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I study depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California.
Depth psychology was pioneered by Carl Jung. It explores the unconscious aspects of the psyche.
Depth perspective considers the deeper levels of your unconscious as the primary factors that rule your life. Also, much of the time, it is this very area of which we are, in fact, not conscious.
Since 1998 I have kept a morning practice.
I am not always consistent. It does not always happen in the morning. It often differs. But the point is, I have fifteen years of cultivating consciousness of my inner life from day to day.
For anyone who knows me, this practice of meeting what I call the mystery, or Great Love, deep down inside my self is my means of accessing the sacred in an approachable, every day way.
Carl Jung said we use the ego, which lives in the consciousness, to illuminate parts of our unconsciousness. In this way we experience a tension of opposites.
Think about this the way you might a pressure cooker. The pot itself is the container, your ego. The heat cooking it is more numinous, shapeless. Your unconscious, rising closer to the surface of consciousness. The transformation of cooked roast inside, that’s your new understanding.
In Jung speak, this is the transcendent function that other psychologists term human potentiality.
In Wild Wisdom speak, this happens in an up and down spiral way conducive to the patterns (of which we are an inherent part) of nature. Like a never-ending helix, our consciousness and unconsciousness do this in a cohesive dance of flux and retreat.
Beltane, traditionally, celebrates the union of male and female. In Jung speak, male is animus and female anima.
In soul or wild wisdom speak we are not talking about genders. We are talking of active, and receptive, energies.
Recall the full moon is a symbol of bringing in to full consciousness a new energy from our own darkness, or unconsciousness.
So this full moon–Lunar Beltane–is the union of some part of our own shapeless dark, or unconsciousness, being contained by our awareness, or consciousness.
Think back on your own journey through winter’s dark this year. This moon brings your first gifts of manifested transformation out of that struggle!
Meaning Beltane most importantly celebrates CONCEPTION!! The transcendent function–the new birth–that arises might be happening in your life in a real, present way like a new friend or job or relationship or opportunity….or in a settled new aspect of self-understanding.
These are the Wild (meaning still connected to the larger earth and celestial tides,) or Wise, Woman Ways. As within so without, and the other way around!!!
The old pagans would dance spirals around the Maypole and handfast with new lovers, celebrating sex and fertility. Look outside, our earth is such a show off in all her fragrant decorations of pinks and yellows and purples and flowers and buds–it’s in the air! This is the magic of Beltane.
It’s also happening in each of us, starting deep inside.
I’m heading inland to Monrovia to celebrate over a bonfire with Paul and Jill. Happy Beltane kids!
I am a contributor over at Dandelion Moms.
I lived on the coast of Oregon in 2005. Waited tables and tended bar at a roadside steakhouse run by a guy from Jersey. My buddy Paul, satisfied with his girls being raised rightly, put on a backpack back then and took a bus to the coast from Eugene where he had been living. He got a job at the steakhouse too and started his life over, just like me.
He called Sunday. It made me so happy.
Bravery is something Paul lives. The willingness to consider his life honestly and make choices in support of his truths. That’s how synchronicity happens–those little magic doors that open when we didn’t even know one was there.
Paul counsels people up at Breitenbush where he works and lives as a full-time resident.
He called to astound over the great, painful passing we all just went through.
Ever since that time in Oregon, I feel like Life uses him to remind me that this moment is exactly as it ought to be.
Have you ever heard the song The View by Modest Mouse I asked him. It’s been non-stop going through my head lately. While we were on the phone I looked out the window to see a hummingbird dipping in and out of the big Tupperware that I use to turn my old food into soil. This pretty little delicate bird, harbinger of joy according to indigenous belief, buzzing all around my compost. If it takes shit to make bliss, I’m living pretty blissfully. That’s the chorus for the song. I laughed to tell him about life lately, and turning shit into bliss.
And that’s so true! Mercury came out of retrograde, and the Spring Equinox (and SOOO many of us getting sick!!) happened. That was our passing from the season of dark into light and it seems we all had so, so much to assimilate.
There was a full moon just days after the Equinox. Full moons are the center of a cycle–so all that fuuuunk stirred up by the retro still had momentum even after it passed because of where the moon was. Paul’s call reminded me: this too passes.
That passing brought about Spring.
