Gateway to the Goddess

If you’re in New England, chances are you are covered in a blanket of snow. The trees remain bare, and while the Sun is stretching into the early evening hours, the temperatures continue to feel like we’re buried underneath that snow: cold and more cold. I’m a Winter baby, I love Winter… and near the end of last year I tripped over a hole (note to self: pay attention where you are walking and do your best to not be distracted!), and I severely sprained my ankle and knees. I had a sweet triage doctor in the ER tell me that I was a “tough cookie” with lots of surprise that I hadn’t broken anything. Yes, I was also surprised, yet grateful. It meant that I spent most of the Winter in another layer of hibernation due to my injury. As Spring is knocking on the solid ground beneath us, I too am making my transition from hibernation to joining the blossoming of the season… slow and steady, but emerging nonetheless.

In the hibernation I’ve had time to contemplate my work, dusting off projects that need some sunlight themselves, putting to rest other workings that have been part of my repertoire for a few years, and giving attention to new teachings being born.

We’ve already kicked off our year of working with the Archetypes in Women’s Circle, already having experienced workings with the Protectress, the Maiden, and the Visionary. It’s been some beautiful work, and I have left each Circle with new medicine to bring into my practice for the month. The Winter rituals are always challenging due to weather. We had to reschedule or contend with another layer of snow, sleet, or other inclement weather on our gatherings. Still, the depths of how we show up for ourselves and each other always brings me such joy. This is why Women’s Circles are so important around the world: we need to share our stories with each other, to support one another, and rewrite old wounds so we embrace the Goddess within. Please check out the remaining Women’s Circles and other ritual offerings in my Events page.

Next month I am taking that same notion of women gathering and taking it further in a year-long course where we can deepen the connection to the Divine Mother, unveil not only Her Mysteries, but our own, and thus finding healing, empowerment, and awakening through each Gateway.

This afternoon I spent part of my afternoon sending out acceptance letters into the Gateway to the Goddess. April will be here before we know it, and while I have had a lot of interest from women who would like to take this course online, it is currently only being offered in-person this year. However, if this work speaks to you and you would like to take it online, please send me an email and ask to be put on a list for those interested in an online format. If there is enough interest I may consider bringing this online next year.

For more information please visit the Gateway to the Goddess page or if you’d like to apply please see the application. We begin on April 17th!

New Year Medicinal Themes

To resolve or not resolve… that is the question…

Happy 2017!

Welcome to the New Year, where we reach the beginning and decide: resolutions, or not? There are many thoughts on each end, whether to have a resolution or not. I don’t have an opinion, personally, one way or the other, I just know that each new year brings for me an opportunity to explore, REevaluate (perfect as we’re still in Mercury Retrograde), and plan. We all have goals we want to reach, and whether we resolve to shift, change, or transform, the sentiment is still the same: create anew for our best year. Isn’t that what we ultimately hope for? A year that is better than before? Better than the rest? Well, that can feel like a lot of pressure, which is why many choose to forgo the resolution road, because it feels like a lot of self-imposed pressure.

I create themes each year for what I am personally aiming for. It becomes a focal point for the year, while also allowing me to digest parts throughout each month, making sure that I set myself up with attainable goals. Setting yourself up for success is the most beneficial way to achieve anything. Sometimes I can add too much to my list in a month, feeling like I need to wear my Wonder Woman cape at all times. The roles we each tend to, the many hats we wear, somehow we’re afraid or even discouraged from putting them up from time to time. Even Wonder Woman needed rest!

