poems

Day 7: Gratitude for the Harvest (#30DaysofHarvest)

  
Had a moment of “gratitude for the harvest” today as I was driving home from class. I was feeling tight and stressed about my to-do list and fretting over how hard it feels to get home from being out of town and immediately have to launch into a million other things (like grading papers). Then, I thought: hang on. What a stressful life I have…traveling to a goddess festival to sell our handmade goddess art to interesting goddess women. Making our living with this art. Writing books and teaching about topics I love. Doing original research. Having “too many” good ideas for classes and projects. Spending my days with my family. Woe is me! The stress!

While I don’t discount the fact that even beautiful and fulfilling projects and activities can register in the body as stress, I had to laugh at myself. Perspective. 

I honour the beginning of the storytime of the year —
as the spring and summer are for living the stories,

the fall and winter is for the telling of our stories…

–Kat Robb

Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, nature, poems, pregnancy, sacred pause, seasons | Leave a comment

Bounty

My bounty is in reflection August 2015 106
and story-telling
and deep spaces.

My bounty is in dreams and plans
and refusing to quit.

My bounty wells up from within and
spills over with gusto
and irrepressible hope for
possibility,
and plans,
and endless newness
bright within each morning.

My bounty is in blooms and clay
and gemstones and gravel
in dirt and weeds
raspberries and blood.

My bounty brings the women.
Energy feeds the land.

Words spill forth onto
page,
screen,
memory,
ground.

My bounty is in what I holdAugust 2015 119
and release.

What I won’t give up on
and what I set free.

My bounty is milky.
Curled eyelashes,
blonde head,
sturdy legs.

My bounty is in conversation
circling the veranda in
steady, strong loops
of raw possibility
hope and wonder.

My bounty is in moments of despair and hopelessness
that break like waves on the shore
and make way for sunrise.

My bounty gathers together broken pieces
and tries again.

My bounty moves quickly
fluttering like a butterfly
and traversing continents of desire
before alighting on a thistle
downy,
purple,
sharp,
and beautiful.

As the wheel of the year turns towards fall, what is your bounty? What have you harvested or are waiting until the time is right to pick? What have you created, birthed, sweated over, discovered, or enjoyed?

There has been a crispness to the evening air and the hint of color in the trees that makes me reflect on the passage of another year. It feels like a time to wrap up projects, enjoy results, and to begin another time of turning inward, moving toward the cocoon-call of winter.

Last night my family held an abundance and gratitude ritual (+ harvest + autumn + full moon). I had a wonderful time setting up a mandala on our back deck, which we have recently taken to calling the veranda. Life is much nicer with a veranda in it and we regularly make time to sit out there in the morning as well as walk there at night. I got the term “verandahing” from Leonie Dawson and I highly recommend this practice of making time daily to sit outside on your veranda (deck, porch, front stoop, stair, whatever you’ve got, just try it!).

In the mandala, I set gourds and sage that we grew, harvested, and dried. I also used rose petals and hydrangea blooms that are still currently blooming. I picked dittany, sumac, and dogwood leaves from the forest. After the moon rose, we drummed, sang, danced, wrote what we are grateful for on paper leaves and added them to the mandala. Earlier in the day, I followed a prompt from my Sacred Year class to reflect on my “bounty,” as we approach the harvest season. I expected to write more literally about the things I’ve created and harvested this year, but a bountiful, bounty poem emerged instead.

I registered for Joanna Powell Colbert’s upcoming ecourse: 30 Days of Harvest ~ A Daily Sacred Pause of Welcoming Autumn. I look forward to another experience of daily practice with her.

My own Red Tent class began on the full moon, the birthing of the “seed dream” I planted in February, and another Womanrunes Immersion as well as a Divination Practicum begin in October. A bountiful culmination of the year’s work. I am amazed to see what can be generated and grown over the course of a year.

This month has been a busy one for me and I’ve felt emotionally erratic—vacillating between a boundless enthusiasm and a sort of trapped, snappy despair (as I re-read past blog posts, I recognize this as a feature of having a toddler, disrupted sleep, and an unpredictable “schedule”). Last week, I felt moved and very reassured by a quote I read via a post on Changing by Trista of the Girl God:

“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”

-Alice Walker, Living by the Word

August 2015 089

Categories: art, nature, poems, practices, ritual, sacred pause, seasons, spirituality, woodspriestess | 5 Comments

Moon Stained

Darkness falls. July 2015 083
I enter sacred space
stepping from holy ground
onto holy ground
only this time I recognize it.
Owl calls,
moon rises,
sun sets,
leaves rustle,
heart beats.

