In this episode I take you inside the Sacred Wheel Immersion for a look at our Yule class. In this class we discuss some of the ancient pagan origins of modern Christmas Traditions. We dive into the mythology behind the Christmas tree, the use of candles and light this time of year, and some of the myth and legend behind the figure of Santa Clause. We also discuss the Omen Days, or a period of time that is rich for divination this time of year. Then we finish up with a discussion of how you can repurpose some rituals and practices this time of year to leave you feeling more connected to the earth, more peaceful and reap the gifts of the abundant darkness.
Here are the links discussed in the class.
This month as part of my Sacred Wheel Speaker’s Series I talked with Vanessa Couto all about the Astrology of 2017. Find out how the planets align with the Sacred Wheel this year. We talked about the large archetypes we are seeing play out in the political landscape, how 2017 marks the rise of the Warrior Goddesses and which eclipse will hit our President particularly hard.
My theme for the month is wildness. When I tell people this I get funny looks. People assume I’m gonna be running around naked in the woods. While I’m not above doing that, it reminds me about how we’ve got the wrong idea about the wild.
As a word we equate it to something like frenetic, frenzied, chaotic. But true wildness couldn’t be further from the truth.
Somewhere back in the good ol’ bad days we started moving further and further away from our own wild natures. We had to become civilized. Now I’m gonna save the details and debate about that occurrence for another post, but I think it is safe to say, that by now, most of us are pretty darn cut off from our own wild natures. Some of us are down right scared of them. And in turn we are scared of the wild world.
Let’s look at our mistaken ideas about wildness as an example.
Research continually shows us time and time again that nature has a relaxing and anti-depressive effect on humans. Just a few minutes a day outside lifts our mood, calms us down, and improves our health.
Why then do we fear the wild.
I think the answer lies in our own mis-alinged relationship with it. As we moved further and further away from our own wild nature, the wilderness turned from something that supported us, to something we had to conquer. In the process we lost sight of the fact that for the vast majority of creatures that live there, the wild is a place of great peace, not great struggle.
Animals in the wild spend about 90% of their time resting and relaxing, and only about 10% in a frenetic chase from danger, or hunting food. But as humans, our interactions with the wild are so limited, that we tend to only see the frenetic 10%. (These are not exact figures, but google any study on animal sleep habits and you will see what I mean).
Increasingly in our stories and media we are drawn only to the struggle. We are addicted to reality shows where modern humans are dumped in the wild with no community, no ancestral heritage to draw upon, and no help. We look at that picture and think: nature is such hard work.
But the truth is, ancient man would have never been in that situation. Our wild ancestors were surrounded by community structures, and a spiritual belief system that supported their survival.
We have become strangers in our own homes.
Nature is our ideal environment. Being in nature heals us. Take your tired, computer strained eyes and just look at a wild green landscape if you don’t believe me. It is medicine for the modern world.
This is especially true if you are a highly empathic, intuitive or sensitive person. Nature is the exact medicine you need to stay grounded, in your body and restore your frayed nerves.
We need to get outside before we destroy what is left of our beautiful planet, so that we know what it is that we are losing before it is too late.
What is your relationship with the wild? Does nature scare you? Heal you? Leave a comment below and let me know what your journey with nature has been.
In month of March, especially around the Spring Equinox, I like to focus my attention on the process of being in my center.
I get this question a lot from my students: If I truly want to manifest something doesn’t that mean I have to be in control all the time? What if I inadvertently manifest the wrong thing?
There is a funny balance between manifesting and control, and it’s probably not what you are thinking.
The easiest way to manifest something is to relinquish control over it completely.
Yes you read that right.
Think about it this way, the art of manifesting something is all about flow. Think about the last lucky streak you had? Didn’t it feel like everything was just flowing to you?
Next think about the image of holding on to something really tightly. Gripping it with all your might. Doesn’t feel very much like flow does it?
The biggest secret to manifesting everything you desire, is first getting clear on what it is you want, and then completely letting go of the outcome.
Around this time of the year, my Sacred Wheel Immersion students are all setting intentions and planting seeds for what they want to see flourish in their lives. This is the act of getting clear. Ask yourself: What do I want to see grow this year? What would it feel like to have that?
The next step is to completely let go of the outcome.
I have a practice where once I’ve set my intention for something, I turn it over to the Goddess. Then I practice being in my center.
When I am standing in the center of the crossroads, my only job is to then ask myself at every turn: Does this feel like it is moving me closer, or further away from what I want?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell, so I like to have a fail-safe way of getting a yes/no answer from the Goddess/Universe. A pendulum or a coin toss usually does the trick.
As soon as I get caught up in the details of what is or is not possible, I’ve taken myself out of the flow. Because the truth is, there are all kinds of details I cannot see. Life is full of unknowns.
Using your limited view of the universe to try to predict where and when something will happen, is kind of an exercise in futility.
The second thing I’ve noticed, is that when I’m really invested in controlling the outcome of something, it is because somewhere deep down, I’m afraid I don’t deserve it.
