#30daysofHecate

Day 30: Song in the Dark (#30DaysofHecate)

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New priestess robes hand-dyed by my dear friend are coming to the etsy shop this week!

Darkness falls
Darkness enfolds
Darkness calls
Darkness holds

Hallowed evening
Hallowed night
We rest in the shadows
We offer our light.

30 Days of Hecate was the first 30 days class that I haven’t kept up with in terms of taking a daily picture and making a daily post. This is partially because the heavier themes required more thought and a certain amount of vulnerability that I wasn’t always prepared to take time for. And, perhaps silly, but since I usually share the photo of the day on Instagram, which I also use for business, there were many prompts that didn’t fit with the overall mood and feel of my Instagram page. Also, this was the first class for which there was a Facebook group, so even though I didn’t post on my own blog every day, I read other people’s posts and reflections and thought about their pictures and insights each day, meaning that all things considered I may have spent more time involved in this course than ever before, even though my visible output and personal work was lower. This was more of a communal experience for me than a solitary one, which is interesting both in considering the themes (which I should maybe have taken more personal time for) and also because of how much I’ve valued the personal practice of the previous 30 days courses. I look forward to having that again, though I also wouldn’t trade the communal experience, which has been much bigger and more beautiful than I imagined it could be. I’ve already signed up for the next offering: 30 Days of Yule ~ A Daily Sacred Pause to Welcome the Return of the Sun

And, finally, in more practical terms, we were overwhelmed with Christmas ornament orders, which pared most of my personal practices and personal time down to almost nothing, by necessity. There were many nights where I fell asleep with my phone in my hand, after packing orders until 11:00, blog screen open, but untyped in….

Something I am left with after this course is the amazing Hecate chant I learned about via the 30 Days Facebook group. It is really powerful: For Tara – Hecate Chant | Sharon Knight

Categories: #30daysofHecate, blessings, chants, community, endarkenment, music, nature, night, poems, practices, sacred pause, seasons, spirituality | Leave a comment

Day 29: Dreaming (#30DaysofHecate)

IMG_7982Tell me about a potent, numinous dream you had, that you have never forgotten. (It does not have to be a recent dream; just one that seems like it was a gift.)

In 2013, I experienced a really profound dream. I was walking down to the woods and in the sky above the priestess rocks, I saw a gigantic, beautiful, pulsating, pink, jeweled rose like flower. I was awe-struck and staring at it. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I became aware that a golden cord stretched from the center of the flower to the top of my head and I became aware that all people were connected to it by these golden cords as well. Then, in that uniquely expansive character of dreams, I somehow traveled through the center of the flower. On the other side was an immense snake of unimaginable proportion, spiraling around “the cosmic egg.” As I looked at it, I became aware that the snake was actually the whole of the universe and that along its body, in the scales, one could perceive not only each galaxy, but also a point for all times and places that ever were or will be. It is hard to describe in writing, but I still deeply remember by feelings of both awe and comprehension and this expansive awareness of reality. It was a gorgeous, trippy, and meaningful dream. I tried to draw something about it, but couldn’t do it. What I was left with is that feeling of majesty, magnitude, and incredible connection.

 

Categories: #30daysofHecate, divination, dreams, endarkenment, feminist thealogy, Flowers, Goddess, nature, night, sacred pause, spirituality, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Day 28: Releasing the Beloved Dead (#30DaysofHecate)

IMG_9382When my grandma died in 2013, we first did a family ceremony with sky lanterns in the field by my parents’ house, since her actual service wasn’t held until the following month. Even though it was daylight at the time, we lit a “wish lantern” (paper sort of hot air balloon thing that you release and it floats high into the air until the fuel finally extinguishes). As we watched the lantern sail away on the currents of the breeze and above the green trees, we called out the following as a responsive reading:

Into the freedom of wind and sunshine

Response – We let you go

Into the dance of the stars and the planets

Response – We let you go

Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the stars

Response – We let you go

Tonight, at sunset-moonrise, I took a drawing of her down to the woods and had a little personal ceremony using the elemental release included below that was in Joanna’s prompt for Day 28.

Then, I drummed and sang as night fell.

Last Rites: An Elemental Release
(To be said in ceremony when a loved one has died.)

