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.

r57JL3vr8-GrIblHcvQ9mS3PBKHGp_x3aqYTx3qvSEOwUNr6fUCoYgXga8TjLyF3g2dxS0QMEErjIbIJjOOOR89_rJvMRP1X7FhLDh2t7cr3-POdLK3Qf7e9tyXEg8h70y2jachezlsaijSJEz1Sb3oFD3NJkniZysvYg11VAUm_rAg4RpYSB3XoKh6pz8_10UgML10-MdOkPr8MdnoLUXf1QXf.jpg

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

With all my love,

Kate

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


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:

main-qimg-b68a864c9406e30dcd16fb86eb6ba12e-c.jpeg

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

IMG_2437.JPG

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?).

IMG_3926.jpg

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.

iTKlhEgXNDTr5uJkh7Lssasd_Ur27m-eJUeXh6ND3UmyGcNMz3-on6SgOQa-veXibTAHcGYb3YSLROWNbH9V7egf3VWg19gFZnjQiQsKMS7uUqXVNoRJFGCMxtwmcv6a7-GMjqH33cv0fEVGqp497RcvpPBpRjOZdMbpB5pHT4PZr9qz7nKWOYR37VJzOoPJL8-9eh738KLlAorpNr4uZFX926.jpeg

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!
Kate

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.