woodspriestess

Spring Meditation

   Shedding January 2015 087
    releasing
    changing
    renewing
    growing
    healing
    springing

    Letting go
    leaving behind
    casting off
    sloughing
    opening.

    What are we leaping towards
    what wants to push up from cold ground
    what wants to open to the sun
    what is it that we need to know?

    What quiet, steady pulse beats
    below the surface
    what hope watches from the wings
    what light grows broad
    upon a patch of ground…

What expectations need we shed? What old thoughts need to leave our minds? What habitual patterns of behavior, relationship, and communication need to change?

It is easy to be centered when you sit in the woods alone. The challenge is to carry that core into the unrelenting murmur of everyday life. The challenge is to reach for that place of inner stillness, even when it feels as if chaos reigns. The challenge is to return to a place that heals your soul every single day even when the to-do list gets longer, the have-tos, the should-dos, the want-tos. Lay those things aside for a minute and step forward onto solid earth, steady stone, grassy ground. Rest for a moment in the calm stillness that sings through the air in harmony with the call of your own heart and the center of your own being. Find it here, find it now. Knowing that the potential is always within you and the place remains for you to return and return and return…

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Categories: nature, poems, prayers, seasons, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

Misty Morning

This is your wildness IMG_3455
don’t sell it.
Raindrop on plum branch
Leaning oak
Mist rising through branches
Birdsong
Squirrel conversation
Forest song.
Life’s pulse
Weaving you into the world
Patient
Watchful
Wise.

Since welcoming a new baby into my life as well as continuing to develop several other projects (hello, dissertation!!!), I’ve found the hours in the day increasingly short and tight. This morning, I looked out the window of our workroom into the woods and saw the foggy woods and the sun shining through the misty air and I knew I had to drop everything and get to the woods. It was beautiful and even though it “slows me down” to head out there when I was so many other things I want to do and a limited time frame in which to do them (nap times are precious!), it is actually exactly what I need.

IMG_3453When we cut trees in the woods several months ago, one of my favorite rocks on the path disappeared. I knew where it was supposed to be, but surmised someone either kicked it aside or it had gotten pushed underground (or even broken) when some of the wood was dragged out. (This tree cutting, while necessary, still hurts my heart to see the destruction in my sacred little grove.) Today, after watching the fog lift, I stopped on the path and “felt” for the stone that I liked. I brushed some fallen leaves away and there she was!

IMG_3461I am so enjoying the signs of spring and the warming temperatures. I registered for a neat sounding Spring Equinox online free event. I’m also looking forward to hosting a small drum circle at our house this weekend. And, don’t forget to check out all the lovely offerings in the upcoming Red Tent fundraiser auction to be held on the Spring Equinox as well: Auction Special…..see what’s on offer! – Moon Times Moon Blog.

Categories: nature, poems, sacred pause, seasons, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Day 31: Reflections on 30 Days of Brigid

IMG_2966Today, the snow has finally been melting. I walked out at sunset and took a quick picture thinking about how I will miss taking and sharing a daily picture now that 30 Days of Brigid is over. The most powerful part of this experience was the practice. It felt like showing up for myself. It became a discipline. There was no requirement to write a blog post every day, but I made a commitment to doing so and I did it. 30 posts in 30 days! None of my posts were particularly stunning, though I liked my Hands post a lot and fell in love with the snowflakes from “lovely desire,” but it was powerful to commit to doing something and then doing it! I wanted to work through the course with my husband, but while I read a lot of the daily prompts out loud to him, we didn’t sync up and take the daily “sacred pause” together that I had envisioned. It became kind of my thing, rather than a shared experience. I read the daily emails first thing each morning and often reflected on the content for the remainder of the day.

