woodspriestess

Blackberry Summer

Summer’s bounty July 2014 090
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.

Summer is a time when you both wrestle with what isn’t working and celebrate the fruits of your labors. When you peek under leaves only to discover bugs in your cabbages, whether literal or metaphorical. When 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 blackberries 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.

July 2014 094I’m preparing for our summer ritual tomorrow afternoon and the themes above are on my mind. Summer is a perfect time to see what is growing well and what needs to be yanked out by the roots.

Last year, I expressed similar thoughts in my summer solstice poem. It is interesting to see 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.

It feels fitting that I am gestating a new baby right now and making decisions about what I need to wrap up or change before he is born in the late fall. Then, we’ll be ready to cocoon through the fall and winter together.

July 2014 062

Crossposted at SageWoman.

Categories: family, pregnancy, seasons, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

Dogwood Flowers

Each day April 2014 034
offers new gifts
new mysteries
new discoveries
new promise
kissed with rain
and garnished
with dogwood blossoms…

via Woodspriestess: Real Magic | WoodsPriestess.

The dogwood trees have been beautiful again this year. Last year at this time was very stressful. After noticing and taking pictures of the dogwood flowers again this year I re-read one of my old posts and it brought back the memory of finding solace in the dogwoods, strung through the woods like lace:

Greening air

Dogwood lace

April 2014 145

I just love the dogwood flowers against the blue sky!

Restoring soul

Sacred place…

via Woodspriestess: Dogwood | WoodsPriestess.

I am a little taut and overextended and perpetually “out of time” again lately (always?!). It seems like no matter what I cut out of my schedule, something else oozes into that spot and I’m right back at the same point and making decisions about what to trim and what to keep. You will notice this blog has been very quiet lately and that is because I’ve been trying to direct my writing energy into three projects: my M.Div thesis project, a poetry book freebie for our spring newsletter for Brigid’s Grove, and finishing the content for my Womanrunes book (to launch in September). I also have several new classes at OSC that just opened for the spring semester and I’m eager to work on all of them. However, what has really happened, is I haven’t written much of anything and I’m struggling with that. Trying to remember that I’m hitting a busy part of the session with regard to teaching and that grading papers eats up free writing time, but it is NOT permanent and I do myself no good by becoming despairing about how I have “no time,” because the time will come back (not for at least three weeks though!). I was planning to do another month of woodspriestess posts for May since it is my birthday month, but luckily before I even I got started, I realized that was a fairly ridiculous expectation to consciously add to myself!

Anyway, maybe I just need to take a ramble through the woods and look at dogwoods…

Happy Beltane! (a little late)

 

 

 

Categories: nature, self-care, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

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 | 2 Comments

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?

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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

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