Archive | Nature

my prayers.

I’m taking a class on reclaiming the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s fantastic. I have grown in new ways and really, deeply accepted some pieces of myself. I feel stronger.

One of the things the teacher asked us to do is name our prayers. That which we seek as a means of keeping our balance as we grow. Our prayers are our throughline. The thread that holds us together as we grow in a zigzag way.

I pray to this:

my journal of words and images

watering my plants (a new, simple, exquisite way I nourish myself)

facing my beloved, chest on chest, with hugs or kisses (or both!)

deep kisses with soft lips

curling up on down comforters

popcorn + rootbeer on Saturday nights

tequila

breathing into the orgasm and feeling it explode my whole body like a mandala

boot cut jeans

black leather boots. steel-toed.

rubbing my children’s legs as they fall asleep

English tea.

buying books. real, paper ones. reading them.

a dark wood with cedar trees and ferns

comfy chairs to curl up in.

magical things.

William Stafford’s words.

the feel of a good pen.

abstract art. art the size of whole rooms. 

music. 

lighting the candles for meditation + solstice.

listening to their stories + offering medicine.

laughter.

dancing.

Seattle. green moss. pine trees. mountains. streams. ferns. the smell of cedar.

my bed.

Kripalu.

making things with my hands. wood working.

alone time. alone time. alone time. 

friends who hold me up. miracles.

the feel of writing. 
the feel of writing.
the feel of writing. 

 

“Prayer is what keeps us keeping on.
Prayer is where we allow for more.
Prayer is connected to what we are proud of,
what we covet, and our passion.”

– Renee Magnusson

 

 

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New Moon in Taurus

Ah, can you feel the changes since Venus went direct? So good. And soon we will be out of Mercury in Retrograde (but I do sort of love it).

So here we are in the Taurus New Moon. I love me some new moon. Full moons are not my fave, but new ones, oh. so. sweet. This one feels like first inklings of desire to me; lighting me up, warming my chest, making me smile with wonder and attraction. And so it is…

 

From Chani Nicolas:

In Taurus, the moon can build anything. If it has decided something will happen, Taurus won’t give up until it is so. Taurus is stubborn AF. When Taurus applies its stubbornness to a course of action that isn’t in its own best interest, it ends up wasting all that precious effort. But, when that stubbornness is applied to healing, developing, and growing the best of what we’ve been given, we have pure gold to build with. 

May we learn that our ability to love is the marker of our wealth. May we learn that our healing is holy, necessary, and needed if this world is to thrive. May be learn that the most sacred act in life is to find a way to make use of the pain we have lived through. 

 

From She Who Is: 

The pure, unaspected energy of this new moon brings unerring focus to all issues related to earthly manifestations in matters ranging from the necessary pursuit of one’s financial path to the revelation and discovery of love. 

Use this new moon energy to sweep away everything that you do not deeply and completely love, and to draw forth the new beginning of what you have only ever hoped to find. 

The emanation of Taurean energy is both stubborn and sensual…To feel mediocre about any aspect of your life will reveal the cracks of what needs to leave. 

 

 

And Elephant Journal takes a Buddhist view of the New Moon:

Some lunar cycles wreck our plans, others are meant to encourage us to reap our rewards, and still others—like this one—are meant to push us toward the building of something new.

Something full of love.

This particular moon is asking us to take a closer look at the Four Immeasurables, or the four Buddhist virtues of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. These components most highly reflect a state of enlightenment, and right now, as many are seeing spring begin to bud and grow around us, we are also feeling the urge to build something of quality and purpose.

We can make sure that we are building something genuine with a strong foundation or if instead, it already feels shaky beneath our feet. We can decide if what we are feeling is real, or if instead, it’s merely a figment of our own hopeful projections. And ultimately, we can discern if we’re truly content or only settling.

Nothing can begin without our decision, and no one in this life will make us happy if we haven’t decided to love ourselves as we are. This new moon is not only asking us to delve within but to stay awhile and see what is really inside.