Anyway, my closing thoughts on the ecourse in general are these…

30 Days of Brigid absolutely delivered on the promise of a sacred pause for each day with art, readings, blessings, meditations and inspiring prompts. The course was well-organized and thematically consistent as well as beautifully gentle in tone and thought-provoking in question. I got out of it what I was willing to put in and it was an investment in myself and my spirituality. It created a container for me that was very valuable, both for personal reflection, spiritual development, and for a daily writing practice. I loved challenging myself to really respond to the message of each day and enjoyed how I spent the day looking for the right moment to capture the spirit of that day’s theme. Great fun, great practice, great connection! Also, the personal interaction with Joanna Colbert via Instagram and Facebook was fun. I love her Gaian Tarot so much and I love how the Internet “smallens” the world and allows direct interactions with artists and authors I admire. At the beginning of the year when I did my annual oracle using the Gaian Tarot I had no idea the gifted woman behind it would be commenting on pictures of my cute baby on Instagram just a few weeks later. :)

If I was doing it again, I’d stretch myself to dig even deeper and to do art journaling for each prompt as well as move it up in my daily priority list so I could share it with my husband the way I originally planned. 

If you missed 30 Days of Brigid (or even if you didn’t!) you can move into 30 Days of Welcoming Spring and working with Persephone with Joanna’s next ecourse offering:

It’s for those who want to align themselves with the rhythms of nature as we leap into the time of greening and blossoming, and dance with the Maidens of Spring. By the end of the 30 days, you’ll be reconnected to your own creative core, with a daily practice in place for taking in beauty and responding to it in your journal or with your camera or paintbrush. Best of all, you will have taken a divine pause each day to mindfully experience the shift in the seasons as Persephone emerges from the Underworld, and Winter gives way to Spring. 

via 30 Days of Welcoming Spring ~ A Daily Sacred Pause of Creative Inspiration.

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Categories: #30daysofBrigid, Goddess, sacred pause, spirituality, woodspriestess, writing | 1 Comment

Day 30: Spring (#30DaysofBrigid)

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Brigid, I accept your flame.
Flame of creativity, poetry, hope, and healing.
Flame of understanding.

I accept your gifts
committing to their expression.
aligning with the workings of word, art, and deed.
Open to that which comes
responsive to that which surrounds me.
Enlivened by the dancing flame
of passionate creation.

Open hands, heart, and mind.
To give and to receive.
To express, to feel, to wonder, to know.
To discover
to uncover
to embrace
to fulfill
to unleash.

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Day 22: Lovely Desire (#30DaysofBrigid)

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”

-Jack Kornfield via Sunday Sabbath: Tiny Desert Flowers

IMG_2710This morning as I stepped outside to gather newly fallen snow to make snow ice cream for my children, the Kornfield quote above kept repeating through my mind. I’ve lived in the woods for almost my entire life. I have seen snow plenty of times, but I cannot ever recall having seen snowflakes like this. In fact, I confess that until a few hours ago I assumed that the only way to take a picture of a real snowflake-shaped-snowflake was with an extreme close up (not an iphone). I’m used to a fine powder snow that is too fine of grain to distinguish separate flakes or a clumpy, wet snow in which no individual flakes are distinguishable either. I am so unfamiliar with the flakes I witnessed today, that when I first saw their starry patterns on my little girl’s hair, I thought, “look, the little grains of snow are clumping together and almost looking like real snowflakes.” When I saw that they were, themselves, real snowflakes, I was exhilarated. I was so excited it was like a genuine miracle to have seen them. Since, I already had my snowboots on, I went down to the woods with my drum and delighted in the snow like I’ve never seen it before. And, in I way, I never have. This is a beauty of taking a sacred pause. We see things that cause our whole lives to change.

 

 

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Day 17: Awen (#30DaysofBrigid)

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This goddess sculpture reminds me of being open to change and to flowing inspiration.

Can I trust the rhythm?
Can I embrace the flow?
Can follow inspiration?
Can I heed when to let go?

