Celebrate your Animal Allies in our November Instagram Challenge

instagram-photochallenges-14

I’m so excited! We start the #animalearthmedicine Photo Challenge today on Instagram!

Are you drawn to Shamanism, Paganism or perhaps love connecting to the wisdom of animals? And are you on Instagram?

If so, you are going to fall in love 😍with the NOVEMBER photo challenge that I am co-hosting from @innerjourneyevents with my longtime friend, Sharron Basanti from @gypsyarts starting November 1st …TODAY!

Are ya in??? Nod, YES 😆

How can you join?

1. Post a photo daily using the prompt . . . let your imagination run wild! You can use Tarot & Oracle decks or take photos of animals in the wild . . . maybe even draw the animal you feel drawn to . . . the possibilities are endless!

2. Add the tag #animalearthmedicine to connect with others in the community 👭 👫 👬

You are welcome to repost to show love for animal wisdom , and also so others in the community can join the challenge 💜

The challenge is inclusive. . . anyone can participate that resonates with the prompts! You can do all 30 days or only a few, no rules 😊

I do hope you can join us!


Day One  of the challenge is today, and the theme is My Animal Guide… so I am sharing mine: The Lynx.

Cats have always been part of my life, but Lynx introduced herself to me on one of my first shamanic journeys and has been a powerful and constant companion ever since… in my personal life, my work, and in many journeys.
🐾
Her medicine is profound, and she very often shows me the spirit animals of those around me. Thank you, Lynx.
🐾


Photo Challenge Image credit: The image of a tern in flight was photographed in Iceland by wildlife photographer (and my sister!) Sue Ratcliffe. You can view her work on Facebook at @Sue Ratcliffe Photography.🐾


sidebar graphics 7

If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts, 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.

Join us today as we start the new Celtic year and celebrate Samhain!

Samhain: A time of Remembrance and Renewal

img_7669Samhain Blessings!

Tonight, many of us in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate Samhain (SOW-en), while for others it arrives on the “true” cross-quarter date of November 7th. Whenever you celebrate Samhain, it is a sacred time, a time to honour our Wise Elders, Ancestors, and those who have transitioned in the past year. It is a time of reflection, clarity, divination, transformation, letting go… and starting anew: a new year, a new journey, and a new cycle of growth and renewal.

Samhain is rooted in traditions and beliefs that extend back close to 5000 years, with cailleach-300dpi-2-copyarchaeological evidence of Samhain celebrations on the Hills of Tara and Tlachtga in Ireland. The Celts believed the day started at dusk, and the year as two halves of dark (Samhain) and light (Beltaine). They defined Winter by the arrival of the first frost and snows, and I see that many of us here in Canada have already seen those first snow falls in the last week! Winter is not just coming… it is here for many of us!

Samhain is the time of An Cailleach, the “Hag” of Winter. The Crone. The Wise Woman. She is immanent, the Divine manifested in the material world.  She is the Ancient Ancestor, the Earth itself. The Dark Goddess — like those of other cultures such as Hecate, Demeter, and Kali — who celebrates the spiral dance, who creates and tames the chaos between life and death, dark and light. She was greeted with bonfires, fire representing both the return of light and the alchemy of transformation.

Renewal and Rebirth in Winter

Many of us think of Winter as a time when nothing is happening. The days are short and cold, the light diminishes, the ground is cold, little is growing. Yet it is in deepest winter that new life begins. The roots and seeds are protected and nurtured deep in the ground, drawing in the energy of Mama Earth, and awaiting the light of Spring to emerge once again.

And so it is for our human roots, the seeds of our Inner Garden. I use the entire week between “traditional” and “true” Samhain as a week of Inner Cauldron reflection and meditation…. looking back at the past year, what challenges I faced, what I overcame, where I needed support, and gaining a new perspective.

And because winter is also about new beginnings, during this week I look towards the New Year, and meditate on the Soul Questions I have for this new journey:

With what I have learned in the past year, what will I do this year to:

  • honour Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon?
  • enrich and engage my mind?
  • honour my soul and my relationship with Spirit?
  • honour and support my relationships with loved ones?
  • nourish and support my physical body?
  • create sacred space in my home?

Divination at Samhain

Because the threshold between the worlds is so thin at this time, we can communicate more easily with our Ancestors, guides and allies, and with those who have recently passed.

Be mindful of the messages or signs you receive on Samhain, and have gratitude for the communication and support given.

I use my divination skills to aid me in my meditation and journey work even more at this time, such as runes, tarot or oracle cards, tea-leaf reading, pendulum work, journeying and scrying.

Celebrating Samhain with Ritual

il_570xn-888520395_fhwb

Image from Etsy

How can you celebrate Samhain today? There are so many ways!

