Sunday, April 30, 2017
It's Beltane! I've been making my rounds. Yesterday I led my first despacho ceremony for the year. It won't be the last. If you have a fire pit, I will do despacho. It really is that simple.
I know I have explained what they are before, but for all the new readers just tuning in I will recap it. A despacho is an offering to spirit. As you can see in the picture above they are quite colorful affairs. We make a bundle out of pretty paper and fill it with goodies for the Pachamama (Mother Earth). Into this bundle we place sugar for sweetness, because we all need a little sweetness in our life. We also put some wine, because apparently she likes to kick back and enjoy a glass or two. There is also candy and chocolates. We certainly must remember the flowers and sparkly things. This almost sounds like courtship doesn't it? Well we are trying to show our love to Spirit, because we also put our prayers into the bundle.
We breathe our prayers into every piece of the despacho. The bundle of three bay leaves that we pass around are called Kintu. Now if we were down in Peru we'd be using coca leaves but the government frowns on that so we raid the spice aisle at the grocery instead. The first Kintu bundle I pass around is always for gratitude. We start with thankfulness with what we have, most of us have quite a lot to be thankful for when we stop to consider our lives. In that gratitude bundle we also always thank weather, because without the cooperation of weather we can't complete our ceremony. After that first bundle goes around I send a few around that are what I call "freebies", they're for asking for the things that you want or need. I usually send one around for our loved ones and what they need. The final Kintu which will go on top once the despacho is sealed is for anything we have forgotten to ask for or for anyone we forgot to include. I put a 3 day window on it, because sure enough I always go home that night and think I forgot to ask for so and so to get their promotion.
After we have sent the bundles around we all beam our energy from our hearts into the despacho. Then I get out my tinkly bell and bless it with sound. We then seal it up tied with pretty ribbon, the prettiest flower, and the final Kintu bundle. So you're thinking we take it to the fire now right, but you'd be wrong. Before we do that everyone gets smudged with the despacho bundle to take our heaviness from us to be burned away so we can feel light in our hearts again. Now we take it out to the fire and if you're like me you're going to want to drum as it burns.
I always feel great after despacho. I love making them. It's a process and ceremony that really speaks to the innocence in me. As I think on who I am without all my defenses, adaptions, and scars I remember the loving self I came into this life to be. Despacho helps me to reclaim some of that, to be easy in my heart, more hopeful, and less defensive. For someone who can be as distant and secluded as myself that is extremely important. I relish any opportunity to either lead or participate in these ceremonies. This time I was hosted by the Louisville Spiritualist Center. They were extremely welcoming. They even purchased a fire pit so that I could do this. I've been really blessed to find people to share ceremony with, and the space in which to share it. Being on a healing journey can feel solitary at times, so it is good to come together and burn our cares.
So why am I telling you this? Well ceremony is a powerful thing, particularly when done in a group. All of us need support. There are no lone wolves on the healing roads. We all need our circles now. The world can be a scary place full of dark corners. So we light the fires of spirit with each other. Sharing our own light. It can be hard to see our own flame, but when we share we get the chance to see it reflected in the hearts and eyes of our loved ones. Creating a bundle of prayers that we birth with fire is just one way to call in our joy. There are many other ways from many other traditions. So in the coming season of fire I suggest you gather with some folks of like heart and hold your own ceremonies. If you're not too far off a Mooneagle might fly in and create a bundle with you to gift into the sacred fire. Who knows what could happen, it's magic after all.
Peace and Blessings,
P.S. From myself and the Faeries, HAPPY BELTANE!
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Welcome to Earth Day. Well truly I meant to write this yesterday, but you know how time is all ripply and wobbly it never sits still. Thank goodness for photographs am I right? So we'll pretend that I got this post out on Earth Day okay, just work with me on this folks.
Seen from space everything looks so peaceful and majestic. You can't see the bird droppings on the driveway, you can't even see the driveway. From a distance all is right with the world. The clouds move, the oceans churn, and the green grows. It's only when you get down in it that things get messy. Humanity is like that too, from a distance you see the cities, the airplanes, the space station and satellites, and if you're another species out in the cosmos you might think, "My what a marvelous civilization, look at all the art and culture." It seems that way until you get in closer.
