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Celebrating the Summer Solstice

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

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.

A Beltane Teaching: The Lover’s Embrace of Life

Posted on:  Apr 28, 2018 @ 20:56 Posted in:  Sabbats

Right now, in the heat of Beltane, the wild realm is expressing itself so loudly and so boldly that we just need to step beyond our doorstep to receive its direct, powerful truth-speak: life is our ardent lover.

Life isn’t monogamous; we share life’s ardour with all growing things. At Beltane, life comes courting, gathering every one of us into its lover’s embrace.

How can we doubt this in the light of life’s wondrous love offerings: the hot kiss of sunshine on bare skin; dawn’s glorious chorus of birdsong; a meadow blanket of wildflowers; the soft, sweet bite of a fresh-picked strawberry; the bubbling laughter of a toddling child; and the electric stroke of a lover’s touch?

Our relationship with life is not monogamous; we share life’s ardour with all growing things of this Earth. At Beltane, life comes courting, gathering every one of us into its lover’s embrace.

Sex and birth are everywhere — delicious, unstoppable, untameable — as plants, flowers, birds, bees and creatures, great and small, mingle, mate and burst forth new life in a stunning, overflowing brilliance.

These wild impulses run hot in our blood, no matter our attempts to block or deny them. We soften and open with the sensual tease of the strengthening sun. We delight in the enticing scents of unfurling buds of plant and flower. The primal juice of the creature realm sings to our creature flesh, awakening our feral instincts to make love and make life. And deeper still, life’s lover powers stir the mysteries in the core of our being, igniting our hunger to birth and nurture our soul’s latent desires.

Yet so much toxic debris blocks our lover’s dance with life. The shadow-side of our humanity represses, denies and distorts these powerful energies. Nowhere is our humanity more profoundly wounded than in our sensual, sexual, soulful life-creating-life drives.

Nature guides us always, even in the face of this terrible, damaging aspect of our personal stories and collective humanity. For everything there is a season: a time to seek our truth and healing in the winter-like grasp of our sorrow and pain, and a time to cast off the cold, deadening grip of our shadow-side and bask in the light and beauty of new growth and possibilities.

Of all of life’s magnificent love offerings, the most miraculous is the gift of our Self. Every breath is a gift, as are the wonders of our spirit, mind and body. And with these precious gifts, we get to choose what we make with what we’ve been given.

Life is not a doting, ever-benevolent lover. Everything in the growing world has its seasons through death and darkness, and life and light. We are no different.

New life emerges from stagnation and death. What is deep and best in us arise out of our wounding and loss. Sometimes we have to hold on to these truths in the thick of our pain and sorrow. Sometimes we have to trust that the new that we long for is the true and best balm to what ails us. Sometimes, if only for a sun-bright season, we have to leave our hurt behind and give all we’ve got to tend and grow into the life we most dearly want to live. We can choose to dig deep, shine bright and make the most with what we’ve been given.

In these ways, we become the lover that returns life’s embrace.

Excerpt from: Path of She Book of Sabbats.  Available on Amazon.

If you would like to make a delicious, transformative journey yourself into the mysteries of Beltane, check out the Beltane Guided Meditation: Dancing with the Green Man.

On Sale for Beltane at the Path Store for only $5.99.

Photo Credit: Tyler Dozier on Unsplash

 

An Imbolc Teaching: The Shadow Dance

Posted on:  Jan 29, 2018 @ 22:22 Posted in:  Sabbats

At Imbolc, Winter is waning and the season turns toward Spring. The groundhog is said to be a predictor of the arrival of Spring. If the groundhog sees its shadow, off it goes back into its hole, informing us that Winter won’t be letting go soon. If it doesn’t see its shadow, Spring is on its way.

Leave behind the dark of Winter, and step into Spring’s light of new beginnings. Where there’s light, there’s shadow. Together they can transform your life.

This shadow dance is familiar to us humans. As the shifting light and warming days coax the groundhog from its den in search of the quickening signs of Spring, so does our hunger for the spring of new beginnings coax us to leave behind the refuge of what we know and sniff the air for signs of shifting possibilities. What we seek draws us into the light of greater consciousness, and where there is light there is shadow.

Shadow in our human psyche is the depository of the repressed, denied and vilified parts of our personal lives and human society: our pain, dysfunction and unpalatable, uncontrollable instincts and emotions. When we encounter our personal or collective shadow, our first impulse, like the groundhog, is to retreat into the blinders and comforts of our old ways and their winter-like grip of stagnation and stasis.

What we forget in this retreat impulse is that light and shadow dance together. There cannot be one without the other. We humans are woven of light and shadow, of good and bad qualities and instincts, and of things known and mysteries yet to be discovered.

We forget, in our fear and projections, that the shadow realm also holds the raw materials of our deeper potential. And that the things we repress, deny and vilify just might be exactly what we need — secret truths, hidden gifts and latent powers — to heal, grow and flourish.

In our forgetting, we act out from our repressed and denied places, and doom ourselves and our world to be ruled by that which we refuse to face and claim as a part of our human experience.

In our forgetting, we become half-human, shut off from essential parts of our nature and selfhood, and truncated in our self-knowing, expression and evolution.

Imbolc is a between time, of Winter thawing into Spring, and of the dark giving way to the light. We are not separate from these natural energies and their life-seeking drives. Nor can we leave our shadow behind as we reach out to the springtime call of new possibilities, personal growth and societal change. Rather than giving into our instinct to retreat from our shadow, transformative change comes when we have the courage and compassion to reach out our hand and heart to our shadow, and to step together into the returning powers of light and life.

Excerpt from: A Path of She Book of Sabbats: A Journey of Soul Across the Seasons. Available in ebook and paperback--visit the Path Store.

