Day 16: Story-ing Up for Winter (#30DaysofHarvest)

I’m playing fast and loose with the 30 Days of Harvest prompt for today, which is really: storing up for winter.* However, I wrote a post today about story and I though, why not, “storying up for winter” instead! One of the things that was really special about GGG this year was having women visit my booth, pick up our goddesses and ask, “what is her story?” Once I told the story for one, they would start asking, “how about this one, what’s the story for it?” And, I even had a woman stop by and say, “I remember you had stories for these last year, can I hear them?”

IMG_7758Yesterday, I went searching for a quote for one of my Red Tent Initiation students. She had shared some powerful reflections about the vulnerability required to reveal our personal stories—there is a lot of risk, sometimes shame, and more, bound up in our ability to uncover ourselves and speak our truth. What I wanted to communicate with her was the idea that in sharing our stories, including the painful pieces, we free other women to do the same. Our courage to be vulnerable, to be naked, to be flawed, to experiment with ideas, concepts, or ways of people gives permission for other women to do the same. I went to a workshop at Gaea Goddess Gathering in 2012 that was about dancing and the facilitator said that when facilitating ritual, you have to be willing to look a little ridiculous yourself, have to be willing to risk going a little “over the top” yourself, because in so doing you liberate the other participants—“if she can take that risk and look a little goofy doing so, maybe it is okay for me to do it too.”

After a lot of digging through old posts on my blog, I found the quote! It is from one of my favorite authors, Carol Christ, who said:

“When one woman puts her experiences into words, another woman who has kept silent, afraid of what others will think, can find validation. And when the second woman says aloud, ‘yes, that was my experience too,’ the first woman loses some of her fear.”

This is part of what makes Red Tent Circles so powerful! It is also part of what makes the Red Tent course itself powerful—when the women in the course are willing to dig into the journal questions, assignments, and processes, to turn them over, to explore how they work in their own lives…they lose some of the fear and they encourage others to lose their fear too.

As I was mining my blog for quotes about the power of story, I came across my older post: I am a Story Woman. In this post, I describe how I was preparing a ritual for New Year’s Eve and planning to include the chant: I am a strong woman, I am a story woman. My husband raised a question about it…

 “I’m not sure about this,” he said, “what is a story woman anyway?” I wasn’t able to give him a solid answer at that moment, but guess what, I am one.

In fact, didn’t I just write earlier this week that story holds the key to the reclamation of power for women? How and why does this work?

Because of these two things:

“The one who tells the stories rules the world.”

–Hopi Indian Proverb

“We feel nameless and empty when we forget our stories, leave our heroes unsung, and ignore the rites of our passage from one stage of life to another.”

–Sam Keen and Anne Valley-Fox

We need to hear women’s stories. We need to hear each other into speech. We need to witness and be witnessed. We need to be heard…

Source: I am a Story Woman | Talk Birth

Over the summer, I was interviewed by Lucy Pearce for her Be Your Publisher Author Interview series. My interview came out today. Since months have passed since we talked, the details of our conversation have dimmed in my memory. (I’m also noticing that I need to get over my own fear and vulnerability that listening to me talk can somehow be perceived as a “bonus” to anyone!) So, imagine the delight I felt when I saw some of the words she chose to describe our interview conversation:

  • Learn to mine your blog
  • The importance of sharing our stories as we navigate the challenging parts of life.
  • Turning a blog into a book and very wise advice … Don’t die with your music still in you.

Just yesterday, I was mining my own blog as well as musing on the importance and power of sharing our stories.

I am a story woman.

The other quote she mentions, don’t die with your music still in you, has been a guiding philosophy in my life and work for at least twelve years. It comes from the work of Wayne Dyer, who passed away last month. I used this quote to describe my relationship to writing, identity, and wholeness as a person, in a vulnerable post about the power of story in my life in early motherhood:

…I’ve finally realized that maybe it was literally my words dying in me that gave me that feeling and that fretfulness. They needed to get out. I’ve spent a lifetime writing various essays in my head, nearly every day, but those words always “died” in me before they ever got out onto paper. After spending a full three years letting other women’s voices reach me through books and essays, and then six more years birthing the mother-writer within, I continue to feel an almost physical sense of relief and release whenever I sit down to write and to let my own voice be heard.

Source: Birthing the Mother-Writer (or: Playing My Music, or: Postpartum Feelings, Part 1) | Talk Birth

Just this year, we’ve ordered printings of our Womanrunes books four times, published our Red Tent Resource Kit manual then added twenty pages to the second printing and re-released it, and published my new Earthprayer, Birthprayer poetry book. I’m working on my dissertation: 275 pages of past writing (much mined from older blog posts) and 145 pages of data collected from others, as well as a companion book project. I am getting ready to publish a miscarriage support group manual that I wrote for The Amethyst Network a few years ago and I have big plans to significantly expand my Ritual Recipe Kit ebook into a much longer, print, resource manual in 2016.

