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Mother’s Night

Tomorrow is Winter Solstice.  Today, though, many cultures (especially Norse and Northern European) celebrate what is known as Modranicht* or Mother’s Night.  Celebrated on the eve of the Solstice, Mother’s Night is a tradition specifically honoring our female ancestors, the guardians of the home and family.  As it is on Solstice Eve, this celebration also marks the beginning of the 12 night celebration of Yule**.

Altars are adorned with pictures of loved ones along with offerings for these ancestors and candles burn all night in anticipation of the return of the sun.  In these cultures, the sun is always considered female – with her life sustaining light – so this is an appropriate time to think of our mothers and our female ancestors.  It is also a perfect time for the weaving of healing works and mending broken bonds between generations.

The Toast below is a beautiful honoring and while, specific to Asatru and the Norse tradition, it could be altered to fit any of our traditions.

Toast to the Mothers
Hail mother Nerthus, Sacred Earth, you who nurture us. May you continue to uphold us.
Hail mother Frigga, beloved Great Mother of hearth and home.
May you keep our household whole and safe.
Hail mother Freyja, Lady of the Vanir. May we receive prosperity in the coming year.
To our family’s Mothers, our Dísir, going back in a line to Elmbla,
You who have watched over us and loved us always. Bless us in the coming year!
We remember you with love and honor you this night.
~From Ozark Pagan Mamma

On this Solstice Eve, it is with Deep, Deep Gratitude that I honor all the women who have come before me, all the women in my lineage, blood of my blood, and…

Raising my Chalice, I drink a toast to them and to the amazing women who currently are on this Earth journey with me proclaiming…

Blessings to all on this the night of Modranicht, this night of the Mothers…

Blessings to all in this Season of the Returning Light!

~Artist Unknown
* Alternative spelling is Modranecht
**There is also the idea handed down through the ages, that Modranicht was what became Christmas Eve when Yule became Christmas.

For more information around this idea visit
https://gathervictoria.com/2015/12/16/cranberry-hazelnut-peppermint-honey-cake-hail-to-the-mothers/


	

Voting: Embracing Paradox and Rebellious Uncertainty

A while back I saw a meme with a message around the idea of “voting our conscience even if that meant our vote was wasted”.   I was both shocked and saddened by this mentality and a grief previously unknown began to paralyze me.  As a country… a citizenry… how did we get to this place?  Feeling helpless, I picked up my drum and have spent time in ritual until the voices came reminding me I’m not helpless and can take a stand.  So, to the many others who have decided they can no longer stay silent, I add my voice.

And so it is, with conscious awareness, I enter the realm of “things we don’t talk about” in choosing to write on voting.

Throughout this election process there’s been a lot of discussion around voting…. voting to make one’s vote matter, voting one’s conscience and staying in higher vibrations, not voting at all on principle because we do not support any candidate and, finally, voting (or not voting) from a place of fear.

Personally I feel all of the above energies – the concerns, the questions – and have wondered if there is any way to vote in this election such that I am able to maintain my vibration – which makes my Empath happy and comfortable – and also stay in integrity with my Social Activist who wants to make a difference and guides my separate actions toward the most positive outcome for all, which makes her happy.

The question that keeps coming to mind is this…  As things currently stand in this election, is it possible to move from a place of conscious empowerment rather than a place of fear, vote my conscience while also having my vote matter AND vote to realistically affect positive change?   Can this be done in this election?

I believe it can IF we remember that being human sometimes requires stepping deeper into the messiness of the fray.  I believe it can if we remember that, while we may be moving toward a more enlightened state – may even already live there much of the time, we also came to experience life on this planet which is to say “be human”.  I believe it can if we can step outside our individual-ness for a moment and look at the whole.

I hear so many say there is no good choice in the two main candidates and hold to the idea that they will not cast a vote out of fear.  So they will either not vote at all or will vote their conscience while admittedly wasting their vote.   Personally, I do not believe this dichotomy needs to dictate our choice.

~Why does casting a vote for someone who is perhaps not our first choice constitute placing a vote out of fear?  Acknowledging concern is not the same as acknowledging fear.

~Why does casting a vote for someone different than our first choice have to be an act out of integrity with our conscience?

If we are willing to join these different parts of ourselves who are speaking loudly demanding to be heard… if we are willing to have conversations with each bringing the separate needs and desires into a cohesive whole… then perhaps, just perhaps, we can make a choice that supports our conscience, keeping us in line with our internal integrity and also makes a real difference.

Sometimes the greatest act of enlightenment – existing in and moving toward the higher vibrations – is to be willing to step back down into our humanness and make the tough decisions.

Sometimes staying in balance and creating a new world requires that we go to those places that disturb our comfortable-ness – daring to jump into the bubbling cauldron of energies that are both dissonant and creative.