This is the place we will all one day gather, the place where the Dark Mother waits.
This is the path we must all walk alone, to stand at the quarterly gates.
Here lies what’s left of all that has been, of Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
Into the cauldron of tears we commit her [him], to change into waters of birth.

We release to the North her [his] flesh and her [his] bones and all that belongs to the Earth.
We release to the East her [his] breath and her [his] voice and all that flies free on the Wind.
To the South we return her [his] passion and Spirit and all that burns pure in the Fire.
To the West we release her [his] blood and her [his] tears and all that’s washed pure in the Water.
To the Center we turn. We let our hearts grieve, seeking comfort of family and friends.

For we know in our hearts we will see her [him] again on a Wheel turning round without end.
Gentle and beloved Spirit of ___________, fly from this place on wings of speed, where gentle breezes blow to a place that has no pain. Have no thought of leaving us. Your work on Earth is done, you ran the race, you loved and were loved, you danced the dance* and won.

We will call your name at Samhain. What is remembered, lives.

— Angie Buchanan, death midwife, founder/director of Earth Traditions.

(*this was actually “fought the fight,” but that didn’t fit to me, so I changed it)

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Categories: #30daysofHecate, ancestors, blessings, death, endarkenment, family, night, practices, priestess, readings, ritual, sacred pause, spirituality, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 25: the palm of my hand (#30daysofHecate)

Echoes of MesopotamiaIMG_9352
small figures from ancient places
ancient times
and ancient faces
ancient words
and ancient wisdom
still flowing in my veins…

I occasionally get requests to make bigger goddesses–people wanting figures that are large altar pieces 12-18 inches tall or taller. The goddesses I make are all about three inches tall and there’s a reason for that: they fit in the palm of my hand. When I create them, I feel as if I’m part of an unbroken lineage stretching back 30,000 years to the person who carved the Goddess of Willendorf. I feel connected to the priestesses of the Mesopotamian temples who sculpted hundreds upon hundreds of tiny clay goddesses. Someone commented on my sculptures once saying, “echoes of Mesopotamia.” And, I said, “exactly.” I feel the connection between the clay in my hand and the clay in their hands, running through the ripples and eddies of time.

I’ve been inspired recently to re-read Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance, finding new bits of wisdom from it that speak to something different in me than they did the first time I read it. She writes of the attempts to discredit Goddess religion by invalidating the historical narratives or archaeological evidence: “The idea seems to be that if they can disprove our origin story, they can invalidate our spirituality…Is Buddhism invalid if we cannot find archaeological evidence of Buddha’s existence? Are Christ’s teachings unimportant if we cannot find his birth certificate or death warrant?…the truth of our experience is valid whether it has roots thousands of years old or thirty minutes old…a mythic truth whose proof is shown not through references and footnotes but in the way it engages strong emotions, mobilizes deep life energies, and gives us a sense of history, purpose, and place in the world. What gives the Goddess tradition validity is how it works for us now, in the moment, not whether or not someone else worshipped this particular image in the past” (p. 4).

The ancestry of my goddess sculptures is not the energy that raised temples and built monuments (or walls), it is the energy that carried a baby on one hip and a basket of supplies on the other and needed a goddess just the right size to tuck down the front of a shirt.

People might also look for altar pieces that stay in one place, but I create sacred art that goes wherever you do. It makes my day when I see a photo from a customer of their goddesses living life with them, rather than dusty on a shelf, and I keep envisioning a collaborative photo book of these sculptures as they travel the world. In the last month, we’ve shipped goddesses to France, Sweden, Portugal, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and Canada. An archaeologist of the future may wonder why people in so many different geographic regions have little goddesses in the same style—perhaps this is evidence of widespread Goddess worship, they will say.

Sometimes I describe my life in the woods as being held in the hand of the goddess. And, I make goddesses that I hold in my hand. Am I in the palm of her hand or is she in the palm of mine? The answer is both.

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One of my all-time favorite fan photos–a rainy day traveling goddess picture, taken by my friend/SIL (this one is only an inch tall, but look how she calls in the waters of the world!)

