Saving the World

Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Disaster
Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Disaster

Recently I hiked into a beautiful valley in the foothills west of Boulder, Colorado. It was so gorgeous that I decided to stop and sit on the east ridge for awhile. I found a big rock high on the ridge and sat surrounded by scraggly pine trees clinging to the rocks. And I could feel layer after layer of tension melt away as I sat in the afternoon sun.

As the sun dropped lower, I walked across the valley and sat under a huge old ponderosa pine on the west side of the valley. I closed my eyes and listened to the wind blowing through the grass; I felt so grateful to be in this beautiful place. The wind danced around me. Wind seemed thrilled to have one person listening and a little bit aware, if only a little.

I sat and day-dreamed about everything this valley has witnessed; dinosaurs roamed here billions of years ago when it was a swamp on the edge of an inland sea. Later the Arapaho tribe hunted and camped in the shelter of this valley. And now every weekend, thousands of people roam here in tennis shoes and hiking boots and flip flops. Many of the trails are eroding away from too much foot traffic. We risk destroying the valley we all love.

Personally I don’t believe that Mama Earth is in any real jeopardy, she will be just fine. Even though we pollute, misuse and mistreat Earth, she has proven powerful enough to shift and accommodate every change humans throw at her.

Our Earth will continue to flow and teem with life, despite our inept treatment of her. It is people who risk annihilation; it is people who need to be reminded how to live in nature’s flow. We act as if we believe we can rule over Mama Earth and bend her nature to our will, but history has proven that idea to be folly again and again. We mistreat Earth at our own peril.

We’re not killing our Earth. We’re killing ourselves.

“So, the world is fine. We don’t have to save the world—the world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about, is whether or not the world we live in, will be capable of sustaining us in it.” 

~Douglas Adams

In Rhythm with Luna

Phases of the Moon

Where is the moon tonight?  

Is she up yet? 

What aspect of herself is she showing? 

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 These are the questions that come to mind when I gaze at the night sky.  Maybe it’s because I’m female. The ancients claimed that all women are creatures of the moon. Or maybe it is because I was born in the early morning hours before dawn, just as the moon became full. And on that night many moons ago, the moon rose in the sign of Scorpio, the keeper of the night and the dark mysteries of life, death and rebirth.  I am a moon baby.

For whatever reason, I have been fascinated by the moon for as long as I can remember. My Celtic ancestors used the cycles of the moon to track the passage of time. And I still do the same  – in fact, it stuns me that the Gregorian calendar in use all over the world is not linked directly to the cyclic movements of the earth and moon. That’s why we have a silly Leap Year day every 4 years – we need to “correct” the errors in the Gregorian calendar!  Whoever thought it was a good idea to ignore the cyclic movements of the sun and moon when creating a calendar?!

In every solar year (the time it takes mother earth to go all the way around our sun), the moon goes through 13 cycles. There are 13 lunar months in each year, not 12. And within each lunar cycle, the moon slowly shifts from the dark phase of a new moon, gradually revealing more and more of herself (waxing) until she is completely lit up at the full moon. Then Luna slowly wanes, showing less and less of herself in the night sky until she is dark and barely visible at all. When she enters this dark phase, her her rhythmic dance of light and dark begins all over again.

These cycles where the moon is constantly shifting and dancing with how much she reveals of herself seem quite female to me. There is nothing linear about the moon! And I find that women are typically more changeable and moody and rhythmic than men, whether we care to admit it or not.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 

a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up; 

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance…” 

~Ecclesiastes, King James Bible

Our ancestors planned their sacred rituals around the cycles of the moon; they knew that each moon phase holds a specific power. So, when the moon was fully revealed in her full moon state, the ancients celebrated and worshipped the divine feminine energies of birthing  and completion. Even today, wise midwives plan their schedules, knowing that many, many babies are born when the full moon exerts her pull on pregnant wombs! Full moons are times of completion.

In contrast, when the moon is hidden from view in her new moon state, the ancients saw it as a potent time to plant the seeds for new projects and begin new ventures.  Even the timing of farm planting and sowing was tied to the moon cycles in ancient times; not so silly when we realize that the waters and tides of planet earth feel the pull of the moon as well.

 

I love watching the moon go through her dance from dark to light and back to dark each month. I am definitely a moon baby! And I plan to continue my love affair with the rhythms and cycles of the moon until I leave this earth. It keeps me connected to the cycle of the seasons in a deep meaningful way.

Try this:

The next time you want to start a new project, begin working on it during the dark phase of the new moon.

Ready to celebrate an accomplishment or rite of passage? Try holding your celebration during the full moon.

Synchronize with the rhythms of the moon and discover the potency of rhythmic organic timing.

Structure and Flow

Moonrise

 

Physical Soul

Your Soul is infinite and formless; unbounded and free. AND for this lifetime, your Soul has chosen to inhabit a physical body here on this physical planet we call Earth. These physical structures define the boundaries of your Soul’s container for this lifetime.

