Day 16: Breath (#30DaysofBrigid)


This is the first prompt of this 30 day practice for which I haven’t had a readily available response. I read each day’s email first thing in the morning and then think about it on and off all day. Usually something emerges, often in a surprising way, that turns out to be totally relevant. Tonight, I feel like I’m reaching–but, I don’t want to miss a day. I’ve been enjoying the personal practice of posting each day and I don’t want to skip it!

So, what I finally thought of was the sense of relief I feel when I get home from another week of class. I don’t enjoy the class I’m currently teaching, which is too bad because I usually love teaching. It is a hard class to teach, regardless, but adding in toting a baby along tips the scales further towards hard. Not to mention how it inconveniences other people (like my parents caring for our other kids and my husband having to sit in the hall with the baby waiting for me). I feel tight and strained before leaving and like I have trouble “transitioning” between states–Class Mode and Mama Mode are different modes! Then, when I get home, it feels like I can take a full breath again. So, that’s my tie-in!

I also thought about inspiration–the breath of inspiration–and how I feel constantly awash with inspiration lately, but with very minimal time in the day to let it flow. I’m having to choose carefully and let go often. While I still wish to work some important projects of my own this year (notably my dissertation), I also don’t want to miss out on any opportunities to sit in my rocking chair with my baby. That means being very careful. I spoke a “declaration of NO” in the woods a few days ago and it was very clear that I must fiercely conserve my energy this year. No one else will do it for me.


Categories: #30daysofBrigid, family, self-care | 2 Comments

Day 15: Mantle (#30DaysofBrigid)

Sept 2013 097

My friend makes beautiful goddess robes. At the 2013 Gaea Goddess Gathering honoring Brigid, I wore one of them to a guided meditation to meet Brigid. As part of the meditation, the facilitator brought around a blue mantle (real, not a visualization) that had been dipped in Brigid’s sacred well in Kildare. She blessed the mantle each woman present was wearing with the special blue mantle from Brigid’s Well, explaining that each mantle was now empowered with the healing energy of Brigid’s mantle.

It was dusk when I made it to the woods this evening, but it was important to me to take a picture there of my Brigid-blessed mantle in response to today’s photo prompt.


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.

via Embrace Possibility |

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, blessings, GGG, sacred pause | Leave a comment

Day 14: Forge (#30DaysofBrigid)

For me, the profound shaping event was the experience postpartum with my first baby. I have never had an experience that shaped me and impacted me and SHOOK me more profoundly than adjusting to life with my newborn son. That was my journey. That was my struggle. That was my challenge. That is what dissolved me and burned me into ashes and let me rise again as someone the same but also brand new—a mother. I was not “born” when my son was born, I was forged. Made, in the intense weeks that followed his birth.

The most important event shaping my life as a mother? | Talk Birth.

The above passage was written about the birth of my first child. Now, my fourth is three months old and I am still being forged. I find each new baby serves as a smith, prompting life changes in the crucible of parenthood. I am better aware now than I used to be about the swift passage of time and how quickly the baby-season of life passes and winds into something new. As such, I made some decisions today to postpone some of my ideas for 2015 into next year instead. I realized I need to underplan for this year and be pleasantly surprised by bonus pockets of time as they arise, rather than overplan as I chronically do and then be distressed and upset when my equilibrium and delicate balance of tasks for the day is thrown off by my little babysmith. In the sacred pause from 30 Days of Brigid today was a quote from a forthcoming book by Lunaea Weatherstone:

The blade is put through fire, hammered and shaped, then cooled in water. It is the repeated process of stressing and blessing — pushing to the next level of refinement — that creates an excellent blade, strong and flexible, able to withstand resistance.

I thought about it several times today as I thought about how I need to re-shape my life and my plans and expectations for this year. After some intense conversation with my husband today and a “Holy No” meditation in the woods, I realized that if I really tune and listen to what I want and need this year, I actually know exactly what to do.

Returning to the idea of being forged by motherhood as well as to today’s prompt, I share this photo of my brand new pendant cast by my husband after originally being sculpted in clay by me. In her belly is a placenta jewel made using one of the placenta capsules from my youngest baby’s birth.

IMG_0519May I continue to forge and be forged…

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, art, birth, family, parenting | Tags: | 2 Comments

Day 13: Hearth & Home (#30DaysofBrigid)

“We need to stand in our power as life-givers, witches, wise-women, priestesses, awakened people, brimming with the ability to restore, to work fearlessly with ferocious compassion. We have the capacity to feel deeply, just the fuel needed to propel our thoughts into reality. Feel deeply, sisters. Think loudly.”

