endarkenment

Day 6: Birth/Death/Rebirth (#30daysofspring)

Scatter my ashes on the tree covered hills March 2016 022
Let my bones come to rest on these stones
Raindrops will come to carry me away
Back to the Fire of All.*

At sunset, I headed to the woods with my drum. I had been thinking about the course prompts for day 6 and found myself singing the little song above. On the way, I stopped to look at the magnolia tree that we planted in memory of my third baby, who died in my second trimester of pregnancy. His death-birth, my hemorrhage and hospital transfer after his birth, and the intense walk through grief that followed, was my death-life-rebirth experience that I’ve written about before–as well as a shamanic initiation into my priestess path and my dedication to the Goddess. His memorial tree is beginning to bud.

After my drum time in the woods, I turned to go back in and looked up to see many buds on the wild plum that was damaged last year and that I feared would not survive. Through its branches, the bright crescent return of the moon…March 2016 023

Unfathomable eons
Glacier time
I am just a blink of an eye
But I can sit, and watch, and wonder.

(*I realized the next morning that my little tune was similar to Kellianna’s Warrior Queen song. **This is actually my writing from March 14)

Categories: #30daysofspring, ceremony, chants, death, drums, endarkenment, moon wisdom, music, nature, night, poems, practices, prayers, pregnancy loss, priestess, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Darkly, Richly

February 2016 013“…Look at me
I am not a separate
woman
I am a continuance
of blue sky
I am the throat
of the Sandia Mountains
A night wind woman
who burns
with every breath
she takes.”

–Joy Harjo in Open Mind

The line about the night wind woman captivated me when I first read it and it still does. I’m not sure why. I’m not entirely sure what a “night wind woman” is, but I think I am one. I used the line in the poem I open the Womanrunes book with as well, originally writing it to go with the Crescent Moon rune.

Coincidentally, right at the same time we hit the “night wind” quote in the Womanspirit mini class, we have a new Crescent Moon/New Moon layout available on our site: Crescent Moon Layout for the New Moon!

I am getting ready for a trip and having trouble allowing myself the space for self-care and rest, so I need a little reminder to spend some time in the dark and rich during this new moon cycle.

This week, I was working on some materials for my upcoming priestess class and I found another quote I had saved that connects to all these themes:

“Invite the inner woman to speak in her language of poetry, bones, clouds, dreams, red shoes, fairy dust, ravens, and fissures of the heartland. She who dwells in the wild within will help to navigate the cliffs and valleys. She will show you the passage through – give you eyes to see in the dark. And then, when you are able, she will give you wings to fly out from that both nurturing and devastating abyss into divine light.”

–Shiloh Sophia McCloud

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Categories: dreams, endarkenment, moon wisdom, night, poems, prayers, priestess, programs, quotes, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, Womanrunes, womanspirit | 2 Comments

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!

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Categories: blessings, divination, endarkenment, holidays, practices, seasons, Womanrunes | 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 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 2: Winter Withdrawal (#30daysofyule + #30daysofdissertation)

12362679_1685790088299873_4037715236141904055_oFinally comes the time of withdrawal, the hidden time.

It is as though the world sleeps under a gray cloak. Everything is still and silent. It is as though the world sleeps under a gray veil. . .

Life has moved to the center, to its hidden darkness. Bulbs rest, roots sleep, trees go dormant. Stillness settles over the world.

— Patricia Monaghan, “Winter,” Seasons of the Witch

The sculpture above was created in black by special request for someone who is in a Cerridwen priestess program. I find her to be a powerful evocation of the mood of this time of year as well.

As I noted yesterday, the twin pulls of withdrawal and community are strong for me at this time of year. I crave silence and time alone to work and think and be. I also am filled with ideas for celebrations and events and activities with friends and families. Creating my workspace in my clubhouse-turned-goddess-temple is one step that honors both needs: time apart and away to withdraw into myself and work, while at the same time holding the potential of being a gathering space for a (small) group.

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Inside my tiny temple space. Ahhh! Such peaceful quiet.

