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Gareden tulips soulspace

In the poetry and writing of the Mystics, the flower garden is often a metaphor for the Soul or the time out to tend the Soul. If you are not sure exactly what “the Soul” is or means….just open the gate to the flower garden, enter there and be IN it surrounded by the colors, textures, imaginative shapes and sensuous scents and you will come to understand “The Soul” or Soul-Space.

Linger there, awed by the beauty and the stimulation of all your senses,  for “the Soul”  is not separate from the body…. the body is IN the Soul, surrounded by the Soul, and not the other way around. Soul Space is often boundaried and contained, the fence symbolic of the time apart necessary to pay attention to its creative potential and flowering gifts…time out from the “un-awares” and surface mainstream life. 

Garden tulips-001

But really..better still…the secret to happiness:  once inside the garden, awake and aware, it is possible to gather the flowers of Soul and bring them back out into your life and the world around you…so in need of Beauty. Live it! BE it!

From within the Garden,

Christine, the Greening Spirit

Flower Child

There are lots of ways to be in Soul Space!

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Tree stark

I am teaching at the local University a course called “Dreams and the Imagination: Doorways to Creativity and the Arts”. It is my way to see things first as they are or appear to be, and secondly with the eye of the Dreamer. If you have regularly visited here on the Greening Spirit blog, you may have already guessed that…that through photography and editing, I cannot resist telling a story through the altering of images.

No apologies or uncertainties as I am dedicated to following the promptings of the Imagination and encourage others to do the same, in my teachings. I am always called to the attempt to turn the ordinary into some form of art as for me it is a way of play and pleasure.

I was recently asked by one of the students in the above class about the Imagination’s capabilities to imagine either the best or the worst in all situations which is of course, true. We must choose. I personally mostly choose the playful, the hopeful, the beautiful, the magical and the wondrous possibilities inherent in dreams and visions for the better because really, for me..it is more fun!

This tree was fine as it really is to the naked eye on our walk. But there was also imaginative magic in the “dreaming” of this tree image, playing with light and shadow, tint and color, enhancing and softening to make it available, understood and cherished in another way.

We each and all are actually dreaming, imagining all of the time, sometimes even “hallucinating” when giving into our fears of what might be or what others might be thinking of us…

Let’s choose instead to dream of and imagine beauty, the magic of possibilities, and not forgot also to be playful in the creation of meaningful lives and  self-expression….!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

The Dreamer (Artist unknown)

The Dreamer (Artist unknown)

If you like to live life with Imagination and Play..please visit my other blogs!

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Garden Gate

Sometimes in life we don’t know whether we are coming or going. Are we leaving the garden of the familiar  through the open gate,  letting go of people or places feeling sad, or are we accepting an invitation to enter a new phase feeling open and excited?

Sometimes we are in-between. Sitting on the fence for a while, which often feels kind of hard…boulders we may have to climb over to get either in or out!

I love this garden gate though…it looks curvy and musical and suggests to me that going either way…entering or leaving…coming in or going out is worthy of a song celebrating freedom and choices…surrounded by such greenery on either side… “All is well, all is well, and all manner of things shall be well” ~ Julian of Norwich.

This is a lovely affirmation I say often these days, being somewhat stalled myself, sitting on the stone wall between my old life and home and the uncertain, unknown future on the other side of the fence. Because that gate is so lovely however, I am hopeful that each side of the garden will be equally beautiful…

Garden Gate 2

This garden gate is on the beautiful land trust Long Hill and Sedgewick Gardens in Beverly, MA.

Photo Credits: Christine Phoenix Green

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

I am writing all the time between teaching music and piano! So much to share!

Please wander over to my other blogs for great recipes and kitchen memoirs, music links and stories about teaching music, and wonderful practices and thoughts for affirming life with the Law of Attraction and Word Magic!

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GS 2

We do take trees for granted, often thinking of them in standard  forms, sketching the generic “tree”  while doodling on paper during a phone call or faculty meeting. But oh truly there is no such thing as a generic common tree. They are so delightfully unique, dressing themselves in designer leaves and bark…beautiful bark of the most outrageous designs!

Bark 2

I have always loved the tree-trunks with their permanent drapes and folds like living skin…which actually it is..and caressed them as I pass by, like petting a beloved dog or cat. But in addition, oh my how they self-decorate themselves in the most eye-catching designs and textures.

Bark 20 (2)

My daughter Melissa and I swooned with pleasure and curiosity during our Mother’s Day walk…a week late, yesterday, she reading the identification tags with fervor and my stopping taking pictures of roots, leaves, bark, and all manner of lush greenery.

Melissa Tree

Textures and whirls in the bark..what stories do they tell? What purposes do they serve?

Bark 30

Our beloved and magical trees.. full of the Greening Spirit of Life!

MD Woods 2015

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise                                      Please visit my other blogs!

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MD 100

Modern Day Life is so busy. It was not possible for my children and I to celebrate Mother’s Day together last week, but we have adjusted as necessary and daughter Melissa and I just moved it to Saturday a week later doing something we both love to do…meandering through the green of nature, whether a garden center, garden tour or wood’s walk.

She had been to a plant sale earlier that morning at a Nature Conservancy near her home that she had never visited before and was awed by the beauty of the environment. When I arrived from out-of state before noon and after cheering for grandson Owen at his little league soccer game  we decided to leave  mainstream civilization, and forego Mother/Daughter manicures at the spa for a return to further investigate the grounds. We can honestly report that the beauty of the woods and varied “gardens” there floored us and more than blessed us with love and the Greening Spirit of the earth.

MD Melissa gardens

(Daughter Melissa)

My camera is always with me and so I see things twice…Once with my eyes, and twice with the lens. Well, no…THREE times actually, for editing and enhancement of my photos into art apart from the original image brings me deeply into the world of magic and story for writing later.

After our walk through these awesome woods and wild gardens worthy of Thoreau’s escape from civilization, and a trip to a garden center, we went to an early dinner at a specialty restaurant serving delicious entrees of local foods and ended up at Target to buy a birthday gift for a kiddies birthday party.

A wonderful day of varied  experiences with a beloved daughter..mainstream cultural activities on either end…but the magic of wild and cultivated Greeness in the middle

Part 2 more pictures and Greening to follow…. (Long Hill and Sedgewick Gardens)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise     Please visit my other blogs!

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Herb fence

Wherever I have lived I have had a garden of  colorful flowers, herbs which I adore especially for their medicine, and vegetables which delight me to no end watching them blossom and offer bounty over the season with such amazing creativity from seed, to stem, leaf, flower and fruit…

I have so missed gardening for the past 3 years because of vision problems that kept me from being in the sun and white glare, and the residue of Lyme which has made me intolerant of high temperature and especially humidity. Alas! My gardens as a result,  have turned, untended, into field and mini-forest.

But now, as I am reclaiming my vision through surgery, I am longing to once again assist my green allies in making their dramatic appearances in my yarden once again, even if in Grow Boxes which can be moved for tending to bypass the achiness of Lyme that flares up periodically. Since I have always photographed what I love, I have a portfolio of gardens-past memories to keep me inspired.

Over the years of gardening, we tuck little green gems wherever we can in between things. The above garden border contains daylilies, chives, burdock, milkweed, showy irises, furry lamb’s ears, and out of range of this picture…lots of mugwort, the dreamer’s herb of the crone or wise woman. Just looking at this picture makes me want to run right outside now and see if I can find them beneath and behind the now tangle of thorny vines that have taken over areas I have not taken care of recently.

Oh most green and colorful garden treasure… I love you!

IMG_7728 from Christine, the Greening Spirit

Please visit my other blogs!

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Hi Mom 100

A special Mother’s Day essay for Mothers and Daughters! And ESPECIALLY for Daughters of Mothers!

Trio

It is sometimes a difficult task for Mothers who are especially bonded to daughters, treasuring their closeness, to be perfectly graceful and accepting about the ending of day to day familial intimacy. Maintaining times together with our ever-widening “tribal” configurations with in-laws, children and grandchildren can be daunting. Yes indeed, we have full lives as well with our own friends, peers and enjoyable social activities after “empty-nest” syndrome, but for those of us who truly enjoy and savor the time with and company of our daughters, that bond of closeness with our girls and the longing to be together to talk and share never actually  goes away.

Fam 2

Being a Taurus woman with a Cancer Rising sign,  it is hard to escape the theme of Mothering. Taurus…the sign of the Earth Mother… and Cancer, the sign of the Great Mother of Home and Hearth makes it hard to escape the deep emotions around closeness and connection with our children..and for me to daughters. (Bonding with sons is a different issue and energy with its own story to tell, but as I did not have sons I refer only to what I know). I used to think that it was just unique to me with this particular astrological heritage, but in talking with many other women who are mothers of daughters, I learned that the bonds run karmically and emotionally deep….and for us Moms, though we celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of our daughters, we all have had to learn to manage the periodic sadness and feelings of momentarilly being left behind, and the energies of trying to subtly and successfully (or not) catch up to stay connected. 

We Three

Living in three different states with families and children, my daughters and I cannot easily get together throughout the year but when we do, now including husbands and children as a larger family group, we enjoy the brief togetherness of “us”  and as MOM #1,  I savor the feelings of familiarity and pleasure knowing even for a day or two the comfort of that “us-ness” once again being together. Altho we each now have quite different lifestyles on our individual paths, our shared tribal sense of The Past and the Present intertwine for a time…and then they are off and speeding down the highway of their individuated paths but  hopefully they have been nurtured (as have I) by re-connecting as the “tribe” from which they were sprung!

Still there are times when things and communications do not go as smoothly or as planned… a momentary situational or emotional “disconnect” and the distance between us seems to have lengthened. A while ago such a thing happened and for now in this moment, I cannot even remember what it was about, but there was something…some misunderstanding, frustration, disappointment or lack of time to connect that left me feeling WAY behind, losing the sense of my place in “family”. It was a morning filled with those feelings when I left the house to go shopping for groceries on a quiet weekend but my heart was filled with longing and a prayer for each of my daughters and for the time when we could be together for a special visit..

 As I turned onto the highway thinking/feeling this distance,  a silver van sped by with a message etched out in the heavily dusty rear view window. It went by SO FAST and raced far ahead of me but I had caught a hint of the message and hit the gas pedal with amazement trying to catch up to the car.

Hi Mom 99

For those who know me here, it is a very familiar occurrence that the “Universe” often gives me instantaneous “feedback” when I am working with intense Soul-stuff necessary to restore inner balance and harmony… an often humorous, inexplicable and surprising communication that soothes, affirms, directs and guides me back to right thinking and peace.

With one hand on the steering wheel and one hand holding my camera to the windshield, I closed in on that speeding vehicle to photograph the message on the rear window of that van, which I KNEW was especially for me in that ILLUSORY moment of feeling “left behind”  through the distance  of physical miles between myself  and my daughters in their truly very busy lives at this time  And there it was…! One of those “I Can’t/CAN believe it” messages on the back of that car when I finally caught up to it ….. “HI MOM!”

Hi Mom 100

I KID YOU NOT! How could this synchronicity have happened in that exact moment of personal mometary longing for connection, closeness and communication with and from the two young women I love most in this world! At the exact moment of reading that message, I in my mind, distinctly heard the music of goodwill and greeting in the unique voices of each of my daughters upon greeting by phone or in person. For sure did I laugh out loud!

Always I am thankful for these messages from the Spirit World that keep me in line and feeling loved and connected. And always I am thankful for having been allowed to be the mother of two of the most beautiful babies/girls/WOMEN on the planet!

Mamma a Girls

Not to ever forget as well these lines from “The Prophet” …a guide and lesson for all Mothers/ Parents to “let go” while still maintaining relationship with our children:

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

To my beautiful daughters Lisa and Melissa. We are ALWAYS connected. Happy Mother’s Day to all three of us… in it together as individual creative and kind women of shared blood, lineage, heritage and memory,  whether nearby or in distance through the miles.  I love you always!

Mamma Groupie

From Mom, aka The Greening Spirit with love.. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

self Oct 2     Always I am so amused to get that immediate feedback from the Universe when I am on track. This morning at our Unitarian Sunday Service in honor of Mother’s Day, the choir sang this song “Calling My Children Home”  which is exactly the theme of this post about a mother’s “heart”.  Here is a beautiful rendition of this, lyrics following, by Emmy Lou Harris. Have a tissue at the ready.

Lyrics:

Those lives were mine to love and cherish.
To guard and guide along life’s way.
Oh God forbid that one should perish.
That one alas should go astray.

Back in the years with all together,
Around the place we’d romp and play.
So lonely now and oft’ times wonder,
Oh will they come back home some day.

I’m lonesome for my precious children,
They live so far away.
Oh may they hear my calling…calling..
and come back home some day.

I gave my all for my dear children,
Their problems still with love I share,
I’d brave life’s storm, defy the tempest
To bring them home from anywhere.

I lived my life my love I gave them,
to guide them through this world of strife,
I hope and pray we’ll live together,
In that great glad here after life.

I’m lonesome for my precious children,
They live so far away.
Oh may they hear my calling…calling.. and come back home some day.

Ship in the window (2)

There is a retreat center I often visit for a quiet afternoon away from the world. It is on an island off of the New England coast, accessible by a narrow one-lane causway and surrounded by almost 360 degrees of ocean view. I love disappearing away from my everyday life of work, tasks and schedule into this Time-Apart sanctuary of stone, wind, sea, and stillness enveloped by the soft symphony of nature which somehow has a deep silence to it.

Enders AprilWalking the grounds I find myself slipping into a kind of altered state of mind…a dream state in which all senses are sharpened and I see with the eyes of the heart as well as the eyes of my body. It is during this time many things that are “hidden in plain sight” are revealed. There are surprises everywhere! And it is for this reason that I am never without a third set of “eyes” – my camera,  to capture what is suddenly revealed during this meditative state of presence and deep-seeing.

The buildings there are made of stone, as is the whole island and I am most intrigued with the main house decorated with multicolored tiles along the edges of roof and the ceilings of porches. Last week as I wandered in search of some new spring beauty to photograph I happened to glance up along the house wall facing the gardens and sea. Up …WAY UP… in a window near one of the roofs…a flash of soft white….

A ship in the window.

Now I suppose it could have been built as a hobby by one who just loves ships and enjoyed crafting a project in down time. After all, this is a retreat center and there is a staff of priestly sorts who teach, counsel, bless, pray and offer hospitality to visitors, in between making jams and jellies to help  support the center’s gift store. Still this is an island and therefore there IS at least on occasion after hours,  down-time.

But maybe there’s more to that ship in the window. 

Making a commitment to a life path…whether it is a religious vocation, a marriage, parenting, being an artist or professional musician or the owner of a business… is a fine and meaningful thing and if done voluntarily with joy and love, can bring deep contentment in spite of the ups and downs of any life over the years. Sometimes  we commit to several of these paths and juggle. But we cannot do it all and fulfilling the responsibilities of any and all of them GROUNDS us and often tends to keep us in a singular place of duty, familiar environments and ROUTINE.

We cannot  do it all ..at least not simultaneously. While following our chosen paths, there are many other paths therefore that are unchosen in real time.

BUT in our imagination and in our dreams we can travel anywhere, do anything, be anything! I suspect that the ship in the window might be a reminder of that, to he or she who would find it pretty much impossible to tend to the wounds and comfort  of those who come to the monastery for refuge….AND while doing that, also be a pirate (allowing for a bit of the dark side) or an adventurer upon the high seas to far away lands and relationships beyond the monastery…(or classroom, kitchen, boardroom, office cubicle).

Perhaps the ship in the window is both an anchor to place AND a reminder of possibilities available to us when and if we come to a fork in the road, when things are finished, when we must let go of the familiar that has begun to drain us rather than feed us, when we find the necessary courage…IF and When…to set sail in a new direction and seek new horizons.

The ship in the window, whether seen from inside the room or outside from way below looking up possibly reminds us that our dreams and visions are always ready for a new journey no matter what our life’s present Path. And a ship …always a symbol for the courage of the Soul’s ability to travel upon the water of the Unconscious towards new realms, possibilities and experiences….

