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Lemon Balm, Lady's Mantle, Nettles

Lemon Balm, Lady’s Mantle, Nettles

It is curious how in our lives we spiral in and out of our preferred or beloved ways of being, swept away by pressing concerns or responsibilities requiring our immediate attention. When we are able to “clear the clutter” of outer complications and return to our authentic path, it always feels like coming home to ourselves, to our Soul, our personal destiny.

Herbal traditions…gardening, making medicine or magic, photographing our wondrous green kin allies.. have been a treasured part of my life..both studying and teaching the ways of relationship between ourselves and the plants. The past several years of personal challenges in the mainstream world of work, finances and the relinquishing of home ownership demanded a different focus and expenditure of time and energy. Still in the process of re-orientation, I have been blessed to return to the garden, so to speak…although for the time being, the garden is not mine, but a friend’s and I am so full of gratitude to be able to wander where she has so lovingly planted and nurtured the lovely and magical herbal allies so dear to us both.

As spring has enticed our herbal friends up from their hidden winter lairs and into sunshine, I have been newly enchanted as if seeing them all for the very first time… an emotional reaction of delight that happens every April into June! My way of making relationship with them is first to capture their beauty in photographs, then to gather and make a “simple” tea or a blend, drinking their essence into me…and then writing about them! This is for me the essence of relationship…and it feels so grand to re-connect.

This week, I was drawn to Lady’s Mantle, Nettles and Lemon Balm…and gathered the three of them to make “Lady’s Tea #1“.. a blend for three cherished valuable qualities for a Lady of good character: Lemon Balm “to maketh one merry” (Hildegarde of Bingen)..a sense of humor, a most irresitible charm, Nettles for the necessary-at-times prickly inner Bitch to stand up for oneself, and Lady’s Mantle, to evoke the blessings of our Holy Mother Mary, the gentle nurturer and protector of body and soul.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

 

 

 

 

Lady's Mantle

Lady’s Mantle

 

Nettles (ouch!)

Nettles (ouch!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are, of course, scientific and medicinal intentions for creating this blend to specifically nurture the body or heal an imbalance. But on this particular day, the creation of this blend was for the metaphysical properties that are always present when interacting with the herbal KINdom.

Welcome home, ME!

Boots on the Ground

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

Visit my other blogs!

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Jungle Kitty in the Chives

Jungle Kitty in the Chives

One of the interesting experiences of staying with friends at this time is the sharing of space with three cats. A dog person myself, the experience of cats has been a whole other entertaining learning endeavor interacting with these creatures so full of surprise and mystery. They seem to have judged me to be acceptable in their presence even with my doggie history for each day they wordlessly reveal their quirks and curiosities as they go about their lives indoors and out, and seem to communicate with me with piercing stares, rubbing-close cuddles and even gentle nibbles on my fingers.

Buddy, is a “Watcher”.  He watches us from a chair seat tucked neatly under the table. He watches from the driveway as we come and go in our cars. He watches from the other side of my bedroom door in the morning trying to telepathically communicate through the wood that it’s time to get up and feed him breakfast.

And after his breakfast, a vigilant stroll to the garden watching for any flicker in the green that might be hiding prey. That occurrence either being fulfilled or thwarted, Buddy’s  favorite “watching” spot is in the middle of the Jungle of Chives under the Plum tree where he can see all that happens in the garden, and the movement of his humans coming or going in and out.

Jungle Kitty is on duty..he’s watching and knows what we all are up to. Better be on our best behavior. Buddy KNOWS.

Jungle Kitty Big

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

update Feb 2016 (2)

Dark Moon/New Moon in Taurus

Dark Moon/New Moon in Taurus

Ah, Taurus! Ruled by Venus, the goddess of love, the arts and the earth’s lushness, luxury, ease, beauty, art and music, harmony and peace, gardens, sensuality and the senses (sight, sound, scent, touch), delicious food and drink,  wealth and prosperity.

During this particular Dark Moon/New Moon in Taurus, I went wild in my moon manifestation mandala creating my perfect living room…elegant and richly appointed with scultpure, paintings, flowers, draperies, sensuous outrageous ORANGE sofa, pillows and  padded coffee table. Beautiful books of course to read in regular “time-out indulgences with a luscious bowl of fruit for sweet and juicy nibbling in langurous relaxation. A large sparkling diamond in the center… bright,, crystal clear, deeply cut and many-faceted (Iike me when at my best! ) that can be displayed or hidden depending on the whim of the elegant draperies. The diamond also a symbol of the dream for economic stability…no..wait! … I must ask for MORE…and that is, yes, WEALTH and prosperity consciousness instead of fear and roller-coaster finances of the self-employed creative artist of life. The first question to be asked in this Manifestation Law of Attraction practice is “Am I worth it?”.

Well, we must first believe it to receive it in some appropriae form. And creating the image of what arouses us to feel and take delight in all things that we find beautiful, soothing and truly fulfilling is part of the process. (“If you build it, they will come” ~Field of Dreams was on to something!).

Beauty in all forms, natural or created, lifts us up, delights and inspires us. Beautiful music, words, gardens, stories, colors, images and even furnishings in our homes can be an outpouring and appreciation of Soul in manifested form. Why would we not dream of and choose that over impoverishment of senses, spirit and life?

I love this mandala… and I love this room and that orange sofa! Orange, btw …the color of creativity.

orange me 10From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

Dark moon in Capricorn

Ah, Capricorn. The climb to Success. Vocation. Hard Work and Dedication. The CEO, The Professional, Top of the Line Personal Reputation and Brand. Wealth and recognition.

A self-employed person working alone to offer a needed service, earn a good reputation as well as a decent living, needs both vision and courage. Climbing the mountain of success also requires steadfast dedication, a good dose of passion for one’s craft, and the sure-footedness of the mountain goat..the Capricorn totem… to reach the pinnacle of professonalism.

For my whole adult life I have been a teacher both in both the academic setting and in private practice. I teach piano and music, and also esoteric spirituality for living well in a variety of settings. I remember in the first of my 35 plus years of teachng piano I made a statement to myself that I wanted to be “the Nadia Boulanger of my little locale”. (Nadia Boulanger was a very famous music teacher who taught, coached and mentoried a number of very famous pianists in their formative years). I set a high standard for myself..and it made my work fun and fruitful for many years.

                              ***     http://pianomistress.wordpress.com   ***

My teaching of music is still part of my life’s work, but it has been necessary over the years to diversify, offering other fruits of my talents and interests, and always I hope to give the best service that I can in all that I do and teach. Even with all my experience however, it still helps to have role models, especially when  courage flags a little or I momentarily start to lose the vision  or belief that my work matters,  is worthwhile,  and a GREAT offering!

For my Capricorn Dark Moon I chose three wonderful famous women who have publicly excelled in their fields, given generously using their special gifts and talents and inspired many others: Ellen DeGeneres…the vocation of humour and wit, Oprah Winfrey..the vocation of living life well and opening opportunities for others, and …signified and lettered on the red doors…Elizabeth Arden…the vocation of beauty products for women. All successes, all vibrant personalities who have vision. In my own life, there are also many inspirational friends and associates who have created interesting work as teachers, artists, healers and entrepreneurs in fields that they love and have succeeded at, doing their best.

Do we know who they are by their talents and gifts? If I do my best, teaching…and yes fully embracing my vocation as a writer, will it matter? Will you know who I am? Will I make a difference? I hope so!

I imagine once again..the Voice of these Ladies laughing and saying to me “We hear you!”.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

                                                 Moi Teaching at Arrowhead

  Promoting my work! Capricorn inspiration! see also:

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com

Dark Moon Aquarius Mandala (2)

Ah! Aquarius! The Rebel, the Genius, the Unique Individual, Freedom of Expression, The “Outside-the Box” taster of life! Leader of the pack…Visionary.

This moon coming at a time in my life when it became so necessary to take the risks of a unique vision contrary to the mainstream idea of what is it is to be happy and successful and the cultural/commercialist/consumeristic path to “get there”.  Also at a time in my life when I finally stopped the attempts at “explaining” and justifying the validity of a path and use of “time” defined by other people’s expectations or jusdgements. THAT release of the need to explain is FREEDOM!

Happiness is elusive when pursued by way of the homogenized, televised or advertised images and words of the “outer” world. For me as I have matured, happiness is an “inside job”…happiness and a feeling of rightness in how I express myself, how I earn my living through the arts/spirituality which doesn’t always earn a fortune but expresses freedom of creativity that is a major facet of my personality. Freedom of expression in how I dress, how I write or talk, what I focus on that has meaning for me and gives meaning to my life, how I define “freedom” of intellectual thoughts, how and what I pursue as pleasures and delights to bring beauty into my life…

This dark moon mandala in Aquarius chooses the actions of stepping out of the box and how to spend a day, a month, a life in a unique and personal way. A bright pink open BAG (not a box) filled with flowers and gardens, an outrageous pink outfit and hat no matter what my age…a butterfly for freedom of spirit, the permission to “think differently” from the herd or commercial consensus…and the blessing of personal guides and the gods laughing:  “WE HEAR YOU!” Thank you!

Take a chance on love! Speak Your mind..and other daring moves!

Take a chance on love! Speak Your mind..and other daring moves!

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Moi 2

Mandala Fam Dark Moon

Ah Cancer! Motherhood, Fanily, Nurturing, Food, cooking, the Tribe, gardens, memories and heritage, the home.

Once a Mother, always a mother…this is one strong experience I have learned over the many years I have shared with my daughters since they first popped out and into this world until..well, right now! They are mothers also in the ongoing process of learning how complex a job it is to usher and guide another human being through life and I have loved watching them unfold into this role. I have seen a documentary in which the Dalai Lama himself said that the most important job in the world is that of the Mother..and being an astrological Cancer-rising woman myself, I would have to agree.

My daughters have always been an exquisite delight as I was raising them and I have loved them dearly. There has been laughter, warmth and comfort and I have been blessed that they are fine, funny, responsible and gifted women, mothers, and wives.

But no family is without challenges and heartache and over the years we have had times when things worked exceedingly well between us and times when there was struggle or temporary distance and stresses, grasping for undertanding, grasping for appropriate words to challenge or address perceived slights or disappointments. Add to the mix of “life”, the divorce between myself and their father, my own struggles in single-parenting for many years and the re-arrangement of family loyalties and connections in the course of their own marriages, the balancing of me and their father and in-laws…well, sometimes heartache and frustration are an inevitable part of the  family mix until we learn to share needs and hurts diplomatically, truthfully and gently for the good of all, which surely does take practice! (Knowing when to remain silent and just let it go is a skill as well)

After one such time of challenge in relating in new ways, the dark moon/new moon in Cancer allowed me to look at where we were and re-evaluate and re-new what was important for us as a family and as mother and daughters.

Our family times together with me and the girls doesn’t happen as often as we’d like, living in three different states and they with full-time jobs and families. To bring us together at a time when life may have drifted us apart I called on the word “respect” to remember that in the time when they are now adult, responsible and meeting all kinds of demanding requirements of their own lives and relationships I must “respect” the changes of new family connections, time commitments and responsibilities that re-shape our own original connection.  Anyone who lives in a family knows that words are not always crafted well under duress and both  giving respct and claiming respect for oneself in interactions  is an important part of  “relationship-ing”.

In this mandala, the ocean for me represents the vast sea of emotion that is part and parcel of the connection between my daughters and myself. Compassion, tears, cleansing, moods and tides flow through our lives. Especially true when astrological Cancer is part of the emotional make-up or phase of the moon.

In this mandala, a tablesetting and delicious food…always a virtue of Cancer…has always been a part of our life… cooking and eating together when they were growing up was a priority of our family life and is always a highlight when we manage to get together all…”You (or I) are coming for a visit? What shall we plan for our meal!”. Communion around the dinner table is such a healing ritual….a ritual that is much compromised in this fast and over-scheduled culture.

In this mandala, books and knowledge…always part of our homes. Books, books for grownups, and for children!

And over our heads, the flower Echinacea as a protection and healing totem…Echinacea that stimulates the immune system to be strong, resisting toxins and illness that periodically weakens us or brings us down. Echinacea that stregthness our ties as Mothers and Daughters, with the children ..daughters and sons…the family connection….

This is one of my favorite mandalas…

**** Note: This series is being prepared for a book on the Dark Moon/New Moon, how to form a monthly gathering, the dark moon mandala art project  and journaling with the moon mandala.

Mamma GroupieFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

MoonCircle Three

Ah! The Dark Moon/New Moon in Libra. Libra: one-on-one commited relationships ie business partners? Professional and client? MARRIAGE? (also ­art, harmony, beauty, balance/imbalance, dependency/co-dependency, negotiation vs autonomy, gracefulness, diplomacy, and nice-nice for the sake of peace at all costs).

Journaling:

I have spent a good part of my adult life in partnerships and a bigger part of it as a single. In each of those two states I have been fully “in” it as it unfolded.  And I have learned important things in each……relationship with other and relationship with self.

The experience of being single and “in charge of myself and decision-making” without having to negotiate with another has afforded me the deep silence and extended times of chosen solitude necessary for the creative expressive part of my life’s calling. This freedom is an intense personal need that has only gotten stronger as I have gotten older.

The single life allows me the quiet and mental space in which to hear the inner promptings of inspiration and creativity. Just like the woman in the mandala alone in the greenhoouse planting beautiful flowers or the the woman taking time out to sit back and just be, without guilt or having to follow another’s schedule, I have  treasured the autonomy of being “single” and have somewhat chosen this in spirit if not in reality. I think. Because..

I also know that the warmth and sharing of devoted partnership or one-on-one intimacy is equally precious …when it is working at its best….in shared commitment and loyalty,  hugs, family time, conversations, brain-storming, task-sharing in the household, private games and shared jokes and humour, the history of trials and steadfastness…gifts, all.

Perhaps it is possible to have both, but I have yet to solve the challenge of that and though I am grateful to have experienced both, I am not sure exactly what it is the path that is truly the right one for me as I get older… now.

In this Dark Moon/New Moon in LIBRA mandala, my feelings gravitate towards the two images of the solo moments. Perhaps it is that as I have gotten older, have been partnered/married I am not now willing to give up large portions of my soul just for the sake of “peace” within relationship that threatens that. The partnership images are enticing…but it would definitely have to be the right person who would allow me to take periodic sanctuary into my own private personal soul-space.

Maybe it is a lifetime exercise in all relationships to work with the balancing of “self and other”.

Dark Moon Picasa twoFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

Mandala Artist (3)

It is powerful to write in journal form and powerful to set our intentions for manifestation in writing also. It has been said that when things ae written down and read regularly that the words have a magnetism that calls our desires in more quickly than if those things merely float aimlessly about in our heads.

This is true but it is also true that in writing and speaking our “affirmations” and intentions there is often another voice that competes with those words of hope or desire…that voice says things like “yeah, right! Not going to happen until……”…or worse “who do you think you are? You’re too old, poor, inexperienced, silly, unrealistic,” etc.

