self-care

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 27: Rest and withdrawal (#30daysofyule)

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 via 30 Days of Yule

I love the quotes Joanna shares from this book. I look forward to ordering it myself (used copies are expensive right now though).

Yesterday, I posted my reading with three hearts showing up in it as well as the Lovers, reversed. I took this as a nudge to be more loving. The next day, I walked out to my tiny temple and…my auger…a Rose Quartz bracelet was lying in my path.

12466103_10208494981562064_4186282811287005832_oAs I worked, my candle wax spilled onto the desk in an interesting pattern.

12471864_10208494982362084_6058408378129887199_oAnd, in keeping with the “rest and renewal” prompt, my parents kept my three older kids overnight (the youngest went for the afternoon through dinner and then came home to me) and my husband and I spent the day planning and visioning for our business during the coming year. It was just the focused, devoted, clear time that we needed and it felt extremely restorative and I’m grateful to have had the time.

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Categories: #30daysofyule, family, sacred pause, self-care | Leave a 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 17: Holy darkness (#30daysofyule)

 

 I’ve been feeling rushed for several days so late yesterday afternoon I went and sat on the back porch with my two youngest kids and my drum. We admired the nearly full moon and my daughter said, “let’s make up a new goddess song.” So, we sang and drummed:

I see the goddess in the moon

I feel the goddess in the earth

I taste the goddess in the wind

I hear the goddess in my heart

I touch the goddess in your hand. 

We drew oracle cards and inked them on our wrists. Then, she went in and I took the baby down to the woods where we sang and drummed as the sun went down and darkness fell. We sang:

Moon wise woman*

Moon wise baby

We are moon wise

We are moon wise.

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

 

(*”Moon wise” from a new program being launched by a long distance priestess friend and for which I will be guest teaching in the spring.)

Categories: #30daysofyule, chants, drums, family, moon wisdom, nature, night, parenting, priestess, ritual, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Claypriestess (#30daysofdissertation)

12362679_1685790088299873_4037715236141904055_o“If there is one chant in the universe it is to create.”

–Chris Griscolm quoted in Nicole Christine, p. 25

If you have ever eavesdropped on a conversation between my husband and me around the clamor of our children’s voices, you will hear me making a tired lament: “All I want is a broad swath of uninterrupted time.” I am listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic, on audio book from the library right now and she mentions that many creative people lament not having long stretches of uninterrupted time available in which to work. She quotes a letter from Herman Melville to Nathaniel Hawthorne, lamenting his lack of time and how he is always pulled “hither and thither by circumstances.” Melville said that he longed for a wide-open stretch of time in which to write. She says he called it, “the calm, the coolness, the silent grass-growing mood in which a man ought always to compose.”

…I do not know of any artist (successful or unsuccessful, amateur or pro) who does not long for that kind of time. I do not know of any creative soul who does not dream of calm, cool, grass-growing days in which to work with- out interruption. Somehow, though, nobody ever seems to achieve it. Or if they do achieve it (through a grant, for in- stance, or a friend’s generosity, or an artist’s residency), that idyll is just temporary—and then life will inevitably rush back in. Even the most successful creative people I know complain that they never seem to get all the hours they need in order to engage in dreamy, pressure-free, creative exploration. Reality’s demands are constantly pounding on the door and disturbing them. On some other planet, in some other lifetime, perhaps that sort of peaceful Edenic work environment does exist, but it rarely exists here on earth. Melville never got that kind of environment, for instance. But he still somehow managed to write Moby-Dick, anyhow.

Source: Elizabeth Gilbert On Unlocking Creativity, Ideas As Viruses . News | OPB

My little temple space in which to create in uninterrupted time...

