Friday, February 24, 2017

Women Heal

When everyone else gives up, it is women who sing the songs of warriors.

Patterns formed over the lifetime of recorded history and myth continue to show that women are the strongest, most dependable healers. Their healing may begin ~ or end ~ with the physical, yet that is not often ~ or necessarily ~ the core of their power.

From earliest childhood, we train children who get injured while playing to run to their mothers for a kiss to heal a bump or wound or sore. We know it works too. As soon as Mother's cool lips touch the tender place, the child perks up, feels better and is off and running again.

Women often have a broader and more pervasive understanding of their world and the essence or nature of healing. Their nature is to connect with the cycles of the Moon and the Earth. In so doing, they have a regular opportunity to feel the heartbeat of the Universe. They provide succor to, encourage and nurture life. The cycles also teach they about the ebb and flow of life ~ that sometimes we must let go in order for life to grow and continue. Sometimes we need to withdraw. Sometimes we need to grieve. These are all ways of healing.

We don't usually refer to or think of women as warriors, with the possible exception of particular women, yet women are warriors as well. Sometimes in the guise of a military campaign, in uniform or not, they confront the enemy directly with weapons drawn. Other times, perhaps more often, they are in the background supporting, guiding and providing their own kind of reconnaissance, being watchful without being observed. Women also sing the warriors songs of going forward in strength, fighting courageously, and returning victoriously and alive. The end goal of all these activities of women is always to find a place and space of peace.

What is your earliest memory of a woman's healing touch? How have you experienced that healing most recently? Why do you think women heal? How have women in your life proved to be warriors? How have they supported the men going off to battle? What woman in your life has sung a warrior's song?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Alternative Valentine

While leafing through poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, I stumbled across her exquisite 1917 poem Witch-Wife:

She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.

She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun 'tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.

She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.

Looking for an image online, I found Julian Peters' wonderful comic. How fitting both are for this Valentine time of year.

As I read through the poem, prior to finding the image, I pictured the Witch-Wife differently. The phrase But she was not made for any man left me with the question, Who was she made for? Was it another woman? Was it for her own strong self? Was it for multiple partners?

My personal definition of the title, Witch-Wife, gave me pause to lean toward the second ~ she was made for her own strong self. Being a witch means having developed powers that may range from using healing herbs to having animal familiars to understanding the movements of the stars and seasons. Or an entire host of other knowledge ranging from the commonplace to the arcane. Fairy tales are not for the faint-hearted and have woven into their telling truths about human actions and interactions. And she learned her hands in a fairy-tale.

She clearly was made for her strong self with the phrase And she never will be all mine. Although I like Julian Peters' comic image, I believe the point was not that she had many men. Rather that she belonged to herself and not to any man.

In modern language, we use the term wife to mean a female spouse. So I decided to look up the origin of the word. It comes from Old English meaning woman and some Germanic derivatives with uncertain origin. In Dutch wijf slangily means girl or babe, having softened from an earlier meaning of bitch. Although, again, there I would go with that final term being added to my definition of witch.... and end up with a knowledgeable badass woman! One incredible Valentine!!

What images struck you as you read Witch-Wife? Do you like the version depicted in the comic image? Are you a wife? By what definition? Are you a witch? How do you define that? Do you know/have a wife? How do you define her? Would she agree with your definition? Is the wife you are/know/have a Witch-Wife? How do you know?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Night of the Snow Moon 2017

Tonight's sky is busy ~ the Full Moon in Leo, a penumbral lunar eclipse, and the New Years comet (45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková) on the heels of the eclipse.

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes within the narrow path of the Earth's northern or southern penumbral edges and outside its umbra. [The umbra is inside the shadow of the Earth; penumbra is the partial Earth's shadow where the Sun's illumination is only partly cut off.] This particular eclipse is special because almost the entire face of the Moon will pass within Earth's penumbra, making the reduction in brightness more visible. It will be visible in Europe, most of Asia, Africa, most of both South and North America over the space of nearly four hours beginning at 22:34 (10:34 p.m.) UT Friday night, peaking at 00:33 UT Saturday morning.

The lunar eclipse calls us to release past and/or deep wounds and move beyond our old fears. As we do this, we can also transcend any negative patterns that emerge from or around our Shadow. Though possibly intense, the effect of this eclipse looks to be one that is shorter-lived ~ a time for quick letting go and completion. Release. Breathe. Release. Breathe. Relax.

The comet won't be visible to the naked eye ~ or even with binoculars ~ as it makes its closest fly-by since 2011. Yet its influence will still be felt. It reminds us that everything has its season and opportunity to move.

The Snow Moon is in Leo, a sign brimming with passion, courage, wisdom and presence. This Moon reminds us that we are in charge of our own destiny ~ and we need to step into that power and take responsibility for it. Full Moon in Leo brims with creativity and playfulness as well.

The sun right now is in independent, airy Aquarius, focusing us on truth and the reality of what is going on with and around us. The regal Moon in fiery Leo, challenging us to step into our own sovereignty.

