theapoetics

Spring Meditation

   Shedding January 2015 087
    releasing
    changing
    renewing
    growing
    healing
    springing

    Letting go
    leaving behind
    casting off
    sloughing
    opening.

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

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

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

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

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

Misty Morning

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

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

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

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

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

Winter Solstice Meditation

When the wheel of the year turns towards fall, I always feel the call to retreat, to cocoon, to pull away. I also feel the urge for fall de-cluttering—my eyes cast about the house for things to unload, get rid of, to cast away. I also search my calendar for those things which can be eliminated, trimmed down, cut back on. I think it is the inexorable approach of the winter holiday season that prompts this desire to withdraw, as well as the natural rhythm of the earth which so clearly says: let things go, it is time to hibernate.

Late autumn and the shift toward winter is a time of discernment. A time to choose. A time to notice that which has not made it through the summer’s heat and thus needs to be pruned away. In this time of the year, we both recognize the harvest of our labors and that which needs to be released or even sacrificed as we sense the promise of the new year to come.

This year I cocoon with my new baby. Though I have three other children, this new baby was the first child whose development and arrival December 2014 106perfectly mirrored the wheel of the year. Conceived during the first month of the new year, taking root in the darkness of winter’s end, beginning to bud during the springtime and coming into full bloom during the summer. And, then, with the season’s spiral turn into fall, when many beautiful things are harvested, his birth: October 30, into my welcoming hands in the sunlight bright morning in my living room. Now, with the steady progress of winter, we curl together in a small, new world. We cocoon in the cave of our own home, the size of the world re-sized to the size of my bed, kitchen table, and rocking chair. This is the fourth trimester, the time in which the baby continues to develop his nervous system and continues to live within the context of the mother’s body. I am his habitat. His place. His home is in my arms.

This sinking in, this cocooning, this safe, small world is perfect for the call of winter. While my to-do list has again begun to clang in my ear and the clamor of my other children surrounds me, the early nights, cold temperatures, and gray skies, remind me to nestle, remember, and grow. Beautiful magic takes root in dark, deep places.

Winter solstice.
Deep, long, dark night.
Cold cracks
brittle branches,
icy stone.

Winter’s song December 2014 004
echoes in skeletal treetops
and crackling leaves.
Rest time.
Hibernation.
Silent watchfulness.
Waiting hope.

Sink down.
Open up.
Receive and feel.
Hold peace.

May you enjoy a rich, peaceful solstice with your family and loved ones! May you be blessed by light and may you find wisdom and solace in dark, deep, places. And, may you remember not to be so distracted by the promise of the light to come that you forget the great value to be found in endarkenment as well.

December 2014 211

 

Categories: blessings, endarkenment, family, holidays, parenting, poems, spirituality, theapoetics | 1 Comment

Of Chainsaws and Change

October 2014 168Sometimes you have to let dead things go
sink back into the body of the Earth
from where they came.

Let them re-enter the cycle of life.
Let them breathe again into the rustle of fall leaves.

Sometimes when the sheltering arms that have surrounded you
have dropped away.
Your horizons are broadened
Your eyes opened.
And you breathe deeper, climb higher, and run freer.

There is a time for gathering in and drawing close.
There is time for opening up and letting go.
Softening the grip that demands that nothing ever change.
Letting go of the way things used to be.
And just watching, to see what grows anew.

One day there will something here
that has never been here before.

October 2014 169

What now remains of my favorite maple.

During the drought we experienced around three years ago, a lot of the trees in our woods died. Some of them died that year, but we weren’t absolutely sure they were really gone until they got no new leaves the following year. Some of them died the following summer, probably due to having been weakened so much by the drought conditions that they couldn’t rebound. This year, we decided to cut some of them down—both because we heat with wood and winter is approaching and because some of them are so close to the rocks I visit that if they were to fall, they could hurt me. It felt, and continues to feel, like a “selfish” decision by me though to have cut them, like we should have just let the cycle of the forest continue its life and rhythm unimpeded by human interference. It was hard to evaluate the variables of good woodlot management, firewood procurement, and personal safety while also feeling like I was betraying my sacred spot in the woods, betraying the relationship I built there. I still don’t know whether we made the right choice. I do know that the landscape in the woods has changed now.