Breathing in,
breathing out
feeling the world spin
feeling the earth turn
watching Her weaving at work in the night.

July’s Blue Moon is coming up at the end of this week and my Womanrunes course is carefully scheduled to end on that day. I can hardly believe we have worked through 37 runes already! (I’ve also scheduled the next Immersion for October.) I’ve written a Full Moon ritual to go out with the last email for the course and I will do the ritual myself with my family. I definitely feel the restless energy referenced in this Blue Moon article:

…As amazing as this moon will be, and necessary—it’s going to be one that challenges us on every single level. In the build up to this lunar event we may have been feeling restless, or have had an excess of nervous energy. Our pulses may have been racing, and it may have been harder for us to relax or fall asleep at night.

Our souls can sense that we are on the verge of something big—but it’s up to us to initiate change.

via Unprecedented Blue Moon in Aquarius: Now or Never. | elephant journal.

Last night, I took my new crystal ball with me to the woods to reflect. I asked what I need to know right now, as I am feeling pulled in several directions and between several wonderful ideas, and I drew The Heart. It reminds me to rest for a little while, but also that I act in this world with great passion and intensity and that’s okay.

We are leaving tomorrow for a family mini-vacation at a river cabin. I’m really looking forward to it. Some healing, play, and relaxation after the energetic depletion of the hard work required for me during the last two weeks of my school session.

(Of course, I fantasize that somehow I’m going to finish writing my dissertation during our mini vacation! 😉 )

July 2015 081

“She may feel she will die if she does not dance naked in a thunderstorm, sit in perfect silence, return home ink-stained, paint-stained, tear-stained, moon-stained.”

—Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

 

Categories: liturgy, moon wisdom, nature, night, poems, practices, prayers, sacred pause, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

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

Initiate Yourself

11692528_1643738219171727_6214351850615964803_n
…Make a sacred fire
and throw on it all that you would use to harm yourself.

Make kindling from shame.
Let your dance be wild,
your voice be honest
and your heart untamed.
Be cyclical,
don’t make sense..
Initiate yourself.
Initiate yourself.

(Aisha Wolfe)

The Spiral in Womanrunes is The Rune of Initiation. Our spiral goddess pendant represents and reminds me of this lifelong process of initiation. A pivotal initiatory point for many women is giving birth and I wore this pendant all through my last pregnancy, including in the birth pool in which my last son was born. She carries the imprint of that power for me, a reminder of my own capacity to change, grow, welcome, and create.

I consider her a pendant symbolic of initiation for many events, whether a personal life transition (such as childbirth) or as dedication to a particular path, life purpose, or journey.

This is the pendant of initiation. This is the pendant of change.

It is time for dedication to your sacred path.

Pewter Spiral Goddess Priestess Initiation Pendant by BrigidsGrove.

I’m currently taking Vanessa Sage’s Enchant Your Everyday class (free!) and my daily enchantment practice is this:

  • Open arms to the sky.
  • Touch the rock/earth.
  • Place one hand on belly and one on heart and take a deep breath
    (“belly, bones, and blood,” I usually say in my head)
  • Touch my spiral pendant and say: Initiate yourself. Initiate yourself.

(I usually go to the woods for this, but sometimes my own living room has to work instead!)

July 2015 124

Categories: art, blessings, poems, practices, prayers, priestess, sculpture, spirituality, womanspirit, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Summer Love

11227964_10207110812918713_5387391899479469362_nToo busy. Too buzzy. Not enough time.
To do. To do. To do.
Scramble. Hurry.
Tight chest
Tight breath
Tight heart
WAIT!
Listen to Summer.
Languid. Warm. Sweaty. Hot.
Petals soften
Juice drips
Kissed by sunlight
Bathed with rain
Sweet stickiness.
Passion.
Summer is heavy.
Hot and ready.
Blooming and dripping.
Unfolding. Becoming. Ripening.
Sweet. Tangy. Biting.
Feel it in the air.
Greet it at sunset.
Throw your arms around it.
Dig in. Hang on. This is IT.
Taste it. Hold it. Enfold it. Be it.
Lick it. Know it. Be it. Embrace it.
This is your life.
This is your life.
Do you love it?

