endarkenment

Day 21: Dreaming (#30DaysofHarvest)

A wisdom whispers from the Dreamtime IMG_8151
calling me to ceremony and song
it flickers in the firelight
of ancient memory
rippling along my spine
dancing through my fingertips.

What is it that calls me in the night?
I look up
She’s pouring tea across from me
a patterned rhythm to her movements that speaks
of sacred knowing.

A door opens
She is ready to share
and yet, I slip away
through the undercurrents of time
falling down out of space
out of memory
out of song
and out of touch.

Landing
in a soft bed
my arm curled around my nursling
hearing his breath in the dark
and wondering
what I am missing
what I’m forgetting
and what remembering is right here.

I’ve been craving solitude and time alone to simply think. My dreams have felt very significant and yet skitter away from me during frequent night-wakings with my nursling. They roll just out of my reach and dance at the edges of my consciousness with the promise of something forgotten…

Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, endarkenment, night, parenting, practices, sacred pause, self-care, theapoetics, womanspirit | Leave a comment

Day 12: Entering the darkness (#30DaysofHarvest)

 
At dusk before the lunar eclipse, I did my final recording for our Red Tent Initiation program. We’re entering Crone territory now. Contemplating shadows, conflict resolution, group dynamics, fears, and doubts…

Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, classes, endarkenment, priestess, red tent, sacred pause | Leave a comment

New Moon

July 2015 002

We honor the new moon and her blessings.
Letting go, releasing, shedding.
That which no longer serves is gently released
That which is desired, slips out into the crack of possibility
And takes root
Preparing to grow.

But, for now a moment to rest.
To keep silent peace
To soak in the dark of the moon
And her promise of quiet

Deep

Renewal.July 2015 029

Categories: blessings, endarkenment, night, poems, prayers | 2 Comments

Winter Solstice Meditation

When the wheel of the year turns towards fall, I always feel the call to retreat, to cocoon, to pull away. I also feel the urge for fall de-cluttering—my eyes cast about the house for things to unload, get rid of, to cast away. I also search my calendar for those things which can be eliminated, trimmed down, cut back on. I think it is the inexorable approach of the winter holiday season that prompts this desire to withdraw, as well as the natural rhythm of the earth which so clearly says: let things go, it is time to hibernate.

Late autumn and the shift toward winter is a time of discernment. A time to choose. A time to notice that which has not made it through the summer’s heat and thus needs to be pruned away. In this time of the year, we both recognize the harvest of our labors and that which needs to be released or even sacrificed as we sense the promise of the new year to come.

This year I cocoon with my new baby. Though I have three other children, this new baby was the first child whose development and arrival December 2014 106perfectly mirrored the wheel of the year. Conceived during the first month of the new year, taking root in the darkness of winter’s end, beginning to bud during the springtime and coming into full bloom during the summer. And, then, with the season’s spiral turn into fall, when many beautiful things are harvested, his birth: October 30, into my welcoming hands in the sunlight bright morning in my living room. Now, with the steady progress of winter, we curl together in a small, new world. We cocoon in the cave of our own home, the size of the world re-sized to the size of my bed, kitchen table, and rocking chair. This is the fourth trimester, the time in which the baby continues to develop his nervous system and continues to live within the context of the mother’s body. I am his habitat. His place. His home is in my arms.

This sinking in, this cocooning, this safe, small world is perfect for the call of winter. While my to-do list has again begun to clang in my ear and the clamor of my other children surrounds me, the early nights, cold temperatures, and gray skies, remind me to nestle, remember, and grow. Beautiful magic takes root in dark, deep places.

Winter solstice.
Deep, long, dark night.
Cold cracks
brittle branches,
icy stone.

Winter’s song December 2014 004
echoes in skeletal treetops
and crackling leaves.
Rest time.
Hibernation.
Silent watchfulness.
Waiting hope.

Sink down.
Open up.
Receive and feel.
Hold peace.

May you enjoy a rich, peaceful solstice with your family and loved ones! May you be blessed by light and may you find wisdom and solace in dark, deep, places. And, may you remember not to be so distracted by the promise of the light to come that you forget the great value to be found in endarkenment as well.

