#30daysofyule

Day 31: Gathering your soul at the hearth-fire of Winter (#30daysofyule)

IMG_0280Gather your soul at the hearthfire of winter

Hold the embers of last year’s dreams

Celebrate the warmth of that which has ignited

Honor and release that which has grown cold

Rest for a moment in the grace of winter’s thoughtful spaces.

Happy New Year!

It is the first new moon of a new year and I’ve worked up a Flying Woman 12440694_1696249130587302_4628168024963259367_oWomanrunes card layout for you (you may use it with any divination system you choose, of course!). The Flying Woman is the Rune of Transformation. She is perfect for the planning and inspiration present in a fresh new year. She is the card that has been tickling at my consciousness throughout my work in our Divination Practicum course and who turned up as my key theme for the year during 30 Days of Yule.

If you need help getting started with Womanrunes, check out our free intro course here (includes printable rune set): Introduction to Womanrunes

And, of course, copies of the books and cards are in our shop.

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Day 30: A magical giftbringer (#30daysofyule)

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Where in your life might you be putting work before wonder?

The final day of 30 Days of Yule corresponded with the first day of the Womanrunes Immersion course. The first rune we study is The Tree. The Tree is special to me because I wrote the Womanrunes book surrounded by trees, in my sacred space in the woods behind my house. I was “named and claimed” by the woods in this way and they are my spiritual home, place of respite, solace, and restoration. My soul is replenished by my daily woodspractice.

I didn’t post immediately after reading the “work before wonder” prompt, but not because it didn’t resonate, rather that I thought about the question of work before wonder all day. I am the kind of person who always does what she “should” do first and it can be easy to miss out on wonder that way! That’s one reason why I’m recommitting to my 365 days in the woods Woodspriestess practice this year. I HAVE to allow myself to put the practices that nourish and restore me first–or, at least move them up in the day.

At the same time, I thought of my kids, my “magical giftbringers.” How often they need my attention and it is only half available to them because I always have so much to do in a day. But, then I also allowed myself to tune in to and appreciate the times I do enjoy wonder with them every day–and maybe don’t give myself credit for, caught up in the barrage of “should do’s” plus maternal guilt that tends to haunt many days. We have a home based life. We homeschool and we work from home–I spend 90% of my waking hours in the company of my family + 100% of my sleeping hours in the company of my youngest who sleeps in my arms all night long. Paradoxically, it can be hard to be “present” in the face of that much togetherness!

So, I took some moments to notice and bask in wonder. All four of them lined up waiting for me to read to them at bedtime.

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Reading at bedtime. We’re reading “Milly-Molly-Mandy Again” and “Wild Magic.” I read to them all for 30 minutes to an hour every night.

My arm curled around the baby as he fell asleep at naptime that afternoon. No matter how I might feel “not enough” in the course of any one day, it must be a pretty nice life to fall asleep on your mother’s chest–hugging you and smelling your hair.

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The final picture was taken on Christmas, but I included it here because that is the, “pick me up” face I see every day and it has a background of gifts, which seems symbolic and appropriate.

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Yep, of course I picked him up! But, I wanted to remember what it looks/feels like to have a little person reaching for me. It seems so commonplace and never-ending. I’ve had little people reaching for me with a very similar face for 12 years and counting. But, this is the last baby. And, the days of the intensive need for mothering will pass and this face and this reaching will be a memory and a past spin on my own wheel of life.

 

Categories: #30daysofyule, family, parenting, practices | 1 Comment

Day 29: Celebration (#30daysofyule)

Now is the time IMG_0172
to free the heart,
Let all intentions and worries stop,
Free the joy inside the self,
Awaken to the wonder
of your life…

— John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us (via 30 Days of Yule)

Went to the sacred woods. Heard turkeys gobbling in the woods and watched squirrels move in and out of a hollow tree, talking to each other. Heard a bird call that sounded like a hawk or eagle, but never saw it. Felt peaceful and centered. I’m making a new Woodspriestess vow for 2016. 2013 was my first year of this dedicated daily practice (which yielded 330 days to the woods and two books!) and 2016 feels like the year to bring my woodspractice back into my daily life once more. After I had my last baby in October 2014, I let some of my soul-nourishing spiritual practices fall away, and this year I am recommitting to my daily woodspractice: visiting the woods once a day every day for the year. I haven’t missed a day yet this year.

