Vacation Time!

Retreat time (Goddess figure from Brigid’s Grove)

Okay, it’s really more of a staycation. Or a personal retreat. I’ve been feeling the need to take a couple of weeks and withdraw from being online much. I plan to take a break from blogging, and maybe even from posting on Instagram very often.

I celebrated my birthday on Saturday, and I’ve noticed that I tend to feel a need to withdraw and contemplate my life around my birthday. In Mysteries of the Dark Moon Demetra George writes that many people experience a dark moon phase in their lives the month before their birthday, and I have noticed that April can tend to be a challenging month for me each year. This year, however, I was busy working on my Etsy shop and catching up with life after being sick through most of March, and I never really took any downtime for myself.

Now, I have some space opening up and the opportunity to have a couple of weeks alone, and even though I feel like I should keep working, I also know that I am really longing for a break. I feel like something is brewing inside me, and I need to take some time offline to listen to myself.

I plan to spend time reading, journaling, taking long walks, painting, finishing up my spring cleaning, renewing my spiritual practices, and sitting outside watching the world go by. I also have a friend coming to visit for a couple of days, which I’m really looking forward to.

I should be back to blogging again in a couple of weeks. Until then, I hope you are enjoying May—isn’t it one of the most beautiful months?! May you enjoy every minute of these flower-filled days!

New! Recommended Books & Other Resources

resources

I have been wanting to add a Recommended Resources page to my website for quite a while so that I would have a place to share books, magazine, videos, calendars and journals and anything else that I have found helpful on my spiritual journey. I finally sat down and did it!

This is just a start, and I will be adding to it periodically. I definitely want to add a section for tarot books, for example. But I hope you find what is already there helpful. I especially recommend scrolling down to check out the video recommendations—maybe you’ll find something to watch this weekend!

Happy reading and watching!

Catching Up

teteatetes

These tete-a-tetes were the first flowers to bloom in my yard. They are so cheerful!

I can hardly believe that it has been a couple of weeks since I last posted. I once had someone say to me, very matter-of-factly, “Well, you know, time is speeding up.” I’m starting to believe it!

This past weekend I attended a Women’s March “huddle” here in town. I was so excited that one was organized in my town, which tends to be pretty conservative. Over 50 people showed up, mostly women, but there were a few men, too. It was so nice to realize that there are other people in my community that care about the same issues I do! I’m strongly introverted, and tend not to be a “joiner,” preferring one-on-one interactions to groups, but I loved the energy of this meeting and am looking forward to seeing what comes next.

During the huddle, I also learned that there is a Red Tent group that meets here in town every month, and I plan to attend that next week. It isn’t easy to  move out of my comfort zone, but I really do enjoy meeting new people, and I have been wanting to find ways to connect with like-minded local women. There is hope for this introvert yet!

I have also been doing a lot of reading, focusing mainly on the women’s spirituality books I’ve been collecting lately. I especially enjoyed Barbara Ardinger’s A Woman’s Book of Rituals & Celebrations. I have a blog post or two coming soon that were inspired by ideas in this book.

The main thing that has been keeping me busy lately is creating Goddess rosaries and prayer beads to sell. My rosary posts are by far the most popular posts on my blog, and I absolutely love creating rosaries, so I decided to start selling them for people who want to work with prayer beads, but don’t want to create their own. I’ve been beading every day as well as trying to figure out the whole business side of things. This weekend I’ll be working on the art that will go in the pendants for each rosary. I plan to open my Etsy shop around the beginning of March, and I’m really excited. This is turning out to be a lot of fun!

You may also have noticed that the name of my blog has changed. I had chosen “The Verdant Way” several years ago, but was never completely happy with it. It isn’t the easiest name to say, and I get a lot of blank looks from people who aren’t sure what “verdant” means, since it isn’t in common usage these days. I spent a couple of weeks tossing around new names, and one night as I was drifting off to sleep “Earth Water Spirit” popped into my head. I got up and wrote it down and lived with it for a few days, growing to like it more and more. Amazingly, the domain name was available, and it just felt like it was meant to be!

So that’s what’s been going on in my life the past couple of weeks. I have a lot of ideas and projects taking root right now, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you as they begin to bloom (yep, I had to use a spring metaphor—’tis the season, right?). Are you feeling new ideas and projects stirring inside you as spring arrives, too?

