Tuesday, August 2, 2016

First Harvest

Can you feel the shift?

High summer has come to a close with the arrival of Lughnasadh (loo-nah-sah).  Named after the Celtic sun god, Lugh, it's time to reap the bounty of fields and gardens.

Farmer's markets are brimming with corn, zucchini and greens.  Bouquets of flowers grace our kitchen tables and window sills.




Lughnasadh falls mid-way between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox on the wheel of the year.  How are you feeling as the days grow shorter?   Have you noticed the summer stars shifting in the sky?




I set intentions on the winter solstice, seeding them in my awareness during the dark days of winter. I felt my ideas germinating through the early spring.  I nurtured them with practical steps until they burst through -- from fertile ground into tender seedlings.  Actual evidence this might work! During the long days of summer, I've  been tending my plans the same way I tend my plants, doing what I need to do to help my ideas thrive.  I'm weeding out what doesn't fit in with my evolving vision.

I had the idea of teaching energy medicine.  I mulled it over during the long winter.  I began to envision it.  I talked it over with a trusted mentor. Friends offered to help.

Bringing this idea into reality required action on my part.  Dreaming about it was not going to make it happen.  I placed ads in local publications.  I drafted copy, solidifying my ideas.  I pulled out my calendar and chose seven weekends over the next year, with consideration to the phase of the moon, of course. For on-line advertising, I was asked to convert a word document into a JPEG.  How to do this? I had no idea! But I learned.  Lo and behold, there was my ad, in The Door Opener e-blast -- it looked good!  I posted my offering, Opening the Channel:  Introduction to Energy Medicine, here on the blog.




At the time of this first harvest I have two students paid in full.  

Still many blessings of the summer to treasure -- Meredith, our oldest daughter, will be married this month!  All our planning will culminate in that day of joy for our families.  

Yet as the Earth turns toward autumn, so do we. Earlier evenings, pulling out the tea pot, resuming our Monday night meditation circle -- I look forward to these familiar rituals of fall.  But I'm not in a hurry to have them yet.




Instead, I'm savoring the bounty of the earth using fresh ingredients straight from my modest garden. Herbs sprinkled into salad.  Wondering what to do with lemon balm.  Our current favorite is blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream. (http://iambaker.net/blueberry-zucchini-cake-with-lemon-buttercream/)



I hope you savor whatever you are in the process of creating in your home, business, career, relationship and spiritual life.  My friend Mary is nurturing her relationship with her precious first grandchild; Kathy is piecing together an art quilt to take your breath away, and Michela is seriously considering retirement to make room for her many talents as a healer.



And don't forget to weed!  That painful relationship?  Is is time to let it go?  That situation that's always fraught with drama?  How can you step away from it? Or shift your perspective so it no longer triggers you?  Has some illusion shattered?  Embrace clarity.  

Just as the garden is even more vivid after a good rain shower, so is the inner landscape more vibrant after being tended to in ways like these.



If you haven't been consciously aware of this creation cycle that began on the winter solstice, it's not to late to set your intentions now.  Today is the last day of the current lunar cycle -- the balsamic phase -- the exact time for going inward and reflecting on your dreams, goals and priorities. Tomorrow, August 2nd, is the new moon -- the exact time for setting your intentions for this lunar cycle.  Use the power of the shorter lunar cycle to jump into the larger solar cycle of creation.  Aligning with these cycles within cycles  attunes you to the powerful rhythms of the the great forces of the cosmos.  Navigating with these energies puts you in the flow of creation.


Why paddle upstream when you can have the wind at your back?


May your first harvest be as delightful as a pint of freshly-picked strawberries -- bursting with flavor, nurtured by light, and tenderly harvested by your very own loving hands.


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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Solstice Around the Fire

In the couple of mornings since our solstice gathering, I've awakened with images from our evening floating on the edges of my consciousness.

I try to follow these, like a trail of breadcrumbs through the woods, back to the deep well they emerged out of while I slept, but the trail is misty.  The sun-infused leafy canopy out my window beckons.  A new day awaits.

