Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice & Alchemy

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And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate’s team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic:
—  Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 5.1.373-377
oberon and titania by arthur rackhan
Oberon And Titania by Arthur Rackham
To me, the oddest part about the sabbat(h) or holy day of Summer Solstice is that it marks the beginning again of our lean towards the dark half of the year.
It’s one of those beautiful oddities, the sweet strange fullness of paradox that we are challenged to hold if we seek truly to hold life with wisdom.
Which for me also entails some willingness to travel lightly, open to letting go of as much as I can of what I think I know, in order instead to experience some semblance of grace by being in the moment.  Connected to my chance, right now, to live.
The old way, or traditional way of the ancient Celts, I’ve been studying by walking now for 22 years.  Each passing tide of moon or holy day teaches me some new subtlety merely by minding, or paying attention, to what is going on in my own real life day to day.
This year I’ve been really moved by how the old way used to mark the Summer Solstice, our modern traditional start of summer, as “midsummer.”  If we seek to understand the actual growing seasons in nature, this peak of daylight yesterday and today marks as well peak sunlight for the new crops.  All of which photosynthesizes into fruit.
I am intrigued by this quickening of growth.  It is, as the last new moon cycle came on, marked by rapid acceleration and people too seems to speed up as Solstice approaches.  Patterns in nature are replicated in human group-think and behaviors.  I like to see what is emerging among my different communities and larger culture, against the backgrounds of these cycles.  Tracking moons each month and the sabbat(h)s each year helps me trust life, because it’s how I watch time.
I can tell you for certain.  I trust Timing.  It truly has a way of taking care of itself.
The book Women Who Run With Wolves is all about this ancient timing and how fractures and injuries to our connection with it are detrimental to our development and culture as a whole. She calls it the Wild Woman nature, but regardless what you call it, being severed from the earth’s natural Timing is to me perhaps the most legitimate wound of our modern culture.
“The comprehension of this Wild Woman nature is not a religion but a practice.  It is a psychology in its truest sense: psukhe/psych, soul; ology or logos, a knowing of the soul.  Without her, women are without ears to hear her soultalk or to register the chiming of their own rhythms…When we lose touch with the instinctive psyche, we live in a semi-destroyed state and images and powers that are natural to the feminine are not allowed full development.” Pinkola-Estes, p.8.
This last dark to new moon was truly brutal.  Suicides of famous celebrities and elsewhere, literally everyone I know touched by tragedy or death.  A living theme for all I saw had to do with the ways we are acculturated to not listening to what we need, to not just not trusting, but truly not taking good care, of our light within.
Use the alchemy alive right now friends.  What insights have emerged at this peak still point today and yesterday?  Last week and the week before, what was really stressing you out?  Hold your various inner darknesses, especially the parts of you that cause you fear, pain, resistance, shame.  Hold it softly, as an invitation of what parts of you need healed with your own unconditional self-acceptance.  Hold this acceptance as your new mantra, and love these parts of you back to healing and wholeness again.
As we lean now together back towards the season of the dark, trust the gentle descent into harvest season.  Trust the goodness love can heal and grow.  Trust the accumulation of infinite light and source your own love light from within.   The true season of summer until the Autumnal Equinox is often a long, slow pitch more like a rounding out than a descent, when growing comes easy as a natural translation of all the stored sunlight of spring and how that, like nitrogen to compost, was activating and making new life of the dark and funk and restfulness of winter.  Trust in the alchemy, the growing of dark into light.  Trust in the natural process of fruiting.  Trust that for the next few months, this is the way~
To alchemy.   To mama nature, and her endless beginnings and endings and ever in-betweens.  To going out as much as you can to play.
Wherever you’re at in your own cycles, may you be gentle with you, and grow on~
Happy summer, friends xo

Women’s Mysteries: New Moon, before Fall. Roots.

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I cried when Jon sang the words to the Traveling Song.

Just his voice, the snap-sounds of fire, the circle of ocean below us in a constant shhhhhushhhh.  

One of those times noise actually makes you feel quiet.  That’s how big it was, the silence in the night.

While you are away    from your people

We do pray   That balance you will find

In your heart and in your mind.

Cried isn’t right.  Wept is more apt.  I wept, the way tears are the only response when something is so right that there are no words.  Or, perhaps, when something is so right because there are no words.  

There are no words for where I have been.  It has been a quiet, rounded, lonely place.  

Summer Solstice was intense.  My ritual intent was for Faith and Strength in my follow through as I sought to offer my gifts clearly to the world.  Whale came, the second time she came this year and her presence was large, calm, singing, but in a way that I couldn’t hear her tune, only feel the resonance in my heart.  Her message was clear: when you seek to dive deep and surface, I will protect.   This happened during ritual in Maryland, when I was visiting Ocean Pines for my family reunion.

Within days of that I had the impulse to move home, and was offered a job at a homeless shelter doing circle or group work and women’s empowerment.  Because of requirements for grad school and potential licensure for becoming a therapist, I have to put trainee hours in. This seemed in natural alignment.  

Summer Solstice marks a change to Cancer, a cardinal water sign.  Water is our emotions, the entry way to the depth of the soul.  Cardinal means initiating, or starting.  On an emotional level we are taking action when the end of June rolls around.  It is also the time of the year that whatever we have been working on–inside us, or outward–comes to greatest fruit.  My intent for the harvest year, which shows itself at the Solstice, had been to do the women’s work I am called to do–the very work that I believe brought me to California in the first place.  