I’ve been working really hard for the last month preparing my Womanrunes Immersion course and I feel a little IMG_5716unbalanced and skewed off-center. I keep telling myself that it is okay to keep working hard, because I’m “almost done,” and sometimes pushing is exactly what is needed. But, I’ve realized as I participate in my own course, that since there is always something else immediately around the corner, that “break” I keep holding out for never comes. I have to create it for myself. The course is going so well and has been really inspiring and magical so far, while also needing a lot of energy from me. I’ve committed to working through the course myself, not just guiding others through it, and I’ve already had to take a deep look at several issues…feeling on the verge of some kind of breakthrough now. From yesterday’s lesson this reminder:

When we lack proper time for the simple pleasures of life, for the enjoyment of eating, drinking, playing, creating, visiting friends, and watching children at play, then we have missed the purpose of life. Not on bread alone do we live, but on all these human and heart-hungry luxuries.
–Ed Hayes (Simple Pleasures)

And, then from another article:

“The more fully we experience life’s beauty, the less regret we have that we didn’t live and love in the ways we most longed to.”

Barefeet, watermelons, and sunburns – it’s summer!

Yesterday in response to my own Womanrunes prompts, I literally went outside to smell the roses.

It was just what I needed and I need to move these experiences up in priority in my day, instead of being the last things I attend to. I’m also participating in this free offering:

Enchant Your Everyday: 108 Day Pilgrimage to Your Beautiful Life – Vanessa Sage.

This is a beautiful world. Don’t miss it!

IMG_5709

 

Categories: poems, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, Womanrunes | 5 Comments

Body to body. The Boat of Heaven. (#30DaysofMay)

“The tools are unimportant; we have all we need to make magic: our bodies, our breath, our voices, each other.” –Starhawk

(quoted in Dedicant)

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”

–John Muir

I stand on the body of the Goddess
I sit on her bones
I breathe her breath
Spirit of Life moving through me
Her voice sings in my blood
stars shine in my veins
my heartbeat a drum
tuned to the core of the planet…

via Goddess Body, World Body | WoodsPriestess

Related posts: Woodspriestess: Body Prayer  Woodspriestess: Pelvic Cradle

Categories: #30Daysof May, blessings, embodiment, Goddess, nature, poems, sacred pause, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Love charm (#30DaysofMay)

Oh, my love come to me.
Love me as the earth loves me,
Gentle and firm beneath me
Broad hands, strong arms.
Love me as the earth loves me.

Oh, my love come to me.
Love me as the air loves me,
Sweet kisses on neck and eyelids,
Rising and falling.
Love me as the air loves me.

Oh, my love come to me.
Love me as the water loves me,
Nourishing me, filling me.
Quenching my thirst.
Love me as the water loves me.

Oh, my love come to me.
Love me as the fire loves me,
Hot and fierce and fast.
Able to bend metal with passion.
Love me as the fire loves me.

I’m not really a “love charm” type of writer, so this prompt was quite a stretch for me. I was thinking about it and looking at the vase a good friend brought me for my birthday this year. As I looked at the exuberance of the dance and the movement expressed, bits of a charm came to mind. I pictured her dancing and singing the words above, calling her love to her through her rhythm…

As wing takes to air
As hoof drums the ground
As fire lights the night
As water bathes my brow
Oh, my love come to me.
Love me as the world loves me.
Forever and ever and always*.

(*The cadence with which I spoke it and the phrasing of the charm are actually similar to the book Mama, Do You Love Me?, which all of my kids have liked me to read to them.)

 

Categories: #30Daysof May, blessings, nature, poems, prayers, theapoetics | 2 Comments

Dandelion Hymn (#30DaysofMay)

Dandelion lesson
Summer’s herald

Smells like rain
And honey
And hope
Blood tonic
Liver support
Dance of determination
And refusal.
Listen.
She whispers of the hive, of humbleness, and healing.

Categories: #30Daysof May, nature, poems, theapoetics | 3 Comments

Temple of love (#30DaysofMay)

This wild life is ours IMG_4447
I am within you and around you
I hold and enfold you
My promises
Are the colors of green leaves
Blue sky
Red berries.