One thing about IMAGES and pictures is that in selecting (or being selected by them) and glancing at them on a regular basis, we experience the positive feelings of pleasure and anticipation which is such a magnet for bringing in those new experiences in some manifested form. The images, colors and selected words and phrases can bypass the negative and self-defeating mind chatter, going deeper into the Unconsious. Also the quantuum wisdom “Today I am looking for what I am wanting to see!” brings into our awareness and experience those very things in some form in the outside wor;d of our lives. Just try the exercise “Today I am looking for the color orange!” or “today I am looking for acts of kindness in my travels”. Prepare to be VERY surprised and delighted!

Journaling with your dark moon/new moon manifestation mandala (collage) is another level of self-processing and personal storytelling that is exquisitely healing. This does involve a mix of images and words and helps us to focus on the storyline of our life and experiences that are unfolding for us on a daily or month-to-month basis. In this we are made aware of things we treasure, things that we need to change and release and where we are in the process.

The next several chapters will share with you a few of my own Dark Moon/New Moon Manifestation Mandalas and the life journey stories that go with them.

It is my intention that you, the readers, may find yourselves in some of these themes and be encouraged to experiment with the Dark Moon/New Mandalas yourselves for manifesting healing and experiences that are life-giving.

Dark Moon  Picasa twoFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

Lunas

-Setting Up Your Own Dark Moon/New Moon Circle

1. Gather group of your own interested Luna sisters!

2. Supplies: lots of colored magazines with pictures, glue sticks, glitter glue, metalic pens, a silver fine tipped permanent marker, hole puncher and thin ribbon if desired, large black poster board (draw perfect dark moon circles with a large pot cover).

3. Choose soft meditative music.

4. Provide a prepared program handout with (optional) astrological information for the month’s moon, and 1-3 journaling questions. Go over astrological input, provide quiet time for writing down answers to journaling questions. Share answers and insight.

5. Hand out individual dark moons, spread the magazines and allow about 45 minutes to choose, cut and paste images on the dark moons. SILENCE while creating…soft meditative music in backround.

6. Come together…share your dark moons, celebrate each story and creation!

7. Closing. (HUGS!)

                                                Program Example to Get You Started!

                                             Dark Moon/New Moon in TAURUS

                                            The Greening Spirit Mystery School

TAURUS- a grounded steady Earth sign, Taurus is the sign of the sensual Earth Spirit. After the noise, outward thrusting movement, and fiery passions of the warrior/pioneer Aries, ruled by Mars (do you want to make war or make love..whatever, let’s get it on!), Taurus, ruled by Venus, wants to make love, beauty, leisure, art and music, money, luxury, harmony and peace. Good food, good wine, good social company, good gardens and surroundings, wealth and bounty, beautiful colors and sounds both man made and in Nature is pure aphrodisiac to this sign and time of the year. Taurus is steady, determined, persistent, stubborn and dependable, and though gifted with the strength of its totem, the Bull who can withstand stress and move mountains and boulders when necessary, this sign loves to pull back into silence and calm in order to hear the music of the Earth and enjoy leisure. Taurus New Moon is a wonderful, lovely and luscious time to take walks in nature and experience the magic of all that is manifested materially on this earth..including yourself!

Leyla

~OPTIONAL (Music and Video) The Lusty Month of May! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg4YrOlAkds

                                                                ~ JOURNALING and Sharing

Question #1: What do you most relate to in your experience of the above description. Of Taurus’sthemes? What do you most need to experiencee for yourself in this month of Earthly Delights and Bullish Stregnth and Endurance?

Question #2: MONEY! WEALTH? This is the month to think about Money for joy and enjoyment,and itsgift to live comfortable without fear or lack. What areYOUR emotions and reality around MONEY at this time?

Question # 3 : How do you connect to the Beauty and Gifts of Nature and the Earth at this time? Gardening? Walks in Nature? Wearing Garlands of flowers on your head? Making an altar?What is your favorite way of being with the Earth?

Question # 4: Love, Love, Love! Where in your life can you express LOVE after the challenging Aries energies of activity, argument, advocacy, challenge or standing up for yourself , others or something important ast month?

~Mandala Making in Silence to quiet meditation music

~Sharing/Celebration~Closing

Lunas

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

530448_435895729816795_333529267_n (1)

When holding a Dark Moon/New Moon Mandala gathering, it is not necessary to incorporate a deep study of astrological signs although that adds a richer level of awareness. In our gatherings, we however did include that into our evening.

Every month the moon moves through the skies and through the cycle of constellations in the heavens. Therefore every month, the dark moon/new moon falls into a new constellation which correlates to its astrological sign. Each sign highlights particular issues and themes indigenous to that myth. Much like your birthday and identification as a Gemini or Capricorn, you recognize the various themes and experiences in your life that are particular to each sign on the date of the dark moon as well.

The Dark Moon/New Moon is like the spiritual psychological new birthday for each month and so when we meet, we study that particular sign and discuss the themes that we may be alert to during that passage that kicks off the predominant energy of the month. (The moon WILL continue to pass through other signs during the month, but we treat the actual date of the event as the month’s birthday theme).

The Dark Moon is the seemingly empty void for three nights when there is no light to discern our path through daytime’s bright light and logical clarity. The Dark Moon however is filled with possibililities and during the dark void nights, we can tap into Dreams, intution, and the desires of the heart, listening to the true wishes of the soul. But still, since it is the NEW moon, although unseen, we still have the wondrous power to CHOOSE from the posssibilities in the void of all possibilities! That is why, in taking quiet time to browse through images and let THEM call to us…CHOOSE us….we bypass the head and and listen to the heart.

If one knows your personal astrological natal/birth chart, checking exactly where in your chart the dark moon/new moon falls each month, the issues and themes highlighed by both the sign of the moon, and the house it falls into will fine-tune your possible experiences and choices.

For those who might wish to review the astrological themes of the zodiac, this chart will aid you in understanding the theme of each dark moon in the signs:

  1. Dark Moon in Aries- initiating a project, focusing on self, making love, or making “war”, impatience or anger, passion, high Fire energy. Ruled by Mars.
  2. Dark Moon in Taurus- sensuality, beauty, the arts, gardening, nature and the earth, ease, luxury, peace and grounding Earth energy. Ruled by Venus.
  3. Dark Moon in Gemini- unbridled curiosity, multi-tasking, books and words, learning and teaching flirtatious, youthful, nervous Air energy. Ruled by Mercury.
  4. Dark Moon in Cancer- home and home crafts, food, gardening,, mothering, nurturing, enterprising, deeply intuitive/psychic, Water energy. Ruled by the Moon.
  5. Dark Moon in Leo- benevolent leaderrship, creative, self-involved , personal ego expression, theater/ drama/melodrama. Powerful Fire energy. Ruled by the Sun.

  6. Dark Moon in Virgo- the dedicated servant/worker, health, order/disorder, on the contiuum of savior-victim relationships, cleanliness and purification. Earth energy. Ruled by Mercury

  7. Dark Moon in Libra- partnership, co-dependency/interdependency, diplomacy, marriage, the arts, harmony and beauty in speech and interactions. Strong Air energy. Ruled by Venus

  8. Dark Moon in Scorpio- “power over” vs “power within”, psychological transformation, self-renewal, forgiveness vs “getting even, healing and recuperation, the Sorcerer/Healer, psychic. Powerful Water Energy. Ruled by Pluto and Mars

  9. Dark Moon in Sagittarius- The “Seeker”, the Traveler/Gypsy, higher education, codified religion and law, dance-away lover, truth-teller, humor. “More” is always better than “less”. Powerful Fire energy. Ruled by Jupiter.

  10. Dark Moon in Capricorn-The Professional, the workaholic, the Sage/Wise elder, status, the Father/CEO, the Loner. Powerful Earth energy. Ruled by Saturn.

  11. Dark Moon in Aquarius- The Visionary, the Eccentric, the Leader of the Pack, the detached lover, the Genius, the Revolutionary, the lover of freedom and fairness. Strong Air energy. Ruled by Uranus.

  12. Dark Moon in Pisces- Mysticism, Poetry, isolation/retreat/behind the scenes,psychic, spirituality, savior-victim continuum, compassion, healer. Water energy. Ruled by Neptune.

    *** a note about this Dark Moon/Series. These are chapters for a forthcoming book-in-progress on Dark Moon Gatherings, and personal journaling stories accompanying the mandalas.

    Mandala making 3From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

Mandala Making 5

Do we fully realize that we have the power to create better experiences in our lives no matter what our situation? Knowing WHAT we want is often more confusing than knowing what we DON’T want which  is, btw, usually the way we habitually think and talk and complain!). Until we realize that what we expect and look for is what we experience, we cannot enter the magic of co-creation and shift to visualizing what we deeply desire to bring into in our lives.

Many people have a difficult time with the visualization practice as well…scattered thoughts, inner voices shutting the process down with phrases like “yeah, right. It’s never going to happen” or “this is so silly!”. For this reason, an art process, like making a manifestation collage (which is what the dark moon mandala actually is ) helps us to focus on images and words that captivate us, sometimes without even knowing exactly why and centers our attention on possibilities. The cut and paste collage process ushers us into a timeless, dream-like experience of imagination and “choosing” and in so doing, conjures up, retrieves and reawakens powerful stories within us.

Mandala Making 2

Sure, we are “just cut-and-pasting” but first we are “choosing” and that choosing is a creative visualization experience and a powerful process of identifying and co-creating new possibilities in our lives. Yes, indeed, this is a Law of Attraction exercise.

The intentional setting of the time apart to do this, the gathering of the circle, the astrological themes, journaling and sharing of insight,  the altar, the art supplies, the interplay of silence and quiet music and the intention to “dream” in this way together, the honoring of what can happen during the three night phase of the moon which is dark and full of mysterious as yet unknown possibilities, is true sacred ritual as well as sacred play.

The intentional time out to engage with the power of the dark moon time, away from mainstream secular activity is a time to search and find some of the desires of our own hearts and  to hand-craft a little personal masterpiece of dream-art that we can look at throughout the month..knowing that it is about a vital change of consciousness…a visual meditation,,, that can help us to know  what we are “looking” for. And what we look for and expect, is the magic that brings new experiences that are meaningful for us personally without the programming of the dominant outside culture telling us what it thinks we should want for fulfillment.

We can craft the quality of our life’s experiences by what we LOOK for. It starts in the silence, stillness and the great dark void of possibilities to hear personal truth and values. In our dark moon/new moon evenings, with paper, scissors, glue and the eyes of the heart, we enter a  powerful  creative realm of magic, energy and Possibilities.

Mandala making 3

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Dark Moon Picasa two

 

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

Mandala Making 4

The making of our Dark Moon Mandalas is an art project. In essence we are creating a collage of images on a blank dark moon posterboard canvas. We are not looking to make professional art. We are engaging in dreamwork, journal work and manifestation work all at once without writing in a notebook. Our process is a cut and paste project done in silence to soft  meditative music. In essence, this is serious playtime AND a spiritual retreat.

Artwork requires imagination and supplies. Our supplies are collected old magazines wherever we can find them…from friends, from our hairdresser’s studio when she’s putting out the new ones, or some that we have received as gifts but don’t have time to read. Magazines of ALL kinds…OPRAH! Martha Stuart Living, Heirloom Gardening, Spirituality and Health, Self, FAERIE Magazine (although THAT subscription is almost to beautiful to cut up), etc. I keep several large double-handled paper grocery bags to store them in for use in our evenings. A basket holds these items for making our mandalas: scissors, glue sticks, glitter glues in different colors, but especially silver and fold, loose glitter, metallic colored pens, a silver fine-tipped permanent marker, a hole puncher, and thin ribbon.

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The Process/Themes- Each month, the Dark Moon/New Moon is in a different astrological sign, each sign addressing a unique part of life and special opportunities to open up to, or particular situations to release. Each of our sessions start with an astrological review of the month’s themes with journaling questions to answer based on those themes, deepening our awareness of what is happening in our lives. Questions are journaled in silence, and our answers and input then shared with each other. This sharing in truth is a form of group peer mentoring and spiritual guidance.

Mooncircle

 

AND THEN….THE ARTWORK!  Dark Moon Mandala-Making!

… Bags emptied on the floor,  magazines scattered everywhere, scissors in all hands, SILENCE,  quiet music, and then browse, ponder, select, and cut images and words that appeal to you or catch your attention. Don’t analyze…go with your spontaneous attractions!

lunas circle

Timing…We allow about 1/2 hour for choosing images. When it is time to stop collecting images, the timekeeper will call out “Start paste-ing!”…and for another 30 minutes the images and words are arranged on the dark moon, glued, glittered and dated with the silver permanent marker.

 

lunas 10

lunas 13

Mandala Making 7

 

 

 

 

 

Mandala Making 1

 

 

 

 

 

We find this process to be one of intense and deepening sacred play…relaxing and fun…but a true time out from the rushing pace of daylight.

The sharing that follows our completion of our personal dark moons fills the room with deep wisdom, laughter and delight and a lovely soul-level connection amongst us all.

These women are the LUNAS for me and each other in our lives!

Mooncircle FiveFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

Mandala Making 6

Creating an altar is important for any gathering during which we are intending to change focus from the mundane to the sacred.  A visual meditation… in both its creation and its viewing… centers us, releases the wildness of the imagination, and serves as a “doorway” to the soul. An altar brings us home into sacred space both inner and outer with a theme that hopefully alters our perception and steers us directly into magical, mystical, metaphorical and ritual territory which is a parallel universe holding answers and guidance that we sometimes cannot access in our day to day lives.

We have created many altars on this piano bench (!) for many gatherings, seasons and celebrations. For me, creating this particular Dark Moon/New Moon altar honors the blackness of the night without light (the poster board dark moons) yet never forgetting the interplay with the full moon. The darkness is the realm of sleep and DREAMS of what can be,  the full moon the celebratory manifesting of intention set in the hidden three nights of a sky without light.  This interplay of the dark and light phases of the moon, each with its own gifts, is repeatedly symbolized by the two flat round beach stones…a white full moon, and a black dark moon, a theme continued throughout the evening of our gathering.  The black candles in the white holders remind us  that there is a tight intimacy between the seen and the unseen of the moon’s moods and magic and that there is a never-ending cycle of endings and beginnings.. The blue- green globe in the center front symbolizes the planet earth, our home, which we can never forget is our grounding as we gaze up into the heavens at night. The picture with a sliver of moon over the wildly splashing seas and the two blue goblets on either side honored the oceanic waters and tides that rise and fall during the phases of the moon each month and each day.

Many of us instinctively create altars in our houses on any and all available flat surfaces ie side tables, dresser tops, tables, empty corners or alcoves. I am convinced that these altars often are a spilling out of the powerful creative and artistic inspirations that flows through the whole Universe…through YOU!  Through ME! Through all of us who wish to open up and let it flow! Whether displaying photographs, stones, feathers, plants, letters and notes, candles, and any array of personal treasures, an altar is a container of holy presence. An altar is an opportunity to honor what has become sacred and precious to us and invites us to use our imaginations to enhance and arrange the setting with color, texture, and a bit of “theater”.

An altar can be a container and it can also be a “teaching center” offering messages and wisdom to those who sit with is and ponder its meaning for them in a unique and personal way.

Should you decide to bring a Dark Moon/New Moon Circle together … let your imagination and a sense of prayer and PLAY set the stage for deeper insight and sharing. Altar/Altering our perception is one of the first steps to transformation for a richer experience of our lives both in the night and the day.