In preparation for our solstice evening, my co-facilitator (partner in crime), Jen,  journeys inward to receive messages from her spirit helpers as to exactly how we should conduct our ceremony.  In this case it was somewhat detailed, complete with instructions to make 22 prayer ties connected with a string.  These were to be placed around the fire and put into the fire at a specific time. These spirits kept Jen busy! She's prayerfully placing tobacco, infused with healing intentions, into red bundles and tying them up with string while I'm pulling up chairs around the fire pit, arranging a medicine wheel, and infusing water with mint and lemon for our guests.

Before journeying, Jen asked if there was any information I wanted her to seek in the realms of Spirit. Since the sun reaches the peak of it's annual arc across the sky on the solstice, I wondered if there might be a message from the Sun. Or the full moon. This rare and powerful alignment of a full moon on the summer solstice hasn't happened since 1967 -- the summer of love -- and will not happen again until 2062.

This morning, upon awakening, it was the message from the sun that I remembered.  In the spirit world, Jen learned that the sun welcomes our greetings each morning.  We are advised to energetically root into the earth and open to the sun -- just as we have been doing in our meditation classes!  We may even give our burdens to the sun!


So before I sit down to write about my dream snippets, I step outside onto the patio.  The stone pavers are cool beneath my bare feet.  I face east. The strong white light of the sun filters through the leafy backyard trees.  This morning, rays of the sun feel like arms slanted downward, offering to take my burdens.


What if I offer gun control legislation to the sun?  One mass murder on top of another -- it's too much.  What if I offer poverty?  There's a young family in my life for whom poverty is causing suffering.  As usual, my prayer extends beyond them to include everyone across the globe who languishes in poverty.  I especially include every mother and father who needs food for their children.  Faces flash across my inner vision as I ground my feet into the earth and open my arms to the sun.  Returning the gesture.

With these and myriad intentions tumbling around in my mind, I do seven (modified) sun salutations, asking the sunlight to help me see clearly.  I'm blessed with it's elemental light to illuminate my path today.  I allow it to  infuse my being so that I may share it with my clients today.  With everyone I meet today.

Never have sun salutations felt so powerful!  I've always done these beautifully choreographed asanas to honor the sun, the new day, and to energize my body, but never have I felt communion with the sun itself.

This is only one gift from our solstice celebration!  I'll share more over the coming days.


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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ushering in the Storm

After tuning in to early morning scenes of Winter Storm Justin making it's way up the east coast, and after helping Kerri decide to cancel the winter women's retreat day we had planned, I bundle up and head out for a walk before snow overspreads the land!

Outside the air is still but for a flock of ravens making a ruckus in the treetops.  Not one snowflake, for all the fuss.  When I was a kid in upstate NY, three to six inches of snow fell without comment.


It is remarkable that it's the 23rd of January and we have yet to accumulate any snow. I'm wearing long johns under my sweats, ski socks with toe warmers, sweatshirt, jacket, headband, gloves and a scarf wound up to my chin.

Quiet Saturday morning.  Paul went for coffee and then off to a budget workshop with the rest of the council and the board of ed.  Oh, how I do not miss those days.

The muted colors of winter seem more precious with the knowing they'll soon be under cover of snow. Gnarled bark, laced with silvery lichen; tarnished coppery leaves littering the ground around the massive oaks.  The trees themselves, with their arms outstretched, awaiting the snowfall. Do they know, like the ravens, that snow is coming?  Can they tell from the pallor of the sky?


The evergreens are fatigue-green; some have a blue cast.  The grass is a rolling collage of faded green, earthy brown, and pale yellow.  The only shot of color is a lone basketball left out on the soccer field; it looks like a leftover pumpkin the distance.  And here's someone's (loud) bright red snow-blower, warming up for later use.

I feel the tiny flakes on my cheeks before I can see them.   I have to look very carefully -- they're scarce, random.  Materializing before my eyes and disappearing in an instant like micro shooting stars.

