May the sunset cloak of shorter days enfold you May you dance with the patterns of crimson and gold leaves May you sing with owl and coyote in crisp moonlight May you savor the orangeness of pumpkin and yam and feel the sweetness of honey on your tongue. May you listen to the dreams of seed corn May elderberry strengthen you with stored sunshine May persimmon grant you a fleeting hello May the poignant flare of an October rose kiss you with hope. May your rooms be wreathed with smiles. And, may you remember the grace and wisdom found in both gathering and releasing.
Nine fruits and nine flavors to preserve my soul in peace this day...
— Caitlín Matthews
I'm enjoying Joanna Powell Colbert's 30 Days of Harvest ecourse. This week, one of the photo prompts was about savoring autumn fruits. While thoughts of apples were also on my mind, I took the prompt metaphorically and went for a walk with my baby to identify nine “flavors” of autumn in my own back yard.
Persimmon for patience, raspberry for reflection, dogwood for dreams, rose for enchantment, aster for starshine, polk for color, oak for mystery, and cucumber for salad.
Items from nature for a collaborative nature mandala: leaves, stones, acorns, seeds, twigs, feathers, and other items from nature (mindfully collected and ideally found on ground). If a group ritual, ask each person to bring a quantity of something to add to the mandala. If it is a family ritual, go out together before moonrise to collect your items. Note: Depending on size, composition, energy, and patience of the group, you may wish to create the mandala together first before beginning the rest of the ritual and then gather around it for the rest of the ritual itself.
Paper leaves (can be simply cut out ovals using scrap paper) or dry, fallen leaves + markers to write on them.
Optional: drums, rattles, or bells
Optional: a candles for each participant (place around outer edge of nature mandala)
Before the ritual: ask each person to respond to the prompt: “my bounty is” and collate the responses into a collaborative bounty poem. If you are working alone, respond to this prompt on your own and form a poem for yourself (example poem)
“I believe that these circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we’re weak and sing with us when we’re strong.”
–SARK,Succulent Wild Woman
Seven years ago, a small postcard at the local Unitarian Universalist church caught my eye. It was for aCakes for the Queen of Heavenfacilitator training at Eliot Chapel in St. Louis. I registered for the training and went, driving alone into an unknown neighborhood. There, I circled in ceremony and sisterhood with women I’d never met, exploring an area that was new for me, and yet that felt so right and so familiar. I’d left my two young sons home for the day with my husband and it was the first time in what felt like a long time that I’d been on my own, as awomanand not someone’s mother. At the end of the day, each of us draped in beautiful fabric and sitting in a circle around a lovely altar covered with goddess art and symbols of personal empowerment, I looked around at the circle of women and Iknew: THIS is what else there is for me.
"Just as the acorn holds limitless oaks, the Self has limitless potential. Expanding, contracting, opening, closing, leaping, pausing, watching, knowing, asking questions…" --Womanrunes, The Rune of Self
To be a human being sitting on a rock, in the sun, feeling wind, breathing in and out, reaching. This very moment, this very experience, this very capacity to sit and see and wonder, is the soul of life.
Today is my grandma's birthday. She passed away two years ago after a short and brutal bout with aggressive pancreatic cancer. After she died, my mom and I spoke briefly about whether or not my grandma's spirit is still present with us. I’ve noticed I don’t really get the kinds of “messages” that other people seem to experience after the loss of someone important to them and my mom feels pretty certain that life is over when it is over.
Interdependence. This topic is often on my mind as we approach U.S. Independence Day. There is so much strength in interdependence or being in-dependence together.
According to one of my favorite Goddess scholars, Carol Christ, the central ethical vision of Goddess religion is that all beings are embedded in a web of interconnected relatedness. All beings are part of the web of life. Everything is in relation—indeed it is possible to have relationships with the sun, sky, wind, and rainbow, as well as to other people, animals, plants, and the Divine. Everything is interconnected and does not exist without connection, relationship. Connection is strength, not weakness, and it is central.