PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
If you haven’t yet swum in the mighty Atlantic Ocean, gulped in a little salt water, floated in billowy delicious waves, hiked through deep cream-colored beach sand, picked up shells, jumped to save your bare feet from becoming burnt as you walk over 20 foot, hot dunes, wandered aimlessly in a small New England fishing village, or laughed to an outdoor-theatre Shakespeare Troupe, I highly recommend it. This August saw me doing all of this, and while it was an incredible week, what made it extra special—and a summer’s vacation I will treasure—is that I did it all with my sister....
Welcome to a new year according to the Gregorian calendar. Before diving in to what inspires me at this current point of time and space, may I share how grateful I am for you? There is a driving force behind what it is we are doing “out here” and the greater messages being brought forth are so gentle, beautiful, creative, collective. May this year manifest all of this for you and much more!
Bear energy runs strong through my foundation and Spirit wishes for me to learn her ways: how she moves and shapes her world, how she shares her wisdom, how her way of seeing embraces all those who have come before and those who are of the next generation and beyond. There is a closeness, an intimacy I feel with this essence and I cherish the connection. Bear moves methodically – nose close to the earth, raised to the heavens, smelling, sensing, Knowing. She is inquisitive and playful, yet she also carries a grounded sense of responsibility and will not waste effort letting you know where she stands. She is a fierce lover and will protect those she loves at all costs if need be. She inherently follows the rhythms of the seasons and delights in filling her physical being with the sweetness of the land when the energies run high in summer and gives herself permission to slumber deeply within the darkness come winter.
I was blessed to spend the entire weekend of Winter Solstice in ceremony with WomenSisters and Bear made her presence known immediately. Those of us who attended offered witness to each other’s celebrations and strife through the year and invited clarity for the year to come. We are blessed to sit within a beautiful community of men and women who invite each other to create a word that we will then carry through the course of the following year. “Allow” was my companion for 2013 and it served me well. Bear whispered. “Nourishment” is what has come in for 2014 and I am ready to embrace it on all levels. It begins with nourishing myself, and then offering nourishment for those in my life who are ready to receive it.
The first manifestation of this new year beckons the Bear within me to be still for these months encrusted in ice and snow. I am loving it. For as long as I’ve been consciously following the natural rhythms of the seasons, I do not yet remember a time when I’ve been this intentional with the process of what these months provide in the way of opening a doorway into a secret place within the soul. It is a dark, soft, and quiet place where solitude and rest nourish the cornerstones of my very existence.
See, this all started when Bear began to tap me on the shoulder during the summer months and whispered in my ear as the light began to fade in autumn. As winter quickly approached, she rolled her great head from side to side, danced anxiously in the waning light, pawing at the ground, and finally uttered a guttural rumble reminding me over and over again to follow the course of my natural rhythms. I had no choice but to surrender and follow her into her dwelling. And here I am to remain till the earth thaws and spring birds return.
The depth and darkness of winter has inspired me to follow the energies as they wane and dive deep beneath the surface of the soil. Everything has slowed to a reverent pace. I feel spaces within me healing; small patches within the soul that I have been meaning to mend for a very long time, held together with safety pins of excuses. Bear sits next to me in the candlelight – nose close to the earth, raised to the heavens, smelling, sensing, Knowing. I smile back in gratitude for what she is teaching me about myself.
May we all embody happiness, honesty, and be of maximum service to others.
May we all express a deep appreciation, genuine love, and respect for one another.
Today I facilitated my third virtual New Moon Intention Circle and again finished amazed by the energy that I experienced. Though my only interaction with my circle sisters was via the intentions they emailed me, written chat before the call and interactions via Facebook-- I felt their presence with me as I created the sacred space for the call. I felt them with every deep breath in the grounding visualization. I felt them with me as I welcomed the directions, elements, ancestors, goddesses and guardians. I felt them casting the circle with me as I repeated three times, “We have cast this circle with love and light. Only that which benefits us may enter.” I especially felt them with me while I read aloud their powerfully heart and spirit centered intentions.
It is so affirming to hear from my sisters after the call telling me how spiritual it was or how they felt the sacred space even though they could only hear my voice. It supports me in recognizing that sacred space is truly an act supported by your words and energy. The physical is not always necessary. Ah the power and connection available through just a phone call!
With this in mind, I will continue holding my virtual New Moon Intention Circles-- giving that gift to my sisters every New Moon. Though it’s more accurate to say that it is a gift they give me! As much as I create sacred space for myself by setting up my altar, calling in the energy and stating my intention-- it’s much more powerful when I know others are circling with me. Other sisters have mentioned this to me as well. How they feel the power in hearing their intention going out into the Universe, being held by their sisters and hearing so much of themselves in the other intentions that are read. The power in creating sacred space is multiplied when others join you energetically.
Today I sit with the gratitude for the opportunity and intentionality of virtual sacred space. I set forth into 2014 with the heart centered intention to continue creating sacred space in my own life without being held down by the physical!
I wanted to post that I'm in the midst of finals and writing three big papers, but also starting to attend my local Unitarian Universalist church services and its Women's Sacred Circle. The UU church is a friendly place for people of any belief, as it doesn't demand adherence to a theological creed or prescribe beliefs, and many atheists and Pagans (etc.) find community there. I felt right at home in the Women's Sacred Circle, where we called the quarters and lit candles and shared ritual space. It was lovely.
I will write a proper post after finals are over (mid-December), and more regularly in the new year since I'm scaling back from full-time school to part-time. I have so many ideas I would love to talk about - not only from my anthropology of religion class, Native American history/culture classes, and philosophy classes, but from the wider world and inner world as well. :) Next semester I have a poetry class, so I look forward to the creative flow and more time to contemplate and write.