December 2014 211

 

Categories: blessings, endarkenment, family, holidays, parenting, poems, spirituality, theapoetics | 1 Comment

Cave (prayer and meditation)

“Only in the deepest silence of night

the stars smile and whisper among themselves.”

–Rabindranath Tagore (quoted in Dear Heart, Come Home page 52)

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Nearly full-moon over model Stonehenge last night.

I know it is summertime and that we’ve just passed the summer solstice. It is also the full moon—bright, full of promise, energy, and enthusiasm. The time for descent, and retreat, and rest, and cocooning is not yet upon us. Regardless, I remain in the mood to wrap up, wind down, finish up. I’m having a new baby in October and I feel a powerful, powerful call to finish all kinds of things so I can fully greet him. One of my projects is evaluating and reducing my book collection. As I do so, I find odds and ends I’d marked to write about or remember. Rather than storing the whole book, it makes sense to me to save the one or two pages I’d marked instead. So, despite the incongruency with the time of year, I’d like to share this prayer and meditation exercise I saved from the book Dear Heart, Come Home: The Path of Midlife Spirituality by Joyce Rupp (now up for grabs in my giveaway box if anyone local wants it for free!). I think it would be a perfect reading and brief meditation to use during a late fall or winter ceremony…

A Prayer for the Cave Time

Guardian of my soul, thank you,

for guiding me in the dark places,

for reaching me through the people of my life,

for drawing near to love me when I feel unlovable,

for teaching me how to tend my wounds,

for guarding me with words of truth

and moments of empowerment,

for allowing my pain and struggle

so that I can come to greater wholeness.

Guardian of my soul,

you are my Coach in the Cave,

my Voice in the Fog

my Midwife of Wisdom.

I place my trust in you

as I give myself to the process

of learning from my darkness.

–Joyce Rupp (page 53, Dear Heart, Come Home)

Because I’m feeling on the lazy side, I did not transcribe the meditation, I took a picture of the page instead (page 183).

cave meditation

There are some associated journaling and discussion questions about the cave of darkness in your own life as well (slightly modified/edited from page 51-52):

  1. Have you experienced a significant time of darkness? What was it like for you?
  2. What do you most resist about the cave of darkness?
  3. Do you care for yourself when you are in darkness? (If so, how?)
  4. What gives you the courage to go on?
  5. How has darkness been a teacher for you?

For more about endarkenment see my previous essay here:

…In fact, what if the Goddess Herself is found in the dark? Judith Laura writing about dark matter in the cosmos writes, “might we call this ‘unseen force’ Goddess? Dark matter could be identified with the womb of the Mother, continually gestating particles, suns, galaxies, which flow from her in a continual stream…Dark matter might also be represented as the Crone aspect of the Goddess—dark and powerful…”

via Endarkenment

Remember to listen to the night wind woman and her talkative silence: June 2014 017

Listen to what is walking here
tiptoeing through your dreams
knocking at the door of your unconscious mind
whispering from shadows
calling from the full moon
twinkling in the stars
carried by the night wind woman
rising at sunset
peeking out
in tentative
yet persistent purpose.

Listen to the call
trust the talkative silence…

via Womanrunes: The Crescent Moon | WoodsPriestess.

 

Categories: books, endarkenment, GGG, nature, night, prayers, readings, resources, retreat, ritual, seasons, spirituality, thealogy, theapoetics, womanspirit | Leave a comment

The Wheel of the Year

Are you awake in the night on these long winter turns as we labor to Birth the Light? The Wheel creaks slowly. The crone rests in her bed of dried leaves. The fields, cleared by the harvest and the gleaners, wear winter’s blanket. Can we trust the darkness of this final descent, where nature seems to hold her breath? inside this “new moon of the year” we labor, surrendering everything to the prevailing dark.

In the wide world, the holidays offer anxious frenzy: a false labor, falsely induced. What to do? Follow the crone down and in, toward the still point. Gather sisterly support. Listen! Inner and outer worlds are yearning for Peace, so turn toward what wants to be birthed. Circle in darkness, moan in labor, trance deep, cross the void. In starlight vision, whorls of small flames come into view as we carry the Mystery! The bottomless, blind dark is pierced at the moment of its victory, delivering the tiniest slivers of peaceful light. Blessed Be.