What do loving-kindness, joy, compassion, and equanimity mean to us?

And more than that, what do each of these virtues feel like, taste like, and smell like? What would it mean to live a life that fully embodied these qualities on the exterior, because we have already mastered it internally?

And so we have to ask ourselves if that isn’t what our lives currently reflect—are we ready to start over?

::: ::: ::: :::

The question is, do you have the ovaries to do it? Can we refrain from lying to ourselves once again? That’s hard for INFJ’s like me to do (we hate lying!), but other folks seem to be able to with ease. If this moon is pushing you to love, it’s also pushing for truth- your truth. Go and plant that tonight.

G’night, fellow travelers. See you in the dark of the moon.
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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On grief.

A few months back, I was asked to help a friend create a ceremony to bring her grief ‘home.’ (For those of you who know her, I received permission to share her story.) Her mother had passed in the last few weeks, but in a different part of the country. Her life was here now, in Rhode Island, and she needed a way to bring that grief home, she told me.

I have performed very few memorial services. Usually when someone dies, we seek the familiar, so the old church, whatever it may be, is where we turn. But this was not a memorial service, per se. It was not a way to remember a person, or commune in shared grief, or to connect as a tool to banish grief, but a way to bring grief home, to live with it- to bring it to those who love my friend, so that they could know her better and support her. And that is such a different perspective than most of us take on grief.

Grief is a tricky thing. We have those models, the Stages of Grief, but very few things work as the model suggests, most definitely grief (and if you’ve ever had an amazing design idea at IKEA and tried to make it work at home, you know of what I speak). Grief is a lonely walk, so often, because we see the person, the life, the choices, so differently from anyone else. And this doesn’t only apply to the death of people- it is equally true for the death of relationships, jobs, the ways we see ourselves. Grief, in a counterintuitive way, sprouts anew each time, different flowers from the same root.

For me, grief has been best described by symbols.

There is the initial grief that is like an Egyptian pyramid. A sacred, dark place, vast. It is beautiful- full of gold, memories, resources, things we can actually touch and see and smell. Even when it is cold, the darkness of the passageways of grief has a weight that I welcome. I have walked in the tunnels, admiring all of it, touching the walls, running the fabric of memory through my fingers, even as I knew that it was dead. The warmth of the gold was only because I stood near it, only because my fire gave it light. All of it was dead, even if it was so beautiful that I would be happy to live there forever on some days.

When I think of grief I am reminded that it is not just for dead things that we grieve. It is for what is lost- even if that job, that person, that idea lives on. The connection is lost or radically changed and we grieve for that. Sometimes we cannot let go, even though we know we must. The spiritual practice of grief is opening our grip, by tiny degrees, until our hand is free to move again. We cry and rage and gnash, but eventually, we must let go, or we will die, too. (But also, take your time. That’s the only way to do it.)

As I have accepted the death of things, the way they would never return to ‘normal,’ grief has been a garden of the dead, dead flowers and trellis’ and sculpted hedgerows. Some days the wind blows cold, and others the sun shines. But everything is obviously dead here. And I walk along, letting my hand touch the fragile leaves, watching the memories waft away in the wind, pieces crumbling simply with my walking by them. Here are all my delights and aliveness and growth, returning to the Earth. It is falling apart, and I can do nothing about it, because should I plant again, it will never grow the same. I surrender and accept.

All along the path, grief has been a whack-a-mole. So often I would jump up and try to whack it back into something (whack it ‘away,’ whack it into a particular shape, whack it just to whack it). But then, I slump beside the machine and refuse to play. Let grief do what it will, I will wait for the time to run out, and then decide what do to next.

I have wondered if The Stages of Grief are something that happens inside each of these places. Inside the beautiful pyramid of memory and desire, we bounce between denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Inside the dead garden, we do the same. Perhaps the whack-a-mole is simply these five things repeating themselves until our lessons are learned.

 

 

There is no answer, of course, because grief is a similar::unique path for each person, each time they encounter it.

