Friday, June 12, 2020

The Fire of Summer

Can you believe Summer Solstice is in just 10 days? Have any plans? Around here, we're thinking of activism-oriented work. Normally I like to make cool drinks, soak in the sun, and generally...frolic. But this year? No, I think not.

This year, in the midst of a social justice uprising...I can only say that it's time to keep working. Collectively, much has been accomplished already. This is the work, right now - we have to be present and do our part to end systems of oppression. #BlackLivesMatter has sparked what we intend to manifest into the revolution we ALL need.

So this is what I'm doing for the Festival of Summer. I need to figure out the best way to attack a whole host of social justice issues. Here is the list of reforms I made:
  • Inclusion - we need to bend our efforts toward ending systemic inequality toward ALL marginalized groups. #BlackLivesMatter, first and foremost, but lets not forget our Indigenous populations, women, our differently abled communities, the LGBTQIA community, immigrants from all over the world, and everyone else.
  • Reform the police – demilitarize, give social worker tasks to social workers, fire ALL rapists and racists
  • Environmental protections – put them back in place and make them MUCH stronger (Green New Deal)
  • Institute sustainable energy sources
  • Universal health care
  • Forgive student loans
  • Free college, at least state schools
  • Address the housing crisis
  • Living wages for ALL
  • Term limits for all legislators
  • Fix gerrymandering
  • Abolish the electoral college
  • Vote by mail for all states
  • Repeal Patriot Act
  • Institute stronger criteria for eligibility for President – psychological exam, financial records, not allowed if pending lawsuits and criminal charges
  • Abolish daylight savings time
  • Switch to the metric system

What would you add? How are you attacking racism and all of the systems of oppression? As for me, I've been making calls, writing letters, sending texts, having tough conversations, cleaning house on social media, and donating funds.

Magically, I feel we got some good momentum started on the recent Full Moon #June5thGlobalSpiritualProtest. Now it's time to keep the fire burning. Keep doing the work, in both the mundane and magical realms.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Blessed Festival of All Souls

A blessed Samhain to all those celebrating today! In my tradition, we celebrate this holiday as a week-long festival that culminates on the astronomical cross-quarter day. This year, that is November 6, at 4:08PM PST. That is the moment that marks the mid-point between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice.

This holiday is all about honoring our ancestors and beloved dead. Traditionally, we believe that the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is very thin during this holiday. This is a great time to commune with those departed spirits, which we can do in a variety of ways.

Historically, this holiday is the last harvest of the year, which helped to prepare for winter. Many Earth-centered spiritual traditions use the framework of the Wheel of the Year, which is based on the agricultural calendar. There are three harvest festivals - the Grain Harvest Festival, observed around August 2, also known as Lughnasadh or Lammas, the Fall Fruits Festival, observed at the autumn equinox, also known as Mabon, and this final harvest, the Festival of All Souls, observed on October 31, also known as Samhain. This final harvest was when many cultures slaughtered the livestock that they could not feed over the winter. It was also a time when traditional cultures hunted for meat to preserve for the winter.

In my tradition, the Clan of the Wildlings, we perform a seasonally appropriate observance each day. Today, I will construct an ancestor altar. Tonight, I will light a candle in the window to guide those ancestors in.

May the blessings of the ancestors be upon you and yours. May you have all that you need to survive and thrive in the winter that is to come. Naho. Namaste. Blessed be. OM Shanti!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Journey to the Land of the Setting Sun

A whole turning of the Wheel has gone by since I wrote here. In my last post, I felt that my life was at a turning point. And so it was. I went to Jomeokee, my sacred mountain in North Carolina. I was given a vision that has come to pass. At the time, that vision made no sense to me, as is so often the case. It didn't match my plan to stay in North Carolina and be practical.

Not long after my pilgrimage, I drove west again for another job in California. Once again, I was struck by the incredible vastness, richness, and beauty of this Turtle Island on which we live. It was a good migration, with visits to friends and family. When I arrived in these Sierras, I had no idea what was coming next. I only knew that it was good to be back in the West.

