As you know, yesterday was the Equinox - equal parts day and night for all inhabitants of the Earth. A moment of pause before we switch places. This alignment in East & West, with the sunrise and sunset twelve hours apart, brings alignment in the North & South as well. The Heavens & Earth align too as Keepers of the Day & Night.
Sitting with these strong forces is potent for me, as I get to stop "doing" for a moment, and simply allow the alignment. I feel peace & harmony. Furthermore, I can actively listen, waiting like a dandelion drifting in stillness as the gentle winds offer the way.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we begin our turn toward the longer days. How can I align with the Day Keeper, the Great Father Sun? How can I carry forward the flame passed to me by my fellow humans in the southern hemisphere? What is that flame? Can I see it? Hear it? Feel it?
I had much pleasure yesterday sending an offering into the Pacific Ocean with some spirit sisters at sunset. You might enjoy creating your own ritual to honor and feel this great alignment & great turning.
Below is a Ritual Suggestion for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere. Friends in the South, you can use this as a template and adapt you offerings. :-)
Equinox Ritual for Northern Dwellers
Pets are wonderful reflections of unconditional love. They look at us with such accepting eyes, and are willing to protect and care for us in a moment's notice.
One of the wonderful surprises I did not expect in shamanic healing work was how much I enjoy doing pet clearings. Animals can experience trauma in their lives, and a clearing can help them both on the soul and physical levels. That part seemed obvious to me, but what I didn't anticipate was the manner of animals when receiving an energy medicine session. Imagine your dog getting its belly scratched, or the cat its chin rubbed. It is in this way they receive the universal love that is offered - without thought or requirement getting in the way. And of course this reception allows the clearing session to happen rather quickly and efficiently.
If you sense something is off in your pet, whether from surgery, adoption, or for another reason, please reach out or schedule. There are gift cards available on the website too.
And full disclaimer, Zoey, the toy poodle pictured above, has not been a client, but she is the dog of my dear friend Jodi, and I adore her.
I've been studying Ogham, the Celtic language of the trees, used in the British Isles from around 600 BC. Each letter in the alphabet is created based on the first sound of the tree name, and holds with it that particular tree's teaching. These letters are in relationship to the cycles of the moon, so each year one gets to tune into the teachings of the particular tree when its moon cycle comes.
The Blackthorn tree (Straith in Gaelic), is symbolized by a straight line crossed by four diagonal ones. This symbol is its "letter". Its name comes from the long, dark thorns and its bark, which is almost black. It flowers in the spring - five creamy-white petals, and its wood has been use for years as walking sticks, its thorns to enhance cursings by being pressed into inanimate objects. The thorn can cause deep and poisonous wounds on humans. Its message is retribution.
One thing I love about the ancient Celtic spiritual traditions is they acknowledge the depth of experience of human nature, and include ways to deal without retreating or denying reality. In other words, yeah, sometimes we really fuck up, and its not because we aren't light beings or whatever.
That's where the concept of retribution comes in. It is about the righting of wrongs. My Christian upbringing told me "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind", but the Celts say that it is essential we pay our debts and settle our scores. In doing so we re-tribute that which we have disrespected. A reckoning takes forgiveness out of our heads and into our hearts through action.
When we learn these teachings from the Blackthorn tree, we allow ourselves to pay our debts, to live in balance with one another, to hold ourselves accountable for our actions. This is not revenge or returning hate with more hate. This is about give and take. What wrongs do we need to right with one another? With our Earth?
Hold the medicine of Blackthorn in your heart, and allow it to fill you with the strength to admit when relationships are out of balance. Admit to your mistakes, and stand honorably in the repair process. With accountability, we will heal. Then maybe in seeking justice, we will find peace. Know justice, know peace. Breonna Taylor #sayhername
We find ourselves on the eve of the equinox, the point of balance of light and dark. In this window of time, we have the opportunity to reflect on the balance of these dual forces in our lives and communities.
Most people I know feel much more comfortable in "the light" than in "the darkness". The darkness is unknown, mysterious, and sometimes even has negative connotation, like scary, or it is used as a synonym to evil. We are told to step into the light, out of the darkness. Taught to resist the "dark forces". And yet this duality exists so gracefully in the natural world, an essential dance to sustain life and harmony on this planet.
I personally feel encouraged to step into the darkness this year, and I look forward to the introspective journey offered to me that comes with the gradual returning of the long night sky.
Before that begins, however, we get to pause and tune into our internal compass. How is our relationship with the sun & moon? With the day & night? With the divine masculine and feminine forces? Am I in balance?
Seeking this balance is a task worth doing, and luckily you are surrounded by forces craving connection with you in this way. Should you find yourself called, and find a window of time over the next day or two, I encourage you to find a natural object and bring it to a favorite tree, beach, mountain, or creek. Take a moment to sit, to tune in to the natural forces around you, and tell them you are there to seek out balance within. Ask them to help you.