Earth is our home, our planet provides for us free of charge the elements necessary for life. We are part of Her (yes Her). The elements in our very bodies all come from this planet of ours. We are made up of the Earth. We are little walking talking Earth bodies. Yet there seems to be a large powerful faction that seems to promote strategies that would destroy this large body of which we are made. This would be akin to you or me deciding to cut out several of our vital organs to sell on the black market, completely oblivious to the fact that when we do we shall perish. They say that we own the Earth, which would be like one of our fingers or toes proclaiming themselves lord and master of our entire body while refusing to feed that body or keep it clean. This boys and girls is why we have an Earth Day.
Currently we have two of the self proclaimed "masters" rattling their sabers at one another threatening to start a war without limits. (Nuclear war for the laymen among us). Again to use the body metaphor this would be like your left hand throwing a grenade at the right hand. Right now in the zoomed in view of our species we do not look like sophisticated cultured beings, we appear as monkeys throwing excrement at each other. While we beat and torment those that wish only to protect our water so it is safe for all, we allow companies to take ownership of lands and reservoirs who care only about shareholder profits. While we pass laws that make it more difficult to cut back the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean and thus our seafood, we eviscerate funding for renewable energy research and start ups. We have politicized caring for our world, and because of that we all suffer.
I have been watching for most of my life the wholesale destruction of all that is beautiful and life sustaining. It has been a great weight on my heart since I was 11 years old. I am the reason my family recycles (who now would not even think to throw away something before checking to see if it is recyclable). I care for Earth like I would for a family member. I get angry when I see Her abused, as I would if I saw a loved one being beaten by a spouse. To me the Earth is not just home, She is a person, a Mother of Mothers, She is our Ancestor from whom we descend. When you view Her as such it becomes personal. You wouldn't let someone beat your Grandmother so why would you let them do that to the Earth who is Mother to all? So when people ask me to be calm and realize that politics have to play out, I am less than patient. I tend to resonate more with the words of House Baratheon (sorry Game of Thrones reference), "Ours is the fury!"
Anger is not a bad thing. Anger is a sign that something is wrong. Now that can mean it is our perception or thinking which is wrong, but in this case where we have mountains of data and rigorous research I'm confident this is not a perception error. We are killing our Mother. We are killing ourselves and all our distant relations of plants and animals with us. Yes even I am guilty. I use too much water. I don't eat as locally and responsibly as I should. I try and do better, but working within the system we have it is nearly impossible to not do harm. Which says to me we need a new system.
So why am I telling you this? Well if we need a new system, we need people to dream that new system into being. So my intrepid dreamers what matters to you? Do you like to get out in the water to fish or boat. Dream a system that protects and honors our waters. Do you like to hike through the woods? Dream up a system of land management that fosters our forests, and keeps them vital. Do you like a city life, but hate the traffic, noise and fumes? Dream up a city of the future with green energy, bustling transit hubs, and urban farming knit within the fabric of civilization. The older generations are passing onto us an out of date system that won't serve us. It is up to us and our descendants to dream a better one into being. We start there in the dream, then we bring those hopes and wishes into our plans and actions. This is Earth Day and we are little Earthlings. It is time to make Momma proud.
Peace and Blessings,
Sunday, April 16, 2017
I hope you had a lovely easter or passover. Whichever holiday you celebrated or didn't I hope the week brought you joy.
This week I sent back a book to the library. This was the first book I had to use interlibrary loan to obtain. It is quite a rare find. I have been tracking serendipity of late. Often when I am contemplating a particular topic information appears where least expected. In this case I went to the dictionary. I was fairly certain I knew what the word meant, but you'd be surprised how many words we use that started out with a different meaning. Words like people can change. Well I was quite shocked to find that the origin of this word started with a Persian fairy tale. The title of which is in the picture above.
