practices

Day 2: Returning from the Land of the Dead (#30daysofspring)

February 2016 055While it isn’t exactly returning from the “land of the dead,” I am still engaged in The Return journey from the vacation we went on at the end of February. It is amazing how long it takes to catch up/return from taking time off. Additionally, it keeps be highlighted for me how often I bargain with myself to “earn” the right to a break–including sometimes eating breakfast! I’m ready to alter this pattern and to honor space and time for rest and renewal in my life regularly, instead of “earning it” by catching up with all my work and doing all my to-dos!

My work, life, and play are so intertwined and interconnected though it can be hard to differentiate “work” from “renewal,” which is a good thing (most of the time). For example, today* I finished packing and shipping kits for my upcoming classes and I love creating and sharing these things with others.

March 2016 065At my baby’s naptime, rather than get out my computer for more “catch up” I got out my clay instead and sat next to him in bed creating some new sculpture prototypes including some meant to be supportive companions for hospice settings.

March 2016 068(*really, March 10)

Categories: #30daysofspring, creativity, practices, sacred pause, seasons, self-care | 2 Comments

Day 1: Inner Maiden (#30daysofspring)

I’ve been taking Joanna Powell Colbert’s 30 Days of Persephone’s Return course (and coincidentally reading a novel about Persephone that was free on Kindle recently). I’ve been posting in the companion Facebook group, but it is Day 7 now and I haven’t followed my old pattern and also made a companion blog post for each day. I miss that practice and the “stretch” required to post each day, even if I don’t have anything dramatic and exciting to post about. So, I’m going to go ahead and share posts for each day so far and hopefully continue with the daily post after that point (be prepared for a quick avalanche of posts all in a row!).

The first day drew our attention to the inner maiden. I offer an Inner Maiden workshop and do inner maiden work through both the Red Tent and the Womanspirit courses I teach. I feel like I struggle with the Maiden though–she feels far away and distant. Also, I have a five-year old daughter and sometimes I have to really catch myself to remember: I have The Maiden RIGHT in front of me. I think being a mother at this stage of life really kind of blends the question together–do I view The Maiden through the eyes of the mother-of-a-maiden, or as a once-maiden myself, and how do I connect with my own inner maiden while being so thoroughly immersed in mothering, including mothering-of-a-maiden…

The first picture I shared in the course is of my little maiden:

12798895_10208965294319589_7010341172583622105_nMy mom took it last spring, but it is the one that came to mind.

The second is the one I thought of when I thought about how I connect to the maiden within and it is in my laughter and letting go (I laugh frequently, but I let go rarely!) This picture was taken when my family was messing around with my dad’s jug band equipment (homemade musical instruments. I’m on the washtub bass! My husband is on the cigar box guitar he made from scratch and my kids are all joining in too):

1797387_10208965294799601_9138356937611042126_nThe third photo is me as a little girl (taller one) with my sister in our prairie dresses sewed by my grandmother so we could play Laura and Mary. My dad made us a covered wagon in a trailer too! I laugh because I only had one “real” prairie bonnet and dress as a girl, but I have three as an adult!

12809623_10208965295639622_7701230420725149565_nThe final picture is my response to the photo prompt. On the course’s opening day, we had been working on these rose quartz bracelets as gifts for the participants in the Pink Tent Circle this month.

March 2016 044

Categories: #30daysofspring, parenting, practices, sacred pause, seasons | Leave a comment

Womanrunes Layout for Imbolc: The Seed

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

–Molly Remer, Womanrunes

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

May you enjoy a peaceful pause for contemplation today!

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

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

What is the difference between a ritual and a ceremony?

January 2016 035In the course of my dissertation research, the subject of the differences between ritual and ceremony arose as one of the spontaneous questions under consideration. There are many ways to use the words and people tend to gravitate towards one over the other. I realized in our conversation, that I perceive a distinction between the two words and use them in slightly different contexts, but it is difficult to pinpoint the exact difference. Is it just personal preference? Is it tradition or habit? How do you use the two words?