–Marian Spadone in We’Moon, 2013

In my most recent post in my SageWoman blog, I wrote about the living practice and observation of the wheel of the year as it turns:

As my family celebrates the Full Moon together monthly and as I honor my own recurrent need for stillness and retreat during my Dark Moon Retreats, we are making visible this interconnected dance with nature and with life. We are affirming our commitment, our relatedness, to each other and to the natural environment around us. We are communicating and in relationship to that larger force of life and spirit that we know as Goddess. And, we bring our spiritual beliefs into our bodies, hands, minds, and hearts in an ever-spinning Wheel of celebration, attention, observation, enjoyment, and communion.

via Moontale, Moontide, Moonspell

I had a different and more expressive post in mind for tonight, but once again have run into the end of the evening and have to honor the pull towards sleep instead.

I had a winning streak with giveaways during the first week of December. I won the Animal Powers Meditation Kit I mentioned earlier, I won a secret something I’m excited about that is going to be a gift for someone else, and I also won a pretty card for my birth art wall. The card came today, titled Abundance:

December 2013 030
I’m working on improving the atmosphere in my bedroom work space and I added the card there plus the elemental altar bowl from my mom that I mentioned yesterday 🙂
December 2013 032

Categories: art, endarkenment, feminist thealogy, holidays, spirituality | Leave a comment

Solstice Spiral

IMG_0419

Last year’s spiral.

In my winter solstice post, I referenced our family’s tradition of walking a “solstice spiral” each year as part of our year-end ritual. It is based on the Waldorf tradition of an “advent spiral,” which is often made outdoors using evergreen branches. During the first year we tried the spiral, I did decorate the outside of our spiral with evergreen branches, but since then I’ve simply opted to lay out a spiral shape on the floor using silver and gold tinsel garlands. It is simple, but once ringed with candles and the household lights turned out, it becomes magical! I wrote about the purpose somewhat generically in this winter solstice post from last year:

Then, lighting candles, we walk our traditional “solstice spiral” (made with gold garland laid out in the spiral on the floor, ringed with evergreen branches and candles)—leaving behind our losses and that which we no longer need in the darkness, and carrying forward the bright spark of new possibility that is taking root in our lives for the new year. After exiting the spiral, we place our candles together on the Yule log to represent that which we hope to bring into the full light of dawning year.

via Goddess Wheel of the Year: Winter Solstice Ritual | WoodsPriestess.

Solstice spiral. We shut the lights out and walk it with candles.

This year’s spiral before the lights are out.

Each year during our family winter solstice ritual we review our lives from the past year—things we’re proud of, things we’d like to let go of—and then set new intentions for the coming year. We write these down on pieces of paper that I then roll up together and put in a box. The following year, we each open our papers and read what we wrote the year before and see how/if these intentions manifested over the year. It is very interesting to see how we rarely remember exactly what we wrote and yet, how often those things have come to pass. After this goals review process, we all get our candles and walk the solstice spiral in turn to symbolize the setting forth of our new intentions. This year, as each person came out of the spiral, I gave them a stone totem animal that I’d purchased from a nifty ebay seller and also a card from the Animal Powers Meditation Kit I’d conveniently won in an online giveaway recently. The stone animal was my gift to each and the card was just an intuitive solstice message for each that they then returned to the box. We carried our candles over to the Yule log and did the following responsive reading as I lit each candle in the Yule log:

December 2013 022

Little stone bear.

When the earth is barren.
The light is reborn.
When the animals sleep.
The light is reborn.
When the leaves have all fallen.
The light is reborn.
When the rivers are frozen.
The light is reborn.
When the ground is hard.
The light is reborn.
When the shadows grow long.
The light is reborn.
When warmth has fled.
The light is reborn.
In the darkest night.
The light is reborn.

(via Family Winter Solstice Ritual)

December 2013 042

Lit Yule log.

Then we each shared the animal message from our cards. I’m actually planning to do a variation of this ceremony on New Year’s Eve when some other members of our family will be visiting. We will use it as a welcoming-the-new-year path and I have some different things to give them at the end of this one (you’ll have to wait to hear about that later, because some of them read this blog and I don’t want to spoil my little surprise!)

Categories: endarkenment, family, holidays, night, readings, ritual, spirituality | 2 Comments

Winter Solstice Meditation

Winter solstice December 2013 022
deep, long, dark night.
Cold cracks
brittle branches
icy stone.