Related past posts:

Echoes of Mesopotamia by Molly Meade

Amazon.com: Earthprayer, Birthprayer, Lifeprayer, Womanprayer

Thursday Thealogy: Matriarchal Myth or a New Story? | WoodsPriestess

Thursday Thealogy: Goddess as Symbol, Statement, and Experience | WoodsPriestess

Goddess Body, World Body | WoodsPriestess

Categories: #30daysofHecate, ancestors, art, feminist thealogy, Goddess, priestess, sculpture, spirituality, womanspirit | Leave a comment

Day 21: Old Woman (#30daysofHecate)

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Life’s sunset.

Quilted in bright colors
Sinking over hills of gold
and long dry valleys…

(Woodspriestess: Grandmother)

Last night I dreamed of my grandmother. Dressed all in white, she was visiting at my parents’ house. Amazed to see her, I exclaimed over and over again about how I’d missed her and how it was so good to see her again. I hugged her, heart to heart, and marveled to her–I know exactly what you look like, how you sound, what your smile is like, how your eyes look, what it feels like to hug you. I haven’t forgotten! I know just what you’re like! We talked about how the last time I saw her alive was at my brother’s wedding and we didn’t know it was the last time. We talked about how it was a such a surprise to have her illness progress so quickly. She told me that she will only be back to visit four more times and showed me a scrapbook with only four unfilled pages left in it. She reminded me that one of the other times she visited had been to see Tanner (when he was new, I dreamed she was holding him and smiling.)

I woke up too soon and spent the rest of the night trying to make sure I remembered the dream (including dreaming about telling people I dreamed it). When I got up this morning, I told my husband about the dream and cried.

carry my gratitude
straight to her heart
fold it into her hands
nestle it in her body
where it will take root
and blossom…

(Woodspriestess: Grandmother Prayer)

 

Categories: #30daysofHecate, ancestors, death, family, night, sacred pause | 1 Comment

Day 16 & 17: Journeying into wisdom (#30DaysofHecate)

IMG_9224My rune of the day has been The Moonboat, rune of journeys, for the last two days in a row. I took that as a sign that it is okay to combine days 16 & 17 of 30 Days of Hecate into one post. It didn’t strike me until the middle of the night the clear connection between the Moonboat the “journey into the underworld” photo prompt for yesterday. Today, on the new moon, I drew the Moonboat again. Since the prompt for today is “opening the door to wisdom, ” I decided it was a perfect time to try the new New Moon layout I developed to use with Womanrunes. My own results were no surprise, a deep call for retreat, reflection, solitude, and time.

IMG_9222I feel very “activated” right now, which is unusual for the fall season for me, but underneath the action is a the siren song of solitude, the heart’s call for time to reflect, renew, restore, and recharge. We have been utterly stunned by the volume of orders we’ve experienced in our etsy shop this month. I knew the holiday season would be busy, but I was completely naïve about how busy! Today, we talked a lot about how to re-balance our lives and how to work within this busy-ness in a way that feels sustainable, nourishing, and sensible. We are having a lot of fun, but we’re also getting a little tired and ragged feeling and it is only November 11!

How to do a New Moon layout of your own with Womanrunes or any other cards:

FullSizeRender_1I walk the crescent moon
Plant the seeds and wait to bloom.

I dance the crescent moon
Change is coming, making room.

I sing the crescent moon
Weave intention with her loom.

For this layout, three cards are used:

  1. Planting: What seeds are you planting? What are you incubating or preparing to grow?
  2. Making room: What is changing? How are you making room?
  3. Weaving: What is working through you? What is your intention or focus point?

IMG_9220I did have time to also add a wonderful Moon Wisdom blessing bundle to the etsy shop. I am in love with the resin version of our crescent moon goddess. She is full of energy and power and the wisdom of deep places…

Remember you can also sign up for a free Womanrunes course here: Introduction to Womanrunes

Categories: #30daysofHecate, divination, moon wisdom, practices, ritual, sacred pause, self-care, Womanrunes | Leave a comment

Day 15: Dreams (#30daysofHecate)


Last night, I dreamed I was in a “house of fairies.” It was sort of a eerie, trap-of-a-house, full of illusions and misdirections and creepy movements out of the corners of my eyes. I was trying to keep my children calm and also was laying out tarot and Womanrunes  cards to read on a bed, while waiting for my husband to come back. He’d forgotten something outside the house and had to go back to get it before we could continue moving through. He left his shoes with us and it took him an hour to get from the front door of the house back to the middle of the house where we were. We had been walking through a forest and to continue on our path we had to pass through the house of fairies and emerge out the other side. Darkness began to fall before he returned, the grandfather clock was chiming, and we were increasingly nervous because we knew the mischief would only increase…


(*red goddess picture has nothing to do with my creepy house of fairies dream, but is instead a large order we shipped out today, which will support the dreams of many other women.)

