Category: Shamanic Deep Seeing


Don’t think for a moment that the plants don’t have the ability to communicate with you! Sometimes to share wisdom and sometimes to tell you off when need be! This really happened to me..

The Greening Spirit

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…

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Dappled Light (2)

 

Perhaps it is because astrologically I am more of a Moon and Water person with Cancer Rising and Moon in Pisces that I shy away from the intensity of direct bright sunlight,the glory of summer for those who love to frolic underneath its radiant heat and blinding shine. My Taurus Sun loves the gardens, vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers, but MY (earthbound) Taurus with the addition of a water Moon and Rising Sign,  is cooler and more moist, and garden tending at the morning and evening hours is preferred over sweating it out at high noon.

The same for me is “beach time” which practically never finds me basking in the beach chair under the hottest most direct radiance of the day, but almost always at the slanted light hours of early morning or late afternoon until sunset. If I must be out during the onslaught of the BRIGHT, sunglasses (BIG ONES) and hats (BIG ONES) soften the blow of squinched eyes half shut and blindness that is white and not dark.

MOI Beach

I find that it is often hard to see in bright light and also to take photographs that reveal depth and complexity, scenes and subjects often flattened out and drained of color. If seen more clearly, the direct intensity of light leaves nothing to the imagination, everything revealed, no secrets to uncover.

Dappled Light Four (2)

For me, dappled light and slanted light is where Mystery resides and I am in love with mystery and the interplay between what is seen and what is unseen both of which are always “there”.  (I must admit that lounging about with a big hat and dark sunglasses presents an air of “mystery” but again, the mystery is about what is semi-hidden and unseen even in bright sunlight. The mystery resides in the shadows).

Trees Vespers (2)

I also admit that sun is fun and that minus the relentless and blinding glare, there is always beauty to be revealed in every hour of the day… Let the fire people..Aries, Leo and Sagittarius… revel and activate themselves and play games and adventures under the intense bright light and heat of summer days…and we will meet instead and party together during the waxing and waning hours of the sun, or around the dancing flames of the firepit in the middle of the darkness. I will weed the garden, and pick my flowers and herbs in softer, cooler light…

Thank goodness there are 24 hours in each day…and something of preferred light and shadow for everyone…

 

BrightFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

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Monk Endrts (2)

The “world” seems quite crazy right now, populated in the media by some very bizzare personalities, stories and situations presented and talked about all day long 24/7 . If one has the tv habit of watching, which I do NOT voluntarily have, the world presented to us is so disturbing, divisive and dangerous that one has limited choices for dealing with it ie  joining the fray with words and verbal combat, insuring a fractured angry heart, or the duck and cover response, insuring disaster and despair when it all goes down and one is left un-prepared to deal with new realities. A third choice is to be very very picky about information coming in from the outside, choosing wisely what informants we listen to, and taking time away from it all to listen from the inside-out.. listen to our own heart and intuition speaking the truth of sanity, peace, balance and love. It also is so important and healing to bring that inner-knowing of virtue back out in some form of creativity and self expression ( (writing, painting, poetry, music, gardening, cooking, STOYTELLING etc)  thus becoming an “Artist”..an Artist of Life, bringing beauty and mindful care to a chaotic world. YOUR world. 

A gem of a book recently came into my life by serendipity while I was deeply pondering these things. A timely toss from my Library Angel, ACE, this treasure “The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom” by Christine Valters Paintner came into my possession as one of the many “winks” from the Universe when I am on the right track in my personal unfolding into who I am meant to be or what I am supposed to be doing.

In this beautifully written book, much of which sounds like it is out of my own journals, the author ties together the similarities of spirit of the archetypes and practices of both the Monk and the Artist. Following her lovely suggestions for both the practice of the the Lectio Divina and especially the Praying/Presence of the Hours of the Day, I started to incorporate the markings of time s during the day to re-collect myself back into a state of peace, awareness of “the NOW” and gratitude and blessing for exact place and moment I was in. 

Often in my life…VERY often..when committing myself to this inner state of  stillness, peace, presence and LISTENING I receive surprise messages from the Ethers, from “The Universe” that cheerlead me  on, often making me laugh out loud in the playful way my direction is validated. And this experimentation with the archetypes of Monk/Artist was no exception.