I am a story woman.


*Actually, I see now it was really “STOCKING up for winter,” but too late, I’m going with it! Really fast and loose with this prompt! ;)

Sign up for the Brigid’s Grove Newsletter for resources, monthly freebies, + art and workshop announcements.

Cross posted at Talk Birth and Brigid’s Grove.

Categories: spirituality, women's circle, women, quotes, art, writing, priestess, woodspriestess, GGG, sacred pause, red tent, practices, programs, #30DaysofHarvest | Leave a comment

Day 15: Savoring autumn fruits (#30daysofharvest)

Nine fruits and nine flavors to preserve my soul

in peace this day.

— Caitlín Matthews

I took today’s prompt metaphorically and went on a walk with my baby to identify nine “flavors” of autumn from my own back yard.

Persimmon for patience
raspberry for reflection,
dogwood for dreams,
rose for enchantment,
aster for starshine,
polk for color,
oak for mystery,
and cucumber for salad.

Okay, so that’s only eight, because the ninth is those cuties in the middle who have been wanting to buy boxes of international snacks online. My husband went to Big Lots today and got them a box of snacks from Germany, Italy, Peru, China, Turkey, England, and the U.S. I think we’re also going to call this a homeschooling win!

For my pictures today, the persimmon is what I went after first, remembering how this time last year I was very pregnant and climbed around in ditches and over fences collecting them in my quest for persimmon cookies. My husband said the other day, “the way to know persimmons are ripe is when they’re all gone.” There is stiff competition from the animals for these little fruits.

Today brought to mind the “nine powers of nine flowers” prompt from 30 Days of May. I can hardly believe it is already fall. I also feel like in September and October I should apparently change my name to “Rosepriestess,” because I cannot stop taking pictures of them!


This is the real color! I don’t do anything to the pictures to get this day-glo look.


Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, family, Flowers, nature, sacred pause, seasons, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

Day 13: Autumn Colors (#30DaysofHarvest)

I boldly take up
the shadows,
wear them
like midnight silk,
honor them
for their part in me

excerpt © Nell Aurelia 2013

via We’Moon Lunar News

My little girl has been craving attention and special time lately. Today, we took some time to make this colorful fall mandala down in the woods.


Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, art, family, nature, parenting, sacred pause, seasons, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 10: Kissing the Earth (#30DaysofHarvest)

“Let the beauty we love

Be what we do

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the Earth.”

— Rumi

Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, GGG, nature, quotes, sacred pause, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Divination Practicum Course Announcement!

September 2015 0099I’m excited to announce my newest online class!

Listening to the Deep Self, a six-week divination practicum for women begins online on October 27.

This course is designed to help you flex your intuitive and oracular muscles. It will help you become confident in drawing upon your own wisdom and what you have to teach and source from this wisdom

In this practicum you will learn:

  • How to work intensively with Womanrunes
  • How to make, cast, and interpret Goddess Runes
  • How to use women’s divination resources as guidance for other women
  • How to use a pendulum for yourself and with others
  • How to create personal oracle cards
  • How to create a caboodle oracle
  • How to lead a Womanrunes divination workshop for other women

You will gain:

  • Practical experience in giving readings for others
  • Confidence in the resources of your own intuition and the womanspirit guidance surrounding you
  • An opportunity to create income for yourself using your gifts, skills, and resources
  • The ability to speak in the language of the runes
  • The ability to reliably and regularly connect to womanspirit wisdom, the Goddess, the Earth, your spiritual guides, and your own deep self

Womanrunes in use in the Red Tent in Pembrokeshire

Your Practicum Kit Includes*:

  • Free shipping!
  • Womanrunes book and cards
  • Womanrunes journal/study book
  • Goddess pendulum
  • Caboodle oracle starter kit
  • Gemstone heart palm stone (we will intuitively choose the stone for you)
  • Amethyst gemstone point
  • Amethyst bracelet
  • Purple cloth upon which to do readings smallMay 2015 057
  • Purple bag to store your resources
  • Certificate of completion in Readings for Womanspirit
  • Complete workshop outline and handouts for you to lead a Womanrunes class with other women at festivals, circles, conferences, or events (plus an opportunity to purchase books wholesale to have available to sell to others!)
  • New moon and full moon rituals
  • Live interaction, support, and feedback via a private Facebook group
  • Optional add-on: goddess pendant or inner wisdom goddess sculpture

(*contents subject to slight changes depending on availability)

Early bird registration pricing ends September 25th! Register via our Brigid’s Grove website.

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Categories: classes, embodiment, practices, resources, Womanrunes, womanspirit, women, women's circle, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 5: Communal Creativity (#30DaysofHarvest)

“…When we work together cooperatively, the final product is one of synergy — it is more than each of its separate parts. The pleasure we take in each other’s company finds its way into the medicine we create.”