Winter’s song
echoes in skeletal treetops
and crackling leaves.
Rest time.
Hibernation.
Silent watchfulness.
Waiting hope.

Sink down.
Open up.
Receive and feel.
Hold peace.

Pause and check withinDecember 2013 023
for that glowing emberheart
in your soul.
What purpose calls your name?
What seed incubates
waiting for the breath of hope
and the breath of action
to coax it into life?

Winter Solstice.
Time for your light to shine
from within the sheltering dark.

If you pause in darkness what does your body have to tell you? What do your dreams have to tell you? What does the frozen ground have to tell you? What do the spirits of place have to tell you?

What song can only be sung by you?

What emberheart can only be ignited by your breath?

What path have your feet found?

What messages are carved in stone and etched on leaf for your eyes and in your name?

What promise are you keeping?

This afternoon my husband and I worked together on the drum kit he gave me as a solstice gift. It is still hanging up to dry, so I don’t know if it completely worked yet, but it was fun to do together and I’m extremely pleased with the result. I love it so much! It is elk hide and the kit is from Centralia Fur and Hide. I felt very mindful while working on it that this was a creature’s skin and I both felt disturbed or guilty, as well as respectful of that.

December 2013 019

Categories: art, blessings, endarkenment, family, holidays, nature, poems, prayers, retreat, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

Happy Solstice!

The winter solstice happens in nature around us. But it also happens inside of us, in our souls. It can happen inside of us in summer or winter, spring or December 2013 042fall. 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.

via Family Winter Solstice Ritual.

Our family ritual today turned out beautifully. My favorite part is our solstice spiral tradition. I will write more about it later, but I promised myself that I would do a quick quote-and-picture post only today so I can continue to hold the mood of the day, rather than staying up late typing 🙂 I’m also going to browse through some of my new books!

Categories: endarkenment, family, holidays, night, parenting, priestess, ritual, spirituality | 3 Comments

Winter Solstice Ritual Ideas

SunInviting Our Light to Shine

When you celebrate the winter solstice,
May your light shine.
When you share love,
May your light shine.
When you work for peace,
May your light shine.
When you teach a child about justice,
May your light shine.
When you comfort someone who is ill,
May your light shine.
When you grieve the loss of a loved one,
May your light shine.
When you are challenged to change,
May your light shine.
When you (add your own intention here),
May your light shine.
Bless yourself with the light.
Your light will shine.

via December Ritual: Winter Solstice by Diann L. Neu | WATER – Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual.

I have not yet finalized my own plans for our family’s winter solstice ritual tomorrow night. I feel somewhat paralyzed about it and I think I’ve finally figured out that it is because I have too many ideas. I have so many saved plans and possibilities (a 32 page word document to be exact) and I’m having trouble choosing and thus forming a coherent ritual structure that will appeal to everyone. I’m trying to keep clearly in focus the fact that my kids need to enjoy this too and I know that that means more doing and less talking. But, dang it, I want to do some soulful year-in-review reflection and new year planning. I’m going to save some of those ideas for New Year’s Eve, I think, even if I have to complete them alone and maybe save some for our women’s retreat in January. (Note to self: this is a lot of stuff to be working on once. Duh. No wonder you feel a little fried!) I don’t want to do “too much,” but I also want to do “enough” (and enough means to me that I feel satisfied and fulfilled with the experience and not like I’m cutting corners because I’m worried about boring the kids and not frazzled because I’m cramming in too much…hence, my paralysis, because I’m not sure these are compatible wishes!)

So, I thought I’d share my collection of resources that I’m using to prepare for this ritual. I’m posting early today, because I want to make sure anyone who is interested knows that there is a free online solstice ritual tonight from Shiloh Sophia (there is a cool little workbook that comes with it and it is full of the kinds of things I think I envision my own ritual holding—the year-in-review stuff—but that I know from past experience is too much for kids to handle without getting bored. Maybe I can accept that this is something I work on alone at night, instead of expecting it to be a community/family experience): Winter Solstice Super Power Ritual LIVE Event | Shiloh Sophia Studios

I’m also excited about this free, downloadable meditation (which may again be best for my solitary self rather than sharing with ALL THE PEOPLE): Winter Holiday Transformation Guided Journey