I feel like I am in the process of learning, or re-learning something lately. Perhaps it is simply being the mother of a baby again, but perhaps it is something deeper that wants to shift. Either way, when I got the 30 Days prompt this morning, I knew exactly what my response was to the prompt of “flowing inspiration.” One of the mottoes or reminders that I wrote down in our Shining Year workbook this year was to follow the inspiration. Life unfolds much more beautifully, creatively, productively, and powerfully, when I don’t “force it,” but instead sink into my heart space first and feel what it is I wish to do next. I have an ongoing issue with turning every “could do” into “should do,” every fun idea into work, and every possibility into an obligation. That said, I also have been reminded that while I give myself very little credit for being flexible and in fact makes jokes about my lack thereof, but in reality, I demonstrate a lot of flexibility every day–I just don’t always like it and I argue with it, but I flex and bend every. single. day to respond to what is around me and what a situation requires from me.

One of the things I realized recently is that I really shouldn’t have planned to do monthly Red Tent and monthly Full Moon circles throughout the coming year, because planning and facilitating 24 rituals is simply a lot. When I had the idea, I was thinking month by month, instead of realizing that I was committing myself to TWENTY-FOUR rituals. That is simply too much to expect of myself while also mothering a baby (and other kids!). And, it is also too much to expect of those around me. While the only person who would actually have to show up for all 24 would technically be me, that much participation is a lot to ask of my friends as well and a lot of dates to add to their calendars! I’m trying to remember to check in with Future Molly when I make plans for this year and Future Molly predicts that attendance and enthusiasm for either or both events will wane with “too much,” particularly after midsummer when people are traveling and then into fall when they are beginning to switch into holiday mode. So, I’m pledging to myself that I will look at the rhythm of each month as it flows before deciding which/what/when/how many events to plan this year. I wonder why I thought I needed to commit to an entire year of anything, rather than simply seeing what makes sense over time and what I, and those around me, will enjoy? Something like 8 rituals for a year sounds like a much more reasonable and enjoyable general plan! (not including private  family rituals or personal rituals)

Back to flowing inspiration though. This is where I feel it:

IMG_2580And, this is why:

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This weekend, I followed the inspiration when it said SCULPT instead of do class prep and all of these new pendant prototypes were the result! Now, to wait for the time and space and moment in which to mold and cast them…

Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you

Are not lost. Where ever you are is called HERE.

And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.

Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,

I have made this place around you.

If you leave it, you may come back again, saying, HERE…

–David Wagoner, in Life Prayers

via Stand Still… | WoodsPriestess.

I’m also reminding myself to flow with milk time…

Give up your calendar and clock,

start flowing with milk time.

via Surrender? | Talk Birth.

Unclench your life.

That’s what I wish to flow with and into.

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Awen symbol pendant Mark carved for me for Solstice.

 

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, nature, quotes, ritual, sacred pause, self-care, woodspriestess | Tags: | 1 Comment

Imbolc Meditation

If you pause in darkness what does your body have to tell you? What do your dreams have to tell you? What does the frozen ground have to January 2015 018tell you? What do the spirits of place have to tell you?

What song can only be sung by you?

What emberheart can only be ignited by your breath?

What path have your feet found?

What messages are carved in stone and etched on leaf for your eyes and in your name?

What promise are you keeping?

Imbolc.
Time for your light to shine
from within the sheltering dark.

Note: Modified from a prior post, I shared this on my SageWoman blog earlier in the week and then decided to include it here also.

Categories: blessings, holidays, liturgy, meditations, ritual, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 3: This is My News (#30DaysofBrigid)

I have news for you. IMG_0160
The sun sets every day
The hollow tree is beginning to tip over
Wind chimes sing
Bushy tailed squirrels sit on rocks
Deer have walked in the driveway
There are bluebirds in the vineyard.
I step from stone to stone
To keep my baby happy.
His head smells like vanilla.
The woods are brown and skeletal
There is a sound in the branches,
And a taste in the air
That dreams of spring.
Babies can drum with the forest.
This is my news.