So last week was the New Moon. Old myths and stories used to say that the moon went to the underworld, or died, when it was new because it disappeared from the sky. That’s good symbolism to remember. Because the new moon does mark the end of a cycle.
This past one marked the end of a cycle with a retrograde that marked the end of winter, so it contained everything we all just lived through during our own personal seasons of dark.
New moon is also the beginning. This moon finally ushered in the pure elemental experiences of Spring!
Spring is Fire. Fire transforms, right? Whatever it touches–whether cooking something on a slow simmer or burning something to ash. It changes things. Spring fire is Cardinal, all about potential! Cooking up what’s new by burning off what we no longer need.
With last weeks new moon, that is the cycle we’ve finally begun.
Our lives within follow the rhythms outside. The natural world is transforming all the old shit into beautiful new growth. Horay!
Hello little love bugs!
Great apologies for the long absence! Here is what I have been up to.
Let me just tell you, I was unprepared for the giant clusterflug that this would become. I love Pacifica. I mean that, I love, love, love LOVE Pacifica.
Joseph Campbell sat on the board and influenced all of the curriculum.
If you’ve never met his work, get his interview with Bill Moyers off of Netflix.
I listened to the cassettes of that series during the nineties and it changed the course of my life.
I am certain that listening to those cassettes on my drives between college and my mom’s back then, coupled with daily reading of the book Simple Abundance, are the reasons the seeds were planted for me to get clean and sober when the time came.
Pacifca houses his archives, and embodies his spirit.
The school’s mission? Animae mundi colandae gratia: for the sake of tending the soul of the world. The material is alive for me in ways that only quiet self-study has inspired me in the past. Now, I have a whole community around it! My cohort are some of the most incredible people I have ever known. Why?
Because they are doing the real work–work on themselves–to be genuine, authentic individuals. To not hide behind defenses, and at the same time not be apologetic about the messiness that living “real” causes. It is the safest, most empowering environment (among them I mean) of my life.
BUT HOT DAMN IS DOING THAT KIND OF REAL WORK EVERY DAY ABSOLUTELY EXHAUSTING!!!!!
We had a paper due for the end of winter term that knocked the wellness right out of me. I mean that. I chose to explore a very painful time in my life during which drug and alcohol abuse consumed me. I was hospitalized for it.
I wrote my paper from the perspective of a soul journey, instead of the classic medical box of illness-diagnosis. The grief of re-living that time hit me at the same time as a gnarly cold in my lungs.
I also was trying to write the paper while with a man that I have a long emotional history with, and he and I are consciously working on the emotional defenses we use, and why.
The lungs are where we hold old grief. Breathing shallow, or not being aware of how we breathe, protects us from our feelings! Our feelings, and processing them, is the way to move into deeper experiences of our self.
So my lungs were thick and infected and I felt so, so sorry for me! I really had to stop everything in my life and just take deep, nurturing care of my self. No figuring anything out! No work on my heart with my head, which is an old behavior I can slide into that always, always hurts me even more.
I took an incomplete on the paper. I stopped writing: on here, at my guest site, with my partner and my writing circle. I stopped surfing and bike riding. Twitter and FB.
I slept, for two straight weeks, and laughed at shows on Hulu, a lot. Work was the only other place I gave energy.
Then my period came and I could let out the grief. At school, this past weekend.
That’s the joyous part of working with my rhythms, not forcing the process, and knowing for sure that PMS is a far deeper indicator of where my emotions are stuck in my body.
I will write more and more about this! But don’t want to overwhelm with information…
Just know I am well again, and happy to return!
Stay tuned this week. I’ve got info about today’s New Moon…
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in her book “Women Who Run With the Wolves”, writes about the Medial Woman.
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the book, in its entirety, is instruction–no, reminder!–to me of how to be a medial woman.
Women, and this is medically studied stuff here, (see Dr. Christiane Northrup’s “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom”,) are biologically wired to have a time of the month that is outward, directed by right hemisphere action. This is a logic-driven, linear, action-oriented way of being. After ovulation, if there is not fertilization, our hormones slide us in to left-hemi. This is dreamy, inner, reflective, emotional. It’s not a PMS thing, its a hemisphere thing. It becomes PMS only if that side of the brain, or experience, goes un-honored.
The two revolutionary next steps of practice, and understanding: women continue this rhythm even after menopause AND studies confirm that men, too, have a rhythmic cycle of hemisphere orientation.