My little temple space in which to create in uninterrupted time…

Today I spent almost two hours working on my dissertation (does this take the place of the next several days of 15
minutes, I wonder?!). I decided to take a dramatic step and I opened a fresh document and started over. Well, not started over, exactly, but approached my material in a new way. I had been working within a 300+ page document that was very cumbersome to navigate. I also discovered a huge amount of repetition in the material, thanks to having copied and pasted the same sections into the document multiples times. This morning, while doing yoga, I suddenly realized that rather than try to mine through the 300 pages and delete repetition, I needed to start with a blank document and move relevant pieces from the 300 pages into it, therefore leaving behind that which is not needed, rather than trying to excavate it. So, after my two hours, I now have four documents: 108 pages of research results from my study group (originally 154), 21 pages of additional typed research notes from books I’ve read that haven’t been placed correctly within my dissertation, and 69 pages of “leftover” content from my original 300. That now leaves 113 pages in my “starter” dissertation. This was a difficult process. I got scared that I wasn’t going to have enough. I started to feel panicky that I don’t know what I’m doing and I have nothing good to say. I started to worry that I can’t do this. It became exceedingly clear that it is going to take me a long time to finish and I’m not sure how to put it all together. And, then…glimmers of something coming together. Section titles and opening stories to frame the sections started to come to me and I sense the shape of it emerging. Something worthwhile and valuable is there. I know it. Now, for that broad swath of uninterrupted time…

One of the things that caught my eye again today as I did all this rearranging was a section I typed from Priestess: Woman as Sacred Celebrant by Pamela Eakins about her past life memories of making clay goddess figures as a temple priestess

“…to me it brought a continuation of the energy of the sacred objects of the grandmothers. I contained 12310054_1685134281698787_1950735518948681440_othis energy in a new form in the dolls that would be placed upon the altars and in the graves of the daughters living now and the daughters to come…

I felt this process made my own clay stronger, too. Some of the pieces cracked in the fire because of the added ‘impurities’…but, in this case, I felt the impurities were the purest of pure and I worshipped each crack knowing the crack contained the wisdom of the priestesses who had occupied the doll-making table for more moons than I could even imagine. It contained too, the devotional energy of every grandmother who had held it in her hands or placed it on her altar. Sometimes ‘impurities’ sanctify further that which is holy to begin with.

My hands knew the mind of the clay before they touched it. My designs were fine. My fingers were nimble. I made the same figures over and over. I knew from the start, no matter what shell her outer form took, whether it was black or brown, gray or red, depending on the mix, that her essence was the same…

While I tend to have a knee-jerk skepticism about past-life memories, there is something in Eakins’ words that I know at a bone-deep level as I do my own work with goddesscraft: 12309972_1684185268460355_7337326396732314515_o

…Each goddess was imprinted with the sound of sacred life coursing through the Universe. I changed with the priestesses as the figures came through my hands. Each doll received the sacred vibration of life…For seventy-seven moons I made the dolls at the long table with the young Sisters of Nun. My hands were so fast. I made thousands of figures: beautiful little faces, etched collars of gold plates, pubic hair swirled into tiny rows of connecting spirals. They were so precious. At the end of the day, my baked clay shelves were covered with little women.

The clay goddesses healed…

This is how I apprenticed. I learned, in this manner, the art of healing. I learned that to heal means to make whole, and that becoming whole involves learning many levels of purification, balance, and reformation” (p. 32-33).

In Anne Key’s marvelous priestess memoir, Desert Priestess, she makes this important point: “It is of course no small wonder why graven images are so tightly controlled by religious traditions.” (p. 52) Sometimes I feel like this is what I’m tapping into when I make my own goddess sculptures—a resistance to tight control over graven images and over personalization of divinity as male.

And, I return to Gilbert’s thoughts on creative living as a life path:

Is this the ideal environment in which to create — having to make art out of “things residual” in stolen time? Not really. Or maybe it’s fine. Maybe it doesn’t matter, because that’s how things have always been made. Most individuals have never had enough time, and they’ve never had enough resources, and they’ve never had enough support or patronage or reward … and yet still they persist in creating. They persist because they care. They persist because they are called to be makers, by any means necessary…Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.

Source: Elizabeth Gilbert On Unlocking Creativity, Ideas As Viruses . News | OPB

In my spare minutes of hither-and-thither creating, I did put together a mini-book of Seasonal Meditations as a solstice gift for newsletter subscribers. If you already subscribe to the Brigid’s Grove newsletter, make sure you’ve checked your email for your mini book. If you don’t you can do so now and it will be sent out again tonight. 🙂

December 2015 066

Categories: 30daysofdissertation, art, creativity, dissertation, Goddess, priestess, quotes, readings, sacred pause, sculpture, self-care, spirituality, woodspriestess, writing | 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 1: Stillness, Quiet (#30daysofyule, #30daysofdissertation)

IMG_968430 Days of Yule began today. I deeply connect with Joanna’s description of the twin moods of this season: “The deepest gifts of the midwinter holiday season are the twin companions of Solitude and Community. We need both.”