–Melissa Ann Welsh (in We’Moon, 2015)

January 2015 004It was a beautiful day today. I started out feeling really burdened by ungraded midterm exams, irritable and preoccupied, but then I finished them and felt much lighter. We walked outside for about an hour and even spent time sitting in the hammock outside. It was a good time to contemplate today’s theme of hearth and home.


Light the fire

with your children.

Sing with your partner.

Create a temple

of your hearts,


and bodies.

via Seed Corn Ritual | WoodsPriestess.


Categories: #30daysofBrigid, family | 2 Comments

Day 12: Kindling the Candle (#30DaysofBrigid)

I walk towards it
I feel fear and do it anyway
I fail
And try again
I succeed
And reach higher next time
I stretch my limits
I expand my capacity
I light the fire
And invite others to join me.

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Day 11: Hands (#30DaysofBrigid)

Mollyblessingway 192

Mother blessing ceremony, Sept. 2014.

In my college classes, I often tell my students that in working with people, we need to learn to think in circles, rather than in lines. Circles are strong. Circles are steady. Circles hold the space, circles make a place for others. Circles can expand or contract as needed. Circles can be permeable and yet have a strong boundary. Linked arms in a circle can keep things out and show solidarity. Linked energy in a circle can transform the ordinary into sacred space. Hands at each other’s backs, facing each other, eye level. Working together in a circle for a ritual, change is birthed, friendships are strengthened, and love is visible.

Ritual Recipe Kit for Women’s Ceremonies digital by BrigidsGrove.

Mollyblessingway 372

Salt bowl ceremony at my mother blessing.

Recently I have noticed a lot of offerings for sacred circles and sacred temples and councils of women that are all online or virtual. The websites advertising such programs often have beautiful photos of firesides and dancing and I find myself thinking, where is the REAL fire? If we spend all of our time at computers enjoying virtual sisterhoods and looking at pictures of fires, where are our real opportunities to dance by the fire hand in hand? Today, against all odds, I managed to have a meaningful conversation with friends at the skating rink. We talked about the difference between online and face-to-face connection and why online connections can feel “cleaner” and less messy or complicated than face-to-face. It reminds me of my experiences in creating rituals for my family. In the books it looks so easy and fun. In real life, babies have poopy diapers and my sons make fart jokes and my papers blow away and I speak in a snappy tone of voice and things take longer than I expect. It is same with women’s circles. Online, we can look at pretty pictures of flower crowns and crystal grids and flower mandalas and daydream how wonderful it would be to have a real women’s circle, but in real life people don’t always like each other, we interrupt each other, we talk too much or not enough or about the “wrong” things. As the facilitator of a ceremony in real life, portions might lag, people laugh at the wrong times, guided meditations might bring up painful experiences, people stop listening to each other, or they might forget something they were asked to bring. I might lose my place, sing off-key, or get distracted when someone is sharing something important.

As a priestess, I have to engage in what is called a process of “self-facing” that can be uncomfortable and sometimes stressful—the looking at my own shadows and shortcomings and then doing it anyway. Because it matters. Because it is real. I’m not saying that online connections aren’t real or valuable, they can be tremendously so. And, I love that in writing I can carry my thoughts all the way through and develop an idea completely.* What I am saying is that there is simply no substitute for standing hand in hand with flesh and blood women in a sacred circle. (Even if someone makes a fart joke.) Our hands matter. Real hands. Reaching out to one another. Our fingers may be too long, too short, too wrinkly, too skinny, too fat. Our hands may be too cold or too sweaty. We may be too loud, too quiet, too anxious, too confident, too self-conscious, too distracted, too intense. But…we can show up.  We can offer what we offer and give what we give. Our whole, actual selves. Separated from the screens and other shields. Touching each other’s actual hands and offering actual hugs rather than (((hugs))).

My plans for a Red Tent Circle later this month have been on my mind lately and I’ve been feeling a little insecure about my plans for our first event, primarily because I’m hoping to attract a broader group of women than the women who regularly circle with me. As I explained to a friend, I want it to be nurturing, and celebratory, and fun and contemplative…somehow all at once! Oh, and not alienate anyone. And, not have it be lightweight chatty OR heavy and tearful. Serious, but not too serious. No pressure!

What I forgot until I got home is that I’m pretty good at doing this. I’ve been working with women and priestessing women’s circles for a long time, not to mention having trained and studied and read and written and studied and trained.  However, I’m also real. And, in the end, that is what I have to offer. There is a vulnerability and risk there as well as a courage.

Here’s my hand.


