The Transit of Venus is a Heavenly Menage a trois
Thanksgiving with the Dalai Lama - Sort of
Blessings for you - from Marcie
“Ah…” mused the serene Tibetan physician,
while reading my tongue and pulses,
“I see you have occasional hot, wicked thoughts.”
“You betcha!” I admit.
“Good!” Dr. Yung Boom says,
“you give thanks and offer help, yes?”
“ I hope so.”
“Then, remember the Dalai Lama.
He has so many hot, wicked thoughts he must become Dalai Lama
to have enough gratitude and service to balance them!”
“This is balance - doing good to balance our bad?”
“Why not? Give thanks and see…
see what Big happens in your little life.”
“Then, will I be able to laugh in the midst of holocaust like
“Please, do not question - then you will find humor.”
So - I give thanks for trying to have no questions, accept no answers,
hope for no absolutes, require no finalities.
I give thanks for you - who may or may not love your life, your work or yourself. Let us then, simply love
and love simply.
I give thanks for the river that gracefully, longingly flows
past my cabin.
I give thanks for the awkwardness of being human,
the crazy urge to run away,
and the beauty, the spiritual devotion
to just stay put and
admit my hot wicked thoughts to you.
Here at Wise Acre, the HomePlace which Mark and I have stewarded for 34 years on an island between three Rocky Mountain streams , we are giving thanks. After hosting numerous celebratory and Nature Discovery events for this year's Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, we can only have gratitude.
Ardent lovers of Nature, sister and fellow devotees, gentle Earth-Keepers and Passionate, but Lazy Gardeners like ourselves have joined us for a week in which we share the feast of the fruits of The Mother. We offer workshops which share STORIES IN THE GLOAMING; CREATING WILD LABYRINTHS; CREATING FAERIE HOUSES AND PLACES FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE. We invite folks to honor personal paeans of reverence, healing , miraculous moments of personal memory, childhood experiences of Wonder and the creation of Faeirie Houses, Ecological Erections and Little Altars everywhere.
Adults reclaim their childhood Faierie fort-building experiences or finally honor unmet desires to stick their bums in the air and bend close to the Earth. Creating ECO-Home-sacred spaces for the Spirits of Nature is a revelation of our own desire for, and ability to share the First Nature we all were born to experience and express.
The exquisite poetry performed and co-created by the GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS participants offers the troubadours' song of ecstactic awareness and tribute to our First Mother. We improvise our poetic pieces together, revelling in the Mystery of synchronicity which makes the separate lines created by 18 participating poets, initially unknown to each other, spontaneously convene in the sacred symmetry of Poesia--the perfection of the imperfect.
One young poet, formerly a star Texas football lineblocker who has recently claimed his life-purpose as a Poet says, as we thread our ways across the Bridge of Blessings in the center of Wise Acre--"This is like entering the Land of the Lord of the Rings--dreams CAN come true!"
And as we courageously express the poetic statement of our Truth, Transformation begins to happen in everyday life.
Blessings upon your Poetic Purpose in this World. Wise Acre welcomes you!
We have been blessed by the Spirits who move the Winds, who move the Clouds, who seduce the Rain.
Want Rain?--do the Cloud Dance. It works!
Go outside. Very Quietly share a gentle waltz with your loved ones. Sing an old Cole Porter or Elvis love song. "I Only Have Eyes for You," and "Love Me Tender" are just right. Sweetly reguest the Clouds to gather. Because Rain loves a nice round, fluffy breast, we shall invite the billowing and bosomy Clouds to seduce the Rain. It's that simple. Heavenly sensuality! As above, so below.
This is the true concept of Weather Shamanism. We do not demand, command or beg. We don't have to make a lot of noise--even to call up the Sturm and Drung of a storm. Instead, slowly, and with REVERENCE, we SEDUUUUUCE the willing energies of our Sky Tribes. We offer our most devoted and dedicated participation with whatever RELATIONSHIP the Mysteries of the Great Above have planned for us.
We must earn an awareness of the appropriate rituals for Weather supplication and Conduction/Seduction. We do this by constantly studying the directions and patterns of winds, percipitation, migrant birds, clouds, animals, sunrises, sunsets and every minute, seasonal change. We must come to know these patterns and relationships like our own earthly relatives. We must also monitor and be clear about our own inner atmospheres. We must purge and prepare. We must work always toward the RESTORATION of an honorable relationship to the Natural World around us. When we recognize our own personal and collective High Pressure systems, when we know how to read and transform the effects of our funks and fusty, fiery or withholding temperaments, we are more able to interact with and draw the attention of our heavenly Weather Relatives.