I feel these twin companion keenly at this time of year. My picture for today is also part of my 30 Days of Dissertation, because I’ve decided I’m raising a Goddess Temple here in the woods. For real! I’ve commandeered my children’s unused clubhouse (with their blessing/permission) and it is becoming beautiful, sacred space. I spent way more than 15 minutes yesterday working on the inside of it and I had such a wonderful time. I will write more about it soon.

Today, the day was actually anything but still and quiet. We went to St. Louis for a homeschool field trip to the history museum and were gone all day (I did manage to move some quotes from three different saved pdfs into my dissertation document). We were in need of a small adventure for our family after all of the busy-ness November held and so I have no regrets about being in the hustle and bustle of the city rather than the peace of the woods. However, I now seek the quiet of my bed, my thoughts, and the restoration of sleep…

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Carriage ride at the museum (with merry jingle bells on the large draft horses).

Categories: #30daysofyule, 30daysofdissertation, community, family, parenting, priestess, retreat, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Setting forth (#30DaysofDissertation)

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Setting forth she claims her magic, guided by faith and ritual.

This is the year I planned to finish my dissertation. I submitted my prospectus early this year, have done hundreds of pages of reading, and have collected 286 pages of my own writings for it. I also gradually built up 154 pages of original research thanks to the generous voices of sister priestesses in my Priestess Path study group on Facebook. And, now…nothing. I’ve just been waiting, hoping it was going to finish writing itself. Surely there is a dissertation in there somewhere amongst all those pages, right? RIGHT?!?!?!

I picturing nurturing my masterpiece into completion during the restful, dark, incubatory, gestational winter months. I imagined curling up into the cocoon of winter and then bursting forth with completed dissertation in hand. I didn’t count on fulfilling 360 orders on etsy during the month of November!

I posted on my personal facebook about my slim hope of still somehow finishing it before the end of the year and one of my friends, who finished her PhD quite a few years ago, suggested working on it for 15 minutes a day. This seems like a tiny and obvious suggestion, but it released something in me. I realized that this year I have participated in four 30 Days courses in which I made a blog post every single day (save Hecate, for which I still made more than 20 individual posts). Why wasn’t I steadily working on my dissertation during all of those days? I think if I spend a minimum of 15 minutes for the next 30 days working on my dissertation in some capacity, I can finish it. So, #30DaysofDissertation is born. I’m making a commitment to spend at least 15 minutes a day working on my dissertation for the next 30 days. That means it has to come first or at the very least, it can’t be left until last. Something else will have to slide underneath it in priority, because I can no longer continue to wait for the mythical perfect time that involves long stretches of uninterrupted, contemplative hours. Today, during the baby’s naptime I added 30 pages of text from my ritual kit books plus transcribed 2.5 past recordings from the woods, bringing my pages up to 308. Clearly, my most significant challenge is not going to be in not having enough information, it is going to be about wading through what I do have and shaping it into a coherent final form.

I can do this!

November 2015 079Side note: I’ve also been having fun making bookmarks out of our goddess greeting card bundle. If I can find time for bookmarks, I can find for daily dissertation work, amirite? You can get your goddess greeting card free bundle here: Come Join the Circle! – Brigid’s Grove

Categories: 30daysofdissertation, dissertation, practices, priestess, self-care, writing | 5 Comments

Day 16 & 17: Journeying into wisdom (#30DaysofHecate)

IMG_9224My rune of the day has been The Moonboat, rune of journeys, for the last two days in a row. I took that as a sign that it is okay to combine days 16 & 17 of 30 Days of Hecate into one post. It didn’t strike me until the middle of the night the clear connection between the Moonboat the “journey into the underworld” photo prompt for yesterday. Today, on the new moon, I drew the Moonboat again. Since the prompt for today is “opening the door to wisdom, ” I decided it was a perfect time to try the new New Moon layout I developed to use with Womanrunes. My own results were no surprise, a deep call for retreat, reflection, solitude, and time.