With book in hand, I drove as I often do to a special retreat center on a little island off of the coast of Connecticut, where I photograph the gardens, walk by the sea, and enjoy the peace and music of wind and water, and the solidness of earth for several hours. I parked the car, and found a big rock upon which to perch reading through the section about the “Inner Monastery” accessed through silence, solitude and nature. When, who should appear right in front of me, strolling with a friend across the vast lawn toward’s the sea, but a MONK himself, in grey habit, rosary beads hooked on the knotted corded belt around his waist, and sandals on his feet.

This retreat center’s grounds are open to the public like a park, and I am there so often during the week when there are few people there and I almost have the place to myself. I can tell you that in all that time, though I have sometimes shared the gardens with couples, people walking their dogs, friends sitting on lawn chairs by the ocean quietly having lunch, or pray-ers on retreat walking slowly in meditation, I have NEVER had a MONK cross my path.

But it did happen that very day as I held the book about the Monk and Artist open on my lap and for sure I recognized that manifesting that monk at that very moment was a very merry communicaton from that who watches and guides my own journey..a “wink” from God, from my angels and/or chorus of ancestor guides.

Enders Sept 4

Lest you think that these validated moments into the Inner Monastery shelter us totally from dealing with the chaotic life-times we live in , I must admit the inconvenient truth that the Monk/Artist steps back to center and remember the assignment he/she was “given” when coming here, and is  then required to go back out and engage the “world” in truth-telling, vision and beauty..making an artful life and bringing hope and healing. In the monastic Rule of St. Benedict centuries ago, he writes of the backbone of this task.

     “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way”.

I like that. And it frees me, gets me off the hook trying to explain the personal path that seems to wander in a different direction than the dominant culture and its consumeristic, militaristic, competitive prescriptions for “happiness” and fulfillment.

I feel okay if not delighted with this, and the “winks” that so playfully manifest all sorts of affirmations to keep on with it….

update Feb 2016 (2)From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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Herbs violet japanese maple (3) Picasa signed Green

The lovely poet Mary Oliver writes: “My work is loving the world………… Let me keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished“.

There are days when there are hours wandering about with my camera seeking, finding and capturing mysteries, and then writing about them. It is for me a meditative time, akin to prayer, I have come to realize, for in this practice I am always in a state of astonishment. It seems it is my way at these times to “gaze” instead of “look”, and to “see” rather than “glance” for I am a Taurus and we prefer to move more slowly, and linger in order to savor the experiences wherever we are.

Which brings me to the art of Deep-Seeing nature around me which when involving astonishment triggered by Beauty makes me fall deeply in love with the world.

But in our ordinary busy-got-to-get- somewhere times, we rush by life and our environment moving so fast, merely glancing at the surface and brushing by the most astonishing things hidden in plain sight on our way to be elsewhere.

Coming in and out of the house on my way to “out there”,  hopping in the car and taking off to tasks and responsibilities, I am in my head making lists, prioritizing things to do, appointments to get to on time and all that. In so doing, I pass this beautiful red Japanese Maple right outside the door, glancing quickly as I am fiddling and looking for my car keys in the depths of my purse and am astonished when I find them amidst the pocketbook’s inner complexities and clutter!

Deep Seeing TWO COPY

A day or two later, when not so rushed but going out to do a task, the slant of light on this tree caught my attention as I passed, suddenly revealing the patterns of several layers of branches and feathery leaves. The greenery was multi-colored as well, green, red, purple and PINK! I was astonished, immediately stopping to dig into my purse for my camera which is always with me (forget the car keys!). This sudden switch of vision to deep-seeing mode captured a Mystery that captivated me, took my breath away and surrounded me with a feeling of the holy, the Whole-y, the Sacred, The Magical.

Deep Seeing Three

But it’s not over, this Astonishment. There is never any end to how deep we can go with the art of Deep-Seeing in the world around us, in the people we meet or live with, or in the desire and seeking for Truth. How powerful is your curiosity? How hungry are you for depth and meaning,  for the seeking of Soul in the world,  and for the deeper mysteries of beauty hidden everywhere when we stop to linger, gaze and be present?

Standing there, lingering with this tree, looking down at it’s flattened crown from above, I noticed a small opening in its branches. Bending closer, I was charmed and astonished as I looked deeper through the opening and down to the ground under its trailing limbs … there..brightly colored, lush, textured and shiny..a whole luxurious community of greenlings…broad  shimmering violet leaves and delicate sweet woodruff (an ingredient in May Wine)…a combined vibrant palette of pink, purple, green and pale yellow.