When I arrive at the pond there's no speculating about ice -- it's frozen solid.  A pearl gray sheet from shore to shore.  A wind-swept dusting of snow looks like a sheer curtain being pulled ashore by some playful winter sprite.




I stay for awhile on the dock, grateful to be outside in January in sneakers.  I breathe in the cold fresh air and let it work it's head-clearing magic.  I let the hush settle around and within me.  I wonder about the turtles, swans, and geese -- all the waterfowl that live here -- and imagine them burrowed in somewhere as I'll soon be, sipping tea in my long johns, typing the sentences that  are composing themselves in my head.  A whole day unexpectedly open.  Life is good.

Back on the street there's a tableau of evergreens that bring the finely blowing snow into focus.  It seems the storm is arriving on schedule.  I'm blessed to usher it in.

Stay warm and safe!


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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Flying in the Dark

It's January 10th in Connecticut, a Sunday afternoon, and so mild I decide to take a walk, despite the gloom.  I consult my weather app to check sunset  (4:39) even though there's been no sign of sun all day.  It's now 4:26.  I decide to do my neighborhood loop and end at the pond, per usual, even though it will be dark by then.  The dock faces northwest so at least that part of the sky won't be completely drained of light by the time I get there.

I've got my umbrella looped around my wrist and only a cotton t-shirt under my oversize sweatshirt. The treetops scrape the damp sky with their bony fingers, swaying back and forth.  It's strangely warm and good to be outside on a January evening.

I've taken up yoga.  I've discovered the joy of easing tension away under the guidance of my teachers. Eagle arms, circle of joy -- these  asanas let it all go.

I love the yoga but my walks give me fresh air, and today -- in January! -- it's warm and windy. Perfect for a thorough aura cleanse. I imagine the gusty breezes getting into every nook and cranny of my energy field -- the unseen cocoon that surrounds and interpenetrates our bodies -- metabolizing all our stuff (and I don't mean food here).  Like a stiff breeze through gauzy curtains, shaking loose the dust and cobwebs.

Rounding the corner onto Highland, I open my umbrella because now it's drizzling.  I hold it at an angle so I can still see the sky and the occasional jogger coming my way.  It gets caught in the wind, so I hold it steady as it pulls me this way and that.

On the dock is John, the owner of the property, who graciously lets me sit and gaze out over the reservoir whenever I want.  Tonight he's smoking a sweet smelling cigar, like sage, smudge.

Hey John.

Hey Julie, I had to step out and get some air.  I've been in the car all day.  We chat.

Do we have ice?  Out on the pond the geese are standing on the surface of the pond, and since they're not Jesus, John jokes, we have ice.  Here in the inlet, there's a thin glaze.  Further out, ghostly fog floats.

Unseasonable.  Warm like Spring, but the last few days have been cold enough to create ice.  Down the way, the waterfall is swollen and rushing from overnight rains.  Although the solstice is weeks behind us, it still doesn't feel like winter. The grass is green, unmarred by snow.  Christmas lights strung on bushes and around front doors await a return to normalcy.

John and I are saying good night when we hear the croak of the heron. I've never seen one in the dark, but there he is, flying low overhead, tracing the shore of our little inlet but not venturing over land. John says it's because we're here, that he does cross through the back yards if no one's outside.

The voice of great blue heron calling out in the fallen darkness reaches into my soul.  He doesn't have to say anything; we might not have noticed him had his flight remained silent.  Yet he cries out in his distinctive voice, his neck stretched outward, wings beating like laundry snapping on the line, his long beak pointing the way.

Like this bird, I, too, am flying in the dark in this new year.  Trying to get a feel for a direction of my own. The new year always feels full of possibility and potential, but where to focus?  Where to expand? What to let go of?  Like the fog hovering over thin ice, the future feels etherial, difficult to peer into, and ultimately -- unknown.

Yet we meet it like the heron.  Hanging out in the border-lands between earth, water and sky -- the realms of the material, the emotional, the spiritual. The dimensions of stable ground, movement -- flowing or frozen, and the mental realm of air.  The only element missing is fire -- not even one streak of light across the western horizon to light the way for us.

