Receptive, open, embracing. Fertile in her power and her purpose. What waits within to be given birth and what wants to enter to incubate? What nestles in fertile ground?

This is a hopeful stone, a joyful stone. One that reminds us to dance in the moonlight, to enjoy being naked, to delight in our bodies, and to celebrate the bodies, capacities and creations of others. This is stone of form. Of being formed. Of forming. This is a rune of fertile possibility.

Put your hand on your belly. What is waiting there in your pelvic bowl? What is waiting in quiet wombspace? What is hidden away, but growing bigger and bigger and waiting to be born? What do you need and what needs you? Take it to the body, bring it down into your pelvis. Sweep around the curve of the bowl and listen. What does she want to tell you?

There is a time to nurture and a time to be nurtured. A time to make, create. A time to receive and wait. Take pleasure in being alive at this moment. Take pleasure in the works of your hands and the sweetness of kisses upon your lips. Enjoy, stroke, touch, feel, engage. Honor feeling. Scoop it all up. Run wild with life, breathe deep, and smile.

When this stone is drawn, something is building to a climax, and ecstasy awaits.

January 2014 063Yoni is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as meaning: origin, source, womb, female genitals. It’s root is “to unite.” The companion word for males is lingam. “The yoni is the crucible where things are combined (male and female, mother and fetus), where creation and re-creation takes place. Where the unseen (not perceptible to the senses) world takes material form. (Did You Know :: Matrika)

In our house, we’ve used the word “yoni” for a long time. I find it much more descriptive and appropriate than the often-incorrectly used “vagina” and the often-awkward-sounding “vulva.” I actually drew this stone and wrote the description in December, but then didn’t get around to posting it. However, in just a few minutes, I’m leaving  to go see the local production of The Vagina Monologues in town, so I knew that the time for The Yoni stone has finally arrived!

The first post in my Womanrunes series is available here and all others here. The runes and the names of them come from Shekhinah Mountainwater’s Womanrunes system for which there are no written interpretations available other than the name and one word meanings. I’m engaging in a semi-daily practice of drawing one and then going down to the woods with it to see what it “tells” me–basically, creating what I wish I had, which is a more developed interpretation of the meaning of each womanrunestone.
Categories: divination, embodiment, Womanrunes, women, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

High Priestess

High Priestess
sovereign of her own domainFebruary 2014 042
her life
her destiny
Competent, confident, and strong
she walks with purpose and potency.

She is gracious and kind
yet she wears her personal boundaries
with a firmness that requires no apology
She stands up for what is right
she laughs from her belly

She is unabashedly herself
She knows who she is.
She takes time to rest
and she weaves her energy with passion
into an infinitely complex
and infinitely simple
tapestry
of love, power, and intention.

She holds her own heart in her hands
with both tenderness and ferocity
courage and vulnerability
She offers herself
all that she is
flawed, magical, radiant, truthful, powerful, creative, and whole.
She gathers up her offerings in a warm embrace
Sharing that which needed
protecting that which is tender.

She spreads her arms
and dives into an uncharted sea
of vibrant wholeness
and unfettered, glorious well-being.

One of my goals this year is to write a new poem/message to go with every one of our creations. I take the item down to the woods with me and hold it in my hand and wait to see what emerges. We recently set this priestess initiation ring pictured above and the poem is the message I got to go with it. :) (I’m also still working on finishing a message for each of the Womanrunes. I’ve stalled out on them recently and hope I can pick back up the thread.)

High Priestess.
It is time to introduce yourself
to take her hand
and to swim with her
in an ocean of infinite possibility
and magnificent tapestry of being…

This week on Brigid’s Grove we’re offering one of our Embrace Possibility pendants as a giveaway. Just go to the giveaway page and enter there! :)

February 2014 027

Categories: art, poems, priestess, sculpture, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

Triskele

IMG_0556

Triple spiral. Ancient symbol of the Goddess. Symbol of trinities of all kinds. Unity of body, mind, and spirit. Blessings of earth, air, and sea. Presence of tree, stone, and river. Guardians of ancient places and sacred spaces.

Intersecting paths of destiny, purpose, and intention, twining together in a way that may feel mysterious or unknown and yet unfolds in perfect synchrony, exquisite harmony, and profound, patterned grace.