— Joanna Powell Colbert, The Gaian Tarot

Today was the final day of Gaea Goddess Gathering and my sister-in-law took this picture of me by the lake. It was a re-creation of a similar picture she took two years ago that now graces the back cover of my new Earthprayer, Birthprayer book (published just last week and still waiting for me to write some launch posts about it!) 

I’m feeling relieved to be home now from Kansas after five days away. Gaea Goddess Gathering was a multifaceted experience as always. Vending was so rewarding with lots of lovely connections woven and stories shared. Many other elements felt like something we survived! It is quite physically taxing to be there–not enough food, water, or sleep, too much climbing up seventy steps up a steep hillside while breastfeeding + babywearing! And, this year there were weather extremes–first, 90+ degrees, follows by rain and wind, then cool. I couldn’t have done it without my mom’s help with my daughter and with the help of my SIL and my mom with set up/take down of the booth. 


Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, community, family, GGG, nature, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Ritual Recipe: Fall Equinox Gratitude Ceremony


  • Items from nature for a collaborative nature mandala: leaves, stones, acorns, seeds, twigs, feathers, and other items from nature (mindfully collected and ideally found on ground). If a group ritual, ask each person to bring a quantity of something to add to the mandala. If it is a family ritual, go out together before moonrise to collect your items. Note: Depending on size, composition, energy, and patience of the group, you may wish to create the mandala together first before beginning the rest of the ritual and then gather around it for the rest of the ritual itself.
  • Paper leaves (can be simply cut out ovals using scrap paper) or dry, fallen leaves + markers to write on them.
  • Optional: drums, rattles, or bells
  • Optional: a candles for each participant (place around outer edge of nature mandala)

Before the ritual: ask each person to respond to the prompt: “my bounty is” and collate the responses into a collaborative bounty poem. If you are working alone, respond to this prompt on your own and form a poem for yourself (example poem)

1. Body Invocation (inspired by one in Gathering for Goddess by Melusine Mihaltses):

  • South:
    I welcome Fire with my body. (We welcome Fire with our bodies [group repeats])
    Rub your hands together, feel the heat you generate. Now place your hands upon your chest. Feel the heat upon your heart.
    Fire lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Fire. August 2015 145
    Welcome Fire!
  • West:
    I welcome Water with my body. (We welcome Water with our bodies [group repeats])
    Lick your lips, wet them with your tongue.
    Water lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Water.
    Welcome Water!
  • North:
    I welcome Earth with my body. (We welcome Earth with our bodies [group repeats])
    Give yourself (or the person next to you) a hug or place your hands upon your thighs and then your upper arms. Feel the solidness of your body.
    Earth lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Earth.
    Welcome Earth!
  • East:
    I welcome Air with my own breath. (We welcome Air with our bodies [group repeats])
    Inhale and exhale. Breathe audibly in a deep sigh.
    Air lives within me (us).
    I (we) have invoked the powers of Air
    Welcome Air!

Optional variation: sing or listen to Circle Casting Song as the invocation.

2. All sing (and dance and drum!): August 2015 119

Dance in a Circle of Moonlight
Make a web of my life
Hold me as I spiral and spin
Make a web of my life

(modified from Marie Summerwood’s chant, Dance in a Circle of Women)

3. Mindfully create your beautiful nature mandala—depending on size, composition, energy, and patience of the group, you may wish to create the mandala together first before beginning the rest of the ritual and then gather around it for the rest of the ritual itself.

4. Gratitude and abundance leaves (pre-written on if working with children or for faster-paced ritual). Reflect on theAugust 2015 131 bounty of the year and write down things you are grateful for on leaves (dry, fallen leaves or on paper leaves). Read aloud (size permitting—multiple people can speak at same time) and then scatter the leaves around in the nature mandala.

5. Read your collaborative bounty poem: “my bounty is…”

6. Sing: Autumn is Here (modified from Gathered Here in Unitarian Universalist hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition)

Gathered here in the mystery of the hour
Gathered here in one strong body
Gathered here in the struggle and the power
Autumn is here
Autumn is here

(repeat several times)

7. Finish with more drumming and dancing. We usually join hands and end with the prayer: “May Goddess bless and keep us. May wisdom dwell within us. May we create peace.”

August 2015 109

An easily printable version of this ritual recipe is included as the freebie with the fall issue of our newsletter. Sign up available via Brigid’s Grove.

Categories: family, holidays, liturgy, nature, practices, priestess, resources, ritual, seasons, spirituality, woodspriestess | 4 Comments


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
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

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
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 | 5 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 | 7 Comments


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
all that
which is seen and unseen
watching, waiting, living,
growing, learning, knowing,
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

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

Initiate Yourself

…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

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:

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 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.

June 2015 067
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).


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)


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:

“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

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