This photo was taken for day 29 of 30 Days of Yule (1/4). I took my drum to the woods that morning. It was freezing cold and I drummed until I had numb fingers. It is such valuable time for me and I am excited and happy to dedicate myself to it again this year.

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Day 28: Birth (#30daysofyule)

12466195_10208500869429257_5820988480424338801_o(Still catching up with draft posts from the last days of 30 Days of Yule, which ended on January 5.)

Much of my work is rooted in my passion for birth, birth work, and women’s health. A feminist since childhood, I started my career with domestic violence work while still in college. I did that work for several years (and finished an MSW degree) and then worked at the Ronald McDonald House until my first son was born in 2003. His empowering birth (coupled with a difficult postpartum adjustment) lit my fire as a birth activist, advocate, and educator. I earned multiple certifications in childbirth education, prenatal yoga, birth art, prenatal fitness, birth doula, and postpartum doula work as well as becoming a certified breastfeeding educator and LLL Leader. I did this work regularly for ten years. My first son was born at a birth center, a straightforward and reasonably easy + triumphant birth that left me with an enduring sense of my own inherent worth and value.

My second baby was born at home in my living room in 2006. An extremely rapid, two-hour train ride of labor, this birth brought my second son and the joy of having a pair of brothers in the house which has blessed my life ever since.

In 2009, I gave birth again, this time to a tiny third son, born unexpectedly, early in my second trimester. The dark and wrenching walk through grief that followed his death-birth shaped me permanently and altered the course of my life path as well as opened me up to my spiritual path dramatically. It was a “shamanic crisis” of sorts and remains one of the most pivotal moments of my life. I bled so heavily following his birth (grapefruit sized clots!) that I had to transfer from home to the ER and actually thought I might be going to die. His birth set me firmly on my priestess path and re-set my devotion from birth work, to a focus on creating ceremonies and circles that honor the entire women’s wheel of life and their broad range of experiences and triumphs, rather than remaining more narrowly focused on the Mother (birth) phase.

2010 brought an early miscarriage and then the tentative joy of a “rainbow” pregnancy, a pregnancy that would eventually result in the birth of my beautiful daughter, born in an unassisted homebirth in wild, sweet relief into my own waiting hands as I knelt in my living room in the winter of 2011.

2014 brought the unexpected pregnancy of my last baby, growing in perfect alignment with the Wheel of the Year until he was born on October 30, another unassisted homebirth, again into my own hands, this time in a pool of water in my living room.

I first began creating birth art before my first son’s birth in 2003. Needle felted birth goddesses with wild hair and full figures. I started writing about birth and birth education in 2007 (and have never stopped). During the tender, tentative post-loss pregnancy with my daughter, I began creating clay birth goddess sculptures as a way of bringing Pregnant Woman back into my self-identity and to re-build my trust in my body and myself. These sculptures evolved from here into the pendants and sculptures I still create.

The book in the photo is the Earthprayer book I published last year. The picture on the front is me awaiting the birth of my last son. In the picture, I’m in my sacred woodspace, where I have learned so much.

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Day 27: Rest and withdrawal (#30daysofyule)

Look into her eyes, this winter woman. In their gray spaciousness you can see the future. Look out of your own winter eyes. You too can see the future.

— Patricia Monaghan, Seasons of the Witch via 30 Days of Yule

I love the quotes Joanna shares from this book. I look forward to ordering it myself (used copies are expensive right now though).

Yesterday, I posted my reading with three hearts showing up in it as well as the Lovers, reversed. I took this as a nudge to be more loving. The next day, I walked out to my tiny temple and…my auger…a Rose Quartz bracelet was lying in my path.

12466103_10208494981562064_4186282811287005832_oAs I worked, my candle wax spilled onto the desk in an interesting pattern.

12471864_10208494982362084_6058408378129887199_oAnd, in keeping with the “rest and renewal” prompt, my parents kept my three older kids overnight (the youngest went for the afternoon through dinner and then came home to me) and my husband and I spent the day planning and visioning for our business during the coming year. It was just the focused, devoted, clear time that we needed and it felt extremely restorative and I’m grateful to have had the time.