The REDEMPTION is always direct, exquisitely elegant and simple. As I write these thoughts, the blessed Rains have begun. Rain is falling like the liquid, answered prayers of Earth's parched, thirsty creatures and growing Ones. The Rain is falling on us all. The relief this precious weather brings reminds us that two-leggeds are as needy, as interconnected and should be as grateful as all of our other Relatives in Nature. We are all the same. We are safe. We are blessed. We have been restored to our direct love-affair with the Mysteries Above.
Get Wet! Be Happy! Blessings from Marcie
Have you noticed how much like a walking bruise you have been feeling since the eclipses have passed? Nerve endings on the outside of your body? Impatient, exasperated with yourself, others? Anxious about things that in the past may have seemed small--and so many "Big" things lurking about that sometimes you're afraid to open your eyes, your email, the door or your heart?
If so--you are being filled with the Solstice sensitivity which is preparing us to expand our Passion, Compassion and Purpose in Life. If you deeply feel, then you are wearing the thin skin of the Healer. But this "skin" is not frail--it is flexible. You were born to experience the full expanse of what a human may respond to and connect with. In other words: you were born with the great gift of being "able to respond" or "response-able." You know who you are--you cannot help it--you feel responsible for great global concerns and smaller, close-to-home concerns. And now, it is as if all of this ability to feel has been expanded exponentially beyond your 2-legged energies and daily abilities.
You are right. Do not worry. The magik and the mystery are that YOU have expanded exponentially! Your very Be-ing and Soul have been gathering speed and awareness in ways of which you have not been aware. We are all part of a group incarnation with Spirits which chose this Time, this Life, this World, this Sacred Story to create--together. We are no longer waiting to be told what to do, where to do it or whom to do it with. There is no "wrong way" except NOT to do it.
What is IT?
IT is your deepest devotion, the wish you had when you were 9 years old, the actions you would take if that killer negative voice in your head did not stop you. IT is the reason you were called to the bossom of Our Great Mother. IT is the living-forth of the Celebration and Service for which you were created. NO ONE CAN TELL YOU WHAT THIS IS OR SHOULD BE. Come on now---you know. Oh yes! You know! You are the woman for it. You are the man for it. You are the courageous soul who chose this time on this planet. And now is the time for you to bring forth your precious uncut gem. Prepare to refine and define it as your unique instrument for healing--the profound healing of Self and other!
HEAL THYSELF OH WOUNDED HEALER! IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
Let the Fires of the Solstice, the ever-rising power of the sap, our blood, the bliss-juices within each of us burst into flame. Let us mirror the Lord Sun and, as earthly kindled souls, let us boldly proclaim our wounds, our wonders, our limitations, our boundless love for this Earth and our healing Medicine Ways. The Longest Day is arising. We are Walkers between the Worlds. The veil is very thin. We are being guided.
Our intentions are sacred. Our attention becomes a flaming arrow, our hearts are on fire.
We burn from within.
We are be-coming Shamans.
The most important communal shamanic act an Integrative Medicine Practitioner may perform is as a Celebrant of ceremony, ritual, rites of passage and lifestage transition/changes. As a compassionate representative of the community, this act is a most meaningful Conduction of the energies, yearnings, seasonal- and life-passages of one's extended family and spiritual group.
Because many of us have been raised in formal religious tradtions we have a number of fears and pre-conceived notions about celebrating ritual as the officiant or guide. We have been lead to believe, whether through general societal propaganda or specific traditions, that there is only one "right" way to lead ceremony, and that all others are wrong, and somehow "dangerous." We have been made to feel that only the ordained practitioners of particular rites of passage and ritual can be allowed to lead the ceremonies and celebrations of our lives. These practitioners have various titles in a religious context, and many are dedicated and devoted bearers of their chosen traditions. However, through centuries of patriarchal and cultural programming we have accepted
that only a rarified and very limited priesthood may practice these important communal rituals.
Since the first moment woman and man felt the upwelling of profound emotions--awe, gratitude, sorrow, anticipation, hope, fear--the urge to celebrate and Make Sacred has been a part of all human life-events. It is very probable that our most ancient forbearers practiced numerous kinds of rituals throughout each day, and every individual both lead, and followed shared ritual with the other tribe members. Mircae Eliade, in his seminal book THE SACRED AND THE PROFANE speaks directly to the importance of immediate and situationally-created ritual. He distinguishes between "the immediate apprehension of the mystery"--or what I call SPIRITUAL IMPROVISATION--and the repetition of ritual drawn from an event 100's, even 1,000's of years in the distant past. He speaks of the disparity between being in the moment of the "apprehension or discovery of the mystery" in all its magnificient and awe-inspiring immediacy, and the loss of this direct ecstatic experience in standardized, conventional rituals.