IMG_9222I feel very “activated” right now, which is unusual for the fall season for me, but underneath the action is a the siren song of solitude, the heart’s call for time to reflect, renew, restore, and recharge. We have been utterly stunned by the volume of orders we’ve experienced in our etsy shop this month. I knew the holiday season would be busy, but I was completely naïve about how busy! Today, we talked a lot about how to re-balance our lives and how to work within this busy-ness in a way that feels sustainable, nourishing, and sensible. We are having a lot of fun, but we’re also getting a little tired and ragged feeling and it is only November 11!

How to do a New Moon layout of your own with Womanrunes or any other cards:

FullSizeRender_1I walk the crescent moon
Plant the seeds and wait to bloom.

I dance the crescent moon
Change is coming, making room.

I sing the crescent moon
Weave intention with her loom.

For this layout, three cards are used:

  1. Planting: What seeds are you planting? What are you incubating or preparing to grow?
  2. Making room: What is changing? How are you making room?
  3. Weaving: What is working through you? What is your intention or focus point?

IMG_9220I did have time to also add a wonderful Moon Wisdom blessing bundle to the etsy shop. I am in love with the resin version of our crescent moon goddess. She is full of energy and power and the wisdom of deep places…

Remember you can also sign up for a free Womanrunes course here: Introduction to Womanrunes

Categories: #30daysofHecate, divination, moon wisdom, practices, ritual, sacred pause, self-care, Womanrunes | Leave a comment

Day 5: A Tarot Reading (#30DaysofHecate)

wheelThe wheel turns. Our youngest son is ONE today*. His pregnancy and birth was so closely aligned with the wheel of the year and my pregnancy with him was an incredibly generative time for our business (I wrote and published the Womanrunes book as well as sculpted more than twenty of our sculpture/pendant designs while pregnant with him!) I can hardly believe he is one now! Instead of leaping right into my to-do list when he was napping today, I sat with my cards and my Divination Practicum workbook. I’m really enjoying the many ways my own course dovetails with the prompts in the 30 Days of Hecate course. Today’s assignment was to do a tarot reading using Joanna’s “Elder of Fire” layout. I did it with the Gaian Tarot (of course!) and then with Womanrunes. I learned from both layouts and felt like doing this was just what I needed today. I’d been feeling scattered, drained, touched out, and stressed. The kids are all sick and we’ve been what feels like nonstop busy and I’ve been craving down time, solitude, and space to think. My list is a mile long, but I made space for this work first instead of saving it for the oft-elusive “later.” This Elder of Fire layout feels like a really, really powerful layout to do at this time of year and I encourage you to try it yourself this weekend! I was also very interested to see that the rune of the day for me today was The Cauldron and then The Cauldron was also the first card for my Elder spread. That is very Hecate-riffic.

1. Offering: What or who is dead or dying, that you need to honor?

2. Challenge: What task does the Elder of Fire ask of you?

3. Center: Where do you find your center of power?

4. Opening: What new sweetness is wafting in on the scent of burning herbs?

5. Wisdom: What secrets do the ancestors whisper to you this All Hallows Eve?

Source: Elder of Fire: A Tarot Spread for All Hallow’s Eve

The results of this layout for me were:

IMG_8818and combined with The Gaian Tarot:

IMG_8817

1. Offering: What or who is dead or dying, that you need to honor? The reversed Awakening tarot card indicates that what is “dying” is being controlling and rigid, unwilling to hear the call of spirit. The Cauldron reminds me that something is waiting to be stirred–to be brewed up–and that what is passing away is a time of confusion or not knowing.

2. Challenge: What task does the Elder of Fire ask of you? The Elder of Earth here asks me “to be deeply content within” while the Flying Woman serenades me with her call to action and transformation. Interestingly, I’d already inked her on my wrist this morning holding the Cauldron. Even more interesting is that the takeaway part of her message in the Womanrunes book is to spin, spin together in the dance of life. And…look what she is paired with…the Elder of Earth spinning on her wheel!