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Photo credits:  Retreat center photos by Christine Phoenix-Green, dark ship on the waters by unknown.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

shawl      Go ahead! Be adventurous! Check out my other blogs:

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Creating a New Vision! What if..............?

When Georgia O’Keefe started to paint her large close-up pictures of the secret and intimate interiors of sensuous flowers, the “established” art community was somewhat taken aback at her independent daring. Breaking away from the pre-conceived norm of what was okay to create as  “art”,  she caused a bit of a stir, not to mention whispered confusion and criticism amongst the “professionals” (authorities?) and her peers in the community of painters. What WAS she doing???  Those close-ups of a kind of  intimacy, evoked strange feelings of discomfort ( mild shock?) peeking into private territories of form that should be portrayed …well… a little more subtly and discreet, if at all.

But what of art? Is it not the eventual  outpouring and manifestation of curiosity,  imagination, risk-taking, and experimentation..a glorified manifestation of PLAY that is always free, inventive, innovative and magical, though technique is necessary as well?  Is it not also the noble duty of art… and THE ARTS… to surprise us,  inspire us, reveal deeper truths, challenge the norm and invoke and evoke new visions of reality and possibilities. especially in stuck, rigid and outworn or faulty perceptions of what is and always has been (” but we ALWAYS have done it THIS way”)

It takes a radical kind of courage to DARE to express different ways of “seeing” and perceiving how “reality” reveals itself to an individual. It takes courage to speak it, paint it , photograph it, dance it, weave into story or blankets, to PLAY with it and put it out there.

Some will take issue and condemn, “oh that’s so silly! There’s no such thing as pink and blue leaves…!” (Remember being cautioned not to color outside of the lines in 2nd grade? A message that has kept many BEHIND the lines all their lives, afraid to express what has been revealed to them).  Others will say “WHOA…I always KNEW those colors were under the green in the worlds beyond this one when the light is just right! Thank YOU! I’m FREE!!!!”

But are there ACTUALLY pink and blue leaves?

In my world there are!..and so are they, or could be,  in the “worlds” of Disney, of Tolkien and  Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings), of George Lucas (Star Wars),  James Cameron  (AVATAR),  and in the worlds and words of bards and storytellers with harps amongst us, artists, dancers, musicians, poets, mystics, theatre people,  and even the techies who design programs that play with light, shadows, colors in computer photo programs.

And guess what? We get to choose (if sane) which world to be in at any one time, moving back and forth as necessary. That is the MAGIC!  You can’t always accurately balance your checkbook in the world of pink and blue leaves.  But you can’t move through blockages in your life in a world devoid of imagination and rigid thought-form of how things should be done: the world of cultural “consensus”.

IMG_8074

Creating a New Vision! What if..............?There ARE two worlds and maybe more. Dare to entertain possibilities! Risk! Discern which world to see from at any one moment.. DARE to express a new Vision for yourself and to the world!

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

(A repost from Sept 3, 2014)

IMG_7728

ps. please check out my cooking blog too: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

(There ARE pink and blue leaves, but we don’t eat them!)

Innermost Kiss

The SOUL is kissed by God in its innermost regions.  With interior yearning, grace and blessing are bestowed. ~ Hildegard of Bingen

I have always loved Hildegarde of Bingen  (1098-1179.  Benedictine Abbess, mystic, herbalist, musician, writer, Visionary) and her vibrant spirituality so radiantly full of earthliness, grounded-ness and sensuality. I have also always been amazed that she was not burned at the stake for her feminine expressions of the sacred in words, phrases and sentences not taken from ecclesiastical writings or scripture, but rather out of the lived experience of nature, earthly life and her personal depths of soul.

How lovely to be “known” so intimately by the Source of Life, which in the language and times of her experience is “God”,  and the Greening Power, Veriditas,  that moistens us spiritually and physically in our incarnation here transforming everything in exquisite beauty.

And how blessed are we to have a friend, lover or companion with whom we are safe enough to unfurl our petals and skirts, emotionally, psychologically and physically to be known, cherished and kissed in the secret heart of our being, allowing for the complete revelation of our own personal blossoming.

We ALL have a secret Center, often hidden from a harsh world. It can be dangerous to be vulnerable for there are those who do not see Beauty, who move at a rapid pace by with eyes focused on other less exquisite things, who trample and violate sacred space on the earth and in the hearts and minds of people.

I think of the wars all around the globe right now, and the violence, bombs, guns, weapons, artillery  and the weapons of mind, thoughts and words that ravage rather than kiss everything in their path. Hildegarde wrote plays complete with music and script for her monastery of nuns to perform, keeping art alive as spiritual expression and nourishment. She once said of the assigned characters in her play that the role of the devil was spoken, not sung because “The Devil is the only one who does not/cannot sing”  For Hildegarde,  beauty, art and music were like the “Kiss of God in our innermost regions” eliciting and calling forth Beauty and Wholeness in all things.

Those who kill, maim, and move forth in political, fundamentalist or sectarian violence in the wars everywhere with “toys” of destruction have NO MUSIC in them, cannot sing or dance and have no opening within themselves to the innermost region of Beauty where they may be kissed and moistened into connectedness and the preservation of precious Life. It is sad for us, and it is sad for them to be so devoid of true openness to the exquisite Sacred known by the mystics and poets.

These are challenging times. We choose to allow ourselves to be kissed in our innermost regions by Beauty which requires vulnerability and the moist Greening Power of Possibilities. As Hildegarde suggests, the YEARNING for Beauty and Harmony is necessary for the blessings of Peace to be restored and renewed.

May it be so.  (Originally published 9/9/2014)

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

*** This site is Food for the Soul.

For Food for the Body and Cooking Memoirs you are invited to visit my cooking blog  http://sensuoussoupsandsupper.wordpress.com

For reflections on the importance of and Memoirs on teaching music please check my blog  http://pianomistress.wordpress.com


                                                      

River Run                                                Credits: All photos by Christine Phoenix Green

This past spring, while out on a walk on the bike path that cuts through our little town and swings around the back of the buildings, a friend and I suddenly became aware of the roar of rushing water as we approached the usually silent little river that goes under the road and eventually and probably out to sea.

NOT that day! Spring melt after a snowy winter had swollen the waterways and the waters rushed and tumbled over the boulders and rocks like a miniature Niagara Falls. LOUDLY and furiously rushing towards ocean waters, it was no longer a stream for dipping your toes in. It looked wild and it looked dangerous.Alewife Run 3

There were many curious bystanders along the banks of the river and leaning over the railings of the bridge across the waters. But IN and over the waters there were people of generous and heroic action. It was the yearly alewives run, when the little silver fish come in from the big waters to swim upriver to their breeding grounds. For new life,for the dream..for the next generation to continue. But to get there, they must have a focus and a target and they must go against the current, a most arduous journey. If the river is gentle and flows freely without too many obstacles in the path, the fish can get there in record time. But many times it is not an easy journey, with more than one uphill battle as they attempt to fulfill their destiny, alewife style. They can get tired, they can turn around and go back , they could die…OR…..or they can attempt to jump the hurdle. Some can. Many can’t.

Humans are so surprising in their gift of and capability for compassion and support of each other and  the world around them. During these several days of the alewive run, graduate students and their professors from the Marine Fisheries Department at the University came to the river to assist in the urgent and difficult journey of these tiny fish to get where their destiny lay…UP! and OVER! the rapids.Alewife Run 2 Standing in swift, deep and rushing waters on slippery rocks is dangerous and requires balance and clear thinking and a team of companions who can watch out for each other’s safety as well as that of the fish.

But then there was  the one who was the most courageous of all, literally going out on a limb..requiring the  most steady balance and focus of all…that young (athletic) woman seated on a thin wooden rail right over the raging falls, long-handled net dipping into and out of the water, scooping up whole communities of wiggling determined fishlings, and swinging it over her shoulder to the other side of the falls  where they were shaken free to rush towards wherever nature’s compelling urge for new life was pulling them.River Run It was difficult work and amazing to watch that young lady up to the task, tirelessly and gently but firmly tossing that net back over herself over and over and over again.

In a way, watching the whole team working together was like watching a symphony of compassion, courage and grace, all against the passionate music of raging water. WE CAN’T DO IT ALONE!

LIFE! …..moving through it towards our Destiny, not to mention just getting through our days sometimes staying hopeful, staying on task, staying ALIVE till we get “there”…whatever out “There” it is that matters for us personally and makes us whole and a unique and creative part of the Community. Sometimes we rescue, and sometimes we are rescued. Both take Risk, require going out on a limb or swimming upstream when what we have to do goes against the tide of cultural myths of what has value or meaning.

We ask and pray for the COURAGE to face the challenges and boulders in our paths, we ask that the path and the flow take us where we need to go, we give blessings and thanks for those who lovingly assist us in our efforts and trials and cheer for our succeses,  and we generously give back when we can, to keep all in nature and in ourselves in harmony and balance.

May it be so.

Alewives and the Great Journey

Alewives and the Great Journey

******As I wrote this essay the music of composer Jarrod Radnich inspired me on…headphones on, this Carol written in very creative and HEROIC style, helped me tell this story of a task filled with courage, generosity and strength.  Please click and use this music when you need to be brave yourself and reach for a big goal…(or even a smaller one that’s still difficult) YOU CAN GET OVER THE FALLS! YOU REALLY CAN!  ***  Headphones or good speakers are necessary to use this music as therapy or serious support.

(http://www.reverbnation.com/jarrodradnich/song/10186595-czech-drumming-carol-little-drummer

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Highlighting:

Jarrod R 2I always listen to particular selections of music when writing, for inspiration. This post was inspired by the music of  the gifted  Cultural Creative/composer,/piano virtuoso/symphonic conductor and music educator  Jarrod Radnich (youtube/Pirates of the Caribbean, Theme from Harry Potter, and more) and this heroic arrangement of “The Czech Drumming Carol”.  Jarrod composes music for film as well so I hope if he knew, he wouldn’t mind my imaginatively using this song and its courageus sound as inspiration for writing about the Big Run of the Alewives…

***If you are hungry after reading this entry, please check out my food blog : http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/tasty-tuscan-kale-and-potato-supper/:

***Music is LIFE! Please check out evolving music/piano blog: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 *** It’s important to have the right attitude in life for your dreams to manifest…check out some hints on the Law of Attraction on my Lunch and Learn Seminars blog: http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/what-about-the-art-of-allowinglaw-of-attraction/

 

Grumpy Rock

NOTE: Amongst my FB friends, we have been talking about seeing faces in the trees and in nature. I thought it would be fun to repost this… the nature spirits are all around us!

Mr. Grumpy Rock:

It’s probably because I have Cancer Rising and a Pisces Moon, that I have quite an imagination and a  highly intuitive sense that allows me to peek into the “invisible” world that co-exists right alongside the material one. I “read” faces of people, imagining their personalities and hear the “music” (major or minor key?) in people’s voices,sensing their mood,  and I “see” distinct personalities in nature as well. Driving past a stand of trees, I can see the ones that are family groups, or lovers, or free spirits within their arboreal community. I see shapes in clouds that reveal a story, and  I have experienced looking down at reflections in pools of water that tell me what is happening up in the sky.

Today while driving out of our little lively local library, someone was coming in at the same time. Our windows lined up for a brief moment as we passed each other going in opposite directions and we were in direct visual contact for a mili-second. What I saw was a face that was very very crabby if not downright angry..not sad, not worried, not flat…but quite unpleasant and cross, and I thought..”my word, I don’t think she would be pleasant to interact with just now..”(or maybe ever). She reminded me exactly of a woodland entity I met while on one of my nature walks at a nearby preserve. She reminded me of ….Mr. Grumpy Rock.

One of our seaside nature preserves is an old forest, with immense rocks, boulders and deep pits  hewn out of the earth during glacial events..a very interesting territory with narrow paths, knobby exposed tree roots,  overhanging canopy and lichen-covered boulders of various sizes and shapes. I love the variety of plants found here..sassafras, sweet fern, yarrows, goldenrod, St. Johnswort, red sumac and other herbal treasures. Oak dominates, but the forest is host to many other species of trees and entering its sanctuary is like entering another time and place in history when coming off of the mainstream road of the present. There are many paths that wind and meander and one always has to IMG_4002eventually make a choice to stay on the path or move to the side and investigate a bog.

On one particular walk, when the leaves had fallen and the trees were unclothed and courageous to the elements of the sleeping season, I followed a bend in the road that was lined with a community of large rocks and boulders along one side. I always have my camera with me..always..for who knows when something extraordinary  or of exceptional beauty will be revealed without warning and I serve to capture it for the purpose of remembering.

And so I started down this new path bordered by these large boulders and was suddenly startled by a most definite scowl..the face of a very disgruntled rock who I think was also grumbling and mumbling to himself as I passed by. Not that he was aware of me, actually.. he was really just too into his own story, and centuries of discontent had etched itself permanently upon his face. He wasn’t sad. He wasn’t suffering that I could see, but he was just one of those types who by temperment, was just plain crabby. And the older he got, without a change of attitude..the bigger and wider his scowl became.

Well now. Isn’t that just the way it can be with us humans who, without paying attention to how we habitually think and talk,  can also have that tape of kvetches, complaints, discontents and resentments playing over and over in our minds on an unconscious level, tempering the music of our voices and creating the shape of our facial expression. One of my Aunties used to tell me when I was growing up and grumpy and out of sorts that if I kept looking like that, it might freeze that way on my face permanently..a really harsh destiny, self-inflicted. Nobody in the forest dared to mention that to Mr. Grumpy Rock..but it was obvious that he was not having fun. Is it fate? Or is it at some level a choice to be in a snit, perturbed, irritated on a regular basis, argumentative, and witholding of good will and gratitude for what IS working well, even amidst the challenges, upheavals and seasons of life?

So I go back to the brief eye-to-eye encounter I had with a passing human today, in which I was reminded of Mr. Grumpy Rock. Perhaps it was just a momentary pique on her face, worthy of compassion..but inviting a cautious wide berth just in case. Perhaps it was an expression worn daily and perpetually, frozen there in a particular stance in life..certainly an uncomfortable destiny.

For me..I hope what gets etched into my own face are crinkles of laughter around my eyes, and lines of welcoming smiles turning upward around my mouth. It’s not all perfect and it’s not always easy. But the “lines” on our visage actually have their origin somewhere deeper and closer to the heart, where the real stories are. And then we decide..

As an addendum to this story, I also met a neighbor of Mr. Grumpy Rock. His next-door neighbor Grumpy Rock Sleepyactually. He’s been listening to Mr. Grumpy’s Rock’s  low grumblings, and complaints for many years now. And he just closes his eyes and tunes out..his name is “Sleepy”. He’s very old, patient and tolerant. Good friends are like that.

***Recently one of my little grandsons was having a crabby time and you know the grumpy face…lower lip out, frowning line..grumpy pout. I told him that if the Face Fairies saw that look and decided to freeze his face, he might look like that forever…. he looked at me uncertainly like “is she maybe right?” and we smoothed out to something more pleasant. I know he won’t forget that because little kids are still in the half-realm of magic at his age (pre-k)

Keep the eyes of your imagination and heart open!

from Christine, the Greening Spirit

woodsme

***Need a Quickie? Check my Simply Sensuous Sweet Potato Supper/Snack on my foodie blog:   http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/a-quickie-simply-sensuous-sweet-potato-supper/

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Tree cry

“Tree Spirits 2015″ Yes, I am one of those people (and small children) who see faces in Nature..in the trees, the rocks and boulders, the plants. Directly outside my kitchen window and across the yard at the edge of the wood, this tree in the center looks back at me daily. Several years ago, I noticed that he was grimacing in discomfort if not pain…at least that is what I saw in his “face” etched in the wood every time I looked his way. That summer, I noticed that there were dead limbs, leafless way up at the tips of his branches and I wondered if I was seeing something about the state of health…true to my intuition as several years have gone by, he and a whole line of his tree brethren all along the border of the wood, and past the neighbors border as well have become ill and died out. When I look out each day, I still see his communication of passing…perhaps an illness way down in the roots connecting to all his kin. All passings make me sad…..and it makes me sad to think there was pain in this process for him and the rest of these trees….