Sometimes moving from our soul and heart, moving from a place of integrity and our conscience, requires brave acts of rebellious uncertainty and embracing paradox.  Sometimes – MANY times – it means taking what we see as negative and looking for what is good and right about the situation or, in this case, person.  These are the times for the courageous of heart, the warrior-ess, the Amazon, the person who can juggle the seemingly incongruous while simultaneously standing in personal integrity AND actively participating in effecting change.

I began this journey liking both Bernie – loving his fresh and unique take on so many things – and Hillary, finding comfort in the wisdom of her varied experiences.  I also liked the idea of a woman being president and still I was unsure as I really wanted someone not so locked into the system.  Then along came the other party’s nominee and another very unpredictable variable in the mix.  I went back and forth – vote, not vote, vote my conscience, vote to make my voice count.

As the months have gone by, however, I have come to realize that not voting IS voting.  It’s the same idea that to make no decision is to actually make a decision, only without conscious choice.  I realized I had an opportunity to actually contribute to making a difference and how I voted determined the value of that contribution.  Not only do I not want to throw away my chance to make a difference, I do not want my vote to open the door to the possibility of a very unpredictable variable becoming President.

This country is in the middle of great social change and stands on the precipice of major evolution.  How we vote on Election Day determines if that social change moves us backwards or propels us forward.

Personally I will vote for the candidate who has the “strongest and most likely” chance of guiding us into our next evolution.   Do I like everything about this person?  No.  Can I look past what I don’t like focusing rather on what I do like or at the very least what is positive?  Yes.  In the end, at least for me, considering the greater good IS voting my conscience.

So I will pluck my part of the web realizing that what I weave – what seems like an isolated individual choice – actually sends out wider vibrations and affects the whole.

When this is all over I want to be able to say I participated in electing a President who honors ALL citizens regardless of color or gender or even nationality and that the foundations of freedom this country was founded upon are still in place.

Holding space today for America.  May She move into her next incarnation in the spirit of Allowing.

Cosmic Dancing and Pulling Threads

On this Virgo New Moon, replete with a solar eclipse and influenced by Mercury Retrograde, my thoughts turn to hope of new paths while also looking backward at prior journeys.  What is it I hope to manifest in this new cycle? What treasures will this solar eclipse bring?  What do I need to revisit with new eyes?  What needs to fall away or perhaps simply be left to lie fallow for a while?

Did you know eclipses come in families and this one is connected to those of 1997/1998?  What were you doing then?  I had just returned from working in Thailand and my husband and I settled into a genteel life on a lake in Virginia with our beloved fur family – kitties who now all reside on the other side of the Veil.  He was at a new University and I… well I was re–acclimating to American culture after having lived in Asia – cultures about as far apart as one can get!

I was in what is known as reverse culture shock and I was seeing and evaluating everything through very different eyes.  It was a time that was both beautiful and extremely hard.  Everything made sense and nothing made sense.  Living on the lake in the beautiful Southwestern Virginia mountains grounded me deeply and I was also floating with no groundedness.  Light and Shadow danced around me enveloping my being-ness with both loss and gain.

At the same time, I was also beginning to see/accept/understand certain special gifts – gifts that would eventually lead me to connecting many threads from past journeys and experiences – in this lifetime and those of the past. I was opening up and expanding, sometimes so quickly and so profoundly I could barely keep up.  It was a time out of time for me and it allowed so very much to come in… things that had probably been hovering around me for years, but in the pace of our crazy, hectic life I could neither see nor hear what was waiting on the edge.

The period in my life right now is somewhat akin to that time.  I have in the past few years gone through a type of culture shock where everything was strange and unfamiliar with profound re-adjustment.  I lost many of my coping mechanisms and at the same time, I have reconnected with a deeply enriching lineage from my past and more amazing gifts have birthed.   Both Shadow and Light have demanded I pay attention to their voices – sometimes separately, sometimes screaming at the same time – all the while as paradox and allowing became my allies.

I have come to see that my story is not so unique for we live in a time where we each are walking similar paths.  We each dance with light and shadow, loss and gain, hope and sadness, and the craziness of this period in herstory/history.  It is also a place in time on the threads we weave where we are opening our hearts and sounding our voices in a declaration of this is MY time.  We all want to live our truth!

Much is currently happening in the sign of Virgo… the sign of the Priestess – a woman who has walked in light and dark and now again is daring to step more fully into the light.  As she acknowledges and embraces her gifts and talents – reclaiming both hers and those of all the women who have come before her – she is also demanding her place in the cosmos.   It is my deep-felt belief that all women carry the archetype of the priestess, though that knowing may manifest in different ways.  Even still it is our time.