3. Center: Where do you find your center of power? This one was a little more confusing because The Canoe in the tarot is reversed, which doesn’t feel very center of power-y. However, I read the description and actually laughed because it says, “perhaps you are pushing too hard and have lost the pleasure of the project.” I have been complaining all week of feeling too pushy and like I’m “revving” too hard trying to keep up. So, The Canoe reminds me to paddle and float and steer with focus rather than drive, per se. I’m not surprised to see The Winged Circle show up here—I’ve been tight and closed in and need to remember to spread my wings and to shake things off, opening to possibility.

4. Opening: What new sweetness is wafting in on the scent of burning herbs? Justice showing up here makes sense too, reminding me of balance. So, what better pairing to balance out my sense of tight, driven pushiness than the Womanrunes card, The Yoni: Rune of Pleasure. This rune relates to creativity and joy. Yes, please.

5. Wisdom: What secrets do the ancestors whisper to you this All Hallows Eve? The Two of Air shows up here telling me to make time for silence and to listen to the whispers of my deep self. And, to “move at the pace of guidance.” In a funny, literal twist, something that I keep snapping about this work is that I need quiet. I crave silence, I have said multiple times over the last few days. The Rune of Prosperity shows up here, connecting beautifully to the tree imagery in the tarot card and whispering to me to rest and let sunlight kiss my branches.

After laying out the cards and journaling, I let myself page through the notes from my friends at my mother blessing last year as I prepared for my baby’s birth. It felt sweet and tender to allow myself that pleasure as I sit next to my napping now one year old boy, instead of immediately launching into my to-do’s, which is what nap time is usually reserved for (and indeed is usually the only sustained period of concentrated, creative energy I have in a day and even it is often fragmented by needing to pat his back or nurse him so he will continue napping).

My husband finished uploading Tanner’s birth video today in honor of his birthday. I know that not all of my followers here are interested in childbirth, but if you are, the video is here!

*Note: I keep saying “today” in this post because I started it on October 30th, which is the day it goes with. However, it isn’t actually publishing until the 31st, because it got really late before I could finish writing it!

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Categories: #30daysofHecate, birth, blessings, divination, introversion, practices, readings, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, Womanrunes, womanspirit | 1 Comment

Day 3: Stirring the Cauldron (#30daysofHecate)

IMG_8787Make for yourself a power spot
Bring you a spoon and a cooking pot
Bring air
Bring fire
Bring water
Bring earth
And you a new universe will birth…

–Shekhinah Mountainwater in The Goddess Celebrates by Diane Stein

Source: Shekhinah Mountainwater | WoodsPriestess

We held our opening ceremony for our Divination Practicum tonight under the full moon. Earlier in the day, in another perfect synchroncity with today’s 30 Days prompt, the Womanrunes card I drew was the Cauldron of Reflection. Perfect for this time of year, but also for me personally. I needed the reminder, and the permission, to rest.

This morning, in the Facebook group for 30 Days of Hecate, the chant above by Shekhinah Mountainwater was suggested as a perfect chant for today. One of her friends recorded herself singing the song as Shekhinah used to sing it and shared it with the group. Someone else found another version online (different tune than Shekhinah’s) and shared the link: Cookingupauniverse.mp3 (it begins at about 1:47). I love it! We sang it over and over tonight during our ritual and it was wonderful.

Shekhinah’s birthday was just four days ago and I wanted to share a couple of things. First, a birthday tribute from the Memorial Fund:

Happy Birthday Shekhinah! | Shekhinah Mountainwater Memorial Fund

And, I wanted to share the news about Shekhinah’s Tarot project.

“At long last, we have pulled together the pieces, the passion and the people to move forward with remastering and publishing Shekhinah’s beautiful Tarot deck. I’m excited to announce this on the night of October 24th, the day Shekhinah was brought into this word and took her first breath.

It has been challenging to get the wheels rolling on this project; no accompanying Tarot book was found when Shekhinah crossed the veil… As well, the cards themselves are worn and need remastering in order to be print-ready. Still, I did not want to give up on it. I know how deeply Shekhinah wanted to publish, and the incredible amount of study, brilliance and magic that went into the creation of her deck. And I also know, even more so now as I have begun the study of the cards, how important this deck is – to all of us… and to future generations…”

Dear Ones: At long last, we have pulled… – Shekhinah Mountainwater

I’ll be working on the book for this project and I look forward to carving out some time and space over the winter to focus on it.