(*All this said, our hands can also reach out virtually via typing blog posts or sending supportive Facebook messages too. I’m not discounting the role and value of using our hands for that connection. I love that a post that I wrote 3 years ago can still reach 300 people a day, that my other blog can speak in some way to 700 people a day, and that my book can essentially last “forever.” That feels like a magical power of my hands and words!)

Related past post: Do Women’s Circles Actually Matter?

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, community, friends, priestess, ritual, spirituality, womanspirit, women, women's circle | Tags: | 3 Comments

Day 10: Child of Poetry (#30DaysofBrigid)

…For I am child of Poetry;IMG_2365
Poetry, child of Reflection;
Reflection, child of Meditation;
Meditation, child of Lore…

–adapted from the Carmina Gadelicac

(via 30 Days of Brigid)

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Day 9: Holy Well, Holy Water (#30DaysofBrigid)

…The pool stills again. January 2015 082
The sky blazes red.

The woman gets up.
Nothing seems changed.

But the next day a wind
blows warm from the sea.

— Patricia Monaghan, Seasons of the Witch

(via 30 Days of Brigid)

The goddess in the picture is my new springtime, watergathering goddess sculpture. To me, she is kneeling by the riverside, joyful that the springtime thaw is here and the waters flow freely once again. She is welcoming the new—the buds, the blossoms, the tender new shoots, the newborns, the vibrant wellspring of creation and delight.

In the Sacred Year class I am taking, we are supposed to be making and drinking crystal water. When I got the 30 Days of Brigid prompt this morning and it was about holy water, I knew it was time to get to work on my crystal water! While I have an open mind about some things, I confess that gem elixirs and related ideas are definitely not one of them (they raise my “hokeylicious” alarm), so I was actually thinking of skipping the crystal water assignment. The synchronicity between the two totally different classes made me think it was a perfect time to do it after all though. While I don’t know that I will continue drinking this water every day for a year, I certainly enjoyed it today:


IMG_2349I am open to joy.

(and patience. Patience too)

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, art, sacred pause | 3 Comments

Day 8: Weather Divination (#30DaysofBrigid)


Cats on the furnace.

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again…

(Traditional rhyme)

It snowed overnight. Just a dusting, but snow. So, according to the rhyme, it looks like winter is on its way out. However, it feels almost as if winter hasn’t come yet this year. We’ve had some starts, some early snow, and also a handful of several-day strings of bitter cold, but we’ve also had many that are in the 60’s. It is hard to read the mood of the season and while I enjoy sunshine and warm temperatures, I find that warm winter days bring a certain sense of unease with them—it isn’t really supposed to be warm in January! So, despite the fact that I now wish I was wearing a much warmer sweater this evening, there is something reassuring about seeing snow again this year. I also find that I feel a sense of peace inside now that the calendar has turned to February. I entered January feeling “revved up” and almost panicky. I spent a lot of the month feeling overwhelmed and like I had too much to do. I felt like I’d sped up again somewhat abruptly after my babymoon with my baby and I placed very high expectations on myself in terms of what I would accomplish in January (I actually met or exceeded all my January goals too, so I guess it wasn’t too much to expect!). After the holiday season, January felt like “catch up” month and I didn’t enjoy the feeling of a sort of desperation and franticness that accompanied it. After we set our goals for 2015, I wanted them all done NOW and it was like I couldn’t rest—too much to do and good things to work on. I feel more calm and peaceful going into February, as if I can unclench a little more and enjoy some new projects and partnerships as they unfold, without pushing and rushing them or myself too much. Finishing that last class at OSC was huge for me. I can hardly believe I did it!

A few other notes for today:

I forgot to mention earlier that the Imbolc issue of The Oracle, the online journal of Global Goddess, is available here: imbolc_2015.pdf.

Also, if you’re interested in a free handout on how to draw a Calamoondala, make sure you’re signed up for our Brigid’s Grove newsletter! The handout is included in our February newsletter. 🙂


Four years of Calamoondalas!

I also want to share that I’m excited to have won a scholarship to the Gypsy Priestess’s 13 Moons & 13 Faces of the Goddess course. I won with my Outraged Ancestral Mother poem. 🙂

And, we’ve contributed a Womanrunes set to this Red Tent fundraiser event coming up in the UK. Rachael of MoonTimes is building a Red Tent yurt for the women of her community and I’m pleased to be a tiny part of helping to make that happen.



Categories: #30daysofBrigid, nature, seasons | Tags: | Leave a comment

Day 7: Praising (#30DaysofBrigid)

IMG_2219Today we had our family Brigid’s Day celebration. Our baby turned three months old on the 30th and so we also had a little three-month birthday ceremony in the woods in which we touched his feet to the earth for the first time.