Other factors are in the mix right now as well: Uranus in Eris, the Spiritual Warrior; and Chiron, the Wounded Healer, at the apex of the Finger of God (the Moon and Jupiter make the base), pointing us toward our growth and healing. They direct us toward showing up, standing up and participating in our own ~ and the community's ~ healing. They remind us that life isn't a dress rehearsal. It's real and present and live.

With the New Years comet in play at this Snow Moon, we also release what no longer serves us from 2016 and step more fully into finding the gifts and lessons of 2017. To prepare for the next event, the Solar Eclipse coming in Pisces on February 26th, step into that responsibility by following the insights we are receiving right now.

Are you on your own path ~ or connected to another's? What makes you 'roar'? What is your passion? What inspires you? How do you express your own uniqueness? What 'old business' do you have to release? What is your plan to do that? What wound is being healed within you? How does that wound point you toward your unique expression of healing?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ancestors' Dreams

We are our ancestors' wildest dreams.

As this gentle ancestor stares into that place called 'middle distance,' I wonder what she's seeing..... who she's listening for....

In my quiet lucid dream state, I rest on a bench beside her. She turns her head slightly, slides her eyes in my directions. The corners of her mouth barely turn up. Then she returns to her vague focus stare.

"What do you see, Grandmother?" I whisper.

"You, my child."

I blink, turn my head to see what she sees. A shadow-child slips across my field of vision. I blink again... and it's gone.

"How can you see me there when I am here beside you?"

"It is you ~ and not you, my darling. It is a wild dream of one who is to come. One who will heal the lineage from which she came. One who will dare to bring about the deepest and most necessary soul changes."

I was afraid to speak lest I jar her from her vision .... which is what I realized she was in. There was still more to come. I could see it in her eyes, clear and keen; in her posture, body alert and forward; in the way she held her head, tipped ever-so-slightly to one side as if listening for something.

A barking laugh emerged from her. After a pause, another. Then she lifted her head and a full, deep, extended belly laugh bubbled out of her. I smiled as I sat beside her, infected with the joy she was expressing.

"There are many of you, child. Many who will carry forth the life of our people as they walk on this earth. It brings me great joy to see their wild dancing selves! They laugh, play, love, wander. All the phases of life and earth bloom within them. Nothing grows without them."

I wanted to ask how she knew this. I wanted to tell her I understood. I wanted to run and hide. So much was in her vision of the world. How could I live up to her expectations?

As though she read my thoughts, she said, "It is not only you, child. It is all my children and my children's children and my children's children's children on and on and on. That's what brings me joy. Because it also brings me hope."

I sat beside her for awhile longer. Quiet, reflective. One moment I was aware of her at my elbow, the next my head was jerking up as though from dozing. The old woman was gone. My memory of her was clear yet ever so slowly fading. I found myself staring into that same middle distance she did ~ and wondering when I would be old enough and wise enough to see the way she saw.

What would your ancestor look like? How would you be with them? What does your dreaming self hear them say? How do you express being your ancestors' wildest dream? How would you like to dream your children's and children's children's worlds?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Balancing Paradox

n the midst of everything else going on in our world today ~ all the craziness, every mundane context, individual moments ~ I find myself turning inward and finding a safe, quiet place within.

When I lift my head out of those moments of slipping away, or more precisely, diving deep, familiar words find their way into view. The quote from Frederick Buechner was one. I find myself reading it, breathing it deeply into my lungs, letting it fill me up. I live, we live, in that world where "beautiful and terrible things will happen." Often, both of those extremes can make us afraid. We exalt in and love the beautiful, yet fear that it will go away, that simply having it and acknowledging it will curse it into nonexistence. Yet we most need to remember to let go that feeling of fear. Understand that these things will happen.

The terrible things leave us wary of anything new ~ or of the news itself. What next? Where will the next quake hit? What's happening in the arctic? How long before the disease (whichever one it may be) takes Auntie or Grandpa? So much opportunity for terrible things. Again, along with our best efforts to allay or avoid it, we have the same need to let go of the fear. It takes us out of being present to the moment.

Another quote that flowed easily into my view was this one by Parker J. Palmer:
The spiritual life is lived in a balance of paradoxes, and the humility that enables us to hear the truth of others must stand in creative tension with the faith that empowers us to speak our own.
Everything that is most important to us rests on the balance point of those paradoxes: hearing the truth of others and speaking our own truth. We move forward too quickly and we stop listening to others. We stand still too long and we stop voicing our truths. We are here, in this world, with these beautiful and terrible things happening, to face each other and help each other through the most profound Darkness and the most resplendent Light.

This is a time of facing our rebellious, passionate natures. This is a time of honesty and clarity. This is a time of living in and through our truest and deepest selves. This is not about being meek in the world. It is about being aware and truthful alongside being loving and strong. It is also a time of owning our own personal Darkness as well as revealing our brightest Light. We are not only balancing the paradoxes, we are the very balance point of them.

How do you speak your truth? How do listen to the truth of others? What is your passion? What do you fear? How do you view the beauty in our world? What terrible things are in your life now? What action will you take to refute fear? How are your practices working? What paradoxes are you balancing?