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I planned a beautiful ritual with my magic group for Samhain in the Blue Mountains; at night in the labyrinth, with a fire and masks and an underworld trance. But I wasn’t even there for it – instead I found myself in Northern New South Wales, the place where the Circle of Eight was birthed and I had lived for so long. It wasn’t a time I’d planned to travel, or to travel there in particular; a tenant in my house gave notice and I knew I couldn’t organise the number of things that had to happen from where I live, a thousand kilometres away. I asked my son to drive with me, amazingly he had already taken a week off work, though it wasn’t the week that suited me. It was the week over Samhain.
My specialty is small group rituals and retreats for women. However, a primary reason behind having women-only rituals at this point in my life is purely logistical. I find it nearly impossible to have a complete “retreat” experience with kids also present! Someone has to take care of the kids during said retreats…hence, single-sex rituals/ceremonies often make the most sense for my local community. However, shorter and simpler rituals are possible with kids, though they have a completely different feel and even function and so that energetic output needs to be balanced with the renewal and restoration we often need as parents, mothers, and women.
Exhale your question
out and out again
into the fresh North Mountain air
See the answer
It waddles with leisurely curiosity
on the path ahead
Or drops blessed from the sky
Hear the answer
in the rolling songs
of the Aspen trees
The rhythm of tides
drumming the shore
Touch the answer
with hands, feet, heart
Earth, Water, Fire, Sky
Dancing with mothers, sisters,
Taste the answer
in tender kisses
of salty sea and tears
Ripening fruit the earth offers
Words and music on my tongue
both thanks and prayer
Embrace your question
And an answer will find you
© Andrea M. Keber 2010
Laurie Bauers (Hakalau, HI) is living the dream on an organic farm with her husband and son in Hawaii. She paints and creates often, hopefully inspiring others to live their dream. etsy.com/shop/ArtofLaurieABauers
Something has happened on this site that delighted and empowered me.
I've repeatedly come across blogs here stating ideas that make me post a comment along the lines of "Me too, me too! I've been teaching my students that for years!" This is lovely for me.
The trees are almost in full leaf now, with only the ash and aspen yet to join in the greening. It's been an odd Spring, with the oak trees in leaf before the hawthorn has come into flower here in Suffolk. Only now are the first blooms of the May tree coming out, and with it the signs that herald for me the coming season. The warm days have certainly been a blessing, and the light rain that falls today is equally welcome after long hot days of full sunshine and cool sea breezes.
It's at this time of year that I am reminded of just how important trees are to me, not just in their life-giving properties but also in their spiritual presence. The deciduous trees with their lush foliage always bring a smile to my face, and after a long winter of sleep to see the beech tree at the bottom of my garden joining in the party that the younger birch trees have started fills my heart with joy. The grass is lush and green, and everything just feels so very much alive. I welcome the greening with all my heart and soul.
Trees are magnificent teachers. They are so much larger than we are, both spiritually and physically. They remind us of what it means to live a life in service to the whole, to live a life filled with integration and harmony, sustainable and at peace. Trees teach us of communion and integration, both at the deep root levels of our soul and reaching out towards the heavens of our soul's awakening. They teach us of symmetry and asymmetry, of co-operation and anarchy. They are a legion of souls across this land, swaying in the wind, living their intention and benefiting all those around them by doing so. There is no sense of "I" with a tree; rather, it can instigate a better sense of "You" (or "yew", pun intended).
When we develop a relationship with trees, we think about ourselves less, rather than think less of ourselves. We are reminded that we are a part of an ecosystem, that the ecology of our spirituality is all important to our everyday lives. This ecology is absolutely integral to who we are as a species, and part of a place and environment, as part of life on this planet. We cannot separate this ecology in any shape or form. It is in everything that we do.
We are not far removed from our cousins who still live in the trees. We're all just monkeys with car keys, after all.
Spring is the season of passion, of stirring life, of creation. In my younger years, this season was all about Beltaine, and Beltaine was allll about passion and sex. One of the things I love best about my path is the celebration of sexuality as something sacred, as a gift from Goddess. As I've gotten older, sex has become less central to my Spring celebrations -- not because sex is no longer an important part of my life, or because I think it unseemly to be openly sexual and sensual now that I'm no longer in my 20s, but because I've begun to think about passion and creation in a wider sense. My Beltaine ritual this year involved working on my home, spending time with my partner, and honoring all the things I am creating, gestating, and getting ready to birth -- my women's circle, my priestess sisterhood, my creative projects. All the things that awaken passion in me, and all the passions I feel in addition to sexual passion.
In my New Moon circle this past week, I drew oracle cards that encouraged me to step into my Authentic Self, to find my true passions and follow my calling. In some ways, this whole past year has been about accepting that I even have a calling -- something I've resisted for most of my Pagan life -- and learning what it might mean to step into it. So I've been spending the past week thinking about authenticity, about passion, about the role my politics around gender and sexuality and justice play in following my calling. I've also been reflecting a lot on the role that healing around my sexuality has played in my spiritual path, and about the ways in which I can help to create safe, brave, healing spaces for survivors of sexual violence in my spiritual community; about how I can help to facilitate the much-needed conversation about consent that's happening (or needing to happen) in Pagan spaces; and about what it means to be part of a sex-positive spiritual community in an overwhelmingly sex-negative culture....