Here are some pictures from the day (click for captions). We painted prayer flags (based on the “seeking” prompt from an earlier day’s sacred pause email) and then took them down to the woods to tie to the oak. We drummed and sang as the sky spit some freezing rain and a few snowflakes. We wrapped the baby in the silk painted “welcome” banner that we painted for him during the summer. I offered him a blessing and we touched his feet to the rock, to the leaf-strewn Earth, and to a tree. Then we hurried through the cold back to the house where we were cooking “hobo dinners” in the barbecue (I swooped him by the fire briefly to bless him with the flame also, but it was too cold to stay out longer). Inside, we made bread snakes and then enjoyed our dinners. We then had a Brigid/Imbolc ritual with a body blessing, house blessing, and “three blessings of Brigid.” We ate our traditional “fire and ice” trifle and then had a family drum circle! We also experimented with wax divination (dripping wax into water and reading the result). I had hoped to also do metal stamping on copper disks and art journaling, but we ran out of time.

As I’ve mentioned, ritual with kids is a challenge, but I think it is worth it. In case you think I am merrily sitting in the woods with my drum and then effortlessly priestessing my delightful family in harmonious ritual, know that my daughter mixed the sacred salt and sacred water from the body blessing into a paste and spread it all over the kitchen floor. The baby cried when a cold gust of wind caught his face suddenly. The boys made fart jokes at dinner. And, both my husband and I ended up briefly yelling at the kids about various frustrations. (Like doing one-handed cartwheels on the couch and almost kicking over candles, suddenly grabbing iphones and starting to play games, the list goes on!) It is always more wild and discordant and frustrating and stressful than I envision when I’m happily typing up my plans! Guess what? I do it anyway. Therein lies the mamapriestess lesson for me.

Oh! And, today I finished the final two assignments in my final class at OSC. I am now ABD (all but dissertation). I can hardly believe it! I’ve been working on this degree for a long time and I actually expected it to take me several more months from now to finish my final classes. Finishing my dissertation project is one of my biggest goals for the year (I have several others too). Today, I was reminded in multiple ways that I did just have a baby three months ago. It is okay to pace myself and to take my time. So close though! So close.

I have all the time I need.

(right? I made this one of my mottoes for the year in my Shining Year workbook…)

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, blessings, family, Goddess, holidays, nature, parenting, priestess, ritual, spirituality | 2 Comments

Day 6: Keeping Vigil (#30DaysofBrigid)

…I keep vigil for the mothers who laugh
and the mothers who cry
the mothers who sing
and the mothers who moan
the mothers who need
and the mother who give
the mothers who triumph
and the mothers who “fail.”

I keep vigil for the mothers
who try again

I keep vigil
for the mothers of the world

I keep vigil
for the women of the world

I keep vigil
to the fire
in my heart…

via I Keep Vigil to the Fire in My Heart – PaganSquare –


I feel a special connection to Imbolc and this time during the Wheel of the Year since it is also the anniversary of Brigid’s Grove, our sculpture and goddess jewelry company. In celebration, a new handout on “how to draw a calamoondala” will go out to e-newsletter subscribers in early February (free Womanrunes e-kit and newsletter sign-up is available on our site).

January 2015 001

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, blessings, liturgy, poems, prayers | 1 Comment

Day 5: Seeking (#30DaysofBrigid)

IMG_2141I had a long, busy day with a stressed out baby (too much time in a loud setting and too much time spent in the car). Brigid prayer cloths project and related blog post will have to happen another day! However, I’m glad to wear these bracelets as mindfulness triggers for a busy day, so they represented my connection to the “seeking” topic for #30DaysofBrigid today.


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Day 4: Heart Shaken with Inspiration (#30DaysofBrigid)

Prayer to Brigid IMG_2093 

of the Sacred Oak.
of the Sacred Flame.

Sacred smith
shape our lives
in the cauldron of destiny.

Ignite our creativity
forge our passions.

Spill forth
in the language of poetryIMG_2097
falling leaves
and hot metal.

Sacred Guardian
Keeper of flame
hope and hearts.

Enliven our work
guide our steps
inspire our message.

Thank you.

(modified from earlier poem: Woodspriestess: Brigid)


Categories: #30daysofBrigid, art, Goddess, poems, prayers, sacred pause, sculpture, spirituality | Tags: | 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.

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, Goddess, sacred pause, spirituality, woodspriestess | Tags: | Leave a comment

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