While my husband and the friends that helped him were as careful as possible not to damage anything unnecessarily and to only October 2014 164 cut trees that were most certainly dead, one of those trees fell on a plum tree that I enjoy very much and split off the top part of the plum and several branches. I can hardly stand it. This is the tree for which the strongest feeling of betrayal comes, since it is very much still alive. I know this tree. I know how it starts to blossom early in the springtime, how the petals of the flowers fall onto the rocks like snow when an early frost comes, how its leaves are the first to fall in the autumn and to carpet the rocks with their even, nearly round shapes. It is by far the biggest plum tree in the woods—I rarely see them as big as this.

One of the things I learned from my whole woodspriestess experiment was that it is completely possible to create a deep, rich, full, complex, genuine relationship with a physical space and the non-human life forms within it. As I looked at the damaged tree, I thought though, this relationship now is NOT a mutually rewarding for the trees. I’ve gained so much and learned so much in this space and what I have now returned to it is destruction. I cried over the plum. But, tears do not heal broken trees. Nor do apologies re-grow broken limbs. I have to sit with that. I put my hands on its trunk and told it I was so sorry. I felt my heart beat in my palms in this rhythm: I am strong. I am strong. I am strong.

And then, look what I’ve already been through. October 2014 166

I looked at its trunk then, how to emerges from a small space between two rocks—pushing its way up through very inhospitable, rocky terrain—and how it grows at nearly a right angle to the rocks themselves. This is not a tree that grows straight and tall, this is a tree that arches over the rocks in its own, powerful, individual manner of survival.

I had taken an altar bowl my mom made down to the rocks with me to photograph and after I was done with my pictures, I carefully poured the water from the bowl around the base of the plum and while I did so, I started to sing the Hoʻoponopono song that I learned about from a friend.

I am sorry
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Thank you.

It was still a betrayal of this plum tree. I’m not making excuses about that. However, I will wait and watch and see if it can rise again anyway.

 

 

Categories: death, nature, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 6 Comments

Fall’s Return

September 2014 004

I love the last roses of summer as the wheel turns towards fall.

Weed it out
cast it off
let it go.

Let it sink
into the body of the Earth
where it will be recycled
renewed
refreshed
reborn.

Let the seeds drift where they may
let your fear drift where it may.

Roll your shoulders
Tip back your head
Open your hands

Let it all fall away
unclench your life.*

September 2014 010

And, my love affair with tiny flowers persists throughout any season that blesses me with them.

Open your heart
be vulnerable
say, oh well
keep going.

It is time to sit on the rock
watch the leaves change colors
feel the winds shift into winter

It is time to let go
to recognize what has dried up
what is falling down
what can be chopped into firewood
and burned.

The spiral twists of the wheel
the turn of the stone
the rhythm of the seasons
which care not a thing
about your to-do list.

It just happens.
It unfolds.
It blooms and withers
takes root again
grows something new, but familiar
and surprises us
with the consistent,
wildly mysterious
Return.

I have been traveling this month and very busy. I am 35 weeks pregnant and I feel overbooked, overwhelmed, tense and taut more than like to feel at this moment. This morning, I woke up before the rest of my family and headed for the solace of the woods, this place that never fails to soothe me and bring clarity. I found myself pulling up a bunch of fuzzy-headed weeds, clearing them away where they had grown up between the rocks. Yes, I was trying to weed the forest, even though my list for the day was very long. As I did so though, I realized I felt good. Calm. Mind stilled. The ache I’d been feeling in my sacrum disappeared and the tears that I keep feeling stinging behind my eyes did too. I remembered that this is a common feeling in the fall for me–the sensation of needing to “stop the world,” the sensation that I’m spinning too fast and trying to do too much. I have documented these feelings for at least the last five years. It felt comforting to recognize the turn of the wheel of the year right there in my own life and to know that the woods simply don’t care whether I cross items off my list or not, the leaves keep falling, the squirrels keep running up the trees, and the sun rises and sets every day.

September 2014 067

*from a poem by Andrea Potos.

Crossposted at SageWoman.

Categories: family, nature, seasons, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Womanrunes Book and Card Sets!

