More Snow and Some Recommended Reading

Lady Winter has been putting on quite the show for us the past few days! Yesterday most of the snow had melted, and the forecast predicted snow showers turning to rain during the night. The Snow Goddess had other ideas, though, and the snow started again during the early evening but it never turned to rain. Instead, we woke up to a glorious, snow-covered dawn.

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We don’t get a lot of snow around here, so it is always exciting. I was really hoping for a snow day or two and I have certainly gotten my wish!

I also wanted to share these two posts by Beth Owl’s Daughter regarding 2017 and its associated tarot card, The Wheel of Fortune. First, Beth discusses what we might expect during a Wheel of Fortune year, then she created a brilliant spread using The Wheel of Fortune as her theme to do a reading for 2017. She writes such beautiful, wise, and insightful posts, I love reading her blog. Her tarot reading for 2017 is full of wisdom and hope, and I hope you’ll find her posts as helpful as I did.

Bright blessings!

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.

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A snowy fence

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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.

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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.

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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!

Craving Silence as Winter Arrives

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Bare branches and a bit of blue sky.

I have definitely been feeling the shift into winter over the past week or so. Most of the leaves have fallen from our trees now, and bare branches are silhouetted against gray clouds—lots of gray clouds. We have entered the rainy season here, where every glimpse of sunshine is something to celebrate. The energy feels quiet, still, slow.

As winter has arrived, I have been drawing into myself more and more, and I have been craving silence. During the election, I got addicted, truly addicted, to checking Facebook and my various news sources throughout the day, over and over again. It was a compulsion I just couldn’t seem to stop. I have managed to cut back since the election, mainly because most of the things I read either make me feel depressed or angry, but I’m still craving more silence, more blank space, and much less input from the outside world.

So I have decided to challenge myself to give up news, podcasts, and Facebook starting with tomorrow’s new moon until the next new moon on December 28. I will also limit my TV watching and cut back on blog reading, but I’m still deciding on the parameters for those. I will continue using Instagram, but will limit it to checking in twice a day, no more than 10 minutes at a time.

Okay, whew, I feel a little anxious just writing all that! Can I do it??? This is how I know I have a problem, because it is frightening to think of letting it go!

Part of me feels guilty about tuning out the news, like I’m being a bad citizen or sticking my head in the sand. But I feel like I need to do this for the sake of my own mental health. I have an anxiety disorder, and am prone to depression, especially this time of year, and nothing in the news right now is helping with either of those conditions. I feel like I’m constantly buzzing with other people’s stories, thoughts, and opinions and I can’t find the quiet space I need to hear my voice or the voice of Goddess. I’m sure if something dramatic happens, I will hear about it one way or another.

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Someone will let me know, right?

But, what will I do with all this news and social media-free time I will have on my hands? I have been working my way through the book Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess by Demetra George, and my goal is to finish that by the Winter Solstice. I made a  commitment to myself to really work through the book, not just read it quickly  like I often do, but to dig deep, answer all the journal questions, and really absorb the material.  I also created a Dark Goddess rosary that I have been working with as I read the book.

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My Dark Goddess rosary.

The book deals with shadow issues and shadow work, and last week I pulled out my SoulCollage™ book and materials and started working with them again. SoulCollage™ is very helpful for getting to know some of the shadowy aspects of our personalities, so I plan to keep making cards and working with them.

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A few of my SoulCollage™ cards.

I also set up my Solstice Advent Wreath yesterday and lit my first candle for the Solstice Sun Wheel Prayer Circle that Beth Owl’s Daughter leads every year. It was beautiful to turn off the lights at dusk last night and light my candle and join my prayers with all the others who are lighting candles for hope and peace this season. I’m looking forward to doing that each Sunday evening until the Winter Solstice.

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Solstice advent wreath, first Sunday.

I will also be spending time making plans for 2017 using my Biz & Life Planners from Leonie Dawson. I really enjoy using these workbooks and am excited to start setting some goals for 2017.

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Yay for planners!

So that should keep me busy enough, while still leaving plenty of time for the quiet and stillness I crave at this time of year. I love curling up on the couch in the dark evenings with a cup of tea, a book and my journal. This year I’m really trying to flow with the quiet, introspective energy of winter instead of fighting it. Maybe we’ll even get lucky and have a day or two of snow!

May you be blessed by the quiet and stillness of winter!

(Buffy the Vampire screen cap original image source unknown.)