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, drums, family, Goddess, nature, poems, spirituality, woodspriestess | Tags: | Leave a comment

Day 2: Bud (#30DaysofBrigid)

January 2015 125Lilac buds await spring.

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30 Days of Brigid

I love Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot deck. It is one of my top favorites for morning inspiration and intuitive guidance. It is also the deck we used to do our annual oracle this year. So, when I got an email about her simple ecourse, 30 Days of Brigid, I was intrigued! This is the description:

30 Days of Brigid is an ecourse for those who want a daily inspirational touchstone during Brigid’s season of the Prelude-to-Spring (known as Imbolc or Candlemas).

On the surface, it’s about beautiful photos, art, quotes, and journal/photo prompts landing in your inbox every day for 30 days.

But really? It’s about connecting more deeply with the creative fire of the Celtic Goddess Brigid as she begins to awaken the land from its winter sleep.

The course is designed for people who don’t have much time, but still want to take a sacred pause each day to find a fresh breeze of nature, art, and poetry wafting into their inboxes.

via 30 Days of Brigid ~ A Daily Sacred Pause of Creative Inspiration.

I signed up for multiple reasons. The first is because Brigid is our business namesake. We celebrate the anniversary of Brigid’s Grove in February and doing this course felt like a wonderful way to honor that connection. The second is because of the “don’t have much time, but want to take a sacred pause,” part. With adding a new baby to our family and the increase in our business activity, I feel like some of my spiritual practices and sacred pauses have fallen away. In 2015, we would like to take more sacred pauses and spend more focused energy on spiritual development and connection. So, taking this course felt like a great way to begin the year–building intentional pauses and sacred connection into the daily round, rather than only on “special occasions.” After doing the first two days of the course, I realized that this course could also neatly tie back into my (near) daily Woodspriestess time, since most of the pictures I take for the ecourse are taken in the woods. So, I plan to share a quick post here every day, usually photo only, as we move through 30 Days of Brigid. I really like the integrated feeling I have with this plan!

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Brigid altar (GGG 2013)

Edited to add: This is my 300th blog post on this blog! So, that also feels like an auspicious connection/beginning to this new sacred pause project.

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, Goddess, retreat, ritual, spirituality, woodspriestess | Tags: | 1 Comment

Let Go

IMG_9880I keep getting a STRONG “let go” message from all kinds of places, but I persist in arguing with reality and my tendency to be controlling. Also, I think the “let gos” can be interpreted in many different ways. My husband says it can be seen as a “let go and soar” type of reminder. I see it sometimes as being told to surrender and also to “give up” (and that makes me wail and gnash my teeth). Sometimes it is a gentle reminder to sink into the moment and breathe, feeling the weight of the baby on my shoulder, sniffing his head, looking out the window at sunlight and shadow. Sometimes it is permission to literally let go of something—possessions, tasks, adding something else to the calendar. Sometimes it is a mental “unclenching” and letting go—ideas, should dos, possibilities for later. I also find a connection between the let go message and our word of the year, which is “Grow.” So, let go in order to grow.

This reminder is also helpful:

Would a weight lift off my shoulders if I realized that it’s normal to feel pulled between choices, that it’s normal to want to do more than I have time or energy for, and that it’s normal to have to choose between two equally wonderful things, that it’s actually a sign I’m a fascinating, amazing person?

–Jennifer Louden, The Life Organizer

I always say that I want to live well and wisely my one wild and precious life and to me that means making conscious decisions every day to pull my actions into alignment with my values. It is an ongoing process. I live in a rich and fascinating world full of endless possibility and promise. Letting go can be about wise discernment as well. (I joke that my other word of the year is “ruthless.” Ruthless discernment about how, where, and why to spend my time and energy.)