Grief is one of the most difficult human emotions, I think. It is so painful. It involves so much of us- not just body, mind, spirit as we are now, but all of those things and the depths of our history to the present moment as well. Grief cleans us out.

Perhaps that is the best metaphor, grief cleans us out. There are several rooms in the house of my heart that have been invaded by grief (and sometimes I have welcomed it, but not usually). And it is only through the process of grief that I have had to clean out those rooms. But by cleaning them out, leaving what’s most important (memories, lessons, boundaries), have I been able to move on, to leave the space and energy for new things to come along- sometimes new things in the same room, sometimes new rooms all together.

Grief changes us. That is really all I can say. And that to engage with it is an act of bravery. To bring our grief home is one of the deepest forms of courage of the heart.

 

 

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Spring Equinox

Oh, a little late, but here we are. Today (tonight) is the Spring Equinox- the time when day and night are equal. It is the balancing of energies. Although, since we are headed into Spring, it is also time where we tend towards the light and leave behind the negative; that which no longer serves us and our growth.

I think Elizabeth Peru said it quite well today,

“Over the past week we have undergone a complete inner transformation and for many, the next 24 hours will see revelations come flooding in. Your rewards are imminent. The Equinox energy has been building slowly and intensely over the past few weeks. The next 24 hours provide a great release and a shift, helping us to balance. Are you feeling that you are on the precipice of new beginnings and ready for a fresh start?”

Yes, Elizabeth, I am already well on my way to a fresh start, having let go of a great many things these past few days. This is exactly the energy of the equinox- to let go, balance, and spring forward into what’s next and what’s on our path.

Like many of you, Spring makes me think of new growth, of breaking through the hard ground and lifting myself up towards the sun- the freedom + play + warmth of Spring and Summer.

Sometimes in this space I feel like a fragile crocus- the first to press its purple-stained petals above the cold earth. Sometimes I feel like a hardy daffodil- full of wild, yellow energy and warmth. Do you feel ready for Spring?

That feeling of newness, of rebirth, is an energy within ourselves that I think is worth following. What does that energy feel like for you? Where do you feel it in your body? Where does it want to take you?

Often, my Spring energy would like to run me to the woods to be near bubbling streams, the dead branches browning again, and the tiny green leaves intermittently popping up everywhere- little promises of what’s to come. To sit with the cold of the shadows while the sun warms my face.

It’s okay to run a little wild in the Spring!

 

I also like to check in with myself at the equinoxes and solstices just to touch base with the Earth- she knows so much more than we do. She reminds us that we are animals, too- part of a wild system. And the turnings of the quarters of the year are a great time to sit down, check in with self and systems, and decide where to go next.

One of the reasons I even believe in this shit (and astrology) is that we know light and vibration have an impact on humans. In one of his books, Robert Fulghum (the “Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindegarten” guy) was asked to find a note to hum that made his head vibrate slightly. [Yes, you should try it. Alone.] Whatever note you ‘buzz’ to is your personal vibrational note. And the notes are slightly different for everyone.

The interesting thing is that we also know all the planets also have notes that they ‘buzz’ or vibrate at.

And if you’ve ever been up against a tower o’ speakers at a concert, you know what it feels like when the vibration either matches you or doesn’t- each effects you. So why wouldn’t the vibrations of the planets also effect us? Even if they are low and slow, they still send out vibrations. And although our brain and ears may not feel immediately effected by them…it doesn’t mean we aren’t.

[On a related note: this is also why I believe in psychics and magic. There are so many things we don’t know- so many vibrations we miss simply because we’re human…unless we have a gift or connection. I also went to seminary with a lot of legit psychics; they read vibes no one else can hear.]

So, on this equinox, dare to let go of what’s dragging you down. Let the energy of the sun and moon balancing help you release anything that keeps you unbalanced. There is support for any internal (and external) work you do around this during the next 24 hours.

Take care fellow travelers,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Moon Shadow :: Full Moon in Leo :: Lunar Eclipse

Well, whaddya know? I didn’t make it for the full moon on Friday/Saturday. I was busy, friends. Living and loving (more about that later).