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Day 26: Visions for the New Year (#30daysofYule)

Happy New Year! I’m catching up with a few days of posts from 30 Days of Yule (which actually comes to its end today). One of the fun things about this class has been the opportunity to practice with thematic layouts for Tarot/oracle cards. For the New Year, in addition to determining my “card of the year,” I also used this spread provided by Joanna:

1. What do I leave behind in the Old Year? 12440438_10208488403997629_8834260999752971080_o
2. What do I open up to in the New Year?
3. Key Opportunity of the New Year
4. Key Challenge of the New Year
5. Hidden concern (pull from bottom of the deck)
6. Deep Wisdom / Advice from God/dess (pull from middle of the deck)
7. Key Theme of the New Year

— JPC, The Gaian Tarot

I did this reading in bed next to my napping baby and found it hard to get a clear photo of it. I also had a headache and was in a bad mood and I think that impacted my results! All of the tarot cards were reversed, which I found interesting. The six of water that showed up at the end not reversed wasn’t part of the spread instructions, but I laid it out accidentally and so I kept it as an additional inspiration for the new year. I drew four fire cards from the Gaian Tarot and three hearts from Womanrunes, which was another interesting connection.

We did a lot of goal planning, as I am wont to do on New Year’s Day, and so I appreciated the reminder from the seven of air to “make my plans but leave room for serendipity.” The 8 of Fire also reminded that I may be rushing others and not overlook the inspiration! This pairs with the Yoni from Womanrunes which reminds me of the role of pleasure in life. The Lovers + the winged heart (rune of ecstasy) showed up in the first position and I don’t totally get them, but perhaps I need to leave behind not taking ample time for love? (Or, possibly only that I was feeling in a crabby mood with my husband that day.)

Not surprised at all to see The Flying Woman turn up as the key theme card! In the same position the reversed Four of Fire suggests feeling depleted and worn out and need to take a stand for myself. Fly, woman, fly! Another funny overlap was in the challenge section in which The Box (rune of boundaries) teams up with the Two of Fire reversed, which reminds me that, “no may be the best response.”

All in all this reading actually felt more relevant to the current week (or even just the day I did it!) than to the whole year! I might do it again next week or try a different format for a new year reading, because I feel like my subconscious focus was on this week and that the layout didn’t speak to much beyond that at this point (as a week’s reading it was very accurate though!).

In notes relating to the “12 omen days,” I remembered something I meant to share. On Christmas Eve we went to town to see Star Wars. On the way, within about a seven mile stretch of road we saw a dead coyote, a dead owl, and a dead hawk. It is uncommon for me to see birds of prey as road kill and I wondered aloud if perhaps they had been purposely shot and killed. We almost stopped to pick up the owl, but it is illegal to have feathers from them, so we didn’t. I still feel sad when I think of it there.

However, on the 30th, after the flooding in Missouri, I drove back to town and in almost the exact locations, except reverse order, I saw a live hawk and a live owl. I wonder if coyote was there too and I just overlooked her! I often see hawks, but owls, especially in the afternoon, are much less common sights.

Then, that night I dreamed of eagles, filling the trees at a nature preserve. A man behind me on the path told me excitedly that the preserve was being opened to hunters. For a certain price, you would have six chances to shoot an eagle. “That doesn’t sound like a good idea,” I said. “Oh, we’ll only shoot the bad ones,” he replied.

Anyway, I just wanted to share these experiences as well. Not particularly earth-shaking, but the memory was triggered and I felt prompted to share!

Categories: #30daysofyule, divination, dreams, holidays, practices, readings, sacred pause, seasons, self-care | Leave a comment

Day 22: Winds of change (#30daysofyule)

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We had a small Yuletide ritual last night with extended family, celebrating 2015 and welcoming 2016. We made our manifestation ornaments and walked a slightly belated solstice spiral together (I did the outdoor spiral with my husband and kids on Dec 21st, but this ceremony was planned to include my parents and my brother and sister-in-law who couldn’t come until this past weekend). We sang blessings together and upon leaving the spiral, each person got a little medicine bundle that I had made for them with some stones it in.

