seasons

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

The Winter Woman’s Soul

october-2016-123“There is magic in all seasons, but winter’s magic is most concise, most dense, most crystalline. It is diamond magic, cool and brilliant, not the fiery magic of coal. It is laser fineness, precise direction…”

–Patricia Monaghan, Seasons of the Witch

We are so pleased to unveil this year’s holiday ornaments!

Perfect for goddess-loving women in any stage of life, as well as for priestesses, red tent facilitators, nursing mothers, pregnant women, doulas, midwives, these ornaments are offered in four of our classic designs, one mini-design, and five new Story Goddesses. These are extremely limited edition. We will be making them by hand from November 1-December 1st only. After that, they’re gone! Each of the translucent ornaments is individually hand cast in clear casting resin from our original sculptures. Their beautiful translucency gives them the appearance of being glass or frosted crystal, while still being extremely durable and nearly damage-proof (we have four energetic kids, so our products get a lot of serious product testing to make sure they can hold up to being dropped!).

Each ornament is also freestanding and can also sit on a mantle or table, or can grace your tree with abundance, empowerment, and bountiful blessings throughout the season!

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  • Winter Story Goddess: translucent with a snowflake charm and snowflake obsidian gemstone, she whispers of the spirit of the season.
  • World Peace Story Goddess: in shimmering gold-white, she comes offering blessings for peace on earth
  • Star Goddess: connected to the Charge of the Goddess and the birth of the universe, she is cast in shiny 15039635_1818762091669338_4901288478015916309_oblue-black, one of our unique colors that we created ourselves.
  • Solstice Night/Triple Moon Goddess: cast in soft matte blue-black, a color we hand-blend in small batches, she speaks of the wisdom of endarkenment and the power of the goddess.
  • Winter Gaia: created by popular request using our Gaia mold in a Winter Shimmer White color, she is perfect on a winter altar space.
  • Elen: the British reindeer and woodland goddess cast in red to look beautiful against your winter greenery.
  • Meditation Goddess: our popular, classic meditation goddess in a beautiful glowing translucent version.
  • We’ve also added winter ritual kits and owl rattles (choice of two colors).
  • While our focus has shifted this year to Story Goddesses and the wider Goddess Spirituality Community, we will always have a special place in our hearts for birth and breastfeeding activism and we also have our nursing mamatandem/twins mama, and mini pregnant birth goddess ornaments as well.

nursingornament

“When winter comes to a woman’s soul, she withdraws into her inner self, her deepest spaces. She refuses all connection, refutes all arguments that she should engage in the world. She may say she is resting, but she is more than resting: She is creating a new universe within herself, examining and breaking old patterns, destroying what should not be revived, feeding in secret what needs to thrive.

Winter women are those who bring into the next cycle what should be saved. They are the deep conservators of knowledge and power. Not for nothing did ancient peoples honour the grandmother. In her calm deliberateness, she winters over our truth, she freezes out false-heartedness.

Look into her eyes, this winter woman. In their gray spaciousness you can see the future. Look out of your own winter eyes. You too can see the future.”

–Patricia Monaghan, Seasons of the Witch

Categories: art, creativity, Goddess, holidays, resources, seasons, spirituality, womanspirit | 1 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
 
 

Where I am and what I’m doing!

August 2016 128Over the last year as more and more of my time, focus, and attention have shifted to Brigid’s Grove, my posts here at Woodspriestess have become more sporadic and it has finally become clear to me that I am “retiring” from my commitment to regularly maintaining this blog. I’ve increasingly found my voice at our Brigid’s Grove blog and that is where I am currently posting updates and sharing information. I miss the more personal flavor and personal insights and “small” moments/everyday miracles that I’ve explored here at Woodspriestess over the years, so I’m not completely retiring it, but rather acknowledging the reality that I am just not using it as a writing environment much this year. I’m also interested to note that the feeling of “completion” here and reduction of writing coincides with the completion of my dissertation. I have blogged here throughout my studies at OSC and now those studies are officially complete.

