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Oh mother, holy mother, ancient mama, sacred mama~
I honor the fire I build, its slow burn in all this wind. Feeding of wet wood and kindling, faded newspaper, scrap by scrap. Feeding sure as I have fed and grown this harvest season, season of light and peak of summer sun. How many lives that live inside just one? Feeding that eats, and transforms.
I honor the water of you, mama Atlantic, salty brine and seaweed hair. Waters of upcoming fall, season of emotion, reflection, season to clean and cleanse~
Season to rest, to make room.
Gibbous moon, yellow behind grey sky, silver cast over the sea. Last of summer’s wax! Last of the element of fire, as we lean now west, water bound, yes. You will peak mama moon just after it has become Fall. I can feel your tension already, the shine light on what we have grown, what we have fed. On our last/ing growth of summer-into-fall. How it gets activated this weekend, what we have grown! Alchemizing into what will last, and what will compost during the season of dark and rest. That which IS becomes what was, which will renew~
What will be?
My feet sturdy upon you, oh mama earth, your new morning and no sun. My heart open to you, new day, grey sky this morning and still the promise of new direction, dawn. Beginning again.
I thank you the lessons! The births and deaths. The ways you’ve taught me round and round the wheel of the year, again and again. I thank you Harvest, what I have grown, what we have done, holy community I thank you, sacred sisters sacred brothers I thank you, what I have given up, what we have, what we feed and grow and give up, how both can happen at once. Old world and new one creating, all at once! I thank you, this passing, I thank you this staying the same. This seasonal ebb into fall, same time as our lunar peak flows into full moon. Ah, thank you tension. Thank you, sacred mama, this power-full, precious, simple dance.
Living and dying and living again, sometimes separate. Sometimes all at once and the same. Holy medicine, equinox weekend of holding both, and. Equal day light, equal night. Equal awareness of both. Passing of season of light into season of dark. Holding steady under full moonlight, holding what it means to be in between.
image, Gwynn Marie, Moonchild
This week of sacred first harvest, let me return to the most simple and vital wisdom I could ever give out on this site. The invitation to set aside the chatter of your head, put down any and all e-devices including tv, and get back to your home.
The constant whir of busyness, of personal and political tumult, of stress and sickness and crisis, is not consistent with the nature of true reality.
It is an indicator of the collective soul sickness of humanity.
Your part in the collective impacts not just you, but the collective. You are made and remade by it, much as you make and remake it.
Your true natural state is one of safety, love, vulnerability, joy, healing, grace and connectivity.
Get back outside where the unfettered rhythm of life is untouched by satellite or cell tower interference.
Let the grandness, the power of the earth and the sun and the moon in the consistency of their infinite dance do what it does. What its bigness is meant to do.
This is the root of real magic.
This is the rising of the ocean’s tide, highest at the gravitational peak of full or new moon. This is the rising of sap in the tree, result of the tension of the elements of the seasons. This is busting seed into both deep down root and breaking ground bud. This is the power of fruit and flower into full bloom.
This too is the source: the reliable recycling of life energy eating itself to birth newness again, again, and again.
Be still, and know this. Patience. Change comes.
This practice is available at any time for any living being to access. There are no secrets, only breaking down or putting down the defenses built up against the patterned chaos of Wild.
It requires you only to re-connect to it. Never underestimate the body’s ability to, in my friend Sepideh’s words, recalibrate, once we’ve gotten our body back onto the earth and away from all the distracting artifice.
My own mental and soul health cannot be separated. Recently, after the loss of my long time wise woman elder, I found myself experiencing professional and personal burn out. I knew that now more than ever it was necessary I heed my own “wisdom”–a word that I use always to mean that which translates from one’s own, personal experiences. 10 years ago I made the commitment to my self that I would travel the road, wherever it took me, to be able ultimately to work for myself, according to my own wisdom, soul, passions, and medicine. That I would blaze my own trail, whatever that took.
I arrived here, back to me, my own hand-built life and dream, over this past year. Who could know that the spiritual mentor, my wise woman Gretchen, whose guidance so surely and regularly led me back to my own while on that path, would depart the earth at the same time as my own arrival into this level of self-autonomy. I had to reach down deeply and trust my own life.
