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HAPPY IMBOLC: Just Do YOU

Happy Imbolc! We celebrate the Celtic Goddess Brigid on the 2nd of February. This “Celtic Mary” is associated with healing, smithcraft, poetry, hearth and home and all acts of creativity.  Brigid also ushers in the very first signs of Spring, bringing us a sense of hope and warmer days. 

My wreath dedicated to Brigid. It hangs above our mantle, a natural spot for Brigid as she tends the hearth and home!

As I write this, on Saturday January 29th, my part of the world here in Hollis, Maine, is experiencing the first Nor’easter of 2022! By all measures, the “old crone of Winter” aka Cailleach, is still ruling the roost. Some Celtic folklore blend the Cailleach and Brigid together, asserting that the Cailleach transforms herself anew as the maiden of Brigid at Spring.

This year, we have the serendipitous occurrence of Imbolc and the New Moon in Aquarius overlapping one another! The New Moon occurs at 12:46 AM EST on FEB 1st; the Imbolc festivities are generally celebrated on February 2nd (some say that Groundhog Day got swept up into the tales of the Cailleach–that it was the Hag of Winter out looking for more sticks to burn, not a furry rodent wondering about his shadow). 

But wait! My calendar also denotes that the Chinese Lunar New Year also falls on February 1st. 2022 is the year of the Water Tiger, a symbol of strength, perseverance and self-confidence. Tigers are single-minded in their pursuits, not easily distracted and have few if any predators. 

I love this image. As someone who regularly contemplates how my actions might affect others, this assertion of bold self-confidence stationed in the regal posture of the hunteress, her stunning orange and black stripes shimmering against a golden sunset in India is magnificent. (‘Water Tiger’, to my way of thinking, means tigers who can swim. The Bengal Tiger, a native of India and Southeast Asia and also a phenomenal swimmer, comes to mind.)

So I hope you have all your rituals planned out, ready to go. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to blend the powers of Brigid, the New Moon and the power of Bengal Tiger! I’m looking forward to the online seminar I signed up for with Tara Wild, who will be presenting ways to connect more deeply with Brigid and discussing the resurgence and reclamation of the Divine Feminine. Mostly, though, I’m excited to hear about the extensive Celtic wisdom Tara brings to her circles. To read more about Tara and her work, click here. 

Also, the best rituals are ones YOU feel inspired to carry out! Since the New Moon is in the sign of Aquarius, working in groups, co-facilitating, and any discussions of social justice would be great ideas and lend a sense of power to your ritual. 

One overused expression around ritual and ceremony is the activity of “releasing what no longer serves you.” No doubt, it is crucial to regularly “own your s***” and then dispense with old ways, beliefs and habits that are not aligning with your high self. I’ve probably used that turn-of-phrase 500 times over the last ten years! However, I feel there is an opportunity to deconstruct the idea and maybe replace it with a new intention. 

“Release” signifies that we are absentmindedly holding onto nefarious ways and behaviors, that it is up to us to do the action of ‘release’ and then all will be well. I have recently had an enormous revelation about how disempowering this language is! First of all, whether you want to believe it or not, the insinuation that we need to ‘release what does not serve’ sends the ego structure that we are somehow sullied inside, and probably from our own doing. If only we could release the trauma we’ve been attached to.  The action is around removal but I’d like to suggest that the action, ie.intention, ought to be around BECOMING. 

I’d like to share a little anecdote to show you what I’m talking about. I am in the midst of prepping for a ceremony here at Avalon that was–until this big storm came along–scheduled for Sunday, January 30th. Most of us can get pretty worked up in the planning stage of anything that holds some significance for us. Could be a first date, an interview, or an event that you’re hosting. We all can “get in our head” about trying to surmise how it’s going to go. 

I call this extending energy into the realm of What If. For example, I knew this huge blizzard was coming and so I started wondering: Will people not want to drive out to Hollis, even though the roads will likely be ok by Sunday? What about Covid protocols? How much shoveling and sanding should I do before they get here? I’d hate to have someone slip and fall! What if it is really cold, as in teeth-chattering cold? What if…what if…what if. 

