An Offering Bag for Ayni with Mama Earth

img_8246Wisdom from Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon)
Day 18, Waning Gibbous Moon 🌖
5 days to Winter Solstice

As we approach Winter Solstice — The North in the Medicine Wheel, home of Mama Earth — this is a natural time for introspection, to dig deeper into our Selves, and a good time to examine our relationship with Self, others and Gaia.

One of the foundations of my practice is being in relationship with Mama Earth and with all those I encounter and interact with in this life journey . . . and most importantly, being in “Right Relationship” wih them. and how to honour that.

I first heard the word Ayni when I travelled to Peru’s Sacred Valley many years ago. Ayni, pronounced “eye-nee”, is a Quechuan word and an important basis of their spirituality, their way of life.

Ayni tells us that everything in the world is connected.
“Today for me, tomorrow for you.”

In an Ayni “right relationship”, all participants receive what they need. . . and live in balance with each other.

And Ayni is not limited to our relationship with others. It also speaks to the balance and exchange of energy between our Self and Mama Earth, Spirit, Flow, the Universe.

Almost every day, I walk in Nature, sometimes just in my neighbourhood along the rewilding greenways, and other times I go to the forest, the river or the ocean. Along the way, I observe . . . meditate . . . gather and forage.

And as I do so, I ask permission first and then leave an offering if the answer is “yes”. This is just one of the ways I can honour my Ayni / right relationship with Mama Earth.

I keep a little bag with me with materials I can offer, usually remnants from a herbal project or blessing ritual . . . some handcrafted loose incense . . . sage leaves . . . tobacco . . . a pebble . . . cornmeal . . . some oatmeal. I always have a Bowl in my work room to gather these bits, then transfer them to my offering pouch as needed.

This morning, I replenished my offering bag as it was getting a little low. Lots of offerings lately! I added a couple of new things, as I was fresh out of masa/corn meal: oatmeal and nutritional yeast, plus some dried fresh sage, Rowan berries, cedar, oak moss and bits of loose incense.

What’s in your offering bag?


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE

Or, CLICK HERE to join us today on Facebook


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Balancing at The Equinox: a transforming step in the Spiral Dance of the Year

wp-sidebar-graphicsThe September 22nd Equinox celebration is very special.

Several of us have banded together in support of YOUR Equinox Journey, offering new spreads; info on how to work with the Colours of Autumn; tips on working with your Inner Cauldron;  new additions for your Art Journal;  creative writing tips; working with Lilith; the journey of Persephone, Demeter and Hades, and much much more.

Click the image to see the full list of contributors and subjects, and to click on the LIVE LINKS for each article! We will also be sharing the links on Instagram.

At the end of my blog below, I’ve posted the link to the next step on your journey through the Tarot Hop.


The Magic of the Equinox

The Equinoxes of Spring and Autumn are magical times, turning points in the Spiral Dance in our Wheel of the Year, promises of things to come (Summer in the Southern Hemisphere, Winter in the Northern Hemisphere) and times of personal transformation as our energies shift from Summer’s peak through to Winter’s reflection, and vice-versa.

Embracing these shifting energies just as they are is key to our own harmony and balance. Energy is never static, and neither are we. Throughout the year, we dance with the opposites within us… waxing and waning, Yin and Yang, the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine, the light and dark, action and rest, expanding and contracting, abundance and lean times, breathing in and breathing out.

lughnasadh-blessingsWe need all of these opposites to create harmony and balance, to be whole. We are constantly transforming, rebalancing, and dancing between these opposites as we find our equilibrium. The awareness you bring at the focus points throughout the year — the Fire Feasts (Imbolc, Ostara, Beltaine, Samhain), the Equinoxes and Solstices — are an opportunity for self-reflection, for conscious transformation and to know your Self in all your energetic states. Yes, you are changing and transforming but always connecting to Self, to your Sacred Purpose and Sacred Contract.

And today I will share with you how I find balance and harmony at these times, including card layouts for both the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes.

But first, a reflection on the Equinox itself.

Spiral or Wheel?

wheel of the year 4We often look at the Wheel of the Year as just that… a wheel revolving throughout the seasons, coming back to its starting point with each New Year. But for me is it a spiral because we never really come back to the same place. We return with the wisdom and experience of the year before. We may have a different perspective. We might have new wounds or we may have healed old wounds. We may be coming from a deeper place, as we get closer to our knowing and connecting with our Wise Inner Self and understanding our Sacred Purpose and Sacred Contract even more.

