Healing Body, Healing Earth: a equinox message on Grief, Embodiment and the #Climate Strike

This past month I had body work done. I didn’t think about this ahead of time, but when my friend Catalyst (check her out here) asked me where I needed work done, I listed a number of things and then was surprised to hear myself say: “and maybe…my psoas,” rubbing my belly.

When she eventually came to my abdomen, just sliding the blankets so she could access my belly caused me to flinch. I thought: “here it comes.”

As she started pressing gently into my soft unguarded flesh, tears came. I let them come, along with images, colors, sounds that flowed through my imagination. My Littles, all the younger parts of me that dance in my inner world and keep me sensitive to the outer world, got vocal and irritated, like flesh rubbed raw. A flash of an un-placed memory (was it mine, even?) of being physically gutted and abandoned in agony. A trailing river of grief and loss swelled in its wake, flowing up and out and down.

Healing touch on my tender under belly is evocative, an invitation to release where I am coiled in self-protected tension. The right side resisted, stubbornly convinced of an unseen danger. Finally, softening, I felt as though many hands were upon me, and my body worker’s hands became the hands of my grandmother. Other hands held me on all sides, and I saw myself floating on my back in ocean water. Let go, they said. We’ve got you.

Other things came as she worked up my abdomen, shoulders, head and neck—a full life cycle, the elements at play. I let myself be guided by the sensation in my body and the energy releasing, listening for the messages and without working too hard, grounding and clearing the way I have learned to do.

I did not enter the space thinking I had big emotions to process, but then again, the world is on fire. Each of our bodies is feeling it somewhere. Each of us has the capacity to heal it somewhere. Some of us will be overt in our healing work, taking to the streets or the public offices. Some of us are working at the level of our own physiology, barely an eyelash above the water of anxiety, depression, or panic in which one can easily drown.

At times like these it is easy for me to look around and wonder: am I doing enough? Under which, of course, is the lie of white hypermasculine imperialist capitalism—that to be enough, one has to be doing, producing, in perpetual motion with tangible visible results. (For more about how the belly in particular holds the ancestral trauma of whiteness and colonialism, check out this excellent blog by one of my mentors Tada Hozumi.)

Though the world is on fire and my instinct is to rush to put it out to sooth my grief, guilt, and anxiety; or climb atop the tower of my own privilege and ignore it, I am being challenged in working with my mentors to slow down and remember that the times we are in call for the training of the marathon runner, not the sprinter. We are each part of much bigger ecosystem that is undergoing massive, cataclysmic change. And the problems we are facing are going nowhere fast.

So what will it take to endure, to stay engaged and resourced over the long-term? What will it take to stay attuned to the ecosystem in which every quiet decolonizing act, every subtle reconnection of spirit to body to earth to other bodies has exponential affect? I have realized over the years of my own activism, spiritual practice, and bodywork that such attunement isn’t just a matter of “self-care”, or “putting on your own air mask first” so you can be there to help others out. It’s so much deeper than that. When one shift towards one’s body as a microcosm of the wholeness of creation itself, it reweaves the paradigmatic fabric of our entire culture. Such a shift, I believe, is anti-oppressive, anti-colonial, anti-patriarchal, anti-white supremacist, and PRO-thriving for the entire ecosystem of the cosmos.

People who are connected to the pain their own bodies carry and connected to the earth and connected to their own soul do not drive across the state for the sole purpose to shoot people because of their race and immigration status. Cultures that are connected to the pain in its collective body and connected to the earth and connected to its own soul do not produce such people. People and cultures who are connected to their own bodies and the earth cannot help but be sensitive and respond to the signs of the devastating changes our earth is undergoing.

This weekend marks several days of significance: the global climate strike happens on the 20th, led by youth in 150 different countries (join where you are! Check out the events in Tacoma and Seattle). Saturday the 21st is the International Day of Peace, a UN-sponsored day which this year is focusing on Climate Justice as well. I listened to an interview with a doctor this on the increasingly “diagnosable” occurance of environmental anxiety in patients she sees. She said it’s not medication she prescribes—but action. I would add to the prescription—action that emerges out of a willingness to truly feel the grief and the nourishing supportive presence of the Earth, underneath the hum of (appropriate!) anxiety for the ecological crisis we face.

And then the Equinox happens on Monday the 23rd, which to me is a beautiful finale to the previous days. Equinox is a moment of poise and balance between the upsurge of summer and the settling of winter. In that poised place there lies the invitation to consider all that is present in paradoxical unity: crisis and calm; despair and determination; the depth of grief and the breadth of joy; the constant pulsation of death and life in creation.

Chanterelles! Fall is here!

Chanterelles! Fall is here!

I offer some simple resources of the season to support you in whatever your life’s work is at this time:

  • FREE Equinox Psychic Reading: In case you missed last month’s offering, I’m inviting each of you to share in a FREE remote psychic group reading for the Equinox. This is a small way I can express my profound gratitude to you, members of my ecosystem of support that has shown up amazingly for me these past several years. The reading will happen sometime around September 23rd (giving myself a little wiggle room as I adjust to my fall school schedule!) To be included, RSVP via email by Sept. 21st (Saturday), and the recording will be sent to you by Sept. 24th (Tuesday). If you’ve never received a reading from me before this is a great opportunity to try!

  • FREE Stillness and Sound Practice: Sunday November 17th, 6:30-8pm at Saravida on the Hill (1011 S. L St). This offering is an invitation to sync up with the rhythms of the natural world and the quiet stirrings of one's inner world through communal practices of song, silence, prayer, and grounding. See complete details here, and please RSVP via e-mail no later than November 15th.

  • FREE song and meditation resources: Did you know I have a small collection of original songs and meditations? If you are experiencing environmental anxiety (or any other kind!), I recommend Trusting in the Goddess: A Chant for Hard Times.

Balance and blessing to you, dear ones~


Don't. Give. Up.

Several years back, I lived in the 6th Ave neighborhood, and we planted a tiny rhubarb in our back yard. It was barely two leaves and some stringy roots. It flourished happily until later that summer, when it was completely trampled to nubbins by my roommate’s dog. We said, “Oh well,” and thought that was the end.
The following spring coaxed new baby rhubarb leaves into growth, and we were surprised and delighted to once again watch the tested plant urge itself to life. We cheered. We planted neighbors to keep it company: tomatoes, chard, onions.
And then the house got painted that August. The painters did a lovely job on the house. And they did a pretty number on the garden. Our little rhubarb wasn't quite sturdy enough for boots and buckets. Upon their leaving, we found just boot prints and the tired leafy remains of the poor plant. We said, “Oh well,” and thought that was the end.
A year later, we went out into the back garden for the first spring digging and putzing. And what do you know, little Rhubarb now has 10 or 12 foot long stalks and wide healthy and very proud leaves! Again: we cheered.  
Our Bionic Rhubarb finally lasted long enough that season to produce something edible.  But even if it hadn’t, my rhubarb taught something that I am reminded of again and again in my spiritual practice.  Be persistent.  Be patient.  Do not give up.  Do not let your self-expression be deterred by boots and careless creatures or fear or harshness of any kind.  Take the risk to try again.  Take the risk to trust that your beautiful self is still becoming, and that you won't stop trying because that is not in your soul's nature. 

The world is serving up many very compelling reasons to despair, to shut down, to give up. The world is on fire as the traumas of generations and millenia and our own short lives surface: at our nations borders and political offices, in our ecology that is literally shaking and storming us into reluctant awareness, in the violence of toxic masculinity mixed with white supremacy and access to firearms; within interpersonal struggles that are always a miniature version of the bigger swirl of the cosmos; in one’s own struggles to find stable ground or to get out of bed on any given day. I just recently learned this stat that really riled me: that only 9% of what gets put into the recycling system actually gets recycled. Don’t quote me on that number, but you gotta kinda believe and wonder: what the heck am I doing it all for?
I so need this reminder in all the places I feel resignation or have decided it's "the end," all the places where I am challenged but committed to growing and being in the world. It’s ok to be afraid. It’s ok to be tired. It’s ok to not know. It’s ok to numb or zone out or hide sometimes. And yet in the face all that, can you be persistent and patient and give yourself room to be on a learning curve, a gorgeous pulsation of trying and failing and trying again that you are allowed in order to grow into your proud self.  

And then listen: that sound?  That's the whole of creation, cheering for you, trying to do the same.

This New Moon, as I prepare for the return to school and look (with some trepidation!) to two more years of academia, I have reflected on how challenged I have been these past few years and I feel moved into deep gratitude for all the branches of my community that have helped to keep me bouyant and engaged and coming back again and again into the world’s beauty and heartache. As a member of my ecosystem of support and trust, I just want to say a profound THANK YOU. THANK YOU. Thank you. As a small token of my gratitude, please consider accepting this small gift: inclusion in a free remote psychic group reading and healing for the Fall Equinox. To be included, just e-mail me that you want in! The reading will be done sometime between Sept 22-24th (I will have just started school, so am giving myself a little wiggle room.) You’ll be sent a recording of the reading by September 24th. If you have never received a psychic reading, this is an easy, no strings attached entry point.

I am supported in so many ways!  The trees, the sky,  my body, and YOU are just a few of the abundant resources I am feeling so grateful for.

I am supported in so many ways! The trees, the sky, my body, and YOU are just a few of the abundant resources I am feeling so grateful for.

This is not an offering that I will be sharing widely, truly intended as a gift for YOU in thanks for your faith in and support of me and as a way I can nurture appreciation for and feel the presence of my web of care. I am committed! I won’t give up! And I am committed to supporting you in any way that I can so that you are resourced to do your work in the world. I believe in your resilience and goodness and sensitivity and innate wisdom. So don’t you give up now either.

Love from the Moon’s Shadow,


10 Life Lessons from a Jigsaw Puzzle

Now that I’m on my summer break, I’ve been doing lots of puzzles.


To me, puzzles are an introvert haven, a quiet means—to-its-own-end. It is the perfect antidote to my tendency towards goal-fixated rushing and over-productivity. Puzzles allow me space to day-dream, ruminate and integrate. When I stirred awake at night, puzzling is a non-stimulating unwind for my psyche. They are a simple source of pleasure and satisfaction. All these would be reason enough for me to be a puzzler.

But a few years back while I was still directing SKY, I kept a puzzle going in one of the spare rooms and would fiddle with it during breaks from my office work. Always a theologian and meaning-maker, I realized what was so soothing about the activity was the metaphor it was for the rest of my life and litany of lessons it had to offer me. Here’s what I discovered and continue to be reminded by my mystic-teacher-puzzle friends:

Taking the puzzling to the streets: when things look like #4 (a technicolor mess eg. the border crisis), i try to take one small action in alignment with my big picture—like standing for an hour downtown in solidarity with families detained and separated here in Tacoma (at the Northwest Detention Center) and at the border. Does it make a difference? See #8: Everything you do is doing something. It shapes identity, staves off the despair of complicity, and strengthens the musculature of another way of being. I don’t share images like this to say, “Hey look at me!” or “Why weren’t  YOU  there?” But rather to inspire you into the thing—whatever it is—that puts you in alignment with your bigger picture.

Taking the puzzling to the streets: when things look like #4 (a technicolor mess eg. the border crisis), i try to take one small action in alignment with my big picture—like standing for an hour downtown in solidarity with families detained and separated here in Tacoma (at the Northwest Detention Center) and at the border. Does it make a difference? See #8: Everything you do is doing something. It shapes identity, staves off the despair of complicity, and strengthens the musculature of another way of being. I don’t share images like this to say, “Hey look at me!” or “Why weren’t YOU there?” But rather to inspire you into the thing—whatever it is—that puts you in alignment with your bigger picture.


  1. All the pieces fit somewhere.

  2. It may not be clear right now where exactly they fit.

  3. It may take a lot of trial and error to find out where they fit.

  4. In fact it might look like an unredeemable technicolor mess right now (cue: the nightly news).

  5. This process of trial and error may be irritating, frustrating and/or aggravating. It may appear at times daunting, hopeless, or like you’ve spent the last half an hour moving pieces around and making no progress whatsoever.