What are you unearthing? What are you digging up? What are you uncovering? What is causing sweat to drip from your brow, your cheeks to flush, and your August 2014 011heart to beat faster? This work can be dirty. It can be long, it can be hard. But, you can do it. You ARE doing it. Keep digging.

Remember too that others are doing their own hard work, unearthing their own riches, discovering their own treasures. What might you be missing in other people and how can you work side by side, turning over your deepness together?

via Womanrunes: The Tool | WoodsPriestess.

Slightly ahead of schedule, our Womanrunes book and cards sets are now available! The sets are available directly from us via our etsy shop. The book alone is also available via Amazon, Amazon UK, CreateSpace, and Etsy (print and digital).

While it was intense and challenging, this work was an incredibly fulfilling co-creative process between my husband and me and it used both of our strengths to the fullest. When the decks of cards first arrived, I drew one and it was The Tool: Rune of Labor. How extremely appropriate! While I’ve been a writer for many years and have published a number of journal articles, magazine articles, countless blog posts, and even three short social service booklets and a miscarriage memoir, I completely underestimated the expenditure of energy required for a book project like Womanrunes. I am still in disbelief that I did it. It feels like a fulfillment of a promise to myself as well as a carrying on of Shekhinah’s powerful legacy.

I took the cards and book with me to the woods and thanked them for giving this to me. This book was conceived of and “written” in the woods, on the priestess rocks. I say “written” in quotes because it many ways it feels like something I received instead of wrote. Each interpretation was first spoken and then later transcribed. And yet, the result was still a book!

Thank you.

Categories: books, divination, family, resources, theapoetics, Womanrunes, woodspriestess, writing | 7 Comments

Womanrunes Book!

We did it! After an 18 months process of working with Womanrunes and developing my interpretations of them, we’ve published our book! It took much longer and was a much more significant birthing process than I imagined, but it feels so good to have completed it.

I’m interested to now witness the fear that has come up for me in the last two  days though as we’ve approved the final proof and ordered the first copies—what if no one likes it? What if it is too much? What if in “stepping out” like this, I open myself up for “attack” of some kind? Anyway, regardless, it is here!

This book is a collaborative effort between my husband and me. I wrote the text and my husband did all the illustrations, layout, and formatting. At present the book is available in two formats: in paperback from CreateSpace and in digital pdf version from Etsy. A version that includes a professionally printed set of Womanrunes cards is forthcoming by September 1st.

We are extremely pleased with our work on this project and are so glad to offer it to the world! Womanrunes_Cover_for_KindleWomanrunes: A guide to their use and interpretation

From an idea by Shekhinah Mountainwater smAugust 2014 006

In 1988, women’s spirituality foremother and wayshower, Shekhinah Mountainwater, experienced a “goddess-lightning” strike of inspiration and created a set of 41 woman-identified rune symbols for divination and personal growth. Twenty-four years later, I discovered Womanrunes and created an expanded means of interpreting, using, and exploring these powerful, magical symbols.

Discover and explore…

*the herstory and development of Womanrunes
*how to interpret Womanrunes
*how to make your own Womanrunes
*how to lay out and read Womanrunes

Publication Date:
Aug 19 2014
ISBN/EAN13: smAugust 2014 008
1500761214 / 9781500761219
Page Count:
124
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
5.5″ x 8.5″
Language:
English
Color:
Black and White
Related Categories:
Body, Mind & Spirit / Divination / General

smAugust 2014 014August 2014 011

I took the book down to the woods with me, of course, because that is where it was conceived of, gestated, and birthed.

In gratitude.
August 2014 041

Growing more than one new creation at once! 🙂

 

Categories: books, divination, Goddess, pregnancy, priestess, resources, spirituality, theapoetics, Womanrunes, womanspirit, woodspriestess, writing | 5 Comments

Cave (prayer and meditation)

“Only in the deepest silence of night

the stars smile and whisper among themselves.”

–Rabindranath Tagore (quoted in Dear Heart, Come Home page 52)

20140711-160329.jpg

Nearly full-moon over model Stonehenge last night.