Serendipity is finding something helpful or valuable you weren't actively searching for, and indeed the Princes of Serendip were continually finding something while on a completely different errand. To use video game lingo, they were the masters of side questing. Their island was beset by dragons that attacked ships and their father sent them forth into the world to find a way to defeat these dragons. On the way they rescued a lost princess, kept a king from being poisoned by a vassal, retrieved a magic mirror, and delivered a nation from an evil hand (yep totally malevolent that hand). It should be noted that during this they were tracking down a wizard with the formula for the death of dragons. The princes considered themselves great failures because they always just seemed to miss him. As the story plays out though it was through these acts of service that their main quest was fulfilled, in a way that couldn't have happened if they had attempted it. So they found what they were looking for because they didn't truly know what it was they were looking for.
I have mentioned before that I've been getting signs through dreams. Indeed last fall my dreams of a phoenix over the course of a week led me to co-create a very special midwinter drumming ceremony. I was completely surprised to learn that a phoenix plays a major part in the story of the three princes. Once again it was if the universe ran in and pinched me on the bottom and then ran out of the room while laughing hysterically. When these pieces keep showing up, I think it means I'm on the right path.
So why am I telling you this? There is an undercurrent in our life, beneath the chatter of our minds and plans. If we are flexible and curious that current can take us to unexpected places, somewhere we could never find if we were to consciously seek it out. Some people seem to head right for their goals, my road always meanders. The Princes of Serendip accomplished their goal because despite being on a crucial mission they were always available to do service for others. Here too is a lesson. It can be easy to become wrapped up in our errands and lives so that we don't offer of ourselves where we can make a pivotal difference in the lives of those around us. As you go through this week try loosening your grip on your plans and perhaps just see what else develops. We all have missions, but sometimes the best means to accomplish them is by taking the long way round.
Peace and Blessings,
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Well we had winter for two days this week, but we seem to be firmly entrenched in spring now. I've had a low key week which is nice considering the flurry of activity that March was. I am doing my best not to overcommit myself this month. Which is lasting about five minutes it would seem. Somehow the pacing in my life is finally picking up. I can't complain, for years my calendar was empty and my phone silent. Now I have to silence my phone. Things do come around.
My big story this week is that at long last my car has a working driver side window again. HURRAH! For any of you who have ever had a window you couldn't roll down you know why I am so excited. I have the wind again. I hadn't been able to roll the window down since early last May, and let me tell you the summer was miserable in my car because of that. So in the early evening I was treated to the feeling of the breeze on my face as I drove towards home.
It is often said that it is the simple things in life you treasure. For the past twenty four hours I have had random upwellings of joy. I was blessed that a friend of mine's husband had the tools and mechanical skills to get the job done. With myself providing the parts and the friends and family discount they offered me, I was able to afford this miracle of modern engineering, a working power window. It is the small things over the course of a life that really add up into something special: cooking a meal for a loved one, leaving a light on for them, a hand of support on a shoulder, offering to pick someone up from the airport, or calling someone to check on them.
We have the myth of the self made man (or woman) in our culture. We value independence, and it is important to learn to stand on your own. However, it is an illusion. Most of us don't build our own houses, grow our own food, make our own clothes, manufacture our own cars, and cut our own roads. We are interdependent. All of us together create the conditions to make it easier for all of us to function in the world. Very few of us go it alone, we are all standing on the accomplishments of those who have gone before us, and thousands of unseen people who's contributions touch our lives. I felt so accomplished yesterday, but all I did was buy parts (which by the way a friend helped me look up). It is a small thing, a window, but it allows us to see beyond our walls. A window that opens is helping me see the connection between people and the interplay of giving and receiving.
So why am I telling you this? Well honestly I'm still riding the, " I have working car window again,", high. Seriously though, there are so many ways that we can help each other, and when we do we see the world in a kinder and clearer light. Right now we may not have all the pieces we need, but odds are someone we know does. More importantly we may have something that they need as well, but are too shy to ask us for. With the ways of the world a door may close on the traditional path to getting what we need, but a window may open instead. That window may take you some place you hadn't expected, and sometimes that is the best place to be. I hope you find the solutions in each other this week.
