A Simple Healing Ceremony & a Beautiful Gift

It has been a while since I’ve had the energy to write. I have had a really bad cold for the last two weeks. I know generally a cold sounds like no big deal, and usually they aren’t, but this one has been awful, and I’m still somewhat congested and coughing, although it gets a little better every day. I’m starting to feel semi-human again, one day at a time, and to get some energy back.

I have gradually been able to get back to visiting my favorite parks and natural areas over the past week. Yesterday was a gorgeous, sunny day (we are finally having a few days of sun!!!) and I went out to my favorite park by the Applegate River.

As I sat on the bank, I was inspired to do a simple healing ritual, to help heal this cold and some lingering back pain, as well as to heal some fears and worries. I drew the Womanrunes healing rune (a sun image) in the dirt in front of me. Then I picked up a stone, and imagined pouring my illness, my pain, my worries and fears into the stone. When I felt complete, I threw it as far as I could into the river, and visualized the river carrying all my troubles away.* I then poured water from my water bottle over the rune I had drawn as an offering to the spirits of the land, the river, and to Goddess. It was a simple, impromptu ceremony, but it made me feel connected to the land, to Goddess, and to my magical self, which I have not been feeling much lately.

After my little ceremony, I took a brief walk, and I had the sudden urge to veer off the path to see if there were any shade-loving wildflowers growing in a patch of trees nearby. A few steps off of the path, I looked down and noticed what I thought at first was a cool-looking fallen branch, but when I reached to pick it up I realized it was a deer antler! It has been one of my dreams to find a shed antler (and some shed snakeskin—I’ll have to keep looking for that!), and I almost couldn’t believe it was real when I picked it up. I’ll admit to looking like a nut talking out loud to myself and saying things like, “Holy crap, I don’t believe it!” and “This is SO COOL! Wow!” It is a beautiful antler in perfect condition. I love looking at the scrapes and scratches along the tips and imagining its owner scratching his antlers on a tree, or butting heads with another buck. What a beautiful gift, I am so grateful for it!

The beautiful antler I found.

The antler now has pride of place on my altar, and I also have the sudden urge to learn more about Elen of the Ways, the antlered Goddess. Her name has been coming to me recently, and after finding the antler, I feel like I need to start learning more about her.

I hope that you are enjoying spring wherever you are! I am so grateful to finally be able to get out and enjoy the sunshine, the wildflowers, and the fresh new leaves that are appearing on the trees right now.

Spring blessings to you all!

*This stone healing ritual was inspired by the article “A Ritual to Banish Fear” by Susan Perry, found in SageWoman magazine, Volume II, Issue #7, Fall 1988. I love the simplicity of it, and often use it to banish fear and worry when I visit the river.

Highs, Lows, and a Rabbit

It has been an up-and-down couple of weeks around here. I came down with a cold that lasted over a week and lost my momentum blogging and making art. We also had a series of storms come through that brought us over nine inches of rain in about five days, so between my cold and the weather, I spent a lot of time stuck indoors.

This past Tuesday was my mom’s surgery day, and I spent the morning sending her Reiki and prayers at the healing altar I set up for her. I also drew The Star as my card of the day—hope, faith, peace, grace—such an encouraging message for the day!

healingaltar

My healing altar for my mom

starcard

A message of grace and hope

My mom came through the surgery very well, and once she was home and resting, I took advantage of finally getting over my cold and a partly sunny afternoon to get outside. Oh my gosh, how I needed that!

I went to the same park where I spent the Autumn Equinox, and was surprised to see how much higher the river was after all of the rain. The rocks I had been sitting on at the edge of the river were now mostly submerged and very far from the shore!

riverrock

That rock way out there is the one I was sitting on at the Equinox!

A couple of very nice older men came down to the river while I was there. They have been coming up every year for twenty-five years to fish for steelhead, and we marveled over how high the river was this early in the season and swapped flood stories with each other. When we started talking about birds, they told me how they had a Great Blue Heron land behind their chairs while they were fishing and demand part of their catch. If they didn’t volunteer to share, he just helped himself! They had really gotten a kick out of him and had been happy to share what they referred to as “garbage catch” with him.