A memoir from Christine

Hilde

You are invited to visit my other blogs here on WordPress!

For cooking and kitchen memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

For the power of words and positive life experiences: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

IMG_0798 (2).jpg Sage in Snow

photo credits ~ Christine Phoenix Green

(Repost from 2010)

Here in the Northeast USA, it is during the months following the Solstice that we experience Winter’s force and power although each day we gain a few minutes of light, moving towards Spring.

It was the depth of darkness and cold that first drew us into stark awareness of the season of stillness in late Autumn, but we had the holidays to look forward to as diversion as well as celebration, giving us respite from the primal posture of Nature’s cold season and its relentless demands upon us.

Now it is REALLY time to be still and to lie fallow…at least if you are a seed in the earth, asleep,  but in deep dreaming about the life that will emerge and blossom into magnificent manifestation in a few months time.

We (and perhaps the seed also tho I doubt it) no longer of agrarian bent culturally, have such a hard time being still and fully entering the slower time of waiting, dreaming and deep listening that is offered to us this season…so used to busy-ness,  activity and artificial light that tricks us out of the reality of our Creature-hood!

So perhaps Mother Nature speaks to us, as well as the Earth, when she sends a  fierce blanketing of whirling snow over all movement and noise, save the commanding Voice of a howling wind to send us deep into our caves by candlelight. To be warm. To be safe. To germinate into our newness at the right moment, which is not exactly now, yet.

M and M upstairs windowWe are humbled by such fierce, stark and powerful weather when there are no colors but grey, brown,  black and white. About a day or two or three are all we can take without losing hope, and feeling drained, and in captivity to the cold, especially if we cannot shovel out and start the car!

But, after the fury-the calm, the light, the blue colour of sky  returns upon the accomplished blanketing and we finally surrender into winter because of it. We crunch, booted, upon ice and snow dotted with twigs and broken tree branches as we move more carefully going about our busy lives, accepting this new season and perhaps even blessing its stark beauty. For the moment, we forget that there is something new coming in soon…

Piano students come and go during the week in my little cottage and the fierce storm of this past week interrupted that rhythm. When the storm passed and a semi-safe path was shoveled to allow entry,  I still accompanied my students, many who are adventurous Elders, out to their cars to insure their safety,  and then dashing in quickly out of the bitter cold, to the warmth of my studio.

And as I dashed up the snowy path , lost in thought over the next appointment, a small flash of greening caught my eye, low underfoot almost once past it. What was that? Retracing my steps, there it was flat in the snow…one clear, spring green Sage leaf lying peacefully where it had landed, probably snatched from the mother plant during the fierce blizzard winds, whirled about and then coming to rest, undamaged in this patch of white.

There it was , fuzzy and fat-veined in a pattern repeated in nature like the upwards branches of a tree or the downwards roots of the same, or the branches within the human lung, which mirror back again, the tree. What a wondrous precious thing to see, like a magical message from Summer past, or Summer Becoming…A gift from the Earth lying there to be seen hopefully by one such as myself who needed to be reminded of the ever present, ever faithful Cycle of Life-Death-Life over and over again, and my place within that awesome Wonder.

Sage in snow. A teaching every day, every day…..  (Bundle up!)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Moi hat 2 My other blogs:

Cooking for Pleasure and Comfort- http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

The Power of Words and Intention- http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Piano teaching hints, memoirs and beautiful music- http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 

 

Picasa Ice 4 (3)

Yesterday I directed a retreat in which the morning topic was “The Miracle of the Four Elements”. We pondered each element separately, Earth, Air, Fire and Water,  considering its reality, its manifestations, its metaphors and the wonder of its part in the whole of Life.

This morning, realizing I had run out of half and half for my “wake-up” coffee, I reluctantly changed from comfy nightgown to daywear so I could go across the highway to buy it. I was, however, not able to leave immediately as after yesterday’s day of heavy rain and last night’s freeze, my car was covered with ice.

What to do in life when thwarted? My answer usually is “Make Art!”

Inside to grab the camera, and back outside to photograph the ice patterns on the auto before the car started to defrost!

The wonders and Miracles are all around us if we open our eyes!

Picasa Ice 2 (2)

One of the MIRACLES of the element Water that was overlooked in our musings yesterday was that water is a shape-shifter! We talked about the oceans and tears and the symbol for the deep Unconscious in dreams.. How could we have not mentioned water turning into ICE and these magnificent ice crystal patterns!

It is true that there is never a moment when beauty and the imagination is absent. There are natural wonders around us at all times, often missed but captured when the eyes of our hearts are open. Poets, mystics, artists, writers, children and elders are often the ones who become seers (deep- see-ers), moving through life attuned to the magic..

For the wonders and miracle of the Element of WATER… we are enchanted!

Picasa Ice Blue

Note:  these pictures of ice on my car were turned into art with help from the editing programs of Windows and Picasa. (Doing on the computer what used to be done in the darkroom. That’s a miracle too!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise  There are more wonders on my other blogs

The wonder of good food and kitchen memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

The wonder of music and piano:  http://pianomisyress.wordpress.com

The wonder of intentional words: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

Mugwort

Mugwort

In the previous Herbal Love 1 essay “Finding My Plant Spirit Guide”  I spoke of MUGWORT and how it seems to have come to me many years ago, planting itself right outside my bedroom window next to the exact wall outside, where I sleep and DREAM inside. In fact, I do dream most vividly and for thirty years have led and participated in a circle of dreamers who gather regularly to share our dreams and our life stories. Combined with my herbal studies, I have learned of the ancient connections between dreams and the knowledge passed on to indigenous healers from the plants themselves through the vehicle of the dreams.

Over and over again in interviews with shamans and healers in various cultures, the “Dream” is mentioned as a source of the wisdom and knowing about certain plants to use for those needing care, healing and balance. In his wonderful book “Sacred Plant Medicine”,  Stephen Harrod Buhner writes ” While many indigenous cultures value and use empirical knowledge about medicine passed down from generation to generation, they typically attribute their most effective healing knowledge to visions or dreams of the plant spirit or other helpers. (p. 25). He continues: “..it was hard to overlook the detailed knowledge the Indians had of their plant world……As native peoples were questioned more closely about their plant medicines, the uniformly replied that the source of their knowledge came from dreams or visions or that the plant had told them its medicinal use.” (p. 27).

As I pondered these writings, I wondered what plant I should choose who might talk to me as a friend and helper as I love so many of them and have grown so many of the wonderful herbs in my garden, teaching others of them and how to use them. But then, I thought about Mugwort…so much of it under my bedroom window and that it is an herb associated with dreams and the visions and deep-seeing of the third eye of intuition and I laughed out loud ..no need to go “looking” for a plant ally…there was one in profusion right outside my dreaming space throughout all seasons! How incredibly obvious! And I never personally planted it there…it came of its own accord!

Mugwort, mugwort…the premier herb to mix with lavender for the famous Dream Pillows we all make in our herbal internships as a special fragrant project, sometimes inserting rose petals for love, or a tinysmooth crystal for deeper insight. Mugwort essential oil anointing the third-eye space of the forehead to enhance visions and intuition. Mugwort used in teas for young women to regulate menses…the moontime…as mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) is ruled by the moon. Mugwort, made into a tea for rituals around the dark or full moon…Mugwort, made into a tea for the dreamers refreshment in our workshops or a stronger brew before sleeping to stimulate new dreams. In Pam Montgomery’s book “Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working with Plant Consciousnesness”, she writes of Artemis, Goddess of the Moon and ruler of Mugwort: As the Moon Goddess she embodies the magic of the dreamtime and imparts to mugwort the ability to easily enter daydreams, night dreams and journey dreams, just as easily with insight, clarity and deep knowing” (p.183)

 

The Dreamer (Artist unknown)

The Dreamer (Artist unknown)

 

We live in times that desperately need new vision, deeper insight and sparkling clarity to face the challenges of our personal, cultural and ecological lives. For those who are natural dreamers (The Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio peoples) and those who wish to pay more attention to the wisdoms of the dreamtime that are available to those who pay attention, Mugwort can be a wonderful ally and guide.

The recipe below for Dreamer’s Tea is shared with you as I share in the sacred wisdom circles that I am part of. The recipe is not carved in stone..you may add more or less as you are inspired.

Dreamer’s Tea (dried herbs)

2 parts mugwort

1 part rose petals

1 part spearmint leaves or to taste (mugwort is a little bitter)

1/2 or less lavender for relaxation and spiritual uplift (optional)    OR  1/2 or less dried rosemary for dream recall (optional)

 

When I make my infusions (tea) I do not have a specific amount of dried tea per cup of water as it depends on taste and purpose. As a “social tea” in working wisdom circles like our “Dreams/Peer Mentoring Retreats” I make a lighter brew for the spirit of the day (perhaps a well rounded teaspoon of dried tea per cup, and a short steeping time). For a before bedtime infusion to stimulate dreams and dream recall, I brew it stronger…perhaps a tablespoon dried herb mix per cup and steep it longer, adjusting or adding more water to taste I love my teas with organic locally harvested HONEY to taste as well.

May you be blessed by Mugwort and your Dreams and Visions tonight!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

shawl  To inspire your dreams and visions for a creative life, good food and beautiful music, please visit my other blogs!

For delicious comfort food and kitchen memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.com (generous use of culinary herbs!)

For beautiful music inspiration, piano and music memoirs: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

For the power of manifestation and good words: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mugwort and clover

MUGWORT, Clover and Milkweed in my summer garden

 

Winter has finally arrived on the coast of New England and it is COLD and dark in the very early evening and later morning….time to go into my library of beloved books and select several favorites long-shelved and read years ago. The surprise is that they all seem new in the re-read although they are underlined by my own hand with personal notes in the margins from the past. What’s true is that I am new, as it always should be if one is an ever-greening spirit in life as we move along through the years, now receiving their beautiful wisdom once again at a deeper level in the re-read with greater understanding and application.

I have been re-reading several books about communing with the plant world, trees and herbs from the perspective and practice of plant SPIRIT medicine and guidance which is different from the herbal books on how to make medicines, tinctures, teas. This is about real and actual communication and conversation with the spirits of the plants who are willing to interact with us as our teachers, mentors, guides, helpers and healers if we are respectful and honoring of them and such possibilities. Several of these books are Eliot Cowan’s “Plant Spirit Medicine”, Stephen Harrod Buhner’s “Sacred Plant Medicine” and EliotPam Montgomery’s “Plant Spirit Healing”, all teachers whom I have sat in front of at various herbal conferences in the past.

What I realize is that I have always been talking and listening to the plants..and especiallythe herbs…in my garden, taking it for granted and ascribing it to the fact that I have a rich and fertile imagination. But what I realize is that communication has been going on between me and the plants for a long time and now I want to listen in a new way and to find out who my plant spirit helpers are..Plant Spirit

I thought about this for quite a few days here in the onset of winter when many of the outside herbs have buried themselves deep under the leaves and soil to rest, so I can’t go out and have that conversation in person right now, today. But as I was going through older posts here on the Greening Spirit, I came across a post or two about herbal workshops that I facilitated several years ago and one of the herbs that kept coming up in my consciousness and fondness is MUGWORT.  Mugwort… magical third-eye visionary dreamer’s herb of young fertile women, and older wise-women. Mugwort, that grows in vibrant profusion outside under my bedroom window, where my head is near that wall in the bed inside where I nightly deep-dream, the source of inspiration for our Dreams/Peer Mentoring Retreats and my writings. And I did not plant mugwort there. It came of its own accord to that very spot. It knew who was sleeping on the other side of that wall!

I have more to say of Mugwort…but for now I re-post the story below from when I was preparing to teach an herbal workshop several years ago..placing myself mindfully in the middle of that mugwort patch to receive inspiration. Apparently we have been talking for a very long time… but now our relationship is about to get a whole lot more serious…  lifelong partners?

Magical, Medicinal MUGWORT!  ( a post from 2009)

In any garden, the early morning is a magical and misty time. Especially if you live by the sea, the morning often emerges slowly from a mysterious and echo-y blanket of fog, under which the sounds of birds drift in and out as if from a far and distant land, even though they are just in the woods behind the garden.

In special preparation for the June 7th “ Your Magical Garden” class, I have been sitting with the Wild Weeds throughout the day and especially in the early primeval hours just before the Sun breaks through to burn off the mists. With notebook and portable chair, I have been sitting in the middle of the Mugwort patch, at the edges of the Stinging Nettles  under the budding white pine tree, side-by-side with the renegade blackberry vines, in front of the yellow dock, meadowsweet and elecampane, over the dandelions, and near the wild lettuce and baby poke, waiting in silence and stillness for them to “speak” to me as to why they are there, especially in MY yard, and what they want to communicate. And, trust me…they DO.

MUGWORT this year is especially vibrant…and unless you are a Wild Weed yourself, or a Greening Spirit..you might be one of those Muggles (NO relation to the plant!) who think that you better call Chem-Lawn to help clean up the edges of your lawn. NO! NO!

Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) is a wonderfully magical and medicinal herb that has come to the aid of those of us who need a digestive remedy, or to help with a woman’s monthly cycle, or as an ally to stimulate your dreams and intuition (and much more). Tho this herb provides nourishing help to both men and women, it is one of the “magical” herbs for the especially powerful “deep seeing” gifts of the elder woman, who often recognizes what is amiss within the family, the tribe, or the society and is called to speak in behalf of balance and right relationship. For that “straight talk,” stimulated by the visions and dreams unlocked by this magical plant, the assistance of Stinging Nettle, which stands tall and commands respect if you do not treat her respectfully, can give courage to voice….but, that is another story..to be shared in another post, forthcoming (or at the workshop..)”

***NOTE!  Check in a day or two for Part 2 to this essay: More on the place of “Dreams” in the world of Plant Spirit Medicine and a Dreamer’s Tea recipe!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

woodsme

   There is much magic in life! Check my other blogs!

  For the magic of positive words for a happy life: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

For the magic of music and playing piano: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

For the magic of good eating! : http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Bamboo Forest

 

It is a tradition in our family to take a walk in nature together when they come back to visit on the holidays. Sometimes by the sea, often in the woods of oak, beech or birch on winding trails with fallen logs and lichen covered boulders along the sides of the path, we  being refreshed and inspired by the wildness of the earth.

This time we visited a local compound of unusual shops that has always been a strange and unique place here tucked away on a small side road in our little New England coastal community. Oddly called “The Umbrella Factory” it is reminiscent of the funky artsy shoppes and culture of the hippy 60’s with an amazing garden and garden center, falling down barns, wandering peacocks, ducks and guinea hens, fenced-in pens with sheep, and  large rumbling ostrich-like birds.

The vegetation, though cared-for and apparently tended, still has a witchy-wild draping of massive tangled vines and strange plants that radiate an energy of mischief and …well….the unexpected as if unseen forces are watching US!

In the back of the property is a huge stand of bamboo…so thick, deep and wide  that it is indeed a forest…and a path has been cut through it now which is too tempting to NOT walk into and through the growth to see where it leads and eventually ends up.

Walk

It is dark in there. And the canopy so thick that there is no sky, but rather an enormously high vault of  bamboo poles and green leafy ceiling.  Indeed it feels as if one has entered into a mysterious cave with no way out but THROUGH or going back the way you came in. There are a number of false paths on the sides that lead nowhere so following the straight cleared path ahead is wise.

Bamboo is a whole other kind of plant… hard, hollow, and segmented,  it has an ancient and prehistoric feel to it by touch and sight.. I can almost imagine dinosaurs crushing their way through such a forest. Even though it absolutely tempts one to cut a stalk down and make a flute for music, it voluntarily makes the music of percussion on its own in heavy wind, or clacking if one walks through the woods hitting the large pillars with a stick while moving through. It is, in its segmented growth, a perhaps very distant relative (at least in  ancient spirit) to the tiny segmented horsetail plant that grows low to the ground and which we love to pull apart gently and obsessively, separating each level of growth.