  6. Boundary-setting rituals are sacred: turn over all pieces; sort out and complete the border first. These are the rituals that reveal at least the scope—if not the details—of one’s vision, values and trajectory. Such boundaries provide a container for freedom and creativity to play, some initial no’s that set into motion at least the general direction of your puzzling yes.

  7. When a piece aligns, enjoy the thrill of small achievements with a victory dance and/or an internal high-five.

  8. If you’re not getting anywhere, sometimes it’s easier to see where things fit when you zoom out or blur your vision a little—like looking at a Magic Eye. Drop back into the big picture. Look at the box. Look for the general groupings of colors and patterns. Sort like with like. it’s not cheating. In life, for me, this looks like identifying energies and spirits that are present and contributing, and making art and alters to acknowledge and give placement to them. Confusion, ambiguity, doubt, fear, inspiration, courage, the brink of change—name and place them. Everything has a place. Everything you do is doing something.

  9. A puzzling playlist, podcast, and/or audiobook can help pass the time; snack and wiggle breaks are renewing and clarifying; and there are few things as priceless as a good puzzling companion (thank you roommates).

  10. There is a big picture that is harmonious, beautiful and whole. Don’t give up.

Tonight the Full Moon Eclipse in Capricorn provides an opportunity to rest and relish in the illuminated big picture of one’s life and the agency one has to orient towards new seasons; as well as to pinpoint what habitual patterns are ready to be forgiven and released. Maybe the habitual pattern is the need to be different than one already is—and a release or forgiveness might not be a sudden change in habits or behavior but a more non-violent, non-forcing acceptance of one’s present way of being (try as I might to force a piece to fit with another when it’s just not right—can I just relax, let it go for now, come back to it when a few more pieces are in place?)


Change and uncertainty is up in my life (#wanderingpriestess) and in the world right now (#apocalypsepending). After spending a day in a swirl of future plan-making, I realized I was getting caught up in Control and Over-Thinking energy, a desperate remedy to manage the anxiety of the unknown. I’m pausing today with Puzzling Lesson #8: naming and placing Control and Over-Thinking, dropping back into my felt sense of creativity, inner listening and reflection. I am traveling today, so not meditating with my puzzle at the moment, but I had the space and time waiting for my flight to create my Full Moon Eclipse mini alter and scribble some meditative art. I am offered new clarity from my spirit in this image and the words: Allow. Unfurl. I trust the truth of my own timing.

If you’re not a puzzler, I’d love to know: what are your favorite forms of creative non-doing? What gives you the space for mind-drifting musing and fruitful fruitlessness?

May this Full Moon Eclipse offer space and clarity for the easeful allowance your unfurling soul journey.

Your friend on the path,


A Solstice Oracle in Three Words


I am sitting today musing and meditating in preparation for the Solstice retreat I will be facilitating this weekend as the closing gathering of this spring’s Moon Circle. A group of eight women and I (see photos below from our last circle!) have journeyed together over the last 3 months, and we come together this weekend for the longest day/shortest night of the year.

As I tune in and ask Spirit what I need to know about this gathering and this solstice season, these are the words that show up:


I sit with each of these a little more and their meaning begins to flesh out. Letting release swirl through my body and awareness, I see a roller coaster chugging up to the peak of a hill and cresting, on the brink of its downward fall; I see water pooling behind a dam, feel the pressure just before an opening in the wall sends the water down and out. It’s not the kind of material release of any particular object or thing, it’s not the over-used “letting go of what’s not serving you” quip. I ask for more specifics, and it’s more like: Let gravity take you. Resist nothing. Move from the tension of potentiality into unresistant flow. We have reached the peak of the sun’s annual pilgrimage, and now turn our feet back towards the pull of home.

When I turn my attention to the second word, turn—I am transported to the forest where we will spend our retreat. I see the women turning towards and away from each other in a simple dance. I see the time-lapsed movement of the sun through the trees, the natural turning from morning to evening, from season to season. Again, it is nothing sharp or forced—it says that change is upon us, and to follow the natural trajectory of the end of one thing and the beginning of another. It perhaps is a time to try something new, but not in a quantum leap, out-of-the-blue kind of way—its a newness that has been building for awhile now, requiring nothing more than the turning of one’s attention towards it.

I settle into the final messenger, absorb. I am sitting outside and the sun immediately breaks from behind a cloud. I am filled with warmth and relief, and the sense that I get is that now is a time to be immersed in the elements that nourish and heal. Sunbathe. Ocean bathe. Bathe in moonlight and tree-breath. Receive loving touch. Without effort, there is a transmutation that happens when one unhook’s from mechanized time and productivity and becomes saturated by the elemental powers that want all of creation to be well. Whether I am conscious to it or not, my bodies and psyche is constantly absorbing from my surroundings. I feel this word as an invitation (with some urgency!) to take very honest and non-judging stock at what exactly I am absorbing, and to be deliberate in cultivating my environmental choices to align with who I choose and desire to be in the world. There are certainly seasons to pursue with relentless vigor what one desires—but as one of my first teachers says, environment is stronger than will-power, and right now, it seems, the will is waning and needs a little reprieve. Consider now as the time to abide quietly in wholesome spaces and to let what you desire come to you. Go where it is easy to receive, and soak it up.

I’m curious: does any of this connect with your experiences this season? How do these words land for you? Or do you have other messages to contribute? When you sit with a soft belly without thinking to hard, what does this solstice season speak to you? My messages came first in words—yours might come in a feeling, image, sense, memory, song, color, sensation in your body, or just a knowingness. I’d love to hear from you! Please share with me in the comments below, or by responding to this e-mail!

Sharing this is an experiment in opening up about my spiritual/intuitive process. Feels a little risky! My hope is that there is some resonance for you, some sense of being a part of the Earthen/cosmic ecosystem, connected to the whole of creation whose song hums within all parts of the whole.

May Solstice Blessings abound!

With devotion,


The one thing I wish everyone did every day...

This past month, there was a beautiful convergence of holy days: religious, secular, earthen. April’s Full Moon in fell on Good Friday, day of remembrance of the tension between all creation’s polarities represented in the cross (for more on that, read my Easter blog from last year here). Then Easter, the celebration of the Cosmic Christ wedded to all of creation just a day before Earth day, our contemporary bow to that which sustains us. For me it was a journey deeper into awe and gratitude for this precious planet I call home, and deeper awareness of my interconnection to her. It was subtle, almost like glimpsing a fairy’s wing in my peripheral vision, or seeing through a spider web, the threads a little blurry—but present and sustaining me through a period of personal and planetary uncertainty.

Beltane Earth Mandala making with the Moon Circle women, 2018

Beltane Earth Mandala making with the Moon Circle women, 2018

On today’s ancient Celtic/Pagan feast of love and fertility, Beltane, I am drawn again into reverence of the regenerative, fecund extravagance of our mother planet and reflecting on all how I am in relationship with her.

What are the ways you nurture awareness of your connection to the earth? Here are five of my favorite and most highly recommended practices:

  1. Practice grounding meditation: this is the one thing. Do this every day (or as frequently as possible!) I have been teaching this ever since I learned it in the first module of Psychic school two years ago. Our teacher instructed that we were to teach this to as many people as we could! It is how I begin my day, as well as all my circles and classes. A version of the meditation can be found here. A variation/deepening of the practice I have been exploring: consider the particular land on which you dwell as you ground, and its unique history. If you are a white person in the U.S., I invite you specifically to consider, as you ground, the original stewards of the land where you live and the probable reality that the land you dwell upon was stolen/settled at the expense of our nation’s native peoples. In addition to the nurturance of the Earth, there is also tremendous pain. Consider being and breathing with the discomfort of that, or whatever emotions arise.

  2. Return moon blood to the earth. For those of you with bodies that bleed: this is a practice I have done with moderate regularity, when possible, for the past two years. I feel some timidity in sharing about this, but more urgency about doing so, feeling in my shyness an invitation to clear shame around my body’s functions and fluids. Returning moon blood to the earth is an extremely potent way to be actively giving back and nourishing the great body of the Mother that nourishes me. I use a version of a diva cup, and collect my blood in a jar to take outside—I typically let the land and plants tell me where they are wanting to be fed: a tree, a perimeter, etc. I have been bleeding with the new moon for the last year or so, and so typically incorporate it into my new moon ritual, naming all the things I’m releasing. Another option a friend of mine recently shared is to keep a houseplant in the bathroom and just toss it in the dirt with a blessing or prayer. I thought that was a brilliantly simple variation!

  3. Find your food. What’s growing wild in your yard or neighborhood, or nearby parks? I have been picking neighborhood dandelion leaves for springtime green smoothies for years (though no longer, after learning more about the contaminants in our Tacoma soil, insert major sad-mad face), but this season I finally did something I’ve been thinking and dreaming about doing for almost as long: I went nettle picking! Nettles are a wild green that are highly nutritious and medicinal. To be clear before you get all comparing-lives and “Oh how nice for you, Martha Stewart of Natural Living” on me, let me be clear: I have a huge desire to locally source my food that I can’t quite practically satisfy the way my life is set up right now, so I learned to let myself aim real low—it took me years of thinking about it, seeing them growing, wondering when and how to harvest, talking with my plant friends about it, and watching one youtube video, before I actually got out to the woods to find the little guys! My goal is to learn about and glean one new wild harvest plan a year. I am not an herbalist, but it was so satisfying to spend time with these quirky plant beings, to learn about and from them, and to stir them into my spring-cleanse kitcheri. (For more on stinging nettles, check out my friend Kim’s blog—she is an herbalist and knows what she’s talking about!)

  4. Make offerings to the Earth. Consider a morning or evening offering to the land of some elemental material of significance. Many thanks to indigenous rights activist and spiritual teacher Sherri Mitchell for her wisdom on this (for a great listen, check out an interview with her here.) For example, some indigenous peoples of this land might have used cornmeal, sage or tobacco; women bleeding might give back their blood (see above!); you might use a sprinkle of water, bread crumbs, a song; or ask the land what kind of offering it wants from you. Consider your ritual like the reciprocal pull of gravity, giving and receiving—a way to offer your thanks as well as your prayers and requests to Mother Gaia.

  5. Consider the Earth a Sacred Text. I’ve been reading recently about the 9th century Celtic philosopher, whose writings were eventually put on the Church’s list of “forbidden writings” (#topliststobeon #youknowyourdoingsomethingrightwhen). Writing out of his Celtic spiritual heritage, infused with the Earth-reverence of the pre-Christian Druids, he taught that “we can look to creation just as we look to the Scriptures to receive the living Word of God.”* It’s a no brainer in the PNW, as it has been for indigenous peoples worldwide. Go outside for no good reason and be quiet. At certain seasons like this one, I like to go out first thing in the morning and stand on the dewy grass, imagine my grounding cord to the center of the earth (see item number one above), sip my lemon water, and just listen. One of my mentors introduced me to the practice of taking a “Medicine Walk”—holding a question in my heart as I step onto the path in the woods. The first time I practiced this, not expecting much, I held the question: when will I start my journey to become a priest?” My answer came immediately with a knowing bird’s cry: You already have!! Creation is a sacred text. I go to her with a question, with my heart, and listen to the wind or look to the budding trees for the answer. Sometimes I press my feet into the earth and ask gravity: What can I let go of right now? Sometimes it’s just a moment’s glimpse of the water that reminds me to release my breath and the tension in my belly.

It is my belief that when one remembers and feels one’s innate connection to the earth and all things, healing happens—not just for one’s own self but for the earth and all things as well. That’s why practices like these, though simple and perhaps seemingly trivial, to me feel vital and urgent—particularly as a result of industrialization, imperialism, and the cultural trauma of whiteness that has severed innumerable people of all races (including the conquering ones) from ancestry, the land of ancestry, and the previously inherited wisdom of deep ecological beinghood. To be clear, the impact of this cultural trauma has been fundamentally different between white folks and black, brown and indigenous folks because white privilege has enabled people like me and my ancestors to numb pain and to violently enact our pain upon black, brown and indigenous folks. For more on this, check out the work of Tada Hozumi.

Consequently, it is simultaneously vital and tricky for me as a white person to nurture my relationship with the Earth, as I no longer have a relationship with the land of my ancestors, and the land I live upon was colonized. This is something I am working on and don’t expect to resolve soon. I am exploring my own privilege and positionality, feeling into my own body, learning from elders and the land itself, and doing my best to practice a light, persistent, imperfect but respectful tread. So far, amidst these tensions and nuances, these are the ways that connection has felt alive and generative for me.