And, a lovely short ritual from WATER, already excerpted above: December Ritual: Winter Solstice by Diann L. Neu | WATER – Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual

My own She is Crone poem appears in the Winter Solstice edition of The Oracle from Global Goddess: Winter Solstice 2013 | Global Goddess

Some assorted other delicious links for you (and me):

I previously shared this helpful link for family celebrations: Pagan Family Sabbats and Esbats | Rituals for moms, dads, and kids to celebrate the 8 Pagan Sabbats and Esbats

I love this exploration of the symbolic meaning of the winter solstice from Glenys Livingstone:

Winter Solstice is the time for the lighting of candles, for embracing the miracle of being, for choosing a joyful response to the awesome fact of existence, for celebrating the Gift of Birth. Birthing is not often an easy process – for the birthgiver nor for the birthed one: it is a shamanic act requiring strength of bodymind, attention and focus of the mother, and courage to be of the new young one. Birthgiving is the original place of “heroics” … many cultures of the world have never forgotten that: perhaps therefore better termed as “heraics2” . Patriarchal adaptations of the story of this Seasonal Moment usually miss the Creative Act of birthgiving completely – pre-occupied as they often are with the “virgin” nature of the Mother being interpreted as an “intact hymen”, and the focus being the Child as “saviour”: even the Mother gazes at the Child in Christian icons, while in more ancient images Her eyes are direct and expressive of Her integrity as Creator.

Winter Solstice and Early Spring rituals may be a contemplation of the Creativity of the Cosmos – Cosmogenesis … how it All unfolds. When told from within a “Mother-mind” – a mind that connects the biological creativity of the female body to Cosmic Creativity, to our “Navel” lineage, to the Nativity of every being, then we are all the Holy Ones. And we all – female and male – may know the skill and care required for “birthing” the New, whether that is physical, psychological or however one categorizes it. In Earth-based religious practice, the ubiquitous icon of Mother and Child – Creator and Created – expresses something essential about the Universe itself … the “motherhood” we are all born within (not simply a “brotherhood”). It expresses the essential Communion experience that this Cosmos is, the innate and holy Care that it takes, and the reciprocal nature of it: that is, how one is always Creator and Created at the same time. We cannot touch without being touched at the same time. We may realize that Cosmogenesis – the entire Unfolding of the Cosmos – is essentially relational: our experience tells us this is so.

The Early Spring/Imbolc celebration is traditionally a time of dedication to the nurturance of the New Young Being. Once again, this is no wimpy task: it 20131028-184958.jpgis for the brave and courageous, whether one is committing to the new being in another or in one’s self. The Great Goddess Brigid of the Celtic peoples is traditionally invoked for such a task. She has been understood for millennia as the One Who tends the Flame of Being: a Brigid-ine commitment is one that is unwavering in its devotion to the central truth of each unique particular self. The stories of Old speak of Brigid in three primary capacities – that may need spelling out in our times, as they are almost forgotten skills: She is imagined as Blacksmith, Physician and Poet … all three.

Blacksmith is one who takes the unshapely lump of raw metal, melts it, then takes the fiery hot form and shapes it … this is no stereotypical “feminine” act: the Goddess of Old is not bound by such patriarchal dualisms. She is spiritual warrior, shaman – this is Her eternal Virgin quality, never separate from the Mother quality or the Old One quality, and no need to characterize such power as “masculine” or dissociate it from “nursery” activity.

Physician is one who understands the “physics” of being, of matter … how a body relates within itself and within its context, functions harmoniously and thus may heal/whole. In this role, Brigid is scientist, healer … none of it separate. Her physics is biologically connected – an understanding of dwelling within a whole and seamless Universe.

Poet of Old is one who speaks the metaphors, the stories of cultural knowledge, the sacred language of Creativity – one who “spells” what may be so. It is a power of spirit: the voice enabled by air, resonant with the winged ones – the birds – whose perspective transcends boundaries. The ancients knew Poetry as a sacred and powerful task – that with our words, we do create what is so. Brigid’s “motherhood statements” are statements of the Mother/Creator, Who once again is never separate from Her whole self – the Young One and the Old One – represented in the Triple Spiral dynamic.

