Sep 192016
 

dark love faceEach season offers different gifts and challenges, flows with its own rhythm and mystery.  When we tune our awareness to the offerings and energy of the season, we can better receive its wisdom and be supported in our spiritual exploring, divinatory seeking, and/or creative vocations.

The turning from October to November is a threshold time in many traditions. In the Celtic tradition, both from its earth-honoring origins and later Celtic Christianity, these days were a time to prepare for the coming dark, gather in circle to share stories, and remember the ancestors.

This year’s theme of Dark Flow invites us to release that which would inhibit our crossing the threshold of darkness and receiving its gifts of ancestral wisdom, healing, gestational creativity, and the love that flows even between the worlds.  

During this mini-retreat, we follow in the footsteps of tradition and do our own listening to the land at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton, MA to find the wisdom that speaks to our hearts and souls at this time.

In our time together, we will:

  • Greet each other and the season.
  • Take a Wisdom Wander. No matter the weather, there will be an invitation to connect with the land and creatures at Arcadia in some way.
  • Through a ritual of stones, we will release heaviness we carry that might inhibit us from connecting with dark nurture or our Beloved Dead.
  • Create an altar for the Beloved Dead and Ancestors.
  • Leave with “rainbow in the dark” sticks that represent what light the dark will nurture in us and that you can unwrap in spring. (Thanks to Mellissae Lucia for this concept.)
  • Eat a simple lunch highlighting local vegetables and fruits (vegan and gluten-free friendly).

You are invited to bring any, all, or none of these things:

  • Clothing appropriate to the weather and shoes for walking around on well-laid out trails. (OK, clothing is a requirement at this time of year. Not really optional!)
  • A journal, drawing pad, piece of paper, pen, and/or colored pencils.
  • A Tarot or oracle deck.  If you don’t have one, there will be decks for sharing for use at the retreat.
  • A picture of or object that represents one of your Beloved Dead or Ancestors. Additional pictures or objects are welcome though they might not be talked about.
  • A camera for contemplative photo receiving.

Registration is now closed for this gathering. 

 

Jul 022016
 

As the last new moon reached the end of its cycle, I post these readings as a prompt for contemplative practice and noticing the more cosmic patterns of life as you attend to the lunar energy in a solar world.

July New Moon – Monday, July 4, 2016 at 7:01am ET in the USA

Releasing the last air moon & Welcoming the new water moon

“Let the Strawberry Teach” Reading 

What if we took the strawberry, this abundant fruit of the season, as our teacher over the next few weeks?  What if we dared to show our passion and fullness of being?  I invite you to commune with a strawberry (or melon or mulberry … pick your own pleasure) and see what messages arise to guide you. 

CALL: What calls to be expressed – passionately, abundantly, playfully – in the next few weeks to walk your true path?

FLOW:
 How can you express this?

FULLNESS:  What will come into fullness when you express it?

You can order this as an e-reading for $22. Here is a sample of how I do these readings in a collaborative intuitive format. I have slots open after the new moon / starting July 9th

Jan 242016
 

The Descent and Return of the Light seasonal ritual concludes with this final week of Tending the Returning Light. You can jump right into this week’s theme or catch up with last week’s theme of Emergence

And now the seed begins its journey of growth in the outer world, where the longer days kindle our anticipation of spring’s return. From the underworld of winter, the seed emerged and now the greater light of the sun and the inner light of your heart will nurture its growth. We celebrate what has been birthed. We prepare to tend the next unfolding.

The greater light of the sun and the seasons have their own rhythm, but you are the keeper of the heart’s light, shaper of its direction, cultivator of its flow. 

Flow, card XIV of the Minoan Tarot, shows a priestess at her sacred task of pouring libations. Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s companion book describes this rite:

The ritual is an offering to the great ones, expressing gratitude for the gift of life in a magical world. … The pouring of libations is both offering and petition, both giving and receiving. It is life and power flowing from divinity to humanity, with love and respect flowing from human hearts in return.

detail minoan-14-flow

Ellen offers this message from the image: Your heart is the crossroads of the power of the flow.

