Tag Archive: spiritual guidance


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

 

 

 

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

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

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 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

 

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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

Pearls Gardening

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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 /spiritual 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. Sometimes, in order 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 authentically are, spiritually and creatively. However, 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. inspirations and stories.

ps. As writers, how do we know if you liked this if you don’t tell us! Please click *like* if you did, share away, or leave a comment and say hi!

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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You know, it’s all kind of magical! Check these out too!

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