Posted on:  Jul 26, 2018 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Featured, Sabbats

A Lammas Teaching: The Seasons and Cycles of Breath

Excerpt from The Path of She Book of Sabbats.

Our journey of soul is like breath.

On the in-breath, we enter deep inside of ourselves, to the well-spring of our soul and the mysteries of the sacred dark, seeking guidance and inspiration for our pathwork of healing and transformation, and the seeds of our beauty and wounding that are ready to return to the light of our waking-world consciousness.

At Lammas, your journey of soul is like breath. The outer arises from the inner, and then returns to your fertile center to give rise to your next cycle of life.

On our out-breath, we turn our focus outward, embracing the enervating powers of light and life and letting the seeds of our pathwork express and reveal themselves in the machinations of our everyday existence. Life is our teacher, bringing us the insights, energies and experiences we need to heal, grow and blossom in the sunlit world.

On our return in-breath, we gather up and take back inside everything that we have learned and experienced. We harvest our healing work and life story, and ingest their transformative lessons, letting them nourish and change us. And in this process, we become a newer, more profound and brighter version of our Deep Self.

The turning of the seasons is like breath.

On the in-breath, the natural realm turns inward as the balance shifts from light and life to darkness and death. Nature sinks into stillness and repose, while the land rejuvenates and the seeds of the new gestate in the belly of the dark.

On the out-breath, the returning light and warmth awaken the sleeping seeds of life within the land. Roots dig deep and green tendrils reach upward to kiss the sun. Everywhere in Nature, creation expands outward in a rampant, stunning display of the beauty and abundance of new and blossoming growth.

On the return in-breath, the living world offers up the fruits of its labors for the harvest. The death and sacrifice of some threads of life ensure the nurturance and continuance of others. Yet nothing is truly lost, for contained within death are the seeds of a new season and a future harvest.

And then the cycle begins anew, always turning, never-ending, one breath, one season, one chapter on our journey of soul is followed by the next. In these ways, life sustains and creates more life, and the light of our soul shines ever brighter.

Our busy modern world is not like breath. If anything, we are fixated on a perpetual out-breath, with its expansive, external focus. We are always doing and striving, charting our passage through life by the material markers of achievements and possessions. More is better. Growth is everything.

Yet we can never escape the natural order of things. We can’t breathe out, without breathing in. The outer arises from the inner, and that which grows and expands, in the end, returns to the still, fertile center of things to feed and give rise to the next cycle of life.

Individually and collectively we have reached the end of our extended out-breath. It is time to turn our focus to the return in-breath of harvesting and ingesting what we have learned from the fruits of our efforts, and of winnowing out what needs to die and be sacrificed in service of the balance and wellness of the whole.

This is the work of Lammas, where profound, consciously chosen endings gift us with the seeds of profound, life-serving beginnings, and from these seeds our lives and our world are renewed and reborn.

Celebrate Lammas with the Path of She Book of Sabbats. 

Buy now at the Path Store.

 Photo Credit: Rachel Lynette French on Unsplash

 

 

Posted on:  Jul 19, 2018 @ 16:18 Posted in:  Goddess

Magic Your Summer Reading: Tale of the Lost Daughter

Excerpt from Tale of the Lost Daughter: Chapter 1

Without a word, she dropped a brochure on our table and then headed out into the frosty, winter air. It was from one of my favorite Toronto hangouts, the Art Gallery of Ontario, or the AGO in local lingo. The front page featured a traveling exhibit from the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Even with my limited knowledge of Canada’s geo-cultural map, I knew Vancouver was a West Coast, urban destination for the alternative and spiritually-minded, and most certainly a raven hangout. I felt a faint, downward, fluttering sensation in my gut, and then a soft, tingling touch, as if something as light as a feather had come to rest inside me.

Sometimes things have to get messy. Sometimes you have to get a little wild, a little crazy, to really be alive.

“The first feather clue from my raven dream,” I said to Jules, pushing the AGO brochure in front of her.

Jules turned to the door but the woman had vanished from sight. Then she gingerly ran her fingertips over the brochure.

“How do you know?” she asked with a wide-eyed look that mirrored my own disconcertion at this sudden turn of events.