Outside is nice, but given recent torrential rains and flooding throughout Missouri, the floor works too!)

Outside is nice, but given recent torrential rains and flooding throughout Missouri, the floor works too!)

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Outdoor spiral on the 21st.

My own little bundle, randomly selected, surprised me with my second augur/omen like I included in my post yesterday. It is The Flying Woman again! In the close up, you can just spot her to the left in the carnelian stone, arms upraised in transformation. ❤️

IMG_0072This week I enjoyed a couple of posts I’d like to share:

First, a beautifully written, evocative blog post about the ongoing spiral of initiation in leadership…

What does it mean to be initiated? To go through a rite of passage? What does it mean to stand up, to be seen, to be a leader? What does it mean to have the Mysteries revealed to us?…

I believe at one point in the ritual, one of my mentors said something about how initiation and ordination is about becoming someone who can’t unsee your impact. That you can’t go back to the person who can pretend that you don’t have power, you can’t go back to pretending that what you do doesn’t matter…

Source: The Heaviness – Rites of Passage

Then, one about the liminal space of this week between holidays:

The most subversive thing is silence. In this odd interregnum, in the days caught between Christmas and new year, the world suddenly falls quiet. Unless you are determined to face dubious sales, there is nothing more to buy. Travel, especially if you use public transport, is curtailed. We are forced to look at ourselves, to our own company, and those nearest us.

Source: With Christmas gone and new year approaching, now is the time for silence | Philip Hoare | Opinion | The Guardian

And, another about the value of solitude for parents, reminding me of my thoughts about my room of my own:

Solitude is like punctuation. A paragraph without periods and commas would be exhausting to read. In the same way, conducting relationships without the respite of solitude can lessen the benefits of those relationships. Downtime is important for you and your kids. They benefit from solitude too. Taking care of your own solitude will not only help you restore yourself but also show your kids this positive model of self-nurturance

Source: Solitude is Going Extinct: The Stress of Modern Parenting

Here is a past post about Frau Holle as well, who was one of the topics of our day 22 lesson: Source: Goddess Wheel of the Year: Winter Solstice Ritual | WoodsPriestess

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Guardians of the gate.

Categories: #30daysofyule, blessings, family, holidays, practices, priestess, resources, ritual, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality | 3 Comments

Day 21: Time out of time (#30daysofyule + #30daysofdissertation)


I have trouble expressing how significant it has been for me to claim this “room of my own” in which to work, dream, contemplate, and enjoy solitude. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d converted my kids’ former clubhouse into a tiny goddess temple. I’ve been working on my dissertation project in there and it feels so peaceful and quiet. Like it brings out my own best self. It is hard to separate out from my family to go out to the temple on my own, lots of demands pull at me, but it benefits everyone when I take the time to do so. Yesterday, I spent almost two hours working only on my dissertation–devoting time is the only way to bring this into being and it is amazing how much more “flow” developed with focused energy spent on it. I never even opened a single other computer window as I worked and the single-tasking allowed for big steps! I feel it being born…

Yesterday afternoon, I also started working on our Shining Year workbooks for 2016. These liminal days between years feel perfect for it.

In the photo with the candle above, I see my first augur/omen for a “12 days of Christmas” divination exercise that Joanna shared with our class: Soundings: The Omen Days: The Twelve Days of Christmas. In the knot in the wood next to the candle, I see The Flying Woman (rune of transformation) in the center–a little figure with arms raised. ❤️

On Christmas evening, I used my new camera to take some pictures of the beautiful full moon. We also drummed and danced on the deck.

I’m getting ready for the next Womanrunes Immersion ecourse and I’m looking forward to connecting and centering in the energy of the new year. This 41 day ecourse explores each one of the runes in depth, allowing you time to practice with and learn from that rune in your own life. The course includes journal and photo prompts, journal pages, full and new moon ritual outlines, and a private facebook for interaction, support, and shared learning.