I examined the calendar and chose a week to take off completely. To turn off e-devices and get away from all distractions entirely, to disconnect from the go go go pace of the do do do material world. I chose the time of the month of nature’s elemental reset, the dark moon’s balsamic wane, before the moon remerges as new each month, that I’d make my return. I chose the time of the year when the growing season of summer leans into its own great pause, a great expanse of release and rest, from which the quickening of energy will then surge of itself into first Harvest.
My dark to new moon tide staycation, the dark tide that would birth us into this moon cycle right now, Thursday’s full moon: First Harvest for those in the Northern hemisphere.
My dark moon staycation took what I knew it would, days to simply allow for the stress of my MindBody, my somatic muscle memory juiced and running on amped up nervous system, to dissipate. Then time and more time: it took more days, of moment to moment existing, fire building, cooking fish in the coals, swimming for hours, tent pitching, surfing for hours, laying on the earth in hot drenched sand or beneath trees drowsy with a book over my chest. No agenda, no drive. Just right now with mama nature’s healing rest.
It’s a lot of years I’ve walked this path, and returning to me by returning to her has never led me wrong or let me down. It is always a reset to the imprint of my rhythm, and it is always stunning to me the unexpected doses of harmony and serendipity that occur whenever I do.
It is always a practical miracle how much more I am resourced from within when allow for that reconnection.
Whether or not you nerd out on tracking your own life by the tides of the moon and the seasons of the year as I do, on the real, actual alchemy of it–this medicine can return any of us back to the great majesty of truth in Life:
We are all connected in this sacred web. We create, much as we are created.
The magic of the female body is the rhythmic reliability of this very understanding. The fertility of the full moon is reflected in the peak hormonal time for menstruating women during ovulation each month. At ovulation the psyche is inspired and sparkly. The decline and reflection of the waning moon is aligned with the interior, hormonal alchemy of reflection and release. If we learn to take the time to treat our bodies with reverence, rest and quietude during this time, conscious transformation happens on the psychological, spiritual and physical levels when the period comes.
Learn how to deprogram from the artifice of the material world’s rhythm. The world devalues the feminine orientation of process and change, intuition and emotion. So you must choose to value it in order to find your own rhythm, and to further explore how and in what special, unique ways your own rhythm aligns with nature. This is a gift that will certainly come as result.
To me, it is the gift. The great grace of living. Magic.
Lunar Lammas, celebrated traditionally Aug 2 as Lammas, is reflected the world around in agricultural and indigenous societies that follow the cycles of growth and decline in nature. It is celebrated as a women’s or lunar mystery when the moon grows full while in the sun sign Leo, which this year is this Thursday night, peaking on Friday afternoon.
It comes to us as an imprint of when the late daylight and ample moonlight allowed for the stocking up on the harvest of this season’s fruit, vegetables, and animals.
It is, as all sabbat(h)s or holy days on the earth path, when we too can consciously deepen into a meaningful flow of our own day to day living by being reflective about what we have made of or with our own life.
The energy of a full moon lasts about three days. It holds us still. My sister Chantal, who leads our moon circles, reminded us this week that this week’s full moon is accompanied by a lunar eclipse.
Mama moon, some say, dictates our inner life and systems, what’s under the surface. Eclipse is when her light is blocked by the earth, which some might say dictates growth in the material, concrete world. So count on something deep in the interior life transformed by your own willingness to release or make changes in specific details of your outer life.
Llewellyn’s moon sign datebook, that tells when to plant, fish, and harvest by the moon tides–given by my soul sis Beth–suggests that we lay low this weekend as this eclipse may generate anger: “fury and wrath.”
In my experience, disembodied rage is an entry point to calling the self or soul back to the self, back to the body. The world devalues the individual’s right to his or her own body’s experience. It devalues the emotional truth of this, too. So when overpowering anger happens, this is often the start of a healing experience that can allow for deep-seated core beliefs (what I frequently call shame stories) to bubble to the surface. Be mindful, for both the deep masculine and the deep feminine lay beneath disembodied rage. Fury lingers as a defense to the wound of the body being not allowed to trust itself. Rage is an indicator and fuel for true inner transformation.
What a powerful tide this could be, if the eclipse helps us alchemize the hurts and faulty beliefs underneath our anger!?