This is just a quick review of what happened cosmically last Friday and Saturday. It was some good shit. Big stuff. Check back and see how your weekend went.

::: ::: ::: :::

From The Sky Priestess

Typically, the Leo-Aquarius opposition teaches us about our personal emotions with people or projects that spark our passion, creativity, enthusiasm and joy – and – how this needs to be balanced with the larger needs of the collective and the evolutionary / awakening process that we are all a part of. This holds true.

However, this is not an ordinary Eclipse. It is woven as part of a Grand Sextile / Star of David alignment. And that just … accelerates and intensifies the sheer level of energy and activations that are possible. It creates a powerful engine for manifestation, but one with highly unpredictable outcomes…

The current eclipse brings forth energies that were at play on 31st January 1999, some 18 years ago as its predecessor in the Saros Lunar Eclipse Series. Look back to what was going on then in your life to see what is being carried forwards now…

[What got intensified for you last weekend? What needs to be balanced between your relational life and your community and cultural actions?]

 

From Rhea Wolf

To align with our best vision and intention, we need the energy of Friday’s Full Moon, which is also a Lunar Eclipse. Full Moon always happen in the sign opposite the Sun’s current position. Which means we need a dose of Leo. Which means, we need a dose of joy.

Without Leo’s influence, we get vision without joy, ideals without laughter, futures without unruly children and artists. Without Aquarius’ influence, we get big messes without purpose, and drama without focus. We need both Leo and Aquarius. But I’m betting that right now, we could use more of the fun, playful, imaginative power of childlike Leo…

For this Full Moon, please remember the things you loved to do as a child, the dreams you had, the wishes you made. Rekindling the fires of authentic and joyful childhood experiences may offer you a much-needed ingredient in your MAGIC.

[What gave you joy, love, or contentment this past weekend? What came back to you last weekend that you loved as a child?]

 

From Chani Nicholas

Leo knows how to use the vehicle of the persona to connect with the world. With heart.

May we all learn about the power of our creativity. May we remember to make room for playfulness. May we use our personalities to pursue a just and safe world for all of creation.

May this eclipse, and this week’s very fiery, bold and inventive astrology help us awaken to the personal influence we all have on our collective experience.

 

Lunar Eclipse Goodies

“For some, the eclipse will bring together new friends, co-creative collaborators, lovers, networks, children, community, astral connections and so on. And for others, such connections may be ´eclipsed´ out. That part is the wild card element. Something is bound to be lit up during this Eclipse, and its fate depends on the events that have led up to this moment in time. And the choices you make with the energy that is unleashed.” -Bairavee Balasubramanian

 

“This lunar eclipse in Leo reminds us that the now is also eternity and history combined: an alchemical blend of past, present and future, distilled into a micro-second of existence in which we have the power to act, choose and become.

“Choices made when the Sun is eclipsed in Pisces on 26th February will shape our future selves.

“We can prepare to choose well then by embracing insights arising now, as the flames of ego are doused by the irrepressible waters of life divine.” -Mystic Mama

 

“This eclipse is ruled by the SUN, our source of light and life. The Sun is associated with GOLD and Leo governs the HEART chakra, the essence of love. The story of King MIDAS is relevant. A greedy king who loves gold more than anything is given a wish to teach him a lesson. He wishes that everything he touches turns to gold. He is happy with this wish at first, but when he touches his daughter and she turns into a golden statue, the king realizes that love not gold is the most precious of all things. After much prayer, the curse/wish is resolved, and all the gold is returned to life by being bathed in a river. This Leo eclipse reminds us to decide what is really precious to us, appreciate it, love it and cherish it. We must have courage to dare to trust our hearts.”
-The Cosmic*Intelligence*Agency

::: ::: ::: :::

So, how was your weekend compared to all this? What fits? What doesn’t?

I hope you learned something, fellow travelers. That’s what we’re here for.

More later!
Big love from the trail-
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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