Your double-chambered heart flows both with giving and receiving, beats both because of earth taking form in muscle and because of a mysterious spirit animating the life force. Where these opposites touch is the center of your heart, is the crossroads of your interior being. It is an imaginal space – a soul place – rather than a physical spot you can find, but you are called to visit here when you want to grow.

Your seed will want to grow as it moves from winter to spring and onward through each season. The seed will return time and again to the crossroads and you with it. This will sometimes be a place of challenge where old patterns of shame, self-criticism, or fear may tug at you again. This will sometimes be a place of failure because not all seeds grow. This will sometimes be a place of success where the unfolding of the seed aligns with the rhythms of the wider world and your own longings and visions.

And because we are in the place of the heart, all can be received with Love. For Love, protected by and flowing from the center of your heart, receives all things, pours out its endless light, is generous with its hospitality.

At the crossroads, you are invited to offer this loving hospitality of the heart to all that enters. When fear enters, offer it comfort and send it down the path of release. When failure enters, sit with your own disappointment; don’t try to change the feeling, just hold it close to your heart until the Love’s light there shines on the path that leads to healing. When success comes, celebrate its delights and send it down the path of humility or greater challenge.

Ritual and Tarot Play

In this final week of Tending the Returning Light, we have come to a crossroads in our ritual time together. The seed birthed at Solstice calls to be celebrated. The next phase of life calls for new growth. This ritual of winter calls to be concluded so we can prepare for springtime’s path.

During this week, you are invited to light four candles and array around them cards that respond to these questions balancing celebration and preparation:

  • What have I achieved in birthing the seed?
  • How to celebrate this achievement?
  • What waits for me at the crossroads of winter and spring, of birth and growth?
  • How to move forward held in the flow of the heart’s light and Love?

Conclusion of the Series and the Season

At week’s end, you may want to pause to reflect on the ritual as a whole and offer your gratitude to winter for gestating the seed. Celtic teacher and writer Caitlín Matthews suggests the practice of saying a prayer or poem of gratitude to winter at your back door or window on January 31st. You might want to write your own or use her Farewell to the Season of Samhain from The Celtic Devotional:

Go with thanks and go with blessing
Season of deep memory.
Souls with joy are deeply freighted.
Hearts are charged with heritage.
As ancestors you have traveled,
You have come to Winter’s home.
Father Counsel you have cheered us.
Mother wisdom who has smiled.
Touch the hidden seed with us.
May we grow as Spring’s own child.

May you travel well as spring pours its light deeper and deeper into the night. I look forward to the next crossing of our paths here in world of bone and flesh or in the deep heart place that is both at our centers and everywhere – and from which flows an always embracing Love.

***

What to do next to tend your soul? 

  • If you are arriving late to this ritual or your inner season still feels like it is gestating the new, you can purchase the inexpensive overview booklet and do the ritual at any time / at your own pace.
  • You can join in Joanna Powell Colbert’s 30 Days of Brigid (in progress) to be inspired by the patroness of healers, smiths, and poets. (That’s what I am doing!)
  • Mark your calendar for Monday, May 23rd when we will begin walking our way toward the full illumination of the Summer Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere.
Jun 082015
 

This is the third Wisdom Wander of the Walking the Ways of the Summer Light series. The focus is on the element of Water. In these weekly posts, I offer inspirations for your walks as well as examples from my own Wanders. They expand on my general suggestions that you may want to review for orientation. The first Earth Wisdom Wander also contains more detail on the process of preparing for and beginning the Wanders. These are only prompts for your own creating and modification.