I find that for myself personally I have increasingly begun using the word “ceremony,” because to me it denotes something dynamic and alive. Ritual sometimes implies repetition or roteness. Ceremony implies living, changing, evolving, as well as celebration. I think ceremony is about a sacred approach to the world. However, both can be a collection of actions, a sacred container for experiencing and shared experience, and a process of honoring and celebrating. I also use the terms somewhat interchangeably–i.e. “a women’s ritual” or a “ceremony for my pregnant friend.” I’ve still been trying to puzzle out the distinction between when and how I use the words. We have “full moon rituals” and seasonal rituals and then I have “ceremonies” for specific occasions–like a maiden ceremony or a baby naming ceremony. I’ve also noticed that ceremony feels like a “safer” and more expansive word to me when describing what I do, because ritual might sometimes be associated with “ritualistic” which can have negative, “occult,” or abuse-associated connotations for some people.

I recently finished a book that has been waiting on my shelf for a long time, In the Shadow of the Shaman, by Amber Wolfe and she notes the same: “the very words ceremony and ritual have so many different interpretations that we may become confused and frustrated.”

She offers three basic approaches to the concepts:

Native American. Ritual has to do with acts of Nature energies, primarily shamanic. Ceremonies have to do with set forms of spiritual connections.

Western Occult. Ritual has to do with energies of soul or spiritual levels, set form. Ceremonies have to do with Nature or elemental energies, some set form.

Aquarian Format. Ritual is set form; specific words are used, although you may construct these beforehand from your own blend of traditions. Once ritual is begun, it follows a set format, regardless. This can be most important for acts of active magick when the energies become intensely focused and specific. Ceremony is free-flowing. Emerging energies are incorporated in the basic format. Some traditional ritual formats are used in ceremony to being and to end the events.”

In this context, Wolfe primarily identifies ritual as set or fixed and ceremony as free-flowing, spontaneous, or co-creative. Living ceremony.

The dictionary also seems to overlap the two without clear distinction, describing ceremony in terms of ritual:

  • a formal act or series of acts prescribed by ritual, protocol, or convention <the marriage ceremony>

And, ritual in terms of ceremony:

  • done as part of a ceremony or ritual

Both words get the mark of perhaps connoting meaninglessness or roteness:

  • For ceremony: 2 a :  a conventional act of politeness or etiquette <the ceremony of introduction> b :  an action performed only formally with no deep significance c :  a routine action performed with elaborate pomp. prescribed procedures :  usages <the ceremony attending an inauguration> b :  observance of an established code of civility or politeness

  • For ritual: always done in a particular situation and in the same way each time. Done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol <ritual handshakes> <ritual background checks>

In my research group, the women turned the question over, with one reversing my own use of the terms (ritual = more habitual, scripted, and formulaic and ceremony = living, evolving, active, and embodied) explaining that in her experience: Although ritual can involve ceremony to a lesser or greater degree – the ceremonial aspects are simply trappings. They are the outward visible signs of an inward reality – the embodiment of the ritual enactment within the participants.

On the one hand, “doing ceremony” can be seen as trivializing ritual, the ritual process, the ritual prayer. It is an outward sign. How many times have we experienced ritual – liturgy – perhaps in a traditional church setting, and known that the presider is simply going through the motions. The presider is “doing ceremony” or “saying the mass” — there is no determinable connection with those present. If one acknowledges such things, Spirit is lacking, although many in attendance will contest that observation. However, and I have experienced this myself, when the presider truly connects Higher Power and with those in attendance — truly becomes that vessel of connection — is embodied, then ritual is transformative.

In the book Sacred Ceremony by Steven Farmer, he differentiates the two based on how they change or not. Ritual, to him, is something that doesn’t change–it is always done the same way. Ceremony, to him, is alive and evolves, adapts, and changes.

Another participant pointed out that ritual is the way of enacting ceremony. The two cannot be separated—ceremony is used as a noun and ritual is used as an adjective (though this isn’t actually the case in common use, in which ritual is often used as a noun).

As I’ve typed, I realize that I may personally be more likely to use “ritual” in terms of holidays/calendar-associated events and ceremony with regard to life passages, rites of passage and celebration. I also notice I have a blog category for ritual, but not for ceremony, which indicates that my personal semantics have evolved since I began this blog.

I would love to continue to expand this section. What are the differences in the words to you? Which do you prefer using? Do you use both, but in different contexts or purposes? Is one an inner experience and one an outer one? Is one solitary and one communal? Does your choice of word depend on your “audience”?