  • Light a candle for your ancestors, and for those who have recently passed
  • In a fireproof container (your smudge shell, a cauldron, a metal pot), burn white sage leaves, to honour the departed, or a rosemary twig, for remembrance
  • Add pictures or mementoes of loved ones who have passed to a home altar or special place in your home
  • Make a prosperity charm for the New Year, and for Halloween. I love these suggestions from Silver RavenWolf.
  • Create a Rowan Cross with rowan (mountain ash) twigs  and berries, tied with red thread for protection and to honour the Ancestors
  • Create a loose incense for your Samhain meditation, altar or bonfire, or for smudging the home.
  • Carve a pumpkin or turnip, to light the spirits’ way back home to their world
  • Hold a “silent supper”, with a place and chair set for those who have transitioned in the last year or for the ancestors. Mark a portion of the dinner time for silent contemplation, perhaps with a bell rung to signify the beginning and the end of that period (it can be as short as 10 minutes)
  • Carve the initials of the recently departed into a candle, and lighting it in their honour
    • Tip: Let the candle extinguish naturally. Any colour may be used, but many people prefer black or white for this ritual.
  • Take a journey with your Ancestors to examine the past year and receive messages and wisdom from your ancestral guides, to help you see through the darkness into light, and to use your inner strength and courage. This is a perfect way to close your Samhain celebrations. Click here for my Ancestral journey ritual.

Samhain Blessings !


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year,  creating or learning ancestral crafts, 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.

Join us today as we start the new Celtic year and celebrate Samhain!

Your invitation to the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle

14079955_10154776473538352_2421567297512776521_nI love sharing my practice with you through this blog, through my Facebook page and through other social media… but I also love learning from you all, hearing what you are doing in your practice, what rituals you follow, and interacting on a deeper level.

I believe one of the best ways to do that is in a space that is both safe and private, where are thoughts and questions are shared only within the community for which they were intended.

I have now created the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle, as a closed Facebook Group… just in time for Sunday’s New Moon!

If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda) creating or learning ancestral crafts, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, this may be the group for you!

A bean …what?

What is a Bean Gealach? I will tell you… Much of my work is rooted in Celtic Shamanism and in the Moon Mná Mamaí tradition, from Slí an Chroí in Ireland. In Irish Gaelic, bean means “woman” (pronounced “ban”, rhyming with “can”), and gealach means “moon” (there are regional variations in pronunciation, but I say “ghee-al-uck”). So, a Bean Gealach is a Moon Woman.

wp-sidebar-graphics-7In this group, we are Holding the Light and Sacred Space for you to share your HERstory, your journey, ask questions, share rituals…. and participate in the Facebook Live events and online circles where we can meet virtually, celebrate the cycles of the Grandmother Moon and delve into our Soul Questions for the month.

I love sharing Earth-based and Moon-based rituals, wisdom and practices in this global community that connects us from all around our beautiful planet.

Together, we will:wp-sidebar-graphics-8

  • connect to the Yin and Yang of our Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energies
  • entrain with the changing energies of Mother Earth’s yearly cycle and with the monthly cycle of Seanmháthair Gealach (as Grandmother Moon aka Selene is known in Irish Gaelic)
  • celebrate through ritual (and a little bit of magick!) throughout the lunar month
  • celebrate the Celtic Wheel of the Year (Samhain, Winter Solstice, Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltaine, Summer Solstice, Lughnasadh, and Autumn Equinox)
  •  connect with our inner Goddess(es)
  • build personal altars and create sacred tools
  • connect to the stages of a Woman’s life from Maiden to Mother/Woman and Crone… including other stages that may be new to you!
  • and much much more!

Together we learn and grow, and create Sacred Space in our daily life.

Through this group, I will also make available premium offerings for events and workshops such as sharing Celtic Rites of Maiden-Mother -Crone, Connecting to Your Inner Cauldron (and more).

Please note that this will be a safe and respectful group,
and any trolls, goblins or ogres will be banished immediately!

The Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle group is administered by me, Della Ratcliffe.
Visit my FB page @InnerJourneyEvents or website.


WP Sidebar graphics-5WP Sidebar graphics-7


WP Sidebar graphics-5WP Sidebar graphics-7

Transforming with Autumn energies

fullsizeoutput_14a3

Over a year (and over time), so many changes and transformations take place in Nature. And the alchemy of Nature can happen so quickly by adding — or diminishing — the elements of earth, fire, air and water throughout the year.

In Autumn…
Green leaves turn to reds, golds, purples
Berries and nuts ripen and fall
Some animals prepare for winter hibernation
Plants and trees draw down their energies
Birds and marine creatures migrate

In Spring…
Tree renew with bright green buds and leaves
Fallen acorns root and become young oaks
Animals give birth
Sap rises in the trees
Dormant plants renew and grow

Our ancestors were tuned into the seasons too — preserving foods by canning, drying and fermenting in the autumn; planting and spring cleaning in the spring; indoor crafts and repairs in winter …

How do you change with the seasons?