PREPARE FOR AND BEGIN YOUR WATER FLOW

Enter Water’s Flow: Water moves if not contained so you might just flow out of one moment and into the next paying attention as you go to being your Wisdom Wander. I did grab my two decks, camera, notebook, and hat, but left my house without a real plan. As I stepped from my porch, one of the garter snakes that have taken up residence underneath slithered across the walkway in full S curves. I felt a tingle at the base of my spine of both fear and delight. Then I started toward Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary on the Connecticut River’s Oxbow, but when inspiration struck detoured to a small conservation area running along the Manhan River.  I started down the path and soon encountered another garter snake. This one did not move at all, except for a flick of the tongue, but let me walk by within inches. I found my way to the edge of a very low, very slow moving river.

Invite your Way Showers / Guides / Inquisitors / Translators for the Day:  If working with a Tarot deck, you may want to pull your cards from just the suit of Water / Cups or some combination of the Water suit and the Major Arcana. As I see each Major Arcana as an image of Wholeness, I work with the idea that each individual Major card contains the power of all the elements.

Before gathering my guides and translators, I walked for a while along the river and then at a curve I stood for a while looking into the water, listening to it, and smelling the scent of water, sand, and fallen tree. I then pulled three cards from the Oracle of Initiation as guides for my Water flow; Clarity, Refining, and Recognition. To match the three Oracle cards I pulled three cards from a mix of the Minoan Tarot’s Major Arcana and the suit of Sea (this deck’s suit connected to the element of Water) to point me toward Water’s lessons for me. All Majors emerged: The Wheel of Life, Ecstasy (which takes the place of the Devil card in this deck), and Flow. (Yes, Flow!)

Guides and lessons 6.7.15

FLOW WITH THE ELEMENT OF WATER

What belongs to Water? What belongs to other elements? You won’t need to and won’t be able to ignore the presence of Earth, Air, and Fire. All the elements mix to make our dynamic world. But you are invited to tune into Water’s flow and its special gifts. You might try out being with Water as …

  • Source of life. Creation stories from many different cultures begin with water. Our food comes to us because of water. We humans are mostly water. As I stood at the edge of slow moving waters, I was moved to whisper to the water: “Thank you for my life.”
  • A conduit of connection and wholeness.  In The Earth Path, Starkawk says that in meditation, she heard water say, “All water is one – one whole, one awareness. All water is continuously aware of all the other waters in the world.” So when you stand at the edge of the ocean, a river, or puddle you might feel the connection to all the other waters in the world. When you take a sip from the tap, you might imagine that you are drinking in the flow of all the oceans on the earth.
  • Trickster of cycles.  The sun and moon have regular cycles, but water shows us an irregular flow from deluge to drought, or sometimes just enough. As I walked by my low river, Texas flooded but there are places in California that would be feel blessed by what I perceive as unusual lack. This cyclical imbalance offers another kind of reminder of how we are connected by water. While I may not be in California, the food produced there feeds the whole country. I have a local farm share so the impact this summer will be lessened for me individually, but the current food system will struggle to absorb the impact and real problems will emerge as the drought continues. This trickster side of water is offering us a lesson in connection and a prompt to think about solutions like localized food production.
  • Mirror. Serenity, turbulence, peace. The movement of water can help to let our feelings flow. Cascades of water can loosen our tears. A calm stretch of water can give us rest. We can mirror the water and find a new rhythm. This experience goes beyond words. Just be with water and see.
  • Voice. The sound of water is hypnotic, can shift your state. Let the water relax you into an altered state and then listen for its messages.
  • Mystery and play. Below the surface, water can be dark and murky, impenetrable. We know we can’t see everything. On this Wisdom Wander, I visited the large vernal pool that a few weeks ago had been filled with frog life, but now was dark with decay of leaves and fallen branches most apparent. How does this darkness descent so quickly? I ponder that question for a while, but later in the day came upon the water park where children squealed in delight as the cold water hit their shoulders. For many of us, water is the element we play in the most. We take vacations to be near water, swim in pools, dance in its spray. So water shows me that seriousness of mystery and the delight of play exist together, like Yin and Yang contain each other.