Triskele, you carry with you an ancient message, encoded in the gene patterns of our souls, and grounded in the passing of generations of wise men and women. Shaman’s song, druid’s call, poet’s voice. You speak to some part of us that lights up in response to your message, to this symbol, that which has been engraved on stone, wood, metal, and on hearts. Still teaching, still healing, still guiding, still guarding.

Wisdom from within, from the earth, and from the ancestors…

January 2014 013These new triskele pendants are some of the designs we released for the launch of Brigid’s Grove, my collaborative project with my husband. We’re hosting giveaways on our website throughout the month of February to correspond with our launch and one of each of these pendants will be offered as a giveaway over the course of the month! We’ve also got an etsy discount code, a free digital Ritual Recipe Kit, and more to check out on the Brigid’s Grove website and Facebook page. The Ritual Kit will continue to be available for free for approximately the next 60 days, after which time we are planning another cool freebie to offer to our newsletter subscribers :)

book

January 2014 046

Categories: art, nature, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Tags: | Leave a comment

Embrace Possibility

Usually when I create a new design for a pendant or figurine, I know who I’m making when I begin. A few days ago, I created a new design who emerged as January 2014 002a mystery. When she was finished, I loved her. But, I didn’t know her name or what she represents. I asked on my facebook page for input and I got some suggestions…

Druid priestess. Seraphine. High Priestess. Tri-Goddess. Mother. Celtic goddess.

I took her to the woods and held her in my hand and spoke in a little sing-song of emergence…

She who unites body, mind and spirit. She who calls upon earth, sky, and river.  She who speaks to oaks and mountains. She who sings with the ocean.  She who opens arms to the sky and feels raindrops bless her brow. She who circles in the moonlight. She  who gathers with her sisters. She who hears the drumbeat of the earth. She who tunes her heartbeat to this call.  She who steps in time with the wind.

Of this earth, for this earth, on this earth.

She holds the vision. She holds the space. She holds an ancient wisdom.

Encoded in her cells, written on her bones…

The mantle settles around her shoulders.
Sinking into belly, bones, and blood,
until she knows,
without a doubt,
that this is who,
she really is. IMG_0522

The next afternoon, a friend who has one of these pendants sent me a message suggesting a title: Embrace Possibility. I thought about what I’d written in the woods. I thought about how different women saw different names for her and I knew that THIS was it. Embrace Possibility. What message does she hold for you?

This new pendant is one of the designs released for the launch of Brigid’s Grove, my collaborative project with my husband. We’re hosting giveaways on our website throughout the month of February to correspond with our launch and one of these pendants will be offered as a giveaway! We’ve also got an etsy discount code, a free digital Ritual Recipe Kit, and more to check out on the Brigid’s Grove website and Facebook page.

book

Categories: art, blessings, family, friends, priestess, sculpture, spirituality, theapoetics, womanspirit, women's circle, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Invocation to the forces of nature

East, power of air, we welcome you. First breath of the morning. Sweet breath of the baby. Deep breath of the soul. Welcome to our circle. January 2014 103Sweet breeze. Brave wind. Swirling. Stirring. Sweeping away and through. Breathing with us. Welcome air, welcome east.

South, power of fire, we welcome you. Fire of the sun. Fire of the heart. Fire of the spirit. Fire of connection and love. Welcome to our circle. Heat of transformation. Forging strength. Crucible of change. Burning in our hearts. Welcome fire, welcome south.

West, power of water, we welcome you. Sweet life’s ocean. Waves of change. Crests of power. Flowing. Growing. Changing. Healing. Welcome to our circle. Rivers. Oceans. Streams and lakes. Cool, comfort, soothing space. Blood flowing within us. Welcome water, welcome west.

North, power of earth, we welcome you. Solidness of body. Strength of bone. Height of mountains. Reach of trees. Heartbeat of Gaia. Welcome to our circle. Strengthening us. Holding our bodies. Stability. Rooted around and within us. We are people of the earth. Welcome, earth, welcome north.