All winter I lived at a ski resort. All winter, I skiied and taught skiing to others. I met people, and they asked questions. What would I be doing this summer? Where am I from? Why am I leaving here again after ski season? Did I know how beautiful a Tahoe summer is? The land itself welcomed me, too. Though I had much work to do in regaining my dormant skiing skills, the mountain never hurt me. Far from it - Kirkwood took my heart.

Then I was offered a job for the summer. And it became a real possibility - what if I stayed? What if my long search for a home was over? What if it's here, in the Sierras? These mountains are friendly. They're smaller than CO. There is water here, by the great Da'ow Aga, Lake Tahoe. There are many many alpine lakes and streams scattered through the peaks here. It is a place of great beauty, and great opportunity.

It occurred to me, too, that at some point, I did have to make a decision. I've been searching for a home for years, really, for most of my adult life. At some point, one has to plant their feet and make their stand. I could have kept going. I could have kept looking, and that could have lasted for the rest of my life. But much like people, there is no "perfect place". Every place has its challenges. The lure of the unknown and the new is strong, but I have learned that it is so easy to let that become an escape. I'm done searching. I'm done running. This place and the people here want my energy. So be it. Here I stand. Here, I will put down roots, found my business, and build a home.

I stayed. This turning of the Wheel has been about establishing myself here. I had a great first season as a ski instructor. In the summer, I worked as a guide on high ropes courses. Now I am back to healing work. I've rented my first official home, and am just now putting the final touches on it.

I live in Christmas Valley, next door to what has become my true home here, the Hope Valley. From Luther Pass to Silver Lake is where I feel most at home, typical for this oread. As always, I have a foot in both worlds - the bustle of South Lake Tahoe and my beloved alpine wilderness. I live by the Upper Truckee River. It is quiet here. The aspens, willows, and cottonwoods are glowing gold.

Now that I am settling in, my daily practice is returning. This morning I was struck by how meaningful it is to me. I lit a candle on my hearth, and kindled a charcoal block for smudging. The smudging blend was made by a dear friend. My altar is covered with stones from all of my power places. The shawl I wrapped around me was given to me by a student of mine. The sheepskin I meditated upon was a gift from my best friend. I am surrounded by things I made, found on my travels, or was given by others. It is beautiful, this web to which I belong.

Well do I love travelling. And also, I have learned that I need a home to welcome me after the latest adventure. I am building it here, in this beautiful place. The community I am weaving is loving and positive. My strength and energy are returning. I am catching up on all the practical tasks that have built up during my years of travel. My career is blossoming, and abundance surrounds me. I am returning to calmness, to my true power.

Stay tuned. I have a lot of plans. I am re-starting my New Moon Women's Circle. I am founding a flute circle and a poetry salon. It may even come to pass that a local cell of my Clan of the Wildlings forms here.

Last night was the start of this Full Hunter's Moon phase. I went to the Hope Valley when the moon was high in the sky. All alone, I got out of my truck and went into the meadow. The night was calm, and cold with the promise of the coming winter. I read the Charge of the Goddess. My strong voice carried far in the clear air. I like to think that these mountains, my friends, heard me and approved. It felt right. I felt at peace, at home.

Like everyone here, I am preparing for winter. For me, that means ski gear and firewood, truck maintenance and general life logistics. I wish to have a snow dance. We need a good winter with lots of SNOW. Skadi, Ullr, hear me! Bring us the comfort of the blanketing snows!

May it be well with all of you in this season of the final harvest. It is hard to believe that the Festival of All Souls is in only two weeks! A blessed Full Hunter's Moon to you. May your hunts be fruitful. Naho. Blessed be. Namaste. OM Shanti!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Pilgrimage of the Great Wheel: Standing Stone

Last fall, I took a job in California. It was a last minute assignment for the winter, and I was excited. I resolved to stop at a sacred site on the Pilgrimage of the Great Wheel on my way west, the Standing Stone. This sacred journey is something that has come to me in the past few years - I am visiting all the points of a great wheel of ley lines that covers the southeast of the US to experience their power and to honor these sacred places. Check out this linked post for details.