SOUL QUESTION: What deeper wisdom awakens within you at this Equinox?

The Energy of the Equinox

The Equinox of September 22nd marks the “official” (astronomical) start of Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the first day of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

At the Spring and Autumn Equinox, the Earth is in perfect harmony: the days and nights are of equal length at this midpoint between the Summer and Winter Solstices. It is a time of balance and harmony, as the Sun enters Libra, the sign of Balance. But this is also a time of change and transformation, as nothing is static in our Universe. The energies continue to shift, to wax and wane depending on your location, towards the energetic and opposite peaks of the Solstice.

SOUL QUESTION: What energies shifted in you as we moved towards the Equinox?

pumpkins-1642249_1920I live in the Northern Hemisphere, and see daily changes in the Earth all around me… the days are starting to draw in, to shorten; the Sun’s warming powers are waning and the days are cooler; the deciduous trees are ablaze with vivid reds, purples and golds as they gently shed and turn in; many trees are ripe with fruits and berries and releasing them to the Earth; the fields are becoming bare again as we harvest the Earth’s bounty.

goat-1596880_1920In the Southern Hemisphere, the signs of the coming spring are seen in the longer brighter days, the greening of the grass, the birthing of lambs and calves, new leaves on the trees, the warming of the days and rituals like Spring Cleaning as we ceremonially move from the indoor life of Winter to the outdoor airy life of Summer.

These are all part of the Spiral Dance we celebrate through the Wheel of the Year, as we follow the energies of the Mother Earth, Father Sun and Grandmother Moon. Our ancestors wisely entrained themselves with the energetic cycles: active when those energies were rising, waxing; resting, nurturing and reflecting when those energies were turning inward, waning. They shifted from the outdoor world of farming and harvesting to the indoor world of preparing foods for winter, for prepping for the coming winter and the spring that follows.

But what of the changes in our Self? What happens with our energy?
How does the balance and harmony of the Equinox manifest in our lives?
How do we dance with the transforming and shifting energies?

Balancing at the Equinox

The Equinox is a perfect point in time for self-assessment and reflection, as we move from the abundance of summer to the reflective time of Winter (and vice-versa, of course, in the Southern Hemisphere). It is the perfect time to ask your Soul Questions as you ready for the coming changes.

I have a few tried and true rituals that support me in self-reflection and transformation:

  • a shamanic journey with my guides (and I would recommend this for any time of the year)
  • an oracle or tarot card spread, focusing on balance and transformation
  • a release ritual to release what no longer serves me, to help me move forward (you can also do this at any time of waning energy, such as between the Full Moon and the New Moon)

Soul Questions for your Shamanic Journey

SM 800 x 800-5I always prepare Soul Questions for my journeys… and sometimes I even get to ask them of my Guides! On some of my journeys, my guides have merely asked that I observe or listen. On other journeys, they are awaiting my questions, so it’s good to be prepared.

Create your own Soul Questions for your Journey, based on what you are currently experiencing and the guidance you need to move forward, and connecting with your heart… or use these basic questions:

1. What is beginning?
2. What is flourishing?
3. What is transforming?
4. What is the lesson?

TIP: Consider using the questions in the following Equinox Card Spread

Use your Tarot or Oracle Cards to balance

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The Seeds of Shakti Oracle Cards from The School of Gypsy Arts

I love working with both tarot and oracle cards, and find that sometimes I even use more than one deck for a reading. I might start with my Osho Zen Tarot deck but then call on my oracle cards to answer specific questions, such as Earth Magic, Soulflower Plant Spirit, The Enchanted Map or my new favourite, The Seeds of Shakti.

TIP: Work with the cards you LOVE, with what calls to you at this Equinox.

You may have a favourite layout that you use time and again. Keep in mind the energy of the Equinox and what questions you need to ask in order to reveal what is in balance (or not), how you can move forward, what you have learned this year and what you will be planning for next year.

You could start with a simple three-card layout, such as:
1. What is out of balance?
2. How can I restore balance?
3. What will help me moving forward?

Equinox Card Spread

If you’d like to try a new layout, try this new spread I created for this Equinox, using symbols associated with the Equinox such as the Sun, Moon, Libra (balance) and the Celtic Tree of Life representing the shifting energies throughout the year.

It includes questions/meanings for both Spring (Southern Hemisphere) and Autumn (Northern Hemisphere).