The tide of energy is on the side of creation this week! It is on the side, by the weekend, of active release.
Remember, when we release something it is often helpful to be mindful of what we wish to grow in its place. You get to choose that, if you’re willing to keep returning back to the process of helping it grow!
So most important, what is your flow? How are you feeling? What do you really need?
Ask. Listen. You are more powerful than the world would ever, ever have you believe.
Be mindful of the anger at the gate to your truth.
Experience you, learn from your own medicine, your own life experience: your unique Wisdom.
Who we are is what and how we do. Embrace your harvest, friends.
Get outside and celebrate, because you’re here, and you can.
Lammas blessings!!! Begin, again~
image, Antonio Rubino, 1907
By the triple Hecate’s team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic:
I love this picture I just found on tumblr here .
Lunar Beltane was over the weekend and I officiated a wedding and stepped into my own elder priestess role in what was a fully whimsical and fabulous and sacred way, and the whole thing was epic, finish to start. All this and also I have a broken heart, which Life as life will is presently breaking more than once in the same spot.
On the new moon we burned the herbs and drank the violets and banged the drums as the sun went down to welcome in the new moon and Spring. I said my bows to Chantal and Elisa and the medicine and healing we will do together. Now the holiday comes and it is potent and I burn candles and wait out heart break, I fly home to the midatlantic to see all the trees have bloomed green. There was a thick rug of yellow pollen on my car. It is traditional Beltane or May Day and also the first day I go swimming here in the sea.
Here is more on Beltane, from my old site The Impulse Itself. It was written in 2011:
So Beltane comes to us from the peasants, or country folk, all over Europe.
Pagan, or peasant or folk (of the people) religions centuries ago meant worshiping polytheistic, or worship of more than one God. I think the reason I was drawn in my teens to learn more about Paganism was specific: Pagans also worship female divinities or Godesses. Mary, though present in my Catholic upbringing (if I tried hard I could still remember the words to her prayer) was never a female godhead to whom I, as a grl in the eighties and nineties, could readily relate.
Depending on the culture, and in this application we can span the whole world, folk religions in every single country as far back as anthropologists have dated venerate or make holy all kinds of Gods and Goddesses.
There are corn gods, fire goddesses, snake gods, bird goddesses, elephant gods. For every god there’s a goddess you can find and likewise. It goes on and on and on and is a beautiful, traditional example of the everything is holy approach, that ever-present basic tenant of all great dogmas: how you treat life is how you get treated…do unto others…etc. Joe Campbell, the pre-eminent mythologist of the last century, normalized the idea that the world was far more encompassing than Judeo-Christian myths or beliefs, and in his many books and interviews put it this way. (I am paraphrasing.) Indigenous, folk cultures of old applied their religions as if everything in the world was a Thou.
Beltane was celebrated traditionally all over old Europe as May Day, time when the female aspect (the Lady, the Moon, or any one of many different Goddesses,) and the Male (the Great God, the Green Man, the Sun or any one of several Gods) came together to make life. It was a celebration of the fecundity, or ever-re-creating fertility of the earth. In those days the earth, and the food and fruit it provided, was holy because of the integrated relationship the peasant people had with their environment. Literally, the earth and its harvests were how they lived and sustained. Beltane was when the first crops started to put forth, and it was this Thou which was celebrated.
The ancient world over, this earth holiday was celebrated in different and various forms. You find history of it in Native American, Chinese, Roman and Grecian traditions as just a few examples.
Religious applications, as far as how the individual practices, vary and are as different as footwear is from person to person in one single pew at church on Sunday. That said, a tenant of Paganism that I have always intimately enjoyed is the enlivening of the female aspect within Life. I’ve never, personally, worshipped many different Gods or Godesses, though I do pray periodically to everything from trees to the ocean to Marilyn Monroe to Jesus to Kali-Ma, depending on how my spirit and heart and poet words and the whimsy move me. Afterall, I believe in Thou. But that said, as a poet who speaks in the first language of metaphor, or symbol, my studies of Paganism continue to inform me of a rich and ancient heritage that specifically embodies and empowers the feminine aspect of the Divine. The moon often is a symbol of this energy.