I know it is summertime and that we’ve just passed the summer solstice. It is also the full moon—bright, full of promise, energy, and enthusiasm. The time for descent, and retreat, and rest, and cocooning is not yet upon us. Regardless, I remain in the mood to wrap up, wind down, finish up. I’m having a new baby in October and I feel a powerful, powerful call to finish all kinds of things so I can fully greet him. One of my projects is evaluating and reducing my book collection. As I do so, I find odds and ends I’d marked to write about or remember. Rather than storing the whole book, it makes sense to me to save the one or two pages I’d marked instead. So, despite the incongruency with the time of year, I’d like to share this prayer and meditation exercise I saved from the book Dear Heart, Come Home: The Path of Midlife Spirituality by Joyce Rupp (now up for grabs in my giveaway box if anyone local wants it for free!). I think it would be a perfect reading and brief meditation to use during a late fall or winter ceremony…

A Prayer for the Cave Time

Guardian of my soul, thank you,

for guiding me in the dark places,

for reaching me through the people of my life,

for drawing near to love me when I feel unlovable,

for teaching me how to tend my wounds,

for guarding me with words of truth

and moments of empowerment,

for allowing my pain and struggle

so that I can come to greater wholeness.

Guardian of my soul,

you are my Coach in the Cave,

my Voice in the Fog

my Midwife of Wisdom.

I place my trust in you

as I give myself to the process

of learning from my darkness.

–Joyce Rupp (page 53, Dear Heart, Come Home)

Because I’m feeling on the lazy side, I did not transcribe the meditation, I took a picture of the page instead (page 183).

cave meditation

There are some associated journaling and discussion questions about the cave of darkness in your own life as well (slightly modified/edited from page 51-52):

  1. Have you experienced a significant time of darkness? What was it like for you?
  2. What do you most resist about the cave of darkness?
  3. Do you care for yourself when you are in darkness? (If so, how?)
  4. What gives you the courage to go on?
  5. How has darkness been a teacher for you?

For more about endarkenment see my previous essay here:

…In fact, what if the Goddess Herself is found in the dark? Judith Laura writing about dark matter in the cosmos writes, “might we call this ‘unseen force’ Goddess? Dark matter could be identified with the womb of the Mother, continually gestating particles, suns, galaxies, which flow from her in a continual stream…Dark matter might also be represented as the Crone aspect of the Goddess—dark and powerful…”

via Endarkenment

Remember to listen to the night wind woman and her talkative silence: June 2014 017

Listen to what is walking here
tiptoeing through your dreams
knocking at the door of your unconscious mind
whispering from shadows
calling from the full moon
twinkling in the stars
carried by the night wind woman
rising at sunset
peeking out
in tentative
yet persistent purpose.

Listen to the call
trust the talkative silence…

via Womanrunes: The Crescent Moon | WoodsPriestess.

 

Categories: books, endarkenment, GGG, nature, night, prayers, readings, resources, retreat, ritual, seasons, spirituality, thealogy, theapoetics, womanspirit | Leave a comment

Blackberry Summer

Summer’s bounty July 2014 090
both sweet and spiky
sun-kissed and thorny
able to draw blood
and to cause you to smile
as you taste the juices of life.

Summer is a time when you both wrestle with what isn’t working and celebrate the fruits of your labors. When you peek under leaves only to discover bugs in your cabbages, whether literal or metaphorical. When you bask in what is growing well, what has taken root firmly, what is beautiful in the sunshine, what you can trust, taste, enjoy and savor. In the summer, we see both weeding and harvesting. Planting and tending and maintaining. We see withering. We see giving up. We see what is dying and what is thriving. This is the balance of the year. The wheel turns and turns and turns and before we know it, we are holding a palm full of blackberries once more. Older, different, changed and yet, right there, again. That juicy bite of summer.

Heat and light. Growth and transformation. Bearing fruit. Spreading open in the sun. Digging up by the roots. Weeding out. Composting. Turning over. Turning over. Turning over.

July 2014 094I’m preparing for our summer ritual tomorrow afternoon and the themes above are on my mind. Summer is a perfect time to see what is growing well and what needs to be yanked out by the roots.

