blessings

Happy Solstice!

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The winter solstice happens in nature around us.  But it also happens inside of us, in our souls.  It can happen inside of us is summer or winter, spring or fall.   In the dark place of our soul, we carry secret wishes, pains, frustrations, loneliness, fears, regrets, worries.  Darkness is not something to be afraid of.  Sometimes we go to the dark place of our soul, where we can find safety and comfort.  In the dark place in our soul we can find rest and rejuvenation.  In the dark place of our soul we can find balance.  And when we have rested, and been comforted, and restored, we can return from the dark place in our soul to the world of light and new possibilities.

–John Halstead, Family Winter Solstice Ritual

Our Winter gift to you is a Goddess Mandala Coloring Book as well as an updated version of our Seasonal Meditations mini book

A Winter Solstice Blessing

May you have a warm heart, img_9745a
open hands,
a creative mind.

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

May you circle and celebrate,
may you change and grow

May that which is waiting to be unlocked
be freed.

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

Our Worldwide Winter Solstice Circle took place this week in the Facebook group and the Creative Spirit Circle companion classroom. It was such a fulfilling experience! While the live component is over, you can still access all of the resources in the new, free companion classroom.

(*”great wind” from the Ojibwa prayer)

Categories: blessings, holidays, poems, prayers, resources, seasons | 2 Comments

Earth’s Mystery School

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“Earth is a mystery school complete with initiations and discoveries that you only experience by living with your feelings, touching the earth, and embracing the fullness of your humanity.”

–Queen Guenivere

(awakewoman)

Three recent moments come to mind…

On Samhain morning, I wake early and mist was rising out of the forest and dancing through the field and out of the trees. I have a moment of sheer awe to see it…the veil was literally thin. october-2016-024

Over the weekend, I visit the nearby river to connect in personal ceremony in appreciation before the park closes for the year and also symbolically to those at Standing Rock. This river eventually meets the Missouri. I run my hands through the water. I anoint my brow, neck, and hands. I whisper my prayers into the ripples. I sing: “I am water. I am water…I am flowing like the water, like the water I am flowing, like the water…”

I am hurrying outside to get some work done. I feel tight and hurried with the length of my to-do list and my superhuman plans for the day. The bright red flame of a bloom on my pineapple sage plant catches my eye and then…the perfection of a bright yellow butterfly alighting on one slender stamen. My breath catches and I stop in wonder. I smell the flower and it smells of pineapple, just as the leaves do. I can hardly believe this treasure and the tightness melts into nothing. The rest of the day is full of joy. october-2016-065

I am once again healed by flowers.

I create personal ritual almost every day in my tiny temple outside my house, sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate, sometimes tearful, sometimes joyful, sometimes hurried, sometimes leisurely, sometimes distracted, sometimes astonished at the wonder of it all. Last week, I smudged the temple with sage I grew in the flowerboxes by my front porch. I rang my bell 13 times. I sang “I Am Fire.” I laid out cards and tiny goddesses and created a mandala out of fallen leaves. I left an offering of flowers from the herbs and let rose petals drop from my fingers. Ritual captivates all the senses…in this sacred space, I invoke my own senses of smell, touch, sight, sound, and wonder and the result is magic.

“Through ceremony we learn how to give back. When we sing, we give energy through our voice; when we drum, we allow the earth’s heartbeat to join with our own; when we dance, we bring the energy of earth and sky together in our bodies and give it out; when we pray, we give energy through our hearts; when we look upon our relations, we give blessings through our eyes. When we put all these activities together, we have a ceremony, one of the most powerful forms of gift-giving we humans possess.”

–Sun Bear and Wabun Wind

b2ap3_thumbnail_October-2016-027.JPGHow have you experienced the power of personal ceremony recently?

(We are also offering our Liminal Space Ritual Kit free here. And, a free 2017 Calamoondala how-to class.)