Feel free to create or rewrite the questions to make them uniquely your own, or even mix them up a little!

Click here to download your 2016 Spring & Autumn Equinox Card Spread

Celebrate!

And let’s not forget one of the most important aspects of the Equinox – celebration! Cultures all around the world celebrate the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, and the pagan Earth-based spirituality of our ancestors has found its way into many contemporary and religious celebrations.

The Spring Equinox is associated with festivals of awakening, birth and new life such as Easter and Ostara; the Autumn Equinox is associated with harvest, with gratitude and thanksgiving such as Mabon, Michaelmas, Alban Elued, and more.

How will YOU celebrate this Equinox?

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Equinox Blessings !


Are you ready for your next step on The Equinox Tarot Hop?

Bree Ferguson (@nyms_divination) has created a beautiful new spread and meditation for the Equinox, The Cerridwen Cauldron Spread and Meditation.

Click here to read the next article in the Fall Equinox Tarot Hop,
The Cerridwen Cauldron Spread and Meditation

You can also see the list of contributors by clicking here.


 

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Shine On, Harvest Moon Child

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What is it about a Harvest Moon that inspires songwriters and lovers… from the old vaudevilles songs such as “Shine On Harvest Moon” to our own Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”?

I know that I love gazing at the night sky when the moon if full… so warm, inviting and powerful.

Our beautiful Luna is almost at her peak, and comes into her full glory on Friday September 16th at 19:05 UTC (12:05 PM Pacific time, 3:05 PM Eastern time) in Pisces. Pisces can bring in deep loving and romantic feelings… time for a little mooning and spooning! And just the thought of the Harvest Moon got me singing some of my favourite tunes!

“So shine on, shine on harvest moon, for me and my gal.”
– Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth

“Because I’m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I’m still in love with you
On this harvest moon”
– written by Neal Young 

We have another astronomical event the same day, a bit earlier at 16:54 UTC (9:54 AM Pacific Time) – a penumbral lunar eclipse which will be visible in the Americas. This serves to amplify the elements of the Full Moon… more emotion, more awareness, more wisdom.

Unfortunately, for us Left Coast dwellers, the Moon will actually be below the horizon at the time of the eclipse, so we will not be able to see it … but we will be able to sense it!

For those living in regions where the moon will be above the horizon, know that a penumbral eclipse is fairly subtle, as only the outer shadow of Mother Earth reaches the Moon. You may not even notice this eclipse, or just notice that the Moon looks a little darker.

The Full Moon also marks mid-point through our monthly journey with the moon, and it’s time to review Week 3 of our Medicine Wheel readings. In Week 3, the direction is West and the Element is Water… a wonderful synchronicity with the approaching Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, which has the same correspondence, and with the Pisces water energy.

Soul Question for Week 3: “What is Flourishing?”

I like to meditate on the weekly  Medicine Wheel question based on the cards I drew for the month and the monthly theme, which is Balance and Harmony. Take a moment to meditate on how Balance and Harmony are flourishing for you at this time, especially as we approach the Yang energy of the Full Moon which is expansive, uplifting, powerful…. hopefully, your own power is experiencing the same surge.

Pisces is a Water Element, so emotions may be running even more deeply and powerfully at this time. But the Sun is in the opposite sign of Virgo… very grounded, analytical, observant. How are you maintaining the balance between the Water and Earth elements of this Sun and Moon?

If you have a release ritual planned for this Full Moon (perhaps a gentle water release?), try to schedule it during this powerful period of the Eclipse Full Moon for an even more transformative release.

And remember to Shine On, Harvest Moon Child!

 


 

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Dancing with the energy of our Souls

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As we approach the Equinox on September 22nd, the theme for our monthly journey with Grandmother Moon is Balance and Harmony.

Someone recently suggested to me that this was an impossible task. He asked, “How can we humans have perfect balance when the Earth itself achieves it only twice a year?”

That may be true… but are we looking for perfection? For absolutes?

Perhaps we are looking for agility… learning to dance with the energy of our Souls… to waltz and whirl with the energy of the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth as their (and our) energies flow from Yin and Yang, from Yang to Yin…

Nothing is static… everything changes, transforms…

These shifting energetic states teach us how to adapt, how to flow, how to experience the world in different ways…. and how to accept all of these as natural, neither good nor bad, just as they are.