“I don’t know,” I said, “Something in the woman’s look when she left the brochure on our table told me it was a clue. And then I had an odd sensation in my belly when I saw the visiting exhibit from Vancouver.”

“Things just got a little wilder,” Jules said with a quick grin, “Are you going to go?”

“Yes. I have to. Can you come with me?” I asked as I quickly pulled on my coat and grabbed my purse.

“I can’t. I’m so sorry,” Jules said as she also stood up to leave, “I promised my Aunt Lily a month ago that we would have a Christmas shopping day together. It would break her heart for me to cancel. Besides, I think you need to figure this one out on your own.”

Thirty minutes later I stood, my whole body rigid and alert, before a riveting, modernist canvas entitled “Big Raven” in which the artist, Emily Carr, depicted a larger-than-life raven gracefully awaiting its death and return to Mother Earth. In that moment an alternative reality, one where ravens talk, direct your dreams, and show up in breathtaking paintings, truly kicked in. This stuff was not a fantasy game I’d cooked up for my entertainment; it was real, scary real.

I stared at this oil-painted masterpiece of the West Coast mythos, absorbing the vibrant, bold strokes of the down-flowing radiance of sky, and the swirling, momentary embrace of flesh and forest, with the raven, earth-anchored and heaven-reaching, suspended between the two.

My own flesh hummed with these big, untamed, primal forces that danced my heart to an erratic, cacophonic beat. My hands clenched and unclenched at my sides. Terror and delight, equally present, equally powerful, coursed through me, leaving me paralyzed in doubt and confusion. One part of me fumed and sputtered that this was utter nonsense, spiritual pap for the weak minded, and that I should squeeze my eyes shut until it all went away. The other, breathing heavy, legs spread wide, and fingers reaching out hungrily, knew good food when she saw it — soul food that she had been waiting for her whole life.

Emily Carr was a passionate, free-spirited woman who refused to be domesticated by the Victorian strictures of her early years, or to let her spirit and magnificent originality be broken by the backwater isolation of her Canadian West Coast home and the misogynist ethos of her times. All around me her masterworks spoke of her feral, ardent communion with the forest and the earth-rooted, aboriginal culture in a language that I have always, innately understood: the capturing of energy, color and beauty in art form.

“Fuck your tidy ways,” I heard her whisper through the palpable, wild otherness reaching out from her canvases, “Fuck your fears. Be bold. Be brave. Be free.”

Feather number two, this one plucked from the oil-painted back of Big Raven, fluttered down into my belly and rested beside its ebony sister.

Feather number one had pointed me in the direction of the West Coast. Feather number two suggested a location closer to Victoria, Emily Carr’s hometown located on Vancouver Island, a large island off the British Columbia mainland. A slow, delicious smile spread across my face, melting the clenched tension in my jaw, as my thoughts turned to feather number three, and the possibility that it held the secret destination of my raven dream.

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What Readers Are Saying:

 I suggest everyone reads this book! First time read this book like the beautiful story it is. Then read it a second time slowly to start transforming your life.  Kathleen McCutcheon

It changed my life- for real! I hadn’t had an actual “connection” to the Goddesses until I read it!

Then the dreams started and it’s just moved me from one thing to another. It caused a hunger I couldn’t feed, but gave me a fullness I have never know. Amazing.  Jody Sutfin Delva

I’ve read Tale of the Lost Daughter two times, and will read it again. Sarah is me, or at least that’s how I felt as I followed her through her adventures. She is a businesswoman and a spiritual woman at the same time, and she learns to listen to her heart rather than just her head. I didn’t want to put the book down.  Sherry Farrell

Photo Credit: Frantzou Fleurine on Unsplash

Posted on:  Jun 29, 2018 @ 20:34 Posted in:  Sabbats

Summer Journey: Thou Art Goddess

Excerpt from Summer Journey: Thou Art Goddess

The Goddess, in simple terms, is the feminine of Divinity, the sacred feminine. Pagan teachings tell us that She is immanent: She exists everywhere and can be found in all things. She is Mother Nature, the living body of the Earth, and the seasons and cycles that govern the physical world and our human lives through birth, life, death and rebirth. Her deepest presence is a golden love from which life emerges, is nurtured, and returns to at the end of its days.