I’m in the final phases of creating the Ritual Recipe Kit that we are going to be giving away with the official launch of Brigid’s Grove on February 1st (sign up for our newsletter and you’ll get the kit too!). As I’ve contacted authors to ask for permission to use several different pieces in the book, I had the sudden realization that almost everything I was asking permission to use was an invocation. The kit contains rituals for maiden, mother, and crone as well as some bonus rituals. For each ritual, I’d used an invocation written by someone else. My husband said, “instead of trying to get permission to use these, why don’t you just write one?” I thought about all the things I’ve written over the past year and while some are invocations of sorts (like my body prayer and this body blessing), I’ve never actually written a “traditional” invocation. I also thought about all the rituals I’ve done and all the coursework I’ve completed and realized I’ve never used an invocation of my own during any ritual or class. Ever. My first thought was, “no. I can’t do it, we’ll just wait to hear back about the permission.” Then…I thought…maybe I can do it?! Yesterday was a beautiful day and so I took my big old drum and headed to the woods. And, surprise! I had an invocation in me after all.  At first, it ended up being a little song again—weird because of my notable non-skills in singing—and I sang it out and then came back in to type it up like I do all of my poems. After looking at it for a while, I re-formed it out of the poetry and into the format you now see above. It isn’t perfect, but hey, it is my first time! :)

Categories: invocations, liturgy, prayers, priestess, readings, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess, writing | Leave a comment

Birth mama, birth goddess

Earlier this month, I finished a new sculpt for a medium-sized version of our classic birth goddess pendant and my husband cast and finished some of them this week. On Tuesday, I woke up with a phrase from a past piece of poetry floating through my mind over and over:

Soft belly January 2014 088
no longer bearing children
I am pregnant with myself
ripe with potential,
possibility, power
I incubate my dreams
and give birth to my vision…

I also thought about what I hope to communicate to others through my sculptures and when I took the new pendant down to the woods with me, a little song emerged to go with her:

Birth mama
birth goddess

reaching out
to join the circle of mothers

feeling her way
finding her place
in the web of women

Birth mama January 2014 050
birth goddess

hold strong
hold steady

make way for baby
make way for baby

Body opens
heart opens
hands open to receive

Birth mama
birth goddess

she’s finding her way
she’s finding her way…

Categories: art, birth, blessings, poems, sculpture, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Celebration of a Maiden

Hope before her

love behind herJanuary 2014 102

empowerment around her

she is strong

she knows her own power

she is blessed.

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet on this blog lately. There are a couple of reasons for my quietness. One, is that I’ve found that after the conclusion of my year in the woods, I need to re-evaluate my relationship to this blog—what is its purpose now? How much time do I spend on it? How much time to I spend on other projects? (several of which this blog directly contributed to birthing!) How do I focus the energy of my life? I also need to really DO what I’ve said I’m going to do: use my writing energy to focus on completing my thesis project, meaning thesis is first, rather than what I do with leftover time (and blog moves to the “leftover” time slot). And, finally, my reduced writing in this virtual space is because my husband and I have been very hard at work on our new, shared project: Brigid’s Grove! This site will be an “umbrella” to embrace all of our projects, particularly our shared endeavor of pewter-casting and jewelry-making. Brigid’s Grove will officially launch on February first and we’re working on some launch products for our etsy shop as well as a special site launch discount code AND a fun and useful freebie, which will be a collection of my ritual “recipes” (outlines for ceremonies, not food recipes!). You can sign up for our newsletter now and you will then get the ritual kit on our launch day. As I work on preparing this ritual kit, I remembered something that has been languishing in my drafts folder since the springtime when we held a maiden ceremony for a friend’s daughter during one of our women’s circle gatherings. I made her a braided cord of initiation and shared a photo and brief description of it in this past post. It was an initiation cord in four colors for the Maiden to step over as a symbolic threshold into womanhood. May 2013 008

On that spring day, I took the cord to the woods with me and this is what I said:

Celebration of a Young Maiden

With the earth, trees, wind, and sky as my witnesses, I bless this cord of initiation for her. May it remind her of how she is interwoven with her ancestors, her own unique gifts, with the blood of her mothers, with the spirits of the women who surround her. She is so blessed. May she draw up great strength from the earth. May she engage in deep relationship with the world around her, including the animals and the plants, other women, men. May she know that she is loved. May she know that she is needed and may she know that her voice counts. May her eyes be blessed with clear vision, may her mind be blessed with clear thought. May her heart be open, may her hands be open, may her creative center be abundant, and may her legs carry her strongly on her own true path.

Let this cord remind her that she is so blessed, let it remind her that she is so loved, let it remind her that she is connected. Blessings of natural places and wild spaces, blessings of women and small girls, blessings of real life…

Categories: blessings, community, friends, liturgy, nature, prayers, priestess, readings, retreat, ritual, spirituality, womanspirit, women, women's circle, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

Offering…

Breathing in, singing out
Birth of new we bring about
Singing out, breathing in
Live the dream, let change begin.