You can register for the course here: Womanrunes Immersion – Brigid’s Grove

 

Categories: #30daysofyule, 30daysofdissertation, divination, holidays, introversion, moon wisdom, nature, practices, sacred pause, seasons, writing | Leave a comment

Day 17: Holy darkness (#30daysofyule)

 

 I’ve been feeling rushed for several days so late yesterday afternoon I went and sat on the back porch with my two youngest kids and my drum. We admired the nearly full moon and my daughter said, “let’s make up a new goddess song.” So, we sang and drummed:

I see the goddess in the moon

I feel the goddess in the earth

I taste the goddess in the wind

I hear the goddess in my heart

I touch the goddess in your hand. 

We drew oracle cards and inked them on our wrists. Then, she went in and I took the baby down to the woods where we sang and drummed as the sun went down and darkness fell. We sang:

Moon wise woman*

Moon wise baby

We are moon wise

We are moon wise.

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

 

(*”Moon wise” from a new program being launched by a long distance priestess friend and for which I will be guest teaching in the spring.)

Categories: #30daysofyule, chants, drums, family, moon wisdom, nature, night, parenting, priestess, ritual, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Happy Solstice!

A Protective Lorica for Yule* celtic roots with words small

(by Susan Pesznecker)

I arise today
through the strength of the heavens;
light of the sun,
splendor of fire,
clarity of ice,
speed of the wind,
depth of the snow,
stability of the earth,
firmness of the rock.
The light has returned!

 

We’ve set our etsy shop to vacation mode and are taking the next week off to enjoy an assortment of holiday festivities with our family! Here are some resources that we are using:

Happy Solstice!

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(*Paganized version of the Lorica of St. Patrick from a new book by Susan Pesznecker: Yule. A Lorica is a “breastplate,” a type of “word armor” for protection)

Categories: #30daysofyule, endarkenment, family, holidays, liturgy, poems, practices, prayers, resources, retreat, ritual, sacred pause, seasons | Leave a comment

Day 10: The Sun Card (#30DaysofYule)

I’ve had a lot of thoughts about the last three days of prompts for 30 Days of Yule, but I’ve been mired down in end-of-session grading and didn’t get a chance to write anything out. I love teaching, but I do not like grading at all! It is extraordinarily energetically depleting and I feel physically drained by it–like I’ve given away something of myself or used up some kind of energy reserve that I then have to recover from (like I’ve been sick).

Anyway, Sun cards! The Womanrunes deck has two sun-themed cards: The Sun (rune of healing) and The Sun & Moon (rune of laughter). The Sun & Moon was the last symbol I wrote about for the book (which is why it appears on the center of the cover goddess) and I have a special connection to it. It is one of the “cosmic wink” cards for me that lets me know I’m on the right path. Even though I was planning to take a picture of the two Suns tonight for the 30 Days prompt, I decided to draw a card randomly first and guess what I got? Yep…The Sun and Moon. Cosmic wink! 😉

Side note: despite all of the grading and other tasks (like obtaining new health insurance), I have managed to keep up with #30daysofdissertation. I’ve been editing and cutting out content each day (haven’t missed one this month!), but it isn’t interesting for me to write blog posts about!

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Day 7: St. Lucia’s Day (#30DaysofYule)

More than anything, I am the Lightbringer, who appears mysteriously out of the darkest night with hope and sustenance for all.
— Joanna Powell Colbert, A Crown of Candles: How to Throw a Fabulous Lucia Party

IMG_9838Simple rituals can be so powerful. Last night, the third candle on our advent Yule log was lit in honor of St. Lucia’s Day. We say a variation of the Buddhist metta prayer to go with our candle-lighting each Sunday. We followed this mini ceremony with slices of a Baumkuchen German cake from Aldi and mugs of mocha Teeccino (chicory “coffee”).

My daughter made the candles on the log with the help of my mom. And, joining our Yule log centerpiece is this “opalite” goddess that Mark just cast last night. We created so many that were sent out all over the world during our Nov 1-Dec 1 goddess holiday ornament event, but we hadn’t yet made one to keep! She’s it!

IMG_9834The kids were especially delighted with the cake, which was a surprise. (Not a planned surprise–it happened not to fit in the in-laws Christmas box, which was its original destination!)

IMG_9837May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I be loved

May I safe
May I be free.