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I’m offering a free starter class in our new class portal at MotherHouse of the Goddess: Sign Up for Introduction to Womanrunes.

This all feels like stirring the cauldron to me!

Categories: #30daysofHecate, collaboration, divination, moon wisdom, night, sacred pause, self-care, spirituality, Womanrunes, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Mamapriestess?

She who changes IMG_7770
She who expands and contracts
She who stretches her limits
She who digs deep
She who triumphs and fails
Every day
Sometimes both within a single hour
She who tends her own hearth
She who comforts and connects and enfolds
She who opens wide…

(via my past post: Goddess Mother)

I recently finished reading Under Her Wings: The Making of a Magdalene, by Nicole Christine. A theme running through the book was the concept of “As Above, So Below and As Within, So Without.” I read this book as part of my research for my dissertation about contemporary priestessing. I posed two questions based on this book in my dissertation research study group, but I’d like to invite other responses and experiences as well.

I want to hear from the Mamapriestesses, from the Hearth Priestesses! Where are the other practicing priestesses b2ap3_thumbnail_11209411_1658113891067493_624517776654095662_n.jpgwith children at home? I noticed in Christine’s book that the bulk of her work took place after her children were grown and, to my mind, she also had to distance or separate from her children and her relationships in order to fully embrace her priestess self. How do you balance this? How does it work for you? Parenting, for me, can simultaneously feel as if it is stifling my full expression and yet perhaps as if it holds the greatest lessons and teachers

I notice that many women seem to come to priestess work when the intensive stage of motherhood has passed, or they do not have children. Is there a reason why temple priestesses were “virgins” and village wise women were crones? Where does the Mamapriestess fit?

So, if you have children, I’d love to hear from you about this! If you do not have children by choice, how does that play into your spiritual work? If you do not have children and that is not by choice, how does that play into your spiritual work?

As I read Christine’s book and witnessed her intensive self-exploration, discovery, and personal ceremony and journeys, I realized that in many ways personal exploration feels like a luxury I don’t have at this point in my parenting life (as an example: for an entire month I’ve been dreaming what feel like really powerful and almost revelatory dreams, but I have a night-nursing 11 month old and after multiple night wakings with him, the dreams slip into nothingness and I’m left with a sense of “forgetting” something that is trying to communicate with me or share wisdom).

How do you balance your inner journey with your outer process? Christine references having to step aside and be somewhat aloof or unavailable to let inner processes and understandings develop, since our inner journeys may become significantly bogged down by interpersonal relationships, dramas, venting, chatting, and so forth. Or, as I tend to joke, during a full moon ritual as my two pre-teen sons make fart jokes or the baby has a poopy diaper. For me, this distance for inner process exploration isn’t possible in the immersive stage of life as a mother. And, yet, I also know in my bones that I’m not meant to give it up. How does the As Within and the So Without work together for you?

Several years ago, I was sitting at the table sculpting clay for a new design and my then six-year-old son worked at the table too, finally presenting me with a special gift of his own design:

February 2013 051“This is the Goddess of Everything,” he told me. “See that pink jewel in her belly, that is the WHOLE UNIVERSE, Mom!!”

Categories: dissertation, family, Goddess, OSC, parenting, priestess, self-care, women, woodspriestess, writing | 4 Comments

Day 29: Golden Leaves (#30DaysofHarvest)

 

 “Some October, when the leaves turn gold, ask me if I’ve done enough to deserve this life I’ve been given. A pile of sorrows, yes, but joy enough to unbalance the equation.”

–Barbara Crooker

Today I spent almost all day working on the modules for my upcoming Divination Practicum course (course supply kits also shipped today!), but I took some time in the afternoon to enjoy the woods and the beautiful patterns of sunshine there. I did a quick Womanrunes reading, while thinking about the Practicum and hoping it goes the way I imagine. I got the Crescent Moon (rune of divination), the Witch’s Hat (rune of magic), and the Heart (rune of passion). Sounds spot-on to me! 😊

 
And, of course, I was compelled to get a new picture of the roses…

  


Categories: #30DaysofHarvest, classes, nature, practices, sacred pause, seasons, self-care, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

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