Peace and Blessings,
Sunday, April 2, 2017
I hope you had a joyful week. We keep flitting between spring and late winter chill. I was fortunate to attend a new moon ceremony led by a good friend. As things go there was of course a bit of mischief to be had.
I was supposed to be the drummer. I even arrived early by the statue of Pan. There was a chill but I set up and played my didjeridu to pass the time, and then when I was fully winded switched to my drum. It was getting quite late and still I was alone. Well as it turned out the ceremony had been moved to a different hill in the park. I had to hop in my car and zoom around to a pavilion on dog hill. This meant the ceremony was very brief, but as we stood there under a dark sky with a bit of chill, the mists were rising. Afterwards, we took a candle lantern home with us. I stuck around for a bit and let people draw a rune for the new moon.
Several other people who had been at the circle were off in the distance doing some fire twirling, but with lit color changing LED balls. It was a hypnotic dance of beautiful vibrant fractal light. Watching them practice to a trance inducing beat was magical. It reminded me of a book I read a few months back called, The Night Circus. I highly recommend it. In the novel the circus arrives mysteriously and is open from nightfall to dawn. It is called Le Cirque de Reves, meaning the circus of dreams. Each tent is an act of magical creation, in which reality is sculpted as high art. Reading it made me want to use my talents to create wonders.
I am often asked what got me into my line of work. I usually answer that it was my own suffering that led me into healing. While that is true, it is really only half of the answer. Wonder and fascination are what makes my heart expand and flourish. Seeking after that child like sense of mystery has been the true driver of my soul's engine. The pain and suffering were simply the shovel to move that fuel of wonder into the furnace of my heart.
Years ago when I began pursuing my dreams with a friend, we worked with the manifesting energetic tools that were being popularized at the time. We were focused on the big dreams and big picture, but we ignored the day to day pieces of living. We didn't get much of anywhere with those dreams and sadly that friendship is no more. These past few years I have made tremendous strides in the small pieces of the dream: setting up an office, writing a book, writing this blog, putting out regular videos, speaking at events, teaching classes, furthering my education, and just taking care of all the day to day steps. This is good and well, but I had lost sight of the vision. I had no big dream guiding those steps, no great passion. As a spirit recently told me, "You don't let yourself dream." Now while my overall work has improved, I'm still not where I want to be. This is because although I am still moving the shovel, I'm not stoking the furnace with the wonder of those big ideas.
We are people of the middle world. Below us is the earth our mother, and we must tend to our needs while we are embodied. Above us is the firmament of stars and heavenly cosmos. We get a lot of contradictory messages growing up, "Reach for the stars," while also hearing, "Get your head out of the clouds." Recently spending an evening out in the country I was able to actually see the stars. Here in the city it is easy to forget the majestic beauty that lies just over our heads. I'd been a good little task master the last few years, but I hadn't been looking up and beyond the day to day to the bigger picture. I suppose it was good, I'd been on the other extreme, all dreams with no action and having realized I'd come to the opposite of action without a direction. You see we need a star to steer our life by, a dream, something that stirs the fires in our hearts. For me it is to connect with that sense of wonder and share it with others. This is what makes me a trickster, I don't accept the world just as it is, but rather what it could be. What could be more radical than that? So it is clear to me it is time to dream big again. I think I have a decent handle on the practical steps so now I have to nudge my focus between the day to day and the overarching vision I have for my life.
So why am I telling you this. Well you probably are in a similar spot. Either you are full of dreams, but are not connected to the day to day necessities or you are all necessities while the secret yearnings of your soul are constantly put on the back burner. We are people of the middle world meant to bridge the energies of the earth and the stars. You are meant to dream big and make an impact. This doesn't mean you have to change the world, just your corner of it. Wonder may be my soul's drug of choice, but yours could be compassion, peace, wisdom, or joy. The actions you take don't have to be big they just need to be fed by a big and vibrant heart. So get out your astrolabes, put on your work boots, grab your gear, sing your song, and step out onto the path. Find your guiding star and let your actions lead you there.
Peace and Blessings,