Midsummer’s Labyrinth

May You Dance With Laughter!

Circle Dance

The Wheel is turning to its height
Dance, Lord, for the powers of Light.
Dance, Dance for the end of Night
Dance on.

Leaf and bud and branch upthrust,
Dance for the peak of Nature’s lust,
Dance On

Dance, a million petals unfurl
Sunlight, colors, shadows swirl
Dance all, the heady, merry whirl
Dance On

Elderflower, like summer snow,
Dance, for the Sun’s lingering glow
Dance on.

Dance, my Lord, and bow your head,
Roses, Sun and blood are red
Dance on.

Dance, my Lady, all in white
Dance for the dark that hides in the Light
Dance for the first caress of Night
Dance on.

Now Dance All and shed no tear
The young King follows the old King here.
Dance for the merry Wheel of the Year
Dance on.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nothing is certain. Only change. The basis of all life. The Cycle. The Wheel. As Above So Below.

This is such a beautiful time of year. The lavender is bursting through its buds, silvery and fragrant. The plums are beginning to slowly ripen, surrounded by blooms and fern fronds embracing each other. There is such grace in these moments when I stop and look at the beauty of Midsummer.

We are standing at the crest; this, the high tide of the year. There is warmth and light as the sun stays steady in the sky. The kids run barefoot along the paths beneath the trees, coming in as darkness arrives with filthy feet and faces full of smiles as bright as the noonday sun itself.

Grasp each moment of Every Day. Savor it, because moments are fleeting.

The roses are in bloom and I make it a point to stop and smell them. We have red ones, big yellow ones, and my favorite, a deep coral hue that smells absolutely divine. I have brought a bouquet in and set it on the dining room table. In the bathroom there are lilacs in a jar of water. And beside my bed is a fresh cluster of lavender and rosemary. I think I shall sleep well tonight.

Midsummer, the turning point. The longest day is here and daylight is at the highest peak of its power, and so it is from that moment that darkness now begins to grow.

We have built a small stone labyrinth in a clearing beneath a gathering of cedars. There are just enough rays of sun to ignite the solar lights at every sixth stone. I find the spiral to be mesmerizing, tranquil, and dizzying all at the same time. Tonight I took the journey alone and once I arrived I stood at its center for quite some time looking into my own soul’s eyes.

The center that I cannot find
Is known to my unconscious mind;
I have no reason to despair
Because I am already there

–W.H. Auden

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

Weekenders On Our Own; It’s Such Fun

 

I spent this past weekend away at a beach house with 3 of my girlfriends. I’m talking about a real weekend “getaway”- as in a trip without the hubby and kids, whom I love dearly, really I do but…

Aside from me there was no one else to worry about. I packed my weekend satchel, my laptop, a cheesy romance novel, a few bottles of Shiraz and two six packs of Strongbow. Oh, and chocolate; I most definitely didn’t forget the chocolate. And of course a few Tarot decks to read for the gals.

No curfew.

No whining.

The only person I was in charge of was me. However, shortly after arriving I nearly panicked when I found out there was no phone service, no internet (!), not even a t.v. What the hell? (it helped that I could walk down the hill about a quarter mile to get a signal and call my husband and kids when I wanted to touch base).

Well, it ended up being a real blessing. There was plenty to do and time flew by. We hit the pubs indulging in Lemon Drops and/or local ale, walked along the beautiful Oregon beach, went to the movies, visited an art gallery, went wine tasting, ate raw oysters, and slinked into a local dive bar where we sang horrible karaoke. We also played tons of board games, laughing until our sides hurt. (I think Cards Against Humanity is my new favorite game).

It was a weekend to luxuriously soak in the beauty of Sisterhood. It was a celebration of being who we are as women without gimmicks or guises. It was about truly shedding the skin of limiting societal structure. It was liberating. But most of all it was just genuine Fucking Fun. And Fun is one heck of a magickal tool to replenish and raise our vibrational frequency because it touches that tender spot of raw spirituality that lives deep within us all.

The Here and Now; Living in the Moment

147964085887003

This morning I passed by the family room altar with a pile of clean laundry. As I dumped it over the top of the couch and thought about how I needed to dust, my eyes landed on a “memorial” of sorts for Jazzy. Call me morbid, but in trying to work out how I was going to help my children deal with the transition, I made something to be placed on our altar a few days ahead of time. Just a small, framed photo and poem about the “Rainbow Bridge”. I was too distraught to even create my own poem. Hell, I could barely even do that little bit of copy-paste.