And as you are exploring – and you might have to use your imaginal senses to do this – see if you can feel your blood flowing. What tunes you into your inner movement? What softens in your body? Where inside do you know you are liquid and water and flow?

REPORT FROM MY WANDER

Flow and pattern, connection and mirror, clarity and mystery mixed to open me to the power of being with Water and what comes from making a relationship with the elemental world.

As I mentioned, my Wander began with a two-snake encounter, and, The Minoan Wheel of Life has two intertwined snakes at its center. A lovely synchronicity to begin the Wander.

From the conservation area, I did move to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary where I and many participants on the retreats I offer there have had powerful encounters with the land and its creatures.

hawk 6.7.15I spent most of my time on a nice Wander along the still waters of Arcadia. I was on the main path, nearly done with my walk, when I felt a drop of water fall on arm. The sky was clear and we’d had no rain in days so I paused to look up at the trees overhead. In the next moment, a hawk flew silently overhead to land on a branch above me. A jay followed, harrying the hawk that was now just feet away from me. I stood there with my mouth open. I started to reach for my camera without taking my eyes off the hawk. The jay grew bolder and the hawk lifted off, showing me its extending red-brown, stripped wings, flying toward the water beyond. I didn’t follow.

I was wishing I’d gotten a picture to share when from the other side of the path I heard another jay and turned to see the glide of wings through the trees. This new hawk landed on a distant but visible branch. I stepped from the path moving slowly toward the hawk’s tree. The jay jibbed and the hawk opened its lower beak and let out a screech. I kept moving toward the bird leaving the path behind.

This hawk, too, grew weary of the jay and flew off. I found myself between paths and looking at a Lady Slipper. Ecstasy came out for dance with this delicate wildflower. I found my way back to a new path and returned to the nature center.

ecstasy ladyslipper 6.7.15

I don’t read about the cards before I go out on my Wanders, but afterwards look forward to reading the deck creators’ wisdom and connecting it to my impressions of the cards and where they appeared on the Wander. All of the Oracle of Initiation cards are associated with a Deity, and as I read about these guides was struck by how the Oracle and Minoan cards were mirrors to each other.

Minoan WheelClarity is associated with the Anasazi who as great creators of poetry stir our imagination to see the patterns of our lives and make of ourselves a vessel for living out our purpose. The Minoan Wheel presents a visual pattern that with its intertwined snakes invites us to see transformation in the pattern of our lives.

Refining is associated with the Goddess Shakti and Mellissae Lucia writes of this card: “The invitation of all your aspects becomes the vibrational attunement that allows the ecstatic embodiments of you unique gifts.” Yes, this is the card connected with the Minoan’s Ecstasy. Ecstasy came out to visit with the Lady Slipper so I can’t help but think of the saying: “If the shoe fits, wear it”!

minoan-14-flowRecognition is associated with the Aztec flying serpent God Quetzalcoatl. As I was looking at Recognition and the Minoan’s Flow together my eye traveled to the two birds at the top of the labrrys-top pillars. Here were my two hawks.

I had begun my Wander with two snakes and I ended it with two birds. In between I had let water – even its smallest drop – direct my attention; strayed from my established path; and let myself be carried by the ecstatic flow. My snake self – the me that is ready for transformation – soared. I dared to look in the Quetzalcoatl mirror.

There is a lot more I could say really, but I think I’ll just leave the words to float in the mystery.

A dragonfly postscript …

I saw a dragonfly in the distance but had no special encounters with these insects at Arcadia as I had in the Earth and Air Wanders. But when I stopped for tea and journaling at the Cup and Top coffee shop, I sat at the counter that faced the art display wall and this is what I saw (te, he):

dragonfly sign 6.7.15

REFLECTION AND QUESTION MAKING

Water questions are the questions that just flow out of you as you wander and upon further reflection. Their source might be from any of the ideas outlined above or from some deep well. Just let the questions that enliven you and stir your heart surface. Here are some of mine:

  • What is my part to play in shedding the illusion of separation, of supporting the embrace of connection … and of Love?
  • How to embrace my cracks? How to let the healing water flow through them?  How to let the light shine through?
  • How to show my gratitude to my divine and otherworldly companions and guardians who are always showing up for me even as I doubt them?
  • How to keep releasing skepticism?
  • How to embrace the ecstatic embodiment of my unique gifts? What form / vessel can I create to share this?