When I visit Jomeokee each year, the center of the Great Wheel, I am delighted to see it preserved as a state park. Thought most people who visit are not aware of its cultural importance or history as a sacred site, it is yet revered and cared for. Same for the Great Dismal Swamp that I visited last fall. But Standing Stone is not that kind of story. Standing Stone has not been so lucky. Visiting Standing Stone was so upsetting that I never finished this blog post.

Though I had done research in advance, nothing about this visit went as planned. I found Standing Stone State Park easily enough, and it was a lovely wooded place with a mountain lake and a campground. The one thing they don't have is the Standing Stone. Undeterred, I asked a ranger where it might be found and was directed to Monterey, TN. I'd driven through the town to get there, so it was easy enough to retrace my steps. 
Arriving in the town, I discovered that there was a monument to Standing Stone near the town library. This monument is not the original location of the Standing Stone either.

I went into the library and did some more research, trying to find the original location. Using GPS coordinates, I drove around the neighborhood nearby and looked for a likely spot. I was considering land elevation and orientation, trying to consider where a monument would have been visible before the creation of this town.

Essentially, what happened is that the Standing Stone was destroyed to make way for a new railroad. It was blown up with dynamite, and for many years, several large chunks of the stone were used for other purposes or intentionally preserved. When at last the monument was created, a small fragment of the stone was placed on top.
From my earliest research about this site, the Standing Stone marked the boundary between Shawnee and Cherokee nation territories. The stone also stood along an established trade route, which became known as an "old Indian trail" after the settlement of the area by Europeans. As far as I know, such a place would have been used for trading and council purposes between different tribes. This would have been a place of peace.

What upsets me is not only that the original stone was removed, but also that very little of its history is known. Reading the very brief information available about the stone, only a tiny portion of that refers to the native people who erected the stone. Most of it is about the Europeans who defaced it, and who eventually destroyed it.

I remember feeling so depressed and angry during this visit. It was a small town, and seemed ordinary enough. There was no tangible energy, no reminder of what was. A whole culture and history, erased.

So for this pilgrimage visit, there is no poetry. No beautiful sentiment of spiritual vision. What I did was fume, to be frank. I may have done some angry journaling, but I think that's best left where it lies on my bookshelf. When I calmed down, I just sat there, at the monument, and offered my presence. I offered my prayers of healing and acknowledgement for what happened in this place.

There are so many more things I could say about how this country has handled things, but I truly do not have the desire to do so at this time. People who know me know what my opinion is, and I'm sure many of you share it. As for me, I will continue on my pilgrimage. The next chance I get to speak with first nation elders, I will ask if any stories of Standing Stone are known.

This weekend, I go back to Jomeokee once again. This will be my third vision quest there. This year, I am in need of anchoring in the midst of all this travelling. I'm feeling a deep need to get centered and grounded before I leave NC once again. This feels like a pivotal time for me, a true turning point. My life is transforming, and I am so grateful. I am also afraid and full of doubts. I am like everyone else - trying to figure it out as I go along.

I honor you, Great Medicine Wheel of Jomeokee! Great Guide, this pilgrimage I make in your honor. This land I walk to gain your wisdom, each step trodden by countless ancestors who have gone before me. Fill me with your medicine. Teach me, Great Guide. Lead me on...

Monday, March 20, 2017

spring poetry


Others must by a long dark way
Stray to the mystic bards,
Or ask some one who has heard them sing
Or touch the magic chords.
Only the maidens question not
The bridges that lead to Dream;
Their luminous smiles are like strands of pearls
On a silver vase agleam.

The maidens' doors of Life lead out
Where the song of the poet soars,
And out beyond to the great world—
To the world beyond the doors.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Blessed Ostara

May this Spring fill your heart with the growing love of the goddess and the horned one. May the seeds of your intentions and your gardens be blessed with strength and fertility. May you frolic in the sunshine that is now overtaking the darkness. Let us celebrate and be joyful! Blessed be. Naho. Namaste. OM Shanti!