The coming into Being that Winter Solstice and Early Spring celebrates, is an awesome thing. It takes courage and daring. It has taken courage and daring – always. In these times of change, it is perhaps particularly so. Our times require the melting down of so much that no longer works, that will not carry us through. These times require the re-shaping and speaking of new realities – an aboriginal magic of new connections, with what is already present within us, if we can but plumb it, open to it deep within. This is a great seasonal moment to get with the plot of Creativity, to align ourselves with our Native Wisdom …the Wisdom that in fact brings us all into being. We may re-spond to the gift of being by receiving it graciously – and thus become re-sponsible. Though we may feel inadequate, we are not – and we need to begin…

Winter-Spring Earth Wisdom | PaGaian Cosmology

And, I breathed deeply when I read this great suggestion from Tracie Nichols:

Get back in your body. I use this meditation to do that.

Listen for which part of your body would like to speak. If it doesn’t show up immediately, listen some more. Still got nothing? Stop checking your phone and listen again. It WILL make itself known.

Open with a kind and loving statement (see mine above for inspiration) so you are consciously committing to listening and letting your body know how much you love and respect her/him.

Record your conversation with whatever method of creative expression you like best. Journal. Poetry. Art. Dance. Music. Whatever works for you.

Say “Thank you!”

Decide if any action needs to be taken, and take it.

via How not to implode during the holiday chaos… » Tracie Nichols.

My “productive” mode says: keep working, design a fabulous ritual! But, my hungry belly that hasn’t yet had breakfast says: feed me. Please! So, that’s what I’m going to do 🙂

May you enjoy a rich, peaceful solstice with your own family and loved ones! May you be blessed by light and may you find wisdom and solace in dark, deep, places. Do not get so distracted by the promise of the light that you forget the great value in endarkenment as well.

Categories: blessings, community, endarkenment, family, holidays, liturgy, parenting, prayers, priestess, resources, ritual, self-care, spirituality | 2 Comments

Bonewind’s Return

Bone wind has returned November 2013 009
mother of winter’s chill
sweeping through bare branches
and rattling dusty leaves.

The remnants of summer
have completely faded
and the doorway to the new year
has cracked open.

With the skeletal swirl of frost and freeze
I see the hint
of new things
waiting to burst from behind the door

Hibernating now perhaps
hunkered down to wait it out
resting, biding time, percolating
nestled in darkness
but, oh so ready, to grow.

It is only on the surface
that the world prepares to take a long nap
underneath the crust
change boils
life bubbles
new ideas gestate
and time crowns anew
with the promise and potential of birth
held in cupped hands.

The flame of fresh ideas flickers
and catches
until the blaze of possibility
envelopes the cold.

Winter is falling across the woods and I find myself filled with an amazing sense of promise and potential about the new year. 2103 has held a lot of transition for my family, it has held the grief of my grandmother’s death, as well as changes aplenty–some changes that are beautifully enriching, creatively inspiring, and relationship enhancing and some changes that have been difficult, sad, trying, and frustrating. Ever since the wind turned towards fall, I’ve felt a sensation of “fall cleaning.” Sweep it out, start fresh, begin again, take a break, pause, regroup, reform, re-try, launch, begin, start new things…I’ve felt it practically in terms of rearranging my house and going on various decluttering missions, but I also feel it inside—my own purpose, focus, priorities, and projects.

In the past I wrote about what I termed the bone wind here: Woodspriestess: Bonewind | WoodsPriestess

Categories: endarkenment, holidays, nature, poems, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Woodspriestess: Armadillo Surprise

armadillo

(not the actual armadillopriestess that I met in the woods)

Eight months into my woodspriestess experiment and I continue to be surprised by this same small patch of woods. Last night, if you chanced to overhear me in my sacred space, you would have heard me scream:

“Oh my GAWD!!!!! I just STEPPED ON an ARMADILLO!!!!!!”

Yes, that is correct, I stepped squarely on a genuine, real live armadillo on my way through the woods last night. I’d gotten “too busy” to visit the woods during the day and by the time I made my way down there, it was totally dark. I opted to go out without a flashlight, feeling a bit smug, if I do say so myself, that I know these woods so well and am just so connected that I don’t even need a flashlight to find my way and then…STEP…bizarre-growling-squeal/grunt-and-scuttle and me screaming the above. My first thought as I grasped what had happened was actually to try to take a picture for a blog post, but by then it was too late and only the scaly tail was dimly visible under a nearby shrub! By the time I stood on the rocks, I was laughing semi-hysterically and my heart was pounding with the adrenalin and surprise. I reflected again on how very many creatures share these woods with me and I wondered how many other woodspriestesses of various species cross these very stones each day! I think of them as “mine,” but clearly an armadillo also finds them a useful nighttime resting place.

