Belenos (“The Shining One” ) is a Sun God of Celtic mythology. Beltane, the Fire Festival that commences on May 1st and ushers in the season of Summer in the Celtic Wheel, is believed to have come from Belenos. We saw the first stirrings of Spring at Imbolc with Brigid and her healing fire; now, the Crone of Winter, Cailleach Beara, is driven fully underground. Beltane is the half-way point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.
I celebrated the Beltane fire (also known as the “green fire”) on the cross-quarter day this year, which was May 4th, by tending a ceremonial fire for several hours on my friends Paul and Janet’s land. Another friend, Karen, joined me. We sang, cried, drummed, burned prayer bundles and just talked. Because of the Covid-19 restrictions, I actually had not seen her with my eye balls in some time. We, like a lot of folks right now, have been limited to Zoom or FaceTime chats but it’s just not the same as spending real-time with someone.
I arrived around 9:30 in the morning to this pristine piece of land, built my fire, and held the sacred space with Karen until about 3 PM, with a few bio-breaks and to do some reiki on Paul and Janet’s dog, Sage. It was windy, with a few gray clouds but mostly sunny. We listened to the call of Redwing Blackbirds, watched a gigantic Great Blue Heron circle the house, and witnessed a Coopers Hawk chase down one of those territorial Blackbirds. Paul divided up a few of his day lilies for Karen, who had brought bulbs for his garden and a bag of black oyster mushrooms for me. They were delectable later that evening with my lime-cilantro-tamari baked Haddock. I sautéed them in white wine and butter, with fresh kale and garlic.
There is one more thing we did: We offered prayers to the fire for the collective healing of the planet and asked that the fear around this virus to be transmuted. I tend to be sensitive to what the collective is feeling and have to be careful about where and how I expend my energy. It’s easy to pick up on fear and anxiety these days that isn’t yours! But, we all have a choice in where we direct our precious energy.
In times of crisis, and especially in such an unprecedented event like we are in now, it is critical that we remember we can control how we respond to stimuli, people, and society in general. When so much feels out of control, just knowing that you have a choice in how you react can quell some of the fear. Not only that, bringing consciousness around your response re-sets your parasympathetic nervous system and allows your executive function center to do what it’s supposed to: make clear, rational decisions from a place of flexibility, curiosity and creativity.
I know what you’re thinking: There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of flexibility, curiosity and creativity going on right now. But you do have a choice. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. Whether you agree or disagree with the mask-wearers or the mask-deniers, it’s okay. Just know that at the end of the day, your vitality will keep you healthy and your connection to what is truly important to you will keep you sane.
You are the only one who can decide what is best for you.
As someone who has had a healing practice since 2014 (and a writer, no less!), I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I have never incorporated a newsletter into my correspondence effort! So here it is! Yahoo!
If I dig around on that one, I’ll admit it is not about being lazy; it certainly isn’t about not having anything to say. If I’m real honest and vulnerable with you all, it’s because I perceived newsletters as “bugging” people (or, tangled on the other end of what one of my teachers calls the “ego stick,” bragging to people—yuck!) thus not valuing my services, my insights or my “news.” Isn’t there enough “news” out there for us to ingest? Aren’t we shackled enough by emails?
While those things may be true (I get a newsletter from my dentist), it’s about accepting and perhaps reclaiming my worth. Sure, it’s a good business model, not to mention an easy way to reach many. But when I made my amends with 2019 a few weeks back, I had to say goodbye to the One Who Is Inaccurate. In other words, the Limiter, the Hater, the Critic and the Protector.
I had to acknowledge that I had something to say and that what I had to say was worth hearing, especially for my clients, who I endeavor to help!
We all carry limiting beliefs. If you’re doing your work—and I hope that you are—the burden of carrying the weight of self-imposed limitations is becoming heavier and heavier in this time of Great Awakening. Why is this? Because the soul seeks its expression through that which brings it joy. Pursuing joy isn’t always celebrated—and that’s one of the things that is changing about our collective consciousness. Pursuing YOUR joy is the recipe for how to evolve! This daring act of pursuing your joy is in stark contrast to the job of the ego, which is to maintain the status quo and manage fear. In other words, to protect.
I believe that we are moving into a time where ego and soul will need to share the spotlight. We are moving into a period of consciousness that will, one day, accept the concept of ‘ego’ as the conditioned response it is, not to be demonized by supposed enlightened individuals but rather feathered into the expressions of the soul. As a psychic recently said to me, “I don’t like how ego gets a bad rap. At the end of the day, we still need to stop at Hannaford for milk.”
This same psychic told me that 2020 is the year of radical severance, and of mastery. Those dead weights can’t come where we’re going—as individuals or as a collective. Some of the things we must leave behind might be things we’ve relied on in order to feel safe or “normal.” It could be a job, a habit or—gasp—a relationship. In my case, it was the One Who Is Inaccurate, the one who tells a story about feeling undeserving, not worth much, unseen, unheard. Moving into 2020, I commit to honoring my true expressions of self and soul while I thank ego from time to time for getting me safely through traffic, buying milk at Hannaford, or a mind-numbing faculty meeting. The real dead weights for any of us are not the things but the limiting beliefs that require careful, accurate and yes, radical severance. And love. You can’t really let go of something if don’t plan on letting go in love.
The 2020 metaphor of perfect vision is not lost on me; are you seeing clearly, too?
Are you ready to burst into spring? Perhaps a day of learning, sharing, reflection, sacred dance and ceremony is just what beckons to awaken from this long winter’s sleep!
Many of us are being called to change – to evolve. Where are these stirrings coming from? What do these stirrings have to do with the global shift in consciousness many of us are sensing in every fiber of our beings? What inner split continues to snag us as we attempt to embody new ways of being? Have we made peace with our inner Sacred Feminine – in what ways has she not been revealed? What aspects of our inner Divine Masculine seek to be healed?