I went to the woods a few days ago feeling taut and tight and pulled between choices and right in front of me was yet another lesson from the forest, the big tree I so enjoy had let go of one of its large branches. I walked down to look at it more closely and noticed the bark on the trunk is starting to decay and I anticipate that in the next two years or so, I will need to let go of this tree’s companionship in the woodspace, because it is letting go of its life here on the hillside.

IMG_9840IMG_9869I come to the woods to let go and to be cleansed. To sit with myself. To uncover truths. To salve wounds. For clarity, focus, for the feeling of the sweet wind blowing it away, the solid earth absorbing it. The grand sweep of the sky from horizon to horizon like a bowl. To look at the leaves on the ground. To notice the fallen branch of the tree. To feel the coldness of rock under my bones. To make contact with the wild sweeping majesty of it all and the size so vast that my own little feelings and concerns become dust and the well-worn, unhelpful thought processes that wind their way through my brain and twist me up can become unkinked, unknotted, and released to drift away on the breeze, dissolving, unclenching, letting go.

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Postscript: I originally started this post ten days ago and have had to repeatedly let go of publishing it! ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Priestess Year in Review (2014)

Mollyblessingway 211

“Lifelong priesthoods were typically held by married women leading ‘normal’ lives, complete with husbands and children. Greek religious offices were enormously practical, enabling women to serve at each stage of life without sacrificing the full experience of marriage and motherhood.”

–Joan Connelly, Portrait of a Priestess, p. 18

“When words are inadequate, ceremony and ritual help us express our profound thoughts and feelings….rituals are symbolic activities that help us, together with our families and friends, express our deepest thoughts and feelings about life’s most important events.”

–Dr. Alan Wolfelt (quoted in The Art of Ritual)

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 and another at the end of 2013. 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. In 2014, this was my service in the capacity as ritualist/ceremonialist:

January: winter women’s retreat, spontaneous family morning ritual, family full moon ritual.

July 2014 036

Nature mandala at summer ritual.

February: family Brigid ceremony and Imbolc ritual, seventh Rise Up class, birthday blessing, help planning house cleansing, mini family full moon ritual.

March: invocation to the north during opening ritual at Goddess Weekend in St. Louis, Spring family ritual.

April: spontaneous family gratitude ritual, spring women’s retreat.

June: helped with sister-in-law’s blessingway, Rise Up class.

July:  summer ritual for the members of my women’s circle and their families.

August: Red Tent event, tenth Rise Up class.

September: temple priestess at GGG, Womanrunes presentation.

October: Gave birth to new baby!

November: family full moon ritual for baby, Sealing ceremony for self.

December: full moon ritual, Rise Up finish and ceremony, family solstice ritual, mother blessing ceremony.

I took an online training program in circle leadership from Chrysalis Woman and I wrote this post about why Gathering the Women matters to me: Gathering the Women | WoodsPriestess. (I also finally finished reading Women Who Run with the Wolves!) I wrote 47 posts for this blog in 2014, which was a dramatic reduction from previous years, primarily because I diverted a lot of my attention to finishing my M.Div, writing a book, and working on art, sculpture, and jewelry for our co-creative business, Brigid’s Grove (and we had booths selling goddess sculptures and jewelry at five events sprinkled through the year).front-cover

We published a book about Womanrunes! This was an incredibly huge project. We also published a digital Ritual Recipe Kit and a book of earth-based poetry. I sculpted more than 27 new designs for pewter pendants and 7 for resin goddess sculptures (and we fulfilled more than 540 orders for these items!)

I completed 7 more classes at OSC, finished my thesis project, and completed my M.Div degree! I only have two classes remaining for my D.Min. In the last days of 2014, a new idea for my dissertation was born and I completed and submitted my prospectus for my dissertation project (and it was approved).

I continued to host a (not very active) Priestess Path group on Facebook and started one for women interested in a Red Tent in our community as well. I also maintain my Woodspriestess Facebook page and one for Brigid’s Grove.