In soul work, we find the ego is crafted within the same field that creates the linear, right-brain way of being. Ego is SO necessary, it is the psychological construct that keeps us from drifting in to the boundlessness of the unconscious. Psyche, on the other hand, is the vehicle that dips in and out of the unconscious. It is of the whole region of the mind, its surface levels and deepest realms. Unconscious is known also as the Soul realm, or the Self.
What the Medial Woman does is mediate between both these states. She speaks for the soul, transmits little nuggets of deeper wisdom or knowing in a way that the ego can structure and make sense of. She goes back and forth. Between consciousness and the unconscious, between ego and soul. She recognizes the value of how and when the Pysche is talking. She weaves a tapestry with rich, bright threads between the lobes of left and right brain.
Today is day six in my monthly rhythm. My period started Sunday. Today I have the clear, driving energy of linear, logic-oriented thought. It is a very practical get-stuff done energy, that is biological. Hormonal. This bio-rhythm can be clogged up by thought programs, or patterns. That is because thought patterns become biological, too.
Here is the importance of meeting myself in the morning. I have been turned UPSIDE DOWN by this retrograde. But here today, right on time–is my day 6 clarity. Always! I practiced being with my inner-self today: I had a period of meditation this morning. I cultivated a current between the hemisphere I am biologically working from today, and my right-brain, my soul-oriented place, too. That means I get to infuse my action, animus (or male) driven way of being today with lots of soul.
medial: 1. Relating to, situated in, or extending toward the middle; median. (the free dictionary)
That is the function of the Medial Woman. Thanks, Clarissa, so, so, so much for the consistent reminder.
I wanted to write today about living in the mystery. I thought after all the prescriptive here’s-a-translation-of-what-Mercury–could-mean, here’s-a-translation-of-what-Fire-could-mean, that reminding myself (and my readers!) the importance of simple living in the today might be right on time.
So, with that in mind, turns out I also get to write today about how soul-work: living from the heart and core of who we are instead of from the tapes in our head; leads to serendipity, or synchronicity. Synchronicity, according to the online site The Free Dictionary, means “coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related.”
Let me explain.
Yesterday I woke up at 11:42. 11:42!!!! In the morning! I had school this weekend, which means 25 hours or so of being in class, over three days. At the very end of the session on Sunday my friend Krissy mentioned how important sleep is for self-care. This is a basic needs thing, right? I love to stay up late and can’t think of a week that I have averaged more than 6 and a half hours of sleep a night.
So I slept late! Wayyy late and then didn’t even get out of bed til 1. Then, I lazed around and talked on the phone until 8pm!! It was awesome. But it did mean I had to choose to put this blog off til today. The reason I went with that choice is because yesterday, blogging felt the exact opposite of the great, cushy way my body and brain was unwinding after crawling out of bed to cuddle on the phone in my pj’s.
So today, I wake up thinking, I will blog about living in the day, moment to moment, how it gives us freedom to appreciate the Mystery of Life. That choosing to be present to whatever the day has in store empowers us with vitality, a “life on life’s terms” kind of exchange.
I sit up, roll over, light the candle on my bedside alter. Breathe and quiet my mind. Open my morning meditation. Here’s what I read, from Melody Beattie:
“Timing can be frustrating. We can wait and wait for something to happen, and it seems to be forever until it comes to pass. Or, suddenly, an event or circumstance is thrust upon us, catching us by surprise. Believing that things happen too slowly or too quickly is an illusion. Timing is perfect. Today, I will trust and work with Divine Order. I will accept the timing in my life today and in my past as being perfect.”
I’m so happy with this peaceful reminder that I check out her website when I log on to here today. Of course, what is the title of her site? Living in the Mystery.
Life is good when we let it be~good to me anyway for the simple, small, life-on-life’s terms exchanges such as this.
Yesterday was the New Moon. When the moon is dark she is not reflecting the sun. She is merely of her own, quiet, innate power. This power is lightless–no? The new moon is dark. It is the time that we check in, revel in the quiet, the solitude that comes from within. As one might do should she allow her body 13 hours of sleep….;)
It is the time the earth reminds us to revere solitude, quiet, reflection.