I took a walk, singing songs of gratitude and blessing to myself and admiring the fall color. I also saw a large flock of wild turkeys. I felt so blessed!

autumncolor

Beautiful autumn color

I spent the rest of the afternoon helping my mom, who was feeling remarkably well after her surgery. But then came a very big low—a family member accidentally hit one of the neighborhood cats as they pulled into our driveway. The neighbor he belonged to was thankfully very gracious about it (he was an outdoor cat and tended to be more of a “neighborhood cat” than a family pet), and I was frantically making phone calls to find a vet that could take him in to euthanize him because he was very badly hurt.

It was horrible. Awful. He was a favorite visitor and came to see us often for treats and attention, and we were all heartbroken and a bit traumatized. I’m still not really over it yet. It’s amazing how quickly a good day can be turned on its head, isn’t it?

But good news came yesterday—my mom is cancer free! They found no other cancer around the lump they removed or in her lymph nodes. A big, big sigh of relief and much gratitude is being felt around here!

Then last night I discovered what was obviously a pet rabbit running around in our yard. I asked my neighbor if he knew anything about it, and he said the rabbit showed up a couple of weeks ago and has been hanging out under another neighbor’s porch. This morning I talked with that neighbor about trying to catch the rabbit and take him to a shelter for adoption, and he agreed I could set up a feeding station and trap in his yard where the rabbit seems to spend most of his time. So I spent today running around buying rabbit food and renting a live trap from the animal shelter and generally trying to figure out how to catch a rabbit! Wish me luck! I’ve named the little cutie Bun Bun Nickles.

I keep thinking back to my Autumn Equinox tarot reading and how accurately it has played out so far. It has been a crazy few weeks. I’m hoping for a bit more calm from here on out. Well, once I am able to catch Bun Bun Nickles, anyway!

The Tarot Doesn’t Lie, Yet Grace Abounds

When I did my Autumn Equinox tarot reading and it showed that the next turn of the wheel could be a bit rocky, I had an idea of what the upcoming challenges might be, although I was hoping that I was wrong. Earlier that week, my mom had an ultrasound that showed a small mass in one breast. She had a biopsy on Friday, the day after the Equinox, and yesterday it was confirmed: she has breast cancer.

Wow. It is difficult to even write that. I still don’t think it has completely sunk in. Of course, we are still really early in the process and don’t even know what the treatments will be yet, so there is a lot of uncertainty, a lot of waiting. I’m trying not to do a lot of worrying, but instead to do a lot of praying.

Cancer does not run in my mom’s family at all—both of her parents lived to be over 90 without any cancer. My grandfather had nine siblings, my grandmother had seven and none of them had cancer. My mom also has three sisters and a brother and none have had cancer.

My mom, however, is already a cancer survivor. Thirty years ago, to the month, she had surgery to treat endometrial cancer. They believed it was a result of hormonal imbalances, so it is possible that the breast cancer is from the same cause, though I’m just speculating. I’m hopeful that this means the cancer will be as non-aggressive as the endometrial cancer was, and that all will be well.

My mom is being her usually optimistic Leo self and says that she is confident everything will be fine. I’m grateful that I’m here to support her along with my dad, and she has a group of friends, several who have gone through breast cancer themselves, who are also here for advice and support.

So, my tarot reading was correct—it may be a time when it is hard to keep life in balance, when I need to face fears, practice good self-care, learn to be patient, and most of all to trust that indeed “all shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” (Julian of Norwich)

Yesterday when searching for words of comfort, I came upon this excerpt quoted in Our Lady of Guadalupe by Mirabai Starr:

Here I will hear
their weeping and their sorrows…
their necessities and misfortunes…

Listen, and let it penetrate your heart…

Do not be troubled and
weighed down with grief.
Do not fear any illness or vexation,
anxiety or pain.

Am I not here who am your Mother?
Are you not under my shadow and protection?
Am I not your fountain of life?
Are you not in the folds of my mantle?
In the crossing of my arms?

Is there anything else you need?

—Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego, December 12, 1513, in The Wonder of Guadalupe, Francis Johnston

I cried as I read it. There is grace even in this time of uncertainty and fear. Grace abounds. Thank you, Blessed Mother.