In this way, my pond retreat is like the aura I was consciously cleansing earlier.  In the human energy field, all these elements converge -- earth (body), air (mind and spirit), water (emotions) and fire (passion and creativity).  Our beliefs run along invisible threads of light, colliding with our feelings, spinning and wheeling like the very wind.  Spirit opens its wings to fly. Our inner fire ignites our creative self-expression.

Nightfall is complete.  I make my way home without stars or slim moon, only clouds scudding across dark skies, grateful for my feathered totem -- flying with confidence into the mists, calling out for us follow.


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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

(Abrupt!) Shift of Seasons

The fall has been glorious -- flaming foliage, geese in formation overhead, pumpkins on the vine, flowering sage.


But (!) yesterday I came out of Whole Foods and it was snowing.  I'm standing there like an idiot, blocking the exit, blinking and squinting because surely this must be rain, right?  I move out of the way and people are exiting, exclaiming:  Ach! ... Really? ... Is this a dream?... I'm not ready for snow!  So funny really -- my own resistance mirrored back to me while I wrap my shawl more closely around my hunched shoulders.


The kids, of course, have no such resistance.  One boy, maybe ten years old, is wearing hot pink knee socks with his sandals and soccer shorts.  He's not rushing to the car. When I comment, Nice socks, he grins.  Mom and I exchange appreciative glances. (There was a stretch when my daughter Michelle went everywhere dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.)

By the time I get home the sun is shining.  Long shadows are falling across the back yard.  The sky is opening as the leaves fall on the lawn.



A perfect evening for (organic) butternut squash soup.


As I peel and chop, I find comfort in yielding to the inevitable.




Thursday, October 1, 2015

Super Full Moon Eclipse Wisdom

Last night our Moon Goddess Meditation Circle reconvened for our third season.  I spent the day preparing, grateful for new beginnings.

How to articulate what happens among us?  Gathering cushions, encircling my coffee-table altar with chairs, popping corn, pulling out the tea tray, printing out relevant info from my favorite astrologers -- all this is easy.

It's expressing what happens when I place my hands on the goddesses that has me calling on ... is there a Spirit of Putting-Things-into-Words?  Which Muse ushers the elusive ineffable into comprehensible sentences?

The dusky-orange, eclipsed full harvest moon of the night before reigned over our evening. Like so many of us, I was transfixed as the shadow of the earth encroached on the moon's brilliance. Until it was overshadowed; then it hung in the sky like a jewel-- dark orange, mottled, shaded in mystery.


The esoteric wisdom is:  That's our shadow -- the collective unconscious of humanity -- all those parts of ourselves that we deny, hidden within the recesses of our psyches, projected onto la luna.

On any given night we have the the divine masculine force of creation (the sun) reflected in the luminous sacred feminine force of creation (the moon).  The passage of the earth between these two is marked by the moon's monthly waxing and waning. These rhythms reflect the interplay of the masculine and feminine at the heart of creation.


But on the eclipse we have the earth directly lining up between the sun and moon, to dramatic effect.

The moon was a super full moon, closer to the earth than it has been in 33 years.  It won't be this close again until 2033.  So full-moon energies are amped up way more than usual.  The gravitational pull on ocean tides and our bodies -- composed of 50 - 75% fluid -- is significantly stronger.  Tides of emotion run high in the several days before and after such a potent lunation.



Have you noticed?  Anything going on in your relationships?  Things falling apart?  More volatility than usual?  It's the play of planets on the psyche.

In an eclipse configuration, the Earth plays a different role in the monthly wax/wane dance on the celestial stage. She glides between the sun and full moon, casting her shadow across the face of our sacred feminine star, making it appear to wane dramatically in just minutes -- from full to crescent. Once her entire visage is veiled in shadowy orange, she hangs like a rare gem, a darkly luminous orb in the night sky.