The time has come for me to lay aside this means of expression and to continue to pour my heart into what I offer through Brigid’s Grove. Feel free to join me there! In fact, I have a free Goddess Studies and Ritual class available! And, my next section of our powerful Practical Priestessing program begins on April 9.

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Categories: art, community, creativity, nature, priestess, seasons, self-care, spirituality, womanspirit, women, woodspriestess, writing | Leave a comment

Day 4: Summer Altars (#30daysofmidsummer)

13419258_10209831696659106_9209578587839661705_nI am the fire that burns within your soul
I am the Holy light that fills and makes you whole
I am the Flame within, that never dies
I am the sun that will ever arise.

–Lisa Thiel, Litha (Summer Solstice Song)

I’m enjoying 30 Days of Midsummer with the fabulous Joanna Powell Colbert right now. I am unlikely to manage a daily post during this journey, but I hope to create a few posts as the inspiration and time strikes.

I change my home altar + tiny temple altar spaces regularly and I also set up tiny altars wherever I go (or discover them while I’m out!) The photo to the right is of my living room altar space, freshened up for summer. The one below is my current summer altar in my tiny temple (a small building separate from my home, but only a few feet away, which I use as a dedicated personal work space as well as holding small circles/study groups):

13435563_10209831698659156_7383139005246552031_nThe other photos are all photos I took the day of this prompt, all but one before I read the prompt. After reading it, I then recognized them as summer altars in their own right.

Picking wild raspberries that morning…

13450757_10209831699499177_4513543145098394439_nAdmiring the blooms on the rose bushes we planted in front of my tiny temple…

13466414_10209831700219195_6764482167757669331_nVisiting the Roubidoux Spring that afternoon with my kids (a Trail of Tears historic site)…

13445508_10209831700779209_5802312614193145539_nAt Brigid’s Grove, we are celebrating Summer with a free ritual kit for you! The kit includes:

  • Two ceremony outlines (individual and group)16 goddess mandala
  • Tutorials for two projects
  • Summer poem
  • “Blessing and Blooming” mandala activity
  • Wild berry cobbler recipe

This free ritual kit is included in the June issue of our Creative Spirit Circle Journal. (Make sure to join the circle today. It is free and full of resources!)

Glory of the Day-Star, hail!
Lifter of the Light, Burnisher of the Sky.
Gifts of love to earth are bringing,
Summer’s shimmer, dew’s delight.

Dancing be the heart within us,
Open be our souls to bliss,
Courage vanquish every shadow,
Greet Midsummer with a kiss.

— Caitlin Matthews, The Celtic Devotional

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Categories: #30daysofmidsummer, blessings, creativity, earthprayer, Flowers, Goddess, holidays, liturgy, nature, practices, ritual, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, story goddess, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Dogwood Song (#Earthprayer)

Standing on steep hillsides April 2016 016
Leaning from rocky patches of ground
Roots feeling deep in the dark
Searching for the nourishment
That is only possible in shadowed places
Raindrop blessing
Petal and leaf
Sunlight filtered through a canopy of oaks
Branches spreading graciously
A living love song
Strung through the woods like lace.

In my current Earthprayer class, I can’t stop talking about and sharing pictures of the dogwood trees, which are the current love song being sung by the Earth in my corner of the world.

April 2016 019We discovered one tree with pink tinged flowers for the first time near my tiny temple and then another in the woods by the driveway. I love how this same patch of land can continue to surprise me day after day, as long as I pay attention. I also love that the “grand show” goes on without me in countless ways, whether I notice it or not.

April 2016 008

 

Categories: art, birth, blessings, earthprayer, Flowers, nature, poems, sacred pause, seasons, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Day 30: A Springtime Woman (#30daysofspring)

12973526_1727730594105822_4384843242005172628_oListen.
I tend the mothers.
I tell of the magic found
In baby’s laughter
The power of blood
The quiet wisdom
Of rising again
Small footprints imprinted on my heart
Guide my way…

Thirty Days of Persephone’s Return has now ended and it was a great experience for me overall. It involved an interesting juxtaposition of feelings and experiences as I’ve alternated between feeling renewed and disheartened, energetic and depleted, as we’ve moved through this course. I feel like I recommitted to myself and my spiritual practices in several ways thanks to my participation here.

