I post on this site less as the other demands on my time shout for attention. Just too much going on these days! I'll be back when I can, because I do live with a goddess by my side.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Gift of Love

Happy Christmas Eve to everyone. 

If you celebrate Christmas then I wish tomorrow to bring you lots of blessings.  I kind of do, celebrate it, because it's the tradition in which I was raised.  Family traditions are hard to phase out.

And I am in the midst of a Christian family for this holiday, so am being smothered in all the things that that entails.  I have no trouble meeting them on praise for Jesus, who was a wonderful loving "enlightened" teacher...with some really wise ideas which have become part of our society for a couple of thousand years.  That speaks pretty highly of his message.

I think that many enlightened teachers have offered us similar messages over time.  And when I see a picture of Christ smiling in benevolence, or Quan Yin, or the Buddha, or Meher Baba, or many other enlightened ones, I realize how their love is the message that this season is truly promoting.  It's not the gift of things, but the gift of love we can offer to each other.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Science and sprituality of Solstice

There's the scientific part of it.

December Solstice in Asheville, North Carolina, U.S.A. is on
Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 6:03 PM EST

2 pm shadows cast northerly on 12/19/14

Then there's the spiritual part of it.

Our whole planet will stop tilting completely for that moment in time, though fortunately it keeps spinning.

I ask you to observe that moment as a stopping time place for yourself as well.
You could stand at attention...lie down, sit in meditation...just something different.  Salutations of some kind are due.

See what happens.  What is your experience?

I have often marked on a wall or floor where I live, the point that is the furthest the sun reaches on that day, at that it's at its furthest declination to the earth.  It returns yearly to that same point on the floor...if I calculate the time right.

Just think of Newgrange and Stonehenge...yep.  Those astronomers knew how to calculate the time just fine.  Salutations to our wise ancestors. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Contemplation for Solstice

Last year, before setting aside my spiritual interests into this blog, I posted on my "personal blog" about the Winter Solstice HERE, as well as Newgrange Ireland.

I want to add just a bit more about the triple spirals, which I've copied into a finger labyrinth, a form which is in clay ready to be "walked" with one's fingers, or a pencil or toothpick, around the path of 3 spirals.  I've only created a few of these in permanent ceramic shapes, which serve interestingly as trivets or coasters when not in more spiritual use!

The other labyrinths are the design used in the Chartres Cathedral in France...which also can be meditative as you travel it with a small implement between the grooves.

How do these meditations work?  Like all meditations, be sure to set aside some time in which you won't be interrupted.

One popular way is to have a question in mind when starting...or perhaps an intention.  Whenever you meet a turning place, where you have to stop from advancing in the direction you are going, remember that question or intention.  Then move on slowly to the next turning.  By the time you've turned all those directions, even with just a pencil or toothpick, you've repeated your question/intention many times.  Stop at the center.  Reflect.  Do you know more than when you began?  Have you a change to consider?  Spend this time wisely, and don't hurry back out.  As you move back from center to the outside, again take a moment at each turning.

If you are like me, you may have many ideas that you didn't have to start with.  You may want to repeat these at the turns, so as to remember them.  When you finish the labyrinth, you indeed will have traveled to another place with your spirit.  Take time in quietness to record what you experienced.

And munch on something that gives energy, either protein like nuts, or sweets like chocolate, because the body has been serving the higher good of your spirit for the last little while, even if just by sitting and concentrating, rather than walking a full size labyrinth.

I have no idea if the original creators of the triple spiral had this in mind, but it's become a ritual that I find very fulfilling.  What else do you think it might mean?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On my list

Come over and check out this lovely post that is a book review, but oh my, what a book.
Click here for the blog: On Animals and the Human Spirit

Terri Windling's blog "Myth & Moor" has beautiful thoughts and imagery.  And her review of the book Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit by Alison Hawthorne Deming, included this quote:
Deming discusses elephants and ants, pigs and oyster, and the animal nature of human beings. "I am tired," she writes, "of the conventional palette with which the lives of animals are painted. Most renderings feel too saturated with gratuitous piety, weighted down by ceaseless elegy, or boastful about heroic encounters on the last islands of wilderness. I want something closer to the marrow of our lived days, as in childhood, when an animal story or encounter could make me wonderstruck."

Windling also posts images this time of her dear companion dog, Spencer.  The next day she focused on Fairy Tales and wonderful art images.  Do look every once in a while to see what she's sharing.