For those who know me, I’ve talked about how I create my New Year’s. It’s a three-part step:

  1. I begin at Samhain, the Witches New Year, where we complete one Turn of the Wheel and take time in the dark to reevaluate and set new goals. For me, I look at what I have completed in this Wheel (from Samhain to Samhain), and what I would like to achieve by next Samhain. I feel my roots of inspiration digging deeply into the soil, nestling against the Great Mother and drawing up the life force energies of creativity into my bones. Sometimes I am able to access them immediately, though come December it begins its own regeneration, much like our preparation for the Light’s return…
  2. Leading up to calendar New Year, I take time to feel the newness as Yule/Winter Solstice approaches. This year I took a “13 Days of Darkness” practice leading up to Solstice, which allowed me to sit in the shadow of things that I might still be holding onto since Samhain. What were the shadowy parts telling me? Could I begin to release them in preparation for the Light’s return? Then on Solstice I offered them up in gratitude, and there was certainly a “lightness” that emerged within me as well. Being in your darkness does not mean you have to be your darkness. Then on New Year’s Eve I reflect on the calendar year coming to an end. What were my goals? What did I achieve? What where my challenges? Can I lay to rest one year in gratitude and bring in another?
  3. My final phase begins (and ends) with my birthday this month. Even just the few days after the calendar year has shifted gives me time to finalize my “theme” for the coming year, and I put them into action come my birthday.

This has been a practice of mine for as long as I can remember. Some years I am in more alignment with that process, or the results are more to my liking, than other. It’s all compost in the end, offering me opportunity to turn the soil in the next year and get my hands ready for digging into my roots.

How do I create my theme? It seems more like a collaboration between me, my Higher Self, the Goddess, the Universe, Nature Herself… and so on. I don’t necessarily “choose” anything, I feel more like it is chasing me, similar to the Rumi quote: “What you seek is seeking you.”

Between Samhain and my birthday I begin to listen, truly listen, to what is seeking me. This means I must not only pause, I must surrender. Samhaintime offers such a great opportunity to pause in the stillness of the dark. What sought me just as much as I sought it? One word narrated the entire thing:

RISING

Everything would then be sculpted around my Word of the Year. What seeks you? What will create your personal 2017 theme? Here are some ways that I am working with it:

  • Word of the Year — one word, like a seed, that offers you guidance, kinship, encouragement for what is to come. A statement can even work here, though I like the idea of one word, as many know I often teach with my preference for “one word medicine”.
  • Element of the Year — what element calls to you in conjunction with your word? Is there an element that you seek to attune yourself more to, that can heighten your experience for your theme? Do you seek Sovereignty through Earth? Will through Fire? Truth through Air? Love or Compassion through Water?
  • Goddess of the Year — I will often dedicate my year to a particular Goddess*, not in the sense that they become my Matron deity, but one I may learn from, one that I may offer my service to, one that may allow me to not only aid my personal word, but the collective world as well. This year it was pretty obvious to me, though in prior years it took deep meditation and communing to hear. Sometimes I pull a deity card from a divination deck and will receive the appropriate Goddess to work with. It can be such a humbling experience to work on a deeper level with deity and create a sustainable relationship with Divinity. *For those working in dual relationships you can certainly work with a God of the Year as well. I have done this in year’s past as well when it felt appropriate.
  • Mantra of the Year — I am a chanter. I love my malas. It is one of my go-to sacred tools next to my journal. For me chanting and doing mantra recitations is so helpful for me. This may not suit everyone. Sometimes you can use your Word of the Year as a mantra focus, allowing yourself to use a set of malas to continually reinforce this Word Medicine into your energy field. However, you may also meditate on a particular word, or seed syllable, or look up some until you get that feeling in your gut that says “this is the one”, and then meditate on it further to decipher if it is correct for you. Then work with it throughout your year. At least once a week to keep those energies flowing.
  • Song of the Year — Yes, I am such a music lover. I love music. I need it. Each year a song claims me, and I am unable to shake it from my core. In there, no matter how many times I listen to it, I learn something new, I hear something different than from the time before. It’s amazing. A couple of years ago my Song of the Year was played nonstop at home, and I heard it every time I put on the radio whenever I was in need of guidance. It would either play at the beginning, for me to soak in the medicine in its entirety, or it would play at one particular part, always perfectly in sync with what I needed to hear.
  • Quote of the Year — Much like a song, I find that there is a quote I can’t shake. It clings to me and roots itself into my brain, repeating itself over and over and becoming integral to my yearly theme. Mine tend to make its way into my teachings, so after a while my students are sometimes able to tell which one it is if they listen closely enough.
  • Sacred Tool of the Year — This doesn’t have to be in alignment with your Element of the Year, though sometimes it just might be. Each year I have one particular tool that I either can’t leave home without, or becomes the focal point on my altar; either way it is centralized in my practice.