I spoke aloud…

Dark Mother
Rising up to surprise us
stumbling in the night
stepping on armadillos
startled by a snake in the path
surrounded by bug song
and mystery

a place to incubate dreams
arising with purpose
and potency
but always reminding us
to watch your step.

20130804-204733.jpg

This afternoon, I was compelled to take a little armadillopriestess down to the rocks with me for a joke. But, I didn’t wait until dark!

Dark Mother
rising up in surprising places
leading us beside choppy waters
holding back our hair if we vomit.

Dark Mother
do not go easy
into the night
you claw and scratch
jumping up
clad in armor
that we may trip over.

Keep us on the edge
keep us on our toes
keep us in the dark
keep us in the mystery…

I never want to stop being surprised by this place, even if it makes my heart pound.
Thank you.

20130804-204704.jpg

Categories: endarkenment, nature, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

Woodspriestess: The Outraged Ancestral Mother

The Outraged Ancestral Mother Goddessgarb 100
has awoken
she howls through canyons
claws away insecurities and doubts
and stomps illusions into dust.

She rattles hailstones
on rooftops
and whips the seas into
a froth of fury.

She dances the wind
into hurricanes
and she kindles
a wildfire
saying
watch out
it burns
pay attention.

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with her storming
thunders leaves, branches, and houses
down around your ears
crying wake up.

She screeches
on the winds
her voice becoming
a tornado
Swirling madcap
down the corridor
of time.

She lifts a chalice
of armadillo skin and whale bone
and she cries out
for change.

In the howl of outrage
and sweep of fury
in the crackle
of iced lightning
in the waves
which crest June 2013 021
against the shore
and drag
you out to sea.

In the ferocious beauty
of her howling dance
we glimpse the sun-heart
of love
sharp-edged
ragged
hot
slicing through
the veils
that shroud our thinking

We step through
and join her dance
raising our voices
in the chorus
of her song.

Draping a necklace of skulls
around our throats
and drumming
a wake up call
to our sisters and brothers.

Arise!
The Outraged Ancestral Mother
calls your name
Your blood is on her teeth
she tastes your fears
and your courage…

Yesterday, we did a double-session of our Rise Up and Call Her Name class. In the second of the day’s sessions:  “We honor the Outraged Ancestral Mother and the belief that the sacred and secular are one” (The Female Divine in All Her Glorious Shapes, Colors and Sounds). I was caught by the idea of the Outraged Ancestral Mother and we spent some time discussing her and the degree to which humanity has hurt our planet. This morning while I was practicing yoga, snippets of this new poem came floating to my mind. I had the distinct feeling that the Outraged Ancestral Mother was ready to speak to me. So, I went down to the woods to listen to what she had to say.  It was different from the kinds of things I usually write and think about and the tone was more aggressive and harsh—I surprised myself!

A note regarding the armadillo skin chalice: Ever since giving birth to my first child almost ten years ago, I have a strong reaction to roadkill, primarily centered around the maternal experience—that was someone’s BABY! She worked so hard for that life. Recently, while driving to town I saw an armadillo being picked over by crows on the road, its body becoming a hollowed out shell or rind almost. I’ve been in a pretty bad mood lately and in addition to my usual thoughts about poor babies, I also began to have depressing existential musings about what is the whole point anyway. We can all just be roadkill, nothing cares about us. Our bloody guts could be splattered across the road tomorrow and the Earth wouldn’t miss us. We are not loved by the Goddess/Universe or by anything else—we’re just roadkill. And, then, I had a vision—a dark robed Crone Goddess figure holding the armadillo shell aloft, fully cleaned out and empty and raising it to her lips as if to drink. At this point I realized, nothing is wasted. Everything is recycled. Everything is used. Every part matters, always.

June 2013 005

My new phone has a panoramic option!