Photo Credit: Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash

Making Magic: A Tender’s View of a Samhain Ritual

Posted on:  Nov 2, 2017 @ 10:29 Posted in:  Sabbats

We gather in a heritage hall on my island home for our Samhain ritual.  Warm bodies squeeze close together to form a circle of pagan and non-pagan folks, grownups and children, and even a couple of dogs, with the room filled to capacity.

As a Tender for our community ritual, my role is to be a guardian and observer as we enter the mysterious, powerful, sorrowful experience of Samhain.

It’s been a hard, heartbreaking year for our community. The Ancestors altar is covered with photographs and mementos of those that have passed. There have been many deaths, and the tragic loss of two precious youth in one September weekend that shook this island to its core. I feel this collective grief in my own heart, and in this gathering. Samhain is the time when we honor and name those we’ve lost this year, and commune with our Beloved Dead.

Yet there’s more than grief and loss in the room. At the opposite end of the cycle of life are the youth, our children, and the souls waiting to be born. These beings we honor on the Descendants altar, and through the naming of the newborns this year.

I stand beside the Ancestors altar with another priestess. Across the circle from us, two priestesses stay by the Descendants altar. The four us will be calling in the Ancestors and Descendants, and then shifting into paired partners of Deep Witness and Tender.

The Deep Witnesses don’t actively participate in the ritual. They sit — veiled, empty and silent — acting as anchors and observers of the deep dream of our magic. I’m one of the Tenders. Our priestess role is to support and protect our Deep Witness, and to stay by her side for the duration of the ritual.

As the ritual begins, I notice that I feel different than my usual, high-intensity magical engagement. I’m somber, watchful and empty present — a guardian and observer of the Deep Witness and our community as we enter the powerful, mysterious and mournful experience of Samhain.

Together we create sacred space. The circle is cast. We ground.  The Elements are called in through song.  Goddesses and other Mysteries are invoked.  Our priestess group calls in the Ancestors and Descendants.

I listen from the edge of the circle, attuned to the movements of bodies, weaving of energy, and quality of presence, more than the individual words and actions.  I step forward to do my calling in task, and then settle into my role as Tender.

I notice the seamless sharing of leadership, power and space — the many priestesses working together to co-create this magical experience for our community. The talent and expertise in this room are immense, diverse, breathtaking, yet I don’t sense inflated egos, jealousy or competition. 

We move on to the reading of the names of the dead who have passed this year — what is remembered lives. And the dead come, slipping past the veil that separates us, to drink of our grief, our love, and our honoring.

I notice how natural this is, how right for us to be with our honored dead in these ways. They move among us, touching the faces of their beloved kin with their hands of light, soothing the broken hearts of those left behind, letting us know that they are still with us, just a thought, a name, a song away.

Two priestesses begin to trace a path in the center of the circle, one drumming and together weaving a hauntingly beautiful guided trance to the Isle of Apples, the Pagan Land of the Dead.  Everyone settles into a comfortable position, and makes their way to the blessed Isle to commune with their Beloved Dead.

The “read more” link below will take you to the SageWoman Blog page.

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Ritual Credit: This Samhain ritual practice arises out of the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft.

Photo Credit: Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

A Samhain Teaching: Born Into Life, Born Into Death

Posted on:  Oct 27, 2017 @ 10:31 Posted in:  Sabbats

The natural world and our human psyches turn toward the mysteries of death at Samhain. Cold and darkness descend upon the land, and the wild world shifts into decay and a death-like sleep. In many cultures, this time of year is marked by offerings and rituals to honor the dead, our beloved ancestors.

Death strips us to the basics: every breath is a miracle not to be wasted; every life is precious, sacred; and love, at the end of all things, is what remains.

Usually we don’t like to think about death. Most of us run as fast as we can from the frightening specter that decline and death conjure in us. It is the ultimate irony that the moment we are born into life, with our very first breath, we are also born into death. And we must live every moment, every breath, knowing that we will die, and that everything around us, all that we love and cherish, will eventually come to decay, to death, to dust.

Samhain teaches us that there is no hiding from death. It comes in the falling of leaves, the lengthening darkness and the cold grip of Winter. It comes in our remembrances of our beloved ancestors that have passed on. It comes in the wrenching of our heart as we witness a dear one slip from this world into the next. It comes with the graying at our temples, the sagging of our flesh and the unstoppable march toward our last breath.

And death comes with gifts in hand if we have the courage to show up raw and naked to our pain, losses and fears.

Death strips us to the basics:
that every breath is a miracle not to be wasted;
that each person, each creature and life form, is worthy, precious, sacred;
that life is oh so hard and oh so exquisite;
that pain and loss help us remember what we cherish most;
and that love, at the end of all things, is what remains.

Love is death’s most precious gift to us. Love, not money, possessions, career, social esteem and the many other alluring outer trappings of life, is the balm that soothes us in the face of death. Love is what connects us to those who have passed on. Love calls us to reach out and hold each other in our grief. Love is what joins us heart to heart and soul to soul to another. Love is our best offering from our Deep Self to the world.

Samhain is a time to contemplate the mysteries of death, not from a place of fear and resistance, but from an acceptance of death as a teacher and guide for the living. Yes we are born into life and born into death, and it is this very, inescapable fact that makes every moment so precious, fragile and bittersweet beautiful.

Death isn’t a summons to fear, it is an invitation to love, deeply, wildly, joyfully. And when death seeks us out at the end of our days, let our last breath be a prayer to love.

Excerpt from: A Path of She Book of Sabbats: A Journey of Soul Across the Seasons. Available in ebook and paperback--visit the Path Store.

Photo Credit: freestocks.org on Unsplash