Categories: blessings, ceremony, earthprayer, embodiment, feminist thealogy, Goddess, nature, practices, prayers, priestess, ritual, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

A Single Glorious Thing…

My body is my altar,
My body is my temple,
My living presence on this earth,
My prayer, my prayer, my prayer…

This week as I called the circle for our Creative Spirit Circle weekly ritual, I sat on the sunny back deck with small representative pieces of the herbs I had been gathering and sang the Body Prayer song.

That morning, I’d begun by picking rose petals and plantain, but then kept going to harvest pineapple sage, spearmint, chocolate mint, oregano, october-2016-031and lemongrass. In the evening I dried them in the dehydrator and then moved on to the many bags of wild persimmons we gathered to process. It feels so good to lay aside the other to-dos and enjoy the sunshine, the plants, and the wild.

I laid on my back in the sun with my arms spread out and my eyes closed as I sang. And, it was basically a perfect ritual! No more, no less.

The Womanrunes card of the day was The Heart, rune of love. This rune asks us to take a moment to pause. To rest. To draw it up, draw it in, and breathe easy. Love is the ground of being. We are embedded within it.

In the book Sisters of the Earth, Barbara Kingsolver is quoted as saying:

“In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window.”

What do you love? What makes you light up? What single, glorious thing have you experienced this week?

Affirmation for the week: I walk in love and love rises up to greet me.

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Categories: blessings, ceremony, earthprayer, embodiment, Flowers, nature, practices, prayers, ritual, sacred pause, spirituality, womanspirit | Leave a comment

Flower Prayers

“We may need to be cured by flowers. 

We may need to strip naked and let the petals fall on our shoulders, down our bellies, against our thighs. We may need to lie naked in fields of wildflowers. We may need to walk naked through beauty. We may need to walk naked through color. We may need to walk naked through scent. We may need to walk naked through sex and death. We may need to feel beauty on our skin. We may need to walk the pollen path, among the flowers that are everywhere. 

We can still smell our grandmother’s garden. Our grandmother is still alive.”

–Sharman Apt Russell, in Sisters of the Earth

This month, this beautiful rose made me drop to my knees with delight on my way out to my tiny temple. I drew my Womanrunes card and got the Sun and Moon, rune of laughter. Yes. This right here. This is a beautiful moment. As I knelt beside the rose, the Body Prayer song* welled out of me until I had tears in my eyes.

september-2016-077When I at last went inside, I opened a book I’m currently reading to this very quote:

“The frailest of nature’s objects, these most female of emblems, have staying power. Staying power has healing power, too. You can stand in front of flowers and look them in their many eyes and see just them, and for a moment you are doing only one thing fully, being in the presence of their tart soil and tender personalities, and connecting with the tart and tender within yourself.”

–Molly Peacock in Sisters of the Earth

Then, later in the week, I was surprised by the gift of another flower outside my tiny temple. This one a volunteer pumpkin blossom, a little too late in the game to succeed this year, but still feeling like a blessing of the season to be graced with. My Womanrunes card that day was the Pentacle which makes me think about my responsibility to protect my own energy and boundaries even when so much clamors to be done. It is more vital than ever to just sit for a minute and admire a flower.  That same afternoon, when I returned to the tiny temple to collect my laptop, I noticed that the pumpkin blossom has closed back up or fallen off. If I hadn’t taken that very moment to appreciate it, I may never have even known it was there.

october-2016-046It wasn’t until I looked at the photo later that I noticed that the blossom is also a five-pointed star…

In the anthology Sisters of the Earth, Sharman Apt Russell muses:

All around me are plants that heal and connect to the human body. The yucca spiking above is a steroid. Mullein acts as a mild sedative. Mullein root increases the tone of the bladder. Juniper is used for cystitis. Yarrow clots blood.

My body is interwoven into the chemistry of juniper and yarrow. The tone of my bladder is related to mullein root.

How can we doubt our place in the natural world?flowers

Several years ago I wrote a poem called Body Prayer, which is included in the Girl God’s Mother Earth book as well as in my own Earthprayer poetry collection. I was so touched when Goddess Magic Circle sister Angelique (Deb) shared a chant she created from the last stanza this poem. I’ve been waking up in the mornings singing it, or sitting by flowers and singing it, and it delights me. It also brings my mind back to self-care, an ever-present issue it feels like for women.