(Above: Horsetail)

The Bamboo Plant has captured my imagination!

Tonight I prepare dinner and in taking out my green-to-eat IMG_8864 - Copyvegetable…asparagus…I  think also that this plant seems very ancient as well and looks like a little bamboo too, tho I hardly imagine making a flute out of it!

 

The Bamboo Forest here in New England at the Umbrella Factory is a very strange forest and a nearby adventure to enchant (or unsettle) children and adults with fairy-tale imaginations…a different kind of woods walk for sure!

My son-in-law finds his way back out to where we entered:

IMG_8846

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

portal 5Please visit my other blogs for walking through other part of life!

For Music, Piano and Memoirs: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

For comfort food and cooking memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

For positive thinking and speaking for a satisfying life: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Night sky

It is a Holy Night. It is a night of especially Sacred Mystery. It is Solstice, Dec 21, 2014 , the official first day of Winter..the frozen fallow season in the Northern Hemisphere… and the night when the earth is tilted on its axis farthest away from the sun while rotating and whirling in its orbit without spinning off wildly into the even darker void.

And to add to the power and mystery of this evening, a new moon is emerging from its three days of hidden solitude and into the darkest night of the year at the same time, inviting us twice to ponder the eventual returning Light of both SUN and MOON and what they each symbolize for our lives. This unusual occurrence is a metaphor, if not a sacred omen,  portending the possibility of  the healing of darkness in people and cultures at war and unrest with grief and suffering,

There is an even deeper message with the emergent new moon on this night for the much needed Divine Feminine to make Herself fully present to us as we go forth into the new year when the old Patriarchal systems are breaking down all around us and around the planet, surrounding us with chaos and confusion.

 

SolsticeThe Divine Fire/Sun of the sacred masculine gifts of fertility and guardianship merging with the Divine Lunar Feminine gifts of Nurturing and 1510562_613984021984137_1944865603_nProtection is more possible ….and necessary at this time of history. His-story plus Her-story = Our-story.

 

 

 

And so, now is a feast of the Cosmos,  and of the indigenous earth-centered or Pagan Path of Sacred Mystery on this Solstice/SOULstice night. THIS holy time calls us to look deeper into the symbols and metaphors of what the Dark, the Light, the ever-faithful; seasonal cycles , the cold, the wind, the ice,  and the  powerful forces of Nature have to teach us about our proper place in Creation. This night is about our Creaturehood, our vulnerability, our humility, as well as our magnificence since we too are made of star-stuff and the Flame of Life that animates us while we are here. We are Sun, Star, Moon, Water, Flesh, Fire and Air. 

Tonight, it is good to step outside into the cold and dark and gaze up into the sky, listening to the silent sleeping of nature, and the winds moving through the bare branches. It is then time to go back inside and light a candle, symbolic of fire’s power to bring us warmth, joy, passion, and Life.

Solstice/SOULstice…and many blessings upon us all!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

christine_phoenix_green ** Note: Artwork credits: unknown

 

Capricorn Tree

Oh the gifts we give and get throughout the holiday season!  Sometimes they truly fulfill a desire, sometimes they elicit that weird smile that accompanies the phrase…” uh, gee…thankssssssss..uh…so much?”  and the confused inner question (“what were they thinking????). Holidays require a sense of humor!

As a piano/music teacher for over 30 years, I have received my share of musical Christmas ornaments for the tree, mugs with the musical staff imprinted on the sides, curvy black and white keyboard flower vases  and treble clef earrings. All gifts from appreciative students and their thoughtful parents accepted with grace and gratitude.

Not all gifts from family who are not with each other for most of the year are deeply personal although the gifting itself is sweet … another pair of fuzzy socks, a gift card to the supermarket, or a stick-on-the-wall light that comes on with a mere tap so you don’t fall down the cellar stairs.

But sometimes, there is a very special gift that is deeply personal, coming from the heart and hands of the giver and sent on purpose with love and directly to the heart of the receiver.

In my daughter M’s last year at an away-college, she would spend her evenings with her boyfriend who was a landscape architect major at the “studio” where the students worked on their design projects for the semester. A large long room for setting out displays and installations was the place for creativity.

Somewhere over the years I had waxed poetic over the little artsy crafted trees in specialty gift stores…some with leaves of jade,  some with bare branches. And “M” had that memory tucked away on file in her “about Mom” data bank.

That holiday season I received one of the best gifts of all time:  a  hand-made wire solstice tree on a base of slate. M had crafted this over the course of that semester in the evenings at the landscape architecture studio…long 10 foot length pieces of the thinnest wire, twisted and wrapped with care into this little tree, it being naked and bare in the winds of winter, branches blown sideways into the elements. No craft kit, no instructions to follow… a creation from herself, a gifted crafter who loves to figure these kinds of things out as a puzzle. The tree was fixed into the base of slate with the help of her boyfriend’s father, a dentist who had some other tools and crafty ideas himself.

My surprise and delight was just what she had envisioned…! What a gift!

Each year this tree comes out onto my piano in December, with a red tinsel garland around the base and the single tiny red bulb hung in its center..so vulnerable, so simple and so ready to be present first to December and the dark and cold, then to the Solstice with that tiny ball of red..a berry of aliveness when everything is asleep underground, and finally as a reminder to keep the true spirit of Christmas by being still and present through simplicity and love.

Twenty years have gone by since I received this treasure…and today, on my daughter’s birthday…I send her a  BIG hug and another THANK YOU for this little wire Solstice Tree… and for her own beautiful self who was our Christmas gift the year she “arrived”.  Happy Birthday, Dearie, with love!

From Christine (Mom), The Greening Spirit

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Me and M on her FIRST day of school (kindergarten) sooooo long ago!

 

 

 

 

 

Burnt Siena

The new box of crayons! Flipping open the top of that collection of 64 colors was always such an exciting deal, as a child, as a mother and as a grandmother watching the eyes of youngsters light up with the dazzling vibrant possibilities.

The Crayola Crayons have been replaced by other forms of coloring tools…pencils, gel pens, markers fine-tipped or thick, with or without sparkles. But none of these offer the variety of hues as that box of crayons.

My favorite crayon was always the Burnt Sienna…and is still. In nature, where there are Autumn oaks, there are lighter and darker shades of this color when the season changes from summer to deep fall…I seek it out amongst this seasons colors that will soon be a limited palette of black, grey, brown and white. A combination of brown/pink/salmon all mixed together, create in Burnt Sienna a warmth and comfort that I find irresistible.

The Celtic Catholic Priest (Druid?) once said that we need to have new names and concept for “God”. He called God the Great Artist.

Works for me.

Thanks for the brushstrokes of Burnt Sienna this season.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

 My other colorful blogs:

Comfort food!  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Music! http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

Words and Thoughts Magic!  http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

 

woodswild

I’m not sure what it is about autumn that evokes such a feeling of tenderness in me towards the little leaves that carpet the landscape, and the broken lichen-covered tree limbs that lay nestled in the colorful piles upon the forest floor. They are all “passing”  now to eventually dissolve back into the earth, but during that process, they are still teaming with life as food and nourishment for other living forms. If one could capture a visual of the enzymatic activity on film, it would all dazzle and sparkle in the breakdown and constant release of life energy.

They don’t go out without sensual beauty..the colors, the shapes, the crackling of dryness underfoot when  trod upon, the scent of the turning…pungent and earthy… I love them in their bold fragility, my heart full of compassion for the generosity of their being. I want to keep them forever, though I understand that that is not the way of life or the purpose of this season…

IMG_8731Back home, I bring the essence of Nature from this walk into my very self with a steaming cup of Lavender Tulsi Tea, lightly sweetened with locally tapped maple syrup. It’s as close and personal as I can get to holy communion with the energies of the Autumn Woods…

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

woodsmeMy other blogs:

Music and Music Memoirs: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

Comfort Food and Cooking Memoris: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Word Magic/Positive Life Experiences: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

woods deep colors

Kettle Pond Sanctuary, Charlestown RI.

Maybe it is because I am a Taurus earth sign with a Cancer rising water sign that the woods and the sea have always been magical places for me . When the world of civilization and complexities of daily life as a child and as an adult became and become overwhelming, these two places in nature have always been sanctuary for sorting out and regaining equilibrium.

As a child growing up in an inner city in New York state, concrete buildings and sidewalks did not allow much greenery except for the parks which we frequented on Sundays or holidays, and the wild weed plant life along the edges of parking lots or between apartment buildings. Later, moving upstate to more rural countryside, the GREEN of farmlands and un-fussed over lawns was everywhere,  and for a city kid…this was pure heaven. I remember the day we moved into our first home  (instead of an apartment) in our new town. My brother age 8, and I, age 11 rolled and frolicked with delight in the soft lush grass in our first REAL backyard. We could hardly believe that we had our very own expanse of GREEN!

Upstate, there were also many areas all around us that were semi-wooded..trees, ferns, ponds, bushes, little streams of running water with frogs in them even! On the property of a small estate bordering our  middle class neighborhood, I discovered a discreet earthen  path that led into a deeply wooded area with a rushing babbling brook winding its way through the hidden grove of standing and fallen trees and plant life. In this grove was a little naturally cleared circle in which one could comfortable sit, unseen by civilization. Often I would disappear into those woods for comfort, centering and a state of what I can only call childhood prayer. I think of those days with longing, and with the memory that those were  the days when a child could safely disappear into the woods without fear of being kidnapped or harmed, and also the days when children could DO something like that or WANT TO do something like that instead of learning about the world by googling the word “nature” or playing virtual games with pictures of the woods on a computer. My grandchildren do not have the opportunity these days to  safely disappear and “get lost” in those hidden places free from adult supervision, commercialism and “virtual reality”.

I still seek out these hidden woods and forests for centering, balance, perspective, inner  peace, prayer and INTERFACE with the magical energies and spirits of the natural wildness. Mostly at nature preserves with trails…and always with a camera. There is so much going on in these places…shapes, colors, textures, qualities of light and shadow, the ongoing dramatic interplay of life and death..things growing, things breaking down in an exquisite economy in which nothing is wasted.

These places, for me, are where I go when I need to just leave the madness of the world’s confusion, contradiction and insanity… to withdraw mentally and physically,  and metaphorically  “get lost” in the holy and magical sanctuary of the woods, which in itself is a beautiful and sacred text of wisdom,  if one knows how to read it!

woods connection FB

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

woodsme

There are many places to find wisdom! Check my other blogs!

For music and music memoirs: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

For delicious comfort food: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

For positive attitude and life experience: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Portal

 

As photographers, we are always looking “deeply” into the world around us…horizons wide or far, vast skies or scenarios, closeups of the inner realms of flowers or the true stories behind the faces of people, colors that enchant, shapes and angles that tease the eye, shadows and the play of light that alternatively cloak and reveal mysteries hidden in plain sight.

I have a call to capturing and photographing “windows and doorways” leading to hidden realms and territories that may be home to otherworldly treasures, or at least to deeper meanings of life beyond superficiality and speed. Therefore, I am always “cropping” to get closer to my subjects or to frame a portal in order to accept the invitation to step out of ordinary consciousness and into the territory of “Dream”.

When one of my daughters saw this picture, she asked what is that shape in the center of the picture in the woods beyond the portal.  Is it a tombstone? Or maybe a small boulder? Or better yet…ANOTHER doorway to a yet even deeper more mysterious territory? I could not answer her really, because although I took the photo, I don’t actually remember seeing that in the larger uncropped picture until I worked with the image of the circular bent tree branch forming a doorway. Shall we call whatever it is a “mystery” for you to name with your own imagination? What would you like it to be? What story of it would you like to tell?

It is said that we, moving so fast and pre-occupied in our overly busy daily lives, often hear but don’t really “listen”, and look but don’t really “see”. That, perhaps, is because although our ears and eyes are such powerful and amazing sensing organs gathering the information,  it is the Heart  that truly interprets the input..  The Heart therefore is the real organ of Deep Listening and Deep Seeing, in which, if we take the time to crop and focus in our interpersonal interactions, gifts us with a depth for understanding the mysterious territories…the “interiority”  of those places, experiences and people with whom we are in relationship.

Whether in photography, nature, the arts, relationships or Dream, there is ALWAYS more beyond the portal.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

portal 5Life is multi-faceted…please visit my other blogs at your leisure..!

For love of music and music teaching memoirs:

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

For delicious comfort food recipes and cooking memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

For the magic of words and positive attitudes:  http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Bubbles 2

Do you have a dream? A tender longing in your heart for something not yet experienced, or fulfilled? A secret love for life’s sweet potential or creative expression that wants to pour out of you, framing your world in circular Beauty?

Our dreams for a better more fulfilling way of life are often tender and fragile like bubbles in the air. I do believe as they are breathed through us by the Divine Artist and out into the world that they hold within their radiantly colored boundaries, everything we need for them to be fulfilled, sustained by the breath of God.

When they burst of their own accord, they shower everything with colorful droplets of the dream to seed the air all around with the creative vision, manifesting in its own timely fashion.

Yet when intercepted prematurely with a finger and negative words by naysayers, the Bubble Bursts and its secrets fall to the ground in heavy wetness, the integrity and potential of its inner surprises pierced and deflated.

Bubbles 3

Please don’t burst my Bubble when I share my dream with you but kindly add your  own breath and gently blow it forward to see how far it will travel before exploding with finesse into the winds of creation! In that we will both be surprised and delighted….. together.

 

 

Note:  I captured these happy bubbles when my very grown-up son-in-law was on the deck with the children of our family during a summer visit, keeping themselves and HIMSELF amused. Squeals and claps of merriment from all!

Bubbles 1

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise  My other blogs are the result of my “dreams and visions”

For Love of Music and the Performing Arts:  http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

For delicious recipes and kitchen memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

For Art of Allowing/Law of Attraction: http://wordmagicandtheartofallowing.wordpress.com

 

Tree 15

There has been a festival of color underfoot on my front lawn as I walk across it to my car or to pick up the mail.  The Japanese maple, home to hundreds, maybe even thousands of tiny leaves, has released them each for their one solo flight, back to the earth. They are dressed gayly for the occasion, not in mourning but for the resting place and the next phase of transformation after summer’s greening work on the tree, now completed.

They are so small and perfect in their pointed edges, some quite tiny and oh so happy in splendid hues of yellow, gold, red, orange and cream. They are also so vulnerable too at this time of surrender and for the oddest reason, as I walk though, over or around them, I am filled with love and tenderness at their now fragile and fleeting beauty…I feel such compassion for them…I feel like their Mother.

Some come in with me for little altars and the warmth of candlight in my home. IMG_8623They are with me at the piano while I teach so I can see them and offer them sanctuary near the music and near friendly people who, like me, think them adorable and a wonder…like we used to feel about the babies in our lives. Such tenderness.

Little Leaves, we love you…..

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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  Please visit my other blogs too! 

 

For love of music: http://thepianomistress.wordpress.com

Food memoirs and recipes (yum!):  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

For manifesting a positive life: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Tree 10

Shamans in ancient and modern rituals and ceremonies, through the use of potent brews, mushrooms and scents go into altered states  in which they slip through a portal of natural time into a place of deep-seeing. In this alternative state of consciousness, they move through a dreamlike journey between this world and the Other, perceiving colors, shadows, shapes and energies not readily discernible in normal time, but existing simultaneously with what we call “real”.  They are “under-the-influence” of chemical and magical substances with inherited knowledge and caution, to see and experience a level of beauty, connectedness and possibilities we ordinarily cannot see. They are DEEP-SEEING and eventually come back to full mundane consciousness with a deeper knowing and perception of the way things REALLY are in this world.

I am under the influence of  the PICASA  photographic editing program and beautiful music at full volume with head phones as I write this post…and a my magical brew,  a healing tea of the Ojibway peoples of Canada. Though the MAGIC of technology I work with the image of the tree in my Yarden to see what it might really look like through the portal from this world into the Other, where colors and light and textures are even more wondrous that what our senses perceive on this side of daily-here life.