The New Moon marks the crossing of a tide. This means that as the moons moves in her cycle from dark, to full reflection of the sun, there is now a quickening happening. We really, really feel this one though because between now and when the moon goes full, the Spring Equinox will also happen.
A quickening feels like a stirring or speeding up, and it happens inside our bodies as much as it is happening in the sap in the trees, the chlorophyll in the leaves, and the little strings that will now start to poke out of seeds.
Also, the time change, which adds more light to our physical systems, will really focus this quickening energy so that we feel suddenly wide awake. This is a biological thing.
Just remember, Merc is still in retro, so this combination of energies could make you feel suddenly sort of fawn-like, tripping over your own feet.
Be slow, sweet with this waking.
Honor Time, the great Mystery of how we rhythm through our life~
I was driving on Bestgate Road in Annapolis and something in the way the wind hit me through the window made my heart give this respondent ache. It was March of 2001. My body, my heart was awake. I didn’t feel that dull, grey, sunless east coast flat. The nothingness that accompanies it, the all the time drain. Spring came in through the window and I felt alive.
That was also the first spring that I was clean off alcohol and drugs.
Which is significant because those changes brought a fierce dedication to work on my recovery. I saw a naturopath who helped me learn nutrition, a medical doctor that suggested I start charting my period courses by directing me towards lines of women’s mysteries and wisdom, and a shaman who taught me the validity of meditation and the inner states of our consciousness. I was also learning yoga, and how to breathe, from a roommate.
This came in the middle of two solid years of experiencing lithium toxicity (over-medication and downright irresponsible medication monitoring: adverse affects of docs crossing the meds I was on) at the hands of an incompetent MD. This is when the Big Pharma takeover of Western Medicine had just really started. There were few patient advocates, so me and my mom had to navigate that mess ourselves.
I had an awakening. I had an awakening concerning my responsibility to my health, how health involves daily consciousness around my whole system. My mental health, my physical health, my nutrition, my sleep, my hormones, my spirit. As the years went on I’ve learned to add joy, emotions, creativity, discipline, and finances all as subtle bodies that live in me. The importance of gratitude for the never-ending process, the equal importance of not taking things too seriously, but also knowing where to not compromise.
I can tell you that learning me, my rhythms and all the extensions and impacts of these various parts that I have to be responsible to, is the singular good work that I have committed to in my life.
When I write about the moons and patterns of nature it is because by daily commitment to my own cycles I unlocked the truth of my connection to the larger ones of Life. Out in Nature it has been confirmed again and again that when I am connected to me I am connected to the larger flow. I have a decade of journals that pattern my cycles, that chart my patterns against the larger ones of bioregional tides and those of society that move out from bioregions.
The idea that we are not impacted by the larger movements of life is absurd. Disconnection from it, in my personal experience, caused me to self-deny and self-medicate in ways that should’ve killed me. It led me in to the nightmare of a medical system that largely devalues the exact things I am talking about.
When Mercury Retrograde Occurs Before Spring
I don’t know about astrology. What I do know plenty about are the rhythms of the moon and sun and the elements and seasons and how they correlate to our own rhythms of growth.
These are “women’s mysteries.” In indigenous cultures they are still known and valid. To make them relevant and accessible for all here on this forum I use the depth psychology term for them: Soul. The loss of them is the reason humanity is in such crisis.
Mercury retrogrades means the planet pauses in its forward motion.
When this happens right before spring (as it does this month) it is the building of momentum. The first day of spring brings us the element of fire. Fire element, as all the elements, has three energies. Cardinal, which means igniting; mutable, which means changing; and fixed, which means same, or like cooking something for a long simmer.
Spring Fire Element is Cardinal. Meaning igniting, bursting forth.
Here is the image I have of the Merc Retro right now.
In a movie, when there’s great graphics and special effects and there is a big explosion, and the first second of the explosion is in slow-mo, and in that pause you see all the rubble all around you, everywhere, in mid-air. That’s what it means when merc stops moving. Especially with the growing energy of Fire adding steam to the mutable, (changing) Water element of Pisces.
Right? We are paused amid everything that the season of dark (winter)brought up for us. Pisces is the changing water element, it washes away what we don’t need. BUT DAMN MERCURY IS RETRO so everything is stuck, there is no relief, no cleansing, get it?
Ensuring that we are sure of what it is in us that needs cleansed, rebirthed, or relief.