Based on quotes I’d read in previous 30 Days classes from Seasons of the Witch by Patricia Monaghan, I bought a used copy and was struck by this quote about spring and our relationship to it as women:

But when growth begins, things break. Shells and bud casings, those intact perfections, fall away. What is revealed is unprotected tenderness. It is no illusion, this fragility. A fierce storm can shred the new leaf, a cat consume the tiny bird, a hapless word pierce the young woman’s heart.

To the beholder, there is only beauty: the frail green hue that rivals all of autumn’s glory, the soft maiden gaze with its vulnerable longing. Springtime empowers its witnesses. And the woman gazing back may feel, indeed, the riveting power of her growth and potential. Or she may feel only the pain of new skin against cold wind, of exposed flesh against cruel stares.

There are times the hatchling yearns for the shell, the woman for her girlhood. There are times the new body seems alien and ill-formed, the new skills awkward and mistaken, the new knowledge not power but frailty. Growth may be exhilarating, but it is never easy.

And it is costly. Just as the bulb devours itself in order to burst above the soil, just as the hatchling digests its egg’s world, the woman tears springtime out of herself. She has little time for generosity, for she is focused on herself, on her deepest movements, her pain, her hopefulness. She is all stunned inwardness.

She is one, alone, unique. She is pierced with wonder at her existence.

Patricia Monaghan, Seasons of the Witch

Then, I was getting ready for Red Tent tonight and I drew a Womanrunes‬ card to set the tone. The Tool dropped out of the deck first, which felt a little disappointing…the Rune of Labor…but then I picked another and got The Flying Woman, Rune of Transformation and reflected that transforming, becoming, unfolding, uncovering, can be quite hard work. And, the work of priestessing, which is what I’m pouring my heart into exploring with my current group of Practical Priestessing students, while transformative and liberating and powerful, is also quite a lot of hard work! So, they’re perfect cards after all…

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Categories: #30daysofspring, quotes, readings, red tent, resources, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 26: A Spring Self Blessing

May you know the tenacity of serviceberry April 2016 027
The grace of dogwood
The heart of plum
And the ferocity of raspberry.

May you have the wisdom to know
When to flow like the river
When to stand like the mountain
May you dance with the rain
Allow your thunder to be heard
Smile with the radiance of the sun
And may you know you walk in the hand of the goddess…

I was entranced by this early-morning tulip today. Grown from a random bag of bulbs from an Earth Day event at the university several years ago, I love its sunset colors.

And, then just a few hours later, my precious tulip looked like this!

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(Tulips are extra special everyday magic to me because they usually don’t make it this far with the chickens and the kids.)

Categories: #30daysofspring, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 24: Planting Seeds (#30daysofspring)

12931205_10209251327430238_5463045808457409004_nMy “planted seeds” were our new Story Goddesses out in the wild violets and sunshine.

Yesterday, we went for a walk before dinner and admired my favorite dogwood tree that is getting ready to bloom. It is perfectly shaped like an ornamental tree, but it is wild. That’s my favorite kind of everyday magic.

12439344_10209251326510215_5725357212143025081_nNext free ecourse begins April 10th: Earthprayer.

Categories: #30daysofspring, art, creativity, Flowers, nature, practices, sacred pause, sculpture, seasons, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

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 18: Rebirth, Renewal

Molly Remer's photo.We spent the day at an Ostara festival yesterday. I went to an enCHANTment workshop in which I learned some new chants and “workshopped” an old one into something fresh.

I have many skills as a priestess-ritualist, but leading people in songs/chants is not one of them! I introduced a song to this group (originally by Shawna Carol and beautiful, but slow paced) that I keep wanting to use to open rituals with in my own circle. I can’t “get it right,” so I asked them for help in creating something new with it that I could bring back to my own community to use. Anyway, this is what we did. Enjoy!