Today, I left the door open so that I could hear the birds and the breeze while I typed at my little desk. I had to prepare a final exam for my class and so the bulk of my alone time was spent on that project. But, I also managed to pull in some notes from a review of the book Portrait of a Priestess by Joan Connelly (reviewed in the Journal of Law and Religion). I didn’t really enjoy her book myself, it was dry and ponderous, and it was kind of nice to read about it through someone else’s perception–I feel like I may have gotten more useful nuggets from the review than from the book itself! I noticed throughout my coursework at OSC that the classes that focus on history were the least enjoyable to me. I don’t find that I personally need historical validation to “legitimize” my own life/path. Connelly’s book focuses in exhaustive, painstaking detail on the lives of priestesses in Greece. The subtext being, to me, that if we can prove that there were priestesses in Greece who were respected and had authority, independence, and agency then this justifies the existence of present day priestesses. I don’t find the justification particularly necessary, especially since data is slim and contextual and cultural factors have such an influence. (It isn’t that it isn’t valuable or relevant or good information to have, it is just that my personal need for this information as a form of justification, validation, affirmation, or legitimization feels low and I therefore have trouble feeling passionate about it!)

From the review:

The religious activities of priestesses listed in Chapter Six, for example, are organized in the following categories: procession (167), prayer (173), libation (176), sacrifice (179), ritual feasting (190) and benefactions (192).

These are interesting and relevant, but do not dictate present-day behaviors or roles, to my mind. I need to do some work and “unpacking” of how I will weave some priestess herstory into my dissertation (I do, in fact, usually specify that my research is on contemporary priestessing in the US. However, this doesn’t mean that I want to ignore looking at the ancient thread of lineage and purpose that connects us to priestesses of other times and places…).

Have I mentioned what a big project this is? Luckily, my 30 days and fifteen minutes plans both make it feel doable again instead of impossible!

Categories: #30daysofyule, 30daysofdissertation, art, dissertation, endarkenment, feminist thealogy, priestess, seasons | Leave a comment

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

November 2015 050

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 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 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 1: A Symbol of the Crone (#30daysofHecate)

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…We arrive at a crossroads on our path through the woods, and we have the choice of three ways to go. Is that a mantled figure with silver hair gleaming in the moonlight we see standing there? Or is it a snag of old twisted deadwood? A bony finger is lifted to point the way. We have heard it said that Hecate, the Great Crone herself, is always found where three paths come together, and always at the crossroads of our lives.

Come, listen closely. Can you hear Hecate’s whispers on the wind?

— JPC, Gaian Soul Seasonal Practices for Hallowmas

I simply can’t resist the 30 Days ecourses from Joanna Powell Colbert and I’ve signed up for 30 Days of Hecate as well! I almost didn’t sign up for it, because Hecate makes me a little nervous—she’s actually one of the first goddesses I have had any contact with or exposure to, but I never pursued the connection. About twelve years ago, when my first child was a baby, I was practicing yoga one morning in the guest room and I “heard” the name Hecate whispered to me. I was only tentatively and tenderly exploring goddess spirituality at that point and had never heard the name Hecate before—I even got up from my yoga mat to look it up on the internet, because I didn’t even know if it was a real goddess name…

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Categories: #30daysofHecate, endarkenment, Goddess, sacred pause, seasons | Leave a comment

Day 28: The Singing Dark

To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
And find that the dark, too, blooms and sings.

— Wendell Berry

 

The fall nights literally sing here. Walking on the veranda, a chorus of insect song fills the air, owls call, dogs bark, coyotes howl. 

I enjoyed this post which popped up synchronistically today:

But darkness has its place too, especially when we are working to understand ourselves, or to create a shift in our lives, or to transition from one state-of-being to another. These shifts and transitions are dark experiences lacking clarity and structure. And here is this little gland in the body that rides around in our brains with us, helping us perceive whether it is day or night, light or dark, stop or continue, yes or no. I’m inclined to think that this hidden jewel of the brain is not only a night-time regulator but also the source of the deep, overwhelming sense of imbalance and extraordinary “lightness of being” and loss of firmament that we experience when, for instance, we go caving.

Source: Darkness with a Capital D – PaganSquare – PaganSquare

I also read this newsletter from Moontime Rising and appreciated this reminder from Giuliana:

So, dear one, as the sun sets and the dark sky fills with stars…

Harvest what feeds you, and compost the rest.

And welcome the inevitable walk through the dark…

(My photo from tonight is of a planter on the back deck/veranda.)

Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, endarkenment, nature, night, practices, sacred pause, seasons | 1 Comment

Day 25: Sweet Darkness (#30Daysof Harvest)

…Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

— David Whyte

I’ve written several times about the value of Endarkenment. Last night at our Red Tent Circle, we had a seed ceremony and talked about how beautiful things can take root in dark places. Time spent curled up in the dark is necessary before things can bloom. 

 
 

Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, endarkenment, night, red tent, sacred pause, self-care, women | 2 Comments

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