I emailed my co-leader, Gul, the one who was to teach us the Water Song and who had participated in this annual tradition before. Her reply, quite eloquently, was ‘It’s ceremony. It will be what it is.’ 

Although we DID reschedule the ceremony to Saturday February 5th (please come!) , something clicked awake inside of me with Gul’s matter-of-fact pronouncement: It will be what it is. WHAT IS is so much better than What IF! This simple distinction did more than help me get out of my anticipating-the-needs-of-others mode: It helped me realize that my precious energy was wafting through the ether of impossible-to-predict situations and a more appropriate response would be to power up, drum, make something, listen to some music I like. In other words, take care of ME so I can feel my power. 

As a side note: when we spend too much time anticipating the needs of others, hoping they will be provided for, that their physical and psychic needs are taken care of, we actually are stealing the opportunity for them to practice sovereignty: the sense that their actions are right for them, end o’story. 

At the New Moon in Aquarius, instead of ‘releasing what does not serve,’ try out this new (active) language as a way to refine your personal power. It is simple and takes a single, solitary act: 

JUST DO YOU.

My suspicion is that when we tend our garden, when we stay on our side of the fence, the NEED to ‘RELEASE what does not serve’ ain’t even a thing anymore. 

Why? Because fortifying the Self with Sovereignty greatly reduces the chances of self-sabotaging behavior, of associating with the victim-stories or flirting with co-dependency. Also, it’s a lot of work to ‘Just Do You.’ Doing You will keep you plenty busy! Plus, Spirit wants a vessel in which it can cast its expression. If we’re too wrapped up in over-extending in service to others, the probability of you-as-vessel decreases. 

And believe me: IT IS TIME to Hold the Light. Yup, I said it! Another overused expression of this Age of Awakening. Be the light, hold the light, light workers–it’s all about what you do with “the light.” But this trope I will not disown. Because it really is time to rise up and DO YOU, to inherit the agency you need to radiate the LIGHT of conscious action– as opposed to flipping projections onto others or recovering from your triggers all the time.

Another anecdote to consider: I had a client last week who disclosed to me how irritated she’d been feeling lately. Everyone was making her on edge, things were “setting her off.” After some probing questions, and an invitation to self-reflect, we discovered she had been way, way, way over-extending in her service to others. She’d “been there” for so many people in her life but they hadn’t reciprocated. Some of us (myself included) don’t know how to ask for our needs to be met. Givers will always find Takers, and the dance is well-practiced. 

Doing for others is exhausting; a common reaction is to start building up resentment, as my client was doing. Overextending can result in victimhood [“What about me”] and anger [or its cousin, resentment]. There’s nothing wrong with caring for people in our lives or even doing special little things for folks. It brightens their day! The critical word here is overextend. And the gesture must be done while we are in our sovereignty–which just means when our heart is open. 

The Universe will match whatever you’re transmitting so you want the gesture to come from a place of radiance, of joy, and lightness. You want the gesture, the word, the conversation to come also from the Water Tiger. Fierce and beautiful, not wasteful but truly necessary. I think a lot of people might think “living with an open heart” means always giving or being a martyr in some effort to sacrifice yourself or your energy for the “greater good.” But there is no truer act of altruism than living in the sovereignty of Self, in living with your own truth front and center. 

As for my client, my guides and helpers got her sorted out and returned her to the aperture of the heart. I received some “spiritual homework” for her during the session, as I often do, that I strongly encouraged her to perform in the days following our session. This “post-participation” helps to 1) lock in the healing energy of the session, reminding the body, mind and spirit they all work together , and 2)enhance the client’s own understanding of the messages I’m bringing back. 

With permission, I want to share the exercise Spirit offered this client. I think it is a fantastic exercise!! One we ALL could benefit from in cultivating a sense of self-possession and agency, to avoid overextending. 

It’s quite simple. Write out the following sentences, filling in the blank with YOUR truth. 

___When I am ________[an action], I am in my power. 

(For example, if I was filling in this blank, my sentence would read: When I am speaking from a vulnerable place, I am in my power.)

___When I am ________[a response], I am in my power. 

(Again, if this was me, my sentence would look like this–just to give you an idea: When I am responding with non-judgement, I am in my power. 

Here’s the rest of the sentences. How would YOU fill in the blanks? 