 

Dark Moon  Picasa twoFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

 

Dark Moon Picasa two

 

The Dark Moon is a great mystery of things beginning.  It is the metaphorical time when the seed is planted deep in the ground nesting where there is no light, its hidden spark of light igniting the life force that we cannot see. Altho it seems like it might be a contradiction, the Dark Moon is actually all about “the new”, full of potential, dreams and determined manifestation. So the dark moon/new moon is really a magical time during which we can step back from the world, and begin the work of conscious planning/planting of intentions, attitudes and experiences which we desire to focus on and bring into our lives.

In our Dark Moon/New Moon together times with the circle of “Lunas” , I am always excited to see our filled-in mandalas full of images, color and glitter at the end of our evening…but I am also thrilled to hand out the dark moon that is the bare, empty and black canvas ..the ultimate, empty Void holding but hiding infinite possibilities that I CAN CHOOSE to dream upon.

Mooncircle two

There is another element at play as well in the Dark Moon/New Moon experience. As well as being the “Creatrix” of my own visions, it is wise to also pause and allow in meditation or prayer the input/influx/inspiration of the greater powers of the Universe who may be able to see what I cannot, and who has a timing that is perfection for where I think I am going. …an experience of CO-Creation.

In my own life at this time, I am in a period of great change..a rather intense time of letting go of the familiar…letting go of my home of over 20 years under less-than apparent ideal circumstances, my possessions in storage, and working on “plan B” in a culture that is not necessary kind to older, single women who have to make challenging decisions considering personal economics that may be somewhat limited. It is a Dark Moon time..extended throughout many days and months and it is important to remember that Dark Moon simultaneously is “NEW Moon” and altho I know the secrets of magic and manifestation and of imagination, intent and focus…there IS another power I must not forget to address.

Although my way through the world is somewhat a-cultural and “magical”, I also have ties to a centering prayer circle connected to an earlier path of spiritual connection. This upcoming week, I am facilitating a topic in our prayer group from a practice of the Benedictine Monk community: Lectio Divina, in which one focuses on and lives with a sacred passage or special poem for a week, letting it unfold deeply in our lives and opening a connection to dialogue between oneself and God, or the Higher Power as you name it.

Knowing I was going to write this post on the Dark Moon/New Moon I had been thinking of my magical, astrological wisdom circles and our practices, but also at the same time  preparing for the Centering Prayer Circle this week in a more traditional spiritual setting (Catholic). I had to laugh with delight when the book I was using as a resource for that experience suggested the following passage from religious scripture for the practice of Lectio Divina:

“Now I am revealing new things to you. Things hidden and unknown to you, created JUST NOW, this very moment. Of these things you have heard nothing until now, so that you cannot say ‘Oh yes, I knew this’. ~Isaiah 48: 6-7

I really did laugh out loud when this was presented to me while I was preparing for this essay and for the centering prayer circle at the same time. It so synchronistically dovetailed with the theme of a “Dark Moon/New Moon.”

I AM in a rather lengthy Dark Moon/New Moon time at present and I am doing the  manifestation work of the magical will, focus and dream, choosing my images of home, creative living, beauty and comfort..yes, COMFORT.  But I have also just been reminded that there is divine, or cosmic help that sees more than I can when the future looks cloudy, misted over or dark. And I …and you…can call on that as well for support and in trust that in foggy unsure times, there are seeds that have been planted that we cannot see immediately..that the dark moon actually is the NEW moon and what is hidden will in time be revealed if we stay present to the Mysteries.

***Getting Started FOR YOUR OWN DARK MOON MANDALA: purchase a large sheet of black poster board ( cost: .50-.89 ). Using a large pot cover, lay it on the posterboard and trace around it to make a perfect circle. Cut..and you have your own round “Dark Moon”  upon which to cut and paste chosen images. Have a basket of gluesticks, glitter and a silver permanent marker with a thin point for writing. Collect a bag of magazines for finding images and words.

 

Moi 2From Christine, The Greening Spirit

also: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Dark Moon/New Moon Mandala Magic-Part 1

Mooncircle Five

The new moon of each month is a powerful time of new beginnings. And what I mean by new moon is the dark moon… or no visible moon.. for three consecutive nights. Those nights, like planting seeds in dark soil, or the time when a caterpillar dissolves in the unlit chrysalis, are the magic unseen dark times of powerful  dreaming, planning and silent transformation.

For a number of years, on or around the dark moon of each month, a small group of lovely “Lunas,” met at my home to do dark moon soulwork together. Each month, the new moon/dark moon is in a new astrological sign focused  on particular areas of life that we might attend and give energy to. We studied the themes of each astrological sign of the month, answered journaling questions relevant to the theme and correlations in our lives and shared our thoughts and stories about them, gleaning deep wisdom and inspiration from each other.

Mooncircle

Each woman then received a large black posterboard circle..a personal dark moon. Bags of magazines spread out on the floor, we browsed, cut and pasted images and dreams onto our dark moon mandala. It was a process done in total silence, with soft meditation music in the backround matching the imagery of the astrological sign.

Mooncircle two

At the end of our quiet creating time, always with pleas of “wait! I’m not done yet!”..we spread our mandalas on the floor for all to see, sharing our process and personal revelations, inviting other insights on each piece. All mandalas put together with clipped pictures, glitter, stickers and glue ended up a masterpiece…and a continued deeper bonding between the “Lunas” as we are called, each dark moon mandala a dream image…SoulWork…

Lunas

This essay is one of several that will follow on creating your own Dark Moon Circle and sharing of several mandalas and the stories that go with them on my own life’s journey. Stay tuned!

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From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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                                                           BUDDY

 

I am a “dog” person although I have not had a pet for many years. Now, living with friends for a interim time between my old life and my future life, I am sharing space with a very curious species as well… three kitties. Certainly an amusing learning curve.

I am aware that some people have a beloved “familiar” and some people have a whole COLLECTION of them, intrigued by the variety of colors, patterns and personalities that cats display. Having now had the experience of house-sitting the three of the ones who live here when my friends traveled for a month, I have come to appreciate how fascinating these little beings are.

I am the earliest to rise in the morning, leaving my bedroom for a face-splash in the bathroom and upon opening my door, there are three faces waiting outside hoping for breakfast. Little meows from the oldest, Bubba, gives the request (orders) for food. He in advanced years lives to eat even with no more teeth. Given the persistence of a still ravenous appetite, he will live to be 100 I think.

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People who have “familiars” already know this, but I am intrigued by the observation that cats are such “ritualistic” beings.

April snow (2)

Staring out the window each morning, greeting the day with tales twitching for Life, when the sliding glass is opened, each one skitters outside, stands still for a moment and then sets out, each, in the same direction as before…Sky to the left, Buddy to the right, and Bubba, old fellow, carefully straight ahead on a nice day, or seated close and tight to the door if the weather seems unsettled.

Boy, do they LOVE the woodstove, and immediately gather from all parts of the house as soon as they hear the stove door opening in preparations for the fire.

IMG_1686Sometimes Buddy and I have to fight for the chair in front of the stove as it is his favorite place to sleep (and mine to sit)  Sky sometimes likes to sleep on the warm tile behind the stove, Bubba, old Philosopher, often stares into the flames from a safe-enough distance, though his eyes are dimming ( but he can sure find he leftovers in the other kitties’ spread-out food dishes if they leave before finishing).

 

Bubba Fire (2)

 

BUBBA

 

 

 

Buddy is gorgeous. Buddy is a Beauty. Buddy is sometimes a Brat. When weather or possible woodland predators have kept him inside for a day, his mood slips and he is ready for a scuffle with Sky, swatting crankily after that stand-off display face to face with twitching “you’re going to GET IT” tail. Buddy KNOWS the rooms he is not allowed to enter, but let there be the skinniest crack in the door as you exit quickly he is somehow there to see if he can slip in in a flash. He’s usually blocked and practically runs backwards and away. He KNOWS…but cannot resist tempting fate.

Then there is SKY, a lithe gray tabby with a soft pink nose and huge eyes. When I first came here, I was told that SKY was very timid and would hide whenever anyone new came into the house. Which he did, skittering down into the basement or upstairs letting the guests think that the house was ruled only by two cats.

                                                                               SKY

Kitty 2

However, in not too short a time, SKY warily began to hang around me, and the deal of bonding was sealed around day 4 of my feeding the cats breakfast when my friends were away for a month. Eventually we kind of fell in love, and now he routinely hops on the couch when we watch tv in the evening, does a whiskery “nose to nose with me, and even licks my fingers sometimes with a sharp-toothed nibble. My friends laugh and tell me this is most unusual for SKY  and I think it may be because once when seeing him sitting straight upon the arm of the couch backlit by the light outside the window, I noted that his silhouette reminded me of an ancient noble Egyptian temple cat. And his apple-green eyes, a magical charm. I think he heard that.

Sky has worked his way into my heart..my favorite, often following me and staring up from the floor into my eyes for no particular reason except he is connecting, and we are having a conversation without words. I think he has become…my “Familiar”.

 

kitty

Moi 2

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit, Novice Cat Lady

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://lunchandlearnseminiars.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

**** BTW: Cougars like hanging around the woodstove Fire too   (wink)

Dec Dreams 3 (2)

Dec dreams (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Johnswort (2)

“When I first moved into the house I live in, there was no Mullein in the yard so I went outside and called it in, singing my need. Within a year, it started to appear.”  ~ Ellen Evert Hopman (Secret Medicines from your Garden: Plants for Healing, Spirituality and Magic)

Herbal book

I was delighted to read this little vignette as I perused her wise and charming book, newly arrived to my herbal library. It reminded me of my own experience of “calling in” a desired plant ally and the on-going surprise and merriment of connecting with the magic communications and interaction between us and the Green Kindred Spirits of field, forest and garden.

I was teaching an herbal/whole-foods/women’s spirituality internship and living in a little house with a wonderful herb garden bordered by small and pretty wooded lots. The herbs in my garden were there by design for culinary and medicinal purposes, raised from seed or purchased at local nurseries: Calendula, mints, angelica, lemon balm, rose, lovage, thymes, basils, elecampane, borage and the like.

There is an “agreement” between  us and those kinds of plants who allow themselves to be semi-tamed and happy living within the borders of a planned garden, but one summer I needed a wild-er companion to make a healing oil, and so I set out to find a stand of St. Johnswort which is not so tame as to be usually found raised in packs of six or eight at the garden center.

The seaside neighborhood  where I lived had many little cottages, groves, wooded or field-like lots with no houses and I walked up and down the bumpy roads hoping to find St. Johnswort getting ready to bloom. I searched carefully and looked intently here and there and then back again, hoping to find this now-desired ally,  but to no avail. There was no St. Johnswort as far as I could tell. Sweet fern waved hello in the breeze, yarrow swayed in the wind, yellow dock’s long curly leaves signaled its presence and I was happy to find them where I had not known they were…but they were not what I was looking for that day….

Coming back home I sat on my front steps and pondered an eventual walk at one of the nearby nature preserves although I was used to finding what I needed in my own garden or in the neighborhood.

I sat and pondered “St. Johhnswort” and in a mischievous and playful mental moment, I called out to it in my mind, asking it to PLEASE show up so I could make the precious blood-red oil for bruises and boo-boos!

I kid you not…and I am not telling “fairy tales” (or maybe I am) but about ten days later I was out in the yard in my garden when something little and yellow caught my eye at the edge of the woods at the property line. I KNEW! I KNEW as soon as I walked over to it…St. Johnswort!!…one little stand of about 3 plants in blooming where there had been none before. And I knew, in my “inner child’s magical heart” that “The faeries” (or the St. Johnswort’s plant deva) had  brought it and installed it there, just for me because I longed for it, sought it dearly and asked!

Of course, I laughed out loud and said thank you, thank you! But just to be sure, I once again roamed the neighborhood and the vacant field and wooded lots through which I had searched previously to see if St Johnswort had been in the area all along and I had missed it.

But NO!…there was no other St. Johnsworts anywhere to be found anywhere else around. Only …and only…in my own garden, over there at the edge of the wooded border.

This is a true story.

*photo credit, St. Johnswort:  Barbara and Peter Theiss (The Family Herbal)

From Christine,  the Greening Spirit

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picture credit: unknown

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http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Heather and Snow Two (2) PICASA

Yesterday, March 20, was the Vernal (Spring) Equinox in North America. Pictures of tulips, lambs, bunnies and bouquets of flowers were cheerfully posted all over social media, bringing color, a sense of beginnings, warmth and new visions after the cold and silence of winter.

Meanwhile on the eastern coast, we awaited a snow event promising to  once again cover the slowly emergent green from the past week of warmer rains.

The sun is now bright after the snowfall, melting this morning’s  blanket of white, but we have not yet made the transition really from Winter into Spring. This is an in-between time… snow and heather trying to co-exist if only momentarily.

Transitions times are a real thing…neither this, nor that…but both and neither. Nature is a startling metaphor for situations in our lives that are neither one thing or another. I know this to be true because that is exactly what I am experiencing at this time: an in-between time from what my life was, and what will be.

I have let go of my life and home and beloved gardens and routines of the past 18 years of rhythm and familiarity, partly by choice and partly by fate. … much if not all of my worldly possessions in storage while I am granted a blessed “time-out” living with friends in order to heal in spirit and recalibrate where to go from here. I am leaving a winter experience of life with residues of frozen challenges while emerging into color, creativity and new experiences that are part of an eldering, but also newly- blossoming me.

I know I am not alone in these times of transition…the in-between times when we are compelled to make changes that incorporate both plusses and minuses. Letting go of parts of what we love, stages of grief, recognition of blessings in the in-between times that aid us and help us move along, hints and glimmers of what can be that we only now can envision as new possibilities.

Spring IS coming, and one thing about Spring that is different from winter-into-spring is the uncompromising energy of Spring RUSHING without confusion into SUMMER…the time of bursting through the cold hard ground into stems, blossoms, fruits and vegetable, color and LIFE.

But today…heather and snow..is the In-Between Time of patience and promise.. a time that is neither this nor that. But both.

I think I can work with that……

 

Moi 2From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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Eyes See You

                                                          Eyes See You

Yesterday while finishing up the transaction in line at the grocery store, the young clerk handed me my change and the receipt. As I took it, I did something shocking. Smiling,  I caught his eye  as I said “thank you” and for the briefest second or two a flash of human connection happened which startled him before he shyly smiled back his eyes locked with mine.  Not just a clerk and a customer and a quick  “have a good one”  but an actual rich moment of recognition, appreciation, acknowledgement and respect between two strangers.

How rare that is these days, as we mindlessly look away from people,  and out or down into distractions…hand-held phones, I-pads,  lists, or the never-ending agendas and self-talk in our mind  blinding us from really seeing and “being-HERE- now” in the present situation. How equally rare it is to  “wake up” amd turn away from those many other things crowding awareness of who is right in front of us…to consciously break away  from distraction for a moment to actually turn and LOOK at another directly eye-to eye to SEE and be SEEN.