Her aura was still infusing the early twilight as my guests arrived for meditation.  Many had seen and marveled at the moon. She was rising again as we checked in after our summer break.  Updates included news about our daughters:  Joan's was married over the weekend; Cindy's will marry shortly; Kathy's is engaged; mine has found her wedding dress.  Paula's daughter moved to Denver. Mary's back from cruising the Mediterranean, Carol's divorce is final; Jen's anniversaries of the heart are coming up this week. We welcome Maureen's friend Sarah.

Later, we settle.  Awareness of breathing ... long pauses ... letting tension melt.  We imagine ourselves on the side of a mountain, watching the moon rise, our bodies bridging earth and sky. It's not much of a stretch of the imagination because the moon feels as potent as last night.



I play the crystal bowl, a treasured gift, to help us access realms beyond the mind.  The sound healing reverberates through us and out the open windows, merging with  high-frequency lunar vibrations. When I stop, I place my hands on either side of the humming bowl, without touching.   The energy is tangible, charging my hands.  And that's when I realize how the moon felt the night before -- just like this shimmering crystal bowl, radiating fine, highly-charged particles of power.

As I place my hands on each woman, the dark-orange moon looms in my awareness. The energies run like myriad streams -- threads, fragments, and hints suggest something that wants to be known.   A message, veiled, just like she was.  Breathing, I sink in more deeply.

Finally the streams flow together in a confluence of understanding.  Fleeting energetic impressions coalesce into a pristine pool of clarity.

This is her message:

See how beautiful I am as I reflect your shadow passions.  Why hide them from yourselves and each other?  You've been taught to splinter yourselves into acceptable and unacceptable, when every aspect of your being is of inestimable value. Your feelings are meant to flow through you; they are not meant to be hidden.  By honoring the truth they express, you balance yourself in the same way day and night face one another as equals on the equinox.

Behold your shadow!  Gather up the lost and hidden fragments of your selves and bring them into fullness like mine.   I mirror your shadow consciously, to show you the dark face of the Goddess, brilliant and beautiful.  Embrace me and you embrace your whole self, poised as you are between the swirling forces of sun and moon -- ancient archetypes for the powers of creation.  Balance these within.  Revel in the new consciousness being born within you now.


We bring our sacred circle outside to close our evening under the silent stars.



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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Radiating Our Light

At a recent gathering of the Moon Goddess Circle, in honor of the Summer Solstice, we sat outside for our meditation. I thought it would be perfect, on this longest day of light, to radiate our light.

I read The Little Soul and the Sun, a children's story by Neale Donald Walsh, author of the Conversations with God series.  This profound story invites us to imagine ourselves as beings of light -- innocent, curious and adventurous little souls -- prior to being born into our lives.

As we settle onto cushions, stretch out on the grass, recline in Adirondack chairs and light candles, I share a passage from Walking in Light, by Sandra Ingerman:

You are spirit.  You are Light.  You are one with the power of the universe.... go within and experience a flame of light growing.  As you continue to breathe, this light grows, flows and radiates throughout your cells.  This is effortless, for your true nature is light....

Then we allow ourselves to shine like stars, radiating light in all directions.  I describe for the group how their energy fields are expanding and overlapping as the vibration rises.

One of our goddesses is preparing for surgery; so, as we had discussed earlier, we quietly move into the healing room.  She reclines on the healing table while the others encircle her.  I suggest where each may place her hands and guide us in maintaining our radiance and seeing, in our mind's eye, our receiving friend in all her light and strength.  I murmur pre-surgical intentions and support the circle of healers with my own light as it flows through my hands.

The energy in the room is electric with the power of these women.

Later, after everyone is gone and the house is quiet, I go outside to dismantle our solstice altar.  I find that the altar, now that it's dark, perfectly mirrors our experience!


 Each individual radiating her light....






And then merging with others to exponentially expand the power, the beauty, the healing grace.

The play of light and shadow illustrates just how our fields overlapped and merged.

I take a moment under the crescent moon to register my amazement.

These outward reflections of inward experiences affirm that I'm not making this all up!  What happened here tonight is true.

Namaste -- the divine light in me honors the divine light in you.