My potential is in your hands.
Incubating
Stretching
Stirring
Dreaming
Becoming

I love my daughters
And their sons and daughters
I hold your souls…*

I read today’s prompts this morning, as I usually do, and then reflected on the themes all day. One of the most magical things about these 30 Days courses is how very many connections and synchronicities emerge during the day that bring the themes to life. It is really powerful to observe. As soon as I read the theme, a quote came floating back to me and it remained in my head throughout the day, like a refrain in the background of the rest of my thoughts: This is my body; this is the temple of light. This is my heart; this is the altar of love (Sufi song, quoted in Birthrites). Altar of love. Temple of light. Over and over today these words replayed in my mind. I’ve shared the quote here before, but it felt like it wanted to come back again today. At the same time, I was turning over some scheduling details and a few stresses about fitting everything in that I want to do during the coming months. I turned my We’Moon wall calendar over to May to check some dates for classes and this was the quote opening the month:

love these Earthlings every day
bird, insect, cloud
listen, stop, watch
sorrow for species lost
Earth will feel your love
giving you back
every day.

(Carole Gale)

My husband and kids are participating in the 30 Days of Bringing in the May course with me. As I have made a commitment to take a photo and to write a blog post each day (however short or simple!) related to the themes of the course prompts or materials, my husband has committed to drawing a picture and my kids to making a video. This afternoon, my husband took his picture:

IMG_4445And, this evening I served as a “videographer” as my kids danced in the living to drum music in the costumes they selected for themselves to represent spring and the temple of love (turtle, mermaid, and king were the selected costumes tonight).

(*poem originally published as part of a post at SageWoman)

Categories: #30Daysof May, family, nature, poems | Tags: | Leave a comment

Gratitude

Gratitude for the way words twine around my tongue
April 2015 110 And through my fingers
Gratitude for sacred space
Sacred sisters
And sacred solitude.
Gratitude for warm spring evenings
Setting sun and moonrise
Gratitude for hope and inspiration
The opportunity to follow a calling
The beat of footsteps
On beautiful earth.
Gratitude for babies
Fuzzy heads and sweet breath
For dancing daughters
For smiling sons.
Gratitude for supportive partners
The opportunity to walk alongside another. April 2015 118
Gratitude for co-creation
For courage
For stepping into personal power.
Gratitude for tasting fear
For letting it roll around inside familiar grooves in the brain
And then doing it anyway.
Gratitude for the real
The holy
The potently ordinary
The powerfully mundane.
Gratitude for sacred space to which I may return
Again and again
As inexhaustible and powerful
As the sweep of wind through branches
The river’s song
And the silent watchfulness of stone.

Today while I was uploading some song recordings from last night’s new moon Red Tent Circle, I found a recording a did a couple of weeks ago and forgot about. One of the assignments for March for the Sacred Year class I am participating in was to write a gratitude poem. Even though I spoke-wrote this poem several weeks ago, it felt very true to read it again today. After last night’s Red Tent, I am feeling grateful to circle with other women in real life rather than only in virtual space. Recently, I’ve also been feeling grateful for the women who have been participating in my dissertation research group. I’m so glad I chose to do a dissertation research project with the input of others, rather than working alone. My exploration is already much deeper and more nuanced than it would have been without the women who have been willing to share their voices, wisdom, experience, and perspectives with me. Very grateful! I look forward to continuing to spiral together (my research is about contemporary priestessing and my research group is still open to additional participants). People have offered extremely thoughtful and well-considered responses to the questions I posed so far, as well as led me to explore new questions and lines of thought.

April 2015 103

At last night’s circle.

I’m grateful for spring flowers too and modified some prior posts into this one at SageWoman: Ode to Tiny Flowers.

I also decided to gift myself with 30 Days of Bringing in the May for my birthday this year. It is on my 100 Things list to do another month-long daily woodspriestess blog-experience and I thought my birth month would be a good opportunity to do so. Might as well layer it into this ecourse too! I enjoyed the Brigid course in February so much. I’ve been reflecting a lot recently about how one of the primary tasks of ritual and ceremony is in creating the container. This is what I do with women’s circles and retreats. The Sacred Year class and the 30 Days courses do the same for me—create the container and give “permission,” in their way, for an experience to unfold. It is incredible how easy it is to rush through the day without taking needed pauses, time outs, or stillpoints. I’m working on developing two courses myself, one about Red Tents (and women’s circle work in general) and one a Womanrunes immersion ecourse (to be followed by a divination intensive course late this year or early next). I also have several other courses in mind to be worked on (not to forget the dissertation! Oh my!), but I have to focus. Having another baby has really made me pare away a lot in my life, including very basic self-care things like regular showers! I’ve done it before, so I know it isn’t permanent, but it is still hard to feel like I’m trimming away so much that matters to me, while also having so much I want to offer, and constantly having to prioritize and choose. I’ve been looking at it as a sort of “sabbatical.” While I might not be able to do as much face to face projects as I envision and dream of, I can lay the groundwork, I can write, I can prepare and outline and imagine, while also sitting in my bed holding my sleeping baby. Maybe I won’t get to the woods every day and maybe I have to choose between the shower or yoga, since doing both in one day seems like too much to ask sometimes, but I can use this baby time to incubate new visions and grow while appearing stationary. The_Red_Tent_Resourc_Cover_for_KindleDuring the Inner Mentor visualization we did last night, we traveled in time to meet ourselves twenty years from now. The first thing she/I told me is that my baby is now twenty. It felt like a shock to consider that, since right now is so real. April 2015 001