In these standardized religious ceremonies we may experience a personal or communal epiphany or insight which connects us with the Sacred Other. However, to be separated from the original source of the ceremony by time, physical distance and possible loss of meaning, and to feel that one is "not allowed" to guide one's self, or one's identified spiritual community in celebration, can limit the fullness and potency of many sacred experiences.
Psychology and anthropology speak of the "religious function" which resides in every individual. Here, the word "religion" can be defined in its original Greek meaning: "To re-link, forge anew or connect." This does not refer only to organized religions, but to every urge in the individual which seeks to make meaningful the stunning, life-altering, seasonal, and transformational moments in Nature and human experience. This urge to connect to the "immediate mystery" and to celebrate, share witness and mark the fleeting moment of "non-ordinary reality" makes us very unique creatures of this Earth.
By the first week in May, in Colorado, we are awaiting the return of the hummingbirds, the redwing blackbirds and the mating robin couples. Or this is what we tell ourselves. Deep under our layers of clothing and winter wonderland weariness, we are awaiting another voice, another calling.
We want to scratch our backs on supple aspen trees just like the grumpy awakening bears. We want to shed fur and skin and old habits from the months of snow. We begin listening for something mysterious on the wind. We have almost forgotten how sweet the sound of pan-pipes are as they whisper to us from the forest and fields.
We can't stop yawning. We want to play hookey from responsibilities. We feel drawn to contact old sweethearts. We want to throw all our clothes off on bluesky Spring Days. We put up the hammock, drag out the lawnchairs and hang our laundry on the clothesline. We almost faint at the pure clean smell of it in the sun.
After a fierce winter and great deal of praying for Spring we almost can't believe our luck! The return of the Sacred Masculine at Beltaine, the old European celebration of May Day, is like welcoming a long-lost lover back into our arms. This is the Priest of Spring. The sweet youthful urgency of this energy makes itself present in the rising sap, the snow-swollen rivers and our own heightened sense of anticipation.
HE IS PAN, THE LIFE-FORCE AND THE FORCE OF LIFE! Ignore Him at your own peril. His call will be heard, or Pan-ic will occur!
He is also a reminder of our own inner relationship to the Sacred Masculine within ourselves. Whether we are women or men, we cannot help but be drawn to His joyous delight in simply BE-ing. He shows us that nothing is lost--we can always reclaim the Spirit of Youth--If we choose to. Robustness and wild, wonderful expectations are absolutely age-free.
Women can become maidens again. Men can feel their boyhood returning. Believing is Seeing! We can allow ourselves to be caught up in the sound of His compelling music, the irresistable call of Pandemonium--literally, "the Music of the god Pan!" We begin to embody, with All of our human bodies, His gratitude for existence, His sense of playfulness, his willingness to be gob-smacked with delight, and his glowing, healthy sensuality.
He is health: the health of our fearless curiosity, our unself-conscious appreciation of our own Creature-ness.
THE CEREMONIAL WELCOMING OF BELTAINE ENVISIONING
On May 1, as the members of the Earth Wisdom Mystery School celebrated the Bringing in of the May, we practiced an ancient Scrying tradition of our forebearers, the European and Celtic shamans. It is well-known, in our Medicine-ways, that this lunar celebration is also an opportunity to GO BETWEEN THE WORLDS. For European and Northern Tradition shamans, this is a fire celebration which enhances sacred Vision and expands perception so that we might beckon particular guidance on our spiritual paths--both for ourselves and for the healing of others.
Instead of making a traditional wicker offering for the Fires of Beltaine, we designed a Wicker Envisioning Sphere which had first appeared in some of our nighttime dreams. We followed the Sacred Dream-Fabricating Ritual of many indigenous shamanic journeyers and created a spiritual contraption which we had co-created, first in DreamTime undertakings. That is, we had dreamed the parts of the structure together, through individual, conscious dream narratives. We agreed that this Wicker Man Sphere, as it named itself, was a symbol of the search for the Sacred Masculine and our desire to go Between the Worlds on that quest. Our entrance to the Sacred was through the Sphere. Inside this magical sphere we would be able to "Scry," or seek Visionary and Intuitive Awareness.
Within this small circumference created of woven willow, fabric, twine, vines and leaves we set the ancestral crystal ball from my maternal lineage and various totems and invested objects to ground us in our developing Conduction skills and intentions. We placed the Sphere next to a small, secluded stream at my riverside retreat, WiseAcre. Through the Sphere we were able to conduct the guidance of Allies, Ancestors and Nature Spirits or
Divas and Wights.