Each allows us to delve into our Sacred Contract with our Self… to manifest it in light and shadow, rising and falling, Yin and Yang, Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine…

Know YOU, Be YOU, in all your varied energetic states… Expanding, contracting, at rest, in balance… changing and transforming but always connected to Self.

That, to me, is Harmony and Balance.

In the words of poet Nayyirah Waheed (from “Nejma”)

“the truth is
you were born for you.
you were wanted by you.
you came for you.
you are here for you.
your existence is yours.
yes.”

Yes 🌙


 

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Shifts in your Seasonal Self

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As we move from Summer to Autumn north of the Equator (and from Winter to Spring in the Southern Hemisphere), Mama Earth’s energy is shifting…. as is ours.

At the Summer Solstice, Father Sun’s Yin energy is at its peak and at the Winter Solstice, it’s at its lowest…. Yang energy takes dominance. At the Spring and Summer equinoxes, those energies are in equal balance.

So it’s important to not just entrain with the natural energy of the Earth’s seasons, but to connect to our own bodies, to our own energies and listen to what they need. Over time, you will notice that your energy and Mama Earth’s energy synchronize in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways❤️

In the words of Robin Rose Bennett (writer, green witch, herbalist, wisewoman):

“Bodies always tell the truth. They give us hints of how to listen for it, and to recognize it when we hear or see it.”

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, our energy is starting to draw down and inward at this time of year … we are moving indoors, into perhaps staler air (keep those windows open as long as you can!) and heated environments. We wear more clothing, bundling up against the cold… perhaps constrained by our wrapped layers.

For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, our energy is rising up and outward… moving away from the shut-in still / stale energy of Winter towards the more vibrant energy of Spring…and shaking off the recirculated air, the cold and flu bugs and more. We start to wear looser and cooler clothing, unconstrained.

So no matter where you are, the equinoxes are a great time for energy cleansing and balancing, and for tuning into your body for what it needs both now and in the coming seasonal shift.

For me, living in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the time I start looking at building my immunity even more, to stave off and avoid winter coughs, colds, bronchial flu, etc… taking more Vitamin C and D, plus herbs that work for my body (astragalus, plus herbal infusions and teas, etc) and cooking up my favourite immunity-boosting soup.

And I start making my winter herbal medicines — foraging, harvesting and drying local herbs; prepping tinctures and bitters; making herbal cough syrups and honeys (just in case!) and making salves for winter dry skin.

Herbalist Susun Weed recommends these Fall Herbal Infusion Tonics to help you ward off winter ailments: nettle, oat straw, red clover, comfrey leaf, linden flower or violet leaf.

🌿 Choose ONE herb from the list and weigh out one full ounce (approx. 28 grams) by weight
🌿 Add to a one-quart (one-litre) mason jar
🌿 Fill jar with boiling water, and screw the lid on tightly
🌿 Steep overnight, or for a minimum of four hours

Strain and drink the infusion throughout the day. Some like their infusions cold, and others like them gently warmed up… And some even add a little lemon or honey🌞

The same article also includes a recipe for an immunity-boosting soup, plus some anti-viral herbs. Click here to  read in full.


 

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Releasing with Fire in the Blackberry Moon

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There are so many names for the Full Moon in August ranging from the names of First Nations people — Fruit Moon (Cherokee) and Sturgeon Moon (Algonquian) — to those of England (the Grain Moon and the Corn Moon), and the Lightning Moon as named by some Neopagans.

Whatever we call it, I love these Moon names. They mean so much more than just “the August Full Moon” because they relate to the people who named them, to their environment, to their culture, to what they are growing or harvesting.

I often think of August as the Abundance Moon or the Canning Moon. The first of the three Celtic harvest feasts was celebrated in early August (Lughnasadh, aka Lammas). The fields and trees are ripe with fruits, grains, vegetables, and herbs. There is the abundance of Mother Earth everywhere, and it’s time to start harvesting that bounty and start preparing it to last until the next spring: canning and preserving, making jams, and creating medicinal tinctures and infusions to combat our winter ailments.

This year, I’m calling it the Blackberry Full Moon, because I am now foraging that luscious fruit and delicious leaves and starting all kinds of blackberry preparations – tinctures, infused brandies, jams, teas, and using the vines for basket-making.

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The Full Moon Elements

The Full Moon, which arrived at 2:26 AM Pacific Time this morning, and was in Aquarius on arrival, an Air sign. Our Sun is in Leo and those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are definitely feeling the summer heat as well! But, the Moon moved very quickly into a new energy, Pisces, at 9:34 Pacific Time and will be there for the remainder of the Full Moon period.