It’s a tricky thing,  this eye-contact because we are stepping into the area of intimacy, vulnerability and the momentary revelation of our deeply personal tender human-ness. As it is said “The eyes are the doorway to the Soul”.   To not look at all into the eyes of others is to dismiss them and be only partially present. But to turn and look directly for even a second too long breaches necessary personal boundaries and is rude and even worse, invasive.

But when we can, to turn and let our eyes truly see whom we are talking to, or to risk the exposure in letting ourselves be seen fully for even the briefest moment can be the healing balm of connection in the often fast, soul-less pace of modern life. A “sparkle” in the ordinariness of the day.

For the briefest moment, the precious gift or blessing of “Eyes See You”  between people…and SMILES… can, I believe, change the world within oneself, within the other and  in the World.

**** An Art installation: “The Artist is Present”…sitting silently gazing eye-to-eye with strangers…until… “a (familiar)stranger” from the past emerges…. exquisitely beautiful and moving…another Eyes See You……

 

220727_10151282433958396_866733424_oFrom Christine, The Greening Spirit

Eyes See You

The Magic Folk are out there…truly they are all around us when we are on our nature walks. Don’t think for a moment that we are alone even  if we walk solo! There are eyes everywhere and the “eyes see you!”

I often need to tune out from the dominant culture, media, tv, cars, phone and all that is of outer noise so that I can hear what is real from the inside-out ie dreams and gentle inner visions that are both sanctuary and guide. I tune out by fleeing into nature…the seaside, forests or fields…or beautiful retreat centers that have managed to merge the sacred and the wilds as one.

Seawall

Sitting  alone in deep silence one day on a stone bench facing the sea, I happened to glance down and to the side where the rocks and boulders bordered the path, forming a boundary to the moving waters beyond. I had been feeling that there was someone else nearby. I was startled to see these eyes looking back at me from the middle of this pile of stone.

Have you thought that rocks and boulders were inert and not “alive”?

Think again and know that always we are known and watched in the realm of nature, dear Human,  and even the rocks can communicate “Eyes see you!”

I go there often to this specially sanctuary and sit on that stone bench facing the sea when I need refreshment or inspiration. I do this alone. But I never forget to say hello to the one I see who is seeing me.

 

Dad me 2From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Out of the Mists

Out of the Mists

I have never been a fan of bright blazing sun. A clear day of bright blue skies, white clouds and light that is happy but not harsh is of course lovely. But for me, that is energizing and social but not always the best situation for the kind of photography that I love to do.

I seek to express in pictures what is alive within me ie the magic and sense of mystery that is the wellspring and inspiration for my own creative vision and artistic or literary expression. I try to capture the personal meaning for my own lived-life in pictures.

The quality of light has a lot to do with this. Dappled light, slanted light, or fog and mists are agents of magic and mystery for me. Subjects photographed are what they are…but they are also something else as well as we go past their physical form and presentation into metaphor or symbolism for deeper stories or states of being.

I am not afraid of mists and fog. Sound is muffled and softened, but it echoes as well in a strange haunting way that cannot be ignored.  Things that are invisible slowly emerge from the mists as if from Avalon, pass by in front of us  muted form, and then once again disappear and we question…”what was the meaning of this dream?” or “what is the purpose of my life? If only it were a little more clear!”.

But dreams are not always crystal clear as if in bright light and we move through our days at times uncertain wondering if we are on the right path…our SOUL path… our unique and valid path,  for in the mists there is a sense of mystery that allows for curiosity, experimentation  in the hints, while needing a  sense of courage and adventure mixed together to decipher the path and purpose.  We hope to sail in the right direction on our given time-line but for this we need both a compass and our intuition…..

The beloved Celtic priest/poet John O’Donohue  eloquently said of our time here on earth:

“Our life is a band of brightness between two Invisibilities“.

 

Breachwat Boat

 

We come from the mists, we will go back to the mists, but in the middle…TODAY… we have the opportunity to recognize ourselves on the sea of time… and chart our course as best as we can.. the little ship of our lives is our own band of brightness even in the fog, yes TODAY….

**People who live where I do and my friends here will recognize the Galilee Breachway in NewEngland. We love..all of us…to come here and watch the boats..especially the brave fishing vessels come in and out of safe harbor.

*** The  photographs are from my line of  original phot0 art notecards

*** Please feel free to leave a *like* or comment, or repost/share. (we writers need a little help and encouragement!)

portal 5From Christine, the Greening Spirit

please check my other blogs if you enjoyed this:

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** If you like music, play piano or teach piano check out the stories/memoirs on my

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com. It’s fun!

 Crocus minded 2 (2)

  We live in a time that requires speaking out. Speaking out against political rhetoric of hate and the encouragement of violence against others in political speeches pandering to the lowest common denominator of thought and behaviour. Speaking out against injustice, destruction of the environment, racism and xenophobia and lies and spins that fracture truth and throw up smokescreens that cover and excuse them.
  Speaking out takes courage and finding the words that address wrongs and dark-doings often is like breaking through the rocky soil of fear of repercussions or the insecurity of possibly not finding the right words to express justified outrage or grief at physical, emotional or psychological paths of destruction.
  The poem “Crocus-Minded” was read at one of our recent Unitarian Sunday services. Following the spectacles of our present political campaign rallies and “debates” in the USA, many of us are alarmed, dismayed, embarrassed, and full of grief for what seems to be taking hold.
  For me, the arts, poetry, dreams and myth have often inspired me to deal with what is going awry personally or publicly and helped me to find the words to speak out for what is right good and of virtue.
  In so doing, I find that at this time, I am Crocus-Minded. I’d rather it be easier and more pretty like roses full of delicate or heady scent. (But then, still in summer, roses DO have pfeisty thorns….)
  For now…whenever I speak out against the violence, ignorance, hatred in a divided atmosphere….I am Crocus.
CROCUS-MINDED
It takes courage to be crocus-minded._
…I’d rather wait until June,
like wild roses,
when the hazards of winter are
safely behind and I’m expected.
and everything’s ready for roses.
But crocuses?
Highly irregular.
Knifing up through hard-frozen ground
and snow,
Sticking their necks out
because they believe in spring
and have something personal and
emphatic to say about it.
…I am not by nature crocus-minded
even when I have studied the
situation and know there
are wrongs that need righting
affirmations that need stating,
and know that my speaking out may
offend,
for it rocks the boat – –
Well, I’d rather wait until June.
Maybe later things will work
themselves out,
and we won’t have to make an issue
of it.
Forgive me.
Wrongs won’t work themselves out.
 Injustices and inequities and hurt
 don’t just dissolve.
Somebody has to stick their neck out;
somebody who
cares enough to think through
hard ground
because they believe
and they have something personal
and emphatic to say about it.
Me? – – Crocus-minded?
 
Could it be that there are
 things that need to be said
 and I need to say them?
 
I pray for courage.
(This prayer was written by The Rev. Dr. Gordon B. McKeeman, UU Minister and adapted by Reverend Jan Vickery Knost for use at the UUCSC Sunday service.) _
Crocus minded 1
From Christine, The Greening Spirit

							

Flower 4

I am a member of a wonderful Unitarian/Universalist community. Part of our Sunday service is this pledge:  

“Love is the spirit of this congregation, and service is our prayer. This is our great covenant: to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love….and to help one another.”

Time and time again I have witnessed these precepts in action in this group, gently pulling people out of isolation and into warm connection and belonging especially in times of need or challenge. A truly caring community free of dogma, as is the way of Unitarians, and full of kindness and sincere interest followed by action.

This past Sunday our interim minister, Rev. Jan, spoke so wisely and compassionately in his sermon about the experiences of “Loneliness and Intimacy”. He addressed the sometimes familiar feeling of sometimes being “alone in a crowd” or even “alone in a relationship”. He clarified the differences between men and women when it comes to “intimacy”, men sometimes associating it with a sexual relationship,but women often identifying its presence in deep sharing of stories, deep listening and being “heard”.

I loved all that he shared in his sermon and I KNOW that his thoughts and insights hit home with just about everyone who was there and have lived life alone and with others.

My own family knows that Intimacy is a deep need that is primary for me. Speaking the truth of feelings and experiences with each other, trying to live without judgement, attempting to understand each other’s viewpoints and perspective have been things I as a parent have attempted to teach my children as they grew up. In my later years, I found that the way of Unitarians matched my thinking about this. In my personal friendships and in the workshops I have facilitated, deep sharing, respectful listening without judgement have always been things we have aspired to and attempted to be mindful of. These things foster trust, true soul-filled connection and healing of spirit and emotions.

I am so thankful to have been blessed with friends with whom the treasures of “intimacy” in these ways have been a part of my life. I am happy when I have been able to offer that same treasure back in return. A win-win..we are all healed, and gently drawn out of the lonely place of isolation and disconnect able then to then express our full potential and unique gifts with the blessing from others.

Yesterday, while thinking of the words of Rev. Jan’s sermon which powerfully hit home and have lingered in my consciousness for several days, I went through my photos looking for a nature or garden picture to write about. Instead, I came upon these pictures of a past birthday of mine, and a dear dear soul sister who had stopped by unexpectedly to honor my birthday with a special gift.

Flower 5

This Soul-Sister, “Julie” whom I often call “Jewel-y” because she is a jewel, has been at different times “girlfriend”, “daughter”, “teacher”, “student,” “devil’s advocate”, or “vulnerable and open-hearted seeker”.  Over the years, these individual roles in our friendship have shifted depending on the situations of our very individual lives. A tender shining example of soul-ful “intimacy”… listening deeply to each others stories, challenges and successes, encouraging each other when down, celebrating with each other when up, holding secrets, offering alternatives, challenging decisions and actions that might  block our paths, and more.

Women know these kinds of friendships that sustain us through all other relationships with lovers, partners, parents and children…  Often Soul-ful intimacy may or may not be found in those other situations.

Each of us, my friend Julie and I,  have gone through some very serious and stressful changes in our individual lives over the past several years. We cannot get together much or connect as often right now as we give attention to new situations requiring deep focus and other connections. But I love these pictures of our friendship that seem to have captured the depth of sustaining  support, delight and unfolding that have, and always will, shelter us from the experience of isolation and disconnect in our lives when we might sometimes “feel alone in a crowd”.

btw: my birthday gift from Julie was that throw blanket in a wild animal print. We had been in our women’s group celebrating our wild creative selves and artistic self expression.. there were also cookies are for the sweetness of friendships…!

shawlFrom Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

End of season: Empty Grow Boxes awaiting our move

End of season/Glorious Autumn: empty Grow Boxes awaiting our move

 

This past December I moved from my home of 18 years, voluntary “releasing” my sanctuary, house, wooded land and garden to greater power structures after a number of years struggling to keep it going in a time of financial crisis for many. There were a number of upkeep challenges as in most home ownership situations that could not be addressed but beloved beauty as well.

One of my biggest joys and loss in leaving were my gardens. Always over the years, the magic of herb garden, the awe and delight of flowers and the fascination, fun and nourishment of vegetables have provided much delight from seed to stem, leaves, flowers and “fruit”. Watching things grow from the invisible start, through all stages until gathering and harvest has been a reason for each day’s happiness and meaning. Photographing it all with a sense of humor (baby beanlings and escaping cucumbers) and writing about the mesmerizing life in the garden has been an irresistible form of excitement and inspiration about the stages unfolding in my own life.

For the last several years, knowing that at some point I would be leaving, I switched from in-ground gardening to the ease and inherent mobility of container gardening, specifically Grow Boxes. Last summer I finally knew that it would be the last summer at my home and decided that I would with the assistance of my Grow Box Garden, make it a celebration, although tinged with a bittersweet sense of having to let go of what was treasured, dear and familiar.

MY grow Box garden: Summer 2015

My Grow Box garden: Summer 2015

 

There are those who love the adventure of movement and change..buying and selling homes and relocating..over and over again. There are those who just cannot stay in one place too long.  And there are those who “ground” and put down roots that are so deep in spirit that to rip them up and relocate is like a mini-death. The way of a TAURUS, it is. And a Taurus I am. Like a Taurus (like the Taurean Ferdinand the Bull)..plant those flowers, lie amongst them forever, taking in the fragrance of the land, garden, field, woods that is familiar, that is “home”. Ah, Peace and Beauty….

 

My Garden, My Soul

My Garden, My Soul

 

Life is, however, a series of changes. I now live in the woods for a while…so many things in storage, a momentary simpler life. My Grow Boxes came with me to be my garden wherever I may be that has a patch of land under bright sunlight. For now, they have been over-wintering in the woods, the soil in them cleansed by water and snow awaiting this year’s growing season. Seed catalogues are arriving and in a couple of months, garden centers will re-open offering varieties of wonderful herbs, vegetable and flower babies full of promise.

My Grow Boxes over-wintering in the woods

My Grow Boxes over-wintering in the woods. A-waiting.

 

My prayer is to be able to fill those boxes once again so I may again experience the delight of the mysteries and magic of growing things.

Wherever I am, they are….. and wherever I may go, they too go with me….

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Pearls Gardening

Please visit my other blogs!

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

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com (Memoirs of a Piano Teacher)

 


 

My daughter and grandsons on our Christmas woodswalk..a tradition

Follow the Leader:    My daughter and grandsons on our Christmas woods walk..a  family tradition!

Isn’t it wonderful that many libraries have a shelf in the entrance hall with books for free or a small donation (.50 to $1.00) for the library fund? Treasures are often found there, a brilliant way to recycle books and wisdom.

Recently, dropping “overdues” at the library, I found in the hallway a gem of a book entitled “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv…an absolutely wonderful inspirational guide to unplugging  from technology and taking our children (and ourselves) outside to reconnect with nature, especially “the woods”. Although it is not a new book, it was the recipient of the 2008 Audobon medal and is probably even more relevant and urgent today than when it was published.

Last child (2)

This book did not suddenly “wake me up” to a new idea for a thing to do with children and specifically, MY grandchildren. I had just returned from a Christmas Day visit to my daughter and her family in a nearby state. Following our family tradition to take a nature walk during the day of a visit, we  had driven to Sedgewick Gardens/Longhill  in Beverly Massachusetts and hiked through the winter woods blanketed with dried crackly leaves, fallen twigs and branches and climbing over old logs lying prone on the ground. We have always taken these walks in nature whenever my daughters and their children come for visits or I go to visit them…sometimes to the woods, sometimes to the ocean, and often to hang out at farms, parks or garden centers. And we always had taken these walks as a family when my daughters were growing up.

On this particular chilly afternoon, the boys were full of little boy energy…jumping, running, losing a sneaker in the leaves… and even accidentally stepping in some hidden doggie poo, a true and pungent experience of nature! I had given the boys a clear quart-sized baggie and some tweezers so we could collect nature treasures to bring home. (The magnifying lens I had ordered for close-up inspections unfortunately had not arrived in time.) But we did collect special odd stones, dried leaves with but a hint of orange, strange twigs, pieces of dried tree moss…and even a bug. The woods were filled with strangely shaped trees “with no clothes on” during the cold season and the colors around us were mostly brown, black and gray. Going out on that Christmas day with no snow was a very different experience than when we walk on Easter or in May. A walk full of crackling, snapping dried sounds, and pungent scents of decay and earthiness.