–Jane Meredith

I’ve been reading one of my new books, Rituals of Celebration by Jane Meredith. It is really, really good. I have a lot of books about ritual planning and there is something beautifully, qualitatively different about this one. I think it is the stories with which she opens each section of the book (which is organized around a seasonal wheel of the year type of pagan calendar). She includes these beautifully evocative, very sensory and complete descriptions of rituals and their impact on participants/priestesses. I’ve felt tears come to my eyes multiple times as I read and for things I wouldn’t necessarily have expected—like the description of her son at thirteen challenging another man for the role of the God in their Beltane ritual. Her writing really touches something deep and brings her group’s rituals to life vibrantly. As I read the book, especially in combination with planning a ritual for our winter women’s retreat this weekend, I’ve noticed some insecurity come up (again!) about my own skills as a ritualist because I do not offer the type of elaborate pageant/performance type rituals that the author of this book offers. However, as I’ve been working on my Amazing Year workbook, I’ve also been thinking about a little sculpture that I bought to resell/give as a gift. She’s titled “Offering,” though to me she looks like she is about both receiving and giving. This afternoon, I decided that maybe she wants to stay with me for a while on my Amazing Year altar space-intention space and I’ve been thinking: what am I offering? I posted my thoughts to my Priestess Path group and asked, how about you? What are you offering right now?

20140107-181150.jpg

We have a lot of snow here and the temperatures have been below zero. Since my official year of my woodspriestess experiment is over, even though I have no plans to stop going to the woods, I’ve given myself permission not to go right now in the freezing, freezing cold and deep snow. However, with two days of not going, I’m recognizing what feels like a literal sense of being ungrounded. I’m also noticing I have a sense of confusion about what to do with this blog now that I’ve finished my year in the woods. I started the blog before I started my experiment, but then it’s identity (and my own) became very deeply entwined with my time in the woods and the “woodspriestess” that they named me…

Categories: blessings, chants, priestess, ritual, sculpture, women's circle, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Happy New Year!

drummersOn New Year’s Eve even though I had a horrendous migraine and family due to come over for a party,  I took some time in the early afternoon to go down to the woods for a review of the past year of my Woodspriestess experiment. It felt really important to me to spend some good time looking over the past year and what I’ve learned in and from the woods. I ended up recording 15 minutes worth of reflections and I’ll come back to them later—I think they will come in handy for the conclusion of my thesis/book project. (One of my reflections was that this year was a complete thesis project and it just needs to be shaped and refined into an integrated document now.) After recording, I decided to try out an exercise I’d read about the night before in In the Shadow of the Shaman. It was essentially about going to a special spot in nature and walking no more than 12 paces in each of the four directions. At the twelfth step, or when felt called to stop, you are supposed to look down and find a gift. This felt like a very fitting ritual to conclude my year in the woods and so I did it. And, at the twelfth step in each direction, I did, in fact, find something waiting for me. To the East I found a piece of a hornet’s nest (I also see this as a helpful reminder from the woods to take a much closer look at the hollow tree nearby, because I think I was being told that it is harboring something stingy!). To the South I found two acorns joined at the caps. To the West I found a mossy piece of fallen branch. To the North, I found a small square rock. I laid them out on the stone to look at as a whole…January 2014 008And I picked up a message that felt like the closing thoughts for me from the land itself in terms of this year-long project. The message was this:

things change and decay and pass away (the branch), new things grow (the acorns), sometimes the world is sharp and stings you and it hurts (the hornet’s nest), but it is possible to discern clear edges and find a solid core (the rock)

This afternoon my husband and I worked on the New Year Intention candles that we’d started as part of the simple New Year’s Eve ritual we did with our family last night. These were my idea to be a combination of a vision board and an altar candle, with each lighting of the candle throughout the year serving as a reaffirmation of our intentions for 2014. I had a wonderful time creating mine and it felt like just the right project. We then lit the candles and spent some time on the Biz section of the Amazing Year workbook and it had a really incredible time of synchronicity and clarity about the direction in which we will be going in the year ahead.

 January 2014 040Happy New Year!

Categories: art, blessings, family, holidays, prayers, resources, ritual, spirituality, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Priestess Year in Review (2013)

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“Women united in close circles can awaken the wisdom in each other’s hearts.” ~The 13 Indigenous Grandmothers (via The Girl God)

When I became ordained as a priestess with Global Goddess in July of 2012, one of the commitments I made as part of 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. It was helpful to me personally to see everything grouped together in one post and see that I’m truly doing this work. I enjoying sharing my post with the rest of the GG community in hopes of encouraging others to keep a record of their own. To continue this commitment, I also kept a list during 2013 and here it is!