Last year, I expressed similar thoughts in my summer solstice poem. It is interesting to see how the wheel of the year is reflected within my own mind and thought processes. In the late fall, I turn inward and feel like retreating and pulling away from commitments. In the winter, I incubate and make plans. In the spring, I emerge again and feel enthused with new ideas. In the summer, I start to make decisions about what to keep and what to prune away.

It feels fitting that I am gestating a new baby right now and making decisions about what I need to wrap up or change before he is born in the late fall. Then, we’ll be ready to cocoon through the fall and winter together.

July 2014 062

Crossposted at SageWoman.

Categories: family, pregnancy, seasons, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

Gathering the Women

May 2014 006 Gathering the women
gathering the women
gathering the women.

You are welcome here.
You are welcome here.

Come join the circle
come join the circle
come join the circle.

You are welcome here.
You are welcome here.

I’m in the middle of my Chrysalis Woman Circle Leader training program and enjoying it very much. As one of our assignments were were supposed to create a priestess collage as well as a new circle leader/priestess altar. As I prepared the altar, I found myself singing the little song above. I later googled it just in case, but it looks like I did actually make it up in that moment at my altar. That is what I do with my work: gather the women. And, I want them to feel welcome in the circle. Sometimes I feel discouraged though and I wonder if this work matters. I wonder if people really can work together “in perfect love and perfect trust,” I wonder if people like me and I them, and I struggle with wanting to reach “more” women, rather than being completely satisfied with the small group of beautiful souls who do regularly show up to do this work with me . So, I really appreciated Lucy Pearce’s recent blog post on the subject of, if what I do is women’s work, why aren’t women interested?

I had just done a book reading of my #1 Amazon Best Selling book, The Rainbow Way… to an audience of one.

I had just led a red tent circle with 14 women… most of whom had travelled 40 minutes or more to be there.

I am about to lead a workshop… a free women’s workshop… and am aware that numbers may well be small.

Where are all the women? If this truly is women’s work… then why are they at One Direction in their tens of thousands… and not here? Why are they reading 50 Shades… and not Moon Time?

I often apologise to people that my work is niche…

But how can something which is accessible to 50% of the population be “niche”?…

via Why Aren’t Women Interested? | The Happy Womb.

Once at an LLL meeting I mentioned wanting to start a group called “mothercraft” or “womancraft.” Another woman there said it sounded interesting, but if that is what it was called she would never come. I surmised because it sounded too much like “witchcraft.” I think many women retain a deep-seated, historically rooted fear of being labeled witches. Maybe that sounds silly, but I think it is real.

I am very, very carefully planning for my Red Tent even in August without including the word “Goddess” in any chants/rituals, because I want to make sure to speak to the womanspirit within all of us, rather than being associated with any one framework of belief. My observation is that Red Tent spaces have this ability to transcend any particular belief system and welcome women of many backgrounds, inclinations, and beliefs. They aren’t specifically “Goddess circles,” though they honor the divine feminine through their very being. I hope I am able to hold this space as well.

“A Women’s Circle helps you to find the river of your life and supports you in surrendering to its current.” –Marian Woodman

(quoted in Chrysalis Woman Circle Leader manual)

Someone commenting on Lucy’s post said maybe women don’t need her work because they don’t feel “oppressed.” I thought about this and realized that I haven’t ever felt particularly oppressed personally, but I still need womancraft for celebration AND because even though I haven’t been directly oppressed, that doesn’t mean countless women around the world are not—I take a stand and lend a voice in my work for a different, healthier world for women. Another observation I’ve made is that women have a lot of trouble viewing women’s circle activities as something other than an “indulgence” or something frivolous and so it is easy for them to talk themselves out of it or not be able to give themselves the time/space for it, even though they are deeply intrigued and interested.

In the article I wrote when I originally turned over the question of whether it matters, I included this poem:

May 2014 003

Finished priestess collage for CW training.