The second that Fire initiates us on the first day of spring, all that crap we don’t need anymore–that we can’t help but see from day to day right now–will burn right off. Horay!
We are being sort-of cured right now, like big ol turkeys sitting in a brine. The tension is building and building for Spring’s growth to occur.
Not understanding this can feel awful. Clueless and helpless. Hang in there. Retro ends March 17. Spring starts three days later~
It’s so, so important to conserve your energy. Trying to start new projects right now will drain you, it’s literally going against the tides and can actually bring pain and illness. This time is for reviewing, reflecting, a time to witness, maintain and heal. The new moon, which is Monday, is always a good time for deep insight and stillness.
Have a great weekend! Like I tell myself in that exact moment the wave lifts my board up and I panic and think I am nuckin futs for trying to learn to surf:
JUST HANG ON! (Or, jump off, and dive way down, that works really well right now, too~)
What does it mean, Soul Work?
And how do we start?
This is maybe the great pressing drive of my life so far. Having a life of soul. The need for it was characterized early on by an unyeilding sense that there had to be more meaning to life than the daily grind. I was misanthropic as a teen because of this, and gratefully, it never went away. My understanding of my own restless, angsty sense has grown. Today it is what I have heard called “divine discontent.” A yearning for something more. It is just this sense that arises when my inner-life is calling for my attention. And when I surrender to it, there are always treasures upon treasures within. Surrendering to the inner yearning is always the first step of aligning the energies in my outer life to best call in meaning.
Of course, living with this type of unseen throttle inside makes me feel alienated at times. But it is also the singular reason that I can look back on my 35 years here and say with true satisfaction: not a single moment of this has been a waste. Part of this showing up to my self has taught me that the world we live in does it’s very best to keep the false-belief going that the realms of a person’s inner-life are not real or are a waste of time. It is our heritage, we are driven to produce and consume. This drive perpetuates the deadening of living life rooted from unseen happiness or values from within. It is set up to dismantle any true-power: power that comes from the individual’s soul.
Reversing this drive means being willing to return to the soul again and again, no matter how long has passed since the last time and no matter how much resistance is keeping you from acknowledging the reality that you have an aliveness “within”. This is why self-honesty is so important. Even self-help gurus today want us to believe that our inner-life is only valid if it is joyous or content or full of peace. THAT IS TOTAL SHIT and counter to the life of the soul. Soul speaks with the messages of instinct and emotion, and so long as your human than the those are going to span the range of every sensation possible. Slow down and allow your soul to breathe and come to life again, allow it to feel and speak in ways that are authentic to only you. Begin with exactly who and how you are right now. Self-honesty, how you are feeling, what you are thinking, what you are sensing, what you are ignoring or resisting right this second is how and where to start. And recognizing that the soul is as changing as the tides, that it is NORMAL AND HUMAN to go through up/downs sometimes all day long is the first sacred soul message we can learn.
The reason self-honesty is the topic today is because Mercury is in retrograde. This retrograde, or review period, covers the entire winter season, or season of self-private or quiet or resting time. Season both out and in of the dark. Society programs us to escape bad feelings, which are actually a normal part of the human experience. We are in a review of all the inner-life substance that has risen-up for us since December right now! Mercury retrograde, more than ever, is a really important time to be easy on ourselves and as honest as possible with how we are feeling and what we are experiencing. Especially the one that happens right before spring, because that’s when our dark parts are right under the surface. Areas that we need to grow, areas that are challenging us to change how we currently relate, areas that need to be transformed, are all rising from our unconsciousness into consciousness right now. It could even show itself as a classic feeling of oh god here I am repeating the same old habit again.
This is the time to witness those things, with gentle self-honesty. Not a time for haste. Not a time for change. Let the action you take during a retrograde be about preparation: quiet tending of the ground from which you will grow this season. Allow rest, and practice self-honesty from day to day.
I for one can become really dutiful and self-sacrificing when I get too disciplined I mistake this for “practicing self-honesty” too! When the truth of honesty is that I am hurting myself with my rigidity. So for me during a retrograde I have to be especially light on myself, and factor in rest time with lots of time for easy-going play.
These are lessons I’ve learned in my own life by believing the soul life is real, and practicing this by meeting me, within.
More later this week! BEEEEE good to you~!