#3: Find your food —and medicine! Last weekend my sister Clare (below) and I took an amazing class on blending medicinal teas for the spring season with    Becca Farr at Orchard Botanicals.    I’m in love!

#3: Find your food —and medicine! Last weekend my sister Clare (below) and I took an amazing class on blending medicinal teas for the spring season with Becca Farr at Orchard Botanicals. I’m in love!

Do any of these practices speak to you? What practices keep you aware of your connection to Earth? Where did your practices come from? I’m especially interested what you do with your kiddos, if you have them. Please share in the comments below!

If attuning to the earth’s rhythms feels like a beautiful but far-off dream, consider a simple stepping stone in my summer adaptation of Stillness at the Center, a donation-based evening of quietude and song. Also, women-identified-folk: mark your calendars for Solstice 2019! Nourish: A women’s winter solstice retreat at Wellspring Spa returns this winter! Check out dates and details for all offerings here.


May the abundance of Beltane bring beauty and blessing to you!

With all my love,


*J.Philip Newell, Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality, p6.

Introduction to Moon Dreaming

Feminine and indigenous folklore worldwide has frequently held that the energy of the Moon is the energy of Goddess. The subtly powerful influence of Moon energy was noted in everything from the planting and harvesting of crops, to childbirth and women’s monthly bleed. Moontime is magic time, witching time, dream time, deep listening time.

A return to the Feminine Divine has for me been an invitation back into relationship with all of creation and all elements of the natural world, and particularly with the Goddess energy of the Moon. What is your current relationship to the Moon? When are you attentive to the Moon’s phase? Consider taking a few moments to ask your Inner Guide what might be the next step in connecting to Her power. It might be as simple as beginning to look for and pay attention to the position and lunation phase (where the moon is in its transition between new and full) from day to day.

The lunation of the Moon is a powerful way to super-charge dreams and intentions that you desire to bring into being. Though it’s been more typical to be attentive to the Moon only when she is full, it’s actually the New Moon where the seeds of intention and dreams are most optimally sown. Each phase of the Moon contributes to a different aspect of fulfillment of dreams, but the parts we’ll work with are just the New and Full Moon.

The following is adapted from the work of Yasmin Boland, Moonology: Working with the Magic of Lunar Cycles, as well as many other wise women who have danced under the light and shadow of Mother Moon.

New Moon images, captured in my Moon Journal

New Moon images, captured in my Moon Journal

New Moon: In the days before the New Moon, let yourself slow down and spend a little more time, even just as you are falling asleep, letting your dreams and visions for the coming month surface. This is also a good time to wrap up lingering projects or loose threads—either completing them, or choosing to let them be complete as they are (ie—just taking them off your plate!). You are getting the soil ready to plant your dreams. The day of or in the day or two after the New Moon, take time to write out your new moon dreams, and what may be asking to be released to make room for them . It can be done in as little as 5 minutes if you are conscious, focused, and use your intention to really drop into what you/your Innermost Self desire to create at this time.

Full Moon: In the days just before the Full Moon, be reflecting on the dreams you envisioned at the New Moon, and be observant to where they are coming to fruition (it may be happening in unpredictable ways or through unintended channels—so be open-minded and alert!) Energy, emotions and variability run high, so it’s a time to just be really fluid and not take things too personally. Key practices for this time are forgiveness—releasing stuck energy and expectations—and gratitude for all that has come to fruition since the New Moon, and that is present, ripe, full and abundant in your life. It can also be chance to see what dreams might need more time or where there may be the need to attend to the underlying beliefs affecting their fruition. At this time, you can release those dreams for the current cycle and revisit them at a future New Moon.

Want more? Click here some newly posted chants to use with your moon dreaming.

Second Chance New Years: Imbolc Tidings and Tidy-ings + An Invitation

There’s this thing my business coach Emily Ann Peterson would say: “If it takes two minutes, let’s just do it now.“

That was a startling idea for me at the time, and for the kind of brain that I have, which always needs one of those minutes just to transition to the new task at hand. I am a chronic “piler” (a family trait) and am the classic kapha-dominant person (that’s high earth element) who needs my room in order before I can start on anything else (which means a lot just doesn’t ever get started…) But I began applying it, not always, not perfectly, but periodically, and it brought my attention to how much more thought energy goes into a thing when I put it off. I think about it—I write it down, even—I think about the most optimal time to do it—how it’s going to feel once I’m done—and then think about it every time I remember that it isn’t done until it is (or until it’s no longer relevant). Overall, I am aware that way more energy goes into that procrastination sink-hole than I’d expend if I just took the two or ten minutes or whatever minutes to “Let’s just do it now” in the first place! (True enough for writing this blog, anyway!)

Don’t misread this as a push for over-work or perfectionism—there are many times when “Let’s just let it go” is the healthier path, and one I’ve also needed to practice. Also, I had to learn that 2-minute things can quickly add up and may never end…so be discerning (Marie Kondo-noviciates, of which I am one, this means you.)

First buds at Sublimity Sanctuary, Imbolc last year.

First buds at Sublimity Sanctuary, Imbolc last year.

Still, there is something that stirs at this time of year for me—what the ancient Celts called Imbolc, or St/Goddess Brigid’s Day, February 1st—that I think this simple adage helps me attune to: there is a quickening, a lightness, a restlessness from earth-bound hibernation, the darkness and cold of winter just starting to hint of lifting. I have needed the rest, the hibernation, very very much. And now, just yesterday I saw my first crocuses and today my first snowdrops, peering up from the damp earth as if to say in high-pitched sing-song, “Let’s just do it now!”

Rather than the culturally-charged (but meaningless to the Earth) New Year, this is the time of year I like to start things. That’s why I go on personal retreat for Imbolc (I’ll be spending Friday and Saturday at Sublimity Sanctuary, love-land of my buds Rachel and Daniel, who would love to host you too, check them out) and why I choose this time of year to restart my original and most dear program: Moon Circle.

I launched my business with Moon Circle almost 5 years ago, and since then have had the privilege of journeying with over 40 women through various seasons of the earthen calendar and life. Moon Circle is intended as an anchoring touchstone of ritual, sisterhood connection, intuitive listening, feminine divine wisdom, spiritual reflection, and mutual support.  This year, our weekly gathering for spiritually-curious women starts March 7th, and has the special additions of two weekend retreat experiences with local healers and sacred space stewards.

Are you a spiritually curious woman who:

  • desires wakeful life in conscious community?

  • desires to create life-long rhythms of health, vitality, balance and interconnection?

  • desires greater self-trust and to live from their own intuitive wisdom?

  • are healing from religious/spiritual trauma or abuse?

  • are experiencing grief, loss, isolation, or intense life transitions?

It might just be the perfect time for you to say to yourself: Let’s just do it now. Let’s get the support we need. Let’s explore the questions worth asking. Let’s risk new friendships. Let’s do something that’s a little bit of a stretch (or a lot!) Let’s be willing to hear what Spirit has to say. Let’s try out our voice. What do I save in putting this off? Let’s just do it now.

If you’re interested, but unsure, consider joining me for a FREE no-obligation preview night:

A Moon Circle Alter

A Moon Circle Alter

Chanting with the Goddess: A Moon Circle Preview Night for Spiritually-Curious Women

Friday February 15, 7-8:30pm @ Saravida on the Hill, 1011 S. L St.

FREE, but RSVP required, just e-mail me: kate@katefontana.com

If you aren’t interested in Moon Circle, but just want to come for the one-time chant night, please do! Love to have you! (To be clear, just women-identified folks this time around—lots of other gender inclusive options are around the corner!) Just know that I will, additionally, be sharing about Moon Circle and attendees will receive an exclusive discount offer.

In closing, I offer you some poetic words arising this Imbolc season:


An Imbolc Call

How do you want to move?


Then stop. Don’t move. Breathe. And when you feel like rising do it. And when you feel like sitting do it. And when you feel like draping yourself facedown on the earth do it. Do it now.

How do you want to eat?


Then stop. Gently slide your lips around the fleshy curves of this pink fat fig. Puncture its ripeness with your teeth, a slow hunger barely restrained. And notice as your jaws flex, your tongue lolls within this sweet body. Stop everything else. Do it now.

How do you want to listen?

Like the angel of God is speaking.

Then stop. Alert yourself to the evensong of birch leaves and crow feathers, a faucet flowing and a child’s socked feet scampering up stairs. Sigh to the ocean sound of the freeway just north, and let your ears ascend to these high crystal notes: jet engine and the woman next door. Stop hearing noise with your every listening. Do it now.

How do you want to rest?

Deeper than the Milky Way.

Then stop. Breathe your bones wider and your belly softer and your urgency less so. Receive yourself into your mother’s mossy breast and let yourself be swaddled in kelp and currents. Do this right now, before something ticks or beeps or rings. Do it now.

How do you want to love?

Recklessly, like the world was on fire.

Oh beloved one, it is. It is on fire—for want of your reckless love and because of it. So stop. Stop peeking around corners with your pocket mirror. The beloved is before you and behind you and peeking back at you in the glass. Place your hands over your heart and rub vigorously, like flint stones sparking—then fling your pheonix wings wide. Welcome in, the indiscriminate blaze, all that your feather-flames touch. Do it now, before you lose your courage or your madness.


Do it.

Do it now.

Do it now.


With love,


Light Junkie and other Solstice Musings

Last night I had the joy of spending several hours with a dear friend and wise woman, Yvette Murrell (for soul-driven facilitation, circle-keeping, coaching, and divine guidance readings, check her out here). Having not seen each other in months, conversation spanned the spectrum of our lives: life work, heart work, sweet and mundane and profound things. I wrote this poem in wake of talking about the upcoming Solstice, and how so often observations of the this holy day focus on the return of the Light. The Light is good and worth longing for, and sure feels better on the body than these cold wet long nights of PNW winter!

But do we rush too quickly out of darkness? What about the Darkness as womb space, creative space, resting space, unknown space? What about Darkness as that which we have shunned, disenfanchised, disowned (in our own souls, and in our world)? We want to have a longer conversation about this (stay tuned!) But in the meanwhile, I share these words inspired by our mutual work and musings. I want to credit Yvette in particular for the racial implications of darkness-phobia. Deep gratitude to you, Yvette, for your friendship and collaboration that inspired this piece.

Light Junkie



I have sought and searched for Light.
I have scraped and scrounged and sacrificed and and sold all I have.
I have sprinted, lungs bursting and trudged, bent-backed
Always towards the Light.

And in the moments when I peered into the pond
And saw my face luminous from within
it was worth it, all worth it.
And in the moments when I peered into the world
And saw the seagulls and the skateboarder and the ginkgo trees
Luminous from within
It was entirely worth it.
And I would give away all my things again, my body, my soul
For just one more glimpse of my precious, my Light.

Many more days, however, I am swimming in violet remembrance
My skin sticky with ordinariness—on a good day
And otherwise, heavy with the heart-winter’s blanket
Or itchy with longing to dissipate into stardust and leave behind
what I hope no one can see
What I have learned not to see myself:
Those inky caverns where the shame-ghosts dwell, the doubt-ghasts,
the long-fingered stingy meannesses the scratch on the bedrock and moan:
If i could only be more…if I could only be less…I do not know…do not know how…
Is it not yet an acceptable time…? I never…

No. Seek the face of the Lord, the North Star, the Sky-bound Bliss and do not look back.

But now and then, a shadow flickers, pulls my gaze back over my shoulder
where I have trained myself never to look.
A shadow sent from someplace deeper than the doubt-ghast’s hole
An underground ocean stirs and I wonder a thought not my own:
What have I lost from the Darkness in my feverish pursuit of the Light?

I would wonder with the ones who know:
The wombed ones who linger, sitting on stones
Listening to an inner blood-rhythm that only they can hear
The babes being squeezed into being through God’s wide smiling yoni,
the dying ones returning to her bosom.
The seed-planters who rest and dream and plan, Solstice to Equinox
The ones who live through endurance, who rally and resist and live with Basta on their lips
and seven generations in their hearts.
The ones whose darkness is turned against them by me and my pale-skinned ancestors
Because it is not a far leap from Light-worship to White-worship
From fearing and denying darkness to fearing and denying Blackness.