…Rise up
stand tall
say no
be counted
hug often
hold your babies
hold your friends

Circle often
stand together
refuse to give up
when defeated, rally once more.
Persist in a vision of the way things could be
and take action
to bring that vision into reality….

 via Do Women’s Circles Actually Matter? By Molly Meade

And, I saved this relevant quote:

“…But it is exactly the same thing. You cannot have male dominated spiritual practices and leadership without the subjugation of women. And the subjugation of women equals a rape culture. A rape culture equals women and children being used and seen as objects to possess. As former President Jimmy Carter put it: “The truth is that male religious leaders have had—and still have—an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.” –Jacqueline Hope Derby #YesAllWomen

The Girl God: ://thegirlgod.blogspot.com/…/yesallwomen-by-jacqueline…

And, I remembered some thoughts I’d shared from one of my posts last year in which I shared our summer women’s retreat ritual recipe:

…I’ve been feeling a little discouraged about my retreats lately, primarily because there are a lot more women on the email list than actually show up and so I always feel like I’m doing something “wrong” or am not planning interesting enough things to attract them. I also take it kind of personally—there is a vulnerability in preparing an offering such as this and each time I do it I actually feel like I’m preparing a gift for my friends. When they decline the invite, it feels, in part, like a rejection of the gift I’m offering. Cognitively, I know (or, I hope!), this isn’t true, but emotionally that is how it usually registers. This summer retreat was a beautiful experience that felt just as I wish for these retreats to feel—nurturing, affirming, and celebratory—like a blessingway for all of us with no one needing to be pregnant!

Things I was reminded of after this experience:

  • There is nothing like having friends who are willing to lie on your living room floor and listen to a shamanic drumming CD without laughing or saying you’re ridiculous.
  • Small IS good—I already know from my years as a breastfeeding support group leader that I’m a sucker for bigger-is-better thinking (I tell my own students: don’t let your self-esteem depend on the size of your group!!!!!). When the group is small or RSVPs are minimal, it starts to feel like a personal “failing” or failure to me somehow. However, the reality is that there is a quality of interaction in a small group that is not really possible in a larger group. At this retreat there were seven women. While there was an eighth friend I really wished would come and who we missed a lot, the size felt pretty perfect. I reflected that while some part of me envisions some kind of mythically marvelous “large” group, ten is probably the max that would fit comfortably in our space as well as still having each woman be able participate fully. Twelve would probably be all right and maybe we could handle fifteen. I also need to remember not to devalue the presence of the women who DO come. They matter and they care and by lamenting I want more, it can make them feel like they’re not “enough.”

via Ritual Recipe: Women’s Summer Retreat | WoodsPriestess.

At the center of my Chrysalis Woman priestess altar, I put this bowl that I made during one of our retreats and painted after another one. It felt like a symbol to me of gathering the women. Inside of it, I actually ended up putting some little gifts different friends have given me, but first I put in this tiny hummingbird feather as a reminder that these circles and relationships are delicate, surprising, and beautiful and need to be treated with care.

May 2014 009Earlier this month I received a lovely surprise birthday gift from a talented friend and it is perfect for all the Red Tent plans afoot for August! I’m working on collecting red fabric and cushions as well.

June 2014 001

A few weekends ago, we made prayer flags for a friend and I used different quotes from the Amazing Year workbook on mine (I also presented about this workbook at a conference last week).

May 2014 262After I got home from making the flags, I sat at my Chrysalis Woman altar space and drew a card from the Gaian Tarot deck and it felt incredibly perfect:

May 2014 271

In other good news, I received my M.Div thesis feedback at last and it was this: “It’s beautiful. I don’t see how you can improve it or change it. It’s wonderfully articulate, moving, and elegant.”

And, I found out just today that my Womanrunes workshop was approved for this year’s Gaea Goddess Gathering in Kansas!

Check out this Rise Up video from the Red Tent Movie:

Also, read Lucy’s follow-up blog post here:

Encouragement For Women’s Workers Everywhere: When You Are Feeling Downhearted, Alone and Misunderstood | The Happy Womb.

Gather the women. They are welcome here.

May 2014 083

Categories: art, community, feminism, friends, GGG, OSC, priestess, retreat, ritual, sculpture, spirituality, thealogy, theapoetics, thesis, womanspirit, women, women's circle | 9 Comments

100 Things List!

As part of Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Year workbook, I wrote a list of 100 things to do in 2014.  My blog has been quiet lately, but that doesn’t actually mean I have been! A lot of the energy previously used for blogging has been diverted into other exciting projects on my 100 Things list. 🙂 I finished my second free gift offering for newsletter subscribers at Brigid’s Grove (if you aren’t signed up yet, fill in your email on the right hand side of the screen at the BG website and you will receive the free book within 24 hours). This freebie is a 56 page book of earth-based poetry. Most of the poems were originally published on this blog, but there are several released only in this book (so far) including a re-write of Psalm 23 (which somehow felt too “risky” for me to put online before now, even though I wrote it almost two years ago!)