I recall now a quote from the  book The Last Child in the Woods:

“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are”  ~ a fourth grader in San Diego

I admit that my own grandsons living in this culture know where all the electrical outlets in their house are as well and there is a constant challenge to balance monitored technology time and offline projects time. One cannot escape it and it is a challenge in just about ALL households these days.

But I am so happy and proud of my daughters and the attention they give to nature time …. in our family picture albums are so many photos of a  Mommy in the lead…follow the leader!…as we tramp through woods and paths and along the beaches and tidepools and corn mazes in the various seasons of the year.

This Christmas, my gift to all my grandchildren was the game Wildcraft Craft! An Herbal Adventure Game. They know that Noni and their Mumma’s have magical and healing herbs in the garden and cupboard… what a lovely idea to play a game to recognize these helpful plants on their own!

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From walks in nature, to educating the young ones in the healing power of both wild and garden HERBS, this Noni and my daughters hope to keep ourselves and the children close to Nature…. physically, mentally and spiritually.

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

Christmas 2015 and a walk in the woods

Christmas 2015 and a walk in the woods with the boys!

 

 

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I have been “away” from the Greening Spirit site for a while since the challenging life change of moving from my little home of 18 years. I am blessed at this time to be sharing a home with dear friends, as housemates for a while in a setting and loving sanctuary that is a true gift and a place for healing and re-orientation.

My mind and spirit had been totally consumed with an intense focus on the necessary tasks and responsibilities that are inherent in the process of breaking down and releasing all that was familiar and letting go of a “home”. The concentration on organizing, sorting, tossing, discerning what to keep and what to leave behind, and packing closed the door to inner vision and “deep-seeing” the natural world around me that is so vital to this blog.

A transition has happened now, and it seems that yesterday’s blizzard opened once again the inner eye of “soul” as its beauty settled all around us here in the woods on all sides. For those of us NOT stuck in traffic or having to get somewhere through the storm, which can be fearsome if not horrendous, watching the storm through windows was magical.

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All throughout the day, I floated from window to window…each view more magical than the next as the snow drifted straight down, sideways or in all directions at the same time. The woods which on an ordinary clear and cold day look like just one thing, became the realm of fairy tales with its beckoning depth defined by black and grey tree trunks edged in white. The snow settling on branches gave new definition to shape and stature, straight, tilted or fallen.

 

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I  know I was not alone in this enchantment of “looking through” into the wild and whiteness if at home. Facebook is lit up today with pictures of gardens, woods, backyards, decks, city streets and statehouse as if we all suddenly woke up to a new and magical world seen in a starling new way.

bliz jan branch picasa

Since I was indoors and warmed by the friendly fires of our woodstove, looking out to the forest beyond the doors, walls and windows of this house was my enchantment for the whole day. IMG_1330

When there is snow at twilight the light shifts and the world shifts from black, white and grey to blue… time for the end of the day snow party! Shrimp and dips, champagne and wine..good company and the warmth of woodstove and companionship.

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Now until the next post…happy shoveling!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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Shrink piano

When I was a child living in the inner city, we had a large upright piano that somehow had made it into our fourth floor apartment while I was in school, so I don’t remember how it got up there in the first place. But for sure, when my father’s job moved further upstate to a more rural area I DO remember moving day when the piano was lifted out of the apartment by way of a block and tackle installed in the big living room window (or roof?)  and lowered four stories DOWN onto the sidewalk and then into the moving van. What a sight that engaged the whole neighborhood…people hanging out of their apartment windows up and down the street to watch this amazing event.

Moving my piano out of my little house and transferring it to the home where I am staying with friends was not quite so dramatic, but what was most interesting was the neat and tight covering of the piano with artful folds of a thick red quilted blanket. It reminded me of the incredibly disciplined folding of laundry by military men at the Laundromat!

 

What then was most entertaining was the “shrink-wrapping” of the piano, tightly wound round and round over the thick red quilted blankets by a moving man of good humor, expertise and tattoos. My precious golden-hued instrument disappeared completely underneath layers of clear and silvery looking cellophane so that anyone who fancied stealing a piano would never have a clue where it was.

shrink piano two

(I also share that these crafty movers also shrink-wrapped my green brocaded covered sofa which is now standing on its side in the corner of the storage facility)

In its new location in the art studio of my friend, the shrink wrap was unwound in the opposite direction, off came the blankets and voila! A piano once appeared from the amorphous package…safe and sound in a brand new place.

I am blessed to have been able to bring my precious piano with me on this in between journey from the old to the new. Hopefully it will give the whole household here pleasure especially during the Christmas season in the playing of carols and music of the winter season.

From the old IMG_0937

 

 

 

piano studio

 

To the new

 

 

 


 

 

 

Cranberyy 2From Christine, The Greening Spirit in Transition

 

 

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One of the most shocking things about a move is the sorting through and packing of STUFF… All kinds of STUFF that we have come to consider as essential in our lives under the finite roof over our heads in the structure we call “home”.

We don’t have to be identified clinically as a “hoarder” to realize as we pack that there is STUFF in our lives everywhere which indeed is problematic when needing to wrap it up and leave! All those little Hummel statues, bottles of medicine and cough and cold remedies, a bag full of various lengths of extensions chords, the spices and herbs in the cupboard, little boxes of staples for the 3 sizes of staplers, the box of drawings from when our kids were little, our high school yearbook (and now we are over 60 years old!), the three crockpots, the shoe stretcher, the souvenier champagne glasses from that island vacation etc etc etc.

The vacuum cleaner, the Weber Grill and extra propane tank, the lawnmower, the birdfeeders, the table saw, the aerobed, the carwash kits, the flower pots, the bags of compost, the dog’s dishes and heartworm pills, the kids toys, the …the wall sconces and moveable fire-pit and all those little pieces of sea-glass and white stones collected at the beach and arranged on a tabletop altar…and….and…and….

Since this move, when I am visiting friends in their little or big homes, I find myself looking around in the room at all the things they will have to pack too when and if they have to, or decide to move and relocate. Just looking and imagining that exhausts me all over again! My word..do they have any idea what they are in for when it is their time for change?

When I started my process of packing things neatly, systematically and by category in my plastic bins, bringing them to the storage, I took pride in the fact that I was organized and somewhat in control of this arduous and exhausting project.

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BUT at the end of the big move-out, the last few days when it was truly clear-out and GO time, it ended with  “just-get it in there!” any way we could. And the reality of STUFF…too much STUFF!…. struck me with such a force….  I felt like I was dragging Marley’s chains and began to entertain the desire and ability for a second purging to let it all go in time…

Full (2)

Except…one has to eat! And I cannot cook without my favorite spatula which I have had with me since 1968…. a wedding gift that has been part of my life, kitchen, well being and  creative cooking adventures all these years.  So…” Where is my favorie spatula in all that STUFF??? “IMG_8154

Don’t think for a minute that I don’t know where it is…and this week, I shall enter the cave where so much of my life is in boxes and bring it out to live with me in my shared living space at this time. Not ALL of the STUFF is mere clutter… I know exactly where to find it in that above storage!

If you would like to know more about my favorite SPATULA, check out my essay on the other blog of mine:

https://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/memoirs-the-treasured-spatula/

My hard-won advice to any and all who think they might be moving between really soon to within the next TEN years: start sorting and simplifying NOW!

*** I would love to hear your own moving experiences..so many of us in this process and it is no small event in our lives. I have adjusted the settings for you to share a comment…

 

Storage GSFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

 

 

Storage 1 Closeup

The time came when it just didn’t work anymore… after about 8 years of hangin’ in, hangin’ on it just didn’t work anymore.  Letting go of a home…especially if it is also your place of work and service is traumatic and fearsome, especially if you are not sure where you are to go next. In my case, my home, besides being private and comforting Sanctuary, was also my professional and service base teaching piano, writing, and hosting a variety of peer mentoring circles, like a retreat or periodic workshops in New Moon gatherings, cooking or herbal preparations. Those who have come together in my living room also were letting go of a sacred space apart from the world that served as gentle sanctuary and community for all of us and they too were concerned and saddened wondering if we will be able to stay together in special time-apart space.

My garden…this year in convenient grow boxes.. was my inspiration for this summer’s series on the Greening Spirit, photographing and taking delight in all things green as well as the most beautiful Japanese Maple on my lawn that radiated peace and loveliness in all seasons, always visible from my front door.

Garen Lush July 5, 2015

I am fortunate though to now have interim time staying with friends who are dear kindred spirits and we are creating for this time on my journey into the unknown a kind of elder “commune” experience. What this has meant for me in an exhausting period of intense sorting, packing, and organizing is he breaking down all that is part of my physical life and environment in a focused review of all that I have been, all that has been part of different chapters of my life.

Photos, years of  writings in folders, cookbooks, journals, music and music books, cds, audio tapes and dvds, art supplies, musical instruments, pots and pans, office supplies, candles and ritual objects, shoes and clothes, beauty products, dishes (4 sets) , BOOKS of a number of separate and treasured genres, house decorations, statuary, towels and sheets, knives and forks and cutlery, photographic supplies and cameras, coats and jackets, boots, shoes, garden supplies, grow boxes, clay flower pots and bags of organic soil, seeds for vegetables and flowers and…and….and…canned goods and spices, herbal teas and herbs and…and…much more. And keeping track of that one special tool…my favorite spatula without which I cannot cook!

The enormous challenge has been not directly moving from one place to another to establish  another home, which is not possible right yet. Packing for the immediate now- life in the shared interim place with friends and packing all furniture and most items and supplies of my familiar in-progress life into bins, bags and boxes in a storage facility has required an intense all-consuming focus.

IMG_1130My grow boxes came with me….not to go into storage…but to winter outdoors as is recommended, now under the pines in the woods of my new sanctuary. I am learning new things shifting from independence to inter-dependence. I have learned how to make a fire in the woodstove which yes, is all new for me.

But my life in boxes…boxes in the storage facility, boxes here in the basement, boxes in the loft where I am writing, boxes under my bed in my charming little bedroom… Many chapters in a life….in boxes…..the price being paid for a new kind of freedom unfolding…..

 

IMG_1012From Christine, the Greening Spirit in Transition

 

 

 

 

 

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It has been a long time coming, this letting go of a home, land and a familiar way of life. For some, it may be a move to a larger home, a smaller home, an apartment or condo, either up-sizing or down-sizing. Sometimes there is excitement and a sense of delight in  accomplishment, sometimes it is bittersweet or a relief letting go because one must do so, responding to situations that must be released because they no longer work….which is, in my case, my story.

Sparing the details of my story, suffice it to say that challenges to sustainability and economics forced my hand for new decisions that required massive letting go and leaving the sanctuary of home where I have lived, loved and worked for almost 20 years. propelling me somewhat into the vast unknown and an unfolding new chapter in my life.

I am not alone in this scenario of releasing a home back to the bank and being in an in-between place while sorting, recycling, giving away, throwing out,  putting into strorage or taking with me to a new kind of sheltering in sharing space with good friends. Going from being a solitary to living in community as it were is a change, though now technically in our early elder years, we seem to have reverted to the experience of the 1960’s which I teasingly referred to as a return to the “commune”  except now we are older, saavy, more organized and purposeful as craftspersons, artists and musicians in retirement or semi-retirement.

I have a lovely little bedroom here at the home of dear friends, am sharing the downstairs studio of the artist mistress of this house for the purpose of continuing my own profession of teaching piano while surrounded by her magical and imaginative original-crafted dolls and colorful felting objects d’art.

I have moved from a surrounding woods of oak, to a surrounding woods of pine.

Kitchen window view (2)

window woods (2)

 

 

 

 

 

I am writing not at the kitchen table of my original home, but instead in a loft upstairs in the house overlooking the studio below and treetops above. The loft as an artist’s storage/workspace has now also become a  writer’s alcove.

Packing/moving is a traumatic experience, no doubt about it, and it has been my sole pre-occupation for well over a month, if not much of this year. Today, Friday, December 4th at 3:00 pm, I, by personal initiative, will “vacate” the house/home  and the familiar known way of life, locking the front door and moving 11 miles down the road and inland to the newly experienced sanctuary of warmth with dear friends and the elder “communal” sharing for a while. I am even after a month of packing, leaving things behind that have no place or space to go. Releasing….

Believe me when I say it has taken a great courage rising above fear to enter into such a release and leaving. This has been one of the “biggie” life challenges and change for me, and I know for many others in similar but unique circumstances. I expect there to be surprises along the way and things to learn and experience that I could not have learned otherwise had I stayed rooted and fixed in familiar predictable space.

I cannot help but ponder at this time a world in which so many on the planet are now on the move as true refrugees, not sifting and sorting and storing and recycling, but on foot, sleeping on the road and carrying with them only the clothes they wear and some small bundle of personal necessities.

Perhaps “Saying Goodbye to a Home” is a planetary theme.

 

YellowFrom Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

 

Christ plant

Planting flowers in the vegetable garden brings color and good cheer to all that green while we are waiting for the fruition of the harvest, and so with happy planning, I raised the multicolored nasturtiums from seed and waited with goodly anticipation for the bursting open of those flowers of red, orange and yellow.

Garden Nasturtium

They did magnificently, and grew with such vibrant largesse and color in a special patch in front of the bush bean bed. I don’t think there was ever such a beautiful display of their large rounded leaves and multi-colored blooms (both edible btw) in any of my former gardens.

One morning a friend stopped by to see how my garden was coming along and we walked through this particular fenced-in and highly organized cluster of beds. She was taken by the lushness and beauty of the nasturtium patch which was really quite stunning, delighting each of us…

When she left, I drove into town for a quick trip to the market, and upon returning, stepped into that vegetable garden to harvest some beans for lunch. And WHAT A SHOCK!!!!

A once- vibrant full bodied lush nasturtium plant in the center of that community lay flat on the ground, almost totally drained of life, surrounded by the rest of the nasturtiums in distress also though not quite as almost fatal as the center plant. “WHAT is happening???” I must have cried out in alarm as I rushed to the center plant, lifting its limp and floppy leaves to assess this disaster and search for the cause.

The cause was… the hatching of thousands of tiny black aphids on the underside of its once-sturdy leaves, sucking the life out of it and infesting more lightly the nasturtiums around it.

Dashing to the hose to spray off those little buggers, trying to rid the plant(s) of every last one, I gave it coos of consolation and encouragement. “Come now, you must come through this…we’ll make it all right”… and I headed out to the hardware store to purchase the soapy insect infestation wash, SAFER. Back home washing the plant, which in about 1/2 hours time, had once again become totally covered with more aphids, sucking away draining its life force. Another wash of this unfortunate nasturtium and it companions, this time with SAFER and water to cleanse the plant of these invaders.

This process continued for several days…and each time I went out there, my once most magnificent nasturtium plant..the largest and sturdiest of the group.. lay prone, flat and devastated with the continued hatching of these little black sucking pests, although the other nasturtiums began to be untouched.

Frustrated, with another cleansing of the hose…I talked to the plant…a pep talk of great energy..” Oh Dear! Please do not give up…come on, you can do it! Pull yourself up by the bootstraps…don’t let the buggers take you down….”

And then, right with the ears of my Heart, in the center of my chest, I “heard” these words:

                                           “I AM THE CHRIST PLANT”

To say that I was stunned by this communique is an understatement for really, my cheerleading was quite secular and not a prayer. But in a flash, I UNDERSTOOD the message.