You can certainly add to this list, yet somehow these seven feel auspicious, like they are tailored to the chakra system, making its way through me to create ultimate balance and harmony in my new year. All of these have their own unique vibration, allowing creativity to flourish, inspiration to birth, and any sense of stagnation to be moved. Like any medicine, sometimes you’ll be willing to take it whole, other times resistant. This is okay, it’s the journey of self that we uncover these parts and listen to ourselves, even in spite of our themes. If these themes call to you, make them your own, challenge yourself to make it part of your practice, to not create guilt or blame if there are days you don’t feel in alignment with it, and continue practicing.

A sample of my Sacred Tool of the Year with my Word of the Year:

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#100daysofritual

I’ll admit, I love a good hashtag (yes, back in the day it was a pound sign!). There’s something humorous about squishing words and statements together to make a point… if to humor no one else but yourself!

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, also known as Mabon, where day and night are equal, the sign of the Second Harvest, and we reap what we have sown. We hear so much about balance and gratitude during this season, and for good reason: it’s an invitation to acknowledge and honor what we truly have.

At Mabon I take time to journal about gratitude, taking a full page (or more) to just be present with my bounty. Today I took time to sit with the Earth, barefoot upon the ground, which had an interesting rhythm of dry and lush grass. We are so desperate for rain in New England. I chanted upon the ground, allowing the soles of my feet to flow the energy I was generating into Mother Earth and my offering for Her bounty. I spoke to Her of gratitude and was present with another turn of the Wheel. Here we are again, approaching my favorite time of year. While the Sun felt in opposition to the crispness of what this season brings, I know it won’t be long until apple cider makes its way into my fridge, mmm!

I wanted to honor this season as well as generate shift for what I am working towards in the coming year. And because I love hashtags, I thought it would be fun to work through a visual hashtagging of documenting 100 Days of Ritual. What does this look like?

  • Being present in the every day.
  • Looking for magick in the every day.
  • Recognize that ritual consists of more than casting circles and sitting before your altar: it’s in the magick you create daily. This isn’t to take away value from circles, because they are phenomenal. This is a shift in perspective to create a dynamic shift.
  • Taking pictures of these moments, shifting mental perspective by introducing more visual stimulation of what you want to see. (We’ll be flooded with plenty of memes about everyone’s political opinions well into the election — why not create what you want to see?)
  • Honoring that your definition of “ritual” is what is magickal, heart-warming, and spiritually medicinal to you.

I’m choosing today, the Equinox, to start as 100 days from now it will be December 30th. It gives me the next day to proceed with reflection of what these 100 days brought while allowing me time for my personal New Year’s Eve practice. It will also offer me the opportunity to create, as the artist of my life, how I wish to complete this calendar year, and I want it to be FUN!

What might my 100 days look like? Probably…

  • My Goddess statues that I’m working with.
  • Fun farm foods (seriously, last year I got a potato in the shape of a heart, how cool is that?!)
  • Whatever I’m knitting or crocheting. Yarn is always cast on something in this house.
  • My daughter (aka my Pumpkin ), because she’s awesome.
  • Hopefully adult libations because I do appreciate a great pomegranate martini!
  • And anything that becomes my ritual for that day.

Want to follow along? I’ll be posting on Instagram, my Facebook page, and Twitter. Want to join? Create ritual, get snapping, and then hashtag #100daysofritual! Remember to be present and love the mindfulness of your ritual, however it manifests for you.