Categories: family, friends, parenting, poems, priestess, self-care, women's circle | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Flowers

Tiny flowers
Spring’s resurrection
No bloodshed required.

Categories: feminist thealogy, nature, poems, seasons, spirituality, theapoetics | Leave a comment

Spring Meditation

   Shedding January 2015 087
    releasing
    changing
    renewing
    growing
    healing
    springing

    Letting go
    leaving behind
    casting off
    sloughing
    opening.

    What are we leaping towards
    what wants to push up from cold ground
    what wants to open to the sun
    what is it that we need to know?

    What quiet, steady pulse beats
    below the surface
    what hope watches from the wings
    what light grows broad
    upon a patch of ground…

What expectations need we shed? What old thoughts need to leave our minds? What habitual patterns of behavior, relationship, and communication need to change?

It is easy to be centered when you sit in the woods alone. The challenge is to carry that core into the unrelenting murmur of everyday life. The challenge is to reach for that place of inner stillness, even when it feels as if chaos reigns. The challenge is to return to a place that heals your soul every single day even when the to-do list gets longer, the have-tos, the should-dos, the want-tos. Lay those things aside for a minute and step forward onto solid earth, steady stone, grassy ground. Rest for a moment in the calm stillness that sings through the air in harmony with the call of your own heart and the center of your own being. Find it here, find it now. Knowing that the potential is always within you and the place remains for you to return and return and return…

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Categories: nature, poems, prayers, seasons, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

Misty Morning

This is your wildness IMG_3455
don’t sell it.
Raindrop on plum branch
Leaning oak
Mist rising through branches
Birdsong
Squirrel conversation
Forest song.
Life’s pulse
Weaving you into the world
Patient
Watchful
Wise.

Since welcoming a new baby into my life as well as continuing to develop several other projects (hello, dissertation!!!), I’ve found the hours in the day increasingly short and tight. This morning, I looked out the window of our workroom into the woods and saw the foggy woods and the sun shining through the misty air and I knew I had to drop everything and get to the woods. It was beautiful and even though it “slows me down” to head out there when I was so many other things I want to do and a limited time frame in which to do them (nap times are precious!), it is actually exactly what I need.

IMG_3453When we cut trees in the woods several months ago, one of my favorite rocks on the path disappeared. I knew where it was supposed to be, but surmised someone either kicked it aside or it had gotten pushed underground (or even broken) when some of the wood was dragged out. (This tree cutting, while necessary, still hurts my heart to see the destruction in my sacred little grove.) Today, after watching the fog lift, I stopped on the path and “felt” for the stone that I liked. I brushed some fallen leaves away and there she was!

IMG_3461I am so enjoying the signs of spring and the warming temperatures. I registered for a neat sounding Spring Equinox online free event. I’m also looking forward to hosting a small drum circle at our house this weekend. And, don’t forget to check out all the lovely offerings in the upcoming Red Tent fundraiser auction to be held on the Spring Equinox as well: Auction Special…..see what’s on offer! – Moon Times Moon Blog.

Categories: nature, poems, sacred pause, seasons, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Day 30: Spring (#30DaysofBrigid)

IMG_2959

Brigid, I accept your flame.
Flame of creativity, poetry, hope, and healing.
Flame of understanding.

I accept your gifts
committing to their expression.
aligning with the workings of word, art, and deed.
Open to that which comes
responsive to that which surrounds me.
Enlivened by the dancing flame
of passionate creation.

Open hands, heart, and mind.
To give and to receive.
To express, to feel, to wonder, to know.
To discover
to uncover
to embrace
to fulfill
to unleash.

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, poems, sacred pause, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

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