Candlemas Day and a Couple of Inspiring Videos

I hope everyone had a wonderful Candlemas/Imbolc! Candlemas Day was absolutely gorgeous here. We had sun and clouds with temperatures in the low 60s—our warmest day since autumn! I wandered around one of my favorite parks, exploring small pools full of shells left behind by the receding river, and feeling my heart leap with joy every time I looked up at the beautiful blue sky. After almost a week of fog, having sun on Candlemas was such a blessing!

candlemaswalk

Exploring pools down by the Applegate River. Sorry that this is so washed out! I was so blinded by the sun that I didn’t get a good picture.

In the evening I celebrated with a ritual and did my Candlemas tarot reading. I didn’t take a picture of my spread since it was too dark to get a decent shot, but it was a positive and encouraging reading. I did, however, get Death as my “overall theme” card for this turn of the wheel. Gulp! Looks like I may be experiencing some major transformation between now and Spring Equinox. Change isn’t easy, especially for this Taurus, but I also know that it really is time to let some things die so I can move forward in a new way.

The daffodil bulbs in my yard are growing by inches every week, and several of them already have buds. Yesterday, on my way to the river I saw a hazelnut tree with catkins unfurled and clouds of yellow pollen being blown away with the wind. At the river, I found that some willow flowers are opening, one of the my favorite signs of early spring (their flowers are those downy catkins often referred to as “pussy willows”).

willowflowers

Willow flowers beginning to open.

Nature has been putting on quite the inspiring show, but I also found inspiration of a more social and political kind from these two videos this past week:

Are you feeling you own energy awaken as the days lengthen and you start to see the very first signs of spring? I know I am, and it feels great!

Bright early spring blessings to you all!

Happy New Year!

I hope 2017 is going well for everyone so far! It has been a slow start to the year here. We have had snow for the past couple of days (yay!!!), which has meant that most of my time has been spent inside working on various projects or just sitting and watching the snow fall. I could honestly watch the snow for hours, it is so beautiful and serene.

snowfence

A snowy fence

snowberries

Snow-covered berries

On New Year’s Day I did my tarot reading for 2017 using Joanna Powell Colbert’s Tarot Spread for the New Year. I have been using this spread for several years, and I really love it. I was especially excited to get two of my favorite tarot cards, The Priestess and Nine of Earth, in my reading for 2017. It is interesting that this reading echos the themes I have gotten from both my Hallowmas and Winter Solstice readings: getting to work and taking practical action. The High Priestess and Four of Fire also remind me to maintain my spiritual practices and connection to Goddess, listen to my intuition, and make sure the action I am taking is grounded in what is most important to me.

2017reading

My 2017 New Year reading

On New Year’s Day I also finished a little Great Blue Heron watercolor that I created for my altar. I really like the heron, I’m not quite sure how I feel about the background—it feels too busy and I wish I had made it more plain. I may try again at some point, but for now it is on my altar and it does make me smile to see it.

heronwc

Great Blue Heron watercolor

When I was in the Portland area I lived along a wetlands where herons nested every year, and they became an important sign for me. I often see herons when I need encouragement and a reminder that Goddess is with me. Last week I was down by the river feeling out-of-sorts and I saw two herons lift off from among a group of egrets and fly down the river. I rarely ever see more than one at a time—they lifted my heart and spirits as they lifted their massive wings to take flight.

I often find January to be a challenging month. I have made all these goals and plans for the New Year, but my energy and mood can take a deep dive during the dark days of January and I find it hard to get started on everything I have planned. Then I start beating myself up and worrying that I’m running out of time and that just makes things worse.

Last year in January I ended up re-reading all the Harry Potter books for the eighth (ninth? tenth?) time. I basically spent the entire month reading and not doing much else! I’m trying to find a bit more balance this year, understanding that this is a low-energy time of year for me and accepting that, while not completely giving up on doing anything productive. We’ll see how it goes! At least after years of observing The Wheel of the Year I know that come Candlemas, I will start to feel more energetic and ready to get to work.

I also wanted to share a couple of resources that might help get your year off to a good start:

  • I started this Writing the Goddess class a couple of days ago and am really enjoying it. This might be a good resource if one of your goals for 2017 is to get to know a particular goddess better. I am working with Our Lady of Guadalupe/Tonantzin as I work through this class.
  • The Hidden Brain podcast from NPR is one of my favorite podcasts, and this week’s episode, “Getting Unstuck,” was especially helpful for me today. I recommend it if you are trying to figure out what to do with your life in 2017!

I’m not sure what this year will hold as our government makes a dramatic shift this month, but I pray for peace and justice in our country, and for all of us to find the courage to create lives of meaning for ourselves. Blessed be!