So what of you Sister?  Are you willing to embrace this new moon – this dark moon – and the revelations brought by this solar eclipse?  Are you willing to embrace the messages that Mercury brings with his gift of past reflections and assessments?  Look back to your life in 1997/1998 and pull the threads forward, weaving them through the warp and weft of this life and those of the past, connecting them until they settle into a deep knowing of your calling in the Now.

Today I reflect and assess, I vision and I set intentions for what I want to call in.  I open my heart and give gratitude for this beautiful cosmic dance, embrace all that is paradox, and allow for the Mystery.

 

~Artwork by Flora Bowley

 

Walking in the Woods: Morning Reflection

Every morning, weather permitting, I walk in the woods and then enjoy a cuppa tea on my swing beneath an old Grandmother Oak.  At some point, I offer up a prayer* to all the Spirits of the Land and to the Sun for another day of sustenance.  This morning was particularly special as it rained last night and the moss tribes were a brilliant shade of emerald.  Their joy and thanksgiving for life-giving moisture was almost palpable.  I am especially fond of moss!  Adding to the walk was the presence of some of my kitty tribe.  They almost always walk with me and it’s so entertaining to see their reactions to what they find and to each other as they run up and down trees, hiding and playing with each other.  They always make me laugh and their play feels sacred and a prayer in motion.

Normally, I do not have my phone (or any device) with me, but I was expecting a call so today became the exception.  This proved fortuitous as there were some nice photos awaiting on this journey… emerald moss with a leaf still holding water, fungi and moss on a lightening-struck oak, the yoni-like portal to another world that is at the base of my favorite Grandmother Oak and the black and yellow caterpillar that is shiny and smooth that always begins to appear this time of year.  I remember there is folklore around this appearance, but sadly do not remember exactly what it is.  I do know that the black fuzzy caterpillar comes next and both of them (shiny and fuzzy) are oracles of weather changes to come.

I am so very grateful to be able to walk this land I’ve called home for almost 11 years and do not take for granted its beauty or grace.  These woods and her inhabitants – all the spirits that dwell here – have saved me many times and I always… ALWAYS… honor that I live here in a symbiotic relationship with these beings.  I give thanks daily and I make offerings when it feels right.  She sustains me and through my practices I sustain Her.

Ahhh… mornings in the woods… When the sun is still weak and the woods still hold the essence of the night – the simultaneous scent of new life and beginning decay – one can both see and feel the numinosity of a place in time that is indeed a liminal portal.

For more photos from my walk, check out my Facebook page  Dancing With The Mystery

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* Honorings and Thanksgivings

Good morning Grandmothers and Grandfathers, Tree Beings and Wind Spirit.

Good morning Beautiful Singing Ones – thank you so much for your beautiful sweet song.  Good morning to all the Winged ones, Good morning Crow, Good morning Owl.

Good morning Deer and to the Ancient Deer Goddess, to Elen.  Good morning to all the walking animals, all the crawling animals, all the slithering animals, all the insect tribes.

Good morning Fairies, Plant Devas and Elementals.

Good morning to the Spirits of Light which walk this land and to the Land Spirits and Land Guardians, to the Stone People and Moss Tribes.

Thank you for allowing me and my family to share this space with you.

Good morning Brighid and Amaterasu, Good morning Sun.  Thank you for another day of light and for sustaining all life on this planet.

May I use the light of this day toward my highest good.

And So It Is.

 

Come Sister, Let’s Dance

For the past few years I’ve been on a journey of exploration and discovery of who I am at my core.  Who is the woman who incarnated into this time and place and what is she meant to do with her one wild and precious life*?  I’ve been turning deep within and exploring my inner psyche, looking at what the Cosmos and Spirit…the Great Mother Goddess…were/are asking of me, learning about and working with what I call the Deep Mysteries, leaning into the silence and the stillness and remembering an ancient primordial lineage that informs and guides my steps.  I’ve been on a journey of deep alchemical transformation that has led to my discovery of the Wild Primal Feminine and the juiciness of being in the flow of discovery and knowing.

The term I was given for all of this is Dancing with the Mystery and this blog is my take on the magic of learning to hear the music that sweeps us up and onto the dance floor and into the realms of a magical journey of juicy authenticity.  It’s all in knowing the steps and being open to the subtle nuances of a dance that is sometimes fast and furious – at times discordant- and that which is slow and sensual and provocatively loving.  It is light.  It is Dark.  It is everything in between and therein lies the sweetness.

Come Sister…
I invite you to join me in the deep end of experience
where the rich juiciness of our being-ness lives.
Embrace the light. Embrace the dark.
Recognize the beauty of both in the whole.
This is the Mystery and we are the dance.

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*From The Summer’s Day by Mary Oliver