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SageWoman Blogs

At SageWoman magazine, we believe that you are the Goddess, and we're devoted to celebrating your journey. We invite you to subscribe today and join our circle...

Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.

Reciprocal Resolutions: Incorporating the Sacred Principle of "Ayni" When Looking to 2015

There is the giving of gifts and the receiving of gifts. There is the counting of how many who gave what and the reminders to say "thank you". Within the roots of holiday gift giving I find a lovely example of the Andean people of Peru's belief in "ayni" or sacred reciprocity. Ayni is the idea of the sacred balance of giving and receiving as the foundation of all life.

Different than the concept of fairness, ayni is not a dry calculation to balance the scales, but a living example of the Divine in action in our world. Gift giving, at its core, is the same. When we give gifts for the holidays there are certain social mores honored. We strive to choose gifts that will please the other person and show them our love. No matter what the content is of that next box we open, we plan to act delighted upon its unveiling because we care for the feelings of the person who gave it to us. Being a thoughtful giver is as important as being a gracious receiver.

In Peru, sacred reciprocity is not dependent on a holiday; it goes on in every moment. Every breath is considered a sacred exchange, taking in the One and letting out the One.

"Of the five principles, ayni is the single most important concept of the Andean way... it means the interchange of lovingkindness, knowledge, and the fruits of one’s labor between individuals, between humans and the environment, and between humans and nature spirits. Reciprocity implies that one’s labor is shared: I will help you today, and tomorrow you might help me. The purpose of reciprocity is the maintenance of life.

Ayni also implies respect for life... When we return the good that comes to us and show respect without judging the giver or what is received, it becomes benevolence in its highest form." - from The Shaman's Well

The act of holiday gift giving is meant to be a sacred act that is a demonstration of love and a celebration of the gifts of life. Ultimately, it is meant to be a ceremony revering the Divine no matter what religion or spirituality you practice. If that is always the case is another discussion and a hot debate in our avid consumerist society. However, for the sake of this line of inquiry, I am simply talking about the traditions at the heart of holiday gift giving.

When the holidays are over the cycle of giving ends in many of our lives. Any other times of year when we give gifts, the exchange is lop-sided or spread out over time. It is your friend's birthday. You give her a gift. She does not give you one until your birthday months later. The sacred act of giving and receiving at once is tucked away until next winter.

Already, by New Year's Day we have set aside reciprocity. We start out with our resolutions stating what we want for the year. It may be what we want of ourselves, what we'd like the universe to provide for us or what we'd like for the universe. Without taking a survey, I would say most resolutions are in the form of wishes which have us looking outward, waiting to receive.

What will we give this year?

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Baby

There is only this moment of pure joy as I sit on the floor, my whole body attentive to this baby, this tiny embodied being as they reach for each object on my bookshelf.  Each object is felt with tiny fingers, held in tiny hands, tasted with a tiny tongue and mouth.  Each object is full of new texture and contour.  Each object is a delight of learning for this new embodied being.  This baby has recently begun crawling, employing the new skill of coordinating among body parts.  Something catches their eye and the new muscles in legs, and arms, and torso begin to work together to move their whole self to what has attracted their attention.  We both crawl to a new place to sit again as, with newly dextrous fingers, they pick up a new object.  The object is light weight but awkward in size and these tiny hands drop it on the floor.  The sound of this new object hitting the floor brings a beam of ecstasy to their tiny face and they reach to pick it up and drop it again and again, enraptured by the ability to create sound.

 

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you, Lizann, and all blessings of the season. "All work for justice and healing begins with learning to crawl." That is beau
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Ted. Blessings to you as well!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Winter Solstice and Christmas stories are all about birthing: the light returns, the divine becomes human.

Embodiment.

Happy Holidays!