At our most recent small study group in my tiny temple, we also sang it:

My body is my altar
my body is my temple
my living presence on this earth my prayer…

May we each be healed by flowers, time to ourselves to sit on the earth and sing, and the simple, every day beauties and miracles that surround us each day.october-2016-137

“The autumn woman moves towards dreamtime. Though she knows her limits, she has also felt limitless. She has known the ineffable. She wakes at night from dreams of high windy places where small blue flowers bloom, and she knows in her bones that such places exist. Luminous beings appear in her dreams and pull her towards them. She recognizes the dust of infinity in a windstorm, the fragrance of timelessness in a fire…”

– Patricia Monaghan, excerpted from Seasons of the Witch

Side note: I created a Samhain ritual recipe kit that is currently free in our October issue of the Creative Spirit Circle Journal. Enjoy!

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Categories: blessings, ceremony, chants, earthprayer, embodiment, Flowers, meditations, nature, practices, prayers, priestess, ritual, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, woodspriestess | 4 Comments

Day 4: Summer Altars (#30daysofmidsummer)

13419258_10209831696659106_9209578587839661705_nI am the fire that burns within your soul
I am the Holy light that fills and makes you whole
I am the Flame within, that never dies
I am the sun that will ever arise.

–Lisa Thiel, Litha (Summer Solstice Song)

I’m enjoying 30 Days of Midsummer with the fabulous Joanna Powell Colbert right now. I am unlikely to manage a daily post during this journey, but I hope to create a few posts as the inspiration and time strikes.

I change my home altar + tiny temple altar spaces regularly and I also set up tiny altars wherever I go (or discover them while I’m out!) The photo to the right is of my living room altar space, freshened up for summer. The one below is my current summer altar in my tiny temple (a small building separate from my home, but only a few feet away, which I use as a dedicated personal work space as well as holding small circles/study groups):

13435563_10209831698659156_7383139005246552031_nThe other photos are all photos I took the day of this prompt, all but one before I read the prompt. After reading it, I then recognized them as summer altars in their own right.

Picking wild raspberries that morning…

13450757_10209831699499177_4513543145098394439_nAdmiring the blooms on the rose bushes we planted in front of my tiny temple…

13466414_10209831700219195_6764482167757669331_nVisiting the Roubidoux Spring that afternoon with my kids (a Trail of Tears historic site)…

13445508_10209831700779209_5802312614193145539_nAt Brigid’s Grove, we are celebrating Summer with a free ritual kit for you! The kit includes:

  • Two ceremony outlines (individual and group)16 goddess mandala
  • Tutorials for two projects
  • Summer poem
  • “Blessing and Blooming” mandala activity
  • Wild berry cobbler recipe

This free ritual kit is included in the June issue of our Creative Spirit Circle Journal. (Make sure to join the circle today. It is free and full of resources!)

Glory of the Day-Star, hail!
Lifter of the Light, Burnisher of the Sky.
Gifts of love to earth are bringing,
Summer’s shimmer, dew’s delight.

Dancing be the heart within us,
Open be our souls to bliss,
Courage vanquish every shadow,
Greet Midsummer with a kiss.

— Caitlin Matthews, The Celtic Devotional

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Categories: #30daysofmidsummer, blessings, creativity, earthprayer, Flowers, Goddess, holidays, liturgy, nature, practices, ritual, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, story goddess, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Facing the moon alone…

February 2016 030When all is said and done I think every Witch should, at some time, face the moon alone, feet planted on the ground, with only his or her voice chanting in the starry night.

–Laurie Cabot, Power of the Witch

I will never forget the first time I heard someone recite the Charge of the Goddess from memory. Bare-breasted, she strode around the fire in sacred circle at a large goddess festival in Kansas, delivering the words with power, grace, and confident resonance. I thought: I will do that someday.