How does your energy shift?

What transformations are happening in YOUR life as we move towards Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere and Beltaine in the Southern Hemisphere?


 

WP Sidebar graphics-5WP Sidebar graphics-7WP Sidebar graphics-4

 

Aries Full Moon and the Mother Goddesses of Summer

fullsizeoutput_143d

Here in Vancouver, the Full Moon arrives tonight at 9:25 PM Pacific Time and is known to many as the Hunter’s Moon. And like all Full Moons, it will rise shortly after sunset in the East. A  glorious spectacle! It rises in the fire sign of Aries and then moves into Taurus the next morning at 8:04 AM Pacific Time.

In Grandmother Moon’s monthly journey, the Full Moon represents the time of The Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess and the Goddesses of Summer… the fullness and abundance of growth and fertility. Call on the wisdom and energy of Demeter, Freyja, Gaia to support your journey as we embrace the Full Moon yang energy and transition with it to the Waning yin release phase.

In the waxing journey of Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon), you focused on your dreams, intentions, and goals, nurturing those precious buds and new beginnings in your Inner Garden. Now they are starting to flower and flourish.

The Full Moon is bright (especially this month’s SuperMoon Hunter’s Moon!) and rises at sunset, so is visible at night much longer than in other lunar phases. Our ancestors celebrated the light of the Full Moon — something we can’t appreciate in the same way with our city lights (oh, to be in the countryside!) — by getting together in communal celebrations, dancing, and the occasional libation. And many farmed by the light of the moon.

Consider how you can celebrate the moonlight and the flowering of your dreams and goals… perhaps a walk… meeting with friends… doing something you enjoy… a full moon ritual. Howl at the Moon if it feels good!

The Full Moon is a good time to step firmly into the light… to look at things clearly and without apology… to stand in YOUR light… and to shine that light onto your inner Cauldron.

The theme at the New Moon was “Courage, my Love”, and that still holds for this Full Moon in Aries. It is a time of action, decisiveness, and fire. No subtlety here! Remind yourself of this emotion throughout the Full Moon period, and any journeying, meditation or ritual work you do.

Remind yourself what it feels like when you embrace your courage … how it feels to be courageous… what happens when you start from a place of courage… what it feels like to BE courage. And as we move to the Waning half of the lunar journey, release whatever blocks you from standing in your Courage, whatever blocks you from being your authentic self or from completing your goals.

RITUALS FOR THE HUNTERS MOON

🌕 If any of your crystals or sacred tools need a gentle cleansing or charging, place them on a windowsill to bask in the moonlight. If you can safely place them outdoors, do so… but don’t forget that many a four-legged creature is foraging for winter at the moment!

🌕 Do a release ritual using the fire element. This can be as simple as writing what you want to release (perhaps that which is blocking you from standing in your courage) on a slip of paper, then safely burn the paper in a cauldron or with a candle in heat-proof dish. (For a more detailed description of this ritual, click here to read our Full Moon Fire Release Ritual)

🌕 Work with your heart chakra… the heart (“coeur” in French) is the seat of your “coeur-age”.

🌕 Journey or meditate on your Inner Cauldron with your guides… a perfect time to ask your Soul Question for this week: What is flourishing?

🌕  If you work with tarot or oracle cards, do a spread for insights into your current situation. I recently recommended the spread created by Bree of Nyms Divination for our recent Fall Equinox Tarot Hop: The Cerridwen Cauldron Spread and Meditation. It is so powerful and perfect for this phase of the moon! Click here to read Bree’s article (and listen to wonderful Cerridwen meditation she created!) and to download the Cerridwen’s Cauldron Tarot Spread.


 

WP Sidebar graphics-5WP Sidebar graphics-7WP Sidebar graphics-4

 

Connect with The Maiden’s wisdom at the Quarter Moon

img_7126

I love the increasing energy of the Waxing Crescent… each day a little bit more Yang energy as we approach the fullness of the Moon.

And tomorrow — Saturday October 8th — Grandmother Moon reaches the First Quarter of her monthly travels @ 9:32 PM Pacific Time. Are you ready for this next step of the journey?

This is the time to connect with La Luna’s Maiden energy, and the Goddesses of Spring and young women… Diana, Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite, Brigid, Freya, Hestia… so many to choose from!

In the New Moon, you planted the seeds of your dreams and goals, and now they are taking root, firmly connecting with Mama Earth’s grounding energy and starting to grow. It’s time to take action, to take steps to make those goals reality.

Have you prepared your Soul Questions for your First Quarter ritual and meditations?

✨Stay true to your dreams as you journey✨

❤️Go forth with courage, my love!❤️


 

WP Sidebar graphics-5WP Sidebar graphics-7WP Sidebar graphics-4

 

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

img_6827

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?

image

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.


 

WP Sidebar graphics-5WP Sidebar graphics-7WP Sidebar graphics-4