The solid parts of your human body can foster flow or block it completely. Human structure is the container that holds your flow. Without any “solid” physical structure, your life on earth would be a liquid puddle of a life! So it is important to pay attention to not just your Soul, but also the earthy structured part of your human existence; the physical body that your Soul inhabits can make this life constricted and painful, or free and flowing.

The Earthy Miracle of You

Human bodies are walking, talking miracles. Seriously! Do you have ANY idea how astounding it is that you ever developed at all from a single cell into a living, breathing, billion-celled baby?  Do you know how many things had to go right for you to end up here on Earth alive in that body of yours?  I sometimes wonder why we are not all walking through life in complete and total awe of our miracle bodies.

Every day your body quietly performs miracle upon miracle just to keep you alive; your heart pumps blood to each of your muscles and organs For 24 hours a day, 7 days a week it never stops beating and serving you. You swallow a bite of food and your digestive tract breaks that sandwich down into energy and molecules that your body knows just how to use to repair itself and create new cells – a hundred acts of body maintenance happen without you ever having to consciously get involved. And every single minute you must breathe in air to stay alive. Your amazing lungs lovingly inhale that air, extract the oxygen and then pass it on to your bloodstream so that fresh oxygen gets delivered to each cell in your body.

Can you pause for a moment and focus on the fact you’re your body has been magically created and orchestrated by Spirit? You are a million miracles from head to toe. Take a deep breath in right now and pause long enough to realize how amazing it is that you ever came into form in the first place.  A million things had to happen in perfect order for you to ever be conceived and created. And the Universe doesn’t waste that kind of time. You are not a mistake or a surprise or some kind of an oops! You are a miracle.

Your Soul energy chose to come into form on this planet at this time. And everything about you being here now is a miracle. Wrap your arms around yourself and give a little squeeze in honor of the miracle you truly are.

 Outer Earth

Get to know your outer landscape; Go outside and stand or sit. Look around. Is the terrain smooth sand or jagged rock or wet swamp?  Is that rock beneath your feet or sand? Look around – Is the land where you are soggy and wet or dry as a bone? And does this place on Earth speak to you? What does Mama Earth have to share with you?

Connecting with Earth:

Connect with the earthy physical side of nature by sitting directly on rocks, dirt or grass. If you cannot get outside, lie on the solid floor in your home. Feel the stability and structure of elemental earth. Notice how calming and grounding earth is for your body.  Imagine that you can absorb the calm grounded-ness of earth through every pore of your body. Breathe in and allow your body to become as stable and solid as rock; feel the solidity of your bones supporting your organs and muscles.

Allow the stability of ground to permeate every aspect of you with each breath. Drop your attention to the center of your belly as you breathe. As you connect with earth and find your physical center, radiate that calm stability out to the rest of your body, from head to toe. Flow with the stability of earth.

Inner Earth

Go within – get to know your inner landscape, your physical body which is your “home” for this entire lifetime.

Is your body boney or soft?
Light or heavy? 
What do you enjoy about your physical body? 
What do you dislike? 
Is your inner earth fluid and flexible or rigid and immovable?  
How does your physical body feel right now; do you have any pain or discomfort? 
What does your body want to say to you?

We Are of Water

Water Reflects our World

We are of water,
and water is of us.

When water is threatened,
all living things are threatened.

What we do to water,
we do to ourselves.

Water is sacred,
a human right.

Water is our unifier
because we are all made of water.

~Ruben Saufkie, Sr. 
Water Clan, Hopi Indian Runners

Elemental Universe

Everything in our known Universe is created from elemental earth, water, air and fire. Everything including you. Try the simple practices listed below to connect with each element and understand yourself and our Earth more deeply.

PathEarth: go outside and sit or lie on the earth. Feel how stable and solid it is. Soak up that stability. Notice how the dirt and stones of our Earth give your body something structured to lean into for support. Feel into that structure and stability, notice how it holds you. Breathe deeply in and out. Thank the dirt and stones of our earth for providing a stable structured container for your life.

Turn your attention inward. Breathe and focus on the the hard bony parts of your body for a moment or two. Feel into the way your bones provide the internal structure and stability that makes it possible for a watery creature like you to stand up and walk around. Without bones, you would slide across the ground like a slug, bound closely to the earth. Breathe in and thank your bones for providing structure and stability to your body.

Water: take a bath or shower and feel the sensations of the water on your skin.  Feel the soft, yielding, fluid qualities of water as it flows over your body. Notice how different water feels from earth. Breathe and imagine those fluid qualities permeating every inch of you, making you soft, yielding, flowing.