Categories: death, endarkenment, feminist thealogy, Goddess, nature, poems, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 6 Comments

Woodspriestess: Sensory

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The chair rock has a couple of nice little “shelf” nook on the side of it. I’m always tempted to leave things on it, but I make a habit of not leaving things in or (usually) taking things from the woods. Sometimes I set something on the shelf just during the time that I am out there.

Breathe deep
Breathe peace

Open hands
Open heart
Open mind
Open spirit

This is both my prayer
And my vow

Resting in sheltering stone
Listening to bird song
Feeling the breeze
Seeing the trees against sky
Tasting the very center of life.

A thealogy of embodiment is the subject of my dissertation, so I was very interested to read the Allergic Pagan’s smart and thought-provoking follow-up post to his thoughts about objectivity. He draws the conclusion that it is the body that bridges the gap between the subjective and objective. While I focused on subjective experience and the Goddess in my prior post about objectivity, I actually do find that the Goddess can be interpreted/understood through science as well—some people call it evolution, others call it Goddess and others call it God…subjective experience need not exclude scientific concepts/understanding. As in my breastmilk example from that post, I can understand the experience both objectively and subjectively and, just as John notes, this intersection occurs within the body. I also believe theapoetical language can include both as well. I’m going to explore the question of the place of the God within thealogy in my Thursday Thealogy post next week. I tend to come from the notion that Goddess holds all—and, that Goddess-language is simply a consciously chosen name for unnameable forces of life, the weaving that holds the world, a weaving including but not limited to females and males of all kinds.

Today, rather than standing or sitting on the priestess rocks, I visited the chair rock instead. It is super comfortable and I used to come here to sit after my miscarriages and then during my pregnancy with my daughter and then this is where I brought her one-month-old self to introduce her to the Earth. I used to sit here with her in a pouch or the Ergo and feel our bodies breathing in harmony, chest to chest.

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The scenery looks different when considered from the chair rock rather than the priestess rocks. Here is a “slingshot” tree” and behind the big mother tree that I like so much (and that I keep hoping is still alive!)

As I’ve previously referenced, Gloria Orenstein refers to endarkenment as, “a bonding with the Earth and the invisible that will reestablish our sense of interconnectedness with all things, phenomenal and spiritual, that make up the totality of our life in our cosmos. The ecofeminist arts do not maintain that analytical, rational knowledge is superior to other forms of knowing. They honor Gaia’s Earth intelligence and the stored memories of her plants, rocks, soil, and creatures. Through nonverbal communion with the energies of sacred sites in nature, ecofeminist artists obtain important knowledge about the spirit of the land, which they can then honor through creative rituals and environmental pieces” (Reweaving the World, p. 280). This speaks to me because of my theapoetical experiences of the presence of “the Goddess” in my own sacred spot in the woods behind my house, where I go to the priestess rocks to pray, reflect, meditate, do ritual, think, and converse with the spirits of that place.

Categories: embodiment, endarkenment, family, feminist thealogy, Goddess, nature, pregnancy loss, spirituality, thealogy, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Woodspriestess: Night’s Heartbeat

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Tonight the leaves were rustling very noticeably in the light breeze and I kept looking up at the trees and sky—so, I tried to get a picture of what the trees at night look like when looking up at them…

Sweet wind
geese honking
night falling
trees swaying
snow melting
planet turning
in deep black space

Hope springing
life singing
leaves rustling
seeds waiting
sap running
I hear
night’s heartbeat

(3/3/2013)

I was gone from home for most of the day and didn’t make it out to the woods until it was dusk. I heard distant geese and the dry leaves were making a very noticeable chorus. I’m interested by how the cats and dog immediately notice when I go out and come down with me and sit on the rocks too. I’m not the only one with a daily practice! I also noticed, unfortunately, how I was preoccupied by thinking about what I was going to write tonight and what picture I could take in the poor light, as well as trying to figure out if I was even going to have enough time to post before midnight. This detracts from the mindfulness practice of these woods visits…though, noticing the preoccupation itself is also a kind of mindfulness. So, since the leaves were so communicative tonight, I tuned in to what else I could hear in the nightfall space and that brought me back into a point of focus.

I also like turning to go back inside and seeing my cozy home waiting for me through the woods. Doesn’t it look welcoming? 🙂

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Categories: endarkenment, nature, poems, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

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