Darkness is depth and breadth
It is sedimentary, vision upon vision
It is the underwater caverns and the coil of deep space
It is empty and full at the same time, the Pregnant Void
It is unresolved potential, discomfort that leads to revelation
It is the unseen face of the Beloved,
The Vast Ocean of Love Herself, from which the waves of Creation crest.
If the Light is All That Is, the Darkness is That From Which All That Is Arises


Those who know more than I, they say as I strain to listen:
When your addiction to Light leaves you high but hallow
Follow the darkness for a time.
There are clues there unseen in the Light,
a delicate trail of crumbs back to your Wholeness.

Blessings from the Dark, to all your Dark places,


Tension: The Unpopular Guest at the Thanksgiving Table (And what, perhaps, to do about it)

Fall can be a bittersweet reminder of both beauty and loss.

Fall can be a bittersweet reminder of both beauty and loss.

Fall is a complicated season. At once is the abundant burst of summer’s finale. Apples and leaves dangle from trees like ripened jewels; farmer’s market stands overflow with delicata, pumpkins, beets and other vegetatious bounty; and glorious reunions and memory-making of school time and holidays quick-step us into the new year. Beauty and richness and fullness and delight.

And at the same time, at least in the northern hemisphere, amidst the jubilant cacophony of color and flavor, there is another equally present undercurrent happening in the natural world: the slow breath out, the descent into winter, the lengthening of nights, the cooling of days. The earth is dying. Life is happening all the while death is happening, and that beautiful melancholic middle place is a kind of tension that can be both rich and unwieldy.

This tension can manifest in many different ways, in the pairings of seemingly unreconcilable opposites that show up at this time. In my exploration over the years, I continue to seek and wonder: is it possible to hold these tensions with a sense of spaciousness? Is it possible to name them, invite them in and make room for them? Here are a few tensions that I experience, and how I practice living with them.

Our alter and reflections from this fall’s Grief Series

Our alter and reflections from this fall’s Grief Series

  1. The tension between joy and sorrow. For many, this time of year can be of long-awaited and celebratory reunions with beloved ones and the excitement and revelry of traditions, and time off. However, for those who’ve have lost loved-ones in the previous year or years, or for whom family is not a place of health and respite, the family focus or an innocent “happy holidays” greeting can carry a sting to it. For many years I experienced pretty severe depression around the holidays. It took me years to name it, and many more to sift through why it was happening. During this time, I stopped spending holidays with my family—not because there isn’t a great deal of love and beauty there, but because in the detective work of identifying the source of my depression, I just had to simplify the factors and dynamics at play. I struggled with unspoken internal and external pressure to “put on a happy face” even though it often felt forced and inauthentic.

    Holidays can be a grieving time, and there’s little the cultural norms that normalize or make room for that. Even grief itself can be complex, carrying the bittersweet of memories and appreciation for what was even in the pain of its present absence. What I try to encourage for myself and others is to give more space to listen for and respond to your own inner landscape during this time. Keep the company of those who can hold you in your full spectrum of feelings. Take time out from “expected” events and functions. Soften expectations around your self for this time of year to “feel good”. It doesn’t have to.

  2. The tension in what is said and what remains unsaid about the history of “holy” days. There is a deep tension for me in what we call and the way we celebrate holy days of this season. Take Thanksgiving, just around the corner. Contrary to the long-maintained myth of the “first Thanksgiving,” inspired by pilgrim and native cooperation, in all likelihood the first actual feast that would become institutionalized as Thanksgiving was actually a celebration in wake of a brutal massacre of the Pequot Indians by colonists led by Captain John Mason, in 1636. Over 700 men, women and children were rounded up and murdered at the mouth of the Mystic River in what is now Connecticut. I didn’t know about this until about two years ago, and it continues to disturb me deeply that our culture-wide calendar continues to observe this day, feasting as a holy day, most of us on stolen or unceded indigenous land. (Learn more about this history here.)

How do we hold this tension and not be the biggest self-righteous drag at holiday functions? I can’t say I have mastered that. However, a few things have surfaced that are helping me at least explore the tension more deeply and spaciously:

  • Acknowledge the indigenous ancestry of the land upon which I am dwelling. (Find out what territories you live on and their tribal histories here.)

  • Light a candle with those I spend time with over the holiday, and speak aloud the memory of the Pequot natives murdered by my ancestors and covered up by my culture

  • Consider a fast instead of feast. Contribute money that would have been spent on decadent foods to movements like the National Day of Mourning and Unthanksgiving Day happening nation-wide

  • Support and attend local observations like the Annual Sunrise Ceremony at Heritage Park in Olympia, and National Day of Mourning Fundraiser at Rainier Beach Yoga

  • Continue to learn and remain in support of the work of indigenous sovereignty throughout the rest of the year; as well as to educate myself against white-washed versions of history, and work against white cultural norms that overtly and covertly maintain white supremacy. (The work of Tada Hozumi has been instrumental to me in this—check out last month’s blog to learn more about anti-racist ancestor work).

A comrade at Indigenous People’s Day, October 11th, in downtown Seattle (used with permission)

A comrade at Indigenous People’s Day, October 11th, in downtown Seattle (used with permission)

These feel like woefully inadequate gestures. I imagine and await the day when we—white folks, in particular—are collectively fasting on Thanksgiving instead of feasting, actively grieving the wrong-doing of our ancestors and the continued erasure of indigenous peoples, and observing this single day as a catalyst for the rest of the year’s labor towards the liberation of all.

3. The tension between the sound and silence. Over Samhain, the pagan holiday we now call Halloween, I spent five days in silence. Ok, not total silence—we had teaching sessions two or three times a day, and we used words to attend to the daily details of serving meals and cleaning up. But in between that, my fellow retreatants and I held silence. What is there to even say about silence? If anything, I’m inclined to use less words and simply advocate for the experience of it. In our sound-saturated world, I had almost forgotten what silence felt like and where it could take me. After five days of it, and only once I began to emerge did I have perspective on how deep the silence had taken us. It was as if time had suspended and the mist that rose from the bay below had swept us into another realm. It was the most profound contact with the Real that I have experienced in a long time.

Fall carries us into the season where silence rules. Long nights beckon for activity to slow, for bulbs to incubate, for bark to close in, for compost to layer thick over humus, under which worlds are quietly incubating and ruminating and shifting ever so subtly. The slowing of the natural world is, to my own body and being, harshly juxtaposed by the annual fall and winter customs of cultures. Don’t get me wrong—I love carols and pie and crafting and giving thanks and getting presents! My theory is, though, that the revving of holiday season causes a deep dissonance to the creaturely-ness of our physical bodies that are a part of nature—and in as such, yearn deeply to align with and settle into where the cycles of nature take us now: into darkness, quietude, stillness.

For me, that means slowing down and under-committing (even more than normal, much to the disbelief of those who love me and already find me terribly unavailable!) It means being ok being a disappointment to others. It means unplugging, for a time, from electronics, social functions, even fun things that I enjoy! so that I can truly plug into reality—into God/dess, the rhythms of Earth, and the quiet speaking of own heart. If you are seeking more silence and contemplative space during the coming season, consider signing up for my fall series, Stillness at the Center (starts next Tuesday! Just a couple of seats left!)


In all of this, fall to me means embracing the dissonance of tension unresolved, of practicing delight in what is full and abundant and being ok if things don’t feeling good or happy. Like the balance of breath in and breath out, I think it is possible with care and attention to move through this time with at least some spaciousness amidst the tension—allowing it to be, moving with the fluctuations, and making room for ourselves to be however we are across the spectrum of joy and sorrow, light and dark, clarity and confusion, fullness and emptiness, life and death.

What are the tensions you notice at this time of year? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below, and how you navigate it!

Sending you ease and strength in the tensions of Autumn,


Five Ways to Connect to the Ancestors (fellow white folks, especially for us).

At the beginning of every psychic reading, I was trained to invite in my ancestors and healing guides, as well as those of whomever I’m reading. The ancestors that show up for me are pretty consistent. Jesus and Mary Magdalen are always present. There’s a dragon-being who helps me clear with fire, and a boyish Peter Pan-like youth who keeps her company. Often, too, I have a large-bodied male ancestor who glows red and helps me ground and hold the perimeter of the reading.

Recently, as I finished a reading, one of my clients asked: who are the ancestors?

What a great question! And seasonally suitable, as we approach a time of year when many cultures and spiritual traditions speak of the "thin veil" that brings the ancestors a little more closely into felt presence.

The ancestors are everyone no longer or not currently taking up residence in a physical body. Spiritual traditions worldwide have varying ways of describing ancestors and understanding who and “where” they are. Ancestor remembrance was deeply important to those of my Christian heritage, particularly in the early church when many Christians were dying at the hand of the Roman Empire. The “communion of saints” and the vast “cloud of witnesses” kept martyrs and departed loved ones close at hand and participatory in the real-time paradise-present kin-dom.

In my Celtic druidic lineage, ancestors were remembered at Samhain, an observance this time time of year when the veil between worlds was known to be thinnest. Samhain was a celebration of the descent of the Goddess into the underworld, the pagan new year, and when the spirits of the other worlds came out to visit and play (and cause mischief!). This was later assimilated into the Christian calendar as All Hallow's Eve, All Saints and All Souls Day, a season when the saints and souls of the dead were remembered and honored.

In one of my more favorite pagan-flavored practices of my upbringing, we prayed to saints and loved ones who were passed like they were just in the next room over. “Where are the keys, St. Anthony??!!” or “Mother Boniface, please, we need to find a parking spot.”

These parts of ancestor awareness has a very light-hearted and playful feel for me. But as I journeyed deeper on my spiritual path and into my psychic work, I learned about and experienced the ancestors in an even deeper way. You may have read here of my encounter with Jesus, which occurred even before I began to learn about ancestors, but who I have come to consider to be my most consistent and tangible ancestral companion. The Ancestors are of a busy spiritual world that overlays and impacts our world. Some Ancestors are a part of our DNA lineage—our actual great-great-great-grand-whatever. But there are many ancestors that have “chosen in” to our spiritual lineage—these can be human beings who have passed, other earth beings, elementals (fairies, elves, etc), star beings, beings from other planets and dimensions, ascended masters like Jesus and the Buddha, deities like Quan Yin or Brigid. I am grateful to my teacher Nancy Rebecca of Intuitive Mind for the teachings she shared with me on this topic.

My current growing edge has been exploring ancestral practices at the intersection of anti-racist white identity formation. To be clear, though I think most of my readers know me in person, I am white, and this learning is not emerging comfortably. I owe all credit and deep gratitude to the work of Tada Hozumi and support and mentorship of Yvette Murrell for their guidance and wisdom on this topic, and I encourage you to check out their work.

What I am learning about is that, for many white people, we are generationally so far removed from a spiritually-whole ancestry and ancestral land that we have to reach way back to find healthy ancestors. I mean way back. That’s because imperialism, colonialism, and whiteness as a cultural norm has left its powerful descendants split from any ancestral identity that wasn’t based on domination--which does damage not only to the colonized but also to the colonizer. (This is not at all to make light of it, but for the nerds among you, it's not unlike the horcrux arrangement--one can have immeasurable power over others, but it costs the wholeness of ones soul).

Strangely, the surge of violent "heritage reclamation" and the deeply disconcerting chant of "Blood and Soil" amidst white-supremacist rhetoric--though not the kind of ancestor work I am talking about--actually does shine a light on something true. There is a truly deep psychological and cultural wound that motivates white supremacist rage and violence. The cause of the pain is severely mislabeled, but the wound is there nonetheless.

White supremacy, one could argue, is the most extreme reaction to the deep culture-wide psychological insecurity that results from the soul-split that whiteness has demanded, severing us from any sense of who we were before being colonizers and before "white" existed. Less obvious but also damaging reactions that have now become cultural behavioral agreements occur a thousand times a day in me. Consider "symptoms" such as addiction to perfection, a false sense of urgency, the feeling that "I'm the only one", politeness, conflict avoidance, and overvaluing the hyper-rational at the expense of body/feeling wisdom—I am only just beginning the exploration of how these are all alive and habituated in my own body in a particular way as a result of being conditioned into whiteness. And it makes me a part of the problem in so many more unseen ways than the obviously racist things I may do, say or think. I am immeasurably grateful to Heather Kawamoto for first introducing me to this premise as it relates to white organizational culture.