In keeping with the commitment I made upon my ordination, I contributed articles to 5 issues of The Oracle, the online journal of Global Goddess: Winter Solstice, Samhaim, Beltane, Spring Equinox, Imbolc

I wrote 6 posts for Feminism and Religion: Mollyblessingway 116

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

And, finally, I wrote 15 posts for Pagan Families earlier in the year before decided I was spread too thin with blogging commitments and needed to let something go.

(I also wrote 100 posts at my birth/motherhood blog, but that doesn’t directly connect to my priestess year in review theme!)

I have several relevant goals for 2015:

  • Finish last two D.Min classes!
  • Finish dissertation (and therefore finish D.Min degree)
  • Begin facilitating regular New Moon Red Tent Circles in the local community
  • Continue holding monthly full moon rituals with my own family and broaden that to include a couple of friends as well
  • Present at Goddess Weekend and Gaea Goddess Gathering
  • Expand our Ritual Recipe Kit into a longer printed book
  • Promote and distribute Womanrunes more widely, especially to the Red Tent community, since it is a perfect oracle for use in Red Tent events.
  • Work on several new book and online class ideas!

As also occurred last year when I wrote 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 presence? 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. I continue to struggle with issues of “who does she think she IS?” with regard to priestess work (this forms an element of my dissertation project, actually!) and in reviewing my 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.

Happy New Year!

 

Categories: art, community, OSC, priestess, spirituality, womanspirit, women, women's circle, woodspriestess, writing | Leave a comment

A Solstice Blessing

May you have a warm heart, December 2014 093
open hands,
a creative mind.

May you experience inspiration and brilliance,
clarity and focus.
May you laugh richly and deeply.

May you circle and celebrate,
may you change and grow

May that which waiting to be unlocked
be freed.

And may you soar with the knowing
that you are carried by a great wind across the sky.

Just a quick post to share some pictures from our family solstice celebration last night (mouse over or click for captions). We didn’t do everything I had planned and trying to have a ceremony that includes children can be a chaotic, frustrating, and wild experience (separate blog post about this on another day!), but I enjoy our traditions and I’m pretty sure it is worth it…

Bright blessings of the season to you!

December 2014 075

Categories: blessings, family, holidays, parenting, ritual, seasons, spirituality, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

Of Chainsaws and Change

October 2014 168Sometimes you have to let dead things go
sink back into the body of the Earth
from where they came.

Let them re-enter the cycle of life.
Let them breathe again into the rustle of fall leaves.

Sometimes when the sheltering arms that have surrounded you
have dropped away.
Your horizons are broadened
Your eyes opened.
And you breathe deeper, climb higher, and run freer.

There is a time for gathering in and drawing close.
There is time for opening up and letting go.
Softening the grip that demands that nothing ever change.
Letting go of the way things used to be.
And just watching, to see what grows anew.

One day there will something here
that has never been here before.

October 2014 169

What now remains of my favorite maple.

During the drought we experienced around three years ago, a lot of the trees in our woods died. Some of them died that year, but we weren’t absolutely sure they were really gone until they got no new leaves the following year. Some of them died the following summer, probably due to having been weakened so much by the drought conditions that they couldn’t rebound. This year, we decided to cut some of them down—both because we heat with wood and winter is approaching and because some of them are so close to the rocks I visit that if they were to fall, they could hurt me. It felt, and continues to feel, like a “selfish” decision by me though to have cut them, like we should have just let the cycle of the forest continue its life and rhythm unimpeded by human interference. It was hard to evaluate the variables of good woodlot management, firewood procurement, and personal safety while also feeling like I was betraying my sacred spot in the woods, betraying the relationship I built there. I still don’t know whether we made the right choice. I do know that the landscape in the woods has changed now.