Before I continue about Magdalene, Mary, and birth-giving, ending with a prayer for us all, here are four versions of my season's greetings card for you (including one in French), images celebrating embodiment. Clicking on each thumbnail will take you to a larger display.

b2ap3_thumbnail_She-came-to-understand-2c-hh-venus-72.png 

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Solstice Practice

Around the winter solstice is the time of year when many people get together, families and friends, to celebrate the holidays. If we are fortunate, we have some time off to be together, all together in one place – we may not have such an opportunity until the next solstice season rolls around. It can be a wonderful time of loving hugs, good conversation and deep, belly filled laughs.  It can also be a trying time, when the bonds of friendship or family can become tested as we are all thrown together, our usual routines and habits left behind and we are faced with situations that are perhaps out of the norm.

My home is usually very quiet, filled with deep silence and stillness.  In that silence I find my personal sanctuary, where peace is around every corner.  I’m not a big fan of crowds or noise. However, at this time of year, I leave behind my little sanctuary and venture out into the world of lights and noise, family and friends when I’d really rather be sitting on my meditation cushion in the dark, with a candle and some incense.

It’s quite a shift to deal with.  There is constant noise around me, different noise to that of my own home. It’s the noise of other people, which I am not accustomed to.  Loud televisions, conversations, arguments, laughter – it’s a bit of an assault on my senses.  Dealing with other people’s behaviour when there is no opportunity to “escape”.  I have to confront everything that upsets me head on, or lose my temper, say something in anger as my “sanctuary” is thrown out the window.

Or is it? Yes, it’s difficult. Even as I type this blog, there are interruptions by people walking in and out of the room, asking me what I’m doing and other various questions.  Nemetona, my goddess of sanctuary, has taught me that she is ever within me even as she is without – I take her with me wherever I go, and where I go she is always there.

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TarotBlogHop: Yule Joy Of Gifting (Master List)

There is this magical, mystical circle that happens every six weeks. We call it the Tarot Blog Hop. As my Yule gift to you, I'd like to invite you to hop on board to see where it takes you. The Tarot Blog Hop was begun by me.

I had this idea that a bunch of Tarot folks could all blog on the same topic on the same day. All the posts would go live at the same time creating a pop-up community. In my head, it was like Brigadoon--that magical place that appears once every hundred years. Little did I know that there was a reason it was only every hundred years.

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  • Joy Vernon
    Joy Vernon says #
    Whoohoo!!! I'm so excited! I have used that workbook before and think it's great!
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Hey Joy! You win. Send me an email or hit me up on Facebook, darling.
  • Joy Vernon
    Joy Vernon says #
    A nicely organized master list! I love your analogy of Brigadoon. Thanks for starting the BlogHop! I"m so glad to be a part of it.
New Moon in Capricorn: Radical Reality

 

The New Moon this month occurs in the sign of Capricorn (0°) on Sunday, December 21st, at 5:36 pm (PST).  Capricorn is a Cardinal Earth sign, meaning that it is a gateway sign, ushering us into a new season and a new chapter, and resonating with the sustaining and stable element of Earth.  Capricorn is the archetype of the  “Senex” - the Wise Old Man, the Sage, or the Elder in Jungian parlance.   Capricorn also encompasses the Crone, or the Wisewoman archetype.  Saturn rules this Earth sign, and Capricorn has an intimate understanding of the gifts of practicality, hard work, and above all, perseverance.  

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As I mentioned in a recent post, the winter season prompts within me a desire to withdraw and reflect, mirroring the natural rhythm of the earth which so clearly says: let things go, it is time to hibernate.

This year I cocoon with my new baby. Though I have three other children, this new baby was the first b2ap3_thumbnail_December-2014-106.JPGchild whose development and arrival perfectly mirrored the wheel of the year. Conceived during the first month of the new year, taking root in the darkness of winter’s end, beginning to bud during the springtime and coming into full bloom during the summer. And, then, with the season’s spiral turn into fall, when many beautiful things are harvested, his birth: October 30, into my welcoming hands in the sunlight bright morning in my living room. Now, with the steady progress of winter, we curl together in a small, new world. We cocoon in the cave of our own home, the size of the world re-sized to the size of my bed, kitchen table, and rocking chair. This is the fourth trimester, the time in which the baby continues to develop his nervous system and continues to live within the context of the mother’s body. I am his habitat. His place. His home is in my arms.

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  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Lovely! And what an adorable face he has.
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thank you!

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