The strongest, most vibrant plant in the center of the communal patch of nasturtiums had taken it upon itself, in nature, to become the sacrifice for the rest of the garden. It was the “Christ Plant”… the archetypal One who gives its life to save the others for the survival of Good. It was because of that plant that bore the intense onslaught of the aphid infestation that helped the other plants to escape relatively unscathed, and in good health.

I took great care with that plant after that, understanding something new about the mysterious workings of the garden and its inter-connected inhabitants beyond my usual knowing or bookish research. Eventually, the onslaught was over, the Christ Plant survived, never quite regaining its former unblemished beauty and the garden thrived.

It also made me think of heros and heroines in culture who in their strength of character, stand up for what is right in the midst of infestations of wrong-doing or cultural slides into wrong agendas and how often they run the risk of mockery, banishment or even danger and death. I think of goodly mothers and fathers who sacrifice much for their children and of good friends who accompany each other in times of trial.

I come to understand the bigger meaning of the archetypal  Christ Consciousness beyond religion and alive in the soul, the garden and the consciousness of the earth and its inhabitants.

*** This story is a true experience of the plant’s speaking. It took place a number of years ago, and so I have no pictures. I have substituted pictures instead from this year’s bean garden in which there is one plant in the center that looks terrible and is just not doing well, altho the plants on either side, just a little compromised, are doing well and fully productive. I have resisted the impulse to pull it out, entertaining the possibility of it being the Christ Plant, giving itself over to the infestation more fully allowing the other plants more health and resistance.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Pearls Gardeninghttp://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

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I am in and out of the house all day long as I come and go, checking out things in the garden to my endless amusement and delight.  Viewed with a quick passing glance, the scene appears static and frozen, like a snapshot capturing a still moment for all of eternity….but….

But what a false impression is THAT! The garden is dynamic and in motion each second and things are happening at an uproariously fast pace even tho we might not register it in the way we experience time as a human. Take the beanies for example.

I with a sense of fun and anticipation go out in the morning to collect some beans, eagerly parting leaves and looking for those that can be collected of the right size. I even wear my reading glasses so I can find them and not miss the ripe and ready ones for lunch or dinner. When I have collected ALL of them that I have discovered, they come in with me to add a tender crunch of green to my meal. (Did you ever notice that green beans from the garden taste every so much differently delicious that those beans you pick over and choose at the supermarket which often have an odd flavor and take FOREVER to cook to tenderness?)

I feel good to have harvested all that I found making a stimulus for more little white bean flowers and eventually new pods on those vines.

What a surprise though that same day when I go out in the evening at dusk to water the grow boxes, and check over the plants one more time…you know, just to see what’s happened during the day. SHOCKING to turn over the bean leaves just for a peek, or to survey their well-being, and find fully mature beans hidden from my morning’s careful foraging… how in the world had I missed these newly giant beans in the former harvest just half a day back?? I think they are having fun tricking me…

OBVIOUSLY, the vegetables are a playful species… loving to play hide and seek. I find myself laughing out loud… I’m game….! :-)

I must admit that the plants and I have a very personal relationship, as if they were pets or even people. We do seem to play games together as I pay such close attention to their habit, synchronicities and unique ways and a kind of “communication” happens between us through imagination and observation. Like when after a day in bright direct sunlight, the cukes and tomato vines give up and droop almost flat to the ground, dehydrated and thirsty. The Greening Spirit, concerned,  immediately comes to the rescue to water the boxes and spray them with a fine cool-down mist setting with the hose as if I heard them gasping… “oh PLEASE…WATER!”

This same attention, awareness and sensitivity is also needed with the people and relationships in our lives…noticing who needs a little extra care, watering through compassion,  a hug, or listening when they are dry and flattened by life, acknowledging or cheerleading them on for their special appreciated talents or gifts..their “fruits”… and saying grace and thank you’s for their friendships and nourishments in our lives.

It’s all one thing, you know…….. :-)

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From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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Sunflowers and smiles  at Buttonwooods Farm in Griswold, Ct.

Sunflowers and smiles at Buttonwooods Farm in Griswold, Ct.

What is it about Sunflowers that makes us so smiley and happy? In a world full of bad news and upset on a daily basis, and the constant barrage of vapid or divisive media chit-chat we sometimes need to FLEE into our gardens, or garden centers or those wonderful land-trusts and farms offering creative Greening Spirit delight and refreshment.

Sunflowers speaking;

Sunflowers speaking; “Hello there, Humans! Lighten up!”

I have decided at a time of personal life challenges and change at this time to purposefully include happy “field trips” to places nearby that I have always meant to visit, but had not yet done so. Calling a friend who is always ready for a spur-of-the-moment adventure, we took off to join throngs of smiling people who were doing the same to visit Buttonwoods Farm during this two-week only sunflower festival.

Peekaboo You....Look this way! Down here!

Peekaboo You….Look this way! Down here!

Point and shoot digital cameras, cameras with BIG closeup lenses and busy cell-phone cameras were in everyone’s hands…stop, snap, stop, snap…taking home a sunflower picture if not a bouquet. My friend Margie had her little camera and focused on a happy sunflower being visited by a bee gathering its pollen.

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The sun was bright, the path through the acres of Sunflowers was long but upon exiting there was a lovely hill and a big shading tree and cool breezes to stop and view the field from a higher vantage point and rest up before making the return trip…

Cool breezes on the hill up there

Cool breezes on the hill up there

People, young, old, of all shapes and sizes made the journey through the Sunflowers to be greeted and blessed by all that good cheer.

Never too old to greet the Sunflowers!

Never too old to greet the Sunflowers!

On the way out, we met a real Sunflower Smiley Face!

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After our trek through the Sunflower Fields…back to my own neighborhood for Ice Cream across the way, sitting in the shade and enjoying every single lick on a warm day.

I didn’t bring a bouquet home with me from Buttonwoods.. I knew there were, on a much smaller scale, but still smiling, emergent sunflowers in my own garden…they are just beginning to open now as will add to the greening spirit joy and delight as I also daily prepare to release this home and venture into a new chapter.

I want to take these smiles with me wherever I go ….. :-)

My Garden, My Soul

My Garden, My Soul

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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Plantspeak

In various herbal conferences I have attended, I was always intrigued when certain teachers and indigenous speakers would make references to hearing the plants sing, or receiving messages from them about how to use them for healing. As far as I knew in my long years of gardening it had never happened to me… at least not yet until one summer when I unexpectedly became a wandering minstrel gypsy with a performing Ecuadorean family of musicians as their co-ordinator, unintentionally (but rather cavalierly) abdicating my role as garden mistress. That was the summer I finally “heard” the plants…only it wasn’t a song…it was an indignant lecture and chiding.

Attentively planting and raising my heirloom vegetable plants from seed in early spring, I looked after each stage of their emergence and growth with great delight. Planting them in the rich prepared soil of the side garden, I looked forward to seeing them begin to take root and thought of how much fun it was going to be, as always, enjoying their delicious goodness in my kitchen and table during harvest.

But, after working as educational co-ordinator during the winter with this gifted family of musicians for school concerts, it was decided that I would accompany them on the road in summer for a variety of festivals. That meant that I would teach piano Tuesday through Thursday morning, and leave with them in the dark of night on Thursday, returning late Sunday night or Monday morning.

Obviously, my home and garden life was disturbed and disheveled as I came and went balancing my music teaching with on-the-road away adventures with the performers.

Late midsummer when the plants have set  their fruit and begin to offer their goodies harvest, I stood by the garden in a now-rare state of presence and mindfulness thinking to bring in some tomatoes or squash or beans or SOMETHING and was shocked at what I saw.

My originally carefully and lovingly planted veggies and herbs were…were…a mess or just plain dry and barren. Rich soil, good enough rain and moisture,  a wonderful contained spot, but the garden was now overgrown with tangled weeds around the plants that (WHO) seemed to be gasping for life. The WEEDS were doing GREAT! The poor vegetables…oh dear.

I had to admit that I had not had much time if any to tend them as I came in an out each week between my work at the piano and my work …and adventure…on the road. I stood there trying to analyze why the weeds looked so healthy and robust, and the vegetable plants that I had helped to initiate into this life experience where so…stunted and forlorn. I stood there really trying to figure this out logically….and then, all of a sudden…….  WHAM! 

Plantspeak

In my mind’s eye an image came of its own accord of a Walt Disney-like cartoon plant… tall plant with leafy tendril-ed  arms, one of which was placed indignantly upon its stalky hip and I “heard” these extremely clear, stern and huffy words, not in my head, but somewhere in the middle of my chest..in the region of my heart:

“Wh-elll ! WE who are FOOD, are not like the others that grow in the forest on their own without help. If you say you are going to be here for us and are not, we are DISAPPOINTED!”

I was totally stunned. I had just been told off by a garden of Disappointed Vegetable plants. Yes, I had led them to believe we were going to do something grand together as we always had done in the past.. And then I took off for a summer adventure leaving them to fend for themselves in the heat, the winds, the bright hot sun, the sometimes rain and sometimes not, the encroaching tangle of strangle-weeds and vines.

They sure TOLD me what’s up and Truth isn’t always pretty….

All I can tell you is that this is not a made-up story. It REALLY happened and I have never forgotten it! Plants, like people who are family and friends, do count on us to be there when we say we will…and we hope for the same support in return. Sometimes we are better at it than at others times…life is so full of distractions and personal challenges that we get side-tracked as we try to personally stay upright.. But we are all in the garden together and interdependence often is the key to survival ( and pleasure) as we flow through the seasons of our lives.

Yes, the Plants DO speak to us when we stand still enough to listen.:-) AndI always do try to listen now. The kind that of listening that is centered in the Heart.

At a fair with Manuel of YARINA

At a fair with Manuel of YARINA

*** Writers love to hear from you if you enjoyed our story. I’d love you to click *like* if you did. Feel free to share and repost, or leave a comment! Thanks!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

School Concert with YARINA

School Concert with YARINA

On the Road with YARINA

On the Road with YARINA

At home with the Family Cachimuel (YARINA)

At home with the Family Cachimuel(YARINA)

Cukes Overboard! Escaping!

Cukes Overboard! Escaping!

You don’t have to go far from the garden to learn lessons about life, plants and people. For instance, Cukes have a mind of their own…being such a watery vegetable, their emotions are quite sensitive. If the environment of their daily life becomes too small and contained, or they have to partner up sharing space with others who have a different temperament (like Italian Frying Peppers), they can only put up with so much.

Cukes have the propensity to wander…and wander far, as well as have a rather secret life. That is, in search of emotional freedom and adventure, they travel by their vines right out of the box and across and around the green, yet sending out their fine tendrils to hold on to something steady and reliable…you know… that means anything in its path, to assure a modicum of security as they wander far…just in case.

Cukes on the move.... vines heading out!

Cukes on the move…. vines heading out!

Their “secret life” manifests in tossing themselves..the cuke itself…right out of the back of the box where they remain hidden from your eyes even though you thought you had spotted and collected every delicious one.

But NOOOoooooo…. out back over the fence behind the box or border, hiding in a mass of tangle of their leaves and vines are the BIG guys. Having “jumped ship” before you could shout…”Ahoy…Cuke overboard!” they live out that secret life of competing for the biggest and best of the group before in a slant of light, quite by accident…you..the Master Gardner…catch a glimpse of them and fight your way through the vines getting all prickled and itchy to round them up to accompany you for dinner.

Fighting your way through the viney jungle

Fighting your way through the viney jungle

…Which of course, they are happy to do. Vegetables know they are here to serve as food, and are happy to fulfill their mission being at table with us.

I often think how necessary it is for creative people to break “out of the box” of traditional culture and our home base as we mature when the familiar and static patterns become too routine, and too small or tight for exploration and self-expression. Sometime to grow into our bigger soul-selves we just do have to jump ship, go over the side into the wilds of life to find out who we are. It serves us well to send out kind tendrils of friendship and connection as we move about, even if we have to hide out back at times to do our creative work inspired by imagination and dreams.

Sometimes we just have to go rogue and become “cuke”.

But after a while, we must remember to come back to the table and share our goodness! Our crispness, moisture and stories…

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From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Garden June Sacred Lots of inspiration on my other blogs! Come and visit!

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Plantspeak

Anyone who has attended an Herbal Internship knows this exercise of being sent out into the garden or fields to sit with a plant that “calls you” and just listen….. listen for a message about it or from it as an answer to a question. You most likely will NOT experience this kind of communication task at your  local gardening club monthly meeting, or the University course in landscaping and horticulture who are about things other than talking and listening to plants.

You have to hang out with the herbal people who tend to be more than a bit a-cultural or with fans of Findhorn!

Plantspeak 5

We have done this kind of communication with nature often here in my own garden whether it be with other plant people or with our Dreams/Peer Mentoring Circle and no one….NO ONE…ever comes back to the group without a special message or insight. But then again, these are the kind of whimsical, open and yes, magical, people I tend to hang with.

Plantspeak 3

I mention herbs first because they have such a long tradition of both medicine and magic which both push our boundaries to entertain unusual or unexpected sources of wisdom and guidance. They DO have a propensity for words sent directly to the human heart. But you can listen to flowers and vegetables too…perhaps the devas that represent them are the ones who speak, but if you LISTEN the way children…young ones under the age of six..would listen, you will be amazed.

plantspeak10

It is good to take a notebook and write down the thoughts and inspirations as they come, for like a dream, they may fade as you come back into the mundane and ordinary mindset.

Plantspeak 2

It is always exciting and amusing to compare notes afterwards as it is quite fun and inspirational to share the magic, validating that there ARE worlds around us and within us besides the one we usually think of as the “real”. Share away and enjoy…but maybe not right away at “the office”. :-)

Plant speak 7

I find that entering the “magical mind” is a wonderful way to balance those many other complicated issues we deal with in living our lives. Escaping into a good novel, or attending a wonderful play (Think “The Lion King”) or viewing an imaginative movie (Think “Avatar” or “Lord of the Rings”) we really enter various dreamworlds that are rich resources for creative thinking. Listening to the plants is a wonderful exercise of loving connection to that green world that indeed is our ground of being.

Highlighted in these pictures: Echinacea, lamb’s ears, milkweed, arugula, blackberry brambles, sweet pea and much more hidden in the green.

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From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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JHS

For a number of years I taught a green internship called The Sacred Garden on herbal wisdom, natural foods and women’s spirituality. The yard and garden highlighted in this series was (and still is)  our classroom.

One meeting day, one of our lovely students came with a rolled up yoga mat, blankets and her usual bag of special necessities for all situations. She was very stressed out, dealing with several major life issues needing discernment and sorting. Life was chaotic with many competing voices demanding her attention.

What she desperately needed, she said, was to have a little time out from the group to think those things over. “Of course”, we said, and went into the material of the day, setting her free to be there but on her own.

Several hours later, during a break in our projects I noticed her car still here altho she seemed not to be. “Where is she?” I asked myself..with a little concern I might add.

Walking through the yard and edge of the bordering woods there was no sign of her. Not in the shed, or under the trees out back, or a bedroom in the house. Coming along the side of the back yard and behind the garden I wrote about in Part 11, between it and the sheltered thick hedgerow of the property’s boundary, I caught a flash of white low to the ground and deep into the green narrow hidden overgrown splinter of land.