 

Categories: #30daysofyule, blessings, family, holidays, practices, prayers, priestess, ritual, sabbath, sacred pause, seasons, spirituality | Leave a comment

Day 6: Luminous Darkness (#30daysofyule)

IMG_9817Today, after feeling strained and rushed about a variety of things (health insurance! Dentist appointments! Car inspection! Property taxes! Mailing Christmas gifts!), I decided to give myself a little “retreat” during naptime. I wanted to do this new moon spread from Little Red Tarot: Creativity, courage, commitment: a tarot spread for the new moon in Sagittarius. As soon as I got settled, I immediately had a jumper from my Womanrunes deck. As soon as I inked it on my wrist (liquid eyeliner, ftw!), I felt such a sense of calm and peace. It is so easy to lose touch with nurturing self-care practices when life gets busy. Even this simple practice of putting the rune of the day on my wrist can get trimmed out of a busy morning and the impact of that deletion really ripples through the day. After I did this, I also had a “flash” of the rune journal I’d like to create for the coming year. I’ve really valued the daily journaling practice I included in our Divination Practicum (though even I haven’t managed to do it every day!) and I plan to broaden this into a different, even more useful tool for a wider audience in the coming year.

I combined The Gaian Tarot and Womanrunes for the new moon layout and was not surprised at all to  see the The Cauldron of Reflection, my “jumper” card from a few minutes before, turn up in the “Ground” position! All and all an illuminating and insightful spread to use at this time of year.

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  1. Fear. The Seeker reversed turned up here, indicating a longing to hit the road and escape (indeed, I have been feeling an urge to flee lately–mainly just out the door and a few feet away to my little temple space or down to the woods, but somewhere outside of the noise and clutter that seems so pervasive in the house right now). The Winged Heart from Womanrunes, rune of ecstasy made an appearance here too—perhaps afraid to let go and open up to ecstatic experience?
  2. Hope. The Guardian of Air made a bold appearance here, looking right into my eyes. Clarity. She sees straight to the core, cuts away that which is extraneous, and is skillful at communication. She was one of only two not-reversed cards in this layout. The rune here was, ahh, The Tool. Rune of labor and production. A longing for clarity in my work, to boil it down to the essentials and what I really want to do, not just what could be done.
  3. Transform. My other upright card, The Two of Fire makes a bold appearance here. This is a sexy and assertive card. It asks me to consider whether my fire warms me or burns me? I am lit up with a blazing energy (focusing that energy will allow the flame to stay lit). I am not surprised at all to see The Serpent show up here too, rune of awakening. This is a very fiery, transformative, potentially dangerous card as well. I always see it as exciting though and feel inspired by the energy of this card.
  4. Release. The Ace of Fire popped up here, reversed. It suggests a fear of change and the squelching of passionate energy. It asks me to find the courage to transform. With it, comes the rune of faith. I see it as asking for faith in myself and the direction I am going.
  5. Ground. The Ten of Air, reversed, showed up here in the position asking to “set your intention here.” This position asks for a commitment to yourself, to doing this work. I was really pleased and affirmed to see my jumper Cauldron of Reflection show up in this position. The reversed Ten of Air card is about surrendering to the natural flow and the “discovery of the treasures in the time of cold and dark,” which seems very appropriate for this month and time of year.
  6. Create. Finally, this position makes the intention real and solidifies my commitment. The Guardian of Earth, reversed, shows up here with the message to “ground and center and reconnect with the Earth.” Yes, definitely. Just what my Seeker from the beginning was wanting to flee and do! The rune here is the Spiral, another affirming rune for me personally, as it signifies initiation and rites of passage, both core themes of the programs and classes I’m offering in the coming year.

Takeaway message from the Gaian Tarot: Honor your fire. Have courage. Go with it. “I am empowered by my passion for life, love, and wildness.”

Takeaway message from Womanrunes (I love combining them into sentences!): Allow the ecstasy of your work to awaken faith in yourself. Grounding in solitude when needed allows for the creation of spiralling initiations and rites of passage…

Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which means our new little Black Madonnas are again very àpropos.