Breathe and focus on the pulsating flow of blood within your body. Imagine the ebb and flow of fluids entering and leaving each organ, each tissue. Allow the soft flow of water to permeate every corner of your being. Then imagine that you can radiate these soft, flowing qualities out into the world; radiating flow to those you love and to those you have conflict with. Then radiate those flowing qualities back to the waters of the earth, bringing the gift of elemental water full circle.

Dancing FlameFire: sit in the sun or in front of a burning fire; feel the heat on your skin. Relax and draw the heat of fire into the depths of your body; bask in the glow of fire within. Breathe in the warmth and imagine that you can direct elemental fire to wherever more warmth or spark or action is needed.

Breathe in and draw more fire into your heart, then radiate the warmth of fire and your inner radiance out into your world. Breathe in and out, drawing fire in and then radiating it out again and again and again.

Storm cloudAir: go outside and stand or sit where the wind can find you. Breathe in the winds of nature and focus on elemental air permeating every tissue, bringing oxygen to every cell of your body. Breathe in air and exhale with an ‘ahh’ or ‘ohh’ sound. Allow the wind of your breath to cleanse  and clear your mind, blowing through and carrying away negative or worrisome thoughts.

Breathe in and allow the wind of your breath to blow down your spine and out the tips of your fingers and toes. With each exhale, send love and gratitude out into the world for the gifts of elemental air.

A fifth element lies beyond the 4 elements which create the physical foundation for our Universe. This is the mysterious element of Space or Akash. This is where the magical spark of life emanates from in the first place. And this is where the energy of Soul resides. Below is a simple way to connect to Space.

Space: go outside and find a spot with an unobstructed view of sky. Gaze at the sky; breathe in its open clarity and expansiveness. Breathe in open sky and imagine yourself dissolving into sky with every out breath.

Breathe in sky and dissolve into open spaciousness again and again. Imagine you can be nothing but breath and space. Allow tensions to dissolve and flow out of your body with each breath. Allow thoughts and emotions to dissolve into spaciousness. Make more space for positive feelings, thoughts and experiences to flow into you.

Late Summer Harvest

The Golden Lions of Lugh

It is early August. Here in the northern hemisphere, we are in the midst of the hot, lazy “dog days” of summer. The expression “dog days” is believed to pre-date the Roman Empire. Our ancestors named this late summer season the dog days because at this time of year Sirius, the dog star, is closely aligned with the Sun in our sky.

The ancient Celtic people held the festival of Lughnasadh during the dog days of summer. It was their way of celebrating the start of the harvest season. Lughnasadh was typically held halfway between the Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox. It was a time of gratitude for the bounty of the harvest season. In many villages the first sheaf of wheat was harvested and ceremoniously ground and baked into bread for the festival of Lughnasadh. Bonfires were lit to honor the fiery energies of the Sun. The first fruits of the Earth were harvested and shared.

Later in Britain, the festival of Lughnasadh became Lammas Day. The festival of Lammas was held on August 1st in honor of the wheat harvest. The word Lammas comes from the Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas  or  “loaf-mass.”  On the day of Lammas it was customary to bring a loaf of bread made from the new crop to church in celebration and gratitude for the harvest.

Lughnasadh and Lammas are both ritualized ways for the community to acknowledge and honor the food that grows when Father Sun unites with Mother Earth. Our ancestors lived closer to the Earth and the cycles of the seasons. They understood that all life on Earth depends on the magical union of sun, seed and earth. In these modern times, it is easy to forget that all of our food comes from the bounty of Mama Earth. Every morsel is a gift from the Sun and Earth, even if purchased wrapped in cellophane at the local grocery store!

All of our clothing and shelter are also gifts from this sunny planet, as well as the oxygen we breathe. We have come a long way from the times of subsistence farming, yet we are still the children of Mama Earth and Father Sun, completely dependent on their gifts for life. And pausing to acknowledge and honor the start of the harvest season can be a wonderful way to reconnect with the beauty and bounty of Mama Earth.

Take a few moments in early August to connect with Mama Earth and Papa Sun. Offer up a simple prayer of thanks to Earth and Sun for all that you have in your life. You can also create a simple harvest ritual of your own. Just focus on giving thanks for this year’s bounty.

Your personal “harvest” may include more than just the food you eat – what else has come to fruition for you this year?  Perhaps you have a new job or a new family member. Maybe you made progress on a project near and dear to your heart. Or perhaps you’ve found peace in a troubled part of your life.  Take a few moments to honor all the gifts that you have received this year.

Simple ways to honor this year’s harvest:

  • Prepare a dinner feast for family or friends and give thanks.
  • Bake a loaf of bread in honor of the harvest season. Not a baker? Make corn bread or gingerbread.
  • Light a candle and offer a heartfelt prayer of gratitude. 
  • Build a bonfire and dance a prayer of gratitude around it.
  • Go outside and sit for awhile with Earth and Sun. Offer them a heartfelt thanks.

☼ ☼ ☼

“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest”
~William Blake