You may find an impulse to let go - perhaps a task, action, or relationship that seems ready to put to rest. You can blow the energy of it into the natural object you brought with you. Then sit with the new space that is created. Contemplate balance, and allow the urge to release to find you in all the ways it craves.
When you are done, place your object in the ground, sand, or water. Say thank you to the forces that came, held, and helped you. When you get home, you can take a moment and give back to the Earth. Perhaps you need to water a plant, or tidy an area in your yard. Perhaps you can find another way to live in alignment with balance on this planet - maybe a commitment to sourcing used materials, or reducing carbon footprint in another way. Giving back to the planet that gives us life is a wonderful way to connect with the autumnal equinox and the balance within.
Eagle Medicine of the East teaches us to grow our wings so we can navigate strong winds with grace and wisdom. Eagle asks us to question how we can be of service. So we watch, we listen, and we act...we see the injustice, we hear the calls for self-examination.
Our silence is a form of violence & the winds of change are strong. Decide how you can help. We have the opportunity now to listen to the wisdom from Black Americans who have lived the violence for so many centuries, and we can and should follow their lead.
I am reflecting on my white privilege, and trying to educate myself and children, and support organizations that are leading the way on LONG overdue systematic change. I know that I can do more, and hope we will all do our part. Below are a couple of links to the organizations Campaign Zero and Black Lives Matter. Please donate.
Funds donated to Campaign Zero support the analysis of policing practices across the country, research to identify effective solutions to end police violence, technical assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns and the development of model legislation and advocacy to end police violence nationwide.
Fund the Movement Black Lives Matter, and support their ongoing fight to end state-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people, and end white supremacy forever.
I made a boob cookie. Thinking about the Milk Moon. Thinking about Mother Earth and her Paps. Thinking about the Mother in all of us. Thinking about George Floyd calling for his Mama. Thinking of the breath of life.
Beltaine marks the start of summer in the beginning of May, and the equinox brings the center of the season, this year on June 21st. In these six weeks our awareness is heightened, as well as our fiery passion, and boundless energy. Nature uses this time to explode in beauty and abundance, led by the force of life so strong this time of year.
How we use this energy as humans is something for which I sit. What would happen if we thought with the mind and passion of our hearts, our breasts? What if we proceeded with the fiery passion of Mama - the one that protects what is sacred, that finds a way to create with love and compassion, through the breath of life?
George Floyd would still be alive.
The Morrigan is the least understood of the Irish Celtic Goddesses. She is also the most feared, perhaps because she presents herself as a Grim Reaper of sorts. And yet the wisdom we can get from the Crow Goddess can help us during times of deep transition and transformation.
Stepping past the fear that we experience while being incarnate is perhaps one of the great challenges on our pathway to peace. However, it is in this process that we can open up to the magic and assistance available to us when we accept the natural processes of birth, death, and rebirth. A practical way to help us through our natural evolution is with the Celtic ceremony of Burlá Ghuí, a prayer bundle assembled in stages aligned with the processes of transformation, and infused with the medicine from the Morrigan and the lineage.
It was an honor to make a Burlá Ghuí outdoors with spirit sisters here in Bolinas, especially in light of what we have been experiencing with the abrupt changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I think all of us felt grateful to have the ancient practice to help us.
Amanda Ross Skincare, a salon and wellness center where I work in Bolinas, is offering a special for the next month on a service I offer: The Shamanic Reset. The 45-minute session is offered at $85, and is wonderfully prefaced by time spent in the gorgeous natural settings of Bolinas, whether it be hiking in the woods, or sitting on the beach. There are also other fantastic offerings at the salon too if you are wanting to turn up the self-care dial. Booking is here: (415) 233-8736 or https://amandarossskincare.com/book-online/
When we are living in the present tense, sometimes we can't help but feel that fear has gotten the best of us and taken over not only our mind, but also our body and spirit. This can appear up in a variety of ways - perhaps our digestion is off, maybe we feel our creativity has stopped, or that we have lost our sex drive. We might feel the need to completely retreat in all ways in order to protect ourselves. This is totally normal and understandable. Through shamanic energy medicine, we can reset to our true and authentic selves in order to live strongly & fully, helping us to be present for ourselves, and for those in need.
This last Friday night, at Schehera Van Dyk's gorgeous art show, she, another friend Abigail, and I spoke of our ocean here in Bolinas, specifically in relationship to the surfing community, and all the different "flavors" of energy the waters come into contact with through the people who seek waves, both locals, and commuters.
It was a lovely conversation that got me thinking about a study I had participated in at IONS last summer where I and other practitioners did sessions on clients where there was a water sample measured as a "control". The water responded to the energies passing through it, both from the healing practitioner, and from the client receiving the treatment. It was amazing.
I know that for centuries, cultures throughout the world have been holding ceremony for our Earth and its oceans, and that this idea is not new to us; perhaps in this light, combined with the brainstorming Schehera, Abigail and I had, I am inspired to facilitate with you a Ceremony for the Sea, with the specific intention of making an offering of love to our local waters, imprinting in its molecules our prayers.