While my husband and the friends that helped him were as careful as possible not to damage anything unnecessarily and to only October 2014 164 cut trees that were most certainly dead, one of those trees fell on a plum tree that I enjoy very much and split off the top part of the plum and several branches. I can hardly stand it. This is the tree for which the strongest feeling of betrayal comes, since it is very much still alive. I know this tree. I know how it starts to blossom early in the springtime, how the petals of the flowers fall onto the rocks like snow when an early frost comes, how its leaves are the first to fall in the autumn and to carpet the rocks with their even, nearly round shapes. It is by far the biggest plum tree in the woods—I rarely see them as big as this.

One of the things I learned from my whole woodspriestess experiment was that it is completely possible to create a deep, rich, full, complex, genuine relationship with a physical space and the non-human life forms within it. As I looked at the damaged tree, I thought though, this relationship now is NOT a mutually rewarding for the trees. I’ve gained so much and learned so much in this space and what I have now returned to it is destruction. I cried over the plum. But, tears do not heal broken trees. Nor do apologies re-grow broken limbs. I have to sit with that. I put my hands on its trunk and told it I was so sorry. I felt my heart beat in my palms in this rhythm: I am strong. I am strong. I am strong.

And then, look what I’ve already been through. October 2014 166

I looked at its trunk then, how to emerges from a small space between two rocks—pushing its way up through very inhospitable, rocky terrain—and how it grows at nearly a right angle to the rocks themselves. This is not a tree that grows straight and tall, this is a tree that arches over the rocks in its own, powerful, individual manner of survival.

I had taken an altar bowl my mom made down to the rocks with me to photograph and after I was done with my pictures, I carefully poured the water from the bowl around the base of the plum and while I did so, I started to sing the Hoʻoponopono song that I learned about from a friend.

I am sorry
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Thank you.

It was still a betrayal of this plum tree. I’m not making excuses about that. However, I will wait and watch and see if it can rise again anyway.

 

 

Categories: death, nature, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 5 Comments

Fall’s Return

September 2014 004

I love the last roses of summer as the wheel turns towards fall.

Weed it out
cast it off
let it go.

Let it sink
into the body of the Earth
where it will be recycled
renewed
refreshed
reborn.

Let the seeds drift where they may
let your fear drift where it may.

Roll your shoulders
Tip back your head
Open your hands

Let it all fall away
unclench your life.*

September 2014 010

And, my love affair with tiny flowers persists throughout any season that blesses me with them.

Open your heart
be vulnerable
say, oh well
keep going.

It is time to sit on the rock
watch the leaves change colors
feel the winds shift into winter

It is time to let go
to recognize what has dried up
what is falling down
what can be chopped into firewood
and burned.

The spiral twists of the wheel
the turn of the stone
the rhythm of the seasons
which care not a thing
about your to-do list.

It just happens.
It unfolds.
It blooms and withers
takes root again
grows something new, but familiar
and surprises us
with the consistent,
wildly mysterious
Return.

I have been traveling this month and very busy. I am 35 weeks pregnant and I feel overbooked, overwhelmed, tense and taut more than like to feel at this moment. This morning, I woke up before the rest of my family and headed for the solace of the woods, this place that never fails to soothe me and bring clarity. I found myself pulling up a bunch of fuzzy-headed weeds, clearing them away where they had grown up between the rocks. Yes, I was trying to weed the forest, even though my list for the day was very long. As I did so though, I realized I felt good. Calm. Mind stilled. The ache I’d been feeling in my sacrum disappeared and the tears that I keep feeling stinging behind my eyes did too. I remembered that this is a common feeling in the fall for me–the sensation of needing to “stop the world,” the sensation that I’m spinning too fast and trying to do too much. I have documented these feelings for at least the last five years. It felt comforting to recognize the turn of the wheel of the year right there in my own life and to know that the woods simply don’t care whether I cross items off my list or not, the leaves keep falling, the squirrels keep running up the trees, and the sun rises and sets every day.

September 2014 067

*from a poem by Andrea Potos.

Crossposted at SageWoman.

Categories: family, nature, seasons, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

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