The Full Moon is at its peak of Yang energy, fully emerged and expansive, reflecting the light of the Leo Sun.

Bask in the Moon Light!

Stand up for who you are!

And connect with that Fire, that passion, that energy, to help you finalize and manifest your projects for the month.

Fire needs Air to thrive and burn, but you may feel somewhat out of balance with this energetic elements, and with the Air and Fire pulling you in different ways.

The Air/Aquarius element can show up in many ways….I’ve been chatting like mad in this Air energy (literally, filling the Air with words and laughter). Air can be inventive, curious, heady but also restless… Air drives us to find answers, get data, solve problems. Air might need the balance of Earth to convert those brilliant Air ideas into something solid, to manifest and ground them.

The Fire/Leo element is also very Yang… outward energy, inspiring, emotional, dramatic, and at times extreme. Fire is transforming. Fire is passion… and sometimes does not a very strong filter or tact!

If both your Air and Fire elements are excessive, consider bringing a little Water energy or Earth energy into your Full Moon ritual for balance. But if you truly want to release, use that Air and Fire energy to consume that which no longer serves you…. convert it to ash and blow its particles to the wind.

Soul Questions for the Full Moon in Week 3

In the Medicine Wheel reading that we began on the New Moon, we have now reached the Direction of The West and now ask the question “What is transforming?”… How perfect for that Fire energy of Leo!

Correspondences For Week Three 
Direction: West
Element: Water
Soul Question: What is flourishing?

At this Full Moon, I also invite you to really connect with your own elements – the Air, Fire, Water and Earth within you – because they are all strongly influencing this part of the journey. Look at each element separately and then how they relate together, by asking further Soul Questions such as:

  • What is in balance?
  • Which element(s) might need a little calming influence?
  • How can you use those elemental energies best this month, as you continue the journey you started with Grandmother Moon?
  • What do you have to address as we move forward towards Mabon (the Autumn Equinox) with brings us to a balance point in the year: the Equinox, where Day and Night are equal, where the Yin and the Yang of the Earth are in balance?

For this Full Moon, I would suggest using Air and Fire in your release ceremony – smudging with sage or incense followed by a release ritual using the Fire element.

Your Fire Release Ritual

Last year, I shared a simple Full Moon Fire Release ritual on this blog, and you can find it here.

This ritual can be done in Circle with others, or as a solitary practitioner.


The image used in the Full Moon in Aquarius photo is titled
One More Gift For The Full Moon” and was created by LadyNevada
and shared for the public on DeskTopNexus.


 

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Tending your Summer heart Fires

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☀️🌞❤️ Summer Fire ❤️🌞☀️

I love the changing of the seasons and what each brings to us in this beautiful cycle of life throughout the year… From Spring’s fresh growth and fertility through to Winter’s rest, followed by the renewal of Spring again.

Summer is with us now and although my Celtic body does not love the high heat of summer, I appreciate what it brings to us — the long days and the nourishing energy of Father Sun, enabling growth and abundance.

Summer is associated with the Fire Element. And we are also in the Year of the Fire Monkey. That’s a lot of fire! Fire is such a passionate element — mercurial, at times hard to control, and all-consuming.

Fire is also associated with the heart (it’s the Yin Organ of the Fire Element in Traditional Chinese Medicine) so be sure to balance all that Fire energy and not let it shift to excess. And be sure to drink plenty of fluids to balance against the heat and Fire.

And yet, Fire has many different manifestations. Like people, each fire is different. There are the slow burning embers, warm and comforting. There are the wild, dangerous and powerful forest fires that quickly destroy everything in their path. There are the crackling aromatic flames in a campfire or firepit that serve to unite us in circle and community, a hearth for cooking, warming and sharing (and I love how the word heart is part of the word hearth!)

How are you tending YOUR fire? Your heart?

Nurture your fire with kindling (healthy food as fuel), and give it air to breathe and to sustain the flame (exercise and rest!). When it burns too bright or quickly, gently rein it in or damper it slightly. And do not let it burn out or extinguish from lack of attention and care.

Honour your heart and the wisdom it gives you — feel it, connect with it, journey with it… feel the love for your Self and others, its passions…. and enjoy the bounty and possibilities of Summer and Fire.

And show Father Sky a little gratitude❤️


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