It took me a night or two before it sunk in, how few animals have encounters with human children, or vice versa, these days.

Pets become our dear friends, where their own personalities can be expressed.

How important it is to be quiet when walking in the woods (preferably without a dog) so that you might just chance upon a real live creature of the woods.  Our children are chatter boxes.  They also live in a life of, schools, SUV's and techno-boxes.  No live creatures to cause wonder there.

And pul-eeze don't tell me the entertainment at an amusement park with doll-like animals can inspire the same awe as rounding a corner and looking into a deer's huge liquid eyes.

Nor can going to the best zoo, where animals may be treated humanely (what's wrong with that phrase!) but they know they have very few choices like they would have in their natural habitat.  That's animal jail, folks.  Don't you want to go visit the inmates in a human jail?

I hope you enjoy Windling's blog, and I think I'm going to be reading the book by Demming.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Breath and meditation

I recently spent all day with another woman, doing a pottery show.  I knew it could get stressful, so told my friend that I would be taking intentional meditative moments whenever I could.  I would just go "away" and spend a moment or two grounding myself. (I planned to do it at 5 minutes past the hour if possible.) She liked the idea, and I noticed her sitting in a meditative pose with her eyes closed a few times.  I could do it just staring into space and saying the mantra I've connected with my own meditative trances.

Then a few days ago I was pleased to read about breath and meditation.

Just Breathe: The Practice of Permission, Affirmation, & Dedication

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Daily Practice is giving ourself the permission to breathe. It is accepting that the world will keep spinning regardless of whether I am in it or not, so why not take a moment for myself. It is just one moment.... And so I ask, are you breathing? Right now, wherever you might be reading this, are you giving yourself the permission to breathe just one deep breath with intention? If not, then let this be your invitation. If that is the only intentional breath you have taken or will take today, that is good enough, because you are good enough.
Thanks Erick!

Since I also have COPD with breathing treatments 3 times a day, as well as lots of medications, this was an important reminder of the connection that I haven't been practicing...breath and meditation together.  I usually do my yoga-ish poses before meditating, but don't do breathing as part of it.  No longer!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sharing a sad idea

I'm sharing this
because I'd just spent a week in "civilization" the paved world that my son and his kids live in.  I did insist on a walk in nature one day...and it felt so good for me.  My granddaughter could only relate to the swing sets on a playground, and she's 16.

Trees?  Flooded river?  Natural spring?  Seeing a crane preening? Not so much.

A couple of days ago I read this blog...
Nature is for the rich. This is a fundamental belief of Capitalism. If you are rich, then you are entitled to natural beauty and spiritual morning walks. If you are not rich, then nature is a magnanimous gift the rich can bestow upon you when they feel like it.
This is an excerpt from her posting.  Thanks Asa West for your insights, at Shahkinah Calling.

I do believe being a pagan, loving and being inspired by nature, is inherently everyone's right.  But access is sometimes a bit more difficult for those who just have their survival needs met at the basic levels.  This is something we have to stand up for, I think.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Divine Feminine program

Susa Silvermarie
I'm am so pleased to have talented friends who put on a great program of poetry and music last Sunday.
Annelinde (Linda) Metzner
I mentioned it here on another of my blogs.

Linda and Susa both write poetry, and are published in the 2015 WeMoon calendars.  That's why the cover was posted, as they sold both wall and book forms of these calendars.

These are some of the photos I took of the performance.

Susa Silvermarie, Annelinde Metzner and Kim Hughes

Kim's singing was truly wonderful

Linda composed the music which Kim sang, and recited poems she wrote also
Susa's poetry included her dramatic gestures

Intermission included lovely snacks with proceeds to benefit the church in which the event was held.
The program about the Divine Feminine attracted many woman and a few men.  Shelly speaks with Kim during intermission.
Nels Arnold and Susa had a discussion
Three talented women who inspired the audience!
Pottery by Nels Arnold
A simple altar with bowls of water for blessing ourselves
Thank you so much dear powerful, beautiful, goddessing women!  The photos are available by request from blackmtnbarb AT gmail DOT higher resolution.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Your personal Spiritual Court.

Thanks for this concept to -
Ancestor healing web page and blog post here.