Herbs violet japanese maple (3) Picasa signed Green

It is true that some of us, when astonished, are inspired to make art, sometimes writing poetry, sometimes creating a painting, sometimes a story written or told, sometimes a photo composed and edited for making magic trying to capture and make what we have seen immortal…all irresistible components of falling in love.

I come to know that while teaching piano and  spiritual well-being to earn a living, that my real work is, and ever will be, loving the world and daily being astonished, sharing that Good News wherever I can.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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Tea

In our herbal traditions, it is suggested to work with each herb individually in making our teas, this practice called “a simple”. This is a good practice, like getting to know an acquaintance more deeply by visiting one-on-one, exchanging stories and experiences and transforming from “acquaintance” to “friend”. This is also especially important when preparing tea for medicinal purposes, letting each herb do its special thing in specific circumstances needing balance or healing.

But there is also tea-making for “energetic”, spiritual or magical purposes as well and for this I have always been inspired to make blends, combining several herbs for qualities of character and soul that I am working with and hoping to bring into myself or life experience.

When I make tea in this way,I steep it for many hours..in the sun, or overnight even, then strain and refrigerate. While hydrating during the day, I do half clear drinking water and half of the herbal blend  in a tall glass to drink over the hours. I am conscious and present to why I am doing this, taking in the qualities of my herbal friends to live more peacefully, more kind, more creatively and magically, ever open to the support of synchronicities and communications from the loving and fun-loving invisible world.

Yesterday’s blend was a mix of  garden-fresh mugwort, motherwort and nettles with added dried lemon balm and spearmint.

IMG_2127

What properties was I bringing into my own self from these delightful allies and friends?

Mugwort=the herb of elder wise-women who “see” and know the deeper meaning of events and discerns the ways of people and nature (the “seer”),  the herb that opens the third eye of deep-seeing and dreams.

Motherwort= the herb of the loving brave-hearted Lioness Mother (Leonurus cardiaca), the herb that strengthens us in adversity, installing courage into our spirits to face persnal challenges and to be able to sturdily support others ie our children and grandchildren in their need. Leadership with a big heart.

Nettles = The Pfeisty herb full of green power, allowing us to speak up when “pissed off” or prickly for just causes,  nourishing and toning the whole of our spirits (and body..) inside and out. Stregnth and clarity of purpose.

Lemon Balm = which “maketh one merry”,  sweetness, calming and good humour in all circumstances.

Spearmint = Sweetness and the ability to “keep cool” under pressure or the heat of life circumstances. A practical addition to temper the bitter flavors of mugwort and motherwort as well.

 Magical Mugwort (with red clover blossom)

Magical Mugwort (with red clover blossoms)

 

 

Mighty Motherwort

Mighty Motherwort

 

Nettles (ouch!)

Nettles(ouch!)

When making this tea, I do not have specific proportions.Walking through the garden and grounds with paper bag or basket and scissors, I pick and snip. In the kitchen, I strip the leaves (be careful of the STING when handling the nettles) into a quart jar, filling it with what I have collected, cover with boiling water and tighten a lid on the jar. I steep it in the sun, or on the counter or shelf in my room for hours or over night (I love keeping my friends close by!) Later, straining, refrigerate and add to my drinking water.IMG_2174

There are herbalists like Matthew Wood, who go by the principle that “less is more” and I find that even diluting this tea further in my drinking water, that definite and significant benefits are experienced in my psyche, spirit AND physical body.

Next week, I WILL be preparing “simples” to re-new my relationships with the various herbs and their properties and effects more intimately, like sitting down with a good friend to catch up.

But for today I call in the essences of courage, big hearted motherly/grandmotherly love, fierce and prickly truth telling in today’s dangerous political climate, the magic born of dreams and deep-seeing wisdom, a cool headed approach to what I have to do, and hopefully a merry heart and a sense of humor to hold it all lightly.

A note to consider..This tea with the mugwort and motherwort is a “bitter”..great for toning the liver, but  more acceptable to seasoned herbalists. To make it a pleasant experience for newbies, I suggest making a tea of lemon balm, spearmint and nettles, adding just a few leaves of mugwort and motherwort for the special essences of those two.

ps. I’d love to know who you are who read these posts from around the world! Don’t be shy…leave a comment, say hi or share a story that relates to the post!

 

YellowFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

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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

 

 

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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

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

 

 

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