I wrote more questions. I won’t use them all, but no need to stop the flow of their emergence in the moment. I’m not trying to answer the questions at this point. I’m just gathering them to see which ones I will want to bring on July’s pilgrimage.

Wisdom Wanders, after all, are not about finding the answers but become more fluid with welcoming our questions.  I love what Mellissae Lucia writes in the Oracle of Initiation companion book:  “Divination is truly about becoming a “question carrier.’ A question carrier is one who is able to be with uncertainty, mystery, and paradox within their lives … they do not need to rush toward concrete qualifications for things – they allow the story to unfold over time.”

SHARING

As you wander you may receive messages, either for you as an individual or for the collective. You may receive images that speak louder than words. You may experience a sensation that isn’t easily explained. You may feel called to share what you receive. Perhaps the Water will share a message through you. Please do that sharing in what ever way feels right; tell a story to a friend, post on Facebook, write something for your blog, whisper some to the moon. Social media mavens, you may want to use hash tags of #wisdomwander #water for tracking. Your comments here on the blog are welcome as well.

Wisdom Wanders continue next week with a Fire post on Monday as we prepare for the arrival of the Solstice.

 

Jan 252015
 

This is the final week of Tending the Returning Light as part of the Descent and Return of the Light Winter series. Join this seasonal ritual in progress this week or catch up on past  themes of What Can Be Born of Our Broken PartsRoot and Reach, and Emergence

And now the seed begins its journey of growth in the outer world, where the longer days kindle our anticipation of spring’s return. From the underworld of winter, the seed emerged and now the greater light of the sun and the inner light of your heart will nurture its growth. We celebrate what has been birthed. We prepare to tend the next unfolding.

The greater light of the sun and the seasons have their own rhythm, but you are the keeper of the heart’s light, shaper of its direction, cultivator of its flow. 

Flow, card XIV of the Minoan Tarot, shows a priestess at her sacred task of pouring libations. Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s companion book describes this rite:

 The ritual is an offering to the great ones, expressing gratitude for the gift of life in a magical world. … The pouring of libations is both offering and petition, both giving and receiving. It is life and power flowing from divinity to humanity, with love and respect flowing from human hearts in return.

minoan-14-flow

Ellen offers this message from the image: Your heart is the crossroads of the power of the flow. 

Your double-chambered heart flows both with giving and receiving, beats both because of earth taking form in muscle and because of a mysterious spirit animating the life force. Where these opposites touch is the center of your heart, is the crossroads of your interior being. It is an imaginal space – a soul place – rather than a physical spot you can find, but you are called to visit here when you want to grow.

Your seed will want to grow as it moves from winter to spring and onward through each season. The seed will return time and again to the crossroads and you with it. This will sometimes be a place of challenge where old patterns of shame, self-criticism, or fear may tug at you again. This will sometimes be a place of failure because not all seeds grow. This will sometimes be a place of success where the unfolding of the seed aligns with the rhythms of the wider world and your own longings and visions.

And because we are in the place of the heart, all can be received with Love. For Love, protected by and flowing from the center of your heart, receives all things, pours out its endless light, is generous with its hospitality. 

At the crossroads, you are invited to offer this loving hospitality of the heart to all that enters. When fear enters, offer it comfort and send it down the path of release. When failure enters, sit with your own disappointment; don’t try to change the feeling, just hold it close to your heart until the Love’s light there shines on the path that leads to healing. When success comes, celebrate its delights and send it down the path of humility or greater challenge.