May 2014 078We’re also offering a spring giveaway of one of our new healing hands pendants AND also a 10% off discount code for our etsy shop (2014SPRING10OFF).

May 2014 062

“…Medicine Woman reminds you

to sleep when you’re tired

to eat when you’re hungry

to drink when you’re thirsty

and to dance

just because.

Medicine Woman

let her bind up your wounds

apply balm to your soul

and hold you

against her shoulder

when you need to cry.

Medicine Woman

Earth healer

she’s ready to embrace you…”

via Woodspriestess: Medicine Woman

Even more exciting from a personal perspective is that I actually finished writing my thesis. Yes, after all my many days of joking, “Oops! I didn’t write my thesis today!” I suddenly really did write it. I had more done than I thought and all I needed was some class-free, focused writing time (my spring school session ended this past Saturday) to get it to a finished position. It might be a first draft if significant revisions are requested/needed (the format is somewhat non-traditional), but I’m hopeful it might be a last draft too! I’ve been working on my D.Min since 2011. I realized last year that I had almost the right credits to do an M.Div first (since my existing master’s degree is in social work instead, I had to take a LOT of M.Div classes as part of the D.Min program), I just had to add a thesis and a couple of classes to the work I’d already done. So, I call it a “pitstop,” because I don’t really need to do it and I’m actually working on something else, but…here I go! I also found out recently that I really only have three D.Min classes and my dissertation left. I’m giving it at least another year on the dissertation though. When I started the thesis idea, I had more like eight classes left, so it seemed like further away and “might as well.” After two partial starts and two different prospectuses submitted, I switched gears again and I actually used my Earthprayer book above as the basic frame or structure for the thesis. I’d been attempting to work with a 400-page Woodspriestess document and then I realized it was way too much. The Earthprayer book had ended up being a distillation of some basic themes from my year in the woods and I thought, “ah ha! I’ve accidentally been working on my thesis without knowing it!” I developed it with articles and essays and my theory and process of theapoesis and magically I produced 84 pages and 26,000 words! (My thesis handbook says it should be 80 pages and 25,000 words. Go, me!)

I also booked an official screening of the Red Tent Movie: Things We Don’t Talk About. It will be held in Rolla on August 2nd and it is the first ever screening of this film in Missouri! Before I booked it, a friend surprised me with this lovely little Red Moon painting and said it was for me to use in my eventual Red Tent. I felt motivated after getting it and booked the screening the next morning.

May 2014 005After doing this and apparently feeling the freedom of being off for the next two weeks, I took advantage of her full moon special and somewhat impulsively decided to sign up for the Chrysalis Woman circle leader program! This was on my Leonie Dawson 100 Things list with a question mark. Now, it is a question mark no more because I signed up and paid…hope it was a good idea! I’ve only downloaded the manuals and listened to the first week’s materials so far, but I really like it. It feels very thorough and comprehensive and feels like a good value for the discounted price it was being offered for. I’m still a little surprised at myself that I did it though!

Categories: books, OSC, poems, theapoetics, thesis, writing | 1 Comment

Woodspriestess: Shadows

Shadows   April 2014 132
shadows of time
mystery and space
shadows of home
shadows of place
shadows from life
stretching past death
shadows of hope
crossing the rest.

Lives past
Lives future
Unlived lives
Dream lives
Each casts its shadow
on the rest
making patterns on the ground
patterns on rock
arms of branches silhouetted April 2014 030
against the sky
new leaves
shadowing across a carpet of those gone before.

We all cast shadows
and create cool places
in which others may sit.