Folk wisdom teaches us that the earth lives and dies and lives again in cycles (what the Old Sun-God did, every year. As later the Son of God did, dying and being re-born right around Beltane, she wrote with an ironic wink…)
Personally, I just really like having a significant tide to tie my own inner-life processes, and outer-life growth and changes, to. The parts of me that live and die and come back to life, too. The moon cycles work really well for me to watch myself, it’s an active, hands-on way for me to feel connected to this great, wide and holy Life as a whole. The full moon is a time that life peaks, we are fertile, abundant, shiny. You cut crops then, both because the moon helped the field workers see AND because the grow cycle, as all is connected, is at its peak. Just google farmers almanac and full moon for more on these old folk ideas. It’s really beautiful and will undoubtedly connect you to someone in your family (we all come from agricultural roots in this country) maybe only a generation or two back.
Flower Moon or Taurus Moon is often in May (or when the sun is in the constellation of Taurus), and is also known as Lunar Beltane. It’s time to celebrate the growth aspect–union of man and woman and the converging fertility as result–but with the moon as your starting point. The moon lights up the dark. The feminine aspect, as the Chinese teach with Yin, is the flow aspect inside every person, it is that which cant be contained. It is the dark or pureness of void-potential, or to my liking, where the light of gnosis or Knowledge makes its entry point. Yang, the male energy in each person, is solid, concrete, manifesting. To this one person’s way of thinking, this application is how to capture just some of the celebration of Life using old folk holidays as a guide. We use our consciousness or doing-aspect of Yang to find the Stillness in there, the moving beating constant of presence which is Yin. At the conjuct of Yin-Yang is your own Holy Thou in the center. My intention from there is to be happpppyyyy about Life, and that all of Life may Beee Happpyyy, too. As within. So without. Amen amen amen.
image, Dugald Stewart (1753-1828)
Here’s a question to ponder, no right, no wrong. Just right now and what comes up organically when you trust yourself, and listen to your own inner voice.
What happened over the weekend? What was the theme? Who were you with? How did you show up to you, your needs? What was most meaningful?
To what, whom, how, did you arrive?
On the earth path, we consider where the tide of nature is in its seasonal energies, and where the moon and sun are in their cycles, too.
This past weekend was the dark moon–the last dark moon phase–of the winter, or season of the dark. The dark or reflective energy of life orients us to awareness that is hidden, shadowed, or that we are not conscious of, as much as it also is associated with rest, renewal, rejuvenation, restoration, nutritive descent, and disintegration of one form in order to emerge with one anew. It connects us in rich ways to process as the whole.
Dark as metaphor for winter is North on the medicine wheel, the phase of death and dying, the element of earth, and time spent underground. Over the weekend, with the alignment of the dark moon, it was a rich and wholesome time to embody this medicine in ways that were natural and complete, as we were simultaneously at the end of a natural cycle of nature.
The earth continues on in the completeness of this process of eternal regeneration. Yesterday, the last day of winter, I heard my first osprey! A seasonal, coastal bird of prey, Osprey has long been an organic sign for me of the earth changing seasons. As well, the week prior I found a fresh and tender patch of chickweed in the muck of swamp tidelands. Such sweet green, this little weed is a spring cleanse–I just LOVE that I happened on her in the decomp and decay of the swampy bogs!
And so it is that the tension of dark catalyzes new growth. The Vernal or Spring Equinox, today in the northern hemisphere, occurs when the center of the sun and the center of the earth pass.
This is a transition time, when we are literally in-between! Because of these orbits, we experience equal amounts of day and night on an equinox, or of light and dark. So we are in between equal dark and equal light right now as I write this at twilight. Literally the center line of the yin/yang.
Holding both. The light and the dark.
This is a powerful space right now to deepen this metaphor. No judgement, no shame: what do you consider is your light side, what do you consider your dark? How do the two overlap, how are you at allowing one side to inform the other? How are you at holding your own balance, relating to each? The yin inside the yang, the yang inside the yin.
Spring medicine turns us eastward on the medicine wheel. It is the element of air, and aligned with the seed breaking out of its casing to send roots downward, and to send first green shoots upward, again the medicine of both, and…! Instead of one or the other. It is time for birth on a continuum, specifically as birth is connected to the death of one form during winter and how that motivates growth and motion now.
From today onward, sunlight gains in minutes every day until we peak at the longest day on the summer solstice. We enter the season of light when energy is activating, in motion, and most apparent above the ground.