Claim your Inner Goddess wisdom. Align with Nature’s powers of light and life. Blossom as your true, beautiful Self. Your Summer Guided Journey awaits you!

You come to know the Goddess not through words or ideas, but through direct experience of Her presence and ways. Each turning of the seasons offers an opportunity to engage an aspect of the Goddess or God that is reflected in the mysteries and energies of the season. The Goddess who comes to greet you in the summer season is your own Inner Goddess.

The Goddess is a part of you, and you are a part of the Goddess. Your miraculous body is woven of Her sacred matter, your shining soul is a fragment of Her shining presence, and Her golden love flows through your best qualities of goodness and generosity, and your courage and compassion in the face life’s challenges.

You are Divine. You are beautiful. You are precious and worthy beyond your wildest imagination. Your deepest presence is love. You have special gifts and a sacred purpose that are yours alone to share with this world. You are an essential part of the great weaving of life that calls you to blossom and flourish in the summer season, and offer up your very best gifts and qualities for the well-being of the whole.

These are not just pretty words. They’re the lost truths of your Divine origins and Goddess heritage. They apply not just to you, but to every single living being of this Earth: from the tiny plankton to the majestic blue whale; a single blade of grass to the Amazon rainforest; the red-breasted robin to the fearsome condor. The earth, the air, the water, and the life-light within, these too are sacred, precious and essential for our shared existence.

Your Inner Goddess knows these things. She remembers the ways and mysteries of Nature and the sacred feminine, and can help you discover and claim the parts of your true beauty and sacred purpose that are ready to blossom at this time.

See the summertime magnificence of Nature through your Inner Goddess knowing. Wild creatures and green-growing things cannot help but blossom into their true beauty and sacred purpose in the life-giving powers of Summer. Each is doing exactly what it is meant to be doing in the prime of its life; their physical forms and outward behaviors are natural, seamless expressions of their inner essence and primal drive to flourish.

From the bees busy gathering nectar and pollinating plants in their travels, to the raspberry bush offering up its delicious fruits for hungry bellies, to the birds who feast on this fruit and spread it seeds, to the swaying canopy of the giant maple tree that is home and habitat to these birds and many other wild creatures — this is the way life is meant to be, a living, breathing world of interconnected beings doing their destined part to ensure the health and well-being of the whole.

Our human world doesn’t work in these ways. Most people don’t live connected to their inner essence; they don’t bloom into a beautiful, full expression of themselves and their sacred purpose in life; and they don’t offer up their best gifts to ensure the health and well-being of the whole. Much of the unhappiness and destructive impulses of humankind find their source in this core wounding.

Consider these cold, hard truths in relation to your own life. Think about the masks that you wear and the roles that you play in your everyday existence that disconnect you from your true, beautiful Self. Open to your inner longings and unmet needs to live an authentic life, sourced from your inner essence and sacred purpose. Let yourself feel the unhappiness, pain and loss that arise from this disconnect.

This is one way of living. There is another, surrounding you at this very moment, in the beauty and blossoming of Mother Earth. This is the life-centered ways of the sacred feminine, revealed in the abundance of Nature and the goodness in the world, with your Inner Goddess as your guide.

You’ve never lost your Inner Goddess, nor your connection to the ways of the sacred feminine and the living truth of Nature. There’s no separation between you and your true beauty and sacred purpose. These things have always been waiting for you to show up and reclaim them as your own.

In Summer, with the powers of light and life at their peak, it is these very things that call you to take your destined place in the sun-bright world, alongside the wild creatures, green-growing things and your fellow humans. It is time for you to live from your very best gifts and qualities, and to play your part in ensuring the health and well-being of our shared human society and Earth home. This is how you can transform your life, and help build a better, more beautiful, kinder and joyful world. You need to simply show up as your true, beautiful Self.

You are ripe. You are ready to blossom and flourish. Your Inner Goddess can show you the way.

Learn more about the Path of She Summer Guided Journey at: https://pathofshe.com/summer-journey/

Posted on:  Jun 20, 2018 @ 13:25 Posted in:  Sabbats

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Excerpt from Path of She Book of Sabbats.