And there she was, lying on her yoga mat, hat over her eyes, little camera in her hand, comfy blankets around her legs in the warmth of a bright sunbeam yet cushioned and sheltered by a carpet of overgrown green.

She had run away to think and balance and heal a tired soul. She had  run away to find her greening spirit. Which actually, she did.

I often find that when I too am burdened with concerns and decisions needing to be wisely made, that writing, dancing, playing music and “running away” into the green world and the rhythmic misty world by the sea lifts those burdens and brings clarity and calm. The music of wind and crickets and birdsong, and the coolness of “veriditas” in nature has such a loving Soul that longs to bonds directly with our own.

Maybe because it is that we and it are all one thing…… one Soul…

I have learned that seeking refuge by periodically “running away” into nature is absolutely necessary to keeping connected to that One Soul when we have wandered away.

I have also learned that by running away in this way, we actually come home…….

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From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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Evolution 1

As I go through old photos, deciding what to keep and what to toss  preparing for an eventual  move from my present sanctuary of over twenty years, I am surprised over and over again at the way I have gardened for many a season.

I found this series of photos of the small vegetable/herb and flower garden I created quite a while back at the side of my house. That was “then”.  Now, many years later, this space is totally hidden by a hedge of brambles and wild rose… a “Secret Garden” perhaps to be re-discovered someday by the next owner.

These photos are memories of the evolution and organized planning of a beautiful “life” and garden within neat and safe boundaries. I am pleased that I have had the opportunity of creating such a planned and organized sanctuary for the sake of art, beauty, healing and refreshment. However, this is a different time of life for me at present…at least for now… and my garden and my life are more un-planned, un-contained, alternative, sometimes un-kempt in areas and certainly wilder in soul/spirit…

So here it its. Memories of the evolution of an orderly garden:

#1. The Beginning Idea

Evolution 1

#2. Boundaries Three

Boundaries Three

Boundaries Three

#3. Deciding where to put the rosebush

Deciding where to put a rosebush

Deciding where to put a rosebush

Evolution 4

Evolution 3

#4. Rosebush planted! Now on to the flowers/veggies and herbs

evolution planted copy

#5.  Chives and herbs along the sides

Evolution Success

The borders and familiar sanctuary of my life are breaking down at present and so the my garden/my soul of “today” looks quite different than it did up there when life was a little more stable and predictable.

Now my garden is in moveable grow boxes and the back and side yards are left to nature’s plans…un-mowed and seemingly un-kempt…  my Soul and future a personal field and meadow defying predictability, certainty and stability for a while.

Garen Lush July 5, 2015

Yarden mow (2)     Yarden mow   back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever it is that I go you can be sure that it will have to be somewhere that, when I step out of an open door, I am in green space ready for the next garden. My Life, My Soul, My Gardens…we evolve together….

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Boots on the Ground

 

 

 

 

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Bean Baby
When I was a youngster, I received many a microscope kit for Christmas (by request) as well as girly things like dolls, and teeny bopper things like a transistor radio in pale blue.

I asked for microscope kits because from an early age, I was drawn to the wonders of nature and seeing the mysterious patterns and shapes in the tiniest unfoldings of plants, stones, and insects. I wanted to see them up close and personal, so my “natural science” tools were microscopes and slides, and magnifying glasses of various strengths.

Oh what amazing wonders I have seen up close and personal! Intimacy and deep-seeing have always enchanted and nourished me.

I, in this time of my life, sometimes still have a magnifying glass in the garden, but it is the camera that is my “microscope” today along with the photo editing programs that allow me to zero close into some captivating thing in the middle of a bigger territory, by cropping.

In the past week and up until yesterday, the bean plants in my garden were decorated with little white flowers. And then  *POP!*…. just this morning, there they all-of- a-sudden were…..silently (to my ears) bursting and pushing the flowers outwards…little beanie babies being born from somewhere in the center of that fading bloom.

Bean borning (3)

It’s not that I have nothing else to do in my life except to watch a baby bean be born. I teach piano, cook, prepare a variety of interesting courses on dreams or positive manifestation or inner peace at the University, lead groups, visit with friends and go dancing…naming just a few things. But…over and over again, I am called back out to the garden throughout the day and in my comings and goings, to stop and pay attention to some incredibly important,  awesome and powerful event….like a bean being born, a miniature eggplant crowning out of the green womb, or a calendula bud silently exploding open and orange into the sunlight. It’s very mysterious and very organic, this sprouting something new almost every minute. Ongoing change and transformation out there… something amazing is happening all day and all night long!

I think about my life and some significant challenges I am facing at the moment. Challenges of having to let go of my home and the garden of this series, challenges to maintaining the stability of familiar work and service, yet  transformational opportunities for teaching in new ways, and living inter-dependently rather than independently. Like a beanie baby, pushing out from the flower of familiarity and comfort and becoming something new-ish in the world and my way of moving through it.

The pfesity and prophetic priest, Matthew Fox once wrote somewhere in his book “Original Blessing” (and paraphrased here) that if all “holy books” were put on a shelf for a number of years and we went out to read nature instead, we would learn everything we need to know about living a wise and good life. A “Whole-y” life, I call it.

Beanie Babies Borning is my message and lesson for today. Got it!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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Kale with water droplet-look!

Kale with water droplet-look!

Yesterday morning when I went out to the garden very early, the whole front yard and plants were awash in brilliant blinding light. Everything shimmered with moisture and dew that was rapidly evaporating in the heat.

The morning light was behind the plants as the sun was coming up and everything was back-lit with halos and transparencies, not the best conditions for taking a picture.

Blinding Light

However, close up to each plant, there was light behind them and a radiance around their edges that revealed things not readily seen in other more mundane situations. Once again, I was grateful for this time in my life that allows a mindful presence before my day starts, grounding me in mystery with the opportunity for deep-seeing and new in-sights.

We live in a culture of speed touted as a virtue, and distraction, a tool for programmed consumerism…both of which are Soul-thiefs. We miss so much that is grounding and heavenly combined as we run (or are chased) through our lives pursuing a dream of what is supposedly important.. imposed by popular culture, not revealed by Presence to the miracles and messages all around us and within us.

Stepping out into the world, early morning, shocked into stillness by radiance..(it is said that to look upon the face of God or Angels is a blinding experience). Even squinting, Illumination can come out of awe and prayer. All of which can change our lives.

This was it. Were there Angels in my garden?

And…. can you find the water droplet in the kale leaf (?) not noticed until magnification and deep seeing.

There is ALWAYS more than initially meets the eye…….

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

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The first baby eggplant!

The first baby eggplant!

Those of us who are gardeners…especially of vegetables…get REAL excited at the rapid day-by-day emergence of something we will eventually eat! I am a grandmother, and I am astounded at the SPEED of the life cycle of my vegetable plants…. they grow up faster than my grandchildren, who are inches taller every time I visit! And so are my green garden beings who I tend each morning and evening…

Oooh! Hello baby tomatoes!

Oooh! Hello baby tomatoes!

I have so many pictures of my children and THEIR children (my grandchildren) from over the years, cherishing each phase of their lives from teeny newborn to …well… stem, leaf, flowers and fruits of their unfolding or yet-to -unfold lives. As they all live farther away from where I do, I think I have transferred my need for intimate familial relating and caretaking to my greening garden plant-children, delighting in and photographing every new stage of their becoming too.

Are you REALLY going to turn into a BEAN?? C'mon you can DO it!

Are you REALLY going to turn into a BEAN?? C’mon you can DO it!

Cheering my little grandsons on the soccer field and my granddaughter for her amazing artistic skill, and clapping at the discovery of the first cucumber hidden under their leafy vines seem to come from the same place of love and delight.

Oh you are such an adorable little cuke!

Oh you are such an adorable little cuke!

Some things grow faster and more directly from seed than others for instant gratification.. abundant, lush and up-front it is what it is even from an early age without the metamorphosis of one stage into another. Thank you, for the immediate and direct gift of nourishment while we wait for the unfolding of others. Sometimes we just need that nourishment without the “wait…”

Oh you are so gorgeous! Let's eat!  (Kale chips?  Sauteed Kale with olive oil,  garlic and onions?

Oh you are so gorgeous! Let’s eat! (Kale chips? Sauteed Kale with olive oil, garlic and onions?

All you at-home gardening kin out there…you are smiling with me, aren’t you? (listen to yourself the next time you go out to check your plants. I bet you talk out-loud to them…..  )

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

The Garden Guys (Grandsons planting stuff)

The Garden Guys (Grandsons planting stuff)

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TeaselHead 2015

It’s not just one garden ie the one I planned. There is another kind of garden around me…the one that comes of its own accord, the Wilds Garden, perhaps seeded by the Faeries who take delight in surprising us or bringing us and the land things we didn’t know we needed.

My Wilds Garden has plants that are not usually found in polite garden centers for “landscaping” and  perfectly weedless lawns. They ARE weeds, but weeds who bring special healing for body and for spirit. Weeds like poke, St. Johnswort, milkweed, blackberry brambles, mugwort, plantain and today’s subject…TEASEL.

This year, quite out of nowhere and suddenly, the Teasel Twins appeared on my lawn near the side un-mowed meadow.

Teasel Twins

Tall and stringy, they have been growing into maturity day by day, but not softening one bit in their sharp and spiny personalities, looking like some fierce ancient dragon plant. And in truth, their prickly “dragon” power may be wondrous medicine for some really challenging medical conditions. For me, I believe they appeared as Guardian Spirit Plants since I had been very concerned about ticks hindering my peace of mind in the garden having had Lyme Disease twice over the years. I had been fretting about that as I decided to once again grow and tend vegetables, herbs and flowers after three years of not being able to do so.

In colonial pre-technological days, teasel earned its common name as the prickly flower heads that were used to “tease” the nap up in cotton fabric. This commercial use was, in its time, useful although labor intensive. But teasel has a more healing mission most recently as an emergent protocol for several “modern” diseases afflicting thousands: Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue. arthritis, and lupus. Two renowned herbalists whom I have had the opportunity to learn from at the Inernational Herbal Symposiums, Matthew Wood and Stephen Harrod Buhner, work experimentally and successfully with feisty Teasel in the management and healing of these often debilitating diseases.

For more helpful and inspiring information on this green ally that is making inroads in treatment for these contemporary illnesses, check out Matthew Woods’ excellent  book “The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicine”  which has a long in-depth section on Teasel and Lyme Disease.

SAM_0038

For a wonderful all-round herbal guide check out also a delightful book that I found at the bargain table at Barnes and Noble but is a true gem: “Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies” by  accomplished herbalists.Julie and Mathew Seal. It also has some very important information and instruction on the growing and preparation of Teasel and all manner of herbs for healing purposes.

SAM_0039

The pictures here show Teasel in its “green” and growing phase. But there is a BIG surprise coming as the prickly heads enlarge and mature…and for that…another post on Teasel will soon follow.

Truly, I am mesmerized by and LOVE this plant, this weed. It is the prickly part of my Soul that needs to soothe, heal  or cast out the “demons” that can cause me pain in self-doubt and fear, or the ache-iness of longing and memories that need to be released in order to move on to new beginnings.

Thank you, Faeries, who sneaked in overnight and brought the Teasel Twins to my Garden, my Soul this year.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Garen Lush July 5, 2015   Also!

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http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

The power of words, sensuous cooking and eating, and music/the arts in the blogs above contribute to a Greening Spirit life!

 

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*** Photo: Lemon Balm Tea, steeping, fresh from the garden

As every herbalist knows, once we start growing herbs, harvesting or drying them and making tinctures, teas, vinegars and all manner of preparations, we start collecting glass containers to keep them in and especially so we can SEE them.

What that leads to are closets compulsively filled will bottles of different shapes and sizes, saving interesting jars that originally  contained pickles, jams, mustards, condiments, or liquids like wine and spirits.  We cannot…CANNOT…. resist a pretty bottle or jar…!

Glass Garden

We also cannot resist the magic of the herbs either and so hopefully we are engaged in the making of lovely herbal delights for healing, culinary temptations or gifts for bath and beauty. Thus…. A Garden in Glass!

Glass Garden 3

*** Picture: Dark Moon Tea/Dreamers Tea (recipe at the end of essay)

The garden is not producing veggies yet, but the greening herbal leaves are abundant and ready for preparations like flavored vinegars. One of my daughters just asked for a family favorite which I have not made in recent years… my Italian Lovage vinegar in a light red wine vinegar (like Pastene), also adding fresh parsley, basil, a few..just a few!..hot pepper flakes and a smashed garlic clove. LOVAGE is a strong herb…I describe it as a kind of cross between parsley and a medieval celery.  This first tiny batch will start us off and more will be steeping as summer progresses. These smaller glass jars originally held Major Grey’s Chutney.

Glass Garden 5

Summer goes by so fast, as does life, which we do begin to realize when our children go through major passages like graduating college, getting married, becoming parents themselves while we become grandparents. Capturing the essence of the greening seasons of the garden and  those in our lives seem to be a desire to hold on to the experience or the memories through tasting, savoring…sometimes in photographs, sometimes in food…and sometimes in glass bottles to remind us of the seasons of life and love. Our Gardens in Glass …a little bit of magic…!

 

***Recipe:  Dark Moon/Dreamers Tea

A blend of dried mugwort, rose petals and perhaps a little spearmint or lavender… To your liking.  A teaspoon per cup, steeped for about 10 minutes, strained with honey for a social tea with friends. Stronger…a longer steeping time (an hour), 2-3 teaspoons per cup to drink before bed to stimulate and remember dreams…. (make sure to write those dreams down in the morning!)

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Christine 3My other blogs:

Do you love music? http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

Do you love delicious fresh food? http://sensuous soupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Do you hope for positive life experiences? http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

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(Drying Lemon Balm for Tea on the Piano Bench)

*** Gardening sounds like an outside thing and it is….but harvesting eventually ends up indoors, for cooking and eating, and also for drying if you have herbs. The bounty of the herbs goes beyond fresh tea (no you don’t have to dry the herbs first to make tea). There is enough in a season’s harvest to dry for use in the winter.

Rugosa 10

(Drying Rugosa Rose Petals for Tea)

*** My home is very small, and I work at home mainly in the open living room-kitchen space. My piano is here in full view and my kitchen table is often “my office”. Everything I do is on display at all times and my life, work and creative projects are sharing the space with the projects and people who come and go here.

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         (Drying Lemon Verbena for Tea/ Hydrangea Leave for Bookmarks)

*** Drying the herbs on the piano or coffee table, or pinned to the kitchen wall is what happens here along with paying bills, cooking, writing all manner of things, creating art, hosting peer mentoring circles and giving music lessons.

*** My house seems to amuse my guests and students, wandering on the front lawn in and around the grow boxes of vegetables and clay pots of plants before entering the house, and then coming inside to see leaves and flowers on display, drying, on pieces of furniture and all available flat surfaces.