We gradually move into the time of year for engaging growth and change outwardly in your day to day!
I say gradually so that again, we do not miss the potency of in-between, of holding both, which is what the Equinox is all about!
Be well, friends! Be true to you. Begin within, then go on, get out there! Have fun.
Don’t let them tame you~
“If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go winter, and come not again.” Credit to my friend Jack, original author unknown.
I don’t know about that gopher critter, but here on the midatlantic seaboard, it was clouds and rain, so I for one am banking on a quick coming spring.
Today is Candlemas for the Catholics, and traditional first light, or Imbolc or Brigid’s Day for folk cultures in different places. It is when the light of the new harvest year breaks the first germinated seeds free. Brigid is my patron Goddess, lore of the Celts, and also a saint. I honor celebrations of the soulful aspects of tending the inner heart, home and hearth-fire light in her name, as well as veneration for my first true religion, poetry, and the Sacred Imagination.
Lunar Imbolc is a celebration that also connects the holiday to planting tides. It occurs during the new moon when the sun is in the constellation of aquarius. This year, lunar Imbolc occurs overnight, Valentine’s Day into the next day.
It is a cross-quarter celebration on the Medicine Wheel, highlighting the Northeast corner, a quickening period for ideas when the vision for new upcoming life is perceived but not seen, as winter and its dormancy wraps round the dreamer. When the dark space cooks the light within.
It is an initiation time in the women’s work, aligned with tasks of discernment in the house of the dark mother as well as oracle, prophecy and visioning.
Tend your dreams.
We are in this medicine until the next new moon.
Between the worlds of what was last year, and what will come.
Oh Imbolc–and that part we so struggle against–sacred in between.
One of my favorite parts about walking an earth path is just doing my life and getting to be surprised by the magic. I’m not talking about right now concentration on minding mind to lose yourself to the moment being. I’m talking about the last week has been messy house and piles of dishes and falling asleep in front of the tv. Just total flop mode. I took off from producing anything creatively for the whole month of January. It was my intent to track along with winter’s fallow season.
So this week I started getting inspired to like, color, journal, create. I aimed for Wednesday to hit the drawing board professionally. Wednesday came and felt like sludge. No go.
Instead, I could barely tumble from bed fast enough this morning, with the creative stirring and vision tiptoeing across my spirit, so soft and easy, so sweet and free as I woke.
The seeds break free, the light is cast.
As for me, I’m going dancin 🙂
In Oregon the Breitenbush river is a color of steel-teal that exists no other place on the earth and this must be partly because of the non-negotiable trees. It is easy to be grounded and feel at one in your place in a place like this. It is easy to revere the miracle of dirt: seasons of evergreen, of winter’s death and dying on into spring’s plenty and rebirth. Steps in the same dance. Willamette!! Land of gushing fat waters and springs, land of special color of trees. You taught me long ago the way of tree breath. Fog drip drop drinking, drinking in-out rhythm of water-air. How it feels when the trees give gifts of this. Subtle pine touch. The gentle sweetness of pine breath on skin.
The new moon was Monday. I was coming down from the Mountain which makes me laugh to write it but no for real, North of the Bay California on up to the Olympics, for me it’s one long extended two decades now of retreating then coming down off various mountains. Learning to speak bioregion. Unlocking the practical wisdom of the earth’s cyclic codes. So yea retreating and returning at once, had to catch me a plane back to the east coast.
The dark moon phase, that VOID CHAOS SPACE of deepest dark, was this past weekend.
So this past weekend, as the daylight grew shorter and shorter towards the peak of our year’s longest night tonight!!–the moon fell to her darkest phase, hidden from the totality of the sunlight. Sunday we experienced not the longest night of the year, but the darkest.
I was sitting with poetry in the Hot Springs on retreat with my brother Paul and Sita his dear love. They are Creative Advisory members of the Free School and they held space for me at their home in mountainside to dip in to that depth of deep sweet, yummy darkness, inky blackslide into mountainside stone, inky slide into infinite space oh those healing waters of surrounding mountain chains. Deep in, to do my own cleanse before winter~tonight~begins.
