prayers

Happy Solstice!

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

–John Halstead, Family Winter Solstice Ritual

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

A Winter Solstice Blessing

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

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

May you circle and celebrate,
may you change and grow

May that which is waiting to be unlocked
be freed.

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

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

(*”great wind” from the Ojibwa prayer)

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

Earth’s Mystery School

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

–Queen Guenivere

(awakewoman)

Three recent moments come to mind…

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

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

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

I am once again healed by flowers.

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

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

–Sun Bear and Wabun Wind

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

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

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

A Single Glorious Thing…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flower Prayers

“We may need to be cured by flowers. 

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

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

–Sharman Apt Russell, in Sisters of the Earth

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

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

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

–Molly Peacock in Sisters of the Earth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Patricia Monaghan, excerpted from Seasons of the Witch

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

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

Facing the moon alone…

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

–Laurie Cabot, Power of the Witch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

before my face
beloved of all…

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

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

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

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

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

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

the mystery of the waters
the desire in human hearts…

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

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

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

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

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

Free Earthprayer class begins April 10th.

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

Day 16: Prayer (#30daysofspring)

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

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

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

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

Two related past posts:

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

Day 10: Welcoming Spring (#30daysofspring)

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

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

In case you missed it:

March 2016 023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darkly, Richly

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

–Joy Harjo in Open Mind

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

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

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

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

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

–Shiloh Sophia McCloud

February 2016 124

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

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 7: An ancestor offering (#30daysofhecate)

  
I made soul cakes with my kids this morning and had a fabulous time. On one, I included the Womanrunes Moonboat: rune of journeys and took it out to leave under my grandma’s memorial hydrangea bush. ❤️ She loved to travel and was very adventurous, so it seemed like a good tribute. On my own, I put The Flying Woman, rune of transformation (she’s been speaking to me a lot lately!). One of the best things about Womanrunes is how useable they are. They definitely go beyond being  “just” a divination system. 

  
   

Categories: #30daysofHecate, death, divination, family, prayers, sacred pause, Womanrunes | Leave a comment

Day 30: Gathering and Releasing (#30DaysofHarvest)

Blessing from the Harvest Queen

May the sunset cloak of shorter days enfold you
May you dance with the patterns of crimson and gold leaves
May you sing with owl and coyote in crisp moonlight
May you savor the orangeness of pumpkin and yam
and feel the sweetness of honey on your tongue.
May you listen to the dreams of seed corn
May elderberry strengthen you with stored sunshine
May persimmon grant you a fleeting hello
May the poignant flare of an October rose
kiss you with hope.
May your rooms be wreathed with smiles.
And, may you remember the grace and wisdom
found in both gathering and releasing.

I didn’t expect my last prompt for 30 Days of Harvest to be so literal. I gathered up all of my supplies for a Red Tent call tonight. I was supposed to be the guest speaker for Journey of Young Women talking about Womanrunes and how to make and use them. Tons of technical difficulties and associated confusion meant we had to postpone the call after about twenty minutes of trying to make it work. That would be the releasing part… 

I also did a Womanrunes reading to close out the 30 Days experience. I got the Two Circles (rune of merging), followed by the Dark Moon (rune of wisdom), and then the Wheel…rune of fate. “The wheel turns, life unfolds, your breath moves in and out.” 

 

(My candle is lit for the #waveoflight for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day today.)

Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, blessings, divination, night, poems, prayers, sacred pause, seasons, womanspirit | 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

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