There is a  joy in the world alongside this one..a treasure of Beauty and vibrancy, shimmering and radiating light and color in different modalities than we are used to. Things are not always as we perceive. There is a myth that altho blood when it hits the air is red, but when running through our veins, is the color blue. Look at your wrist! What is the truth? How are things, really?

Tree 15

 

Under the influence of Picasa, beautiful music, and Ojibwa tea of woodland herbs and bark…the amazing beauty of this Autumn is almost more than we can  comprehend. For the possibilities of what it might truly be through Deep-Seeing, I am awed and delighted. And waltzing to the music in my living room in between writing!

Tommy Bhetty’s Waltz….   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXO3PZqda14 (for YOUR waltzing pleasure!)

From Christine, the Greening Spirit
We have many ways of seeing the world….visit my other blogs…

self Oct 2For love of music: http://pianomistress,wordpress.com

For manifesting a positive life experience through good words and speech: http://wordmageandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

For being under the influence of delicious food:  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

BIG frost on oak-001

Leaves under the Japanese maple in my yarden

 

It has always been my way since I was a teenager in my parent’s home, to open the blinds to let the morning light into the room. For most of my adult life however, I have lived at ground level with sliding glass doors to a deck surrounded by woods, trees, shrubs, field and bodies of water at the far edges of greenery. My firs awakening step during these years has been to slide the glass door open to greet the morning and listen to the sounds of nature…the symphony of winds, birds and creatures, and the faraway hint of the sea. This morning ritual has always been like a wordless prayer of attention, a grounding that reminds me of my creatureliness and connection to the world of nature, being OF it, not above or outside of it. Nature is musical and it does have a repertoire of sounds and songs each season.

Early spring? Open the sliding glass door and there is an occasional solitary birdsong that has not been heard for many months of winter. But then, suddenly …PEEPERS somewhere off in hidden bodies of water in and around civilization, whatever that is for us where we are. Have we ever actually seen Peepers? Not usually, but they are THE music of early spring into pre-summer.

Summer? Where I have always lived in the Northeast, on the coast but surrounded by trees, shrubs and greenery the natural symphony is alive, vibrant and Fortissimo especially all through the night…birds of all kinds of feather, bullfrogs, tree frogs, buzzing insects like cicadas and especially the hard to describe incessant chorus of CRICKETS.  There have been nights when I have stood for an hour or more after midnight in the dark by an open window facing the woods with the overhanging canopy of trees forming an umbrella of green over my house..just to listen to the wild but celebratory symphony of our New England rainforest..expecting at any one moment to hear the cry of a jaguar as well.

In the mornings of summer into early fall, the sliding deck door get opened and there UNFAILINGLY is the ever-present low to the ground choir of crickets..a presence you can count on just as surely as the rising sun of morning. All is alive and fertile and in movement and so are we in spirit and in habits of summer play, socializing and travel.

But what are the seasons but the Turning of the Great Wheel. The summer’s heat begins to cool and give way to brisk nights and chilly mornings. We open the sliding glass door to the deck and woods and there is a thinning of the chorus..and with each night and early morning tinged with a chill, the symphony turns into a chorus, the chorus turns into a quintet, a quartet, a trio..spread out wide…of cricket song.

And then one morning, sometime in November, upon awakening and peering out beyond the glass of the sliding glass doors, we are greeted by a sparkle and coating of  crystals upon all branches, dried stalks and fallen leaves. We slide the door open gently and the silence is almost louder than the wild rainforest of summer. The silence is stunning and non-negotiable…everything, EVERYTHING is still and halted..no birdsong in the grey, no crickets..not even one solitary voice…a powerful silent call to pulling in for reflect on all that has happened during the busy times, for hearth and home whether that means going back into and under the earth, or to tend the fires of the woodstove in your cottage .

The morning when the crickets go silent is a personal holy day for me. Its date on the calendar is not fixed and I always know it is coming,  yet it always catches me by surprise when that morning arrives..the beauty of that first hard crystalline frost with the inevitable bittersweet  accompaniment of the Great Silence, the time to dive deep under the covers of leaves or blanket to sleep and dream into the next turn of the wheel.

The morning when the crickets go silent.

Amen.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise    We are, all,  full of memories and stories to be shared. Please visit my other blogs and feel free to share a thought or story of your own in the comment.

I am also writing on one or two of these blogs each day. If you are enjoying, you might want to “follow” so that you don’t miss anything!

For the power of words/speech for a positive life experience:                              http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 FOOD, recipes and memoirshttp://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

For love of music!   http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Dollmakers13 Peartree-001

 

We have just come though mid-term elections here in the United States and the Greening Spirit is not happy.  By whatever forces made it happen… general ignorance in the populace informed by faux news and media sources, sloth, or the influences of billions of dollars and dark money from and for corrupt power structures.. those who have produced rotten fruit…and also NO FRUIT at all from their own lack of greening spirit…have been reinstated or inserted into the governing bodies that shape our national agendas, and our society.

Humans can be awesomely creative, generous, visionary for a better future for all, courageous for the good, humorous and just. Humans can also be self-serving, greedy, manipulative, deceptive and easily deceived, and just plain evil. Societies rise or fall on these noble virtues or “sins” and failures of integrity.

We are in dangerous and disheartening times in this country and it seems that hatred, greed, ignorance and plutocratic interests and money have won the public upper hand. It’s not a new story. The arts through literature, theater and film have portrayed this kind of epochal cultural slide in revealing and prophetic “myths” like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and stunningly, the movie AVATAR. Except “myth” is not make-believe. It is the capturing and revelation of truth.

What are we to do in a culture and society that is withering? That is becoming soul-less and soul-stealing and sterile of spirit and  good fruit?

After un-curling from the momentary fetal-position, let us look around our immediate home environments..the small business community run by local friends,  our gardeners and farmers, our  dogma-free, non-fundamentalist churches, to our artists, musicians, writers of integrity and poets..right where we are. Make art or music or poetry ourselves. Sing, dance, paint, give greetings to strangers, pay something foreward, use good manners and courtesy daily, give thanks for beauty wherever you find it. FIND YOUR VOICE and the courage to speak out for what you believe in with great excitement and enthusiasm rather than (or at least more than) the things you are screaming and raging against. Bear the good FRUIT..the juicy, sweet and tangy fruit of good works, generosity, inspiration and love.

This essay is called “REQUIEM: By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them”.  A requiem by definition is a ritual Mass for the DEAD.  It involves grief and then letting go.

Let us grieve over the deaths of virtue, peace, justice and nobility in many areas of our national culture, and with careful but definitive releasing, let go of the institutions of barren or rotten fruit. DISCERNMENT.

In the meantime, let us choose to cultivate and become the Fruit that sustains life…and that is, life that is both nourishing, aesthetic and sweet. Do it somehow, somewhere where you are. Use your imagination. Be green and bear some fruit. NOW. TODAY.

“In the people who were meant to be green…..” ~ Hildegarde of Bingen

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

self Oct 2

 

You are invited to visit my other blogs!

For love of music and music teaching/appreciation: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 FOOD and foodie memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

The Power of Words and thoughts in your life experience  http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Shy Pumkin 2

One delightful thing about a garden is the element of surprise when things that were hidden are suddenly revealed…finding the last fat strawberry in a row picked clean, discovering the lone crisp cucumber growing behind the garden fence, unexpectedly coming upon the treasured secret patch of nettles under the drooping branches of the white pine. ” Oh look!” we exclaim appreciating the sudden revelation and gift.

A garden teaches us so many things about life and how to live it well and compassionately. Matthew Fox, the Catholic/Anglican priest and theologian, once silenced by the Vatican for his “radical” spirituality  wrote something like: If we shelved all holy books for about ten years and went out mindfully in Nature instead, we would learn everything we needed to know about how to live a just life,  from the Earth.

As the garden plants begin to wind down from their job of flowering and fruiting, they are not as physically attractive as in the weeks of youthful promise and birthing. Drying out, browning, marred by powdery mildew, it seems that soon it will be time to clear things out in the garden as in its deep maturity, things are just about over, its gifts utilized, savored and fully harvested…

And then…aha! Amidst the drooping, tangled mass of drying out green leaves and vines, a sudden tiny flash of orange… one shy pumpkin who up until this moment-in-time has been living its tender and vulnerable life hidden from view, quietly  practicing perfecting its vibrant color, rounding out its flesh and form as a container of many seeds and inspirations for the furthering of life, all in secret under the  mass of the green and busyness of the dominant culture of the garden in full swing, in public.

One shy pumpkin. Doing its special pumpkin thing quietly out of sight just for the pleasure of being a pumpkin with no need for notoriety and fame. OR maybe… could it be the tender vulnerability and shyness to avoid harsh or unkind competitive comparisons, judgments or rejection that had kept it hidden deep under the uniformity of all those shades of green and the protective canopy of (seeming) flashier veggie-kin?

Shy pumpkin’s time has come…a little later perhaps than others of her kind. But then its always a matter of time, isn’t  it, as my counseling astrological colleagues know. When the  time and we are ripe and right, the shyness can give way to courage because we suddenly realize that we don’t have endless time as either pumpkins or people to pass on our unique delectability and our seeds, being part of the larger cosmic cycle of birth-life-death-recycling back into birth and on and on…….

Which makes me also recall a one-liner from one of those holy books momentarily shelved while we wander about gardens and woods seeking the wisdom of those place of sacred scripture…

“Do not hide your light under a basket”   (at least not forever.)

Shy Pumpkin

 

The timing is everything: “Come out, come out wherever you are, Shy Pumpkin! We long for and need your delicious fruit and your seeds!”   NOW!

 

 

 

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

self Oct 2  Don’t miss my other blogs about living life well!

Music/piano and the performing arts:  http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

FOOD and kitchen memoirs:  http://sensuoussoupsandsupper.wordpress.com

Manifesting yourself and a happy life! :

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

Photo credit: Christine Phoenix Green, 2014

Please respect and do not download. Thank you.

 

 

 

Dandelion

The seasons of the year have always been a focus of spirituality for me, perhaps because I am an earth sign (Taurus) with a Pisces Moon = Nature has a Spiritual teaching and inspiration that transcends even the messages of traditional religious scriptures.

Leaves of many colors are floating from their high vantage points above, back to earth. In my yarden and the surrounding wood, oak..the sacred tree of Druids and magic people..is the primary tree and the burnt sienna leaves are everywhere here, eventually covering all the green of warmer seasons.

But peeking through the dry and crackly brown, one solitary dandelion has blossomed, popping up, pushing the leaves sideways as if to say…”NOT YET, there is still a burst of  vibrant sunshine yellow here before the cold!”

It appears that two messages and teachings of Nature are being communicated here as we make the shift from bright and busy to dark and pulling in. Another message is to find balance between our need to continue blossoming and flowering in our lives no matter what season it is, while simultaneously releasing and letting go of what no longer has purpose. Both the dandelion and the fallen leaves at this time also remind us to be grounded and connected to earth energy…celebrating the wisdom of Nature as metaphor for how to live artfully, with beauty, purpose and generosity.

Question #1:  Where in your life are you blossoming, bright and sunny like the Dandelion?

Question #2:  What do you need to release that is no longer necessary or completed in your life now?

Blossom-release-blossom-release-blossom-release………….

 

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

red

 

 

 

 

check out these!

FocusPocus:Manifestation Magic:    http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/focus-pocus-manifestation-magic/

Beautiful music and music memoirs:   http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

FOOD!:  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

Down time

Any creative person worth their salt knows that without seemingly aimless “time out”, there IS no authentic originality in whatever their medium of expression is.  Original writing, painting, composing does not manifest sole-y (soul-y?) by will, though that is necessary later on to produce what came through during the drifting dream time.

Rushing about, meeting all of the world’s demands, forcing yourself to be “on task” without breaking away to be momentarily “irresponsible” from our culturally-assigned roles  is a sure way to block the creative flow or originality that wants to come through you, and you only!

I captured this image at a retreat center on an island in the Northeast. This fellow “on retreat”  even set up his two fishing poles to randomly “catch” whatever the vast universe of the sea would offer… releasing the need to work it or to be in control of it all, open to new fish..new ideas..which might come of their own accord to offer fresh inspiration. Total openness and trust..a willingness to cast a line, let it do its own fishing and see what turns up. I imagined that as he gazed out to the horizon in a sort of dream state, both mindless and mindful, that  there was silent communication going on between himself and the Universe that he would only realize was happening later on, on the way home in the car or even days later when a new and brilliant idea or prompting popped up in his mind when problem-solving or creating in whatever is his way.

Down time is fertile time and so necessary for all of us and especially for artists, poets, writers, crafters, storytellers, and even creative business people so that  the best of what we have to offer can be be reeled in from the vast sea of the Unconscious through our spirit and back out into the world.

Never apologize for the time spent in reverie or daydreaming. That may be the only way something new can manifest when the old forms and structures no longer work and no longer sustain life.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

red    My other blogs are good too!

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Poppies 2

                   Things Reveal Themselves  Passing Away ~ William Butler Yeats

The summer flowers have passed, the trees are shedding their leaves, and all now unclothed and intimately revealed without greenery or petals, gifts us with another layer of deep-seeing into the wondrous mystery of things. Change, which we often resist… and letting go, which is often accompanied by sadness if not grief especially when not of our own will, still have a magical way of surprising us with new and unexpected beauty in each stage of transformation.

At the end of summer it is time for new “bouquets” and decorations on our altars to honor the passage of time and capture the magic of what is NOW.

I love the fragile beauty of summer poppies, with their delicate fluttery petals. The bread poppy, a lovely heavenly blue flower, is a special treasure and much admired. Sometimes they are difficult to germinate and so at least in my garden when I used to plant them, there weren’t many so the ones who appeared were like a rare treasure. Once the flowering stage is finished, the “show” is not over and Poppiesneither is it devoid of purpose. Within the dried pod are thousands if not millions of tiny black poppy seeds the size of a period at the end of this sentence. Nature is not on austerity plan!  The potential for new life after a period of rest and solitude favors continuation of the creative impulse.

The seeds can be used in breads as a flavoring and it is true if one were to eat tablespoons of them, which is highly unlikely as gourmet fare, one might become sleepy enough to drift off into the land of deep and mysterious dreams. I never grew enough of the flowers to save seeds for cooking, but I am totally enchanted by the seed heads with their little wheel-like hats and the faint fairy music they make as tiny shaker rattles.

We cannot see the magic of these pods while they are clothed  and hidden by their blue tissue-like petals skirts…we must let go of the flower’s youthfulness .. accept its passing away…in order to access what was hidden and now available in the potential of the next phase.

Things reveal themselves passing away. Find and Celebrate the ever-present  beauty that IS right now. It’s all GIFT!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

red  You are invited to read more on my other blogs!

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Fukushima

Fukushima

“Now in the people that were mean to be green, there is no more life of kind. There is only shrivelled barrenness.

The winds are burdened by the utterly awful stink of evil, selfish goings on.

Thunderstorms menace.

The air belches out the filthy uncleanliness of the peoples.

There pours forth and unnatural loathesome darkness that withers the green and wizens the fruit that was to serve as food for the people.

Sometimes this layer of air is full… full of a fog that is the source of many destructive and barren creatures that destroy and damage the earth, rendering it incapable of sustaining humanity.

God desires that the world be pure in his sight.

The Earth should not be injured!   The Earth should not be destroyed!

As often as the elements of the world are violated by ill-treatment, they will be cleansed. They will be cleansed thru the sufferings, thru the hardships of humankind,

THE HIGH, THE LOW, ALL OF CREATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO HUMANKIND TO USE FOR WELL-BEING.