Each family member added something that reminded us of her. I planned on placing her collar and leash on the altar when I came home without her. My youngest daughter crocheted a small cotton yarn bracelet and hung it from the corner of the frame to be charged. She asked if I would place it on Jazzy’s left foreleg before she was “gone” and to tie it snug to make sure it stayed there “through what they, you know, do with her body after”. When I told everyone the good news, she immediately took the bracelet and with a big, beautiful smile on her face asked me to tie it snug to her wrist.

It’s many days later and our altar has slowly changed shape and form, but I decided to leave the picture itself there for the time being (interestingly, I never placed the date of her death on it). I feel it’s a beautiful reminder to us about life and the afterlife. The soul to soul connections we create (or continue) with loved ones during our incarnations are powerful and whether or not the “Rainbow Bridge” exists on the way to the Summerlands is really irrelevant at the moment. But I do think it will spark some creative conversation about how as individuals we feel about the cycle of life, death, the afterlife, and rebirth. There will be so much to talk about, and I’m curious to see what they spill out after being raised in a Pagan/New Agey/Touch of Wiccan/Zen Moment Reminding/Goddess Worshiping home. It should be interesting and I’m bound to gain new insights on how their own unique individual thoughts and feelings about their spiritual paths are evolving. They are old enough now to be able to make distinctions of what resonates with them and what doesn’t. And that’s what I want for them.

I think that some day next week we will sit down as a family and together write (or draw, or paint, and/or collage, etc.) something meaningful about our own personal connection to Jazzy in the Here and Now and create something special, perhaps a small hand-bound scrapbook or something that we all have contributed to… I don’t know yet, right now I am just too damned exhausted. My hope is that it will open the way to contemplate our own lives, the lives of our loved ones, and to remind ourselves of what we take for granted. I want it to help each of us to realize and appreciate every moment we have and every meaningful memory we create in the Here and Now. Because really, the Here and Now, this moment, this breath, is the only thing we know is for certain.

 

Little Strands of Hope & Grief

Well, it’s officially month 2 of my stepping down from the meds. I’m wearing a 37.5 mcg/hr patch, but have started taking Clonidine to help with the withdrawal sweating/shaking. We haven’t lowered my oxy dose, in fact it’s increased by 20 mg per day to keep me at a more regulated level.

Last month fell into a sort of blur. Not at first, of course. In fact, I took advantage of a partly sunny day and the kids and I headed to the pumpkin patch. I thought, “Hey, this’ll be a breeze!” But that was only day 1. I managed to go to the serpentine costume “parade” at the school on the following Monday but I was hot flashing big time, majorly woozy, and actually bumped into a wall on my way out the door. (geez, I hope nobody saw that) I didn’t go trick or treating w/the kiddos. The pumpkins never got carved. My husband called the dr. and picked up an rx from their office for a 25mcg dose and I stuck that thing on immediately, like the fiend I was.

I did a lot of coloring. So much so, I don’t think my hand will ever recover.

Slow and Steady.

This week I began to feel pretty darn good. Finally. I’m feeling really encouraged and am looking forward to the day I’m done with all of it!

10391828_1199774746858_4569283_n

But tonight I got some pretty devastating news. Our white German Shepherd (my constant shadow) will be put down next Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. They will then cremate her and her ashes will be scattered over a rose garden dedicated for those purposes.

There are many reasons why, the number one being that her health has rapidly declined over the past several months and she is having a more difficult time holding her bowels, which is distressing to her because she doesn’t want to make messes.

She has always been fiercely protective of strangers, but things took a turn for the worse when she bit a child who had come over to play. It nearly broke the skin, and would have, had she wanted it to. The boys were roughhousing and as I was walking to the room to tell them to calm down, but she had already bitten him on his forearm. The mom was very understanding though. In fact, I was more upset than she was.

I already feel tremendous grief and a growing sense of loss. That gaping hole will only get bigger between now and Tuesday afternoon.

I’m trying to decide on how we should tell the kids.

The End of a Rainbow is Just The Beginning

My step-daughter got married yesterday. It was an outdoor wedding in a beautiful forest clearing not far from our house and a family friend performed the ceremony. It was supposed to rain all day, but somehow the clouds steered clear, making way for the nuptials. The ceremony itself was nonreligious and simple. I loved every moment of it. The bride looked absolutely gorgeous, and witnessing my husband walk her down the aisle made my tears begin to flow.

I never thought a wedding could be so perfect. My youngest daughter was the flower girl, and after some practice I was successful at completing a waterfall braid with her waist length hair and added sprigs of baby’s breath here and there. My youngest son walked the dog down the aisle following the groomsmen. My oldest daughter was a bridesmaid and she actually looked really good, so much so I that I was inclined to believe her when she said she had been clean for over a month. My oldest son ushered me down the aisle, just ahead of the flower girl. (my step-son ushered his mother down the aisle as well).