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(Drying Parsley and Lovage for Vinegars)

*** One summer when  all manner of herbs were hanging from a beam in the living room, a new piano student…a well-known physician…came in for his first lesson. He looked up, standing under hanging bunches of drying herbs and said…”Hmmmmnnnnn…….”.  I was thinking,  he being a doctor, that he might judge that as old world stuff.  Suddenly in the middle our first piano lesson he asked…”Do you believe in magic?”,  thus initiating the first of many lively exchanges about alternative medicine, art and music in our time together… A fine doctor, he eventually became an acupuncturist as well, and supported my investigations into Teasel as a remedy used by indigenous peoples for Lyme disease. I am pleased that my piano “studio” was a safe place to discuss alternative medicine with a mainstream medical doctor!

hydrangea

Whether outside or inside, I love sharing space with the herbs, vegetable and flowers. After all, that is the mission of a Greening Spirit!  Veriditas!

From Christine….

Christine 3

please visit my other blogs too!

http://sensuousoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Brambles (2)

Well, in Part 3  (Order and Chaos) of this series, I revealed  to all the wild un-mowed backyard which has now been christened “The Meadow”.  All of my attention this year has been out front growing vegetables in boxes in full view of anyone passing by and the picture of that mower in the tall grass is it only on its way back to the shed after the front lawn has been spruced up.

Yarden mow (2)

The back has been untended for three years for several good reasons and for sure I have felt a bit guilty about it each year. But just a bit, because in fact, each time I go out there, I am captivated by the spirit of the wild, the untamed, the unplanned. There are TREASURES in that meadow…. varieties of ferns under which faeries hide, teasing waving grasses that keep the black kitty who wanders through the green in hunting mode early morning and at dusk, and for sure, herbs for healing that appear on their own without any assist from me.

Ferns

Treasures for sure!  My herbalist colleagues know these to be just that although  those who are into perfect presentations of turf and balanced landscsaping ie immaculate carpets of green untainted by…argghhh! A WEED! …. would be “tsk tsking” at my supposed irresponsibility.

Not so.

Burdock! – burrs and healing seeds in the making. The root, if I were to dig it up, which I am not planning to do, is powerful cleansing and nutritive medicine.

Burdock closeup

Mugwort- The herb of dreamers, visionaries, opening the third-eye of deep-see-ers and wise-women. A smudging herb and the herb used as moxa in acupuncture. It is also an herb for regulating the menstrual cycles of young women.

Mugwort

Lemon Balm- According to Hildegard of Bingen ( ) “it maketh one merry” and indeed its delicate lemon scent and flavor tempers sadness and stress in the moment,  especially sweetened with a little honey. A delightful happy herb, it is nonetheless considered one of the premier nervine herbs to calm distressed spirits. My large patch of meadow lemon balm grows amidst a stand of ferns whose interesting shapes amuse the eye.

Lemon Balm

The Brambles: where the blackberries grow all tangled up with milkweed, mugwort, and in some places, treasured nettles. Invasive but colorful bittersweet grows in there too, and thank goodness for some friends who are compulsively compelled to rip it out on sight while passing through the yard. At the moment, the berries are still red, but I watch them turn darker each day in the competetive game of one-upmanship with the birds who will try to get to them first before I do.

Brambles (2)

ELDER- Oh what a precious and magical shrub… every part of the plant having a use, especially the flower (used in gypsy cold care tea) and the berry (used in elderberry syrup as medicine for the flu).  The elder was the magical herb that played a prominent role in the movie, ” Sorceress”  about a medieval herbalist, her craft and the danger it put her in. 

Elder

When I was a little girl, I was enchanted by fairy tales and faeries and I always knew that the best place to find them would be in the meadow, hedgerows or fields. I am in love with the vegetables and flowers and the magic of their unfolding  in my orderly garden but where the wildness Nature has the upper hand is the best magic of all.

I will add a less poetic paragraph here that is a reality where I live, needing precautions for safe foraging and gathering in the meadow here and in the real wilds. Ticks and their four or five tick-borne diseases are endemic where I live in New England, so although lovely dream-like pictures of young women in white flowy gossamer dresses dancing through the fields are on-line,that is NOT what I look like when out there. Covered up with socks, boots, and layers of long-sleeved denim…all sprayed with permethrin has become an un-fun and certainly un-glamorous necessary costume for avoiding the ticks and the very serious diseases they carry. Clinging to tall grasses, or nesting under dried leaves and shrubbery, they love hitching a ride on YOU, to bury underneath your skin and transfer their nastiness.

Yarden mow   back

But still, go forth in the proper way, to discover the Treasures of the Meadow forgotten or unknown in today’s techno society. The real magic is out there.

(all pictures credit: Christine Phoenix-Green)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

My other blogs have magic as well!

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

Yarden mow (2)

Every front has a back and every life has a public and a private reality. In the practice of “dreamwork” we use the terms “The Conscious” and “The Unconscious” to understand the parts of us that we ordinary identify with and know about ourselves in some sort of orderly fashion and predictability vs the part of us that is more hidden behind the scenes(or underground to use a green metaphor) and often surprises us with unexpected behaviours or bursts of unplanned genius and creativity. In truth, in a balanced life, we need to allow for the activities of both territories.

Ancient writers, philosophers and poets have often used the garden as a metaphor for the soul and I find that it is so, as an expression of the way we live our lives. Thoughtful awareness, intention, focus, purpose, conscious planning and follow-through often (but not always!) produce the results we intended. The garden, tamed and contained, has a pleasing order, and is its own delight. In my world it is on the front lawn……what I can see from the open front door of my living room and what others can see as they pass by. Well tended,  watched over for the expected daily bursts of growth, what’s been consciously and deliberately planted appears (mostly) as planned.

Garden June 25

What is NOT seen from the well-planned front lawn of the Conscious mind is that back yarden that is always there and active altho un-tended with deliberate mindfulness and attention. No human “control” issues back there. That does not mean it is not FULL of life and things not ordinarily thought about. It TEEMS with wildness and creativity, this un-mowed territory, and it teems with the encoded genetic and experiential memory of weeds and herbs and vines, and roots and ferns and mosses and all manner of ancient life still blossoming all around us. Stepping around the house from the front to the back yarden there is a kind of shock entering this world of seeming chaos. Isn’t that an appropriate and understandable response or reaction when the wildness of the Unconscious bursts through into our well-ordered lives?

Yarden mow (2)

I  faux-lamented to a friend about this behind the scenes chaos, that in the  abandonment of control behind the house, my “lawn” had turned into an un-mowed field. Being an Englishman of proper language, he informed me that over there, it is called a “meadow“.

How lovely to think of this overgrown and untended area with the word “meadow”… a place to run through, investigate and play in discovering a wildness, as we should when immersed in living with “soul”. I much prefer now to think of that un-mowed part of my life as a meadow rather than a chaotic mess to tame and subdue with my imposed willfulness and intention, letting it reveal wonders and surprises to me if I just let it be.

Yarden mow   back

Later today, I will be stepping into that green chaos and see what’s out there and will report what I find in the next chapter here of  the My Garden, My Soul series…

Flower Child      Veriditas! from Christine,  the Greening Spirit

All my writing does seem to be a mix of order and wildness of thought! Check that out in my other blogs:

http://wordmagicandthelawof attraction.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

Ms borage without border

Those whose gardens are the sanctuaries of herbs know that humility is a Virtue.  We often refer to herbs and their “virtues”, a medieval usage of  the word, describing their merits and usefulness subtly hidden in their at-a-first-glance smallness. Theirs is a humility defying the flashiness of showy and commanding Divas, but instead, tended in the green world by the elusive but ever present plant “Devas” whose mission it is to oversee and communicate the virtues inherent in each plant. Indeed that humility might almost render a clump of borage invisible except for tiny quick flashes of blue if we are moving through the garden mindlessly and in a hurry.

MsGarden Gate

The herbal kindom require us to slow down and practice the soul-virtues of stillness and deep seeing. Looking closely into a patch of tiny blue flowers amongst their soft but prickly leaves, we observe a tiny magnificence of color, complexity and imaginative shape. The borage flowers are beautiful…another of the plants that exhibit the 5-pointed star in its form. If we moved quickly and mindlessly by a patch of this plant, as so many humans do in our largeness and speed, we might miss the complex but delicate blossom design.

Borage flowers closeup

Borage has many “virtues” and gifts for us. An herb of “good cheer”, it was thought to dispel melancholy and pensiveness (Culpepper) which actually happens when taking a true look at its richly colored flowers and their display.

A slight taste of cucumber in its leaves and blossoms offers a cooling effect…it can be used as a tea, or added to salads.

Herbs and their uses come in and out of favor in different time periods, but truly their virtues are always present whether acknowledged or not. I find that something shifts and awakens in me when I am hanging out with the herbs…something mysterious, wondrous, and alive…as if under an enchantment.

Enchantment… a virtue of Soul accessed through the magic of deep-seeing and discernment.  A rather nice way to live….whether one be a a plant or a person.

*** These pictures were taken in the garden of good friends….

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

156316_593312384017317_1591585182_n     Hopefully, my other blogs will enchant you as well!

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Garden June Sacred

Being a Taurus Sun Earthkeeper person, I have always had gardens where I live. The cycle of the seasons in a 4-climate region has captivated me since childhood…each turn full of magic, myth and mystery.

Growing up in an inner city in the northeast USA, I was not exposed to posh gardens in the concrete environment even though I lived in an apartment building on Ash Grove Place which still had a genteel air leftover from earlier times when the neighborhood was lined with ash trees before cars. The plants that came through the cracks and between the buildings in ally-ways were the wild things…dandelions, poke, yellow dock, plantains and the flowers of grasses. Of course back then, I didn’t know their names but I was called to them because they were green growing living things tucked in and around the hardness and grey of city asphalt.

There were two “garden” situations however that served our city spirits. One was the chain-link fence bordering the back parking lot behind our apartment building. In spring and summer, the tall fence was covered by the climbing vines of morning glories. The blue flowers were a never-ending delight…the tight spirals of the buds before opening, which we would pick, blowing at their now- tiny opening at the base .. and out they would flare into full flower by the power of our own mini-godlike breath. Picking the full flower itself , we would also suck at the small opening at the base of it, pulled from the vine, to taste a delightful delicate sweetness,  coming to understand what the bees were collecting while visiting its center!

The second garden was for viewing only through the openings in the chain link fence to the back lot of the next-door neighbor. A German immigrant with a thick accent, he was a crabby terrible tempered territorial old man who yelled loudly and threatened any and all kids who might attempt to climb over the fence to receive a ball gone astray in the air, landing in his green sanctuary. But he was an amazing gardener and it was like peering into the Garden of Eden or a guarded oasis in the middle of the hood between buildings. As an adult, I now understand his fierce and protective personality preserving the peace and order of his sacred garden from a pack of potentially disruptive and invasive neighborhood kids….

My own gardens from marriage, parenthood, divorce, partnership and singledom on have varied. My first planting was of Lamb’s Ears (stachys officinalis) which first captivated me in a re-created colonial apothecaries’ garden at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT when I was age 21. The gardens that  followed throughout my life started with herbs and their charming and healing mystique, and later, flowers and vegetables. Always always green around me.  

Veggie Garden

( One of my earlier gardens )

Several years ago, serious vision problems with early cataracts began to develop and it became impossible for me to see in sunlight and also to just see clearly at all. For the past three years, that, plus a couple of stressful, attention-stealing life situations blocked the ability to garden. I thought that was okay. But there was a flatness in my spirit as a result…unrecognizable to others…but known to my own self. A loss of some sort of energy and meaning. A loss of “veriditas”.

Now, with much excitement and gratitude, my eyesight has been restored through surgeries,  and with the renewal of vision, I could not let another year go by without tending the “Green”.  Three years of not taking care of the yarden turned it into wildness except for the front. This year, I invested in Grow Boxes, not having the time or energy to tame field and woodland and in planting them and situating them in my yard,  I realized that in not gardening the last three years, I had lost some part of SOUL….my own “Greening Spirit/Veriditas”… by not participating in the cycle of the seasons in person and not tending the plants. But now! My Soul has come back home to both the inner and outer gardens!

Garden rainy

A week or so ago, as I walked through the front border to the road, I stubbed my toe on an exposed corner of a flat rock buried under moss and matted grass. I bent over to scrape away dirt and plant matter to find a garden plaque that my partner David had placed in my new herb garden almost 20 years ago when we moved in. I had at that time also been teaching a nine-month internship in folkloric herbalism, natural foods and earth spirituality, called “The Sacred Garden”.

Garden June Sacred

How synchronistic was its surprise emergence from “under” to welcome my SOUL back home as I became a “gardener” once again.

They are BACK! My garden, My Soul !

Veriditas! from  Christine, the Greening Spirit

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Please visit my other blogs!

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.com

 

 

 

 

Rugosa 2

Yesterday I wrote an essay on Rugosa Rose and the exquisiteness of its fragrance. I posted the link on FB only to find that a number of my FB herbalist/magical friends had also written or posted links and essays on “The Rose”  and its variety of virtues as well, at the same time. What synchronicity!

I have learned that when that sort of thing happens, that there is a mystery in the air and the channeling of a message from the Universe that needs to get out to all.  And yesterday it was the rose. Apparently a number of us, aware or not, were the channels for passing on the message of the Rose….  beauty, inspiration, healing, nourishment and Love.

I love being a messenger or channel of all those things and so I am very grateful for the abundance of Beach Rose (Rugosa) around my house. At this time of the year, they are overflowing with delicate sensuous fragrant flowers that captivate all who come through the yard to the front door. At all times of the day I gather the fresh petals blossoms for tea. Though one could make a tea of just the rose petals, I prefer to add them to other herbs like lemon balm, lemon verbena, or basil… OR…I add them fresh to a cup of a special prepared blend like the one pictured  above ..tulsi/lavender….calming, scent-uous and yes, subtly enticing.

When friends or piano students visit who have especially come under the enchantment of the scented garden, I will pick a small cupful of petals for them to take home for their own tea as well.

The petals can be dried for future use either in a dehydrator at low temperature, or on a screen, paper towels or nubby cloth towel. My piano students and I are sitting less comfortably on chairs during this week’s lessons as I have stolen the piano bench to serve as a drying surface…but the inconvenience is temporary and the reward a special delight.

Rugosa petals

                                                                                                                                               It is also possible to make a most luscious syrup from the petals. On early mornings during the season, some of us go to the wilds where the rugosa roses bloom in profusion,  and gather a basket full of petals.     

Seaside Mists (2)

Later:  prepare the syrup in a large glass bowl…a layer of sugar, a layer of rose petals, another sprinkled layer of sugar to cover, another layer of petals etc. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for a day or two. I keep mine in the fridge…others keep it out. Strain and add a  small splash of rose wine, or brandy….or not. Keep in a sterilized glass jar, or pretty bottle. I keep this in the fridge as well. Add a splash to champagne, or over ice-cream or a special dessert.

If this is not beautiful, healthful, nourishing to body-mind and spirit and overflowing elixir full of love from the earth, love of the rose, and LOVE in all ways, I don’t know what is!

Rugosa 20

(all photo credits: Christine Phoenix Green)

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

Cranberyy 2  For other earthly delights, check my other blogs!

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

Delicious Food: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

The Power of Words and Positive Attitude: http://wordmagicandthelawofatraction.wordpress.com

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