IMG_0172Speaking of ritual and ceremony, I’m almost finished with our free Brigid’s Day ceremony kit! And, for a very reasonable price, we’ve also developed a digital version of our Mother Blessing Facilitator Kit.

motherblessing

 

Categories: 30daysofdissertation, ceremony, practices, priestess, ritual, spirituality, women's circle | Leave a comment

Priestess Year in Review (2015)

IMG_7758“… Every day, we witness the positive, transformative effects of, ‘restoring women to ceremony’…another reason it is vital that we continue our work…”

–D’vorah Grenn (Stepping into Ourselves, p. 56)

“The Goddess is not only for the temple, she must be carried out into the world to wherever she is needed…” –Vivianne Crowley (in Voices of the Goddess edited by Caitlin Matthews)

When I became ordained as a priestess with Global Goddess in July of 2012, one of the commitments I made as part November 2015 050of ordination was to be of service in some way to the organization and to document my service to my community through the year. So, in keeping with that commitment, I made a year-end summary post at the end of 2012 and at the end of 2013 and 2014. It is helpful to me personally to see everything grouped together in one post and see that I’m truly doing this work. I enjoy sharing my post each year with the rest of the GG community in hopes of encouraging others to keep a record of their own. To continue this commitment, I again kept a list during 2015 and here it is!

January: family full moon ritual (1/5), beta test priestess class based on Stepping Into Ourselves (they also offer a free intro to priestessing course). Reprinted Womanrunes book with a few revisions and updates.

February: family Brigid Day/Imbolc + baby feet on ground ceremony (2/1. Post regarding is here) IMG_8126

March: full moon ritual (3/7), Sacred Year manifestation ritual (3/8). Family Spring ritual (3/14). Red Tent (3/21).

Also: published Restoring Women to Ceremony: The Red Tent Resource Kit

April: full moon ritual (4/5). Red Tent (4/17). Spring women’s retreat (4/25).

May: Family Beltane (5/3). Red Tent (5/15)

June: Red Tent

July: group summer ritual for whole families (7/1), New Moon ritual (7/15), Red Tent (7/17), Blue Moon ritual IMG_7770(7/31)

Also: Womanrunes Immersion ecourse began

August: Red Tent, Family abundance + gratitude + harvest + full moon ritual

Also: Red Tent Initiation began online

September: Red Tent (9/11). Interview during virtual Red Tent for Journey of Young Women twice. Interview on Goddess Alive radio. Autumn family drum circle. Mini full 11986976_1661342964077919_7888471579811176826_nmoon/eclipse ritual. Went to Gaea Goddess Gathering as vendor and participant.

Also:

October: Red Tent, mother blessing ceremony (10/22), Family Halloween ritual, family full moon ritual

Also:

November: Pink Tent ceremony for mothers and daughters (11/6). Family full moon ritual.

Also:

December: Family solstice (12/21), Family full moon (12/25), Yuletide ceremony (12/28)

Completely unanticipated for 2015 was my “raising” of my own tiny Goddess temple in the woods in which I have happily worked for the last two months and in which I plan to hold small rituals and celebrations throughout 2016.

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My tiny temple!

I wrote 179 posts here in 2015, which was a dramatic increase from previous years, primarily because I took four different 30 Days seasonal ecourses from Joanna Powell Colbert and posted almost every day during those courses.

We published two new books: The Red Tent Resource Kit and Earthprayer, Birthprayer as well as updated and made minor revisions to the Womanrunes book. We also put together a 340 page workbook for the Divination Practicum course. I sculpted six new designs for pewter pendants and 13 for resin goddess sculptures and created our line of beautiful ceremony kits and blessing pouches (and we fulfilled more than 1300 orders for these items, particularly our wildly popular goddess holiday ornaments!)

I continued to host a Priestess Path group on Facebook and began doing dissertation research in this group over the course of the entire year, eventually collecting more than 100 pages of original research thanks to the thoughtful and generous contributions of the practicing priestessing in the group. I started a new Facebook group for Brigid’s Grove: Creative Spirit Circle, as well as maintaining the Brigid’s Grove and Woodspriestess front-coverFacebook pages.

In keeping with the commitment I made upon my ordination, I contributed articles to 7 issues of The Oracle, the online journal of Global GoddessImbolcBeltane, Summer Solstice, First Harvest, Samhaim, Fall Equinox, Winter Solstice.

I wrote 6 posts for Feminism and Religion:

I also wrote 23 posts for my blog at SageWoman magazine.

And, I wrote two articles for Motherhouse of the Goddess:IMG_7927

and for the Rhythms of the Goddess journal: Rhythms of the Goddess – Seasonal Journal | The Motherhouse of the Goddess

I moved some of my blog writing to Brigid’s Grove, creating 86 posts there in 2015, and I will continue to do more and more of this as I phase out some of my other blog commitments.