On this day of experiential inquiry, explore these and other similar questions in a relaxing, heart-opening co-ed environment. All are welcomed!
A few weeks ago, I was undulating from the Janus Surge, or the time between December 26th and January 6th. My Celtic sensibilities tell me that the season of Yule is not over until Epiphany (January 6th), or the day those mystical magi step out and have their Jesus party. I call it the Janus Surge because the “big” holiday of Christmas is over but the New Year hasn’t quite taken hold yet. Janus could see backwards and forwards at the same time, surely a quality the ancient Celts appreciated, being captivated as they were with the Between Times.
My husband and I went to Vermont this year for New Year’s. We stayed in an old B & B in Barre, the granite capital of the world, and relished in our annual tradition: opening the Red Box.
The Red Box contains slips of paper with moments, milestones, and bits of hilarious dialogue he and I thought noteworthy enough to write down. It is a wonderful way to remember the past year. It also helps us refine our Top 10 lists for the major players and superstars of the year. (My Top 10 moments in 2018 were the Top 21 moments—a HUGE year!)
We returned to Portland on the 1st (after stopping at five different grocery stores for black-eyed peas) and commenced boiling collard greens, doing laundry, checking the water in the tree. I love my home but there is something about traveling, about being somewhere unfamiliar, which takes you out of the time-space continuum. A new environment suspends you, just a little, out of your “regular” life and allows the softer, less urgent voices to emerge—a gift, really, in this world of hurry and distractions.
And so when I woke up on the 2nd, I wanted to hold on to that feeling. I wanted to ruminate a little longer in 2018, and through that reflection, devise my soulful intentions for 2019 (otherwise known as “resolutions”). I wanted to row out, fast, to the current of the Janus surge, looking forward, backward, sideways, inward, to call in the desires of my soul. A psychic inventory, if you will, re-forged as hope for the future. Besides, Yule season was still Yule season. I still had permission to stare at the middle distance, to revel in the twinkling lights of my Christmas tree, to pore over the new books I received as gifts.
But the pressure was there. There were emails to write and emails to respond to. There were thank-you notes to write. There was a money transfer to a credit card, a double-check of an appointment, a meeting to confirm. And that was just the small to-do list. I had a new website to launch (after re-imagining what I want my business to be), an application 15 pages long to finish up (to substitute! You’d think they were looking for the new Secretary of Defense). I had query letters to literary agents to think about, a workshop to prep for, a house to clean.
Luckily, I know this inner debate very well. It’s the one between my ego (who loves, loves, loves to get shit done) and my soul (who loves to create and contemplate, savor magical moments and appreciate the many facets of being human). And so I said, “No! Stop! I retain the right to stay enamored of the flow and force of Janus.” Yes, it was January 2nd on the calendar but I wasn’t quite ready for Baby New Year to start crawling.
So I called in supports. My Animal-Wise tarot deck had been bird-dogging me for three days. I’d brought the cards with me to Vermont, thinking the Maplecroft Inn would be a perfect spot to do a reading for the year ahead. For whatever reason, I hadn’t cracked them.
I knew I needed Spirit’s guidance through the cards because I knew that my ego’s agenda would not be easily quieted. As any spiritual practitioner knows, intention is critical. As I shuffled the cards, I thought of how badly I wanted to stay in the Yule magic and asked for a question to help me stay there.
The question that came was: What condition do I need to adopt today in order to stay in my soulful space, dreaming and journaling and seeking inspiration? Which animals and their special medicines can assist me in this endeavor?
I pulled 4 cards and placed them in each of the 4 Directions.
I turned over the South first: High Priestess, Major Arcana. Represented by no other than the Creatrix herself, the Spider. Key words: Weaver of Fate.
I turned over the card in the North: Hawk, Knight of the Winged Ones. Guardian of Ventures, knowing precisely when to strike.
I turned over the card in the West: Jaguar, 6 of the 4-Leggeds. Reclaiming Power in the Material World.
And lastly, I turned over the blessed East: Cicada. 6 of the Shapeshifters. Happiness from the Past.
I was not surprised at how perfect-for-me this spread was. I saw Hawk of the North watching over the High Priestess of Spider as she stitches and weaves her inner-most creation into the fate of her existence. I stared at the intense visage of Jaguar, deep green jungle leaves festooning his regal jaw, ears, leg. I imagined my own Jaguar medicine prowling around 2019, sniffing out what only the highly attuned can sense in the dark. And when I regarded Cicada and thought about the message, ‘happiness from the past,’ I knew that the wisdom and lessons of 2018 I had integrated inside of me were now boiled down and distilled for easy sipping.
The lessons are usually “happy” once in the rearview mirror, ie. past. And lessons make us who we are meant to be. Since this card was in the East, the Direction of re-birth and transformation, I took it to mean I too would be brought out into the Sun, glistening from my past challenges, intact, singing the song of what I most desired (Cicadas are known for their high-pitched mating calls and seemingly endless chorus).
And then it struck me: I may have asked for guidance on the day in front of me but what I received was the condition for what I needed to adopt for the entire year. These four were my A-Team! I was given an ego-soul-working-together blueprint for 2019!
On this planet, we have free will. So often we think things are done “to” us instead of “for” us. Or we think that some value we’ve placed on a person, experience, or situation will stick forever. But nothing lasts. Not even art, maybe love. Years end, new ones begin (and they end too).
We have a say on how we will respond to stimuli around us. We have a choice about the attitude we will meet our days with. It is a ‘condition’ that we can adopt, knowing it may change at any minute. (And then we can change again).