IF THIS PRIVILEGE IS MISUSED, GOD’S JUSTICE PERMITS CREATION TO PUNISH HUMANITY! .”      ~  Hildegarde of Bingen   (1098-1179)

 

Fukashima4It is not possible to write a blog whose intention is to present Beauty and uplifting thoughts, without periodically addressing the serious and devastating situations we find ourselves in on the planet today that threaten that focus. Issues of environmental pollution and abuse, war and weaponry, out of control power structures and self-serving greed sucking the life out of everything that is blessing and gift to us is running rampant on a scale unprecedented in human history.. unprecedented in fact in the natural ancient history of the earth itself.

Hildegarde of Bingen lived during what is referred to as “The Dark Ages” when myth, superstition, ignorance and power structures had no place for intelligent science. Things were indeed dark back then. There have been many Dark Ages in the earth’s natural evolutionary history, and in the history of human civilizations. Only HUBRIS and denial keep us from acknowledging that WE are in The Dark Ages now despite the assumed sophistication of modern technology and supposed higher intelligence.

People Many are waking up however to this truth of  our times of devastation and suffering, and finding the inspiration and courage to give Voice, like Hildegarde,  to their outrage, their prophetic visions and warnings about what is happening and calls for Justice….not just for people but for Earth itself as the source of our being.

Going online daily to social media sites such as Facebook, despite its irritations and glitches, connects us to those researchers amongst us who are reading and ferreting out true intelligent sources of news or reporting  the inspiring actions of heroic people who are standing up for aspects of Justice and Compassion that are personally important to them.

One of us alone can NOT take ALL of it on by ourselves, getting sick with grief and frustration. Going down with it in its weighty darkness does nothing to fix anything.. Awareness is urgently needed, choosing some area to focus on and speak for is necessary BUT while doing that, also speak and act in the name of Beauty, Art, Creativity, Imagination, and Love right where we are in our own community. Now. Today. This week.  Stand UP for something important and of Beauty.  (Part 2 in the next day or so)

 

***I am deeply and imaginatively inspired by music when I am writing. Jarrod Radnich’s  stunning arrangement of The Lord of the Rings Themes… powerfully dark, foreboding and finally moving towards hope.. accompanied  me as backround music during this writing of this essay. Listening with headphones is the way to appreciate this awesome performance.

LINK:     http://www.reverbnation.com/jarrodradnich/song/13963410-lord-rings-virtuosic-piano-solo

****Please note! This is MY imagination upon listening to this music..and not necessarily the intention of Maestro Radnich as arranger/composer. 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Hilde

 

 

 

 

Hildegarde’s World View:

Mandala

My other blogs:

cooking and food memoirs       http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

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Colores

We are having a glorious Autumn season where I live and the colors are becoming spectacular.

I have always found inspiration in this season..inspiration for how I would like to grow older colorfully, uniquely and artfully. It seems to me that in the height of summer when the sun is high and there are no shadows or dappled sideways light,  that the green …so much of it all the same…becomes rather flat, tedious and boring, everyone looking quite the same in the community, “marching to the same drummer” as it were. Not much originality or surprise.

Autumn, when the chlorophyll of uniformity and conformity drains from the leaves, the vegetation only then begins to reveal its true colors and personality: Oranges, reds, yellows, shades of coral and salmon, peach  ochres, rich burnt siennas and even purple! ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

I hope to grow older like the trees, shedding the dominant color of Society and mainstream culture which has revealed itself to be illusion or cover-up according to agendas that are not mine. I hope to exhibit the true and authentic colors of my own life’s accumulation of wisdom and deep knowing, to fully use whatever gifts I have been commissioned to use before I welcome Winter or say goodnight or goodbye… I hope to live in the Autumn years as apallette of flaming colors of gold, orange, red, and yes purple as in “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple”..like a forest, before the Cold…..  colors ladies                                                           credit:  photo by Kleurrijke oude   (on flicker.com)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

Yellow 3  You are invited to visit my other blogs!

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Surprise!    maggie

 

 

E Sept 10

Nature is very clear in how she assigns work to her beloved creatures. Beavers build dams, creating natural waterways in environments that sustain the life around its banks, wolves group themselves in dedicated family communities whose job is to cull weak and incapacitated herd animals insuring a healthy population that the land can sustain, squirrels busily bury acorns in late fall for future food but also to be the movers of oak trees further out into the environment insuring their continued survival.  What a glorious inter-connected web.

Bees have their assigned task as well, besides feeding and caring for the Queen and her baby bees. Daily they leave the nest commuting to work in beautiful fields of flowers, quite mobile and enjoying the change of scene full of color and fragrance within their workday, gathering golden nuggets of pollen to be transformed into the sweetness of honey. Yes, they work hard but they know what they are supposed to do according to their natural giftedness and talents, they labour in fields of Beauty, and the results of their labour is sweetness. They give Great Service to the larger Kin-dom of Creation, moving about the plants, fertilizing and cross-fertilizting herbs, vegetables, fruits, trees, shrubs and all that sustains all of us from the greening world. Their lives have clear instructions, PURPOSE and MEANING in the work they do to sustain themselves and the community of Creation.

What about humans? When it comes to the work we do in the world, we do not always know, when we are born into the Community of Creation, what our actual work is supposed to be. As an astrologer, I can say that when looking at a person’s birth chart, there ARE indications for the kinds of work possibilities and preferences that may unfold for us, but in our mainstream culture for the most part, we do not use this tool as a source of inquiry, wisdom and guidance. For the most part, the work of many ..tho not all..evolves through decision-making based on possible or hope-for economic security and rewards, or to achieve and maintain a certain culturally-celebrated lifestyle fed to us from the outside world as the supposed doorway to happiness and fulfillment. So many of us unwittingly forced to take work just to survive in a materially-focused consumeristic culture filled with knick-knacks, the latest “updated” techno- toys and products pronounced to be “must-haves” for a satisfying life. (not).

Where are these jobs carried out? In fields of flowers? In private studios for art, music, dance, theater, home based-crafts for sale or small and personal businesses?  In beautiful environments personally expressive and in service of gathering the sweetness and honey that sustain personal and communal well-being, beauty, and healing?  Does our work and work environments inspire the creation of a kind of  wealth that uplifts and inspires rather than for the mere purpose after “survival”  of gathering “stuff”..the kind of stuff that really is devoid of Soul and authentic honey that sweetens and nourishes our lives?

I have compassion for so many of us in  our common humanity who must toil and labor in ugly, sterile or hostile work environments just to survive. Many of us have had to live that out periodically and situationally and many must live it out for for a lifetime, not of their own choosing. It doesn’t have to be drastic servitude either to kill the soul and drain the sweetness… day after day in small corporate cubicles in a which a daily job perk is the good fortune of a window (besides the hoped for benefits accrued for retirement if the job lasts that long)  is not necessarily a sweetness.

I have respect and deep fondness for those who have chosen …and had the opportunity through Destiny and support or personal choice and determination…to use their own innate gifts and talents for work that is Soulful, meaningful to them and of true benefit and inspiration to community. I celebrate taking the  RISK of laboring in fields of flowers of their chosen careers based on their true interest, to gather the pollen of possibilities out there in the gardens of life, making honey and living lives that include copious amounts of sweetness in their experiences. They work hard, but they know what they have to give and what they have to do, often without assured financial security.

In truth, some of these people are especially gifted, perhaps having been assigned a particular Destiny by the gods, and in following that they in turn have gifted us  and society with their honey. We call them Cultural Creatives,  a title that names them as unique thinkers and do-ers who in following an a-cultural path in the midst of popular culture, potentially and eventually re-install Soul into the  real meaning of how we Live, Labor and Love. Because their choice to live amongst the flowers and create beauty from inside themselves and from the garden of possibilities, they have enriched our lives immensely and  we need to recognize them when they appear, supporting their unique labors that bring the quality of authentic BEE-ing  and meaning into our lives personally and communally.

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise  You are invited to visit my other sites:

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Orange door

Synchronicities and “winks” are always such a part of my life when I focus on something… a touch of “magic” that is a regular part of my life, and probably yours as well if you really pay attention.

Recently in honor of the vibrant season of Autumn, I have been writing about about the color Orange  along with photos of orange flowers, orange monarch butterflies, vines and colored tendrils of that hue that catch my eye.

I wrote the first essay  in the middle of the night so eager to share the photos and the delight over that color which is such an important part of this magical season of turning.

Several hours later that morning, I left the house and got on the road to go into town for some shopping.  As SOON as I got out there, I was passed by bright ORANGE Volkswagon bug…NEVER have seen one of those before… a really weird color for a car, and quite funky for a Volkswagon which somehow could pull it off!

After shopping,  I went to visit a friend whose house I had not been at for maybe 20 years and when I pulled into her driveway, this is what greeted me before I knocked…! A bright ORANGE door decorated for Autumn. Inside her home, the color orange was repeated in her personal decorating.. charming home-made curtains, dishes, and more.  I could only laugh and say “thank you for the conversation and feedback from the Universe, which apparently loves the color orange too!

Sometimes we think we initiate ideas and projects, but actually I come to think that the Universe is in charge, inviting us to respond to and share its initial promptings and messages that need to get passed on through us.  I DO believe that!

It reminds me of something a very special spiritual director once told me.  “God always initiates prayer. When we stop to pray through something…we are really responding to the invitation to communicate with the larger loving forces”.

I rather like that idea.

So what’s next? Surprise me! (and I’ll share it…!)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit.

orange me 10
   Don’t forget to visit my other blogs!

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Enders Ruthanne orange

There is a retreat center on an island that I visit every couple of weeks to photograph the gardens,   intentionally disappearing from the “World” of artificial noise,  busy-ness, commercialism, laptop, and speed. Long walks through the grounds by the sea with the music of soft winds rustling through the trees, sitting on various stone benches and gazing out into the wonders of nature, flowers, water and rock feed the soul… and always with camera in hand ready to capture something of Beauty -close-up that is probably missed unless one is in reflective but deeply attentive  “mosey-mode”.

Walking quietly with a friend the other day, we headed for the walk bordered on each side by the stunning mounded wall of white mums in full bloom. BUT  then there it was in plain sight, though my friend missed it,  she walking right on by a  long tendril of vibrant orange climbing up the pointed stone fence, silently proclaiming “AUTUMN HERE!”.

I fall in love with this color each year when it bursts through the season of letting go, of drying out, of dying and leaving to drop back down to and under the earth.  Oddly enough, it is at this time of turning, a color of life, of energy, of richness, bounty, creativity and surprise.

Oh, ORANGE!

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

orange me 10   Savor deliciousness on my foodie blog: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers/wordpress,com

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Enders Ruthanne Butterfly

The color ORANGE! Full of joy and positive energy…and a signature color of Autumn.  Pumpkins, flowers, leaves, dried fronds of ferns…orange is the token color of sociability, creativity and enthusiasm. A happy color, it is probably one of the reasons we take such delight in fall, even though we know we are headed into the next season of cold and dark.

I often visit a nearby retreat center with beautiful gardens and landscaping. This year, the dahlias have been exceptionally stunning, and this afternoon monarch butterflies were fluttering and dancing everywhere amongst the flowers…a rather rare sight since in the northeast, these butterflies are endangered having lost so much of the habitats of their flight paths paved over for civilization, parking lots and shopping malls. How appropriate their sanctuary at St. Edmund’s Retreat Center on the coast, with their stained-glass-like wings…

orangeOrange is also the color of laughter and compassion, as in the traditional robes of the Buddhist monks…   a color of prayer and centeredness.

Bring some ORANGE into your life, mindfully, and enjoy it’s radiant life-force and happiness!!

 

 

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

orange me

 

 

 

Heirloom “Glass Gem” Corn

Americans love corn….fields of it, on drives through the countryside, fat husks of it promising exquisite crunch and sweetness in personal preferences of white, yellow or a mix of both at roadside farm stands summer until early fall, large festive tied stalks of it to purchase and decorate lawns and light posts at home in the spirit of Autumn. At farms with mazes to get lost in, a favorite addition is now the corn box, in which adults and children alike lay down in the abundance of golden kernels to make “corn angels” rather than “snow angels in the medium, or with which to pretend they are sifting endless bounty of golden wealth like fine gems.

 

Indeed, corn is a symbol of bounty in today’s modern world…but it is a very old cereal grain dating back thousand and thousands of years. Data varies but archeological research puts corn’s ancestor…a grass called teosite..as being present on the planet for 80,000 years and cultivated by humans in its ancient to modern forms for at least 7,000 years.

Over that span of time..vast experiments with and improvement in that a-maiz-ing plant has made it one of the most well-known and useful crops on the planet today, used for a variety of food and commercial products.

There are SO many kinds of corn grown for different purposes. The most well known varieties grown today are Flint Corn (sometime called Indian Corn) used for decorative purposes with its many colors of red, gold, orange, brownish and white kernels. Dent Corn (“field corn”)  is what we see mostly along road-side fields and in huge tracks of plantings (and I suspect in the corn mazes), it’s main uses as livestock feed, bio-fuel, and commercial food additives and industrial products. Sweet corn is the one we use as food, bringing us delicious flavor and brightness during our warm summers and early fall. Varieties of sweet corn have their champions…some love the yellow sweet corn, or the Silver Queen white sweet corn, or..my favorite… butter and sugar sweet corn  with it’s combination of pearly white and pale yellow kernels.

I think one of the reasons we so love corn is because it is an old food, with stories and myths around it that connect us to our common ancient roots as humans inter-facing with the natural world. It is a REAL food that is sacred to indigenous peoples of both North and South America (it’s first natural home). It is NOT a Pringle. It is FOOD…and food is what sustains all of us no matter where we live, or what political party or religion we belong to.

For this reason, corn is a symbol of the playfulness and imagination of the natural world, its evolving co-creation process with humanity, and the blessings of the gods, Mother Earth and the Great Spirit. It is a Holy/Whole-ly Plant. And we do give thanks for its a-MAIZING-gifts to us.

Let’s now celebrate its goodness to us with a big pot of corn chowder, prepared with gratitude and love!

The Greening Spirit’s  Favorite Corn Chowder

Recipe from Red Rooster Chef Norman J. LeClair in his wonderful book of foodie memoirs “Culinary Expressions” (Dome Publishing, 2002) Italics are my own adjustments. Preparation is my own way of doing it, apologies to Norman LeClair.

INGREDIENTS: 1 teaspoon olive oil, 4 oz.salt pork sliced (I substute bacon when necessary) 2 cups chopped onions, 4 cups chicken broth, 1 lb potatoes, pealed and diced, 1 bay leaf  (and pinch lemon thyme or sweet marjoram), 1 15-oz. can of cream corn (avoid that sweetened with corn-syrup), 2 cups of corn kernels, canned, frozen or fresh, 1 cup of evaporated milk or half-n-half.

Preparation:

1. Saute pork or bacon in olive oil until crisp..don’t burn. Add chopped onions, saute untiol onions start to turn color. Add chicken stock, potatoes, bay leaf and marjoram. Bring to a light boil, cook about 20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaf and salt pork (leave bacon if you used that.) Add cream of corn and corn kernels. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add evaporated mile or cream. Ladle into bowls…top with oyster crackers. Serves 6-8

***Note: if you enjoyed this essay,  might you click the “LIKE” button so WordPress takes notice?? Thank you!

I had been away from my Greening Spirit Blog  for quite some time during a year or two of intense inner change and necessary re-evaluation about how to gracefully change course, life direction and purpose.

During this time apart and for several years previously, my familiar path and way of being in the world of work as a music/piano teacher for over 30 years had shifted. The popular culture of technology as “amusement”, and  cultural economic uncertainties have moved people (adults and children) away from making the investment, financially or time wise, for the study of art and music with the fervor and interest of previous years.

A kind of real life crisis in the way of “challenge/opportunity” had made my daily experience of work and the security and peace of mind that steady work provides, confusing, and somewhat disorientating…rather like being in a corn maze in which we cannot easily find the right and sure path leading us to the Center of things where there are goodies to enjoy, or a platform to climb allowing a view of where we have come from and where we may be going.  In other words, experiencing the corn maze was an experiential metaphor for the challenge to clarity and sense of direction as well as an invitation to enter the unknown in search of a treasure and then returning to our origins, but renewed and with a new focus.