To be clear, this is not a justification for racist behavior or comparison of the pain it has caused. Colonialism and whiteness/racism/anti-black-and-brownness have done and continue to do immeasurable damage to indigenous people and persons of color worldwide, and the damage is not comparable. There is so much healing, restoration, and reparation to be done. Hozumi, though, suggests looking at whiteness itself as a "cultural complex trauma" caused by a painful separation from ancestry—that has occurred for white, black, brown and indigenous folks alike (though in very different ways and to very different affect). Most indigenous people of the world and persons of color live with the reality of this violent severance from ancestry as an all-too-real daily experience. White privilege, however, has ensured that white folks have had the power to numb from this pain of this severance, and act out our unmetabolized pain violently on black and brown folks. By un-numbing white folks from this pain, the hope is to get us back in touch with our own felt sense of what was lost—as well as awakening our own incentive and agency in what could be restored—for ourselves and our black and brown neighbors. If this framework intrigues you, check out their blog.

Our ancestor alter at PLU’s Anti-Racism as Spiritual Practice workshop

Our ancestor alter at PLU’s Anti-Racism as Spiritual Practice workshop

This past weekend I gave a retreat at Pacific Lutheran University for white students about anti-racism as spiritual formation. One of the practices I lead folks in was a meditation on various layers and sources of support and nourishment: the earth, community, Spirit/God/dess/Cosmos, body--and ancestors.

Reflecting with at lunch time, one of the participants observed: "I was surprised, when you told us to imagine our ancestors, I just felt...nothing. I felt a complete blank. I mean, I know my grandparents, and I know I'm German. But in the meditation it didn't feel like anything I was connected to."

I invited her to consider that this is one of the consequences of whiteness on white people. Having bought into the white cultural agreement of individualism and "it's just me", many white people do not have a spiritual sense of having a relationship or being supported by the multitudes who have come before.

Why is this kind of awareness important for white folks? As I have observed my own capacity of engagement in anti-racist work over the years, what I have learned is that I do not stay engaged simply by the visible pain of others. I am not proud to admit that, but it's just what I have observed in myself. I may be moved during a time of heightened visible crisis, but my own capacity dwindles and self-interest returns to center. What draws me back into engagement has been when I get a sense that it is my own soul on the line, my own wholeness that is compromised by my numbness to a pain that is my own and the worlds. More and more I am learning about and coming to believe that it is not just apathy—but rather (or additionally) the thick numbing agent of whiteness that continues to keep white folks asleep to the cries of the rest of the world—and from recognizing these as the cries of our own heart's longing for wholeness.

I mean people like me…

I mean people like me…

And I don’t mean “those white supremacists.” I mean “good,” progressive, caring, involved, “right”-voting, “right”-talking people like me. I have been wondering about and learning that by addressing whiteness in white people like myself as "cultural trauma", there is a possibility to engage and drawing white folks into anti-racist work in more sustainable way because we have a different understanding of our own stake in the fight. I feel the risk in “centering white folks/white pain” once again—but I invite the consideration to recognize for one’s self and invite others into the awareness that the wound lives in the bodies and souls of white folks just as much as it lives in the world (though the impact/experience of it is vastly different!), and that by tending to it in ourselves we actually free up the emotional energy of persons of color and become more useful to the healing work being done “out there”. I claim no expertise on this, just a learning edge that I wanted to share about because it feels very important.

If you are a politicized white person interested some deeper dives into this topic, I highly recommend checking out the upcoming offering by Tada Hozumi entitled Authentic Allyship Immersion: Connecting with radical white ancestors (starts Nov. 2, read more here.) I have been following Hozumi's work for the last year, and working more closely with them over the last several months and I can't speak highly enough about the work they are doing with white folks integrating embodiment and spiritual practice with anti-racism.

In the meanwhile, here are some simple starting points for connecting to your own ancestors.

  1. Acknowledge the land you are on. What indigenous territory do you live on? If you are white, consider just acknowledging the reality of being on unceded/occupied lands. I live on Puyallup tribal land, and go to school on the land of the Duwamish. Acknowledge the ancestors of the land, recognizing that your ancestor may have been colonizers, and you are guest.

  2. Build an alter. Start with whatever you have and already know about. If you weren’t adopted, and don’t have adopted parents, consider your primary four ancestral lines—the parents of both of your parents. Do you know their names? Do you have any photos? Do you have any heirlooms or tokens from them or their era? Set them on a small table or a windowsill or whatever space you have.

  3. Make an explicit invitation to the healthy ancestors. When I'm working with my own energy field, clearing a room, or setting intention for a reading, I am specific in saying: “I invite in those of my/so-and-so’s ancestors that are of good health and well enough to be of support in this healing.” Not just anyone is welcome. Not all ancestors are healthy and can contribute to your health (see above comments on white ancestors). Some are sick and have flocked to you because they can lean on you or take from you energetically. No harm is usually intended, but it can have the affect of feeling like you are swimming through tar just to get through a day, like your carrying more than your share of the world's burdens, or like you keep repeating a mental or physical pattern of which no amount of vitamins or positive thinking is breaking you out. Not frequently, but it does happen that there are some are of truly ill-will. So make it clear who's invited in and who's not. Often I imagine setting a perimeter around myself or the room--that can be all kinds of images, like a fence or walls or a ring of fire. Then I imagine a door with a little peep window, like a speak-easy--I speak the intention and then peek out to see who's there, and open the door just for those who are healthy and clear.

  4. Spend time with your alter and talk to them. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Start to designate a little time to just sit, ground, not think too hard and notice what you notice. Do you get any physical sensation? What objects or photos draw your attention? Do images or memories emerge? In your mind, just call out: Hello!? Who’s there? And listen for a response. It's ok if you feel like you're just pretending. Get quiet and imagine a door through which you are inviting your healthy ancestors. Does someone/something show up? Who? How? Why? What might they say if they were really right there? At the beginning, you’ll probably feel like you’re just making things up. It’s ok. Just go with it. If you have 15 minutes, you might try the Ancestral Tree meditation I have posted here.

  5. Join me on October 30th for Calling on the Ancestors: A Samhain Chant Circle if you're local and want to explore ancestral spiritual practice as a part of syncing with the quietude of fall or healing our racial/cultural fabric. This event is free, AND donations are not expected but gladly accepted. Please RSVP to me here.

(Please note: this is my ancestor practice BEFORE having done the immersion with Hozumi—so it is simple, not deeply/explicitly tied to anti-racism, and this may need revising! I’ll keep you posted.)

May this season’s change and the Ancestor’s call settle your anxieties, steady your strength, and stir your complacency~

With devotion,


Want more of anything? Feeling full of lack? Watch this.

A Beltane Greeting + The Five Principles of Abundance

Once you watch this, consider responding in the comments below to the following:

Which of these do I believe in?  Which of these do I experience?  Which of these do I struggle with?  What resonates?  What irritates?  What’s one way I might experiment implementing one of these principles into my daily life?  


Jesus Didn't Die for My Sins


Today the moon has ripened into fullness.  It's the second day of Passover, and what my spiritual tradition of origin calls Holy Saturday.  I write to you from a small retreat center in Lacey where my faith community sets up camp from Wednesday of Holy Week until Easter Sunday for the ancient 72 rite of the Triduum.  Considered one continuous liturgy, I am learning that the early Christians gathered at this time in community to re-enact the rite of unity and belonging--baptism--and initiate new members into their circle, a subversive family of equals imagining and imperfectly living into a new non-violent non-hierarchical way of being that honored the One-ness and beauty of all things. 

One of my women-priest mentors, Kathleen, was sharing with us last night that the earliest Christian baptismal fonts were called "womb-tombs", adorned with images of uteri (that's right, lady parts), and the equidistant cross (seen above, a cross that shows up in spiritual traditions worldwide, symbolizing the four directions, universal balance of polarities, and the tensions of all human experience and struggle--NOT, contrary to contemporary imagery of this season, the cross of Jesus' execution).  This whole season and ritual was deeply embodied, feminine, sensual, and "fecund" as my other mentor, Diane, likes to describe it.

Not the kind of Easter story you know?  Not the cross of deliverance from sin?  I know.  It's a new story I too am learning, or re-learning as I swim back upstream to the spiritual birthplace of my ancestry.  I don't have all the pieces yet (so enter kindly with me into these new lands) but it's terribly intriguing and reviving to the part of me that has loved the ritual and mystery of Christian stories and mysticism but has been severely turned off and traumatized by the rigidity and dogma.  I've come to realize that Jesus didn't die for my sins (because I didn't need him to because I am good and so are you because God/dess breathed us into being and called us GOOD). 

But he did die, my ancestors' stories say. And yet somehow, in the wake of his death, the terrified community of his closest friends realized something about the Christ's ever-presence in the Unity of all things that freed them from paralyzing fear and breathed back into them life and hope and care for each other and their neighbor and the poor and the exile, even under the violently oppressive hand of Empire.  Easter-as-rememberance-and-baptism-into-Unity...that I can get behind, and it feels very alive for me as I've kept vigil these past two nights beside the Easter fire and under the ripening moon.  (To be clear, I'm also not just making this up as "feel good" revisionism.  This is actual original theology of Easter and the Cross.  Ask the Eastern Orthodox, or read Saving Paradise, my newest book on the summer break reading list).  Here, amidst moonlight and candlelight, I also happen to be on my bleed--and I can see and sense the Goddess as well as my ancestors as we move through something ancient speaking to something present and unfolding into a future that is still being born...

Re-experiencing Jesus as one of my ancestors has been profound, transformative and healing. (You can read more about here, if you didn't read my blog post from last summer).  The journey with Jesus at this Easter time is the hero's journey into the underworld and back again, the mother's watching and waiting while life stirs in her hidden darkness.  It plunges us into the depth of human struggle, the polarity of joy and grief, the deep grounding of roots that allows shoots to push out of the dirt, the paradoxical union of life and death.  Even if you're not a Jesus person (and I TOTALLY get it if you're not!) I invite you to come with me, in your own way, under this ripened moon into the deep--perhaps with one of these brief grounding meditations and few minutes of quiet contemplation with the following questions:

What is your spiritual ancestry?  What gifts has it given you?  What wounds or struggles?  When you get quiet and ask your Inner Wisdom what is the next step on your spiritual path, what do you hear, sense, see feel or know?  What tensions are you dwelling in?  What is there to go deeper into, face, properly feel, grieve, clear, or allow to die in order that you might see more clearly the goodness that is you and our wide wondrous world?

In Ripening and Renewal,


A Triduum Trillium, one of the first wildflowers of spring!

A Triduum Trillium, one of the first wildflowers of spring!

Happy Spring! (BTW, I'm a psychic).

Yep.  You read that right.  This may not be a surprise to some of you, as I’ve been slipping new language into my posts and blogs other the past year.  I’ve shared about doing readings, getting messages, and practicing energy medicine.  And it does say it, explicitly here on my website.  But I have been shy to actually SAY it: that I’m a psychic.

I haven’t used THAT-WHICH-SHOULD-NOT-BE-NAMED because I imagine it conjures this image for people:


(which would be justified.  I mean this is me three years ago)


But “psychic” just means “of the soul”—though I know the word itself now carries so much more.  Go ahead and ask all your questions.  No, I’m not reading your mind right now (though some people can); no, I can’t prophesy on command (though some people do); and no, I am not communing with dark spirits—though they are real, and they do show up.  But the work that I’ve been trained in is, in fact, of the highest form of light work, aligned and congruent with the spiritual medicines of all the worlds religions—their mystical heart, if not their dogma.  And, along with therapy, yoga, trees, and best friends, it saved my life.  

You see, about a year and a half ago I thought I was losing my mind. 

It was the fourth month of a period of severe depression.  I was having panic attacks and insomnia and bouts of uncontrollable weeping.  Having cycled through depression many times before, my normal coping mechanisms were not working.  I was no longer holding it together, and I requested a 6 week leave of absence from work.  

