Archive for April, 2016


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

 

 

 

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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.

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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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s APRIL! Finally! ..and waking up here in New England to snow falling heavily and now fierce winds that are kicking into high gear, gusts at 50-60 miles per hour. The sun was gone, came an…

Source: April 3-April Fools: “Wintspring!” err, “Cooler-Warmer”?

“Calling in” a Plant Ally-St. Johnswort

“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 …

Source: “Calling in” a Plant Ally-St. Johnswort

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

also my:  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

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