How to earn a living in a new way when the old way no longer works  (especially for those of us who have always been self-employed or creators of our personal livelihood ) can suddenly seem like a maze of confusion about which way to proceed, where to turn, which path to take. Questions like “how did I get in here?”, and ” how do I now find my way to the new?” are the first two questions requiring inner work, honing a sense of  discernment and direction in finding the right path to our Heart’s desire in the center of uncertainty,  and claiming it in the Greening Spirit way. That is to say, surrendering to an organic sense of knowing that we are ever evolving through many cycles and seasons of our life in which there are natural times for letting go of what no longer works, and natural times for being open to what new seedling in us is waiting to sprout.

A secret then, when in the Corn Maze, is to open our eyes and KEEP MOVING, allowing the Center to draw us closer to the place of Heart where we can see the overview. Linger there for a bit and then get back on the path of return. If we got in, we can surely, with patience and discernment, find the proper continuing Path that will spill us back out into the World with a new and fresh perspective, new gifts to offer, new work and purpose. (this is a repost, editied, from 2012)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Selfie

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Follow the Leader! (Mom? Dad? Auntie?)

 

Some of us who are of poetic spirit, see things in more than one way, in layers of experience and meaning. In the poetic soul, there is a “surface” message or experience as it is, and then the “deeper” meanings of perception and  metaphor. One of my daughters will sometimes sigh and say “Mom, can’t a thing be just what it is?”.  And I must sigh in return ” Well, yes…… and no…it is so often MORE than just what it is.”  The poetic mind works differently, admittedly making more complex meanings out of the seemingly simplest event or object. We can’t help it…the gods installed that program into us, and every person with even a spark of greeningspirit or star-struck magic in them knows we must honor the gods who have such wonderful imaginations and want us to carry their message forward!

And so our family experience through the corn maze set me thinking about life in general when we have been moving along on our familiar path, and then either by choice, or without warning, we seem to enter a new phase,   propelling us on a new journey. And that new situation, despite a few hints, markers, or even a well-marked map, suddenly is filled with a multitude of choices, some which keep us moving forward, some that just circle around back to the same old place, or some that lead nowhere at all, to a dead-end.

These situations are all part of life.. as in becoming a parent (all of a sudden you have to be a leader),  becoming partnered (learning to compromise..”let’s go THIS way!”  “No, let’s go THAT way!”),  losing your job or health  (what do I do, where do I go, which path that will get me back on track???),  or being drawn towards a spiritual/creative quest (how do I get to the CENTER so I can see clearly and live from the HEART?), family relationship challenges (we have a problem here…how do we all pull together as a family to stick together and figure this out?).

As my daughters and grandkids and I adventured through the maze, we elders had to often move VERY fast to stay in formation..an elder in front leading, kids in-between, and an elder in the rear,  as it should be in a healthy family system. Our little guy, Aiden, at 3,  has a spirit of mischief and is VERY swift of foot. Suddenly running ahead and disappearing from sight around one or another bend (or as well, leaving the path and cutting though and disappearing altogether into the corn itself like a fearless pioneer) and he could be lost forever, giving us a severe fright, as we kicked into third gear to overtake and intercept his youthful adventure. It was a parental/Noni challenge…sometimes we  elders were properly in formation leading and forming up the rear, and sometimes the speed and curiosity or impatience of the kids rushed them forward into lead position, requiring a different kind of vigilance on our part.

This was a very thick corn maze this year and we almost gave up before we reached the center from which we could take a break and get an over-view of the whole journey which we had been making as a family team. From our perch on top of the platform, one could see the whole of the maze, but not the individual paths hidden within this jungle of corn, so in spite of having a maze map in hand, we had no idea of what might be the way back into the world, which by the way, we could see beyond the maze itself: the pumpkins, the slide, the snack bar, the hay-ride, the cars in the parking lot and people..small tho they looked from a distance. You know, “Life as we Knew it” aka “The REAL world”.

Grandson Owey was getting tired and a little impatient. Giana was still up for adventure and eager to get a promised candy apple when we returned to civilization. Aiden the Adventurer dropped his cap under the platform which was irretreavable (until his Mom broke the rules for the first time in her life (?) when he wasn’t looking to  sneak under the orange lines cutting through the corn maze and under the deck and rescue it). Lisa, my daughter who is a scientist decided that enough was enough and whipped out her i-phone with the map on it to pinpoint where we were, and holding it forward so we could follow it out to the world.      

Down off of the Center platform, with a feeling that at least we had accomplished a new perspective, we moved forward.

However no matter which path we took, we kept doubling back to where we had just come from, or came up against a dead end.

We agreed that next year we would enter the corn maze with a GPS as a back-up. We were startled and amused when suddenly we heard a thrashing through the corn and a renegade family..a Mom, Dad, and 2 kids..appeared n front of us, fresh out of the jungle, frustrated but laughing and desperate to just get out and back to the refreshment stand. It did give us an idea as a possible future option. ( Sometimes we just have to break a few rules, and go beyond perceived boundaries, becoming a pioneer off of the beaten path to express our creativity)

But we persisted…Owey  who was really tired,  Big Brave Boy that he is,  asked, lamented “WHEN are we gonna get there….!!!!” and  was comforted by Mom as we sought the Exit in vain,  we adults keeping up a positive attitude for the kids..

   Well, time was getting short and we assessed what was now.necessary. We had entered life with a spirit of adventure and curiosity, we had many side trips on the way to the Center, finding a treasure and perspective away from our familiar daily way of life, we had traveled to and through new and foreign territory, sometimes leading the young ones, sometimes following them as they fearlessly charged into life with fresh and youthful abandon, we had stuck together as a Family in a challenge as well as fun and adventure, we had problem-solved together and rescued a baseball cap, we had met a creative-thinking other family on the journey, and we had been amazed by the beauty and imagination of the corn plants..a gift from the gods themselves. And we had to move on, as life was calling us.

We could not find the path to the exit.

And so, taking a cue from the other family we had met along the way (humans do learn  skills and resourceful problem-solving from each other) we communally assessed and aligned ourselves with the outer border of the maze by the sound of traffic on the highway, and the sound of activity at the farm….ducked under the orange boundaries strips, cut through the corn unceremoniously and spilled out..a “together family”…over to the refreshment stand and the hayride.

We DID IT!

Unfortunately, the farm had no candy apples that day and so Giana was very disappointed…another one of life’s teachings…how to move on. And so in a moment’s flash we did..onto the hayride, archery, the slides, and the animals. And all was well. Very Very Well….

The Corn Maze was A-MAIZE-ing!

         **Repost from 2011

From Christine, The Greening Spirit   

E Sept 16

“So much depends on how we see things. More often than not the style of gaze determines what we see. There are many things near us that we never notice simply because of the way we see. The way we look at things has a huge influence  on what becomes visible for us …. Each of us is responsible for how we see, and how we see determines what we see. Seeing is not merely a physical act: the heart of vision is shaped by the state of soul.” ~ John O’Donohue ( Beauty )

Dare to be Beautiful! In a time when media images are so often dark, filled with pain, destruction, hostilities and disasters both natural and man-made,  we need to consciously step back and make a  choice to seek out and gaze upon images of Beauty that soothe, inspire, delight and amaze us, even filling us with awe.

There is, for instance,  a “game” going on right now on Face Book to post pictures of beautiful flowers and to “gift”  them to others in order to fill our pages with loveliness, color and elegance, overriding images of disaster, rubble, violence and pain. This is not denial…this is a practice to call forth and  install Beauty and Hope in the midst of chaos and uncertainty while we deal with the effort to live in compassion, hope and vision in drastically changing times.

Constantly posting, gazing upon and circulating pictures of destruction, doom, war, suffering and pain may awaken us to injustices and darkness, but psychologically and emotionally often fills us 1622242_10151838046686653_1756644152_nwith such grief as to make us ineffective as we curl up into a ball of fear, hopelessness and inaction.

Continuous draining of hope in the spirit eventually drains the body of vital energy and thus we often find that those whose primary gaze and focus on what lacks Beauty, become ill in their bodies as well as their spirits. If called to activism it is absolutely necessary to balance the grief and despair with Beauty.

 

There is a spirituality to cultivating BEAUTY in all forms.  Gazing upon the beauty in nature, in art, in the written and spoken word, in good manners and behaviours with and to others stimulates the desire to have it, create it, treasure it, live surrounded by it and BEING it. This is not the false and commercial beauty of the consumer or entertainment industries! This is the beauty of the inner light radiating through all things, people, creatures and the natural world whose imaginative creativity constantly stuns us with originality and depth. To see this, we must be calm, and clear and somewhat slow…look to see and look to see “beyond” or “deeper” for everything is what it is….and something more.

DARE  to circulate Beauty when others chide you for not being “real” to all the disasters of the world. You KNOW the disasters already…that is why you are choosing to bless and heal the world with the inspiration of Beauty.

DARE to be beautiful yourself! Dare to be colorful, flamboyant, original, and soulfully expressive in ways that only YOU can be in your attitudes, your actions, your personal presentation of style and dress, your words and your speech, your graciousness and gratitude, your blessings towards others and your generosity.

DARE to be beautiful in laughter, and DARE to be beautiful in the authentic shedding of tears.

DARE to choose Beauty………..

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

 

 

 

Garden old (2)

Repost from Summer 2009/gathering past essays for a book.  Stories from our garden “weedwalk” !

The June 7th workshop on the wild weeds/herbs–Your Magic Garden: From Muggles to Mugwort— was a success! There were 9 of us which is great for a personally sponsored event such as this and everyone was very excited, going home to scout out the wild weeds on their own property, after we went on a weed walk right here identifying and learning about 28 healing plants. Everyone was amused and somewhat intrigued by the greeningspirit notion and practice of sitting and listening/talking to the plants in an inter-species dialogue, a semi-shamanic skill.

This will be an ongoing series each month, everyone inspired in between to further investigate in their own way, in their own yards and neighborhoods.

Margie, a research Librarian, called yesterday to tell me she found a book at her library that she took out immediately . It is called The Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities. I will install Margie as our “dark arts” reference Mistress. (Margie has always been a forager, eating violet leaves, red clover blossoms, wood sorrel etc for her vitamins.) She really is a woman of good intent and a faithful Episcopalian but it’s good to be well-rounded.

Amidst a stand of lily-of-the-valley in her yard,Leyla discovered mugwort and is planning to make a tea from this herb of dreamers and wisewomen. Altho we do not use lily-of-the-valley in this country’s folkloric herbal tradition,  it is a premier cardiac ally, used by skilled practitioners in Europe. I suggest she honour this plant in spirit, for good-heartedness and kindness. Mugwort, however, is an herb of the wise elder woman and the herb of dreamers, as well as a digestive aid.

Julie who is once again set back and in pain with fibromyalgia is given over today to the simplest of tasks to mindfully and respectfully gather nettles for a tea, paying attention especially to the plant’s message to set up proper personal boundaries, even “stinging” when necessary to defend and preserve the sacred “time out” needed when you are depleted and in need of silence and stillness for healing.

Carolyn who is NOT a gardener but came along for the ride said the experience confirmed for her that she hates tromping through the woods and being outside where it’s buggy but that she really wants a puppy.

We don’t seem to be able to find Elaine, assuming that she is still out in her wild fields singing to the blackberry vines from whose berries she makes her famous blackberry cordial.

Helen, emerging Wildwoman, lives with a husband who is an engineer by profession. I am told that engineers love straight lines and linear thinking. Helen, who went right home with excitement to meet and greet her very own wild plant allies, is very frustrated to realize that her whole yard is “way too cultivated” and there is not a corner of wildness there having been put to order by her partner’s dedicated use of chemically engineered products of wild-weed eradication. She alerted me that she will be sneaking around my place after dark to dig up some wildness from here to bring over there and tuck in to un-obtrusive corners.

Martha has reported in:  She says that she found herself smiling throughout the whole weedwalk with great delight and excitement because she kept thinking “THIS is what I have been looking for! ” Having gone through a very major health crisis a number of years back, she has been concerned about keeping her body healthy and whole, yet still cautious about invasive medical techniques or relentless drug therapies that don’t allow much personal involvement and participation in keeping oneself healthy. She is looking forward to learning more about the nourishing and healing gifts of the plantword and the wild weeds.

Ruthanne, who herself has a magical mystique about her in every way, was very intrigued by the idea that there are plant “spirits” in the garden just waiting for communication with us, if we learn how to slow down and listen. I think she found it a very comforting concept that these faeries, devas or “friends” are here, with a very old wisdom to teach us new things.

I myself am re-reading The Medicine-Maker’s Handbook, an enchanting guide by an enchanting premier herbalist/educator, James Green. I am delighted by his warmth and humour and wealth of knowledge which is down-to-earth, accessible and full of love for both the plants and people.

Our second class in the series will be in July…and we hope to have some new attendees to share with! The theme for this class will be  on  “Communicating with 

From Christine, the Greening Spirit


Mugowrt

In any garden, the early morning is a magical and misty time. Especially if you live by the sea, the morning often emerges slowly from a mysterious and echo-y blanket of fog, under which the sounds of birds drift in and out as if from a far and distant land, even though they are just in the woods behind the garden.

In special preparation  for a “Magical Garden” class, I have been sitting with the Wild Weeds throughout the day and especially in the early primeval hours just before the Sun breaks through to burn off the mists. With notebook and portable chair, I have been sitting in the middle of the Mugwort patch, at the edges of the Stinging Nettles  and Milkweed, under the budding white pine tree, side-by-side with the renegade blackberry vines, in front of the yellow dock, meadowsweet and elecampane, over the dandelions, and near the wild lettuce and baby poke, waiting in silence and stillness for them to “speak” to me as to why they are there, especially in MY yard, and what they want to communicate. And, trust me…they DO.

MUGWORT this year is especially vibrant…and unless you are a Wild Weed yourself, or a Greening Spirit..you might be one of those Muggles (NO relation to the plant!) who think that you better call Chem-Lawn to help clean up the edges of your lawn. NO! NO!

Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) is a wonderfully magical and medicinal herb that has come to the aid of those of us who need a digestive remedy, or to help with a woman’s monthly cycle, or as an ally to stimulate your dreams and intuition (and much more). Tho this herb provides nourishing help to both men and women, it is one of the “magical” herbs for the especially powerful “deep seeing” gifts of the elder woman, who often recognizes what is amiss within the family, the tribe, or the society and is called to speak in behalf of balance and right relationship. For that “straight talk,” stimulated by the visions and dreams unlocked by this magical plant, the assistance of Stinging Nettle, which stands tall and commands respect if you do not treat her respectfully, can give courage to voice….but, that is another story..to be shared in another post, forthcoming (or at the workshop..)

NOTE: This is a re-post from 2011. When I check on what posts are searched for, I find that “mugwort/and herbs” are often clicked on here…sharing again. But perhaps more to follow. I LOVE mugwort!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

 

 

For many years, and many years ago, I studied at a beautiful Catholic retreat center on the southern coast of Rhode Island – Our Lady of Peace Spiritual Life Center. The program mixed art, creation spirituality, prayer, psychology/Jungian dreamwork, ritual and the inspiration of the Rhineland Mystics. OLP, as we came to call it, was a refuge, a haven, a healing sanctuary and learning center for many of us who journeyed through the program and fanned out into the community to use what we had learned in a variety of creative ways.
 
 But that is not actually what I want to focus on here. What I am remembering are the grounds on which the retreat house and castle (yes, castle) lived, and a particular connection with nature that happened one morning on a meditative walk after breakfast.
Like many such centers, the grounds were private, spacious and magical: a pond with bullfrogs, snapping turtle and large goldfish, paths between holly trees, male and female (with and without berries for those of you who know holly biology) leading deep into the hidden woods, a sacred sheltering grove of ancient beech trees , always about 10 degrees cooler under the thick canopy of leaves on a sweltering humid summer day, a wetland with horsetail for knowledgeable herbal collectors. The grounds, even tho part of a Catholic retreat center, were deliciously Pagan in that way familiar to Celtic Spirituality.
 