 

April 2014 018

Categories: death, nature, poems, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Birth Spiral Chakra Blessing

Birth spiralFebruary 2014 015.
Energy
feel it spin throughout your body.
Beginning in your core,
unfolding, unfolding, spiraling upward into a peak
and release
Every part of you opening
making space
making room
for this new little one.
Calling the child forth into your waiting arms
your waiting family
your waiting heart.
Enlivened
alive
fully engaged and embodied
in the current of labor.
It builds
it pulses
it rolls
it rocks
it peaks
it crests.
These waves of power.
They are you.
You are doing it.
You ARE it.
This is energy, this power, this unfolding might of creation.
It’s you.
Your body
your power
your birth
your baby.

February 2014 003

Let the sparkles of these chakra colors remind you to bring your whole self to your labor. To walk the spiral path, to dive in, to embrace, to unfold, and to become: Mother.

Root (red):

Where baby came into being and now will be welcomed. Source of creation. Gateway for baby and life.

Sacrum (orange):

Where baby has sheltered within a cradle of bone. Pelvic bowl that rocks the child. Make way. February 2014 007

Solar Plexus (yellow):

Where you take deep breaths, carried on the waves, following your rhythm.

Heart (green):

Where your love bursts forth and you discover what it is like to be endless.

Throat (blue):

Where you roar your birth song. Welcome your baby with your voice, your cry of greeting. Your cry of triumph. Your cry of fulfillment.

 Brow (indigo):

Where you let your mind go, where you release, and give, and surrender to the creative, nameless, raw pulsing energy of birth.

Crown (violet):

Where you draw in the wisdom of the ancestors. The power of the Divine Feminine. The ocean of mother love that has gone before you and that surrounds you even now as you work.

Draw it in, draw it up, draw it down. And know, without a doubt, that you can do it. You can walk this path. You can rise to the occasion. You can respond with strength to whatever is asked of you. All the surprises, all the mystery, all the twists and turns and unexpected places. You carry the wisdom within you to let it flow.

February 2014 012

Crossposted at Talk Birth.

Categories: art, blessings, prayers, readings, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

Yoga Woman

Yoga Woman Pewter Tree Pose Yoga Goddess  Pendant (custom sculpture, hand cast)
she’s stretching out
opening her arms to the sun
swooping forward
gathering the moon in her arms
stretching from side to side.

Yoked to divinity
with her steady breath
Yoked to infinity
through the supple movements of her body.

In tree pose, she finds her balance
despite asymmetry
flexible, yielding
strong, and steady
one-legged and whole.

She is centered
she is ever-changing
she throws back her head
and laughs with the Goddess

Expansive core
strong legs
squared shoulders
she carries an ancient body wisdom
linking her to that which has come before
that which will come after
and to the steady pulse of
All That Is.

Yoga woman
Full body cellular activation
Occurring through each cosmic respiration.

 

Categories: art, blessings, poems, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

High Priestess

High Priestess
sovereign of her own domainFebruary 2014 042
her life
her destiny
Competent, confident, and strong
she walks with purpose and potency.

She is gracious and kind
yet she wears her personal boundaries
with a firmness that requires no apology
She stands up for what is right
she laughs from her belly

She is unabashedly herself
She knows who she is.
She takes time to rest
and she weaves her energy with passion
into an infinitely complex
and infinitely simple
tapestry
of love, power, and intention.

She holds her own heart in her hands
with both tenderness and ferocity
courage and vulnerability
She offers herself
all that she is
flawed, magical, radiant, truthful, powerful, creative, and whole.
She gathers up her offerings in a warm embrace
Sharing that which needed
protecting that which is tender.

She spreads her arms
and dives into an uncharted sea
of vibrant wholeness
and unfettered, glorious well-being.

One of my goals this year is to write a new poem/message to go with every one of our creations. I take the item down to the woods with me and hold it in my hand and wait to see what emerges. We recently set this priestess initiation ring pictured above and the poem is the message I got to go with it. 🙂 (I’m also still working on finishing a message for each of the Womanrunes. I’ve stalled out on them recently and hope I can pick back up the thread.)

High Priestess.
It is time to introduce yourself
to take her hand
and to swim with her
in an ocean of infinite possibility
and magnificent tapestry of being…

This week on Brigid’s Grove we’re offering one of our Embrace Possibility pendants as a giveaway. Just go to the giveaway page and enter there! 🙂

February 2014 027

Categories: art, poems, priestess, sculpture, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

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