(I also wrote 100 posts at my birth/motherhood blog and taught ten college classes, but those don’t directly connect to my priestess year in review theme!)

One of my biggest goals for 2015 was to finish my last two D.Min classes (which I did) and my dissertation (which ISeptember 2015 0099 didn’t).

My relevant 2016 goals include:

  • Finish usable draft of dissertation by February
  • Continue hosting monthly Red Tent Circles
  • Continue having family full moon rituals
  • Have at least one community family ritual
  • Participate fully in the Lunar Priestess course I registered for at the beginning of this year
  • Hold a monthly study circle with a few friends12036397_1667128160166066_8284211676923229933_n
  • Finish writing practical priestessing manual and perhaps convert dissertation into a new book
  • Write the book for the Shekhinah Tarot project
  • Facilitate two new sections of the Red Tent Initiation course as well as the very new Womanspirit Initiation course as well as continue to offer the Divination Practicum and the Womanrunes Immersion
  • Gestate and birth and delight in a new Goddess Magic study circle online

As occurs each year, when I write my year-in-review post, when I read this over, it comes up for me to wonder if writing a post like this looks “smug” and self-congratulatory in some way. Am I too focused on numbers and hours and quantifying something instead of small logopresence? Too much do-ing and not enough be-ing? But, in truth, the intention with which each year’s list is created is simply as an accountability thing—both in terms of the vows I made to my community as well as to myself. It is so I can see, collected in one place, what I’ve offered as a priestess this year. It is to allow me a moment of pause, reflection, review, and a sensation of a job well done, rather than immediately rushing off to the next thing, as I tend to do. In reviewing the past year, I am able to see that yes, I am doing this work. I am not just talking about it or imagining it, I am walking the path. I also have to shake my head with some self-compassion and a smile when I recall all the times I worried that I haven’t been doing “enough” or everything that I’d like to do and offer to my community.

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It was a beautiful year! IMG_4933August 2015 089

Categories: nature, practices, priestess, programs, red tent, ritual, spirituality, womanspirit, women, women's circle, woodspriestess, writing | 7 Comments

Free Mini Course: Womanspirit Wisdom

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

Here are the details…

Womanspirit Wisdom

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

Includes:

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

Day 30: A magical giftbringer (#30daysofyule)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

— JPC, The Gaian Tarot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 22: Winds of change (#30daysofyule)

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

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

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

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Outdoor spiral on the 21st.

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The Heaviness – Rites of Passage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guardians of the gate.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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!

December 2015 073

(*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 7: St. Lucia’s Day (#30DaysofYule)

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

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

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

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

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

May I safe
May I be free.

 

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

Day 6: Luminous Darkness (#30daysofyule)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 3: Seeds of light in darkness. (#30daysofyule, #30daysofdissertation)

December 2015 003I have learned that there may be nothing more powerful than sitting on a rock and looking at the sky in terms of creating change and opening up locked down places.

Tonight, I transcribed some words from the very beginning of last year, after my woodspriestess experiment drew to its close. I wrestled with myself over the twin urges I felt—the first to cut myself some slack and just go to bed and the second the desire to honor my promise to myself and do my fifteen minutes. The accountability me won out and I transcribed the recording. Putting a time limit on it, however arbitrary of a limit and however self-imposed it is, gives me a container. It causes me to reach and stretch for something that I can do to keep my promise and to be accountable to myself for what I have said I will do. Tonight, I brought out information from nearly two years ago—thoughts and insights that have faded from memory, but that came back vividly as I listened to my own voice on the recording, accompanied by the distant sounds of roosters crowing in the background.

The prompt for 30 Days of Yule today included a Winter Solstice oracle/tarot card layout. I did this reading just now, in the wee hours of the morning, with two little children nestled against me in the dim bedroom.

1. How do I endure this darkness? 12339367_1686230881589127_779656505861282759_o
2. What is the potential here?
3. What is the light that is coming?
4. How can I help the light grow?

Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

I used the Gaian Tarot and Womanrunes. Interestingly, all my tarot cards were reversed. The image of the sun shows up twice, once from each deck, bookending the reading appropriately.

I have more I could say, but the other twin–the “go to bed” one–is ready for her turn…;)

Categories: #30daysofyule, 30daysofdissertation, dissertation, divination, practices, Womanrunes | Leave a comment

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