At the Summer Solstice, your journey of soul invites you to blossom, shining forth the true essence and beauty of your Deep Self into the sunlit world of your everyday life. Emulate Nature in this summer season of generosity and abundance by cultivating your soul-sourced authenticity and sharing your best gifts and qualities with others.

At the Summer Solstice, the Divine power that awaits you is your own Goddess Self who holds your remembrance of the ways and mysteries of the sacred feminine.

The Solstice marks the first day of Summer and a peak in the powers of light before the scales tip once more toward the dark. Nature grants us a heady display of its fully unfurled beauty and overflowing munificence. From the mighty oak tree with its vast, green canopy to the fledgling robin casting itself from the nest, what is inside, the unique, luminescent spark of Creation within each living being, seeks its destined place in the sunlit world.

Midsummer festivities are part of our ancestral heritage and are still celebrated around the world. Bonfires are lit, honoring the brilliance and fertility of the summer sun. Merriment, music, dancing and feasting abound, reminding us to take pleasure in the good things in life while the days are long and hot, and the natural realm shares its plentitude.

The life-centered ways of the Goddess and the sacred feminine are revealed in this plentitude. The Mother Earth holds us in Her loving, generous embrace, showering us with beauty and nourishment for our hungry bellies and souls.

The Goddess is everywhere and in everything, calling forth the innate instinct within every living thing to blossom into the full expression of its true essence and purpose in accordance with its unique place in the great weaving of life.

The robin cannot help but embrace its powers of flight, navigating the air space on its outstretched wings. The oak cannot help but burst forth from the acorn, sending its brown roots earthward and its green arms skyward. We cannot help but reach for our place in the greater world, drawing on the essence and gifts of our Deep Self.  We may repress and truncate this primal soul imperative, yet our innate, unquenchable desire to flourish in our own unique way remains, ready to bloom outward, in all its brilliance, into a waiting world.

At the Summer Solstice, the Divine power that waits for you is your own Goddess Self who holds your remembrance of the ways and mysteries of the sacred feminine. She resides within the core of your being, connecting you with your inherent, indisputable beauty, worthiness and sacred purpose. She will show you the parts of your beauty and purpose that are ready to blossom, and will guide your journey of soul as you cultivate this blossoming in your everyday life.

In reuniting with your Goddess Self, you are realigning your inner and outer landscapes with the ethos of abundance that arises from the Mother Earth and permeates the natural realm.

When you offer your very best to the communal table of humanity, in a spirit of grace, goodness and generosity, you are making abundance a real, substantive part of your life and the greater environment of your family, workplace and community, and encouraging others to do the same. From these small and big changes, an ethos of abundance can take root and flourish in our human society where there is enough love and nourishment to feed, mend and transform our lives and our world.

Celebrate the Summer Solstice with the Path of She Book of Sabbats. 

Buy now at the Path Store.

Posted on:  Jun 14, 2018 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Path Basics

A Father and Daughter Story: Greeting Death When It Arrives On My Doorstep

On May 5, just over one month ago as the sun reached its peak in the skies of Eastern Canada, my father, Brian Clifford Clark, left this world. He died in peace in his hospital bed, his last breath so gentle that my brother Barry, his sole witness, almost missed it. I woke on this morning, before I knew what had happened, and sensed that all was well and my dad was going home.  And he has gone home, to rest, to peace, to love, to goodness.

When the death of my beloved father arrives on my doorstep, there’s relief, gratitude, grief, disorientation, love, transformation, remembering and saying goodbye.

As a pagan who travels the path of the Goddess, death is something that I embrace as a natural, essential part of the cycle of life. I honor death in the turning of the seasons, in the great and small endings and beginnings that mark my journey through life, and as the catalyst for profound transformation.

The death of my beloved father makes these things raw and real for me. I’m awake and aching in the midst of the disorienting mysteries of death, and finding my Self and footing in a world without my dad in it, where his immense presence and loving support are no longer a phone call, plane ride or hug away.

These are some of the many ways I’m greeting death with its arrival on my doorstep.