In February of this year, we took a family trip to Dauphin Island. While there, the afternoon of the full moon, I February 2016 148decided that the time had come. I was going to memorize the Charge of the Goddess. First, I thought I would only memorize it a piece at a time. It seemed “too big” to do in a single sitting. I had it printed out on a piece of paper that rapidly became damp with the salty sea air. I drew a labyrinth in the sand with my toes, set one of my goddess sculptures at its entrance, and drew a Womanrunes card.

One stanza at a time, slowly I began to repeat the poem* aloud:

hear ye, the words of the star goddess
the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven..
.

Over and over, I said the words, letting them twine around my tongue and in the air, experimenting with cadence and rhythm. After I could reliably repeat one section, I’d move to the next, letting it build in my memory until I could put the two together confidently and then moving to the next.

I am the beauty of the green earth
the white moon amongst the stars..

I stared into the waves, listening to them rise and fall along with my words. My three older children dug in the sand. My husband fished. My toddler toddled around and then came to sit on my lap and nursed to sleep for nap time:February 2016 073

before my face
beloved of all…

I whispered into his damp hair. I felt in an altered state of consciousness. The words began to wind their way through me, becoming a part of me, embedded in me. I danced with them as I have never danced with another piece of writing. I felt them merging with me. I sang them aloud. I stated them fast and slow and I built, adding the next line and then the next…

for behold, all acts of love and pleasure
all my rituals.

I turned over hard thealogical questions as the words spun their magic through the air. What does it really mean that “all your learning and seeking shall avail you not, lest your know the mystery.” Do I really feel the goddess within? Do I find her within myself or is she only outside and if she is only outside, does she really exist at all? Tears came to my eyes: do I even like myself?

Two hours passed. My baby awoke and returned to digging in the sand. My husband packed up his fishing gear. The sky began to darken and spit rain. I stood and danced the words into the sand with my feet.

let your divine innermost self
be enfolded
in the rapture
of the infinite

I felt rapturous. I felt triumphant. I had done it. Faster and faster my feet stamped the sand as I called the words into the waves. I spun in circles with my toddler chanting and laughing and offering my devotion before the sea, beneath the moon.

the mystery of the waters
the desire in human hearts…

February 2016 179*I used Shekhinah Mountainwater’s adaptation of the Charge, originally by Doreen Valiente, as included in the book Ariadne’s Thread.

Categories: blessings, ceremony, chants, Goddess, invocations, liturgy, moon wisdom, nature, poems, practices, prayers, priestess, resources, ritual, sacred pause, spirituality, womanspirit, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

Dogwood Song (#Earthprayer)

Standing on steep hillsides April 2016 016
Leaning from rocky patches of ground
Roots feeling deep in the dark
Searching for the nourishment
That is only possible in shadowed places
Raindrop blessing
Petal and leaf
Sunlight filtered through a canopy of oaks
Branches spreading graciously
A living love song
Strung through the woods like lace.

In my current Earthprayer class, I can’t stop talking about and sharing pictures of the dogwood trees, which are the current love song being sung by the Earth in my corner of the world.

April 2016 019We discovered one tree with pink tinged flowers for the first time near my tiny temple and then another in the woods by the driveway. I love how this same patch of land can continue to surprise me day after day, as long as I pay attention. I also love that the “grand show” goes on without me in countless ways, whether I notice it or not.

April 2016 008

 

Categories: art, birth, blessings, earthprayer, Flowers, nature, poems, sacred pause, seasons, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Day 23: “Awakening.” (#30daysofspring)

Listen.12801588_10209231288729283_4121319403236202860_n
I tell of prayers strung through oak leaves
Deep wells
Emerald fields
Hot coals
I know the courage it takes
To tend the flame
Of ancient mystery.

The lilac by the garage is huge this year and blanketed with buds. I am looking forward to seeing it!

Free Earthprayer class begins April 10th.