Categories: #30daysofspring, chants, collaboration, community, holidays, practices, priestess, resources, seasons | Leave a comment

Day 20: An Open Door (#30daysofspring)

…People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

— Rumi

I’ve always loved the line from Rumi about not going back to sleep. I think of it many mornings when I awake extra early and, yet, I then go back to sleep…

Here is the open door at the tiny temple on this bright spring morning.

12472700_10209182550950869_3122186289685795289_nI was delighted to find a plum tree behind it last week and today I found two spicebush trees with yellow flowers behind it too! (The flowers on the spicebush were too high for me to reach though.) There is also a beautiful dogwood budding out behind it.

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Categories: #30daysofspring, Flowers, sacred pause, seasons, 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 20: Catching Up (#30daysofspring)

While I have continued to make a daily post in the Facebook group for 30 Days of Persephone’s Return, I haven’t continued to make a daily companion post here. I’m going to “catch up” with several short posts in one right now and then for the days in which I had more to say or for which the post stands on its own, I will be making separate posts, but they will not be in “real time” or sequential order.

Day 19:

Since it is Easter, I drew inspiration from the Womanrunes card The Egg, rune of naming. Left card = what do you need to name and claim? Right card = what happens when you do.

12377783_1722694657942749_3801708752174005976_oDay 17:

These are my “laughing flowers” on my spring altar at home before we left this afternoon. This simple bouquet from Aldi, purchased to make a flower crown for myself for our ritual on the equinox, have brought me so much simple joy. I need to buy bouquets for myself more often!

1918795_10209136022307682_7401329754847213681_nI mentioned before that I was reading a novel about Persephone (total coincidence. It was a random digital book check out from my library!). It is called Harvest Moon and is actually a collection of three stories in one book. The first one is the one about Persephone and is by Mercedes Lackey. It was an interesting story and definitely took the angle that Persephone was not abducted, but rather fell in love and helped “stage” an abduction to break free of Demeter.

Day 14:

Long, busy, somewhat frustrating day today.

Taught tonight until 9:00 and then the drive home to my little one who missed me a lot. Feeling somewhat worn and tired and thus granting myself permission to go to sleep now instead of trying to do any more catch up!

I didn’t write a sun blessing, but I did take this photo of the sun setting on my newly planted rosebush outside my tiny temple. Perhaps that is blessing enough, both the planting and the sun.

11032378_10209089994997028_4371929147566304188_nDay 11:

An altar for spring + a candle for spring! I was making recording for a Priestessing class this afternoon as well as preparing for a Maiden ritual/spring ceremony tomorrow. It doesn’t show very well in the photo but my candle is there in a piece of rose quartz. Rose Quartz feels very “maiden” to me. Love it!

I feel so happy that this is my life and how I spend my days. I picked a rune for Ostara and was so pleased to see The Wand show up: rune of blessing. Calling in. Making sacred. Honoring. Blessing.

Yes.

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Categories: #30daysofspring, nature, practices, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, spirituality, Womanrunes, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Day 8: Of Snowdrops (and Moss) (#30daysofspring)

The SnowdropsMarch 2016 023
~ Theodora Goss

“I’m bringing you a message:

That the snowdrops are worth listening to,
and if you listen carefully, you can hear them,
but you must get down on your knees, head low
to the ground, as though praying.

They say that spring is more important
than whatever else you were doing, which you thought
was so important…”

(via: Words for Wednesday | hecatedemeter)

I saw this quote in a blog post and it spoke to me. While there are no actual snowdrops at my house, there is plenty of moss, which requires the same time of listening. I hopped up first thing in the morning on Wednesday and went for another ramble in the deepwoods with my husband and our youngest child. This feels vital and restorative. And, I did it first, rather than wait to “reward” myself.

March 2016 010It isn’t only Persephone who is Returning. It is ME.

March 2016 014

Categories: #30daysofspring, poems, quotes, seasons, self-care, spirituality, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

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