The dark, winter, death, the depths, dying. The dark, yin, passive, rest, renewal. The dark, anima. Realm of the Feminine. What some Catholics or mystics call Sophia. Gateway to the Soul.
Dark moon of the month on the dark moon tide of the year. And into tonight, the longest night. The entryway to Winter. We move now North on the medicine wheel. At sunset tonight we tend this passing, and it is movement that will show itself if you get outside, or take time to soften and relax inside of you, too. Transitory, transition. IN Between Space.
I just adore that winter is North on the wheel because that is associated with forward direction. And Winter’s element is Earth, and mama Earth at this time teaches us about dormancy. So the true direction, our next right step together? North? The needed ingredient for rebirth.
Let rest be our forward, healing direction.
Sacred Rest. Sacred Rest and internal, deep reordering, metabolic stillness the thick softness of slumber to help us reset.
Winter Solstice is a time connected to the Divine Mother. It is when we revere our matrilineal lines, and all our ancestresses. The holy power of birth as Solstice is too the celebration of the Return of the Sun and darkness decreasing! How only from the dark the light comes. How this darkness initiation gives way to life, how this wisdom teaches of life’s changes, we celebrate the many small deaths, the space this creates, the room for new growth, ever onward in a long cyclic dance. How the wisdom of the feminine is the wisdom of this fluidity, is the wisdom of the necessity of every aspect in the continuum.
Demetra George reminds of the many names of the dark aspect associated with the feminine, and it’s a meaningful meditation for the year. The world around, stories and cultural, sacred, and religious traditions root us to an archetypal realm full of depth for our exploration. The dark feminine “is called Kali in India, Hekate and Persephone in Greece, Lilith in the Near East, Fresh-kigal in Sumeria, Morgana in Britian, and Hel in Scandinavia. Moira, the Fates, the Fureis, Medusa, Medea, Crice, Nemesis, Nyx, the Gorgons, the Sirens, the Black Madonna, Cerrwiden, Nepyths, Black Isis, Oya, Coatlicue, Mother Holle, Baba Yuga, the Black Dakini, the Terrible Mother, the Bad Fairy and the Wicked Witch are some of her other names(p 29).”
Knowing my own dark feminine has meant courage. Courage at night when I can’t sleep, in morning meditation time during struggles and prayers to keep my heart in the game anyhow, courage keeping my tongue in relationships that are hard. Courage to challenge the self-thoughts of judgement and shame, the particular scrutiny of perfection addiction, that specific internalization of misogyny that only women can know.
My dark feminine knows what it’s like to live in a culture that says her stories are dark. Are the dark reflection of society. Are demon and dark, satanic or occult. Are not allowed to connect me to my unique narrative and exploration, sexuality and emotions, sensuality and biology. Are used against me to keep me out of my own body, to marginalize being in my own skin.
The Dark Feminine Narrative and Stories, if we reembody them, or encourage each other to tap in and rewrite them as our own, we know what it’s like to live in a culture that calls this sin.
Embracing this kinda darkness requires the grit that only living with this kind of darkness could create! We were made for these times. Sing it from the hills.
So I left the Mountain. Left too the Oregon Coast where I was celebrating the wise women. These spiritual, soulful elders that have shown me how to walk my walk a day at a time laughing and reveling, courageously cackling, all the way. These elder wise women. Time on the Mountain only counts when you embody it day to day. But to do that the body needs time. This Time on the Medicine Wheel leads us in to dropping in and relaxing. Celebrate. Drop in and transition. Drop in to bed! Let the reset happen. Man or woman, how does the feminine as sacred exist in your life?
I send my roots down to the Earth as the circle of the year turns us North and Winter here is barren and life lives underground. I root to my roots, send thanks and honor, prayers and love to the lineage of strong females whose lives and hands and hearts midwifed lives and hands and hearts that midwifed lives and hands and hearts all the way down to mine in a million different ways, that I do the same that I do the same that I do the same,
my dark feminine soaks in this infinite wish, and sends love~
To all beings blessings and love, in the light spiritedness and whole soulfulness, in the body, in the heart, of unconditional love may all beings be blessed and
Happy Winter to All.
~ ~ ~
prayers and love to beth and paul h and ana and amy and kristina and jotto all of whom hit me up in the center of this reverie with poetry, prayers and love and prayers and love reader, to you~