In the weeks prior to actually taking leave, my cognition started to slip in ways I had never experienced before.  I would without warning be unable to understand the person speaking to me, as if I had never even learned the English language.  I was losing time and getting disoriented.  I couldn’t track on thought to the next, one conversation to the next.  My mind, which had always been my ivory tower of safety, my intellectual sanctuary that could over-ride and contain my for-so-long-inexplicably-complex emotional world, and engage successfully with the outer world, with much applause as an over-achieving well-spoken academic—it was failing.

There was a part of me that felt terrified at this discovery—and somehow, though, another part of me that everything was actually still ok.  I had another friend at that time who had been working through her own mental health challenges for many years, and one thing she discovered in her work was this: confusion is the gateway to clarity.  Breakdown is your psyche knowing that it’s finally safe enough to let go and let what needs to come to light surface. It wasn’t fun by any means—but some part of me knew that this was progress and something was about to happen.

I went on leave.  I let myself fall apart into a web of friends and healers and healing practices that I knew could hold me.  Within the first week I attended a group reading with Nancy Rebecca of Intuitive Mind.  Things showed up in that reading that broke me completely open to a felt sense of the palpable presence of the Spirit world, dwelling among us just beyond the veil.  I started to hear voices—or rather, voices that were familiar, that I had always heard, became more clear and persistent—as if to say, no really: this is your Soul speaking.  LISTEN.  We are here.  And you cannot afford to sideline us anymore.  Jesus showed up, and Mary Magdalen, Mother Mary and Kuan Yin and literally the Heavenly Hosts.  I could feel them right there, these presences and beings of pure pure pure love. 

I knew, without a doubt, we have never been alone.

The world around me began to appear as particles of light and magic.  When I had a question, I would just ask—and get instructions that felt crystal clear and specific about each next step.  Clear more space.  Ask so and so for this.  Let go of that thing.  Eat.  Rest.  Call this person.  I would listen, and respond—and if I didn’t, the channel of communication would close until I followed through.

I’m imagining, now, what you might be thinking.  Um, ok—so you heard voices.  And you listened to those voices.  And we have a diagnosis for that.  And a medication.  Yes.  I am aware of how this sounds.  Go with me, though, to that very thin line between mania and genius.  Consider the possibility that we of the industrialized and rational West have pathologized the gifts of the Spirit nearly to extinction (beyond the scope of this particular blog, but see the movie CrazyWise for more on that topic!).  

At any rate, I get it if this sounds totally wacky to you.  Believe me, I was not seeking it out!  I could tell I was buzzing, but unsettled and uncertain with what to do with what I was experiencing.  I had the hunch that, in older times and other cultures, this was when a person would go to the council of elders and say: something’s happening that I can’t explain!  Help!  Send me on a quest or something!  I didn’t have that.  So I joined the Intuitive Mind Psychic Mastery class of 2017 (it was that or join a convent.  What'd I have to lose?).


Then last year happened, which was a TOTAL trip, and perhaps a story for another day.  It was hard, and brought up every kind of My Stuff.  Learning the psychic tools was not a magical pill of the perfect life, but it gave me a container within which to simmer and cook in the heat of practice and all that life was handing me. The thought of actually “becoming a professional psychic!” like the tagline of the program advertised was utterly laughable to me, and not at all what I was there for.  I just needed to not go crazy and not lose my shit.  Like this ----->>>

Things shifted in the course of a year.  I graduated from my program in December, and launched my business as a Psychic, Priest/ess, and Sacred Activist earlier this year.  I’ve done over 100 readings and healings.  I have a rigorous daily practice of energetic hygiene.  I do group readings at the New Moon, and see clients 1-on-1.  I do land healings and chat with ancestors.  I just recently got guidance to chant during readings, which feels scary.  This past week I read for a pre-teen boy, which felt even more scary.  I’m still running women’s circles and retreats and patching things together.  Yeah—it’s a good kinda weird.

Maybe you’re wondering: ok, you read energy, or whatever, but what does that even mean?

Here’s the thing: everyone has psychic gifts. 

That is, everyone has ways of knowing more that what the logical mind can know.  To go further, everyone has a direct access point to the entire cosmos, and consequently the knowledge of the entire cosmos.  This is a shared principle of many of the mystical traditions of the world’s religions: as above, so below; the macrocosm dwelling in the microcosm; the Kingdom of Heaven lies within; baby Krishna opening his mouth and his mother seeing whole galaxies swirling inside.

BUT.  Most of us are conditioned out of trusting and utilizing our ways of knowing.  Or just take for granted that, oh, that’s just a thing I do, get songs stuck in my head or am exhausted after a night of dreaming or see vivid images when I pray, and it’s no big deal and that must happen for everyone and it doesn’t mean anything.  Well, yes, it does mean something, and no, it doesn’t happen for everyone—at least not in the same way.  Everyone’s psychic gifts are different.  Some people see energy and spirits with their eyes open; some hear, or get an image in their mind, or a feeling or a knowingness.  Some even are psychic through their sense of smell!  It’s more than just intuition—it’s precise and methodological.  It’s one’s Soul, connected to the Oneness of Spirit, speaking what it needs you to know in this body and this lifetime.  

As a psychic reader, I just tune in and listen.  As a healer, I move energy to clear what is blocked or outdated.  The method is a series of ancient meditation techniques that anyone can learn.  In some ways there is more to it, but it actually is basically that simple.  

I do still hear those voices, and I know them by name and feel now.  I visit people in the dream world and get messages from my ancestors all the time.  My cognition is back to being quite good (enough, I hope, to be in grad school and run my own business!)  And don’t get me wrong, everyday's not a picnic.  I get crabby and foggy and triggered and furious and make mistakes and overdraft and still haven’t quite figured out why my left hip won’t release.  I'm still me and I got my work to do, just like everyone.  But I don’t suffer like I used to, and in fact, I think I have more to give than ever before.  Which is a relief for someone who’s lived a life in the sinkhole of depression, within which it feels like you are sucking all the light out of the world.  I am putting light into the world—I know now I was doing that all along, but now I know and can feel it enough of the time for me to believe that it’s true.  Which is a great relief indeed.

So there it is. I just needed to say it because we queer folks can’t just come out once.  Call it a Spring Awakening, an Equinox gift to my self.  I’m a psychic!  Just by the way.


A Simple Irish Spring Ritual for Families

In the traditions of my Celtic ancestors, tomorrow was considered the first day of spring: St. Brigid’s Day, or Imbolc.  A feast of hearth and home, this was also the day when the Goddess Brigid* began bringing the world out of the womb of winter’s dark and into the awakening of the seasons of light, sparking the new growth of tree buds and sprouting plants.  Winters in the north Atlantic can be dreary (I happened to have lived in Ireland during the the rainiest it had seen in 60 years!  It was dreary indeed) so it seems reasonable that spring would be so anticipated.  This year, Imbolc follows a fabulous full moon, calling for prayers of gratitude and relishing in what is lush and already present in abundance.  I’ll be spending the day in the quietude of woods, and the evening with community in a healing sound bath and meditation practice.

It has taken several years to start building these holy days into my life’s rhythms, against the grain of mainstream culture--and I am a single person, with a pretty flexible kind of schedule!  I am aware of my privilege in this regard, and also of the gift given from being raised in a family that was steeped in heritage and holy days.  Consequently, as I’ve grown in my own spiritual path, I have had a heart for the nurturing of the spiritual life of families. 

Though we’ve been on hiatus the last 6 months or so, I had been leading monthly spirit circles for families called Circle Round.  In lieu of us gathering together in person, I wanted to share a simple outline to observe the shift of this season with your family.  This simple ceremony could take just 15-30 minutes, with alter construction time.  Don’t stress if you can’t do it on February 1st!  Give yourself permission to do it any time this month.

1.  Create an Imbolc Altar. 

This might include:

  • A large bowl in the center for the water offering
  • A candle or a ring of candles around the bowl, for fire.
  • A bulb or dish of seeds
  • Tokens representing your dreams for the coming year
  • Photos of loved ones or places in the world in need of healing
  • Shells or Images/figurines of water creatures like dolphins or fish
  • Have a jar of water, either that you’ve collected from local sources like streams or rainwater—or just use tap-water.  

2.  Share with your Little Ones:

  • The Irish called this Spring’s Beginning
  • When you put a seed in the ground, what does it need to grow? Rain and Sun!  Water and Fire!
  • Brigit is the Goddess/Patroness of Sacred Fire and Healing Water
  • In honor of the Sacred Fire of the Goddess, Imbolc is a celebration of creativity
  • In honor of the Sacred Water of the Goddess, Imbolc is a celebration of healing

3.  Ask your Little Ones:

  • What else do we need fire for? (Warmth, making food, etc)
  • What do you like to build/make/create? (Songs, legos, drawings, etc)
  • What do we need water for?  (Drinking, bathing, playing!)
  • Is there anyone you know that is sick we can keep in mind today?

4.  Fire Blessing: If age appropriate, take turns lighting a candle and sharing something, or about something, you have recently created.  Kids might each find a poem to recite, sing a song, or show a painting they have recently made.  Or they can simply answer the question: How are you being creative right now?

Then say the following prayer: I (say your name) light the fire of the Goddess Brigit.  May she clear away the need for things to look perfect!  And ignite within me the joy of creativity.

5.  Water Blessing: Take turns pouring water into the center bowl, saying the following prayer:

I, (say your name), bring water to the Blessing Well.  May St Brigid bless the waters of the world, for the healing of all of creation!  I especially pray to bring healing to (name anyone who is sick or any water animal/species, or place in the world you want to send healing)

When each family member is complete, you can:

  • go around the circle again and each collect the blended water in their own containers, while singing Healing Water Sacred Flame.  Children can have these as their own blessing water.
  • OR one member sprinkles water from the bowl on the family with a branch while all sing the song in response

Imbolc Chant to St Brigit
Healing Water
Sacred Flame
Brigit come and heal us
Healing Water
Sacred Flame
Bring the hope of Spring

Listen to the chant here:

May the dawning spring bring lightness, laughter, and new life to you and your little ones~
Blessed be!

PS: I'm thinking of bringing back Circle Round!  Are you a local Tacoma family?  Is this something you would like to see offered again?  Please let me know in the comments below, or send me an e-mail!

*Note: Wait.  Brigit?  Or Brigid?  Goddess or Saint?  I know I am inconsistent with how I use these terms and spellings.  To me they are of the same essence, a weave of the ancient traditions with later Christian influences.  There is lots of fascinating scholarly work out there about this!  Please explore and let me know what you find!

Source: Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions by Starhawk.


Grieving Room

Anniversaries are powerful times and I’ve been reflecting a lot these past two months about where I was a year ago.  Some of you will know that last year at this time I was on a mental health sabbatical, having spent the fall and early winter experiencing a particularly acute cycle of depression.  As I could no longer contain or keep secret what I was experiencing, I was astounded by the grace and support that arose to usher me into a period of deep rest and, I know now even more so, transformation.  I could not have imagined what I was being prepared for at that time.

As I reflect on it now, I breath a deep sigh of relief to not be in that cycle of darkness (even as I practice recognizing the Goddess in the Darkness); and I also feel incredible gratitude for the tools I developed as a result that I can now continue to use and share with others going through all the ups and downs of life in a body.  Also, as a result, I completely trust all of us are doing our absolute best, and am ever more motivated to do what I can for others on their healing path.


In addition to my own introspection, I know winters can be long, cold and gray here in the Pacific Northwest, and so it feels relevant to share again what I wrote last winter as I began my sabbatical.  My prayer is that for those of you for whom holidays aren’t “the most wonderful time of the year” or who struggle to get up and out of bed on any given day (much more so, perhaps, when the New Year’s Resolution pressure is on) might find a little space to just hold yourself with grace and kindness. 

I am seeing that, for me, depression shows up to cushion the places where I’m still just raw and wounded—pointing me towards the places I’m being called to heal.  I can feel, just beneath the depression, some really big mads and sads that I’m thankful to now have the space to feel, process, and integrate.  This awareness, I’m finding, is allowing me to orient towards my depression in a much kinder, almost (almost!) grateful way.  I can, at times, appreciate the genius of survival that is there in my own psyche’s capacity to dampen the intensity of traumatic events—those in my own person and history and ancestry, and in what I believe is sweeping through our collective consciousness.