There is relief. The passing of my dad was best for him. He had been ill and suffering for a long time, not with a specific ailment, but more from the stripping away of his independence, strength and physical capacities. He was burnt out and exhausted, hanging on only by sheer will and his desire to stay with my mother, his wife, beloved and best friend of sixty-three years. I’m glad and at peace that he has been set free.

There is gratitude. My father was a beautiful, loving, complex soul. He was grumpy, edgy, willful and a handful at times, with big energy, big will, a strong sense of himself, and a deep integrity, generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness. He loved each of us in my family for who we were, with no strings attached. He loved me, deeply, fully, openly, and I him. It was, and always will be, my great honor and blessing to be his daughter.

There is returning to roots. I traveled to my hometown to be with my mother, collect my father’s ashes, and honor his memory with my family. The setting, the stories, these beautiful, quirky people: this is where I come from, and what I’m made of. My dad’s legacy is us, his children and grandchildren, and I know myself better in their company.

There is grief. I have no words for the immensity of my loss and heartbreak. It’s like an ocean, deep and vast, that can be a gentle wave or a tsunami. Mostly, I’ve chosen the gentle wave, dipping my toe in, and then retreating. But the tsunami comes, sudden and overwhelming, and I surrender to its cleansing work. I expect that I’ll have this grief until my last breath, something that I’ll get used to rather than get over.

There is peace between us. It’s the rare person who escapes from childhood and family dynamics unscathed. Death is a time of raw honesty, where the truths of unsaid and unfinished business make their way back to the surface. These too are part of the transformative mysteries of death, guiding our journey of healing.  Blessedly, my father and I did our healing work and cleaned up our unfinished business many years ago. We found a place of truth that could hold both the hardships and the beauty of our journey together, and that gifted us with pleasure and peace in each other’s company.

There is disorientation. There’s never been a moment in my life without my dad.  His DNA, energetic patterns, love, approval and presence are built into my very foundation.  I learned about men, parenthood, marriage, family and the things that matter most through his living example. I witnessed aging, dignity and suffering through his end years. Now he is gone, and some essential part of me and my life has been snatched away, changing my world forever. I feel this, but don’t get it yet. And I don’t need to get it. It’s enough to accept this disorientation, and the change it brings, as natural parts of life’s journey.

There is quiet. I’m tired and emotionally raw. I’m not good at small talk, and seek only the company of those that I already know well. And I’m not interested in my own internal angst and noise. I need rest. Solitude.  Simplicity. Routine. Walks. Nature. Dance. Good food. Joy. Kindness.Thoughtful regard. Space to just be. Emptiness to become something new.

There is compassion. Our culture runs from the reality of death, but our hearts do not. We all live on the cusp of losing those dearest to us.  When the inevitable but devastating happens, our hearts invite us to greater compassion for ourselves and others. I hold my mother in a gentle tenderness as she navigates this great loss with courage and dignity, and my siblings do the same. My heart aches as others share their stories of grief and loss. And I’m touched in turn by the tenderness and compassion offered to me by my family, friends and people in my community.

Mostly, there is love. Grief is the flip side of love. When we love fiercely, so too we mourn deeply.  This is death’s greatest teaching: that we are here to love, deeply, freely, fiercely. I will miss my dad, forever, with every breath.  And I will love him fiercely, forever, with every breath.  So too I love my mother, my partner, my son, my siblings, my nieces and nephews, my dear friends, my Self, and my precious life, fiercely, forever, with every breath.

There is transformation. Death is changing me. My outer world may look the same, but I’m undergoing a metamorphosis. The only words that come to me are that I must become big — to span and contain these many ways I’m greeting death, all at the same time — to open my heart wide to my fierce love and deep grief, and to risk this same love and grief for everyone in my life — to show up fully in my own skin and dare the wild ride that is my life — and to honor my father by cherishing myself as he cherished me, and by living by his ethos of personal strength, integrity, kindness, and care for others.

There is remembering. I wear my dad’s watch so he is with me, close to my skin, marking the moments of my life. What is remembered lives.  I will remember my dad, with every moment, every breath, every thought, and every act of kindness that comes my way.  He lives with me, in me, in my family, and all around me in the beauty of this wild and wonderful world he has now left behind.

There is saying goodbye. Peace be with you dad.  I love you. Forever.