In Week Four of Tending the Returning Light, we have come to a crossroads in our ritual time together. The seed birthed at Solstice calls to be celebrated. The next phase of life calls for new growth. This ritual of winter calls to be concluded so we can step on to springtime’s path.

During this week, you are invited to light 4 candles and contemplated these questions that balance celebration and preparation:

  • What have I achieved in birthing the seed?
  • How to celebrate this achievement?
  • What waits for me at the crossroads of winter and spring, of birth and growth?
  • How to move forward held in the flow of the heart’s light and Love?

At week’s end, you may want to pause to reflect on the ritual as a whole and offer your gratitude to winter for gestating the seed. Celtic teacher and writer Caitlín Matthews suggests the practice of saying a prayer or poem of gratitude to winter at your back door or window on January 31st. You might want to write your own or use her Farwell to the Season of Samhain from The Celtic Devotional:

Go with thanks and go with blessing

Season of deep memory.

Souls with joy are deeply freighted.

Hearts are charged with heritage.

As ancestors you have traveled,

You have come to Winter’s home.

Father Counsel you have cheered us.

Mother wisdom who has smiled.

Touch the hidden seed with us.

May we grow as Spring’s own child.

It has been a joy and an honor to travel with you through this season of winter and the bringing forth of the Solstice seed. May you travel well as spring pours its light deeper and deeper into the night. I look forward to the next crossing of our paths here in world of bone and flesh or in the deep heart place that is both at our centers and everywhere – and from which flows an always embracing Love.

[Note: Don’t forget that you can move into the celebration of springs with Joanna Powell Colbert’s beautiful 30 Days of Brigid offering. I am so looking forward to Joanna’s daily inspirations and spending time with Brigid, the Celtic Goddess of fire and water, who is patroness of poets, smiths, and healers.  Looking further into the year, I will be doing a similar seasonal ritual on the other side of the sun’s travels. Walking the Ways of the Summer Light will have the Summer Solstice as its hinge and be offered in similar ways as this series. Being on my e-newsletter list is the best way to keep up with these offerings.]

 

Feb 122014
 

trail-of-cedars-close

Water seeks flow: melt of snow and glacier; reach of ocean, over and over again caressing the shore; an insistent stream cutting rock, tending trees all the way downhill.  The dream of water is to flow.

And from the flow, beauty:  the shape of the land changed and charged; the color of water clear delight; the swirl of an eddy spins like stars moving across the face of eternity.

Above on the Trail of the Cedars at Glacier National Park. Photo by John Laux.

Learn More:  If you want to work out the technical and analytical part of your brain, you could investigate hydrodynamics and the different types of fluid flow.  I like the idea that fluid flow becomes so complex when it is turbulent that physicists haven’t been able to develop an elegant equation to describe its actions.

Reflection Questions: 

  • How do I cultivate flow in my life right now? Where do I resist flow?  How are the cultivation and resistance connected?
  • What is my current relationship to turbulence?  Where in my life have I tried to map it, control it, and/or flow with it?  What serves me best? What is my desired relationship to turbulence?
  • What beauty is created out of the current flow of my life?

Contemplative Practice:  Use water as a point of concentration for meditation.  Gaze with gentle attention into water.  The water can be flowing in a stream or in a small bowl you hold in your hands.  Just be with the water and see what arises.  You might start with an intention to receive some kind of guidance from this session, allowing an inner voice to speak to you or an image to appear in the water or your mind’s eye.  This is a form of scrying that has a long tradition as a divination process. The root of this old English word means “to reveal.”

Nature Awareness:  Look for flow in your current environment.  This will be easiest and most dramatic during the spring in areas where there has been snow, but even in the coldest or driest times, the hints of flow can be instructive and surprising.  Observe your seeking of the flow.  Observe the flow.  Observe who else is interested in this flow (thirsty creatures?).  For a long-term exercise, observe how a flow of water, say in a stream, changes in 1 specific spot over a year or over 5 years.