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I didn’t end up writing in response to the journal prompt about grief, but I did save this quote:

She invites us to enter into our grief and name it and be there to learn what suffering has to teach us. Creativity cannot happen, birthing cannot happen, unless the grieving heart is paid attention to. Only by passing through grief can creativity burst forth anew.

— Matthew Fox, “The Return of the Black Madonna” via 30 Days of Yule

Categories: #30daysofyule, divination, endarkenment, moon wisdom, night, practices, priestess, readings, retreat, ritual, sacred pause, self-care | Leave a comment

Day 5: Children of Wonder (#30daysofYule + #30daysofdissertation) 

IMG_9809She who cannot be contained.
She who knows no end.
She who holds all things.

Behold that which is new and ever-changing.
Behold that which is ancient and unyielding.
Behold that which is meant for you and that which is meant from you. Behold the tapestry of life being woven before you.
Receive her kiss.
Feel her embrace.
And walk in peace and prayer.

I’ve had a realization recently as I continue to add notes from books, transcribe recordings, and ask questions in my research group, that if I truly want to finish this dissertation soon, I have to stop adding content and start what feels like the hardest and most overwhelming part: deleting repetitive sections, editing, moving, rearranging, creating a cohesive flow and structure, wrestling (or massaging) the many parts into something complete and complex. I also realized that it is okay to not be done yet. This is a rich area for exploration, personally, professionally, spiritually, and academically. It continues to evolve and deepen and grow and it feels almost scary it is so big.

We’ve been doing some experiments with color lately to communicate ideas. This quartet is about the winter season–the wisdom of shadow, the promise of light.

December 2015 024I also realized as I’ve been reading Joanna’s 30 Days of Yule messages that our Centered Mama sculpture would make a perfect Black Madonna for this time of year, so my husband cast her in black for me. She now sits by my computer as I type in my new temple space, reminding me of restoration, peace, and contemplation.

IMG_9789Two inspiring works based on the Black Madonnas scattered throughout the world:

Cantos 20: Pouring out my heart to the Black Madonna | | Shiloh Sophia Studios

New Art: Dark Madonna & Daughter

<exhale>

Categories: #30daysofyule, 30daysofdissertation | Leave a comment

Day 4: Guardian of the Flame (#30daysofYule + #30daysofdissertation)

12341332_10208003037534503_6220261572783427640_nI recognize that I am feeling a little sad and wistful that this month feels so “sped up” to me. I welcome the hibernation and incubation of winter, but the to-dos keep on coming. On Wednesday night, I stayed up late “catching up.” Last night, I honored my need for rest and decided to just go to bed instead of starting the “second shift,” that the push-y part of myself always urges me to do. I remembered that fifteen minutes of dissertation work doesn’t have to be sitting at my computer, but instead I read part of Drawing Down the Moon, by Margot Adler (a book I’ve never read. <gasp> Surely I “should” have read it before now?!) and decided that would count for the day.

A little earlier that evening, we got the beautiful picture above from one of the first women to buy one of our priestess initiation robe blessing bundles. I looked at it and realized that it is was lovely match for Day 4’s photo prompt. I “pass the torch” and light the flame in many ways through my work and it is gratifying and humbling and beautiful and powerful. I am honored to bear witness.

I also recognized that my most recent Feminism and Religion post about family ritual is also about passing the flame and lighting the torch (especially if the torch in question is actually a leftover glow stick from Halloween!): All We Need to Make Magic

As a side note about the hibernation urge–I recall from many past turns of the wheel that this is my usual feeling in December: anticipatory of hibernation and “slowing down.” Longing for rest, contemplation, and restoration. But, then really, more to do than ever before. But, then in January and February is when the hibernation actually comes. I usually do a personal renewal retreat in the first week of February. The beginning of January feels open and full of promise. It usually snows and we quite literally can’t go anywhere and so the hibernation I keep craving is then an enforced-by-Nature one. In fact, I think I’m going to “officially” release the idea that I should be resting and reflecting right now and trust the memory of restoration and the promise of winter’s incubation which is still to come.

Categories: #30daysofyule, 30daysofdissertation, art, collaboration, dissertation, family, practices, priestess, retreat, sacred pause, seasons, self-care | Leave a comment

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