One particular quote I'd like to share says:
When modern peoples, therefore, choose to become initiated into one of these systems – whether that be Santeria, Druidism, or something else – what they are actually doing is being adopted into the worship of another culture’s deified ancestors.
Now am I saying that there is something wrong with this? Absolutely not! As anyone who has ever been involved with almost any of these religions knows, initiation and participation into one of the so-called “nature-based” polytheisms can be one of the most rewarding, enriching and transformative experiences you will ever have. If that’s what you have done, or are considering doing, great!
 Check out the whole article, it's enriching!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gainism, polytheism and pantheism

That's the site which has lots of FAQ's about pagan topics. And it's a great magazine about Pagans and Witches. I usually call our mother earth, Gaia. I also call pantheism an earth-based religion.

Q: What is a Gaian? What is Gaianism?

A Gaian is a person who focuses his/her spiritual faith upon the Earth (Gaia.) Gaianism is a growing movement devoted to the creation of an earth-wise spirituality that honors the Earth and all life as the primary source, sustainer, and reality for life. Gaians may be Pagans, Christians (see Creation-Spirituality movement of Matthew Fox), atheists, Scientific Pantheists, or any other religion/faith that is willing to focus its energy upon the spirituality of connection with the biosphere. As a very young offshoot of Paganism, Gaian theology, philosophy, and ethics are still in a formative stage.

Q: What are the ethics of polytheistic and pantheistic traditions?

A: Because each tradition has its own set of ethics, these vary considerably. Common ethical guidelines include: Treat all sacred objects, places, and entities with respect. Honor the Earth who gave you life. Take only what you need, and offer fair return for whatever you take. Destruction in its proper time can prove beneficial, but do not destroy anything just for the sake of destruction. Every person contains a little spark of divinity, so speak to the divine spark in everyone you meet. Allow others to worship as they choose. Sexuality is a blessing, not a curse; yet the power to create new life brings with it the obligation to do so responsibly. Do not meddle with that which you do not understand.

Polytheism has more than one god or goddess.

Pantheism is the belief that all living things have the divine within them.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

She's how tall?

Seventeen and a half feet tall.
And they've removed her to a museum.  That's ok, more people can see her that way.

The Venus of Laussel

From Lisa Sauresson: (Blog posted Nov 20, 2014 HERE) where she compares Mary Magdalene with the Venus of Laussel.
Much of what we know about human origins comes to us from southern France, the prehistoric cave paintings and engravings discovered there. Our ancestors' art, such as the Venus of Laussel, shows our original impulse to revere women and the center of women's bodies.
b2ap3_thumbnail_Venus-de-Laussel-detail-bras.jpgThis limestone engraving, discovered in 1911 in the Dordogne, has been a central inspiration for The Woman's Belly Book. Seventeen and one-half feet high, the ochre-stained engraving dates back 25,000 years.
The Venus of Laussel brings forth a full-figured woman. She rests her left hand on her belly, perhaps pointing to her navel. Her head turns over her right shoulder; she's looking at the horn she's holding up in her right hand. Thirteen lines scratch the horn's surface.
Who knows what the sculptors had in mind and heart when they carved out this figure? Who knows what they meant their work to signify?
As I see her, this figure is using her arms and hands to link her belly with the calculation, the calendar, which is the horn she is holding.
b2ap3_thumbnail_Venus-de-Laussel-detail-tete.jpgThe horn's crescent shape reprises a phase of the moon. With a count of thirteen marks on the horn, the engraving as a whole may be noting the year's thirteen lunar months as well as women's annual round of thirteen menstrual cycles.
In effect, this engraving presents the cycles implicit in a woman's body in relation to the cycles marked by celestial bodies.

And from Wikipedia:
The Venus of Laussel is a Venus figurine, a 17.5 foot high limestone bas-relief of a nude female figure, painted with red ochre. It was carved into a large block of fallen limestone in a rock shelter (abri de Lausselfr:Abri de Cap Blanc) in the commune of Marquay, in the Dordogne department of southwestern France. The carving is associated with the Gravettian Upper Paleolithic culture (approximately 25,000 years old). It is currently displayed in the Musée d'Aquitaine in Bordeaux, France.

OK, nobody took the stone carving off the wall, in order to get it into a museum, which makes me sigh.

And it's such a great message 25,000 years later.  Women, moon, menstruation (that's her belly that she's got one hand on, and the other, as well as her face pointed at it has the 13 marked moons.

Yep, we can still understand it's message.

Thank you very smart people who knew all about what us human women were like.  And still are.  I absolutely love the photo from Wikipedia, which shows how curved this carving is, since all the others I'd seen are flattened.  That's celebration of that belly of a woman.  What a wonderful part of our anatomy.  Oh dear, I'm editorializing, aren't I?