___When I am ________[a belief], I am in my power. 

___When I am ________[ a habit], I am in my power. 

___When I am ________[ a self-care practice], I am in my power. 

___When I am ________[a spiritual practice], I am in my power. 

___When I am ________[language, speaking], I am in my power. 

I so loved this idea. Thank you Spirit! It’s always the simplest exercises that prove to be the most potent. This exercise also points the way to understanding what, exactly, your sovereignty is made of. It’s incongruent with the wisdom of the heart to try and “do” anyone but you. So, instead of ‘releasing what does not serve’ challenge your enlightenment jargon with the lens of the Water Tiger. Align your energy, your new moon seeds with the energy of sovereignty and stop worrying about how people are experiencing you, your work, your language, your beliefs. After 50 years of anticipating the needs of others, of exhausting myself trying to please everyone, I feel a call to tend my garden with a loving vigilance, working to create the conditions I NEED to be my best self in a world full of artifice and projections, and in no short supply of takers and martyrs. 

I want to Do Me. 

As it turns out, the world soul (animus mundi) is actually hungry for my best self, not all of those other things I spend time perseverating over. 

Just Do You. 

Love and Blessings of Brigid-

Mary Katherine

UPCOMING OFFERINGS

Singing the Water Song: A Gathering Of Women to Bless the Waters

Are you a woman who is missing the feeling of being in community with other women? Are you hungry to learn, share, commune with the sacred element of water? Does your heart need the jolt of love and joy that only ceremony can bring? Join Laurie Babineau (aka ‘Gul’) and Mary Katherine this Saturday, Feb 5th from 1 pm-4 PM at Avalon Acres to join other women in circle in singing The Water Song. For more details, click here

A NEW CLASS STARTS in 3 WEEKS! Introducing CLICK MY HEALS

(class runs every Thurs evening from 7-8 PM, 02/24 thru 03/31 and will culminate in an activation rite on Friday April 1st)

Are you a light worker, shamanic practitioner, change agent, or star seeder who is certain that your gifts of healing, intuition, teaching and guidance are needed now more than ever? 

Do you feel that your gifts are getting stronger, stranger, more erratic but also more magical and surprisingly more efficient? Are you sensing that refining your methods, practice or devotion is imperative in anchoring the immense changes we’re experiencing right now?  

Folks with the gifts of the Awakener who decided to come to Earth School at this time are getting upgrades in 2022–the great dismemberment is well underway! If you came here to awaken yourself as well as others, how will your special medicine and wisdom be dispersed in the years to come? 

CLICK MY HEALS will give you a place to 1)Be a Witness to others on this path, 2) Be more “fit” for the velocity at which change is happening, 3) Be Seen, Supported and Encouraged by those like you

COST: $10 per class (suggested donation) *I am very purposeful in making this offering affordable as I think the continuing “break-down to break through” may turn very swift in 2022; I am committed to supporting the work of Light Workers on their respective paths 

__For FULL CLASS description, click here

__To sign up or hold your spot, email Mary Katherine here 

DRUMMING CIRCLE AND BONFIRE

Please join Mary Katherine and Michael for a Bonfire and Drumming session on Saturday, 02/26/22 at Avalon Acres! 6PM-until

There will be a potluck set up in the Barn; this event is All Ages and not just for shaman-types! Although any drumming by anyone is sacred in my opinion…

Bring a drum, some food for yourself or to share, a comfy chair to set up in front of the fire. Unless you intend to dance, which will be highly encouraged! February is LOOONG; let’s get outside and burn something! 

Do you see the Bear?

And finally…

Valentine’s Day is a great day to show someone how much you care about them, how much they mean to you, and how thankful you are that they are in the world! Nine Pillars Gift Certificates make soulful gifts, and a session with me has long-lasting effects! Here’s what one of my recent clients had to say: 

“I wanted to share with you how much our session together has helped me.   I was able to shift out of a state of almost despair.   I was so ungrounded, sad and needing of a break.   Having [my power animal]by my side has helped to support and nourish and protect my spirit. Thank you so much!”

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The Shining One

Happy Beltane! Bel-Who?

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.

The remnants of the Beltane Fire

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.

Nature Heals Most Ills…