January: facilitated winter women’s retreat and first session of the Rise Up curriculum. Simple family full moon ritual.

February: One Billion Rising event hostess/speaker, second Rise Up class, family full moon ritual, personal week-long retreat with private creativity ritual.

March: Spirit in Practice presentation at UU church. Ovary ritual for pregnant friend. Third Rise Up class.

May: Spring women’s retreat/healing ceremony/maiden ceremony. Family memorial ceremony for my grandma on Mother’s Day.

June: Officiant at my grandma’s committal service and one speaker at her celebration luncheon (this was actually at the close of May, but for some reason it was on my June list). Miscarriage presentation and Moontime presentation at LLL conference (June 15th). Rise Up class times two on June 28.

July: summer retreat (7/12). Mini new baby ritual by river (7/18/13). Family full moon simple ritual (7/22/13)

August: spontaneous family full moon ritual (kid directed. 8/18), poem reading at Day of Hope ceremony. (8/19), Sixth Rise Up class (8/30). Ordained by American Priestess Council.

September: Gaea Goddess Gathering. Walked as one of the Mothers in main ritual. Volunteer as temple priestess. Booth in marketplace (9/21).

October: candlelight vigil for pregnancy loss (10/12), family harvest full moon ritual (10/16), officiant at wedding (10/27)

November: fall retreat (double ritual. 11/9), full moon family ritual, 11/17)

December: mini-date-night full moon ritual, family winter solstice ritual (12/21). Mini-New-Year-Greeting ritual planned for evening of 12/31.

Throughout the year I kept my commitment to contribute something for each of the eight issues of The Oracle (publication of Global Goddess). I also wrote one post a 20131201-232125.jpgmonth for my SageWoman blog as well as one post every other month for the Feminism and Religion project. And, I wrote 39 posts for Pagan Families on my own somewhat haphazard schedule. This was in addition to the 188 posts published on this blog. (And, not theme-of-this-post related, but writing-related, I also wrote 160 posts on my birth blog!) I finished five classes at Ocean Seminary College and am extremely close to completing two more. I decided to finish my M.Div degree and completed my thesis prospectus twice as I settled on my topic. I also refined my dissertation topic for my D.Min degree. I created a priestess work study group on Facebook. And, I created art whenever I got the chance!

My Woodspriestess experiment was a deep personal success for me that created a lot of change, opportunity, reflection, and healing. I didn’t keep an exact count of the days I was “off” because of travel, but I estimate that I visited the woods on 334 days, as I’d committed to do on a daily basis during 2013.

As I read this over, some things are coming up for me—-does this look “smug” and self-congratulatory in some way? Am I too focused on numbers and hours and quantifying something instead of presence? Too much do-ing and not enough be-ing? Cue minimal cognitive dissonance and do-I-post-it-like-this-or-not conundrum…but, the intention with which my list was created was simply as an accountability thing—both in terms of the vows I made to my community as well as to myself. And, so that I can see, collected in one place, what I’ve offered as a priestess this year. I am also reminded of some things I originally planned to do and then didn’t and I also note the obliteration of April on my “service” list (that was the month my grandma was sick). However, this post isn’t about what I didn’t get done, it is accounting of what I did actually offer.

Last year I included a list of plans for the coming year. Part of me would like to just remain open to what comes in 2014, but I do have a couple of relevant goals (many of which are similar to last year’s):

  • Finish thesis project
  • Finish 5-6 more classes at OSC and make good progress on dissertation project
  • Finish Rise Up class curriculum and perhaps do some other classes/workshops
  • Continue to plan and priestess quarterly women’s retreats
  • Family full moon ritual each month
  • Host public Red Tent event
  • Present about Womanrunes at next GGG (also create little booklet)
  • Go to Goddess Weekend in St. Louis
  • Booth with goddess jewelry and pewter figurines at least three events
  • Embark on new Mamapriestess daily experiment (more about this later)
  • Listen to myself, check in with my heart, and rest when I need to.

Happy New Year!

December 2013 015

Categories: community, friends, OSC, priestess, ritual, spirituality, womanspirit, women's circle, woodspriestess, writing | 3 Comments

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