 And so, that one morning very early, walking under the canopy of ancient wrinkled and grey-trunked beech trees, I was lost in thought, or meditation, or both, when I was suddenly stopped in my tracks by the call of my totem bird. A Crow. (Other people had swans and cardinals as a totem bird..you know, beautiful birds. I had/have…a Crow, The Truthteller.)
 
 I stopped and had a strange and almost disconcerting feeling of being watched…of being not alone in the woods as I had perceived. It was a very definite sense…a palpable sense of a Presence, and of being observed, or as I said, “watched”.
 
 Looking all around me I saw no movement, no people, no animals, at least not at ground level. Another loud “caw” from my Crow at the top of a giant old gnarled beech drew my attention upward along the trunk to stop with surprise at an amazing nest of leaves and a hole in the tree about 25 feet above, out of which was peering, RIGHT DOWN AT ME with a most direct gaze, a squirrel with a gaze that locked eyes with mine for several very intense minutes. Not once did he blink. Nor did I, I don’t think. But the silent communication that passed between us was filled with amused curiosity and the mutual unspoken thought-formed words upon each others presence, “Well now, just look at YOU. Aren’t you interesting, whatever it is you’re up to”.
 
 I did laugh right then, and again when I recorded this in my journal later that day to have been made aware of how limited our vision can be sometimes as we humans tromp and crash noisily in our busy-ness and through our hurried lives, so “in our heads“, or self-centered that we are completely un-awares of other, perhaps even older life forms somewhat hidden all around us… Oblivious of our creaturely brothers and sisters in the natural world who are right near us, and from their high up perches, peer with wonder and amusement, if not exasperation or bewilderment, at our speed and noise, our incessant comings and goings.
 
 And so it is in this season when the trees have shed their clothes, and sway bare to the elements, the winds and the forces of nature, that I am reminded to look UP and find the amazing tree houses where the squirrels hunker down and make community AND babies…and for sure, from where they keep an eye on us, knowing more about us than we can possibly imagine.
 
 

Little Brother is watching you!

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
Christine Phoenix-Green (January 2011)     
 

 

Boots on the Ground

We live in awesome but perilous times. As the Greening Spirit, the desire of my heart in life and on this site is to celebrate and inspire hope, creativity, reverence, humor and Beauty. But the times we live in and the bigger stories of global unrest, fighting and war, weapons and destruction can be so disheartening. The thought forms and greed-propelled interests of governments and Men in Power, and of enraged disenfranchised, sectarian or fundamnetalist peoples have created limited responses that bring destruction rather than life as solutions. Weapons, bombs, drones, poisons of fear, psychopathic-driven power plays are destroying all that should be green on the earth and green in our souls.

Last night, I happened to have the nightly news on which is quite unusual for me as I seldom watch t.v. News  of all our “Wars” in the world ie the War on Drugs, the War against Cancer and Diabetes, the War on Poverty, The War on Ebola, the War Against Terrorists… it goes on and on. Our language is very limited, creatively.  But the use of the word “WAR” shows a mindset that is unquestioned, deeply engrained in our perspectives and very deadly…

Now we have a new common phrase about how we participate in” War” and I mean real war invoving men in uniforms carrying weapons and not physically defending our own coastlines and homeland but in faraway places. Do we send drones? Send bombs? OR do we put “Boots on the Ground”?

Boots on the Ground“.  The Greening Spirit found herself yelling out loud in the living room last night, shouting at the t.v.   “NO! NO BOOTS ON THE GROUND! WE’VE HAD ENOUGH!” And then hearing that 3000 “boots on the ground” (Miltary) going into Africa to “fight in the war against Ebola” made me shout louder. I don’t believe that is, if our history proves us right, a humanitarian effort or the way to solve the problem. Government contractors will follow.

The Greening Spirit prays for Veriditas  “in the people that were meant to be green” as called by Hildegard of Bingen.  For clean air, and flowing clear waters, for forests and plants that are food and medicine, for communities that create beautiful habitats and sanctuaries for people in which to love, and raise families, and sit in circles telling stories and who grow gardens and share food and solace and celebrations.

The Boots on the Ground in this desired world that cherishes life are the boots in the Garden of Life right where we live..the Gardens of Life that nurture, create instead of destroy, that bring merriment instead of fear, that dance in the green rather than struggle through the mud and fields of destruction and death.

Boots on the Ground ………

Veriditas~ Hildegard (1098-1179)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit 

ps. You are invite to share your thoughts by commenting, making Community and learning together.

Me Turqoise

If you have an appetite after this please check my Food Blog, Sensuous Soups and Suppers. Sit around the table in community…eat and talk together. http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Make music too . Music heals the soul : http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 

 

**** As many of my friends and students know, I have been powerfully inspired by the music of composer Jarrod Radnich.  Jarrod R 2  I was, with headphones listening to this composition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” while writing this post.  (Not just for Christmas…… for NOW! I t was a prayer for me..and for you too)

http://www.reverbnation.com/jarrodradnich/song/10186764-god-rest-ye-merry-gentlemen-advanced

 

 

 

 

 

Bleeding heart 4

As a writer, I am very active on FB and I love all the friends I come in contact with who are creative,  articulate, compassionate, awake, concerned,  and Visionary.  Some are social activists and warriors for Justice, some are advocates for Beauty and those things that inspire and uplift  (music and the arts), some are humorists and do it well with irony about all that is crazy and falling apart (Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert have this craft perfected) and some are asleep and clueless or in denial, preferring to stay light and happy at all costs, so as not to feel emotionally disturbed in any way.

Yet in reality, so many of us are conflicted between the grief and heartfelt pain  (if not rage) of a world in chaos,  and at the same time, hopeful about the emerging consciousness of new possibilities for a saner world of inter-connectedness and creative solutions for humans and the Earth so stretched and traumatized by greed and violence. On what shall we focus?

Our hearts bleed for so many reasons, both globally and personally in our own lives. (The saying “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle” is so true!)  How do we deal with all of it and stay sane..?  How do we not pull in and close the shutters of our hearts to protect our emotional vulnerability and carry on? Fighting AGAINST everything only hardens us and adds to the chaos and it is not good for out physical heart either

We each have to find a way that makes our life worth living and for me it is what feeds and nourishes my heart. For myself that nourishment comes from a conscious decision, if not a natural tendency,  to focus on and talk about what is beautiful and uplifting to the spirit….to focus and somehow express that which  allows honest tears to flow from the heart, that fills my heart with COURAGE  to share when challenged to hide my gifts and talents out of fear of non-acceptance or jjudgement  and to give outwardly what I have to share hopefully inspiring the same in others.

We take a risk when we are vulnerable,  expressing in words or creativity what is in our hearts that is tender, gentle, passionate or especially, wounded.  Will others think us strange, odd, too sensitive, out of touch with “reality” if we do not carry angry signs in big groups, but choose a different focus of expression through the celebration of beauty and creative solutions?

There comes a time for tears and tenderness, and for creative self expression that takes the stories, struggles, successes and visions in our HEARTS and puts them fearlessly out intto the world.  The artists, musicians, poets, mythic storytellers, theater people, and mystics know this already. Their offerings flow from the heart which in a society that celebrates “the head” for supposed wise decision-making often leading us towards disaster,  might ignite in society the desire to change course toward LIFE and celebration instead.

Thank you to all those whose hearts are vulnerable but open allowing Beauty to flow through them and into us and the world! They are the Cultural Creatives, who will be highlighted in future essays.

 

*** One such powerful Cultural Creative who is out there expressing fearlessly from the heart is the  composer,/piano virtuoso/symphonic conductor and music educator  Jarrod Radnich (youtube/Pirates of the Caribbean, Theme from Harry Potter).Jarrod R 2 I share the link for a special piece of music  (Hativkah) he has arranged that for me was an inspiration for this particular essay. For full appreciation and healing please use headphones as the piano’s fullness, depth and vibrations are essential as a healing modality.

http://www.reverbnation.com/jarrodradnich/song/9818535-hatikvah-la-mantovana-virtuosic

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Tigress

 

****** You are invited to visit my other sites:

  Cooking and Memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

  Piano and Music Memoirs: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/role-reversal-pianoteacher-in-the-hot-seat/

 Law of Attraction/Lunch and Learn Seminars:  http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circle 2

The world is in such turmoil. So many petitions to sign trying to stop the chaos, so many rallies for and against things that are so seemingly larger than us in the sweep of history. How do we deal with it, often feeling powerless? There are many ways of giving Voice and  effect change, and one of them is by going local and “grassroots” starting where we are in our own Community…AT the grassroots. Circle 5

 

Last week the Women’s Creativity Group from our Unitarian Church held a fire circle at the home of one of our members. There really was no agenda except to be there in Community, to build the fire and be together in its light and radiant elemental energy, to write down on a slip of paper something that we wished to release and place it in the flames to burn and be free of whatever burdened us or had served its usefulness in our lives. A simple ritual and a plate of sliced watermelon passed around for refreshment on a waning summer’s eve.

Staying in the immediate area of our neighborhood, and in the immediate interior stories lying tender within our souls, we were able to gain both freedom, release, and comfort in the presence of Community and the powerful mesmerizing energy of the fire.

In every fire circle it seems that there is one person who voluntarily and quietly moves forward out of the circle to adjust the logs and twigs, setting them up for the burning. Often also, that person becomes like a Priestess and Keeper of the fire, archetypally, as she moves around it during the evening prodding and poking to contain its elemental power and to encourage its fullness. Sarah, with her jacket for evening chill, placed it over her head to tend the flames and in the dwindling natural light of the closing day around the fire, she indeed looked like a Priestess as little sparks drifted up and out of the center into to air. Circle 3

In times of great cultural, political, economic, social and global change it is good to gather locally with old and new friends. To go “elemental” whether it be fire, or water, or wind or earth. In the circle of good people, being close to the elements brings out our humanity as well as our connection with powerful natural forces that symbolize how we might go about change creatively…EARTH for community gardening, WATER for compassion and tenderness, AIR for intelligent investigation and positive words that create what we want, not what we don’t want, and FIRE for belonging, releasing, passion and action, just to name a few of many  possibilities!

Circle

We need to work with the metaphors of the Elementals and nature. We NEED to accept our humble roles as true Priests and Priestesses at the grassroots, making sacred ritual out of everything we do. We need Community and Belonging right where we are. Now. Today.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

IMG_7728
NOTE: Synchronicity is one of the amazing surprises of the Universe’s ongoing conversation with us. While preparing to write this essay, I was led to this link below through other mysterious connections having to do with another topic entirely on music and Cultural Creatives amongst us for inspiration. Elemental Fire Rituals are in the consciousness of people and communities in this intense period of change. For more inspiration and information on Community Fire Circles check this site: http://sacredfirecommunity.org/communityfires/why-fire/

**** This site hopefully is Food for the Soul. For Food for the Body, please check out my other blog here  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Sunflowers on blue

In the movie AVATAR, the planet of Pandora boggled the imagination with its rich lush forests and flowers of exquisite complexity, color and design. Secret tropical island hide-aways hanging without visible support high up in the sky  amazed us,  a magical Sacred Tree of the World who held all wisdom for the people had us longing to be under her trailing tendrils to give us Sanctuary, Comfort and Guidance if we could only find her in this world.

We celebrate the amazing powers of imagination that won James Cameron acclaim for following his dream. Literally, for the storyline and vision of Pandora actually was received one night IN a dream while he slept,  many years before.

I myself had a “Pandora Vision” while in a friend’s garden last year, and so  here we are in the blue garden usually hidden between the worlds or somewhere deep within our Imagination and the land of Dreams.  I was intrigued that although the environment around me shifted into soft focus blue (funny,  as I was totally awake , but looking with half-closed eyes), , that the sunflowers laughingly refused to give up their bright cheerful happy yellow as they danced in the sun…

This garden is now only a memory, so I am so happy that as always, my camera was with me to capture this magic momentary opening into Pandora, which apparently is always here through the doorway of Imagination.

Yes, Pandora is ALWAYS around us. Here’s the proof right there in the picture!

( Hint: Don’t forget to take your camera with you when you go out. You just might….find…an…opening when you least suspect it.

**Also don’t forget to check my other site: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com  Recipes for delicious eating while here in THIS world.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

Selfie

October Witchy Willow

One of my great passions as The Greening Spirit, is photography and the magic that can be created through the editing technology that is now available in our computer programs. There  is, in the community of photographers, some small debate at times as to whether one should leave a photograph alone to stand on its own merits and the gifted eye of the photographer, or instead enhance the photograph through cropping, framing, blurring, working with light, shadow and color through editing programs to create a desired effect.

For myself, I tend towards the freer and more playful practice of editing my photographs to express something at a later time in essay or written form. It is an old saying that “a picture speaks a thousand words” and although my photographer’s eye, never un-assisted by my camera, is forever and endlessly seeing wonders everywhere, there is usually within a larger scene compelling me to “stop and snap!”,  some singular image that evokes a whole story, message or teaching worthy of pondering and eventual literary expression.  It is the need to capture and highlight that central image through creative editing that makes it come alive for me… and the actual source of those enhancements, deeper than the technology that implements them, draw their inspiration from the creative sparks of the Imagination, thoughtful discernment and good taste of the photographic “artist”, and depths of Soul.

Witchy Willow                                                                                                                                                       It is curious that many old libraries are home to magnificent old trees as well as old and treasured books under and into which we may take leave of the mundane world and magically “disappear”  for refreshment, inspiration and just plain “time out”. To disappear under a long-limbed and leafy tree or into the pages of a book and a fantastic story, especially a so-called “fantasy” one,  are indeed  magical experiences.

Go through the  solid back wall of an old wardrobe in a hidden room and spilling out into Narnia, sliding down a rabbit-hole and landing in “Wonderland, slipping into your “avatar” and through dream traveling arrive in Pandora, and walking through a wall at Platform 9 and 3/4 ending up at Hogwarts are all highly imaginative doorways through and to the usually hidden worlds of Soul, the home of light and darkness, choas and creativity, woundedness, vulnerability, healing and courage, art, music and all manner or archetypes, muses, Daemons and guides available to us for our adventures on the Imagination’s  surprise-filled paths and roads.

Our little local library here, though not ancient (but the township is) is home to a most interesting weeping willow tree overlooking the small parking lot. As with most weeping willows, long thick and thin wooden tendrils of branch twist their way in a downward sweep from a central sturdy trunk which is unseen. When fully clothed in leafy attire, no entrance to the base of that tree is visible, except “Under” it. Of course if in the middle of the Harry Potter series, one never does forget in Book One,  the impact of the “Whomping Willow” that thrashes any interloper daring to come close, insuring its independence, privacy and displaying its most contrary overly defensive/offensive nature. But not all weeping willows are cranky.

We love this old tree at the library, twisted and a little mysterious, and to my eye and imagination, exceedingly magical as well. Although it sometimes receives a little haircut, or curtain- cut as a caretaker’s trimming clips its trailing vine-like tendrils when reaching the ground, still it is full of private, hidden mystery,  for it is not possible to see the heart of the tree..just the spell of its thick green curtain that blocks entry to its heart of secrets.

My Witchy Willow has a magic power of Blue-ish green and depth of shadow, informing me that there are stories, poems, visions, inspiration, safety, and soulful inspiration beyond the veil of protection, and close to the heartwood, if one knows the right password to slip under and within and find them as treasures. Yet the word “Witchy” always has an edge to it…possibly dark and foreboding, the lure of the as-yet unknown requiring a spirit of adventure and courage…but also a sense of magic and possibilities available to us yet often unrecognized and un-claimed as we busy ourselves out in the parking lots and on the roads, rather than seeking guidance under the tree.

I love the Witchy Willow and although my mundane eyes see a more “normal” tree when I pull into the library these days, I know of a secret more hidden expression of that old tree that only reveals itself to those who see with other eyes.

As it is said in the “Witchy World”…”It takes one to know one”.  (WINK)

**** Originally published 12/5/2013
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