It is to the call of soul deep within that I have always listened, and always respond.

And so I quit my job in California, found buyers for my car and furniture, and a renter ready to take over my place.  I left my writing group, said very painful goodbyes to the ones here in Socal that I’ve come to love, and arranged to fly back and forth to California for my second year of grad school.  I would move home and concentrate on building a life in Maryland.  With strong roots.

But it turned out there was a glitch in the state requirements for Maryland.  It was a glitch that I had the potential to work around if I chose, it would take a lot of follow through, that is for sure.  I found this out while away for seven days at school.  

That glitch immobilized me.  It brought to light my old issues around systemic wrongs in todays non-profit world, in business and institutions in general, the kind of issues that burnt me out when I worked in social services for a decade in my twenties.  I suddenly wasn’t able to make a decision.  Worse, I wasn’t able to stay strong.  My energy left me.  It was the oddest experience for a person like me.   It was a false-start.  

Women on the Wisdom Path must learn about these initiations, what happens when a false-start comes, and the power of Ritual and Intent.  This is classic today:  we have lost touch with the ways of the soul and so false-initiations often occur, and confuse and drain us.  They can also cause an obstacle that might look like a dead-end.

My dead-end was a time of  traction–which means when we are held still.  Traction causes a necessary tension.   Because in the work of the dying and rebirthing of our deep self, of our soul, it takes tension to bring the shit up to the surface.  And make no doubts about it–that is what the soul requires, to toil, to acknowledge, to sit in the shit.  That’s who whale is, one who comes from way down deep, to show how to rise.  Soul work is not about overcoming challenges.  Soul work isn’t transcendent.   The embodied feminine nature isn’t about overcoming with force.  It is about sitting still in it, letting the dark, the shit, the funk rise.  It is about reclaiming the parts where we have lost what is vital.  It is the lead we have to carry forth to work eventually in to gold.

I am in therapy.  Gratefully my school requires it of those studying to become therapists themselves.  Equally, I keep sacred time each day, and have amazing, empowered sisters to help me do the kind of depth ritual work I want so badly to bring back to the world.  That was my intent: Strength and Faith in follow through.  I couldn’t follow through.  The seeming dead-end helped me see the roots down in the shit.

To build strong roots, sometimes the old ones–crippled, weak, embittered–must be dug out.  I didn’t want to look at that but because of my Intent, was forced.   

Wild women wisdom, the path of embodied soul and integration in the web of life–is just that: Wisdom.  And with Wisdom comes responsibility.  This is and always has been my first commitment: the soul path.  

Tonight’s New Moon peaks in the morning near 4:30 on the Pacific coast.  It ushers in a brand new cycle.  The Fall Equinox comes during this moon cycle.  It will bring initiating Air energy.  This means there is a sense of taking action in the realm of our thoughts.  This is the Wild Wisdom Path:  Fall is West on the Medicine Wheel, when we consider what has past, when we use our thoughts for reflection.   Fall (different from Libra) is the element of Water, which again is soul, depth.  Libra’s Initiating Thought energy brings new inspiration in how we relate when we take the time to reflect on the depth of our life.

This, for you wise women and men out there, is the energy you feel beginning to settle from deep within.

As for me, I am not going to Maryland.   I am staying put. To build strong roots, sometimes the old ones must be dug out…

 That balance I will find, in my heart and in my mind.

Meditations on Summer Solstice

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There is something so primitive about summer.  It makes me want to curl in to the earth and let the land grow right through me.

Summer yearns in my body so fantastic, a pace of blood that is almost breathable it’s so alive.  Opposite that, I experience early summer in a way that feels base, too.  A flat sense, gaping around at this remarkable earth pushing life forth everywhere you look.  It can make one feel so…insignificant.  Incredibly small.

Tomorrow is the first day of Summer, the Solstice, time of the year that the bounty of daylight is longest.  Potential brims and quakes.

This is the peak of the momentum of the earth: the trees, the plants, the seeds, all having soaked in vital sunlight and energy.  From here forward that same light will spill out in overloads of new growth and harvest.  Bounties of summer veggies will cover the tables and here in southern California, these miraculous flowers will move top-heavy towards the sky.  Give some of this bounty back to the land as thanks, it will renew the carbon count and this is the only way to balance out the toxicity of carbon monoxide, or pollution from global warming, in the air.

It is a good time to meditate on this:  in my own life, is the balance kept?  Where do I need more or less and what of?

New projects, specific life themes, will feel at a peak this week.   Potential could seem to open at your very thought.  A full moon approaches, as well, marking the high tide of  this cycle, when growth and manifesting in the physical form will be brought to light.

We enter Cancer now, sign of the Archetype of Mother.  Also a good time to consider what this means to you.  How is your relationship to your self, your own inner nurturer?  What themes are in your life that draw you back to your mom?  How is your relationship with her?

And what of the Great Mother–our precious earth and her living resources.  Are you in balance with this aspect of reciprocity?  When was the last time you sought stillness on her green and black soil?  Try giving thanks, and then taking time to ask her what she needs.

Happy Summer.  At this midpoint in the cycle of the year may you to return to yourself by setting aside time for within.  May it improve your relations with all that then extends out.