Healing, for me, requires not hiding that this is my struggle.  I’m not excited about it, but I’m not afraid for it to be known and named and seen because it is simply what is so.  And this not hiding is making a difference already.  In the past when I was in a place like this, I’d be so averse to the company of others—not so much because I didn’t want to be around people, but because I felt like a black hole of emptiness that sucked the life out of everyone else.  I cannot express to you what a blessing it is to be able to just name the black hole, and then carry on.  I can already feel the texture of the depression shifting because I am not having to pretend it isn’t there.  As it shifts, I feel my Self, just there still, deep at the center, a little distant, a little fragile, but intact.

When I got down into it, I found a deep well of unattended grief that just wasn’t content to stagnate any longer.  I went through an intensive self-designed retreat with the creative containment of our community's incredible healers and my dear friends.  It was a powerful and humbling period of practicing receiving, the combined affect being a soul-retrieval of sorts—a recovery of fragments of myself that had grown loud and restless in my negligence of them.

During this time, I started to hear a quiet but clear inner voice that was familiar but more insistent than it has ever been.  I followed that voice and it took me through joys and challenges of this past year that I truly could not have imagined (and some, at my conscious level, that I would not have wished for!)  

I created the Journeying with Grief series out of what I wish I had had before/during this time, and the things I have learned and that have helped over the years.  It’s not something I’m an expert in, by any means, but through which I hope to hold a nourishing space for us to walk and heal together.  Now in its fourth cycle, the next 5-week series will start February 13th at Source Yoga—more info available here.  I don't see this offering as a "fix-all" or magic bullet--just like that 6-week sabbatical was just one period of time over a life-long healing journey.  However, my prayer is that it can be a place to have some "grieving room"--to be with however your grief is showing up for you, and not be so alone.

Blessed be,

You Made It! And other New Year Non-Resolutions

Each of you is perfect the way you are ... and you can use a little improvement. ― Shunryu Suzuki
Your problem is you're afraid to acknowledge your own beauty. You're too busy holding on to your own unworthiness. You'd rather be a schnook sitting before some great man. That fits in more with who you think you are. Well, enough already. I sit before you and I look and I see your beauty, even if you don't.  ― Ram Dass
Go you!  You did it.  You made it to another New Year!
Winter is a time of taking stock.  At least in the northern hemisphere, the natural world isn’t worried about productivity.  It’s focusing in, conserving, digging deep into the nutrients stored up from previous seasons.  We just have turned the corner of winter's heart, and though we are now in the gradual swing back towards the light, it is still a dark and quiet time, with a view both back at the year we leave behind, and forward to the coming days.  

Puzzling and crafting my year review on New Year's Eve

Puzzling and crafting my year review on New Year's Eve

The New Year tradition of my friend circle is something we call the Year In Review.  We sketch back the previous year, sometimes through story-telling over New Year’s Eve dinner, sometimes through day-long creative vision boarding and crafting, weaving a tapestry that answers this question: What are you proud of from this past year?

It can be surprising the kind of victories, large but more often then not quite small, that make up a list like this.  Big things I am really proud this year include fulfilling my dream of creating a Summer Solstice retreat (2018 dates coming soon!) and taking really good care of my body as I returned to graduate school.   Little things (or more subtle things) include being able to express and process my anger directly in such a way that was truthful but didn’t shame or shut the recipient down and kept our connection; and simplifying my holiday gift-giving to be meaningful and easy.  Even your failures or things you left incomplete can be reviewed with honesty and kindness.  I had plenty of those to include in my review!  This kind of review helps to have the loving eyes and memories of good friends.  Just think: you got enough right that you made it here!

While the culture at large is telling you in oh-so-many ways to get your booty moving to lose those holiday pounds, to get organized, sell more whatever, move up, move out, move on—consider beginning this year with a pat on the back for all that you’ve already done to get here and and a deep bow inward to that which is is already always present, to the great and inextinguishable inner fire of your heart, and the sweet home of your body in which it resides.  
Try this: sit a moment, listen to your breath, and notice what it's truly like to be alive in your body.  What words come to describe that experience?  Imagine what it would feel like in your body if, contrary to the messages of almost everything else out there, there was actually nothing wrong with you; nothing that needed to be fixed; nothing out of place or the wrong shape, color, size or circumstance.  And if that were actually true, what kind of New Year dedication of action would you make?  What would your thoughts, words and actions be like?  To what service could you offer your actions?  What, from that foundation of already-whole, is waiting to just naturally flow from you?

New Year's Day alter on the top of Mt Rose, near Hoodsport Washington!  I got my mantra for 2018: I Am Here.

New Year's Day alter on the top of Mt Rose, near Hoodsport Washington!  I got my mantra for 2018: I Am Here.

Flow is a water quality, governed by the moon and the Goddess.  That's why what feels ripe for me as I enter 2018 is a deeper alignment with moon magic in my work and self-care.  As I tuned in to New Year's Day super moon, she brought me my phrase for 2018: I am Here.  This felt like an up-level from last year's I am ready.  Phew!  I'm super glad for that because 2017 was challenging!  I have taken this new message as one of truly embracing who I already am, what I already have, and where my life is already full, ripe, and rich. 

If Moon wisdom intrigues you, you can learn more about living in lunar alignment here.  You can also put the dates for the Winter/Spring 2018 New Moon Dream Circles on your calendar, and if you are female-identified and want to dive deep into feminine-divine spiritual community, Moon Circle 2018 begins January 25th. 

Finally, consider using this template to write your own Year In Review, and to call forth what is waiting to naturally flow from you in 2018.  I added a couple other categories that felt helpful for me, but feel free to adapt to your needs.  Then consider releasing it ceremonially in a fire (this is what I did!) or keep it to stay inspired and check back in over the next year.  And please share in the comments!  I’d love to hear what you are proud of, what you are building on and towards as you step into the new year.

May winter’s quiet and the new year renew your body and heart, bless your thoughts and work, and enliven you with serenity and courage!

5 Rituals for Autumn Equinox

Fall is my favorite season.  That might be because it’s my birthday season (November 30th, in case you want to put it on your calendar, and shout out to all the other Sagitariuses), but I think there’s also a quality to this time of year that is sweet and melancholic and feels like coming home.  Of course there are the known rhythms of the school year picking up again, and some semblance of routine re-establishing after the summer’s flurry.  It is easy to forget, though, that we are part of Mother Nature, and something speaks deep into the cells of the body at this time of year that (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least) says: settle down.  Feel the Earth.  Come home.  Center.  

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the weeks leading up to the Equinox are considered the “Fifth Season”, a transitionary season that marks the pivot point from the upsurge of summer’s fire of productivity and growth, towards the swoop downward and inward of autumn and winter.  If we aren’t attentive, the revving wheels of summer can keep spinning and lead to fatigue of the body and an over-active mind.  One remedy for this is slowing down, gathering in resources (materially and energetically) and resting in the abundance already present in the season.  Mother Nature naturally directs us towards this, as harvests are peaking and being gathered in.  Nothing says abundance to me like a patch of tomatoes, that, having been tended carefully for the last many months, now spill forth their ripe riches.  

I practice and teach from the understanding that I am part of a planetary ecosystem, and because of that, I know that at a cellular level I am sensitive to the shifts of the season.  As I have learned to get quiet over the years and pay attention to the cues from Mother Earth and the way her rhythms are mirrored in my body, I notice how I function when I’m in sync with those rhythms—and I notice the disfunction when I’m not!  For example, I’ve noticed just this week (as I write this at the very beginning of September) that a couple of nights in a row I stayed up just a little too late watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (#confession #cantgetenough #dontjudge).  It truly was only about 20 minutes later than I would normally shut down electronics, but it was enough that what would have been my wind down time was left me completely wound up.  Those nights I laid in bed for 45 minutes, staring at my eyelids and mentally running the steeplechase and definitely not going to sleep.  I finally gave into it, got up, got a snack, and had several hours of creative time.  

This is hardly an ideal way to function, if done with frequency, and my Ayurvedic teachers I know are tsking me for being awake during those most crucial hours of interior digestion (the hours of 10pm to 2am are the pm pitta hours where fire element rules to do the deep physical and subconscious metabolizing, so if you’re going to sleep at all, those are the crucial hours).   But I’ve experimented with my own sleep patterns over the years, and found that it’s kinder to myself not to fight the Night Wakefulness (ie insomnia) when it comes, and embrace the creative flow that is usually signifies.  This also is a symptom of the season: what has been brewing and being cultivated for months now comes to bear fruit, and we get to joyfully pluck it from the vine in creative fruition.

I now also know that at other times of the year, this change in my evening routine wouldn’t have affected me quite so much, but it was a sharp reminder to me of the care needed during the season’s transition times when sensitivities are just a little more heightened.  It also reminded me to set aside clear and contained creative channels during the day, so I’m not spinning my mental wheels at night.  This time of year is almost like its own beginning of the next year—think of laying down compost and planting the fall bulbs and over-wintering starts.  It’s a time of reveling in the fullness of what is present, and also of the slow, deep churning of the soil to prepare what is to come.  

So how can you make the most of this season?  How can you sync up to Mother Nature to transition with ease into the cooler quieter months?  How can you orient to arrive to the Equinox (this year on Sept. 22nd) balanced, abundant, and centered?  Recognizing and making holy a day in this season can help alert your senses, your physical body, and your spirit that things are shifting, and so can soften the edge of sensitivity and streamline you to the flow of the energetic changes occurring.  

Some of these you will recognize from the list for Spring Equinox, but that’s because they are sister seasons and some of the same practices apply.  

1.  Create an Alter of Abundance.  What is present, ripe, and ready to harvest?  Turn any surface in your home or workplace (or car!) into a simple Equinox Alter by collecting any of the following things:

  • Any colorful fruit or vegetables, especially sweet if you grew or harvested them yourself, or obtained them from a farmer you know (like my friend Holly, here in Puyallup).  

  • Fallen leaves, seed pods, late-blooming flowers (picked with Mother Earth’s permission!)

  • A dish of soil, dish of water, and a candle, for blessings of the Elements

2.  Give thanks.  You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to have a harvest celebration (and you might consider forgoing that holiday altogether in solidarity with our nation’s indigenous folks.  For more reading on the real, deeply troubling, history of Thanksgiving, stay tuned for November's blog or google it).  But gratitude, sure, I can get behind that—though, to be honest, I have had a slight distaste for “gratitude practice” for a long time.   I’ve often felt like it was inauthentic, saccharine, and an easy way to be in denial about what’s actually going on.  So don’t do gratitude as a replacement for the messier inner housekeeping and deep self-examination of what’s not working.  Even still, I have come to appreciate giving thanks for everything I have as a powerfully grounding practice and a way of “harvesting” my outer and inner resources.  Just this summer I found myself in a really intense period of transition in which I felt terribly ungrounded and challenged to make even the simplest choices.  I finally got out a big pieces of paper and just started drawing and writing and what emerged was an image of a giant tree.  At the roots I wrote long lists of everything I already have: all my teachers and guides, supporting members of my community and family, my gifts and developed skills, all my experiences from which I’ve learned and grown (even the ones I was resenting and feeling hurt by at that moment), and also my material abundance, such as a warm home and running water.  At the trunk of the tree, I wrote words about myself, and taped notes of affirming feedback I’ve received from others.  What chose to come out at the branches of the tree was not “Next steps” or “Pros/Cons of this/that choice” like I had expected.  Rather it was: Who I am Becoming.  After this exercise, I didn’t necessarily have the “answers” i needed, but my energy had completely shifted and settled.  

3.  Do a Commitments Fast.  This is a hard one.  It’s really a practice in slowing down, making space for appreciating what’s already present, and metabolizing the shift of the season.  I started this practice a couple of years ago when I adopted the practice of seasonal cleansing (an Ayurvedic practice for spring and fall).  The cleanse isn’t intended to just be physical.  It’s about slowing and decluttering your space and time too.  I’ll say again, I know this is a hard one, even for me, and I don't even have kids, so what do I know.  Any time of year and any season of life--it’s hard.  But for me, it’s a super important reset to my nervous system and psyche that I’ve come to rely on and even look forward to, especially at this time of year when I am a little more sensitive.  I pick any amount of time, from 3 days to a week and just don’t schedule anything outside of what is absolutely necessary.  Go to work of course, do what you do for your kiddos, pay your bills, etc, but otherwise, pretend you just won’t be in town those days.  No extra appointments, social engagements, non-essential work items.  You can even put an Away message on your e-mail.  Be in empty time.  This is allows you to sink into that liminal, or “threshold”, space at the season’s crossover (read more about that from the Spring Equinox post).