As we knelt just inside the opening of the Sphere, we were enveloped in a small, quiet sanctuary in the middle of Nature. Even though the woven wicker sides were not solid, their enfolding curves held each Querant, or Re-Questor in a microcosmic, sacred space. Here we entered through the portal, transiting from Ordinary Reality, and the noisy celebration around us, to Other Worlds and Realms of the Guides and Ancestors. As it grew darker, a lantern inside the sphere suffused the circle with an orb of flickering light.
Gazing "strange-eyed" into the Circle-Within-A-Circle of the antique crystal ball, each Questor was able to Conduct, or draw shamanic impressions and direct Ally and Spirit Guidance from the experience. Four of the Mystery School interns reported similar "images which slowly appeared in a deep part of my mind," while another reported seeing a silhouette in the crystal ball which revealed itself as "my past and future Wise Self."
Through my scrying, and as the Shamanic Officiant for the May Day ritual, I was made aware of a very ancient Naming Ceremony. I saw in my peripheral vision, and through the crystal ball, some of the rites of the ceremony through which the original source of the sacred name by which I know myself, was revealed. I had not made a specific request for guidance. Rather, I opened myself up to the experiment of using this dream-designed shamanic divining process, and whatever might come through or from it.
Our Rites of Spring brought us ever closer to the Shamanic practitioner's goal of the embodiment of the Sacred Marriage, the conjunctio of harmony and balance between the Sacred Inner Masculine and Inner Feminine, Above and Below, Without and Within, Past Life and Present Incarnation, Physical Body and Subtle Body.
This recognition of harmony is also the celebration of the outer, Natural bond and courtship dance being enacted, through the cycles of the seasons, between the Earth Mother in all her Goddess Forms and Her maturing Sacred Child, maturing Apprentice and future Consort, THE GREEN MAN.
We welcome the long and deepest Night when the Light chases the Dark, the moment of stillness, perfect pause and poise. In this breathless moment the Earth opens her arms to the Sun in the sky and births forth the Divine Masculine. We have arrived at the Winter Solstice, once again. Here we may also pause and poise, truly occupying our embodiment of the season—feeling at our very core the Sol (Sun) Stice (Stands) and the stillness heralding the return of 3 more minutes of light each day.
Far to the North, even farther than our home in this Rocky Mtn. valley, the most ancient versions of Santa Claus prepare for their shamanic journeys.
Over 30 thousand years ago when humans walked out of Africa to spread throughout Europe and northern Asia they carried the kernel of these shamanic Solstice figures into the cold and icy realms. The sun’s business was the most important business of our primordial ancestors. For most cultures the world over, the sun in the sky were honored as the Sacred Masculine, and the Earth, of course, as the symbol of the Great Feminine. In those wintry times and climes the ancients did not know if the sun, who was seen to begin his travels to his southern home on the longest day, the Summer Solstice, would ever decide to return to the North. They called on all the forms of healing mystery, ceremony and sympathetic fire magic to remind the sun—“Do not abandon us! Please return to your people!”
In order for ice to melt, rivers to flow, grass to green, animals and humans to give birth, the sun needed to bring the time of Leaf-Spring-Forth back to the world of darkness and winter. The re-birth on December 21st of the Sun as the Divine Masculine--many versions of which are celebrated at this time of year by over 20 major spiritual traditions--is a shared rite-of-passage whose origins have woven inextricably together over millenia. The perennial icon of the Winter Solstice and Holiday season is this Sacred Shining Child whose birth and inauguration of the returning Light offers hope, communal fellowship and a spiritual journey toward love and wholeness.
In the contemporary U.S the other enduring Spirit of the Season is called “Santa Claus.” This friendly, flying, fur-bearing fellow is a long, long way from his origins in the lands along the northern rim of the world. In fact, he quite probably began as a “she.” All known cultures recognized the Earth as the Great Mother of Life and human women as the representatives of this all-creating force. Before the major Aryan invasions overtook these “matri-focal” or Mother-oriented tribes and cultures, women were seen as the sole creators of human life. For thousands of years it was not understood that semen was necessary to fertilize the fruit of the womb. All that could be identified is that life flowed directly from woman’s body—not man’s. Women were therefore, undoubtedly honored as powerful shamans, partners of the Sun and daughters of the Earth. The creative dynamic of the Great Feminine would be very important in drawing the sun back to the northlands and/or rebirthing this Son of the Sun and Mother Earth each year.