Categories: #30daysofspring, art, blessings, creativity, Flowers, Goddess, nature, poems, practices, prayers, readings, sacred pause, sculpture, seasons, self-care, spirituality, story goddess, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 16: Prayer (#30daysofspring)

I roam 12901399_1722523711293177_6840123945282848509_o
sacred ground
my body is my altar
my temple.

I cast a circle
with my breath
I touch the earth
with my fingers
I answer
to the fire of my spirit…

I wrote this poem several years ago and it was then published in The Girl God’s Mother Earth book as well as my own Earthprayer book. I thought of it when I read the prompts for today and I offer in my photo my own woodsprayer of wild plum blossoms.

I am also pleased to offer a free Earthprayer mini class for you beginning in April. Register via this link.

Two related past posts:

Categories: #30daysofspring, blessings, embodiment, Flowers, poems, prayers, resources, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 10: Welcoming Spring (#30daysofspring)

Arise!March 2016 001
Let us greet this morning with smiling faces
Hair unbound
Hearts full of glee
Birdsong in one hand
Roses in the other
Let us dance to River’s music
And Earth’s heartbeat
Under quickening leaves
We are full with the promise of spring.

Happy Spring Equinox! May you be blessed with abundant happiness, joyful song, bright flowers, and steadfast hope.

In case you missed it:

March 2016 023

Categories: #30daysofspring, blessings, creativity, holidays, poems, practices, prayers, priestess, ritual, seasons, theapoetics | Leave a comment

Day 10: Maiden of Spring (#30daysofspring)

Arise! March 2016 029
Let us greet this morning with smiling faces
Hair unbound
Hearts full of glee
Birdsong in one hand
Roses in the other
Let us dance to River’s music
And Earth’s heartbeat
Under quickening leaves
We are full with the promise of spring.


When I saw the prompt and painting for today, I instantly had this poem pop into mind!

Categories: #30daysofspring, blessings, invocations, poems, priestess, sacred pause, theapoetics | Leave a comment

Womanrunes Layout for Imbolc: The Seed

Something waits beneath the surface of your life. If you listen, if you’re quiet, you can hear her breathing. Stretching out, reaching forth. Change. It is IMG_0935coming. Peeking up from beneath the soil, a tender green shoot of possibility and promise, waiting to be nurtured. Do you have room for new growth? Are you able to water and tend to your dreams? Are you able to let light shine upon them? What in your life may be withering from neglect? What has attempted to sprout, but has been cut down, or uprooted, or malnourished?

–Molly Remer, Womanrunes

Imbolc, or Brigid’s Day, brings a reflective pause. Time to sit with your dreams. Time to look at the “seeds” of possibility in your hands and decide what you are going to plant. What needs some time in the deep, dark earth in order to grow? What are you incubating within your own deepness? In honor of this time of year, we created a special card layout themed around the The Seed rune. You can use any of your cards with it, but it works very well with Womanrunes. We have a full page worksheet for it and then the same layout on a half-size worksheet (for tucking into your journal).

May you enjoy a peaceful pause for contemplation today!

Also: we’re celebrating Brigid’s Day and our Business Birthday with an all day Customer Love event today: giveaways via Facebook and Instagram + a Brigid’s Day ritual kit in your email as well as 20% off in our shop with code BRIGID and a 99c deal on our original Ritual Recipe Kit ebook. Enjoy!

January 2016 035

Categories: blessings, divination, endarkenment, holidays, practices, seasons, Womanrunes | Leave a comment

Free Mini Course: Womanspirit Wisdom

I’ve developed three new free mini courses to offer this year. The first is ready to roll and begins on February 1!

Here are the details…

Womanspirit Wisdom

IMG_0173This three week ecourse is designed to offer you a gently nourishing daily “sacred pause.” Beginning February 1, each day for 21 days, take a moment and simply receive. There is nothing to do, just enjoy taking a daily minute to connect with yourself.

Includes:

Categories: blessings, practices, priestess, programs, quotes, readings, red tent, resources, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, womanspirit, women, women's circle | 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 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

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