It’s Introvert Season

October is such a beautiful month! We still have blue skies and some warm days, but there is a chill in the air, and rainy days are scattered among the sunny ones.

Autumn is also what I like to think of as “introvert season.” I find myself wanting to draw inside myself. I am drawn to read more, to journal more, and to engage with the outside world a little less.

To that end, I have decided to take October off from social media and from blogging.

A few days ago I deactivated my Facebook account (I almost never post there, but would check it several times a day), removed the Instagram app from my phone (although I may check in on my computer from time to time), and removed any other apps and links that had become time sucks for me.

I thought I’d miss those things, but honestly so far it has been liberating. Being online was beginning to feel like being constantly yelled at by thousands of people who were telling me what they think I should feel, think, do, or say. It was exhausting, and I was wasting so much time.

After only a few days of no social media, I find that I am able to focus better, I’m being more creative, I’m reading more, I’m journaling more, and I’m talking to real, live people (in small doses, of course)!

Part of the impetus for taking a month off was reading Brene Brown’s new book Braving the Wilderness. Her book made me think about true connection, and what role social media actually plays for me in truly connecting with other people. I highly recommend reading this book—it is relatively short, but it is packed with so much food for thought.

I will wait until November to do another 15 Quiet Minutes post, but in the meantime I highly recommend trying the last 15 Quiet Minutes practice, Tarot Prayers and Affirmations. I have been using this practice in the evenings and I am finding so much new depth in the tarot and in my prayer practice.

I have also recently posted some new rosaries to my Etsy shop to honor the Dark Goddess, whom many of us may find ourselves connecting with this time of year.

Lapis Lazuli & Owl Rosary

Black Obsidian and Labradorite Crescent Moon Rosary

Green Sheen Obsidian Pocket Prayer Beads (these have a beautiful green sheen in bright light)

I hope you have a wonderful October and a blessed Hallowmas/Samhain!

A Summer Update and Saying Goodbye to Posey

Wow, it has been quite a summer, both personally, and for the world at large.

In early July I somehow injured my knee and it still isn’t completely healed. I saw an osteopath recently and she thinks I might have a meniscal tear that could eventually require surgery. Yikes! That injury seemed to slow my momentum, both literally and figuratively. I feel like I’ve been living in suspended animation since then, unable to make any forward progress in any area of my life. It has also kept me from being able to walk much, hike, dance, or do yoga, which is definitely not great for my mental health!

My personal year card is 12 – The Hanged One, and I’m definitely feeling that energy.*** Like I’m stuck, hanging, and have few options except to just let go and surrender to whatever process is taking place right now. It isn’t exactly an unpleasant place to be, in a strange way it is kind of restful, but occasionally my brain kicks in with “You should be busy (fill in the blank with a million things)!” and I start to feel frustrated and overwhelmed with the inertia.

I did my Lammas Tarot Reading on August 2, using the Tarot of the Crone, and my “Overall Theme” card was Shadow of Disks, a barren landscape of physical loss and/or illness. My “Challenge” card was Beast of Wands, which features a cat. My 17 year-old cat Posey was diagnosed with an abdominal tumor (possibly lymphoma) in the spring, and though I don’t normally read tarot in a predictive way, seeing those two cards next to each other I just knew that I would be losing her before Autumn Equinox. The very next day she started to take a turn for the worse.

We were able to get her stabilized and I was blessed with a little over two more weeks of her presence. The weekend before the solar eclipse she was doing quite well, and we had a wonderful couple of days of snuggling on the couch and hanging out in the yard together. Then on August 21st, after the eclipse, I noticed that her legs looked strange and she seemed distressed. I realized that she wasn’t able to move one of her back legs. It was time. We took her to the vet to be put to sleep, and her passing was peaceful, but it wasn’t easy to say goodbye to my wonderful girl. She was the sweetest, most gentle cat I have ever known.

My sweet Posey Rose

I’ve been in a bit of a daze since then, and the same day she died the smoke from the wildfires burning all around us here got really bad, and it hasn’t improved much since then. It hasn’t been possible to spend much time outdoors or to go to the river where I usually seek peace and solace.

To help with the grief, I created a memory journal for Posey, using writing prompts from the book When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. I used this book and the journaling prompts when my other cat Priscilla died three years ago, and I highly recommend it if you are dealing with the loss of a pet.

I created a little memorial altar to her on the evening of her death with a pink candle carved with a heart and a rainbow, a few of her favorite toys, and her food and water dishes. I lit the candle each evening for the first three nights after she died and let it burn out on the third night to light her way on the next phase of her journey. I do believe that all souls move on after death in some capacity, and I hope that we’ll be reunited with those we’ve loved, though perhaps not in the forms we know them now.

So, it has not been an easy summer, or a particularly pleasant one, but somehow it all feels okay, like this is a necessary transition period that I need to make my way through.

And good things have happened, too! I took Lisa Sonora’s Creative + Practice course, and have fallen even more in love with creative journaling. Regular creative practice and journaling has been a big support for me through all of these challenges.

I adopted a kitty I named Winnie from our local shelter, because I just couldn’t stand having a completely quiet, empty house after Posey was gone. Winnie is about a year old and is playful, affectionate, and silly—she makes me laugh on a regular basis and has definitely helped with the grieving process. I like to think that welcoming her into the house and thereby freeing up room for another kitty to be saved at the shelter honors Posey’s life, since she was a stray, too.

Winnie

I’ve also started learning macrame (because I really need another hobby—ha!), and have been enjoying it. There is something very soothing about tying knots over and over again.

I am really looking forward to fall, and to the rains returning. We desperately need some rain to dampen down the fires, clear out the smoke, and give all the firefighters and those who are fearing for their homes and properties a break.

My heart has also been grieved by the events in Charlottesville, and the flooding in Texas and South Asia. I don’t even have words for all that has been happening in our country and across the world. It takes time for me to process these kind of things, and I’m still sitting with it all. It really has been quite a summer, hasn’t it?

I plan to get back to regular blogging now, and will have a new 15 Quiet Minutes post up for next week’s full moon. I also added a few new rosaries to my Etsy shop yesterday. I’m especially smitten with this labradorite one, its energy is perfect for the transition into the dark part of the year.

I guess all we can do is hang in there. We’ll get through all of this, and hopefully we’ll come out stronger on the other side.

Blessings.

***To determine your personal tarot year card, add 2017+your birth month+your birth day. For example, if you were born on 2/15, you’d add 2017+2+15=2034. Then add those numbers together: 2+0+3+4=9. Your personal year card would be 9, The Hermit. If the numbers add up to 22, your card is 0, The Fool. If they add up to 23 or more, reduce them again by adding the two digits together, for example if you have 28, 2+8=10, and your year card is 10, The Wheel of Fortune. This system was devised my Mary K. Greer, and more information about tarot year cards can be found in her books Tarot for Yourself, and Who Are You in the Tarot?.

A Temporary Hiatus

Hello everyone! Normally I would be posting my next 15 Quiet Minutes post tomorrow for the Full Moon, but I’m going to be taking a bit of time off from the blog.

My 17 year-old cat has a large mass in her abdomen that was diagnosed in the spring. She has been doing very well on her medication, but she suddenly took a turn for the worse on Friday. She is stable now, but I don’t really know how much time she has left.

Spending time with her as well as experiencing the grief of knowing it will soon be time to make the choice to let her go is pretty much taking up all of my energy and bandwidth right now.

I will get back to blogging as soon as I am able. Hug your fur-babies tightly for me! It is such a blessing to share our lives with them, but saying goodbye is so painful.

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!