4.  On Equinox, practice balance, abundance, and good stewardship. Pay attention to the balance of light and darkness.  Notice when the sun rises and sets (in Tacoma, where I live, it’ll rise at 6:57 and set at 7:06).  Practice balancing breath and movements, like alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodana), and poses that are grounding and bring awareness to the left and right sides of the body.  Standing balance poses like tree pose, and centering poses like bound cobblers pose are really good for the Equinox.  Now I know I also just said do a commitments fast, but this is also an important time to asses how you are stewarding the resources that have been entrusted to you and to as as a human family.  One outcome of your commitments fast might be some real clarity on the actions that you do want to take and feel in alignment with who you are and what you value.  In this case, consider some kind of civic action, community service, or justice work to restore balance in your neighborhood or community, in an expression of commitment to and right stewardship of Earth as our home and all her beings as our family.  Right now in Washington State, we are working to collect signatures to get I-940 on the ballot, which is an initiative backed by persons of color who have been affected by police violence.  The measure would require police officers to have training in de-escalation, first aid, and mental health, among other things (find out more and see how you can support here.)  This has been one way I have been working to restore balance in my own community.

5.  Observe and collect relics from the natural world for use in rituals later on.  This is a repeat from Spring also, but it’s still good!  Anything collected on this day will hold the energy of equinox: light and darkness balanced, and the poised energy of fall that is full and ripe, gathering in and nourishing deep.  Observing and gathering objects from nature (again, with their permission of course) creates small concentrated forms of that energy that can be used like spiritual vitamins at other times of the year.  This fall I’m planning to collect items to create outdoor mandalas with relics from nature to beautify the landscape of my dear friend’s outdoor school.  I’ll post photos of our finished nature art!

It's not too late to get in on my next earth-wisdom offers!  Friday (Equinox!) is the last day to register for The Moon Circle Immersion (a 9-week anchoring touchstone of ritual, sisterhood connection, intuitive listening, feminine divine wisdom, spiritual reflection, and mutual support starting October 5th).  Registration is also open for the winter solstice Earth's Holy Days retreat: Nourish, Dec. 15-17th at Wellspring Spa.  

By the bounty of our blessed Earth, may this Equinox season ground you, nourish you, center you, sustain you, balance you, and bring you deep and lasting peace.

Why I Live by the Moon (and 3 ways you can too)

The morning of the Solar Eclipse last month, I taught an outdoor yoga and meditation class.  The women (it just so happened to be all women) gathered, and just before we started, I took a quick trip to the restroom to do my thing, and also to make sure I knew where they were and were in working order.  In addition to finding the public park bathrooms open and in reasonable shape, I discovered I had started my bleed.

I know, this is a bit of a personal share, and I’ll be honest that it makes me a bit nervous.  Where certain aspects of female bodies have been idealized and sexualized over the millennia, the fact that most female bodies bleed for a significant portion of our lives has been shrouded in shame and taboo.  Most of us have been conditioned to at best tolerate, at worst loath (and self-loath) this fact.*

If this had happened 4 or 5 years ago, I would have been irritated and inconvenienced that this was happening today of all days, just before starting a class, just a day before leaving for a 5 day camping trip.  I was relieved to observe, though, that I felt relief and also joy and pleasure and this deep sense of satisfaction at the discovery that I was in my cycle of release and renewal on this epic day of celestial convergence.  It was a relief to find myself at least a little bit more free of the culture of shame that, I believe, has eroded one of the female body’s greatest super powers: the power of Lunar cycling.  

Now, to be clear, I don’t always bleed on the New Moon.  But the fact that I did this time around did not strike me as just a happy cosmic coincidence.  I have been tracking the phases of the moon and my Moon for about 3 1/2 years now, and when they align, I know it is because of a careful tending of that relationship to both celestial bodies (mine and Mother Moon’s) and that the Goddess suggesting I have a LOT of letting go to do, which is why she's matching me with Luna's pull. 

I know, I know: this is going to sound like a whole lotta woo.  But it seriously has been one of the most valuable rhythms I’ve established over the last three years that has brought sanity and sanctity to an aspect of my embodiment that had previously been embarrassing, tortuous and dreaded.  It has also gotten me in a sweet rhythm of pausing to reflect every several weeks, to just big-picture check in with how I’m doing.  What are my dreams?  What have I been working on that is flourishing?  What needs a little more focus?  Or maybe needs to be discarded for the time being to tend to at another time?  

Because we are part of a planetary and cosmic ecosystem, I believe that these patterns of self-reflection with the cycles of the natural world are a critical practice for aligning with the Earth’s wisdom.  And this isn’t a thing of small consequence.  A friend reflected to me just this week that, even as our labors of justice work seem to be drops in the bucket against the “evils” of the world, one thing that brings her a semblance of peace is remembering that the Earth, the Cosmos, Creation, at least, is resilient.  The Earth knows how to renew and renew again, and I believe—or I trust?  I hope?  I have faith?  I choose to orient to the possibility, because it brings me peace?—that the the Earth will make it through whatever we throw at her.  Whether or not we do…well, perhaps that’s up to us--how we care for ourselves and each other.  One way I think we can improve our odds is to sync up and catch the waves of her (and the neighborhood celestial bodies’) wisdom, and to nurture caring, contemplative, spiritually-resourced and socially awake communities around these rhythms (more on this to come).

Ok.  Say I buy all this, at least a little bit.  How, then do I match up with the Moon?  First, just notice that she’s up there.  Start looking for the moon everyday and say hello.  Watch her phases.  Pay attention.  I want to own, too, that I share from the lived experience of a cis-gendered able-bodied fertile female.  I try to write from my own lived experience and yours may be different.  Here are a few additional things to know about the Moon and simple practice starting points that I hope are appropriate for persons with varying kinds of body.

1.  Moon Energy pulls on the Water Element.  Water element relates to fluidity and flow.  Particularly relevant, especially if you are cycling with the Moon, or living in community with anyone who is, is that it (the water element) governs emotions.  So yeah, you actually might feel a little more wacky around the Full Moon or your Moon time.  That is real!  Kiddos are especially sensitive to this.  But rather than acting upon all the emotions that surface at this time, (or re-acting to those surfacing in those around you) consider treating like a surge of water washing through to clear out the old stuff.  This is power!  This is healing!  This is a massive clearing of old energy!  You’re going to feel it as it comes through, and you might want to try to have that really sensitive conversation right now with your partner or colleague, but it’s actually not a good time.  Just give it a few days.  The water will settle.

2.  New Moons are a chance for tying up loose ends, releasing, and clearing space to plant new seeds of intention.  There is an energy of emptying and beginning again that comes with each new moon.   Spring planting used to be done on the first new moon after frost, touching into this clean slate energy.  I think this is also partially why I felt such relief to start bleeding on the morning of the Eclipse.  I had been feeling all sorts of scattered and weird, knew my bleed was around the corner, but thought I had a few more days before it would come.  When I started bleeding earlier than expected, it prompted me to say no to a handful of things, to make the choice that a few things I’d been working on were “good enough” to be done, to build in some down time, and to just refocus my attention on scheming, dreaming, and planting my intentions for the coming cycle.  I have some of my best visions, most creative ideas and affirming downloads during New Moons.  I like to draw simple pictures or mandalas that capture the images and words that Spirit plants in my awareness at this time.

Two years ago, the New Moon happen to fall on my birthday!  Quite auspicious!

Two years ago, the New Moon happen to fall on my birthday!  Quite auspicious!

3.  Full Moon’s are a moment for celebration and recognition for what is present and for plucking from the vine the abundant fruits of our labors.  It’s no mystery that the Full Moon brings out magic.  Myths and stories worldwide describe the beautiful and mystical creatures and circumstances that reveal themselves under the Full Moon.  Full Moon’s are a time of relaxing from the labors of cultivation and reveling in the fruits of our work.  It’s at this time that I ask: what do I already have?  What can I take pleasure in?  What is available to me right now just by the simple stretching out of my hand to pick it from the tree?  It’s a good time to say thank you to everyone and everything that supports and sustains you, a time to soak deeply in what is nourishing and rich.  It’s also a time to assess how your New Moon seeds are doing, calibrate and narrow in on what seeds took root, and forgive yourself and others while releasing any efforts that aren’t catching hold this time round (you can always plant them again another cycle!  It just might not be their time)  The last several years of Full Moon Revivals (a monthly women’s circle I used to host) involved a chanting and meditation practice to the Goddess Lakshmi, yogic Goddess of Abundance.  Little luxuries call in the presence of the Goddess, as simple as taking a bath with rose petals, or doing some self-massage.

Still curious?  Want more?  

If you are a woman-identified person and want more Moon Magic bringing sanity and sanctity into your life, check out Moon Circle, a 9 week in-person gathering of Spirit, Sisterhood, and Celestial Syncing (starts Oct. 5th, the next Full Moon, but early-bird pricing ends TODAY!  Register here.)

For all folks across the gender spectrum, plan ahead for the fall series of New Moon Group Reading and Dream Circles (next one is Tuesday, Sept. 19th—register here.)

Stay tuned for some additional (free!) resources for starting your own love affair with La Luna.  In the meanwhile, look up and drop in.  The Goddess is near.

    *A note about bleeding: I acknowledge that I write from a normative and privileged assumption of able-bodied cis-gender femaleness.  I think there is some deeper work that I and my peers in this field can/should do addressing how "women-only" spaces re-enforces a binary and biology-based gender paradigm, and the trouble in what can be the exclusionary celebration of the physical features and experiences of the female body as what “makes me a woman”. I have not done this work yet. I ask your pardon and welcome feedback from folks with other embodied experiences—transwomen, women without uteri, or women for whom for whatever reason can’t or don’t rally around bleeding as a symbol of their womanhood. 

    A bow of gratitude to my teachers and sources on this subject:

    • Emma Juniper Clare of juniperclare.com
    • Rachel Alcyone
    • Moonology, by Yasmin Boland of moonology.com
    • Awakening Shakti, by Sally Kempton
    • Saida Desilets of saidadesilets.com

    The Gift

    Here’s the thing: If I had been born to a Swedish baker
    I might know the art of weaving a braid of bread.
    Had I been born to a Hawaiian mechanic
    I might be skilled at fixing engines and sliding through tunnels of water.
    I was born to an Italian man and an Irish woman—two people of the church—
    And so my great gift is speaking to God.

    Not very practical, one might say.  
    Not highly sought or easy to sell.
    And I would agree, on many days when I am hungry for ordinariness.

    Because knowing how to speak to God
    doesn’t mean that God speaks back
    Or that any great clarity or revelation comes of one’s tongue-wagging to the Angels.
    Most days all it actually means is that I don’t completely lose it when the traffic light doesn’t turn—that day, at least.
    Or that I don’t decide to just curl up in a Zoloft-induced cave to sleep through this epically insane shit storm we’re calling Modernity.
    —except, sometimes
    It also means
    that words arise
    in moments so exquisite or so excruciating
    that those with other skills may often find it difficult
    to gather the words together
    in a sentence or a song
    to describe
    with more and less precision
    what in heaven and on earth
    and all the odd corners in between
    is going on.

    Here’s the other thing: I feel wounds of the world like they bleed from my own body.
    I see them in brittle detail ready to break the whole thing apart.
    this aching heart of All That Is—
    the Word Made Flesh in every broken woman
    every colonized people
    every forgotten child
    every poisoned stream.
    I hate that I can do this,
    and yet I try to choose that it, too, is part of my gift:

    that maybe God speaks back to me after all?
    Maybe this is my Christ on the Cross
    She is dying and bleeding and weeping
    And all I must do is stand and see and weep and
    I must speak to God even still. And to you.
    Because that is what I can do.
    Because that is my gift.
    And you do not use a gift.
    The gift uses you.