Ancient Siberians, Early Scandinavians (Samis, Finns) and indigenous Natives of Alaska were peoples who lived migrational lives on the broad over-arching tundra and icy lands along the upper regions of the Earth. For thousands of years, their partners in hunter-gatherer, and eventually, symbiotic existences were the horned ones who grazed this same frozen land—the mastodon, muskox and forebearers of the reindeer and caribou. Some of the ancients, such as the Sami people, expanded their collaboration with the peaceful, shy reindeer and still continue to live as herders of the vast open tundra. Their lives, as those of the Inuit, Athabascan and other Canadian and Alaskan hunters with the herds of caribou they follow, are completely intertwined with these antlered cohabitants. Everything they eat, wear, utilize as tools, create as shelter, design as art has come from Reindeer. Reindeer is not prey, or livestock, Reindeer is Life.
Woman was also seen as the ultimate expression of Life. It was she who taught how to help birth the reindeer young, gather herbs and berries to feed in order to bring the milk, followed the estrus and gestation cycles of the reindeer cows and learned to fashion warm and nearly indestructible clothing from reindeer hide, bone and sinew. Reindeer, like the creative Feminine, were considered most sacred. Artifacts and funerary practices identified from thousands of years ago from Sami and Siberian burial sites indicate that some of the most important spiritual guides were women.
Women were known to be keen observers of herd movements. They could read the circling constellations overhead and identify herb and plant medicines below. They prepared healing remedies and oversaw all phases of life, from birthing, to menses, to elder years and dying. They were the midwives to earthly and spiritual deaths and rebirths for both 2-leggeds and the 4-legged antlered relatives. Women were considered shamanic, not only because of their magical life-giving abilities but also because of their unique communication and relationship with reindeer. These were seen as the magical “familiars” and guides to the mysteries of healing. Throughout the world, cave drawings, petroglyphs and pictographs show the Antlered Ones as embodying a kind of “antennae to the Sky-Heavens” and the Upper World of the gods and goddesses. Through these antennae, reaching from their temples forward and upward, it was believed that the horned-ones could literally “receive knowledge from the gods.” Many cave paintings and carvings in North America, and some not far from my home in Colorado, depict 2-legged creatures bearing antlered halos sprouting from their seemingly human heads. These are believed to symbolize the Medicine People and Shamans of the tribe who were able to “communicate with the gods.”
Both male and female shamans of the Northern tundra followed the heartbeat of the most sacred instrument—the drum. They allowed it to “carry” them to the Upper Worlds of inspiration and the lower or Underworld where the Ancestors were said to dwell. Because the drum has been seen throughout time as a symbol for the Earth, the roundness of all life, the symbol of the Womb—many tribal cultures still call their ceremonial drums “She” while women are the first creators and still the safe-keepers of this sacred instrument. Even today, Sami and other Northland’s shamans are said to “ride the drum as a flying Reindeer” to other worlds, seeking guidance for banishing illness and beckoning cures and well-being for the members of their tribes. These ecstatic shamanic flights may well have been fueled by various vision-stimulating herbs and roots and very possibly, psychedelic mushrooms traditionally collected by the women and used in a ritualized and sacred manner.
In parts of Siberia and much of Sapmi( Sami-land, formerly known as Lapland,) the ancient traditional clothing worn by Medicine Women Healers is often red, green and white with fur lining and trim. The red peaked, felted hats and curled-toe boots and warm mittens of reindeer-hide complete, what I believe to be, the feminine origins of perhaps the first of a long line of Santa Claus replications. Their long lineage of connection with the induction of spiritual journeys through the drum, their relationship of healing with “Reindeer-Magic” and their ability to create potions and salves which could incite ecstatic visions or “Shamanic Journeys,” give us a deeper look at the Solstice and contemporary Christmas symbol. These priestesses-of-the-antlered-ones who flew through the night to gather blessings and healing and then distributed these gifts to their tribe members must surely be considered as proto-typical Fore-Mothers of Santa.
For centuries the only form of transportation for the Northern folk were reindeer-drawn travois and eventually, sleighs. And if all this weren’t enough—according the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer shed their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually in late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers through gestation, until they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to every cultural rendition of Santa’s reindeer, including Rudolph to Blixen--every single one of them--had to be Female!
So—as the Wise Woman says: “Even if you don’t believe in a Female Santa Claus—remember this--ONLY women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world, in one night, and not get lost!”
Have a Blessed Solstice, Joyous Christ-Mass, Peace-filled Chanukah, Creative Kwanza. And from my Swedish-Sami forebears I wish you
God Jul och
Gott Nytt Ar… AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!
Marcie is a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist and has been in private practice for 40 years. Marcie is an experienced, highly intuitive guide who weaves together ancient knowledge with contemporary wisdom. She is a mediatrix who connects the realms of current psycho-social concerns and timeless spiritual teachings and practice.