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Day 14: Making your way through the dark (#30daysofHecate)

IMG_9215 Apparently, once I got off schedule a day, it is hard to get back on track! We also have been flooded with orders for our goddess Christmas ornaments. Amazing response! It also means we’re skewed somewhat off-balance personally in order to fulfill all of the orders. For yesterday, I did a three card spread using the Gaian Tarot and Womanrunes, following the “guide through the darkness” spread suggested. I did it kind of hastily, but it still brought up some important points and a little laugh as well when I saw I turned up “The Tool,” the rune of labor, production, and enterprise. 😉

1. She Guides You Through the Season
This card offers advice on getting through and making progress in the next two months.

2. She Guides You Toward Illumination
This card indicates the direction in which knowledge and insight await you.

3. She Guides You Across the Threshold
This card encourages you to step through the veil into an experience of the unknown, an experience that leads to greater personal and spiritual power.

— Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, The Dark Goddess Tarot Companion

The best reminder for me came from The Wheel, which showed up in the third position and gave me this gift: “in centering myself, I am blessed by the turning of the wheel.” The Sisters and the reversed Six of Water both remind me to reach out in community and to replenish my emotional reserves. The pendulum in the first position reminds me that this energetic imbalance and extreme flurry is temporary (if it turns out not to be temporary, we’ll hire some more people to help!). After doing this layout, I also turned over my rune of the day and it was The Sun and Moon, rune of laughter, which is always my “cosmic wink” letting me know I’m on the right path.

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Categories: #30daysofHecate, divination, endarkenment, night, practices, sacred pause, Womanrunes | Leave a comment

Day 13: Silence (#30DaysofHecate)

…my silence is a pause
in music, a dark moon,
the moment before bleeding.
My silence is the space
between two heartbeats,
the moment of breath’s fullness…

— Patricia Monaghan, Seasons of the Witch (via 30 Days of Hecate)

It is somewhat ironic or appropriate that on the day that “silence” was the prompt for 30 Days, I fell asleep before making my daily blog post (the first time I’ve missed in four different “30 Days” course participation). Therefore, I was “silent” on this blog.

Yesterday was also the sixth anniversary of the death-birth of my tiny third baby, a boy we named Noah. His brief life had a profound and transformative impact on my spirituality, my priestess work, my work with women, my art and my direction, as well as on our family as a whole. Tiny footprints are powerful things.

While I didn’t make a post, I did draw a Womanrunes card and a Gaian Tarot card. I got The Hearth, rune of nurturance, and Awakening…

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Categories: #30daysofHecate, death, endarkenment, family, pregnancy loss, sacred pause | Leave a comment

Day 12: Waiting for Guidance (#30DaysofHecate)

“If a woman stays at the crossroads until she knows intuitively which direction to take, she emerges renewed and replenished.”
— Jean Shinoda Bolen, Goddesses in Older Women

 

Our community’s first ever Pink Tent in the herstory of the world was held tonight. This photo is one of my favorites from the event and it felt like a beautiful evocation of today’s prompt. 

After talking to some of my friends tonight, I also realized that I feel at a personal crossroads of sorts regarding where I want to take my work in the coming year…

Categories: #30daysofHecate, community, friends, priestess, red tent, ritual, womanspirit, women's circle | Leave a comment

Day 11: Daughters of Hecate (#30daysofHecate)

  
Maybe this picture seems a little “bright” for our themes, but I realized it is actually perfect for the photo prompt today! I’m getting ready for our first mother-daughter Pink Tent event tomorrow night. My husband made the new sculpture in the center of the photo especially for our circle. ❤️ The Womanrunes card I drew this morning was the The Dancing Women (rune of celebration), which felt very appropriate too. 