It was very casual and earthy with just a little kick of boho-chic. It was the perfect opportunity to wear my handmade, heavily embroidered, flowy purple Belladonna/Stevie Nicks style dress with my tall black boots. I curled my hair in tight ringlets then brushed it through and tousled it a bit. I very rarely curl my hair but I felt so pretty that I may have to do it again sometime, just for the hell of it.

The reception overlooked a small valley where we all awed at the complete arc of a rainbow. It was so big, bright and complete that from where we stood we could easily see the end of it hitting the ground.

I laughed and I cried. I danced with my husband beneath the twinkling lights. My parents who have been married for 44 years, danced beneath the lights too, proof that love can last and endure all the ups and downs of sharing a life together.

Yesterday was a beautiful beginning for two amazing people in their early 20’s who were highschool sweethearts; and each other’s first and only. If fairytale weddings exist, then this was one of them. May they live Happily Ever After.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

In the Spirit of Collage (Pt. 1 of 3)

Reflections of a Teenage Dream

I first began to collage as a young teen, around the same time I began to study and read the Tarot. Now this was back in the 80’s so the photos used were ones developed with actual film, which means days, sometimes weeks would go by before I ever saw the end result of my attempt to capture the moment. There was no instant gratification and no way of knowing if the one you took was even going to turn out (unless you had a crappy Polaroid). You took one picture at a time, crossed your fingers, and prayed to the Photo Gods because you only got a total of 24 chances in a single roll of film. This made capturing raw moments much more random and rare than nowadays.

I found that thick poster paper or plain cardboard worked best as the base for my collage work. Before beginning I would take several minutes to gaze at the blank ‘canvas’ like I did before painting with my watercolors, imagining it as a smooth pond, knowing that the first photo (like the first stroke of the brush) would be the pebble that I tossed. Each photo would in someway be connected to others on a deeply spiritual level. I chose the images randomly from a big heap collected over months. I had no set intention, I just placed them where I felt they belonged. Even the shapes were cut haphazardly, notched and imperfect, just like the volatile teen I felt I was. Little did I know that those images were telling a story that only my subconscious was aware of at the time.

The collages were never intended to be anything fancy, just scissors and glue, time alone, raw teenage emotion, and an LP record playing loudly in the background. These pieces of memory held together by glue encompassed an abstract view of my emotional world at that time in a way that I was unable to do with words written in journals. I look at my old collages now and my mind reaches far beyond that moment suspended in time. Each snapshot intertwines with the other, which connects to another, and so on until the memories blend and I am transported back to a time that is not a time, and to a place that is not a place. It is from there that I can finally see the big picture clearly through my soul’s eyes.

Collage was my form of therapy during those difficult, sometimes unbearable teenage years. The end result displayed the jagged pieces of my world and I didn’t scrutinize or over think their lack of beauty, depth, or importance like I did with every other aspect of myself. They just became what they were.

I continued to do collage on and off and in between the changing times during those years as a rebellious runaway, a pregnancy and the choices to be made as a result, drug use, an abusive boyfriend, life in a crisis group home for girls, a stint in juvenile hall, hopelessly pining away for a first love, friends in rehab, and friends who decided to check out of life before their time. But there were also smiles, laughter, friendship, excitement, celebration, silliness, remnants of childhood wonder, magic, dreams, unconditional love, and hope for the future. When each collage was completed it would take up space on my bedroom wall to be displayed with the others that mingled with band posters, ticket stubs, and theme park souvenirs.

lunascollage85

Love to you all (and thanks to Facebook for helping us stay in touch) 

In my very first collage there’s trimmed snapshots of me and my horse, a couple of boyfriends, me nose to nose with my poodle, friends at the beach, a birthday wish, friends who partied, a trip to Hawaii, and another trip to an amusement park, and my dear friend R. holding the litter of puppies shortly before she decided to end her own life.

This collage may seem like nothing more than a collection of mishmash haphazardly thrown together but it actually weaves together the private story of a 3 month period of my life very well, saying so much without any words at all. The jumble is a language that is all my own, each experience deeply affecting me, and each event directly relating to the other.

Although I’ve decided to publicly share a little piece of my past, the emotional soul attachment is still privately mine because only I can connect the experiences of my feelings as they relate to the intricate web of my personal journey. That’s the beauty of collage, and even more so, the beauty of our individual memories.

What are some of the ways you have expressed yourself or chronicled events during times of joy, or difficulty?  How do you honor or cherish your memories?

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(