Anxiety about the where and when, is a clear sign that there may be some unconscious blocks to clear or feelings to honor. Once all the shadow stuff has been worked out, I usually find myself returning to a state of trust in the flow.
This is particularly salient for me right now: my family is poised to make a multi-state move, complete with things like escrow, counter-offers, closing costs, moving trucks, multi-day 2000 mile road trips, new houses to be found, saying goodbye to all friends and family, and heading to an entirely new eco-system.
So it is not like I’m telling you all this from my cozy nice predictable life. I literally don’t know a single detail about what life will look like a month from now.
Are my control issues up? You bet!
But when I sit with what is really keeping me up at night, it isn’t the fear that things won’t work out.
Because they will.
It is the fear that I don’t deserve to be happy. The fear that all my happiness up until now has just been blind luck.
Right now this practice of sitting in my center, and evaluating each decision is really really important. When I ground back into the present reality, I remember that I’m in charge of making my own happiness. That I choose how I react to my circumstances. That of all the thousands of details I don’t have control over, the choices I make from my own center are not among them.
So as spring heats up, and life starts to get crazy, I invite you to come back to your own center and ask these two questions:
What is the choice facing me right now?
Does this decision feel like it is moving me closer or further from my desires?
Leave a comment below and let me know how it goes.
As we move into the time of the Spring Equinox, I am always reminded of the power of being in my center. You can imagine your center as looking like a lot of things, but for me, my center always looks like a crossroads.
The crossroads have long held a place of wonder in mythology and religion. Representing a place where two realms or worlds intersect, the crossroads are important because they represent potent moments of change. In many folk legends the crossroads are where you could meet the Devil if you were unlucky enough to be found there alone at night. In pre-Christian times, the crossroads were sacred to the Goddess Hecate.
The crossroads are neither here nor there, they are between. A space between the worlds, between moments, between choices. In the crossroads we are limitless, we are free to choose anything, but we can’t stay there, we have to eventually move on. The crossroads are simultaneously nowhere and everywhere.
One of my core daily practices is to meditate on standing in the crossroads. We all have a crossroads running right through us. I think of it as meeting in my lower belly, just below my belly button, in the place some people call the 2nd chakra. It is the place where the four directions meet inside me: that alchemical place where something new is born that is greater than it’s separate parts. For me, being a cis gender woman, it happens to correspond to my womb, which seems fitting, since that is another dark place out of which creation can grow.
In this meditation I stand with my hands folded over my lower belly and imagine two lines intersecting there. One stretches out in front and back of me, representing the past and future, I take a moment to recognize that the only place I can be is the present. The second line stretches out to the left and right of me, representing choice. If I have to make a decision between two things I might imagine each of those choices to the right and left of me and see which way my body is inclined to move.
When I stand in the crossroads I am IN the moment. Notice how the crossroads are both a time and a place? At the crossroads it is impossible to be anywhere but right here, right now.
When I take time each day to be in that place it reminds me that I’m not a victim. It is a magical act of taking my power back.
Too often life feels like it is happening to us. When we consciously stand in the crossroads we recognize our potential to be powerful. I may not control all the choices I am given in life, but I can choose how I react to choices I do have.
Maybe that choice would make all the difference?
It seems like a small thing, and maybe even too trite to mention, but all change comes from that small decision inside: I will chose differently this time.
Join me here in this liminal space and see for yourself what can happen if you take a moment to stand in the crossroads each day.
One of my favorite holidays is approaching. This is a holiday that changed my whole life the first time I celebrated it. Known as Imbolc or Candlemas, and celebrated in early February, this is a holiday that marks the first signs of spring.
Shortly after I turned 30 I joined a mystery school program learning all about the power of magic and the ways of the Priestess. In the second year of that program we learned all about the holidays of the Wheel of the Year. On Imbolc we all took a vow to walk through the year intentionally, accepting that our lives were works of magic.
Imbolc is that holiday associated with the first stirrings of spring. The weather may not have changed much, but the days are getting noticably longer. In many places the sap is rising once again in the trees, and indeed, this can often be the time for ‘sugaring’ in Maple syrup country.
What all of this means for us, is that the earth is asking us wake up from our winter slumber. The signs of spring at Imbolc are subtle, and it asks us to take a leap of faith.
Imbolc asks us if we are ready to walk another round on the Wheel. Are we ready to engage in the world once again, are we willing to accept our power as magical beings? Are we ready to admit once again that we have the power to shape our own lives?
The first year I made this vow my whole life changed. I went from living in a trailer in my friend’s driveway to owning my first home. I went from working as a house cleaner and living in a constant state of being broke, to joining a Master’s Program in Chinese Medicine and starting my career as a healer.
But most of all, I went from being a person who was sacred to admit she was powerful, to being someone who saw the full power of her own manifestations. This was the year I finally took charge of my life.
Do you want to find out more about celebrating the Wheel of the Year and how these holidays can transform your life? This year on Imbolc my year-long immersion program begins. I will be taking a group of students through these holidays using ritual and magic. Check out my free master-class as a great way to get started on this journey.