Mamapriestessing. 🌀

Categories: #30daysofHecate, community, family, parenting, priestess, red tent, ritual, women's circle | Leave a comment

Day 10: Old Woman (#30DaysofHecate)

“May you be kept safe. May you be watched over. May all the good you are seeking, seek you as well. And may you know that everything you need, is given to you in the proportion you need it. And may you see the signs everywhere that help you to understand who you are, why you are and most of all that you belong to us, the tribe of the sacred heart. ”

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, from The Dangerous Old Woman

  
At our Red Tent a couple of months ago, we did an “inner mentor” meditation that took us twenty or thirty years into the future to meet our wise future self. Mine was in a red tent yurt built in the woods to the side of my current house. She had herbs hanging all around the yurt and a neat fireplace and she was very calm and welcoming. I think of her often, actually. She was more centered and calm and soothing than I currently feel, but I can see her as my future self.

When I read today’s prompts, I immediately thought of this meditation and I also thought of the card above. I’m not sure who the artist is, because I cut it off of the front of a greeting card to make a personal oracle card with. 

Categories: #30daysofHecate, ancestors, blessings, community, sacred pause | 2 Comments

Day 9: Hecate of the Three Ways (#30DaysofHecate)

She who shows her incisors
She who midwifes death
She who illuminates the crossroads.

She who gathers and releases
She who creates and destroys.
She who covers and reveals.

She is the darkness and the light within it.
She is the crossroads and the path.
She is the guardian and the wayshower

before her and behind her is the knowing unknown.

I was inspired to create a new little Hecate-themed blessing bundle through my participation in ‪#‎30daysofhecate‬ as well as that persistent sensation of drawing inward as we move into the waning part of the year.

Categories: #30daysofHecate, blessings, endarkenment, Goddess, invocations, moon wisdom, night, poems, readings, ritual, sacred pause, seasons, spirituality | Leave a comment

Day 8: We remember them (#30daysofHecate)

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“Tell me again, a story of an ancestor of your bloodline or of your heartline, a story you have not shared before…” (30 Days course prompt)

This is a photo of my grandma on her wedding day to her second husband (who is still alive). Her first husband was the love of her life and he died from colon cancer at age 59 (in 1989). The next year, she married one of his lifelong friends and they were married for more than twenty years until her death from sudden, aggressive pancreatic cancer in 2013 (at 83). I remember this wedding clearly, in the living room of the home she’d shared with my grandpa and in which they raised their three children. I remember my mom and her siblings as being a little strained and tense. I remember my grandma laughing and almost giddy. They kept the wedding a secret from all of their friends and had a family-only ceremony and then an after-party with a group of friends, to whom they then announced their marriage. I remember standing next to my grandma at the front door of her house, greeting guests. She’d turned her new sapphire wedding ring around so the stone was hidden in her hand and she showed it to me, saying, “see, now no one will see it accidentally before we make the announcement!” I remember feeling like this was a “weird” or “funny” (not funny “ha ha,” but funny as in odd), because I’d never seen her in this mood before–kind of silly and excited–I didn’t know how to experience her this way, like she wasn’t as grown up as I’d thought.

Looking back at the photo as an adult myself, I can now begin to imagine how she must have felt in this moment, making this decision, possibly facing criticism and disapproval from friends and family and being giddy with excitement and nervousness and perhaps some fear about doing it anyway.

Prayer for my grandmother October 2015 002
sweet wind carry it
hope guard it
love keep it
peace bless it

carry my gratitude
straight to her heart
fold it into her hands
nestle it in her body
where it will take root
and blossom

(Full disclosure: I am standing right next to her in this photo [you can see part of my arm and hair], but I cropped myself out because I look terrible! I am only 11 in the photo, so maybe I should have left myself in, but it was not my best look.)
Categories: #30daysofHecate, ancestors, death, family, sacred pause | Leave a comment

Day 7: An ancestor offering (#30daysofhecate)

  
I made soul cakes with my kids this morning and had a fabulous time. On one, I included the Womanrunes Moonboat: rune of journeys and took it out to leave under my grandma’s memorial hydrangea bush. ❤️ She loved to travel and was very adventurous, so it seemed like a good tribute. On my own, I put The Flying Woman, rune of transformation (she’s been speaking to me a lot lately!). One of the best things about Womanrunes is how useable they are. They definitely go beyond being  “just” a divination system. 

  
   

Categories: #30daysofHecate, death, divination, family, prayers, sacred pause, Womanrunes | Leave a comment

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